Last updated: 15 June 2003

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This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to the LXD55 Achromatic Refractor models. If you have any comments, suggestions, questions or answers to questions posed here, e-mail them to me and I'll post them. Please use an appropriate Subject Line on your message. Thanks.

Sent:	Sunday, June 15, 2003 17:12:53
From:	doug canard (dcanard@cswnet.com)
I ordered one of those AR-5 refractors {with Autostar} last Monday {June
9th}. The dealer told me it would be backordered for 3 to 4 weeks. Is
that a good approximation or should I expect it to be longer?


Mike here: That matches recent reports.


That was quick! I'm sitting here gleaning all this neat info on the LXDs
and the Autostar and alignment, and fixes and...I'M READY DOGGONIT!!! I
WANT MY SCOPE!!! {sorry, Mars fever}

Thanks again,

Mike here: I know the feeling! I waited from August to November for my LXD55-8"SC!.
Subject:	AR-5 Review
Sent:	Tuesday, June 10, 2003 16:29:36
From:	"David Filipowski" (nagognog007@australia.edu)

I seem to be one of the few who bought an AR-5 rather than the AR-6. I
say 'few' as the vast majority of reviews on all the sites I haunt bear
this out. So I will give a go at reviewing the AR-5.

I have been involved in the sciences since I learned to talk, and
astronomy has always been a favorite, so I have used and owned many
telescopes over the years. At present I have a 12" LX200 GPS, an f4
200mm Newtonian, and now the AR-5. I decided to get a refractor as I
wanted to re-visit the planets and perhaps hunt a few comets. And Mars,
of course, is a big ticket item this year. Before making my choice of
the AR-5 I read every review I could find. Most of the lower-cost
achromatic refractors were soundly condemned for poor optics, unusable
mounts, and chromatic abberation rivaling a bad acid trip! However the
Meade AR-6 came across as being a very good scope for the money. The
mount being usable with little or no modification. Chromatic abberations
easily controlled by collimation and/or the use of a negative-violet
filter. But I did not want a 6" refractor. I wanted something smaller.
Something I could consider a "beat scope" that wouldn't leave me
terribly upset if the optics rated as only good. So I rolled the dice
and went forward with purchasing the AR-5. So much for my premise of a
"beat scope"! I was amazed!

After shoveling out a niche for my new aquisition in my living room, I
set the critter up. No problems there. As many have noted, the supplied
diagonal was lousy. I figured it should come out of a box of Cracker
Jacks and include a built-in whistle and secret de-coding ring. Swapped
that for an extra 2" I had handy. Onto checking the collimation. The
AR-5 does not have adjusting screws in the achromat cell, so I was not
looking forward to figuring out making adjustments from the focus end.
But after removing the diagonal and using a laser, I found the optical
train to be dead-on. I was beginning to get impressed! Now to wait for a
clear night.

I set up outdoors finally when the sky cleared out. Did a preliminary
adjustment to the finder and trained the drive/Autostar. No problem
there, but I have experience with Autostar II from my LX200 so I am
probably disqualified regarding the ease of use here. I did note that
it's true that the motor sounds like a coffee grinder! But I don't care.
Then I turned the thing off and waited for darkness.

Darkness. The seeing conditions around a 3.5 out of 5. I was amused to
see my daylight guesstimate of where Polaris should be had been off by
one finder field. Made a halfway decent polar alignment and let Autostar
get it's bearings for the first alignment star. It chose Albiero which
was well below the horizon. After explaining to the Autostar that it's
future life might be that of a computer chip in a toaster oven, I tried
again. It obediently made two good choices. Set them in with a 20mm
Kellner crosshair eyepiece. Then I punched in a go-to for Jupiter. Still
had the Kellner in, but Jupiter knocked me backwards! Clear as a bell! I
swithed over to a 9mm Vixen Lanthanum. This gave me 131X and a view that
rivaled those of the Pioneer and Voyager spacecrafts. Absolutely razor
-sharp. The shadow of Io standing out in stark relief like a back marble
on Jupiter's equatorial belt. I detected no chromatic problems at all. I
put in a William Optics negative-violet filter and looked again. No
improvement. Maybe a little more yellow. No improvement was needed. I
removed the filter. Then I did a star test using Polaris and a 12.5mm
orthoscopic EP with a TeleVue barlow for 189X. Test was right out of the
textbook. Perfect circle/diffraction rings. Equal inside and outside
focus. Went on to other objects and all were crystal sharp. Ended up
back at Jupiter with my eyes popped out! I couldn't push the
magnification over about 200X due to the seeing conditions. But that did
not bother me in the least. "Beat Scope" indeed! Ha!

Last analysis: The AR-5 is one excellent telescope. I am utterly pleased
to let it live in my home next to my 12" Monster and 200mm Light-Bucket.

Clear Skies!

Dave Filipowski
Burlington, Vermont

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