Last updated: 28 June 2003

LXD55 8sc logo

This page is for user comments and information of a general nature or items applicable to all LXD55 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.

Subject:	Plastic Backing on LXD55 Primary Mirror
Sent:	Friday, June 27, 2003 06:06:01
From:	"Bob Fandrich" (grumpabob@hotmail.com)
Maybe I'm not careful enough, but I removed the plastic disk behind the
primary mirror on my LXD55 10"SN completely.  I really can't see any
reason for it.  One advantage for people who worry if they have UHTC, it
is stamped on the back of the mirror.

28°0037N, 80°3758W

2.	Rotating Ring
3.	Solid Dovetail
4.	Red-dot Finder
5.	Step-motor Focuser
6.	Stiff-as-a-Brick Tripod
7.	Solid-Elevation Bearing
8.	Piggyback Camera Mount
9.	Bearings Added to LXD55 Mount
10.	DGM Optics 9 Off-Axis Newtonian Dob

Subject:	lxd-55 5" achromat
Sent:	Wednesday, June 25, 2003 08:10:42
From:	DENNNISS@aol.com
I had a question for those who own this scope. What is the noise level
of this scope during slewing? I had a lx-200 and it was loud enough to
be uncomfortable to use late at night. Any other opinions on this scope
are welcomed.
Mike here: Slewing motor volume depends on the slewing speed. At slower speeds (<5) it is fairly quite (on my LXD55-8"SC). It is only at the highest speeds (>7) that I think it is loud.


Thanks a lot for the info. The lx-200 was the same way: fairly quiet a
low speed, coffee grinder at high.

Subject:	Observational guides and references update
Sent:	Monday, June 23, 2003 15:10:18
From:	"Lynn Laux" (gemmalady@msn.com)
I believe I mentioned that the "Tours" would be a real plus at a public
star party.  This past Saturday I got a chance to use one of the tours
to keep some folks entertained for several hours.  I used the "Aquila"
and Scorpius" tours. Since a refractor does such a nice job on splitting
doubles as well as deep sky objects these tours gave both the public and
myself (!) a chance to look at some interesting doubles, variable stars,
clusters and DSO's.  It was handy to read off the data such as
separation, magnitude and the like.  I could vary the EP's too to give
folks (and myself) a real treat, and of course AS calculates FOV and
magnification easily.  The public always wants to know that.  It was
cool to point to a place in the sky then have them look into the EP!

Then last night I took a tour for myself of Lyra and Ursa Major.  The
tours really give you a balanced, yet in depth view of a particular
patch of sky.  If there is something you aren't interested in, simply
hit the mode key and the tour automatically moves you to the next item. 
I like that, too.  (For example, to do variable stars any kind of
justice, one would have to keep looking at them over the course of
several days or weeks to keep track of changes).  These two tours kept
me busy until Mars came up over the trees!

Still impressed!
Lynn Laux

Subject:	Illuminated eyepiece polarity?
Sent:	Sunday, June 22, 2003 08:44:42
From:	Goran Hosinsky (ea8yu@arrl.net>)
I bought one of the Meade cross hair illuminated eyepieces with cable
for my LXD55. Found out that they are meant for the LX200 series which
has an  connector on the GEM for the eyepiece illumination, and there
was no information in the box on how to connect them to a separate power

The voltage I can find out by testing, starting low down, but I do not
know what polarity to use on the connector, which is a mono earphone
connector, and I am afraid to burn something out if I use the wrong
polarity. The cable is black and has one side marked with a white line.

Can you help me resolve this question?

Greetings from La Palma
And an update:
I managed to measure the Meade reticule EP so no need for you to post it
on the web site. If somebody else needs the information:

Top of the mono earphone plug is positive
Need maximum 5-6 mA
Voltage drop over the led  1.7 V


Subject:	re: extension cords (LXD55)
Sent:	Saturday, June 21, 2003 22:11:50
From:	Dick Seymour 
To:	dcanard@cswnet.com
I just noticed your note on Mike's site.

The power plug for the Meade telescopes is 5.5mm outside, 2.5mm inside,
center positive.  (not 3.5 as your note mentioned).

Be warned that a 6.1 mm plug will -fit-, but will permanently damage
the socket's internal switch (not a problem with the LXD55, but
a problem with any of the internal-battery models).

I really, really do NOT recommend alligator clips for this kind'a 
thing.. you'll be plugging it in the dark, when you're tired.
A sure combination leading to reversed polarities and smoked telescope

The Autostar reportedly is usually happy with a 50 foot cord.
Pinout is -not- the same as a computer network cable, so check
Mike's Tech Tips page carefully.

good luck

Subject:	Problems with My new LXD 55  10 inch scope
Sent:	Saturday, November 9, 2002 20:23:11
From:	"Walter  Ness" (walter.ness@3web.net)
Just to let you know Mike.  I just received my LXD 55 10 inch scope and
it took 4 months to get it.  The dealer I bought through rattled some
chains at Meade and it arrived 1 week after he did that.  Anyway, back
to the interesting stuff. When I took it out of the packaging and
inspected the tube I noticed that they had a Quality Assurance sticker
on the scope and it was signed.  Good for them.  Well when I picked it
up and inspected the optics by looking through the end and down at the
primary mirror I was shocked to say the least at what I saw.  Debris and
lots of it.  It looked like the bottom of a garbage can.  All over the
primary mirror.  Well I got on the phone right away to Meade tech
support and asked them if I could take off the end and try to gently
shake it out.  They informed me to not remove the mirror and I told them
I had only intended to take the end off and that was it.  So I marked
one of the screws on the end cover (side where light is collected - the
corrector) so that I would know exactly how to put it back on after I
cleaned out the debris in the tube and on the mirror.  Took off the
corrector and placed it very carefully aside and proceeded to shake very
carefully the tube so that debris would come out.  Well 4 pieces of a
black substance came out and the one was almost an inch long.  They were
pieces of a rubber foam and I believe this is used to help cushion and
secure the primary mirror to the clips holding it in.  These pieces were
left in the tube and it was QA passed.  Well I thought I was in the
clear and proceeded to put the corrector back on the end and after I put
it back on of course I missed some.  So I said the hell with this.  I
decided to take off the primary mirror end of the tube (not touching the
mirror or its fastenings).  Took it off and inspected and blew off the
primary mirror (thank goodness no scratches).  Little pieces of black
were all over the primary mirror but I managed to clear them off.  Took
a flash light and inspected the tube.  Could not believe what I was
seeing.  Shavings of metal were stuck on the sides it well into the
tube, plus more black foam rubber.  I had a camel brush so I was able to
clear it out and I put the end back on.  Well this time I put used to
pencil to mark the one screw so I would know how to position the end on
again.  The only problem is the pencil was kind of smeared on the white
tube where the screw is placed and especially on the end I took off.  I
carefully examined on holes in the end (primary mirror side) and
determined the correct location for the screw to line it back up again
with the tube. 

The only reason why I went ahead and did all this was because I know it
would cost $$$ and may take a very long time to get the scope back from
Meade if I sent it in.  Anyway, all the debris is gone and there are no
flaws or scratches in the mirrors.

Sorry for the long winded message but here finally comes my question.

I had to take the scope out to align the view finder with a terrestrial
object (power line pole) and was able to do it no problem.  Now I had an
ETX 125 and it of course it was a Schmidt Cassigrain style while the LXD
55 10 inch is a Schmidt Newtonian.  Totally different.  Now when I was
lining up the LXD I noticed a huge obstruction when viewing.  Mind you I
was using the 26 mm eyepiece that came with the scope and looking at a
terrestrial object during the day that was about 3/4 mile away.  But
there was a good size dark spot even though I was able to see around it
crystal clear.  This type of scope has the obstruction in the middle of
the lens ( the diagonal mirror fixture) where the image collected from. 
So my question is does my collimation have to be adjusted and on which,
the primary mirror or diagonal mirror?  Would this get rid of the dark
circle or blind spot caused by the diagonal mirror mount in the middle
of the corrector lens?

Thanks Mike. 
Mike here: Sorry to hear about the initial problem. I hope you let your dealer know. As to the "shadow" of the secondary mirror, that is normal with some eyepieces when focusing at close distances. This can also happen with the ETX "Maksutov-Cassegrain" design. Have you tried focusing on the Moon (morning object right now) or something else in the night sky? As to collimation, you can do a "star test" to check it and recollimate if necessary (see the manual).


I was out last night looking at the stars with my new LXD 55 10 inch
scope with the 26mm eyepiece that came with the scope.  The dark spot
still showed up but much more faintly.  I was able to see stars inside
it but you could still see the dark spot behind the stars.  During the
day I held my hand on the corrector plate cover (the one that covers the
collimation screws for the diagonal or secondary mirror) and that was
causing the dark spot which makes sense because the light that collects
through the corrector can't penetrate that object (secondary mirror
mount) and the dark spot shows up. Now does collimation compensate for
that?  Also, I read that if I increase my magnification by using a more
powerful eye piece it removes this dark spot.  I never had this sort of
problem with my ETX 125.  Of course, its a different design.  And does
it ever work differently then the ETX I had.  I think it may take a
while to get used to.  Oh, and I told my dealer and he said I should
have taken a picture of the debris inside the tube so he could send it
back to  Meade's upper management.  I guess to maybe point out a quality
control issue they may be having.

Look forward to hearing from you.
Mike here: I've not looked through a 10"SN but it seems likely that the short focal length of the SN is probably the culprit. I don't think being out of collimation (unless really bad) would add or detract from that.
Subject:	LXD55-8 Mirror Cell Mod(s)
Sent:	Friday, June 20, 2003 22:52:00
From:	"SKYGZR" (skygzr@opusnet.com)
I have my scope completely apart. Awaiting Do it one's self Hyper Tune
Kit from Richard, Focuser (w/moto) from JMI (FYI-JMI called me and they
are reworking the moto-focus to allow manual focusing along with the
moto), Flock "paper" from ProtoStar, also did the "leg mod" (per
Warped), etc..

Anyway, what are your thoughts re drilling (3) holes, aprx. 1.5" in dia.
through the plastic "backing" plate attached to the cell, in order to
assist in "cool down" for the mirror? Since this really isn't a "closed"
system (gaps in the construction of the cell itself), you see any
possible concerns? (besides "dust / dirt" intrusion).

I have posted this, along with a couple mods already done on Richards

P.S. Do you have the "Alignment Arrows" file? I've downloaded the
OPTCORP Hints file, the templates for the primary, secondary and arrows,
yet without the actual "file" I can't print them out. Warped mentioned
they are available in the files section on the lxd55telescope yahoo
group, yet I can't find 'em.


Tom Logan
Mike here: I'm possibly overly cautious but I would worry about affecting overall performance by making such a mod. Since optics "system" includes the mounting, you might cause problems down the road. Allowing for a regular cool-down period seems like a safer approach. As to the files, sorry, I don't have them.
Subject:	RE: Saddle Damage on LXD55 Mount
Sent:	Friday, June 20, 2003 15:07:53
From:	"David Filipowski" (nagognog007@australia.edu)
It is true that the saddle, or dovetail bar, on the LXD55 mount is made
out of pot metal and is prone to breakage. However ScopeStuff offers a
much tougher replacement bar for sale, as well as heavy duty replacement
bolts/knob. Here is their address:


And ScopeStuff has a wealth of other aftermarket goodies for the LXD55
mount, as well as many other scopes and mounts. A paradise for an
upgrade-nut like myself!

Clear Skies,

Dave Filipowski
Burlington, Vermont

Subject:	Observational Guides and references
Sent:	Wednesday, June 18, 2003 17:02:41
From:	"Lynn Laux" (gemmalady@msn.com)
In searching for something meaningful to do when the skies finally clear
here in the NE I stumbled across these guides on ASO...andthe linksent
me here. I couldn't believe the wealth of information loaded into these
guides! Here in Ohio in the summer it seems like Hercules, Cygnus,
Sagitta, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Ophiuchus, Aquilaand the like are in the
sky for a long time...and one runs out of interesting things to look at
after a while (not really, but you know what I mean, I think). In other
words, I was delighted to find a guide to viewingsome the wonders in
each of these constellations in an organized fashion.

Every year I look at the same 'old' ones: M57, M13, etc, etc and I was
gratified to see quite a few more objects that I could view over the
course of an evening! I particularly like the text that goes along with
them, and the detailed star maps.

I also downloaded for my AS the tours that go with each.

I printed out the guides and put them into a binder so that I can read
along as I look at them...way cool.

Additionally, for public star parties these will be a real plus!

I am learning what the AS is capable of, and this is just one more
selling point in its favor!! Thank Dr. Clay and also those who wrote
the tours!! Now if the skies would just clear!

Lynn Laux

Subject:	Extension cords
Sent:	Sunday, June 15, 2003 17:51:49
From:	doug canard (dcanard@cswnet.com)
Oh yeah, before I get back to the virtual tour of Meade's manufacturing
facility, { man, I'd love to be a fly on the wall there }, I was
wondering if anyone has made an extension cord for the Autostar
handcontroller up to, say, 50 or 75 feet? If possible, are the
male/female connectors on the mount and controller something common that
I could get at Radio Shack or elsewhere?

Also, I am thinking of using a lawn/garden battery for like lawnmowers
and such to power my setup. Are the male/female external power plugs
also a common thing? I already have a power cord with alligator clips on
one end and {I think} a 3.5 mm male plug on the other end. I'm wondering
if maybe I'm already good to go in that regards? I'm guessing that the
center tip is positive like on my CCD cam?

Appreciate it,

Mike here: The plugs are common parts (phone or computer network). You could find connectors at Radio Shack or other electronics stores. For more on cables see the Autostar Information page. As to power supply information, see the Telescope Tech Tips page on my ETX Site. And yes, the center pin is positive.
Subject:	Cleaning Corrector Plate
Sent:	Friday, June 13, 2003 11:57:53
From:	Thomas Rutherford (rutherfordt@earthlink.net)
Last night at my local astronomy club meeting, things dewed up quickly,
including the corrector plate on my SN-6 w/UHTC coatings.  An older
gentleman who was there took out his handkerchief (no, he didn't wipe
the corrector, thank the stars!) and was fanning the corrector to drive
off the dew (it didn't work).  Apparently, a corner of the handkerchief
brushed reapeatedly across the corrector as he was doing this.  It does
not look like it was scratched, but there are now numerous (20-30)
"trails" of something (dirt?) across the plate.  Can the plate be
cleaned with alcohol and distilled water?  My plan is to turn the scope
face down so nothing will run into the scope and mist the plate with
alcohol until it is well covered, then gently wash the alcohol off with
distilled water.  Any comments?  I know that the UHTC coatings are
somewhat fragile, so I have no plans to actually touch the plate.


Tom Rutherford
Blountville, Tennessee
Mike here: See the Cleaning Tips article on the Buyer/New User Tips page on my ETX Site.


Thanks for the quick reply.  I found the Cleaning Tips after I sent my
email to you.  I should have looked more thoroughly before firing off a
note to you.

Tom Rutherford

Subject:	505 cable
Sent:	Thursday, June 12, 2003 10:16:46
From:	"Gary Douglas" (gdouglas@thermalpipesystems.com)
Great website. 

I was trying to make my own #505 connector cable. Is it neccessary
to transition to a 6 pin cable or is it posible just to solder the 4 pin
cable wires directly to DB9 connector?
Mike here: As you can see from the article "Homemade Cable #505" on the Autostar Information page, you can wire directly.
Subject:	photography
Sent:	Wednesday, June 11, 2003 08:11:54
From:	paul perlmutter (pbpm45@yahoo.com)
It's been a long time since i've contacted you for some info. I was
impressed with your photos thru you're newscope and that you used a
regular digital camera(well Nikon isn't a regualr one). I tries the SAC
system without much success and a friend sold(at a price I couldn't
resist) a SBIGSTV which I tried without any success. At present I own a
125ETX and 8" Meades LX200. Without getting really involved with getting
a wedge and focal reducer for the Meade and or taking the eyepiece in
and out for the SAC system focusing I would like to try something much
easier. I developed Macular Degeneration in one eye last year so I do
not wish to pile on any extra Astro equipement as I don't know what lies
ahead for me with my vision. I enjoyed your photos and it seemed to be
much easier and less envovled(and besides you don't need to take your
computer along). It is working out well for you do use this way and if
you have any advice I would appreicate it. Also, when you're not using
the camera for astro stuff, it serves as a regular camera. That what I
like, a 2fer. Paul Perlmutter
Mike here: Check out the Helpful Information --> Astrophotography page on my ETX Site. Lots of good 35mm, digital, and video camera info there. You can use really inexpensive digital cameras for some types of astrophotography (brighter objects like the Moon and with proper protection, the Sun, and even Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and Venus). Or you can use more capable consumer digital cameras. Examples and tips/info linked from that page.


Thanks for your ideas. I will check out the part on your site. I would
like to do a little more than just easy stuff and liked your results
with the coolpix. My experience with the SAC 7 and SBIG STV led me away
from the more complicted photography. Paul

Subject:	LXD-55 / guidance
Sent:	Monday, June 9, 2003 07:12:54
From:	dwilliamson@sugar-land.oilfield.slb.com (Don Williamson)
Just curious, has anyone looked into connecting an autoguider to a
LXD-55 mount ?  Also, do you know what the aux port on the LXD-55
control panel is for ?
Mike here: Currently the Meade Autoguider that works on the LX90 doesn't work on the LXD55. Someday...
Subject:	New Vendor
Sent:	Saturday, June 7, 2003 18:30:51
From:	"Michael Carr" (mscarr@alltel.net)
I recently stumbled upon your website while doing my weekly astronomy
website hopping.Being that it is a site dedicated to LXD55 owners, I
thought that I might submit a vendor that I have recently purchased some
upgrades for my LXD55 SN-10.The website is www.scopestuff.com , and
is based out of Round Rock, TX.The ownerJim Henson, and myself have
spoken numerous times about various toys and upgrades he has to
offer for the LXD55 line of telescopes.I can attest to the quality of
the replacement equipment I have received from him, and being that his
prices INCLUDE shipping  he is very reasonable.He is also open to new
ideas  I have had a few ideas of my own that he has already made a
reality for me; latitude bolts without the flippy things, secondary
collimation thumb screws for the SN series, counterweight lock screws
with rosette knobs.If you have, or plan to have vendor links for
websites that support the LXD55 community, I believe this is one company
that should be included on that page for the benefit of all of us!

P.S.I have been a long time fan of your Mighty ETX website, I am
also an ETX 105 owner!

Thank you,

Michael Carr

Subject:	lxd55
Sent:	Wednesday, June 4, 2003 09:48:59
From:	John.Iannelli@aheadcomusa.com (John Iannelli)
I have an LXD55 SC-8.  The Ra axis has about a 1/4 inch of play on when
locked.  Ithink this is too much play.  I contacted Meade Customer
service and they walked me through the procedure of checking and
tightening the Ra and Dec gears.  This did not correct the problem. 
They advised me to send it back to the factory.  Before I do that is
there anything else I should check or adjust?  The play that is there
cannot be good over time.  Any help would be appreciated.  The mount is
under warranty.  Thanks.

John Iannelli 
Middlebury Ct. 
Mike here: What exactly did they tell you to do?


They told me to take the inspection covers off of the Ra motor and check
to see if the gold gear was loose.  It was.  They said to tighten the
gold gear up with the allen wrench supplied.  I also did the same for
the Dec motor gears.  After that was completed I still had the play in
the Ra axis.  Thats when they told me that there may be something
internal that is causing the problem and I would have to send it back to
the factory.  Thanks.
Mike here: Was the setscrew tightened against the flat side of the shaft?


If you mean the set screw that's recessed just below the polar alignment
site lens were the mount swivels, yes.
Mike here: I mean the gears inside the DEC drive housing and inside the RA drive housing. Those are the ones that can be seen through the inspection ports. See my article on fixing a slipped RA gear on the LXD55 site for what I'm talking about.


The answer is yes to the question then.  Those were the gears that the
Meade rep told me to tighten.  Thanks.
Mike here: Well, I guess you should take them up on the advice.
Subject:	Collimation.....do I have a problem with this?
Sent:	Wednesday, June 4, 2003 15:05:05
From:	"Colin Scrivener" (col@12kc.freeserve.co.uk)
I bought an LXD55 SC-8 like yourself about a month ago, and I have not
really got the pin sharp images I was expecting. I have noticed when
looking Jupiter for examplethat I can see a ghost image almost on top
of the main one (slightly off centre). Every now and again it goes
really clear then seems to "fuzz up" again because of this image. I
thought it might be my eyes, but my wife agrees that there is a ghost

The vendor of my scope said I may have a collimation problem, and larger
scopes need to be re-collimated regularly(?). He has suggested I buy a
"Coll-u-mate" replacement knob thing for about 16 ($30). What is
collimation, does it sound like I have this problem, and what would you
suggest I do to correct it if this is the problem?

Thanks so much for your help and a very informative web site.

Colin Scrivener
Mike here: Collimation is described in the manual. Basically, the collimation process ensures that light from the curved mirrors/optics all arrives at the proper focal plane with the same focus. Yes, those knobs can help but with most telescopes (and proper care when moving) recollimating should not be required that often (after six months with mine I've had no reason to recollimate). Since you said the image gets really clear at times, what you are seeing is not a collimation problem (which doesn't change over short periods of time). BUT you could be seeing the effects of "air currents" inside the tube if the telescope has not reached "thermal equilibrium" with the outside air. For best results, thermal equilibrium can take upwards of 20-30 minutes per inch of aperture. OR you could be seeing the effects of "poor seeing". For more on this and other telescope performance items, see the Observational Guides/References page on my ETX Site (http://www.weasner.com/etx).
Subject:	Failure to slew
Sent:	Tuesday, June 3, 2003 15:07:27
From:	"The Summers Houshold" (jes.sian@summers42.freeserve.co.uk)
I've just read the post from Warren Vaugan on your latest discussion
page where he is getting a slewing message with no scope movement
following a normal alignment. I have this same problem, though
intermittantand came across a post from Richard Seymour on your Jan 31
update. He says their was a problem with earlier firmware versions (pre
26Ec) that caused a refusal to point to Messier objects when quite slew
is selected. Sounds like the problem I have, I wonder if it could help


Subject:	LXD55 SN10 problem
Sent:	Tuesday, June 3, 2003 12:19:15
From:	"Peter Bruce" (peterbruce@blueyonder.co.uk)
I felt it wise to send you a copy of a letter I posted to the LXD group
today and as yet I have not had a reply but it is early days yet.

I am pleased you have opened up a site on the LXD because I own the
LX200 (You featured my internal barlow lens)and the ETX and I now have
the LXD.

I look forward to a good site with information laid out as you have done
before because you can find what you want when you want it....

Any way see what you feel about this problem. 
(Below as posted on LXD
Yahoo site).

I keep my SN10 at our caravan. Last weekend was very hot indeed (about
90+ deg where the tube of the scope is stored). As a result the metal
tube of the secondary became loose in the corrector and moved with ease
about 20 degrees....

The ring on the corrector securing the diagnal was tightened and I
expected to re-align the optics. On looking at page 39 of the manual
under alignment I found collimation would not be as easy or the same as
my trusty LX200.

The manual states that the diagonal needs to be off set in TWO
directions by ABOUT an 1/8th of an inch in each direction.... I used my
Kendrick laser to do the obvious basic alignment but how do I take in
the "approximatly 1/8th inch" in each of the two direction with any
degree of accuracy?

After the laser collimation a star image is OK in the main field of view
but how do I check out with 100% accuracy that any offset is correct as
there is no way to check using the manual.

Another confusing issue is the picture Fig 31a on page 40 which shows
the image of the diagonal mirror (shaded area part 2)which is angled
with its centre towards the primary mirror clip. the whole thing is as
clear as mud.

Can anybody point me to a site that will help me in this issue.
Mike here: Since I don't have the SN model I can't speak from experience BUT if the star images look correct then I suspect you are properly collimated.


Thanks for the reply Mike.

I have star tested the scope after laser collimation and it just needed
a slight tweak to get good star images but the two 1/8 inch offsets
mentioned in the Meade manual were not clear at all. I have been told
by Otto on the Yahoo group that he has a picture of a correctly
collimated SN10 in the picture section and on examination it looks the
same as mine.

Taking the conversation still further I was told that the diagram in the
Meade manual on page 40 Fig 31a was indeed wrong and I have also been
told that the two 1/8" offsets are built into the diagonal holder.

This type of question is precisely why I always go to the MAPUG or your
ETX site as you can look up anything anytime under a heading rather than
the same question being posted with a group every couple of months and
you can never seem to find it when you need it.

I look forward to your LXD site growing and commend you for your
considerable efforts in this direction because I like many other LX and
ETX go straight there if we need to "KNOW". Groups are fine but can be
misleading on information sometimes.

Peter Bruce.
Croydon UK

Subject:	Lxd55 alignment
Sent:	Monday, June 2, 2003 09:52:02
From:	"John Iannelli" (John.Iannelli@aheadcomusa.com)
After setting up my lxd55 SC-8 in the polar home position
andsuccessfully making a two star alignment I am able to get objects in
the FOV that are overhead or near the zenith. As I select objects that
are farther from thezenith they do not appear in the FOV. They do
appear in the view finder. I think it's the way I am polar aligning the
scope.I may need some polar aligning advice. Any helpis appreciated.

John Iannelli
Ahead Communications
Middlebury Ct. 06762
Mike here: It sounds like you might need to check the optical tube and RA axis alignment. See the LXD55 manual. See the Tricks and Tips document for more info.
Subject:	RE: Autostar problem (again)
Sent:	Monday, June 2, 2003 01:08:55
From:	Dimitris Rakopoulos (liquid@mediaone.gr)
For some weird reason, the default on my Autostar is Terrestrial! When I
reset the Autostar and go back to Targets the default is Terrestrial!!!
I change it to Astronomical and a second after that my scope goes crazy.
Is it possible this is a mechanical problem?

Due to the fact that I can't use my Autostar I had on Saturday night and
last night I had to excellent sessions. It was nice for a change and
it's really helpful to learn the sky the real way!

I will send you a detailed report during the day.

Keep up the good work. 

Best regards,
Mike here: What do you mean by "goes crazy"?

It starts moving arbitrarily! The moment I set Targets to astronomical
it starts moving on different directions, then stops, then starts again
to different direction. Then it stops for 20-30 seconds and then it
starts again. If I try to put it on the home position and try to make an
alignment it searches for a star, then says "Slewing" and does nothing.
No movement. No nothing. And after a few seconds (sometimes) I get a
Motor fault error message.

I did reset, calibrary, and train drives as you told me.
Any ideas? 
And from the Autostar expert:
From:	Richard Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
From the simplest to the hardest:
(a) low battery
(b) bad cable between Autostar and Telescope...
 (re-squeeze the ends, check with ohmmeter)

The "crazy" motion is quite common if the motors are not receiving
"solid" signals.  They hear "Move... Fast/slow/up/???"  and try to
do them all at once.

Try reversing the cable (plug Autostar end into telescope, telescope
end into Autostar).  
Some Autostars had very weak spring wires in their cable socket.
Check that all of the wires are equally visible, and that they 
will make solid contact with the cable.

(c) sick Autostar (bad cable driver circuits)

What happens if you try:  Setup > Telescope > Calibrate [enter] ?
The telescope -should- move UP for 2 seconds, then clockwise (right)
 for 2 seconds.  Does it do that?

If only one motor is being crazy, then it could also be:
(d) sick motor controller card (inside telescope)
(e) internal wiring problem: loose connector, wire cut by a gear or
  sharp piece of metal.  (<-- happened to me)

If this is a new telescope, return it to the dealer for warranty
repair or replacement.

... and it was never mentioned in the messages Mike forwarded::
what model of telescope is it?
If it is an LXD55, turn  Setup > Telescope > Quiet Slew > OFF [enter]

good luck
And more:
From: Richard Seymour
>> I believe it did on both axes, yes.

> Similar symptom.. just like turning on the sidereal drive, asking the 
> motor to move at any speed is telling it to move crazy.

>> I pressed the numeric buttons to change the slewing speed but I always
>> got max speed. I also got the feeling that the movement was not based
>> on the amount or the time I was pressing the buttons. Meaning that I
>> press the button for 2 seconds but the scope moved to the direction I
>> requested for maybe 2 seconds plus something. Something like it moves
>> in defined portions, if you get what I mean. Like if I press a button
>> it will move 2" or 10".

Another test (well, an example of why i think it might be a bad cable) is to
turn it off, unplug the Autostar, turn it on.  Wait.
Many of our telescopes will then start to move randomly.
(be ready to turn it off!).  If those motions are similar to the ones you
are seeing under Autostar "control", then the Autostar driver electronics
are still suspect.

> If both this and the other setting you mentioned are messed up it seems
> like lots of things are wrong by a single/simple firware update.

USUALLY this doesn't happen.  I would certainly recommend simply
re-loading v26Ed  again, and see if that helps (if you have already done
that, then there is no need to do it again...)

good luck
--dick (now going to work)
And an update:
If I unplug the Autostar the scope does nothing. 

And now the weirdest of all. The scope works perfectly! No problem at
all. I switched it on and it works. For some reason the default targets
are terrestrial but when I switch back to astronomical everything works
fine. Easy alignment works fine, too. I don't know what to say. I am
uploading again 26Ed just to see what's going on, but the whole
situation is bizare. I even tried to set different times in case the
problem was on night hours (I did all the tests on afternoons and when I
was in the field at night everything was wrong).

So, I guess the problem is fixed.

In any case, thank you for all your help. It was very valuable.

Best regards,

Subject:	LXD55 8"
Sent:	Sunday, June 1, 2003 08:06:21
From:	"Jeff Stewart" (surfjet1@cox.net)
I just bought one of these great instruments, do you know where I can
download a manual?? Or buy one?
Mike here: If new, should have been one in the box. If used and the seller didn't include it, contact Meade; they will send you one, likely for free.
Subject:	re:   LXD55 10SN alignment/slewing problems
Sent:	Saturday, May 31, 2003 21:50:23
From:	Dick Seymour (rseymour@wolfenet.com)
To:	Gailwov@aol.com
When I slew back to Arcturus, do a sync, and do a
go-to someplace else I get the slewing message but nothing happens.

I can think of two common causes:

(a) Firmware version: there was a bug in earlier (25Esomething) firmwares
which did that to LXD55's ... some GoTo's wouldn't.  
Fix: update.

(b) User technique: you have to tap [enter] (to REALLY select a target)
 before pressing [GoTo] to get there.  Otherwise the previous target
is still selected, so you GoTo ... where you already are!

If the target's name is not on the TOP line of the display,
it's not truly selected (yet).

have fun
then select something, hit enter, then go-to I get a "slewing" read
out with no motion, no sound, 

(memo to self: keep reading past the sig...)

Oh, well, suggestion (a) still holds... there WERE versions of
the firmware which did that to LXD55's.  Update to v26Ed.

good luck

Subject:	Autostar problem (again)
Sent:	Sunday, June 1, 2003 00:48:07
From:	Dimitris Rakopoulos (liquid@mediaone.gr)
A while ago I had a problem with my Autostar going crazy after upgrading
the firmware to version 26Ed. You suggested that I should reset,
calibrate motors, and train drives. I did that and I have the same
problem. For some weird reason when I change the targets from
terrestrial (is this the default?) to astronomical the scope goes crazy.
I even try to align it and when it finds an object no slewing is
happening. I even get Motor failure notices sometimes.

Any ideas? Should I try an older firmware? Is it possible this is a
hardware thing? Everything worked fine with the previous version,

Best regards,
Dimitris Rakopoulos
Athens, Greece

PS: I will send you my report on my latest session (all searching done
with a map. Nice experience for a change!)
Mike here: Terrestrial is not the default unless you make it that way. But until you complete the alignment, tracking will not start (normally). You could try the previous version (although I doubt the current version is the problem); you can find older Autostar version (English mostly) on my ETX Site, on the Helpful Information --> Autostar Information page. When you change from astronomical to terrestrial mode, do you change the mount from a polar mount to an alt/az mount? If so, do you remove the counterweight rod?

Feedback Archives

May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003

Return to the top of this page.

Go to the LXD55 Home Page.

Copyright © 2003 Michael L. Weasner / mweasner@optcorp.com
Submittals Copyright ©2003 by the Submitter
URL = http://www.weasner.com/lxd/feedback/jun03/feedback.html