Last updated: 30 September 2003

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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:	power supply connection
Sent:	Tuesday, September 30, 2003 05:05:17
From:	"Paladini, John" (john.paladini@baesystems.com)
would like to replace battery with AC/DC power plug in

is 1000ma ok or do I need 1500ma (12v) for SN-6 
what is the plug size ?

thank you
John Paladini
Mike here: You should use 2.5mA. For more on power supplies, see the Telescope Tech Tips page on my ETX site; lots of info there including plugs and where to get them.
Subject:	The Ten Commandments for Amateur Astronomers  (Reprint)
Sent:	Sunday, September 28, 2003 18:05:03
From:	"Michael & Lynn" (diverdude63@earthlink.net)
The Ten Commandments for Amateur Astronomers

1.Thou shalt have no white light before thee, behind thee, or to the
side of thee whilst sharing the night sky with thy fellow stargazers.

2.Thou shalt not love thy telescope more than thy spouse or thy
children; as much as, maybe, but not more.

3.Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's telescope, unless it exceeds in
aperture or electronics twice that of thy wildest dreams.

4.Thou shalt not read Astronomy or Sky & Telescope on company time, for
thine employer makes it possible to continue thine astronomical hobby.

5.Thou shalt have at least two telescopes so as to keep thy spouse
interested when the same accompanies thee under the night sky or on
eclipse expeditions to strange lands where exotic wild animals doth roam

6.Thou shalt not allow either thy sons or thy daughters to get married
during the Holy Days of Starfest.

7.Thou shalt not reveal to thy spouse the true cost of thy telescope
collection; only the individual components and that shall be done with
great infrequency.

8.Thou shalt not buy thy spouse any lenses, filters, dew shields, maps,
charts, or any other necessities for Christmas, anniversaries, or
birthdays unless thy spouse needs them for their own telescope.

9.Thou shalt not deceive thy spouse into thinking that ye are taking
them for a romantic Saturday night drive when indeed thou art heading
for a dark sky site.

10.Thou shalt not store thy telescope in thy living room, dining room,
or bedroom, lest thou be sleeping with it full time.

Subject:	lxd55 autoguider
Sent:	Friday, September 26, 2003 09:13:31
From:	"Alun Halsey" (ALUN@halsey593.freeserve.co.uk)
I have aquired the lxd55 8" sn for ccd imaging and what i would like to
know is,is there an autoguider which is compatible with the mount and
also work with the starlight express mx516 ccd camera? I have just
recently read about the webcam based autoguider being released by meade
would this system be the answer to my query or not?

regards Alun Halsey in England
Mike here: Could be. Right now everyone is waiting for it to ship so that we can get some reports.
Subject:	new LXD55 8" SC
Sent:	Wednesday, September 24, 2003 20:28:33
From:	"BullFox" (bullfox@comcast.net)
I just got my scope yesterday.  My previous scope was a little 3"
reflector I bought 30 years ago on Okinawa, so I am somewhat of a newbe.
It took me a while to figure out that the metal rod sticking out the
back was not just a  2nd handle.  Anyway, I put it together and went out
to look at Mars on a not too good seeing nite in the California Bay Area
with a lite fog comming in and swirling winds.  With the 26 mm eyepiece
and a 2x barlow was just able to make out the polar cap and a dark spot
across the middle.  It looked like it was floating a couple of inches
under water.  The drive tracked reasonably well, although far from

There were only a couple of obvious "quality control" issues when I was
putting the scope together.  The polar scope batteries were dead, and
the little cap that has the scale for setting the lattitude fell off
when I unrapped the mount, so I glued it back on. Kinda disconcerting. 
I shopped around, and its a lot of scope for the money, but its also not
a small sum of money, nevertheless. Two questions if you can answer for
me.  All the less bright stars were fine little dots, but when I put it
on Vega, I could not focus it into a round little dot.  It had a
consistant little flair or tail.  This does not seem too good.  What's
this a sign of? 

Second, a couple of times the drive jerked, rather than running
smoothly.  is this likely to go away as the drive wears in over time? 

Thanks in advance for your reply.
Mike here: Have you tried any other eyepieces? Did you let the telescope cool down to reach the ambient air temperature (this is known as reaching "thermal equilibrium" and can a couple of hours for a large telescope). Air currents in the telescope tube can cause distortions somewhat like you describe. As to the drive jerking, a few thoughts: Did you CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES? Could you be overtightening the axis locks? If neither of these are the culprit, things could loosen up with use; you can accelerate that by unlocking the axis and manually moving the mount on its axes several times, back and forth through a large range of motion.


Thanks for the prompt response.  So far I just have the 26m evypiece
that came with the scope. It was outside for a least an hour,  I think
it was just a bad "air" day.  What would the image look like if the
scope needed collimation? Mike I don' want to bug you with a lot of
questions, but could you make a reccomendation for a digital camera to
use with this scope? 

p.s.  I never would have thouht that something so high tech would depend
so much on thumb screws!
Mike here: See the "Star Test Images" link (from the LXD55 Site home page). That will show what good is like. Your problem with Vega could have been seeing, dirty optics, dew, bad eyepiece, bad collimation, or a host of other things. But don't do anything drastic until you get more experience and perhaps even more eyepieces. As to a digital camera, many can work; see the Helpful Information - Astrophotography link.
Subject:	LXD55 and the Mac!
Sent:	Tuesday, September 23, 2003 16:18:20
From:	Chuck Goodman
I've enjoyed reading your observation experiences and browsing your
LXD55 site. I'm considering purchasing the Meade 8-SC with the LXD55.
Your site has been very informative.

I don't really have any questions or comments. Not yet anyway. I just
wanted to say HI and say that it's good to see a Mac user working with
the scope I'm considering purchasing.
Chuck Goodman

Subject:	Re: Question on Secondary Collimation adjustments
Sent:	Saturday, September 20, 2003 20:41:33
From:	"Steve McInnis" (steve@mcinnislaw.com)
Boy have I screwed up the collimation on my scope. Everything either
looks like comets or have doubles. What exactly does the center
adjustment screw do on the secondary? Does it adjust the "offset" toward
or away from the primary? I seem to be able to adjust the three other
screws so that I can see two of the clips in the primary mirror
reflection but not the third. The primary reflection looks truncated on
one side. I have studied the guides, and I have Tectron tools. But they
all talk first about centering the actual edge of the secondary, and
looks like the secondary in the LXD55 SN10" is bigger than you can see
down the focuser. So I am not sure if I even have that starting point

Can you give me some SN10" specific tips?

Mike here: I don't have the SN model so really can't give any guidance. Hopefully someone with the SN will comment.
Subject:	Tracking problem
Sent:	Friday, September 19, 2003 05:18:05
From:	"Sas, Rudie" (rsas@mi-technologies.com)
Just received an AR5-EC (no Autostar) with a problem. Out of the box,
DEC seems to slew pretty smooth but RA slews rough and does not track at
all. Does this suggest anything to you?...Rudie
Mike here: Not certain how the EC model works but on the ETX EC models you can have the tracking on (astronomical mode) or off (terrestrial mode). Check that if the telescope doesn't track. As to rough slewing, could you be overtighting the axis? If that's not the case it may clear up with use; you could manually move the scope back and forth several times (with the axis unlock) through a large range of motion; that might loosen things up. Let me know.
Subject:	Polar scope......
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 22:26:01
From:	Keith (kjamison@lisco.com)
I have a Meade LX-200 10" F/10 plus a new Celestron ASC GEM mounted C-5.
There is a polar alignment scope offered for the ASC mount, but it is
pathetic to say the least. After reading about the LXD-55 in S & T and
looking at the pictures, the polar alignment scope looks like a good fit
for my Celestron mount. It appears to be illuminated and I would be
interested in purchasing one to experiment with. I can't find the polar
scope sold except with the mount. Have there been any comments on your
list as to their value (good or bad) and where a person might obtain one
of them? Cost, dimensions, etc.  Surely some of these EQ GEM are
manufactured in the same country and have the same dimensions. Any help
would be appreciated. The Vixen mounts list a polar alignment scope
which also look promising. I should mention that I started out with a M
eade 90mm ETX and leanred a lot from your web site. I went from there to
a NexStar 5i single fork mount, but astrophotography was difficult with
that scope. The Advanced Series Mounts are quite stable, not as
portable, but quite good for the money. I sent Celestron a long letter
of ideas and improvements that they should make to their
handcontrollers. I enjoyed the Autostar HC and I of course I love the
LX-200 HC. Any information or help would be appreciated.  Thanks Mike

Keith      kjamison@lisco.com
Mike here: I don't recall seeing the polar alignment scope for the GEM mount sold separately, but then I have not looked either.
Subject:	Collimation of the optical system for my SC8" LXD 55 it's O.K.
Sent:	Wednesday, September 17, 2003 09:39:10
From:	"JOHN KALANTZIS" (acent1@otenet.gr)
The problem was for the three screws on the secondary mirror.
Two of them was unscrewing.
Now it is much better than it was new.
Finally it was very easy to repair it.

Subject:	re:  collimation of the optical system for LXD55 SC8"
Sent:	Tuesday, September 16, 2003 08:27:25
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
Collimation methods for SC's are similar for all sizes and models, so
referring to the LX200gps manual may help:

or the "classic" LX200:

good luck

Subject:	re: LXD55 soft-copy manual
Sent:	Tuesday, September 16, 2003 08:21:20
From:	rseymour@wolfenet.com (Richard Seymour)
To:	tbriggs-mould@southlant.nato.int
Allow me to recommend/invite you to join the two Yahoo LXD55
discussion groups:
(the first has far more traffic)

In the first group's Files area has a folder:
"manual in 5 zips"  which has it.

The refractor models' manual is also available from OPT
linked from page:

..that will cover everything but reflector collimation.,

have fun

Subject:	lxd55 8"sn
Sent:	Thursday, September 11, 2003 07:35:17
From:	"Marco" (mcfazzo@yahoo.it)
I have bought a telescope lxd55 8"sn,but i have  a problem of star
traking,infact,with ccd i'm not able to do expositions longer than 20
seconds.I know you have a focal length more double than mine.I think you
have found my same problems,even worst.My problem depends on the
autostar that pursues slowly,and the object tends to avoid.Could you
tell me how to set out all parameters correctly?Have i to modify the
settings out Az/RA Ratio,Alt/Dec Ratio,Az/RA
Percent,Alt/DecPercent?Could you tell me how to do correctly Train
Drive,and Calibrate Motor?
thanks a lot marco fazzoli
Mike here: First off, be certain you have done a RESET and then select the proper telescope model and mounting mode (GEM). Then do a CALIBRATE and TRAIN DRIVES (both axes). These are done using the Autostar menu selections. This should properly set the various settings for your telescope. Then do a one star alignment and follow the prompts displayed on the Autostar. Getting good tracking may require practice in doing the training and alignment. Remember, the more accurate you do these the better the results. So use a high power or reticle eyepiece for training and perhaps even the star alignments. This reduces the amount of pointing error when doing the training and aligning. Also, you may find it useful to be certain your telescope optical axis is aligned to the mount polar axis. For more on this see the article "LXD55 Tips and Tricks" linked from the LXD55 Site home page.
Subject:	Request for Assistance 
Sent:	Thursday, September 11, 2003 04:49:01
From:	"Carlo Martinelli" (carlo.martinelli@ulss17.it)
Mike here: Please see the Email Etiquette page; your email was almost deleted unread as SPAN.
I have no experience with AstroArt but perhaps someone else does.
Subject:	LXD
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2003 02:55:42
From:	DC1000000@aol.com
Thank you Mike. Your LXD site provides me with invaluable information,
ideas and insight that it helped to make my decision to by a LXD!

From autostar tips, accessory ideas to reviews, truly Mike you provide a
great service to all of us with the ETX and the LXD sites.

Thank You, Joe.

Subject:	Thanks
Sent:	Sunday, September 7, 2003 10:56:13
From:	"Daniel M. Roy" (danroy@stpp.com)
I had an AR6 RA failure yesterday while looking at Mars, one of the few
rainless nearly cloudless nights of SW PA. I struggled to fix it today
until I found your incredible web site.  I looked at the ceiling,
ushered a sigh of relief and said "Thank you".

Thanks to you too, Sir. Wonderful job. God bless your family too. Your
wife has the most loving look. Anyone who loves cats is a friend a mine.


Daniel M. Roy
STPP, Inc.
Bradford Woods, PA

Subject:	My Telescope ** please help  **
Sent:	Saturday, September 6, 2003 20:29:39
From:	ERIC CHESAK (echesak@flash.net)
I don't know if you remember me, but you  and Penny had provided me some
assistance on the LXD55 telescope Yahoo group when I was having issues
with my LXD55 mount. 

I've been experiencing problems again, this time with my new LXD55
mount.  I am totally frustrated with the lack of reliability of this
design and have been trying to get Meade to refund my money for 6
months.  They have been very helpful with service.  But each time it
needs service,  I'm with out my scope for a month-to-6 weeks. I've only
been able to use the scope 8-10 times in almost a year (all the other
times it has had a mount problem which required service by Meade or by

I've offered to take a credit from Meade,  as I still feel that their
scopes & mounts are good.  But this too has gone nowhere.  My warranty
is about to expire and I'm still having continuous problems with my

I've spoken with Anacortes, where I bought the scope, but they wanted no
part of this issue and asked me to call Meade (very disappointing).  Can
you help ?  I purchased this telescope (AR-6) for my daughter, who has
an extraordinary interest in astronomy.  This telescope has put a damper
on her enthusiasm (and mine).

I would be willing to purchase a LX-90 or LX-200 (or anything that is
more reliable) if I could get a refund from Meade for my AR-6.  Can you
help or do you have any ideas?  I have all the paperwork.  Anything that
you can suggest would be greatly appreciated.
Best regards,
Eric Chesak
Mike here: I'm in Alaska right now and unable to do anything but offer my sympathies. As I noted on the Site Announcement page on the LXD55 Site, I'll be out of touch for another week+. I suggest you write a (polite) letter to Meade, detailing the problems, what you've done, how the dealer has assisted (or not), and what Meade has done (or not done). Then suggest a course of action that you would like them to follow. Let me know.


Thanks for the suggestion Mike... Hope you enjoy Alaska....

Subject:	LXD55 Questions from a real novice!
Sent:	Thursday, September 4, 2003 04:57:27
From:	"Lt Cdr Tim Briggs-Mould, UK N, RHQ SOUTHLANT" (tbriggs-mould@southlant.nato.int)
good afternoon to you.  I am about to embark on the journey of a
lifetime, so I'm told, and get into astronomy seriously.  I have always
been interested but have only ever owned a cheap, store bought Tasco 
refractor. This served its purpose in keeping me relatively interested
over the years but now I find myself in a position where I can buy

I have decided to go for the SC-8 LDX55 but have some questions which
I'm hoping you can help with.  My intentions are threefold:

Firstly I want to be able to observe both planetery and deep sky objects
with the naked eye. Then I want to be able to get into some planetery
photography using a Phillips Toucam CCD which I already hold. Finally I
would like to be able to do some stills with a reasonably decent CCD

Now my questions:

do you have or know where I can get hold of a LXD55 mount manual in soft
Do you know what maximum length of exposure I could reasonably expect
using the unguided LXD55 mount?
and finally, I would like to by a Starlight Express colour CCD and use
the Star 2000 guidance system.  Do you know if the LXD55 mount can be
guided by this system or if not, how it can be guided?

Thank you for your time,


Tim Briggs-Mould
Lt Cdr UKN
Lisbon Portugal (until next year then Back to the UK)
Mike here: I don't recall seeing any info about a soft copy manual. In the LXD55 price range you really can't expect accurate unguided tracking for afocal or eyepiece projection photography. Piggyback would be OK though for many minutes. However, Meade just announced an imager and autoguider for Autostar #497 telescopes, including the LXD55. I have no experience with it.
Subject:	LXD 55 6" Shmidt Newtonian or Orion Skyview Pro (6" or 8")
Sent:	Wednesday, September 3, 2003 22:14:08
From:	Yuan-Tung Chin (ytchin@juno.com)
I have been struggling between LXD55 SN 6" and Orion SkyView Pro 6" (or
8"). Here are my plan for this scope:

1) I want to do both planetary and deep sky.
2) and later some astrophotography. (I dreamed about taking pictures of
those nebula)
3) My budget is $600-800. I probably could stretch to $1000, if I know I
could get a quality scope. (I would rather spent money on optics first
and later invest on tacking options)

I started with Orion's Newtonian then was attracted by Meade LXD55's
diffraction limited and Schmidt-Newtonian optics. However, I read mixed
review about LXD55 (most are about 8" and 10"). Now I am confused
becaused I don't know if the actual performance of the 6"
Schmidt-Newtonian meets its manufacture's claim. For example will I be
better off if I buy an 8" Orion SkyView Pro instead of a Meade 6" SN.

A Meade dealer tried to convince me to buy the LXD55 8" SC and said
that's a life-time investment. But......

Please give me some insights.

Thank you in advance.

YT Chin
Mike here: Yes, the LXD55-8"SC is a fine telescope and well worth the extra cost for the 8"SC. But at the lower end, the 6"SN is still a nice telescope but keep in mind it is a 6" aperture vs the 8" aperture of the Orion telescope you are comparing it to. Since I'm on travel I don't have access to any specifics on either telescope. Depending upon your expectations, either telescope may give you the results you want but 8" is better (more light gathering power).
Subject:	Collimation of optics
Sent:	Wednesday, September 3, 2003 05:27:02
From:	Nick.Sharpe@castlecement.scancem.com
Help.  I am having real trouble collimating the optics on my SN 8.  When
I look down the focuser tube what  I see does looks similar (but not
exactly the same) to what is in the instruction book but no matter how
much I twiddle the screws on both mirrors I cannot get it right.  I
don't have a laser collimator, would this help?  So far I have tried to
do the collimation without any aids.   Any help you might be able to
give on this subject would be greatly appreciated.


Mike here: Yes, a laser collimator can help with the SN. But you still have to collimate correctly, meaning you have to see the right image. Have you let the telescope cool down so that there are no air currents inside the tube?
Subject:	LXD-55, AR-5
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2003 18:57:56
From:	Richard Smith (rmsmith@pe.net)
Recently I purchased an AR-5 telescope from OPT.  All the pictures that
I can find show the LXD-55 dec drive box on he left (west) side in the
polar home position.  My scope came with the dec drive box on the right
(east) side and the paste-on arrows have been applied as though the east
side is intended for the dec drive.  I note that the OPT instructions
say to make sure the dec drive box is on the west side.

What is correct?  Or does it matter?

Rick Smith
Mike here: Yes, the DEC motor housing goes on the west side (in the Northern Hemisphere). Take a look at "My Initial LXD55 8" SC Experiences" on my LXD55 Site and you will see some photos showing how the GEM head attaches.


Do you have any idea why mine is "backwards"?
Mike here: Sounds like something was either installed backwards or you mounted it backwards.
Subject:	collimation of the optical system for LXD55 SC8"
Sent:	Sunday, August 31, 2003 03:02:47
From:	"JOHN KALANTZIS" (acent1@otenet.gr)
I am the amateur astronomer from Greece who sends you the photos from
transit of Mercury ( 7th of May 2003 )

The last few days I have collimation problem of the optical system of my
LXD55 SC8". My problem is that I have no instructions for collimation a
Schmidt - Cassegrain telescope  because the Meade's manual I got with
the scope is for Schmidt - Newtonian. Can you help me? ( I want the
instructions or a web site to look for ).

( I send you photo from my home the day of Mercury transit. It's  me and
my son.)

Mike here: I thought there were instructions for the SC in that manual but could be wrong and can't check since I'm away for two weeks. But if not, you would follow the same instructions but use the three screws on the secondary mirror mount on the corrector lens for the adjustments.

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