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Lx80 Multi-mount

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#1 James Cunningham

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:59 PM

Has anyone tried the Meade Lx80 multi-mount? What are your impressions?

#2 Mkofski

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 02:55 PM

James,

I've had an LX80 for about 3 weeks now and love it - for visual use. The test done to determine its usefulness for astrophotography, by other owners, are just about all bad. I'm in the process of trying to learn enough of AP to do some test on my mount but am not there yet. The first units that shipped had a number of mechanical problems that I have not seen. My only real problem is that the tripod and mount is at the limit of what I can carry, but I know that going in.

I wanted to edit this just to add that during my tests the last 3 weeks, I've been using the mount in Polar mode only. I wanted to get a good feel for the configuration that has appeared to be the "weak link" in the design. Hopefully in the next few days I will start working with it in the dual scope AltAz mode which is what I'm primarily interested in.

Right now I would say that for visual work it is a great mount but for AP work look elsewhere.

#3 jgraham

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:21 PM

That's pretty much what I've gotten out of the discussions so far; okay visual mount, not well suited for advanced imaging. I say advanced imaging because I suspect that it would work okay for basic entry level imaging. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I actually enjoy imaging with an ETX-60 and I started with a DS-2000. :)

Once upon a time I was interested in this mount as it looked like Meade was replacing the LXD75 with the LX80, but as a GEM the LX80 doesn't seem to be up to par with the LXD75, so I went another way. (I wasn't really attracted to the altaz capability.)

If'n it were me I'd shop around and compare prices unless you were specifically interested in the multi-mode feature of this mount. Besides, shopping is the fun part.

#4 ur7x

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:32 PM

There are lots of threads about this mount, the good, the bad and the disassembled.

Consensus is that the mount is over rated by Meade and if you sick more than 25# on it in Polar Mode you are in for a long disappointing night.

#5 greju

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:43 PM

Has anyone tried the Meade Lx80 multi-mount? What are your impressions?


You don't get into the Mount threads much do you? :roflmao:

#6 Fred1

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:08 PM

I only use it in Alt/Az mode and don't intend to use it in EQ (I have 2 CG5's that blow away the LX80 for my EQ visual use in ease of set up and user friendly firmware, especially with the catalogs. (I'm an admitted Nexstar spoiled observer.) It's not a Grab-n-Go as the tripod is too heavy and the unit as a whole takes too long to set up. For example, balancing the scope in Alt/Az was a puzzle until I realized that to unlock the Az I had to use the Hex Tool to move the mount slightly into an EQ mode angle to grab the lock lever, do the balancing act and then screw it back into Alt/Az position. I found lifting the mount head rather easy for its 35 lbs and placing it on the tripod but it's not the one hand lift I do with the CG5 mount head. Just jiggling it a bit on the tripod locks it into some tabs so the lock-down screws can engage. I put some Super-Lube on the screws and thread holes so they tighten down easier. The head fits fairly well in the rolling suitcase I had used for my CGEM head. Although I'm 62 I can still keep up with it for vehicle transport, but it's not for the faint of heart or weak of arm.

The 2 Star alignment is stupid simple. The mount does it almost all by itself. GoTos are excellent when using "High Precision" mode. e.g. for M57, it slews to near Vega, you center Vega, then hit enter, then it slews to M57 near dead center. Did likewise for M56, it slewed near to Albireo, I centered Albireo, hit enter, M56 came up near dead center. Without using High Precision mode the GoTos are akin to the most mediocre of the two star alignment process with my ArgoNavis. Tracking is very good... for my visual use. I'm not an APer.

My Comet Hunter(CH) is fine on it (but the CH is terrible on my CG5 due to eyepiece position too often being too awkward). The wiggles are there when focusing. Calm down takes about 4 seconds. Otherwise steady when observing. Haven't used it in wind or with binos. Backlash seems OK, I ended up setting it to "0%" which eliminated the jump factor (factory default was 10%).

Setting up the C8 SCT and the 80mm apo in tandem takes too long for me, especially when aligning both scopes which is VERY time consuming with the stock saddles. Rumor has it that ADM might be working on something for it.

The Astronomer Inside is a hoot. Sandy Wood's soothing voice with spacey background music should be a hit at star parties.

Bottom Line: After about a dozen times out with it, I say it's a keeper. It's a $1k mount (and a good bargain for those who got it for $799) that for the most part, for visual, probably performs more like a $1500 mount. If you want something better... then cough up the scratch. Does pretty much what I wanted which was to give me good eyepiece position for my Mak-Newt Comet Hunter, good GoTos and tracking and portable enough for my local use. YMMV :ooo:

#7 brokenwave

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 07:49 PM

I have one of the first ones shipped and it's very good in Alt/AZ mode for visual.
Here are my observations.
Easy to align.
Alt/AZ-1 scope under 100mm rock solid and tracks well.
Alt/AZ- 1 scope 102-127mm pretty decent but RA slop starts to show, but it tracks well.
Dual scopes under 23lbs handles this well and tracks nicely.
Dual scopes over 30-35lbs it becomes very sensitive to vibrations and takes a couple of seconds to settle down.
Haven't tried it in EQ mode yet.
But for $799 it is a nice visual mount, at $1000 I would look at the Ioptron Mini Tower Pro at $1299 for a dual scope visual GOTO mount.
At $799 I'm pretty happy.

#8 neilson

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 02:37 AM

Hi'
I have had 2 LX80 mounts and the first one had way too many defects from bad quality control. The second one looked much better but forget the 10"ota mine came with. Meade greatly exaggerated the load capabilities. So I bought a 9.25 but 20lbs was too much for it in Polar mode and barely worked for visual. I did lots of tweaking the spring loaded worm trying to minimize the RA slop. And put grease on both the RA and DEC bearings, they had none. It helped a little but nothing worked for AP in polar. Not even with my refractor. The mount works good for visual with a lightweight ota, even in duel mode. But forget guided imaging in Polar. Not to mention Meade hasn't fixed the PEC. And There has been one mount break its leg off posted in C/N and another broke a leg off in yahoo LX80 group. So be prepared to catch your ota if a leg shears off.

Today Astronomics called to tell me my LX80 preordered last year came in. I told them I didn't want it. As for the one I bought from OPT, I returned it for a refund and bought a CEGM DX and already got 10 minutes guided imaging at f/10.(round stars)

If Meade ever fixes the LX80 I might buy one. But I gave up on believing they will. As it is, its only good for lightweight visual. But not for $1,000. The polar mode is useless. Its only an Alt/Az with duel scope mode, and its not easy to line up the 2 ota's together. Meade should recall them like the LX800 and fix it right. I really want one, but I want it to work as advertised.

neilson

#9 dksolar3294

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:49 AM

For visual use, I have found the LX80 to be far better than an equatorial mount because the user doesn't have to align with Polaris. My astro club does frequent star parties in conjunction with a local college planetarium which is surrounded by street lights. An Az/Alt mount is just simpler to use in this situation with the public. For this reason alone, my new LX80 is a keeper.

However, one can immediate see that the tripod top mounting plate is structurally inadequate due the thin cast aluminum metal. Reports of tripod legs detaching confirm this. The mount motor unit weights 32#. Add a 20+ #s of telescope plus equal counterweight and the total weight begins to add up - too risky for a $1+K telescope &/or camera. The attached photo show my solution to this problem - laminated 3/4" oak wood. This will hold 100# easily.

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#10 RodgerHouTex

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 11:52 AM

REPORTS OF LEGS DETACHING!!! OH MY! AND CRUNCH GOES YOUR SCOPE.

#11 Mkofski

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 11:59 AM

REPORTS OF LEGS DETACHING!!! OH MY! AND CRUNCH GOES YOUR SCOPE.


Rodger,

I believe that there was 1 report (maybe 2) of the leg detaching. Not much of a sample yet... I have an LX80 and don't know if I'd panic just yet.

#12 Stew57

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:03 PM

I think there was a second report on the group.

#13 Griffin!

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:05 PM

I thought that was the same guy? I could be wrong, I haven't been on the LX80 group in a while.

#14 Mkofski

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:12 PM

I know Neilson had one - maybe 2 mounts fail. He said in one post that he may have been over tightening the spreader. I think that this is one thing we don't know much about yet and only time will tell.

#15 Stew57

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:44 PM

I hadn't been there in a while either so I checked it out. it wasn't neilson but another user with a collapsed tripod. he sent his back for a refund.

#16 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:33 PM

I tried my LX80 in Alt-Az mode only while at ECVAR (East Coast Video Astronomy Rendezvous) and used two OTAs on it. The first worked very well - a C6 with HyperStar and my MallinCam Xtreme video camera - about 14# plus 11# Meade counterweight. I got up to 75 seconds on the Helix and most other targets tracked well with 40 to 60 second exposures. One night I tried my C9.25 (22#) with 22# Celestron counterweight and MallinCam Xtreme. The mount vibrated and the live images on the monitor were trailed. Very few integrations provided round stars. When I got back from ECVAR, I contacted Meade and they paid to have the mount head and controller sent back for analysis. It arrived at Meade on Monday. I will let the group know how the returned mount behaves once I get a chance to try it out.

Regarding the flimsy tripod top, I may have a source for machined aluminum replacement tripod tops. If there is an interest, I may start making them available on my website.

Jack Huerkamp

#17 mclewis1

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 01:35 PM

For visual use, I have found the LX80 to be far better than an equatorial mount because the user doesn't have to align with Polaris. My astro club does frequent star parties in conjunction with a local college planetarium which is surrounded by street lights. An Az/Alt mount is just simpler to use in this situation with the public. For this reason alone, my new LX80 is a keeper.

There are plenty of EQ mounts (from Celestron and Synta for example) that don't require a view of Polaris to perform a polar alignment (ASPA - all star polar alignment). Plus those same mounts (and many others) don't need anything close to a polar alignment to get great goto accuracy. The LX80 while a nice little mount is certainly not any better or easier to setup than many other alt az or EQ goto mounts.

I'm not even going to comment on the wooden tripod head "upgrade".

#18 Mkofski

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:24 PM

Jack,

I'd be interested in how things work out with your returned mount. Also would be interested in price of a replacement top for the tripod. I had planned on talking to our local custom metal shop about a pier adapter... Any source for somthing like that?

#19 dscarpa

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:32 PM

Given the weight of of the mount and tripod I'm surprized it doesn't work that well with a C-9.25-the scope I had in mind for it-and that there may be an issue with a too thin top plate. David

#20 JimMo

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:02 PM

Regarding the flimsy tripod top, I may have a source for machined aluminum replacement tripod tops. If there is an interest, I may start making them available on my website.

Jack Huerkamp


Hi Jack, I'd be interested in one.

I haven't used mine in a while, but for the $799 I paid I'm keeping it, too. This one came from the second batch and the RA or azimuth bearing is tight with no wobble. I had it in Polar mode only twice and it worked well keeping stars centered in the eyepiece for visual, but I don't have the capability to auto guide so mine could be messed up in that respect, too. I also follow the rule of cutting the weight limit in half and don't plan to mount a heavy telescope on it anyway.

I plan to have it tracking the Sun next week at the Peach State Star Gaze. :cool:

#21 Mkofski

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:09 PM

A gentleman in the same town as I am in has an LX80 with a 10" SCT and he hasn't had any problems with the weight. I purchased mine without an OTA but have used it with my 180mm MAK and am happy with it in AltAz and Polar modes.

#22 Starhawk

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:20 PM

Exactly why are people putting themselves through this for this mount?

-Rich

#23 Mkofski

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:40 PM

Exactly why are people putting themselves through this for this mount?

-Rich


Rich,

Putting themselves through what? I've had the LX80 for 3 weeks now and have been happy with it in Polar and AltAz modes. No test results for AP yet as I still don't know what I'm doing. For under $800 I'm real happy user. Purchased through Astronomics, there is a small and appreciated discount.

#24 TALK2KEV

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 05:55 PM

I bought one at 799 and going to keep it as outreach mount I wanted a small AP platform THIS MOUNT WILL NEVER BE GREAT FOR AP! now that's out of the way it is a great grab-n-go mount for visual my OTA set up weighs 23 lbs The machine top plate is a good ideal and I really like the wooded replacement,strong and cheap. I bought a CGEM-DX as my AP mount very happy with the CGEM so far, that mount is double in price but worth it in my opinion.

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#25 laconicsax

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 06:06 PM

Putting themselves through what?


Did you miss the epic LX80 thread?






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