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1/8 " LX80 Play in AZ axis acceptable?

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#1 DuiA1

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:57 PM

Folks, I am a visual observer and have had reasonably good success with this mount. My issue is that I have discovered that the az axis has a bit of play after I lock the az lock. If I grab the counterweight bar I can move it approx. 1/8 of an inch. Is this considered acceptable and if not how do I adjust it. Dealer in Canada has told me that it is under warranty but I would have to ship it to Meade at my cost. Thoughts or guidance please.

#2 Mkofski

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 09:38 PM

Have you talked to Meade tech support yet? You shouldn't have any play in either axis. Your dealer may be correct about Meade's policy, but they have made several exceptions with the LX80. I'd also consider returning it to your dealer for a replacement. I have an LX80 with no play.

There are a few members that have taken the mount apart to work on other problems. Maybe one of them will have a better answere for you.

#3 orlyandico

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 10:03 PM

that much play isn't too bad. most/all mounts have some degree of backlash on both axes with the axes locked. your expectations may be too high.

#4 Axle

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:11 AM

I just recently received the LX80 that I ordered last April. I have had a chance to play with it during the day to watch balloons in our local hot air balloon festival. I was using the mount as a manual Alt/AZ mount. It worked really great in this application.

I noticed some slop in the AZ mount also. But, there are two locking levers on opposite sides of the mount that must be slid into place to remove the slop.

The lowest lever simply pushes all the way over once you are finished making the fine-tine AZ alignment with the supplied allen wrench tool. This is the AZ alignment that is adjusted using the manual worm gear.

The other AZ slider lever is more like a clutch that applies resistance to the upper mount head assembly rotation. You can partially push this lever over to increase clutch pressure for manual Alt/AZ use of the mount or you can push the lever all the way tight for motorized use of the mount.

Once both levers are pushed over on the mount, all the AZ slop is gone.

Is this what you are talking about?

#5 DuiA1

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:50 PM

Yes, but I have both levers in the locked position and I still get the slop in the az clutch. I will contact Meade support soon. I thought one year warranty covered shipping. Does Meade not allow the issue to be resolved at the dealer under warranty? Any suggestions ?

#6 jgraham

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:04 PM

If it doesn't bother the mount's performance why bother? The R.A. axis on my LXD75 has about that much play. On my first mount I fussed over it, on the second I just left it alone (I own two LXD75s).

#7 neilson

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:27 PM

The play is from the spring loaded wormblock. If you have a light ota it shouldn't be a problem but if you have an ota around 15 or 20lbs it might be a problem. If the movement is stiff it should be alright but if it bounces around you might have problems viewing. I would contact Meade if your going to send it back, they were paying shipping both ways because that has been a problem with some of the mounts. If it bounces around easily it will cause a problem if you decide to try imaging later. If its excessive it should be obvious and make the mount difficult to use. If you haven't had any problems viewing and didn't even know the movement was there until you looked for it then it should be ok. There is supposed to be a small amount of movement but usually its not noticeable with a small, light ota. You will just have to use your judgement and decide if its effecting your viewing. The movement is the worm disengaging from the ring gear and the spring keeps it engaged.

neilson

#8 DuiA1

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:22 AM

Thanks Neilson. The play is there with no scope mounted and also there with my TV 85. Have not tried it yet with my Meade AR6. The dovetail on the AR6 fits the lx80 mount but not as snug as i would like. are they not compatible?

#9 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 08:08 AM

I complained to Meade about the exact same issue in my LX80 and they paid to ship it back to their service facility. A month later I received it back in basically the same condition. When I called yesterday to complain, I was told that due to the spring loaded worm/worm gear assembly, a little movement is normal.

I contacted my dealer, who contacted his dealer rep at Meade. The dealer rep contacted the head of Meade service who called me. I directed him to the videos I posted on YouTube showing the issue. He asked me to try the mount out under the night skies as opposed to testing it in my living room and to report back to him. I told him that I would do so in from of 100+ plus people at a star party this weekend and if the mount continued to perform poorly with my C9.25" OTA and MallinCams, the group would see that first hand.

More to follow.

Jack

#10 Starhawk

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:35 AM

Jack, it's a continuing adventure and an honor to know you.

-Rich

#11 Jmax

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:42 AM

Jack,

Please do keep us posted. I am one of the "lucky" ones who still is waiting for my LX80, so I have been following the saga very closely. Since I did get it ordered at the $799 price, I haven't cancelled. I wanted it for photography, initially, but I have held on thinking even if it proves to be less than acceptable for taking pictures, it is still cheaper than the Minitower for a dual scope Alt/Az. Anyway, I have a C9.25 as well, so I really am eagerly awaiting your star party report. Thanks so much!

#12 neilson

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:32 AM

Try it out at night and if the play is excessive then it will bounce around or jiggle when you try looking through the eyepiece and you wont be able to look at things. If you can look at things fine then it should be ok.
If you try imaging with a large ota like a 9.25 or an AR-6, a 20 or 30 second unguided image should come out fine. If the play is excessive it wont.

In my experience, I have a 9.25 and an AR-6 and my mount couldn't handle the weight of either ota. Some people get mounts who can. But expect some movement. Its the way they designed it. But if that movement is excessive and/or it moves too easily you will know it when you try to look through the eyepiece or try to image. It will jiggle around alot. But if it doesn't jiggle or the jiggle stops right away and stays stopped then its fine. I don't know why Meade won't address that springy problem because the mount will never live up to the rating of 40lbs max unless they do.

I would be weary if your AR-6 isn't tight when you clamp it in the saddle. Mine would pop out easily just by twisting it. or leaning my ota to the side. I think it was odd that Meade made their own saddle where you could not mount their older ota's. I think it's another attempt to try to get you to buy a new ota from them. But you can just buy a new dovetail. I would call and complain but they probably wont care. But call anyways because if you don't say something they will never address the problem. They had recently changed the design of their dovetails that come on their refractors.
So anyone who is using a Meade ota with the old style dovetail should be very careful because it can pop off the mount and your ota will be on the ground. I haven't even seen a warning about this from Meade. They just let you find out the hard way.

neilson

#13 brokenwave

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 01:18 PM

DuiA1,
I just bought a FarPoint Vixen Type Saddle which locks my scopes in tight on my LX80, an improvement. Also bought some 10mm 1.5 set screws to replace the Meade Knobs.
Farpoint Astro Product Number: FVS - cost $65.

#14 Mkofski

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 04:35 PM

DuiA1,
I just bought a FarPoint Vixen Type Saddle which locks my scopes in tight on my LX80, an improvement. Also bought some 10mm 1.5 set screws to replace the Meade Knobs.
Farpoint Astro Product Number: FVS - cost $65.


Not a bad price on the saddle. Which knobs did you replace with set screws?

Thanks,

#15 DuiA1

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 04:57 PM

Talked to Meade customer service today (Christopher)and was told that a little play in the az clutch is okay. They did confirm that they would pay the return shipping if I decide to send it back. They also confirmed that the dovetail saddle on the lx 80 is compatible with the AR6 Meade scope I presently have. I would eventually like to get to AP. It is bugging me a bit so I will give it another go before I decide to send it back. Especially after Jacks experience above. Any other advice?

#16 brokenwave

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 05:00 PM

The Meade knobs on their so-so saddle, you can keep the Meade knobs in but need to mount the new saddle with it's knobs pointed down, the Meade spacing is similar to the Farpoint knob spacing so the knobs interfere with each other if you try to mount it with knobs pointed up. Set screws lock it in solidly. I believe they were 20mm long.

#17 Mkofski

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:33 PM

Talked to Meade customer service today (Christopher)and was told that a little play in the az clutch is okay. They did confirm that they would pay the return shipping if I decide to send it back. They also confirmed that the dovetail saddle on the lx 80 is compatible with the AR6 Meade scope I presently have. I would eventually like to get to AP. It is bugging me a bit so I will give it another go before I decide to send it back. Espe [/list] cially after Jacks experience above. Any other advice?


I really like the mount but for AP, I'd look elsewhere. I'm still trying to work that out for my mount. I like it enough that I'll get a second mount for AP if I need to.

#18 Mkofski

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:35 PM

The Meade knobs on their so-so saddle, you can keep the Meade knobs in but need to mount the new saddle with it's knobs pointed down, the Meade spacing is similar to the Farpoint knob spacing so the knobs interfere with each other if you try to mount it with knobs pointed up. Set screws lock it in solidly. I believe they were 20mm long.


I must be a bit dense! Do you replace the original saddle with the new one? Could you post a picture?

Thanks,

#19 neilson

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 07:37 PM

Don't take their word that your dovetail is going to stay. If the dovetail is flat on the bottom from one end to the other and its beveled the entire length then it should be good. But if its the kind that's only beveled in the middle about 3 1/2" and its notched on the bottom in the same spot. You should try to pull your ota out of the saddle. Or tilt it to the side. It will probably pop out like both of mine did.
I think they just recently started using the normal looking vixon type dovetails, maybe because of the new mount. Although I am not sure which kind they used many years ago.

neilson

#20 brokenwave

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 11:52 PM

The Farpoint saddle has a Vixen rail (male) that goes into the Meade Saddle (female).
My Meade saddle has a cutout in it so you better have at least a 5" long Vixen scope rail to put into the Meade saddle. The new Farpoint saddle will accomodate most any length Vixen style rail because it has no cutout.

#21 neilson

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:56 AM

Excellent, The Farpoint saddle sounds like the cure to the LX80's saddle problems. The cutout in the LX80's saddle is why my Meade dovetails would pop out. It would of been nice if Meade would have tested out their very own dovetails on their mount. I can't see how they missed something like this.
At least now there is a cure for this problem. Good find Brokenwave.

neilson

#22 Mkofski

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:59 AM

Excellent, The Farpoint saddle sounds like the cure to the LX80's saddle problems. The cutout in the LX80's saddle is why my Meade dovetails would pop out. It would of been nice if Meade would have tested out their very own dovetails on their mount. I can't see how they missed something like this.
At least now there is a cure for this problem. Good find Brokenwave.

neilson


Neilson,

The saddle on your mount had a cutout? Mine has straight sides with the 2 locking bolts on one side. Maybe 6 inches long. The finish isn't the greatest but functionally it is just like my CG5.

#23 neilson

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:15 AM

Hi Mike,
Yes my Meade saddle had a cut out just like Brokenwave describes in his last post on the bottom of page 1. This is very interesting. Your saddle doesn't have this cut out and you don't have the play in your RA or DEC axes that others do.
I am wondering if Meade possibly has made some improvements in the mount and you got one of these improved versions. This would be good news if they have fixed these two problems. Although its unfortunate for others who are stuck with older versions. And if they don't rotate stock then there's no telling which mount others will get. If all this is true then a recall would have been better.

Of course this is all speculation until it has been verified. But I think someone had said that in the past there was another mount that had some problems on initial release but they slowly put out an improved version without recalling the first ones. Maybe other mounts like yours will pop up soon.

#24 DuiA1

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:50 AM

Here is a pic of my saddle and of the ar6 rail. I confirmed last night that it will fall out if tightened as the cut out will not accept the male end. So did the second run get a saddle without the notch? I received mine from first shipment in June or July ,

Attached Files



#25 Mkofski

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:15 AM

Neilson and DuiA1,

I don't want to give Meade more credit than they deserve... My saddles have the cutout also. No slop in either axis but cutouts are still there. It has been raining and cloudy for so long I forgot what they looked like. My memory the last few years is slipping! Sorry for the false information.

I have fairly long dovetail bars on my scopes so the notch hasn't presented a problem.






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