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1/8 " LX80 Play in AZ axis acceptable?

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#51 Mkofski

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:15 PM

Gday Mike

I've been out tonight and have had the mount fail to move after selecting an object to goto.



Does it still move using the slew buttons????
If so, then you may have forgotten to hit enter before goto.
Ie when you scroll to select an object, you must then hit enter, as this calculates and loads the new coordinates.
If you just scroll and dont hit enter, the goto will go to the previous target. ie it will start to do a slew, but essentially wont move.

Andrew


G'day Andrew!

I think you are correct. That would explain why it was intermittent. I guess I need to read the manual again... Thanks!

We have a clear night and I'm giving PHD another try tonight. If I can't get any good data tonight I think I need to have a night or to of just observing. This is getting old. I'm a slow learner I guess.

#52 Mkofski

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 10:31 AM

DUI,

Do you see the play in the axis if you try moving the mount rather than pressing in the end of the CW bar? I finally got out last night and at the end of the evening I tried pressing on the end of the bar with all the extensions on it. I did not measure it, but I do get some play. I get none if I try pressing on the CW bar near the mount or try turning the mount. If that is what you are seeing, I think it is a non issue.

#53 neilson

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 11:41 AM

Hi DuiA1,
Andrew is correct. The slop should not cause premature failure or wear. The mount is actually designed to have that slop. The problem is the spring tension is inadequate once your ota load is over around 15 lbs. The mounts rated max load is 40 lbs so most of us expect to be able to use a 9.25 ota weighing only around 20lbs. But the spring tension is too light and the ota bounces around. This makes it difficult to view through and impossible to image with. I think the design Meade chose is too lightweight. And the way it was designed even putting a stronger spring wont fix it. The angle of the worm and ring gears makes it very easy to move the ota. If they would have stuck to their normal angle on the teeth of those gears then it might actually handle the rated weight. I would not expect it to fail like JanisR's mount did. It sounds like her plastic gears might of failed. My first LX80 had the screws only half way screwed in on the cover of the plastic gears box. After use the vibration would have caused the gears to fall out or jam up. But that mount had about a dozen things wrong. They are doing a better job checking them now. But they missed something on her mount and it will have to go back.
As for your mount, you will have to decide if your willing to keep it even though your limited to about 15lbs. They might be able to adjust it a little tighter so you can use 20 lbs visual but I doubt you can image with that much. And they might not be willing to adjust it tighter like with Jacks mount.

Neilson

#54 DuiA1

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 01:10 PM

Thanks Neilson. It worked reasonably well with my TV85 . With the Ar6 at 23 lbs I really won't know until I Test it...waiting for my dovetail plate to arrive next week and hopefully post results once tested. Mike when I slew I don't feel or see the slop...I have to physically jiggle the cw bar at the end...leverage...to see and feel the slop . This minor movement may be normal however with a heavier ota things may be worse. Will let you know after I test it.

#55 Mkofski

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 02:10 PM

Mike when I slew I don't feel or see the slop...I have to physically jiggle the cw bar at the end...leverage...to see and feel the slop . This minor movement may be normal however with a heavier ota things may be worse. Will let you know after I test it.


I had a chance last night to try the mount out with a bit over 20 pounds on it. That was with a 180mm Mak, finder, 80mm short tube Orion, 2 diagonals, 2 EP's and an Orion CCD. Performance was the same as when I was using just a 6 pound refractor - good visual and not so much for unguided tracking. I don't have a way to check it for over that weight now.

#56 neilson

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 02:11 PM

That's the way it will do. My AR6 had the jiggles. Especially at the slightest breeze or even touching the eyepiece or focuser to look through it. Or you might have one like Mikes that can handle 20lbs.
neilson

#57 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 04:39 PM

Gday Dui

Mike when I slew I don't feel or see the slop...I have to physically jiggle the cw bar at the end...leverage...to see and feel the slop .


I agree with Neilson, that sounds standard for this drive.
Where you can get into trouble is if the backstop for the springloaded worm carrier has too much play. In this case, it would be possible for the worm carrier to spring out far enough for the teeth to jump. If that occurs, it must be fixed.
What you currently describe doesnt sound a worry.
( from a mechanical standpoint )

Andrew

#58 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 07:46 PM

Here is an update on my LX80 with Celestron 9.25 OTA (about 24# with
diagonal, eyepiece, f/6.3 Focal Reducer, and FlexiHeat dewshield) and
22# Celestron counterweight. I took it to a local star party this
weekend and on Friday night set it up in Alt-Az mode. I was using two of
the three counterweight shaft extensions and the counterweight was in
the center of the shaft furtherst from the centerline of the mount.
Touching the OTA or counterweight shaft did show movement in he azimuth
axis - probably due to the spring loaded worm/worm gear. The intial
alignment failed and then I realized that I had not reset the location
from the last time I used it - Galax, VA. Having built in GPS would be
nice! With the proper location stored in the mount, alignment was
successful. For five hours the mount hit every target and tracked them
well. The only issue was focusing. Doing so resulted in the scope taking
about 5 seconds to damp down before observing could resume.

I would rate the LX80 at being capable of handling the 46# load I had on
it for visual work. The jury is still out on how well the recently Meade
serviced LX80 will do with my MallinCam video cameras.

On Saturday I set the system up in EQ mode. I guess I did not have the
counterweight propely positioned the night before as I had to place the
22# counterweight at the end of the second shaft extension to achieve
balance with the C9.25. I roughly aligned the mount to North and did a
two star alignment. The mount performed well for about 2 hours hitting
every target with a 20mm eyepiece. However focusing now resulting the
damping time increasing to about 10 seconds. Again the jury is out on
whether the mount will be able to be used with a MallinCam in EQ mode
due to vibration of the scope.

Also, about 2 hours into the observing session, I returned to the scope
to see if M31 was still in the FOV. It was not. I tried to move the
mount using the handpad, but it would not respond, although the power
light on the mount was on. I had to turn the mount off and then back on.
At that pont the keypad returned to life. I did a second alignment which
was not as good as the first one. Targets were not as well located and
then the clouds rolled in.

I will try to set the mount up again soon to rerun the visual EQ test
and then go onto testing the system with my MallinCams in both modes.

More to follow!

Jack Huerkamp

#59 DuiA1

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 07:54 PM

Thanks for the review Jack. What firmware version are you running on your lx80 hand controller?

#60 neilson

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 10:52 PM

Hi Jack,
Thats exactly what mine was doing. Any time I touched it the ota jiggled for a while. I had to look without touching the eyepiece. The jiggling effected me getting good alignments at times. Wait till you get a breeze.
And the motors had no problem moving the weight around.

Your doing a good job testing but don't let it ruin your fun. I envy you, I have never been to a star party ever. I bet its fun.

We will be waiting to hear how your imaging works out.

neilson

#61 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:25 AM

Neilson,

As you have found out, imaging or using a astronomical video camera like a MallinCam on the LX80 are problematic due to the vibration in the scope assembly. There were breezes blowing on Saturday night and when I had the 3mm-6mm Nagler set at the 6mm position (about 250X)in the scope looking at Altair, I could see the star moving around without touching the scope. This would affect imaging.

Several commented on the quality of the replacement tripod top I had fabricated and they said they would like to see the tests repeated with the stock tripod top in place as they are convinced that the beefer top help make visual observing with the LX80 better.

A cold front is coming through right now and it is supposed to clear up this week. Hopefully I will get a chance to test further the EQ mode setup.

Jack Huerkamp

#62 DuiA1

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 12:48 PM

Well finally got my plate. Tested it inside also in double scope mode. Kept the setting at slow slew and my first impression is that with both scopes on the motor definitely sounded that it was under more strain.... Will test it tonight in single polar mode with the AR6 weather permitting. The play was still there but again only when wiggling the cw bar. Total weight here is about 40 lbs. There was a bit a jiggling when tapping the tripod or scope. Will check real damping time tonight.

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#63 DuiA1

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:14 AM

Tested the AR6 with the mount last night in eq mode. Damping time was about 8 seconds. There was a bit of wind and with gusts you could definitely see the vibration especially at high power. Noticed Jupiter slowly moving out of the field of view. I'm running A3S1 firmware. Slewing was definitely better set at the slower speed. Neilson thanks for the tip as the changes in direction would have been hard on the motors and gears. I believe that the firmware update should fix the tracking correct? Would you guys consider this report normal for this mount and this load?

#64 rmollise

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:30 AM

Maybe...IF your drift was not due to polar misalignment... ;)

#65 EFT

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 10:49 AM

Eight seconds damping time is an eternity. The AR6 is so long and heavy that it can be difficult on many mounts and I would expect it to be particularly challenging on the LX80 considering everything that has been said. If you can't change directions without causing damage, then the mount is simply overloaded.

#66 Starhawk

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:06 AM

From Andrew and Mkofsi's work, the firmware update didn't correct the tracking bugs, and added new ones.

If it even enters your mind the mount is in danger from common maneuvers, you're overloaded. From what you have described, it is dangerously overloaded- especially in light of the tripod leg separations seen on highly loaded copies.

I think it's time to call it like it is: the LX80 is really more like the larger versions of the ioptron cube than anything else. Keep the scopes to the size of a C8 or physically smaller and lighter, keep to visual use, and treat it gingerly. Forget astrophotography. Forget payloads over 12-15 lbs. Forget equatorial tracking. Everyone reporting satisfaction is staying in that bracket.

Ignore what the raving lunatics in marketing put in the ads. This is a visual only, 15 lb. payload, alt/az only mount.

-Rich

#67 Mkofski

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 11:52 AM

From Andrew and Mkofsi's work, the firmware update didn't correct the tracking bugs, and added new ones.

If it even enters your mind the mount is in danger from common maneuvers, you're overloaded. From what you have described, it is dangerously overloaded- especially in light of the tripod leg separations seen on highly loaded copies.

I think it's time to call it like it is: the LX80 is really more like the larger versions of the ioptron cube than anything else. Keep the scopes to the size of a C8 or physically smaller and lighter, keep to visual use, and treat it gingerly. Forget astrophotography. Forget payloads over 12-15 lbs. Forget equatorial tracking. Everyone reporting satisfaction is staying in that bracket.

Ignore what the raving lunatics in marketing put in the ads. This is a visual only, 15 lb. payload, alt/az only mount.

-Rich


Rich,

I've never installed the firmware update. All my test were on the last version. I'm out of commission for a few more days but trying out the new firmware is the next step.

My last night out wa with just over 20 pounds and it was stable.

#68 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:19 PM

Gday Rich

From Andrew and Mkofsi's work, the firmware update didn't correct the tracking bugs



Just to clarify here.
The only unconfirmed "bug" in Mikes data was the occasional jump in DEC.
All other problems were ( i suspect ) due to bad gears in the gearbox.

I have done a lot of testing of A3S4 and if polar and PEC is turned ON,
it "should" track OK, and may pulseguide OK.
If PEC is OFF, there is a definite variability in tracking, and DEC pulseguiding looks like it may be broken.
The new code is really weird here and will also affect AltAz pulseguiding, but in essence, under certain conditions, if you do pulseguide in the opposite direction to which the motor is currently going, the backlash mechanism just grabs you and pulls you back to your start point. Almost like micro "rubberbanding". Very annoying.

Andrew

#69 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:05 PM

Ed,

In EQ mode with a C9.25 and 22# Celestron Counterweight, the visual damping time was about 10 seconds. And when the wind blew, the scope vibrated noticeably.

This is with an LX80 that just returned from Meade servicing for too much play in the RA(AZ) axis.

Jack

#70 EFT

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:29 PM

Most people complain about mounts/tripods that have 1 to 2 second damping times. Ten seconds would simply be unworkable when it comes to centering or focusing. Where is all this vibration coming from, the mount, the tripod or both?

#71 DuiA1

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:59 PM

Jack/Ed, I think it's coming from both. I have the legs fully extended for the Ar6 to take advantage of its length and comfort in viewing. It may be better if I shorten the legs. Is there any point in updating firmware if it is still not working? It drifted off slowly only visible at high power viewing. I'm considering the new skywatcher mount if I can get a refund from my vendor. Do I or any lx80 owners have a case for misrepresentation? This scope is only 23 lbs. I hope they are not counting the cw in their load specifications .

#72 Mkofski

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:36 PM

DuiA1,

I don't think you'll have a problem returning the mount for a refund. Everyone that has written about returning a mount got a full refund. I checked on that before taking delivery of mine.

#73 Starhawk

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:13 PM

Andrew did, hence the term "And."

Anyway, the long and short appears to be time spent using it hoping the full list of specs will be met is time spent in frustration.

Back down on the load and don't ask much from the mount and it's sort of OK. Of course, Jack's right- the support hasn't really helped. The constructive feedback has all been from CN folks.

I know you're annoyed- but projecting that to people here who've tried to help is a mistake.

-Rich

From Andrew and Mkofsi's work, the firmware update didn't correct the tracking bugs, and added new ones.

If it even enters your mind the mount is in danger from common maneuvers, you're overloaded. From what you have described, it is dangerously overloaded- especially in light of the tripod leg separations seen on highly loaded copies.

I think it's time to call it like it is: the LX80 is really more like the larger versions of the ioptron cube than anything else. Keep the scopes to the size of a C8 or physically smaller and lighter, keep to visual use, and treat it gingerly. Forget astrophotography. Forget payloads over 12-15 lbs. Forget equatorial tracking. Everyone reporting satisfaction is staying in that bracket.

Ignore what the raving lunatics in marketing put in the ads. This is a visual only, 15 lb. payload, alt/az only mount.

-Rich


Rich,

I've never installed the firmware update. All my test were on the last version. I'm out of commission for a few more days but trying out the new firmware is the next step.

My last night out wa with just over 20 pounds and it was stable.



#74 EFT

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:22 PM

If the tripod is not steady, you might be able to add an aftermarket spreader to it to add stability, but I would be worried about the weak connection of the legs to the central hub if you do since the spreader that I am thinking of pushes the legs out a bit to form a solid foundation.

Anything coming from the mount must either be from it connection with the tripod, its azimuth adjustment system, or the "spring" loaded gearing.

#75 Mkofski

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:35 PM

Rich,

I'm not annoyed with anyone here and I know that the members here have been helpful where Meade has been absent.

I was just trying to keep the record straight. The 'And', to me would indicate that Andrew and Mkofski(that's me) both had trouble with the new firmware and I haven't installed it yet.






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