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My LS-8 story

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#1 DanSmith

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:31 AM

I bought a refurbished LS-8 ACF from Meade at the end of March. The reason I settled on that scope was primarily my (incorrect) understanding that you could use the camera for some basic photography aside from its function in the auto-aligninment process. It arrived about 10 days later, and had issues with auto alignment. I spoke with Meade customer support, who agreed to repair the scope under warranty - as long as I paid the freight. I balked and they agreed to cover shipping both ways.

The issues were spotty, and I was usually able to align the scope using a 2-star alignment, so I decided to not return the scope so that I could use it. I became an expert on reinstalling the firmware, and going through a complete realignment process on the scope. But, in the end, the scope had major issues with any type of alignment whatsover. I suspect this is the reason the scope was returned in the first place and therefore available as a "refurbished" unit. Just a guess...

So, I called Meade to return it. This time, they put up major resistance in regards to covering the freight. But, after a one week stand off they agreed to pay the shipping. They received my scope at the beginning of September, and started repairs in mid-September. Their communication was non-existent. After two weeks, I starting calling for updates once a week and generally got a defensive response letting me know that their policy was to take up to four weeks from receipt at the repair facility. I was pretty much told to "hang in there" until five weeks had passed from when it hit their loading dock. Nobody was willing to do any specific research regarding the status of *my" scope, just that it generally took a month for a repair.

So, from when I shipped it in the end of August, mid-October looked like the earliest I might get it back. As that date approached, I had learned that it was pretty much useless to talk with the front-line support people. Carlos, the manager, is a reasonable guy. He seems to be the point man at Meade between the Engineers and support, and also apparently does quality control on returns. To get in touch with him, you need to ask for him, get transferred and leave a message. He called me back within 24 hours every time. And we began to develop a congenial relationship. He was able to quickly tell me where my scope was, what was being done regarding fixing it, etc. While I appreciated that, it kind of *BLEEP* me off that others in the support department were unwilling (or unable) to gather and share that info.

He felt that the Eclipse camera PCB board was the issue, but after replacement - and my reminding him that there were also issues with 2-star alignment - they were unable to get my LS-8 to align. Once they had tried to repair the telescope three times without success, Carlos quickly facilitated the shipment of a brand new scope that arrived a week later (around October 20).

It arrived with a new Autostar Controller, 25mm Eyepiece, and Diagonal - despite that fact that those items were not returned with my original scope per their instructions.

Knock on wood, the scope is performing great. In the end, I ended up with a brand new $2000 scope, plus another $150 or $200 worth of duplicate accessories for the $1500 I paid for a refurbished unit. But, for the first seven months after I paid for my scope, it was nothing but headaches which included hours of trying to align the thing, reloading firm ware, re-initializing the scope. Plus, hours of arguing with support.

Was it worth it? No, I would not buy another refurbished telescope from Meade. Especially due to the fact that customer support (more than once) argued that Meade was not the seller - despite it being purchased on their website. They suggested that ShopATron, who is a fulfillment center, was the seller and that I would need to deal with them.

Would I buy another scope directly from Meade? No, for the reason above.

Would I buy an LS-8? No. I never use any of the features (aside from Auto Align) that differentiate this from the LX90. The LX90 has a 2-arm mount and better tripod for the same price. The Auto Align on the LS-8 is neat, but unnecessary.

Would I buy another Meade telescope? Probably. The optics are great, and now that I have one that isn't problematic, I am happy. But, geez - finally getting what you paid for seven months later is a lot to ask.

#2 jgraham

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:02 AM

What I found is that Meade really doesn't sell any new equipment through their web site (I'm not sure about the refurbs and factory close-outs). On the new side they simply match buyers with sellers. I've bought several close-out items from the web site with good results. The one refurb I bought was not in as good a shape (lousy packaging), but it turned out okay. Soooo, for factory close-outs I'd buy from the site again. I'm not sure that I'd buy a refurb from the site again, and for new I'd go straight to a reputable reseller like Astronomics.

#3 AntMan1

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:12 PM

It is a shame that some where along the line Meade has lost the quality Control. If it were not for there first light program I would not take the risk. Seems there LS is a hit or miss weather new or refurb. Best bet if want a perfect scope is a company like Company 7 or Opt. For an addition charge the set up the scope before shipping and makes sure it meets there standards which in regards to company 7 seem very high. Not sure if Astronomics offers this service. Glad you have a good scope now! Enjoy!


PS: As jgraham mentioned Meade does not sell to the public what you purchased from was called shopatron which matches a buyer to any dealer that's next in line.

#4 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:27 AM

Is Company 7 currently even selling the LS scopes ?

Seem I heard that they were not at my astro clubs meeting about a year ago..

It is not at all unusual for Company to stop selling some models of both Celestron an Meades scopes if they reject too many... And yes they do reject scopes that do not meet their specs..

Bob G.

#5 AntMan1

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:49 PM

Wow I just checked out there web site and all they are selling are the LX200's.... Makes you think twice now even about a lx90? let alone an LS?


Is Company 7 currently even selling the LS scopes ?

Seem I heard that they were not at my astro clubs meeting about a year ago..

It is not at all unusual for Company to stop selling some models of both Celestron an Meades scopes if they reject too many... And yes they do reject scopes that do not meet their specs..

Bob G.



#6 jgraham

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:41 AM

The LX90 has been around forever and the LS/LT seems to be past its teething period. I would not hesitate to buy an established Meade product new and under warranty. (I would NOT consider the LX80, 600, or 800 lines to be established products.) Like any high tech product they tend to either die right away or they live forever. Run it through its paces and make sure everything is in good working order. I’ve had a couple of scopes repaired under warranty with Meade and it takes a while (not too bad considering that you are dealing with high tech gear over the phone and through the mail), but the outcome has always been satisfactory. I use my gear a LOT and under some pretty harsh conditions. If I can't get it to break, it t'ain't gonna break.






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