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GOTO/Tracking Performance: LX90 vs LS

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#1 MattS

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 01:06 PM

Dear All

I am looking to buy a replacement scope for my venerable ETX90. My experiences of this scope are balanced between excellent optical performance (for its size) marred by toyshop mechanical performance. I am well versed in the use of precision instruments (due to the nature of my work), but despite my best efforts my tracking and GOTO performance is often quite hit and miss.

I intend to purchase either a LX90 or LS 8" ACF scope - while keeping the ETX90 for holidays etc - primarily for visual astronomy as I can only imagine undertaking basic AP in the future.

My question is, which device offers the most accurate and reliable GOTO and tracking performance?

The ease of setup of the LS really appeals (as work does keep me away from home and I'm often fighting for time for my hobby) but the LX90 offers a sturdier mount and more flexibility. However, is the LX90 susceptible to the same issues that my EXT90 suffers from? Does the LS auto-align capability negate these problems?

Your advice is greatly appreciated. In particular, I'd love to hear from people who have used both devices and learn from their experiences.

MS

#2 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:24 PM

All I can add is that the only LS scope I have ever had a chance to take apart and study had an all-aluminum mount and brass gearing. No plastic.

#3 REC

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:03 PM

I have the LS 8 ACF and it tracks fine and has metal worm gears. Auto align is a breeze, however it is single fork vs. LX-90 is dual arm.

Neither one is very good for AP, but fine for visual. Also the ACF optics are very good.

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

Bob

#4 astrogeoguy

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:11 PM

I agree with Bob. My LS8 ACF views are fantastic, even in suburbia, and it's clever enough that it's usually the first scope ready to look through at star parties. The single arm's vibrations have been solved by using a motor focuser. I haven't tried AP yet, but expect to shortly.

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#5 MattS

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:13 PM

Chaps

Thanks for your quick replies. I had a chance to witness the LS do its 'thing' recently, and was mightily impressed.

I don't nearly get enough time to do astronomy, and when I do its not for long - the weather in the UK can be very Atlantic at times! Consequently an easy to setup scope, which tracks and achieves GOTOs with the minimum of fuss is ideal. I'm put off the LX90 as it appears to be a bigger brother of my ETX90 and could suffer from the same problems.

Could I ask for your advice regarding the following:

1. Do you often encounter much rubber-banding, or general problems with tracking/GOTOs?
2. Is the Meade LCD display worth buying?:
i. can it display 'live' imagery from the Eclipse camera?
ii. can it display 'live' imagery from other CCDs? attached to the EP/scope?
3. I don't believe the scope requires anti-vibration pads as the vibrations stem from the focusing:
i. do you agree?
ii. which additional focusing device would you recommend? (I'm considering the Meade Micro-Focuser, or a Revelation alternative)
4. I have been advised that the supplied diagonal should be replaced - any suggestions for a replacement?
5. Are there any other accessories you would recommend?

Thanks, MS

#6 astrogeoguy

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:53 PM

Being strictly a visual user, I haven't had any rubber banding issues, and once fully aligned the tracking is excellent. The Meade display will only display the menus, the built-in video clips, and the Eclips camera images - nothing through the scope. I bought a portable DVD player instead (note that it's analog video via RCA plug).

The single arm makes the OTA more vibration prone - at least in my LS8. I would get the pads and/or the motor focuser. I use both. Saw a used focuser recently for $120.

You can buy the Meade 99% 2" dielectric diagonal (which I have and like very much) plus their UWAN eyepiece together under Meade's Weekly Deals.

Finally, get a 12v DC battery unit and a 2Gb miniSD card for a firmware backup.

Chris

#7 jimb1001

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:26 AM

Chaps

Thanks for your quick replies. I had a chance to witness the LS do its 'thing' recently, and was mightily impressed.

I don't nearly get enough time to do astronomy, and when I do its not for long - the weather in the UK can be very Atlantic at times! Consequently an easy to setup scope, which tracks and achieves GOTOs with the minimum of fuss is ideal. I'm put off the LX90 as it appears to be a bigger brother of my ETX90 and could suffer from the same problems.

Could I ask for your advice regarding the following:

1. Do you often encounter much rubber-banding, or general problems with tracking/GOTOs?
2. Is the Meade LCD display worth buying?:
i. can it display 'live' imagery from the Eclipse camera?
ii. can it display 'live' imagery from other CCDs? attached to the EP/scope?
3. I don't believe the scope requires anti-vibration pads as the vibrations stem from the focusing:
i. do you agree?
ii. which additional focusing device would you recommend? (I'm considering the Meade Micro-Focuser, or a Revelation alternative)
4. I have been advised that the supplied diagonal should be replaced - any suggestions for a replacement?
5. Are there any other accessories you would recommend?

Thanks, MS


I've had the LS8 ACF for about a month now. I sold my 9.25 on a CGEM to buy it. I'm quite happy with my decision.

The LS8 is quite sturdy while the tripod is a little light. However, I wanted to keep the overall weight down. The CGEM was getting a bit heavy to move. I bought the Meade micro focuser and I'm happy with it. It is a bit pricy but seems very well made.

I've done some AP in the past but I wasn't willing and hadn't the time to go to dark sites so my exposures were limited. It also complicates the hobby considerably. Since I enjoy dso viewing I go a Mallincam. It makes all the difference in the world. The difference is between "wow, look at that galaxy" and "there must be a galaxy around here somewhere".

I use a small lcd TV (7") outside for focusing the Mallincam or for viewing the menus, information and maps. A little Velcro and its right where you need it and easily removed. I'm sure the Meade lcd works fine but its smaller and costs twice as much as I paid.

I'm now working on controlling the LS using Stellarium on my tablet. Once I get that nailed down I can observe inside or out with a minimum of set up time.

I had an LX90 a few years ago and it was fine. Excellent optics and reliable gotos and tracking if you aligned properly. It is heavier than the LX and that, along with the automatic alignment pointed me to the LS.

YMMV, as always.

#8 REC

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:39 AM

No rubber banding and it tracks very well.

I have the display and used it at first, but not so much anymore. It's nice to have if you have company over to show off your scope and a learning tool. You can use a portable DVD player if you have one.

No live imagery.

On the lawn, I don't use them, mostly on the concrete patio.

If you get a 2" diagonal, you can buy the large 2" wide angle EP's...you should have at least one for low power. If you do, you will not be able to use an additional focuser as there is not enough room on the bottom and it will hit the base. I only have about 1/4" clearance when pointed straight up. The stock focuser works pretty well and if you want better, you can always ad a 10:1 focusing knob to replace the stock one. They are expensive, $200 and up.

A dew shield is a must...Astro Zap for $40. Oh, plan on getting a chair of some sort.

Have fun:)

#9 rigel123

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

Everyone else have answered your questions and I'll just put in another +1 on the LS. I have the 6" but it is still a great little scope to setup quickly and start observing and I really like the "Tours" to view a lot of objects in one sitting.

#10 MattS

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 03:42 PM

Chaps

Thanks for your input - I am most grateful! The LS8 does appear to be a scope that puts the fun into astronomy, and should allow for more observing and less fussing.

If I could interrogate you all a bit further..?

1. I note the post regarding the use of the Mallincam. Has anyone else had much success using a 'live' video device with this scope, and what other devices have you used?
2. Would switching to a 2" EP setup maximise the capabilities of this scope, or should I stick with my stock of 1.25" EPs?
3. Lastly - sacrilege! - what do you not like most, or suffer from most, with this scope?

Of course, if any other members have something to add to this thread, I'd be most interested to hear from you also.

Thanks in advance, Matt S

#11 dogeddie

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:56 PM

I have to chime in and let you know the LX90's are wonderful scopes, and mine is spot on for accuracy. I also have an ETX 125 and I find the operation and quality of the LX90 head and shoulders beyond the ETX. I do not have any of the issues I have with the ETX on the LX90. No comparison. The only similarity would be the Autostar controller. If you are having issues related to that, there are some wonderful people here to straighten that out.

#12 jimb1001

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:01 AM

Chaps

Thanks for your input - I am most grateful! The LS8 does appear to be a scope that puts the fun into astronomy, and should allow for more observing and less fussing.

If I could interrogate you all a bit further..?

1. I note the post regarding the use of the Mallincam. Has anyone else had much success using a 'live' video device with this scope, and what other devices have you used?
2. Would switching to a 2" EP setup maximise the capabilities of this scope, or should I stick with my stock of 1.25" EPs?
3. Lastly - sacrilege! - what do you not like most, or suffer from most, with this scope?

Of course, if any other members have something to add to this thread, I'd be most interested to hear from you also.

Thanks in advance, Matt S


I think you may be a little confused about what the LS8 is, and isn't.

At its heart, its an 8" SCT. You can get in ACF, which greatly reduces coma to the edge of the field. As opposed to a regular 8" SCT which will have some coma. Everything true about 8" SCTs will be true about this one. The SCT forum will provide lots of information on the plusses and minuses of this design.

The use of a video cam will be the same on this SCT as others. Read up on the video forum right here on this site.

The mount is a single fork, fine for visual but limited in astrophotography to short exposures. Its similar to the Nexstar so many things liked and not liked will be related.

The software and the Eclipse ccd differentiate this mount. It can auto align and perform precision gotos without operator intervention. That's different.

#13 REC

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 10:09 AM

Yes to the 2" as it will maximize wide angle low power views. I have a 28mm and a 34mm SWA and it's a nice sight getting both M81 & M82 in the same view and the Double Star Cluster is awesome.

Con's: limited AP and not much room at the bottom end of the scope, just clears the base at zenith.

Bob

#14 SteveMushynsky

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 02:30 AM

As an about-to-be beginner considering an LX90, this has been an interesting thread. Thanks to all for the info and opinions.

#15 AntMan1

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:41 PM

One thing to add. No matter what scope you go with use stargps and Andrews modified firmware PatchAUA1F7v03.spf It corrects to many errors in the factory firmware to list. And for me it made the tracking so much more precise that i will never go back to Meade's firmware. Best of all it is free.

PS: I have owned both and the LX90 is a clear winner in my book.

http://www.stargps.ca/downloads.htm

#16 MattS

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:21 PM

Antman - you've done it now!

I'd love to know what experiences of the LS and LX90 make you say that the latter is a clear winner. I might be mistaken, but I believe you're the only 'respondee' who has owned both scopes, and your thoughts would be extremely useful.

Steve M-what scope are you favouring?!?

Thanks in advance, Matt S

#17 Robert70

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 06:36 PM

Can't say anything about the LS, but can say my LX90 is a solid SCT. Very sturdy and reliable. I replaced the diagonal, starfinder and focuser. Holds collimation forever. Excellent goto's and easy to align. It has never let me down.

#18 cukleti

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:01 PM

I've had both too. Lx90 is buch better against vibrations. But the ls8 is just plain fun. It's like having an Apple product. Very idiot proof. However, the lx90 all around is better if you get a perfect one.

Oh and the ACF optics are amazing

#19 REC

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:39 AM

Yeah it is fun and like the way she talks to me when I'm alone...lol






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