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Meade 14" LX200gps fork mount ???

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#1 Mike7Mak

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:52 PM

Is the Meade 14" LX200gps fork mount 'exactly' the same internally as the LX200gps mount on the smaller versions? I've read comments over the years that implied the 14" fork mount was somehow different.

#2 Mike7Mak

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 03:14 PM

It occurred to me to pull up the LX200 manual, duh, been a while. The only things Meade acknowleges as different are the battery compartment, a couple extra jacks, and secondary collimation.

I guess if the 14" mount had upgraded internals Meade wouldn't keep quiet about it. Still I know I've read things that suggest otherwise.

If anybody knows for sure one way or other I'd like to hear it.

Opinions on whether or not the 14" is 'too much' for the LX200gps fork mount would also be welcome.

#3 Rick Woods

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 07:25 PM

Well, you've come to the right place! :D

1) The fork mount is indeed different. It is much heavier and more robust, with an enormous steel cone in the base where the smaller forks do not have one (source: phone call to Meade). Also, the internals are about three times more complex and and sophisticated than the smaller mounts (source: Yahoo posts by Pete Peterson of Peterson Engineering). I don't believe most of the current Meade Customer Service people know enough about the mounts to give you good information.

2) The 14" is definitely not too much for the mount. I have about 25-30 lb of stuff hanging on mine, and the mount handles it effortlessly. I read a comment by Doc Griener on Yahoo once where he speculated it would be good for about 100 lb of additional weight; but I'm a little skeptical of that.

My personal experience is with one of the first 14" LX200's to roll off the line in 2003. Unless they've changed the mount since then, it's all still relevant. It's as solid as a... as a... a really, really solid thing, and if you use it in alt-az mode, you can practically pound on it with your fist and not shake it appreciably. Mounted on a Superwedge, it becomes a bit more prone to shakiness (a design failing of every commercial SCT); but you learn to compensate quickly. If, though, you add a metal dew shield to a wedge-mounted 14", it becomes a freaking sail, and impossible to balance.

Hope that helps. All in all, I can't say enough good things about the 14" LX200GPS. I've had mine for 10 years, and never had the urge to get anything else. If you have the chance to snarf one at a good price, I say jump on it.

#4 Mike7Mak

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 11:02 PM

Hi Rick, thanks. Appreciate the info. I've heard (source wishes to remain anonymous) that they did in fact stop using the steel cone at some point.

I'll have to go searching for Pete's posts on this. I am interested in exactly what the internal differences are.

This is just research for a 'possible' scope upgrade in the future. My true desire involves the 16" LX200gps but as a economical and logistical fall back the 14" would pretty much be a plug and play swap for my 7" on the superwedge. The 16" would be a whole nother ball game.

#5 davebl

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 01:31 AM

I bought a used 14" a couple years ago. I did a lot of research before I bought it as I was debating between the 12" and the 14". A good source of info is the 14" LX200 GPS Yahoo Group

http://tech.groups.y...up/LX200GPS_14/

As I recall, the 14 has better motors and drive train and more accurate gotos then it's little brothers.
I love my 14". Every time I use it I get a thrill. I have it in a roll off Observatory but do take it into the field a few times a year. I use it in Alt Az and do my photos with different scopes on an old Byers Mount. I tried it on the Meade wedge (superwedge?) but it was too heavy for it. Meade did make a modified wedge for the 14", but I'm not sure which one is the superwedge.
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#6 Starman27

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:23 AM

I have both, a 12inch GPS in Iowa and a 14inch GPS in Illinois. The behavior of the scopes in operation is like night and day. The 14 inch fork mount is significantly more robust, carries its load with smooth action and gotos and even in polar mode is highly resistant to shakes.

#7 Mike7Mak

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:29 AM

Thanks guys that's very encouraging. I wasn't aware of the 14" yahoo group. I'll check it out.

#8 Rick Woods

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:02 PM

I tried it on the Meade wedge (superwedge?) but it was too heavy for it. Meade did make a modified wedge for the 14", but I'm not sure which one is the superwedge.


Dave,
The 14" Superwedge carries the 14" LX200 easily. IIRC, the only difference between the regular SW and the 14" SW is the addition of an adapter plate (read: a double thickness of the plate that the scope actually mounts on). If you tried it on a regular Meade wedge, it would probably squash it. But the SW is plenty robust, and is not the cause of the extra wiggles in the scope; that's in the RA bearings, and all commercial SCTs share that weakness.

The only downside of the SW is that it's a real booger to adjust! For permanently mounting, it's great; but for mobile use, stay away from it.

#9 Rick Woods

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:05 PM

My true desire involves the 16" LX200gps but as a economical and logistical fall back the 14" would pretty much be a plug and play swap for my 7" on the superwedge.


Right! I'll be interested to hear about your swapping adventures with a 14"! :D

#10 Mike7Mak

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 12:54 AM

Right! I'll be interested to hear about your swapping adventures with a 14"! :D

Is that skepticism? Is there something I'm missing?

I know the 14" is a beast and I won't be lifting it up there by hand like I do the 7", but it should mount to the superwedge same as the 7" yes? And it has the same control ports in the same place and runs on Autostarsuite so I'd expect it to literally be plug and play.

At any rate don't hold your breath. This is one of those maybe in a year or two kinda things.

#11 Mike7Mak

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:08 AM

Here's a long shot of the 7" on the pier.

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#12 Mike7Mak

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:10 AM

And a closeup of the wedge. A 14" should pop right on there right? :)

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#13 Rick Woods

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:08 AM

Right! I'll be interested to hear about your swapping adventures with a 14"! :D

Is that skepticism? Is there something I'm missing?

I know the 14" is a beast and I won't be lifting it up there by hand like I do the 7", but it should mount to the superwedge same as the 7" yes?


It was skepticism, in a joking way. My 14"/fork assembly weighs 125 lb.
But I do see a couple of potential problems: First, Meade came out with a Superwedge specifically for the 14", with that double-thick mounting plate. I'm not sure what would happen if you used a standard SW, but you should check.
Second, it looks like your 7" mak is pretty close to the ceiling of your observatory. That 14" is *BIG*. My observatory walls are 7' high, and I have to park the scope carefully to avoid hitting it. You might not have enough room there.
A fact sheet I printed from the Meade web site says this of the 14":
'Telescope Dimensions, swung up: 17" x 24" x 44" (14")'. So that's what you'd have to work with.

#14 Starman27

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:43 AM

My Meade 7 inch wedge was built for 8-10 inch scopes. A 14 inch may not work well. I use a super wedge with my 14 inch. I had to lower the pier to get the 14 inch to fit well in my observatory.

#15 Starman27

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:46 AM

Here is what it looks like in place.

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#16 Mike7Mak

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:48 AM

It was skepticism, in a joking way.

Ah, ok I get it. :)

I think the Mak looks closer to the ceiling in the pic than it really is, but you could be right. In that case I'll skin a few inches off the pier tube to drop it down. I have a welding shop in my garage. I built all the metalwork for the obs myself. Whipping up a new wedge isn't out of the question.

Here's a shot of the roof rails near completion...

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#17 Mike7Mak

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 12:03 PM

Here is what it looks like in place.

Herman, thanks for the pic. I'm still kicking myself for not installing two piers.

I have the superwedge but it's not the 'double plate' one made for the 14". This is another of those 14" LX200 things that almost seems like urban legend. (Not that I'm doubting anyone's word here) but I've never seen this 'special' superwedge advertised anywhere.

I do not understand why, if the 14" has so many improvements over the smaller models, Meade doesn't mention that fact in any of the product literature.

#18 nitegeezer

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 12:26 PM

Herman:

I have a super wedge that I use with my 8". I have read where you refer to a second plate being needed for the 14". Can this plate be seen in your earlier photograph? Unless it is hidden, I can't see a difference between your wedge and mine. I know my vision is not what it used to be, but I didn't think I had lost that much!!

#19 jrcrilly

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:30 PM

I have the superwedge but it's not the 'double plate' one made for the 14". This is another of those 14" LX200 things that almost seems like urban legend. (Not that I'm doubting anyone's word here) but I've never seen this 'special' superwedge advertised anywhere.

I do not understand why, if the 14" has so many improvements over the smaller models, Meade doesn't mention that fact in any of the product literature.


There definitely was a beefed-up wedge version for the 14"; I think they called it a Hyperwedge or something like that. I didn't worry about it and used my 14" on my standard Superwedge without problems.

I owned the 7", 10", 12" and 14" versions and am not aware of ANY electronic or mechanical mount differences beyond the various fork arm lengths/spacers for each model and the extra metal they added to the 14" drive base. The 16" drive base is completely different and I suspect that has caused some confusion.

#20 Mike7Mak

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:57 PM

I owned the 7", 10", 12" and 14" versions and am not aware of ANY electronic or mechanical mount differences beyond the various fork arm lengths/spacers for each model and the extra metal they added to the 14" drive base. The 16" drive base is completely different and I suspect that has caused some confusion.

That was my assumption, but I 'heard things', hence this thread.

#21 Starman27

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 09:03 PM

I checked my post. I didn't see a reference to a second plate. I have never seen an advanced wedge. But, I do have two different super wedges. One in Iowa and one in Illinois. The differences in the newer one seem to be in the basic mechanics, smoothness of operation etc., but I can't do a side by side comparison. Tomorrow I'll go out and look at the one I have here in Illinois.

#22 nitegeezer

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 09:32 PM

Herman that was my mistake, it was Rick that mentioned the "double-thick mounting plate". For some reason I thought it was you and when I saw the photo of your setup I was looking to see what was different and found nothing. I will go back through other threads looking for a photo of Rick's setup to make that comparison.

#23 jrcrilly

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 09:34 PM

I don't remember what they called the beefed-up 14" wedge version, but both versions were later replaced by the Ultrawedge (beefed up even more, to handle the heavier RCX400 models). I stuck with my old Superwedge for the 12" RCX also with no issues.

#24 jrcrilly

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 09:36 PM

Herman that was my mistake, it was Rick that mentioned the "double-thick mounting plate".


He's right, though. That was the difference between the Superwedge and the 14" wedge version. I looked at one at the time but decided to stick with what I had.

#25 nitegeezer

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 10:36 PM

Since you were able to use your 14" on a superwedge, I guess I will quit worrying about using it with my 8", even with my bad luck!!!






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