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Broke a Gear Tooth on my LX80 - SOLVED by MEADE

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#1 ldesign1

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 11:19 PM

It's a shame that precision equipment are made with cheap plastic parts. Everything was running fine except a sticky spot in RA. I decided to try and wear that part of the worm by running the mount in both directions for a while with the clutch disengaged. Well it looks like the plastic gave way before the metal worm wore down. That was probably dumb on my part to think that I'd be able to lap the worm this way. Now I'll have to send it to Meade and wait maybe months to get it back just for a little plastic part. :bawling: :bawling:

Edit: Carlos at Meade sent me a PM here on the Forum and took care of me. New gears are being shipped out tomorrow. :jump: :jump:

#2 orion61

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 08:58 AM

OUCH Im feeling for you...

#3 cavefrog

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 11:16 PM

Ouch??? I'm thinkin' WOO-HOO!!! it's very cool the parts are coming dang near unordered! :jump:

Theo

#4 DuiA1

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 02:56 PM

Nice. Have they changed their policy re. Sending parts to the customer? If that's the case its awesome. Kudos to Meade, they may be listening to the customer's concerns.

#5 JimMo

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 03:50 PM

Nice. Have they changed their policy re. Sending parts to the customer? If that's the case its awesome. Kudos to Meade, they may be listening to the customer's concerns.


Yes, but they designed the LX80 mount that comes nowhere near it's advertised specs. Meade conveniently ignores us early LX80 adopters/testers. If I just wanted an alt/az mount with goto that can handle under a 20 lb. load I'd have chosen a different mount.

Still listening Meade? :p

#6 ldesign1

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 12:16 AM

Unless I'm spending thousands of dollars on a mount like AP, Paramount, ASA, and others, I don't buy into anyone's advertisement of a do-all mount for under $3000. I fully expect issues like play in the gears, plastic components, bugs in the firmware, and other production issues. Anyone expecting more should spend the money to get the guaranteed performance of the more expensive mounts or spend the extra money to tweak and perfect an O.K. mount. I also own an Atlas EQ-G which is a great mount, but only after I had it hyper-tuned and several other upgrades like replacing those altitude adjustment handles that bend from the torque needed to turn them under load. I also own a LX200GPS which I spent some extra money to have it supercharged by Dr. Clay.

But what I do expect from all companies no matter how large or small, is excellent customer service, timely repair of defective products, and a sense of doing what's right by the customer. Sometimes that means saving the customer from down time by supplying them with replacement parts here and there. I can understand the insistence of sending your product to them for service if it's under warranty as long as they cover shipping both ways. But when a product is out of warranty, then the responsibility should fall on us, the customer, if we should make a problem worse by trying to fix it ourselves. There's only been two times in 19 years, including this instance, which I had to contact Meade about a problem. Both times, the issue had been resolved to my satisfaction with a part being shipped out. The first time was a burned out DEC board on my LX200 Classic.

So, my question is what does anyone really expect from a $800 mount, no matter what the specs look like on paper? It performs as I expected for a portable visual mount that I can use for solar and lunar imaging with a video camera. For serious night time astrophotography, I am totally satisfied with my LX200GPS and Atlas EQ-G.

#7 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 12:41 AM

Ralph - I agree with you 100%.

Though I will say back in the day the Classic LX200 was built like a tank, and mine is going strong after 21+ years.

The ETX-125, I knew what I was getting into - a poor man's Questar. Yes, I paid over $1000 for the entire kit, but I wasn't expecting the performance of my LX200 or a Questar. Just a low cost mak as a grab and go. Lots of vibration with this puppy. Sloppy plastic gears. Whatever. I was cool with it.

LX-80 I agree is low end. Still, Meade should have been careful what was promised. Can it handle the advertised loads? Yes. Can it do it at the level of high end mounts (i.e. low vibration, motion, etc)? No way.

BTW - I hear of issues with all mounts in the league/price range of the LX-80. Still, it would be nice if defects and problems with mounts were minimal.

Also, I am curious as to the failure/problem rate of the LX-80. How many were sold? How many actually had issues? I don't think CN is a good place to measure this, since I am very convinced this forum is a collection of VERY OPINIONATED, VOCAL folks!

#8 ldesign1

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 02:37 AM

Andrew:

You're right, the LX200 Classics were tanks. The blown DEC motor was totally my fault. I had just bought some tube weights for balancing without full understanding how to do it. I loaded the scope with all of the weights and began slewing up and down using the balancing feature of the hand box. I remember hearing the straining of the motor as it tried to lift the weighted, out of balance, tube. And straining again to keep the front end of the tube from speeding downwards. Then nothing. That's when I realized I must have done it wrong. After muy goof-up, I did some research and discovered that the top must be balanced with the bottom and the front with the back.

As for the rate of failures, I don't think there are as many as some would believe. As humans, we tend to complain WAAAAAY more often than we give praise. Sure I have a lot to complain about, but when I look at the great photos I turn out with my O.K. equipment, there's a lot reason to be smiling as well. Think about it, I spent 1/3 the amount of money and my quality of work is ALMOST up there with the best of them. What's important is that I'm happy even when a few issues arise.

I'm sure the expensive mount have issues once in a while, but you would never hear of it. 1-Because the company takes care of the problem quickly so there's no reason to complain on a forum. :jump: :jump: 2-No one ever talks about a problem, so you think you're the first and no one here can help you. :scratchhead: 3-You're embarrass that you spent so much on your mount and you broke it the first time out. :rainbow:

In fact, there was a time that someone did report a problem they were having with an AP mount here on the forum. Most of the HELPFUL responses sounded much like this:

1. Gee, I don't know, mine works fine.
2. Gee, I don't know, maybe you should give Roland and call.

There's just not much that goes wrong with some mount for anyone here to be of any help.

#9 JimMo

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:22 AM

You're right, the LX200 Classics were tanks.


I had one for many years and based on that great experience I bought the LX80. I didn't tell Meade to lie about the specs of the mount. It will not hold 20 lbs. in polar without the RA axis bouncing with it's spring loaded gears. If they had said the polar mode was only for show and not to expect it to work correctly that would have been the truth, but I wouldn't have bought one. I don't buy or deal with anyone or any company who has blatantly lied to me.

#10 cavefrog

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:48 PM

" I am very convinced this forum is a collection of VERY OPINIONATED, VOCAL folks!"

REALLY ????

#11 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:55 PM

Yes, REALLY!

Now if you want to see some really hot action, go look at the SCT/Refractor Wars.

#12 nitegeezer

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 04:09 PM

:band: :gotpopcorn: :rimshot:

#13 ldesign1

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 05:38 PM

Got my gears today. I'm now back in action. :yay: :yay:

Thank you Carlos for getting that to me so quickly.

#14 Chuck Sterling

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 07:35 PM

Now, about two years later, Meade did not offer to sell replacement parts, but said, "Thanks for the inquiry and opportunity to assist. We sure don’t have those available for purchase but if your situation changes and you can send it in for repair our flat rate repair fee for any electronic or mechanical repair on the LX80 is $300."

 

That remains a possibility but we will look for an alternate solution if one exists...

 

Best regards,

Chuck Sterling



#15 Lorence

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 12:51 PM

Does the $300 cover the cost of parts? Several years ago the old Meade offered to repair my LX200 GPS for around $400 but when I pressured them about the cost of parts they admitted I would also be charged for the parts as well as the flat rate repair charge. I needed a new main board which I believe was also about $400.

 

I bought a second hand mount and used parts from it to fix mine. It took me about an hour to take my mount down off it's pier and replace a few parts.

 

From what I've seen of the new Meade not much has changed, despite the claims by Meade and a number of loyal supporters.

 

Now if those loyal supporters were to put pressure on Meade to help you out instead of, as they have in the past, put pressure on people who complained about Meade customer service, perhaps things would change.



#16 KevH

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 03:10 PM

I had a recent experience with the new Meade... I bought a second hand OTA that was missing the rear thread.  I emailed Meade and within 4 hours they were in the process of sending me a part.  I'm curious Lorence, what exactly have you personally seen with new Meade?



#17 Lorence

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 02:11 PM

I had a recent experience with the new Meade... I bought a second hand OTA that was missing the rear thread.  I emailed Meade and within 4 hours they were in the process of sending me a part.  I'm curious Lorence, what exactly have you personally seen with new Meade?

 

There were a few nasty flame wars about the old Meade's customer service policy before the sale of the company. The owners of Meade at that time did not pay any attention to the complaints. They really didn't have to. Whenever someone complained about Meade's service on any forum the loyal Meade supporters simply drowned him out.  Search the archive for the term Meade Basher. When you find that term you will likely find a few others like troll and troublemaker.

 

When Meade was taken over the new owners claimed to recognize the service problem and stated they would rectify the situation. To their credit they did set up a website with a list of replacement parts. To the best of my memory that website has been in place for over a year now.

 

There have since been more messages on various Meade forums from people claiming they could not get a replacement part and were only told one will be available soon. "Give them time"  seems to be the general response from many forum members who do not have a problem with their telescope.

 

I had several failures with my Meade LX200 ACF and was unable to get replacement parts from the old Meade. I bought a used mount and a number of parts from someone that was so fed up with Meade he put his telescope on another manufacturers mount.

 

I still have a that used mount and would like to repair it, just so I have the parts available to repair my mount again. I have called Meade on two occasions since they put up their repair parts website. Both times I was told the part was not available but would be soon. The last call was a few months ago.

 

You received  a replacement part and your telescope is back on line. No doubt you are happy with the situation. What of the people that have not received a part and cannot use their telescopes?

 

One only has to look back in the archives of this forum to realize there are some that would like the people with service related problems to just go away. I hope you are not one of them.

 

I would like to see the Meade replacement parts service up and fully functional but so far it seems to be luck of the draw. Some get parts, others don't.

 

I have a working mount and should be happy enough with it to get off Meade's case. Why should I care if someone else has a dead Meade in his closet? 

 

Maybe I'm mistakenly loyal to fellow Meade owners, not to the owners of the Meade corporation. :)


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#18 KevH

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 03:23 PM

What Meade forums are you seeing people not get parts? What parts are they trying to get? Current production stuff? Old stuff Meade no longer supports? I really don't care either way. I just wanted to share a recent POSITIVE experience. The part they sold me isn't even listed for sale on their site. I just explained what I needed and they responded with a part number and a price.  Maybe they just don't have the parts you want.  

 

Edited to ad... What in the world does your first paragraph about prior threads, trolls, etc. have to do with anything?  


Edited by KevH, 22 July 2015 - 07:28 PM.


#19 nicknacknock

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 11:44 PM

Folks, let's keep the thread on a light note please.



#20 KevH

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 06:56 AM

I apologize if my post wasn't light enough. It wasn't my intention. Best of luck to folks trying to get parts.

#21 kd4pbs

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 09:38 AM

I'm not sure it helps, but in the world in which I work, it's typical that after 5 years one no longer can "bank" on getting replacement parts.  We're talking $50,000 broadcast production video switchers or $500,000 broadcast transmitters even, where the business relies on it for their daily money.  Lots of money.  So much so that for instance, missing 2 minutes of commercials might cost the company well over $10,000.
What we see is that many of these no longer supported systems are actually well supported even after the manufacturer gives us the official word that the system won't be supported.  The reason they no longer support after a set amount of time is that there always seems to be some small but important part that is no longer available at all.  In other words, unless we can devise a suitable replacement part ourselves, or modify something similar to serve in it's place, we end up realizing that it only makes sense to replace the while system.  So, we either replace with something current or nurse the old stuff along.  Thankfully, when we're nursing, many times the manufacturer does indeed have the part we need even though they are under no obligation to keep that part.  Once in a while though, they don't.  When they don't, I certainly don't blame them for no longer having a part that is physically no longer made.  That's when I break out the tools and make it myself, if possible.
Then again, this is a business environment where we make money with the equipment we have.  It's nothing like some poor schmuck like me that just tinkers with a telescope in his spare time, but I do remember having to throw out a TV that cost me over $2400 new when 8 years later the digital signal board went out on it, and Mitsubishi no longer made them.  That didn't leave me with a very good taste in my mouth for sure!  What did I do?  I bought another Mitsubishi TV, because all in all, no matter the manufacturer, I don't expect them to support very old products forever... after 8 years, that TV certainly had thousands of hours, two children, and who-knows how many power surges and nearby lightning strikes that contributed to it's perceived early demise.  All-in-all it was a great TV; my choice was to let it sit unused and last much longer, or actually use it and accept that it might break as a result of using it.
That being said, if it's a simple part, Meade should have it in stock (not saying they do... saying that they SHOULD ;) ).  If it's something that has componentry in it that literally is no longer made (eg. some integrated circuits) then I wouldn't hold it against Meade for leaving me with a $3,000 boat anchor.  Luckily there always seems to be a way around most issues like this when we're dealing with our telescopes :)

 

Lorence - I'm also loyal to my fellow Meade owners; how about letting us know what you need so that we might try to help?



#22 Lorence

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 01:51 PM

I'm not sure it helps, but in the world in which I work, it's typical that after 5 years one no longer can "bank" on getting replacement parts.  We're talking $50,000 broadcast production video switchers or $500,000 broadcast transmitters even, where the business relies on it for their daily money.  Lots of money.  So much so that for instance, missing 2 minutes of commercials might cost the company well over $10,000.

That being said, if it's a simple part, Meade should have it in stock (not saying they do... saying that they SHOULD ;) ).  If it's something that has componentry in it that literally is no longer made (eg. some integrated circuits) then I wouldn't hold it against Meade for leaving me with a $3,000 boat anchor.  Luckily there always seems to be a way around most issues like this when we're dealing with our telescopes :)

 

Lorence - I'm also loyal to my fellow Meade owners; how about letting us know what you need so that we might try to help?

 

I believe what is at issue is the availability of replacement parts for equipment currently in production or recently discontinued. One has to expect a practical limit on the length of time parts will be available after a product has gone out of production. During my 39 years in the electronic/digital tech environment it was generally accepted that replacement parts would be available for about five years after a product went out of production. There were exceptions to this but if a product has been on the market for five years you could usually get replacement parts for that length of time after the product has been discontinued.

 

I would not make any issue out of Meade discontinuing support of a product that has been out of production for several years. Granted five years may be a bit much to ask of a small company but there has to be parts available to at least cover the warranty period which I believe for Meade can be three years in the US.

 

I have a Meade LX200 ACF which is still in production. There are replacement parts available for that telescope if it is sent back to the factory for repair. I hope there will still be parts available to cover warranty repairs after the LX200 has gone out of production.

 

If a part is available at the factory for repair there is nothing to stop the company from shipping the part individually to a customer rather than packaged up inside a repaired telescope or mount.

 

All here seem to want to bend over backwards in trying to help a person with equipment operating problems but for some reason many are willing to turn their backs on those Meade owners needing replacement parts. Remember that every Meade owner may be in that position the next time they turn on their telescope.

 

Perhaps it was because of the pressure put on the old Meade a few years ago that the new Meade said the replacement parts problem would be corrected. The new Meade started to address the problem but seemed to have derailed somewhere along the way. Maybe all it will take is a little push from Meade owners to get things back on track.

 

Thank you for your offer of help but I have made other arrangements and currently have enough parts to at least keep my main telescope working. I would not at all object to your extending that offer to others that need a part to get their telescopes back on line.


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#23 kd4pbs

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 02:39 PM

Wow - I guess I didn't realize that Meade isn't apt to send out parts to currently produced telescopes.  That's just wrong.  I mean, I can see if it were still under warranty them wanting it sent to them to repair, but if it's out of warranty, it seems that it's good business, not only in making money but in making friends to actually sell parts!  Well, that is, for the major items they sell anyway... I wouldn't be surprised if a $100 telescope that they subbed out to some foreign manufacturer just to make a few dollars on would be nearly impossible to find parts for...  Analogy: I've never known a hard drive manufacturer to sell parts for their hard drives, motherboard manufacturers to sell replacement CPU mounting hardware, nor a memory module manufacturer sell the individual memory chips for a DIMM.  That being said, it is amazing that one can find replacement displays for most smart phones on the market.  I guess it all depends on the manufacturer and how easy it is to stock the spare parts.
That being said, I'm glad that I didn't have to spend $150 or so on the whole RA worm assembly when I was able to procure $20 in bearings from a local vendor for my LX200 GPS.

Glad to know you've found a workaround for your issues.




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