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LX80 upgrade LX85.

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#1 Mkofski

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 02:30 PM

Just had a long talk with Jerry Gonzales, the VP of Operations at Meade's Mexico plant. He told me the a major rework of the LX80 is just about ready to roll. Not a lot of details yet. It will be available at a cost for LX80 users. The cost isn't set yet but will initially be at their cost or below. The mount and tripod are both getting revisions and the mount revisions sound extensive. The tripod will basically be a reworked LX90 tripod. The mount, among many other changes, will be using motors from the LX200. Completely redone gears, worm block, etc. They are currently working on software. He reported that the PE on the test mount was 16 arc-seconds. The mount will allow DEC training. Zinc is out 6061 stainless steel is in... $2 bearings out $13 bearing are in.

He is going to contact me when they are ready to release the upgrade. Oh, buy the way, the mount will be black now. They are stripping and power coating all the mounts.

I don't have any idea of how the upgrade will be handled. Do you send it in for a replacement or are they going to rework the mount you send in? No idea yet. As soon as I get any additional details, I'll post them here.

I don't know how any of this fits with Meade's current financial troubles. Jerry did tell me that they currently have back orders for 200 14" LX600/LX850's.

Mike

#2 Jmax

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 02:38 PM

Well, that is fantastic!!! I do hope that it doesn't cost us loyal Meade users too much. I have continually sung the praises of the LX80, even knowing the shortcomings. Please keep us posted.

#3 Stew57

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:11 PM

If (the big if) it lives up to expectations that will sell well.

#4 JimMo

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 03:29 PM

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the update but with Meade I'll believe it when I see it. I ordered the mount with the hope of doing simple wide field photography using my DSLR and camera lenses. Depending how much it costs if it is ever offered to us are the real questions. I'd happily be a beta tester.

Cheers,

#5 rmollise

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:48 PM

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the update but with Meade I'll believe it when I see it.


Yeah, happy to hear this but skeptical about their ability to do it right now. ;)

#6 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 04:58 PM

If you are a new buyer don't expect to spend $799.00. If you want to have your LX80 rebuilt you will be getting the new guts and new tripod but you can also expect to pay something out of pocket to cover the cost of material, paint, motors, encoder and the bearings. How much? TBD

#7 herrointment

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:07 PM

Mike, if this somehow all works out I believe your efforts here on CN regarding this matter will have been a most worthwhile endeavor.

Good on ya!

#8 Jmax

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:10 PM

A big 'second' on that! Thank so much, Mike, for your commitment to get something done.

John

#9 Mkofski

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:16 PM

If you are a new buyer don't expect to spend $799.00. If you want to have your LX80 rebuilt you will be getting the new guts and new tripod but you can also expect to pay something out of pocket to cover the cost of material, paint, motors, encoder and the bearings. How much? TBD


I don't know if any price has been set. I think it would be great if the upgrade and shipping cost was all free. Not going to happen! The 800/850 fiasco was free to all the early users but this is a lot different in some ways. The number of units must be much much larger for the LX80. If Meade were currently a going concern and they did a free upgrade for all the LX80 users, I'd be surprised. I would rather cover cost, within reason, rather than make any kind of recovery that much harder.

The following is pure speculation and not based on ANY numbers I was told: if the upgrade was $100 it would be a no brainer. If it was $500, it'd be a no brainer agin but not the same outcome. Somewhere in between is what I would guess. Again, this is not based on any information I have been given.

#10 DuiA1

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:32 PM

Great news Mike. Looking forward to hearing the details from Meade. Sounds too good to be true...but I'm an optimistic by nature. The lx200 motors would be awesome and the lx90 tripod is solid as I already have one.

#11 Mkofski

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:35 PM

Mike, if this somehow all works out I believe your efforts here on CN regarding this matter will have been a most worthwhile endeavor.

Good on ya!


Jim & John,

Can't take too,much credit. I think Russ Tanton of Explore Scientific may have gotten the ball rolling down in Mexico. If the folks at Meade weren't inclined to make this right, they have the perfect environment at this time just to sit on it. I could tell by talking with Jerry today that he is very proud of what they are doing with the mount. According to him, this isn't something that the want to do, it is being done with mounts they have on site right now.

Mike

#12 Mkofski

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:39 PM

If you are a new buyer don't expect to spend $799.00. If you want to have your LX80 rebuilt you will be getting the new guts and new tripod but you can also expect to pay something out of pocket to cover the cost of material, paint, motors, encoder and the bearings. How much? TBD


Michael,

I'd be surprised if the price of the new incarnation didn't go up a bit over the current $1,000. It it lives up to even the original specs, it would be in competition of mounts that cost 2.5 time as much.

#13 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:39 PM

If you are a new buyer don't expect to spend $799.00. If you want to have your LX80 rebuilt you will be getting the new guts and new tripod but you can also expect to pay something out of pocket to cover the cost of material, paint, motors, encoder and the bearings. How much? TBD


I don't know if any price has been set. I think it would be great if the upgrade and shipping cost was all free. Not going to happen! The 800/850 fiasco was free to all the early users but this is a lot different in some ways. The number of units must be much much larger for the LX80. If Meade were currently a going concern and they did a free upgrade for all the LX80 users, I'd be surprised. I would rather cover cost, within reason, rather than make any kind of recovery that much harder.

The following is pure speculation and not based on ANY numbers I was told: if the upgrade was $100 it would be a no brainer. If it was $500, it'd be a no brainer agin but not the same outcome. Somewhere in between is what I would guess. Again, this is not based on any information I have been given.


No price has been discussed with me. I wouldn't want to speculate either. I do know that they have a few made and once the firmware code is ready it should go out to a few beta testers.

I would like to point out that the majority of LX80 owners are visual only and are probably perfectly happy with the LX80 they bought. I would imagine many others maybe aren't happy but not unhappy enough to return the mount and will use it as is. Then there are those who will return it and pay for the upgrade. I'd be interested in knowing what the *new* cost would be as I would be a buyer at anything less than 1k US. I no longer have an LX80 to trade in. If I were I think I would spend about $150ish as that would bring it in under the 1k cap I have.

#14 JimMo

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:43 PM

It it lives up to even the original specs, it would be in competition of mounts that cost 2.5 time as much.


Shhh. Don't give them any ideas. :shameonyou:

#15 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:44 PM

If you are a new buyer don't expect to spend $799.00. If you want to have your LX80 rebuilt you will be getting the new guts and new tripod but you can also expect to pay something out of pocket to cover the cost of material, paint, motors, encoder and the bearings. How much? TBD


Michael,

I'd be surprised if the price of the new incarnation didn't go up a bit over the current $1,000. It it lives up to even the original specs, it would be in competition of mounts that cost 2.5 time as much.


Yah I understand what you are saying. Puts it up into competition with the CGEM. I have the AVX mount right now and am very happy with its performance but the PE is almost double. I don't think it would be unreasonable to ask $1249.99 for the mount but I personally wouldn't swap for that cost. Anything under a grand and I would have to consider it.

I LOVE the idea of a dual mode mount. However you have to consider the price of the Skywatcher AZ-EQ6.

I also LOVE Audiostar and wish all their mounts had it available. :)

I know Meade is going above and beyond the call to repair the reputation and get mounts they are proud of shipped to people. With the influx of money coming from Sunny they have the cash to do it right. Jerry is doing a phenomenal job.

#16 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:53 PM

Mike, if this somehow all works out I believe your efforts here on CN regarding this matter will have been a most worthwhile endeavor.

Good on ya!


Jim & John,

Can't take too,much credit. I think Russ Tanton of Explore Scientific may have gotten the ball rolling down in Mexico. If the folks at Meade weren't inclined to make this right, they have the perfect environment at this time just to sit on it. I could tell by talking with Jerry today that he is very proud of what they are doing with the mount. According to him, this isn't something that the want to do, it is being done with mounts they have on site right now.

Mike


+1

#17 Starhawk

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:47 PM

Are you sure he said 6061 Stainless Steel? 6061 is the most common aluminum alloy, not a stainless steel. A stainless would have likely had a number like 303, 304, or 316. Do any of them sound more familiar from the phone call?

-Rich

#18 Mkofski

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:57 PM

Rich,

I should have noticed that. My notes, taken quickly during the conversation, say "6061 SS". The phone connection wasn't great and I may have written it wrong. This was in reference to replacing zinc parts. Does it make sense replacing zinc parts with 6061 aluminum?

#19 Stew57

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:18 PM

Maybe 6016 stainless. We use a lot of this in valves.

#20 Starhawk

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:20 PM

Replacing zinc in the housing for aluminum would be a real upgrade. It also could be the worm wheel.

I'm guessing it has a stainless worm. That's a good upgrade.

You know, your persistence is what made this happen.

-Rich

#21 Mkofski

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:54 PM

Hi all,

Just got a clarification on some info that I messed up in my original notes. Mr. Gonzales sent me this:

Mike

Just calcification on material used and wear.
The material 6061 in Aluminum polar housing and new worm blocks, We changed the zinc shaft to 302 stainless, the worm is bronze, the main gear is 6061 aluminum ....
Jerry

#22 Starhawk

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:18 AM

Wow that sounds nice. Those should be good and tough.

-Rich

#23 brokenwave

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 11:32 AM

Great news Mike, Thanks for getting this rolling.

#24 LTE

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 02:06 PM

That's great, Mike!
I eventually bought a Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 for my 8in Newtonian and relegated the LX80 to take a 6in Newtonian - works OK except for occasional wild runoffs while centring stars, but I live in fear of the tripod shedding a leg!

Tom.

#25 Mkofski

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 11:52 PM

That's great, Mike!
I eventually bought a Skywatcher AZ-EQ6 for my 8in Newtonian and relegated the LX80 to take a 6in Newtonian - works OK except for occasional wild runoffs while centring stars, but I live in fear of the tripod shedding a leg!

Tom.


Tom,

I'm a lot more careful about how I move the mount since I had a leg fail! The new tripod should fix that issue but I do like the adjustments on the current one. The AZ-EQ6 looks like a great mount. Do you use either mount in the dual AltAz mode?

Mike






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