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Thinking of Meade LX80

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#1 Compendium

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 01:40 PM

I looked at the Meade LX80 hybrid mount and it appears to be a good mount for a variety of uses and scopes. Although there's a chance I could move to Florida one day, it's still above the 25 degree latitude limit on the mount. I have some questions about it, though.

With a 10" OTA is there still enough room within the weight limit to put an autoguider on once I decide to do astrophotography? I read that the weight limits on mounts are too optimistic. Why do they not offer an advanced coma-free OTA for that mount? Is it possible to put an ACF or a Celestron Edge HD OTA on it? Can the mount be controlled by a computer, which I will want to do? I read that with a CCD a computer could function as an autoguider.

#2 rmollise

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 01:50 PM

I would suggest reading some of the threads on this mount. But to make a long story short, it is not popular or well-regarded and Meade is having financial difficulties right now.

If you want this mount, WAIT. Meade apparently has plans to fix its problems. If you want a solid and reliable mount of this type now, look at the SkyWatcher AZ-EQ-6, which is also being sold by Orion.

#3 Compendium

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:02 PM

I won't be buying a mount and OTA for a while. I'm just looking around. I did do a search, but the only relevant thread I found discusses the changes to it. Plus, that thread doesn't answer my questions about the mount.

#4 Mkofski

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:05 PM

I have an LX80 that I'm, for the most part, happy with. If you can wait until the end of September, Meade has some changes planned to make the mount live up to it's specs a bit better than it does now.

I'm in the process of trying auto guiding after getting all the software and hardware in place. No results yet. I don't think anyone has posted any pics that used over 30 second subs. I think those have been unguided. For the price, which could change, this is a nice mount for visual.

The changes may well be offered as an upgrade to the existing mount rather than introduced as "the LX80", we just don't know how or when the changes will be available.

#5 Compendium

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:12 PM

It'll probably be half a year yet before I can afford something decent, so there's plenty of time for them to fix it.

#6 rmollise

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:14 PM

IF they fix it. I am sorry to say that, plans or no, there is at least some possibility Meade will not be around in its present form and will not be able to fix anything. I'd think alternatives.

#7 ur7x

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 10:04 AM

It'll probably be half a year yet before I can afford something decent, so there's plenty of time for them to fix it.


Here is what we know about the LX80 right now. This will save you reading 90 pages of threads about the LX80 and 200 page threads about Meade's financial problems.

Right now... we know... that:
1) The LX80 weight limits are grossly exaggerated by Meade most "happy" users limit the load on this mount to 15#, some even less.
2) It will barely hold up a 10" OTA for visual, for AP forgetaboutit
3) IT works best as an Alt/Azm mount, it struggles as a EQ mount.
4) Early versions on the mount had software problems that created all kinds of problems for, PEC, guiding, gotos, etc. While those are mostly fixed now, if you are considering one, make sure that the mount is flashed to the latest firmware BEFORE taking it home. Do NOT buy a used one.
5) The cut on the internal gears are an issue to many who own these mounts. Producing erratic tracking and at least part of the weight capacity problem.
6) The top of the tripod has issues. More then a few on this forum have had legs snap off of the tripod. For me this would be a deal breaker... (no pun intended) BEWARE.

We also know that Meade knows about all of this. Rumor has it that Meade is about to release a fix for this mount so that it performs in line with what Meade originally specified for the mount. But keep in mind with that:
1) It is just a rumor, originally Meade denied that any of these problems existed and
2) Meade as a company is in serious trouble and is looking for a "buy out" partner. If Meade can not conclude their current "take over" they will be in C11 (or worse) right quick... That of course will have implications on not only a "LX85" but will also have implication on any warranty work on an LX80.

I was out last night with the neighbors 9.25 on a AVX... Had none of the problems above.

There are lots of really nice, really affordable Goto mounts that would work great with a 10" OTA. There is no need to wait for Meade to fix this mount.

#8 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 10:53 AM

It'll probably be half a year yet before I can afford something decent, so there's plenty of time for them to fix it.



Compendium,

You will find saying the word "Meade" brings out all the negative news, etc.

So let me start with the easy stuff:
-- We will find out about the Meade buyout in the next 2 weeks, well before your 6 month window. So the fate of Meade discussion is really moot right now.
-- Contrary to the comments here, Meade is in fact selling products and supporting products. I just purchased an APO 130mm refractor (it arrives tomorrow, woo hoo!). And I even have communicated with real people at Meade in the past week.
-- If the buy out dies and Meade has to look at other options? I am pretty certain there is someone else in the wings to buy Meade ASAP.
-- As an added item, Meade is selling a lot of LX600 and LX850s. StarLock is a winner - the real deal. I believe Meade is trying to fill a backlog of 200+ 14" LX850s alone!


Now, I am NOT an LX80 expert, however based on what I have read, seen and spoken with others...
* LX80 seems to be a great visual mount.
* For AP, folks seem to be going with 50% of the weighted mass spec.
* Only two in this forum I have seen report legs snap.
* Meade has sold a lot of these mounts. So clearly there is an interest in this mount.
* Meade will be coming out with a rev of this mount within your time window. Yes, folks say Meade will die by then (like I said Meade seems to be selling lots of high end product for a dying company...), but let us assume Meade is around. Interest in the new rev of the LX80 mount is VERY high. If it goes as well as the LX800 to LX850 leap, the new LX80 will be a winner. I for one will get the LX8X, over the AVX if your wait is up to 6 months. Then again, my used LXD75 works fantastic.
* SkySafari works with the LX80.
* I for one would take the f/8 ACF over the f/10 Edge HD. Yes, you can use Fastar with the Edge, but that is an even bigger leap in cost and of course the Fastar is not for visual use. Still, it boils down to preference, taste, cost, etc.

Now if you can swing the LX600 or LX850 I would go with that ;) Both units with their optics and StarLock are amazing. Then again, they are not as portable as an LX80 setup.

Now wait for it...wait for it...you will see the mega slams on Meade and myself...par for the course on CN...

#9 kevint1

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 11:44 AM

* Only two in this forum I have seen report legs snap.


Now that's reassuring.

#10 Compendium

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 11:48 AM

I recently watched some Youtube videos by Forrest Tanaka on astrophotography. He brought up a few interesting points that may delay me from getting a SCT for a while. Due to the affordability, among other benefits, I may go with an Orion 10" Astrograph Newtonian reflector as my first good OTA. Not only will it be great for visual observation at first to get used to the scope and computerized mount, it will be great for DSO astrophotography at a good price. I don't mind the size of the OTA and means I'll be able to afford a telescope much sooner.

Of course, that still leaves me with the mount. I did see the new AVX mount and is at a relatively good price. However, I'm worried about the weight limit. The 10" Newtonian is 25.5 lb. by itself. It'll be pretty close to the weight limit of the mount (30 lb.) when more accessories are added, especially if I add an autoguider + scope and a camera one day. Will it be able to handle all that? The CGEM can hold 40 lb., but is double the price for that extra 10 lb.

#11 Mkofski

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 11:56 AM

I recently watched a couple Youtube videos by Forrest Tanaka on astrophotography. He brought up a few interesting points that may delay me from getting a SCT for a while. Due to the affordability, among other benefits, I may go with an Orion 10" Astrograph Newtonian reflector as my first good OTA. Not only will it be great for visual observation at first to get used to the scope and computerized mount, it will be great for DSO astrophotography at a good price. I don't mind the size of the OTA and means I'll be able to afford a telescope much sooner.

Of course, that still leaves me with the mount. I did see the new AVX mount and is at a relatively good price. However, I'm worried about the weight limit. The 10" Newtonian is 25.5 lb. by itself. It'll be pretty close to the weight limit of the mount (30 lb.) when more accessories are added, especially if I add an autoguider + scope and a camera. Will it be able to handle all that? The CGEM can hold 40 lb., but is double the price for that extra 10 lb.


You will need a LOT of mount for a 10" Newtonian. If you want to get started imaging, I'd look at a smallish APO refractor. The 10" newt may be within the weight limit of some mounts but since it is very long, that adds to the stability problems. For the AVX mount, if you want a newt, I'd go with a 6". Research all the parts and pieces you will need. I was surprised when I started buying equipment and software for AP at how much is required.

#12 Compendium

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:21 PM

You will need a LOT of mount for a 10" Newtonian. If you want to get started imaging, I'd look at a smallish APO refractor. The 10" newt may be within the weight limit of some mounts but since it is very long, that adds to the stability problems. For the AVX mount, if you want a newt, I'd go with a 6". Research all the parts and pieces you will need. I was surprised when I started buying equipment and software for AP at how much is required.

I won't be able to afford equipment for astrophotography and a new telescope at the same time. First I want a larger OTA and computerized mount with a few eyepices and filters for visual astronomy. Plus, a small ED APO refractor won't be much better than what I already have for visual astronomy.

#13 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:28 PM

You will need a LOT of mount for a 10" Newtonian. If you want to get started imaging, I'd look at a smallish APO refractor. The 10" newt may be within the weight limit of some mounts but since it is very long, that adds to the stability problems. For the AVX mount, if you want a newt, I'd go with a 6". Research all the parts and pieces you will need. I was surprised when I started buying equipment and software for AP at how much is required.

I won't be able to afford equipment for astrophotography and a new telescope at the same time. Plus, a small ED APO refractor won't be much better than what I already have for visual astronomy.


What do you have right now?

I have to admit I am having a lot of fun with my little 80mm Meade APO - visually it is very impressive (we will soon see how things are through the 130mm). I will try a run at AP once I am back in NM.

I agree with Mike's comment.

#14 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:30 PM

* Only two in this forum I have seen report legs snap.


Now that's reassuring.



Actually, let me correct my statement.

Out of the 1000s sold, I have seen 1 confirmed break on CN and this was taken care of by Meade even though the damage was done by the customer.

Bonus points for Meade on that.

#15 Compendium

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:34 PM

What do you have right now?

I have to admit I am having a lot of fun with my little 80mm Meade APO - visually it is very impressive (we will soon see how things are through the 130mm). I will try a run at AP once I am back in NM.

I agree with Mike's comment.


This is the telescope I currently have, the Celestron Firstscope 80EQ. It's the second one on that page. In addition to the 25mm eyepiece I have a 2x barlow and a 10mm eyepiece.

http://www.analytica...tron Web/1E_...

I have had it since I was a kid and is still in great condition.

#16 Starhawk

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:35 PM

Huh? Either you didn't look, or this is disinformation.

Par for the course from this source.

-Rich

#17 brokenwave

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:35 PM

Most affordable mounts will usually only carry 1/2-2/3 of the advertised weights for decent AP. That is a good rule of thumb. Most high end mounts AP, Paramount, etc. will usually do AP at or close to their advertised spec's. I have seen many mounts loaded with too much scope and extras. And the owners will often say the mount is a piece of *BLEEP* because they can't get good AP results.

#18 Starhawk

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:49 PM

Andrew, please make an attempt to get your facts straight.

(1) Where does someone claim Meade isn't currently selling or supporting products in this thread? You claim someone is saying this- who and where?

(2) Please provide data on what published data supports this story about backup buyouts in the offing. According to Meade's management, plan B is liquidation.

(3) This "Coming out with a Rev" is the result of a year-long campaign spearheaded by Mike Kofski. It's irresponsible to soft-pedal the reason for it: The LX80 does not meet any of its stated specs. Mike and a lot of other CN contributors have done a lot of work to document the true state of this hardware, its software interactions, and field behavior, then reported all of it and campaigned for a fix. Will Meade actually do it? Well, they are saying everything will magically be better with aluminum parts instead of zinc pot metal parts (this is why the tripods break), actual drive gear profiles on the worm and wheel, and more fixes. Telling a story of "The great is getting better!" is disingenuous to the point of fraud.

(4) Explain what this "Lots of interest" business is all about. This appears to be nothing more than a massive block of ad puffery. What does it have to do with giving a responsible answer to an OP who asked in good faith?

-Rich

It'll probably be half a year yet before I can afford something decent, so there's plenty of time for them to fix it.



Compendium,

You will find saying the word "Meade" brings out all the negative news, etc.

So let me start with the easy stuff:
-- We will find out about the Meade buyout in the next 2 weeks, well before your 6 month window. So the fate of Meade discussion is really moot right now.
-- Contrary to the comments here, Meade is in fact selling products and supporting products. I just purchased an APO 130mm refractor (it arrives tomorrow, woo hoo!). And I even have communicated with real people at Meade in the past week.
-- If the buy out dies and Meade has to look at other options? I am pretty certain there is someone else in the wings to buy Meade ASAP.
-- As an added item, Meade is selling a lot of LX600 and LX850s. StarLock is a winner - the real deal. I believe Meade is trying to fill a backlog of 200+ 14" LX850s alone!


Now, I am NOT an LX80 expert, however based on what I have read, seen and spoken with others...
* LX80 seems to be a great visual mount.
* For AP, folks seem to be going with 50% of the weighted mass spec.
* Only two in this forum I have seen report legs snap.
* Meade has sold a lot of these mounts. So clearly there is an interest in this mount.
* Meade will be coming out with a rev of this mount within your time window. Yes, folks say Meade will die by then (like I said Meade seems to be selling lots of high end product for a dying company...), but let us assume Meade is around. Interest in the new rev of the LX80 mount is VERY high. If it goes as well as the LX800 to LX850 leap, the new LX80 will be a winner. I for one will get the LX8X, over the AVX if your wait is up to 6 months. Then again, my used LXD75 works fantastic.
* SkySafari works with the LX80.
* I for one would take the f/8 ACF over the f/10 Edge HD. Yes, you can use Fastar with the Edge, but that is an even bigger leap in cost and of course the Fastar is not for visual use. Still, it boils down to preference, taste, cost, etc.

Now if you can swing the LX600 or LX850 I would go with that ;) Both units with their optics and StarLock are amazing. Then again, they are not as portable as an LX80 setup.

Now wait for it...wait for it...you will see the mega slams on Meade and myself...par for the course on CN...



#19 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:51 PM

Most affordable mounts will usually only carry 1/2-2/3 of the advertised weights for decent AP. That is a good rule of thumb. Most high end mounts AP, Paramount, etc. will usually do AP at or close to their advertised spec's. I have seen many mounts loaded with too much scope and extras. And the owners will often say the mount is a piece of *BLEEP* because they can't get good AP results.



Spot on with this.

Though the LX850 should be on the list of high end mounts that meet the specs...

#20 Starhawk

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:53 PM



-Rich

#21 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:58 PM

Sigh,


For now I am going sailing.




In the mean time I do have the big Meade LX850 vs. Celestron vs AP challenge. No one has taken me up on it, so I will likely post the results against cardboard cutouts. Stay tuned for the results in November.

AND in the mean time, lets get back to the OPs main points.


[quote name="Starhawk"]Andrew, please make an attempt to get your facts straight.

(1) Where does someone claim Meade isn't currently selling or supporting products in this thread? You claim someone is saying this- who and where?

(2) Please provide data on what published data supports this story about backup buyouts in the offing. According to Meade's management, plan B is liquidation.

(3) This "Coming out with a Rev" is the result of a year-long campaign spearheaded by Mike Kofski. It's irresponsible to soft-pedal the reason for it: The LX80 does not meet any of its stated specs. Mike and a lot of other CN contributors have done a lot of work to document the true state of this hardware, its software interactions, and field behavior, then reported all of it and campaigned for a fix. Will Meade actually do it? Well, they are saying everything will magically be better with aluminum parts instead of zinc pot metal parts (this is why the tripods break), actual drive gear profiles on the worm and wheel, and more fixes. Telling a story of "The great is getting better!" is disingenuous to the point of fraud.

(4) Explain what this "Lots of interest" business is all about. This appears to be nothing more than a massive block of ad puffery. What does it have to do with giving a responsible answer to an OP who asked in good faith?

-Rich

[quote][quote]It'll probably be half a year yet before I can afford something decent, so there's plenty of time for them to fix it. [/quote]

#22 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:05 PM






Last I checked I am the PI on two space missions though.

Meade is not paying me a penny, though I am a VERY happy customer of Meade.

- Telescopes: all have worked great since day of purchase.
- Accessories: worked great since 1975
- Customer service: Wonderful folks to talk with.



#23 Mkofski

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:06 PM

Rich,

Good points all. Since the OP has several months to make a decision then he can look at the state of mounts at a later date.

In the mean time I'd suggest a LOT of research on what equipment and software is required to get I to AP and still have a system that is usable visually.

#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:08 PM

Due to the affordability, among other benefits, I may go with an Orion 10" Astrograph Newtonian reflector as my first good OTA. Not only will it be great for visual observation at first to get used to the scope and computerized mount, it will be great for DSO astrophotography at a good price.



The Orion Astrograph is an F/4 Newtonian designed for photography, ie, large secondary, focuser backfocus chosen a camera rather than than visual.

Since apparently this is your first Newtonian, well, F/4 is not the place I would start out... Coma is serious, eyepieces do not like F/4 light cones unless you are willing to spend real money. One of my favorite scopes is my 12.5 inch F/4.06 but to make it sing, there's $2000+ in eyepieces, a Paracorr and about $250 collimation tools.

Astrophotography and visual observing, these are different hobbies. It's best not to try to mix them.. $500 buys a 10 inch F/5 Dob complete that is a wonderful visual instrument and is more forgiving than a 10 inch F/4...

Jon

#25 Dave M

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 04:14 PM

Just a reminder Guys, Please!! keep the discussion a polite one.
Thank you!






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