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Anyone have feedback on an Meade LXD55 used mount?

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#1 highertheflyer

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:36 PM

I have an 11 pound scope wishing to find a home on a used mount finding an LXD55 for sale with a Meade 496 handbox. Any thoughts on price for this ten year old product?
Jim

#2 rmollise

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:54 PM

Yes. Avoid it. One of the most poorly executed GEMs I have ever seen. Not sure what a 496 Autostar is, either. 497? Save yourself a lot of trouble and look for a used LXD75 or CG5. :jedi:

#3 gmartin02

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:26 PM

+1 on what Rod said.

I made the unfortunate mistake of buying one of those turkeys in 2002 not too long after they came out. The gearing was poorly machined and hard to get adjusted properly (DIY work), the tripod legs were spindly & wobbly (I replaced mine with wooden legs), and I don't know if anyone else had this problem, but my LXD55 would "lose its mind" about every 3 or 4 times I used it, requiring a "calibrate mount" routine before you could use GOTO again. Yeeeccchhh!

#4 Pauls72

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 02:38 PM

If you are a mechanically incline person, with some work they can be made into a reasonable mount. However, the vast majority of people would be way better served buying a used LXD75, CG5, GP2 or similar style mount.

I too have never heard of a Meade 496 controller?

#5 obin robinson

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:39 PM

I got my Meade LXD55 for $185 including shipping. After tuning it the mount works beautifully. Once i tuned it the motors sing in prfect harmony. Gotos are dead on exact and it will track an object all night long. I absolutely love it. No problems at all. I have the 497 handbox and i keep it updated. I love it and i would jump on getting another one if the price was right.

obin :grin:

#6 highertheflyer

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 05:56 PM

Thanks everyone for your response.
I started with a Meade ETX60 with a 494, then a Meade ETX125 with a 497, and now a Meade LX80 with an Audiostar.
And I too had never heard of a 496 handbox, but indeed they exist!
I merely wish a grab and go mount for a Celestron 102 and have a club member not sure of a price.
Your suggestions are most welcome.
JIm

#7 Mkofski

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:04 PM

It would have to be WAY under $200. I'd buy one for $150 as a spare mount without any great expectations. If the LX55 looks atractive you could wait on a used LX75 that should be under $400.

#8 jrcrilly

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:54 PM

I'll add another contrary voice. I have lost count of how many LXD55 mounts I've owned over the years and not one was ever troublesome (though a couple were purchased "dead" and required initial repair). Had a couple each of CG5-GT and LXD75 mounts also but didn't see in either a huge improvement except for the tripods. I did see a VERY substantial step between all of those and the GP-DX, though.

I just have to ask - is the #496 merely another relabel of the #495, as the #497 is (identical units with different part numbers), or is it really different in some way?

#9 Eddgie

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 07:13 PM

I've also owned two LXD-55s. Both where sloppy out of the box (though both were bought used) but both worked OK.

In about each case, a half hour of time taken to adjust the worms (end float and mesh) made a nice difference in the way the performed.

The tripods are horrible though. Just not very stiff. Not even suitable for a 100mm f/9 refractor.

But they both worked OK, and with some tuning, I was pretty happy with them.

But the later CG5 is a much better mount and I personally vastly preferred the handset code on the CG5.

Except for that great little red LED light in the LXD55 Handset!!!!! I wish everyone did that!

#10 fetoma

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 07:26 PM

I've had a few LXD-55's. After a hypertune, they seem to be a good mount. I've also had a few LXD-75's, and can say that they were a step up in quality from the 55's. I would recommend the LXD-75 like the others have said, especially pointing out the tripod is far superior than the LXD-55 if you get the one with the 2" diameter legs.

#11 otocycle

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 08:27 PM

I had two LXD55's and they were fine except for the weak tripod legs. They had better polar scopes than the CG5...it even worked on my G11! Just keep the load below 25 lbs and keep those motor/worm gear set screws tight.

It was never meant to be an AP900, and represented an affordable GoTo GEM for many users. The LXD75 was an improvement over the initial design.

#12 Pauls72

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 10:51 PM

1) The tripod is flimsy aluminum. You can make a spreader to stiffen it up or replace it with a better one.
2) From the factory it comes packed with some grease that is more like tar than grease. Everything is usually poorly adjusted. Some of the gears will have burr's or other imperfections that can be cleaned up. So you need to supertune or hypertune the mount. What and how to do it is covered at the AstronomyBoy CG-5 improvements web site. The LXD55 is mechanically almost identical to the CG-5. I used a synthetic grease (SuperLub).
3) The cables/connectors are another weak point. You can reinforce these with some electrical tape and cable ties (zip ties).
4) Upgrade the controller to the latest firmware.
5) This one is optional, you can get and install a Warpsdrive kit. This replaces some of the gears with tooth belt and toothed pulley's.
6) Another optional item is that you can replace the plastic washers with ones made of Teflon. A little synthetic grease on the plastic ones will make them as slick as Teflon.


When your all done, it will still sound like you have a coffee grinder, but it will grind some pretty good coffee. It will run pretty decent. You can use 497 Autostar hand controller with it. Or you can even use the new Audiostar if that's your cup of tea. You can also drive it with a PC and serial cable or do pulse guiding through the hand controller.

This is what I did to stabilize the tripod. I bought a wood bar stool seat at a big box lumber yard. I cut off 3 pieces at an angle roughly the same as the tripod legs sit. I drilled a hole in the middle. I removed the bolt that holds the head onto the mount. I replaced it with a piece of threaded metric shaft, a couple of washers and wing nuts. I threaded the shaft through the tripod and into the head and then used a flat washer and wing nut to tighten it up. Then I slid the spreader on the threaded shaft and use another flat washer and wing nut from the bottom to hold the spread firmly against the legs. It may sound like a lot of work, but it's only a few hours work and well worth it.

If your not mechanically incline, don't even consider it.

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#13 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 10:53 PM

I had two LXD55's and they were fine except for the weak tripod legs. They had better polar scopes than the CG5...it even worked on my G11! Just keep the load below 25 lbs and keep those motor/worm gear set screws tight.

It was never meant to be an AP900, and represented an affordable GoTo GEM for many users. The LXD75 was an improvement over the initial design.


The LXD75 is a wonderful mount! It compliments my "fleet" of mounts very well - and it travels well too.

It seems like the going rate for an excellent quality LXD75 is around $400.

#14 otocycle

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 11:16 PM

Yes...I kept my LXD75 long after upgrading to bigger/better mounts. It is portable and very familiar going back more than 10 years with its LXD55 lineage. It's like an old friend with known quirks but has never let me down.

An LXD55 with #497 Autostar (that hasn't been abused) would get my $200 - $250 any day of the week.

#15 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 09:10 PM

The motors and electronics on the LXD-55 and LXD-75 are identical and interchangeable.

More importantly, you can easily move them to a Vixen GP or GP-DX mount, which would be significantly-better for astrophotography.

The move is painless but you will have to shorten the RA motor mounting bolt by about 1/4" or it will be too long and will damage the motor. You might have to shim the DEC motor a bit for optimum spur gear mesh too.

Used Vixen GP, GP-E, GP-D, GP-DX mounts appear on the net frequently.

I have done this conversion to five Vixen mounts and it works great.






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