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Questions about my new Meade LX 200 12"

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#1 booteswatcher

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 07:52 PM

Hi...everyone.I posted this in the other LX 200 forum...70 views no help. Figured Id try here as I need help with this and don't want to do anything to damage my scope. I'm new to astronomy (less than 1 year). I started out with a Orion Skyview 4.5 reflector , and recently added a Celestron Omni 102 xlt and a Meade 12" Lx200ACF. I've only had the Meade out 3 times so I'm still learning.Any advice/help you guys can give me on the following is greatly appreciated.

1-Dew control....use a dew shield and/or the dew control bands and heater. Also do I need to add extra weights if I install the dew shield?

2-will turning the main focus knob too far either way cause any damage? My fiance did't realize dew had formed on the front corrector plate and was trying to focus it. Now it seems to not be as clear as it was.

3-water spots on the front corrector plate. When the dew dried it left a few spots. Is it necessary to clean them , if so what is the best/safest way or just leave them there.

4- I have stellarium on my 5 year old laptop. Is this the best for computer control of my scope or is there something better? What cables do I need to purchase to do this.

5- explain the mirror lock knob to me. Does it need to be lock or unlock when observing or transporting.

Sorry for all the questions at once but cooler weather is coming and Im looking forward to many nights with this scope.

#2 kkokkolis

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 07:14 AM

This thread was moved from the Beginners forum and deserves some answers from Catadioptric experienced members.

#3 rmollise

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 07:17 AM

1. Unless you live in the desert, you will need a dew shield. Probably heater strips as well. Is your SCT nose or tail heavy?

2. No, it won't hurt a thing as long as you don't force anything.

3. You can clean them, but it is unlikely they will hurt anything.

4. Stellarium is a pretty but limited free program. There are many more powerful ones out there. Use Stellarium for a while and see how you like it. Go-to performance will not be better nor worse with any other program.

5. It needs to be unlocked when you are focusing. Otherwise, it might be good to lock when transporting the scope, but is not required.

#4 Joe Aguiar

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 08:30 AM

1- i use only a dewshield also called dewcap too its fine for me, if its really humid after about 3 hrs it will start to go on the lens so the night is over then but for me 3hrs is fine i dont do all nighters.Also you wont need counters weight just for a dewcap.

2-no they knobs turn maybe 40 turns each way its fine, as for dew let it dry.

3-i would leave it for now till it really gets dirty ONCE or twice a yr is all it needs, just keep front cap on when you are not using it.

4-cant help here i dont do AP, least i say when i can help and cant :p

5-i keep it unlock when you do AP and you have the camera in it should be locked so it doesnt slip or move

joe

#5 *skyguy*

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 10:11 AM

I've had a Meade 12" LX200 in my observatory for the past 14 years. It's a great scope and will provide you with a lifetime of enjoyable observing.

1.) Dew ... I use an electric dew strip and have an old hair dryer that I use to "touch-up" the corrector for those really damp nights. For a portable set-up, a Dew shield (store-bought or homemade) will suffice ... just don't leave the scope pointed toward the zenith for long! You shouldn't need a counter balance weight.

2.) The focus knob on a SCT has a huge range of focus travel. You can't damage it.

3.) The best method to clean the corrector plate is to follow the cleaning instructions in the LX200 manual(page 51):

Meade LX200 Manual

I've used this method on my LX200 for many, many years and the corrector plate on my scope still looks factory new! It also works great on eyepieces, binoculars and refractors. Don't waste your time and money on the expensive and complicated cleaning solutions found on the internet.

4.) Stellarium will work fine for now ... there are many planetarium program (both free and commercial) that do a great job of controlling an LX200. It really becomes a matter of personal preference which one to use and how much ... if any ... money you want to spend.
You will need to buy the "Meade #507 interface cable" to control your scope with a computer:

Meade #507 Cable

This is a serial cable ... so, if your laptop doesn't have a serial port, you'll also need a usb-to-serial adapter. Unfortunately, many of the "cheap" adapters will not work with the LX200. I use a Keyspan usb-to-serial adapter and it works with everything, all of the time!

5.) Mirror lock ... this is used mainly for astrophotography to prevent the mirror from shifting during exposures. For visual observing you can leave it unlocked, but it's a good idea to lock it when transporting the scope.

Good Luck with your new scope ... get out there and use it! :)

#6 Qwickdraw

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 10:58 AM

Bootes,

I agree with the prior posts but as for your question about software, personally I would recommend the combination of SkySafari Pro, Galaxy Note 8 and Roving networks RN240 Bluetooth serial adapter. This combination worked great for me. SS is just awesome and they are working on a major new release with even more goodies. Here is a photo of my setup with the same my 12"LX200 GPS. You can see the BT adaptor hanging. Sense this picture I put the whole setup on a JMI Wheeley bar and now I just pull it out of the garage onto the driveway. I also have the wireless Autostar II controller which has the buttons configured in a much more practical way.

Look, no wires :grin:

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#7 booteswatcher

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 12:32 PM

Thanks to all you guys for your help. I am glad I found this site as everyone here has been really nice and helpful to this newb. I'm sure I will ask lots of questions but I want to learn to do things the correct way and get the most enjoyment from my scope. NC nights are starting to cool now. I bought one of those portable gazebo things i can put my table and laptop etc under. I can run my scope outside with my laptop. Ive purchased one of those auto jump start boxes for power. Now looking for the cables you guys mentioned ,a dew shield and heater with strips. I only have the eyepieces that came with the scopes. Any suggestions for eyepieces?

#8 Joe Aguiar

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 12:40 PM

well on a F/10 scope most Ep will be suiteable and for giving
if you cant get something too expensive even a plossl or super plossl ep will be fine with your scope, if you can get into $100 or more there are many companies that make medium fov/semi large fov ep
joe

#9 Qwickdraw

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 02:28 PM

Any suggestions for eyepieces?


Yes, if you can get a chance to look through a binoviewer go for it, your visual astronomy viewing most likely will change forever.

#10 booteswatcher

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 04:59 PM

Any suggestions for eyepieces?


Yes, if you can get a chance to look through a binoviewer go for it, your visual astronomy viewing most likely will change forever.


I did notice those while browsing around this site.Any suggestions as far as brand or place to purchase? Thank you

#11 Raginar

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 05:03 PM

I've got a similar setup to you. ED80 piggybacked on a LX200 12". I live in a relatively dew-free area and my dew shield does 90% of the work. I do have a dew heater if I need it, but I haven't yet. *knock on wood*

I can't 'over-turn' my focuser at all. There have been cases of the screws being too long, so don't go crazy if you have trouble moving the focuser, look in the tube and see if you have some long screws.

Dew spots aren't a big deal; I would clean them off regularily since the moisture has chemicals that can hurt your coatings. OPT has a cool kit from Dr Clay that I bought; it has waaaaaay too much stuff in it but it works really well. Best 40 bucks I spent.

Stellarium works just fine. If you have a Mac, I'd get Sky Safari. Or, if you want a fancier setup, you can find old copies of the Sky 6 sometimes.

5. Mine doesn't have a mirror lock knob. It does have the position for a screw that is designed to lock the mirror for shipping. My understanding of models with the lock knob is that you use it to avoid mirror flop as you're tracking objects through the sky, and use a crayford to fine focus.

It's a great scope! I'm glad I bought mine :).

#12 Qwickdraw

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 05:12 AM

Any suggestions for eyepieces?


Yes, if you can get a chance to look through a binoviewer go for it, your visual astronomy viewing most likely will change forever.


I did notice those while browsing around this site.Any suggestions as far as brand or place to purchase? Thank you


Well, I don't know your budget. I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a pair of Denkmeier Binotrons which are in the top of their class. My experience is limited to them. It seems most tend to start out with a much less expensive pair ~$300 to test the waters. A very reasonable approach of course. There is a binoviewer forum on CN here that I am sure can give you some good ideas for starting out. Make sure you read nicknacknock's first binoview post I do not have any experience with anything other than the pair of Denks I have now.

#13 Jon_Doh

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 07:57 AM

I use the micro fiber cloths that I clean my professional camera lens with to clean the lens on my SCT. It works great and won't damage the coatings.

#14 thesubwaypusher

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 03:38 AM

Nice rig. If you are going to be portable, get rid of that insane tripod. The 20-pound standard field tripod from the 8 and 10-inch models works perfectly.

Chris

#15 Qwickdraw

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 06:47 AM

Nice rig. If you are going to be portable, get rid of that insane tripod. The 20-pound standard field tripod from the 8 and 10-inch models works perfectly.

Chris


Chris,

If you are referring to my setup thanks. It is now on JMI Wheeley bars with the 10" pneumatic tires stored in my garage. The "insane tripod" is not an issue. Rolls out and setup in just a few minutes.






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