Jump to content


Photo

14" LX200GPS+wedge vs. equatorial mount pros/cons?

  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 swansong

swansong

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Los Angeles,CA

Posted 07 February 2014 - 08:28 PM

I may be inheriting a late 2000s 14" beast for AP, so unbelievably excited. :jump: In your guys' opinion, would it be fine to invest a few hundred in the superwedge and go from there, or is it necessary to get a CGE or lxd850 equatorial mount? Is there any downside with an alt/az+wedge, other than overall weight? I'd much rather sink $ into CCD and naglers, among other things!!

#2 swansong

swansong

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Los Angeles,CA

Posted 07 February 2014 - 08:44 PM

also where I plan to image in the mountains can be pretty windy. Is there a benefit then to the added weight of the alt/az+wedge, or is stability dependent only on adjusting the backlash in the gears on either mount?

#3 nitegeezer

nitegeezer

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1505
  • Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posted 07 February 2014 - 08:58 PM

There is a third option with the derotater.

Are you planning to have this in an observatory or do you plan to set this up and tear it down each time? I think that needs to be answered first.

#4 jrcrilly

jrcrilly

    Refractor wienie no more

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 33958
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2003
  • Loc: NE Ohio

Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:24 PM

I may be inheriting a late 2000s 14" beast for AP, so unbelievably excited. :jump: In your guys' opinion, would it be fine to invest a few hundred in the superwedge and go from there, or is it necessary to get a CGE or lxd850 equatorial mount? Is there any downside with an alt/az+wedge, other than overall weight? I'd much rather sink $ into CCD and naglers, among other things!!


I used a wedged 14" LX200GPS for a few years as an imaging platform here. It worked pretty well for me at 41 degrees N. I've seen reports that the fork arms get floppy at lower latitudes so you might want to check on that with folks in your region. The thing is, a German EQ mount that will carry a 14" Meade for imaging will cost much more than the LX200GPS. You'd be looking at an AP1100 or an MX or a Titan or an LX850 at the least.

#5 P26

P26

    Vendor - Peterson Engineering

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 76
  • Joined: 02 May 2012
  • Loc: RI, USA

Posted 08 February 2014 - 02:25 PM

Hi Swansong,

Your living in LA suggests that you're going to be transporting this 14.

The Meade 14" LX200GPS is an exceptional telescope. Mine is the first Meade 14" shipped and the early versions weigh 125 pounds (there's some additional counterweight iron in the back end). At 170 pounds and 63 years old I was humping this scope down a stairway and out of the house and mounting it on a pier wedge. While a challenge it was doable with Get-A-Grips. But the ergonomics were such that I couldn't safely lay the scope on the back seat of my car for off-site use. (I used a 12" LX200GPS for my event scope).

These days, thankfully, the 14" is wedge mounted in a dome. Originally my 10-foot square observatory was topped with an 8-foot dome and I was very grateful that this is a compact fork mount rather than a space consuming GEM.

The observatory's now topped with a 10-foot dome that could accommodate a GEM mount, but there's no need for it. After tuning the mechanicals and the software the scope has a PEC of between 5 and 10 arc-seconds, and is doing astrometry with an accuracy of ±0.3 arc-seconds to a depth of 20th magnitude.

As nitegeezer suggests, the big question is whether this is to be a fixed or mobile setup. All 14" SCTs are a bit ungainly for grab 'n go.

Clear skies,

Pete Peterson

#6 swansong

swansong

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Los Angeles,CA

Posted 10 February 2014 - 02:26 AM

Thanks everyone for the tips! Appreciate your testimonial Pete (adore your EZ focus mod on my 8" SCT). I just picked up the scope from a family member yesterday and it's in excellent shape, 14" LX200R GPS-SMT, not sure how old it is but it looks barely used!
Posted Image
Posted Image

I still can't believe how huge it is, right now I'm trying to get used to it sitting in my living room, begging me to take it outside. I definitely can't imagine carrying this thing myself and my wife isn't too excited to help... let alone buying an even bigger eq mount! Guess I answered my own question, haha. It did come with a sweet JMI rolling case but that's almost more awkward to pull the scope out and pack it in, basically impossible by myself. I'll test it out for a few weeks but I don't think I can hang with such a behemoth on a regular basis- if only I could leave it setup but I'm in a studio apartment in the middle of the city.

Well, worst case I'll have to sell it or see if I can trade with someone for a 10" ACF or 11" Edge HD OTA, since I already have an NEQ6 pro and I'd like to piggyback an 80mm triplet on it, though that would be at the limit of the mount. I'll keep you all posted.

-E

#7 nitegeezer

nitegeezer

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1505
  • Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posted 10 February 2014 - 06:21 PM

That is a beautiful machine, I am sitting here drooling at the thought of having such a scope. You need to figure out a way to use it, you can't just sell it, I am sure it was given to you to use. Find a small patch of land in the mountains and build an observatory or make some kind of dolly to haul it. That is a scope many of us can only dream about.

#8 SteveRosenow

SteveRosenow

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 848
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Shelton, Washington

Posted 10 February 2014 - 07:06 PM

I'd sell a kidney to have a 14" Meade.

Ugh, that is one lucky score! I'm green with envy!

#9 patg43

patg43

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 227
  • Joined: 20 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Hoodsport, Washington

Posted 10 February 2014 - 07:15 PM

Easy, Steve. I hear you though. It looks like that pic is the most light that tube has seen. Good luck, swan, and I hope you get to look through her soon.

#10 SteveRosenow

SteveRosenow

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 848
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Shelton, Washington

Posted 10 February 2014 - 07:27 PM

I couldn't even imagine the thought of de-forking such a beautiful rig.

Pure sacrilege.

#11 nitegeezer

nitegeezer

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1505
  • Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posted 10 February 2014 - 08:00 PM

I would be building an observatory for it as soon as the ground here thawed. I have the space, and I have the dark sky, but that is something I could only dream about. I hope to see some pictures of it in use.

#12 jaymcgil19

jaymcgil19

    Vendor-LX200 CLASSIC ELECTRONICS EXCHANGE

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 69
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2013
  • Loc: S/E Michigan

Posted 10 February 2014 - 10:02 PM

Hi Swansong,

Do you belong to an astronomy club? One of the members in the club I belong to doesn't seem to have any problems getting other members to help him setup. Also it's more fun observing with other people and with your scope you're sure to draw a crowd.

John M

#13 nitegeezer

nitegeezer

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1505
  • Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posted 11 February 2014 - 12:01 AM

With that scope he would have more of a problem limiting the crowd!! The only reason I would not be in line is that long drive to anywhere in Southern Cal.!!

#14 SteveRosenow

SteveRosenow

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 848
  • Joined: 10 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Shelton, Washington

Posted 11 February 2014 - 02:07 AM

LOL indeed.

I was at a star party back in 2007 and one guy had a 16-inch LX200 on a wedge.

About a half dozen other scopes there were in the 8-10 inch with a few 12's around in the SCT side of things, but the line to view Andromeda out of that 16-inch LX200 was more than five times longer than the line to view Jupiter setting to the west with one of the few 12s that were there.

That 14-inch LX200 will generate some definite interest wherever that thing goes!

#15 travelenfree1952

travelenfree1952

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 43
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2005
  • Loc: California

Posted 11 February 2014 - 02:29 AM

Hi Swan, .... If you decide to purchase a mount and keep the scope, you can buy the JMI Wheely Bars for easy transport from inside your studio apartment to outside. But lots of questions to consider .... 1) Do you have room in your home to put the scope fully mounted on wheely bars? 2) Do you have an unused garage?, or one with lots of room to keep a mounted scope? 3) Do you have a backyard shielded from bright lights for viewing? .... Just some questions to mull over. At least, that gives you a few more possibilities to think about in reaching your decision :question: Travelenfree1952

#16 swansong

swansong

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Los Angeles,CA

Posted 11 February 2014 - 12:39 PM

Hi all, your enthusiasm is palpable! I do a lot of science/astro outreach for my job but schlepping this thing regularly is out of the question- it doesn't even fit in my car without tying down the open hatch (a bit risky)...

I certainly would think I could get help at a star party, but so far I still haven't been able to set it up to test at home as no one has had time to come by and help me. =( Travelenfree, to answer your questions:

1) my studio is about 15x15 with minimal furniture and I also have a vibraphone, a drumset, and a vocal booth in my kitchen, so no I can't risk having a tripod mounted scope to trip on... Unless I find a new job (ugh) moving isn't really a possibility, funny to consider a scope changing my life, haha.

2)Unsecured open carport, no garage...

3) Backyard is a tiny parking lot, so-so views if I unscrew all the security lighting back there but can only see half the light polluted purple sky. I don't mind setting up my gem mounted 8" SCT by myself to snap the moon/jupiter or some easy DSOs with a CLS filter, but a 14" would be a huge hassle to call someone to setup/breakdown every time, the end effect being little to no use. It's a sad reality isn't it...

To clarify it was inherited from a relative who passed away from cancer, she had a small dome for it and did CCD/narrowband stuff in a dark sky area out of LA. The family decided I was the best person to keep it, they just wanted someone to put it to good use so were ok if I sold it, and of course I would share the proceeds. The only other option is to keep it at my dad's house, he has plenty of room for a wheely setup but he is in even worse light pollution. He has a bad back too so I can't count on him to help me load it to take to dark skies either. Sigh...

Well I will post the result of star/planet testing hopefully in the next couple days, it's been perfectly clear out but gotta bribe some friends to come over, sheesh. Thanks again for the suggestions and encouragement, I'm trying to make it happen!!!!

#17 Geo.

Geo.

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3042
  • Joined: 01 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 11 February 2014 - 02:06 PM

The LX200 went out of production in 2000 to be replaced by the LX200GPS. Rough prodcuction date can be determined by the dates on the circuits' ICs. Has to be later than that. Good luck.

#18 patg43

patg43

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 227
  • Joined: 20 Dec 2013
  • Loc: Hoodsport, Washington

Posted 11 February 2014 - 02:11 PM

Get some beer, they will come...If that does not work, I will volunteer my Explorer and cargo space for a dark sky adventure. I dont know if it will ever stop raining here, and I need a vacation. I get to drive, though.
Pat

#19 Martin Lyons

Martin Lyons

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 416
  • Joined: 06 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Cape Town, South Africa

Posted 15 February 2014 - 12:44 AM

The LX200 went out of production in 2000 to be replaced by the LX200GPS. Rough prodcuction date can be determined by the dates on the circuits' ICs. Has to be later than that. Good luck.


Looking at the photos, I notice the wording "Advanced Ritchey-whatever" (can'tspell it right now) which would suggest it is a 14" LX200R (the in-betweener between the GPS and the ACF) so it has the newer ACF optics and the GPS mount.

A really good instrument.

Martin

#20 swansong

swansong

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 10
  • Joined: 17 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Los Angeles,CA

Posted 15 February 2014 - 03:18 PM

Hi Martin,

yes, it's a 14" LX200R GPS-SMT. Been a hectic week, but a friend promised to come by tonight to help me finally get the blue whale outside. We'll see what the moon and Jupiter have to offer...

-E

#21 nitegeezer

nitegeezer

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1505
  • Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posted 15 February 2014 - 05:01 PM

I hope you have a good filter for the moon. I can't even use my 8" for the moon without a filter, I can't imagine what that 14" would do. I bet Jupiter will be fantastic.

#22 davebl

davebl

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 157
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Oregon

Posted 15 February 2014 - 10:50 PM

I use my 14" LX200 on the Moon without a filter all the time. Yes, it's EXTREMELY bright, but I like the unfiltered view. Recently I have taken to using a Baader semi APO filter on the Moon, and it doesn't dim it much, but it does seem to increase the contrast.
Dave

#23 nitegeezer

nitegeezer

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 1505
  • Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posted 16 February 2014 - 01:28 AM

I use my 14" LX200 on the Moon without a filter all the time. Yes, it's EXTREMELY bright, but I like the unfiltered view. Recently I have taken to using a Baader semi APO filter on the Moon, and it doesn't dim it much, but it does seem to increase the contrast.
Dave


Your eyes must be able to tolerate light a lot better than mine. I tried looking at the moon through my 8" and I walked away seeing stars, pun intended. :roflmao: Unless I am looking at a small sliver I have to use a variable polarizing filter. I just can't imagine what it would be through a 14", but I know I will never try it.

#24 P26

P26

    Vendor - Peterson Engineering

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 76
  • Joined: 02 May 2012
  • Loc: RI, USA

Posted 16 February 2014 - 10:25 AM

Even when viewed through a pair of polarizing filters I find Luna to be uncomfortably bright. But if the seeing's good you can work huge magnification and climb down into those craters.

Unfiltered, Luna is so bright in the 14" that I usually direct the eyepiece toward a 2-foot square white viewing screen and enjoy the projected image.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics