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Meade LX850

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#1 hungerford

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 08:22 AM

Hi,
I am in the market for a new mount and I am considering the Meade LX850.
I would like some feedback on performance before I purchase one. I also seem to have read somewhere that Meade has been taken over. Any news on this to.
Thank you.
Vince

#2 gillmj24

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 09:08 AM

You should read spacetravelerx's posts he seems to like his 850 very much and the people who poo-poo the mount and Meade, do not have the mount.

#3 gary-sue69

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 10:06 AM

hi vince, I can give you a little info. I was the 2nd person to own the lx800 with 12" ota when they first started shipping. when I received it I was really impressed with the build, quality, and materials. I was eager to get it out. it was easy to set up and align on north. there were problems with the starlock program. I contacted meade, and they were very good through the whole process. they were working on fixing the bugs and offered me to keep it and wait for the fix or take a full refund. I ended up taking a full refund. they have since corrected all of the issues and came out with the meade lx850. meade is a good company and stands behind their products. I have since purchased the lx850 but have not yet had the opportunity to use it...but I am expecting great things. clear skies

#4 KevH

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 10:17 AM

LX850 blog.

Some good info there.

#5 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 11:19 AM

Hello Vince,

Where do I begin…? Simply put, it is a great mount and comes with a fantastic telescope AND I can verify it works 100% as advertised.

The quality is excellent, performance meets the specs noted on the Meade web site, and most importantly it really is nearly as close to a turnkey telescope as one can get, especially for astrophotography. NOW will it work in bad weather? No. Will it post process your pictures for you? No. But it really does simplify the image taking process. You will only need the computer for the camera itself, though with something like the Canon 60Da and an Intervalometer you can go completely without a computer.

I find it interesting reading all the add ons folks need to include with other telescopes to get fully in the astrophotography mode, which you do not need to do with the LX850. It is already there in the LX850 right out of the box - an integrated with the package and easy to use. For example, for PEC training on other telescopes folks use a computer, software like PEMPro and need to hook up a camera. Me? I just point at a star at the celestial equator, select "Setup/Telescope/RA PEC/Train" on the hand controller - and the LX850 with StarLock does the rest. Drift alignment? Easy peasy - you have to do the mechanical adjustments on alt and az, but the LX850 determines how many turns you need to make!

Another thing to note is that StarLock is a dual guider - it has a wide field and narrow field optical/sensor package. This dual observer system really helps in the overall system's functionality (guiding, PEC training, alignment, HPP). If you are determined to use OAG, no problems. Plug in your OAG system to the LX850 and you are good.

With my LX850 after PEC training, drift alignment and automatic rate calibration I simply do not need to throw away any subs. What I like about the LX850 I can focus on image post processing, or when doing the visual and video astronomy thing just have fun looking at the heavens. With my location I have gone 10 minute subs and nothing gets thrown away. After 10 minutes I have major problems with light pollution, however I will be testing out my Lumicon Deep Sky Filter, so I will push guiding to 20 minutes or more (I believe others have). Stay tuned for my fun with this filter.

BTW, the ACF f/8 optics are really a joy to look through. We can talk specs and such, but bottom line they are excellent. If you can get out and take a look through one (and even do a side by side comparison) before purchasing do it - you will see what I mean. I always love the "wow" factor I get from people looking through the eyepiece (newbs and lifetime observers). I also like the fact the OTA is f/8 out of the box. Contrary to those who do not own an ACF f/8 OTA the central obstruction is a non-issue; visuals and images are fantastic. Another thing about the ACF f/8 OTA is you do not need to purchase an after market focuser for it. I have no problems with image shift at all and focusing is precise. A couple of folks have had problems with the micro focuser add on not handling the weight of the camera train, however I have not experienced this problem at all; problems could be related to temperature changes. The 14" is a heavy mirror and as such comes with a mirror lock, hence removing any chance for mirror flop.

The LX850 also easily handles loads up to 90 lbs for imaging. Well let me correct that, I have tested to the low 80 lb range and it is simply not an issue for the LX850.

Another thing I like - I can go dual telescopes out of the box with the LX850. I typically use my 80mm APO with the 14" f/8 ACF.

The only negative I have, and it is really not a massive negative, is the weight. Is my 14" LX850 transportable for its class ? Yes. You can transport it and be fully up and running for astrophotography in the field in about 30 minutes including setup, alignment, automatic rate calibration, etc. BUT this rig is over 250 lbs. I will be transporting the LX850 to a major satellite event in Utah in August, however I will have a team help me (along with helping setup a few other telescopes, video displays, sound system, etc). In this size range it is best to have a permanent set-up, or semi-permanent set-up. My LX850 mount has been outdoors now since mid-October in New Mexico; when not in use I cover it with a Telegizmos 365 cover. So far the elements have NOT impacted the LX850 mount at all. When I am home I leave the OTA(s) attached to the mount. So on a typical day I remove the cover, remove the lens covers, turn on the LX850 and I am good for the evening. My next plan is to setup an observatory this year at home. I was waiting for the PODMAX, but I cannot wait any longer so I am going with a PRO-DOME 10. Once setup, LX850 mount will be in a permanent arrangement. For some of the future planned functions around the country (much of it with schools) I will likely purchase a second LX850.

SIDE NOTE - Don't waste your money on a BBQ cover for your telescope/mount. Spend the extra coin and get a proper cover.

Lastly, take a look at the reviews of the LX850 in the April 2014 issue of Astronomy and December 2013 issue of Sky & Telescope. If you do not worry about the magazine conspiracy issues noted here on CN, you will find both are excellent reviews of the LX850.

So, if you are looking for an excellent mount that works 100% as advertised, has great optics, and simply "just works" and you want to focus on observing the heavens vs cobbling together a telescope, then the LX850 is for you. The LX850 is definitely a lifetime keeper for me.

#6 Raginar

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 11:25 AM

STX's posts make me want one. Back when they came out it was that or a used Mi-250... unfortunately the LX800s weren't as awesome.

I would buy one at this point just based on his experiences.

#7 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 11:33 AM

Oh, and regarding Meade the company - they are fine!

They were merged with Sunny Optics on October 15, 2013. I have purchased products since the merger and have found no problems working with Meade at all. Service and response is great!

Actually, one nice little change did happen at Meade - they now sell spare parts! Not an issue for me, but a biggy for a few folks here on CN. A very good step in the right direction. It shows Meade is listening to its customers vs. being beholdened purely to the shareholders.

And contrary to comments made by non-Meade owners they still honor warranties of products purchased pre-merger (I called and asked).

Either way, they are moving away from the dark times from 3-8 years ago. All I know is all my purchases over the last two years have been of excellent quality and Meade has been very helpful and responsive. I had one dumb issue with my 90mm SolarMax II, and Meade conferenced called with me and the dealer to resolve the issue, that turned out was my mistake (I did not know there were two focusing tubes on it! READ THE MANUAL!!!!).

Oh, my Meade products from the 70s, 80s, and 90s are still going strong!

#8 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 11:49 AM

STX's posts make me want one. Back when they came out it was that or a used Mi-250... unfortunately the LX800s weren't as awesome.

I would buy one at this point just based on his experiences.


Yeah, the LX850 was what Meade should have come out with in the first place, NOT the LX800. BUT Meade did recall every LX800, and did replace it with the LX850. So I give Meade credit for taking care of the matter. That was actually a biggy for me.

Yeah my experiences are fun with the LX850; actually, I am having a blast with it! And of course folks are welcome to stop by in New Mexico (when I am there of course), to see the LX850 first hand and see for themselves what I am talking about. I will be in Utah with the LX850 in Logan, Utah for the Small Satellite Conference. Folks are welcome to join in the fun there.

Raginar - I will be passing through Rapid City this summer, though I don't think I will be setting up the LX850 there.

One thing to add, I have always dabbled in film astrophotography since I was a wee lad, but found it a REAL test of my patience (film is a PITA). I really did not get back into astrophotography until about 3 years ago when I entered the digital world, and not fully into the DSO digital world until I got the LX850. I have a lot to learn to get to the "pro" level, but I have to say the LX850 really makes the image taking process very easy. All the things I hear people chat about, all the fussing with their telescope, software, etc is simply a non-issue with the LX850. Like I said, I can focus more on the post processing vs. telescope fiddling.

Side note - if Meade comes out with a $1500 lighter weight class EQ mount (say 40 lbs), with the option of adding StarLock, then they will shake up the industry.

#9 Starhawk

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 12:02 PM

I'm just wondering what other alternatives you considered. At this price point, there are several superb options.

-Rich

#10 mmalik

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 12:34 PM

Agree with Rich; also what is your max budget for a mount? Regards

#11 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 12:38 PM

Agree with Rich; also what is your max budget for a mount? Regards


Mine this year? $500k.

Hence, I am getting a fleet. LX850 has proven itself, and it is in the "buy" list.

#12 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 03:25 PM

Hi,
I am in the market for a new mount and I am considering the Meade LX850.
I would like some feedback on performance before I purchase one. I also seem to have read somewhere that Meade has been taken over. Any news on this to.
Thank you.
Vince


Question - are you looking at just the mount, or the mount and OTA? What size OTA?

#13 hungerford

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:22 AM

Many thank for your replies. My budget is $7000 for the mount only. Which other mount would you consider. I have got nothing against Chinese made mount but I am concerned about their quality issues.
Vince

#14 Starhawk

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:27 AM

Many of us would suggest an American made mount (yes, they still exist): The Astro Physics Mach 1 GTO. It's very stable, very accurate, and built like nothing else on the market, yet due to careful machining, is still light enough to move around. When AP gives a weight rating, it is for photographic use, so one of these happily carries 45 lbs. of gear, with the only exception being very long focal length refractors.

-Rich

#15 freestar8n

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:34 AM

My budget is $7000 for the mount only.


Hi-

It would help if you described what you want to do (imaging/visual) and with what telescopes/cameras - of what objects (big wide field nebulae vs. tiny galaxies).

If you want high res. at long focal length you probably want to guide with OAG or equivalent. If you are doing wide field work with a small refractor, you can use a light weight mount and a guide scope. If you mainly want to do visual work, you may not need to guide. Lots of factors involved.

Frank

#16 jrcrilly

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:03 AM

Many of us would suggest an American made mount (yes, they still exist):


Yes, they do. The LX850 is an example! ;)

I realize, of course, that you meant a USA-made mount. There's an early (CP2) AP900 on Astromart at a very attractive price just now.

#17 hungerford

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:40 AM

The mount I am looking for is to carry around 20/25kg and I only use refractors with a focal length of 1000mm. My camera is a Stralight Xpress Trius SX 814 mono.
Form experience American products are of good quality and if anything goes wrong my experience of the after sale is superb.
Vince

#18 Starhawk

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:50 AM

The last time I checked, Mexico hadn't petitioned to join the United States.

-Rich

Many of us would suggest an American made mount (yes, they still exist):


Yes, they do. The LX850 is an example! ;)

I realize, of course, that you meant a USA-made mount. There's an early (CP2) AP900 on Astromart at a very attractive price just now.



#19 Starhawk

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:54 AM

The Astro-Physics mounts are made in Rockford, IL. Their claim to fame is guaranteed performance because every single one is assembled there by Wally, who then runs it to make sure everything works, then runs it against a master reference to make sure it meets performance, and if not, it gets rebuilt with new parts until it does. Then it gets a 3 iteration PEC curve loaded and gets packed up and shipped.

The gear you point to is essentially exactly what this mount was built for. But go ahead and put out a question thread out about it and see what other people say.

-Rich

The mount I am looking for is to carry around 20/25kg and I only use refractors with a focal length of 1000mm. My camera is a Stralight Xpress Trius SX 814 mono.
Form experience American products are of good quality and if anything goes wrong my experience of the after sale is superb.
Vince



#20 WesC

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 03:10 PM

I would also suggest the Mach 1 or a used AP900 if that is your budget. They are MUCH lighter than an LX850.

#21 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 05:00 PM

The last time I checked, Mexico hadn't petitioned to join the United States.

-Rich

America is a continent not a country. ;)

Many of us would suggest an American made mount (yes, they still exist):


Yes, they do. The LX850 is an example! ;)

I realize, of course, that you meant a USA-made mount. There's an early (CP2) AP900 on Astromart at a very attractive price just now.



#22 WesC

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 05:20 PM

Sophistry... this country is colloquially known as America. ;)

#23 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 06:00 PM

Hoo Boy! I leave for the day for satellite design planning meetings, review of a new flight computer, and a tasty lunch and come to find a bit more chatter on the board here!

So, let me try to address some of the comments, questions and all that here:

* The LX850 is made in Mexico. The quality is excellent and so far it seems everyone who owns a LX850 is pleased with it. Meade is also highly responsive to owners of the LX850 (though they are responsive to those of less costly products too).

* Mach1GTO is a very nice mount and is very light weight for its class. I know, I am getting one for deep field, remote use, BUT do not let anyone kid you on a few points. Be prepared to spend close to $10k. Secondly, yes people load it beyond the rated approximate 45 lbs, but A-P will not guarantee that. Are the posters here on CN going to back up their claims monetarily, since certainly A-P will not? It is very nice for some folks on CN to volunteer that for A-P. Me? I am going with the vendor specs.

* AP900 is very good, but you are going used. And you still need to add all the extras.

* LX850 is heavier than the AP900 and Mach1GTO. But also remember, LX850 is rated for 90 lbs, AP900 for 70 lbs, and Mach1GTO for 45 lbs. Yeah, yeah the users go way beyond those numbers, but A-P will not guarantee that. Nice of folks to push the specs, but really not fair to A-P. If you are comfortable going beyond the specs, cool. I am an engineer so I prefer to follow the vendor ratings.

* For what you want to do Vince, the LX850 will work fine and can be lightened up. I not only use it for my 14" ACF/80mm APO combo but also my 130mm APO with cameras and such (see attached pict).

* Frank loves the use of OAG and that is fine. You can use them with the LX850 if you prefer. I have simply not found the need to yet with the 80mm APO (f/l 480mm), the 130mm APO (f/l 910mm), and the 14" f/8 ACF (f/l 2845mm). Many folks have no problems going 10, 20 or 30min on the exposure front with the LX850. And the reviews in Astronomy and S&T bare this out. Now what would be nice is using adaptive optics, something I would like to play with down the road. Either way, based on your requirements Vince, the LX850 will easily meet your needs.

So for $5,999 with the LX850 you get:

* DUAL guiders (no one does this FYI).
* Nearly turnkey system - or you can go on your own with it and build your own creation!
* Auto PEC
* Auto rate calibration
* Auto drift alignment
* High precision pointing
* GPS
* Ability to run cables internally
* Payloads for astrophotography of up to 90 lbs
* Excellent quality mount
* Excellent support for this mount from Meade.

Also of note, my LX850 mount has been outdoors since last October, 2013 and has been through Sun, heat, snow, high winds, dust, temperatures under 0 deg F and humidity ranges from 10% to 80% (with the cover on of course when not in use) - and the mount is still performing extremely well!

I don't know if this is possible, however see if Meade can flex on the price - you just missed their sale when the mount was being sold for I believe $1000 off.

The A-P products are wonderful and I am getting the Mach1GTO (though the 10 Micron is teasing me…), BUT be very realistic on the price as it will blow your budget. The LX850 is well within your budget and is a high quality unit. And it totally performs as advertised. Others will talk smack about the LX850, but none are owners (I know, weird huh?).

Lastly, I am speaking from experience - the LX850 is truly easy to use and none of the fuss with it such as "techniques and tricks for carefully balancing East" or stuff like that. The LX850 "just works" and is very flexible to meet your needs right out of the box. What I love about it most? I can focus on planning my night and processing the image vs. messing around with the mount and telescope causing me to lose very valuable imaging/observing time. I find it a hoot folks buying a mount and then having to add all these tools which require a PC, and dealing with integrating it all together. I simply do not need to do that, nor do I have the time.

Again if you are in the area when I am in New Mexico you are welcome to take a look at the LX850.

Attached Files



#24 Pak

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 07:36 PM

I wonder if it is possible for STX to respond to any post in less than 500 characters. :)

#25 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 07:37 PM

I wonder if it is possible for STX to respond to any post in less than 500 characters. :)


No way, that is why I can't even use Twitter!






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