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Classic LX200 12" worth/questions

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#1 Smittty692k4

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 01:57 PM

I found a local seller of a Meade "classic" LX200 12".

I just wanted to know what some of the mojor diffrences are between the older and newer models. He says he still uses it regularly and everything is fine with it.

Are there any specific questions I should ask? I am very interested in the scope as an upgrade to a bigger SCT, but I dont want to make a huge mistake in overlooking something to regret it later and hear the dreaded "I told you so" from the wife. :grin:

Thank you.

#2 rmollise

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 02:19 PM

Not as many features (computerwise), no GPS. Poor keypad on hand control. Problems can occur with declination drive.

Most of all?

The electronics are becoming obsolete and parts to repair the circuit boards are becoming unavailable. It will become progressively harder to get the scope fixed _when_ it has problems.

Also, don't buy this scope if you intend to use it in portable fashion frequently. It and its tripod are just too large to make that practical.

Unless the price is a fraking steal, look at a Celestron C11--a NexStar 11 or CPC 1100. Or if you don't plan to move the scope around much, a Meade LX200GPS. ;)

#3 tomcody

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 02:32 PM

I owned a 12" classic and it was a great scope ( if you can lift/ carry it?).
Meade does not support/ repair the classic series anymore so parts and repairs are going to be by third party ( Astronomy Shop and Ron Sampson) are two good sources of parts & repairs. Good news is that there are a lot of used drive parts showing up for sale as owners go to a gem mount.
The biggest thing that goes wrong is a few of the capacitors go bad ( and can damage the circuit boards when they go ( see Meade forums and blogs for info on how to replace them before a problem happens).
Why do the caps fail? one reason is the old 18v power supplies were not well regulated ( I measured up to 22 volts on some of them and the caps are only rated to 24volts). The newer power supplies that Meade supplied are much better regulated to 18 volts ( old ones are tall and square looking, newer ones are flatter and about 1.25" tall) also the Meade 1812 12 v to 18 v DC to DC converter is well regulated. I you buy a scope with the old power supply? I suggest getting one of the newer supplies to help prevent problems.
Other than possible problems with the caps, they are good performers and if the price is right? and you feel good dealing with independent repair venders? why not?
Rex

#4 Smittty692k4

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 02:54 PM

Here is the link. It seems like a really good offer compared to the newer models... But I really dont want any hassle out of an older style.

#5 tomcody

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:15 PM

Perhaps you could post in the MEADE LX forum on this site? there are a lot of LX200 owners there that could provide more insight to the value.

#6 Smittty692k4

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:16 PM

Will do!!

#7 Bill Barlow

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 04:33 PM

This telescope has the EMC coatings. The newer Meade UHTC coatings are a step up for visual use and should bring another 15% light grasp to the eyepiece. I would probably wait for a Meade 12" LX200 with the UHTC coatings and ACF optics. But as Rod says, a C11 CPC1100 or one mounted on a GEM will do about as good and be lighter to move around. Good luck..

Bill

#8 jrcrilly

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 07:09 PM

Here is the link. It seems like a really good offer compared to the newer models... But I really dont want any hassle out of an older style.


They were worth that much ten years ago (I bought one for that back then) but today that price is out of line.

#9 jgraham

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 07:38 PM

Unless the mount is in really good or restorable condition (and I were interested in restoring one) I look at these primarily for their OTAs with the idea of deforking it. I'm not sure what you'd need for a 12". My Atlas handles my 10" SCTs fine (a deforked LX6 and a deforked LX200), I'm not so sure how well it would handle a 12".

#10 Synon

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 11:02 PM

Why is the price out of line? I see these going for near that price in the classifies so people must be willing to pay for it. Sure beats the sticker price on a new scope.

I have a 12" LX200 classic and I love it. Haven't had an issue yet, I replaced the caps in the controller, and there seems to be plenty of electronics floating around as people seem to like to upgrade them to autostar and sell the old boards.

I won't lie, it's a beast. I carry mine about 30-40 feet to set it up outside, it's not easy to put it on the wedge without help but I've been managing fine so far... wouldn't recommend it if you have a bad back. If you plan to put it in an observatory it's less of an issue. The controller is clunky, but you can do an autostar upgrade on it to fix that. I use a laptop to control it so the controller isn't an issue for me. I think GPS is over rated, but that's only because I don't plan to do a lot of traveling with my scopes, might be handy if you frequent different observing sites. It does barely fit in the back seat of my Honda Accord while stored in the soft case though which is pretty remarkable. ;)

#11 Smittty692k4

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 06:44 AM

Weight is no issue. Im fairly young with a very strong back. :grin:

Those capacitors are the issue alot of people are bringing up. Whats the cost to replace them?

This scope will stay at home and be used primarily for planetary imaging. The guy said he still uses it and the optics are fine. He also said he would be more than happy to set it up for me when I was on my way to take a look at it. I just dont know what I was getting into as far as the mount goes, I am ok with judging the rest on my own.

Thank yall so much.

#12 rmollise

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:44 AM

Even if you are young and strong, believe me, weight will be an issue. Oh, not at first. You'll be willing to set up the scope a lot. After a while, however, you'll find reasons whey you just can't drag that beast out: "Hell, I'd like to observe, but the season finale of Mountain Monsters is on the dern cable TV tonight!" :lol:

#13 tomcody

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 10:30 AM

Matt, contact the Astronomy shop, for pricing to replace the capacitors.
web page
They are sponsors of this site and listed on the home page.
Rex
PS what they do is replace the 24v rated caps with 35v rated caps to offer a margin of protection for loosely regulated power supplies and give you new fresh caps.

#14 Smittty692k4

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 10:42 AM

Ha Unk, I don't watch that, but I saw you post that somewhere else. I don't watch a lot of "live" tv, more of a DVR guy. I gone from home a lot so I catch up on stuff when I get home.

Ultimately, (soon I hope) I will acquire 10 acres near my current home to build a house and obs on. But my back had a good few years left in it before I succumb to laziness in astronomy.

And thanks Tom, I will ask the seller if he has already done this and go from there.

#15 Synon

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 11:02 AM

The cost for the replacement caps should cost a couple dollars at most. Good luck!

#16 Bill Barlow

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 05:42 PM

Being able to go and see the scope in person and use it would answer a lot of questions, I would think. Good luck.

Bill

#17 sydney

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 06:21 PM

My 12" LX200 had a vibration in the drive that impaired high power viewing of planets. I don't think it hurt planetary imaging because of the high capture rate (15-60 frames per second). The vibration mimicked bad seeing, but if you push the "east" button at 1x rate, it stops the RA motor, and, in my case, stopped the vibration. May be something you want to check out.

#18 Tom Masterson

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 12:33 AM

I've has mine for about 6 years and love the scope. I replaced my own caps and picked up replacements at Radio Shack. Less than $2 ea. Replacing the capacitors are a MUST, as they are the biggest danger facing the scope. If used too much with the old power supply they WILL go at some point. I replaced my old cap spanker power supply with a regulated 18V power supply made for a laptop. They're cheap and your scope will thank you. Another issue is the trimming potentiometers on the motor control boards can drift over time causing anything from small vibrations in tracking to a runaway drive motor. Again, it probably not if but when - I've had to adjust mine a couple times. These can also be replaced with more stable versions. While these scopes are 1990s technology they are still great scopes and I plan on keeping mine as long as it keeps running. I've been observing for over 45 years and my scope still wows me.

The price for the one in the ad seems a bit high although I bought mine for $2K 6 years ago and couldn't be happier with my purchase. Others are right, its a beast but mine spends 51 weeks a year in a roll off roof in my back yard so that doesn't bother me.

The successor to the classic is the GPS model which uses different electronics and hand controller. On the classics the database is fixed and cannot be updated or changed. The GPS models uses the Autostar which allows you to upload object lists to the scope. The even newer models have different optics that give sharper images across the entire field. You will see some coma in the standard SCT optics that the classic has. Doesn't bother me, but like anything, once you've used the newer type there's no going back for some.

I hope this helps.






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