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Reflections/Questions Regarding Meade

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#26 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 01:47 AM

Andrew, I'm north of Muskegon and south of Ludington,
been trying to get to the Holland star party the last 2 events
but clouds didn't cooperate so maybe next time. Would like to
see more positive Meade postings here and not so much Meade
baching.


I agree on the Meade front. Hopefully the user community and Meade can together help improve things and focus on their strengths.

The weather has been really challenging in Michigan, at least every time I was there. I am finding it useless to bring my gear there. One of these days I hope I can sync up good weather with observing! Maybe we will run into each other at one of the Holland events!

#27 stanislas-jean

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 04:09 AM

Personally the own experience with Meade products was:
- the 628 newtonian, easy to use, easy to improve mechanically, but just average optics,
- the lx50 8" sct, stable, easy to use, but parts unfindable now, the RA motor that cogged a lot after 20 years.
- the lxd 75 mount, Noisy, but the only mount on its category to keep accuracy of pointing after a local meridian crossing, tracking well OK.
- the LX200 GPS 305mm, Noisy but enough accurate to make access to a cam. Easy to improve with Peterson kits. The only model that resists Under a 365 telegismos curtain all the year. Sometimes have to shake the connectors in order to recover connectivity. Easy to remote with a PC and for using their autosuite for Imaging. May be not the best but working. Install the de-rotator device which works well above east and west horizon, but fails at the zenith and near the meridian (this is normal). The fork could improved with some machining operation on the connection face on each arm. This would help a lot when dismounting the tube and after re-assembling on the fork. The ZIS is well OK enough for focusing, other hand controller can be used for improving. The SCT OTA needs a fine alignment for the benefit of the good optics which are easy to clean.
- the 254mm F10 ACF: lighter than the previous version and optically acurate, better than the C11 ultima, sold.
There are some fields of improvements but some needs some design modification as the machining of the fork arms. Peterson kits should be integrated on basis on the package. The ZIS needs to installed on a basic version not on option.
As well the Hood of the meniscus made of aluminium more eefficient that the heating system against moisture ddeposition.
The altazimuthal tracking is acurate on the LX200.
The utilisation notice is a little fuzzy for a new incomer of Meade scopes. The 2012 version solved this.
That's my observations about what was owned and used: still remains here the LX200GPS and the ACF 254mm F10 OTA used for Uranus. Valuable items.
Stanislas-Jean
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#28 tonyt

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 02:00 AM

I've owned a few Meade scopes and been happy with them, but I won't buy any more Meade SCT's unless they add vents - easier to simply buy a Celestron than modify the Meade.

#29 jimb1001

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 01:55 AM

"I'm really not trolling; I would love to love Meade, but they've beaten it out of me. I'm just curious if they're getting better.

Thanks.

Mark"

 

I've bought lots of Meade equipment over the years, most recently my LS 8. It had a quality problem right out of the box that took two trips back to Meade to fix. That's the bad news.

 

The good news is that when they figured out the problem it was fixed under warranty, customer service was helpful and put me through to management at the repair facility when I requested it.

 

Even in the $10K range for scope and mount things don't work as advertised, need repairs and customer service is not always knowlegable. The difference is that they have enough money built into the $10k product to hold your hand while they work through their problems. Under $10k, its hit or miss. And that can be from Meade, Celestron and even Losmandy and Vixen.

 

Now, quite frankly, most Meade bashing posts sound like yours: "I just want to find out if they are doing better because listen to my horror story!"

 

If your intent is to "warn" purchasers about Meade I doubt that your post influences many. If you just want to vent for the umpteenth time, that's what forums are for, or so it seems in many cases.

 

 


Edited by jimb1001, 07 August 2014 - 01:56 AM.


#30 starship2010

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 07:44 PM

All I can say is that I've owned and used a Meade LX200 12" classic for nearly 20 years without a problem. It's been permanently mounted in an observatory and I did a lot if imaging and viewing and I have been very satisfied. Satisfied enough that I upgraded to a 14" LX850. The few times I contacted Meade regarding questions, they always helped me out.

Just my 2 cents.

Jim



#31 WardyNew

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 03:13 PM

Bought a 14" LX850 after lots of research here and elsewhere (and I did look at and through the Celestron HD's in stores and at star party's...which I'm not knocking, they were very good also and was a difficult choice to make).  Despite some concerns at the time due to the comments on the company's future and quality control, my personal experience is I'm very happy with my LX850.  I'm very much a newb so I'm certainly not giving an expert opinion but very happy with the LX850 for what I wanted (large aperature, ability to use different OTAs and image as I develop but easy to get going with at the beginning as someone with little / virtually no experience).  Bearing in mind I am inexperienced I have been able to get into the hobby with ease, starlock pretty much centering things in my eyepiece despite my 'approximate' polar aligning.

 

Still to use some of the more advanced features and about to start getting into imaging but so far it has allowed someone very inexperienced to easily locate and view numerous objects in a single night's observing, even at the long focal length of the LX850. 



#32 neilson

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 10:25 PM

Hi,

   I have a Meade LX3 10" in excellent condition and removed the OTA and put it in an LX200GPS 10" and it's been working great for years.  I own an LXD75 with SN10" and they have also worked great for years.  I wanted a larger eq mount and the LX80's specs had me excited for a while but it ended up being a bummer.   So I ended up returning it, disappointed.  I also returned the 10" ota, mostly because they had just switched to crinkle paint.  They told me that only 40% of the people made a negative comment about the switch.(people that stopped at their booth in one of the telescope conventions)  And they were acting proud of this.

That got me to buy a Celestron CGE.  They were made (machined) in the USA but they stopped making it and switched to (cast) China made mounts.  I bought a 9.25 Edge, I wasn't very happy when I got it and found it was basically a C9.25 with a $1,000. field flattner on the back.  I really wanted a Meade 12" ota but since they are using cheap crinkle paint instead of the beautiful high gloss dark blue paint like my 10" has I said no way, not at that price, and got a new 11" fastar capable Celestron ota painted in gloss black and I can use the same f6.3 reducer/flattner that I use on my Meade 10".  Meade told me they switched to crinkle paint to cut costs and man hours.  If their making the best optics and priced that way, they should look that way too, like they use too.  I would never buy a car with crinkle paint, especially at a premium price.  I like to polish my ota's and show them off just like my cars. I like my new 11" but I really wanted another Meade ota.  

    I think Meade has the best optics but they are heavy, pricey and are painted with cheap looking crinkle paint instead of the high gloss blue.  All their mounts are priced really high these days so that's out of the question too.  As much as I want to buy Meade again, because I feel they have the best quality optics and mounts,  they are preventing me from doing so themselves.  

 Most Americans buy expensive things like tv's and cellphones, laptops and when they break they just throw them away and buy another high priced one without much complaint.  I think Meade felt that we would do that with telescopes.  And maybe that's why they have abandoned support on past products.  What they should realize is we tend to keep telescopes and mounts and expect to use them for a lifetime.  

I feel if Meade would go back to making the best quality at a price most people can afford like they use to then they could come back strong.   And I think now that they are selling some of the parts on their website to us customers, it's a real good step in the right direction.

 

Neilson


Edited by neilson, 11 September 2014 - 10:32 PM.


#33 Bill Barlow

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Posted 13 September 2014 - 03:45 AM

I am with you, Neilson, as far as not wanting to buy the newer Meade OTA's with the crinkle/pebbled paint finish.  I own a mint 12" f/10 ACF OTA with the glossy blue paint and it is a nice looking scope for sure.  I also like the finish on the Celestron glossy black OTA's..now just picking up an 8" XLT OTA.  I had heard that when production moved to Mexico, too many OTA's were rejected when using the glossy paint finish, so a change was made to the crinkle finish.

 

Bill 


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#34 thesubwaypusher

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 11:27 PM

The crinkly **** problem is baffling. I can't imagine that myself and my friend Bill and you Neilson, are the only ones who dislike it. When I was at NEAF I overheard a guy go Ugg... What's with this ****? while he was running his hand over it.  

 

I am at a loss as to why Meade doesn't come to their senses and change it back. Sure, it saves them money in some way, but definitely costs them more in another. I had my eye on a 14" LX200ACF (I have a 12" now, and others in the past) and I said to OPT, if it is the glossy tube, I will take it. And they said they could not open the box to find out so I said, Get Mike West, he would know. It turned out to be the new crinkly **** so I said no thanks. That's a $7,000 sale right there.

 

One of the reasons I am so reluctant to sell my 12" (but must because of space considerations) is because it looks so beautiful in my rec room.

 

Chris


Edited by thesubwaypusher, 11 October 2014 - 11:31 PM.


#35 AR6

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 08:24 AM

Meade's bread and butter customers probably come from my class of amateur observer and I'm not what you call an astronomical elitist by any means.

 

The Meade LXD55 AR6 was a good example.   The aluminum geared LXD55A mount was not all that durable but the bronze geared LXD55B seemed to handle larger payloads pretty well, even when over loaded with the 152mm AR6 optical tube.  The LXD55 was a low cost entry level CGEM mount that actually worked and got a lot of people into the hobby with 6" and 8" apertures. 

 

When I got into astronomy it was in the midst of supporting a family on a modest public service income as a secondary hobby.  None of my telescopes were anywhere near high end and when I went shopping for a large achromatic refractor the Meade DXD55 AR6 ended up being the winner.   It offered the optical performance I needed on a goto mount that, if way undersized actually worked, and even worked pretty well for visual astronomy on a pier as the shaky tripod it sat on was the system's most serious defect. As I recall the MSRP at the time was about $1000 and I got mine for around $600.  At that price point I didn't expect perfection.  

 

Oddly enough, despite its size, weight and related storage requirements, it's the only scope that's survived 10 years and 3 permanent changes of stations during a break from astronomy.   I bought it in the first place due to the medium speed f/8 focal ratio and for a large achromatic refractor the optics were surprisingly good with CA that was a lot less objectionable than I expected.  It's been my preferred planetary scope since first light.  The focuser has never been anything special and can be incredibly frustrating to focus at higher magnifications, but it was durable and at least minimally functional. 

 

More than a decade after I bought it, it has zero support from Meade, but it's still kicking with a new Moonlite focuser, a new Atlas mount and a new Astrozap dew shield.  That's in large part because, like many if not most of it's products over the years, Meade didn't actually make it.   It's been sold under a few different labels and has been available recently from at least two other companies and Explorer Scientific appears to be selling a shorter, faster f/6.5 version of it.  That's probably because it offers great value for the money and for a mass produced chinese telescope, it's well made. The downside is that approach is that when the distribution rights are acquired by someone else, the parts support goes with it, and the new vendor may or may not choose to get involved with selling parts for anything other than warranty service.  

 

Despite the relatively low cost, the LXD55 and LXD 75 series mounts and scopes offered enough performance and incentive for many of their owners to either overlook its flaws or to put up more cash here and there to address those flaws, and in some respects that's an advantage as a relatively new astronomer can get their feet wet for minimum investment in an instrument that offers decent performance, and then expand their horizons with smaller infusions of cash over time.  

 

Meade's 4000 series "super" Plössl eyepieces (they are really just Plössls) are a good example. They are inexpensive, but offer decent viewing, at least in the larger focal lengths and work well enough to get budding astronomers hooked.   They can always upgrade them later, and most customers who sat in the hobby probably will.  I suspect Meade picks up some of this as repeat business, but even if they don't the whole industry benefits from a new customer with astronomical interests.       

 

In that regard, as a business model what Meade does seems to work.  They offer third party made OEM scopes just enough quality to get people into the hobby at an affordable price, with enough performance to keep them happy - then sell them 2-3 more scopes over the years with increasing capabilities as their interests grow and their goals change.  That's not a business model that supports the concept of selling someone a scope that will last for and/or be supported for decades, but it is a model that can keep them afloat in a global market fueled by cheap labor that is very competitive, and they arguably deliver more quality than some of their competitors serving the same entry level and intermediate level customers.

 

If there's room for complaint it's that Meade seems to let some of those business practices bleed into it's high end products where the customers plan to be in the hobby 20 years from now and expect their scope and mount to still be performing well, and be fully supported.  At that point however you're regarding the scope as a rather extreme example of a durable good, and that kind of long term staying power must come with an appropriately high price tag.  

 

Meade just is what it is, and if you expect more from them than that, it's probably on you.       


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#36 Ptkacik

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Posted 16 October 2014 - 10:50 PM

Wow, this all seems so familiar. I love Meade but gave up after shipping back my brand new LX200 and getting it back still broken. I just don't understand why they can't get their act together. As much as I love Meade, I dislike the Chinese, but I do have great respect for the Chinese manufacturing ability and suspect their ownership will improve Meade's manufacturing. At least I hope so.

 

Crinkle paint because they can't deliver scopes without scratching the finish? Really? How do they compete?



#37 ken svp120

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 11:20 AM

AR6, good post and you ended it with a good point...

 

"If there's room for complaint it's that Meade seems to let some of those business practices bleed into it's high end products where the customers plan to be in the hobby 20 years from now and expect their scope and mount to still be performing well, and be fully supported.  At that point however you're regarding the scope as a rather extreme example of a durable good, and that kind of long term staying power must come with an appropriately high price tag."

 

I too bought my first scope - which I still have and use - as a proposition of spending as little as possible for as much as possible and ended up with my Orion 120 package that included mount and basic accessories for $550.  I knew that at this price point it would not be perfect and it wasn't.  There is CA, the focuser is terrible, and the mount is simply adequate for visual and unacceptable for imaging.  But for $550 again, I had my expectations set accordingly and that scope met expectations.

 

As you move up significantly in price, you justafiably expect more.  If I'm dropping several thousand on a mount and several thousand more on a tube assembly I am starting to expect there will be no problems, that the components are built to last, and that support is both easy and competent.  In stating that "...some of those business practices bleed into it's higher end products..." you identified one key problem that they faced.  Nobody is going to get bent out of shape when a couple hundred dollar scope and mount behaves like a couple hundred dollar scope and mount.  Its a very different set of expectations though when you've parted with $5,000 - $15,000 on a set-up and if those expectations aren't readily met...well, you can see what happens...

 

I'm curious to know how things are going with the new Meade.  They've been in business for nearly a year now?  How has the experience and product changed if at all?  Are owner's that have put in for service being taken care of quickly and are repairs being done right first time around?  How are new purchases going...in so far as when you buy a new product is it delivered without issues?  It may be too soon to get many replies to these questions but I really am curious to hear how the new outfit is doing with the hope that things are improving.  Any news?



#38 Bill Barlow

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Posted 18 October 2014 - 02:06 PM

I'm not sure much has changed since Sunny took over Meade about a year ago from reading posts on CN. It seems their mounts and OTA's are still hit or miss with less than stellar customer service and support.

 

Bill


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#39 Meade Instr.

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 11:46 AM

Actually a great deal has changed here at Meade since the ownership and executive management changes but Customer Service will always be a priority. That is why we maintain the 800 number and have maintained a staff level for the last 19 years (my tenure here is all I can speak to) so that call wait times are reasonable. The average call wait time has never been more than a few minutes and is typically under 2. 

 

Parts and repairs can be challenging for any company where products evolve like they do in our industry and suppliers sometimes come and go, but we surely do our best. It is our hope and belief that with the new ownership many if not most of those supply chain concerns will be history.

 

Thanks to all our supporters, and clear skies everyone! 

 

John Piper

Customer Service Manager 

Meade Instruments Corp. 


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#40 nitegeezer

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 12:35 PM

John,

 

It would be really nice if in addition to your 800 number there was a support email.  Many questions can be easily addressed with an email and could be sent while we were experiencing a problem, and would be independent of timezones.

 

Thanks much

 

Chuck



#41 ken svp120

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 09:07 AM

John,

 

Great to see that Meade personnel are watching these forums, and participating - I think its a great place to honestly see how things are going with the folks who are actually using your gear.

 

Good luck with the new Meade.



#42 Fivel

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 10:18 AM

For nitegeezer, I have had no problem asking for and getting, the email addresses of both Luis and Salvador, in customer support. The were very helpful, and emailing proved to be very effective communication for support.

I also talked to John Piper and he was quite helpful, as well.

Customer support is always inundated with requests, and with a bit of follow up on our parts, most problems should hopefully get resolved. I was initially frustrated with a parts availability issue, but with the help of Luis and Salvador, I finally have a properly working LX90.

Regards, and clear dark skies, Fivel

 



#43 glenncondie

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 09:19 PM

hey John  I have a 14" RCX  That I paid  $ 15,000  for  in  2007 , would you like to buy it ? it just needs a few small repairs ,how much

                do you think I can get for it  ???  NEVER AGAIN MAN    


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#44 WebFoot

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 09:44 PM

hey John  I have a 14" RCX  That I paid  $ 15,000  for  in  2007 , would you like to buy it ? it just needs a few small repairs ,how much

                do you think I can get for it  ???  NEVER AGAIN MAN    

I got US$500 a few months ago for my 12" RCX400, which needed only one small repair (the focus motors, of course).  I paid US$6000 for it, brand new.  The "new" Meade, whose customer service John touts above, refused to deal with it when it broke.  That's what I get for having been a loyal Meade customer.

 

It's interesting to ponder what else I could have done with that $6000, and still had something with significant value after a few years.  Like buying just about any other quality piece of astronomy gear.

 

Never again, indeed.


Edited by WebFoot, 25 October 2014 - 10:37 PM.







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