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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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moynihan
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Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Question about Celestron/Meade posts
      #5725363 - 03/11/13 08:32 AM

My interaction on CN kind of pulses, increasing when looking for new equipment, then dropping, etc. I check this CAT forum primarily MAK related info. But in the past i was a SCT user for awhile.
But, i have noticed of late the the majority of posts here are re Celestron SCT's rather than MEADE SCT's. Are folks with the Meades just so busy using them, they do not have time to post?
Kidding
Why the preponderance of Celestron posts?


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George Methvin
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: moynihan]
      #5725546 - 03/11/13 10:37 AM

Not sure I have owend both Meade and Celestron SCT and they are fine scopes. For the last year or so the Celestron HD has been the big thing. Maybe Meade needs to do like every one else and jump on the ( HD ) band wagon. HD tv, HD sound, HD sunglasses and HD vision. LOL. You might try the Meade forum, lots of things there about Meade SCT there. I have a Meade 10 LX200 classic and I use it often and it is a very good scope. I don't write about it because it always works and gives very good images, I don.t spend my time trying to compaire it to othere scopes no reason to so theres nothing to really talk about.

Edited by George Methvin (03/11/13 11:30 AM)


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gustavo_sanchez
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: George Methvin]
      #5725733 - 03/11/13 12:22 PM

Quote:

Not sure I have owend both Meade and Celestron SCT and they are fine scopes. For the last year or so the Celestron HD has been the big thing. Maybe Meade needs to do like every one else and jump on the ( HD ) band wagon. HD tv, HD sound, HD sunglasses and HD vision. LOL. You might try the Meade forum, lots of things there about Meade SCT there. I have a Meade 10 LX200 classic and I use it often and it is a very good scope. I don't write about it because it always works and gives very good images, I don.t spend my time trying to compaire it to othere scopes no reason to so theres nothing to really talk about.




Meade has the ACF Optics that are comparable to the Celestron Edge HD. In my opinion, Meade SCT telescopes are better than Celestron's, but they are more expensive. But that's just my opinion, of course. Both brands are excellent in any case.


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moynihan
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: George Methvin]
      #5725890 - 03/11/13 01:44 PM

Quote:

You might try the Meade forum, lots of things there about Meade SCT there.



Wow, never noticed that forum. So, different SCT types/brands can get their own forum, but Maks cannot? As Spock used to say, fascinating.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: moynihan]
      #5725936 - 03/11/13 02:04 PM

Quote:

So, different SCT types/brands can get their own forum, but Maks cannot? As Spock used to say, fascinating.




The various SCT optical tube variants, as well as MCT and variants and Cassegrain reflectors and variants are generally discussed here. The brand-specific fora are primarily for discussions of mount-related issues, due to the great variance in mounts and controllers between the major vendors.


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WesC
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: George Methvin]
      #5746166 - 03/20/13 08:23 PM

As soon as Meade gets on the "HD" bandwagon, Celestron will have moved on to the "3D" bandwagon and Meade will be behind again!

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Eddgie
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: moynihan]
      #5747220 - 03/21/13 09:51 AM

My opinion and my opinion only.

First, I prefer Celestron because over the years, I think their quality has been more consistent.

Meade has put some real barkers on the shelf. Astro-Foren tested one Meade that was worse than department store scopes.

But that was a while ago, and I think they have stepped up.

Now, it appears that Meade is trying to differentiate itself by biasing their newest (and most expensive) designs a bit more toward imaging. This is a good strategy because of Celestron's dominance in the general purpose market.

But here is where I think Meade really falls behind. For years, they remained married to the fork mounted SCT for most of its larger offerings, and the Meade fork mounted scopes are really stinking heavy.

As an example, Celestron abandoned the fork mounting for the C14 maybe 20 years ago, and when they did, I think C14 sales improved, and in the last decade, have exploded. C14s used to be rare, but now they are extremely common with a large percentage of CN forum members owning them and many more considering purchasing them.
The comparable Meade takes two people to get on to the wedge.

Celstron moved quickly to offer a choice of mounts starting with the SPs a very long time ago, and has since continued to improve its mounts.

Meade never really stepped up after the LXDs (though I have one and like it well enough and to be fair, it was super-advanced when it first came out, and is easily the biggest payload carrier I have, being better at my 6" APO than my CGE).

As a result, Meade simply could not sell to people that were looking for a scope package with GEM mounting.

And while Meade sold OTAs, many had a counterweigt in the rear that was just dead weight for GEM usage.

This is a marketing failure. Meade sould have judged from the market that a GEM mount was an important option for their larger scopes and they failed to follow up with larger mounts.
So, a lot of reasons I think, but mostly a marketing mess-up.

You have to be watching trends carefully and responding aggressivly.

I think Celstron did this with the EdgeHDs. They could see that their 40 year old designs were not up to the challange of modern wide field eyepieces and the growing trend to large chip imaging, and while Meade came out with the ACF first, they missed on field curvature.

I think that was a critical miss for them.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5747237 - 03/21/13 10:00 AM

Quote:

But here is where I think Meade really falls behind. For years, they remained married to the fork mounted SCT for most of its larger offerings, and the Meade fork mounted scopes are really stinking heavy.




The LX600 addresses that by adapting the split forks scheme from their 16" LX200 to the new line.


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Eddgie
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5747271 - 03/21/13 10:24 AM

Now...

But for 15 years, Meade left the big GEM packeging market to Celestron.

I believe it cost them momemtum in the marketplace.

Just my opinion, but after 31 years doing business around the globe, I think I have a pretty good eye for market goofs. I think they missed the trend to GEMs in large SCTs and that hurt them.

After all, we had Celestron and Losmandy both selling large GEMS, and my bet is that 80% of the telescopes riding on those GEMS are Celstron SCTs.

Until a few years ago, Meade would not even offer OTA only sales. Only complete units.

Edited by Eddgie (03/21/13 10:29 AM)


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5747289 - 03/21/13 10:33 AM

Quote:

Now...

But for 15 years, Meade left the big GEM packging market to Celestron.




Yes, the CGE was a big win for Celestron; it and the followup CGE Pro and CGEM went too long without a response from Meade. Now that they are making a GEM effort, they are trying some cool new things with forkmounts as well.

I don't get out for outreach as frequently as I once did, but when I dragged a 10" LX200 and/or an 11" Nexstar GPS around I'd have been pretty excited about a removable rig like the LX600.


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Greg Boynton
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Reged: 05/29/09

Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5747410 - 03/21/13 11:38 AM

I hope Meade has great success with their new products. Yes, they made some bad mistakes in the market, but losing Meade would be a disaster. Meade is why Celestron has made the effort to bring good new products to market. Also, one of the things I miss in Celestron's lineup is larger heavy duty fork mounts. Yes, forks are a drag to transport and set up for imaging. On the other hand, I really like a fork on a pier for visual. My old C-14 fork (with Byers mod) is so comfortable to sit under for anything near zenith. There is a larger range of view from a single seated position, covering more of the most desirable part of the sky. I love the quality of my C14, but I'm sure there are M14s out there that are just as good and for my particular preferences, the Meade forks are a plus.

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jgraham
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Greg Boynton]
      #5747486 - 03/21/13 12:20 PM

It ebbs and flows. A few years ago it was the other way around.

Variety is the spice of life!


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Robo-bob
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Greg Boynton]
      #5747754 - 03/21/13 02:41 PM

Quote:

I hope Meade has great success with their new products. Yes, they made some bad mistakes in the market, but losing Meade would be a disaster. Meade is why Celestron has made the effort to bring good new products to market.




I do not understand this logic. This implies that if Meade tanks, Celestron will respond by ceasing innovation and turning out *BLEEP*. This is absurd. If Celestron took this approach they would also wither and die and some other innovator would begin manufacturing SCTs.
If Meade cacks, they have no one to blame but themselves. We would miss them initially but eventually the "free market" cream would rise to the top and the void would be filled. In any market where there is money to be made, it indeed will be made.
If someone had told me even 10 years ago that offshore manufacturers would be cranking out decent quality 5" apos for under $2K, I would have laughed. The SCT void of a Meadeless market place would be short lived.


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Greg Boynton
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Reged: 05/29/09

Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Robo-bob]
      #5747861 - 03/21/13 03:35 PM

The logic is that Meade is already here, providing competition in developing mass market scopes of good quality and it has whole lot of product out in the market that would be orphaned. The Meade & Celestron competition has given us the ACF and Edge optics most recently. I think it would take a lot longer to get more major innovations from Celestron if they didn't have a similar large scale manufacturer nipping as their heals. Heck, I'll bet Tom Johnson and Co could have introduced the Edge design in 1970 if there had been market pressure.

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LivingNDixie
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Eddgie]
      #5748041 - 03/21/13 05:07 PM

Quote:

My opinion and my opinion only.

First, I prefer Celestron because over the years, I think their quality has been more consistent.

Meade has put some real barkers on the shelf. Astro-Foren tested one Meade that was worse than department store scopes.

But that was a while ago, and I think they have stepped up.

Now, it appears that Meade is trying to differentiate itself by biasing their newest (and most expensive) designs a bit more toward imaging. This is a good strategy because of Celestron's dominance in the general purpose market.

But here is where I think Meade really falls behind. For years, they remained married to the fork mounted SCT for most of its larger offerings, and the Meade fork mounted scopes are really stinking heavy.

As an example, Celestron abandoned the fork mounting for the C14 maybe 20 years ago, and when they did, I think C14 sales improved, and in the last decade, have exploded. C14s used to be rare, but now they are extremely common with a large percentage of CN forum members owning them and many more considering purchasing them.
The comparable Meade takes two people to get on to the wedge.

Celstron moved quickly to offer a choice of mounts starting with the SPs a very long time ago, and has since continued to improve its mounts.

Meade never really stepped up after the LXDs (though I have one and like it well enough and to be fair, it was super-advanced when it first came out, and is easily the biggest payload carrier I have, being better at my 6" APO than my CGE).

As a result, Meade simply could not sell to people that were looking for a scope package with GEM mounting.

And while Meade sold OTAs, many had a counterweigt in the rear that was just dead weight for GEM usage.

This is a marketing failure. Meade sould have judged from the market that a GEM mount was an important option for their larger scopes and they failed to follow up with larger mounts.
So, a lot of reasons I think, but mostly a marketing mess-up.

You have to be watching trends carefully and responding aggressivly.

I think Celstron did this with the EdgeHDs. They could see that their 40 year old designs were not up to the challange of modern wide field eyepieces and the growing trend to large chip imaging, and while Meade came out with the ACF first, they missed on field curvature.

I think that was a critical miss for them.




I have had good results with both companies and I have heard horror stories about both companies. I know that website where people post tests of their optics. I generally don't use it to judge a scope or company.

I personally think that Celestron is where Meade was in the 1990s. To me Meade is truly the innovator of the two, they made the goto SCT a market success with the LX200. Celestron has just made it a little better with SkyAlign. I do agree about the C14s being on a GEM. Meade dropped the ball tying the scope to the LX200 forks.

Right now Celestron is doing well leading, but these two companies are always challenging each other.


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rcdk
super member


Reged: 11/13/10

Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: moynihan]
      #5748307 - 03/21/13 07:02 PM

I am not trying to be argumentative, and I know I will be blasted for saying this, but peruse the forum and judge for yourself: Celestron owners are more vocal in general and more negative about Meade. I would even go so far as to say that it seems more Celestron owners have a bit of an inferiority complex regarding Meade than Meade owners do concerning Celestron.

I really have no idea why that should be the case, since Celestron products are every bit as good as Meade, and Celestron has some great strong points. I don't own a Meade because I feel it is better, but because it fit my requirements better. Maybe more Celestron owners truly feel their product is superior, and that is great, but it can mean it is harder for them to be objective.


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rcdk]
      #5748326 - 03/21/13 07:12 PM

Quote:

I am not trying to be argumentative, and I know I will be blasted for saying this, but peruse the forum and judge for yourself: Celestron owners are more vocal in general and more negative about Meade. I would even go so far as to say that it seems more Celestron owners have a bit of an inferiority complex regarding Meade




Even if this were true, which in my opinion it is most assuredly NOT, what possible good could come from saying it do ya think?!

Edited by rmollise (03/21/13 07:13 PM)


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Rick Woods
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5748380 - 03/21/13 07:35 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I am not trying to be argumentative, and I know I will be blasted for saying this, but peruse the forum and judge for yourself: Celestron owners are more vocal in general and more negative about Meade. I would even go so far as to say that it seems more Celestron owners have a bit of an inferiority complex regarding Meade




Even if this were true, which in my opinion it is most assuredly NOT, what possible good could come from saying it do ya think?!




Hey! Who are you, and what have you done with Rod?!?


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rcdk
super member


Reged: 11/13/10

Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5748839 - 03/22/13 12:06 AM

Quote:



Even if this were true, which in my opinion it is most assuredly NOT, what possible good could come from saying it do ya think?!




I am just trying to satisfy my curiosity. If no one else has observed this, then there isn't anything to discuss.

But I have been of this opinion since I did my research to make my own purchase decision. When I went through as many posts in Cats & Casses as I could four years ago, I came away with an overwhelmingly negative view of Meade. A fellow astronomer challenged that view and pointed out a majority of our club are Meade owners who are happy with their scopes.

Nothing I have seen in the four years I have been following this forum has done anything but confirm my original observation.

I should qualify that by saying that I have only observed the different Meade/Celestron owner perceptions of competing products here (CN) -- but the sample size is a lot bigger here as well. Lopsided rivalries exist in a lot of markets. Usually there is some disparity driving it, such as market share (PC vs Mac) or just a different class of user (Windows vs Unix).


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Robo-bob]
      #5749106 - 03/22/13 06:40 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I hope Meade has great success with their new products. Yes, they made some bad mistakes in the market, but losing Meade would be a disaster. Meade is why Celestron has made the effort to bring good new products to market.




I do not understand this logic. This implies that if Meade tanks, Celestron will respond by ceasing innovation and turning out *BLEEP*. This is absurd. If Celestron took this approach they would also wither and die and some other innovator would begin manufacturing SCTs.
If Meade cacks, they have no one to blame but themselves. We would miss them initially but eventually the "free market" cream would rise to the top and the void would be filled. In any market where there is money to be made, it indeed will be made.
If someone had told me even 10 years ago that offshore manufacturers would be cranking out decent quality 5" apos for under $2K, I would have laughed. The SCT void of a Meadeless market place would be short lived.





It is not "absurd" it is just that you are reading to much into Greg's post. Have you never heard that competition is good for the consumer? If Meade folded, Celestron's incentive to bring their prices down, improve quality and new products would naturally be affected. To what degree is always dependant on what the marketplace lets them "get away with"


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moynihan
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5749119 - 03/22/13 06:58 AM

Quote:

...If Meade cacks, ... The SCT void of a Meadeless market place would be short lived.




If Meade came upon financial troubles, it would be purchased, probably by some company on the Rim, for its brand alone (not making any comment on the quality of its products, myself).


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Footbag
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: moynihan]
      #5749334 - 03/22/13 09:56 AM

I don't see people bashing Meade. I do see a lot of people, including myself, advocating for Edge scopes. They are really great and Celestron hit it out of the park.

If I thought the Meade ACF scopes were better then the Edge, I'd own one.


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rcdk]
      #5749411 - 03/22/13 10:32 AM

Quote:



I am just trying to satisfy my curiosity.




Funny way of doing that, muchacho. If I didn't know better, I'd say you are a pot-stirrer in your day job.

And I've observed just the opposite---SO THERE!


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5749415 - 03/22/13 10:34 AM

Quote:



Hey! Who are you, and what have you done with Rod?!?




OLD FATHER TIME DONE GOT ME AT LAST...!


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Geo.
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5749936 - 03/22/13 03:17 PM

Well, for years Meade was the 600# gorilla having pushed C into bankruptcy. Now that Synta's Asian sources and capital is available to Celestron, the foot is on the other shoe. Additionally, IME, Meade made (and continues to make) several expensive mistakes in product development. This resulted in harsher terms and worse service to resellers. This gave Celestron an opening. My old dealer has dropped Meade entirely as Celestron is just better to deal with.

Frankly, I doubt Meade's Chinese suppliers are going to let it go away. They just picked up the Explorer Scientific brand and Meade could be had pretty cheaply. With 1.3 million shares outstanding and an opening bid of $1.76 this morning, you can probably own it for $3-4 million. I note it's trading a lot closer to its 52 week low than its high, and well under book value. This counter to the stock market as a whole, but the last 10-Q shows a $2.73 million dollar loss for the 9 months ending Nov. 2012.

More worrying is the burn rate. Meade went throught $3.62 million in cash in the 10-Q period and only had $282,000 cash on hand. Meade's reporting is not very current, so we're two quarters down the road with not much finacial information to go on. I see Bill Vorce has purchased several LS-6 returns. Meade usually lets these go for about $0.10 on the dollar if you buy 50+. One way ro raise cash, if you have to.


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Whichwayisnorth
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Geo.]
      #5749942 - 03/22/13 03:21 PM

I own both, like both, use both. Both companies have been good and bad to me in the past but I neither like or dislike them. It is what it is. Mass produced telescopes, mounts and cameras.

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moynihan
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Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Geo.]
      #5749971 - 03/22/13 03:31 PM

Quote:

... I doubt Meade's Chinese suppliers are going to let it go away.




The suppliers simply start a new company together to buy the brand? ....Wonder who is Synta's major Chinese competitor is? Anybody know? It would be interesting if Synta bought Meade also


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jrbarnett
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Robo-bob]
      #5750354 - 03/22/13 06:33 PM

I completely agree. It's like saying that if Buick goes under and stops making big, floaty, grandpa boats, Lincoln will stop improving its own floaty boats and raise prices. The reality is, just as there are many other kinds of automobiles (other than floaty boats) competing for buyers' dollars, there are many other telescope designs (beyond SCTs) doing the same. There's no shortage of competition. Company's that fail to win business deserve to lose. It's the American way.

- Jim


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jrbarnett
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: LivingNDixie]
      #5750587 - 03/22/13 08:49 PM

Innovator? Meade? Did Meade invent the commercial SCT?

They copied Celestron a decade after Celestron had revolutionized reflecting telescopes and virtually buried Meade's quaint old Newtonian and imported achromat business. I'd rank Meade as more of a "competitor" than "innovator" and not a competitor averse to knocking off rather than investing in novel designs. Though the LX200 *mount* was truly innovative. Unfortunately it carried a derivative/knock off OTA design.

- Jim


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rcdk
super member


Reged: 11/13/10

Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Whichwayisnorth]
      #5750949 - 03/22/13 11:38 PM

Quote:

I own both, like both, use both. Both companies have been good and bad to me in the past but I neither like or dislike them. It is what it is. Mass produced telescopes, mounts and cameras.




I keep trying to figure out an angle to convince my wife to let me get a Celestron now. So I can round out the collection, or something. Whatever it takes.


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5751527 - 03/23/13 10:44 AM

Quote:

Though the LX200 *mount* was truly innovative. Unfortunately it carried a derivative/knock off OTA design.

- Jim




It was innovative, but it was more a case of building on, improving, and making cheaper the Celestron Compustar, which was there first.


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jrbarnett
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5751716 - 03/23/13 11:59 AM

Was Compustar GOTO or "push-to"? I can't remember.

Regards,

Jim


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5751913 - 03/23/13 01:33 PM

I just read in another thread how an owner could not get parts from Orion to repair a drive gear. Others commented on how this is policy for both Meade and Celestron. I am considering buying a new 14" cat next month and this, if true is very disturbing. Does anybody have 1st hand knowledge of this?

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Greg Boynton
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5752085 - 03/23/13 03:09 PM

I own Celestrons. But I don't have anything against blue paint.

I think Meade has put out it's fair share of interesting products. Actually a bunch of them that I would be happy to own. I think Meade has taken a lot of chances, maybe more than Celestron. A fair number had problems. But looking at my short list here, I would be happy to own any of these, even the RCX. It's bit over-engineered, but very cool.

The big ED refractors
ETXs and the LX200 Mak
RCX400
ACF F10 SCT
Research Grade Newts and eyepieces.
16" SCTs


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Stelios
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Greg Boynton]
      #5752221 - 03/23/13 04:20 PM

I also own Celestrons, but I had no complaints against Meade--until I recommended an AR-5 to a friend back in 2002. The optics were great--but the experience with the mount, and (which is what matters) Meade's customer service, was so bad it alienated my friend to astronomy, and convinced me (who, being more experienced, was the one communicating with Meade) to not trust them again. I think that others are in the same emotional boat albeit with different products, and this, more than the Edge HD vs. ACF superiority issue, may be why Celestron is doing better today.

What might convince me to try Meade again? A consistent stream of good customer service experiences, and consistent reports of good quality control and products that work. Even then, there would have to be a fall-off in Celestron quality before I would bother.


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5752283 - 03/23/13 04:49 PM

Quote:

I just read in another thread how an owner could not get parts from Orion to repair a drive gear. Others commented on how this is policy for both Meade and Celestron. I am considering buying a new 14" cat next month and this, if true is very disturbing. Does anybody have 1st hand knowledge of this?




Not sure about Meade's current policy. Celestron does sell spare parts.

Edited by rmollise (03/23/13 04:49 PM)


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cn register 5
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5752313 - 03/23/13 05:06 PM

The impression I get is that Meade sell dreams, by which I mean that they tell you about the excitement you will feel using their products.

Chris


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5752344 - 03/23/13 05:31 PM

Quote:

The impression I get is that Meade sell dreams, by which I mean that they tell you about the excitement you will feel using their products.

Chris




Well, that's true to some extent for everything beyond butter and eggs...

Meade has produced some excellent telescopes over the years.

In the 80s, the 2080s and their LX3/5/6 descendants were not always as good as Celestrons optically--though sometimes they were, and sometimes they were better--but they almost always brought some innovation to the table. I've always bought Celestron, but I am well aware if John Diebel's company hadn't been in there competing, we'd probably still be using AC drive-spur gear scopes.

In the 1990s, the LX200 hit a home freaking run. While it was only somewhat of a technical advance over the Compustar, it was AFFORDABLE. The ETX was another huge hit and a great scope. So was the LX90.

Turn of the century...the LX200GPS was, for once, Meade playing catchup...and it stuck in a lot of folks' craws that they tried to even the playing field with lawsuits. From there, it was downhill for 'em IMHO. The RCX 400 was a great idea, but it was very poorly executed. The failure of the RCX coupled with the financial realities that came with Meade being a publicly traded company have left them struggling to get up from the canvas these days. Given the seriousness of the business climate for them, I am ASTOUNDED that they let the LX800 and 80 out the door without both being fracking perfect.

Still, while I've often been called "a Celestron man," I am rooting for old blue. I am not immune to their siren song...I came THIS CLOSE to ordering an RCX. Sometimes in the dead of night, I shudder over that. Other times I am sorry I didn't. Go figure.


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5752657 - 03/23/13 08:40 PM

Quote:

Was Compustar GOTO or "push-to"? I can't remember.

Regards,

Jim




Go-to.


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EFT
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5753879 - 03/24/13 12:46 PM

Quote:

I just read in another thread how an owner could not get parts from Orion to repair a drive gear. Others commented on how this is policy for both Meade and Celestron. I am considering buying a new 14" cat next month and this, if true is very disturbing. Does anybody have 1st hand knowledge of this?




Orion does not sell parts to second owners. Meade seems to be in flux, sometimes they have parts available, sometimes they don't, but when they do they will sell them to anyone. Celestron will sell parts to anyone in the US. In each case, the parts available are limited to certain parts. No one has a parts list where they will sell any part of their equipment.


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Stew57
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: EFT]
      #5754219 - 03/24/13 02:51 PM

According to Meade's supposed official policy is no parts for sale. Celestron will sell SOME parts. When I contacted them about a part for my tripod they told me they ddon't sell parts and would have to buy a new one. I only needed a spreader. Can't comment on Orion as I have not needed any replacement parts from them.

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DrOxygen
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5754779 - 03/24/13 07:24 PM

Wow. I'm always fascinated by the Meade Celestron debate. I own both and find both to be of good quality. I think having completion is good for the consumer. Many complain of the current Meade debacle with the delayed shipping of new products. On the other hand I purchased a Edge 9.5 which is a great scope but I've been waiting for over a year for a focal reducer to use it with imaging and still no word. When you think of it it's longer than I've been waiting for the Meade LX859 and LX600 to come out. Overall I think the competition between the two only benefits us. I currently won both brand scopes and sincerely hope the best for both companies.

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rflinn68
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: DrOxygen]
      #5758066 - 03/26/13 12:09 PM

I own a C8 and a M10 and really like them both. I only hope that Meade gets back on their feet and dont go under. I considered selling my 10" Meade and got an offer but decided to keep it. The problem I have with Meade is that they want you to ship the entire scope back for repair instead of selling you a replacement part. I seriously do hope things work out for them because they do offer quality products and the competition with Celestron is good for all of us!

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Glen A W
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: moynihan]
      #5758331 - 03/26/13 02:16 PM

Quote:


If Meade came upon financial troubles, it would be purchased, probably by some company on the Rim, for its brand alone (not making any comment on the quality of its products, myself).





Sorry to say, it already has, and only some legalities have kept it from being bought by someone... which at this point would probably be the best thing for them, though it would likely mean foreign ownership.

I feel Meade became too much of a marketing company. I have had plenty of their products and been pleased, but they really elevated the hype back in the 90's, and I don't think it did anybody any good. My experience with their customer service worked out well for me but resulted in so much wasted time and money on their part that I couldn't understand how they could operate in such a fashion. I hope they pull through but like Celestron, they probably won't be our all-American company by the time it all plays out. Glen


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5758516 - 03/26/13 03:50 PM

Quote:

Quote:


If Meade came upon financial troubles, it would be purchased, probably by some company on the Rim, for its brand alone (not making any comment on the quality of its products, myself).





Sorry to say, it already has, and only some legalities have kept it from being bought by someone... which at this point would probably be the best thing for them, though it would likely mean foreign ownership.

I feel Meade became too much of a marketing company. I have had plenty of their products and been pleased, but they really elevated the hype back in the 90's, and I don't think it did anybody any good. My experience with their customer service worked out well for me but resulted in so much wasted time and money on their part that I couldn't understand how they could operate in such a fashion. I hope they pull through but like Celestron, they probably won't be our all-American company by the time it all plays out. Glen




Given their small number of U.S. employees, I wouldn't call them an all-American company now.

Edited by rmollise (03/26/13 03:51 PM)


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rflinn68
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5759769 - 03/27/13 08:49 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:


If Meade came upon financial troubles, it would be purchased, probably by some company on the Rim, for its brand alone (not making any comment on the quality of its products, myself).





Sorry to say, it already has, and only some legalities have kept it from being bought by someone... which at this point would probably be the best thing for them, though it would likely mean foreign ownership.

I feel Meade became too much of a marketing company. I have had plenty of their products and been pleased, but they really elevated the hype back in the 90's, and I don't think it did anybody any good. My experience with their customer service worked out well for me but resulted in so much wasted time and money on their part that I couldn't understand how they could operate in such a fashion. I hope they pull through but like Celestron, they probably won't be our all-American company by the time it all plays out. Glen




Given their small number of U.S. employees, I wouldn't call them an all-American company now.




They havent been for some time now. They've been in Mexico for a good while.


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rflinn68]
      #5759775 - 03/27/13 08:52 AM

Yes, I know that.

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LivingNDixie
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: EFT]
      #5759871 - 03/27/13 09:51 AM

Rod,
Is there any truth to the story of a brain drain from Celestron to Meade back in the late 1980s? I had heard about 10 years ago that the folks who designed the Compustar were the same folks who designed the LX200.


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Qwickdraw
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: EFT]
      #5760151 - 03/27/13 12:28 PM

So I am considering purchasing a new 14" LX850 in about a month. Apart from service. I have come to the conclusion that both Meade and Celestron offer very similar products. I love the form factor of the LX850 compared to the Edge but my concerns are 1st Meade's financial ability to deliver and 2nd, spare parts. I understand that Celestron will sell spare parts but I am not sure about Meade. Should I just call Meade and tell them my concern with after sales support? Does anybody have knowledge of their history in this regard? For instance, if there is a motor that I know is bad, can I just order a new motor? Sending the whole scope in for repair is not a practical solution unless Meade picks up that cost?

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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Qwickdraw]
      #5760194 - 03/27/13 12:51 PM

Getting parts from many manufactures has been a recurring problem. I've had at least four epsiodes with Meade's customer service in recent years and all four went about as smoothly as I would expect when dealing with high tech gear over the phone and through the mail. Each time I've been happy with the service and outcome. On one occassion I needed a replacement part and I was told that they generally don't supply individual parts. However, a few days later the part showed up and my door... no charge. My standard mode of operation with any company is to be kind and patient unitl I have reason not to be kind and patient.

If'n it were me I would not hesitate to order a product from any reputable manufacturer (Meade or otherwise). However, I would be careful to run it hard through its paces for at least the first couple of weeks to make sure that everything works. These things tend to either die right away or to live forever.

Enjoy shopping around, that's the fun (and cheap) part.


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Glen A W
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jgraham]
      #5760444 - 03/27/13 02:17 PM

I personally would not hesitate to order anything that is in stock and ready to go, but I would not make a major purchase on something that is not ready to ship in light of the risk of getting stuck. This would be true for me of most companies these days. There are a lot of weak operations out there and when one files for bankruptcy, you can find yourself with little remedy except to shrug. Meade has been barely hanging on for years. I love the company but I would not entrust thousands of dollars to their continuing operation. I wish the company could really get whipped hard by some new management and the fact they have made it this far is amazing to me. They don't make money. Glen

Edited by Glen A W (03/27/13 02:20 PM)


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: LivingNDixie]
      #5760491 - 03/27/13 02:41 PM

Quote:

Rod,
Is there any truth to the story of a brain drain from Celestron to Meade back in the late 1980s? I had heard about 10 years ago that the folks who designed the Compustar were the same folks who designed the LX200.




Dude, you're asking me to dig way back in the memory banks, and my memory ain't what it was--if it ever was any good.

But...if I recall, the Compustar was designed by Mike Simmons, who did most of the work as a consultant for Celestron. He later went on to a company called ATI, who were bought by Meade. There's a lot of the C-star idea in the Classic LX200 with the edges rounded off and made affordable.

Celestron? Shame they didn't build on the Compustar. Don't know why they didn't. They may have mistaken amateurs' reluctance to buy it for disinterest, when it was really the price.


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orion61

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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5760675 - 03/27/13 03:59 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Was Compustar GOTO or "push-to"? I can't remember.

Regards,

Jim




Go-to.




I have one a Compustar 14 and it is a great scope, the pointing is good, and it has the best hand control ever made. I just have to carry a car battery LOL... They were a bit ahead of their time, and the technology.. but then again they were aimed at high end applications.. but WE wanted the ability in our back yards.. the very first LX200's were well, kind of a DUD, that was quickly and fairly silently revised into a phenom. You couldn't even
use a wedge and polar align them with the bug in the software.
I am very conflicted about this thread, one of my favorite scopes ever was the Meade 7" Mak..
It seemed like Meade finally had all their Ducks in a row
but they shot off in so many directions at once they didn't have the problems worked out of them,
STILL DONT.. I hope they do tho. I looked through the best SCT in my life, it was a 10" Meade..
Love em both we all need them both..
Rod hit the nail on the head about the A/C and spur gear thing.


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Mike7Mak
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jgraham]
      #5760997 - 03/27/13 06:24 PM

Quote:

On one occassion I needed a replacement part and I was told that they generally don't supply individual parts. However, a few days later the part showed up and my door... no charge. My standard mode of operation with any company is to be kind and patient unitl I have reason not to be kind and patient.




Nothing to do with you John, but stories like that absolutely drive me nuts. When I needed a new LX200gps motherboard I heard the same stories and got all kinds of advice about how to get parts from Meade. From 'be polite on the phone' to 'keep calling/ask for a supervisor till you get someone who will help you'. None of it worked. And yet I ended up buying a new unused spare motherboard from a group member who had bought it straight from Meade.

The arbitrary enforcement of the 'no parts' policy is more infuriating than the policy itself.


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Calypte
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Stew57]
      #5762867 - 03/28/13 06:14 PM

Quote:

According to Meade's supposed official policy is no parts for sale. Celestron will sell SOME parts.



At last year's RTMC I bought a used Celestron 8SE. I needed a "baffle lock nut," which is the part on the rear of the scope that has the SCT thread to attach the star diagonal. I was able to get a couple of email replies from Celestron, but I could never get a firm answer about whether I could get the part and how much it might cost. The vendor of the used scope (a major supplier of new gear in Calif.; not OPT) was unable to help and unwilling to lean on Celestron. I suddenly remembered Don Rothman's Astro Parts Outlet. He knew exactly what I needed, and he had a bunch of them (i.e. baffle lock nuts). My personal opinion is that Don charges a bit too much for many items, but he certainly helped me convert a boat anchor into a usable scope.


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budman1961
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Calypte]
      #5763102 - 03/28/13 08:11 PM

If you look on Celestrons website, they have a parts section, that shows specifically what parts they have for sale.

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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: budman1961]
      #5763365 - 03/28/13 11:00 PM

"The arbitrary enforcement of the 'no parts' policy is more infuriating than the policy itself. "

I couldn't agree more. I wish that our market were large enough that we could buy individual parts and components, but I fear that it is not. It would be interesting to spend some time as an intern at one of these companies to see what really goes on. As far as parts go, I've seen some interesting little companies on eBay that specialize in parting out scopes. It is amazing what you can find.

Oh well, if the world were only perfect...


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Greg Boynton
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jgraham]
      #5763555 - 03/29/13 02:19 AM

Think about the other side of the parts availability issue. I'll bet most of the parts we want to buy normally arrive at the Meade and Celestron factories as part of complete sub-assemblies made by contract somewhere else. The parts they do keep on hand are those needed to address specific manufacturing defects and also a few critical circuit boards, motors and other parts that are easily broken.

The last part I needed from Celestron was a spreader leg clamp for a CPC tripod. These are plastic, easily broken and I was shocked to discover, unavailable at the time. In order to satisfy my need, they had to take one off a tripod that was returned for warranty. My guess is that Celestron never had these clamps as a separate item from the complete tripod.

It seems like their parts strategy is to keep a junkyard of returned items and pull non-inventoried parts from those returns for repairs. That way they don't have to inventory a lot of low volume individual parts. They never have to purchase anything but the spec'd sub-assemblies. This situation also helps explain the "send us to whole scope for repairs" policy. It gives them the option of swapping out as much or as little as they want to. Whatever keeps the cost down for them.


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cn register 5
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Greg Boynton]
      #5763833 - 03/29/13 08:26 AM

I think you are right, in some case I think that manufacturers would have to take a new scope and dismantle it to get parts. They will have lost the revenue from that.

As for requiring the whole scope, if they accepted parts they have to carefully check what was returned and keep track of it so they send the correct parts back. There's all sorts of scope for problems here, on both sides. Far simpler to get the whole lot back then every return will have the same packing list.

C and M seem to be at a difficult size. They are too big to give the personal service of a smaller outfit but not so big that they can justify a massive spares and support organisation in the way that a car manufacturer can do.

Chris


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Calypte
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5765353 - 03/29/13 05:21 PM

Quote:

I think you are right, in some case I think that manufacturers would have to take a new scope and dismantle it to get parts. They will have lost the revenue from that.



When the scopes were made in USA, somebody probably could've walked into the shop and snatched the needed part out of a hopper. But with the scopes arriving complete from Mexico (Meade) and China (Celestron), there's probably no supply of small detail parts to harvest. Knowing what I know now, I'm not sure that I would even bother with the importer.


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Footbag
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5765415 - 03/29/13 05:53 PM

Quote:


C and M seem to be at a difficult size. They are too big to give the personal service of a smaller outfit but not so big that they can justify a massive spares and support organisation in the way that a car manufacturer can do.






This has nothing to do with their size. Unless they have a "bad deal" with their manufacturer, they should be able to send back any defective products and they should be able to request replacement parts.

The problem is that when many manufacturers go the route of becoming importers/marketers they forget that they will have certain servicing responsibilities. For some reason, many neglect this responsibility rather then address it. The thinking is it's cheaper to replace then to repair. But out of warranty folks are SOL. And this is poor service.

Unfortunately, It's not just the telescope industry.


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Mike7Mak
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Footbag]
      #5765549 - 03/29/13 07:06 PM

It wouldn't take a 'massive spares and support organization'.

One parts guy and an aisle of bins containing circuit boards, motors, drive assemblies, and a few oddball nuts and bolts, is all it would take. They wouldn't have to stock optics, bare tubes, large castings, or even things like mirror sled assemblies. Just common failure prone components accessable by removing a few screws and a cover plate. The stuff it takes a screwdriver, set of hex wrenches, and a half hour to replace.


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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Mike7Mak]
      #5766527 - 03/30/13 11:09 AM

A fun conversation to chime in on!

* For me, I oogled over the Celestron as a kid! I dreamed we would be rich enough to buy a Celestron 8 in 1972, and maybe, maybe the C14. I even requested a price sheet at 10 years old! One could dream...

* But my first "Expensive" gadget to go with my RV-6 was a Meade Orthoscopic, and I was hooked ever since on Meade. Once I obtained the 10" LX200 (Classic) I was in heaven. It still works perfect to this day. That is good and bad for Meade. Great I bought it (and a few accessories), but then only purchased one other scope since then (ETX-125, love it!). So no more sales for me. No need to get a Celestron either. Why get another scope? And another? And Another?

* Parts. You know folks, I am an engineer. A rocket scientist (for real!). But, I don't want to fiddle with parts, boards, gears and all that on my telescope. No time for it. Yes, I want to fiddle and add gadgets to my scopes, but I am totally fine with shipping my scopes to Meade or finding a local guru to fix the scope. Though I have never had the need to have any telescope be repaired in my 45 years, save one power cord. And I travel all over.

* Meade today - I really hope they turn things around, and I do think they are close to doing it. If my business grows a tad more, I would love to buy all of Meade's stock (actually I would purchase using other options to complex to list here). There is just too much IP there. Coronado anyone?

* LX850: Did Meade screw up with the LX800? Yep! They rushed it out in their desperation for revenue and to deal with the competition (total speculation and conjecture btw). BUT - the LX850s are showing up in many places now, and it appears Meade has a massive winner there based on early user reports. I was told by a dealer Meade is doubtful, and the LX850 will likely bomb. I followed up, did more research, and decided the LX850 was for me. Followed up with the dealer, but got the same story - however they had a wonderful C14 they would sell me right now. I came close to pulling the trigger, however the LX850 met my requirements and is now shipping. Things were still wishy-washy with the dealer, so I punted went with another dealer and now I have a 14" LX850 being shipped in the next 10-15 days (first new scope in 14 years!). I won't go into my detailed reasoning for purchasing the LX850 over the C14 (that is for another thread), but the LX850 100% met my requirements. And I do think the LX850 will be the next home run for Meade (LX200 is in that same category). Now I need to name this puppy (the others are "Ol' Reliable" and "Mini-Me").

* GEM vs. Fork. For me I was REALLY torn on this. I was 100% Fork mount guy. Now, I am game at both!

* Celestron vs. Meade? I am fine with both organizations. At times this topic borders on the same tone as religion and politics. For the record my preferences are Meade, Macintosh, iOS, Michigan Football/Basketball, old time conservative with hippy underpinnings, and...you get the drift.

And after 40 years, dreams do come true for little boys waiting for that big, expensive telescope...


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5766851 - 03/30/13 01:09 PM

What should Meade have done? Concentrate on getting the freaking LX80 right. How many 6k 850s are they going to sell? Not many, I'd guess.

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5766876 - 03/30/13 01:23 PM

I agree on getting the LX80 right. And who knows, they might be working on that, though I have heard from some who have no problems with their LX80s.

LX850s - I am hearing from behind the scenes (nothing I can prove mathematically), there is heavy interest for the LX850 mounts. Talking with dealers, sales will likely be for the next year 2000+ LX850 10" and 12" models, and 500 of the 14" also. Not a bad round of sales. We will know more over the coming months, but people seem to be ready to spend the bucks.


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orion61

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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5766900 - 03/30/13 01:43 PM

Here is the real problem (my thoughts)they are mixing 2 completely opposite technology types.
#1 Telescopes which have up to lately, lasted or been expected to last virtually centurys!
#2 Computers, which by the time you buy them, are obsolete.. Plus used in the worst environments for electronics,and those that get left out
for nights/Days/Weeks, at a time due to lazyness to tear them down.. or belief that there is a proper way to tarp/store outside.. perhaps they have such an invention, I Personally havent seen one.
Having worked in the Computer Support area I know first hand
how many parts are gone through, I think they under estimated the need on the first ones, plus the requirement to keep parts for what is it 7 years after end of production?
So now, we have arguably the best commercial optics ever made, on high priced mounts that end up on the parts heap after 10-20 years
No wonder German EQ's have made such a dramatic comeback!
Everybody thought I was CRAZY to buy the First Super Polaris
system advertised by Celestron when I could have a fork mount..SUPERB for what it was back then. It's kind of funny now.
I agree Fun Thread, I've learned as much in the last few years from everybody here as 40 years on my own...


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5766918 - 03/30/13 02:00 PM

Quote:

I agree on getting the LX80 right. And who knows, they might be working on that, though I have heard from some who have no problems with their LX80s.

LX850s - I am hearing from behind the scenes (nothing I can prove mathematically), there is heavy interest for the LX850 mounts. Talking with dealers, sales will likely be for the next year 2000+ LX850 10" and 12" models, and 500 of the 14" also. Not a bad round of sales. We will know more over the coming months, but people seem to be ready to spend the bucks.




I believe you've heard what you've heard, but unless the LX850 really proves itself, I very much doubt there will be "heavy sales." Like most folks, if I were in the market for a mount at this price level, I'd rather spend more for an AP or Bisque than a little less for what has proved itself to be a pig in a poke once already.

Further, there just aren't enough amateurs able to spend this much for a mount to generate enough capital to buoy poor Meade IMHO.

At 3-4K this mount could be a lifesaver. At six thousand dollars? Sorry, I just don't believe it.


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BlueGrass
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5766979 - 03/30/13 02:31 PM

As was pointed out in an earlier post, Meade seems to be targeting their latest offerings to the group of folks looking to find a one-stop solution for AP. Setup and go. The complexities of long FL imaging are many and have driven many folks who initially get the bug to abandon it. An integrated solution provided to the 'masses', particularly in today's world where everything has a camera and everyone is posting pictures will find a market. How many, time will tell....

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vct123
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5766983 - 03/30/13 02:34 PM

Meade needs some help

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skyquest25
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: vct123]
      #5767070 - 03/30/13 03:38 PM

Personally I think they need to stop trying to pump out new scopes. You make the flagship then focus on accessories, upgrades, and PARTS !

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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5767156 - 03/30/13 04:52 PM

Quote:

As was pointed out in an earlier post, Meade seems to be targeting their latest offerings to the group of folks looking to find a one-stop solution for AP. Setup and go. The complexities of long FL imaging are many and have driven many folks who initially get the bug to abandon it. An integrated solution provided to the 'masses',




That's a reasonable conclusion...BUT...I wonder how many people in that group will be able or willing to pay Meade 6,000 dollars for their solution. Meade needs to stay in business for all our sakes. I just question the wisdom of pouring their resources into this instead of something with wider appeal.


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5767365 - 03/30/13 06:33 PM

From the beginning of the LX800/850, LX80 and LX600 saga, it has struck me as somewhat strange that Meade was pursuing a fairly high end segment of the AP market with (excepting the LX80 in one of its modes) non-equatorial mounts. Seems they were hoping for a culture shift among imagers, that they would wake up one morning by the hundreds and slap themselves in their collective foreheads and shout, "By golly, I no longer need an EQ mount for those long exposures and 10,000 subs!" Unlikely . . .

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WadeH237
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5767940 - 03/31/13 12:21 AM

Quote:

As was pointed out in an earlier post, Meade seems to be targeting their latest offerings to the group of folks looking to find a one-stop solution for AP. Setup and go.




On the one hand, this makes sense. I think that there are a lot of people looking for something like this.

On the other hand, I think that they are trying to compete in the wrong price range. At $3000 (with a smaller mount, say 40 lb actual imaging payload), I think that they'd find a lot of buyers. Someone in the market for an imaging mount in their current price range probably already knows how to guide, and would rather build a system with best-of-breed parts and not be stuck with whatever Meade built into the mount. It reminds me a bit of a TV with a built in DVD player.

-Wade


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BlueGrass
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: WadeH237]
      #5768042 - 03/31/13 03:19 AM

Or those of us old enough to remember those console stereo TV behemoths ...

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cn register 5
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5768087 - 03/31/13 05:05 AM

It makes a lot of sense that people want a one stop solution to the long focal length mount and guiding problem. It's probably about the most difficult thing in amateur astronomy.

If one supplier is providing this they have nowhere to hide. The user knows exactly who to call when it isn't working. This difficult problem will generate lots of support issues, even if everything is working correctly.

Selling two $3000 systems will probably generate twice as many support calls as one $6000 system. I guess that's why Meade has gone for the high end systems first.

Chris


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Patrick
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5768286 - 03/31/13 09:24 AM

Quote:

Now I need to name this puppy (the others are "Ol' Reliable" and "Mini-Me").




I sincerely hope it's won't be "O-Woe-Is-Me"...

I don't know anything about the LX850's, never seen one, or read many reports on them. The thing that has soured me about Meade is the shameful way they have brought half baked products to market and stuck it to the consumer. When I first got into amateur astronomy, I was all gaga about the LXD55 scopes and came very near to buying one. I'm certainly glad I didn't do because of all the trouble users have had with them. How about the problems they had with their 14" Lightbridge scopes shipping with the mirror covers banging around inside the mirror box?

Meade does a great job marketing their products, but marketing isn't standing there next to you when something goes wrong. I also don't like their product design. Being a product designer myself, I can't understand for instance why their fork mounted scopes aren't designed to tuck the OTA between the forks for transport. And why are their SCT's so much heavier than the competition?

The other thing that bugs me about Meade is their patent infringement, go to court mentality. How many times have they been to court to try to protect a technology that other companies just find ways to work around? It seems like their management is arrogant and self absorbed. Since I very seldom buy Meade products, I don't think I'd miss Meade not being at the table. Meade is big on making promises, but they're short on delivering.

That's my 2 cents. Apologies to all the Meade owners out there.

Patrick


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WadeH237
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5768403 - 03/31/13 09:59 AM

Quote:

If one supplier is providing this they have nowhere to hide. The user knows exactly who to call when it isn't working. This difficult problem will generate lots of support issues, even if everything is working correctly.




That's exactly why Meade is going to have a tough time competing in the premium mount price range. The premium equipment manufacturers don't need to hide.

I just upgraded to a premium mount. I do my imaging fully automated, and in getting the new equipment into the workflow, I ran into a guiding problem. Within a few hours of reporting the problem, I had exchanged mail with the person who wrote the driver for the mount, and the person who wrote the automation software. Within two days, the problem was fully understood. On the next clear night, I confirmed the workaround.

In the next version of the automation software, there will be a new section in the documentation that discusses the issue and the solution. In the meantime, I have been imaging fully automated every clear night since, and have not lost a single subexposure.

In the process of upgrading, my average FHWM for stars has dropped from 3.5 to 2.5 (a huge improvement), and I haven't even optimized the tuning parameters on guiding. This is with the software defaults. I can probably improve things by another .25 arc seconds with a few changes.

This is the experience that you get with premium equipment, and it is what Meade is competing with at this price point.

-Wade


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5768476 - 03/31/13 10:30 AM

Quote:

It makes a lot of sense that people want a one stop solution to the long focal length mount and guiding problem. It's probably about the most difficult thing in amateur astronomy.

If one supplier is providing this they have nowhere to hide. The user knows exactly who to call when it isn't working. This difficult problem will generate lots of support issues, even if everything is working correctly.

Selling two $3000 systems will probably generate twice as many support calls as one $6000 system. I guess that's why Meade has gone for the high end systems first.

Chris




Maybe, but it's unlikely they would only sell twice as many 3K mounts as 6K mounts. While plenty of people spend that much on more ephemeral things, it's just a fact that the market for mounts in this price range is very limited.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5769489 - 03/31/13 06:52 PM

Frustrating reading all these comments, being busy and on travel, and unable to respond, lol.

Clearly a fun, emotional, "religious" topic.

So where do I begin...

Yes the Astronomy market seems to be thinning down. Smaller pool to sell too. Competition becomes tougher.

My guess (total speculation) is they are weaning out of the very low end Walmart scopes (may have already!). Very very little margin, but pain on returns.

Meade is making a calculated business decision to fix the design flaws (they rushed the LX80, LX800 to market), get user attention, empty inventory, and most of all get cash flow. Contrary to popular opinion on this board there actually is great interest in the LX850. I do know Meade will be selling approximately 100 or so 14" LX850 in the month of April. Not bad scratch. I have no clue on the 10" and 12" models, but I am aware the numbers are higher. This will provide a jolt of cash. Seems like a smart move to me.

And there is great interest in the LX600. A lot to like about it.

There are slightly more expensive mount systems out there (heck even way more expensive), but I am fine dropping $10,000 on the LX850. I will use it in my soon to build observatory in New Mexico (wonderful skies here FYI). I will also be carting this puppy around around the desert Southwest and I like being able to also ship it around and have it work as a turnkey solution. And sometimes I might not take the 14" tube. I might pop a 6000 ED APO on it or 90mm SolarMax II on it. Who knows, but I like the option there though I don't need Starlock for the Sun, lol.

Either way, I like the flexibility of the LX850. And like I said, I did consider the CGE PRO 1400 HD, but it was missing some features the LX850 has. Note - both Celestron and Meade feel there is a market for telescopes around the $10k range.

BTW, I think Celestron is paying attention to the LX850. They very recently dropped the price on the CGE PRO 1400 HD by $1000. Meade? They are including a microfocuser and other goodies, to an already great solution.

See, competition does work!


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: orion61]
      #5769502 - 03/31/13 07:02 PM

I agree with the computer lifetime vs. scope lifetime issue - sort of.

A well made optical system should last a long time. Computers, are whole different story, HOWEVER it depends on what is installed in the scope.

My 10" LX200 has functioned quite well - optics and computer - since I first got it (I think 1992? Brain is fuzzy now - age!). I was amazed to find I could add wifi to this old thing, and control it with an iPad right out of the box with little or no effort. The iPad was only a futuristic concept back in the 90s, and yet it works seamlessly with this 21+ year old telescope. Pretty cool.

LX850 brains, at least at is roots, has the LX200 heritage with some very nice add ons. I guess the point is, if the scope has a robust base control mechanism, you can add and change the other computer gear without a problem.

Heck, 20 years from now you could easily move the OTA to a new fangled mount. And now with the LX600 that even looks a bit easier to evolve to other mounts down the road.

Then again, my 21+ year old LX200 works perfectly fine on it fork mount and superwedge, and ancient computer and controller.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Patrick]
      #5769524 - 03/31/13 07:21 PM

Apology accepted Patrick!

But like I have mentioned before, I have had great success with my 10" LX200 and ETX-125. They have worked fine for many years and still going strong.

I am confused about your statement regarding tucking the "OTA between the forks for transportation". My does without a problem and fits nice and snuggly in its case. The OTA is tucked between its forks right now in its case waiting for me to come home from my travels.

Why is the scope heavier (LX200)? Handles vibrations, wind, etc better. Basically it is a design trade. I prefer the heavier weight over the lighter scopes of similar size. Light scopes have their place, and people like them, but I am totally fine with a heavier telescope. BEEFCAKE!

Patent infringement - I think that is an old story now. Very old story (in computer years!). I can understand patent protections though. The lawyers did go hog wild. Then again Celestron maybe should have negotiated with Meade early on. Also understand, as a public company they have to protect their IP, or I could see a few shareholders stomping on their...well you get my meaning!

And reports on the LX850 show it is an amazing instrument!

Lastly, I personally have not received a half baked product from Meade yet since I have begun buying from them way back in the later 70s. Eyepieces, filters, Newtonians, Cats, Macs etc have all worked fine for me.


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WadeH237
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5769869 - 03/31/13 11:01 PM

Quote:

Clearly a fun, emotional, "religious" topic.




In case this quote was in reference to my post, this is not a religious topic for me. The LX850 has a very close competitor in the premium market (the actual mount itself appears to be a copy). The premium mount has a very solid history and reputation and is known to have stellar support. It would be hard for me to choose the LX850 over that mount, but accounting for accessories, the Meade is a cheaper option. If others choose the Meade, I certainly respect that, and I wish them the best. Finally, I think that a healthy Meade is good for our hobby, and I would like to see them succeed.

Oh, and to clarify, my comments were purely in reference to the mount and its integrated guiding system. By all accounts, their optics are very nice. I can say that I have a Meade OTA on top of my premium mount, and it has exceeded the expectations that I had when I bought it. I am completely satisfied with the value in my Meade OTA.

All right, one last (I promise, at least for this post) observation. To me, it seems that the LX80 is more important to Meade's success than the LX850. That mount fills a gap in the market in terms of performance and price, and if they can make it perform to expectations, I think that they can sell them in huge - at least for this hobby - numbers.

-Wade


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: WadeH237]
      #5769924 - 03/31/13 11:54 PM

Hello Wade, Unk, et. al.

I do agree LX80 mount also needs to be a success - this is the mount for the masses.

I am not an expert on this mount, and the reviews seem to be all over the place. Near I as I can tell problems early on, mount is mysteriously evolving/improving, and others had made some pretty cool aftermarket mounting plates (I like the picture of Jack's mounting plate; others look impressive too).

Meade has these mounts on back order, but I have found them at a few dealers. I suspect with the next infusion of cash we might see the LX85 (yikes!), show up.

Still right now I see some people hating on the LX80, and others loving it.

And yes the LX850 seems to mirror the AP mount in many features, and is cheaper. The question is, will Meade grow in this class of mounts? I remember years ago when Meade came out with the LX200 - stunning features at a lower than expected price (certainly cheaper than Celestron). Maybe Meade is trying the same thing - solid features, turnkey in use, "all in one kit", all in a lower cost (relatively speaking) package. Of course Meade is up against a shaky recent history and support issues for some (support for me has been outstanding). Will word of mouth help them out? Time will tell.


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EFT
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5769944 - 04/01/13 12:12 AM

The only reason that you are seeing fewer complaints on the LX80 is because fewer people are buying them and those that have or do have reduced their expectations to well below what the manufacturer stated the mount could do. There have been no changes to the LX80 that anyone has noted, except maybe to the firmware.

The fact that there are a few early LX850s out there does not make that mount a success except maybe in respect to the LX800. I would really like to know where some people think they are getting their sales projections from. If the source is at all reasonable and credible, then it should be put forth, otherwise it is simply more hype. It would be good if the mount works and the sales volumes are high, but some of the volumes quoted and supposedly attributed to knowledgeable sources appear to be nothing but wild speculation at this point. Of course, since the manufacturer will never put out actual sales volumes of the LX850, they will probably always be nothing but wild speculation and blue sky (or perhaps night sky) dreaming.

And to all those who speculate about the cheap stuff being low margin, you have never talked with Meade about their products and dealer pricing. It is the high end stuff that has the lower percentage margin. Meade has made a lot of their money off of the low end stuff for many years and that's not going to change.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: EFT]
      #5770011 - 04/01/13 01:14 AM

Ed,

The figures I am quoting are from the dealers. I know three premium dealers (or whatever the designation), who claim that (a) they are shipping x-units this month (it is now April) and (b) from that I am just doing the math. I was told I will see my 14" LX850 in the next 10-20 days. I hope the dealer wasn't lying. Could Meade be lying to them? I hope not.

Now it could be these dealers are lying. And Meade could be totally looney in pushing for the LX850. Clearly they are trying to sell these units. Meade could also be making some poor decisions as far as product implementation plans. Maybe they were fools for advertising in S&T and Astronomy and claiming LX850 "now shipping".

Dealer margins - I think it is around 18%, nothing to write home about. Shipping costs? I have no clue, but it is embedded in the price. Meade cost to manufacture? Who knows. And the have to pay back their loans, etc.

The Walmart Scopes are high margin products? When Walmart returns unsold and returned telescopes there are no costs for Meade? I can see money made on the ETX-90. Low cost, but not really cheap.

So I guess in conclusion from reading these boards:
* Meade is struggling financially (which is very true...wish I had scratch to buy them).
* They came out recently with *BLEEP* products in the LX80, LX800
* Steer clear of Meade - products don't work.
* Meade does have good optics.
* Meade is putting their eggs in the wrong platform, that being the LX850. Sales will likely be poor. Plus they are copying reputable firms.
* Profits are made in the low end, not the high end. Meade is making a horrible decision to sell high end products.

Still, I do like the feedback from the current LX850 owners, so I just dropped $10k on one. Who knows, it may be one of only 50 delivered world wide before Meade joins the graveyard of dead companies.

God, I hope my wife doesn't see all these posts on Meade. She will kill me.

She is excited about the MallinCam X2...oh wait, more arguing there on the "Video & Electronically Assisted Astronomy" boards! Grrrrrr.

God help me when I write a review of the LX850...


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Patrick
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5770046 - 04/01/13 01:39 AM

Quote:

I am confused about your statement regarding tucking the "OTA between the forks for transportation". My does without a problem and fits nice and snuggly in its case. The OTA is tucked between its forks right now in its case waiting for me to come home from my travels.





The 12" LX200 OTA will not go between the forks. We've got two 12" LX200s in our club and they are a beast to carry. It takes two people to set them up because they're so unwieldy. I can move my CPC1100 by myself because it's ergonomically designed to be carried by one person (and the OTA is lighter! ...yes it's a inch smaller too, but the difference between the two in terms of setup is much larger).


Quote:

Why is the scope heavier (LX200)? Handles vibrations, wind, etc better. Basically it is a design trade. I prefer the heavier weight over the lighter scopes of similar size. Light scopes have their place, and people like them, but I am totally fine with a heavier telescope. BEEFCAKE!




I'm not talking about the mounts, I'm talking about the OTA's. A 10" Meade OTA weighs more than an 11" Celestron OTA for example. Perhaps there is a good reason I'm not aware of.

Quote:

I personally have not received a half baked product from Meade yet since I have begun buying from them way back in the later 70s.




I personally know a few folks who can't say the same thing having been stuck with poor performing Meade products. One of our club members had to send his scope back twice for repairs and it's still not fixed. I'm sure C has generated plenty of horror stories as well and not everything they do is golden by a long shot either.

Patrick


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EFT
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5770051 - 04/01/13 01:45 AM

I would expect initial sales to be "high" but likely to trail off quickly, unless they truly have a runaway hit (which is still sadly unlikely).

Typical margins on the higher end equipment are more like 15% or less, but large volume "premium" deals may get up around 18%. But as you said, nothing to write home about (but standard in the industry).

It's impossible to say what deals places like Walmart have with Meade. Whatever it is, low end products do generate a lot of income with larger margins and, more important, significantly larger volumes.

Regarding your conclusions:
1. Obviously (and from the horse's mouth)
2. Yep. Unfortunately true.
3. I don't necessarily agree, but you have to look before you leap (not that that's not true with other manufacturer's).
4. Yes, but the new OTAs are unproven at this point. An this applies primarily to SCTs. Refractor reviews have never been as positive.
5. Hard to say, but selling many more of the LX80 would probably help them more than selling fewer of the LX850 and they are competing in a very stiff category there. It made sense to redesign the LX800 to fix the problems, doing the same with the LX80 will be much more difficult and less likely to happen.
6. They are not making a mistake with the LX850 if they do it right this time. The true mistake was, and continues to be with the LX80. It is time for the LX200GPS to be upgraded, but they will need to get that one right the first time. The MaxMount, now that was a silly high-end decision.

We all make our choices of what and when to buy. First adopters always take risks, but the risk on the LX850 is probably substantially less than on the LX800.

Better have you will up to date, because your wife will find out sometime.


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Glen A W
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Reged: 07/04/08

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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: EFT]
      #5770295 - 04/01/13 08:59 AM

Unless I recall incorrectly, the WalMart sales are of a very low margin, but are so large as to generate profits by large volume. It has been a long time since I looked at a Meade annual report, but this is what I recall being the case. The revenue was very large but little was being made. I doubted that it was really worth it, because the distraction from the real MEADE(tm) product line must have been gigantic.

I do not recall the specifics, but it seems to me that Meade is set up to prevent takeovers, with a poison pill or similar. This would explain why the company is still independent, despite apparently being worth a lot more than the staggeringly low market capitalization of $2.5 million. But my memory may be faulty on these things.

The new autoguiding mounts look like contrivance to me. I am not saying that they might not be nice products. I just doubt very much that there is a need for that level of customization in a product that is aimed at the high end, where people already know what they want and can set it up to their own specs. GW


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5770304 - 04/01/13 09:10 AM

Quote:

The new autoguiding mounts look like contrivance to me. I am not saying that they might not be nice products. I just doubt very much that there is a need for that level of customization in a product that is aimed at the high end, where people already know what they want and can set it up to their own specs. GW




I believe it's worth remembering that the Starlock system consists of two separate cameras, each with its own optics. I probably won't use the autoguide function, as I'm old and prefer to use an OAG to guide at longer focal lengths,

The more significant features are the assisted drift alignment and the auto star alignment, which use the other camera. Won't matter much to me, as I don't image in the field (and I already do the same functions with non-integrated hardware) - but I can see those being very handy for portable rigs. Given that Celestron is in the process of adding similar capabilities, it appears that Meade isn't alone in thinking that these will be considered desirable.


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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5771080 - 04/01/13 04:15 PM

Quote:

I agree with the computer lifetime vs. scope lifetime issue - sort of.

Then again, my 21+ year old LX200 works perfectly fine on it fork mount and superwedge, and ancient computer and controller.




But there are a whole lot of them thave failed. I'm glad you got a good one.

On the other hand perhaps meade has their eye on the smaller higher profit nich.
put out a very good but expensive product but make enough to
be able to support it properly.
We as buyers have just about drove everybody out of business by demanding cheaper and cheaper.
They may be thinking towards more the Astro Physics rout.
Smaller market share but less returns, more profit per piece.
Cheaper is ok for plastic do dads you just throw away but wow what a headache it has become in the scope world.


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: orion61]
      #5771454 - 04/01/13 06:47 PM

Grrrrrr...lost my last post! I hate retyping!

I agree Orion, we have drove many out of the Astro business field pursuing cheaper, cheaper. Our hobby, in many ways is now subsidized (so to speak) by the Chinese.

Maybe Meade is going to the higher margin markets now. Even their cheapest low end scopes now are more expensive. Selling cheap scopes via Walmart, et. al. Meade's income was quite large, BUT the margins were razor thin. Returns/unsold product ate Meade alive. You might get mindshare selling to a massive market, however at what cost. And the vast majority of those buyers will not upgrade to more expensive telescopes. And when the images in the 60 mm plastic scope does not match the pictures in the book/adverts on the box they get turned off. Now my good old Tasco from back in the day had no plastic on it and worked great when I was 8 years old. Those were the days!

The other question is how many units failed and/or had issues? 2%? 10%? 20%? What is the Meade/Celestron standard? Any problem with an expensive unit is unacceptable though. For me, I have purchased from Meade 5 telescopes, a dozen or so eyepieces, a dozen filters, and various adapters and supporting pieces of hardware. None has failed on me and everything has worked fantastically. So right now I am batting a 0% failure rate. Whew! Now I did see one 8" LX200 unit fail, however the family was quite abusive with it. I was not surprised it broke.


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5771466 - 04/01/13 06:58 PM

Patrick,

I cannot speak for the 12" LX200, however my 10" LX200 and ETX-125 certainly allow the tubes to rest between the forks.

There are pros and cons to the heavier weight tubes. Certainly greater mass/materials will impact vibration and dampening. I am perfectly fine with the heavier units. Ergonomics were not on my list of requirements, but I have no problems hoisting the 10" from its case to the Superwedge (though it is a thrilling moment - will I drop it or not!). The 12" is definitely a heavier scope, but I for me I am fine with the added mass.

When I was looking at the 14" LX600 vs LX850 one of the deciding factors was weight for assembly - the LX850 has more manageable "chunks". Still, who am I kidding, both are very heavy and I am totally fine with that. I will employ the services of others (like my kids or excited astro participants) to help me assemble this bad boy.

P.S. I was really really torn between the fork vs. GEM worlds. When the LX600 was announced I almost bailed on the LX850. I think I am sold on the GEM now. I like the option of being able to easily swap out OTAs, its better performance for Astrophotography (though I am still a newb after 40 years - patience Andrew, patience!), and as stated the ability to work with smaller chunks.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5771486 - 04/01/13 07:08 PM

Quote:

I have no problems hoisting the 10" from its case to the Superwedge (though it is a thrilling moment - will I drop it or not!). The 12" is definitely a heavier scope,




The 10" model is harder to mount than the Celestron 11" only because of poor ergonomics (bad handles and poor handle location) - but it's not too bad. The 12" model is not THAT much heavier, but it cannot be parked within the forks. That makes mounting the extremely tall, out-of-balance assembly onto a wedge a real challenge. The 14" version is quite a bit heavier and that one can't park between the forks, either. I never even tried to put the 14" on the wedge without assistance. I've owned all of the above so those are reports of actual experiences over the years.

The new segmented-fork LX600 will eliminate the above issues.


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rcdk
super member


Reged: 11/13/10

Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5771660 - 04/01/13 08:38 PM

Quote:

The new autoguiding mounts look like contrivance to me. I am not saying that they might not be nice products. I just doubt very much that there is a need for that level of customization in a product that is aimed at the high end, where people already know what they want and can set it up to their own specs. GW




Guess you haven't seen people spend a week at a star party without getting a single image because they couldn't get their equipment to work together.

Outright failures are rare, but system integration problems are not.


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Patrick
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5771769 - 04/01/13 09:48 PM

Quote:

The 10" model is harder to mount than the Celestron 11" only because of poor ergonomics (bad handles and poor handle location) - but it's not too bad. The 12" model is not THAT much heavier, but it cannot be parked within the forks. That makes mounting the extremely tall, out-of-balance assembly onto a wedge a real challenge. The 14" version is quite a bit heavier and that one can't park between the forks, either. I never even tried to put the 14" on the wedge without assistance. I've owned all of the above so those are reports of actual experiences over the years.

The new segmented-fork LX600 will eliminate the above issues.




You're the man, John.

Patrick


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Robo-bob
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Reged: 05/02/05

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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5771858 - 04/01/13 10:27 PM

Quote:

Patrick,

I cannot speak for the 12" LX200, however my 10" LX200 and ETX-125 certainly allow the tubes to rest between the forks.




I've owned 3 ETX125's and the tubes do not rest down inside the forks. They will only rest with the corrector facing away from the base ( "up" if the scope is resting on the tripod). In fact, the tube/base assembly is shipped from the factory this way.


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WadeH237
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Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rcdk]
      #5771865 - 04/01/13 10:29 PM

Quote:

Guess you haven't seen people spend a week at a star party without getting a single image because they couldn't get their equipment to work together.




Nine times out of ten, when I see this, it's because someone brings a bunch of equipment that they are not familiar with and then tries to sort it out at a remote, dark sky site.

Most experienced astrophotographers that I see at star parties are reasonably productive. This is very much true with people using high end equipment.

I see where the LX-850 can ease the beginning of the learning curve and help people in the first category above. But if I may humbly suggest, you should probably have some experience behind you before you make this kind of investment. This is why I believe that if they could bring this technology into the market under about $3000, it would be a real winner. Of course, this would mean a smaller mount. I don't see this as a problem, though. A 30 lb imaging payload would meet most people's needs - especially since they would not need a separate guide scope, etc.

-Wade


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: WadeH237]
      #5772010 - 04/02/13 12:12 AM

Back from travels and time for more fun responses...

* I stand corrected on the ETX-125 (see I am getting senile). However, um, this thing is dang light weight and my 12 year old daughter can handle this puppy with ease. Ergonomics is hardly a consideration for this unit.

* 10" LX200 nicely parks between the forks, but come on folks, this scope is not hard at all to mount on the Superwedge. In my wildest dreams I would never pick the the C11 over the 10" LX200 just because it was easier to put on the tripod/wedge/etc, because I just have no problem setting up the 10". I was at a couple of star parties recently (never done them before - they are fun, I will do more!) and the C11 was setup just about as quick, maybe a few seconds quicker than me. I didn't know this was a race. My scope is very easy to set-up. And once set-up, I think both scopes work fine.

* Now the 12" and 14" LX200's. Yeah big scopes. Rock solid. I personally like that. Set-up, is yeah tougher, but I guess it is on a permanent pier or you get some strong folks to help out in the field. I do think Meade is making a very smart move with the new LX600 and its fork mount. Hopefully this will trickle down to the lower end scopes.

Dudes, the 10" LX200 is not that bad to setup....


OH and I have to correct something else. I arrived back home to New Mexico with lots of astro toys waiting for me. One of them from Astronomics was a Celestron T-Adaptor for my Canon 60Da (the catalog on the website said "various" for brand). So I can now say I own a product from Celestron!


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rcdk
super member


Reged: 11/13/10

Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: WadeH237]
      #5772034 - 04/02/13 12:30 AM

Quote:


Nine times out of ten, when I see this, it's because someone brings a bunch of equipment that they are not familiar with and then tries to sort it out at a remote, dark sky site.





No doubt, plenty of that.

But almost every time I go out there is someone within earshot having problems related to two pieces of equipment not talking to each other. It's not always imagers, either.

Last year I spent all week next to a guy who kept saying "It was working before I left home!" Toward the end of the week he discovered he had something plugged into the wrong port.

Your friendly local systems engineer will tell you that most problems occur in interfaces between systems.


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5772038 - 04/02/13 12:36 AM

Time for marketing concepts and the LX850...

First of all to clarify my background, since this will give you an understanding of where I am coming from. I am an Aerospace and Software engineer. I develop software for commercial aircraft, software for satellites, design tools to build satellites, and even BUILD satellites! I have a couple of prototypes in my lab right now, and will be flying new fangled hardware in 2-3 years. So I would say I am a high tech kind of guy. I deal with integration, hardware, software, mechanical systems, propulsion systems etc.

I have been active in Astronomy since I was 5 years old. I have my first book from then. I took my first picture with a polaroid camera from Edmund Scientific through my Criterion 6" RV-6 (yeah, I am now officially getting old)! I REALLY love to look at the heavens and explore. I love sharing this wonderful hobby with people of all ages.

But you know what, after a long day of satellite design (which I love being paid to do btw), THE LAST THING I WANT TO DO IS INTEGRATION OF A TELESCOPE FOR FUN!

Yes, there are people who enjoy that. That is totally fine! There are people who play around with circuit boards for fun. That is fine. There are people who want to cobble together a custom scope, or even a frankenscope. That is totally fine.

But when you do it for a living 7 days a week, I just want to enjoy the heavens with minimal hassle.

This my friends is what the Meade LX850 is all about. I am their target market. I gave them the credit card info and I said send me one. Yes I have to put it together. Yes I have to learn to use it. But reading the manual and all, plus with 45 years of astro experience I think I will be up and running quickly.

I have worked VERY long hours and busted my butt to earn this puppy. I think it will work. I have faith. Reviews seem to be very pretty good. Very good in fact. Meade has a winner with people like me. And I don't have to worry about integration, debugging, cobbling together.

And I do have other hobbies - I cruise and race sailboats. I mountain climb, camp and hike. I really have no time to integrate telescopes.

I do have time to look at the heavens. And what a wonderful sky we have. Here in New Mexico I love it - I am glad I moved out of the midwest.

FYI - I also purchased the MallinCam X2. Why? Because it just works. Some nights I don't want to look at faint fuzzies and do the 50 exposure things. I just want to look and say "How Cool". Is the LX850 overkill for the MallinCam. Very likely. Who cares. They both just work. BTW - I find the debate dramas over the MallinCam a hoot. IT IS A FREAKIN' CAMERA. Have fun folks!

Now to research if my LX850 will shatter if I use the Celestron T-Mount with it. You never know...


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WadeH237
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5772062 - 04/02/13 01:16 AM

Our backgrounds are not that different. I am a software engineer by trade (server software, not the fun stuff that you are doing). I am also an aviation enthusiast and pilot, and have had a lifelong interest in astronomy. I even had a sailboat for 20 years, but did not race it.

I probably have a higher tolerance for integration than it sounds like you do, but my dark sky time is very limited. I live in the Seattle area, where clear skies are more scare than probably anywhere else in the US. I do go to several dark sky events a year. When I get time under a clear sky, the last thing I want to do is to spend what little time that I have integrating everything. In particular, my 15 year old son has a deep interest in astronomy. At star parties, I want to spend my time observing with him and not messing with the imaging gear.

In my case, I made the one-time investment in learning in detail how to set up a fully automated system. I've found that once you get past the learning curve, it works quite well. We've had several clear nights in the Seattle area over the weekend and I collected 18 hours of data, all of good quality. My workflow has been this:

Any time before dark, take about 15 minutes to:

- Turn on computer and imaging gear (behind one switch).

- Turn on mount

- Start Maxim and connect to cameras and mount

- Start FocusMax

- Start TheSkyX

- Start CCDAutoPilot

- Verify the evening's target. If necessary, modify (by just setting up the desired field of view in TheSkyX and clicking one button to import it into CCDAutoPilot).

- Tell CCDAutoPilot to start the run.

That's it. 15 minutes or less before dark, and I walk away until the next day. While I'm off doing something else, my system does this:

- Waits for dusk and then takes twilight flats

- Between dusk and nautical twilight, take any needed bias or dark frames

- At astronomical twilight, focus the telescope and acquire the target (using plate solve to get frame accurate to 15 arc seconds or less - usually under 5).

- Acquire a guide star and optimize guider exposure.

- Take light frames

- If the temperature changes by more than 3 degrees C, refocus. If clouds pass over, reaquire the target and guide star when clear.

- At meridian flip time, send command to flip the mount, refocus, reaquire the target, etc. Rotate the camera 180 degrees.

- Continue imaging until dawn.

- If the run completes before dawn, take bias and dark frames as required.

- At dawn, take twilight flats, park the telescope, park the rotator, and turn off the CCD cooler.

I've been doing this for several years with good success. I can get lots of data while getting good nights of sleep. At star parties, I have plenty of time to observe with my son and visit friends. I even spend a good amount of time helping other imagers to work through their issues. I've met some great people that way.

Oh, and up until early this year, where I upgraded to an Astro-Physics mount, I was doing all of this with a CGE. The total cost of the mount, focuser, rotator, software, etc. was quite a bit less than the cost of an LX-850 mount. Yes, I did have a bit of a learning curve, but once I made the investment in learning how to operate everything, I have spent very little time troubleshooting.

Anyway, I totally get the value of having push button automation. I just think that the LX-850 is too much money for what you get.


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: WadeH237]
      #5772123 - 04/02/13 03:19 AM

Yes some similar backgrounds Wade. Actually I am an Instrument Rated pilot and used to own a Turbo 206. However with only 24 hours in a day, my plane now is typically a Southwest 737.

I am in a sense an aviation enthusiast, but I deal with aircraft a lot in my job (I have a briefing for some fun stuff on Gulfstream Aircraft). But I digress...

And I am familiar with the pain of observing in Seattle - I have family up there and I lived in Oregon. Most of my life was in Michigan though. Where I lived in Holland, Seattle had more clear days than we did - YIKES.

So imagine my amazement when using my telescope (heck ANY telescope) observing in New Mexico. Observing is amazing in the remote high desert (White Sands, Chaco Canyon). From home outside of Albuquerque I even get great views. Moving here was like getting a new telescope. Plus no dew shield, no observing in the snow, no bugs.

So my observing schedule has completely been modified since moving here.

-- When there is a clear stretch (minimum 3 days) I set up the LX200.
-- Set up the Skyfi - plug in and turn on, lol.
-- Set up nice little observing table (wife's former dog grooming table).
-- Insure the Mac, iPad and iPhone are all talking with the telescope. Remote control is done with SkySafari.
-- Wait for the evening, then do the polar align thing.

At this point I am set for an observing session running 3-15 days depending on the NM weather.

* Some days - Solar Observing
* Some days - visual stuff. Yeah just looking in the eyepiece.
* Pet project day/week/month, like PANSTARRS, or Jupiter going close to the Moon, learning to use my Canon 60Da, Herschel list, whatever floats my boat. (FYI - Way better than the days of hyperfilm and praying vs the new DSLRs, CCDs, etc.)
* Playing with and learning Nebulosity. Cool app btw.
* Soon - using the MallinCam for video astronomy fun and supporting my hunting around. Might even do a NSN channel.

With the LX850 some nice added automated functions like drift alignment - I have no patience for that. Autoguiding of course - bring my AP game up a notch or two, with a much lower effort than typical. Automatic scope parking, all the goodies. Also, let it acquire the guide star and do its thing on its own. Am I looking to create a picture book? No. Just some good picts my family, friends and I can enjoy. Then again, this scope my allow to get the bug and really get hard core in AP.

- Also at sunrise I bring in all the goodies - computers, camera, EP, etc though I might have some day time use. LX200 doesn't park, so I baby sit the thing. Yeah, it runs 24/7! LX850, I can park it with the punch of a button and let it rest, whew!

This routine keeps up until it is time to pack up days later. In the interim family and friends might also observe with me.

Now for star parties, the process is simplified more - the only time the camera is used is for major events like the Annular Eclipse that went over us or the transit of Venus. Otherwise take out the scope, iPad, SkyFi and eyepieces and just tap the screen. The added plan is include a monitor and Mallicam X2 for the public events. The LX850 is way overkill, but certainly cool to use and look at. Plus controlling it with the iPad is just fun for everyone. Though you know, I parked the scope on Jupiter and 400 people seem to be amazed for the night, lol. The other scopes were on some very faint fuzzies or binary stars, but the masses did not seem to enjoy that; lines were very short there. Of course those were Celestron Telescopes (C8 and one of them new fangled C11s). Meade Blue won than night. ;-) Next couple months will be Saturn - mobs on the scope then! Though I think the MallinCam might make those faint fuzzies pretty cool. Stay tuned in that other board.

Next plan - setup POD MAX and park the LX850 in there.

Now I don't think the LX850 is over priced at all. Similar mounts from AP are well over $7k with all the add ons. And I have to figure the add ons. And do my own integration. Which camera? Which guide system. Pick an OTA and focuser. Get all the software. What tripod to pick? What focuser to pick? Meade - focuser: Check. Guide system with integrated features - check. Great 14" OTA with Meade's fantastic optics (10" and 12" are great too along with the APO refractors). Check. (And they have dealt with the mirror flop and focus issues. And I like having the F8 optics.) Everything there? Check, check check! Basically Meade is doing the integration for me. The CGE is not in the same league in my opinion. Not the same turnkey features and I have to do my own integration - again. If memory serves me, the CGE did have growing pains too.

Add it all up, this is a great deal in my estimation. And note, Celestron is now dropping their prices. The benefit of competition.

As you can see we have our cook book steps, in my case I feel the LX850 greatly simplifies things. Though I would add the MallinCam does too, as does the SkyFi/SkySafari, and certainly living in New Mexico helps greatly. I don't hunt for sucker holes here either.

Last item - I put the Celestron T-Ring adaptor on top of the Meade LX200 Case. So far no problems. They seem to both be behaving for now. Whew!


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5772126 - 04/02/13 03:22 AM

Ok, I am officially pooped.

Time for us to go back to the Church of Celestron and the Church of Meade, or whatever they are called.

We all like our telescopes or we would never have purchased them.

Then again there is that new toy...from....

don't say, don't say it....


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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5772346 - 04/02/13 08:49 AM

So it looks like it boiles down to Meade investing in Imaging and Celestron courting the Visual croud?
PRIMARILY that is, both are useful for both.
I really wish Meade well. I hope to Jesus they have the mount right now.. My favorite scope of all time was a Meade 7" Mak for visual. for mixed everything else is my
C14 Compustar running F6.3. after 24 years it is MINT still works fine, Optics are OUTSTNDING, the GO-TO is more accurate than people give it credit for..
Who would have thought that scope would start all this Computerized explosion! By far the best thing for the hobby
that has ever happened.


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jgraham
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: orion61]
      #5772895 - 04/02/13 01:05 PM

Eh, possibly. Meade's newest products are clearly targetted at imaging, but the LX90 and LX200 are more general purpose, just not new. The LS and LT are also primarily visual aimed at the higher end of the entry level. Personally, I feel that it is the mid to low end of the entry level where Meade is lacking.

For me, the bottom line is that both companies produce pretty good products. The innovation edge tends to seesaw back'n forth a bit. There is room for improvement and each face their own challenges. Unfortunately, these do tend to turn into theological discussions. I'm still trying to get my brain wrapped around the between the forks thingy. After a while you just gotta look for the entertainment value.


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rmollise
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jgraham]
      #5773026 - 04/02/13 02:06 PM

The thing about the between the forks thingy is not obvious till you try to mount a 12-inch Meade on its tripod, even in alt-az mode, by yourself. The meaning will then become abundantly clear to you.

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jgraham
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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: rmollise]
      #5773283 - 04/02/13 04:33 PM

Hmmm, been there done that. Never beene a problem for me. Sorry. I never liked the idea of having the mirror hanging in the tube. Probably doesn't really hurt anything, but I still much prefer to have the mirror on the bottom. That's just me though.

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Re: Question about Celestron/Meade posts new [Re: jgraham]
      #5773629 - 04/02/13 06:26 PM

If it works for you, fine. Most people find the Meade 12 with its awkward handles and, well, the awkwardness of the tube that won't pass between the forks, well...awkward. No, having the tube pointed down in that fashion long enough to do the mounting on the tripod won't hurt pea turkey.

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