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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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dr.who
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Reged: 01/05/12

Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5286040 - 06/23/12 10:32 PM

Hey Rich-

It is not in balance on the RA or DEC. It is in balance only from the standpoint that the tubes are balanced on the rail and do not tilt forward or backward.

I have it set the way it is to counter balance the weight of the C11 I will try in a bit to shorten it and balance in RA/Dec and report back.

I will also do a star trail to measure PE if you can explain to me how to do that please?


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dr.who
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Reged: 01/05/12

Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: dr.who]
      #5286224 - 06/24/12 02:21 AM

Rich- Saw your second question. Here is an illustrated photo:


lx80 c11 es102 rear view correct balance dual mount 062312 hex tool and hex bolt

I didn't have a lot of time tonight to execute my test plans because friends and their kids were over so I ended up having an impromptu star party in the yard and the next door neighbor's daughter and son's (adult) girl friend joined us to take a look at the Moon, Mars, Saturn, and M13 instead. Still got to test the dual OTA option.

It was a qualified success. Qualified because it isn't just mount and go. Like everything so far with this mount there was some jiggery pokery that had to go on. While I did not need to shim the second OTA saddle as was reported by someone else I did have to take a hex wrench and dial in the alignment in up and down to match up with the view in the main (C11 OTA) in the end though it was a success because everything was in both scopes at the same time! A very nice feature!

So... It did as advertised. With proper adjustment before hand the two OTA's matched up the same view quite nicely. Happy camper here on that.

However I think I am doing something wrong in terms of alignment. I have north down fine and the OTA's are level but for the second time while I was aligning the alignment stars would not stay centered in the 12mm reticle EP. They would drift down and to the left or up and to the right and it was VERY noticeable and very quick to move. To the point where I had to fight to keep it in place and hit enter quickly... Am I too heavy on one side and not balanced right? Or could it be something else?

And here are shots of it in correct DEC/RA balance:

lx80 c11 es102 rear view correct balance dual mount 062312

lx80 c11 es102 correct balance point at saturn 062312



lx80 c11 es102 correct balance front 062312


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JimMo
I'd Rather Do It Myself


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Under the SE Michigan lightdom...
Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5286604 - 06/24/12 11:37 AM

Quote:



Also, please explain more about this hex bolt needed to go between EQ and Alt Az. Do you mean a locking bolt to hold it in position, like I think I saw in one of your photos, or do you mean some sort of drive screw?




I believe it is a hex head tool used to move the mount in azimuth and altitude and is stored on the mount. This will be a big improvement over the way the LX55 and LX75 does it especially in elevation.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: JimMo]
      #5287053 - 06/24/12 04:46 PM

A star trail can be done where you take the mount and set it up with a poor polar alignment on purpose. This will cause stars to "Trail" as you track and the bad polar alignment drags them across the picture frame. While this is happening, any speed changes on the drive will cause the trails to wiggle, and the divergence between the path of this wiggle and a straight line is your measurement of periodic error.

Now, for this to work, you will also want an image of a plain star field with some features you can measure relative to each other to scale your image. So, for example, you could take a picture of Epsilon Lyrae, the double double, which will produce an image you can scale with some data from somewhere like sky-map.org to get their exact measurements and count pixels to scale the image on your telescope.

This is how periodic error was measured back in the day when there were no digital detectors or computers.

if you can put a DSLR in bulb mode and use a cable release for 3 revolutions of the worm, you should be in business.

-Rich

Edited by Starhawk (06/24/12 05:04 PM)


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dr.who
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Reged: 01/05/12

Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5287136 - 06/24/12 05:46 PM

Rich- I will be doing two things (I hope) this afternoon. First is training the drives and second is getting some terrestrial photos through the ES102 on the LX80 so I can figure out back focus and setup. Once I do that I will put your test on my list. As noted my list so far with status and results is:


1. Dual mount the ES 102 and the C11 in alt/az - Complete/Successful

2. Shoot video with sound of the LX80 in motion - Not complete planned for 6/24 or 6/25

3. Polar align - Not complete planned for 6/30

4. Confirm tracking over a 30 minute to 1 hour period - Not complete planned for 6/24 or 6/30

5. Power source permitting shoot video with sound of LX80 and CGEM in operation at the same time - Not complete pending 2nd power source date TBD

6. Star trail for PEC calculation or use of some form of pec tool


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: dr.who]
      #5287149 - 06/24/12 05:55 PM

Do 6 before 4; the imaging setup will get your star trail before polar alignment. A long exposure as part of 4 will reveal your true image scale. Thus you only have to do polar alignment once.

-Rich


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5287166 - 06/24/12 06:07 PM

Do 6 as 4 is not that real important. A good polar alignment and correct sidreal tracking rate should keep the object centered in an eyepiece even if it oscillates back and forth due to massive PE.

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Zebra24601
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Reged: 10/09/05

Loc: San Gabriel Valley, CA 91770
Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: Stew57]
      #5287467 - 06/24/12 09:35 PM Attachment (47 downloads)

OK, found something annoying about the LX80. It's a good news/bad news thing. The good news is that the dovetail channels are very deep (over 1/2") and the set screws are also thick, and separated by about three inches. That should help create a secure attachment, under most conditions. Unfortunately, I have discovered two conditions where it will not work:

1. My Celestron 100ED comes with an integrated cradle/dovetail set up. The cradle assembly prevents the dovetail from seating flush to the bottom of the channel. Won't be able to use the 100ED on this mount unless I buy a set of rings and a new dovetail.

2. When I bought my 60mm Coronado, I specifically bought the Meade LXD75 dovetail because I wanted to make sure I had a secure fit between the Coronado's cradle assembly and the dovetail. My Orion dovetail didn't do that. Well, the problem here is that there's a 3.75" long indentation on the inside of the dovetail channel. The LXD75 dovetail is only slightly longer than the cut. That means it is impossible to slide the dovetail more than a fraction of an inch before either the front or the back end of the dovetail slips into the channel cut and causes the scope to become misaligned with the dovetail. Would the mount still be able to track accurately? I suppose it would, but it would look funny and not be as secure an attachment as it should.

I noticed today that a few places are selling LX80 dovetails, but none have pictures. I wonder if the dovetails are either significantly longer or slightly shorter than 3.75"? If slightly shorter, the block would fit right inside the cut and be secure, although you would be unable to move the telescope forward or backwards to achieve a balance. If somewhat longer than 3.75", then there'd be no problem with sliding the dovetail forward or backwards to achieve balance.


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Zebra24601
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Reged: 10/09/05

Loc: San Gabriel Valley, CA 91770
Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: Zebra24601]
      #5287474 - 06/24/12 09:41 PM Attachment (48 downloads)

The indentation may be less than obvious in that picture. Here's one of just the dovetail channel. Obviously, both are of the "spare" dovetail, but it's identical to the one on the other end of the counterweight bar:

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Zebra24601
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Reged: 10/09/05

Loc: San Gabriel Valley, CA 91770
Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: Zebra24601]
      #5287498 - 06/24/12 09:51 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

With the safety screws on my LXD-55 8" SCT, there is, again, very little room to work with getting a balance. Not a problem with smaller 1.25" eyepieces, but if I were to insert a 2" or some of my weightier 1.25" eyepieces, I wouldn't be able to achieve balance. Of course, given the way this mount accepts dovetails (sideways), the safety screws don't appear to serve any useful purpose on this dovetail!

On the positive side, it was a piece of cake to slide the 8" SCT into the dovetail channel.

I have a feeling when I try the 11", I will shuffle the order of adjustments so that I can place the OTA with the dovetail facing down rather than sideways. I'll wait until the additional counterweight comes before trying that, though.


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Zebra24601
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Loc: San Gabriel Valley, CA 91770
Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: Zebra24601]
      #5287517 - 06/24/12 10:04 PM Attachment (40 downloads)

In addition to the SCT above, I had another CAT to deal with as I set my mount up. She plopped herself down right where I needed to stand to make the adjustments!

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dr.who
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 01/05/12

Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: Zebra24601]
      #5287521 - 06/24/12 10:08 PM

Hey Zebra-

The solution to your problem is to swap the Losmandy rail with a Vixen one. Farpoint and ADM make them. I am using one from Farpoint on my C11 and it works fine for visual.


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dr.who
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 01/05/12

Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: Zebra24601]
      #5287528 - 06/24/12 10:10 PM

Right but that would be in EQ mode not Alt/Az. I was going to test alt/az first. I assumed that with fair to good polar I would be ok over time with it but I was taught long ago about the word assume aka azz u me so I will do so. So I will play with the camera setup then.

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jpmoneystar
member


Reged: 05/26/12

Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: dr.who]
      #5290485 - 06/26/12 05:44 PM

Quote:

Took 2 hours off work today to drive out to Woodland Hills Telescope and Camera to pick up my LX80. Jon is the man to speak to there by the way. Great customer service.

Anyway... This post will be my initial impressions on the mount as well as the initial test we ran. I will follow up with photos (and if possible a movie of it in action as well as it and my CGEM for reference) as soon as I have a chance. I doubt I will be able to get too many for the next two days thanks to work getting in the way (I *HATE* it when that happens!) but plan to put it through it's paces this weekend.

Speaking of which if anyone is in the Los Angeles or surrounding area's, is good or at least proficient at AP under light polluted skies and would be willing to meet me and use their AP Fu on my mount I would like to put it through it's EQ/AP chops but don't think I have the skill yet to do so. So... Please PM me if you are interested.

He and I were both interested to see the bloody thing so he cracked it open for me. Sorry no photos. It's been done though so I will spare you the standard opening the box sequence. My first thoughts... Good Engineering. And for the record for me that is high praise where as Bad Engineering is one of the most insulting things I can say.

The mount is very ergonomic and compact with far less moving and movable parts when compared to the CGEM. With the handles it actually felt lighter than the CGEM (It is 5 lbs lighter per published specs) and much easier to move around. From the tripod on up the unit is very solidly built with an eye to ergonomics and good engineering practices. I say an eye to because there are some things that are needlessly complex and typical (myself included) of an Engineer going "Hey! Wouldn't it be really cool if we...!" Instead of saying "Hey! Wouldn't it be best if we made this a simple as possible!?!" Specifically moving it from Alt/Az to Eq and back. You must use a hex tool, either the one included or a substitute, to do this. The tool fits nicely in its own spot on the mount (but should have been attached by some means to the mount instead of screwing in and out where it can get lost) and all but this function could have been accomplished in a much simpler fashion with a knob like on the CGEM. Making the weight bar not standard size was also a no no in my book. You are going to need 1" plus sized weight holes for this. The other that stands out the declination clutch serves a dual purpose of being where you screw in the counter weight bar so you are screwing in the weight bar forever and at first I thought there was a problem because I kept turning and turning without it stopping plus the place it screwed into also tightened and loosened further confusing the issue.

The tripod is built like a tank compared to the CGEM and almost twice as heavy but I am hoping that means better stability. The weight bar coming apart is nice and the ability to mount dual OTA's but said mounting has me worried. Specifically if I need to mount weight on it plus the other OTA. Not sure of this yet because I haven't RTFM. I know I know shame on me. But hey I am a guy... its what we do. What worries me is the weight will have to be higher up on the bar then the OTA and if that weight goes sliding down then its going to hit the additional OTA mount plate which may end up with the additional OTA getting the bad end of that deal. Not sure yet and hope they didn't do that. If they did then it would be a case of Bad Engineering for sure.

Also in it's favor are that it very clearly marks what needs to point where for what function and three attachment knobs to mount the mount to the tripod for a bit higher level of stability instead of the central pole like on the CGEM. One of my pet peeves on the CGEM is that the EP holder and tripod stabilizer are on the same bolt. Why? Not simple and turning it the wrong way can mean you are loosening the mount from the tripod instead of the EP holder.

I did an initial setup with the mount in EQ position and the hand controller set for Alt/Az which put the theoretical OTA upside down and pointing the wrong way for the star it was syncing to which was a moment of concern but a factory reset and restore to Alt/Az as well as putting the mount in the right direction for North, setting it for Alt/Az and changing the location from Alameda to my local zip had it close to pointing the right way. On reflection my location was over one degree (47 miles) of Lat/Lon to the North and West of where I had the mount set for which would probably account for why it wasn't closer to where it was supposed to be.

Last observation for now is that it is quieter and smoother in terms of motor movement/noise than the CGEM but that was unloaded. Loaded up may be a different animal.



How long an ota can be mounted? i have a 12" newtonian 1500 focal do you think it would be okay alt/azm mode and/or gem. i too got mine but since im not experienced enough i dont want to attempt until i read more. i didnt like that it only comes with 10" max. I am not to good yet at polar align but i like the ability to unscrew and manually adjust if its goto is off a bit. Thanks for you review.


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dscarpa
Post Laureate
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Reged: 03/15/08

Loc: San Diego Ca.
Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: dr.who]
      #5290542 - 06/26/12 06:40 PM

I know what you mean about trying to put a heavy OTA on side saddle in alt az mode. Doing so with my C9.25 on the Giro is scary. As to the LX80 it sounds like a nice mount but too much of a production and too heavy for me. I fear my dream of a stand alone LS type mount will remain just that. David

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Zebra24601
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Reged: 10/09/05

Loc: San Gabriel Valley, CA 91770
Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: dscarpa]
      #5292523 - 06/27/12 11:50 PM

On the other hand, the handles are nice. I could move the entire setup (tripod, mount, 8" SCT and counterweight) from the garage to the driveway in one carry. No way I could do that with the Sirius.

The problem with viewing from the driveway is I literally have half a sky to work with. Impossible to do a decent selection of alignment stars. Also, the light pollution and marine layer just made observing pointless. It's clearer tonight, but I don't have the motivation to set it up on a weeknight. Too tired. And this weekend is an urban outreach weekend. The weekend after that, however, I may try to get somewhere dark (unless my second job starts up by then, in which case my observing schedule is going to take areal hit).


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Joe Ogiba
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Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: dscarpa]
      #5292840 - 06/28/12 08:43 AM

Quote:

Doing so with my C9.25 on the Giro is scary.



I put the two 11 lb counter weights on my Tele-Optic Giro-2 Deluxe Alt-Az Mount before mounting my C9.25 and never had a stability problem.


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dr.who
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 01/05/12

Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: jpmoneystar]
      #5293069 - 06/28/12 11:47 AM

Quote:


How long an ota can be mounted? i have a 12" newtonian 1500 focal do you think it would be okay alt/azm mode and/or gem. i too got mine but since im not experienced enough i dont want to attempt until i read more. i didnt like that it only comes with 10" max. I am not to good yet at polar align but i like the ability to unscrew and manually adjust if its goto is off a bit. Thanks for you review.




I think that you would be over the limit with that size OTA. If memory serves me it is going to be upwards of 5 feet long and about 50ish lbs. There is not much out there for that size OTA... Maybe a Celestron CGE...?


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dr.who
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 01/05/12

Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: dscarpa]
      #5293078 - 06/28/12 11:51 AM

Quote:

I know what you mean about trying to put a heavy OTA on side saddle in alt az mode. Doing so with my C9.25 on the Giro is scary. As to the LX80 it sounds like a nice mount but too much of a production and too heavy for me. I fear my dream of a stand alone LS type mount will remain just that. David




I wouldn't give up just yet David. After doing it a couple of times it has gotten easier and less of a PITA. It's like putting the OTA on an 8SE with one extra step actually.


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dr.who
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 01/05/12

Re: My Meade LX80 journey of discovery ;) new [Re: dr.who]
      #5431984 - 09/21/12 12:11 AM

Well... After a problem with the tripod (documented by others) and a really really bad night at my local star party with the mount doing all kinds of strange things in terms of alignment (there is a firmware update that does take care of some alignment problems discovered and the trouble I was having seemed to be caused by these bugs) the LX80 journey of discovery is now officially at an end.

Farrah from Woodland Hills Telescope found out I had an RMA call in with Meade over the tripod and about the problems at the star party and told me not to ship the tripod back to Meade. She told me to bring it in for either a replacement or a full refund.

Off topic...
Talk about customer service! I really cannot say enough good things about these guys! She really went above and beyond to help me out here and take it back for a full refund.

On topic...
After thinking about it I realized that the LX80 is a good mount for what it does in the price range it does it in but it didn't allow me to accomplish what I wanted to with it because the setup time for dual ota took longer and was more fussy in terms of getting the two scopes aligned than it would for me to simply setup a CG5 and my CGEM and have an OTA on each.

I also came to the realization that even though I was using it in alt/az mode I still had to balance whatever scope(s) that were on it the same way I would with a EQ mount again saving me no time and effort.

Combine all this with the other issues identified with the mount that were not problems with mine (yet) like the worm gears popping out and the tracking issues and I realized that this really wasn't the value add I thought it would be.

So I traded it in for a Celestron CG5-ASGT with an Orion Skywatcher 16" pier extension.


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