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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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JimMo
I'd Rather Do It Myself


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Under the SE Michigan lightdom...
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: Jmax]
      #5785840 - 04/08/13 12:15 PM

I don't think the top plate will break on it's own. IIRC with the first one that broke the owner admitted that he over tightened the spreader and that was when it failed. So, don't crank down too hard on the center knob. With the failure that started this thread the owner moved the mount and tripod in azimuth dragging the legs on the ground, another thing you shouldn't do. That said, I do believe it is a design flaw where Meade cut corners to save some $$.

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: Jmax]
      #5786225 - 04/08/13 03:32 PM

I did a little research on this. It looks like while the silicon content isn't helpful, it does save about $1 per mount. However, the biggest offender for the remarkably brittle material is likely rapid cooling in the die casting mold. Annealing the tripod head might help, but to be honest, I wouldn't want to rely on it.

I suggest contacting Jack Huerkamp to see if he can still get the heavy duty heads. Though, to be honest, I have to wonder what gotchas are just waiting for a little more use to reveal themselves.

-Rich


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: Jmax]
      #5786246 - 04/08/13 03:41 PM

John,

Sorry to hear that the color seems to be the only difference. Have you considered a pier? The way I remember, Jack Huerkamp could get his replacement part for under $250 shipped to the US. I think I can make a pier for less and because I don't need portability that may be an option for me.

If anyone is interested in a "group letter" to Meade, PM me and I'll start a list of "unhappy" owners. I don't think it will make much difference if we only get a few people on board.


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: JimMo]
      #5786258 - 04/08/13 03:49 PM

Quote:

I don't think the top plate will break on it's own. IIRC with the first one that broke the owner admitted that he over tightened the spreader and that was when it failed. So, don't crank down too hard on the center knob. With the failure that started this thread the owner moved the mount and tripod in azimuth dragging the legs on the ground, another thing you shouldn't do. That said, I do believe it is a design flaw where Meade cut corners to save some $$.




Jim,

Yes, I moved the mount without picking it up. I'm sure that contributed to the failure but I find it hard to believe that that isn't something many other owners have done to other mounts. When I get the replacement, I won't be doing that again... until I forget! Over tightening the spreader is something I have not done that I know of but, IMO, that again shouldn't cause the tripod to fail.

Looks like I'm headed for a love-hate relationship with the mount and Meade.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: Mkofski]
      #5786291 - 04/08/13 04:02 PM

Mike,

If the mount couldn't withstand that, how would it respond the common minor kick to a tripod leg? We've all done that, and unless we stick everything in a remote control observatory, we'll do it again.

It was fortunate this happened in a situation where you had some control over the mount. It would be much more common to load up a leg by bumping it when you weren't expecting to make contact with the mount and therefore weren't in position to catch it.

-Rich


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JimMo
I'd Rather Do It Myself


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Under the SE Michigan lightdom...
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: Mkofski]
      #5786625 - 04/08/13 06:49 PM

HI Mike, PM sent.

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tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: JimMo]
      #5786731 - 04/08/13 07:59 PM

I had this happen to a Celestron Nexstar tripod when I tried to move the tripod a few inches to clear a wall blocking my view of Polaris. I had a Tak NJP equatorial head with a C-8 OTA with my TV NP101 IS piggyback on it. I grabbed the two south legs and started to drag the assembly. The tripod head broke exactly like you show where the north leg is mounted to it. I was able to catch the scopes before they took a plunge to the slab, fortunately. I can see this could happen if one were to accidentally kick the tripod in the dark.

These tripod heads should be made out of extruded stock arc welded together, but that would cost more.

I've never fixed the Nexstar tripod, which was way out of warranty when that happened. I'll never use it again, either. Might sell parts at some swap table someday, perhaps.

-Tim.


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: tim53]
      #5786760 - 04/08/13 08:16 PM

Tim,

Thanks for the input. Yes, I think a failure like this could happen to any mount but having 3 reported failures here on CN seems to point to a design or manufacturing problem - or both.

Moving the setup like you did and like I did may constitute abuse but it appears to be a fairly common practice that most mounts will tolerate most of the time. I plan to be more careful with it when I get it back from Meade..


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blueman
Photon Catcher
*****

Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: tim53]
      #5786770 - 04/08/13 08:19 PM

The part that supports all the weight should be a CNC stock piece. In my opinion. Cost, what another $20?
Blueman
Quote:

I had this happen to a Celestron Nexstar tripod when I tried to move the tripod a few inches to clear a wall blocking my view of Polaris. I had a Tak NJP equatorial head with a C-8 OTA with my TV NP101 IS piggyback on it. I grabbed the two south legs and started to drag the assembly. The tripod head broke exactly like you show where the north leg is mounted to it. I was able to catch the scopes before they took a plunge to the slab, fortunately. I can see this could happen if one were to accidentally kick the tripod in the dark.

These tripod heads should be made out of extruded stock arc welded together, but that would cost more.

I've never fixed the Nexstar tripod, which was way out of warranty when that happened. I'll never use it again, either. Might sell parts at some swap table someday, perhaps.

-Tim.




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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: blueman]
      #5786826 - 04/08/13 08:51 PM

How much is a reputation as a bulletproof product worth? It seemed to work pretty well for the Super Polaris.

-Rich


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5786905 - 04/08/13 09:25 PM

Quote:

How much is a reputation as a bulletproof product worth? It seemed to work pretty well for the Super Polaris.

-Rich




Rich,

I decided it was worth $800 to try a mount that looked good on paper. If it were a tried and true mount with all the real world performance to back up the spec sheet, I'd have paid a lot more. A good reputation is harder to get than a bad one but is worth a lot.


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5786907 - 04/08/13 09:26 PM

Prior to these failures, the ones that I had seen involved failures of the tabs that stick out on the side of the tripod head. An obvious potential weak spot if the casting is bad. I had never seen a failure of the tripod head itself. I don't really think that a head made from machined billet is necessary (or cost effective), but if you are going to make the head as "short" as this one, then you leave little structural support if you are going to use a casting with ribs. There are plenty of cast aluminum tripod heads out there on mounts like the Atlas and CGEM that don't seem to fail. If this head where "taller" and thicker, it probably wouldn't have these problems. For its diameter, this head simply looks to short. If you have to go this short, then machined aluminum would be the proper choice.

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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: EFT]
      #5787035 - 04/08/13 10:23 PM

Gday Ed

Quote:

If this head where "taller" and thicker, it probably wouldn't have these problems.




The fact that the internal ribs dont go directly behind the external lugs is one of the biggest problems.
With such a thin flange, and no internal stiffening behind the lugs, it is just like tearing a piece of paper sideways.
A deeper flange will certainly reduce the shear stress on the fracture start point, but a stiffener behind it will remove 95% of the shear stress and allow a tensile load straight into the stiffener.
Sure, a tensile load isnt ideal for a casting, but it will be WAY stronger than the current shearing load.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5787225 - 04/09/13 01:12 AM

It's like no engineering went into it.

-Rich


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tim53
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/17/04

Loc: Highland Park, CA
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5788009 - 04/09/13 12:42 PM

In the old days, when most people had Newtonians on steel piers with thick cast aluminum or iron legs, we used to polar align by dragging the whole assembly all the time. Even without wheels. I don't think I've ever heard of a failure of one of these old mounts.

-Tim.


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: tim53]
      #5788289 - 04/09/13 02:27 PM

Quote:

In the old days, when most people had Newtonians on steel piers with thick cast aluminum or iron legs, we used to polar align by dragging the whole assembly all the time. Even without wheels. I don't think I've ever heard of a failure of one of these old mounts.

-Tim.




Tim,

I wasn't around in the old days but because I'm old I'll blame that... I didn't think pushing it about a bit would hurt but I won't be doing that again. Hate to have a repeat after the mount is out of warranty.


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ur7x
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: Mkofski]
      #5792298 - 04/11/13 12:44 PM

Quote:


Rich,

I decided it was worth $800 to try a mount that looked good on paper. If it were a tried and true mount with all the real world performance to back up the spec sheet, I'd have paid a lot more. A good reputation is harder to get than a bad one but is worth a lot.




Ya a few of us here did our best to try and talk you out of this. Sadly, for some of us, it was easy to see that this mount was likely destined for a world of hurt. For $800 you could have bought 2 second hand CG5's that have a better reputation, can be almost serviced with a hammer and duct tape and have better "real world" capacity to boot. Or for about the same price a second hand CGEM, also with a strong (mostly positive) reputation was also in reach.

But hey, someone had to be the pioneer with this mount. We are all learning from the experience of the early adopters. For what little consolation it is worth, thanks for taking the bullet on this one for some of us.

We should all take a collection and buy you a proper billet tripod top.


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: ur7x]
      #5792838 - 04/11/13 04:54 PM

Quote:

For what little consolation it is worth, thanks for taking the bullet on this one for some of us.



Hey, that's what Cloudy Nights is for. So that I can learn from your mistakes rather than my own.


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5793031 - 04/11/13 06:34 PM

Quote:

Quote:

For what little consolation it is worth, thanks for taking the bullet on this one for some of us.



Hey, that's what Cloudy Nights is for. So that I can learn from your mistakes rather than my own.




Glad to help out!


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: LX80 tripod failure (another) new [Re: ur7x]
      #5793051 - 04/11/13 06:45 PM

Quote:

Ya a few of us here did our best to try and talk you out of this.





There are a lot of time I don't take good advice... Just a personal failing!

Quote:


We should all take a collection and buy you a proper billet tripod top.



You can PM me for my Paypal address.


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