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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: brokenwave]
      #5331486 - 07/23/12 02:49 PM

Hi Guys,
I just called Meade to thank them for fixing the polar drift problem on the LX80 mount. Then I asked them if they were going to fix the PEC. They told me they had no idea that it wasn't working correctly. I was told they need specifics as to what its doing or not doing when you try to use it before they would do anything. I do not know the specifics since I haven't tried to use it yet. They told me if people could call them and tell them exactly what its doing wrong they would fix it. Anybody who knows could you please call them and it usually takes more than one person calling before they realize its really broken and not just a user error. I told them its being discussed on this forum but they need complaints called in to take action.
thanks, Neilson


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TALK2KEV
sage


Reged: 03/08/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: brokenwave]
      #5331528 - 07/23/12 03:13 PM

David/ Andrew

new firmware fixed my bad RA tracking. I was able to set up last night did a one star and then drift alignment with PHD all went well unguided test 2.30 hours on Antares no problems drift was very small. After drift alignment guided on Altair with PHD guiding till the cows come home or until I needed a earth filter. used scope on both east and west side of the meridian with no problems. I did have one problem early on the power cable slid out of the connector with slewing from on target to the next. I think I will add a some Velcro and a Velcro cable tie about 2 or 3 inches above the power port this should solve this problem.


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: TALK2KEV]
      #5331564 - 07/23/12 03:42 PM

Regarding PEC...

I wrote to the Pempro author about if his program will work with the LX80. Frankly, he is not sure. Andrew and I have also discussed it by email. I will read up some more on the process, and give it a whirl, and see what happens.

Andrew is pretty sure that we cannot write the data back to the mount, and it "appears" that the PEC function is still non-functional within the mount. Time for testing, testing, testing.

Hey... some of you Polar setup guys can help with this. The AudioStar has the command set for PEC training. Give it a whirl, and see what happens. You can always delete the table, and/or RESET the AudioStar....

Maybe some of you have a different program that can look at PEC also....

If needed, Andrew supplied this information for me today...
" if you use the mount wizard [ed: Pempro] and create a new scope using "Other" as the model, it will ask for a worm toothcount. The LX80 needs 154 here, and after that it should work."


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TALK2KEV
sage


Reged: 03/08/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: TALK2KEV]
      #5331571 - 07/23/12 03:46 PM

As for LX80 being used as AP platform, I believe it will work great, we use 80mm Astro-Tech it carbon fiber tube short and light weight wide field with FLI micro 8300 main camera and DSI pro II as the guide camera guide scope 66mm Astro-Tech with Orion flip mirror. The wider your FOV is the more forgiving your set up will be. Also we try to stay about half of the payload capacity of the mount the other thing you must think about is wind a little breeze with a long tube refractor acts like a lever against the mount or a big Newt you can use these OTA's but you will throw away more frames. on windy days we will park the trailer and truck as a wind block and even line equipment cases between tires to control wind. But if your just starting out in AP start wide field.

This was done using a LX55 mount and same equipment listed above, to see more images.
http://starsabove.net/FLI8300Cimages.htm?

NCG 6946 & 6939


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TALK2KEV
sage


Reged: 03/08/06

Loc: Oklahoma
Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: TALK2KEV]
      #5331585 - 07/23/12 03:53 PM Attachment (23 downloads)

Sorry here is the Pic goto link for better image

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Gord
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/06/04

Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5331634 - 07/23/12 04:18 PM

Quote:

Last night was not a total loss. I did get a couple of images. Keep in mind please, that my setup was Alt/AZ (where I live…). I still have a lot to learn about Polar. Anyway, for my target, I picked Yed Posterior in Oph (SAO 141086), as it is a very bright, identifiable star, with a good grouping of small background stars. The Fov for the 6”SC, with the SBIG ST8300M is about 40x30 Arc Min, and should produce a good “picture” of how steady the mount is… For those interested in Details, I did plate resolve the image (TheSkyX Pro), and here is the information.

******** ASTROMETRIC SOLUTION RESULTS ********
Center RA: 16h 18m 26.4s
Center Dec: -04° 39' 25.3"
Scale: 1.44 arcseconds/pixel
Size (pixels): 1676 x 1266
Angular Size: 0° 40' 13" x 0° 30' 23"
Position Angle: 264° 55' from North
RMS: 0.69 (X: 0.42 Y: 0.55)
Number of Stars Used in Solution: 97 (100%)
FWHM: 4.08 pixels, 5.88 arcseconds

This image is a 5 frame – 30sec/frame stack. To comply with CN guidelines, I have compressed the image, but the full image (4 Meg FIT file) is available is any “techies” out there would like to see it.
I was VERY PLEASED with the exposure, looking at the smaller stars for shape and drift. Normally, when I image galaxies, and nebulae, I increase exposure out to 2 min (guided). For clusters (open), I usually expose for about 30-45 seconds, depending on detail.






Sorry if this is a little off topic, I just noticed something in these images an was wondering if anyone else sees it. Around the bright star, I see a faint out of focus diffraction pattern. Basically a big white donut.

I didn't see mention of a reducer/corrector being used, as I've read that they can cause this. Anyone else seeing this and what is causing it? Reflection off of the CCD onto...?
Thanks,


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easye
Thinking Ahead
*****

Reged: 04/08/10

Loc: Moved to Long Island
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Gord]
      #5331757 - 07/23/12 05:21 PM

I've been following this thread just like a whole lot of other people. First I want to say thanks to the early adopters of the LX80 for the on going wealth of information and other folks who got involved to try resolve some of the issues with the LX80.

Is this a correct recap?

Alt Az - Good...How good?
Polar - Good...How good?
PEC - No good....um perhaps just not yet?

Are we getting close to suggesting that the LX80 is a worthy alternative to the Atlas or CGEM? Or is not close to be considered to be a worthy alternative? Or will it never be close enough to be considered a worthy alternative?

Thanks,

Edited by easye (07/23/12 05:26 PM)


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Lee Jay
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/27/08

Loc: Westminster, CO
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: easye]
      #5331810 - 07/23/12 05:56 PM

Quote:

Are we getting close to suggesting that the LX80 is a worthy alternative to the Atlas or CGEM?




The Atlas and CGEM aren't worthy alternatives to the LX80 since neither operates at all in alt-az mode.


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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: neilson]
      #5331855 - 07/23/12 06:17 PM

Quote:

Hi Guys,
I just called Meade to thank them for fixing the polar drift problem on the LX80 mount. Then I asked them if they were going to fix the PEC. They told me they had no idea that it wasn't working correctly. I was told they need specifics as to what its doing or not doing when you try to use it before they would do anything. I do not know the specifics since I haven't tried to use it yet. They told me if people could call them and tell them exactly what its doing wrong they would fix it. Anybody who knows could you please call them and it usually takes more than one person calling before they realize its really broken and not just a user error. I told them its being discussed on this forum but they need complaints called in to take action.
thanks, Neilson




The people at meade are not amature astronomers using meade equipment? Surely they have tried the PEC and found it wonky. I am sure they will start working on it now. hopefully what they fix will be backward compatible.

Edited by Stew57 (07/23/12 10:28 PM)


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WadeH237
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: LX80 RA tracking new [Re: Lee Jay]
      #5331921 - 07/23/12 07:03 PM

Quote:

The Atlas and CGEM aren't worthy alternatives to the LX80 since neither operates at all in alt-az mode.




So what? Lots of people don't care at all about alt-az mode.

The Atlas/CGEM mounts are generally considered to be great entry level mounts for astrophotography. The LX80, even after price increases, is still substantially less cost than an Atlas or CGEM. If the LX80 can track and guide reasonably well for imaging, it could be an attractive alternative.

The question is a very good one. Based on my knowledge of the LX80, I would tend to say that it does not make a good alternative at this time. It does not have a guide port, and it looks like there are issues with PEC. And even if these were addressed, the LX80 is still a compromise design versus a pure GEM or a pure alt-az mount (note that I am not saying that the compromise is bad; on the contrary, I think that it is very interesting). That said, I could be completely wrong and the LX80 could be a great imaging mount. There are not enough of them out there yet to know.

-Wade


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: neilson]
      #5331945 - 07/23/12 07:16 PM

Gday Neilson

Quote:

Then I asked them if they were going to fix the PEC. They told me they had no idea that it wasn't working correctly.




The phone help may not know, but Meade has certainly been advised ( several times ) including details as to exactly what is wrong.
However, if people are going to push this for a fix
you also need to mention that the :SC command doesnt work
which means you cant set the date via a PC.
Those are the two "major" bugs left that will affect users badly.
There are lots of others that may catch people out over time,
but you can probably live with them.

( For anyone who wants to get an idea of these others,
if you grab the A1F7 patch off the Starpatch website,
you can read through the clear text comments on each patch part
to see what it addresses. The DEC pulseguide
bug is now fixed, but most others remain )

Andrew


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5332032 - 07/23/12 08:27 PM

Hi Andrew,
I spent hours this weekend trying to figure out why I couldn't get my PC to set the date on my LX80. I thought it was something I was doing wrong. Now I know why.
I am disappointed to hear that the people that matter at Meade already know about the Pec problems. The phone people had given me the impression all they needed was a few complaints and it would be fixed.
I was already disappointed when last night I found that the 10" ota that came with my LX80 is too heavy for astrophotography in polar mode. Last night we had 5 to 8 mph wind gusts and after over 15 attempts I was unable to polar align my mount. I got the polar alignment as close as I could and took a 30 second image of Vega with my canon T1i and the image showed the ota moving all around. I never had this much movement on my other mounts with 20mph wind gusts.
My ota is well balanced but it has 3/16"+ movement in both RA and DEC but RA is easier to move. The movement is caused by the spring loaded wormgear/motor assembly. I take care when wiggling it because the wormgear will pop out of the ring gear and jump. Its already happened several times. The movement isnt very noticeable if I dont have the OTA installed. Usually It takes me 1 to 3 attempts to polar align with my LXD75. But I think the OTA movement on the LX80 kept giving the mount incorrect readings durring alignment. Without the winds Its not as bad but I am use to alignments with higher winds and no problem on my LXD75. It doesn't have a spring loaded wormgear. Meade told me the movement in the LX80 is normal.
I will have to use it in ALT/AZ with the 10"ota. Has anyone tried a 10" ota in polar mode and did you have the same problems?
Neilson


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: neilson]
      #5332063 - 07/23/12 08:44 PM

Gday Neilson

Re
Quote:

I spent hours this weekend trying to figure out why I couldn't get my PC to set the date on my LX80. I thought it was something I was doing wrong. Now I know why.




I did mention it back in page 14

Quote:

There are also a lot of other bugs that may affect users using serial control of the scope still in the firmware after a long while.
ie you still cant set the date remotely




Perhaps the thread was getting to long by then.

Andrew


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ur7x
sage


Reged: 01/08/12

Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: neilson]
      #5332067 - 07/23/12 08:48 PM

You shouldn't be disappointed, this is simply the Meade MO.

We can now see that they knew about the RA tracking issue for quite some time and eventually came clean and admitted that they are actually reading this thread. And yet when someone here (smartly) recommend a phone in campaign to report RA tracking bugs, Meade's first response was "Really? Are you sure? That's news to us!"

I'm still stunned that Meades POV on this was that in-spite of the fact they sold broken mounts, they want everyone to buy their cable to fix their software bug... With the argument, that you are gonna want/need that cable anyway


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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

Re: LX80 Auto guide port new [Re: ur7x]
      #5332085 - 07/23/12 08:58 PM

Gday Ur7x

Quote:

With the argument, that you are gonna want/need that cable anyway




I agree with the original poster,
you want the cable if you are ever going to want to use the scope via a PC for ANY function.
Its a simple 3 wire Tx/Rx/Ground cable and can be made for a few dollars, lots of details on lots of sites on how its made.
Maybe Meade should provide it with all scopes, but they dont.
Thats their marketing decision, so who knows why its not provided.

Andrew


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jgraham
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: ur7x]
      #5332095 - 07/23/12 09:02 PM

"Are we getting close to suggesting that the LX80 is a worthy alternative to the Atlas or CGEM?"

I don't think that we're anywhere close to posing that question. For me the more relevant question is whether the LX80 (in polar mode) is a worthy alternative (replacement) for the LXD75. Based on what I've read in this thread is that the altaz mode is making progress, but there are still unresolved issues in polar mode.


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: jgraham]
      #5332157 - 07/23/12 09:38 PM

A few Years back I bought my LXD75 SN10" and afterwards I couldn't understand why Meade would sell me that big 10" Schmidt Newtonian ota with that mount if it couldn't handle it set up as an imaging setup.
Now I read the LX80 can handle 40lbs in polar mode and I see they are selling it with a 10" ota. I didn't think they would sell the mount with that big 10" ota if it couldn't handle it as an imaging setup. Do you see the pattern.
I was getting ready to buy a CGEM but I believed in Meade. I will have to use Alt/Az if I want to use my 10"ota now.
Does the CGEM have any problems handling a 10"ota?
Neilson


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Lee Jay
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/27/08

Loc: Westminster, CO
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: neilson]
      #5332183 - 07/23/12 09:54 PM

Quote:

A few Years back I bought my LXD75 SN10" and afterwards I couldn't understand why Meade would sell me that big 10" Schmidt Newtonian ota with that mount if it couldn't handle it set up as an imaging setup.
Now I read the LX80 can handle 40lbs in polar mode and I see they are selling it with a 10" ota. I didn't think they would sell the mount with that big 10" ota if it couldn't handle it as an imaging setup. Do you see the pattern.
I was getting ready to buy a CGEM but I believed in Meade. I will have to use Alt/Az if I want to use my 10"ota now.
Does the CGEM have any problems handling a 10"ota?
Neilson




10" f/10 + T1i = about a third of an arc second per pixel. You're going to see even the tiniest motion, vibration and tracking error, not to mention seeing issues with that setup.


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Lee Jay]
      #5332338 - 07/23/12 11:37 PM

Hi Lee Jay,
I forgot to mention that I usually image with a 6.3 focal reducer but the same is still true.
I am use to imaging with my LX200 10" in Alt/Az mode on a tripod in the driveway. I started with a DSI IIc then later started using DSLR's. With no shakiness problems.
This LX80 with a 10"ota in polar mode is shaky just using visual on a windless night. Its also difficult to focus. But last night with 5-8mph wind gusts It was difficult just to view the moon or M-13.
In Alt/Az mode, no wind the 10"ota wasn't as bad visual but still worse than I expected. With the 10"ota and AR152mm refractor in duel scope mode it was a lot better. Just a little shaky.
When I tried my Explore Scientific AR152mm f/6.5 refractor in Alt/Az mode there was less shakiness. It weighs 23lbs. I haven't tried it in polar mode yet.
My AR152 refractor isn't shaky on my LXD75
I think the problem is the 3/16"+ movement in the drives from the spring loaded wormgear when using heavier scopes.
neilson


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mmalik
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: LX80 Auto guide port [Re: brokenwave]
      #5332413 - 07/24/12 12:37 AM

Quote:

I was at the OPT SCAE event last weekend and spoke with the Meade Rep's there. When the ST-4 guide port ship date came up, I was told it's not happening anytime soon. It seems that because of the different electronics in the LX80 and LX800 that Meade has put the LX80 guide port development on hold.




For those wanting/in need of using ST-4 that doesn't sound good. Firstly, I am NOT for plug-in ST-4 port (which is proprietary AUX bus anyway), and I am definitely NOT for serial guiding. While some Meade ONLY users swear by serial guiding, industry standard is ST-4 guiding for professional grade mounts. From the start, while LX80 was in development stages, I have been suggesting 'integrated' ST-4 but the answers I kept getting were:

"Meade couldn't afford to completely rewrite software they own and paid for years ago"

"The circuitry design is old and cheap, helping keep costs and price down"

Well, while understandable, this is NO innovation!


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