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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Lee Jay
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/27/08

Loc: Westminster, CO
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: neilson]
      #5332797 - 07/24/12 09:59 AM

Quote:

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




Other people have reported not having such trouble using a C11 on it. I wonder why the discrepancy.


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Thomas Karpf
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/09/09

Loc: Newington, CT
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Lee Jay]
      #5332889 - 07/24/12 10:45 AM

Quote:

Other people have reported not having such trouble using a C11 on it. I wonder why the discrepancy.




Off-hand, I would imagine something (or several somethings) need to be tightened. I used to think one of my mounts was useless until a friend tightened things up for me; then it was rock-solid.


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5332942 - 07/24/12 11:29 AM

Three things to report on this morning… [WIND – GUIDING – PEC]

The effect of WIND on a Telescope and Mount:

Neilson: you said “I never had this much movement on my other mounts with 20mph wind gusts.” Are you serious ?? That, to me, is an amazing statement. I believe you, but I am still amazed! With my LX200 (8”), when I used to set it up in the open, anything over a couple of MPH would cause movement in the image. Of course now, my LX200 gets mounted on a pier, in a back-yard obs, and is protected from the wind.

I know that other observers in the field also were concerned with wind, and usually we had the same experiences, and often compared notes, trying to figure out if the winds were causing the distortions.

Guiding with the LX80 (Alt/Az and then Polar):

I can now confirm that guiding with Envisage (Meade interface for the DSI camera) will NOT work. It tries, but will not. At first, I was very concerned. I thought the mount was moving, where before it had been steady. So, I tested. Starting Envisage, I would watch a star field for several minutes. Things would be steady – looking good. Then I would connect to the mount. Still steady. Select the star for guiding – still looking good. When I would select “Guide Here”, then the stars in the FOV would start moving (in my case, downward), at a fairly steady rate. Unselect the “Guide Here”, and the field continued to move. Stop Envisage, and restart it, and the field would be steady again. I repeated this procedure over and over, and the results were the same.

I did more research, and have read that there is/was trouble guiding with the Meade 497. There are several posts in the ASCOM forums, and the Phd forums. Apparently, Phd created a special driver (I “think” in ASCOM 4) for the 497, and that supposedly resolved the issue. I have downloaded the current version of Phd, and in the HELP section is this comment:

“Please note, that Meade Autostar 497 mounts (LXD-55, LXD-75) require a patched ASCOM driver for best performance (available on the Stark Labs website. Without this, they will not run in a real PulseGuide mode.”

The current platform for ASCOM (the driver for Phd) is Platform 6, which I have installed. On the Phd download site, is the 497 “Patch”, but this remark:

Meade LXDx5 ASCOM 4.1 driver
For OLD ASCOM 4.1 users only (who have not upgraded to v5): Driver for Meade LXDx5 mounts that forces PulseGuide mode.

So…. Is the patch still necessary in ASCOM Platform 5, or the current Platform 6 ?
The answer is unknown today, but will I will be working on that tonight.

Phd is a “freeware” product, produced by Stark Labs. Information, and downloads, are available here: http://www.stark-labs.com/index.html


PEC and the LX80:

As of last evening, I have Pempro configured with ASCOM Platform 6, and the driver for the Meade 497. Pempro can now connect to the Mount, and the Meade DSI camera. Everything I read suggests that I should be able to “gather data” from the mount (and camera). This evening, after working with mount in Alt/AZ, and working on the “guiding” issue, I will re-configure, and try to gather some data with Pempro in Polar mode. It is going to be a long night!


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Thomas Karpf]
      #5333048 - 07/24/12 12:44 PM

Hi, Lee and Tom,
I was looking for information if anyone else with a larger OTA was having this problem. I am glad you let me know that someone with an 11" isn't having this problem.
I have checked everything for tightness and have done tests and the movement is definitely the spring loaded wormgear/motor assembly flexing out. If I wiggle the play with a little extra pressure the wormgear completely pops out of the ring gear and the ota jumps.
I can adjust the tension until most of the play is gone but the pressure of the steel wormgear on the brass ringear causes wear (brass shavings) immediately and high amp draw. There is a stop screw that limits the wormgear travel and must be set exact to prevent wear but there is a lot of pressure on it. The higher spring pressure makes it hard for the wormgear assembly to pop out if needed. Since Meade is using a small motor and plastic/nylon gears in a plastic gearbox this increases the risk of damage. I have everything set as original but I will have to try and talk to a technician at Meade to see if this is acceptable.
It might be hard to get one on the phone, it use to be easy in the past. I have left several voice mails to the manager last week and the one before but he must be busy. I tried to just accept the movement in alt/az mode but It just wont work in polar. I fear they will have me send it back to them and I will be stuck without it for months.
Neilson


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Lee Jay
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/27/08

Loc: Westminster, CO
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: neilson]
      #5333086 - 07/24/12 01:13 PM

This thread might be of interest.

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mmalik
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5333094 - 07/24/12 01:17 PM

Quote:

I can now confirm that guiding with Envisage (Meade interface for the DSI camera) will NOT work...

...Meade Autostar 497 mounts (LXD-55, LXD-75) require a patched ASCOM driver for best performance...




Hope it all works out for you. ST-4 guiding requires NONE of this; all you would have needed is PHD.

Note: ST-4 does NOT require ASCOM drivers, period.


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jgraham
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: mmalik]
      #5333114 - 07/24/12 01:27 PM

ST-4 guiding aside...

I've used both Envisage and PHD to guide my Autostar mounts. Envisage is kinda old school but it does work... kinda. PHD is much, much better and there's no problem guiding through the hand controller. I used the patched ASCOM driver on my older Windows XP system, however I don't recall having any problems with my newer Windows Vista system. I may have installed the patched ASCOM driver, but I just don't remember. Problem solved, moved on, guiding fine.


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oo_void
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/13/09

Loc: San Francisco, CA
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: mmalik]
      #5333134 - 07/24/12 01:39 PM

I'm sure I'll need some flame retardant for this one ... But do you *REALLY* need an ST-4 port? Personally, I prefer to pulse guide. Additionally, since I'm already hooked up to the computer via serial to handle overall mount control when imaging, it's *ONE* less cable to have to worry about.

As for the mount overall, given that the only other viable AltAz option at this price point is the iOptron, I'm looking forward to picking an LX80 up sometime next year.


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: jgraham]
      #5333143 - 07/24/12 01:46 PM

Greetings Mmalik...

Your comments are interesting, and noted.
However, in this thread, we are trying to work with "what is". We are trying to test and determine what works, and what does not. If not, we are looking for "workable" solutions.

There is no disagreement regarding ST-4 guiding. But on the LX80, its not there.

It is looking like Phd will be a good workable solution, and the camera support for Phd is awsome. Phd seems to be a widely accepted solution, and seems to be widely used. I'll be giving it a try tonight, in both Alt/AZ, and Polar.

[ed: (add)] And its freeware !! An interesting point here. Yes it is free. But if it works for you (and me), then there is a provision to send some money to the author. Usually a good idea!

Edited by dmdouglass (07/24/12 01:50 PM)


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5333148 - 07/24/12 01:48 PM

Hi David,
I guess I don't get the full force of the wind when I use my 10" LX200ACF because I have buildings on 3 sides and I block the other side with my van. But its still not as bad as the movement with my LX80 and 10"ota in polar mode.
I wiggled it and was noticing when I move it to the right of the movement then let go, and the spring pushes it to the left then it comes back and centers itself. instead of just going straight to the center when I let go. And vice versa. With wind it keeps bouncing back and forth. The spring action causes momentum. And the mount itself is solid below the drives. Its that 3/16" spring loaded movement that makes it so bad. My other mounts don't have this slop so they have much less movement.
I know it might sound like I am exaggerating but you just have to see it.I've never seen anything like it.
I took my mount apart the first day I got it because I noticed so much slop on the RA but found it was the spring action of the wormgear. It measured 1/4" movement in the RA.
It takes 2 people to setup duel ota mode on mine with my large ota and 6" refractor. One person has to hold up one scope while I put the other one on or the wormgear pops out and it drops. This wont happen with smaller lighter ota's.
Neilson


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dmdouglass
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/23/07

Loc: Tempe, AZ
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: neilson]
      #5333164 - 07/24/12 01:57 PM

Hi Neilson..

Wow... that sounds like something that really should be on a larger mount. When it requires two people (and i believe you).....

I use dual OTA as my standard. I purchased the SC-6 with the mount, and add my wide-field 80mm ED APO on the right. No problems in mounting, and no vibration (in breezes) noted. There is a slight movement that is seen during manual focusing, but that settles out quickly.

My "main" mount is now a pier (at home) in the backyard obs. It has the LX200(8), along with the 80mm "piggybacked" (see image to the left...). The LX80 is to be my "travel" mount, as in our current situation. I'll have to watch and see if i can detect this "spring action". So far, i have not noticed it. But then, i have not been looking for it either.


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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: dmdouglass]
      #5333236 - 07/24/12 02:50 PM

Yea, its just the Meade 10" ota 29lbs. that came with the mount and my 23lb AR152 refractor. In duel Alt/Az mode the movement is least. I figure the separated weight might help dampen it. Plus The RA is laying flat. But there is still noticeable side to side movement in RA.
If any one is using the LX80 with a 10" or 11" ota I sure would like to hear about your experiences with this.
Neilson.


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Griffin!
sage


Reged: 09/12/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: neilson]
      #5333243 - 07/24/12 02:56 PM

I went ahead and gave Meade a call and asked about the LX80 and how it handles the larger OTAs, and what might be causing your issues. Here's the basic response:

"It sounds like the limiting screw is out of adjustment. With a properly adjusted spring loaded worm-block there will be some flex, but the spring pressure will reengage the system properly. The worm block popping off the worm wheel is an improperly adjusted limiting screw and/or his system is severely out of balance."


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George Methvin
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/30/06

Loc: Central Texas
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Griffin!]
      #5333319 - 07/24/12 03:45 PM

I want to say I think all of you are great and working hard to get your new mounts working. I really hope you all get things up and running. I have to wonder though if any of you are getting paid by Meade sence you are doing there job for them? I just don't get it I don't understand..I would not buy a auto or computer or any other thing that did not work from a seller much less a seller that has a history of turning out produce that don't work right out of the box.. Sorry I wish the best to all of you and I have enjoy reading these treads and good luck with your problems I wish you all the best. It's you folks that get all the bugs worked out so that other that buy down the road get something that works, we all set and watch while you folks fight the battle for us and then in a few year we buy a mount that works. I want to thanks you all for your troubles and sleepless nights.

Edited by George Methvin (07/24/12 03:59 PM)


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Lee Jay
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/27/08

Loc: Westminster, CO
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: George Methvin]
      #5333325 - 07/24/12 03:47 PM

Quote:

I just don't get it I don't understand..I would not buy a auto or computer or any other thing that did not work from a seller much less a seller that has a history of turning out produce that don't work right out of the box..its like catching the same fish time after time the fish never learns. Meade is fishing and you guys keep biting.




Please make another suggestion for a mount that can carry 40 pounds, that can act in alt-az or GEM modes, can handle two OTAs simultaneously, and costs under $1,000.


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George Methvin
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/30/06

Loc: Central Texas
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Lee Jay]
      #5333345 - 07/24/12 03:57 PM

Will I guess you get what you pay for. I understand about the price and what it' suppose to do but if it doe's not work it will not matter how much you payed for it. How much is all your time a worry worth, will Meade renburse you for that.

Edited by George Methvin (07/24/12 04:17 PM)


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Lee Jay
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/27/08

Loc: Westminster, CO
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: George Methvin]
      #5333387 - 07/24/12 04:18 PM

Quote:

Will I guess you get what you pay for. I understand about the price and what it' suppose to do but if it doe's not work it will not matter how much you payed for it. How much is all your time a worry worth, will Meade renburse you for that.




Okay, suggest one that meets the same specs that costs under $5,000.


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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: George Methvin]
      #5333427 - 07/24/12 04:39 PM

Quote:

Will I guess you get what you pay for. I understand about the price and what it' suppose to do but if it doe's not work it will not matter how much you payed for it. How much is all your time a worry worth, will Meade renburse you for that.




But it does work. Many/most of the issues have been corrected and the mount is looking better and better. I ordered one last November and have not received it yet. I'd like to thank all of you that are working out the issues with the mount. Hope I receive mine in time to pitch in!

There are a lot of user groups for a lot of products where end users help one another resolve problems with a product. As a new item, the LX80 may require more than most but Meade is by no means in that boat alone.


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George Methvin
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/30/06

Loc: Central Texas
Re: LX80 RA Tracking new [Re: Mkofski]
      #5333461 - 07/24/12 05:00 PM

Your right Jay I don't know of one. All I know if I bought a new car and it did not run or drive off the lot I would not set there and try to fixs it myself while the car dealer seat there and watched with my money in his pocket.

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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: LX80 RA Tracking [Re: Griffin!]
      #5333478 - 07/24/12 05:10 PM

Hi Griffin,
I guess while you were calling Meade I went and put my mount on its tripod and wiggled the RA. It didnt take much and the wormgear popped out.
At that point I decided this just cant be right. If I was using a small light Ota it would be ok but not with the 10" that it came with.
I took each drive apart separately and adjusted the wormblock and testing it to make sure it drew about .50 amps 1/2amp. And there was no play in the ring gear/wormgear. I had to take each drive apart 2 times to get it the way I wanted. Then I regreased the ring gears and put loctite on all adjusting screws.
Then I put my 10"Ota and counter weights on and properly balanced everything. I tested each drive with the amp meter again. and each drive was about.50amps and with both running about .92amps. I will still need to calibrate motors, train both drives and set the percent in Alt and Az.
There is no movement/slop in the Dec now.
The movement in the RA is much stiffer and the wormgear doesnt pop out with reasonable pressure. I dont think light winds are going to be causing me problems anymore. Hopefully tonight I can test it and polar alignments will be no problem.
I want to thank you Griffin for calling Meade and getting the appropriate information for me. I was concerned about the increased spring pressure with the plastic gears, but now that Meade said it wasn't supposed to be adjusted that loose I know I did the right thing. I had thought the mount wasn't going be able to handle the weight of the 10" ota in polar mode. Now it looks like it will be no problem.
I want to thank all you guys for helping me. And thank you for your comments that pushed me to not settle for leaving the mount the way it was. I will let you know how it works out.
Neilson


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