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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5952122 - 07/02/13 09:24 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It wasn't too much later that Celestron introduced the CG-5 ASGT. It worked out of the box with few if any teething troubles and had some features, notably the 2 inch Stainless Steel tripod, that made it the better choice than the LXD-75.




I don't know about that . The LXD75 with its 2" tubular tripod is a nice stable setup with leg tightening mechanics superior to the CG5GT tripod . Althought it may be chromed steel instead of stainless it seems a more solid tripod to me.




Since we are discussing history, I am quite sure that the first LXD-75's shipped with the same extruded aluminum tripod as the LXD-55. When Celestron introduced the CG-5 ASGT and AS mounts, Meade responded by first upgrading the LXD-75 to 1.75 inch tubular legs and then later to 2 inch.

When it came to replacing the extruded tripod aluminum legs that had been standard for so long, Celestron was the one that upped the ante and Meade followed.

Whether the CG-5 ASGT or the LXD-75 is the better mount, my point is that when the CG-5 ASGT was introduced, it was a runner, it was ready for the marketplace. The LXD-55 was not as it seems the LX-80, the LX-850 and others are not.

Just bits of history that are some sort of evidence, a piece of the puzzle as to why Meade finds itself where it is.

Jon


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EddWen
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Reged: 04/26/08

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5952130 - 07/02/13 09:33 PM

I don't think Rodger realizes that the rust issue took some time to evidence itself. Some PSTs were nearly a year old when the rust developed.

Based on Meade's response to the situation, I felt buying a Solarmax 90 was reasonable.

I can imagine what Meade management felt when they became aware of the problem. And then Lunt became a competitor.

Such is life.

edit: I should add that I was impressed by the fact that Meade quickly engineered a fix and taught the techs in Mexico how to make and assemble the replacement etalons. There are not many people in the world who know how these things work or how to build them.


Edited by EddWen (07/02/13 09:41 PM)


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5952147 - 07/02/13 09:56 PM

Quote:

Quote:

But, how about the Coronados? Multiple folks reported a rusting problem which made their scopes unusable. Some product testing would have identified this issue.




Even when Meade does something uncontestably good folks bash them!

That was Coronado's goof. When Meade took over, they redesigned the PST to eliminate the problem they found with the design. They then updated the ones already in the field to the new design at no charge even though they were obligated only to repair them.




John:



The PST rusting problem was a problem with Coronado's design. As I recall, the problem began to show itself about the time Meade bought Coronado. Even thought it had not happened on their watch, Meade stepped up to the plate and even repaired/updated the PSTs such as mine that had suffered the rust problems even though it was beyond the warranty and I was not the original owner.

The acquisition of Coronado was one of Meade's finer moments. At the time it was not widely known that David Lunt was battling cancer and with a few months would pass away. The sale to Meade provided security for his wife and family as well as time to be with David.



I have to say my limited experiences with Meade customer support were very good. The PST, upgraded at no cost, two scopes, repaired at no cost.

Jon


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5952159 - 07/02/13 10:08 PM

Quote:

Since we are discussing history, I am quite sure that the first LXD-75's shipped with the same extruded aluminum tripod as the LXD-55. When Celestron introduced the CG-5 ASGT and AS mounts, Meade responded by first upgrading the LXD-75 to 1.75 inch tubular legs and then later to 2 inch.





I've never seen an LXD75 head on an extruded aluminum tripod unless someone piecemealed a mount together out of left over parts . Nor can I recall the 1.75" steel legs . Now maybe I've missed something here but I've never seen one . Maybe someone has photos or an old ad that can prove otherwise .
I'll still take my LXD75 over the CG5 all night long . I get dead center go to's from one end of the sky to the other at 120x magnification all night long and tracking that keeps an object centered for literally hours on end at high mag . I could virtually leave the scope , have dinner , watch a movie , go back out and still have the object in the eyepiece . Granted , some nights alignment are better than others but I never saw my observing buddy's CG5 even come close to doing that . I dunno , maybe he's just lousy at set up .


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5952165 - 07/02/13 10:11 PM

Quote:

Since we are discussing history, I am quite sure that the first LXD-75's shipped with the same extruded aluminum tripod as the LXD-55. When Celestron introduced the CG-5 ASGT and AS mounts, Meade responded by first upgrading the LXD-75 to 1.75 inch tubular legs and then later to 2 inch.




The very first LXD75 models had the 1.75" tubular tripods (I reviewed an early one). That was the most substantial upgrade over the LXD55. The 2" upgrade happened soon after.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5952181 - 07/02/13 10:21 PM Attachment (17 downloads)

Quote:

Nor can I recall the 1.75" steel legs . Now maybe I've missed something here but I've never seen one . Maybe someone has photos or an old ad that can prove otherwise .




Here's an LXD55, a CG5-GT, and an early LXD75 with the original legs.


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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5952232 - 07/02/13 10:48 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Since we are discussing history, I am quite sure that the first LXD-75's shipped with the same extruded aluminum tripod as the LXD-55. When Celestron introduced the CG-5 ASGT and AS mounts, Meade responded by first upgrading the LXD-75 to 1.75 inch tubular legs and then later to 2 inch.




The very first LXD75 models had the 1.75" tubular tripods (I reviewed an early one). That was the most substantial upgrade over the LXD55. The 2" upgrade happened soon after.




I had both the LXD-55 and HAVE the LXD-75, the 75 is over all a much better mount, they have replaced the Bushings in the 55 head with roller bearings in the 75, It is the smoothest mount I have ever owned. Another plus is the weight they can carry, I have a Meade 7" Mak (with counter weight) and a very substantial 2 speed crayford 2" focuser.
I am amazed at even at 30 lbs "I weighed it on a digital scale". The image settles down surprisingly quickly.
I also havent had the slipping drive gear issue from the LXD-55 (best fix is break a small piece of Hack Saw blade and insert it in the flat area) then snug the locking screws down on it..
I put a Celestron 9.25 on the 75 and it didn't even shrug. I am 100% satisfied with it.
I still like the Celestron Handset better, but I am getting more used to Autostar.
I use the SN-8, AR-5 Acro refractor, and the 7" Mak on it.
The 55 was a different story, seems like there was always SOMETHING wrong every time I took it out of town.
I learned to bring a tool kit with me. Thats how bad it got.
Perhaps I just got a bad one..
I really hope the Meade issue resolves itself, It seems a shame they pushed the 80's out too soon, but that was an Executive error not a Product issue! they just weren't ready yet. A classic example of "Ready, Fire, Aim"
Like I said earlier I had a night of hands on with a new
10" 600, It not only just has great optics but "FELT" like it was a very, very high quality scope.
The views I got of Saturn were spectacular! Funny thing is that isn't even the main purpose of the scope.
Meade had good intentions with the 80 series, but there are a lot of Dead companys with good intentions!
They have to do a better job on Beta testing.
One thing for sure, they had better not make any more mistakes like that one, that isf iF they get another chance.
Meade has come so far from the so-so Schmidts of the early 80's, I do believe they will overcome this struggle.
Once more people report their results from the new systems,
I believe the new Scopes, will develop a substantial and loyal following, that is, "IF" they they are as good as the example as the one I used...
I'm pondering selling every scope I own, to get one.. I for one have Faith..


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Cotts
Just Wondering
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Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5952238 - 07/02/13 10:55 PM

Quote:



while we're on the subject of interface, how about voice control of the scope so I don't even have to look at a screeen:
"Go To NGC4411"
Brzzzzzzzzz........Beep!
I can make a call in my car by announcing "Call Home".
Why can't I control a scope the same way?





Well, Don, do you recall Digital Sky Voice from AP? Invented around 1999 by Charles Sinsofsky (a former member of my club, NYAA, in Toronto.) I have never seen anyone using this and the product seems not to be available anymore. Considering it is nearly 15 years old and the rapid advances in the digital/computer world it amazes me that someone else hasn't come up with a voice recognition that interfaces with our various telescope toys.....

Dave


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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5952246 - 07/02/13 10:58 PM

Technology will always advance but I for one would not want to have my Wi-Fi enabled mount suddenly taken over by some hacker sitting close by at a star party... 'Watch this, I'm gonna make that guys mount slew ...'

I've been reading this thread nightly, wondering whether or not it was going to degenerate into a bash fest and get locked. Kudos to all the posters and moderators for keeping it open and ontrack for the most part. Other threads concerning the LX80 / LX800 simply failed and were locked.

For many us, one of the options that we always considered, regardless of its history, was Meade. When I was looking for an SCT a few years back, I almost went with a Meade but decided to go with Celestron because the sale price was just too good to pass up. I did buy a 10" Meade about two years ago, but it was damaged in shipment and wound up sending it back to the seller, something I regrettably had to do. If another opportunity arises to pick one up locally, I'll do it. Here's hoping whoever buys Meade, gets the ship upright ... and continues the brand name with a renewed emphasis on quality and support.


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Paul G
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Reged: 05/08/03

Loc: Freedonia
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5952247 - 07/02/13 10:59 PM

Quote:

while we're on the subject of interface, how about voice control of the scope so I don't even have to look at a screeen:
"Go To NGC4411"
Brzzzzzzzzz........Beep!
I can make a call in my car by announcing "Call Home".
Why can't I control a scope the same way?




Charles Sinsofsky was working on the next version of Digital Sky Voice, not sure if the current/old version is still being sold.

DSV instruction manual

Edited by Paul G (07/02/13 11:02 PM)


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
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Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5952248 - 07/02/13 10:59 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Since we are discussing history, I am quite sure that the first LXD-75's shipped with the same extruded aluminum tripod as the LXD-55. When Celestron introduced the CG-5 ASGT and AS mounts, Meade responded by first upgrading the LXD-75 to 1.75 inch tubular legs and then later to 2 inch.




The very first LXD75 models had the 1.75" tubular tripods (I reviewed an early one). That was the most substantial upgrade over the LXD55. The 2" upgrade happened soon after.




The most substantial upgrade to the LXD75 could also be considered to be the replacement of the brass bushings used in the LXD55 with two ball bearings on both axes of the LXD75. Something that Celestron has never done with the CG-5 or AVX mounts.

That said, some of the worst castings and machining that I have seen on any of the LXD55 and LXD75 mounts (or CG-5 mounts for that matter) are in the last batches of the LXD75 made. Almost every one of the latest LXD75 mounts that I have worked on has the DEC axis casting off center and the seat for the main ball bearing machined all the way through the casting onto the supporting ribs underneath. I have seen at least 5 or 6 mounts like this and they were all purchased in the final year of the LXD75.


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EFT]
      #5952279 - 07/02/13 11:23 PM

Thanks for the photo John ! ...When was that taken ?
And ......
Thanks Larry and Ed for bringing up the roller bearing upgrade .
You guys beat me to the punch .


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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: orion61]
      #5952286 - 07/02/13 11:25 PM

Quote:

I had both the LXD-55 and HAVE the LXD-75, the 75 is over all a much better mount, they have replaced the Bushings in the 55 head with roller bearings in the 75, It is the smoothest mount I have ever owned.




I had both at the same time (see above photo) and, though the motions felt smoother on the LXD75 I didn't see any performance difference. Adding flats to the transfer gear shafts was a significant internal upgrade for reliability but that didn't affect performance; it just reduced maintenance. I found that doubling up on the setscrews tamed the LXD55 problems even better than the flats.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5952293 - 07/02/13 11:28 PM

Quote:

Thanks for the photo John ! ...When was that taken ?




8/24/2004


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Starman27Moderator
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Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5952304 - 07/02/13 11:41 PM

Are we anywhere near on topic?

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #5952317 - 07/02/13 11:52 PM

Not to belabor the obvious, Andrew, but you are THE MAN, and of course none of this is an impediment to you. But for most people I know, the first thing out of their mouth is, "Huh? I have to do what? Why?" And from there they either clearly think it is not for them or too much bother to get into. Why? Because it sounds like a home science project to people who live in a closed use-it-or-chuck-it mindset. Yes, there are tinkerers or hackers who will make anything work, but most people feel the joy draining away when told they have to make something work and possibly go fiddling with INI files and such when they generally go out of their way to avoid that sort of thing.

I am not saying getting an architecture like this is trivial, but rather all the needed components exist and can be made to work with one another in other contexts. And like you say, this isn't the bandwidth king of all data devices, so a data relay capable of supporting a printer would seems to be sufficient to drive a mount, or allow it to coordinate between associated devices without stringing cables everywhere. My prediction is this is going to be as big a change as GOTO was- mounts which just respond to your phone like someone wanted them to do that. If you've used the SkySafari setup, they are very close to this- if they could just get a reliable trick for causing the mount to reveal its identity and automatically use the right protocol, they'd be there.

The product which does this might be a clean sheet design. I know I have wondered about making a mount today, and quickly realized I'd like to lean as heavily as I possibly could on an idevice to get the upgrade monkey off of my back and put it on someone else's. If I could, I'd put everything but motor control boards in software on a phone or pad. And you know what? The modern user would think it was absolutely wonderful.

-Rich

Quote:

Gday Rich

Quote:

But for the long term, people my age and younger are asking, "What's the deal with COM on all this stuff?" It is seriously 1970s retro to have to go into the OS and define ports on a USB adapter you had to get working somehow and then get it to talk to the mount, somehow.




Thats why i just put a jumper cable to the real com port header on my brand new PC.
( Many motherboards still have a true com port on them, its just not wired up )
No drivers, no software updates, Just works .
Basic scope comms dont need high speeds or large data transfers,
they need to work in all extremes and be simple to use.

Quote:

So, compared to this, no astronomy prime is really getting to the state of the art, save maybe Southern Stars with Sky Safari. One doesn't have to be a great visionary to see where the technology needs to go.





But they dont have to deal with lots of "different mounts" and their various internal mechanisms.
One of the hidden problems here is economies of scale and mount integration.
The Meade scopes use distributed processing, and currently, we only have access to the main CPU for upgrades.
There are 1/2 a dozen more microprocessors involved as well.
Wireless etc wont help when it comes to getting all that working properly, if you cant fix/update all the bits as required ( vs buy new boards etc if possible ).
I see that as a more important function that needs addressing, however with the small product runs involved, the costs probably preclude any real "ongoing" development there, hence why Meade basically stop updating anything after the first few revisions.

Quote:

and whose products were increasingly incomprehensible to the prospective customer base.




I dunno for others, but for me, part of the fun is getting stuff running sweetly on a budget.
If the new customer base cant function unless they are looking into a rectangular IDevice that does eveything for them without requirement for thought or understanding, then i suggest they skip the scope etc and just get a bigger IDevice.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia




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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5952329 - 07/03/13 12:04 AM

Sorry , didn't mean to highjack .

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RodgerHouTex
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Reged: 06/02/09

Loc: Houston, Texas, USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5952346 - 07/03/13 12:23 AM

I stand corrected on the Coronado rusting problem. I do remember that it continued to occur for quite some time after Meade acquired them.

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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5952360 - 07/03/13 12:37 AM

I'm really amazed by the longevity of this thread at this point. I think it's a discussion people really want to have, so they're looking after making sure it has a chance to go somewhere. We all have our hopes and dreams, but it's like sometimes we have to see one die to remember what we really care about. In this case, at the end of the day, we want the hobby to prosper.

So, I just came from dinner at a long time friend's house in Houston, and had a most interesting discussion with this son, who is quite interested in getting into astronomy. Any the funny thing was, he is on such a restrictive budget, I had to think very carefully about what would help. A GOTO system to point to 40k+ objects invisible from Houston, TX, light capital of the gulf coast, wasn't going to help. But some decent glass to make things visible to the naked eye better; that has possibilities. He had a planetarium app on a little Kindle, and was ready to go for everything but the view. Maybe data links and bunches of motors are already getting to be obsolete and wireless data networks aren't really so important.

-Rich

Quote:

Sorry , didn't mean to highjack .




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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/30/10

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5952392 - 07/03/13 01:20 AM

Gday Rich

Quote:

Not to belabor the obvious, Andrew, but you are THE MAN, and of course none of this is an impediment to you.




I can read, understand and in some cases fix the main Meade firmware, but know virtually nothing re the other cards.
Thus, getting the current "Meade" stuff to work is mostly OK for me ( over a simple rs232 port ), but if it was driven by my mobile phone, i would have no hope, ( as i dont own one ). Heck, i cant even get simple plug and play wireless networks to work on my PCs, and some of my USB cameras no longer work because manufacturers havent written updated drivers.
As soon as you become totally reliant on the application working though a complex ( under the hood ) interface, you are also reliant on EVERY manufacturer and operating system providing ongoing support.

Quote:

If you've used the SkySafari setup, they are very close to this- if they could just get a reliable trick for causing the mount to reveal its identity and automatically use the right protocol, they'd be there.




Well, that sounds like an extension of the ASCOM philosophy, but it needs to be massively expanded in functionality and cross platform support before it will achieve those aims.
Just for info, the later Meade ASCOM drivers use the reply of a given command to determine what scope type is attached and hence how to configure. They have noone to update the drivers, and hence the newer scopes are no longer recognised, ( as they use different replies ) thus making the driver useless.

On top of that, the number of people who post on the ASCOM site re problems installing the MSoft reqd COM or dot net stuff or the ASCOM application layer and/or drivers, makes you wonder if its better to just go and sit at the eyepiece.
Also, ASCOM no longer support old operating systems etc so again, you may be dead in the water.
Its sad, but i have an old Windows 98SE box that still runs quite happily and will connect/drive my scope for what i want.

Quote:

If I could, I'd put everything but motor control boards in software on a phone or pad.




Sorta like an IPad version of a 497 handbox
We tried making a 497 truly wireless and the current comms requires VERY tight control.
Not impossible, but not cheap to do from scratch.
Also how do you agree on what a motorboard is and what it is required to do???
so you can write a spec??????
Its not an easy task to get everyone to agree.
Time ( and the market ) will tell.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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