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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5963429 - 07/10/13 02:02 AM

Quote:

Bottom line here is this ;
If Meade wouldn't have dumped the LXD75 lineup , everything would be just roses .





Starrancher,

You bring up a good point. I have not been an intense follower of all of Meade's products and certainly not GEMS until recently, but I have been doing a little reading on the LXD75.

Near as I can tell, the LXD75 was a very good mount for its class and folks were buying them. The more I seemed to read up on it, the more impressed I became. I even started looking for used LXD75 units vs the iOptron ZEQ25.

I am trying to get my hands around the logic for discontinuing this product.
* Were they afraid of it impacting LX80 sales?
* Could not get anymore LXD75 units from the source?
* Was there a hidden problem?
* Were sales poor for the LXD75?
Anyone know why the demise of the LXD75?

I don't know if for Meade everything would "be just roses", but it would have helped on the income side it seems. With the loss of the LXD75, and then the disaster kickoff of the LX80 that strikes me as a bad one-two punch.

Even if the LX80 came out perfect, couldn't the LXD75 co-exist with the LX80?

Seems like a cool unit. Looks great for my PST and 80mm APO. Seems like a great grab and go mount.

Am I missing something about this mount?


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jimb1001]
      #5963432 - 07/10/13 02:05 AM

Quote:

All the car mags have fallen into the same trap. Its hard to figure what editors today contribute because so much biased information gets printed as well reasoned and balanced it makes me wonder.




The MSM and it's so called journalists are paddling the same boat . Don't dare call them out on it though lest you be shunned .


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5963434 - 07/10/13 02:07 AM

Quote:

Am I missing something about this mount?




I don't know if it was a money maker or how popular it was. It's competition was the Celestron CG-5 ASGT which seemed to be the more popular of the two. It also may be the JOC was the supplier of LXD-75..

I have to wonder what has happened behind the scenes between Meade and JOC/ES. Is ES keeping the prices of the eyepieces low just to keep Meade from selling theirs?

Jon


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5963437 - 07/10/13 02:13 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Bottom line here is this ;
If Meade wouldn't have dumped the LXD75 lineup , everything would be just roses .





Starrancher,

You bring up a good point. I have not been an intense follower of all of Meade's products and certainly not GEMS until recently, but I have been doing a little reading on the LXD75.

Near as I can tell, the LXD75 was a very good mount for its class and folks were buying them. The more I seemed to read up on it, the more impressed I became. I even started looking for used LXD75 units vs the iOptron ZEQ25.

I am trying to get my hands around the logic for discontinuing this product.
* Were they afraid of it impacting LX80 sales?
* Could not get anymore LXD75 units from the source?
* Was there a hidden problem?
* Were sales poor for the LXD75?
Anyone know why the demise of the LXD75?

I don't know if for Meade everything would "be just roses", but it would have helped on the income side it seems. With the loss of the LXD75, and then the disaster kickoff of the LX80 that strikes me as a bad one-two punch.

Even if the LX80 came out perfect, couldn't the LXD75 co-exist with the LX80?

Seems like a cool unit. Looks great for my PST and 80mm APO. Seems like a great grab and go mount.

Am I missing something about this mount?



Yup. Last few years of its production about 1/3 were DOA right out of the box. The problems would run pages of single-spaced lines.
It brings back bad memories....shudder.


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5963449 - 07/10/13 02:38 AM

Quote:


Yup. Last few years of its production about 1/3 were DOA right out of the box. The problems would run pages of single-spaced lines.
It brings back bad memories....shudder.




You sure Don on that many failures???

I did find though people did need to "tune them" out of the box. Lots of tweaking to make them work perfect. Backlash seems to be a problem. I guess the trend I am seeing (reading stuff online after your comment) is the mount was not good to go out of the box. Lots of fiddling with it. Then again, it seems this is a common theme I am reading on many models which seems surprising. Though some reviewers seem to love it.

Jon - was JOC the supplier of the LXD-75. This might explain some things.

Well, I will leave this mount alone. I have no time for hypertuning things. (Is this like hyperspace or something?).

It looks like a gap for Meade was providing a range of low end mounts. iOptron and Celestron seem to have addressed this market in spades. A huge sales issue for Meade I am seeing. And certainly impacts revenue in the long run. Speculation of course, but I wonder...


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5963455 - 07/10/13 02:54 AM

The two LXD75 units that I have were out of the 2006 and 2007 years of production . Both worked perfectly out of the box with a slight tightening needed in the DEC worm gear of the 2006 unit . Most owners may not even have bothered with the adjustment that I did . If indeed the last of these mounts were bad to the tune of one in three out of the box , this would be a QC problem that came out of JOC and not a design or R&D problem since they had many prior years without the problem . Would this possibly amongst other things been the cause of the falling out of relations between Meade and JOC ?
Not only that , but I had a couple of cedar fence posts rot off at ground level on me the last few years . Not a happy camper !


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jgraham
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: starrancher]
      #5963618 - 07/10/13 07:45 AM

It would be nice to know where these numbers come from. I also bought a late production LXD75 and ot was perfect right out of the box. I know of at least 3 others of the same vintage without any problems. Assuming that this repsents a random sample then the 1 out of 3 number just doesn't hold up. I guess when you go looking for ghosts you can find ghosts.

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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: jgraham]
      #5963648 - 07/10/13 08:18 AM

Random doesn't mean a good sample. That is bad math.

I know 3 out of 3 people who had problems with their LXD75 mounts (they were in my club). Assuming that is random does not mean that all 100% of the mounts were bad, but if we add it with yours then we could say that 3/7 of the mounts were bad, and that still wouldn't be correct.

I would tend to take Don's statement as true since he has seen these as a retailer. I suspect there were several end customers who took deliveries of great LXD75 mounts because the retailers vetted the mounts.

In any case, this was just another chapter in a fall that was long coming. Meade didn't come to this state overnight and they didn't get here because of their blazing success. It is obvious that they really aren't selling much of anything now (Except Andrew's refractor, which they don't even manufacture and are just passing his payment along to an overseas company). They managed to get into trouble several times this past decade and now it is coming to an end.

Perhaps the new owners, whoever they may be, will be able to resurrect something beyond just a brand, but I suspect that will not happen to a great degree. What manufacturing equipment they have left is old and needing replacement (as their own filings have noted) so the costs to bring some of these new products into full production will be tremendous. Another company with its own manufacturing and design team will perhaps come up with some better ideas.

On the other hand, everything may just end up being liquidated.. who knows?

Edited by bicparker (07/10/13 10:58 AM)


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5963659 - 07/10/13 08:30 AM

Quote:

Criterion made the same mistake Meade did




Nope. Father and son made a very wise decision. The market had changed, the Criterion SCT was too little too late and wasn't well thought of. They got out selling out to B&L. They did good.


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greedyshark
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/31/05

Loc: 3rd Rock
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5963705 - 07/10/13 09:29 AM

Quote:



Nope. Father and son made a very wise decision. The market had changed, the Criterion SCT was too little too late and wasn't well thought of. They got out selling out to B&L. They did good.




Yep...very wise.

Charles


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belgrade
sage


Reged: 10/05/07

Loc: Frisco, TX
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: rmollise]
      #5963721 - 07/10/13 09:49 AM

I purchased my LXD75 setup in 2008, brand new. It worked flawlessly and it still does. I had no single problem. Was it an unbelievable lack of a draw? Maybe. Maybe not. In any event, the LXD75 is now history and I doubt it will be reincarnated by whoever purchase Meade, assuming the company avoids Chapter 7 (total liquidation - more likely) or Chapter 11 (reorganization - less likely) under the Bankruptcy Code. In my professional opinion, they are probably days, not weeks or months, from the final outcome of their long-standing drama. One way or another. And if they stop all operations, go out of business, "liquidate" their assets through a trustee, pay of (partially) the debt... (Ch. 7) this tread will be nothing but a tractate of historical importance. If they reorganize and survive/try to be profitable again (Ch. 11) there is a strong possibility that an outside investor (JOC?) steps in but it all would depend from the U.S. bankruptcy court of jurisdiction 'cause everything must go through it. One thing is for sure - Meade as we (used to) know it already does not exist. What caused its demise is for history books and of little, if any, use to us hobbyists. Sad but it's life. I, personally, always liked Meade but never limited myself to their products if others had better or more affordable. And our hobby will continue with or without Meade (or any other "major" player in the field). Again, sad but it's life.

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #5963758 - 07/10/13 10:13 AM

It was more like you could make an LXD 75 work, though there was a reject rate. I wouldn't second guess a dealer's estimate on the problem rate. One dealer I know lamented every single mount and telescope combination from Meade he sold came back with at least one thing wrong with it. That was three years ago.

If you will recall, a lot of the excitement of the LX 80 was the hope of an improvement on the LXD 75. Then the LX 80 shipped and the predecessor looked far better because they did meet their specs, even if TLC was needed in a lot of cases.

Hypertuning is the process of completely rebuilding a mount by tearing it down, cleaning it, deburring all the metal parts, polishing gears, replacing the grease, and possibly replacing the bearings and worm gears with higher quality components. There are companies who support this as a business, including several who are regular CN contributors. Other companies, like Aeroquest have started machining high tolerance versions of the worms and worm wheels for various mounts just for this type of use. You mostly hear about this in relation to Meade and Celestron mounts. A good hypertune can cut the periodic error of a mount by two thirds.

Generally, on high end mounts, you don't have any hope of doing more than putting it back like you found it. Though, what's interesting is it is the high end mount manufacturers who are far more supportive of people doing work on their mounts.

Hopefully this helps explain why there were so many questions on the native PE of the LX850. It was at a price point where the native PE would be expected to be extremely low, so there would be no rational reason to tear it down to try to improve it. Additionally, it would be expected to be below the PE of cheaper alternatives like the CGE pro. A result similar to hypertuned or out of the box alternatives would indicate people were better off just going that route and setting up their own guiding solution.

A lot of the responses you've been getting from folks here are because you've been offering some pretty bold opinions for someone who isn't all that familiar with the technology or what's been going on in the field. And that has meant quite a bit to set the record straight on.

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

Bottom line here is this ;
If Meade wouldn't have dumped the LXD75 lineup , everything would be just roses .





Starrancher,

You bring up a good point. I have not been an intense follower of all of Meade's products and certainly not GEMS until recently, but I have been doing a little reading on the LXD75.

Near as I can tell, the LXD75 was a very good mount for its class and folks were buying them. The more I seemed to read up on it, the more impressed I became. I even started looking for used LXD75 units vs the iOptron ZEQ25.

I am trying to get my hands around the logic for discontinuing this product.
* Were they afraid of it impacting LX80 sales?
* Could not get anymore LXD75 units from the source?
* Was there a hidden problem?
* Were sales poor for the LXD75?
Anyone know why the demise of the LXD75?

I don't know if for Meade everything would "be just roses", but it would have helped on the income side it seems. With the loss of the LXD75, and then the disaster kickoff of the LX80 that strikes me as a bad one-two punch.

Even if the LX80 came out perfect, couldn't the LXD75 co-exist with the LX80?

Seems like a cool unit. Looks great for my PST and 80mm APO. Seems like a great grab and go mount.

Am I missing something about this mount?




Edited by Starhawk (07/10/13 10:21 AM)


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dogeddie
sage


Reged: 03/26/10

Loc: Wisconsin, USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5963773 - 07/10/13 10:22 AM

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/05/business/la-fi-meade-instruments-2013...

Article from LA Times


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: belgrade]
      #5963783 - 07/10/13 10:27 AM

1) JOC was the maker of the LXD75
2) They plan to rework it and bring it back
3) Meade told us that the reason they severed ties with JOC was because JOC was competing with them in the US market and undercutting them. I suspected the truth of that, but Celestron also cut ties, so there was some validation to Meade's claims. If the real truth was that Meade could no longer open L/Cs to bring product in, or got too far in arrears with JOC, I don't know. But they did sever ties before they had a replacement lined up, which further hurt Meade's business.
4) The last batches of LXD75s had over a 50% failure rate. I had one customer who bought 3 of them before he got one that worked. We had not one mount that was completely trouble-free out of the box during the last year or year and a half it was available.
Given the nature of the problems, it means to me that there are/were design flaws that could eventually result in all of them failing.
To be more specific, it would be my advice, in the form of a warning, to NEVER unscrew or screw in the center threaded shaft into the mount head when the counterweight is still attached. If the head is even a trace tilted relative to the base as the threaded shaft is inserted, it will easily cross thread in the aluminum body of the mount. The fit is much too loose and the threads too coarse. If I owned one of these, I would drill out the center and install a helicoil so the mount would at least have a chance of going ten years, or at least be very very careful when installing the center shaft.
5) I saw a number of these with Schmidt newtonians and regular newtonians on them, which were heavy overloads for the mount. The ones I've seen in the field have, in even a light breeze, a near-infinite shimmy period. It is my impression the LXD75 mount is good with loads up to 20 lbs, but not with loads above that.

If JOC acquires Meade, and brings back this mount, there are some things they need to do to make this mount as bullet-proof as the now-defunct CG5asGT which, in turn, had a few problems.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: dogeddie]
      #5963786 - 07/10/13 10:28 AM

This has been talked about about 10 pages back. Nothing new to say at this point without new data.

-Rich

Quote:

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/05/business/la-fi-meade-instruments-2013...

Article from LA Times




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RodgerHouTex
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/02/09

Loc: Houston, Texas, USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5963796 - 07/10/13 10:33 AM

A very informative post Don. Thanks. Unfortunately just another nail in the Meade coffin. You can't sell and ship defective products for too long before the company pays the price. Usually bankruptcy.

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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5963841 - 07/10/13 10:54 AM

Quote:



4) The last batches of LXD75s had over a 50% failure rate. I had one customer who bought 3 of them before he got one that worked. We had not one mount that was completely trouble-free out of the box during the last year or year and a half it was available.




I never quite understood the whys and wherefores of the decline of the LXD 75. I believed from the beginning that the similar CG5 was slightly better, but the LXD 75 was certainly a huge improvement over the 55. But, yeah, the last few years of the 75? More than once I saw them torn down for repair at star parties. It was almost like Meade had revived the LXD 55.

As for the SNT? Good scopes. Oh, the focuser wasn't great but it was useable and not overly difficult to replace. The problem was, yeah, Meade selling the 10-inch on the LXD 55/75.


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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5963845 - 07/10/13 10:55 AM

Don,
Good information and background.

I think it there is something of note regarding the L/C's and shipping. For those who aren't familiar, Letters of Credit (L/C or LoC) and Banker's Acceptances are common financial instruments used to provide certain financial guarantees of payment from a bank covering items being shipped overseas. They can also help cover the timing differences of carrying and currency exchange costs during the shipping period (which can be a month or more because of the loading/unloading and customs processes in addition to the actual transit).

Right now, with Meade's limited access to credit since last December (and, in fact, much earlier than that), they probably have been on some sort of "cash up front" arrangement with their overseas suppliers, which is far more expensive because of the timing differences and because they are probably getting much smaller shipments, which cost more per item. Additionally, instead of getting guaranteed shipping terms afforded a larger shipment, they are probably only getting product and materials as open space and transit becomes available.

This is likely one of the main reasons we have been seeing extremely limited shipments and sales out of Meade for products dependent on materials shipped from overseas and why so many products are in a status of backorder or pre-order. I'm sure it contributed to the delays and small deliveries during and after the Christmas season of their advanced telescopes that were also so dependent on overseas materials.

Edited by bicparker (07/10/13 10:56 AM)


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5963859 - 07/10/13 11:02 AM

One thing the CG-5 series had going for it was a high level of commonality with the Vixen Great Polaris, which had stemmed from the Super Polaris before it. So, a lot of the basic gotchas had been designed out of what they started cloning from. The basic Vixen designs have a lot going for them, to the point where anyone attempting a major deviation from that design is facing a major voyage of discovery.

What I always wondered is why there wasn't more commonality between the fork drive bases and EQ mounts. If you want to control development and manufacturing costs, that would help. It would also allow you to really know what you were doing.

-Rich

Quote:

1)
If JOC acquires Meade, and brings back this mount, there are some things they need to do to make this mount as bullet-proof as the now-defunct CG5asGT which, in turn, had a few problems.




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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: belgrade]
      #5963872 - 07/10/13 11:11 AM

They could follow the Kmart route. File chapter 11, declare all the common stock void, be revived by Sears, reissue new common stock to allow operating capitol and payment of creditors. They liquidated nothing more than the common shareholder and outstanding pensions.

I for one think it should be illegal but it worked for Kmart it should work for Meade. You cut out some liabilities and get a new inflow of cash, if you can find someone that will take over that the public has confidence in.


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