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Moabite
member


Reged: 08/10/13

LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship
      #6019181 - 08/11/13 02:45 PM

Ok...so I'm one of those people who bought a new Meade telescope not knowing if the company was going to be around much longer. I've had a 12-inch LX200R permanently mounted on a Pier-Tech2 pier in a small solar-powered observatory (SkyShed POD) for 6 years...and had a Celestron 11-inch scope for quite a few years before that. I bought the 12" LX600 mainly for the completely re-designed focusing mechanism. As the thread title hints, it's been a love/hate relationship to this point.

I LOVE the re-designed focusing mechanism. It is, indeed, zero image shift. It alone was worth the price of the upgrade. I got tired of chasing the image around on the LX200R when focusing. The LX600 focusing knobs are a bit stiff causing some shake when focusing, but not much with the fine focus knob. Regardless, I added a JMI EV motorized microfocuser, which is absolutely wonderful...much better than Meade's microfocuser.

Adding the JMI focuser has caused a problem though. There appears to be less backfocus with the LX600 than the LX200R, so I cannot focus with the Denkmeier binoviewer at low power. I've outlined that problem in a post in the binoviewer thread.

Starlock seems to do its job. It centers everything perfectly in the eyepiece and does a good job of tracking. However, so did my LX200R without Starlock.

Now for the "hate" part. The Starlock mechanism gets in the way. I usually wear a small Brunton LR4 headlamp (great astro headlamp) when viewing and it slammed into the back of the Starlock mechanism everytime I tried to look through an eyepiece. So I moved the Starlock tube forward in its sliding mount about 1.5 inches from where it is actually supposed to be. The back of the Starlock mechanism is now about flush with the back of the optical tube. I don't know if this created any problems with the function of Starlock. I plan to call Meade in the next few days.

And I hate the incredibly bright red light on the back of the Starlock mechanism. What were they thinking? It's very close to the eyepiece and pollutes the view unless I hold my hand in front of it. I have not yet found a way to turn it off without turning off Starlock. Hopefully, it can be done. In the meantime, I will cover the light with a neutral density filter material...or perhaps block it altogether with something opaque. I live in one of the best dark-sky sites in the country (at an elevation of 6000 feet about 26 miles outside of Moab, Utah). I did not expect my new telescope to produce its own light pollution.

It looks like the Starlock mechanism could be re-located to the bottom of the optical tube, but it seems like that might cause problems with it being upside down. I also plan to ask Meade about that.

Lastly, I have wondered if the wide field Starlock camera will run into problems inside the observatory. While the narrow-field Starlock camera covers a field of only 57.2 x 45.8 arcminutes, the wide-field camera covers 14.72 x 11.78 degrees. The field of view of the wide-field camera will certainly include at least part of the POD dome at times. My concern is that it might render Starlock unusable when the dome is in that field of view.


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Lorence
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/15/08

Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: Moabite]
      #6019262 - 08/11/13 03:37 PM

Quote:

I usually wear a small Brunton LR4 headlamp (great astro headlamp) when viewing and it slammed into the back of the Starlock mechanism everytime I tried to look through an eyepiece.




I've use the Mallincam Video cameras and the Mallincam Universe. Haven't banged my head into the monitor yet and I can actually see the deep sky object without turning my eyeballs inside out.

Have you looked at ScopeStuffs Eye Opener? It might let you get the binoviewer a bit closer to the telescope.


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Moabite
member


Reged: 08/10/13

Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: Lorence]
      #6019284 - 08/11/13 03:54 PM

I've discovered that if I send someone else to the eyepiece and have them describe what they see to me, I don't bump my head...and it's much cheaper than your Universe.

I used the Peterson Eyeopener on my LX200R...but have the JMI large-format adapter on the LX600. It's essentially the same thing as the EyeOpener but attaches directly to the JMI focuser. But thanks for the suggestion! It's nice to be in a forum where people actually respond. I tried Meade 4M and the LX600 Yahoo group but no one seems to go there. I'd go weeks without getting a single response to a post, if I got one at all.

Edited by Moabite (08/11/13 03:59 PM)


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: Moabite]
      #6020129 - 08/12/13 02:01 AM

Quote:

Ok...so I'm one of those people who bought a new Meade telescope not knowing if the company was going to be around much longer. I've had a 12-inch LX200R permanently mounted on a Pier-Tech2 pier in a small solar-powered observatory (SkyShed POD) for 6 years...and had a Celestron 11-inch scope for quite a few years before that. I bought the 12" LX600 mainly for the completely re-designed focusing mechanism. As the thread title hints, it's been a love/hate relationship to this point.

I LOVE the re-designed focusing mechanism. It is, indeed, zero image shift. It alone was worth the price of the upgrade. I got tired of chasing the image around on the LX200R when focusing. The LX600 focusing knobs are a bit stiff causing some shake when focusing, but not much with the fine focus knob. Regardless, I added a JMI EV motorized microfocuser, which is absolutely wonderful...much better than Meade's microfocuser.
.....

Starlock seems to do its job. It centers everything perfectly in the eyepiece and does a good job of tracking. However, so did my LX200R without Starlock.

Now for the "hate" part. The Starlock mechanism gets in the way. I usually wear a small Brunton LR4 headlamp (great astro headlamp) when viewing and it slammed into the back of the Starlock mechanism everytime I tried to look through an eyepiece. So I moved the Starlock tube forward in its sliding mount about 1.5 inches from where it is actually supposed to be. The back of the Starlock mechanism is now about flush with the back of the optical tube. I don't know if this created any problems with the function of Starlock. I plan to call Meade in the next few days.

And I hate the incredibly bright red light on the back of the Starlock mechanism. What were they thinking? It's very close to the eyepiece and pollutes the view unless I hold my hand in front of it. I have not yet found a way to turn it off without turning off Starlock. Hopefully, it can be done. In the meantime, I will cover the light with a neutral density filter material...or perhaps block it altogether with something opaque. I live in one of the best dark-sky sites in the country (at an elevation of 6000 feet about 26 miles outside of Moab, Utah). I did not expect my new telescope to produce its own light pollution.

.....


Lastly, I have wondered if the wide field Starlock camera will run into problems inside the observatory. While the narrow-field Starlock camera covers a field of only 57.2 x 45.8 arcminutes, the wide-field camera covers 14.72 x 11.78 degrees. The field of view of the wide-field camera will certainly include at least part of the POD dome at times. My concern is that it might render Starlock unusable when the dome is in that field of view.




Moabite,

I 100% agree on the re-designed focusing mechanism. Though I have the LX850, the OTAs (I believe) are the same. I am no longer losing hair over focusing, though I don't have much to lose now!

How are you bonking into your StarLock? Isn't it suppose to be flush with the back of the LX600? It is on the LX850, and it looks that way in the LX600 user manual. Anyways, my StarLock is flush with the back of the LX850 OTA and it works fine.

I am not as bothered by the red LED, but then again I am not in an uber dark sky sight, and I run my laptop for video and AP and there goes the night vision anyways (yeah, I should darken that screen). Still I like seeing the LED indicator so I know things are locked on, so I would not block it all together.

But now that you mention it, when I go to White Sands or Chaco Canyon it may in fact bother me. Let me know what you do...

Question about Moab - I am driving through there next weekend and I was going pop out my little APO for some fun viewing. Can one setup at a National Park parking lot? Are their curfews in the parking lot? Are there quick, easy places to go to for 2-4 hours of fun viewing?


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Moabite
member


Reged: 08/10/13

Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6020465 - 08/12/13 10:12 AM

Panorama Point in Arches is a great place to set up a telescope. I did a session there for Arches rangers about 8 years ago. It's 12 miles or so inside the park and far enough off the main park road to not be bothered by passing headlights. It's a quick and easy place...maybe 20-25 minutes from downtown Moab. Any of the viewpoint parking lots in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands would work also...though they are almost an hour away from Moab. Green River Overlook would be perfect...and it's close to the campground so you might get others who would like to see what you're staring at. You have to get farther and farther from Moab these days to avoid any light pollution. When I moved here in 1974, Moab was a sleepy little mining town...with dark skies in the middle of town because everything but the dimly lit bars closed by 6 p.m. That's not the case anymore now that it's a tourist town. I don't believe there are curfews in any of the national park parking lots...you just can't camp in them.

As for the Starlock mounting, there are a couple of notches in the bar attached to the tube that look as though they were made for the screws from the mount to nest inside. If I do that, the back of the Starlock mechanism is about 1.5 inches behind the OTA. I moved mine forward. In the manual photos, the mounting screws are in those notches, and the Starlock mechanism appears to be flush with the rear of the OTA. Mine is not that way. I'll have to see if there is a way for the bar attached to the Starlock to be moved forward or back. It almost seems like a quality control issue...especially if yours is flush with the back of the OTA.


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Plasticos Jim
member


Reged: 05/26/13

Loc: NE Wisconsin
Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: Moabite]
      #6020491 - 08/12/13 10:27 AM

Just my 2 cents but the back of my Starlock is almost flush with the rear of the OTA too. However, I agree that LED is annoying when looking into the eyepiece. I've resorted to covering most of it with a piece electrical tape - not fancy but it still lets me see the "lock" status without blowing out my vision.

Jim


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: Moabite]
      #6022510 - 08/13/13 09:35 AM

Quote:

Panorama Point in Arches is a great place to set up a telescope. I did a session there for Arches rangers about 8 years ago. It's 12 miles or so inside the park and far enough off the main park road to not be bothered by passing headlights. It's a quick and easy place...maybe 20-25 minutes from downtown Moab. Any of the viewpoint parking lots in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands would work also...though they are almost an hour away from Moab. Green River Overlook would be perfect...and it's close to the campground so you might get others who would like to see what you're staring at. You have to get farther and farther from Moab these days to avoid any light pollution. When I moved here in 1974, Moab was a sleepy little mining town...with dark skies in the middle of town because everything but the dimly lit bars closed by 6 p.m. That's not the case anymore now that it's a tourist town. I don't believe there are curfews in any of the national park parking lots...you just can't camp in them.

...






Moabite,

Thank-you for the pointers!

I am looking forward to the dark skies in the area...weather permitting of course!


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6022580 - 08/13/13 10:24 AM

For the LED- put a small piece of black electrical tape with a pinhole in it over it and you should be much happier. Then again, I have no idea why it needs an LED at all.

-Rich


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6022637 - 08/13/13 10:57 AM

Quote:

For the LED- put a small piece of black electrical tape with a pinhole in it over it and you should be much happier. Then again, I have no idea why it needs an LED at all.

-Rich




The LED provides warm fuzzies...

Actually the LED serves as an indicator...flashing when acquiring, steady when target located. I am fine with a light indicator, though it would have been better if smaller/dimmer/etc.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6022722 - 08/13/13 11:43 AM

Isn't this why the hand pad exists?

Anyway, the pinhole leaves it as an indicator. A bunch of lit things following me out for astronomy have little pieces of black electrical tape with pinholes in them on LEDs. It looks cool in the dark as well.

-Rich


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galaxy_jason
Vendor


Reged: 05/22/07

Loc: Texas
Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6025306 - 08/14/13 02:47 PM

You can't move the Starlock to the bottom of the tube. In the early versions of the LX850 code we were having PEC training problems due to pier flip not being compensated for. It's now fixed, Starlock needs to know the orientation. In the LX850 it now knows when it has been flipped, in the LX600 it is assuming it is mounted on the top of the scope.

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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
*****

Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: galaxy_jason]
      #6025330 - 08/14/13 03:02 PM

Quote:

You can't move the Starlock to the bottom of the tube. In the early versions of the LX850 code we were having PEC training problems due to pier flip not being compensated for. It's now fixed, Starlock needs to know the orientation. In the LX850 it now knows when it has been flipped, in the LX600 it is assuming it is mounted on the top of the scope.




You could mount it to the bottom of the tube, but you wouldn't be able to use the supplied dovetail (that would make it upside down). It would require tube rings and careful rotation so that "up" remains up. I rigged mine that way on top of my non-Meade optical tube.


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galaxy_jason
Vendor


Reged: 05/22/07

Loc: Texas
Re: LX600...a Love/Hate Relationship new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #6026999 - 08/15/13 11:52 AM

Correct, I should have clarified that you can, but as you
say you need to use rings or something. The hard part is that you will need to mount it far enough away from the tube so there is room for the wide field imager. Frankly its not really worth the effort. Leave it on top.


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