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Hidden trouble/poor design for current RCX owners?

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#51 Snaproll

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 12:11 PM

Oh my God what a thread! I've had a bulletproof LX200GPS that I have dragged all over the country since 2001 and have never had a problem with it.

Now that I have an observatory I've been thinking of getting a new scope just for the obs. I have a friend that has a 14" RCX and is thinking of selling it... as soon as it comes back from Meade... for the FOURTH time. I'm tinkering with the idea of picking it up... until I read this thread.

I've spot-checked the posts from time to time and have seen the "I opened the box, plugged it in and it was dead" stuff so I knew Meade and expecially the RCX line were having problems. But... I'd still like a scope upgrade so I thought I'd cruise the forum here, did a search on the RCX to see what I could pick up... and hit this thread.

I had to doublecheck the post dates. "No, this can't be from the last couple of days? This has got to be from a couple years back? I heard Meade was 'getting better'..." I had to doublecheck the month and year, "Yeah, let's see, this is October and the year is 2007, right?"

Wow...

I've had Meade scopes all the way back to their 2080 and when Celestron was saying, "Don't by cheap worm gear driven scopes, buy our double ratched motor design". I've always favored staying in brand.

It sounds like Meade is really coming "unglued" and I sure hope they pull it together.

I checked on their "MySky" or whatever it is. I guess they're planning on that product being a 'big hit', but some of the posts I've read don't sound any better than the RCX, software that doesn't work or is flaky, units that are easily broken, stuff like that.

My gosh, this is probably the saddest (and thank you most informative and important) threads I've read on CN.

Meade in my mind has always made great products (at least for the cost). My LX200, although getting old has been a solid workhorse. The RCX sounds like the premium of all scopes to own. That might of course be arguable, but it sounds like a dream come true IF... it works. The only personal experience I've had with them is that my buddy has sent his 14" back at least 4 times for various things.

I sure hope Meade gets their 'stuff' together. As someone said, the industry would miss them. I'd hate to see owning a 'vintage' Meade scope as a collector's item.

#52 Paula E

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 12:28 PM

I think Meade didn't want to spook people by announcing their brief production stoppage and re-engineering of the scope. I'm sure they didn't want to make dealers who had already stocked the existing scopes suddenly unable to sell the scopes they already had.

Still, this was a horrible way to handle this situation from a PR perspective. Because when the truth came out the way it did, I suspect it made prospective customers more nervous. (It sure made me nervous anyway - I'd been waiting 2 months for a 16" RCX and I cancelled the order this week. :( )

#53 mclewis1

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 01:16 PM

Scott,

You can be certain that the stop ship on the RCXs affects the stocking dealers. To what degree is dependent on just what Meade has to change on the scopes. If the issues are simply infant mortality then if a dealer has a functional scope it won't be much of a problem. If there are substantial engineering/design changes then the scopes in inventory have lost value and the dealers will likely claim return credits from Meade.

Having said that I also think that a large number of RCXs are drop shipped directly from Meade. It may be that the only scopes the dealers actually have in stock are for display purposes.

It will be the same issue for those who own an RCX and plan to resell them. From this point forward there will be two RCXs products, those built before the stop and those built after.

Let's hope all of this only involves Meade working to lower operational costs by making subtle changes to the scopes to make them more reliable out of the box.

#54 GrassyPond

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 02:01 PM

Hi Jim
Do you think the RXC 14" will fit in your dome ok? Would an RCX 16" fit your dome and round building?
Thanks

#55 Snaproll

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 02:48 PM

Hi Jim
Do you think the RXC 14" will fit in your dome ok? Would an RCX 16" fit your dome and round building?
Thanks


I know that a LX200 14" fits in an Exploradome because I've read posts on the ED newsgroup where 14" scopes are being used. I know that they will make it in, but with how much clearance I can't say. (Obviously without a dew shield but one wouldn't be necessary). As far as a 16" SCT, I don't have a clue. In both cases it may matter whether it is mounted alt/az or eq.

What I was planning to do if I bought the RCX, it's owner is very near by me so I could go and measure it directly.

So yeah, I believe a 14 would fit, don't know about a 16, but if you want I'd be happy to ask on the ED yahoo sight and let you know, (PM the replies or whatever).... Just made the post for ya... I'll PM what I learn.

#56 GrassyPond

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 03:55 PM

Thanks Jim. I would be interested in your experience with the RCX 14 in your dome if you do buy it. BTW, i am a member on the ED Yahoo forum also so I monitor things there daily.
Thanks
Joe

#57 Pess

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 08:38 PM

Scott,

You can be certain that the stop ship on the RCXs affects the stocking dealers.


Meade didn't stop shipping RCX series scopes. They continued to ship what they had left in the warehouse when the production line was halted a couple months ago (according to management on their conference call).

I know they were still shipping because I got a brand spanking new 12" RCX at the end of September 07'. It was drop shipped directly from Meade.

I just hope they offer some sort of retro-kit for the deficiencies in the scope that forced Meade to halt desperately needed production.

I'd at least like to know what was redesigned in the scope. All we have on this thread is wild speculation. Even a tech at one of Meades Star dealers I talked with today had no idea what the redesign entails or even that Meade had interrupted production--or at least that's what the tech told me (grain of salt?).

I love my scope, warts and all.

Doc Doug

#58 Paula E

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 09:53 PM

I'd at least like to know what was redesigned in the scope. All we have on this thread is wild speculation. Even a tech at one of Meades Star dealers I talked with today had no idea what the redesign entails or even that Meade had interrupted production--or at least that's what the tech told me (grain of salt?).

I love my scope, warts and all.


Yeah, I've talked to two different dealers - Meade doesn't seem to be telling anyone anything.

The really awful part about the way they handled this is that since we found out about it indirectly, it feels like they were trying to get away with something underhanded. Obviously they weren't - there's nothing underhanded about improving your product. But my goodness they've handled this poorly!

I'm glad you are enjoying your scope! Congrats on getting it! :jump:

I simply did not have the patience to wait and wonder exactly what it was I was going to get. :(

#59 JerryWise

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 10:06 PM

I think a number of us are in the same boat that just received new Meade products. Not all with RCXs but the comments made by Meade in their conference call have the potential to affect all new owners. The comments in this thread have been well bounded and restrained. Maybe conservative speculation would be more appropriate.

#60 Pess

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 10:07 PM

I simply did not have the patience to wait and wonder exactly what it was I was going to get. :(


Well Scott, at least you would have got the upgraded model. ;)

I am sure the RCX line will eventually mature into a solid product. Meade sees what keeps coming back for repair and they'll improve and redesign as time goes by.

They don't want scopes coming back anymore than we want to send them.

Doc Doug

#61 Nick Cook

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 02:42 AM

I know all we can do here is speculate, but I'm sure part of this re-engineering must be a redesign to the focus board. If so that would be an easy installation for a end user to do. If they simply mailed these new boards out to existing owners and let us fit them ourselves, it would generate really good PR for Meade in the face of what has happened recently .

A realise that this would be a short term expense for them, but I'm sure an investment like that, would paid back ten-fold with renewed positive sentiment towards the company. Just a thought...

Nick

#62 Paula E

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 03:16 AM


I simply did not have the patience to wait and wonder exactly what it was I was going to get. :(


Well Scott, at least you would have got the upgraded model. ;)

I am sure the RCX line will eventually mature into a solid product. Meade sees what keeps coming back for repair and they'll improve and redesign as time goes by.

They don't want scopes coming back anymore than we want to send them.

Doc Doug


Probably that's what I would've gotten - they never really did tell me. Also the good folks on this forum convinced me that an LX200R OTA + Paramount will solve 100% of the problems I want to solve with 100% certainty. So I spend another $5K and go that way...

I do agree with you that they are committed to improving the RCX line. I believe it is an outstanding design - I just didn't have the guts to be on the bleeding edge I guess.

I hope they stand up and do the right thing for existing owners too - I know what it's like when a company doesn't do that.

#63 Pess

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 01:18 PM

Anyone have any idea what the current RCX base is?

How many RCX units are out there? Seems just a trickle of RCX specific mods are coming out. Any aftermarket suppliers lurking here can comment on their level of RCX specific sales?

I'm just curious how big the RCX pond is.
Doc Doug

#64 Joad

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 01:33 PM

For what it is worth guys, there is a complaint in the Feedback forum of Cloudy Nights that there is too much "Meade bashing" going on in this forum. As you know, I did recommend an end to speculation about Meade financials in another thread, but that was because I saw things heating up, and speculation can be problematic. For all I know, though, someone thinks that this thread is Meade bashing. I haven't made that judgment myself. In a forum devoted to a company, a discussion of that company's production plans and changes seems to be legitimate to me.

I just thought you might want to know. And if you'd like to "talk" to me about it, please send me a PM.

Thanks.

Joad

#65 gillmj24

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 02:57 PM

New rule:

Only those with legitimate Meade scopes in their signature can yack about meade financials? :lol:

Kidding aside, I didn't complain but I don't like it either when someone comes to this board and says "look at my signature, there is a reason a certain company isn't mentioned in my list". Yes people have had bad luck with Meade stuff, nay, terrible luck, but most Meade scopes are fine and dandy. I don't need to see a new thread every week about meade-bashing (or borderline bashing). The search function works again, use it instead of making yet another "Is meade in trouble?" or "Im not buying Meade again" thread, no?

#66 Paula E

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 03:41 PM

Kidding aside, I didn't complain but I don't like it either when someone comes to this board and says "look at my signature, there is a reason a certain company isn't mentioned in my list". Yes people have had bad luck with Meade stuff, nay, terrible luck, but most Meade scopes are fine and dandy. I don't need to see a new thread every week about meade-bashing (or borderline bashing). The search function works again, use it instead of making yet another "Is meade in trouble?" or "Im not buying Meade again" thread, no?


I don't think that's mostly what's been going on in this thread. The information that Meade was changing the RCX line to some extent (and we really don't know what this means, other than they are presumably making it better) came from their investor conference call last week. The search function on this board wouldn't have turned that up.

Meade hasn't said anything other than a rather oblique comment targeted at their investors. I think it's legitmate for people to wonder if these will be small, production oriented types of changes, or larger more sweeping changes. Actually people who've yet to place orders should feel better - because the RCX scopes are being improved. People who just got one of these scopes might wonder about this though.

As for where I'm coming from - I own 3 meade scopes and have an OTA on order from them. I did have an RCX on order - finding out about why it was delayed from an investor conference call surprised me. I think that's pretty far from "I'm not buying Meade again."

Like it or not, the situation is a little bit of a mess. Discussing the situation really isn't bashing, I don't think. I don't think anyone is saying "Meade sucks!" I'm not anyway. (I am saying "geeze, they could've handled that better!") I hope they get through whatever issues they are facing and continue to be one of the most innovative telescope companies for many years to come. I think most of the folks in this thread are highly invested in Meade products and want to see Meade do well. I know that's how I feel.

#67 gillmj24

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 03:45 PM

I didn't mean this thread in particular is anyone saying they "suck", but there is a pattern here going back a year or so if not longer, hence the complaint about bashing.

#68 Paula E

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 03:53 PM

I didn't mean this thread in particular is anyone saying they "suck", but there is a pattern here going back a year or so if not longer, hence the complaint about bashing.


Ah, ok - well I'm new here so I didn't know that. (Although why it should surprise me, I dunno - this is an internet forum afterall, where anonymity + audience = misbehavior.)

#69 wrather1

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 04:44 PM

I agree with Joad - as long as factual, objective discussion takes place, it does not seem to meet the average definition of "bashing" in my book. Actually, I think much of the negative comments about Meade Corp. are a result of extreme disappointment from a one-sided customer perspective. For example, how can a company that can produce such innovative, fiendishly-clever products like the RCX line have so many quality-control issues? And if they are losing so much money on lack of sales, why can't they do a better job at communicating with the astronomical community so as to discourage rumors and prevent lost sales from the fear factor?

I could go on and on, but it would be wasted effort. I'm convinced nobody at Meade is listening to us.... :p

Yeah, I don't own as many scopes as many folks do, but I still consider myself a Meade investor, and I really want them to continue. Even if they move all manufacturing to China, it would be better to do that than to crater.

Dave W.

#70 Pess

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 04:46 PM

As for where I'm coming from - I own 3 meade scopes and have an OTA on order from them. I did have an RCX on order - finding out about why it was delayed from an investor conference call surprised me. I think that's pretty far from "I'm not buying Meade again."


I can unequivocally say that had this thread existed, I would have put off my RCX purchase till after the re-engineering.

People have a right to know what they are facing when dealing with multi-thousand dollar purchases.

Saying that, I WOULD buy the 12" RCX again -- I would just wait till the re-engineered model came out.

I almost bought a Meade LXD75 mount yesterday but the salesman Meade-bashed it so bad I held off ;) (truth)

Of course when dealing with salesman they may have agendas that don't quite mesh with the customer (like directing them to $2K mounts instead!).

Naw, a $2K mount better than a $600 mount? Say it isn't so!

Doc (Proud owner of Meade products) Doug

#71 Jaxdialation

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 05:13 PM

I guess I fall in the "No Meade in the signature line" group. But I have lusted for an RCX 12" for about a year, so can I stay around? :bow:

#72 Pess

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 06:26 PM

I guess I fall in the "No Meade in the signature line" group. But I have lusted for an RCX 12" for about a year, so can I stay around? :bow:


Only if you promise to rip your new RCX apart when you get it and carefully photograph and post every nook-n-cranny so we can see what engineering changes were made.

Doc (No idea how to spell cranny') Doug

#73 Paula E

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 10:25 PM

I almost bought a Meade LXD75 mount yesterday but the salesman Meade-bashed it so bad I held off ;) (truth)

Of course when dealing with salesman they may have agendas that don't quite mesh with the customer (like directing them to $2K mounts instead!).


This is an interesting point. The dealer I was originally working with on my RCX order is extremely frustrated with Meade. At least, what he said to me indicated frustration - he felt that getting blind-sided with issues like this made him look bad to his customers.

Fortunately the folks at OPT seem to still love Meade, so I ordered my LX200R OTA from them. I felt a little bad about this, going with a different dealer, but by early this week, I really had the sense my original dealer just didn't want to deal with this anymore.

#74 Alex^DJ^

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 11:27 PM

Scott K .sorry about your other dealer, but OPT works very nicee actually and they reponde fast if there is any problem around.

Hope that your scope arrives in excellent condition!

#75 Paula E

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 12:18 AM

Hope that your scope arrives in excellent condition!


Thanks Alex! :) I've heard nothing but praise for OPT.

I'm sure everything is going to be great. I guess it says something about Meade that even though I was irked with them over this situation earlier this week, I still really didn't want to buy a telescope from anyone else.

I think the solution I'll end up with (thanks to good advice from many kind souls on this forum) will work out better for me in the long run anyway.


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