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Meade and its currrent situation

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#1 Jonathan Dunbar

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:42 AM

Hello Forum,

I have some concerns for the current and future availability of Meade products. I am in the market to buy a 14" scope and the LX800/LX850 models have my eye.

The problem is that I have been reading reports of gear/drive issues with these scopes, and the LACK of any real CCD imaging accessories (I wish to control my scope via wi-fi and laptop).

While I don't find the Celectron examples aesthetically pleasing as the Meade LX series, that brand does have everything I would need at a price; but they do [HAVE] everything that I would need to do Astro-photography/imaging.

So why should I shell out $10,000.00 for a product that is slowly dying and with its current financial filings, may have at best a very rocky near/short-term future and limited support of its high-end products?

This isn't an attack on Meade post, but I am trying to seek some assurance that the product is worth such a high investment and by coming here and posting, its clear that I don't have that assurance. I have contacted various dealers and frankly they don't care what I buy as long as I buy something.

Thank you in advance for any responses.

Jonathan
 

#2 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:09 AM

Hello Jonathan,

Welcome aboard!

I have been posting elsewhere on CN regarding the 14" LX850 - in a nutshell it is a WONDERFUL telescope. I was in the Market for a 14" class telescope. I picked the LX850 over the Celestron due to the baseline faster optics and quality, and the turnkey solution of the LX850. Celestron does NOT have everything out of the box you would need with ap. (No integrated autoguider, no GPS, etc.).

Let me answer you quick questions:
-- No gear/drive issues with this telescope what so ever. Maybe the LX800, but these are not being made. My LX850 works perfectly.
-- CCD Imaging accessories? What do you need? Starlock works as advertised for guiding and supports other functions (high precision pointing, automatic drift alignment, automatic PEC training). You CAN hook your laptop to it - others have. I am also testing controlling the LX850 via Skyfi and SkySafari. You can hook up other guiders, however I would not know why one would.
-- The product is not slowly dying. Meade cannot build the LX850 (and LX600) fast enough.
-- Support from Meade has been excellent! I have worked with them personally - I even talk to REAL Meade folks! Very helpful, VERY friendly.

The dealers tried to sell me a Celestron - even encouraged it after I told them my decision. I went to another dealer, and they met my needs.

I am VERY impressed with the LX850. Views through the optics are stunning. Craftsmanship on the LX850 top notch. It is VERY well built; a sold telescope.

I think with the LX850 and LX600 Meade will turn the ship around very well. Plus they do have other products that do sell!
 

#3 Jonathan Dunbar

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:17 AM

Thank you Andrew for your response, and I will look into the apps and products you pointed out.

I am currently going through telescopes.com. They say they can get me a discount of at least 5% off their listed prices. Also, can anyone tell me why 2" more of diameter almost DOUBLES the price of the scope (12" vs. 14")?! Its been a while since I have made a scope purchase. While my education is in Astrophysics, I just haven't purchased a scope in almost 2 decades ... a lot has changed!

Jonathan
 

#4 Qwickdraw

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:48 AM

Thank you Andrew for your response, and I will look into the apps and products you pointed out.

I am currently going through telescopes.com. They say they can get me a discount of at least 5% off their listed prices. Also, can anyone tell me why 2" more of diameter almost DOUBLES the price of the scope (12" vs. 14")?! Its been a while since I have made a scope purchase. While my education is in Astrophysics, I just haven't purchased a scope in almost 2 decades ... a lot has changed!

Jonathan



Make sure you get free shipping and zero tax or there goes your 5% discount. You may also want to consider our sponsor, Astronomics.com. I just ordered the 14" LX850 through them.
 

#5 jrcrilly

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 02:39 PM

The problem is that I have been reading reports of gear/drive issues with these scopes, and the LACK of any real CCD imaging accessories (I wish to control my scope via wi-fi and laptop).


I'm not aware of anyone reporting gear/drive issues with the LX850; I know that mine hasn't exhibited any problems. I'm not aware of any interconnection issues, either. I'm running mine through the same software packages I used with the Tak NJP (TheSky6, Maxim/DL, etc.). The only accessory I needed was the USB-RS232 converter I already had - but one also came with the mount.
 

#6 Lorence

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 03:00 PM

This isn't an attack on Meade post, but I am trying to seek some assurance that the product is worth such a high investment and by coming here and posting, its clear that I don't have that assurance. I have contacted various dealers and frankly they don't care what I buy as long as I buy something.

Thank you in advance for any responses.


The LX800's/LX850's may be the game wining grand slam home run or just another game over fly ball.

Are you willing to bet ten grand on a ball that is still in the air?
 

#7 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 03:27 PM

Jonathan - with the extra 2" I imagine everything is just bigger and heavier, and just more stuff. Though the price difference is not that much between the 12" and 14" LX850 ($1k only). Maybe they think we are really rich; kind of like bigger sailboats! ;)

Lorence - Actually, I only have an LX850 not an LX800. The LX850 is top notch, and personally I feel I am getting a lot for my money. So far it has been an excellent turnkey solution that has worked as advertised.

-- Starlock: working its magic.
-- Guiding, tracking: spot on. Visually and MallinCam confirmed. Near as I can tell, the more advanced users are having great success.
-- Craftsmanship: excellent
-- OTA (faster, flatter system w/crayford focuser and mirror lock): Excellent optics for ap and visual. The other night I was just staring, staring and staring through the eye piece. I have never done that before. Amazing views visually.

I bet ten grand, and I am very happy with my investment. The only rub - it is such a work of art and works so well we are afraid to drive around the countryside with it, let alone use it at outreach events. We are afraid of breaking it (some kid throwing a rock at it?). The good news, like I said elsewhere, I have permission to get an observatory for it now.

Either way, I am comfortable with the bet. I see what Meade is going for here, and I like it. It does work as advertised. I bet on the LX200 when it came out (my 10" still works after 22+ years) and the new ETX-125 (still works too).
 

#8 Jonathan Dunbar

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 06:52 PM

Thank you, I will check the site out.

Jonathan
 

#9 Jonathan Dunbar

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 06:57 PM

Sorry, the bad reviews I read were of the LX600 models. There was a time in the 2011 - 2012 range where distributors were returning scopes to Meade to fix known issues with the drives; I read that somewhere on the net, might have been on the optics planet site.

I just hope Meade can make it through and provide support for at least 5 years after the purchase.

Jonathan
 

#10 rcdk

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 07:04 PM

Are you willing to bet ten grand on a ball that is still in the air?


If your concern is with the future of Meade it might be warranted, although it seems pretty unlikely that the company and all its products will simply wink out of existence. It will reorganize or be purchased or its products will be purchased.

On the other hand, if your concern is with the LX850 itself the initial reports are overwhelmingly positive.
 

#11 Jonathan Dunbar

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 07:04 PM

Well professor,

When I cross the street, drive to/from work, or board a jet plane, there is always some risk :)

I did a search on the web, and it seems to me that Meade had many low cost and useful products back in the 2005 - 2007 time range. Now when you go to their website, many images don't load, links don't work, and with their release of their finances, its a tough call. If a manufacture can't support their website, how are they going to support the end user?

I would think that when business is bad, you lower prices, take a smaller profit margin, to increase revenue and market presence; maybe I am just too 'old fashion'?

Its a lot of money, but these LX850 models are a lot of telescope. I can always purchase 3rd party CCD solutions. That Meade Pictor CCD sure seemed to be a nice way to start with deep space imaging.

Jonathan
 

#12 Jonathan Dunbar

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 07:12 PM

Sorry Andrew,

Again I was referring to the LX600 models and should have stated that. telescopes site has the LX600-ACF fully decked out at $6,000.00 for the 12" and $8,500.00 for the 14".

If I remember correctly, aperture is EVERYTHING! Yes, it is heavier and therefore more engineering goes into the mounts and drive system.

Yes, everything I have read about the LX850 line is MOST favorable indeed!

Jonathan
 

#13 jrcrilly

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 07:40 PM

Sorry, the bad reviews I read were of the LX600 models. There was a time in the 2011 - 2012 range where distributors were returning scopes to Meade to fix known issues with the drives;


The LX600 models started shipping only recently so they can't have been recalled in previous years. You are, no doubt, thinking of the LX800 models, which were recalled for controller quirks and replaced with the LX850 series. I don't believe any substantial changes were made to the drives.
 

#14 Lorence

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:27 PM

Well professor,

When I cross the street, drive to/from work, or board a jet plane, there is always some risk :)


I'll bet you ten grand you don't get killed the next time you try to cross the street. :)

That's called a safe bet. The next best thing is to just sit back and let someone else take the lumps. Remember that every unhappy Meade owner was once a happy Meade owner.
 

#15 gastargazer01

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 12:40 AM

Jonathan,
Unfortunately in the forums there are some members that never have anything constructive to say if you look back at their post history you will find that they contribute nothing except for negativity to the forums. It's very unfortunate. It would be great if the moderators were able to flag all of the nasty deleted post made by these members and remove the offensive. 
I have and have had Meade scopes. When I purchased one of the first ETX125 scopes there were issues and Meade did a good job of correcting the issues but that was 15 years ago.
 

#16 highertheflyer

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 10:47 AM

When I purchased one of the first ETX125 scopes there were issues and Meade did a good job of correcting the issues but that was 15 years ago. [/quote]

I too have had Meade scopes since the ETX60, then the ETX125, and now the LX80.
I have had issues with the LX80, but Meade has supported my every request.
Now I have an LX80 that is working very very well.
A satisfied Meade owner,
Jim
 

#17 Joad

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 11:06 AM

Sorry Andrew,

Again I was referring to the LX600 models and should have stated that. telescopes site has the LX600-ACF fully decked out at $6,000.00 for the 12" and $8,500.00 for the 14".

If I remember correctly, aperture is EVERYTHING! Yes, it is heavier and therefore more engineering goes into the mounts and drive system.

Yes, everything I have read about the LX850 line is MOST favorable indeed!

Jonathan


Ah, if I only had a dollar for every discussion here on Cloudy Nights concerning aperture. So, without attempting or desiring to say anything definitive (your mileage may always vary), here are a few observations.

1. A 14" telescope is going to deliver a lot more light than a 12" telescope. No doubt about that at all.

2. The jump from 12" to 14", visually, isn't as dramatic as the jump from 12" to 18" (which seems to be the best next jump upward), however.

3. A 14" SCT is a seriously more unwieldy instrument than a 12". Often owners of 14" SCT's need some help in setting up if they don't have a permanent observatory.

4. In this era of digital astro-imaging, a 12" telescope is plenty big if that is what your primary use will be.
 

#18 jimb1001

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 11:46 AM

Well professor,

When I cross the street, drive to/from work, or board a jet plane, there is always some risk :)


I'll bet you ten grand you don't get killed the next time you try to cross the street. :)

That's called a safe bet. The next best thing is to just sit back and let someone else take the lumps. Remember that every unhappy Meade owner was once a happy Meade owner.


As with most things in life, its a matter of the odds. If the odds are 100,000 to 1 that I'll be killed crossing the street, I question your ability to pay off on that bet, should I get killed. Also, the odds will vary depending on location. My street in the suburbs vs mid-town NYC.

Lets apply that to Meade (we could use Celestron or Orion as examples as well). How many telescopes do they sell? How many people are unhappy. I don't know and neither do you.

They seem to be able to design, make and sell a $10,000 amateur astronomy product so I would guess there are many more happy Meade customers than disgruntled ones, like you.
 

#19 ken svp120

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 03:06 PM

It seems to me that the OP is simply doing his due dilligence and in so doing, the question comes up of whether or not to spend $10,000 on a product from a company that - in its very own financials - stated they themselves have serious doubt about their ability to continue as a going concern.

This is a perfectly responsible question to consider, is not bashing, and should be answered, at least in part, pretty soon - their next set of annual financials is due out at the end of this month.

Wait a couple weeks for that filing, take a look at it, and see if their position and outlook is improving or not. No big deal. One other thing to consider is that even if the worst came to pass - you buy the scope and they close their doors the next day, you still have an implied warranty from whichever retailer you purchased the scope. Although it might not be easy to exercise, it is some measure of protection available for you.

We should know plenty more at the end of the month though...
 

#20 Lorence

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 06:40 PM

I question your ability to pay off on that bet, should I get killed.



I will swear on a stack of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, to drop a check for $10,000 into your coffin just before they close the lid.


I would guess there are many more happy Meade customers than disgruntled ones, like you.


No arguments there. I just doing what I can to prevent you and others from finding themselves on the my side of the fence.
 

#21 Jonathan Dunbar

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 07:28 PM

That sounds good; so throttle back on the size, and just get the practical use out of the scope. I am not using it in a permanent observatory, so scaling back down to a 12" would save me money and not give me a hernia setting up a 14"!

I will give this consideration.

Thank you,

Jonathan
 

#22 Jonathan Dunbar

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 07:29 PM

And this is why they call you PROFESSOR! Good logic, good logic!

Jonathan
 

#23 Jonathan Dunbar

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 07:40 PM

This is good! Thank you, I didn't think and realize they were releasing more financial info at the end of the month.

Its not so much a question of Meade support, but also market support. Look at Apple. Back in the 1990s, I spent THOUSANDS on 660AV and 840AV Macs. Top of the line, Rolls Royce of personal computers, then came the rotten apple days of the mid to late 90s. No support, no software, no reasonably priced hardware; I gave up, went Pentium/Windows and haven't looked back since!

When I view on-line sellers and ebay for filters, oculars, adapters, accessories, Meade just doesn't have the presence of other manufactures. So it is a tough call. In the end, I am likely to buy the Meade solution, but it will be with apprehension to say the least.

Jonathan

P.s. I live in Arizona and S. California is just a 4-5 hour drive for me. I might visit the Meade warehouse and allow them to convince me, their solution would fit the bill. I have contacted Astro-groups, but having gone to various Star Parties has just shown me the intimidating diversity of telescopes and what is the best [sic] solution.
 

#24 rimcrazy

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 10:57 PM

As an update on the current Meade situation:

Meade Instruments Corp. Announces Merger Agreement; to be Acquired by Jinghua...

As a Classic 10" LX200 owner, on my particular model, the optics are good to great. The mechanical design is good. The electrical design is abysmal. Tough to find the perfect instrument. I don't know anything about the newer models. The infusion of cash from the above acquisition should stabilize the company for now. Who knows what the future will bring.
 

#25 jimb1001

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 11:56 PM

I question your ability to pay off on that bet, should I get killed.



I will swear on a stack of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, to drop a check for $10,000 into your coffin just before they close the lid.


I would guess there are many more happy Meade customers than disgruntled ones, like you.


No arguments there. I just doing what I can to prevent you and others from finding themselves on the my side of the fence.


You have a fence?

And a side?
 


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