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Meade LX850 silence

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#176 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 03:18 PM

David- a very good point. Do we have any history of using the LX850 at or near its rated payload?

I don't recall anyone reporting trying that with an LX850.

-Rich


Rich,

I have about 10k in words to respond to (lol), but right now I am doing yard work at the cottage.

But with a quick response...

I CAN say I am working fairly close to the rated weight of 90 lbs (85%). Typical observing session is around 70lbs. I have also used it in the daytime with my PST and other toys taking it to around 77 lbs. I can definitely tell you this mount handles the weight without any problems.

Yes, I know the proof is in the photos, but the motors simply have no problems with the weight. Don't forget I am also hanging about 78 lbs of counter weights.

This mount is massive - the gears, the 1" mounting plate, the structure, the motors. It is definitely in the range of the Mach 1, and a better value in my estimation. The CGEM is in no way remotely in the league of the LX850. The CGE Pro not even in the league of this mount in my book. I looked at the CGE Pro and was not impressed. Plus features are missing.

So far we can say about the LX850:
-- Mount supports 90 lbs.
-- Mount has both Vixen and Lomandsey dovetails. Heck I can have a Meade APO AND SCT on the mount AND Starlock! OUT OF THE BOX!
-- PP PE is under 10 arcseconds (mine round 6)
-- Starlock with 2 cameras. Do not poo poo a dual "observer" control system. No one does it but Meade. This is not on the market. You have to cobble together and create your own system.
-- Complete system comes in around 260 lbs.
-- Mount is solid and well built.
-- Excellent OTA.
-- Gotos to within 1 arcsecond

Give me time to come up with the comparison table, but trust me - this is a well built, quality, high end mount. To be honest, I think the price is low compared to the competition.

#177 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 03:21 PM

Wade,

As stated, I am EASILY supporting a weight of 77 lbs. I am very, very impressed with the mount.

You guys really need to see this thing in person I think.

Let me get home in a week and get more pictures - from the newb!

#178 korborh

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 03:32 PM

Andrew,
"-- Gotos to within 1 arcsecond"

did you mean arcminutes? How far away you need to be from the target to get this goto accuracy?

#179 Pak

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 03:41 PM

You only left out one item, Ritch: The LX850 is rated for 90lbs. That does make a difference. Move up to a 90lb capacity in the world of AP or Tak, suddenly the story becomes different when we consider dollars.

David


The LX850 appears to be a clone of the Astro-Physics Mach1. So why does the LX850 have a 90lb payload rating and the Mach1 a 40lb rating?

Here's my answer to that:

The maufacturer's capacity rating on a mount is a pure marketing number. Meade's marketing department has a long established history of stretching these numbers as far as they can (remember that they sold an 10" Schmidt Newt on an LXD-75?) Astro-Physics has a long established history of conservative ratings on their mounts. In the case of the Mach1, they have an extra incentive to be conservative to avoid eating into AP900 sales. It is not unheard of to see people running a Mach1 with 100lb of payload.

Given the mechanical similarities, do you really think that Meade has improved the real world capabilities beyond the Astro-Physics? Or is it more likely that both companies are just rating their equipment they way that they normally do and arriving at different numbers?

Until the LX850 has been out there long enough to see some side by side comparisons with the Mach1, it seems wise to take the difference in capacity with a giant grain of salt.

Even though I am not in the market for an LX850, and likely won't ever be, I think that a healthy Meade is good for astronomy. Their pending acquisition will hopefully give them solid financial footing, and I am optimistic that the LX850 will deliver on its promises (when the LX800 problems became apparent, I even stated on some of these threads that Meade would make it right).

Like many others, I am curious to see some real world data on how these mounts perform (thanks to Jason for what he's said so far). On the specific topic of this thread, I don't actually see it as a concern that there's not been much so far, though. The CGE Pro had a similar quietness when it came out, but it's matured pretty nicely. To me, the real story will be told when we start seeing images in the DSLR and CCD imaging forums taken from this platform.

-Wade



-Wade



While it is obvious that Meade bought a Mach1GTO and reverse engineered it, there are quite a few differences once you get inside. I have no doubt that the mount head itself can handle the weight but I do have a concern about the pivot point for the alt adjustment as it seems much too narrow, even after their updated version, to provide a rock solid steady system. It's a bowling ball balanced on a wine glass.
----------------

@Rich,

Thanks for your post. I agree but I think you chose the wrong Celestron product to compare.

CGE-PRO $4999. (Often goes on sale for 10% off when bundled with an EdgeHD OTA.)

Your choice: Starlight Xpress Lodestar monochrome or S-Big monochrome guide camera $595.00

Orion 80mm short tube refractor for autoguiding with rings and dovetail $200.00 (skip the auto guider camera)

Celestron Starsense for auto alignment and pointing. $329 (Coming July)

At this point you have:

Mount that is currently spec'd at
**Smooth** +/- 5 arc second typical unguided periodic error, which can be further reduced with PPEC
Source: http://www.celestron...-pro-mount.html

**Ed would know more about what can be realistically expected though as he often gets CGE-PRO mounts delivered straight from Celestron (On customers request) for hypertuning before he then sends them on to the customer. I'd be curious what the before and after typically is.

A more sensitive guide camera.
A light weight refractor that can be focused and pointed. However there could be added flexure above what the Starlock provides. I'd be curious if that is so.
Accurate pointing and alignment assist.

The All Star Polar Alignment routine that Celestron uses is already very accurate. When combined with a more accurate alignment with the Starsense, the polar alignment can be even closer. In my experience the ASPA has been very very close and drift alignment using any of several methods has typically verified that the ASPA is close enough.

Mature ASCOM drivers.

So what do we lose by not going with the LX850?

$200.00
Internal cable routing

What is still up in the air as far as I am concerned?

1) Does the drift alignment routine get it closer than ASPA? Just how accurate is it? Someone needs to use it and verify it with other means.

2) Does the auto calibration routine for the Starlock for setting the guide rates result in round stars? If not, how much tweaking is needed? Is it even close to start with? Would it be easier and more accurate to keep the Starlock guiding disabled and use something else? Would a different guide system work better?

3) What kind of native PE does the mount get on average? If we count both Jason and Andrew we are below 8 arc seconds on both. That pretty good I'd say but there is some debate on what the data is showing. As number 5 would say "Need Input!"

4) Related to number two, are owners of these mounts going to become frustrated with Starlock and end up using an OAG exclusively? If so, what is the point of this mount again?

Now having said all of this I have to say that just about everything I mentioned could be something that becomes better as time goes on as Meade tweaks things. ASCOM drivers are being written or at least in queue to be written *some day*. The drift alignment routine could be tweaked in a future firmware update and maybe the Starlock utility could be modified to display information about the drift alignment. The native PE could be brought down as manufacturing methods evolve. The Starlock auto calibration and guiding can also be tweaked and updated in the future.

If/when they merge with JOC and they get more money flowing, I'd expect that this may be a nice system to have at its price point. I just thing that *right now* it may not be and I still believe that more owners need to come forward and tell us about their mounts. Hopefully in July we'll see more.

#180 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 04:51 PM

Andrew,
"-- Gotos to within 1 arcsecond"

did you mean arcminutes? How far away you need to be from the target to get this goto accuracy?


Korborh,

I stand corrected - I was going arcsecond happy there, lol!

It is +/- 1 arcminute goto accuracy.

I can be anywhere in the sky to get this accurate. I merely enter the object on the hand controller or tap on my iPad using screen safari, and it nails the target dead on everytime, and I mean dead center.

This is very nice not only for AP and visual, but also using the small chip FOV of the MallinCam X2. Dead center every time. So yes, I can go from M57 to M61 dead on everytime.

This is all right out of the box, no need to purchase any add-ons.

I hope to have a video server going in the next 45 days. Once up, I will demonstrate this live on the internet. Yeah, I know you APer's won't care for the video stuff, but it will be a nice way to demonstrate the HPP goto to everyone around the world.

#181 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 04:56 PM

You only left out one item, Ritch: The LX850 is rated for 90lbs. That does make a difference. Move up to a 90lb capacity in the world of AP or Tak, suddenly the story becomes different when we consider dollars.

David


The LX850 appears to be a clone of the Astro-Physics Mach1. So why does the LX850 have a 90lb payload rating and the Mach1 a 40lb rating?

Here's my answer to that:

The maufacturer's capacity rating on a mount is a pure marketing number. Meade's marketing department has a long established history of stretching these numbers as far as they can (remember that they sold an 10" Schmidt Newt on an LXD-75?) Astro-Physics has a long established history of conservative ratings on their mounts. In the case of the Mach1, they have an extra incentive to be conservative to avoid eating into AP900 sales. It is not unheard of to see people running a Mach1 with 100lb of payload.

Given the mechanical similarities, do you really think that Meade has improved the real world capabilities beyond the Astro-Physics? Or is it more likely that both companies are just rating their equipment they way that they normally do and arriving at different numbers?

Until the LX850 has been out there long enough to see some side by side comparisons with the Mach1, it seems wise to take the difference in capacity with a giant grain of salt.


-Wade



Wade,

Three things:
* Is it really safe to run 100lb of payload on a Mach1? Does it really work? Seems like living life on the edge.
* I am very, very confident in saying the LX850 can handle 90 lbs of payload.
* Sorry, I won't purchase a Mach1 to make a side by side comparison. ;)

#182 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 05:19 PM

Mornin Andrew

Testing is a massive effort.



Understood, but that wasnt my point.
So far we have seen a calculated plot from PEMPro
compared to a calculated plot from Starlock.
BUT we havent seen how well either fits the raw data it is based on.
Thats all.

Andrew

#183 WadeH237

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 05:22 PM

Wade,

Three things:
* Is it really safe to run 100lb of payload on a Mach1? Does it really work? Seems like living life on the edge.


Yes, it works. Probably at least as well as an LX850. :)

* I am very, very confident in saying the LX850 can handle 90 lbs of payload.


I'm not saying it can't. It just bothers me to see people throwing around comparisons based on marketing material - especially when Meade's marketing department is involved. In my personal opinion, they have a rock solid reputation for bending reality.

* Sorry, I won't purchase a Mach1 to make a side by side comparison. ;)


I'm not suggesting that you would do such a thing. Mach1s are a pretty common sight at star parties. Eventually, LX850s will start showing up as well. The comparisons will happen naturally. It's just a matter of time.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I have seen an LX800 up close...and within 20 feet of a Mach1. I had a chance to chat with Marj Roland of Astro-Physics about the AP mount and get her opinion of the Meade mount. The Meade guys at the same event weren't saying much (they left early).

Eventually, the mounts will speak for themselves. It's only a matter of time. That people are impatient and these threads get long is a sign that people are interested in the LX850.

-Wade

#184 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 05:41 PM

Pak,

Some more quick follow-ups while trimming the hedges...



While it is obvious that Meade bought a Mach1GTO and reverse engineered it, there are quite a few differences once you get inside. I have no doubt that the mount head itself can handle the weight but I do have a concern about the pivot point for the alt adjustment as it seems much too narrow, even after their updated version, to provide a rock solid steady system. It's a bowling ball balanced on a wine glass.
----------------


I can't measure things remotely (1200 miles away), but I can definitely tell you the pivot point is rock solid, beefy, and is steady. No wiggling or wobbling (There are some technical terms!). I won't do Finite Element Analysis of the alt adjustment, nor generate the Von Mises Stresses, however I can say with certainty the Aluminum and stainless steel is sufficiently thick, and the surface area contact is sufficient, and supports the loads without a problem.



@Rich,

Thanks for your post. I agree but I think you chose the wrong Celestron product to compare.

CGE-PRO $4999. (Often goes on sale for 10% off when bundled with an EdgeHD OTA.)

Your choice: Starlight Xpress Lodestar monochrome or S-Big monochrome guide camera $595.00

Orion 80mm short tube refractor for autoguiding with rings and dovetail $200.00 (skip the auto guider camera)

Celestron Starsense for auto alignment and pointing. $329 (Coming July)

At this point you have:

Mount that is currently spec'd at
**Smooth** +/- 5 arc second typical unguided periodic error, which can be further reduced with PPEC
Source: http://www.celestron...-pro-mount.html

**Ed would know more about what can be realistically expected though as he often gets CGE-PRO mounts delivered straight from Celestron (On customers request) for hypertuning before he then sends them on to the customer. I'd be curious what the before and after typically is.

A more sensitive guide camera.
A light weight refractor that can be focused and pointed. However there could be added flexure above what the Starlock provides. I'd be curious if that is so.
Accurate pointing and alignment assist.

The All Star Polar Alignment routine that Celestron uses is already very accurate. When combined with a more accurate alignment with the Starsense, the polar alignment can be even closer. In my experience the ASPA has been very very close and drift alignment using any of several methods has typically verified that the ASPA is close enough.

Mature ASCOM drivers.

So what do we lose by not going with the LX850?

$200.00
Internal cable routing


There are numerous other things being left out.

* The cost of the software integrating the entire system.
* Starlock's integrated DUAL guiding system.
* No need to tweak the scope - it really, really works off the pallet.
* GPS (yes folks can live with out it - and folks can live without a lot of things - but it is included)
* Microfocuser
* Vibration suppression pads
* The time it takes to integrate all the Celestron tools and other add ons, which are already there on the LX850, streamlined and automated (or manual if you like!).
* f/8 OTA out of the box (yes, you can do the faststar thing on the C14, but again that is an add on).
* Does the 1400 Come with a mirror lock and crayford focuser? This was not clear to me from their site? LX850 SCT OTA has this out of the box.
* LX850 supports Vixen AND Lomandsey dovetails at the same time. Yes, you can indeed mount TWO scopes AND the Starlock (with its two cameras/guiders/smarts) AND the finder. Pretty cool. Can CGE Pro do this?

I will double check my numbers, but it looks to me the LX850 comes in fully integrated and good to go out of the box direct from Meade for more than $1k cheaper than the Celestron. Certainly lower cost than the Mach 1 and other AP configurations.



What is still up in the air as far as I am concerned?

1) Does the drift alignment routine get it closer than ASPA? Just how accurate is it? Someone needs to use it and verify it with other means.

2) Does the auto calibration routine for the Starlock for setting the guide rates result in round stars? If not, how much tweaking is needed? Is it even close to start with? Would it be easier and more accurate to keep the Starlock guiding disabled and use something else? Would a different guide system work better?

3) What kind of native PE does the mount get on average? If we count both Jason and Andrew we are below 8 arc seconds on both. That pretty good I'd say but there is some debate on what the data is showing. As number 5 would say "Need Input!"

4) Related to number two, are owners of these mounts going to become frustrated with Starlock and end up using an OAG exclusively? If so, what is the point of this mount again?

Now having said all of this I have to say that just about everything I mentioned could be something that becomes better as time goes on as Meade tweaks things. ASCOM drivers are being written or at least in queue to be written *some day*. The drift alignment routine could be tweaked in a future firmware update and maybe the Starlock utility could be modified to display information about the drift alignment. The native PE could be brought down as manufacturing methods evolve. The Starlock auto calibration and guiding can also be tweaked and updated in the future.

If/when they merge with JOC and they get more money flowing, I'd expect that this may be a nice system to have at its price point. I just thing that *right now* it may not be and I still believe that more owners need to come forward and tell us about their mounts. Hopefully in July we'll see more.


How would you verify 1?

2) - I will check this out on round stars. However, why in the world would I turn off Starlock? If I am tracking to within 1 arcsecond for a 10-15 minute exposures I think I am all set! If not using Starlock why get the LX850?

3) Well, I hope others chime in. I am happy with my results. I will do the picture thing though to show nice microfine wiggly lines (there is another high tech term).

4) So far I am not frustrated at all with Starlock. I love it! Jason has had great success with it. Waiting for others, but so far, so good! The mount is good in its own right, however the magic of the LX850 is a highly integrated, flexible system that makes life real easy - and takes good picts for a reasonable cost!


ASCOM is not important to me at all yet, though when the observatory comes in (waiting on my POD MAX....!) I might need it there. Still, good Meade is working on it.

Drift alignment routine I hear works great. I will learn for myself next week, weather permitting.

Don't forget the user can tweak terms on Starlock, though code can always be updated.

BTW - I think I am part of this "new" batch, not the recalled units. I guess there were some subtle changes.

Back to yard work....

#185 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 06:53 PM

Wade,

Three things:
* Is it really safe to run 100lb of payload on a Mach1? Does it really work? Seems like living life on the edge.


Yes, it works. Probably at least as well as an LX850. :)

* I am very, very confident in saying the LX850 can handle 90 lbs of payload.


I'm not saying it can't. It just bothers me to see people throwing around comparisons based on marketing material - especially when Meade's marketing department is involved. In my personal opinion, they have a rock solid reputation for bending reality.

* Sorry, I won't purchase a Mach1 to make a side by side comparison. ;)


I'm not suggesting that you would do such a thing. Mach1s are a pretty common sight at star parties. Eventually, LX850s will start showing up as well. The comparisons will happen naturally. It's just a matter of time.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I have seen an LX800 up close...and within 20 feet of a Mach1. I had a chance to chat with Marj Roland of Astro-Physics about the AP mount and get her opinion of the Meade mount. The Meade guys at the same event weren't saying much (they left early).

Eventually, the mounts will speak for themselves. It's only a matter of time. That people are impatient and these threads get long is a sign that people are interested in the LX850.

-Wade


Wade,

Well I would be curious as to Marj's opinion of the Meade mount. Then again, I would hope Marj would push their product over Meade, lol.

And of course, the LX850 is vastly improved over the LX800. Would you be surprised the Meade guys said anything about the LX800?

I agree, folks are interested. And I can understand they are looking to a range of first adopters to report on their experiences.

#186 Pak

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 07:23 PM

[quote name="Spacetravelerx"]Pak,

Some more quick follow-ups while trimming the hedges...

I can't measure things remotely (1200 miles away), but I can definitely tell you the pivot point is rock solid, beefy, and is steady. No wiggling or wobbling (There are some technical terms!). I won't do Finite Element Analysis of the alt adjustment, nor generate the Von Mises Stresses, however I can say with certainty the Aluminum and stainless steel is sufficiently thick, and the surface area contact is sufficient, and supports the loads without a problem.
[/quote]

Good to hear. I know of one person who is having a hard time but he has the original version.

[quote]


There are numerous other things being left out.

* The cost of the software integrating the entire system.
[/quote]
I am not interested in Meade's cost only my cost. The integrated systems can be done with free downloadable software on any other mount.

[quote]
* Starlock's integrated DUAL guiding system.
[/quote]

Starlock has two cameras. Widefield for pointing and narrow for guiding. The setup that I listed contained both. One would be integrated as much as the LX850 would be (Starsense addon) and the other would be a guide scope package that requires software on a lap top to use BUT would be more sensitive, can be pointed, and if the user already has a computer attached to their telescopes then why not?
[quote]

* No need to tweak the scope - it really, really works off the pallet.
[/quote]

You haven't done anything with it yet that would require tweaking. Wait until you do some long exposures and get back to me on this.
[quote]
* GPS (yes folks can live with out it - and folks can live without a lot of things - but it is included)
[/quote]

That is a valid point but you can save locations in the hand controller. You simply pull out your iPhone, grab the GPS data, enter it into the mount and save.
[quote]

* Microfocuser
[/quote]

I assume you mean the electric one? I guess I might use it with a Mallincam if I had one. I wouldn't scratch up my expensive CCD camera though.
[quote]

* Vibration suppression pads
[/quote]

I've had a set of the Meade version before. The blue soft material kept coming out. I ended up not using them for very long.
[quote]
* The time it takes to integrate all the Celestron tools and other add ons, which are already there on the LX850, streamlined and automated (or manual if you like!).
[/quote]
Not an issue for me. Besides, and this is important to note, integrated simply means, as it applies to the LX850, that the buttons you push are on the hand controller instead of the laptop you have connected to it. Therefore unless it is fully automatic and doesn't require user input, there isn't any difference.
[quote]
* f/8 OTA out of the box (yes, you can do the faststar thing on the C14, but again that is an add on).
* Does the 1400 Come with a mirror lock and crayford focuser? This was not clear to me from their site? LX850 SCT OTA has this out of the box.
* LX850 supports Vixen AND Lomandsey dovetails at the same time. Yes, you can indeed mount TWO scopes AND the Starlock (with its two cameras/guiders/smarts) AND the finder. Pretty cool. Can CGE Pro do this?
[/quote]
I wasn't talking about the OTA at all and simply discussing the mount itself. However since you asked...
The EdgeHD has F/2 capability via Hyperstar. Reducer available right now for F/8 thereby matching the LX850. The field is flatter than the ACF too. The EdgeHD also has rear vents to increase cool down time and I've never seen a reason to have an internal Crayford focuser but many put them on via 3rd party Feathertouch. Yes, all EdgeHD's have mirror locks. If you are going to be imaging, which the LX850 was made for, then you are going to use a remote focuser anyways so you'll lock the mirror. So the built in 7:1 focuser is only good for visual use.

As for the side by side saddle. I wouldn't use one. The best place to mount the Starlock is on the OTA and I see no reason to mount another telescope on the same mount. [quote]

I will double check my numbers, but it looks to me the LX850 comes in fully integrated and good to go out of the box direct from Meade for more than $1k cheaper than the Celestron. Certainly lower cost than the Mach 1 and other AP configurations.
[/quote]

Yes please double check.


[quote]



How would you verify 1?
[/quote]

Set up as usual. Drift align using Starlock. When it reports no turns needed you can then use whatever your favorite method of drift alignment is and see what the results are. [quote]

2) - I will check this out on round stars. However, why in the world would I turn off Starlock? If I am tracking to within 1 arcsecond for a 10-15 minute exposures I think I am all set! If not using Starlock why get the LX850?[/quote]

Yes you are right as rain. If you are happy with your results that is all that matters to *you* and *you* should be happy. No argument there. However what matters to me is the mounts performance overall and across multiple user experiences. [quote]

3) Well, I hope others chime in. I am happy with my results. I will do the picture thing though to show nice microfine wiggly lines (there is another high tech term).

4) So far I am not frustrated at all with Starlock. I love it! Jason has had great success with it. Waiting for others, but so far, so good! The mount is good in its own right, however the magic of the LX850 is a highly integrated, flexible system that makes life real easy - and takes good picts for a reasonable cost!


ASCOM is not important to me at all yet, though when the observatory comes in (waiting on my POD MAX....!) I might need it there. Still, good Meade is working on it.

Drift alignment routine I hear works great. I will learn for myself next week, weather permitting.

Don't forget the user can tweak terms on Starlock, though code can always be updated.

BTW - I think I am part of this "new" batch, not the recalled units. I guess there were some subtle changes. [/quote]

Yah as far as I can tell the recall people didn't get the updated piece that you did. I would be interested to know if there were any other changes that weren't so obvious.[quote]

Back to yard work.... [/quote]

#187 WadeH237

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 07:32 PM

Well I would be curious as to Marj's opinion of the Meade mount. Then again, I would hope Marj would push their product over Meade, lol.


I'm not sure how this rates an lol. You do realize that Astro-Physics is universally recognized for producing some of the best astronomy gear in the business, right?. Meade is, to put it politely, not on the same level at all. They have had pretty good success with optics, but have a very poor track record - particularly in the last 10 years - with mounts and integrated systems.

To use a car analogy, the situation here is somewhat like Hyundai building a Lexus clone, adding some extra features, and saying it's better than the Lexus. It's not impossible, but nobody should be surprised that there are skeptics.

And of course, the LX850 is vastly improved over the LX800. Would you be surprised the Meade guys said anything about the LX800?


Please give me a little credit here. I would have thought it was obvious that this happened before the LX850 was created as an emergency fix to the LX800. In fact, is was very near the introduction of the LX800. Meade had every reason to talk about the LX800 at the time.

My point is that you keep talking about the size and quality of the LX850 as if people would change their minds if only they could see one up close. Well, some of us have (the LX800 is virtually identical in size and even basic design). Of course, we've seen lots of other mounts, too. Enough to know that the LX850 is not particular large or massive once you look past the Starlock stuff. Have you ever seen a Paramount ME, or an AP1200, or even a CGE Pro in person?

#188 David Pavlich

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 09:18 PM

David- a very good point. Do we have any history of using the LX850 at or near its rated payload?

I don't recall anyone reporting trying that with an LX850.

-Rich


I surrender! I guess we need to wait for a couple of Meade 850 APODs, then maybe...naaaa, that won't make any difference either. :rolling:

David

#189 Starhawk

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 10:30 PM

Several APODs came from parking lot security cams. Not sure what that will mean for a mount in particular.

Anyway, it looks like we'll have to wait for regular production mounts to get into the hands of serious imagers to answer this.

-Rich

#190 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 10:36 PM

Ah, a friendly chat while it is raining outside. I am reminded how challenging it is to observe in the midwest. I don't think I have had a clear sky the entire time I have been here, and the mosquitos are really bothersome.

Anyways...


Well I would be curious as to Marj's opinion of the Meade mount. Then again, I would hope Marj would push their product over Meade, lol.


I'm not sure how this rates an lol. You do realize that Astro-Physics is universally recognized for producing some of the best astronomy gear in the business, right?. Meade is, to put it politely, not on the same level at all. They have had pretty good success with optics, but have a very poor track record - particularly in the last 10 years - with mounts and integrated systems.

To use a car analogy, the situation here is somewhat like Hyundai building a Lexus clone, adding some extra features, and saying it's better than the Lexus. It's not impossible, but nobody should be surprised that there are skeptics.

And of course, the LX850 is vastly improved over the LX800. Would you be surprised the Meade guys said anything about the LX800?


Please give me a little credit here. I would have thought it was obvious that this happened before the LX850 was created as an emergency fix to the LX800. In fact, is was very near the introduction of the LX800. Meade had every reason to talk about the LX800 at the time.

My point is that you keep talking about the size and quality of the LX850 as if people would change their minds if only they could see one up close. Well, some of us have (the LX800 is virtually identical in size and even basic design). Of course, we've seen lots of other mounts, too. Enough to know that the LX850 is not particular large or massive once you look past the Starlock stuff. Have you ever seen a Paramount ME, or an AP1200, or even a CGE Pro in person?



I full understand Astro-Physics provides excellent astronomy gear. There are are a range of high end providers (Questar, Planewave, etc). I have seen the mounts listed. I have even seen multimillion dollar space based instruments.

Starlock I think is maybe 1% of the mass of the system. I think I can judge size.

But I dispute your analogy.

Meade is more like Ford, not Hyundai. I have been very satisfied with Meade products over the past 40 or so years. My LX200 has worked as advertised for 22+ years. Using the car analogy, I could have gotten a Range Rover (which used to be owned for a while by Ford, but ignore that for now), but instead I got a Ford Expedition. Not as fancy as the Range Rover, cheaper than the RR, but certainly a quality unit, works well and meets all my needs. Actually an excellent vehicle. Meade has struggle the last 10 years, so I look at as Ford's dark days in the 70's and early 80s. (BTW - Celestron has their issues too, and still do based on the posts I see; I saw a CN Post that clearly recommended to avoid the CGE Pro!).

Either way, I see excellent value and seamless integration with the LX850, that I just don't see in other systems. (Next post will cover this).

Trust me, I had the "wad o' cash" to drop for any telescope I wanted. I considered the 1400 HD CGEPro, but in the end it did not compare to the LX850 in my book. I looked at other systems (yes, even the Paramount ME) - they just did not move me. Something did not connect.

I really liked the seamless integration, the build, functionality and other features and value of the LX850. Meade got my $10k.

So far I am satisfied. Very satisfied. Heck, in a couple of weeks I have some government folks looking at.

Sometimes I look at and purchase high end goodies. For example I take Macintosh over Windows any day. Same with iOS over Android. Heck, Linux over Windows! (Now THIS will stir a hornets nest!)

However I would claim the LX850 is a luxury item. Not the reputation of the AP or Questar (yeah, I saw that discussion, lol), but you know, it is a darn good machine. It is certainly not a piece of *BLEEP*.

I am so impressed with the product, my business will likely drop another $10k in Meade products this year alone. Who knows how much I will buy next year.

Onto the next discussion item....

#191 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 10:43 PM

Rich,

Well I Jason is a serious imager. Pretty certain on that. But yes, we need to see more of them get their hands on one.

I would contend the LX850 is also for:
* Research scientists
* Advanced amateurs
* Midlevel amateurs
* Universities
* The rich guy/gal who wants to buy one "just because"
* And folks who WANT to become a serious astrophotographer and want the tools to make life easy with the performance to match.

#192 Starhawk

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 10:43 PM

I think I see the start of a drinking game- take a sip every time Spacetravelerx says, "Trust me."

:-D

-Rich

#193 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:00 PM

I think I see the start of a drinking game- take a sip every time Spacetravelerx says, "Trust me."

:-D

-Rich



Good one! lol

You would think I was a politician or something...

#194 jrcrilly

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:06 PM

Anyway, it looks like we'll have to wait for regular production mounts to get into the hands of serious imagers to answer this.

-Rich


"Serious" imagers already have mounts. It isn't likely that users of premium gear are going to downgrade just to experiment any time soon, which is why it's great that Jason was supplied with one. I am fairly sure that I am the first to switch to an LX850 from a Tak NJP (I did it specifically because I wanted to evaluate the new mount). I haven't, however, relocated. Nor have I retired, which means that my opportunities under clear, dark skies have been limited. I can't do much on a weeknight if it doesn't get dark until 11:00 - and I'm in the center of the city, surrounded by concrete, asphalt, and brick so the seeing doesn't settle down until MUCH later. I'm still waiting for weekend opportunities to do the things I want to do to evaluate the mount. After that, if I become sufficiently bored, I may perform some of the specific tests folks are demanding. That will become far more likely if the demands are replaced by requests.

I used to do commissioned evaluations of astro gear. When something was sent to me for tests, I did whatever they requested and made it a priority to get them done as quickly as possible so I could return the gear. Even then, it always took longer than I wanted it to because of time and weather limitations. Nobody supplied this mount to me so I'm on my own dime and my own schedule.

#195 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:20 PM

Pak,

I will do a more "extensive, under 10k" response tomorrow. I am pooped - trust me! (Take a drink everyone...).

But some quick comments, heh, heh, heh:

* Is all your software free? PEMPro does cost money. PHd Guiding doesn't. What is your free software complement?
* I like having the GPS integrated with the mount. Just fewer steps to deal with.
* The MallinCam is right now attached through the 2" diagonal. I am letting the diagonal take the abuse from the screws.
* Did you gnaw on the vibration pads or something? Mine are fine, baking under the New Mexican Sun, though the dog keeps peeing on one of them, grrrrr!
* I like visual too. Just sayin'!
* Yes, the Starlock is attached to the OTA, where it should go. I will be using the vixen spot for either an 80 or 115mm Meade Series 6000 ED APO. So, the mount will have the refractor and the SCT with Starlock on the SCT OTA. This should quell the Refractor vs. SCT debate (see other section in CN).

I will deal with the "Cost" comparison tomorrow. But the bottom line, is I really want something working out of the box and not detail with cobbling a solution together.

You know, you have me doing more testing than I every planned.

Gosh, I think you and I are working on the Meade and Celestron sales pitches!

#196 Starhawk

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:38 PM

In that case, I apologize for taking an interest.

-Rich

#197 blueman

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 11:46 PM

Good luck with these mounts. I hope that in 2-3 years you will still be singing the praise and that they are not dropped like the last expensive scope and mount that Meade produced.

I look forward to seeing many good images.
Blueman

#198 jrcrilly

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 12:08 AM

In that case, I apologize for taking an interest.

-Rich


I don't remember you making any demands, Rich. The only part of my post addressed to you referred to the comment I quoted regarding the mount's potential purchasers.

#199 Stew57

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 08:10 AM

I am more concerned with internals which bare on longevity, at the moment. It may be awhile before we get any real reports on that.

#200 Starhawk

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 11:47 AM

It read that way. No harm done if it was spillover.

I had just suggested doing some star trails. I've been thinking about doing some more of them. I've wanted to get some for the CGEM, and a Nexstar GPS mount I've been working on turning into a multi- purpose field mount (the original OTA has been removed).

-Rich

In that case, I apologize for taking an interest.

-Rich


I don't remember you making any demands, Rich. The only part of my post addressed to you referred to the comment I quoted regarding the mount's potential purchasers.




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