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#1 sidis5

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 06:16 PM

Does anyone on here have a good deal of time with an LX850 mount?



#2 Raginar

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Posted 23 July 2016 - 11:14 PM

Look up spacetravelerx.

#3 nucdoc

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 12:00 AM

I have been using mine for a year and a half, what did u want to know ?



#4 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 02:31 AM

@sidis5 -

 

I have one of the first of the LX850 mounts and have used it heavily since late April 2013.  And yes, it is working wonderfully and going strong.

 

What would you like to know about it?



#5 sidis5

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Posted 24 July 2016 - 07:04 PM

Does this seem right to you? I just got mine. Had it a week and haven't had much time to try it out due to the cloud cover lately. But I did yesterday, and noticed this right before mounting the OTA.  I have the tripod perfectly level but once the gem is on, the saddleplate is not level and not square with the mount. The lines on the mount are lined up.  Will this being off, be an issue?  

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#6 mrmortgage

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 11:55 PM

Sidis5,

Did you get any answers on this one? You might want to try and give Meade a call. This just doesn't seem right. Maybe something is bent?

I've had my LX850 and 14" ACF since May 13th 2016. Sometimes it seams like not all LX850's are created equal. Part of my azimuth knob housing was "bent" on one side. I took a hex wrench to the tiny screws and it help close the gaps. I think it came damaged from the factory but too be honest I didn't want to hassle the return process. Seems to be working fine.

This telescope game has been an interesting learning experience for me. I thought because I spent $11,000 on a system it would be plug and play. Not the case. A few weeks ago after an observing session I was locking the mirror on the OTA when without warning the lock knob came off. Thank God my brother figured out that the knob had a small hex screw that secured the knob to the lock stem. We were able to successfully fix it. Makes you wonder what else is going to break.

Good ol' Meade... On a side note I just stacked my first image of Saturn. I have no astrophotography experience and I'm amazed at the results. M13 is next. All from light polluted skies in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Wow...

#7 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 12:07 AM

@mrmortgage - sorry about your experience.  It does not match mine.

 

My LX850 has been total plug and play, and has been rock solid.  It has spent 9 months out of every three years outdoors and nary a problem.  Regarding the bent azimuth knob did you contact Meade immediately?

 

Side note on the plug and play - Sky Safari plays really nice with the LX850.

 

@sidis5 - you top plate looks like it was screwed on crooked, for lack of a better term.


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#8 mrmortgage

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 01:50 AM

I've been lurking for awhile. Spacetravelerxs experience with the LX850 is one of the reasons I bought the rig.

The knob issue is mostly cosmetic to me. I pick and choose my battles. The return process with any company is a hassle.

I was one of the 1st 20 people to purchase the Stella WiFi device. Because of this I was given a free copy of Stella Access. I tried hooking it up once but couldn't get it to work. I put it on the back burner for now.

Sidis5 may be you can email those images to Meade support to get their advice. Could be an easy home fix or a return to Meade fix.
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#9 jsardina

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 05:24 PM

Hello Mr. Mortgage,

 

     I own two LX850's and I have no complaint, any problems I had as a beginner was all to operator error. Just to let you know I usually level my mount after all the equipment is on, is there a possibility that your tripod was not level after you put the mount on?

 

One of my LX850's was my 14" and a 80mm Meade and of course starlock and I'm hitting very close to 300lbs. so I'm always checking to be level.

 

Also did you use the Meade level compass/bubble level if so make sure it sites flat down I have had at times when I tighten the screw the level lifts.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Joe

Owner of www.nightskiesnetwork.com


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#10 sidis5

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 04:42 PM

Hey guys, Sorry for the long delay,  

jsardina, I have the tripod and mount mount level, I actually double up on this. I level the tripod before attaching the GEM and then double check it with the bubble level once attached. The issue is with the way they drilled the holes for the Dec and RA to fix to the gem. They are both off. So no matter how level I get the mount, the saddle plate will never match it. 

Mrmortgage, I had the same issue with stella. The trick is to attach Stella with the RS232 and not the USB.  I also bought an Ipad pro to run the stella software. It works pretty good. Once you attach Stella with the RS232, and your device is turned on, search for Stella in it's WIFI and connect then.  Then the software has a little telescope symbol at the bottom, once you click on that and hit connect, it seems to work flawlessly. I like it. 

 

Spacetravelerx, thanks for the support with the help offer! I may still need it. I actually sent the mount back to Meade. They were actually pretty helpful thus far with this whole issue and after I had tried training the drives and doing a ping pong and still having issues, they said to send it back for replacement. 
No matter how level and true North I get the mount, by the time it hits the southern or eastern part of the sky, say 2 or 3 objects after alignment, it is way off. Starlock high precision is pretty good at getting back on target though.  The other issue is Starlock will never run a solid light. All it does is blink. No matter how bright a star I have it pointed at. Like it won't track. And it won't.  I cannot keep an object in the FOV of the eyepiece for more that 5 minutes. Iv'e tried training the drives, and Starlock.
Starlock shows a solid red light while training, but once it finishes it goes back to just a non stop blink. AndI have no clue why the scopes drives are letting the target stroll out of the FOV either. Forget taking a photo, lol.  They should have the mount and the Starlock today, hopefully they get the new one out Monday. They said it would go right out. 


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#11 mrmortgage

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Posted 19 August 2016 - 01:16 AM

Thanks for the Stella tip sidis5. Keep us posted on the Meade service process. I'd like to know how fast they get the replacement out to you. I hope your scope is up and running soon!

#12 galaxy_jason

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 12:45 PM

To me it looks like the home position is off. If so initial polar alignment would be off. After polar aligning do a drift alignment (you can use Starlock but do

it manually since you may be way off in this case and Sarlock will only give a max number of turns of 2.5 if I remember). In fact, turn Starlock and HPP

off so you can deal with only the mechanics. After you have a good polar alignment sync on a star then check pointing accuracy, it should be pretty

close on one side off the sky but may be off a little with a peer flip.

 

Once you are sure you have good polar alignment do a calibrate home. It could be that "home" may not be perfectly level because the sensor may

not be in exactly the right place, but doesn't really matter, the LX850 now knows where the home position is relative to the sky. 


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#13 sidis5

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Posted 08 September 2016 - 02:39 PM

Yeah, Meade ended up replacing the mount and Starlock. I have them both up and running now.  They did pretty good the other night with the Rowe-Ackerman on the mount and had me running 2 min subs. BUT, that's a f2/2. I haven't calibrated sensors or trained drives yet, it's been cloudy for a week now. Figures. 
As far as calibration goes with this mount, I don't have a permanent place and have to set it up every time I go out. Does this mean I will need to calibrate home every time? 



#14 mrmortgage

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 04:53 PM

Yeah, Meade ended up replacing the mount and Starlock. I have them both up and running now.  They did pretty good the other night with the Rowe-Ackerman on the mount and had me running 2 min subs. BUT, that's a f2/2. I haven't calibrated sensors or trained drives yet, it's been cloudy for a week now. Figures. 
As far as calibration goes with this mount, I don't have a permanent place and have to set it up every time I go out. Does this mean I will need to calibrate home every time? 

 

 

I'm a complete novice but I think you will have to calibrate ever time you move the rig. 

 

I'm in a similar situation. One nice thing is the "park" function. I assemble the rig on Friday and use a telegizmo cover at night. I align the scope and park it. Saturday night I turn the mount on and the scope is ready to go. I break down the rig on Sunday.

 

A warning to all LX850 owners. Risk of galling of the altitude adjustment shaft and counterweight shaft is a real thing. My rig is out of commission right because of galling of the counterweight shaft. I've learned that once you attach the counterweight shaft never remove it. Unfortunately with the altitude adjustment shaft you always have to adjust if you move your rig often. I recommend applying anti galling lubricant to both shafts as a preventative measure. 

 

Clear skies to you! 



#15 Donnie D

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 09:19 PM

I would like to join in on this conversation if ok.  I do not have an LX850 and I have just now started to read up on it.  How long has this model been in production ?  I did not know that Meade made an Equatorial Mount. It is obvious that I have not kept up with Meade in many many years.  I currently own another well known brand SCT 9.25" and have learned a little about astronomy from it.  My initial observation of the LX850 was Wow !  But, should I be concerned about the previous concerns mentioned here?  I downloaded the manual and I really like what I see and read.  My current rig has shortcomings and I said that if I got another scope that (it) would have to surpass in technology and also in mechanical structure as well.  I have my eyes on the 12" version of the LX850.

I appreciate any responses and feedback. It has been a long time since I posted on cloudy nights and observation in general just due to work / home life / etc.

 

Thanks

Donnie



#16 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 01:07 AM

Hello @Donnie D,

 

The LX850 was available around April 2013.  My LX850 is the first of that batch. It has worked great since the day I got it.

 

Outside of a couple of folks, all the LX850's have worked out great for everyone I have seen obtain one.

 

The LX850 is as close to point and shoot as one can get.  The unit I have has been outdoors 9 months of the year in the New Mexican high desert experiencing wind, rain, blazing sun, very cold temps (0 deg F) and has performed extremely well every time I put it to use. It is covered by a Telegizmos 365 cover when not in use.

 

After 5 weeks of travel I was able FINALLY put it to use when I returned home.  At night I:

-- Removed the cover

-- Turned on the LX850

-- Sent it to Sirius to say hello.  It went right to the target.

-- I then did the automatic rate calibration; very easy with a couple of button pushes.  PE training was done in August though I did update the PE training a couple of nights ago - all automated.  No need for an external laptop or added software for PE training.

-- And I went right to observing and taking pretty pictures for the night.  

 

The LX850 still works after 3.5 years of heavy outdoor use.  It is used over 100 days a year (guessing, likely more). 

 

The optics of the f/8 are quite amazing.  No need to purchase an after market focuser unless you want a wireless remote control add-on (the zero image shift micro focuser comes with the LX850).  The ACF has a crayford like focuser built in with no image shifting.

 

You can purchase an Optec Lepus reducer for around $250 to bring the optics down do f/4.98.

 

For the APS-C chip the field of view for imaging is nearly flat with and without the reducer.  On a lark I am testing the AstroTech field flattener normally used on the refractor on the f/8 ACF.  This seems to work right to the edge!  BUT I need to do more experiments/measurements and comparisons before I make a final verdict.  Either way the images do look pretty!

 

I control the LX850 with the standard control and SkySafari Pro from my iPad, iPhone and MacBook Pro wirelessly.  I have just one cable between the telescope and laptop: the USB cable between the Canon 60Da and laptop.  For the MallinCam X2 I have two cables.

 

This has been the best telescope purchase I have every made.  I can focus on the heavens vs fiddling half the night with the telescope.

 

If you have any other questions please feel free to ask.



#17 johnpane

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 05:40 AM

I control the LX850 with the standard control and SkySafari Pro from my iPad, iPhone and MacBook Pro wirelessly.  I have just one cable between the telescope and laptop: the USB cable between the Canon 60Da and laptop.  For the MallinCam X2 I have two cables.

How is the LX850 connected wirelessly. Do you have the Stella WiFi Adapter?



#18 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 10:07 AM

@johnpane

 

- I use just a SkyFi unit, purchased 4 years ago.  So far it is taking the beating outdoors too.

 

However if I had the need I would give the Stella Wifi Adapter a whirl.



#19 Donnie D

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 01:38 PM

Thank you very much Spacetravelerx.  A lot of great info to take in. You answered a lot of my questions.

 

Donnie



#20 sidis5

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 04:10 PM

I would like to join in on this conversation if ok.  I do not have an LX850 and I have just now started to read up on it.  How long has this model been in production ?  I did not know that Meade made an Equatorial Mount. It is obvious that I have not kept up with Meade in many many years.  I currently own another well known brand SCT 9.25" and have learned a little about astronomy from it.  My initial observation of the LX850 was Wow !  But, should I be concerned about the previous concerns mentioned here?  I downloaded the manual and I really like what I see and read.  My current rig has shortcomings and I said that if I got another scope that (it) would have to surpass in technology and also in mechanical structure as well.  I have my eyes on the 12" version of the LX850.

I appreciate any responses and feedback. It has been a long time since I posted on cloudy nights and observation in general just due to work / home life / etc.

 

Thanks

Donnie

Donnie.  I had a couple issues with mine, but I called Meade and they took care of it immediately.  The replacement is just what you're reading about in the ads. It really works quite flawlessly.  And the starlock feature is just so far and above better than running a separate guider.  I have an ultrastar guider but just don't need it. The only cables running to my comp now is the USB for my QSI CCD.

The mount is both transportable and incredibly sturdy!   Polar alignment with this mount is almost too easy. No polar scopes.

And I have 3 different OTA's I attach for different viewing sessions.  I deforked my 12" LX200gps and added D rails to it and now mount it on the LX850. I also have a Celestron Rowe-Ackerman astrograph that rides on the LX850 mount when I'm doing wide fields.  If Meade ever makes this in a direct drive, I'll re buy it.  

Being new to this, it took me a bit to figure it out. But with this system, and the near perfect polar alignment you can achieve every time, it's the best buy I have made in a long time. 

I tear down the scope a lot, as I don't have a safe place to leave it out, BUT, I learned, I needed to do the PEC a few times, I haven't even trained my drives, run the auto rate calib before long exposure imaging sessions and, I just pick what I want to image and let SGQ run subs for 4 hours. Sometimes more if I time my sessions right and start out at the meridian. I just let it run subs till morning and I go in and go to sleep. 
I spent a bit of time the other night setting tracking rates manually with the hand controller.  I was at like +68 DEC and +1 RA, crazy rates I know. But, I was getting 300sec subs unguided. Fantastic system. 

One other thing I didn't realize with my first Starlock, it's focusable. Probably why I was having an issue.  I don't know how to do it, but apparently you can, with the suite that comes with the scope. 



#21 sidis5

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 04:20 PM

Hello @Donnie D,

 

The LX850 was available around April 2013.  My LX850 is the first of that batch. It has worked great since the day I got it.

 

Outside of a couple of folks, all the LX850's have worked out great for everyone I have seen obtain one.

 

The LX850 is as close to point and shoot as one can get.  The unit I have has been outdoors 9 months of the year in the New Mexican high desert experiencing wind, rain, blazing sun, very cold temps (0 deg F) and has performed extremely well every time I put it to use. It is covered by a Telegizmos 365 cover when not in use.

 

After 5 weeks of travel I was able FINALLY put it to use when I returned home.  At night I:

-- Removed the cover

-- Turned on the LX850

-- Sent it to Sirius to say hello.  It went right to the target.

-- I then did the automatic rate calibration; very easy with a couple of button pushes.  PE training was done in August though I did update the PE training a couple of nights ago - all automated.  No need for an external laptop or added software for PE training.

-- And I went right to observing and taking pretty pictures for the night.  

 

The LX850 still works after 3.5 years of heavy outdoor use.  It is used over 100 days a year (guessing, likely more). 

 

The optics of the f/8 are quite amazing.  No need to purchase an after market focuser unless you want a wireless remote control add-on (the zero image shift micro focuser comes with the LX850).  The ACF has a crayford like focuser built in with no image shifting.

 

You can purchase an Optec Lepus reducer for around $250 to bring the optics down do f/4.98.

 

For the APS-C chip the field of view for imaging is nearly flat with and without the reducer.  On a lark I am testing the AstroTech field flattener normally used on the refractor on the f/8 ACF.  This seems to work right to the edge!  BUT I need to do more experiments/measurements and comparisons before I make a final verdict.  Either way the images do look pretty!

 

I control the LX850 with the standard control and SkySafari Pro from my iPad, iPhone and MacBook Pro wirelessly.  I have just one cable between the telescope and laptop: the USB cable between the Canon 60Da and laptop.  For the MallinCam X2 I have two cables.

 

This has been the best telescope purchase I have every made.  I can focus on the heavens vs fiddling half the night with the telescope.

 

If you have any other questions please feel free to ask.

Are you using an Optec Lepus reducer on yours?  Where in the optical train would you put that running a qsi683?  I have the 14" f8  and that would be a pretty sweet f5 if I could get it to work.  I have the meade 6.3 reducer for my 12" LX200 but only tried it once without success. I realize now it needs to be spaced correctly. I just haven't figured out how to figure that out.



#22 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 04:31 PM

@sidis5,

 

Yes, I am using the Optec Lepus bringing the 14" f/8 down to f/4.98.  It works great!

 

For the imaging train with the Canon 60Da it is as follows:  zero-image shift micro focuser-> Optec Lepus -> T-Adaptor -> Canon 60Da.  There could be an adapter between the Lepus and QSI 683; definitely check with Optec.

 

For the Mallincam I run the 14" f/8 down to f/4 with the Mallincam 0.5x reducer - this fits right onto the zero-image shift micro focuser 1.25" adapter.


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#23 Sail440

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 03:58 PM

This is my first posting.

 

In early November I received my LX 850 14" acf. Packaging looked good but after inspection I found the treaded rod for the tripod spreader was bent and the azimuth knob/shaft were bent but at least functional. Additionally there was a loose set screw in the DEC control box. That was an easy fix with regards to the set screw but I'm still waiting on the replacement parts to fix the bent items. The Support team at Meade has been very helpful.

 

Rather than wait for the replacement parts I was able to straighten the thread rod and assemble the scope. After doing a polar alignment I was able to spend some time viewing the moon before clouds took over my night sky. Since then clouds and family obligations have kept me out of the observatory at night. So all my other LX850 time has been during the day familiarizing myself with the software and hand controller functions. 

 

I have run into a couple of operational problems that maybe folk here can help with. Then support team at Meade are look at these issues but I figure it could not hard to ask here. 

 

The first thing I noticed is that when the scope is first turned on and I push menu button to essentially skip over the alignment step the scope wants to find its home position. The RA rocks west then east then I would expect the DEC to rotate north and south to finish finding the home sensors. But in my case the scope rock east and west as expected but then the scope rotates 360 counterclockwise before it comes to rest at the factory set home position. 

 

My question is this expected behavior?

 

The second problem I have is getting the Stella WIFI to talk to the scope. I connect up the 705 cable to the rs232 port on the scope control panel, connect it to the 9 pin adapter and that to the port on Stella. I turn on Stella and connect my iPad to the Stella wifi. Launch the Stella Access app on the iPad go to setting the menu making sure the scope and type are correctly set. Then in the main app window tap telescope and connect. At this point I would expect the app and scope to connect. But instead I get a message saying the app has connected to the scope via wifi but the scope is not responding. 

 

Has as anyone seen this behavior? Is there something in the hand controller that needs to be set? 

 

Meade support is at a lose to want the problem is. As a set of troubleshooting steps I've tried the following. 

 

1) to eliminate Meade's supplied 705 cable as the problem. I was able to use it to connect using it and the rs232 to USB adapter to my laptop and the Meade application for the remove hand controller program. From the laptop I'm able to slew the scope and adjust focus. So I think the cable is okay. 

 

2) Meade support suggested turning off GPS on the scope and auto update in the app. This did not help. 

 

3) To eliminate the Stella device I noticed it is supported on Orion's XT12  go to dob, which I have. I have been using the starseek wifi device on that system and it works great. So I connected Stella to the Orion hand controller using Meade's cable. This did not work. But in the spirit of experimentation I decided to use the cable supplied with Orion's starseek. Using that cable and the Stella app I was able to control the xt12. Seek to object and skewing all worked. BINGO I figure the cable is the issue. So back the LX850 this time using the cable that worked on the XT12. No joy, the app gets the same message Stella sees the scope but the scope is not responding.

 

thoughts? Any other troubleshooting steps anyone might suggest?

 

Mark



#24 sidis5

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 10:56 PM

This is my first posting.

 

In early November I received my LX 850 14" acf. Packaging looked good but after inspection I found the treaded rod for the tripod spreader was bent and the azimuth knob/shaft were bent but at least functional. Additionally there was a loose set screw in the DEC control box. That was an easy fix with regards to the set screw but I'm still waiting on the replacement parts to fix the bent items. The Support team at Meade has been very helpful.

 

Rather than wait for the replacement parts I was able to straighten the thread rod and assemble the scope. After doing a polar alignment I was able to spend some time viewing the moon before clouds took over my night sky. Since then clouds and family obligations have kept me out of the observatory at night. So all my other LX850 time has been during the day familiarizing myself with the software and hand controller functions. 

 

I have run into a couple of operational problems that maybe folk here can help with. Then support team at Meade are look at these issues but I figure it could not hard to ask here. 

 

The first thing I noticed is that when the scope is first turned on and I push menu button to essentially skip over the alignment step the scope wants to find its home position. The RA rocks west then east then I would expect the DEC to rotate north and south to finish finding the home sensors. But in my case the scope rock east and west as expected but then the scope rotates 360 counterclockwise before it comes to rest at the factory set home position. 

 

My question is this expected behavior?

 

The second problem I have is getting the Stella WIFI to talk to the scope. I connect up the 705 cable to the rs232 port on the scope control panel, connect it to the 9 pin adapter and that to the port on Stella. I turn on Stella and connect my iPad to the Stella wifi. Launch the Stella Access app on the iPad go to setting the menu making sure the scope and type are correctly set. Then in the main app window tap telescope and connect. At this point I would expect the app and scope to connect. But instead I get a message saying the app has connected to the scope via wifi but the scope is not responding. 

 

Has as anyone seen this behavior? Is there something in the hand controller that needs to be set? 

 

Meade support is at a lose to want the problem is. As a set of troubleshooting steps I've tried the following. 

 

1) to eliminate Meade's supplied 705 cable as the problem. I was able to use it to connect using it and the rs232 to USB adapter to my laptop and the Meade application for the remove hand controller program. From the laptop I'm able to slew the scope and adjust focus. So I think the cable is okay. 

 

2) Meade support suggested turning off GPS on the scope and auto update in the app. This did not help. 

 

3) To eliminate the Stella device I noticed it is supported on Orion's XT12  go to dob, which I have. I have been using the starseek wifi device on that system and it works great. So I connected Stella to the Orion hand controller using Meade's cable. This did not work. But in the spirit of experimentation I decided to use the cable supplied with Orion's starseek. Using that cable and the Stella app I was able to control the xt12. Seek to object and skewing all worked. BINGO I figure the cable is the issue. So back the LX850 this time using the cable that worked on the XT12. No joy, the app gets the same message Stella sees the scope but the scope is not responding.

 

thoughts? Any other troubleshooting steps anyone might suggest?

 

Mark

I'm not sure about the 360 deg spin during finding home. I would reset the site and then reset the home sensors. 

If you bought the Stella, then they gave you a cable that you cannot use.  So don't use the cable with the block inline.  Use only the rs232 and the the pin adapter that that 232 plugs into. It should be gray.  So only the one cable.  If you try using both, it won't connect correctly, if at all. Mine just wouldn't even connect.  I didn't have a non responding issue, so I'm not sure about that either.  I still haven't figured out how to get my starlock to connect to their non responsive suite, so I may focus it better. 



#25 Sail440

Sail440

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 01:16 PM

Well Meade sent me a new replacement 705 cable. So I attached it to Stella and then connected it to the RS232 port. Fired up Stella and the scope. Let the scope find its home position. Then on the iPad I connected to the Stella wifi and launched the Stella Access app. Checked to make sure the setting were LX-850 and mode was correct. Back in the main screen I tapped connect and I got the same message as before. So I thought i was truly out of luck. 

 

But after some experimentation I found if you turn off the date and time update feature in the app then the app will connect to the scope and the scope will respond as expected. I let Meade support know and they have entered a bug defect report to the developers. 


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