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Meade 10" SCT History?

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#51 NorthOfBostonMan

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 08:29 PM

I own several scopes of this vintage and they can be real gems. The LX6 (or whatever) was from the late pre-GoTo era and were designed primarily for visual use. Everything is exactly where your hands expect to find them in the dark, making them very comfortable to use. The 10" is particularly nice as it is a relatively large scope, but still very portable. The only problem that I have had with my 10" LX6 (or whatever) is that the slow motion controls can be a little bit of a reach while I am seated, other than that it is a fantastic star-hopping scope. Having restored several of these old scope that the previous owner swore was 'broken' the #1 problem that I have found is collimation. 'Close is good enough' doesn't really work for anything but wide field views. If you take the time to really zero-in the collimation the performance often blossoms, particularly with the f/6.3s (I own 3 of these from the later LX200 era). Another common problem with scopes that have been in storage for a long time is the grease on the mirror slide has dried out a bit causing the mirror to rock a bit when focused. Running the focuser from stop to stop a couple of times can help to redistribute the grease and smooth things out a bit. Always setting the final focus while turning the know counterclockwise (lifting the mirror) also helps. The collimation should also be set after the focuser has been turned counterclockwise to be sure that the mirror is sitting in a stable and reproducible orientation.

 

Have fun!

Wow, I am going to give my 10" LX200 f/6.3 another look. Haven't had her out in a while, and thinking the collimation may not have been as spot-on as it should have been.

I wonder if this one is really one of the "good ones" or not...


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#52 Mike W.

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 08:48 PM

They were tight, the manual dec. knob doesn't seem to be working, but then again it's a movement to turn ratio.

Also the degree rings on the side aren't real tight, I was going to remove the ota from the forks for the project today but discovered a thread and someone from Meade confirmed the two large groves in the front housing casting.

Turn the mirror sideways to come out the groves, you'll see in one of the pic's I put tape on the edge's that were facing the mirrors surface.

The mirror was easy as that I've cleaned the primary on my dob a few times, but the corrector still look's to have a film I cleaned it as I clean my mirrors, light soap, some soak time then a cold water rinse, on edge until the water beads then dob it off with cotton pads, more of touching the water drop with the corner let it wick up.

 

I've already have a good set up for my 8i, 6.3 Meade reducer flattener, Orion Dielectric,diagonal, Blue Fireball compression ring VB, BHZ, X-Cel's 5, 7, 12, & 18, plus the X-Cel Barlow, filters and a Clestron Lithium power tank, an ES 20mm 68°, and the Meade super plossl 32mm.

 

But, after a day of working with both the OTA and the tripod, this thing makes my SW dob a "Grab "n" Go" shocked.gif  


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#53 Mike W.

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 09:03 PM

My alcohol wasn't 99%, that might be it, blush.gif



#54 Mike W.

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 09:15 PM

I think it does 8x or 2x. WHOA! smile.gif

 

Pro tip: make sure the RA and Dec locks are on tight or the hand controller might not work so well...

maybe I was expecting too much, my 8i is a lot faster slewing, but the clutch releasing is cool too,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Also gotta keep in mind I'm not looking though an eyepiece at 200X either, could be moving right along for all I know.

 

I wonder which old man I'm helping out,,,,, him or me !!!!!   shocked.gif


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#55 bbqediguana

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 08:30 AM

I wonder which old man I'm helping out,,,,, him or me !!!!!   shocked.gif

 

I used to have a phrase back in the day when I did product support for a fairly well know software giant... "In helping you I help myself". :)



#56 Mike W.

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 09:23 AM

Well, I've got the Dec. motor running from the key pad, but the variable RA. from the key pad isn't working, think it's in the key pad.

 

Gotta tell ya, I had to get into the storage case for my 8i this morning, man it looks small.

 

My power cord for my Celest power tank won't fit the jack in the LX, figured it was a long shot anyway, two competing manufactures aren't going to let the other's accessories work on their product, kinda like the battle between Televue and Explore Scientific.

 

I've thought about it quite a bit, think I'm just going to settle on helping him sell it, this thing is too much weight and time consumer setting up.

It wouldn't be the expense, like I said I have everything to make it visual, I'm not really a multiple scope guy anyway.

 

My dob is very set up, and I like the wide fov, plus the drift across the fov is a connection that we're moving thru space.

 

If he'll work a deal like split the proceeds I'll continue to fix it and re-clean the corrector plate, if not it was a great learning experience about the LX 6, something I've always wanted to know about,,,,,,,,,,,,,,smirk.gif

opps, I mean Meade Premeir, don't need to start another argument.shocked.gif

 

I remember years ago going to a local observatory on a public night and seeing one of these, I wasn't there for the set up time or departure but it looked so cool just tracking along as the owner sat in a chair looking thru the eyepiece, everybody else was standing by their Newt's balancing their eye just right, that's why when back a few years ago I purchased the 8i to replace my old Meade 8" pedestal mount research grade, (sounds better than huge shaky tube telescope), and that was a bear to set up too.

then shortly after starting the viewing season up here I was at an outreach event, guy pulls up in his SUV, opens the back, gets his base out, then the ota, quick, easy and viewing before I had started my auto-align, so I bought one and have been dobbing ever since.

 

I know these have a very long cool down compared to a dob with boundary layer fans, I mean like 10min. after I get there I'm sitting and viewing sharp images, while the guys are still setting up their tripods, ya know?

 

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me on this project bbqediguana, the motivation helped a lot ! waytogo.gif


Edited by Mike W., 21 October 2018 - 09:25 AM.

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#57 jgraham

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 09:59 AM

Celestron uses a type M connector while Meade uses a type N.


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#58 bbqediguana

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 10:05 AM

If he'll work a deal like split the proceeds I'll continue to fix it and re-clean the corrector plate, if not it was a great learning experience about the LX 6, something I've always wanted to know about,,,,,,,,,,,,,,smirk.gif

opps, I mean Meade Premeir, don't need to start another argument.shocked.gif

No worries! From here on in I won't say a word about that. :D

 

I keep my Meade 2080 LX6 Premier ( ;) ) in my living room, and every single time I walk by it, I can't help but smile.

 

Meade 2080 LX6 Premier


#59 jallbery

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 10:22 AM

My power cord for my Celest power tank won't fit the jack in the LX, figured it was a long shot anyway, two competing manufactures aren't going to let the other's accessories work on their product, kinda like the battle between Televue and Explore Scientific.

 

At least the rear cell threads are the same so visual backs, SCT diagonals, reducers, etc. are interchangeable.


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#60 Mike W.

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 11:30 AM

At least the rear cell threads are the same so visual backs, SCT diagonals, reducers, etc. are interchangeable.

This I already knew, but thanks for the input.



#61 Mike W.

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 05:49 PM

Just for the record,

 

Meade LX5 (1987 - 1990)
This base still only has one DIN-style receptacle, but it now includes an amp gauge. The motor is now all DC powered (12V) and the hand controller has more functionality. The actual face plate is now angled upwards towards the observer instead of being flat like the LX/LX2/LX3. The LX5 was available with the 2080 or 2120 OTAs.

 

Meade LX6 & Premier (1989 - 1991)
Meade introduced it's f/6.3 optical system in 1989 as the LX6. It continued to sell the f/10 systems as the LX5. In 1990 it consolidated its product lines into the Premier line where you could specify f/6.3 or f/10 optics. The LX6 drive base is notable for having 3 DIN-style receptacles, plus the amp gauge as well as other switches and receptacles. The hand controller now has a digital readout that works when the encoders are installed. Again, the LX6 came with either the 2080 or the 2120.

 

Just couldn't help myself,,,,,,,,,,,,,waytogo.gif


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#62 jallbery

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 11:29 AM

Since we are documenting things for the record...

 

Sky and Telescope magazine published an extensive shoot-out of Meade and Celestron  8” SCTs in their December, 1989 and January, 1990 issues.  Meade’s offerings included the 2080 Basic no frills model, the LX5 and the LX6.  In the conclusion of this comparison, we find this passage:

 

Why has Meade not offered the sophisticated electronic capabilities of the LX6 with an f/10 optical system?  This question repeatedly came to mind as I compared these scopes.  Then just last month Meade announced its new line of Premier telescopes—f/10 and f/6.3 optics in 8- and 10-inch models—that incorporate the LX6 drive complete with all its bells and whistles.

These same issues include ads introducing the Meade Premier 70 and 76 models (at F/10 and F/6.3 respectively), stating that the “Ultimate SC’s Are Here-and-Now.”  While the scopes carry the Premier moniker,  they are still listed as using the “LX6 precision worm-gear-pulse-motor drive system” and “LX quartz microprocessor controlled electronics.”   Both models are listed as coming with the Superwedge.

 

An ad for the full (initial) Premier line shows up in the March, 1990, issue.  Here’s a table from that ad listing the models and features:

MeadePremierSeries
 

As the model numbers get bigger, you get a bigger/nicer finder and better eyepieces (the 70/76 come with a package that includes a 26mm super Plossl, a 40mm SWA and two higher power UWAs).  Note the 2120 models ending “H”—they come with the heavy-duty superwedge (and that the 70/76 no longer come with the Superwedge—you have to get the 70H or 76H).

And here’s a Meade Premier ad from the June, 2000, S&T:

MeadePremierAd June 2000
 

In the January, 1991 Sky and Telescope, there is an ad for Meade’s new “Smart Drive” technology—Meade’s permanent periodic error correction (PPEC) system.   It says that “Smart Drive is now available on all Premier Series Schmidt-Cassegrains.”  Here’s the ad…

MeadeSmartDriveAd

 

 

Note that this new SmartDrive still looks cosmetically identical to the LX6 drive, despite the new electronics.   It still has the yellowish-green “Q” (for “Quartz”) logo.  Now the drive for the scope that inspired this thread has a logo with pinkish Q logo that surrounds an “S”.  I can’t find it documented, but I’m pretty sure that the “S” is for SmartDrive.  Certainly, the dates associated with the scope would indicate that it should be a SmartDrive model.   So it appears that these “S” logo Premiers are from late production.   A  green “Q” drive Premier may or may not be a SmartDrive.  After the introduction of the SmartDrive, Meade ceased to refer to the drive as the LX6 drive.

 

Later ads show that models  40/46 (with H variants for the 2120) were  added to the line and eventually replaced the 30/36.

And then by the March, 1992, issue of S&T, the advertisements for the Premier series are gone, replaced by the newly announced LX200.

 

So in conclusion (and contrary to what has been claimed by others elsewhere in this thread):

  • If a scope is F/10, it was sold as a Premier, not an LX6.
  • The difference between the LX6 and a Premier scope is not that the latter has a drive with a finer-toothed worm wheel/gear: the initial Premier scopes used the exact same drive as the LX6s.   Did a finer-toothed gear system come as part of the  SmartDrive?   I don’t know—I could find no documentation of such.  Meade makes no claims of an improved worm system, but it is possible that they still had fewer teeth than the Ultima (according to the S&T shootout, the LX6 had twice the periodic error period of the Ultima, so I would assume that means it had half the teeth), and did not want to the highlight this.
  • All SmartDrive LX6-like scopes are Premiers, however lack of the pink “S” logo does not mean that a scope isn’t a Premier—it may not even mean that it is not a SmartDrive, as the first SmartDrive scopes apparently (at least if we can trust Meade ad photos) still had the green “Q” logo.
  • And I guess while we are setting the record straight, it is "Premier" not "Premiere."  I used the latter in my earlier posts, because I figured Rod Mollise had it right in his SCT guide, but the ads clearly show that Meade used the former spelling.

Is it wrong to call a scope an LX6 if it was sold as a Premier?   Other than the name it was sold under, an early production Meade 2080 Premier Model 56 is—near as I can figure—identical to the LX6 model it replaced, right down to the finder scope and eyepiece it was equipped with.    As a generic umbrella, LX6 can certainly be applied as all LX6s, the earlier Premiers and I suppose even the SmartDrive-equipped Premiers, as these scopes are certainly LX6-like.  This is not unlike the way we use C8 to refer to all Celestron 8” SCTs, even though in the strictest sense, it really only applies to the orange-tube model.    I suppose calling them LX6/Premier scopes might be better, but that has the unfortunate side-effect of implying that the Premier name was a sub-brand under the broader LX6 brand, which is not the case.  

 

Whatever we call these scopes, when it comes to understanding the vintage of a particular scope, it is important to remember that in the strictest sense, “LX6” only applies to F/6.3 scopes built before 1990.   If a scope was sold by Meade as an LX6, it is F/6.3 and probably built in 88 or 89 (even if it was sold later).   If it has a later manufacture date and is F/6.3, it was sold as a Premier.    If it is on an LX6-style drive and F/10 (and isn’t a Frankescope), it was built in 1990 or later.  If it has the SmartDrive (in either F/6.3 or F/10),  it was sold as a Premier and probably built in 1991.  If it has the “S” logo Smartdrive, it is a late production Premier that almost certainly was built in 1991 (give or take a month or two), regardless of focal ratio. Also, the scopes sold as LX6s were Meade's flagship models at the time and thus came with 9x60 polar finders.   If a scope has the LX6-style drive, but a lesser finderscope (as original equipment), it would have to be a Premier model 30 or 40.


Edited by jallbery, 22 October 2018 - 12:18 PM.

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#63 jallbery

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 02:20 PM

I own several scopes of this vintage and they can be real gems. The LX6 (or whatever) was from the late pre-GoTo era and were designed primarily for visual use.

And while I'm sure that it seems liking I'm picking nits, I have to quibble with this a bit.

 

I believe that "LX" originally stood for "Long eXposure."   Many of the features that differentiated the LX6 and its brethren from lesser Meades were astro-photography oriented: the worm drive, the hand-control with 2X guiding rates, and the focal ratio (exposures in four-tenths the time has conventional SCTs!) were all photographic-centric features, as was the PPEC in the SmartDrive introduced during the Premier era.   SCTs were the dominant platform for amateur astrophotography in the 80s and early 90s.

 

But I absolutely agree that a traditional equatorial fork-mounted telescope can be a wonderful scope for visual astronomy.


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#64 jgraham

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 07:34 PM

No worries. In their day I can see how the LX would be attractive to imagers (back then we still called them photographers). Most of my vintage SCTs were configured for imaging, which made them a bit tougher to use for visual. With all that stuff pulled off they make wonderful visual scopes with all of the knobs within easy reach and right where my hands expect to find them. 


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#65 jallbery

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 08:03 PM

No worries. In their day I can see how the LX would be attractive to imagers (back then we still called them photographers). Most of my vintage SCTs were configured for imaging, which made them a bit tougher to use for visual. With all that stuff pulled off they make wonderful visual scopes with all of the knobs within easy reach and right where my hands expect to find them. 

I still hang on to my good old Celestron Classic 8 for that reason.   For certain things, it's just easier.  Plop it down with the forks pointed roughly North, plug it in and instant tracking (at least for visual), no meridian flips, with all the controls where I expect them.   And if I need to move the scope to see around the many trees limit my access to large chunks of sky, I just pick it up and move it, and plop it down somewhere else with the forks pointed roughly north.  And no whirring of motors as you slew to a new target.  I don't use it often, but always enjoy it when I do.

 

Were I in the same neck of the woods as Mike W., I'd be interested in the 2120 at the right price...


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#66 jgraham

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 12:05 PM

These old scopes are perfect for a relaxing evening at the eyepiece...

 

Sandcast C8 Setup (3-23-2018)-1.jpg

 

:)

 

Enjoy!

 


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#67 jallbery

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 01:39 PM

That's a beautiful sandcast c8!



#68 rmollise

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 04:43 PM

It's probably an LX10 or LX50 or simliar.  Value is probably in the neighborhood of $500-$600 give or take, perhaps a bit more if it's parted out.  Condition of the OTA (coatings, mirrors, mechanics) will play a big part as many people would likely only be interested in the OTA, itself.

 

If it's a f/6.3 OTA, that could add to the value.

 

With the availability of goto mounts today, the old RA drive systems are not as highly sought after as they once were.

 

ds

 

LX50, or 2080. There were no 10-inch LX10s...


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#69 bbqediguana

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 08:20 PM

Is it wrong to call a scope an LX6 if it was sold as a Premier?

Sorry to dig up an old thread, but I have more information regarding the LX6 / Premier question.

 

I have a copy of the "Premier Series Instruction Manual" for both the 2080 and the 2120 here on my desk. I have read through it and it states unequivocally that the base of the Premier telescopes is the LX6 (see Page 6 under "What Is Premier?", Page 31 under "LX6 Power Panel", Page 49 under "Troubleshooting the LX6 Drive System", etc).

 

So, to call a scope 2080 LX6 Premier or 2120 LX6 Premier would seem quite logical to me. However, calling a 2080 an LX6 without the "Premier" moniker when it has an f/10 optical system would be incorrect to me.

 

Just my 2 cents (CDN). 

 

I will be posting a .pdf version of the Premier manual on my site shortly... just finished scanning all 50 pages of it!

 

Cheers!

Rick in Canada (eh!)



#70 bbqediguana

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 10:01 PM

I will be posting a .pdf version of the Premier manual on my site shortly... just finished scanning all 50 pages of it!

Here is the .pdf version of the Meade Premier Instruction Manual:

 

https://deepskies.co...eadePremier.pdf

 

Cheers!

Rick in Canada (eh!)



#71 memento

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 01:16 PM

I once had an 8 inch Meade from the 80s. It came complete with tripod, base and fork mount. Why should I have bought it otherwise? These complete outfits are getting kind of rare when everyone deforks their scope.

The fork mount was unfortunately the best part of my scope - easy to transport and great to handle. So much more convenient for me as a visual observer then on any GEM. Best part is they didn’t have go-to back then. Just a nice quiet RA drive and huge setting circles. Perfect.

The optics though were not impressive on my scope. As someone said earlier in this thread, it’s vital to check the optics of SCT’s because many are mediocre ...

#72 gnowellsct

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 09:11 AM

would a serial number help?

I'm going to ask the guy today if I can take it home and work with it and maybe figure out how and what might be a valuable vintage unit, and this guy is old and he purchased it from another guy way back when,,,,,,,,,


It may be old but age doesn't increase its value. There may be people who value old Meades but if so I've never heard of them. A lot of old Meades are donated to out reach observatories where they sit in a corner due to bad electronics.

#73 gnowellsct

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 09:15 AM

I'm figuring the tfov of the scope to be around 1.4°, am I close?


Probably closer to 1.1 degrees without vignetting. The limitations are the baffle tube and rear opening.

#74 gnowellsct

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 09:20 AM

I once had an 8 inch Meade from the 80s. It came complete with tripod, base and fork mount. Why should I have bought it otherwise? These complete outfits are getting kind of rare when everyone deforks their scope.

The fork mount was unfortunately the best part of my scope - easy to transport and great to handle.


There's a reason for all the deforking. I can see why you like the m8 on a fork but the m10 is a whole different beast. I'd rather set up a c14 than an m10 on a fork.

#75 Mitrovarr

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 11:16 AM

I have one of these! The optics on mine are mediocre. I deforked it and stuck it on an AVX where it is currently my main workhorse telescope.


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