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Meade LX70: $199

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#1 groupoid

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 06:03 PM

I decided to get a lighter mount strictly for visuals, and bought it for $250.

 

And now the price has dropped for $199. I think it's being discontinued soon. In my case, I should be eligible for price match, they say they would honor it within 2 weeks after purchase.

 

https://www.highpoin...ount-41-7100-00

 

I haven't used it in the field yet. It looks quite solid. I have found a small design flaw: the mount head is a bit smaller than the part of the tripod to which it inserts, and there is some play under heavy load if the counterweight is attached, even if everything is tightened. Probably would mess up polar alignment. However, I do not intend to use polar scope anyway, and also it should be fixable by adding some extra padding.


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#2 OldManSky

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 06:48 PM

That's quite a drop.  The dual-axis motor kit costs the same as the mount now!

Hope you get the price match.


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#3 groupoid

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 08:33 PM

 

Hope you get the price match.

Thanks! Yes, they already confirmed it. Although my credit card would have done it, too.

 

I just tried to balance my C8 on it with heaviest visual equipment that I have. The weight is just right!

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#4 AnthonyP

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Posted 04 February 2019 - 10:36 PM

Is this equivalent to a EQ5/CG5?
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#5 groupoid

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 12:21 AM

Is this equivalent to a EQ5/CG5?

Seems so:

 

https://www.cloudyni...le-price/page-3


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#6 NickWDavis

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 12:43 AM

$199 is an awesome price. I got one back when it dropped to $250 and it quickly became my most used mount. 


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#7 Geo.

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 09:29 AM

Meade has discontinued the LX70 line for the LXD85 line. So this may be the last chance to get a new Synta CG-5. When Celestron first sold the CG-5 (Celestron German mount #5) in the early '90s as replacement for the more expensive Vixen GP. It was the mount for the C8. This last iteration has ball beatings on the worm axles.

 

The EXOS -2, a near clone (formerly sold as the Meade LXD-75) will still be available. Currently selling at $360.


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#8 groupoid

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 04:45 PM

I think it's even cheaper now: on High Point Scientific, listed under “clearance”, and they state extra 10% discount with coupon.


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#9 AnthonyP

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 07:10 PM

I was contemplating to buy this, however the dual axis drives alone sell for $199. I can't justify at this stage to spend $400 to replace my motorized CG-4. I'm open to people persuading me though.
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#10 Jond105

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 07:37 PM

I was contemplating to buy this, however the dual axis drives alone sell for $199. I can't justify at this stage to spend $400 to replace my motorized CG-4. I'm open to people persuading me though.


You might want to search and find out if the Orion Skyview dual axis motors fit and work with the mount. Theoretically they are the same mount heads. But if you have a CG4, that's motorized, you have to ask yourself, what OTA do you have that you aren't liking on the CG4?
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#11 AnthonyP

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 08:00 PM

....Theoretically they are the same mount heads. ...

This is where my confusion is. Some people say its equivalent to a CG-4. Others say its comparable to slightly beefier EQ-5.

 

If it is in fact the same as the CG-4, then there is no need for me to look further. If its slightly bigger, than I am interested in possibly future proofing my hobby


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#12 Jond105

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 08:12 PM

This is where my confusion is. Some people say its equivalent to a CG-4. Others say its comparable to slightly beefier EQ-5.

If it is in fact the same as the CG-4, then there is no need for me to look further. If its slightly bigger, than I am interested in possibly future proofing my hobby

It is beefier than the CG4, the CG4 with the stainless legs Max out at around 15 lbs, I'd imagine the lx70 should get the extra 5lbs.

When I said theoretically the same, I was talking the lx70 and skyview and see if the skyview dual axis controls fit the lx70, as I believe they are cheaper slightly through Orion.

Edited by Jond105, 05 February 2019 - 08:15 PM.

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#13 M57Guy

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 12:34 AM

At $200, that mount is a steal.

 

I'm happy with mine I got last year for $250.

At the time, the drives and polar scope were both heavily discounted - I got the pair for $160.


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#14 Geo.

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 09:57 AM

I was contemplating to buy this, however the dual axis drives alone sell for $199. I can't justify at this stage to spend $400 to replace my motorized CG-4. I'm open to people persuading me though.

Celestron screwed everything when they started counting their GEMs. Actually, the CG-5 was the first with the Celestron German designation. Why 5? Probably to distinguish it from the Vixen GP it had been selling. Lets see they had the EQ-1 they sold on entry level scopes, the Polaris, then the EQ-2 sold as the G-5 with the C5, I guess the latter was the CG-2? So the AstroView/EQ-3 became the CG-4 and then we have the CG-5. Above the 20# CG-5 there was the G11, then the Celestron International 700 (CI-700). Once Synta started selling the CG-5 to other vendors they couldn't call it the CG-5, so it was sold as the EQ-4 or EQ-5.

 

The SVP is an outlier. It's from Jinghua, which makes the EXOS GEMS, Why Orion wanted different castings for the Dec and RA housing isn't clear. Perhaps, Synta had an exclusive license from Vixen to copy the GP.

 

It's fairly easy the distinguish the EQ-3/CG-4 from the EQ-4/5 or CG-5 by looking at the latitude hinge. The latter is noticeably heavier in its construction.

 

I've been playing with building a simple RA drive for the GP clones. Here's what I've come up with using 3D printer components.

 

P1016283.jpg P1016277.jpg

 

Pretty much everything sourced from eBay, although you can find similar items on Alibaba or Bangood a little cheaper.

 

NEMA 17-400 step motors with 20 tooth pulley $9 each.

NEMA 17 motor brackets $2.50

40 tooth pulleys (GT2) $7. These were 5mm; I had to bore them to 6mm to fit the worm axles.

Toothed belts $1.

 

A handbox and Arduino based driver circuit for driving RA at sidereal with 8X east and west corrections costs another $20-30 depending on the driver selected. OnStep Go2 starts about $50.

 

For smoothing out the stepper's pulses µstepping is used. Rates of µstepping start at 800/revolution at double steps to interpolation of 256 µsteps (102,400) steps/ revolution. For the CG-5 with it's 10 minute worm period, direct drive would use 1.33 steps/second at double steps to 170.67 steps/second at 256. The 2:1 belt reduction doubles that. Thus 32 µsteps per step (42.67 steps/second) is considered an acceptable rate for AP. Stepper drivers that support that rate start at a buck.


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#15 AnthonyP

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 02:11 PM

The fact you can build that yourself is amazing. Guys like me pay full freight :)
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#16 karstenkoch

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 02:58 PM

I own a CG-4 and eyeballing it, this mount looks very similar to what I have. I should add that I am happy with the performance of my CG-4 up to 10 pounds. I think it is rated for 20 pounds. But, as the conventional wisdom goes, take the rating and divide by two for the "full performance" rating.


Edited by karstenkoch, 09 February 2019 - 02:59 PM.

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#17 Jond105

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 03:16 PM

I own a CG-4 and eyeballing it, this mount looks very similar to what I have. I should add that I am happy with the performance of my CG-4 up to 10 pounds. I think it is rated for 20 pounds. But, as the conventional wisdom goes, take the rating and divide by two for the "full performance" rating.


For the first time ever last night I had my 120 f/8.3 out on the CG4, with 2" diagonal and 2 lb ES82 30mm. It held that weight just fine. So it's good up to 14-15lbs with that long momentum arm.
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#18 AnthonyP

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:02 PM

For the first time ever last night I had my 120 f/8.3 out on the CG4, with 2" diagonal and 2 lb ES82 30mm. It held that weight just fine. So it's good up to 14-15lbs with that long momentum arm.


At high power, how much shakiness did you notice when focusing?

#19 Jond105

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:22 PM

Possibly two seconds at 212x last night. But I also use an RA motor on mine, so I have no idea on if it vibrates or not when using a slo motion control knob. 



#20 groupoid

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 12:17 AM

Btw: anyone knows how to install the polar scope?

 

The manual says "unscrew the rear part counter-clockwise". I consider my hands strong, but I couldn't do it.



#21 dusty99

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 09:11 AM

It’s a good little mount. I got mine a couple of years ago on sale for $225 and have enjoyed using it in manual mode. Aligned with the polar scope, it tracks accurately for hours and is comfortable at high magnification if I put my chair where I don’t have to stretch too much to reach the knobs. It is a bit less steady with my 900mm than my 700mm, but still fine. A refractor on the LX70 makes a nice compliment to my C8 on the AVX.

#22 khobar

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 04:31 PM

I've seen discussion on whether this is a CG4 or CG5. I'm hoping it's really a CG5. If so...

 

Does this mount have ball-bearings on RA and DEC? If so, would this mount be worthwhile upgrading from a CG5? Would the ASGT electronics/GOTO bolt on directly/easily?

 

We have a CG5-ASGT that is very old now but it does have the Starsense HC and gizmo, and we are planning on disassembling it for cleaning/relube with Superlube to replace the white lithium I used years ago. For the money this LX70 looks tempting but only if it's worthwhile.



#23 Jond105

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 05:26 PM

I've seen discussion on whether this is a CG4 or CG5. I'm hoping it's really a CG5. If so...

Does this mount have ball-bearings on RA and DEC? If so, would this mount be worthwhile upgrading from a CG5? Would the ASGT electronics/GOTO bolt on directly/easily?

We have a CG5-ASGT that is very old now but it does have the Starsense HC and gizmo, and we are planning on disassembling it for cleaning/relube with Superlube to replace the white lithium I used years ago. For the money this LX70 looks tempting but only if it's worthwhile.


The lx70 is definitely an EQ5. Not sure what they use in the axis though.
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#24 terraclarke

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 04:45 PM

This deal was just too good to pass up. I’ve been wanting to make my C Omni CG-4 more of my basic g&g GEM since I let go of my old Vixen Polaris mount a while back. In doing so I’ve been wanting to remove the dual-drive system from the CG-4 and return use of the manual slow motions, mainly since (1) only the dec, not the R.A. is clutched, (2) the nylon gears, and (3) the way the drives really just stick out there. I’ve liked the little CG-4 a lot and it has served me well over the past six or eight years I’ve had it. So today, I deleted the drives and added back a set of slow motion controls. I also went ahead and ordered one of these now LX70s and the dual drive system and polar scope from High Point. The drive seems beefier and appears to have larger worm gearing, its reported to be more of a CG-5 and has ball bearings, both drives are clutched, and all the drive gears are brass. I hope I will be pleased. It will be interesting to actually compare the two side by side.


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#25 Geo.

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 09:32 AM

I've seen discussion on whether this is a CG4 or CG5. I'm hoping it's really a CG5. If so...

 

Does this mount have ball-bearings on RA and DEC? If so, would this mount be worthwhile upgrading from a CG5? Would the ASGT electronics/GOTO bolt on directly/easily?

 

We have a CG5-ASGT that is very old now but it does have the Starsense HC and gizmo, and we are planning on disassembling it for cleaning/relube with Superlube to replace the white lithium I used years ago. For the money this LX70 looks tempting but only if it's worthwhile.

Yes, it is the CG-5/EQ-5. Let's call it the Gen 3. Gen 1 was a dead on copy of the Vix GP. Gen 2 got ball bearings on the RA axle. The last generation has ball bearings on the worms. Dec axle is still sleeve bearings made by polishing the surfaces of the castings, that is, no sleeves are inserted. Dec thrust bearings are plastic rings.


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