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Need help with an old Meade

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#1 rugby

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 10:06 PM

Recently bought a Meade LX 10 sct. It's in very good shape and the optics seem pretty sharp. I haven't checked collimation because dont have equipment. The serial number is 843310. The batter compartment door seems to be missing but that wont stop me using the scope. Haven't figured out how to use hand controllers but my research tells me they can be difficult.  I am strictly visual but like a drive for sketching. Am hoping I can get a little help how to set this thing up. Thanks for any information.



#2 sg6

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 01:16 AM

At a guess you could need to add an image or three of the scope, the panel where everything plugs in and the handset itself. Add an idea of your location as well - helps for offering ideas on the data you need to supply - the city/town you are in gives Lat+Long+Timezone and those 3 are fundimental.

 

Assumning a kind of normal Meade Handset you need to get into Setup and define a custom location (works best). Pick a name (3 chars), the supply Latitude, Longitude and the Time Zone.

 

If memory is right the handset then wants date, time, DST etc but that is for later and a bit of a waste of time if just setting a location.

 

Batteries are not going to last long, does it have batteries?? Seems too big a scope to sensibly use batteries. A mains/DC unit - probably center positive (CHECK) and 12v and I guess 2 amp or more. Any good with a soldering iron? May need to wire a small converter up depending on the connections.

 

Usually standard starting is "Level and North".

Set tripod level, the more level the better.

Slew OTA to point Due North (not magnetic North) - get this right as well.

Slew the OTA until it is horizontal, again as best as possible.

 

Handset will want Date, Time, DST - it will use the last location set/used which should be the custom one.

The handset will ask for alignment options - usually Easy Align, it will slew to 2 stars it picks.

 

This is where the set up accuracy comes in. The better the Level and Nort are the better a chance of having the alignment star in view, and the view will be a small angle. Get a W I D E eyepiece.

 

Have seen the alignment done otherways but that is with GPS and a fixed accurate pier, basically scope has location and time data and a "simple" sync is performed.



#3 macdonjh

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 08:17 AM

Once you get everything working you'll be able to check collimation.  You don't need anything to collimate an SCT except a Phillips screw driver or an Allen wrench, depending on what type of screw Meade used in the secondary mirror housing.

 

Point your scope at a medium-bright star and center the star in the field of view.  I'd start with a lowish-power eye piece for your first check of collimation, in your scope a 25mm eye piece will give 100x.  Defocus the star image until you can clearly see a bulls eye pattern of rings around a central dot.  If the rings are round and concentric with the central dot, then your collimation is good.  If the rings are round, but off center with respect to the central dot your scope is a little out of collimation.  If the rings are oval (or worse, a warped figure-8), then your scope is a lot out of collimation.

 

If your scope is only a little out of collimation, you make small turns on the three screws near the middle of the secondary mirror housing to collimate it.  At first it will be trial and error to figure out which screw to turn and whether to turn it clockwise or CCW.  You'll get the hang of it quickly.  You'll notice that adjusting the collimation screws will either make the rings in your defocused star image more of less concentric around the center dot and the star image will also move around within the scope's field of view.  It's frustrating when the star image leaves the field of view and you have to find it again, so make small adjustments of the screws: 1/8 to 1/4 turn at most.  When you get close to being collimated you'll make even smaller adjustments.

 

If your scope is badly out of collimation it's best to have two people to collimate.  One person will be at the front of the scope adjusting the screws.  The other person will be at the back, looking through the eye piece.  His job is to keep the image of the star within the field of view (using the hand paddle to recenter the star image after adjustments are made), and to tell the person adjusting the screws which adjustments make things better and which make things worse.  Again, a bit of trial and error.

 

Once you get your scope collimated this way, you can continue to improve things.  Waiting for evenings of better and better seeing (steadiness of the atmosphere) will allow you to use higher and higher magnification and less and less defocus of the star image so you can see smaller and smaller amounts of miscollimation.  Touching up collimation this way usually takes less than five minutes and then you can be observing.  After three or four "rounds" of this you'll have collimation dialed in and you won't have to adjust collimation for months.

 

It's OK to check collimation even when the seeing is terrible if you suspect your scope is way out of collimation.  The bulls eye pattern will be "dancing" all over the place and you won't be able to make fine adjustments, but you'll still be able to tell if the bulls eye is even close to concentric so you'll know whether or not you have to make gross adjustments some other night with better seeing.

 

You should also know there's not much that can go wrong if you try to collimate your scope.  If you loosen the secondary mirror screws too much, the secondary mirror will fall out, but you won't do that, will you?  If you tighten them too much, you could deform your secondary mirror and then it won't show you a good image.  But you'll be gentle and not use your gorilla strength, won't you?

 

Good luck.


Edited by macdonjh, 17 April 2019 - 08:20 AM.

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#4 rmollise

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 08:23 AM

Recently bought a Meade LX 10 sct. It's in very good shape and the optics seem pretty sharp. I haven't checked collimation because dont have equipment. The serial number is 843310. The batter compartment door seems to be missing but that wont stop me using the scope. Haven't figured out how to use hand controllers but my research tells me they can be difficult.  I am strictly visual but like a drive for sketching. Am hoping I can get a little help how to set this thing up. Thanks for any information.

 

Without knowing which?/how old? it's hard to give advice, but here are some general guidelines:

 

--Don't worry about the hand controller for old non-computer, non-goto scopes. It's only good for guided imaging, for making small correctors, or, at most, centering your target. Unneeded.

 

--You don't need any sort of equipment for collimation. Get with an SCT using member of your local astronomy club for help. There are also many web pages on SCT collimation.



#5 rugby

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 03:08 PM

Great advice given here on this topic. I will post a pic of the base so you can see what I am working with. My main requirement is to have a working drive so I can do sketches at high power. I dont need great accuracy . Perhaps the hand controller can allow me to slew to very nearby objects. Since I am a star hopper from way back in the 1960's I have no need of goto capability.. The RA drive is essential. Luckily there is a dec drive on this scope. I believe there is a way to connect to a car battery...Despite this being old technology to most, it is almost overwhelming to me. I had hoped we could pinpoint the scope's production date from the serial number and yes I will be gentle with collimation.



#6 Stardust Dave

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 04:34 PM

"Don't worry about the hand controller for old non-computer, non-goto scopes. It's only good for guided imaging, for making small correctors, or, at most, centering your target. Unneeded."

 

Does the hand controller on an LX-10 have the variable drive rates and control dec motor ?

Not really familiar with LX-10.

 

I thought HC a benefit for lunar viewing and solar , not just the variable drive speed to keep centered on extended viewing session -but ability to sweep N and S with light taps to the HC  buttons to bring out otherwise near invisible surface features in H-alpha and WL , without having to touch the scope.

 

Its a long reach to the dec slow- mo knob with short arms. ( with a daystar filter is arms length to get to the knob while at EP)  Hand controller makes it easy , and no vibration added to scope. You say the scope has a dec drive ,correct?



#7 bbqediguana

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 07:11 PM

Recently bought a Meade LX 10 sct. It's in very good shape and the optics seem pretty sharp. I haven't checked collimation because dont have equipment. The serial number is 843310. The batter compartment door seems to be missing but that wont stop me using the scope. Haven't figured out how to use hand controllers but my research tells me they can be difficult.  I am strictly visual but like a drive for sketching. Am hoping I can get a little help how to set this thing up. Thanks for any information.

I keep a list of Meade LX serial numbers on my website:

 

https://deepskies.co...X_Registry.aspx

 

and it looks to me like your LX-10 is likely around the year 2000. I'm not totally sure, as I don't have many serial numbers from that time frame. I'd love to add yours to the list if it is ok with you?

 

As for the hand controller - the LX-10 will likely run the RA motor even if the hand controller isn't hooked up. I have a slightly older LX-6 mount, and that's what it does. I often run it without the hand controller - I just make sure the RA axis is locked, and as long as I have a rough polar alignment, my scope tracks just fine.

 

Here is a link to the LX-10 manual:

 

https://deepskies.co...LX10_manual.pdf

 

I hope that helps. 

 

Cheers!

 

Rick in Canada (eh!)



#8 rugby

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:03 PM

Navy Scope - resized.jpg

 



#9 rugby

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 09:26 PM

I have posted a pic of the base of the scope. My best bet is to use a 9 volt battery to power the movement. The battery compartment door has gone missing. Tomorrow I will install a battery and hope everything works .  To Rick in Canada: feel free to add my scope to your database  ( I am in Canada too)  Are the 12 volt cords from base to car difficult to come by?



#10 bbqediguana

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 07:25 AM

I have posted a pic of the base of the scope. My best bet is to use a 9 volt battery to power the movement. The battery compartment door has gone missing. Tomorrow I will install a battery and hope everything works .  To Rick in Canada: feel free to add my scope to your database  ( I am in Canada too)  Are the 12 volt cords from base to car difficult to come by?

Thank you, will do! :)

 

As for the cord... that's a really good question. I bought a 12V Celestron PowerTank to power my SCT as well as my dew heaters, and the power cord it came with fit my scope fine. I have also just build my own cords in the past by stealing the car plug end from some busted accessory or something like this:

 

https://www.canadian...70137p.html#srp

 

and then the other end from a 12V AC/DC power adapter.

 

I'm not sure if the LX-10 manual specifies what the power cord dimensions are - but likely if you go to Canadian Tire or Princess Auto you'll find something that will work.

 

Cheers!

 

Rick



#11 JohnnyBGood

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 07:46 AM

I have an LX-10 as well and love it. It's the last of the manual SCTs, which made it perfect for me. Unlike more "modern" SCTs with hand controllers that run the GOTO features (and that can't be used at all without a hand controller), the LX-10 hand controller is for basic slow up-down-left-right adjustments. Likely useful is astrophotography but I do very little of that. The up and down motion won't work unless the scope has the optional declination motor. Mine happened to come with but I never use it. After playing around with it a couple times the novelty wore off and I decided it was just a "feature" for running down the battery more quickly. For what it's worth, the left and right buttons either stop the drive motor or move it at double speed. It is fun to use when viewing the moon at high power (the kids like playing with it) but the motion is a little slower than I would like for that purpose so I usually just use the manual RA and DEC knobs to move the view around.

 

There are three ways to power the scope: a 9v battery, a 12v cord, or 4 AA batteries. If you open up the bottom of the base there should be a little holder for four AA batteries but to use it you have to physically disconnect the wiring to the 9v battery holder and wire in the AA holder instead. It's way less convenient to access and change them out when needed but I have heard they last longer than the 9v batteries do. If you don't hear the drive purring (*very* quietly) or see things moving when you use a high power eyepiece it's possible a previous owner did the 9v/AA swap and the 9v holder isn't connected anymore.

 

I use rechargeable 9v batteries but because they're ever so slightly bigger that normal I can't get the battery door to fit on so it's not the end of the world to be missing it. If it bugs you you can try checking with Telescope Warehouse. They're been very helpful to me in the past when I was looking for hard to find things, especially old Meade stuff. Unlike a newer computer controlled SCT, because all the battery is doing is running the clock dive the battery lasts long enough I haven't felt a need to upgrade to a longer lasting power source. Then again, if I was staying up all night taking photos and making constant adjustments it might be a different story. I'd suggest trying it with the 9v first and seeing how it goes. Unless you need a power supply for a dew heater, which is another story. I made a dew shield out of a sheet of rubbery foam stuff I picked up at a craft store and some adhesive velcro strips so I haven't needed a dew heater yet. Of course, I've only had the scope a few months and "summer is coming" so I may be singing a different tune with my power tank in a couple months. We'll see.

 

The drive is simple on-off, so with a battery in you should be able to flip the switch to "on" and you're good to go. Use the lock lever to lock it in position and it should work. Once you get used to using a scope with a RA drive it's hard to go back to one that doesn't have one. Take that you Dob folks ; )


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#12 rugby

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 01:38 PM

Nice to talk with current owners of this Meade LX 10. I see I can plug the scope into household outlet but would need an AC adapter and a proper cord.



#13 rugby

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 06:40 PM

Finally....success with the lx 10.  Installed a fresh 9v battery, flicked the switch and it was off and running .  I can see how old the technology is but my eyes are a lot older. The RA knob needs tightening and yes it feels a little heavy but there is a glamour about it I  like. Thanx to everyone for participating in this thread.


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#14 rmollise

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Posted 22 April 2019 - 11:15 AM

"Don't worry about the hand controller for old non-computer, non-goto scopes. It's only good for guided imaging, for making small correctors, or, at most, centering your target. Unneeded."

 

Does the hand controller on an LX-10 have the variable drive rates and control dec motor ?

Not really familiar with LX-10.

 

I thought HC a benefit for lunar viewing and solar , not just the variable drive speed to keep centered on extended viewing session -but ability to sweep N and S with light taps to the HC  buttons to bring out otherwise near invisible surface features in H-alpha and WL , without having to touch the scope.

 

Its a long reach to the dec slow- mo knob with short arms. ( with a daystar filter is arms length to get to the knob while at EP)  Hand controller makes it easy , and no vibration added to scope. You say the scope has a dec drive ,correct?

 

All the HC has is n/s/e/w buttons. wink.gif

 

I have 8 LX10s the university bought me about 20 years ago to use with my astronomy class labs. All are still going strong despite the tender mercies of generations of undergraduates. :)


Edited by rmollise, 22 April 2019 - 11:17 AM.

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#15 Stargazer3236

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 11:08 AM

I just received a used and well worn Meade 2080 standard model, with MCOG coatings, oversized primary, was fork mounted but removed the ota. Will wrap dark blue carbon fiber adhesive wrap around the ota , since it was scratched to bits. Need to buy a vixen dovetail, Bob's knobs, rigel quik finder. Scope came with heavy duty standard tripod and wedge. Tripod needs clean up and repainting as well as the wedge needs a new paint job. Will adapt my Nexstar 6SE to be used on the wedge/tripod.

 

Primary and secondary look to be in very good ccondition. Corrector plate was fairly clean, but cleaned it and looks good. Coatings look good. Primary was dirt/dust free, minor dust on interior of corrector plate.

 

Hopefully will be able to star test next weekend.



#16 rugby

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Posted Yesterday, 11:29 PM

stargazer 3236: I would like to hear your results



#17 Stargazer3236

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Posted Today, 12:29 AM

I should be able to take it out and image with it next weekend. Dovetail will arrive, as well as Dark Blue carbon fiber adhesive wrap and Rigel Quik finder base. Looking forward to seeing what kind of images I can get with it.




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