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LX-850

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#26 Piggled

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 11:32 AM

Hello @Piggled,

I will follow-up what is going on regarding your issues - PM me offline. First of I heard of it - it should work immediately out the gate (like I said both of mine and others have).

Also, 300 lbs or so is right - to handle the payloads and be rock solid, plus 78 lbs in counter weights it adds up fast.

Communicating with your computer - are using a wifi connection or a direct serial RS-232 connection?

Letters are illegible - do you mean it is random pixels, or are you talking about the scroll speed on the line?

Something odd is going on. It should immediately work out the gate. Like I said, PM me.


PM sent.
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#27 SandyHouTex

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 12:12 PM

The lack of chatter is usually a good thing. smile.gif

 

I consider myself an equal-opportunity telescope fan and I own quite a bit of equipment from various manufacturers. Like most manufacturers that have been around for many decades different manufactures go through rough patches here'n there. Meade has had their share in part due to their willingness to try some unique things that sometime don't turn out as well as others. The LX800 was one of those rough spots, but they seemed to have addressed all of the original issues with the re-launch as the LX850. I'm not aware of any issues with their current line-up and all of my interactions with their customer service have gone fairly well considering that we're dealing with very complex gear over the phone or via email. All of the issues that I have had over the years were resolved. The LX-850 looks like a great piece of kit! The only problem I have is its cost. If I live long enough I may see some show up on the sued market. smile.gif

 

Enjoy shopping around!

 

P.S.

 

The Lightswitch also had a bit of a rough launch, but I ended up buying an LS8 with the v1.6a firmware and I couldn't be happier. It is a wonderful scope and a lot of fun to use. The key seems to be waiting long enough for the kinks to get worked out, and the LX850 seems to be well past that point.

“Lack of chatter” can also mean “lack of sales”, or in other words, no one is buying them.


Edited by SandyHouTex, 28 August 2019 - 12:13 PM.


#28 Kegan128

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 12:58 PM

Donnie D,
My experience with the LX-850 shows that what everyone commenting here has stated has some truth in it, whether pro or con. Piggled's experience aside, there are some strong points and many weak points to this mount - pretty much like most products on the market. In looking at some alternatives to my needs, I can't decide on what to obtain based on the feedback in these forums.

First, a confession: my blood runs a little Meade Blue, as I was loosely associated with some of the people in the company way back in the 80's. Having said that, I am not a fan boy but did purchase a LX-850, used, a couple of years ago as I was getting back into the hobby after a long time away.

Second, I am also a mobile astronomer, so, even though the LX-850 is a beast, it doesn't take more than a 1/2 hour to set up and Polar Align under any circumstances. I have made some changes to the mount that dramatically help with this, however. 

 

LX-850 - The Bad:
Out of the box, the Mount Head is heavy - around 65 pounds (about the same as others in this category). That weight is from an actual scale, not the manufacturers web site. Second, the handles on the unit are poorly placed from a balance perspective if you need to move the mount (as I do). Third, the mounting plate for the telescope(s) is extremely cumbersome - although this is due to my need to move the mount. Fourth, the "Rosette" knobs for Alt adjustment will hurt your hand(s) - Meade does supply a tool, but it tends to slip off the knob and makes adjusting Polar Alignment very difficult (I have fixed this). Fifth, the RA balance shaft, although a piece of art, is difficult to initially start the weights. If you aren't mobile this is of little concern. Sixth, the cabling from the computer to the mount is less than...ideal.

Since I am mobile, I was able to overcome some of these "complaints." First, I split the DEC and RA pieces and reassemble in the field. I use two double-sided threaded bolts to guide the re-attachment of the DEC to the RA and this makes things light and easy to handle. I have replaced the Rosette knobs for the Alt adjustment with large wheel-style knobs (thanks to Garry Ingle), and the Allen bolts for the AZ adjustment lock down with Cam Bolts - this makes Polar Alignment extremely easy with no movement while tightening down the axis during PA. I haven't come up with a satisfactory computer cable strategy yet, but I'm working on that.Since I have no need to do side-by-side work, I also replaced the stock mounting plate with an ADM (and an A-P for my 14" SCT). I want to get a Rayox, but good luck finding one of those.

Perhaps the biggest downside is the lack of ASCOM support from Meade. Although there is nothing that any ASCOM software can do that the Meade software cannot also do (at least what I am interested in), it would be nice to have a choice, and to be able to move away from needing the hand box all the time. Yes, I realize there are ways around this, but it would be nice if Meade supported industry standards. This is not specific to the LX-850, however. 

One last complaint - well, two. First, whoever wrote the manual needs to proof-read their work. In addition, it would be nice if the manual actually contained the information that is referenced in the manual in other locations and on the handset ("place the scope in the German-North position as described in the manual - uh, no, it's not). Second, the software appears to have some big glitches in it, and, quite frankly doesn't appear to have evolved much since the 1990's. I know it is expensive for programmers to code, but come on Meade, this software was written during the Windows NT days. Interestingly, I have two LX-850 computers, and two Hand Controllers. One is "stock" and the second set is Star-Patched (excellent). Regardless of which set I use, certain features do not work for me, including the one thing you are supposed to do each outing - Automatic Rate Calibration. This may be because I have a used example, but it fails on the "StarLock searching" and I need to hard start the computer to get out of it. Annoying.

One funny note: the Meade Drift align algorithm - it works but gives you nearly impossible instructions e.g. "turn the Azimuth knob counter-clockwise 1.789 turns." I got the 1 part down, but not sure about the .789. Honestly, it doesn't save you any time over a manual drift align if you need to do this.

LX-850 - The Good
While I haven't used every controller out there, I have extensive experience with Synta controllers and the Autostar controllers. No contest here - not even close - Autostar by a mile. Argue as you will those are the facts. Not that Synta's are bad, just nothing is as easy to use as the Meade, but, AGAIN, I haven't used everything out there. Another plus, even though I bagged on it earlier, is the software. Meade's alignment routine works well and is consistent. I do get much better results if I Polar Align using Polemaster, but the Meade routine is okay. It does seem to miss some targets by the proverbial country mile, however. There is a LOT to the software, and it will take some time to figure it all out. But the results are worth it.

Next, the mount is easy to balance. That huge, threaded RA counterweight shaft makes balancing easy and precise. It is just a pain to get the weights started.
The mount is SOLID and holds your telescope well in any reasonable wind. No shaky, fragile wobbles with this beast. The tripod is outstanding. I use three scopes, a 115 APO, and a 10” and 14” SCT so if wind was going to rock this boat, it would be apparent with those loads on it.

Perhaps the shining star (couldn’t help it) is StarLock. Despite that fact that I cannot get ARC to work for me, StarLock finds a guide star and locks on like a pit bull and does so without any muss or fuss. Yeah, I could buy a separate guide scope and camera for around 300-500 bucks, then learn to use “free” software, and then spend my observing time fretting over my guiding. However, I choose to use StarLock – it does its thing without me needing to load some other program on the computer, it does it well, and I get outstanding results. I can’t speak to my RMS per session or any other test of the drive accuracy and guiding by StarLock other than my consistently nice pics. It may be that I can only get down to 1” of tracking accuracy with this mount. Since I use very fast video cameras I don’t have to worry about “integrating” 18 hours of captures on my selected objects, so this is not a worry for me. I prefer in my limited time under the stars to see a lot of objects per session, and I can capture them both on the screen and in pics just fine with my Mallincams (yes, I support two manufacturers loathed on CN – Meade and Mallicam, yikes!).  I just love showing 15 magnitude objects on my screen to interested bystanders in 5-30 seconds of capture with my Mallicams. Amazing. 

For me, the LX-850 is a joy to use. It took some getting used to, however. Would I buy it again? I would, provided I could be confident that support would be there. I haven’t availed myself of support from Meade recently, but many folks have had poor results. Others have had outstanding support. The other worrisome thing for me is the seemingly low parts replacement (or no parts replacement) policy at Meade. Years ago, you could count on getting the parts you needed for out of warranty repairs. Those parts seem to be very scant on the Meade website and this is a concern. On the other hand, the mount has been bullet proof for me, so maybe I’m worrying about nothing. Despite the lack of love on CN for Meade equipment, there is some excellent support and advice here, as well, so don’t let that dissuade you.

To wrap up this long-winded message, I will be keeping the LX-850 mount for (hopefully) a long time. I will be looking to augment my mobile astronomy with a more mobile solution, however, as I am not getting any younger. But, if the reviews are to be believed on CN, there really aren’t a lot of great choices. Each make and model has its drawbacks until you step up big for Astro Physics or 10 Micron. One thing is for sure, Astronomy is a great hobby and the technology is only getting better each year. It is a great time to be alive!


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#29 Donnie D

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 01:45 PM

All I can say is WOW !   I really appreciate all the feedback and responses.  A wide range of things to think about.  I do like the long post and replies. This shows that the users are very familiar with their gear.  I used to own a Celestron Edge 9.25.  I sold it. 

 

It has been about 4 to 5 years since I last signed in to CN and it seems things are about the same.  There will always be a "following" to a certain brand. The influence towards one brand to another is quite striking and comes across quite arrogant at times and even punitive (which does not appeal to me at all).  I think there was only one post that seem to demonstrate this.

 

I do agree that any manufacture should continue to update their firmware or software.  I can say from my own professional work experience that getting software and mechanical things to talk to each other and function is really can be a difficult task.  Especially at the precision we are asking this stuff to do is still quite amazing.

 

Let me say that anything can happen to new gear.  My first Scope (the Edge Celestron) came and of course my excitement dropped faster than the speed of light when I saw the front collector plate had a huge "v" shape scratch gouge in it.  Made me sick !  Oh well, it took about a week or more to get that resolved as I had to contact Celestron.  I hope not to go back through that again.  New OTA came and enjoyed the night skies with it for about 5 years straight. 

 

What appeals to me on the 850 is that the guide scope and all is one package deal.  The DSI-IV would seem to be a good addition to image with.  I am more of an observer rahter than AP.  The little boost of f8 of the OTA might help some. The Celestron was an f10.   Yes, I am aware (from reading) that the given guide scope needs to be mounted to the top of OTA and not the side saddle.

 

I agree the manual is questionable in some areas.   

 

Thanks again - I much appreciate the comments.

 

Donnie

 

Oh, I might say that I still have my eye on the 850 anyways !!  wink.gif  sigh - but won't happen today - need more funds !  


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#30 Piggled

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 01:53 PM

Donnie D,
My experience with the LX-850 shows that what everyone commenting here has stated has some truth in it, whether pro or con. Piggled's experience aside, there are some strong points and many weak points to this mount - pretty much like most products on the market. In looking at some alternatives to my needs, I can't decide on what to obtain based on the feedback in these forums.

First, a confession: my blood runs a little Meade Blue, as I was loosely associated with some of the people in the company way back in the 80's. Having said that, I am not a fan boy but did purchase a LX-850, used, a couple of years ago as I was getting back into the hobby after a long time away.

Second, I am also a mobile astronomer, so, even though the LX-850 is a beast, it doesn't take more than a 1/2 hour to set up and Polar Align under any circumstances. I have made some changes to the mount that dramatically help with this, however. 

 

LX-850 - The Bad:
Out of the box, the Mount Head is heavy - around 65 pounds (about the same as others in this category). That weight is from an actual scale, not the manufacturers web site. Second, the handles on the unit are poorly placed from a balance perspective if you need to move the mount (as I do). Third, the mounting plate for the telescope(s) is extremely cumbersome - although this is due to my need to move the mount. Fourth, the "Rosette" knobs for Alt adjustment will hurt your hand(s) - Meade does supply a tool, but it tends to slip off the knob and makes adjusting Polar Alignment very difficult (I have fixed this). Fifth, the RA balance shaft, although a piece of art, is difficult to initially start the weights. If you aren't mobile this is of little concern. Sixth, the cabling from the computer to the mount is less than...ideal.

Since I am mobile, I was able to overcome some of these "complaints." First, I split the DEC and RA pieces and reassemble in the field. I use two double-sided threaded bolts to guide the re-attachment of the DEC to the RA and this makes things light and easy to handle. I have replaced the Rosette knobs for the Alt adjustment with large wheel-style knobs (thanks to Garry Ingle), and the Allen bolts for the AZ adjustment lock down with Cam Bolts - this makes Polar Alignment extremely easy with no movement while tightening down the axis during PA. I haven't come up with a satisfactory computer cable strategy yet, but I'm working on that.Since I have no need to do side-by-side work, I also replaced the stock mounting plate with an ADM (and an A-P for my 14" SCT). I want to get a Rayox, but good luck finding one of those.

Perhaps the biggest downside is the lack of ASCOM support from Meade. Although there is nothing that any ASCOM software can do that the Meade software cannot also do (at least what I am interested in), it would be nice to have a choice, and to be able to move away from needing the hand box all the time. Yes, I realize there are ways around this, but it would be nice if Meade supported industry standards. This is not specific to the LX-850, however. 

One last complaint - well, two. First, whoever wrote the manual needs to proof-read their work. In addition, it would be nice if the manual actually contained the information that is referenced in the manual in other locations and on the handset ("place the scope in the German-North position as described in the manual - uh, no, it's not). Second, the software appears to have some big glitches in it, and, quite frankly doesn't appear to have evolved much since the 1990's. I know it is expensive for programmers to code, but come on Meade, this software was written during the Windows NT days. Interestingly, I have two LX-850 computers, and two Hand Controllers. One is "stock" and the second set is Star-Patched (excellent). Regardless of which set I use, certain features do not work for me, including the one thing you are supposed to do each outing - Automatic Rate Calibration. This may be because I have a used example, but it fails on the "StarLock searching" and I need to hard start the computer to get out of it. Annoying.

One funny note: the Meade Drift align algorithm - it works but gives you nearly impossible instructions e.g. "turn the Azimuth knob counter-clockwise 1.789 turns." I got the 1 part down, but not sure about the .789. Honestly, it doesn't save you any time over a manual drift align if you need to do this.

LX-850 - The Good
While I haven't used every controller out there, I have extensive experience with Synta controllers and the Autostar controllers. No contest here - not even close - Autostar by a mile. Argue as you will those are the facts. Not that Synta's are bad, just nothing is as easy to use as the Meade, but, AGAIN, I haven't used everything out there. Another plus, even though I bagged on it earlier, is the software. Meade's alignment routine works well and is consistent. I do get much better results if I Polar Align using Polemaster, but the Meade routine is okay. It does seem to miss some targets by the proverbial country mile, however. There is a LOT to the software, and it will take some time to figure it all out. But the results are worth it.

Next, the mount is easy to balance. That huge, threaded RA counterweight shaft makes balancing easy and precise. It is just a pain to get the weights started.
The mount is SOLID and holds your telescope well in any reasonable wind. No shaky, fragile wobbles with this beast. The tripod is outstanding. I use three scopes, a 115 APO, and a 10” and 14” SCT so if wind was going to rock this boat, it would be apparent with those loads on it.

Perhaps the shining star (couldn’t help it) is StarLock. Despite that fact that I cannot get ARC to work for me, StarLock finds a guide star and locks on like a pit bull and does so without any muss or fuss. Yeah, I could buy a separate guide scope and camera for around 300-500 bucks, then learn to use “free” software, and then spend my observing time fretting over my guiding. However, I choose to use StarLock – it does its thing without me needing to load some other program on the computer, it does it well, and I get outstanding results. I can’t speak to my RMS per session or any other test of the drive accuracy and guiding by StarLock other than my consistently nice pics. It may be that I can only get down to 1” of tracking accuracy with this mount. Since I use very fast video cameras I don’t have to worry about “integrating” 18 hours of captures on my selected objects, so this is not a worry for me. I prefer in my limited time under the stars to see a lot of objects per session, and I can capture them both on the screen and in pics just fine with my Mallincams (yes, I support two manufacturers loathed on CN – Meade and Mallicam, yikes!).  I just love showing 15 magnitude objects on my screen to interested bystanders in 5-30 seconds of capture with my Mallicams. Amazing. 

For me, the LX-850 is a joy to use. It took some getting used to, however. Would I buy it again? I would, provided I could be confident that support would be there. I haven’t availed myself of support from Meade recently, but many folks have had poor results. Others have had outstanding support. The other worrisome thing for me is the seemingly low parts replacement (or no parts replacement) policy at Meade. Years ago, you could count on getting the parts you needed for out of warranty repairs. Those parts seem to be very scant on the Meade website and this is a concern. On the other hand, the mount has been bullet proof for me, so maybe I’m worrying about nothing. Despite the lack of love on CN for Meade equipment, there is some excellent support and advice here, as well, so don’t let that dissuade you.

To wrap up this long-winded message, I will be keeping the LX-850 mount for (hopefully) a long time. I will be looking to augment my mobile astronomy with a more mobile solution, however, as I am not getting any younger. But, if the reviews are to be believed on CN, there really aren’t a lot of great choices. Each make and model has its drawbacks until you step up big for Astro Physics or 10 Micron. One thing is for sure, Astronomy is a great hobby and the technology is only getting better each year. It is a great time to be alive!

 

That’s a great write up! I’m sure my experiences could just be a lemon or something, but I have read similar accounts about Meade. The customer service and lack of urgency to get things fixed is what’s really really rubbing me wrong here. The 6-8 week lead time for repairs means a couple things to me, there are TONS of repairs going on or they’ve trimmed a lot of fat off the business to save money and just cant handle even a small volume of repairs. Either way, its not a good problem for them to have. With all the options out there these days, with servo drives etc at 1/2 the cost, those seem to be a no brainer for me now. I bought this unit to be plug and play, and it was more plug, then problem solve for months and have clue what is going on, only through trial and error over very precious very few nights was I able to figure out what was going on.

 

I have owned two other Meade scopes and they have been fantastic pieces of equipment. That’s why I purchased this one. But have been extremely underwhelmed.



#31 Donnie D

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 09:17 PM

Piggled,

as you mentioned, the competition is even more heightened with even more products to choose from over the years. I agree that it seems that Meade would step up the game.  Each year, I keep saying that I am going to go to one of the Astro Conventions to see all the products available.  I also need to do more research as I know that there are more products (mounts) out there now. I agree to order something this price range does make me nervous.

If I do order the 850, I would settle for the 12".   Then I would have to join a gym and work out to be able to handle it.  

I guess the bottom line is to make sure what I am getting myself into with both good and bad.



#32 dr.who

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 10:39 PM

Something to keep in mind is that we (The Admin team) created the Vendor Affiliate tag to identify members who were not technically vendors but that are acting in some capacity to favorably advocate for the vendor/product they are an affiliate of. 

 

Having said that the Meade line of telescopes are very good. Easily on par with the non EdgeHD Celestron ones if not better. Their mounts are well engineered and for the most part well made. If my memory serves correctly they also installed either active fans or at least vents on their imaging SCT's that are the f/8 version. And for sure the focuser on the Meade's is superior to the Celestron SCT in both EdgeHD and non-EdgeHD versions.

 

However there are some down sides. Specifically some recent customer service challenges and the weight of their SCT's. They are quite a bit heavier. Focusing on the LX850, it also locks you into a monolithic system where if something breaks and it is out of warranty replacing it may be costly. The StarLock system is what comes to mind as a major part of this monolithic design factor. The LX850 is also really a imaging setup and geared toward that. Visual doesn't have the requirements that AP does and that the LX850 is engineered to provide.

 

Since you stated you are primarily a visual observer with some interest in AP, I would suggest taking a good hard objective look at what your expectations are, what your needs are, and what your budget is. From that I would also suggest factoring in the weight of any system you will be working with. There is a lot of truth to the old adage that the "best scope for you is the one you use!" A very heavy system/scope will mean you will look for reasons not to use it instead of reasons to use it.

 

You might consider a combination of a Meade 10" ACF and a 102-130mm APO refractor as a visual and AP setup. I recommend this for two reasons. First, imaging with a f/8 or f/10 SCT is not easy. Even with mirror locks. It is much better to start with a short focal length (or at least shorter focal length) refractor then work into using an SCT. In addition you can mount the 102mm sized APO on the SCT. That way visually you can go after small targets in the SCT and big objects in the APO. A very nice combination. You could mount it on a Skywatcher EQ-6R for example. For the APO I highly recommend the Explore Scientific FC100 APO's.

 

That entire setup will cost less than the LX850 mount by itself. It will also be significantly easier to setup and take down in terms of overall weight. Something for sure to consider. With the leftover money you would have spent on the LX850 you can get a full set of ES  82 degree eyepieces (though for both scopes I would really recommend the 18mm, 11mm, and 6.7mm which will give you everything you need to really see the stuff out there. The 24 and 30mm EP's are like clubs to beat something with. They are crazy big), a adapter to convert the SCT visual back to 2" compression so you can use the included 2" diagonal that the ES APO's come with, and if you want the autoalignment functionality that StarLock provides the StarSense for Skywatcher appliance. And you will still have money left over.

 

Lastly I would suggest you order these things from our sponsor, Astronomics. Not just because they pay for this site but because they provide a discount to members. All you have to do is mention your CN username in the order form and ask for the CN discount. It is a decent discount and every little bit helps.



#33 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 09:40 PM

SpacetravelerX is a "Ambassador" for Meade.  They picked him because he is the only person that will go to battle for their products.  So go back and re-read this thread with that understanding.

 

I had several as I was a beta tester for Meade out of the gate.  I since sold mine and went with a premium mount and setup. 

 

I wouldn't do it again under any circumstances.

 

If you are on a budget take a look at what Celestron has to offer. You'll have a much better experience.  They are also having a nice sale.


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#34 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 10:26 PM

SpacetravelerX is a "Ambassador" for Meade.  They picked him because he is the only person that will go to battle for their products.  So go back and re-read this thread with that understanding.

 

I had several as I was a beta tester for Meade out of the gate.  I since sold mine and went with a premium mount and setup. 

 

I wouldn't do it again under any circumstances.

 

If you are on a budget take a look at what Celestron has to offer. You'll have a much better experience.  They are also having a nice sale.

 

 

I have to correct the comments of @Whichwayisnorth about me being "Ambassador" - they are 100% false.

In September 2017 (around then) Meade announced they were looking for "Brand Ambassadors".  The first step was to fill out an application, which I did.  Out of this batch Meade selected a set of finalists from applications they received - I was one of the finalists.  From this folks voted on the Meade website for their favorite candidate for "Brand Ambassador".   I was one of the top vote getters and was selected as "Brand Ambassador".   

Therefore @Whichwayisnorth's comment is 100% false.

 

I find @Whichwayisnorth's comment on the LX850 a hoot.  He was a beta tester, and was even pleased with the corrected mount (LX800->LX850).  He was so pleased with the LX850 he tried to sell me his tweaked LX850 mount (around late 2013/2014).  He told it me it was a great mount, LOL.  The thought was I would have a second mount, or a backup for parts.  I ended up not purchasing his mount.

 

OH...and here is an exact quote from @Whichwayisnorth on 9/4/2013 at 12:58 PM:  "Congrats on the LX850! Very very nice system. I am also glad that Andrew is willing to take the time to show videos etc. I have been promising to do that for a year now and haven't ;)".  Here is the link on CN:  https://www.cloudyni...w-lx-850-owner/    Clearly @Whichwayisnorth felt great about the LX850.

 

So @Whichwayisnorth kind of keep it chill.  Calm down.  Let's have a pleasant discourse vs. sour grapes.

 

 

QED


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#35 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 10:28 PM

RE:  Comments on the Auto Rate Calibration (ARC).

 

I do ARC every time with great success before every imaging session for the night.  I get nice round stars.  No complaints.



#36 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 10:37 PM

I leave it up there when I’m not traveling with the scope. I just don’t leave it setup outside when I know I won’t be using it for months or even a few weeks. Like I said before. I live in the city of San Francisco and if you’ve ever been here, it is very wet and foggy and salty. Not a good combo for electronics. Even if it’s under the telegizmo. And when I do dissemble it, I take everything apart and put it all into pelican cases for travel. Definitely not an issue of “inadvertently handled something in a non-conducive manner to longevity”

@Piggled,

 

Do NOT use the TG365 for long term use in your location (SFO).  I can pull it off because I am in the high desert of New Mexico.  Yes, we get rain and snow and my rig is nicely protected.  Your location is a different beast altogether - high humidity, rain, mist, fog, saltwater most of the time.  It would be nice for a night or two or three cover up, but that is it.



#37 carolinaskies

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 10:39 PM

SpacetravelerX is a "Ambassador" for Meade.  They picked him because he is the only person that will go to battle for their products.  So go back and re-read this thread with that understanding.

 

I had several as I was a beta tester for Meade out of the gate.  I since sold mine and went with a premium mount and setup. 

 

I wouldn't do it again under any circumstances.

 

If you are on a budget take a look at what Celestron has to offer. You'll have a much better experience.  They are also having a nice sale.

ROFL... plenty of us still love our Meades...  Meade has advanced the bar further for the amateur in this hobby moreso than the 'premium' manufacturers.  Considering the average hobbyist can't afford low volume, limited availability equipment but can pick up reasonable performing equipment from Meade in a wide range of buy-in points.  

Over 20 years ago I looked at many telescopes before settling on my first Meade.  I went to star parties, club events, etc and concluded I liked Meade's offerings because they were good, fit my needs, and fit my budget.  I upgraded to better equipment as I grew in the hobby, but never found the premium priced equipment exceptionally superior when the costs of ownership were added into the mix.  Today I do own also Celestron & Synta equipment too. 

The only premium mount I'd consider upgrading to if I had the extra money and a permanent location would be the Planewave L350, but for regular down to earth observing and general imaging there isn't the need whatsoever.  Bragging rights mostly.  You'll note I have a 16" LX200 GPS... I got it second hand from an estate, the only way I could afford such a magnificent beast.  I wouldn't trade that fork drive off for anything less than the L350 or swap over to the LX600 w/starlock.  

Personally I think disparaging Meade equipment is more a self-serving editorial than fact-based exposition of quality.   Sudden epiphanies when 'premium' equipment purchase seems to dictate a break from the mundane and regular equipment made by Meade... LOL. 
 


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#38 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 11:15 PM

 

 

You might consider a combination of a Meade 10" ACF and a 102-130mm APO refractor as a visual and AP setup. I recommend this for two reasons. First, imaging with a f/8 or f/10 SCT is not easy. Even with mirror locks. It is much better to start with a short focal length (or at least shorter focal length) refractor then work into using an SCT. In addition you can mount the 102mm sized APO on the SCT. That way visually you can go after small targets in the SCT and big objects in the APO. A very nice combination. You could mount it on a Skywatcher EQ-6R for example. For the APO I highly recommend the Explore Scientific FC100 APO's.

 

That entire setup will cost less than the LX850 mount by itself. It will also be significantly easier to setup and take down in terms of overall weight. Something for sure to consider. With the leftover money you would have spent on the LX850 you can get a full set of ES  82 degree eyepieces (though for both scopes I would really recommend the 18mm, 11mm, and 6.7mm which will give you everything you need to really see the stuff out there. The 24 and 30mm EP's are like clubs to beat something with. They are crazy big), a adapter to convert the SCT visual back to 2" compression so you can use the included 2" diagonal that the ES APO's come with, and if you want the autoalignment functionality that StarLock provides the StarSense for Skywatcher appliance. And you will still have money left over.

 

Lastly I would suggest you order these things from our sponsor, Astronomics. Not just because they pay for this site but because they provide a discount to members. All you have to do is mention your CN username in the order form and ask for the CN discount. It is a decent discount and every little bit helps.

 

For me an imaging it started very, very painfully back in the day with an Edmund Scientific Polaroid Camera and the Olympus OM-1.  Very very limited success.

Fast forward years later going to the Canon 60Da and then the Mallincam X2 (high drama on CN regarding Mallincam) and then the LX850 with the 14" f/8 ACF.  Shockingly I have been getting great images at this size and focal length with the LX850 right off the bat.  I have the entire set of Meade UWA eyepieces and they are wonderful.  However because of the Mallincam X2, the Canon 80D and 60Da and now the Meade DSI-IV I no longer use eyepieces except for solar viewing or public events (sometimes).  The live and nearly live views or quick 1 minute pictures at high ISO shows most targets in detail.  No more faint fuzzies or averted vision.

 

Simply put, before the LX850, things were pretty limiting for me on the Astrophotography, heck just seeing things.  After the LX850? I have seen and imaged over 500 different targets/events.  Deep Sky Objects? Easy peasy at f/8 on the 14" f/8 ACF. (check out my Instagram andrew_santangelo for a sample).

 

Now, I do agree with using a refractor too. A great way to learn and test, and some targets are better taken with a wider field refractor.  I first started out with the Meade 80mm ED APO and fell in love with it.  So much so, 3 months later I purchased the 130mm ED APO!  I also now have the Meade 70mm Quad Astrograph, a fun, portable wide field refractor for imaging.

 

Attached is my picture of my rig in full refractor mode...Note the Eagle 2 computer is mounted underneath on the refractor/LX850 rig.

Here is my video swapping from the 14" f/8 ACF to the 130mm ED APO...

Attached Thumbnails

  • 130mmEagle2.JPG
  • 130mmEagleAnd80mm.jpg


#39 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 31 August 2019 - 11:40 PM

One thing noted is the steadiness and accuracy of the LX850.   I piggy backed a PST on my LX850 rig to do time lapse photography of the activity of the Sun and then put it into motion.  Here is the result... shown on YouTube.


Also here is a video I did on the Meade Herschel Wedge.  This is pretty cool little bugger...we just need some Sun spots to look at now, LOL. This video lets you look closely at my "all refractor" variation of the LX850.



#40 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 11:05 AM

I have to correct the comments of @Whichwayisnorth about me being "Ambassador" - they are 100% false.

In September 2017 (around then) Meade announced they were looking for "Brand Ambassadors".  The first step was to fill out an application, which I did.  Out of this batch Meade selected a set of finalists from applications they received - I was one of the finalists.  From this folks voted on the Meade website for their favorite candidate for "Brand Ambassador".   I was one of the top vote getters and was selected as "Brand Ambassador".   

Therefore @Whichwayisnorth's comment is 100% false.

 

I find @Whichwayisnorth's comment on the LX850 a hoot.  He was a beta tester, and was even pleased with the corrected mount (LX800->LX850).  He was so pleased with the LX850 he tried to sell me his tweaked LX850 mount (around late 2013/2014).  He told it me it was a great mount, LOL.  The thought was I would have a second mount, or a backup for parts.  I ended up not purchasing his mount.

 

OH...and here is an exact quote from @Whichwayisnorth on 9/4/2013 at 12:58 PM:  "Congrats on the LX850! Very very nice system. I am also glad that Andrew is willing to take the time to show videos etc. I have been promising to do that for a year now and haven't ;)".  Here is the link on CN:  https://www.cloudyni...w-lx-850-owner/    Clearly @Whichwayisnorth felt great about the LX850.

 

So @Whichwayisnorth kind of keep it chill.  Calm down.  Let's have a pleasant discourse vs. sour grapes.

 

 

QED

I am obviously confused here Andrew.  I said you were an ambassador for Meade, you then said that statement is 100% false.  Not 50% false or 25% false but 100% false. Then you tell your story that Meade was looking for ambassadors and after filling out an application became a finalist, was the top voted finalist and was selected as ambassador.   Because of that Cloudy Nights branded you as Vendor Affiliate as we can all see from your avatar.

 

Are you sure I am 100% wrong?

 

And at the time back in 2013 my specific LX850 had gone back to Meade twice and they sent me back a broken mount then sent me a RA and DEC axis that I was able to essentially re-engineer the reduction gears until a design was finalized which was implemented in a new revision of the LX850.  Going forward with the understanding that the issues were fixed, I was happy to say it was a good system.  I was also in off the record casual communication with of the people in the factory who told me that they get very very few returns of the LX850 so I concluded they were out of the new-release bug phase and things were going well.

 

But then over the next few years (keep in mind this was back in 2012/2013) I kept hearing about more and more people with problems.  So I have changed my mind about them.  This is after all 2019 almost 2020.  New evidence changed my mind.  But I am not an ambassador or vendor affiliate so I am allowed to.


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#41 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 11:10 AM

ROFL... plenty of us still love our Meades...  Meade has advanced the bar further for the amateur in this hobby moreso than the 'premium' manufacturers.  Considering the average hobbyist can't afford low volume, limited availability equipment but can pick up reasonable performing equipment from Meade in a wide range of buy-in points.  

Over 20 years ago I looked at many telescopes before settling on my first Meade.  I went to star parties, club events, etc and concluded I liked Meade's offerings because they were good, fit my needs, and fit my budget.  I upgraded to better equipment as I grew in the hobby, but never found the premium priced equipment exceptionally superior when the costs of ownership were added into the mix.  Today I do own also Celestron & Synta equipment too. 

The only premium mount I'd consider upgrading to if I had the extra money and a permanent location would be the Planewave L350, but for regular down to earth observing and general imaging there isn't the need whatsoever.  Bragging rights mostly.  You'll note I have a 16" LX200 GPS... I got it second hand from an estate, the only way I could afford such a magnificent beast.  I wouldn't trade that fork drive off for anything less than the L350 or swap over to the LX600 w/starlock.  

Personally I think disparaging Meade equipment is more a self-serving editorial than fact-based exposition of quality.   Sudden epiphanies when 'premium' equipment purchase seems to dictate a break from the mundane and regular equipment made by Meade... LOL. 
 

 

If you want to be a Meade guy you have every right to do so.  But the guy was asking about the LX850 and I also have the right to warn him.  I didn't warn Piggled in time it seems.

 

https://www.cloudyni...c/#entry9668495

 

Now he has a system he regrets buying.


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#42 carolinaskies

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Posted 27 September 2019 - 11:09 AM

If you want to be a Meade guy you have every right to do so.  But the guy was asking about the LX850 and I also have the right to warn him.  I didn't warn Piggled in time it seems.

 

https://www.cloudyni...c/#entry9668495

 

Now he has a system he regrets buying.

Actually Piggled was looking for ANOTHER system because he does want to haul the 850 for a one night setup , acknowledging it isn't a portable system.   And he continues to work to get the 850 to perform as he would like.  So don't put ideas about other people's intent out there which aren't thoroughly within your realm of knowledge.   




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