Here is the situation:
We have a 12" Meade LX200R that was bought and installed on a pier back in 2005, I believe. There seems to be two main issues with the scope:
1. As is the case with many of these larger SCTs, the focusing is just not working all that well. The fov shifts rather than the image coming into focus. You can sometimes wrestle it into focus, but it very quickly loses its focus again (and forget about changing eyepieces on the fly during a star party ... ). I've looked into this issue, and it sounds like there may be some potential solutions, just about all of which requiring I take the thing apart, which I'm not entirely eager to do but will try to figure it out if need be.
2. We have had a tough time getting the GPS / tracking to work. We can usually locate an object manually, ID it in the catalogue, and then select "track", and it will follow the object okay. But any attempts at aligning the scope using three stars have not gone well. And anytime you select an object for it to slew automatically to, it turns all around, twisting the wires and usually ends up upside down or backward, nowhere near where it's supposed to be. (Again, finding things manually works, but we'd like more people at the school to use it, and I'm not sure they're willing to learn the night sky.)
I've reached out to Meade, and they suggested we send the scope in for service, but we're not eager to do that either, as it will cost maybe about how much the scope is currently worth just in shipping alone. I've spoken to a few people in the area who have some experience with this scope, who basically recommended it may be time to look into getting the new and improved version, which is not impossible. (We would just have to make a case for it.)
What would you do? Try to get this thing back on its feet, even if the focuser and software seem outdated? Send it off to Meade despite the cost? Try to sell our current scope and buy an updated version, like the LX200ACF or LX600 with Starlock? (Apparently the latter has fixed the image shift issue, and I've also heard the software has come a long way since 2005 –– a newer version will be way more user friendly and will get more use at our school.)
We have a meeting to discuss the issue in a few days, and those in charge seem to be leaning more toward trying to fix the scope we have (obviously), which is why I'm trying to come up with a compelling case for why it makes more sense to update our equipment.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!