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Meade Company

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#1 dreeves2015

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 04:35 PM

An interesting issue i have just resolved...

 

In 2006, i purchased my first Meade LX200GPS, 10", then shortly after, a Meade DSI and Ultra Wedge and related equipment.

 

In Sept 2017, my LX200GPS was stolen from my garage and insurance paid for a new one and also informed me Meade still made the LX200 series scopes which i was unaware of. So having loved my age old LX200GPS for such a long time, i purchased a new LX200ACF in 10". Then in Feb 2018, i had a lower back fusion and was unable to do anything with the scope until this past couple months due to healing and continued issues.

 

So here we are now in Jan 2020 and i am scrambling to get the wedge stuff all in order to use. On the scope base, there are 3 holes to mount the scope to the wedge. All 3 are supposed to be 3/8" holes. The top hole on my new scope is an unknown around 1/2" hole and threaded. So i look to the Ultra Wedge manual and it says 3/8". So thinking maybe Meade changed for some reason i researched their new XWedge...which calls for the same 3/8" screws. 

 

So after stringing my head out on why this is changed and how i would adapt the Ultra Wedge to the scope, i called Meade and asked them why they made this change. Was it a safety issue or what was the deal. I didn't want to do something which may hurt me or cause damage to the scope like bolt breaking and falling or something. Meade rep was dumbfounded as well as he said they should all 3 be 3/8" holes. He contacted Meade engineers and informed me somehow, sometimes that hole gets tapped bigger then supposed to and Meade factory installs a helicoil in it to correct the hole. Mine didn't have this helicoil and i looked in the box it was shipped in and no helicoil either. So the rep said they could send me one...

 

Today, the next day after this phone call, no response back from Meade either call or email so i called them back. After 3 attempts and an email, i finally get an email back telling me they wont send me a helicoil as it is a liability. They did however give me a link to a supplier for this part and the exact part i needed. 

 

In any case, this will definately be my last Meade purchase ever. Whether they do go under with their recent financial problems or not, they wont see any more money from me. The email i received made it seem like they were refusing to acknowledge their fault with the hole size and made it seem like somehow it was my fault the hole is bigger, ie...stripped out, etc etc etc. Like i told them on the phone, i unpacked the scope and mounted it to the tripod when i first received it and it has remained that way until 3 days ago when i started working with the wedge. They were surprised that the hole was threaded and the threads are in tact, and i find it a little odd they knew exactly what size and the exact part number for what i would need...how would you know that? hahaha

 

Anyways, if you recently bought a Meade scope, check the bottom of the scope base for your holes and that they are all the same size with the exception of the tripod center mounting bolt which is like 1/2". And if anyone needs to link to obtain a helicoil, message me and i will send it to you. Dont know if i can post links to other companies in here or not.

 

Have a good one!


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#2 John Miele

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 06:41 PM

Do you have the tools needed to install a helicoil? They do not just thread right in...IMHO they should send you repair it for you for free.



#3 dreeves2015

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 08:58 PM

Do you have the tools needed to install a helicoil? They do not just thread right in...IMHO they should send you repair it for you for free.

Well, the hole is already threaded, and i think this may be something Meade has done before as they knew what size helicoil to get and like i said, sent me a link to the exact part. I hadn't even measured the hole until after. One service rep at Meade said they would replace the entire scope base and would even work with me on the cost of that and the shipping...not going to happen. 

 

I ordered the coil they said to get, so if it doesn't fit well, i will re-tap the hole and mill the top slot on the wedge tilt plate to accommodate it as that was what i was leaning to anyways. 

 

To answer your question, yes i have what i need to install it. The main reason for the post was to alert other Meade owners or would be Meade owners to be on the look out for this problem on their scopes. I hadn't even looked at the bottom until the other day when i was working with the wedge, never thought about it, the center bolt goes right in from the tripod and there was no reason to inspect the bottom until i decided to do the wedge.



#4 dreeves2015

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Posted 10 January 2020 - 09:01 PM

For the life of me, i don't see how they could have miss-tapped that hole to begin with...unless a fault in assembly or QC stripped the original hole and that is how they repair that. But to know the size of the hole without my telling them and the direct link to where to purchase the exact needed piece is rather suspicious. hahahaha



#5 Peterson Engineering

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 07:49 AM

What a bummer.  That front screw is obviously the most important one as that's what you hang the scope from.  And an approximately 1/2 inch threaded hole is what one would use for a 3/8" Helicoil thread insert.  

 

Because that front screw sees a lot of use under load it would actually be good engineering practice to use a steel insert in the aluminum base.  It may well be that this isn't a consistent practice and someone simply forgot to insert the coil.

 

Note, even if the hole for the Helicoil is already tapped for the thread insert, a special tool is required to screw the Helicoil in.

 

We used to make $35 thread repair kits for the declination lock and there were so many variations in Meade's thread that we finally discontinued.  Part of the problem was that we were frequently loaning out a full Helicoil repair kit (drill bit, special tap, insertion tool, and coil) and these $95 value kits weren't being returned.

 

Good luck.

 

Pete



#6 carolinaskies

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 07:52 AM

First... sorry you have an issue.  

Did you not assemble the telescope with wedge when you purchased it 2 years ago?  

This mismatch would have been something noticed IMMEDIATELY upon attempting assembly and should have been addressed with the vendor immediately. 

Helicoils are regularly available at most autoparts shops like NAPA btw.  



 



#7 dreeves2015

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 02:34 PM

First... sorry you have an issue.  

Did you not assemble the telescope with wedge when you purchased it 2 years ago?  

This mismatch would have been something noticed IMMEDIATELY upon attempting assembly and should have been addressed with the vendor immediately. 

Helicoils are regularly available at most autoparts shops like NAPA btw.  



 

No i didn't. It was all i could do to mount the scope to the tripod with my back messed up. I had my fusion the following Feb 2018. So now i am able to mess with it..and i run into this! hahaha if it wasn't for bad luck i wouldn't have allot of luck...

 

On a side note though...the VA did my back fusion and didn't kill me or make me any worse, and actually made it a little better, so i guess that is some good luck in this day and age!!



#8 dreeves2015

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Posted 11 January 2020 - 02:38 PM

What a bummer.  That front screw is obviously the most important one as that's what you hang the scope from.  And an approximately 1/2 inch threaded hole is what one would use for a 3/8" Helicoil thread insert.  

 

Because that front screw sees a lot of use under load it would actually be good engineering practice to use a steel insert in the aluminum base.  It may well be that this isn't a consistent practice and someone simply forgot to insert the coil.

 

Note, even if the hole for the Helicoil is already tapped for the thread insert, a special tool is required to screw the Helicoil in.

 

We used to make $35 thread repair kits for the declination lock and there were so many variations in Meade's thread that we finally discontinued.  Part of the problem was that we were frequently loaning out a full Helicoil repair kit (drill bit, special tap, insertion tool, and coil) and these $95 value kits weren't being returned.

 

Good luck.

 

Pete

Yes it would make sense if that was the normal procedure for the scopes, but the older LX200GPS didn't have that, that i recall, and the service rep at Meade made it sound like the helicoil is a repair solution, not a construction issue. But i do agree with you...given the importance of that top hole, yes it would make better sense with the stainless bolt going into a stainless thread versus softer aluminum. I will see how it all fits out when i get the parts in this next week. Thanks!



#9 dreeves2015

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Posted 13 January 2020 - 01:26 AM

What a bummer.  That front screw is obviously the most important one as that's what you hang the scope from.  And an approximately 1/2 inch threaded hole is what one would use for a 3/8" Helicoil thread insert.  

 

Because that front screw sees a lot of use under load it would actually be good engineering practice to use a steel insert in the aluminum base.  It may well be that this isn't a consistent practice and someone simply forgot to insert the coil.

 

Note, even if the hole for the Helicoil is already tapped for the thread insert, a special tool is required to screw the Helicoil in.

 

We used to make $35 thread repair kits for the declination lock and there were so many variations in Meade's thread that we finally discontinued.  Part of the problem was that we were frequently loaning out a full Helicoil repair kit (drill bit, special tap, insertion tool, and coil) and these $95 value kits weren't being returned.

 

Good luck.

 

Pete

With all the Meade upgrades and stuff you make...do you by chance have the specifications for an older Meade Ultra Wedge Tangent Arm? I was looking for one in 2017 before by back went farther south and was unable to follow up on anything back then, nor use the scope. I had one guy who had one back then and will look to see if he still has it this week, but in the event he doesn't, i need to find a source for one. Talking to Meade on the phone with this entire hole issue i have gotten the impression they have zero knowledge, either on purpose or not, of their mid 2000s products. Thanks!



#10 nitegeezer

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 01:00 PM

Another option than a helicoil if it is tapped for a 1/2" bolt would be to have a machine shop turn down the top portion of a 1/2" bolt to 3/8" so the bolt would fit the mount and the turned down portion would match the slot. I would trust that a whole lot more than a helicoil.
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#11 dreeves2015

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 04:08 PM

Well i got the helicoils that Meade said i needed. They are too small, they slip in and slip out. 

 

Waiting on a call back from the retailer who i purchased this scope from...i don't think Meade is interested in the situation unless i were to cough up how much money to ship it back to California and pay for the bottom to be replaced...total crap. 

 

Iam sure now, Meade wont ever get anymore money from me for anything after this headache.

 

I cannot even obtain the thread pitch or anything with it being inside a hole. Even with a thread gauge, you cannot see to determine if you have the correct one or not, and going by feel doesn't seem to overly accurate. Suppose i could buy 10 different sized bolts and see which one fits. hahahaha

 

I think i will stick to my original plan of a bolt big enough to fit proper and a mill job to widen the slot for it. The area around the wedge hole doesn't allow for much room, but the center mounting hole is bored through the same width below it and that bolt is just ever so slightly larger then what the tapped hole is.

 

Would expect this from some fly by night company, but not Meade...

 

Here is what it looks like.

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Edited by dreeves2015, 14 January 2020 - 04:35 PM.


#12 dreeves2015

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 05:06 PM

Do you have the tools needed to install a helicoil? They do not just thread right in...IMHO they should send you repair it for you for free.

Yes i do...but the coil size Meade is too small. The hole is about .480", and these coils are .39 something. 

 

Don't think Meade is going to do anything about it...even give me any solution other then the wrong size coils...hahahaha These people today, crack me up.



#13 Stevegeo

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 06:09 PM

Recently at work I came across nearly the same situation.  Hole too big for helicoil.

 

I'm gonna stick my neck out and chime in..

There is a nut available, which works like a pop rivet. 

You screw this nut onto the tool, insert into the hole, then squeeze the tool which expands the exterior of the nut expands locking it to the hole.

 They are available in 1/2 in ...  i just measured one of these a d OD is .48in. With a thread of 3/8 course thread ID.

 

I have used this method many times with success.  

The name I have on my kit is NUTSERT...

 

Something to consider... let us know how you make out... good luck.

 

Stevegeo Area3751 observatory otisco ny. 


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#14 nitegeezer

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 08:37 PM

A .48" hole is the proper size for a 14mm-2mm tap and bolt. I would be very careful what you do here as all the weight of the mount and scope is on this bolt during the initial phase of mounting on the wedge. Rather than notching the wedge, I would use a 14mm bolt that had the top portion of the bolt turned down to 3/8" on a lathe.
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#15 Vinito

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 12:48 AM

There are other threaded inserts that require a larger hole than a helicoil to fit. I'm guessing you already knew that, but just FYI. If you knew the specs of the existing hole and thread, I could whip out an insert to suit and just mail it to you, but you'd want to know what the specs actually are.

If you were me, I'd carry the wedge into a hardware store and try different bolts in the hole until you find one that fits. If you can get that, it's just a matter of drilling and tapping the end of the bolt for the 3/8 (i.e. make yer own insert), then cut off the proper length for it to do the deed. "Violin !"

 

Shame Meade is washing their hands of the thing. Sad to see.


Edited by Vinito, 15 January 2020 - 12:50 AM.


#16 kurbs

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 06:10 AM

Recently at work I came across nearly the same situation.  Hole too big for helicoil.

 

I'm gonna stick my neck out and chime in..

There is a nut available, which works like a pop rivet. 

You screw this nut onto the tool, insert into the hole, then squeeze the tool which expands the exterior of the nut expands locking it to the hole.

 They are available in 1/2 in ...  i just measured one of these a d OD is .48in. With a thread of 3/8 course thread ID.

 

I have used this method many times with success.  

The name I have on my kit is NUTSERT...

 

Something to consider... let us know how you make out... good luck.

 

Stevegeo Area3751 observatory otisco ny. 

 

 

I have used those in many applications as well. Tow bars, bumpers, motorcycle bags, you name it. I have not had any issues with weight ot tensile strength yet. Nutserts are good. Expensive so I grab mine at Ace Hardware or Home Depot under other names. Amazon has them as well as Ebay. 

 

If they hold up a bumper on an off road 4x4 or a trailer tow bar, or a rattling Harley over thousands of miles..a telescope will be fine.You may have to drill the diameter out a bit, so when buying look at the full hole size needed for these, not just the thread size hole.


Edited by kurbs, 15 January 2020 - 06:10 AM.

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#17 dreeves2015

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 01:40 PM

Interesting discovery today...i went to Ace Hardware and bought a 1/2" and a 14mm bolt...the 1/2" slips in and out without turning and the 14mm screws in about 1/2" then tightens. I suspected the threads were tapered as the main bolt for the scope to the tripod loosely screws in and then tightens up. I was unsure as to whether it was tightening up on the bottom of the scope base internals or not, but suspected the threads may be tapered, which i know now that they are. Which would make sense as you wouldn't want the bolt to reach the bottom on the base interior. So now try and find an insert for this or a tapered 14mm stainless bolt...like a plumbing fitting i guess.



#18 alval

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 04:45 PM

Could be that if the 14mm starts and tightens that it may be a 9/16 x 12 tpi which is close at 14.2 od by 2.1 pitch. If all the others where imperial not sure why theyd use a metric thread. When you find the right bolt cut a piece of the thread off and drill and tap the centre to the thread you need, then loctite and screw the threaded bush in. It would probably be stronger than the original into aluminium. You may need to clean the scope thread up with a parallel tap. Surely wouldnt cost much at an engineering shop if you dont have the taps. 

Al



#19 dreeves2015

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 11:18 AM

Could be that if the 14mm starts and tightens that it may be a 9/16 x 12 tpi which is close at 14.2 od by 2.1 pitch. If all the others where imperial not sure why theyd use a metric thread. When you find the right bolt cut a piece of the thread off and drill and tap the centre to the thread you need, then loctite and screw the threaded bush in. It would probably be stronger than the original into aluminium. You may need to clean the scope thread up with a parallel tap. Surely wouldnt cost much at an engineering shop if you dont have the taps. 

Al

Thats similar to what i was thinking of doing, but with a stainless steel bar. Thanks



#20 dreeves2015

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 11:22 AM

Meade contacted me this morning and is working on trying to locate the piece and send it to me...meantime, i was looking at it a few minutes ago and was curious...the 2, 3/8" holes are drilled and tapped into a raised tab, the larger unknown size hole is also drilled and tapped in a raised tab. All 3 hole tabs are proportionate to the size of hole drilled in them, including the large unknown hole. I sent that pic to Meade when i replied to them asking why that is like that. Had that hole been meant to be drilled and tapped for 3/8" why wouldn't the raised tab be the same size as the other 2. I included a picture of what i am talking about.

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#21 dreeves2015

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 02:24 PM

So i sent the edited photo with the tabs highlighted to the customer service rep i have been working with at Meade...now he is telling me that is in the design and not a flaw...and as has been mentioned before by myself and others...it is specifically to utilize a stainless insert to prevent stripping the threads when mounting the scope on their X Wedge, which is the newer Meade wedge. He is locating the missing part from their warehouse and will be sending them to me...i guess we will see.

 

Kind of figured they were not being overly honest with me telling me someone stripped the threads out...until i noticed the tab difference's, now it's missing the insert that was supposed to be in it...



#22 alval

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 04:03 PM

That makes sense strengthening the thread that takes most of the strain. Pity that meade customer service arent up with their own designs. 


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#23 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 06:29 PM

Every company has a lot of turnover in Customer Service. And Meade had an almost complete staff rollover when they were saved from bankruptcy the previous time and purchased by the Chinese.

Very likely the persons you have been talking to simply aren't familiar with older models and past design decisions and are sometimes talking from the seat of their pants. And Meade has never been very good about keeping all of the records and documentation around for their older models.



#24 dreeves2015

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 07:28 PM

Every company has a lot of turnover in Customer Service. And Meade had an almost complete staff rollover when they were saved from bankruptcy the previous time and purchased by the Chinese.

Very likely the persons you have been talking to simply aren't familiar with older models and past design decisions and are sometimes talking from the seat of their pants. And Meade has never been very good about keeping all of the records and documentation around for their older models.

I agree....he was contacting and getting his information from their engineering dept..he was forwarding their emails to me. Hopefully they will send me the correct insert and i can be done with it..i am sure you all are as tired of reading my whining as much as i am tired of whining.. hahahaha



#25 dreeves2015

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 04:06 PM

Got my inserts today...couldn't order just 1, so pack of 5 it is.

 

Screwed right in and it comes with thread lock already applied which takes 72 hours for full cure. These are EZ-Lok branded thread inserts. 

 

Now to wait 3 more days to try it out!

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Edited by dreeves2015, 22 January 2020 - 04:07 PM.

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