I just received mine today, which, following tradition, was a cloudy day, so i had a go at it during day time. I'll add photos and youtubes later on as i narrow down the bells and quirks of this unit.
Since it's brand new, nobody knows how dependable in the long run, so my plan is to do a month long burn in, letting it run all day to see if the mount will hold up for years. This will need preparation to avoid accidents.
I like industrial aesthetic and this looks gorgeous in person. Some people dislike the blue from the photos, fear not for it is much darker an saturated IRL, which gives off an offbeat classy attitude - this mount is like James Bond, he doesn't care.
The shell is plastic but that didn't bother me as it feels rugged.
The mount and tripod are surprisingly sturdy, light and easy to carry, the spreader is crap plastic and won't last. The 8" tube is sturdy but crazy light with a nice crisp metallic focuser . The entire unit is very easy to put together - this will be used a lot, if it survives the burn-in period.
Turn that **** knob to focus the 8" and it wobbles. Tighten that alt lock handle hard and the wobble is equivalent to the old cpc 925 i had, when viewing trees through the 2" 40mm eyepiece (not much magnification so maybe that's why).
I didn't even bother mounting the toy viewfinder.
The motors are fast and very quiet. By user mistake they started tracking which showed me how smooth they are.
I they can easily move the 8" + 2" diagonal and a fat 2" handgrenade.
The secondary mount you ask? After struggling with the dovetail which wouldn't fit i measured it and realized it was a losmandy adaptateur i bought by mistake, so i'm waiting for a vixen replacement to install the PST on the secondary mount. Sun tomorrow? One can dream.
The hand unit is needed to move in az so you know it is slow at booting up.
I'm so used to convoluted antique softwares that alignment feels almost too easy. Past the alignment, though, I am back at home in the land it confusion: the menu structure is ... creative - i somehow turned on auto tracking and when I somehow turned that off, it started talking me through the cosmos.
I'm sure i'll get used to the logic once I read the manual.
So i did the unexpected: I took a glance at the manual, which is very well written and illustrated, and I learned that you can design your own tour via a scripting language. I'm way too chaotic for any kind of tour but for outreach this is absolutely fab!
Daytime observation through the new super light 8" ACF:
Focus knob takes up to 10 turns as is customary with SC.
1.25mm looks like garbage. that's with all the eyepieces i had, the cheap bino was ok with its included 2$ eyepieces, the linear bino was brighter but i couldn't merge comfortably and as a result didn't have enough eyeball filled to appreciate the optic, focus seemed soft so I switched to a MEADE 2" diagonal and a $200 MEADE 2" handgrenade. At first, the central dark area was occluding 60% of the view, I didn't know why so i switched things around and swapped for the other, lighter and $140 cheaper 2" eyepiece.
Super crisp, eyeball filled with image, colors saturated as if i was looking at the branches with the naked eye. A true extension of myself.
Overall impression is that this unit of full of endearing quirks and great ideas. Someone at MEADE truly cares.
Weather forecast says cloudy until Tuesday. Y'all are invited to come join me in a sun dance.
PS: I'm looking for advise on how to safely do the 24/7 mount burn-in. For example: how do i route the power cable so it doesn't wrap around.
Edited by daslolo, 13 February 2020 - 03:31 PM.