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Rarity of Meade RCX400's?

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#1 GaryM


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Posted 23 February 2021 - 06:16 PM

I'm wondering how many of the Meade RCX400's 10", 12", 14", 16" telescopes were made?


I'm going to check some serial numbers and see if they shed any light.





#2 carolinaskies



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Posted 23 February 2021 - 10:31 PM

The RCX400 was a novelty out of the gate.
The cost was generally prohibitive over the LX200GPS model despite all the new features meant to replace the need for usual accessories. Meaning only the well healed amateur was likely to even to give the model a serious buying consideration.  

With issues to electronics of the focusing system and the general lack of Meade's commitment to the design and the litigation from designers of the R-C telescope it was shelved pretty quick, including an entire year without any production, from announcement to end I think it was only available for maybe 24-30mos under the RCX400 and then LX400 badge.  The precursor to the ACF faired better and was definitely much cheaper to make as it was not a significant technological change.
If I had to hazzard a production/sales comparison it was probable at best 1 RCX400/LX400 for every 30-40 LX200 over the same time period.  There were only a handful of the 20" and 16" Maxmount made and sold while the 16" fork probably was a little more plentiful.  

They are always an oddity when they turn up mentioned here on CN.  Mostly with failed focusing mechanisms and having been relegated to back corners of observatories out of utter disdain.  Occassionally someone will report in a still working model, or in the process of conversion like a 20" Max Mount currently being refurbed over in one of the Mediterranian countries.  

Total production?  I doubt they made it above the 500 or 600 mark being generous.  

EDIT: FWIW I checked the classifieds, since 2017 there have been some 10 & 12s listed (latest is 3 here in 2021) that amount to less than 10 units total.  


Edited by carolinaskies, 23 February 2021 - 10:41 PM.

#3 RalphMeisterTigerMan


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Posted 23 February 2021 - 10:57 PM

I read a review about the 20-inch. Definitely a scope that needed to be permanently mounted in an observatory. Trying to use it as "portable" to bring to star parties was the job for a masochist.


It took five very strong men just to lift and carry the tube assembly. If  you would like to see an approximation of this, watch the Movie "Battleship". There is a scene where a 15" shell for one of the large forward guns and the shell had to be carried quite a ways. Seeing this and imagining that it is a 20-inch Meade will give you a good idea of what you would be up against.


The large case that holds the scope actually has warning labels.


Clear skies!


#4 Peterson Engineering

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Posted Yesterday, 04:08 PM

The approach taken on the RCX400 were relatively complex.  And in order to keep the price reasonable the use of aerospace quality components wasn't viable.  If you have only a 1% defect rate and you have 100 components guess what's gonna happen?  Similar situation.  Meade overstretched with their attempt to keep a complex design economical.  And most RCX400s didn't last more than a year before some failure or another - but as mentioned mostly with the focus mechanism.


I got a very close look at Meade's 20-inch.at NEAF back when.  Only a handful were made - mostly for beta testing.  Not even sure if it ever went into production.  But it was MASSIVE.  Seem to recall that there were bugs in the drive at the beta stage.  The price was as impressive as the scope.  Not sure who the market was but not many of us have that kind of hobby change.

Edited by Peterson Engineering, Yesterday, 04:09 PM.

#5 GaryM


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Posted Yesterday, 05:13 PM

I love to research telescopes especially the unusual, rare, vintage, etc. I also like to collect them :-)


I'm an enthusiastic owner (as long as it works) of one of these RCX400's (10") and despite it's shortcomings, I love it.  A manual focuser takes care of using the OTA motors and once collimated you don't even have to use them.


I was able to track down a few serial numbers. I'm wondering if anyone can make any sense out of these?




It's a shame they didn't design it like the LX600 so that you could dismount the OTA and not have such a massive assembly, like about 85 lbs. just for the 10". Probably due to all of the electronics this would not be feasible.


Everything I have read about the optics reports have been glowing. I have heard that the design is the same as ACF but I will tell you that at least the baffle design is different than the modern ACF because I also have a 10" LX200 ACF and have compared them side by side. Of course I'm not sure if that matters, it just looks different. At some point I will take a photo. For now, all I have is the side by side photo included.






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#6 gcardona


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Posted Yesterday, 05:21 PM


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