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Feel like giving up the hobby had enough to many dramas!?

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#1 Supernova74

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 03:40 PM

Hi all I love this hobby of ours however talk about test my patience really had enough at the moment feel like selling all my kit!? Well the short story as possible is I puchased a Meade 12” LX90 ACF back in November 2019 all well and good and generally happy with my puchase

in November 2020 I Started to have issues with the dec axis failing to slew in the initial alignment procedure,so as I was lucky the scope was within my dealers extended manufactures warranty of 2 years and the scope was sent back to my dealer for a qualified Meade engineer to have a look at,

not only the courier was messing me around on collection date the time the scope was picked up from my address to the dealer it was the best part of two weeks.

 

So lucky enough the fix did,nt take long then 3-4 days later the dealer rang me and the Meade engineer fixed my LX90 and according to the engineer the encoder and motor was replaced so all seemed good.then the scope was returned to me towards the end of November.

however due to typical uk bad weather I’ve only had maybe two or three clear nights to use the scope and I’ve also had a lot of personal issues to deal with at the same time,so just today all good to go on the clear weather front so i decided to set up my scope during the day I attempted drive training just to tweak the system Acuracy and in Dec axis it was a little out on target by a few degrees while the scope was going up and down.however the RA seemed to be spot on.

anyway I’ve waited till dusk to do the useall alignment procedure and as I always use true north as proves to be much more accurate on the 2 alignment stars and then slewed and the stars was way out the finders view.so I adjusted accordingly with slew rate arrows on handset alignment successfull.

 

however this was far from the truth as once the alignment was done i attempted to slew to a couple of stars the first one was on the very edge field of view just!? Then attempted on another star no way near also the same on mars.so to double check any user error i switched the scope off reset to factory settings and started again this time round the alignment stars was well in the field of view of the finder so finally I thought I was getting somewhere seemed not to be the case another 2 star alignment then slewed to another object NO WAY NEAR IN FOV lol.so gave up packed up the scope back in the shed.what makes this whole situation worse I’ve spent so far well over $8000 on high end kit best eyepieces,filters,power pack  the list goes on for a scope I cannot even use.i can handle the uk weather however not un reliable products and repairs.


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#2 JamesMStephens

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 04:07 PM

Don't despair, SN74.  

 

Did the telescope work correctly when you first got it?  

 

I don't have a Meade, I have a couple of iOptron mounts.   Can you update firmware in the hand controller?  Could there be a hardware problem with the hc?

 

Jim



#3 happylimpet

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 04:15 PM

I know its annoying but youve still got a very good telescope even if you have to manually point it and star hop to targets. Whcih is how many of us did it for decades...its all fun!

 

Not saying settle for this, but nothing to stop you using it in the mean time.


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#4 decep

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 04:26 PM

The LX200GPS and LX90 are not known for accurate slews, especially when you are moving more than 30-60 degrees.  Mine is about 20 years old and it usually gets to within 1-2 degrees of a target.  I still have to have a finderscope to zero things in sometimes.

 

When you do slew to a target and get it centered, make sure you sync the target so it is re-aligned in the computer.  You hold down the Enter button on the Autostar controller for about 3-5 seconds, recenter if you need to, and then hit enter.



#5 jgraham

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 04:32 PM

A couple of quick thoughts...

The general fix-all for Autostar scopes is to do a master reset and start over.

To get accurate GoTos you need to calibrate the motors and train the drives, in that order. Most train the drives, but don't calibrate the motors. It's only mentioned once in the manual and it is a simple one-step menu item. I always suggest that new users do both steps once, and then do it again once they see how it is done.

To get the most accurate GoTos synch the mount on the current object before slewing to the next target. Synching is easy; just press and hold the Enter key for about 3 seconds, release it, and press enter again. This resets the internal model so that the current position is updated.

I also have a fairly old 12" LX90GPS and I really love it! I hope that you get the kinks with yours worked out.
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#6 Starsareus

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 04:36 PM

Granted back in the "Dark Ages" when I just used a Map, Nikon Film camera and manual scope with RA Drive, I Could not take the "nice" digital images, but then I didn't get the "enjoyment" of dealing with hardware/software/computer Operating Systems conflicts.  I just looked at the sky.  KISS !


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#7 Redbetter

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 04:38 PM

Any chance that something is loose?  It has been shipped twice and the mount has been partially disassembled.  Perhaps a shaft is lose, a bracket or some part holding an encoder is moving about, etc.  I have no idea what this particular set up looks like inside.  Perhaps part of the tripod is shifting as you slew, or a fork is somewhat off perpendicular (not tight to the base?) 

 

I admit these all sound like long shots, but some time checking fasteners could be therapeutic, and might lead you to notice something else that is causing issues/not behaving as one would expect. The best part is these are best done in daylight anyway. 

 

Good luck. 


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#8 Supernova74

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 04:51 PM

Don't despair, SN74.  

 

Did the telescope work correctly when you first got it?  

 

I don't have a Meade, I have a couple of iOptron mounts.   Can you update firmware in the hand controller?  Could there be a hardware problem with the hc?

 

Jim

Yes the scope was fine back last October time goto was ok never perfect things never are tho.the scope has hardly been used to be honest only because of the uk weather I mention to dealer about the firmware update.if the scope has had new encoder and motor installed would this effect the current software I just don,t know put it this way put me off Meade lol



#9 JamesMStephens

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 04:56 PM

Yes the scope was fine back last October time goto was ok never perfect things never are tho.the scope has hardly been used to be honest only because of the uk weather I mention to dealer about the firmware update.if the scope has had new encoder and motor installed would this effect the current software I just don,t know put it this way put me off Meade lol

The motor and encoder may well have needed replacement, but the firmware runs n the hand controller.  The HC is the brain, if there's something wrong the controller you'll have a problem. Firmware is the easiest thing to deal with.  Best case, that'll fix it, worst case, no change.  


Edited by JamesMStephens, 26 February 2021 - 09:25 PM.


#10 sg6

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 05:03 PM

Your dates are close to the GPS roll over - although that depends on having GPS. The rollover was April 2019, your purchase in November could mean it had "old" firmware.

 

So first if you have GPS check the calculated date and time. Although if it is the rollover I would expect some wilder slews then described.

 

If no GPS have you reset the location from when you received it? The Meade engineer may have entered their own for test, I would. Maybe odd on my Meades the timezone is set to -0, it doesn't, or didn't, like 0.

 

A club here has an 8" Meade and a 14" Meade. The 8" was successfully updated with new firmware for the rollover, the 14" they have never managed to update and it remains unusable.

 

What do you expect the scope to do?

Sometimes goto is interpreted as "automatic", and they are far from automatic. Add in that a 12" SCT will have some 3000mm focal length whatever eyepiece you have will end up narrow. 0.9 degrees at best, (2" eyepiece) so an error of just 0.5 degrees puts any object out of view. Your view at the eyepiece is center and +/- 0.45 degrees. That is not a lot of comfort zone.

 

Final thought is go find ABSUK and on the front page there are assorted small boxed adverts for people and vendors. One is SCT - think it is Steve Collins Telescopes and he knows SCT's, think he may have worked for whoever was the Meade main dealer. He may be able to help although he now works on SCT scopes as his business so initial advice may be free but more or a visit will be at a cost. Think he is south of London, but not sure how fare East or West.


Edited by sg6, 26 February 2021 - 05:10 PM.


#11 Supernova74

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 05:09 PM

Your dates are close t he GPS roll over - although that depends on having GPS. The rollover was April 2019, your purchase in November could mean it had "old" firmware.

 

So first if you have GPS check the calculated date and time. Although if it is the rollover I would expect some wilder slews then described.

 

If no GPS have you reset the location from when you received it? The Meade engineer may have entered their own for test. Maybe odd on my Meades the timezone is set to -0, it doesn't, or didn't, like 0.

 

A club here has an 8" Meade and a 14" Meade. The 8" was successfully updated with new firmware for the rollover, the 14" they have never managed to update and it remains unusable.

 

What do you expect the scope to do?

Sometimes goto is interpreted as "automatic", and they are far from automatic. Add in that a 12" SCT will have some 3000mm focal length whatever eyepiece you have will end up narrow. 0.9 degrees at best, (2" eyepiece) so an error of just 0.5 degrees puts any object out of view. Your view at the eyepiece is center and +/- 0.45 degrees. That is not a lot of comfort zone.

Hi I will look into the firmware update as discussed thankyou guys well all I want is the scope to work as it did before went pair shaped 


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#12 Supernova74

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 05:18 PM

Ps might be over analysing things a little here I also mounted a power pack to the side of the forks with Velcro straps it’s a tracer compact 16ah weights in around 4lbs will this effect the scopes performance in any way!?



#13 KTAZ

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 05:32 PM

Ps might be over analysing things a little here I also mounted a power pack to the side of the forks with Velcro straps it’s a tracer compact 16ah weights in around 4lbs will this effect the scopes performance in any way!?

It certainly could affect your balance; I would suggest moving that down to the tripod leg.

 

As mentioned earlier in this thread, you will need to take some time, and patience, to work with the Meade mount. I will not go into detail; Meade optics can be spectacular, but their mounts and drives leave some to be desired, IMHO.

 

Do a serious read of the manual and understand how to calibrate the motors and train the drives, as well as resetting the hand controller and updating any firmware that needs updating.

 

As mentioned by SG6, that is a very long FL scope and the fact that a star is on the edge of the field is not a "failure" of the GOTO process. You will need to use several alignment points, the more the better, and sync the HC every time you have one perfectly centered, to obtain a solid sky model for subsequent GOTO's.


Edited by KTAZ, 26 February 2021 - 05:33 PM.

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#14 jgraham

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 06:15 PM

I forgot about the GPS rollover issue. I turned my GPS off and just enter the time and date manually.



#15 KTAZ

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 09:32 PM

Oh, and BTW, what eyepiece are you using to do your alignments? Use the lowest power eyepiece you have.



#16 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 10:22 PM

Gday Supernova74

Being an LX90, it should be pretty accurate as long as the encoders are working and the

align stars used are a good pair.

That said

a) What firmware do you have loaded

b) Is it a GPS mount and if so,after fixing, is it reporting the correct "date"

    ( Time and location will be OK, but the date can be wrong if yr GPS lump has tripped )

c) Have you reconfirmed the encoders are OK by doing a spin test?

d) When you do an align what "altitude" are the selected stars at???

    I have found using anything above abot 50deg can give iff results.

e) When you centre a target star, how accurate can you get it?????

    ( slight errors here, esp at high altitudes, can have big effects )

    If you dont have a xHair EP, a good trick is to use a high power EP

    and defocus badly such that the stars become huge donuts.

    Do the align in this mode and it is very easy to judge centre

    Once aligned, focus properly.

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#17 mconnelley

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 12:58 AM

Hello:

  Sounds a lot like my experience with Meade scopes from a while back.  I hated them with a passion that burned like the Sun.  I've been a happy dobsonian user since then.  For most of my observing, the most sophisticated electronics is my red dot finder, and I'd like to keep things like that as much as possible.  I just want the electronics to stay out of the way so I can get on with observing.  

 

Cheers

Mike



#18 michael8554

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 04:58 AM

Does the Factory Reset reset your Calibrate Motors, Train Drives, and Location ?

 

Having the mount level is important in Alt/Az mode.

 

The worldwide GPS Rollover caused many GPS units to report the wrong year, cured by a Firmware Update.

 

Best done with the free StarPatch loader, as the Meade ASU is very user unfriendly.

 

As others have said, centreing a known star near your Target and SYNCHing  gets your GoTo Target spot on.



#19 Supernova74

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 07:50 AM

Does the Factory Reset reset your Calibrate Motors, Train Drives, and Location ?

 

Having the mount level is important in Alt/Az mode.

 

The worldwide GPS Rollover caused many GPS units to report the wrong year, cured by a Firmware Update.

 

Best done with the free StarPatch loader, as the Meade ASU is very user unfriendly.

 

As others have said, centreing a known star near your Target and SYNCHing  gets your GoTo Target spot on.

Thankyou regards synchronise do you press down the enter button for s few seconds before it actually slews to the alignment star!?or do you press enter  button for a few seconds when the star is centralised in the eyepiece then press enter to corfirm.



#20 hypergolic

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 09:55 AM

Check backlash. Too much backlash will mess up your accuracy big time.



#21 carolinaskies

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 10:49 AM

The LX200GPS and LX90 are not known for accurate slews, especially when you are moving more than 30-60 degrees.  Mine is about 20 years old and it usually gets to within 1-2 degrees of a target.  I still have to have a finderscope to zero things in sometimes.

 

When you do slew to a target and get it centered, make sure you sync the target so it is re-aligned in the computer.  You hold down the Enter button on the Autostar controller for about 3-5 seconds, recenter if you need to, and then hit enter.

This is a FALSE statement.  I've been operating LX200s since the 90s and any slew issues I see are typically my own failure in one way or another.  When I pay attention to details my slews are accurate and centered.

Slewing accuracy is very good on LX200 and LX90 models and except in rare occassions of actual mechanical or electric part failure are uncommon to the software except for the GPS rollover issue.  

Error in slewing typically is operator error using sloppy technique in setup or alignment.  

Typical operator errors:

  • Wrong location, date, time 
  • Failure to properly establish NORTH setting either using compass and using magnetic vs true 
  • Failure to train drives through menu system
  • Failure to align finder with main OTA causing multiple errors
  • Failure to accurately place alignment stars due to using too low power and star is off-centered
  • Claiming alignment is off due to using too high of a power
  • Choosing the wrong star in a field as the alignment star
  • Blaming faulty slews on telescope when power input is inadequate such as battery capacity low
  • Failure to fully engage RA or DEC clutches causing slippage

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#22 Supernova74

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 11:50 AM

 

This is a FALSE statement.  I've been operating LX200s since the 90s and any slew issues I see are typically my own failure in one way or another.  When I pay attention to details my slews are accurate and centered.

Slewing accuracy is very good on LX200 and LX90 models and except in rare occassions of actual mechanical or electric part failure are uncommon to the software except for the GPS rollover issue.  

Error in slewing typically is operator error using sloppy technique in setup or alignment.  

Typical operator errors:

  • Wrong location, date, time 
  • Failure to properly establish NORTH setting either using compass and using magnetic vs true 
  • Failure to train drives through menu system
  • Failure to align finder with main OTA causing multiple errors
  • Failure to accurately place alignment stars due to using too low power and star is off-centered
  • Claiming alignment is off due to using too high of a power
  • Choosing the wrong star in a field as the alignment star
  • Blaming faulty slews on telescope when power input is inadequate such as battery capacity low
  • Failure to fully engage RA or DEC clutches causing slippage

 

Hi carolinaskys I’m aware of the above possible failures in your discription thankyou however most listed is more and less common sense and I have addressed the problems and I’m not doing anything different as I did before back when firstly the faults started acuring towards the back end of 2020 all due respect I’ve only used the scope around a dozen times since puchased it the power supply is a tracer 16ah lifepo4 lithium iron phosphate battery pack not the cheaper alternative like talent cell you can puchase on amazon,eBay etc it’s one of the better ones on the market as all there products are also supplied to emergency services,before I was only useing C-cell rechargeable batteries did,nt have any issues with them 



#23 Supernova74

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 12:03 PM

On a very slightly different note I’m no particular fan of any brand name only how it serves me personally however I’m strongly considering going back to celestron there build quality is superior in my eyes with there mounts even down to the casting,overall build quality down to the finish compared to my LX90 shabby mount.Meades ACF optics are better visually I feel,but as I’m aware Meade was based in California now Mexico might be reason why some quality control has slipped through the net cheap labour force cheap manufacturing standards.


Edited by Supernova74, 27 February 2021 - 12:04 PM.


#24 carolinaskies

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 12:14 PM

Hi carolinaskys I’m aware of the above possible failures in your discription thankyou however most listed is more and less common sense and I have addressed the problems and I’m not doing anything different as I did before back when firstly the faults started acuring towards the back end of 2020 all due respect I’ve only used the scope around a dozen times since puchased it the power supply is a tracer 16ah lifepo4 lithium iron phosphate battery pack not the cheaper alternative like talent cell you can puchase on amazon,eBay etc it’s one of the better ones on the market as all there products are also supplied to emergency services,before I was only useing C-cell rechargeable batteries did,nt have any issues with them 

Run through a firmware update with Starpatch software not Meade software, retrain the drives a couple times, check for slippage in DEC though as a barely used telescope this shouldn't be a problem.  The battery weight attached to a fork arm is probably a little excessive, but test with & without the weight attached to see if there is a difference in slew accuracy.  Do you have anything abnormal attached to the OTA (like large guidescope or counterweight bar underneath?)

If your Lithium battery has a readout definitely keep track of voltage, if it doesn't consider buying an inline digital readout which will show power consumption/voltage status.  Drops in voltage do cause issues with every mount out there.  

When you do your alignment and it completes it should show the deviation between alignment stars.  

Finally, are you working on a wedge in EQ mode or flat on tripod in Alt-Az? 



#25 carolinaskies

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Posted 27 February 2021 - 12:34 PM

On a very slightly different note I’m no particular fan of any brand name only how it serves me personally however I’m strongly considering going back to celestron there build quality is superior in my eyes with there mounts even down to the casting,overall build quality down to the finish compared to my LX90 shabby mount.Meades ACF optics are better visually I feel,but as I’m aware Meade was based in California now Mexico might be reason why some quality control has slipped through the net cheap labour force cheap manufacturing standards.

Meade has been manufacturing telescopes in both China and Mexico for more than 15 years now.  And the Mexico plant is staffed with many California employees so I don't think blaming that factory is either fair or accurate.   And FWIW, Celestron has it's own build issues.

I sold off a 2004 CPC1100 a couple years back due to some very poor quality parts the Celestron engineers decided to employ on the mount and still use today.  I replaced it with a 2004 LX200GPS which I'm quite tickled with.  The ergonomic design of the CPC does look futurist but it comes at a price.  Celestron power input and power switch are both prone to failure on CPC telescopes, also there is a long standing issue with the Nexstar hand controls failing out of the blue. 

The CPC and LX90s are similar concepts of non-manual controls except for clutch locks.  Both employ onboard non-charging battery boxes. Sadly neither company has thought to upgrade to onboard rechargeable packs. 

Personally I'm not brand specific either, right now I'd love to upgrade my Skywatcher NEQ6 to an iOptron CEM but don't have the budget to do that ATM.  I've been around telescopes for going on 35 years now and have rarely seen other than an occassional lemon from any major company.   

I think the main issue you likely have is compounded with the lack of continous good weather in the UK to sort out issues and find your satisfaction lacking.  Changing mounts isn't likely to give you much satisfaction if you can't get out to use any telescope.  But maybe you can find someone willing to trade a CPC1100 for your LX90 12" and you can give it a go.  

 

Clear Skies! 




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