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Meade LX 850 permanent mount

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#1 LouHalikman

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 06:08 AM

I have an observatory mounted Meade LX 850 with Starlock carrying a C 14 Edge plus EAA equipment.  I have had this mount for two years and am completely at a loss regarding startup and goto functions.  In short, I can't make it work.

 

All of the individual components seem to work.  Starlock powers up and the mount motors work fine.  Meade generously replaced some of he components so they all seem to work.  I have done a very accurate polar alignment with the built in program and with a Polemaster.  The results were nearly identical.  The Meade program works.

 

Now that I have an excellent polar alignment, what is the start-up routine?  It should only have to go to home, get a GPS fix, and be ready for pointing, just like my former CGE PRO, which held alignment so well that I did not even need to do a supplemental one star alignment.  The start-up menu does not seem to have a permanent polar alignment option.  It wants me to start with finding German north, then moving the mount to center Polaris, etc.  None of that is indicated since polar alignment has already been achieved.  What procedure is recommended?

 

Second, no matter what I do, pointing a way off.  Not even close.  It does not seem to be be able to plate solve.  Am I doing something wrong or is the mount and computer defective?

 

Any suggestions would be most helpful.  I suspect that the error is in the startup, but I simply can't get it to work.  Thanks  Lou 



#2 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 08:11 AM

Lou,

 

First, you need to ‘Park’ the mount when done using or you will experience the problems you listed all the time.

 

I am on my boat and can’t reference the pages in the manual, however here are the summary of the steps I do:

 

First time setup:

  • power on
  • Easy Align
  • Auto Drift align
  • Auto Rate Calibration
  • PE Training
  • 3-4 PE Updates (I get great results doing this)
  • Enjoy the night
  • When done PARK the mount.  If you don’t you lose all training and alignment information!
  • power off

 

Procedure after first time use:

  • Power on
  • Go to a brighter star near equator 
  • Auto Rate Calibration
  • Enjoy the night
  • Park the Telescope
  • Power Off

This procedure has worked for me for the past 8 years.

 

Enjoy!


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#3 LouHalikman

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Posted 05 June 2021 - 09:47 AM

thank you!  One quick question.  I have never used the Easy Align function.  I am already polar aligned.  Does Easy Align require any changes of the azimuth and altitude bearings?  Obviously I don't want to touch the mount since my polar alignment is spot on with Polemaster.  Incidentally, the built in autostar polar alignment procedure was very close to the position determined by Polemaster.  I do mostly EAA so periodic rate correction is not an issue.  Thanks  Lou



#4 kzar

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Posted 06 June 2021 - 10:25 AM

thank you!  One quick question.  I have never used the Easy Align function.  I am already polar aligned.  Does Easy Align require any changes of the azimuth and altitude bearings?  Obviously I don't want to touch the mount since my polar alignment is spot on with Polemaster.  Incidentally, the built in autostar polar alignment procedure was very close to the position determined by Polemaster.  I do mostly EAA so periodic rate correction is not an issue.  Thanks  Lou

Hi Lou,

 

Since you are already well polar aligned, I don't see why you would need to follow the "easy align" process every time you power on - especially with the "plave-solving" approach. However, if Starlock is used for auto guiding, then you better to stick to Andrew's process (i.e. auto rate calibration).

 

Regards,

Aygen



#5 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 06 June 2021 - 11:07 AM

thank you!  One quick question.  I have never used the Easy Align function.  I am already polar aligned.  Does Easy Align require any changes of the azimuth and altitude bearings?  Obviously I don't want to touch the mount since my polar alignment is spot on with Polemaster.  Incidentally, the built in autostar polar alignment procedure was very close to the position determined by Polemaster.  I do mostly EAA so periodic rate correction is not an issue.  Thanks  Lou

Lou,

 

If you are already aligned just ignore the recommendations in Easy Align and "Click on through" making no changes the function recommends.

Again, once you are all set AND you "PARK" your mount the LX850 will automatically bypass the setup functions.  The key is to PARK your mount.



#6 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 06 June 2021 - 11:09 AM

Hi Lou,

 

Since you are already well polar aligned, I don't see why you would need to follow the "easy align" process every time you power on - especially with the "plave-solving" approach. However, if Starlock is used for auto guiding, then you better to stick to Andrew's process (i.e. auto rate calibration).

 

Regards,

Aygen

Again note,  once the operator "PARK(s)" the LX850 mount, when turning on the mount again it goes right to operational mode and by-passes automatically all the setup functions.

If the operator fails to "PARK" the LX850 then you are back to square one, though the mount is aligned.



#7 kzar

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Posted 06 June 2021 - 12:23 PM

Again note,  once the operator "PARK(s)" the LX850 mount, when turning on the mount again it goes right to operational mode and by-passes automatically all the setup functions.

If the operator fails to "PARK" the LX850 then you are back to square one, though the mount is aligned.

Thanks for clarifying. 



#8 kzar

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Posted 06 June 2021 - 12:27 PM

Lou,

 

First, you need to ‘Park’ the mount when done using or you will experience the problems you listed all the time.

 

I am on my boat and can’t reference the pages in the manual, however here are the summary of the steps I do:

 

First time setup:

  • power on
  • Easy Align
  • Auto Drift align
  • Auto Rate Calibration
  • PE Training
  • 3-4 PE Updates (I get great results doing this)
  • Enjoy the night
  • When done PARK the mount.  If you don’t you lose all training and alignment information!
  • power off

 

Procedure after first time use:

  • Power on
  • Go to a brighter star near equator 
  • Auto Rate Calibration
  • Enjoy the night
  • Park the Telescope
  • Power Off

This procedure has worked for me for the past 8 years.

 

Enjoy!

One question Andrew : as long as you do not dismount your rig the PEC training is retained. What about if you perform the PEC etc and then no longer use Starlock ? Is the software still remember the PEC ? 



#9 LouHalikman

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 09:30 AM

Please clarify.  I have never had satisfactory goto function with this mount.  However, I'm now polar aligned but not in park, so I don't know how to get to a one-star alignment without going through the polaris centering business, etc.  In short, i want to power up, go to the home position, get the gps fix, and then do a one-star alignment.  Since my polar alignment is right on, that should do it, or am I missing something?  I'm only doing EAA, so PEC is not an issue now, but a critical goto function is absolutely necessary.  Just click on through the commands to get to star alignment and that will work? Thanks all,  Lou



#10 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 09:34 AM

Please clarify.  I have never had satisfactory goto function with this mount.  However, I'm now polar aligned but not in park, so I don't know how to get to a one-star alignment without going through the polaris centering business, etc.  In short, i want to power up, go to the home position, get the gps fix, and then do a one-star alignment.  Since my polar alignment is right on, that should do it, or am I missing something?  I'm only doing EAA, so PEC is not an issue now, but a critical goto function is absolutely necessary.  Just click on through the commands to get to star alignment and that will work? Thanks all,  Lou

Lou,

 

For the fist time operation (pre-PARK) just go through the steps of alignment, however don't adjust the AZ or ALT...just ignore and PRESS ENTER.  You may have to CENTER the star, but that is easy especially if aligned.

From then on always PARK.  If you don't - all the information is lost, including PE.

After the first steps and then PARK, it gets really easy.



#11 LouHalikman

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 12:26 PM

Just center the star with the hand controller?  Yes?  Can't touch the altitude and azimuth locks, as it is polar aligned.

 

BTW, once when I tried to use the park function, it went all haywire, so I haven't tried it since.  But it hasn't made a difference until now, as I didn't have an alignment worth saving.  thanks  Again  Lou



#12 johnpane

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 05:05 PM

From then on always PARK.  If you don't - all the information is lost, including PE.

The manual does say, "PEC training will be retained in the telescope’s database and will not require retraining providing that you use the 'Park' routine before turning the power off."

 

However, in my experience the PEC will be retained even if the mount is shut down without parking. 


Edited by johnpane, 07 June 2021 - 05:05 PM.


#13 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 07 June 2021 - 05:08 PM

The manual does say, "PEC training will be retained in the telescope’s database and will not require retraining providing that you use the 'Park' routine before turning the power off."

 

However, in my experience the PEC will be retained even if the mount is shut down without parking. 

Interesting...I have owned two LX850s.  I have to PE Train and update after shutting down without parking. 



#14 LouHalikman

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 09:31 PM

I am at my wit's end.  I simply cannot make it work.

 

I am polar aligned by the Meade program and with Polestar.  So when I power up, it goes to home just fine.  It asks for german north, and I enter enter.  It takes a gps fix, then it asks for polaris.  Then it goes nuts.  It rotates the RA axis to the maximum before doing a meridian flip.  Polaris is nowhere to be seen.

 

This should be apiece of cake.  Polar align, center one star, and everything should work.  I haven't tried to park it to preserve alignment, as I have never had satisfactory goto's, so there is nothing to preserve.

 

Is it a defective mount? Is the computer defective, or are the encoders bad?  I am not new to this hobby.  I have been an avid observer for more than 60 years.  I had an LX 200 10" that was a joy to use.  Then had a CGE PRO which lasted for 7 years before one of the motors died.  My optics are a great C 14 Edge, I m in a dark sky area with a permanent roll off roof observatory.

 

Any suggestions would be helpful.  I have had this mount now for 2 years and I have never been able to make it work.  thanks all.  Lou  



#15 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 09:38 PM

Gday Lou

A crude first check for the encoders is pretty simple.

Just start the mount in the normal home position and turn off Starlock.

Pressnhold mode for several seconds to get to the secondary menus.

Scroll to the RA/DEC screen

Note the DEC

Using the setting circles as a "mechanical" datum slew in DEC at full speed

for just under 90deg, ( drop the speed near the end and then finish the 90deg at lower speed. )

Now re read the "reported DEC"

Does it show it moved 90deg???

Repeat for RA, ie slew about 90deg/6Hrs noting the start and finish readings for RA

Does the Hbx report the same distance moved????

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


Edited by OzAndrewJ, 17 June 2021 - 10:14 PM.

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#16 LouHalikman

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 10:35 AM

After a great deal of thought, we decided to treat the mount like it was brand new and just out of the box.  Unplug everything, undo the polar alignment, and start from scratch.  If there was something we were doing wrong, it should be obvious.  Lou



#17 LouHalikman

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 09:12 PM

still no success.  Checked the GPS and reset the location and time.  DST correct.  I have now had this mount for 2 years and it has never worked properly.  It has been one thing after another and now I am completely stuck.

 

The mount powers up, goes to home perfectly, and takes its GPS fix.  Then when it tries to go to Polaris, the polar axis goes either 90 degrees west or 90 degrees east, but it doesn't find Polaris.  The mount is assembled correctly and in fact is accurately polar aligned.  It looks like something is off by 90 degrees but the hash marks to confirm  home are both right on.

 

Any suggestions?  Any one have one of these anywhere near me?  I'm in 21111, central Maryland about 10 miles south of the PA border.  Thanks  Lou



#18 OzAndrewJ

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 09:39 PM

Gday Lou

Dont understand this bit
 

Then when it tries to go to Polaris, the polar axis goes either 90 degrees west or 90 degrees east,

By going to Polaris, i assume you are doing a one star align.

In this case, the DEC axis should slew about one degree

but the RA axis will move anywhere between + or - 90deg from home,

based on where Polaris is at the time you align.

Need more info

 

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia



#19 dnrmilspec

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Posted 27 June 2021 - 10:18 PM

I don't have this mount but can I ask an uninformed question.  Can you just do a two star alignment without using the GPS?  In other words, since you are polar aligned right now, can you just specify two stars and center them.  Then try the goto function?  The manual says you can.

 

When did you last update your controller.  I know when I get body slammed by my DSLRs I just resent to factory settings.  If that is an option with this HC could you try that and then do a simple two star alignment and see what happens?


Edited by dnrmilspec, 27 June 2021 - 10:38 PM.


#20 LouHalikman

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 06:27 AM

I did the polar alignment before this glitch developed.  I did it with the Meade program and checked it with Polestar.  I guess I could force a two star alignment bypassing Polaris and just requesting two bright stars.  BTW we checked the GPS module and it was close.  We inputted our exact coordinates which should help a bit, but the erratic slew looking for Polaris has us stumped.  Will try again next clear night  Lou



#21 LouHalikman

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 07:07 AM

BTW, you are correct.  I am polar aligned, so when it asks to go to Polaris it should be less than one degree of motion.  Sometimes it moves 90 degrees east, and at other times it moves 90 degrees west. It doesnb't seem to know where it is, but the location coordinates are right on. I'll try a forced alignment on one or two bright stars to see if that will help, bypassing polaris.  Lou



#22 michael8554

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 07:12 AM

For permanently mounted, you switch on from Park, enter or acquire time and date, the mount starts Tracking, you're good to go.

 

From scratch though:

 

Polaris makes a small circle around the North Celestial Pole every 24 hours.

 

So it's position at any given time, it's Hour Angle, is known by the mount when you enter time and date

 

From scratch, the mount will rotate in RA to the Polaris Hour angle, which could be 180 degrees if Polaris happens to be at "6 o'clock".  As Andrew intimated.

 

As you're already Polar Aligned, at this stage you just ENTER, you don't need to centre Polaris.

 

That's the Meade Polar Alignment completed.

 

You could then do a GoTo a star, centre, and SYNCH (long press of ENTER), to Star Align.



#23 LouHalikman

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Posted 28 June 2021 - 08:14 AM

Thank you Michael.  Sounds easy.  Next clear night.  Lou



#24 LouHalikman

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 06:16 AM

Thank you Michael.  I followed you instructions ---- and it worked!!!  Spot on gotos all across the sky.  Parked and ready to go for tonight again.

 

I am forever indebted to you for pointing me in the right direction; the manual was inscrutable, but now it works as advertised.  Thanks again.  Lou


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#25 LouHalikman

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 08:49 AM

Michael -- could I have a clarification.  The mount will search out Polaris at its angle hour.  It could be at 180 degrees, and I don't believe my mount will allow the scope to go to that position.  Permanently mounted on my pier it has about 220 degrees rotation only, about 110 degrees each east and west.  Even then the scope is lying completely on its side and it looks uncomfortable and makes me nervous.  My polar alignment is right on.  I did it first with the Meade program, then checked it with a polar alignment scope.  Identical both ways.

 

If I hit ENTER as soon as it starts to slew will it still work, rather than waiting for it to do a possible complete flip, which I must admit makes me a bit uncomfortable.  Then do a one star alignment and be ready to go.    If the date, time, and location are correct, it should not need   anything other than a one star alignment at that point, and not even that.Thanks  Lou




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