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Almost NOS Meade 7" MCT LX50

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#1 tim53

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 10:48 AM

Okay, so I bought this yesterday and set it up for the first time this morning.  I may need help with a couple things (so if the Cats and Casses forum is a better place, feel free to move this).  The scope is approximately 25 years old, so bordering on classic.  Heck, probably something of a stretch to call it that.  But the 7" Mak hasn't bee made for at least 15 years, and the LX50 for about 20, and this wasn't at the end of production, according to the seller (son of the late original owner).

 

First some pics:  

 

Whole scope shots:

 

Whole_scope.jpg

Business_end_2.jpg

 

Meniscus:

 

Meniscus.jpg

 

Business end:

 

Business_end.jpg

 

-tim.

 

 


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#2 Astrojensen

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 10:52 AM

I've heard very good things about the optics in these. Never seen one myself, though. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#3 tim53

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 11:00 AM

More pics:

 

Mead 2" star diagonal:

 

Meade_2in_diag.jpg

 

Zooming in, this clear glass window (unless it's a filter) is stuck on the diagonal.  I tried removing it with a strap wrench (rubber kind, so no marring), but it won't budge.  I suspect it's either a filter or a window to keep dust out of the OTA, and is meant to be left attached to the OTA.  Anybody know?  The other weird thing is that the assembly tightens on the OTA, but then loosens and tightens again, like it's turning the baffle inside the OTA?  Not a good thing, if so.

 

Star_diag_attachment.jpg

 

I initially got excited when I found this eyepiece box beneath the OTA in the Meade box when I took the OTA out:

 

TV_box_MAeyep.jpg

 

But the eyepiece in the box was the standard Meade MA Kellner.  Darn!

 

I played a little with the scope before putting it back in the box and storing it in my shop.  If I left it out for nighttime testing, it'd get hot and probably never equillibrate.  This way, it should stay nice and cool/ambient, since my basement workshop doesn't get hot even in the afternoon, since there are 3 stories above it.

 

But I did notice some mirror shift in focusing.  More or less typical of what I remember most of the Meade SCTs I've used.  I'll try to measure it or approximate it when I get it out in the dark.  Focusing on distant trees about a mile away, the thermal distortion in the morning sun was already getting to be a problem, so I'll hold off on judging the optics until I can aim it at the moon.

 

Oh, and the battery pack doesn't appear to have ever been used with batteries, it is so clean.  The only power cord is a cigarette lighter plug cord, and I was a good 150 feet from the cars.  So I found 6 AA batteries, installed them, and turned the power on.  Everything appears to work just fine:  Drive, dec, handpad, and fans.  I actually like that this is an LX50 mount and not an LX200, though that would have been worth more, because of my experience with complex Meade electronics decades after they were produced, and the lack of customer support for same.  I'm pretty old school (in addition to just being old), so I like the nice, big setting circles, and will use them to find stuff.

 

-Tim.


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#4 tim53

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 11:01 AM

I've heard very good things about the optics in these. Never seen one myself, though. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark

I'm not just looking forward to using it on the sky, but setting it up in my shop so I can aim it at my "new" 18" optical flat for DPAC testing.  Where the rubber hits the road.


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#5 DAVIDG

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 11:19 AM

 Tim,

   It looks there are marks on the filter housing were it might have taken a hit from falling. If so that could have caused the threads to cross.  Check to see that housing is still screwed straight on or is on slight angle. If it is on an  angle you may need to tap on one side to get the threads to re-engage correctly. I would also try heating it to expand the housing when you try to unscrew it.

  If is an aftermarket dust filter you may not want to use while observing. The reason is that  it  mechanically  moves the diagonal farther out and cause the primary to be moved closer to corrector to have more back focus. There is only one position between the primary and the corrector were the optical correction is the best and usually the system is designed so with a diagonal in the factory position in the rear of scope, the ideal spacing   between the primary and the corrector is when the scope is focused at infinity.

 

                   - Dave 


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#6 deSitter

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 12:04 PM

More pics:

 

Mead 2" star diagonal:

 

attachicon.gifMeade_2in_diag.jpg

 

Zooming in, this clear glass window (unless it's a filter) is stuck on the diagonal.  I tried removing it with a strap wrench (rubber kind, so no marring), but it won't budge.  I suspect it's either a filter or a window to keep dust out of the OTA, and is meant to be left attached to the OTA.  Anybody know?  The other weird thing is that the assembly tightens on the OTA, but then loosens and tightens again, like it's turning the baffle inside the OTA?  Not a good thing, if so.

 

attachicon.gifStar_diag_attachment.jpg

 

I initially got excited when I found this eyepiece box beneath the OTA in the Meade box when I took the OTA out:

 

attachicon.gifTV_box_MAeyep.jpg

 

But the eyepiece in the box was the standard Meade MA Kellner.  Darn!

 

I played a little with the scope before putting it back in the box and storing it in my shop.  If I left it out for nighttime testing, it'd get hot and probably never equillibrate.  This way, it should stay nice and cool/ambient, since my basement workshop doesn't get hot even in the afternoon, since there are 3 stories above it.

 

But I did notice some mirror shift in focusing.  More or less typical of what I remember most of the Meade SCTs I've used.  I'll try to measure it or approximate it when I get it out in the dark.  Focusing on distant trees about a mile away, the thermal distortion in the morning sun was already getting to be a problem, so I'll hold off on judging the optics until I can aim it at the moon.

 

Oh, and the battery pack doesn't appear to have ever been used with batteries, it is so clean.  The only power cord is a cigarette lighter plug cord, and I was a good 150 feet from the cars.  So I found 6 AA batteries, installed them, and turned the power on.  Everything appears to work just fine:  Drive, dec, handpad, and fans.  I actually like that this is an LX50 mount and not an LX200, though that would have been worth more, because of my experience with complex Meade electronics decades after they were produced, and the lack of customer support for same.  I'm pretty old school (in addition to just being old), so I like the nice, big setting circles, and will use them to find stuff.

 

-Tim.

I have a similar diagonal (turret prism but same mechanical setup) and the nose piece is just a standard SCT female thread ring that tightens against a neck fixed to the diagonal. That appears to be a #929 diagonal. I also have the same diagonal with a standard 2" nose piece #930. That looks like a nebula filter and is definitely not a part of my diagonal. Use opposed strap wrenches on the knurled part and the smooth part to free them. Probably just cross threaded.

 

-drl



#7 Terra Nova

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 12:06 PM

I’ve always heard that those were the best catadioptric telescopes Meade ever made. They’re said to be comparable to a five” or 6” apo with phenomenal planetary performance. I’m glad you got it Tim. I can’t think of it going to a better home.


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#8 deSitter

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 12:20 PM

More pics:

 

Mead 2" star diagonal:

 

attachicon.gifMeade_2in_diag.jpg

 

Zooming in, this clear glass window (unless it's a filter) is stuck on the diagonal.  I tried removing it with a strap wrench (rubber kind, so no marring), but it won't budge.  I suspect it's either a filter or a window to keep dust out of the OTA, and is meant to be left attached to the OTA.  Anybody know?  The other weird thing is that the assembly tightens on the OTA, but then loosens and tightens again, like it's turning the baffle inside the OTA?  Not a good thing, if so.

 

attachicon.gifStar_diag_attachment.jpg

 

I initially got excited when I found this eyepiece box beneath the OTA in the Meade box when I took the OTA out:

 

attachicon.gifTV_box_MAeyep.jpg

 

But the eyepiece in the box was the standard Meade MA Kellner.  Darn!

 

I played a little with the scope before putting it back in the box and storing it in my shop.  If I left it out for nighttime testing, it'd get hot and probably never equillibrate.  This way, it should stay nice and cool/ambient, since my basement workshop doesn't get hot even in the afternoon, since there are 3 stories above it.

 

But I did notice some mirror shift in focusing.  More or less typical of what I remember most of the Meade SCTs I've used.  I'll try to measure it or approximate it when I get it out in the dark.  Focusing on distant trees about a mile away, the thermal distortion in the morning sun was already getting to be a problem, so I'll hold off on judging the optics until I can aim it at the moon.

 

Oh, and the battery pack doesn't appear to have ever been used with batteries, it is so clean.  The only power cord is a cigarette lighter plug cord, and I was a good 150 feet from the cars.  So I found 6 AA batteries, installed them, and turned the power on.  Everything appears to work just fine:  Drive, dec, handpad, and fans.  I actually like that this is an LX50 mount and not an LX200, though that would have been worth more, because of my experience with complex Meade electronics decades after they were produced, and the lack of customer support for same.  I'm pretty old school (in addition to just being old), so I like the nice, big setting circles, and will use them to find stuff.

 

-Tim.

Looking at this closely, I do suspect it is cross-threaded. I would remove the entire nosepiece, remove the retaining ring and extract the filter, and see if you can back the combined ring and filter/window off the back end of the nose piece, then you can work on disentangling the 2 pieces without further mangling the threads.

 

-drl



#9 tim53

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 12:49 PM

Zooming in, it looks like I should be able to remove the filter before fiddling with the connection.  The white bits might be styrofoam.  I'll check when I get home from work later today.

 

Capture_filter.JPG



#10 rkinnett

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 12:53 PM

Congrats on the purchase!  I had a good look at that ad myself.  7" Maks give excellent planetary views.  The only reason I held off was that that system doesn't appear to have an RS232 interface which I would need for guided imaging of planets and satellites.  It should be an enjoyable setup for visual and unguided planetary/lunar imaging.  I hope you enjoy it!


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#11 The Planetman

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 05:35 PM

The sample I had was absolutely wonderful!!  Good thing is that a close friend now has it and I have first dibs if he decides to sell it!  And yes, I will buy this one back!


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#12 CHASLX200

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 06:10 PM

Okay, so I bought this yesterday and set it up for the first time this morning.  I may need help with a couple things (so if the Cats and Casses forum is a better place, feel free to move this).  The scope is approximately 25 years old, so bordering on classic.  Heck, probably something of a stretch to call it that.  But the 7" Mak hasn't bee made for at least 15 years, and the LX50 for about 20, and this wasn't at the end of production, according to the seller (son of the late original owner).

 

First some pics:  

 

Whole scope shots:

 

attachicon.gifWhole_scope.jpg

attachicon.gifBusiness_end_2.jpg

 

Meniscus:

 

attachicon.gifMeniscus.jpg

 

Business end:

 

attachicon.gifBusiness_end.jpg

 

-tim.

At least you don't have to worry about the GO-TO going out. Some were very good on optics. My friend had one and i took a peek one nite and it seemed ok at best. But may have been seeing or a warm scope. I never spent much time with it to really judge it.



#13 jgraham

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 07:06 PM

Wow, gorgeous scope! I'd consider the LX50 a classic. If I recall right Meade introduced the LX100 as a non-GoTo version of the LX200. The LX50 was introduced as a less expensive version of the LX100, using aluminum gears in place of the brass gears used in the LX100, though late production LX50s may have been built with brass gears. So, the LX50 was the last non-GoTo Cats from Meade.

 

I am fortunate enough to have two Mak 7s; one from LX50 production the other from LX200GPS production. Both have superb optics. There is a tad of mirror shift when changing directions while focusing, but it is minimal. For precise focusing I use a Meade micro-focuser.

 

My LX50 Mak 7 is currently fitted with a Losmandy D rail and is used for high resolution imaging. I was surprised that it offers an exceptionally flat field.

 

Atlas LX50 Mak 7 (11-3-2017)-1.jpg

 

My LX200GPS Mak 7 is mounted on an LX90 (both my Mak 7s were bought from the used market as deforked OTAs) and is used exclusively for visual.

 

LX90-50 Mak 7 (2-16-2017)-2.jpg

 

I find the sharp, high contrast views from the Mak 7 to be well suited for deepsky viewing from my Bortle 8 backyard. Modern UWA eyepieces work particularly well offering a good balance between magnification and field of view.

 

Wonderful scopes!

 


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#14 Toddeo

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Posted 10 May 2022 - 08:09 PM

Well I'm glad you picked it up. I emailed the seller, told the seller that I would like to purchase the package-if the shipping was not too high-that's the last I heard from them. Oh. well-couldn't take another drive out to CA at this time.


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#15 tim53

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 08:04 AM

Well I'm glad you picked it up. I emailed the seller, told the seller that I would like to purchase the package-if the shipping was not too high-that's the last I heard from them. Oh. well-couldn't take another drive out to CA at this time.

Several years back, I drove to Phoenix (well, actually about 30 miles east of Phoenix) and back to pick up an Optical Craftsmen 8" Connoisseur, in one day!  But I'm getting a bit old for those kinds of long drives these days.

 

-Tim.


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#16 RichA

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 08:35 AM

Okay, so I bought this yesterday and set it up for the first time this morning.  I may need help with a couple things (so if the Cats and Casses forum is a better place, feel free to move this).  The scope is approximately 25 years old, so bordering on classic.  Heck, probably something of a stretch to call it that.  But the 7" Mak hasn't bee made for at least 15 years, and the LX50 for about 20, and this wasn't at the end of production, according to the seller (son of the late original owner).

 

First some pics:  

 

Whole scope shots:

 

attachicon.gifWhole_scope.jpg

attachicon.gifBusiness_end_2.jpg

 

Meniscus:

 

attachicon.gifMeniscus.jpg

 

Business end:

 

attachicon.gifBusiness_end.jpg

 

-tim.

The critical thing is acclimation to the outside temp for these telescopes.  Once that is done, the images of planets (provided they are high enough in the sky, they are kind of low right now) should be very good.


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#17 Dave Trott

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 09:14 AM

I found that mine was a superb telescope; quite comparable to a 6 inch APO, but only after it had cooled down.....which took forever even with the internal counterweight removed. That internal (infernal) counterweight has to be one of the worst design decisions ever made by Meade.

 

Here is a video showing the process of removing the counterweight and "deforking" the scope. 

 

https://youtu.be/nLqaeY7h7k8

 

You should NEVER do this under any circumstances!


Edited by Dave Trott, 11 May 2022 - 09:27 AM.

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#18 tim53

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 09:30 AM

I found that mine was a superb telescope; quite comparable to a 6 inch APO, but only after it had cooled down.....which took forever even with the internal counterweight removed. That internal (infernal) counterweight has to be one of the worst design decisions ever made by Meade.

 

Here is a video showing the process of removing the counterweight and "deforking" the scope. 

 

https://youtu.be/nLqaeY7h7k8

 

You should NEVER do this under any circumstances!

I may be imagining things, but wasn't there an aftermarket weight someone made that attached to the primary cell on the outside, to replace the infernal weight?


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#19 tim53

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 09:31 AM

I apologize for not having anything to report from last night.  Yesterday, I got word that a research proposal of mine was selected, so we partook of pizza and hard pineapple cider for dinner, in celebration!


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#20 deSitter

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 03:43 PM

I found that mine was a superb telescope; quite comparable to a 6 inch APO, but only after it had cooled down.....which took forever even with the internal counterweight removed. That internal (infernal) counterweight has to be one of the worst design decisions ever made by Meade.

 

Here is a video showing the process of removing the counterweight and "deforking" the scope. 

 

https://youtu.be/nLqaeY7h7k8

 

You should NEVER do this under any circumstances!

So you are serious - never never do this unless it's a dire necessity..

 

You can't separate the tube from the rear cell?

 

-drl



#21 jgraham

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 06:53 PM

I love that video! That's now my imaging Mak 7. :)

I have seen Mak 7s with an external weight on a rail. There are lots of ways to get the balance right.

The tubes on Meades are welded or bonded to the rear cell.

They made a spotter version of the Mak 7 that did not have the weight.

Both of mine have been de-weighted. I'd use it as-is and see if it's a problem.

#22 Terra Nova

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 07:16 PM

Several years back, I drove to Phoenix (well, actually about 30 miles east of Phoenix) and back to pick up an Optical Craftsmen 8" Connoisseur, in one day!  But I'm getting a bit old for those kinds of long drives these days.

 

-Tim.

I hear ya Tim. Been there, done that. Not anymore! And the cost of gasoline doesn’t make it any more palpable either.



#23 Dave Trott

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 10:28 PM

So you are serious - never never do this unless it's a dire necessity..

 

You can't separate the tube from the rear cell?

 

-drl

You might call that a legal disclaimer just in case someone does what I did and has a terrible disaster. I seem to recall that the tube is permanently attached to the back end of the scope at a seam near the rear. The only way in is through the front, the way I did it. It's not too hard really but an inexperienced person could get into trouble.


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#24 Dave Trott

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 10:32 PM

I love that video! That's now my imaging Mak 7. smile.gif

I have seen Mak 7s with an external weight on a rail. There are lots of ways to get the balance right.

The tubes on Meades are welded or bonded to the rear cell.

They made a spotter version of the Mak 7 that did not have the weight.

Both of mine have been de-weighted. I'd use it as-is and see if it's a problem.

I remember that scope well. After it cooled down it was a real beauty. I kept it in a shed in the back yard where it would stay pretty cool and reach nearly perfect thermal equilibrium in half an hour or so on most nights. 


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#25 RichA

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Posted 11 May 2022 - 10:45 PM

Wow, gorgeous scope! I'd consider the LX50 a classic. If I recall right Meade introduced the LX100 as a non-GoTo version of the LX200. The LX50 was introduced as a less expensive version of the LX100, using aluminum gears in place of the brass gears used in the LX100, though late production LX50s may have been built with brass gears. So, the LX50 was the last non-GoTo Cats from Meade.

 

I am fortunate enough to have two Mak 7s; one from LX50 production the other from LX200GPS production. Both have superb optics. There is a tad of mirror shift when changing directions while focusing, but it is minimal. For precise focusing I use a Meade micro-focuser.

 

My LX50 Mak 7 is currently fitted with a Losmandy D rail and is used for high resolution imaging. I was surprised that it offers an exceptionally flat field.

 

attachicon.gifAtlas LX50 Mak 7 (11-3-2017)-1.jpg

 

My LX200GPS Mak 7 is mounted on an LX90 (both my Mak 7s were bought from the used market as deforked OTAs) and is used exclusively for visual.

 

attachicon.gifLX90-50 Mak 7 (2-16-2017)-2.jpg

 

I find the sharp, high contrast views from the Mak 7 to be well suited for deepsky viewing from my Bortle 8 backyard. Modern UWA eyepieces work particularly well offering a good balance between magnification and field of view.

 

Wonderful scopes!

Roland Christen speculated on the design, one day someone (may have already) will figure out exactly what it is.


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