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Help buying my first used telescope.

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#1 SiniArch

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 12:42 AM

I'm buying an LX90 from a person online. It seems pretty nice on the photos and the owner states that it has only been used very little. (5-10 times and 1 year old)
Being that this would be my first telescope, any pointers into what to look for when I check it out?
I mean, besides making sure there are no dings, or scratches on the optics, etc...
Should I inspect it at night and look at targets? Or can I inspect it during the day?

Any advise would be appreciated it.

Thanks in advance.

#2 Ljubo

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 05:47 AM

Welcome to CN!

 

You should check it optically at night, if possible on Jupiter or, better, Saturn. There you suppose to be able to resolve some details on planets. If there's no bright planets visible, you can check it on the Moon, or some bright star cluster - again should be able to discern some fine details.

If you notice some odd star shapes, ask if it has been collimated recently, 'couse if it isn't, you may consider it should be done, but only if stars are really odd shaped - so you can rule out if it's the only problem.

 

Optics should be without noticeable scratches, but some dirt isn't something to worry about much.

Considering the mount - there should be no free play in any parts - being it mount head or tripod! It is the most important thing if you want to observe with the scope safely, and without the need to do some repair yourself.

 

And one last minor note - if you plan DSO astrophotography anytime in future, you should avoid LX90, because it can frustrate you in many aspects regarding that.

 

Good luck with your first scope, may use best of it!

 

Ljubo



#3 MellonLake

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 05:58 AM

The LX90 is a very nice scope.  I would check it at night and check that the goto/tracking system works.  

 

Note that, unless you live in the desert or are only going to view for very short sessions, you are probably going to need active dew control for the front corrector plate (lens).  The corrector plate on these telescopes will accumulate dew pretty fast.   Active dew control consists of a small flexible heater band that goes around the front of the telescope.  Count on a couple hundred dollars for a dew controller, battery pack and heater band.  

 

 

 

Rob


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#4 SiniArch

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 09:14 AM

Thanks guys for all the information. I will check it out tonight then.

One question about AP "And one last minor note - if you plan DSO astrophotography anytime in future, you should avoid LX90, because it can frustrate you in many aspects regarding that.":

It is my understanding that the scope is actually ok for DSO AP, but the mount/tripod is not. Would deforking it and getting a better mount/tripod make it ok for DSO AP in the future, or would the lack of cooling fans and locking mechanism on the primary mirror make it no good for this?

If so, I'm guessing I could sell it at the same price or a slight loss when I decide on doing DSO AP which is something I would want in the future.

Again, thanks so much for your time and knowledge.

#5 Pingu

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 10:15 AM

Yep.


Edited by Pingu, 14 May 2022 - 10:17 AM.


#6 sevenofnine

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 11:39 AM

Welcome to C/N! flowerred.gif

 

Buying your first telescope used can be a can of worms. Many have done it and it turned out fine. A few have done it and it didn't. The question is: Do you feel lucky? Well. do ya??....sad.png

Seriously, I think on a first scope, the warranty and backup customer service are worth the few hundred dollars saved moneyeyes.gif


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#7 N3p

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 11:56 AM

I found these pages about the deforking of the LX90, in case of electronic failure of the fork mount in the future, it's nice to know that the telescope can be installed on another mount.

 

https://www.cloudyni...uatorial-mount/

https://www.cloudyni...rked-my-8-lx90/



#8 SiniArch

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 12:41 PM

Welcome to C/N! flowerred.gif

 

Seriously, I think on a first scope, the warranty and backup customer service are worth the few hundred dollars saved moneyeyes.gif

Thank you for the warning and for the kind welcome. Unfortunately the savings is much more than a few hundred dollars, so I'm going to have to feel "Lucky" this time. :) 

 

I found these pages about the deforking of the LX90, in case of electronic failure of the fork mount in the future, it's nice to know that the telescope can be installed on another mount.

 

https://www.cloudyni...uatorial-mount/

https://www.cloudyni...rked-my-8-lx90/

Thanks for sharing that. When the time comes I will look into mounting it on a better mount. But I may also decide to sell it. The price is really good so I think I should be able to get most of the money back. I was looking at a LX600 which would be ready for DSO AP but the price would be much higher.


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#9 dadorfman

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 02:21 PM

Check out this Ed Ting video, particularly starting at 3:00:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=LXBCS6Oms70

 

Scratches may not appreciably affect optical performance, but could affect your ability to bargain down the price.


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#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 07:26 PM

A few thoughts:

 

Is this the 8 inch, 10 inch or 12 inch LX-90?

 

My concern when buying a used GOTO scope is that these are complex instruments electronically and mechanically and there maybe hidden issues that are not found until it is too late.  Meade has gone through a number of transitions, bankruptcies and changes in ownership, their support can be flaky. 

 

They have been making LX-90s for a long time, how old the scope really is, how many times it has been used.. 

 

An 8 inch SCT is not generally recommended as first scope for astrophotography, even on an appropriate mount. A short focal length refractor gets you started with the minimum of headaches.

 

Jon


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#11 SiniArch

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 08:29 PM

It's a 12" Jon.
Thank you so much for your advise and concern.
The scope is about 1 year old and used about 6-10 times apparently. I have read about Meade's financial trouble and seen some post about the less than stellar customer service. I also have looked at APO reflectors for DSO AP but at the moment they are out of my budget. My plan is to use this one for visual observing and learning the skies. It's a bit bigger than most recommend for a first scope, but I didn't want to get something smaller and then immediately want to buy something bigger.
I may also get access to a dark site near yosemite where I will be able to build a permanent place for it. So I wanted something large.

Astrophotography is something that fascinates me and certainly something I will want to do in the future. I'm thinking that if I do fall in love with the tube I can upgrade the mount. Otherwise I can sell it for minimal loss and move onto something more conducive to both visual and DSO AP.

I'll certainly take a look at the goto system. I know with complexity comes more potential issues. But at the price I think it's worth the risk. Of course it also depends on the condition I find it in. I know visually it can look great and still have internal issues. So I'll do my best to assess the situation.

Thank you again for your advise.

#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 08:50 PM

The 12 inch is really too much for the LX-90 mount. This is what Rod Mollise wrote in his USED SCT BUYERS GUIDE:

 

"They introduced 10 and 12-inch aperture versions shortly before the move south of the border. While the 10-inch can be okay, the 12-inch should be avoided unless its priced at the level of a used OTA alone. All Meade changed for the larger apertures was the length of the fork arms, which makes the 12-inch shake more than Little Richard at the keyboard."

 

https://www.google.c...XwWnHvnX2Kx_fD3

 

Rod Mollise is a long time observer, teacher and author Two of his books are on choosing and using SCTs.

 

Jon


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#13 KWB

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 08:54 PM

Welcome to the forum laugh.gif

 

A 12 inch SCT is a big scope. You got your money's worth and I highly doubt you will immediately want something larger. Especially after taking it outdoors a dozen times or so.

 

Enjoy your scope.



#14 JOEinCO

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 03:50 AM

It's a 12" LX90 .....at the price I think it's worth the risk.....

 

What is the price?



#15 MellonLake

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 08:06 AM

That telescope has a very very long focal length. 3000mm. It will be very tough for DSO AP. Many great DSO targets may not even fit in the field of view. It will work well for planetary AP but will need guiding and a very very large mount.

If you want to do AP ask questions in the AP forums

Due to the narrow field of view this would also not be my choice for Visual astronomy.
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#16 Voyageur

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 09:48 AM

That telescope has a very very long focal length. 3000mm. It will be very tough for DSO AP. Many great DSO targets may not even fit in the field of view. It will work well for planetary AP but will need guiding and a very very large mount.

If you want to do AP ask questions in the AP forums

Due to the narrow field of view this would also not be my choice for Visual astronomy.

This is good advice, to check with the people in the AP forums about the challenges of putting such a massive OTA on an EQ mount. Serious planetary AP-ers routinely use big SCTs, so visit the Major and Minor Planetary Imaging forum and ask a lot of questions. You can also ask in the DSO imaging forums. These long focal length scopes can be modified, but it's expensive. I have already touched too much on this forbidden (in this forum) topic. It is not easy to address these kinds of beginner questions from people with no experience who want to do it all.

 

You didn't say what the price is for this scope. No matter how much you would save over the retail price, it is not a bargain if the scope doesn't do what you want it to. OR if you need to spend more money later than anticipated. Deforking this scope and putting it on an EQ mount isn't trivial. Depending on what you want to accomplish, you are likely to find that the price of the mount is more (or much more) than the price of the scope, even a new scope.

 

I would strongly suggest doing a lot more research into what is needed in the various branches of this hobby and decide if your money would be better spent on a different scope now for visual, and then future funds can be directed toward equipment that you are know is going to suit your goals. You don't even know what objects you enjoy looking at now, so you can't possibly know what you'll want later for the other stuff.


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#17 SiniArch

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 12:27 PM

Hi everyone,
Many many thanks for all the advise and knowledge. I know there were many warning and in the future I may look back and think differently but for now I am a very happy new owner of a practically new LX90 12" ACF telescope. It is about 1 year old and has been used less than 10 times and it shows. Looks pristine.
It came with (2) 2" pieces. A 30mm and I believe a 46mm. A High Point 2" mirror diagonal. A dew shield. A power pack. And the original EP the scope comes with. I belive its either 1.25" or 1.5". And all the manuals, cables and controller.

The price was $2000 for all that which I felt is a great deal.

As for AP I can look at a second scope if I decide to do that. But that will be in the future. For now I want to learn the sky and the audio guided tours on the unit will certainly help with that.

Again, thanks so much for all the advise. Even if I didn't follow all the advise, know that I did listen and considered it. So it wasn't wasted. Thanks again.
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#18 Voyageur

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 12:50 PM

Congratulations on your new scope! You did get a lot for your money.

 

Yes, definitely enjoy learning the sky through visual observation. Where will you be observing from?

 

It’s never possible for anyone to follow all the advice given in these forums: it’s usually all over the place! If you are happy with your decision, that’s all that matters.

 

Keep us posted on your progress with your new telescope.


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#19 SiniArch

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 04:30 PM

Thanks @Voyageur. I do think it was a great deal. I can't wait to try it tonight with the Lunar eclipse.

I live in Los Angeles, so I'll be observing from a horrible location. But in a couple of months I should be going to Mariposa CA (near Yosemite) for a few months and may get access to a dark site where I may be able to build a permanent observatory.

So, I'll do my best in LA and when I get to Mariposa I'll hope for clear skies. :)
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#20 gnowellsct

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 04:48 PM

A few thoughts:

An 8 inch SCT is not generally recommended as first scope for astrophotography, even on an appropriate mount. A short focal length refractor gets you started with the minimum of headaches.

Jon

It's a fun scope to play with and in particular the frustration level will be lower if you just get to know it as a telescope to look at stuff.

The astrophotography should come later.

You could probably have reasonable success if you learned the techniques for imaging the moon and planets and the Sun (with special filters). When you do that kind of imaging you are taking exposures of 1/30 of a second duration and then you are taking hundreds of those exposures and using software to process them. It's a separate art.

What people say here about dew is true but even there my advice is you to take it out into the backyard and use it and if you get dewed up in 15 minutes or in 2 or 3 hours at least you will have an idea of what that is all about and then can consider your mitigation options.

What Jon said about Meade corporation going through major upheavals and changes in ownership is true and their reputation on the mechanicals of their mounts at this point is poor. Nonetheless the reputation of the lx90 is pretty good.

Knowing what I know, if I were going to buy a meade telescope, which I wouldn't, but if I were, I would take the used value of a c8 on a fork and offer about 1/3 that amount for the Meade. I'm not offering a view on the optics I'm just saying that I would steeply discount the price because of the corporation I was going to be dealing with, if I could find the corporation at all.

Edited by gnowellsct, 15 May 2022 - 04:50 PM.


#21 gnowellsct

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 04:55 PM


The price was $2000 for all that which I felt is a great deal.

As for AP I can look at a second scope if I decide to do that. But that will be in the future. For now I want to learn the sky and the audio guided tours on the unit will certainly help with that.

Again, thanks so much for all the advise. Even if I didn't follow all the advise, know that I did listen and considered it. So it wasn't wasted. Thanks again.


That's a lot of telescope! Enjoy it and have fun. I didn't realize it was a 12 inch.

Consider joining Astro Mart it will help you pick up additional accessories as you need them at used prices.

Greg N

#22 SiniArch

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 10:31 PM

Thank you Greg. Yes, it's a big one. I just didn't want to get something smaller and then want a larger one.
Also, I did join Astro Mart earlier when I was looking for a telescope. But I will be searching for accessories now. Thanks again.

#23 DSOGabe

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Posted 16 May 2022 - 01:46 PM

Since the first step is visual observation, that should be enough to let you know how well the scope tracks with the current mount. Once you see if it is indeed an accurate tracker, then there should be no need for de-forking. For DSO AP, you can get the Meade wedge and LX90 adapter for it. Far cheaper than getting a whole new GEM mount!

The long focal length can be factored out by getting a focal reducer when it come time to get into AP. 


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#24 SiniArch

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Posted 17 May 2022 - 04:25 AM

Well, I was driving up north for work and was in Sacramento when the lunar eclipse happened. Unfortunately there were clouds and I was unable to see most of the eclipse. I finally was able to drive north some more and when I pulled over to gas up, I was finally able to look at the eclipse.

I captured it with my phone but it's not the best photo of course.

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#25 SiniArch

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Posted 17 May 2022 - 04:39 AM

Finally I was able to stop at a Motel 6 on our way to Mount Shasta and I took out my new telescope. The eclipse was gone by then, but I still wanted to make sure the telescope worked as I had picked it up on the way up from Los Angeles.

The moon was terrific. Very bright and I may need some ND filters or something, but it did look amazing.
Here are some photos that I took with my phone through the telescope.

 

I also tried it tonight, but I'm surrounded by tall trees and not much to see. I did manage to view a galaxy and many stars, but I can't remember all the  names. I need to find a better way to correlate the names on the Meade Controller with the names on the phone app. The apps are great for letting me know what is available to see that particular night. Will need a pillow for my knees and a small table. In any case, it was a lot of fun although I was lost in the sky most of the time. In any case, I wanted to report that I'm loving the scope, it's tracking well.

Thanks for all the help everyone.

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