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Having Doubts Now

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#1 Futzman

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 01:43 PM

I can't help it, but as much as I want the features and aperture the 14" RCX400 offers, I'm having doubts about my decision to buy one after reading all the posts here. If I can be a bit forward, how many here have bought an RCX400 (of any aperture but particularly the 14") and NOT had problems prompting them to return the scope? I really don't want to have to return the scope repeatedly for service, nor wait days upon end for someone to return my call should I have problems. As I said before, $10K is a LOT to pay for a scope and I'm hoping it will be the last one I purchase for years to come. I still can't help wonder if I should just go ahead and purchase a Celestron CGE 1400 instead even though it won't have the features I was really looking forward to getting in the RCX400. I would appreciate your honest thoughts and feedback as I expect to place my order next week and don't want to make a mistake.

#2 LLEEGE

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 01:54 PM

I sent 2 back. I moved on.....


......and they lived happily ever after.



#3 LLEEGE

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 01:56 PM

Just out of curiosity, why the RCX? For imaging?

#4 NeoDinian

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 01:58 PM

Sot swaying you one way or the other, but one thing to remember, most of the posts that you've read about people with the problems were first run RCX's... They had issues when it came out.. Since then, they've worked out many problems and you hear about them less... :)

#5 Futzman

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 02:10 PM

Just out of curiosity, why the RCX? For imaging?


I want the fancy features the RCX offers -- electronic focusing, no mirror flop, electronic collimation, built-in dew heater, etc. I also like the f/8 focal ratio (and, of course, the excellent optics). In short, I want the solutions it offers to a traditional SCT that annoy me and detract from my viewing and photographing pleasure. I do this for fun and even though it's an expensive hobby I want to get the best equipment I can afford. When I bought my CPC1100 last year I was really wanting a 14" but couldn't decide which one to buy. Now that I've had some experience with the CPC1100 (which, btw has proven to be a great scope) I'm ready to step up now. The only reservation I have with the RCX400 (aside from the obvious problems people have had) is I'm concerned about later moving it to a wedge. Initially, I'll just use it in alt-az mode and for photography use short exposures, software field-derotation and stacking.

#6 Futzman

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 02:12 PM

I sent 2 back. I moved on.....


......and they lived happily ever after.


To your knowledge has the problem(s) been addressed in new production models causing you to send the scopes back? I can see a manufacturing or design problem slipping through the cracks with a new product, but the important point is that they've corrected the problem on new production runs.

#7 LLEEGE

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 02:30 PM

To your knowledge has the problem(s) been addressed in new production models causing you to send the scopes back?

I can't say for sure. I had focus motor issues with both of mine. And they are a critical element in the RCX. If a built in dew heater fails, its one thing. The focus motors, which also are what collimates the scope, are like brains. Most of us don't operate too good without them.

Since then, they've worked out many problems and you hear about them less...

That may be due, in part to not as many sales also. This is just speculation but.... I haven't seen too many

Just ordered an new RCX

threads....
Call ma a cynic, but twice bitten......


I won't even get the GEM vs Fork debate going :foreheadslap:

#8 JerryWise

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 02:32 PM

I sent one back. 10" one. Had the best optics I've seen on an SCT. Sold it when the LX200Rs came out and moved to a CGE mount. The fellow I sold it to in January had to send it back again for a blown board.

Many of us have moved on to Equatorial mounts after trying to make fork mounts work reliably imaging. Some folks do well with fork mounts. I would bet, however, serious imagers using EQ mounts outnumber fork mounts by 10 to 1 or at least a substantial margin.

What Neo said is true. Many of these problems were in the initial production run. However, these scopes have been to Meade and should have been upgraded if upgrades were available. Also, I know of very few RCXs purchased after the first rush and rash of problems.

Luke and I rarely address issues in these threads we haven't experienced first hand and hands on. These are "happened to us" experiences. Between the two of us we have had 3 RCXs and 6 LX200Rs. We are a random sample.

I still think they are fine scopes (best SCT for visual on alt/az fork mount I know of). I love the features. But hey, they have some problems and Meade has some problems. And Meade isn't alone out there with problems by any means. You just have to take your chances.


#9 David Pavlich

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 02:53 PM

If you have the option of not purchasing the RCX and you want a 14" scope, I'd look at the CGE/C14 or....

the Losmandy Titan w/Gemini and tripod at $7000 and the 14" Meade LX200R at $3700 (free shipping for the R).

The C14 weighs about 45 lbs and the 14" R weighs in at a back wrenching 69 lbs. However, considering that your were ready to deal with the imense weight of the RCX, the above shouldn't even garner a shrug. :grin:

As you can tell by the posts, most here much prefer a GEM. It gives great versatility and is much more imaging-friendly than a fork mounted SCT.

David

#10 Futzman

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 03:24 PM

Between the two of us we have had 3 RCXs and 6 LX200Rs. We are a random sample.


That is, of course, ridiculous and I wouldn't blame anyone for abandoning them after an experience like this. Most of my reservations are caused by stories like this. Remember the "Vega" car by General Motors? Ever see any of these on the road any more? :roflmao:

#11 Futzman

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 03:32 PM

The C14 weighs about 45 lbs and the 14" R weighs in at a back wrenching 69 lbs. However, considering that your were ready to deal with the imense weight of the RCX, the above shouldn't even garner a shrug. :grin:

Weight is not really an issue since once it's mounted in my observatory I don't plan on lugging it around. It's going to be there, for the most part, permanently.

As you can tell by the posts, most here much prefer a GEM. It gives great versatility and is much more imaging-friendly than a fork mounted SCT.

David


I can certainly see that being true. So far I've been strictly using alt-az mode but can see stepping up to either a GEM or wedge later on. Does the Meade wedge work very well with the RCX/LX?

#12 LLEEGE

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 03:42 PM

You would be better served with Mitty or Milburn or APT.
I shutter to think of mounting a 14"RCX on a wedge alone. :tonofbricks:

#13 NeoDinian

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 03:54 PM

I second the Mitty, APT rather than the Meade wedge...

Although I have the Meade Superwedge (Predisessor to the Ulta-Wedge).. But you just can't pass up a wedge for $150.00...

#14 Futzman

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 03:55 PM

You would be better served with Mitty or Milburn or AMP.
I shutter to think of mounting a 14"RCX on a wedge alone. :tonofbricks:


Thanks. I bookmarked the Mitty and Milburn web sites. Both look very capable.

#15 Futzman

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 03:58 PM

Is it true that no-one here has experienced problems with the 12" RCX400? Maybe I would be better to give up the 2" of aperture if that's true, although I'd really, really hate to do that.

#16 gillmj24

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 04:13 PM

Is there a local dealer you can check out? Astronomics is in OK right? I would look at these scopes in person to see just how huge they are. A 12" RCX is about the same size as the 14" LX200. The 14" RCX is well.... bigger!

#17 Futzman

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 04:19 PM

Is there a local dealer you can check out? Astronomics is in OK right? I would look at these scopes in person to see just how huge they are. A 12" RCX is about the same size as the 14" LX200. The 14" RCX is well.... bigger!


Yes and I may actually drive over there next week to take a look. I'm going to call first and see if they have one on the floor. I have the dimensions of both scopes and have carefully calculated the space requirements in my dome. The biggest problem is I'm going to have to raise my dome 8" (which I planned on doing anyway) to accomodate the 14" beast. I'll have to do this regardless for any 14" scope. The problem with the RCX400 or even the LX200R is that I'm really not sure a wedge-mount is possible in my dome. I have limited space and my observatory is limited to an 8 foot diameter circle. The fork-mount will fit, although it's tight. Not sure when/if I add a wedge.

#18 Joad

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 04:34 PM

JG's suggestion is an excellent one for many reasons. You can check to see whether the RCX 14" will fit, and you might also be able to arrange to test one out at Astronomics so at least you'd know what was coming right out of the box.

A very good suggestion indeed.

#19 gillmj24

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 04:59 PM

Yeah and astronomics is CN's sponsor too :)

#20 NeoDinian

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 05:57 PM

As for wedge mounting.. You don't gain much height.. The scope will sit slightly higher, but not as much as you may think... But when wedge mounted, you'd want the pier offset (or top-plate at least) to make up for the shift of the OTA center... In my case (lat 41 degrees), I have my center shifted 5 inches to the south. (Or was it 6???)

#21 Moggi1964

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 07:35 PM

Futzman, I think you are going to have to decide if you can give up the features that attract you to the RCX. If not then your decision is an easy one. If you can then you are really choosing between Celestron or Meade 200R I would say.

Even a test drive at Astronomics isn't really going to make a huge difference as the two sticking points appear to be reliability of the RCX and giving up the features. The former won't be under test at Astronomics and the latter doesn't really depend on testing it.

If you can't give up the features then take a chance on reliability (you can always return it and likely get your money back on the second time) or put the RCX out of your head and decide between the other 14" on offer.

:penny: :penny:

#22 Futzman

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 07:50 PM

Futzman, I think you are going to have to decide if you can give up the features that attract you to the RCX. If not then your decision is an easy one. If you can then you are really choosing between Celestron or Meade 200R I would say.

Even a test drive at Astronomics isn't really going to make a huge difference as the two sticking points appear to be reliability of the RCX and giving up the features. The former won't be under test at Astronomics and the latter doesn't really depend on testing it.

If you can't give up the features then take a chance on reliability (you can always return it and likely get your money back on the second time) or put the RCX out of your head and decide between the other 14" on offer.

:penny: :penny:


All true and good advice. The question remains -- what are my chances of getting a "good" 14" RCX400 as opposed to a "bad" one? 50/50? 80/20? How many here have bought one and not had to send it back at least once? If all have then my decision is easy -- I won't buy a 14" RCX400. At that point I'm probably going to go the CGE 1400 route because I already trust Celestron's quality and the C14 is well proven. I'm still hoping for the 14" RCX400 because I really like the features I'm reading about. I'm also not trying to make the decision based on whether it will fit in my observatory or not, although that's certainly a factor. If I could get a 16" RCX400 for the same price as a 14", I'd buy it and observatory be danged ;)

#23 Tim Porreca

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 07:51 PM

Keep in mind that people who have trouble create posts. People don't generally post "Hey, my scope is working fine." FWIW - I've had no trouble with mine.

#24 Moggi1964

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 07:56 PM

My advice would be to speak to Astronomics and ask them how many they have sold and how many have come back through them. This should give you some idea.

If they know they are going to make a sale with you no matter what (I am assuming you are buying from them) then I have no reason to douby they won't be honest with you (probably would be without the sale).

I know that some scopes will be sent straight back to Meade but I am sure the purchaser would have at least kept Astronomics in the loop.

Worth a go!

#25 Aircrftr

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 08:10 PM

Also, as for wedge mounting, the 14" has longer skinny fork arms. It does shake for a longer period after bumped. For some reason the 14" R model has wider stiffer arms.... I can personally vouch for the shaking in the slightest breeze with the 14" RCX.

But all in all, yes I did send my 14" RCX back and exchange it or the R model, but I'd love to give the RCX another try later. It is a very fine scope when everything is working good. Mine was purchased 3 months ago.


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