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Meade 10 inch LX200 Classic - Wedge or CGX mount?

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#1 Chaos54

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 02:13 PM

Hello,

I recently visited a friend in the Toronto, Canada area who was my astronomy buddy some 25+ years ago when I lived north of the border.

 

He was the original owner of a Meade 10 inch LX200 Classic purchased in 1996 or thereabouts, and he has been wanting to sell me this scope for the past few years.

 

We finally came to acceptable terms on a deal, and I brought this beast of a telescope home with me, as I have recently re-kindled my interest in the hobby, including EAA and astrophotography.

 

I have enough property here in semi-rural Southern Illinois where I could build a small roll-off roof observatory, although I might not get started on this project immediately.

 

I am looking to eventually mount the scope on a pier, as it is way too big and cumbersome to move in and out of the house, and it would get little use with this arrangement.

 

The scope is currently fork mounted, but did not come with an equatorial wedge, and I am also a bit concerned with the minuscule drive motors used in its current configuration.

 

I have a CGX mount (not the L-version) and am wondering whether I should de-fork the scope and put it on this mount, or leave it as-is and get an X-Wedge.

 

I believe that the CGX should be adequate for the OTA and imaging gear, but was looking for comments from folks who may have faced a similar situation.

 

Thanks,

Charles Kaross

 

 


Edited by Chaos54, 11 April 2024 - 04:44 AM.

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#2 michael8554

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 04:48 AM

1.  For the very long FL of the 10" you should consider a custom wedge such as those made by Milburn.

 

As the Meade wedges are just too "wobbly".

 

2.  Have the five suspect capacitors in the mount and hand.box been replaced ?

 

These become faulty due to age, and more so when the mount is powered at 18V DC.

 

Meade designed these mounts for 12V DC working.

 

Later they started advising 18V DC.

 

But didn't uprate the components.

 

This can result in "popped" capacitors, a dead mount, and a burnt ribbon cable inside the handbox.

 

Check out the many posts in the Meade section..


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#3 WaveGuide

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 08:48 AM

Hello Charles,

I fully agree with Michael on this, when I had to decide which wedge to buy About four years ago. I already had a pier and roll-ff abservatory (or as my better half calls it, a 'shed'). Up to that point, the scope was in Alt-Az mode. Anyway, one cursory look at the photos and description of the Meade X wedge, persuaded me that it's not robust enough to handle a 10" Classic with all the usual photographic stuff attached. Luckily, I spotted a second hand wedge made by Astroparts (UK I think) and snapped it up. It's bolted to a 12" diameter concrete pier and is rock steady.

 

Py4hJNA.jpg

 

Cheers,

- Jack T



#4 Chaos54

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 01:05 PM

Thanks for the comments from all who responded.

 

I have ordered a bunch of 35V replacement tantalum capacitors and will not be powering up the electronics until these are changed out - that is the easy part for me after nearly 40 years as a technician in the computer / telecom industries, as well as being a ham radio guy.

 

I will also will be running the scope on something lower than the originally specified 18 volts -- seems that this was done with the idea of an optimum voltage for the motors, but obviously is regulated down for the TTL based electronics, so no need to heat up the 7805s with the higher input.

 

I found an X-Wedge for sale fairly nearby, but the owner wants around $500 for it, which is a lot to pay if it is still only a marginal solution.

 

I will probably end up putting it on an EQ mount eventually, but think that it would be fun to use for visual / EAA stuff this summer, and will definitely show a lot more than my 3 and 4 inch refractors.

 

CK



#5 solarity

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Posted 11 April 2024 - 08:02 PM

Thanks for the comments from all who responded.

 

I have ordered a bunch of 35V replacement tantalum capacitors and will not be powering up the electronics until these are changed out - that is the easy part for me after nearly 40 years as a technician in the computer / telecom industries, as well as being a ham radio guy.

 

I will also will be running the scope on something lower than the originally specified 18 volts -- seems that this was done with the idea of an optimum voltage for the motors, but obviously is regulated down for the TTL based electronics, so no need to heat up the 7805s with the higher input.

 

I found an X-Wedge for sale fairly nearby, but the owner wants around $500 for it, which is a lot to pay if it is still only a marginal solution.

 

I will probably end up putting it on an EQ mount eventually, but think that it would be fun to use for visual / EAA stuff this summer, and will definitely show a lot more than my 3 and 4 inch refractors.

 

CK

You sound like me a few months ago. I bought a LX200 10" Classic in December, got a Super Wedge for it (better built than the original Meade wedge, but might not be as good as the X-Wedge). I now understand why people seem to recommend shorter focal length for starting. Lot less forgiving and harder to learn with as variables, issues, and learning curve are multipled by the focal length. I love the 10" for visual and the goto is nice as I hate having to readjust a dob when someone wants to look through it. I don't know if you own Wheely Bar, though they really help moving that hunk of metal in and out of the garage. 

 

For AP, I just got an AM5 and waiting on my refactor to arrive from China. Once I get some experience under my belt I think I will give the F10 w/ a .63 focal reducer another shot. If things go well that, I might consider moving to a Celestron 9.25" or 11" mounted to my AM5 w/ a Hyperstar. 



#6 Skywatchr

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 07:08 AM

Hello,

I recently visited a friend in the Toronto, Canada area who was my astronomy buddy some 25+ years ago when I lived north of the border.

 

He was the original owner of a Meade 10 inch LX200 Classic purchased in 1996 or thereabouts, and he has been wanting to sell me this scope for the past few years.

 

We finally came to acceptable terms on a deal, and I brought this beast of a telescope home with me, as I have recently re-kindled my interest in the hobby, including EAA and astrophotography.

 

I have enough property here in semi-rural Southern Illinois where I could build a small roll-off roof observatory, although I might not get started on this project immediately.

 

I am looking to eventually mount the scope on a pier, as it is way too big and cumbersome to move in and out of the house, and it would get little use with this arrangement.

 

The scope is currently fork mounted, but did not come with an equatorial wedge, and I am also a bit concerned with the minuscule drive motors used in its current configuration.

 

I have a CGX mount (not the L-version) and am wondering whether I should de-fork the scope and put it on this mount, or leave it as-is and get an X-Wedge.

 

I believe that the CGX should be adequate for the OTA and imaging gear, but was looking for comments from folks who may have faced a similar situation.

 

Thanks,

Charles Kaross

The X-Wedge, or reworked Super Wedge will be fine permanently mounted, and with motorized focusing.  Just make sure the pier is substantial and thick steel at least 6" diameter, and short enough to sit for visual observing.  Anything smaller diameter, and/or taller would get the "shakes" more easily and take a few seconds to dampen out. A substantial steel plate on top of the pier for attaching the wedge to and a hole drilled for the AZ adjustment to top it off. The concept is the same with a "standard" tripod vs a "super heavy duty" tripod. The foundation needs to be solid.

Adding a couple of 1/4" cross plates to the wedge also beefs it up quite substantially, and are quite easy to make and attach with screws. But shouldn't be necessary for on a pier.  Maybe on a tripod.

I have two Super Wedges, but only really need one.  I very rarely set up 2 scopes at the same time anymore.


Edited by Skywatchr, 12 April 2024 - 07:09 AM.


#7 astrohamp

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 08:46 AM

My vote is use as is for a bit after the capacitor swap.  Get some perspective on existing failings if any then contemplate upgrades.  Certainly an unbelievable tech deal can change things.

 

After many years finally de-forked my LX6 2120 making the OTA manageable and in future tandem mountable on my CEM mount.  Being f6.3 not f10 some would say easier to use.  At 1600mm fl is unfortunately not much higher then the 990fl of my 152.  You will have a 'reach' advantage once things get dialed in.

 

With a ROR wind shake with a fork mount should not be an issue being that the LX200 arms are so much beefier then my LX6's.

 

Enjoy the night sky.


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#8 Yerman

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 10:29 AM

I have an lx90 bought about 20 years ago. Initially I used it as original but when I wanted to get into imaging I got a wedge for it. I would agree with the original Meade wedges being a little too flimsy for that matter everything Meade is suspect. Fortunately I managed a custom machine shop so I had a custom wedge made from solid 3/4” aluminum plate. It is the most rigid wedge in existence. It worked great the problem is that the Meade fork base and it’s bearings is poorly designed (cheap). So the overall performance is brought down to the lowest common denominator namely the base, motors, plastic gears and the main RA bearings being too close together. I never had good results until I de-forked it and mounted the scope on a modified CGEM. So in final analysis the GEM is the best solution especially for a permanent solution.
One last rant Meade used to boost about there precision this precision that. The main worm gear in my scope was not a worm gear at all. It was a straight cut cast aluminum gear with the teeth inclined at about 3 degrees mated to a sort of a worm look alike screw. All the reduction gears were plastic. Hardly precision.
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#9 Skywatchr

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 12:23 PM

I have an lx90 bought about 20 years ago. Initially I used it as original but when I wanted to get into imaging I got a wedge for it. I would agree with the original Meade wedges being a little too flimsy for that matter everything Meade is suspect. Fortunately I managed a custom machine shop so I had a custom wedge made from solid 3/4” aluminum plate. It is the most rigid wedge in existence. It worked great the problem is that the Meade fork base and it’s bearings is poorly designed (cheap). So the overall performance is brought down to the lowest common denominator namely the base, motors, plastic gears and the main RA bearings being too close together. I never had good results until I de-forked it and mounted the scope on a modified CGEM. So in final analysis the GEM is the best solution especially for a permanent solution.
One last rant Meade used to boost about there precision this precision that. The main worm gear in my scope was not a worm gear at all. It was a straight cut cast aluminum gear with the teeth inclined at about 3 degrees mated to a sort of a worm look alike screw. All the reduction gears were plastic. Hardly precision.

The LX90 has the thin flimsy forks like the older LX models and is less expensive for a reason.  The LX50 and LX200 are more substantial with great RA bearings that are not undersized. Also the need for the LX90 adapter to use a wedge (what was Meade thinking?) also makes the center of gravity worse.  I owned a 10" LX90 once and quickly passed it on to someone else at a star party letting them take it for a ride first.   So in the end, comparing the LX90 to an LX200 is essentially apples to oranges. A "budget price-point" scope vs a "serious" scope.

Very nice wedge you built though. waytogo.gif



#10 Yerman

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 03:34 PM

Fair enough you ask for opinions just passing mine along. I still would prefer a GEM to a fork on a wedge. Hopefully it works for you.

#11 LoveChina61

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 08:22 AM

LX200 mounted on a pier with a Superwedge works great! With autoguiding, you can get consistent 10-minute frames out of it.

 

Now if you are wanting to do 1-hour exposures, then you will need something much more substantial. But with today's CMOS cameras, a series of 10-minute frames will be awesome!

 

Mike


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#12 *skyguy*

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 10:16 AM

I will also will be running the scope on something lower than the originally specified 18 volts -- seems that this was done with the idea of an optimum voltage for the motors, but obviously is regulated down for the TTL based electronics, so no need to heat up the 7805s with the higher input.

 

I've had a Meade 12" LX200 "Classic" in my garage top observatory for the past 23 years. One of the most important "upgrades" you can make is to replace (toss in the garbage, where it belongs) the original18VDC power supply. I replaced mine with a 16VDC 3.3A supply and I've never had any problems with the scope's electronics. I bought the replacement from ScopeStuff:

 

https://www.scopestuff.com/ss_ps16.htm

 

 

I have this scope mounted on a Meade Superwedge. I have no complaints on its stability and I can take 2 minute unguided exposures and 1/2 hour or longer guided exposures when used with a f/6.3 focal reducer, a must have accessory. However, I mostly stick with 5-10 minutes sub-frames.

 

Buying a equatorial wedge for a LX200 scope is somewhat of a gamble for those new to astrophotography. Too often, the steep learning curve is too much with a large, long focal length scope and they drop back to a small refractor with a smaller, lighter weight German equatorial mount (GEM).

 

Enjoy your new scope ....

 

12-LX200-Classic.jpg


Edited by *skyguy*, 13 April 2024 - 01:31 PM.

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#13 Martin Y

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 06:25 PM

Well I picked up My 10" LX200 in 1995 and is still working. I upgraded the main board's memory and hand controller back then from the 740 object library. Always ran it on 12 volts and never had any problems with the caps, all original. May not be full speed when slewing but doesn't need to be. It's currently in a diy split roof observatory on a wood pier and superwedge, soon to be enlarged. Has a few mods I've done myself. You will enjoy your new acquisition. 


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