Last update 2002-3-4

Experiences with the Meade LX200, part 2

The wonderful but very noisy machine.

Supply voltage: The LX200 model was original designed for 12 VDC. The RA/DEC motors are designed originally for a supply of maximum 24 VDC. But like any DC motor they will also work with a lower voltage resulting in a lower speed and less power. In fact these DC motors are speed controlled by varying the voltage. Later Meade decided to increase the LX200 supply voltage to 18 VDC. In some cases the LX200 motors could not cope with the requested speed/power requirements, resulting in a confused LX200.  Anyhow is seems that most LX200 including mines work fine with a supply voltage of 13.6 Volt maximum as taken from a standard car battery. I have had several field sessions and had no problem at all. The only effect is that a the highest speed the telescope is moving a little slower but I prefer that anyhow. Additional I'm using a rather thin supply cable. This could lead to some more supply voltage drop but and even that did not cause any problem.

I still find it a very good telescope. No problems in finding objects anymore. Wonderfull.

Zenith prism: The supplied zenith was not of good quality. First I found out that the collimation was different between using the prism and alternatively the ocular direct in the telescope. It took some time to find out, but a definite proof  was easy. As soon the prism was turned around, an object in the center of a the 12mm ocular could move more then 1/3 of the view. Very poor. My LX10 prism was 3 times better. This means with this poor prism:

1) Collimation should be done only with a ocular direct in the telescope.

2) Accurate centering the LX200 was waist of time. As soon the telescope pointing direction was changed and the prism had to be turnend, a large offset was introduced by the prism.

I just returned the zenith prism for the third time to the shop where I bought it. The shop owner is fully aware of the problem ,but the Meade representative here in Germany seems not to understand the problem. I'm glad I'm having a backup with the prism of the LX10. Without it I would be without any good prism for month's !!.

Cold temperatures problems: The only other problem I had that a very cold freezing temperatures the telescope was starting to make screaming   noises at high slew speed.  It happened only at the end of a very cold session and I decided to leave it as it is since these conditions are rare.

The weather in Mai 2001 was wonderful with many clear nights. My body was getting too less sleep but it gave the opportunity to make some nice CCD pictures.

Equatorial wedge: Initially I used the wedge of my LX10 telescope to make pictures with the LX200. It fits and is for not too heavy handeling okay. The LX200 weight is about twice of that of the LX10. One time the bold wheres not tight enough and it was slipping away. It needed some time to find out why the alligment was not okay. Later I have bought the optional equatorial wedge which for fixing and adjusting an improved compared with the LX10. A equatorial wedge is something required for long exposure photo's.  The Meade manual decribes that for those purposes the telescope control should be set equatorial. However while I can not see the polar star from my house observation window facing south, I prefer (and it works !!) to keep the telescopy in the Azimuth/altitude mode. I fact it is often easier to just set the telescope at if fixed place, axis facing north and just center manually on a bright star and to push calibrate.  For objects close to this stars the calibration is fine for me. If I use the LX200 outside such as in my garden, I follow the standard 2 star alligment. But also there I prefer to use the telescope in Azimuth/Altitude software setup with wedge !.

Pictures: Here are some CCD results of the month Mai 2001. The CCD camera was the Alpha Mini at 16x16 um (FT800P video chip, cooled) and the focal reducer at the F/6,3, 8 inch LX200 telescope.  View about 30 x 25 minutes: