(now some bad experiences with MEADE service)
The wonderful but very noisy machine.
Meade makes nice telescopes but the service is awfull. I have send in my telescope 7 months ago. Promise after promise but it is still away. I have send this letter 2 weeks ago but no reply accept from the friendly and helpfull local Meade representive:
Local Meade shop" Date: 2002-2-19
Subject: LX200 8" F/6,3, repair/exchange time
Dear Mr. xxxx,
As discussed by phone, I'm very disappointed in handling and response time of Meade Europe/USA. Here summarisation of the problems:
1.Beginning 2001. Very load noise from the telescope. According your info, a lack of grease. Fixed swiftly in your workshop.
2.Middle of 2001. Found a problem with accuracy. A soon I turned the erection prism around, the stars were moving half of the diameter of the 12 mm plössl eyepiece. Initially we blamed this on the Meade (made in China) erection prism, but after sending the prism twice to Meade and trying an different branch, we have concluded there was a severe construction failure in the telescope. The main SC thread connection is not in alignment with the main optical axis. So the telescope was looking sideways instead of to the front. Star alignment was only possible if the position of the prism was not changed which is practical impossible. Instead of the high pressions accuracy of 1 arc minute claimed by Meade, the accuracy achieved was ¼ degrees or 15 arc minutes. Since the telescope has to be aligned on the stars and adapters like a prism/CCD are rotated or exchanged this is not acceptable. Looking trough a long adaptor mounted at the back showed the seconday mirror about 20 mm out of the middle. The offset was confirmed by your workshop.
Okay I can accept these things happen but at this moment, I have visit your shop totally 2x (grease) +6x (prism) +4x(last problem) times, so totally 12 times and I'm waiting for my telescope now 6 Months (August 2001). Estimated return dates have been broken, time after time. This is making me slowly nuts. If I order something in the USA, I have it delivered in house within a week. Keeping customers waiting and breaking expected repair/exchange time is very nerving. If I do not get a replacement/substitution next week, I will put my sad story on my own very popular astronomy web page www.hnsky.org with about 220 astronomy visitors daily and also on the LX200 user group www.mapug.com. I have been favourite MEADE user but this does not help.
And last but not least, last week I found out that the front baffle of my thrusty ETX (1997) is coming loose. The glue is not solid but sticky and the baffle it is hanging half on the front corrector. It has been never exposed to the SUN but I just found out that I'm not the first to discover this aging problem. So my thrust in MEADE contruction quality is at a very very low point now.
Beginning of July, my LX200 has been returned. According Meade nothing was wrong and the error is in the most extreme case less then 3 arcminutes and my measurements could not be repeated. So friendly said, they did not understand my moaning.
Since the whole discussion was about the offset and ways how to measure it, I have applied the following absolute error free method using the LX200 encoders:
The procedure was very simple and straight foreward. The telescope was aligned and pointed on a star near the equator with a declination of around zero. This allow simple distance calculations. I used my illuminated 12 mm recticle eyepiece and brought the calibration star SAO 125159 exactly in the middle of the eyepiece cross. The diagonal was pointing to the right side of the telescope. After centering on the star the telescope position was matched with the star position so the display showed exactly the star position as in the LX200 database. Then the diagonal was turned 180 degrees and the star was centered again using the East/West,South/North buttons Then the new position was read from the LX200 display with the attached results. The whole procedure was repeated 3 times. The telescope mounting was an equatorial wedge. The whole procedure was repeated a week later, also 3 times this time with the telescope in AZ/ALT mounting with simular results. The summerized results are as follows:
Drift after turning the 1 1/4 inch diagonal using the LX200 encoder is about 6.2 minutes
Drift using the 2 inch diagonal and the LX200 encoder is about 2.1 minutes
Conclusion: After sending the telescope in four times, still no repair or fixing by Meade. The telescope has been away an astonishing 9 month's ! Return data promises have been broken time after by Meade. The pointing accuray according Meade advertisement and documentation is better or equal then 1 arcminutes. According Meade Europa the maximum error of my telescope is worse case 3 minutes. Using the 1 1/4 diagonal the actual error is more then 6 arcminutes. (The telescope has always be accompanied by the 1 1/4 diagonal but this integral part of the telescope seems not to be part of there testing most likley it is not very good. The 2 inch diagonal gives a much better result. The 1 1/4 diagonal has been checked or exchanged three times without any sinificant improvement. Meade is no longer willing or interested in the whole thing.
One of the measurements:
Star near equator where DEC is about zero.
1 1/4 inch diagonal
Star SAO 125159 centriert in illuminated guiding eyepiece:
Postion right RA=19:52 32 DEC= 01d00 00
Position left RA=19:52 07 DEC= 00d59 31
delta RA =25x15 sec=375 arcsec.
delta DEC= 29 arcsec.
Total sqrt(sqr(375)+sqr(29))=376 arcsec or 6.2 minutes
2 inch diagonal
Star SAO 125159 centriert:
Postion right RA=19:52 32 DEC= 01d00 00
Position left RA=19:52 28 DEC= 00d58 08
delta RA =4x15 sec=60 arcsec.
delta DEC= 112arcsec.
Total sqrt(sqr(60)+sqr(112))=127 arcsec. or 2.1 minutes
Result: the 2 inch diagonal is about three times better.
Send to Meade and waiting for reply/comments . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2002-12-31, no response from Meade