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LXD-85 Please?


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#1 tschuh

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 11:17 PM

WARNING - Rant ahead!!!

Now that I've been using my LXD-75 for a few years and I'm very comfortable with it I yearn for something a bit more robust, a bit more precise and with a slightly higher payload.  I don't need to go gung-ho and get a big Tak, MI, Losmandy or even a Celestron CGE Pro.  I would like something like a CGEM from Meade however.  I'd be willing to pay a premium for a higher quality, higher precision mount that I could put a 40lbs to 50 lbs payload on.

Take the LXD-75 as a starting point and scale it up 25%.  The case can be cast to save cost and ease manufacturing though with mini CNC equipment being so cheap these days I don't see where even that would be a deal breaker.  I don't think any of this would exceed 12 x 9 x 4 so even a desktop mill could likely handle it but i digress.  Aeroquest Machining right here in the good ol' US of A can make a one-off worm for a LXD75 for under $100 that is far superior to the gears coming out of China.  The grease that came in the LXD series is notorious for being more like glue than grease.  The plastic bearings are so poorly cut that I can do a better job freehand with an Exacto knife and add to that the material that is closer to a collapsable water bottle than a bearing material.  Again the market has an inexpensive improvement in some Teflon bearings cut on a CNC machine.  While the spur gears are adequate and could constitue a significant manufacturing savings I feel a very strong majority of users would be willing to pay for a toothed belt drive similar to the WarpsDrive modification kit for the LXD55/75 series mounts.

These few small changes made a huge difference in my LXD75.  Nearly as much as fixing all of the QA failures in my mount when I first recieved it.  The spur gears were rediculously loose, the worm barely engaged the worm gear, and the encoder on the RA axis was so loose it was spinning freely on it's shaft after three nights of use causing the mount to crash into itself if left to it's own devices.  We'll neglect the polar scope being completely unaligned on every possible axis.

Excepting these small things I've been fairly pleased with my equipment.  Take these improvements and use a fairly limited economy of scale to have the parts manufactured where ever necessary but have the mounts assembled and QA'ed in the US.  I'd even be happy to give my hard earned money to migratory labor with questionable citizenship before I'd be willing to send yet another job to China.  Given the lack of QA on the LXD I think it fairly obvious that bringing that job back to North America and paying twice or thrice as much for it would have an immediate and pronounced effect on quality that many people would gladly pay for.  The SN series scopes (excepting the focuser) provides a very, very enjoyable view and a flat enough field to get nearly anyone addicted to astrophotography.  Why not bring the mount up to that same standard rather than that of a retail store mount?  Heck, I can get Celestron equipment at my local big box computer and electronics retail store that I feel have far superior fit and finish compared to my LXD.  That doesn't mean I appreciate my LXD less, I just know it can be so much more than it is.  At this low price point it is likely turning more people off to astronomy than it is turning them on to it.  THe DS series is doing a good job of getting people interested.  The LXD should be the next stop into astrophotography on their way to ACF equiped mounts. 

Please Meade, step up to the plate and make a decent GEM as a step above the LXD75 like Celestron has done with the CG ASGT to the CGEM to the CGE Pro.  Please?

#2 DSOMAN

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 02:10 PM

I agree with everything you say. I have an SN10 and used the LXD75 mount for about a year and finally gave up on it and bought an Atlas EQ-G. The comparison is like a Cessna to the space shuttle.

I would hope Meade would listen to their customer inputs but alas I doubt it. As an example Mead's customer service is known to the worst of any telescope manufacturer [I can verify this from my own experience].

The focuser and finder on the SN10 are junk and was one of the first things I replaced when I got the scope. I had all the same issues with the mount as you mention. So did several friends of mine with their new LXD75's.

The bottom line is that there is no Q/A and the folks who put the mount together don't know the difference between a telescope and a toaster.

I also have a neighbor that bought a Mead high end 14" LX200GPS scope. It went back to the factory 3 times in the first year [within days out of the box, turn around time 60 days for a simple fix]. Meade does not have the capability or desire to provide even basic quality assurance on their products so if you want to buy a Meade scope [they do have excellent optics] be prepared to have a project scope.

After modifying the SN10 including the mirror mount I am very happy with the scope and plan to keep it for a long time. It would be nice if Meade could make these mods on their existing hardware but I would not hold my breath.

Brent

#3 Tony

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 01:50 PM

Meade's optics are Pizzaz, I loved my LX90 as far as it goes... but the LDX mount is trash from all I've heard. I moved from an LX90 8"  to a Sphinx GEM in the hope of getting precision tracking for imaging. Unfortunately the SDX that I got I still believe was a lemon as it never performed up to expectations and not up to its price point which was roughly twice the cost of a CGEM, which I eventually traded it in on. I have a CGEM to support and 8" Newt, 9.25" SCT, and a 4" refractor with guide scopes attached. I couldn't be more satisfied with its performance and cost, it is truly a value and not as refined as the Sphinx, it out performs it on all aspects, GOTO accuracy, tracking past the meridian, ability to handle the weight of the 9.25" SCT and related guidescope and cameras... predictability in all parts of the sky... its a great package!

#4 Bill Christie

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 01:33 AM

Scale up the LXD-75 mount by 25% (carrying capacity, tracking ability and co$t) and you get an EQ-6. :D  I've used both quite a lot and can make a fair comparison.  I loved using my LXD-75 mount it was a little beauty.  I took some nice pics with it.  The LXD-75 was a lot lighter than an EQ-6, but it didn't track as good as the EQ-6 does.

#5 Mark Sibole

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 06:57 AM

The LXD mounts are an entry level mount for light weight scopes
The can track well and work well even for imaging if you do some minor tuning up on them.
Mark Sibole
MTSO Observatory
Fife Lake, Mi.

http://astronomy.qteaser.com

#6 grimzella

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 08:55 AM

The LXD mounts are an entry level mount for light weight scopes
The can track well and work well even for imaging if you do some minor tuning up on them.



I agree the mount is a lightweight mount.. but meade mis-guides you when they sell a honker 10in SN  with this mount.  when i bought my lxd75 SN 10in.  i had no idea the mount was already overloaded,  until later on, from forums ect.  I find out that the 8in  SN is almost the breaking point of this mount.  for visual.. yes  the 10in SN is fine with the lxd75 mount.. for photography.. no way is the 10in SN (even when the mount is adjusted properly) a good match up.

#7 Cyberkinetic

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 05:12 PM

So does the new LX80 mount look like it fits the bill on the requests made here? Meade rates it as 40lb capacity, and the $999 price tag would seem to make it a bargain for that much capacity.




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