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LX850 Shipping!


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#21 Dan

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:11 AM

I will be watching closely, especially the experiences of buyers. I am somewhat skeptical. Jason Ware lives close to me in Dallas and we both belong to TAS (Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas). I've been to his house and spoken with him on numerous occasions. When I saw an image of his on the back cover of Sky and Tel that said it was taken using the LX850 I got very excited, especially since the ad said he took it in his back yard and his image looked comparable to one taken by the Hubble! So, I sent him an email and asked him if he felt the problems with the the LX800, now titled the LX850, had been solved. He never wrote back. My conclusion is that if he had something nice to say he would have said it. I understand that Jason Ware only uses Meade scopes, which they send him for free (to test and also to publish pictures with it for publicity reasons). But when you ask someone who uses a new product what they think and they refuse to answer that does not fill me with a lot of confidence.

Hey, Meade Administrators! What do you think sabout this?

#22 ahopp

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

Dan,

You are making a huge leap from his lack of response to poor mount performance. There could be a thousand reasons why he did not respond to your email, most of them unrelated to whether he thinks the LX850 is a good solution.

I have seen his posts on CloudyNights and they are positive for the most part.

I see no reason why Meade can't produce a reasonably good mount, present recall excluded.

Tony
____________________________
14" Meade LX850 ACF f/8
80mm Meade 6000 APO
90mm Meade ETX
60mm Focal (First Telescope)
Orion MiniGiant 9x63
Mallincam Xtreme EXview HAD
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
Canon 24-105mm f/4L

#23 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:40 PM

Dan,

I would bet top dollar Jason signed a non-disclosure agreement, in exchange for testing and using the LX850 (or anything else). If Meade did not require him to sign such a document, then they made a grave mistake. I my line a work - Aerospace and Software - this required all the time. I imagine most other places too. It is just good business practice. And he has a good thing going - why blow it?

-- Andrew

P.S. - Just a quick check on CN show that in fact they have signed NDA's and are careful about what is said. But gauging from the first light quick picts I am seeing and the comments that are out there, I would say this has the makings of an amazing telescope!
-- Andrew
World Explorer,
Satellite Development,
and all that...

#24 DracoIV

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:50 AM

Andrew, I cannot thank you enough for the "quick insight"! My current order includes the XWedge and focal reducer/field flattener. But, and this is now a big "but", I had not considered the versatility aspect of the GEM, which is strange because I am somewhat religious about "future proofing". I will speak with my OPT rep about the possibility of switching my order. It mostly depends on how it would effect my position in the delivery que.

This is really all Canon's fault! Last year, when the reviews of the 60Da came out, the imaging bug bit me...hard. Ordered the camera and a plethora of accessories, bought some books, ordered the LX600 with wedge to put the camera on. My mind had been made up on the LX600 from the first advertisement in Astronomy Magazine. I had been budgeting for an LX for some time and I just knew immediately that the 600 had to be it. I had such confidence in Meade that I never really did any research on the LX600/800. I had no idea there were issues still being resolved or that there had been a recall. My first clue was when OPT returned all my payment except for a 10 percent deposit. Wha... the warning bells finally went off and I awoke from my ignorant bliss and started doing some research. Anyway, in light of recent developments, my confidence in Meade is restored (somewhat). This has really worked out best for me as it has allowed me the chance to research better and pick up (very) helpful insights from folks such as yourself!

Clear Sky's,
Frank

#25 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:28 PM

Frank,

No problem sharing "the research". I agree with the Future proofing - I think instead of purchasing several mounts and scopes the LX850 seems to be the ultimate package. Hopefully your position in the que does not get messed up.

My confidence has been restored to, and I am trying to do my part to help them out. And I hope the LX850 lasts as long and is as robust as my 21 year old LX200. This thing is rock solid and still looks mostly new.

I really love the Canon 60Da, and I am still learning to use this puppy. Still I am taking astropicts I have never dreamed of taking. So I hear you on that!
-- Andrew
World Explorer,
Satellite Development,
and all that...

#26 RonH

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:39 AM

Hi Andrew and fellow forum members,

After having waited nigh on a year for an LX600 I was made aware by my scope retailer in Toronto that they now had LX850's in stock. I've long been familiar with GEM mounts and have never owned a fork mounted scope. Your comments, Andrew, about the practical advantages and disadvantages of setting up, taking down and plain mobility of the different mounts, looking to the future and, for me, the LX850 availability made me decide to switch over. The system is ordered and will be shipping early next week. From club members who have seen the assembled LX850 mount the reviews are that it looks to be of exceptional quality with exquisite attention to detail and I expect that will prove true. I'm anticipating it with great excitement.

That said, I do wish that Meade had been and I hope will be more attentive to those customers awaiting the LX600. I fully appreciate, and have no quarrel with, the need for a company to protect its intellectual and product properties and expect them to employ necessary safeguards with "beta" or final product testers. However, it remains my opinion that good customer relations are predicated on good communication. I think I've been quite patient, along with many others. I wonder, though, how many have given up and taken their custom elsewhere; especially if Meade's current situation is somewhat strained. So, I'm happy that I'll be receiving what promises to be a great telescope system but remain disappointed by the way Meade has conducted itself in relation to those who keep it in business.

Ron

#27 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 11:35 AM

Ron,

Wow on the shipping date! Actually I was talking with my dealer and we had speculated that with the recall telescopes to be delivered and then scopes on preorder, I would not see mine until maybe May. I had hoped for late March, but May sounded more realistic. Then I saw your comment - SHIPPING NEXT WEEK! Then I saw another website that had the 12" LX850 in stock for sale. Me thinks I might see mine now in mid-March.

Purely speculating, but my guess is once they get caught up on the LX850 and are 100% assured the kinks are out of it (re StarLock), Meade will do a build/run on the LX600. Plus getting the higher margin LX850s out the door will help cash flow.

To me the biggest mistake Meade made, which is common in this biz, is the early pre-announcements. Of course the key benefits is it prevents customers from buying the competition's scopes, gets excitement built up, and based on pre-order's they can tell how many they will build - and make their investors happy. The problem though the product wasn't close to ready, and when the new stuff came out Meade fell on their face big time. This became a no win situation. They can't say much due to investors, but they said too much early angering customers. Still, I am very pleased how they handled the recall, and I am pleased they involved many beta testers and they so far have done the best to manage damage control in a no win situation. It does help they do have great IP/Technology and a very loyal following. I came very close to pulling the gun last month on the Celestron CGE PRO 1400 HD that was in stock, BUT then I looked at the LX800/LX850 and said "be patient" to myself (yeah I know over 1 year of patience!). And it looks like we will be rewarded.

I hope Meade has turned the corner on all this, communicates better with customers and learned some great lessons - we all do in this business world. And I hope I can do my part to help them out. I even have some ideas on the satellite side of the business I am in - might be able to help them out there. But that is a different topic...
-- Andrew
World Explorer,
Satellite Development,
and all that...

#28 deepwaterescue4u

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 04:39 PM

Space
Another area Meade could improve there customer relations is by selling meade parts for the end user to install themselfs, instead of having the end user send the scope back to Cal. for sometimes a simple repair, I myself have not had any problems with my lx200 10" scope but I have read here and on other fourms that they insist that the scope be returned and for the end user that cost a lot..now all that being said this would only serve to help meade in many ways if the end user messed up on the fix then they would still have to send it back to them for repair, it would also put money into meades bank account for selling the parts and inprove customer relations10 fold...

Terry

Meade LX200 14" ACF GPS
Meade 4 speed micro focuser
Milburn Wedge
Panama City Florida

Live long and prosper


#29 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:27 PM

Terry,

Well I see it as a mixed bag on the parts, but I generally agree with you. In the "olden" days of Meade the only sold parts, and then continued the practice for a while. The problem is with warranty work. The minute a user does his "own fix" it immediately voids the warranty. The problem becomes the user buys a part, tries to fix it himself, and still doesn't work. Maybe the user did more damage to the scope. Who knows. That becomes the main rub - voiding the warranty. Now for scopes out of warranty, I see no problem with this. But how long should Meade maintain and keep parts for older scopes? 2 years? 5 Years? 10 Years? The cost of inventory & storage gets a bit prohibitive. So you can see it becomes a complex problem in a market with narrow margins.

I can say I am very thankful for my 10" LX200 Classic for lasting for so long. Then again, this thing is built like a tank!
-- Andrew
World Explorer,
Satellite Development,
and all that...

#30 RonH

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 04:04 PM

Andrew,

Just an update on my LX850 that arrived on Friday of last week. It is a very impressive piece of equipment, solidly built, easy to put together and with considerable attention to user detail. As might be expected, weather conditions have been governed by the Right Honourable Murphy and so it hasn't yet been given a work out. Meade has certainly come through with a fine product and it's just regrettable that they haven't capitalized on their efforts to do the right thing for customers with more openness. If the hardware is exquisite, the software and the documentation relating to it leave much to be desired. Unless I'm fading in my advancing years, I find it very difficult to follow the path needed to address updates for the "handbox" otherwise known by its AutoStar II handle or a more cryptic 3-digit code. Am I alone in thinking that information is not centralized and the obvious diagrams that would replace arcane wording are scant? There is a good example of the power that a diagram provides with Starlock updating. Moreover, it seems to me that whoever is subcontracted to write the software needs to move beyond stuff that needs Windows XP or has an arrest when confronted with Win7 64 bit.
I hope you don't have to wait too long for your stuff to arrive and would like to hear your reactions when you get it,

Ron

#31 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:22 PM

Ron,

Were you on the recall/old wait list, or are you part of the "new" orders? I am hearing a lot of 10" and 12" scopes are showing up; even a few tripod only models! Rumor has it the build is longer for the 14" due to the high demand for the other models.

I agree with you on the software, based on past experience with Meade. Actually I find my old Classic LX200 with the old style controller easier to use than the controller I have on the ETX125. Currently, I use the old controller on the LX200 for polar alignment and basic movement, and Sky Safari on a iPad (and soon Macintosh) with SkyFi to control the scope. VERY EASY, VERY INTUITIVE. My gut tells me (total speculation here), LX850 system uses the old baseline code with additions for handling the GEM mount and StarLock. If so, I should be able connect the SkyFi to it also. If you have access to SkyFi/Sky Safari give it a go.

FYI, I am a very experienced software developer and I think you are correct in your assessment. However, software development is expensive, and very good code is expensive. Meade should have access to the latest software tools, methods, etc, but to re-write code from the ground up is VERY EXPENSIVE. It is much cheaper to nudge along existing code, especially code for telescope operations. It is very telling the SkySafari code can easily control the new Meade LX200's and a scope built 22 years ago! The core code has not changed much during that time.

Let me know how first light goes. Here in NM we have a beautiful 5 days weather stretch going. That is not going to help you out right now though.

Also, did you purchase a case with it? How will you store it? Transport it? My old LX200 came with a case - those were the days!

-- Andrew
-- Andrew
World Explorer,
Satellite Development,
and all that...

#32 gspie

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:23 AM

No cases for any of the LX850 components (well, there are the original boxes :<( ).
I have just purchased a Pelican 1660 case for my 10" OTA, and will probably do the same for my StarLock and LX850 mount (I just need to re-measure to make sure I find the correct Pelican Boxes) -- they are well constructed, and the bigger ones have wheels.

Jims' Mobile makes cases for lots of scopes, but nothing yet for the LX850 series -- I was tryiong to get one before the recall, and they were working on something -- that all stopped with the recall.
LX850 with 10" ACF OTA and Takahashi FS 60C OTA -- SBIG STT-8300M CCD with FW8G-STT Self Guiding Filter Wheel and SBIG AO-8 Adaptive Optics -- Camera Control and Image Calibration with Maxim DL/CCD Pro, Image processing with PixInsight, and final composition with Photoshop CS5

http://home.comcast....ie/astroweb.htm

#33 RonH

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 05:38 PM

Hi Andrew,
I originally placed an order for an LX600 in late April of last year. I suppose I am a "new customer" inasmuch as I switched to the LX 850 and it so happened that I was made aware of their arrival at the distributor in Toronto. I don't have any cases at present so I'll be keeping it in a partly assembled state and live in space resembling a retail store. I decided to go with a 10" model and I think that this also happened to be the first kind received. I will not be transporting it for now, at least no further than my driveway where I can set it up for viewing and use of my Mallincam Universe camera. The mount is quite heavy and I imagine that the case that finally gets made to house it will be huge. Getting a case for the OTA should not be a problem. One small detail on the tripod is that it doesn't collapse as completely as I'd like to see, if the rod that retains mount to tripod base has its "c" clip attached.
I'll look into SkyFi and SkySafari and appreciate your comments on the difficulties and costs associated with writing code from fresh and even tweaking existing code.
I envy your being in NM - the east coast is not exactly prime viewing country! I'll let you know how I fare,
Ron

#34 ahopp

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 09:09 AM

Just received my tracking number, my 14" will be here on Tuesday the 19th.

Tony
____________________________
14" Meade LX850 ACF f/8
80mm Meade 6000 APO
90mm Meade ETX
60mm Focal (First Telescope)
Orion MiniGiant 9x63
Mallincam Xtreme EXview HAD
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
Canon 24-105mm f/4L

#35 Cygni

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:30 PM

Was your telescope on recall, or are you a new order ?? And when did you order it ? If you don't mind me asking ?
Congrats btw!!

thanks
Mike

#36 ahopp

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 04:47 AM

She just hit Albuquerque!


Mike, I ordered my scope November 2nd, 2011. So, yes, part of the recall.


Tony


____________________________
14" Meade LX850 ACF f/8
80mm Meade 6000 APO
90mm Meade ETX
60mm Focal (First Telescope)
Orion MiniGiant 9x63
Mallincam Xtreme EXview HAD
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
Canon 24-105mm f/4L

#37 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:46 AM

GSPIE - I will keep an eye on JMI as they should be able to adapt something. The Pelican case looks like a great idea too.

Ron - I used to live in Michigan and even Oregon for a few years. Clear skies were cherished. Observing in the snow sucked, and the dew and mosquitos were killer in the summer. When I moved to NM the change was profound. It was like I literally got a new telescope. Last night's observing and photo session was great.

Tony - I will say hi to your scope passing through.

I am trying to gauge now when my 14" will come in. I am part of the new bunch, not the recalled bunch. Still, I am now seeing 10" and 12" models pop up, and even a bare bones LX850. I am hoping I can get mine now at the end of this month vs May or later.
-- Andrew
World Explorer,
Satellite Development,
and all that...

#38 Cygni

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 10:53 AM

Thanks Tony

I ordered a 14" in January 2012, and it looks like delivery date of 4/9, but i am not holding my breath, How I wished I lived in NM. However I am coming out there in April, so maybe I will have my scope, crosses fingers.

#39 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 11:22 AM

Well April sounds better than May. It is hard to tell with Meade now. Suddenly everything I order they send to me quite quickly. When I speak with them Meade service and shipping has been quite helpful and VERY prompt.

I have not pestered Meade yet on the LX850 only because, well, everyone is pestering them! Also I am going through Astronomics so I am bugging them! Still, I sense we might see something sooner vs. later. I have found a place that has a couple of 12" IN STOCK and one place I found the mount alone was for sale. I was tempted to just get the 12", but my heart is set on the 14".
-- Andrew
World Explorer,
Satellite Development,
and all that...

#40 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 11:25 AM

Cygni,

Once you observe from NM (or many choice spots in the Southwest), you will never want to observer anywhere else. I have brought my scope back to Michigan a few times, but the weather only cooperated once - for the Transit of Venus, and that is in daylight!
-- Andrew
World Explorer,
Satellite Development,
and all that...




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