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disappointing design decisions in LX600

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#1 sk1212000



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Posted 21 June 2013 - 01:25 AM

I just received my LX600 10 inch with XWedge last Wednesday after having ordered it two months ago. The Starlock feature is very cool and works reasonably well. I find the Autostar hand controller to also be way more useful than the one from my last telescope a 13 year old Celestron NextStar 8.

However I am surprised at some of the poor workmanship and dumb or poorly thought out design elements in the LX600. Additionally I hate to say this but overall the scope feels like it was designed, engineered and built by a bunch of folks in metal shop vs. high quality expensive scientific instrument with modern engineering design and materials. Ugly metal faceplates where connectors go, overly gratuitous use of hex nuts, screws all over the place. The poor workmanship is most obvious on the giant field tripod that has blemishes, scratches and scuffs that have just been painted over.

Were hex screws really the best option for the counterweight setup? Feels more like just took the easy way out for what was used in other parts of the scope.

The C-Clip for the spreader on the tripod is extremely easy to lose but had the way the base attaches to the tripod been thought out a bit more a different more elegant design might have been possible.

Meade makes a point of how because it can broken down into 3 pieces this 150 lb setup is "Portable" Never mind the fact that separating the OTA from the base requires dealing with lining 12 big hex screws while the OTA is sitting just on those small rectangular plates?? Did anyone at Meade evaluate how difficult or easy this is to do in setup and breakdown of the scope or was the expectation that this would happen very rarely?? And if so then lets not sell the scope on its "portability" I haven't even tried this yet with the xwedge and can only imagine how much harder it would be when the base and OTA are not parallel to the ground.

The handles on the OTA or the base have no grip surfaces ..and you have to wear gloves otherwise they sharply push into your skin given the weight. And I should mention the location of the handles doesn't match the pictures in the user manual!

The Autostar PC software looks like it was designed during the Windows 95 days and no one has bothered to modernize or optimize its performance since. Never mind that there is no Mac support..

If I was buying a 500 or 1000 dollar telescope I wouldn't be complaining but when you spend 5K or those who get the bigger ones..a lot more...you expect a certain quality level and attention to detail.

I can't help but imagine where telescope tech and engineering would be if Canon or Nikon were making telescopes and also wonder how awful the reverse would be true if I had to buy my digital SLR camera from Meade or Celestron

Come on guys! You can do better...this is not putting your best foot forward in terms of American design, ingenuity and workmanship!

#2 quattroman



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Posted 23 June 2013 - 08:35 AM


Regarding the plates between OTA and base.. From pictures, it seems to be just a matter of sliding the guiding-screws into their respective slots.
Then you have to align the edges of the plates, and then enter one of the screws opposite the sluts. The rest of the screws should enter easily.

As I see, there are only a total of 8 screws attaching the OTA to the base.
I would think hex-screws are the most durable.. And it's easier to deal with just one or two different hex-keys when setting up the scope.
It's also a possibility to change some of the hex-screws with black 12.9 hex-screws for even more durability regarding the hex-heads, if you want to.
But that would maybe require a more gentle touch when tightening them, since the plates are aluminum?

With a big scope, there's no going around heavy components. Hope your general disappointment towards the scope will turn positive over time.
Also think that optics and tracking are the most important criteria in the end.. How are the optics performing?

#3 Cryhavoc


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Posted 24 June 2013 - 07:09 AM

Couple of questions and observations regarding SK1212000's post...

What would you like in lieu of the metal faceplates?

What would you like in place of the hex nuts..and what "screws"? I haven't had a problem with the hex nuts and can't think of what I would like to replace them with. They feel very secure to me.

My tripod has absolutely no blemishes, scratches or scuffs that I can locate. I would definately take this up with them. You're shouldn't accept a defective or damaged product.

I agree about the counterweight setup and hex screws. I'd prefer some metal finger screws and I will change this. Don't know just how yet. I really wish the'd do some sort of "recall?" and send us new finger screws to go in there.

I didn't like the "C-Clip" setup either, they do give you an extra but could've been better designed.

As for portability, I find the 10" portable, but only barely. It can be done but I wouldn't want to and thus far I've arranged to have assistance. I set it up one time by myself and I don't want to do that again. However, this isn't a deal breaker for me. There are some many more positive aspects that I don't have a problem with this. On a side note, I really enjoy going through all the setup stuff associated with a relocation. It gives me the chance to go over every inch of my equipment but that's not really relevant.

I have no idea what you're referring to with the no grip surfaces on the OTA? Mine does not have that that I can find. I got one of the very first ones, (the second one I think) so this may have come along later?

Yes some of the images are incorrect in the documentation & they should most definately update/revise it.

I agree regarding the Autostar PC software. I think it is probably backwards compatible to Windows 98. IT DOES WORK.... Big +. I'm in IT and I really don't care, as long as it works without me spending 5 hours getting it too.

I don't think you can find a scope that can compare to the LX600 in it's price range. I know because I scoured the planet for the 13 months I spent on the waiting list getting PO'd that it was taking so long. I probably went to cancel my order 100 times and chickend out, (glad I did at this point). Yes, there are some things that need to be addressed and Yes, we first comers are essentially doing beta to fine tune the release of the LX650. I knew that when I got one and recognized this and didn't mind.

I'm not going to address the comments on workmanship and American design. I mean, really? You were doing so well and you just let emotion get the best of you. Let's analyze this without all that. I don't think any of us have a scope that doesn't include parts from all over the world. I have 3 scopes and...er...mercy...there's stuff from everywhere and I like to think that I only select the best product for the job.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not happy with Meade's Customer Relations in any way. They should drag everyone in that department out back to the woodshed and whip their.., well, you get my meaning. But, for the initial product, I think it's a game changer and it's the beginning and will only improve from here. I just hope that some of the revisions & mods are usable by us first comers. I have yet, due to the time of year that I received my scope and I live in a hot, humid environment, been able to completely test every aspect of the LX600 sofar. What I have been able to do has been rewarding and satisfying and it keeps getting better the more experience I get. Not to sound overly optimistic but I'm using summer as a proving ground and I feel like when the cooler observing weather arrives I will not be wasteing much time learning and enjoying allot of time viewing.

Just my 2 cents. Cheers

#4 Perthastro



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Posted 30 May 2014 - 01:56 AM

My biggest bitch with the LX-600 counterweight system is that it must have been designed by the work experience engineer or kid from school. In my case it's a 12" LX-600


Why didn't they put a 5mm clearance between the counterweight shaft and the OTA. That way heater straps would fit in nicely. Now I have to get a couple of spacers machined as no commericial heating elements will fit underneath the counterweight shaft.  It's a really pi%% poor piece of engineering.

#5 Perthastro



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Posted 31 May 2014 - 10:14 AM

I didn't like the "C-Clip" setup either, they do give you an extra but could've been better designed.

Just my 2 cents. Cheers


The C-clip has been a bug bear of mine for 20+ years. All that's needed is a small threaded collar and grub screw to fix the problem once and for all and finally.  Back when the LX-50 came out I machined down a suitable nut and fitted it in place with araldite. It solved the problem once and for all.


There's a few other issues Meade really do need to address. Their consistent lack of use of helicoils on the base to wedge mounting bolt holes is a classic example of where spending a couple of bucks at the time of manufacture will increase the longevity of the product by stopping damage to the butter soft aluminium threads. This is a real problem for those who don't have permanent observatories. Helicoiling will not only produce a product with a far longer life but as well as giving the Meade line a boost in the quality stakes.


I really do believe Meade need to be come considerably more focused on sorting out the details and ensuring that a new product comes out with all the important accessories in place such as telecompressors and field flatteners (if required).  Meade need to listen to their customers and understand that most of us want to see better built products, not products released with bugs and niggling issues that need to be addressed.


One last thing, they should really consider using only metric fasteners and fittings. This would bring them in to alignment with global standards and engineering practices.

I've been a loyal Meade user since the early 1983 and have purchased 4 SCTS from Meade over the years. I'm also an overseas customer and we pay about 80% more for a Meade telescope than you guys based in the USA pay. In my case the nearest dealership for Meade is roughly the same distance as LA to NY. 

#6 rmcturnan



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Posted 17 August 2014 - 09:47 AM

I'm getting some helpful info on the LX600. I'm considering getting a LX600 14' and after reading the posts I'm not so sure. Apparently it has it's problems. Saw a few videos of assembly out of the box and the owners also complained about uneven paint jobs, scratches. and a bolt included that was not the right length. But optically, it worked great. It seems they need to crack down on QC. I haven't decided yet but with around an $8k price tag, it makes me a little nervous. Currently I own a C-8 that I've had for about 5 years and I'm wanting to move up.


Clear skies..

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