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Philip Benson

LX200 technical help needed

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I have recently purchased a 2nd hand LX200GPS (14" version) and just had it serviced. Everything checked out fine electronically and mechanically.

One problem which did manifest itself though occurred during the alignment part. I can get a GPS fix but then during the finding level and north phase the telescope fails to lock onto north. However as long as I aim the telescope north and make sure the tripod is level I can perform a one or two star alignment successfully.

The telescope was serviced professionally and during the service the firmware was updated to see if this would solve the north finding issue but to no avail. However since all the hardware passed their diagnostic checks successfully we were left to assume this might be a software problem.

I'm appealing to anyone with some technical knowledge of LX200GPS scope who have any suggestions about how to solve this?
 

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OK not overly familiar but why would the scope lock on to North?

The only Meade I know of that "orientates" itself are the LS6 and LS8.

The LX200 14" with GPS I have met did not do a level and North itself, but it was on a pillar and may have been set up differently or the initial procedure was.

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LX200gps finds north and level at initialisation. 

Level is identified by a sensor in one fork arm but I don't know how it finds north - I assume there's a solid state compass as it'll work with the gps disabled. Unfortunately it appears that the Meade LX200 site on the net that had loads of info has gone to meet its maker ...

Meade list a "LX200 level/north sensor array" so I assume it's the one sensor board that does both functions and, if there's a problem, I don't believe it's very expensive.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I assume you've got the scope pointing in the correct direction ie. the control panel facing south and the handset is correctly setup for the scope? It might be worth setting the scope up to level north and doing a factory reset on it (via the handset) to clear anything spurious then do the basic setup again.

AndyG

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LX200gps finds north and level at initialisation.

Learn something every day as they say.

Never knew they did it.

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I had an LX200 with LNT and had problems getting it line up like you. I used to set up the scope in the same place I set up earlier scopes then one night I moved it to get a better view to the west and it worked perfectly.

I moved it back to the original site and had trouble again.

I finally worked out that it was too close to a metal shed, which I assume was messing the alignment up.

Check where your scope is set up in case you are near large metal objects. Reinforced concrete ( full of metal bars) could also affect the alignment.

Allan

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Thanks all for your replies.  The problem with north locating came to light during the service but as long as the telescope is aligned north/south (with the front panel facing south of course) then the issue is not that vital to getting alignment.   

In reply to Ronins initial comment about locking on north, any GOTO telescope has to 'orient' itself with the sky when not equatorially mounted.  Imagine being blind folded, spun around and then being asked to point towards the direction you think Polaris is.

As far as I know all the electronics in the scope tested OK which is why we attributed the problem to a software glitch.   However if the sensor array is not expensive and relatively easy to replace it might be worth doing.

The scope is set up in a wooden roll-off shed with no significant metal objects in the vicinity.  Other than a greenhouse.

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I know Meades start at Level and North, have 3 of them. What I did not know was that the LX200 did it themselves. It was the slewing to level and Norh without you performing it that was not realised. If on a pillar then all you do is power up, let the scope get it data and initial checks, point at a known star and hit Sync - no North and Level at all required.

Also I think a number of the scope do not "orientate" themselves at start.

Quite often the instruction is from wherever it happens to be point the scope at star ABC.

In my view then ABC is the start but it is not a specific orientation as the Meades tend to have.

I would argue then that by "starting" at a selected star is not 2 star alignment but 1 star alignment.

The Meade Level and North is in effect a virtual star.

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I have noticed in some posts that some have the control panel facing south,is it only GPS versions of the LX200,s that this is done with.

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When I got my first LX200GPS a decade ago or just over, I read in the manual (page 37) about placing the telescope in the 'home' position before starting alignment.  Ijn altaz mode this is with the front end of the OTA facing north and the optical axis parallel with the ground. 

I don't know about the LX200 classics although I would assume it would work the same. Only difference is that you would need to enter time/date/location info in manually rather than the GPS doing it for you.

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When I got my first LX200GPS a decade ago or just over, I read in the manual (page 37) about placing the telescope in the 'home' position before starting alignment.  Ijn altaz mode this is with the front end of the OTA facing north and the optical axis parallel with the ground. 

I don't know about the LX200 classics although I would assume it would work the same. Only difference is that you would need to enter time/date/location info in manually rather than the GPS doing it for you.

In the classic the 'home' position would be the front of the ota facing south and the control panel facing north with the optical axis level with the ground.

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