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ollypenrice

Meade LX200 14 inch GPS

41 posts in this topic

They really are good fun to use and your experience mirrors my own with the 12" LX200 I have used extensively in Namibia.  The Meade electric focuser had issues on that one as well and was replaced with a third party crayford to avoid having to deal with mirror flop, backlash etc.

 

I know what you mean about the noise though! Glad I am in the middle of the desert when I use it.  I used a 10" LX200 for my astrophysics masters project and the noise meant I went with the Celestron Nexstar 11 for my own scope after graduating as it was a lot quieter when slewing and I did not want to upset my neighbours.

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OK, I appreciate that it was perhaps a little over the top but somehow or other, I ended up hand-delivering the extension cable to Olly at Les Granges – after all, I did need to know that it had worked correctly ...........

This was my first visit to Les Granges and I have to say that Janie and I really enjoyed ourselves and I can confirm Olly and Monique’s legendary reputation for hospitality. Our room was tidy, comfortable, stacked with interesting books (although perhaps a little heavy on cycling tomes!) and our bedroom window overlooked the most magnificent views over the staggeringly beautiful mountain countryside in which Olly’s rustic home resides.

A guided tour of this astronomy oasis proved why Les Granges is so popular with astronomers as there is a wide range of instruments available for visitors ranging from a 20” Dobsonian to Olly’s weapon of choice – his dual Takahashi FSQ 106 equipped wide-field photon-grabber mounted on the Mesu 200 mount that first brought this device to my notice some years ago. Of course, Olly’s version of the mount is powered by steam rather than the ultra sophisticated electronics that my own Mesu mount uses but then – and this is the point - Olly sits up all night with his guests showing them the night sky and how to use the equipment to its best, whereas these days, I just go to bed and let the computer do all the work!

On the subject of the night sky, despite an unhelpful Lunar phase, the skies above Les Granges were without doubt wonderful and the ribbon of the Milky Way, so clearly visible overhead, was testimony to the lack of light pollution and the crispness of the atmosphere – we are talking ‘Alpine’ here!

And, now that Olly has the correct lead for the Meade 14” SCT (yes, it did work - phew!), you can even use this recently acquired instrument and focus it minutely for observing, although quite why you would want to observe when you could be imaging on that dual Tak rig is quite beyond me .........

Of course, you don’t have to use Olly’s gear, you can bring your own equipment and mount it on one of the two conveniently placed concrete plinths set aside for just this purpose.

Is there anything I didn’t like? YES there was one thing – Olly should be more generous with his skies, I want those skies here in the UK and I want them NOW ........

Of course, it isn't all about astronomy - even Les Granges has to accept daytime hours - and the surrounding countryside is breath-taking with cycling, climbing, parascending and simply driving around soaking up the views of wild rivers, high mountains and deep gorges to be enjoyed as well. Our visit to the Gorges de la Méouge will remain with us forever.

I am really looking forward to my next ‘excuse’ to visit. Errrrr, ummmm, are there any other technical issues I can help you with, Olly?

 

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1 hour ago, steppenwolf said:

Of course, it isn't all about astronomy - even Les Granges has to accept daytime hours

Yes, it's been two years since my visit, the skies may be awesome, but the daytime views do not lack appeal, here's the view from our bedroom:-

olly_window_2015.thumb.gif.995e25016a2dc5f560c71cd0ce2e57c8.gif

I doubt anybody can fault that view...

 

Huw

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2 hours ago, steppenwolf said:

OK, I appreciate that it was perhaps a little over the top but somehow or other, I ended up hand-delivering the extension cable to Olly at Les Granges – after all, I did need to know that it had worked correctly ...........

This was my first visit to Les Granges and I have to say that Janie and I really enjoyed ourselves and I can confirm Olly and Monique’s legendary reputation for hospitality. Our room was tidy, comfortable, stacked with interesting books (although perhaps a little heavy on cycling tomes!) and our bedroom window overlooked the most magnificent views over the staggeringly beautiful mountain countryside in which Olly’s rustic home resides.

A guided tour of this astronomy oasis proved why Les Granges is so popular with astronomers as there is a wide range of instruments available for visitors ranging from a 20” Dobsonian to Olly’s weapon of choice – his dual Takahashi FSQ 106 equipped wide-field photon-grabber mounted on the Mesu 200 mount that first brought this device to my notice some years ago. Of course, Olly’s version of the mount is powered by steam rather than the ultra sophisticated electronics that my own Mesu mount uses but then – and this is the point - Olly sits up all night with his guests showing them the night sky and how to use the equipment to its best, whereas these days, I just go to bed and let the computer do all the work!

On the subject of the night sky, despite an unhelpful Lunar phase, the skies above Les Granges were without doubt wonderful and the ribbon of the Milky Way, so clearly visible overhead, was testimony to the lack of light pollution and the crispness of the atmosphere – we are talking ‘Alpine’ here!

And, now that Olly has the correct lead for the Meade 14” SCT (yes, it did work - phew!), you can even use this recently acquired instrument and focus it minutely for observing, although quite why you would want to observe when you could be imaging on that dual Tak rig is quite beyond me .........

Of course, you don’t have to use Olly’s gear, you can bring your own equipment and mount it on one of the two conveniently placed concrete plinths set aside for just this purpose.

Is there anything I didn’t like? YES there was one thing – Olly should be more generous with his skies, I want those skies here in the UK and I want them NOW ........

Of course, it isn't all about astronomy - even Les Granges has to accept daytime hours - and the surrounding countryside is breath-taking with cycling, climbing, parascending and simply driving around soaking up the views of wild rivers, high mountains and deep gorges to be enjoyed as well. Our visit to the Gorges de la Méouge will remain with us forever.

I am really looking forward to my next ‘excuse’ to visit. Errrrr, ummmm, are there any other technical issues I can help you with, Olly?

 

Awe, you're most kind Steve. I was expecting it to be a great pleasure to meet you and Jane and, of course, it was. In spades. My robotic client was also delighted that you could fix his autofocus. I guess I had the wrong steam pressure going...

I'll post a bit more on the Meade 14 inch once its brass plaque arrives (naming it for Alan and currently in the post). Your cable will need honorable photographic mention as well. And there will also be, thanks to Jane, the floral connection between the Chanconbury Observatory and Les Granges.... I just need to find a competent daytime photographer for all this.

Sincere thanks for giving us a great couple of days.

Olly and Monique.

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Regarding the noise when slewing, it's recommended for Classic and GPS LX200's to set the max slew rate in the menus to a lower figure - less noisy, and reduces wear on the gearing.

GoTo's to planets are inaccurate because their ephemeris is so much more complex than for "stationary" stars- never use a planet as an alignment object.

To hit DSO's smack on every time, use the Synch function after centreing on a nearby known star, then GoTo the DSO.

Michael

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12 hours ago, michael8554 said:

Regarding the noise when slewing, it's recommended for Classic and GPS LX200's to set the max slew rate in the menus to a lower figure - less noisy, and reduces wear on the gearing.

GoTo's to planets are inaccurate because their ephemeris is so much more complex than for "stationary" stars- never use a planet as an alignment object.

To hit DSO's smack on every time, use the Synch function after centreing on a nearby known star, then GoTo the DSO.

Michael

Good idea on slew speeds. I'll do that. I don't have to worry about the noise but wear on the gears is best avoided. Thanks.

We found no need to re-synch during our first night out but, yes, it's an option. To everyone's surprise the GoTo was bang on all over the sky. Given a simple two star alignment we found this remarkable. I guess the mount's measurement of its own tilt plays a large part in its success. Pity we can't do GEM polar alignment this way!

Olly

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So, some finishing touches. Steve's cable with low profile 90 degree jack:

596387f87277d_Stevescable.jpg.a82c5c2e6859464ff14d75f22f0c3041.jpg

New cladding on the roll off. Note that the pod on the side is now an eyepiece pod rather than a PC pod! 

5963893a3ffbf_Recladshed.thumb.jpg.3fddbecc5dfe41c13d992276db753554.jpg

And last but not least...

Plaque.jpg.ae2deb58f5b8170054cd6f5de00fdef4.jpg

Olly

 

 

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Jobs a gooden!

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Good job Olly, my Meade was always spot on in Alt/Az GoTo mode, all went pear shaped once it was on a wedge :grin:

Dave

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6 hours ago, Davey-T said:

Good job Olly, my Meade was always spot on in Alt/Az GoTo mode, all went pear shaped once it was on a wedge :grin:

Dave

For me too, with my older 10 inch. This one is staying just as it is!

Olly

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Looking good. The plaque looks very good too.

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Time to update your signature to include this fabulous 'scope in your spectrum of F-numbers?

 

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Just now, AKB said:

Time to update your signature to include this fabulous 'scope in your spectrum of F-numbers?

 

Quite so!

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I remember that shed. As I recall - we did a very nice M31 from there.

Cheers

Ian

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9 hours ago, ian_bird said:

I remember that shed. As I recall - we did a very nice M31 from there.

Cheers

Ian

Indeed we did. The Taks (now a pair) have moved into a block built observatory on the other side of the path.

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Very nice completion of this project Olly.
The plaque and new cladding is the final touch.
 

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