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Options for my Meade SN-6 LXD75 Autostar GO-TO drive motors


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Hello to all,

This is my first experience on SGL and I am grateful to its creators for providing such a valuable resource of information.  A quick history of my issue goes like this:

I've been an astronomy nerd since the early 80's and have owned a few telescopes over the years, including a 3" Orion refractor, a 4.5" newtonian reflector, and finally a Meade SN-6 Schmidt Newtonian reflector with the LXD75 mount.  I have few gripes with the scope itself and have not upgraded anything outside of a laser collimation "eyepiece" for quick checks after transporting it to dark sky locations in the backseat of the car.

I used to use the Autostar system with marginal success.  I liked it for a while but eventually the declination motor stopped working so I removed it and found the circuit board had a cooked diode if not more issues.  Searches for replacement spares revealed that Meade no longer provided parts for the LXD75 mounts and that I would have to obtain a different solution.  That was about 8 years ago.  I haven't used it for DSO observing since, but have repurposed the scope for planetary use, via the nudge method.  As a result, I am constantly reminded that I paid a lot more to have a GO-TO German Equatorial mounted Schmidt Newtonian when I originally purchased it brand new from a camera store here in southern California.  If I had known at the time that I would never fully get to make use of the GO-TO aspect due to a cheaply/poorly made circuitry, then I could have spent the same money on an 8' or 10' Dobsonian!  Lately I have a renewed interest in DSO observing, and the nudge method doesn't cut it.  So, I removed the RA motor as well and now while looking through the eyepiece, I reach around with my hands, blindly hunting for the two brass gears (cog wheels) that used to connect to the drive motors.  Once located, I can turn them by hand to fine tune the movement.  Of course this really limits what I can do with a telescope that was according to Meade, designed as an entry level astrophotography/imaging scope.  I still have both motors and the AS hand controller of course, just not attached to the mount anymore, their new home is a filing cabinet drawer in my garage unfortunately.  

I am at a crossroads as to what direction I should take that would best restore my scope's GO-TO capabilities.  On one hand, I wonder if upgrading the drive system (replacing the motors and controller with a different brand but keeping the SN-6 OTA and LDX75 tripod/Germ. eq mount.) is the easiest approach.  If so, which system?   Alternatively, I've recently learned of the SkySafari system where the hand controller is replaced with a cell phone.  Is this something that you recommend? Are there motors available that will fit my system, or is it strictly PUSH-TO? Is it precise? Lastly, I can't help but wonder if it might just be cheaper and easier to buy a used Dobsonian 8" or 10" with SynScan?  I have seen 10" Dobs for $400 with SynScan, which sounds great but I have no experience with the software and don't feel like it's smart to trust the manufacturer's claims as the sole source of information on the product (they never talk about their shortcomings!). 

I should mention that I no longer have lofty plans (pipe dreams) of creating stunning, high-resolution deep sky photographs to show all my friends, lol.  Instead, I just want to enjoy the moment, and see as many objects in the NGC/Messier catalogs as possible on a given night.  As for having proof to show people, well they can join me for an actual session and see it with their own eyes, or just take my word for it - I have a lot less to prove than I did 25 years ago, it's no longer a priority for me.  Getting the most out of a viewing session IS however.  

Thank you in advance for sharing your collective expertise, and thanks for having me!

 

 

 

 

SN-6.jpg

lxd75 mount.jpg

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SkySafari is a wifi alternative to the handset, so will require the Dec motor to be working.

While the Meade fork mounts have been around for over 30 years, and are supported by Meade.

They have regularly replaced their EQ mounts with another model, and eventually spare parts run out.

As you're California based I would expect you would get more chances of getting used spares and advice in the USA.

Try the Meade section of the US based Cloudy Nights forum.

Michael

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