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Meade LXD75 first light


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Thought i would share my experiences of the LXD75.

Bought secondhand off UK Buy'n'sell for £350. For that i got the LXD75 mount with EC and Autostar #497 controllers, powertank, 6" f5 Newtonian, electric focuser, 26mm Series 4000 Plossl, upgraded Orion right angle finder, hartman mask, manuals and the remainder of its warranty as it was only 9 months old.

At the time i bought the LXD I also had Gordon's Vixen GP mount. And my first plan was to merge the two mounts to make a superior one. It was a good plan, at least for someone with any form of DIY skills. Unfortunately I had already ruined the Vixen controller when i recieved it from Gordon, so decided, in my hands, it was terrible plan doomed to failure. So sadly I sold the Vixen for what i could. It was a far superior mount in terms of engineering but i fear i would have killed it completely had I attempted a transplant operation.

The Mount

First impressions are very good. Looks very nice on the 1.5" steel tube legs, with it's 'Skywatcher Pro' looking white paint scheme. Looks chunkier than i remember my old EQ5.

The motors are housed in black plastic boxes, which is certainly better than the EQ5, whose DEC motor just flapped in the wind waiting to be smashed to pieces.

I've used the LXD 3 times now and it certainly has a good mix of plus and minus points. The GOTO is easy to setup and I'm very happy with its accuracy. It's tracks objects very well indeed for visual use and planetary imaging. The Autostar controller is intuitive and thus no problem to use.

But then comes the frustrating bits. While the Autostar is easy to navigate, the buttons are completely unresponsive. Each button press takes a firm deliberate press to get anywhere.....really really annoying, especially after the Skyscan controller.

The drives are unbelievebly noisy, embarrassingly noisy in fact. There's a quiet mode but then the mount tracks across the sky like Driving Miss Daisy. If I continue to use the high speed mode though i'll almost certainly fall out with the neighbours.

Then there's the gears. It's a been a while since i owned an EQ5 and i had forgotten just how appallingly awful the gears/motors can lag. At all slew speeds below 64x it's precious seconds for the mount to respond. This is a far cry from the EQ6 whose standard motors offered instant response at all slew speeds. Imaging Jupiter with the LXD became a real lesson in frustration. Just getting it centered was an art. And when you combine unresponsive drives with an unresponsive handcontroller you really do have a problem. This is my single biggest complaint of the mount.

IMHO the LXD may look like a Skywatcher Pro series but in terms of performance it lags those mounts badly. With the Meade you get what you pay for, a cheap and cheerful mount. With the Skywatchers you get more than you paid for.

Pros - Feels solid. Looks good. Lightweight and easy to move about, even when fully loaded up with scope, counterweights and accessories. GOTO is accurate and fast. Tracking seems fair.

Cons - loads of play in the RA axis. Lag from the drves at slew speeds below 64x is very poor indeed. Noise from the drives is a real problem. Autostar handset has spongy unresponsive buttons.

The scope

A nice little scope. Gave a stonking view of Jupiter when Rob popped round. So good in fact that we didn't bother setting up Rob's mak. Pulls in the deepsky stuff no problem. Star tests nicely. Superb wideview with the Meade 26mm. Overall I like it a lot. The only problem being, i have my Intes 603 returning this week after i finally got it repaired. If the Intes is as good as i remember the Meade will have to go.

Pros - optics very good. contrast pretty good for an f5. deepsky performance is satisfactory. planetary performance has been a real surprise. OTA is light, compact and easy to use.

Cons - focuser is pretty poor, original finder is awful. spider arms are pretty thick.

Overall a good package. The RA axis needs some fine tuning. The focuser needs replacing. And the other flaws (noisy motors, unresponsive buttons, lag) I will just have to live with. I'm happy, it's more than i was expecting to have, so that's good.

Regards

Russ

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A nice honest report from you again Russ, the LXD 75 seems a decent enough mount if your not expecting a Skyscan eq6 or Heq5 but better than a EQ5 by some distance. Scope sounds perfect for a cheap setup Russ and you got quite a lot there for ya money and more importantly you have a Mount and scope i hope it rekindes your interest mate.

Regards

James

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Thanks James. It does feel good to have a setup and i'm very happy with the LXD. It's faults are just annoying but overall it's great for the money. Also found that the EC controller is far more responsive than the Autostar controller. So i will use that for planetary imaging from now on.

Regards

Russ

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Thanks Steve....and did you notice, no Meade bashing :) Wouldn't say i'm a full on Meade fan boy yet but i'm happy with it.

Gordon, it was a real shame with the GP and I desperately wanted to make use of it. But i was under pressure to sell one of the mounts ASAP. I couldn't take the risk of knackering both mounts. Also decided the GP would be the easiest to sell at the right price, which was the case.

As for the scopes. Well the same applies. Will be under immediate pressure to sell one as soon as the M603 arrives back. So I'll let you know. Finances rather than image quality may dictate the loser and the M603 is worth a lot more.

Regards

Russ

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Glad your all sorted Russ, shame you couldn't GOTO the Vixen, but as you say they'll sell all day long without the mod.

One of the problems I had with the Autostar was pressing a button twice because I thought the first one hadn't registered only to find they both had!!

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Very interesting report Rus. You certainly picked up a bargain.

Wouldn't the lag be sorted if you reduced the play in the RA axis. This is a pretty simple job with the SP/GP and I would have thought it would be ok with your mount.

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Wouldn't the lag be sorted if you reduced the play in the RA axis. This is a pretty simple job with the SP/GP and I would have thought it would be ok with your mount.

I thought so too. Trouble is i can't figure out how to get the RA motor housing off. And you are right about the lag too, hopefully sorting the RA play will reduce the lag. Although it doesn't explain why the DEC is so slow to respond.

One of the problems I had with the Autostar was pressing a button twice because I thought the first one hadn't registered only to find they both had!!

That happened to me a couple of times. But mostly it worked fine providing i gave it a firm press.

Regards

Russ

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Thanks James, very helpful indeed.

Visited his site before but a long time ago when i considered buying an LXD55. Have a feeling i'll be visiting it a lot more as I fine tune the LXD75.

Russ

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If the autostar buttons are being unresponsive you can open it up and clean the contacts with switch cleaner and cotton buds.

Then have a look on the underside of the buttons and give them a clean as well. It sorted a similar problem out for one of our members.

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Previous owner has already 'hypertuned' it and i've got to say it's very smooth in both axis. Actuallu it could do with a bit of friction. I think once i've (well Rob from Pulsar :)) messed with the gears it should a lot better.

I saw an LXD75 that had been stripped/reassembled running with the 10" tube - it did surprisingly well.

Got my eye on that Meade 8" SN at Pulsar.

Russ

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Why SNs Russ? I know you can get flatter fields in faster scopes, is there anything else?

Thats basically it, flatter field, no need for coma corrector. Also 8" f4 will be perfect for deepsky visual and imaging. Plus the tube is compact and easy to manhandle. The optics are first rate, they have recieved a fair bit of critical praise from reviewers and owners alike. It was the best thing about the LXD55.

Off course there's a huge stumbling block of £339 to get over, it may as well be £3339.

Regards

Russ

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Apparently the focuser is parp too and you'll probably want to replace it at some point. More ££££

There's some good Crayford focusers about now from Scopes'n'skies, Scopestuff and TS that only cost £59-69. But as you say it's just more ££££ which takes it around to £400 :shock:

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  • 7 months later...

Hi to all !

I am new here.. just bought a LXD75 that the RA motor not worked from

the first minute !!

I called and called and wrote emails to meade.. in US and locally in

France (I am in France) WITOUT ANY ANSWER after already 2 weeks !

I even do not know what to do with this faulty part !!

I even ready to buy a spare motor to change the RA system by my own !!

What can I do according to you ? And if needed, does anyone know where

to buy the spare parts ?? Meade isn't answering about any point of these

!!

Regards to all,

Stephane.

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Stephanie, I have an LXD75 also, bought from Lidl in France, and had some issues but the support has been reasonably good - I went to Meade direct, since it would of course be useless to go back to Lidl for support. My telescope was missing one azimuth adjustment screw and 6(!) were sent within a week. I now have a nonfunctioning collimation/alignment Red LED, and the Meade guy has been responsive to me, even though the problem still exists (he told me today to wait 10 days while he checks into it all and will return to me) are you using the Meade service telephone number of the service in France given in the owner's manual? Sorry, I don't have it handy otherwise I'd give it to you.

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