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  1. #1
    jb32828's Avatar
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    Default LX200 alignment shortcut that I figured out



    Well, I happened to figure this out by accident last night, I hope this helps others who own this telescope, or for that matter I am guessing this works this way with any Meade HC...

    1) Level the mount...it gets easier to do with practice. Takes 3 minutes tops now, and I have owned the scope about a month which has encompassed about a dozen viewing sessions. I have a sloped observatory (translation - driveway).

    2) Align that finderscope! My absolute best results are aligning the finderscope to the OTA with a 26mm eyepiece in the diagonal. I use the manual knobs to do this.

    Edit: forgot this part, loosen the RA clutch, line up the RA to the HA line on the mount at 00:00 RA, then tighten the clutch. Loosed the dec knob, line it up to around 0 degrees Dec, then use the small knob to fine tune it to 0 degrees. Dont turn the small worm gear knob with the power on.

    Now you can turn on power to the mount.

    3) Alignment process - center your first star. For whatever reason, my best results always seem to be with the panel pointed north, and picking stars that are 35-60 degrees above the horizon in the east and at least 30 degrees apart. When I do this, it is just dead on. Now here is where I found the accidental really cool 2 star alignment shortcut. Center that first star, pick your second star, hit enter, then when it tells you to center it in the eyepiece, hit the goto button instead. It slews to the star! Get a fine centering, and you are on your way! I accidentally hit the goto button. My first reaction was oh crap, here comes the reboot and start over. Instead to my surprise, it was in the eyepiece and just needed centering!

    I was up WAY later than I should have been last night after I figured this out playing with it. I used a bunch of stars for alignment with this method. Markab/Fomalhaut, Polaris/Markab, Hamal/Diphda, Polaris/Diphda, Polaris/Hamal, Polaris/Aldebaran. Every one of these alignments worked absolutely flawlessly. I used Polaris quite frequently, but you dont need to if you cannot see it...just at least make sure that the panel is facing north.

    I have no idea why this works this way, maybe more experienced users can shed some light on this. If I use alignment stars in the west or around zenith, I never seem to get an alignment right. After playing with it, the last few times I did the complete staover and align from scratch, I would input an object (Pleiades or Andromeda, I alternated) and the object was literally dead center in the eyepiece and tracked it flawlessly dead center for several minutes. Next time I do this, I will do some test tracking to see exactly how long it keeps a dead center track.
    Last edited by jb32828; 10-01-2010 at 03:08 PM.
    --- Jason ---
    Meade SN-6, Orion XX12g, Orion ST-80
    Atlas EQ-G
    Nagler 9T1, 12mmT4, 17mmT4, Panoptic 22
    Canon 60D, Blue Fireball 2" EOS Adapter, Astronomik CLS LP filter

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to jb32828 For This Useful Post:

    CaptSolo (06-30-2012),Joe Lalumia (01-26-2012),Tomn8tr (10-02-2010)

  3. #2
    Tomn8tr's Avatar
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    Default

    That's pretty cool you figured that out. A long time ago, someone on MAPUG had a similiar solution. I use it in my field alignment laminated sheet I take out with the scope. They said back then not to worry about leveling for an ALT-AZ alignment. I level anyhow, even though it isn't listed. I have re-worded it a little for my own use, but here's what I use...

    1. Confirm N / S switch in correct position for location.
    2. Telescope power switch -- ON.
    3. Confirm location data -- SITE
    4. Confirm Time data
    5. Loosen DEC lock knob.
    6. Position OTA until DEC circle reads "0."
    7. Tighten DEC lock knob.
    8. Loosen R.A. lock knob.
    9. Point OTA due south (at best estimate).
    10. Tighten R.A. lock knob.
    11. Press STAR, ENTER, ENTER. This puts you in the mode to select a star by name.
    12. Use NEXT/PREV to select the first alignment star
    13. Press ENTER, GOTO. This will point the telescope in the general neighborhood of the first alignment star.
    14. Press MODE. Display reads TELESCOPE and OBJECT LIBRARY.
    15. Press ENTER key with arrow next to TELESCOPE.
    16. Display reads SITE and ALIGN
    17. Use NEXT key to position arrow next to ALIGN.
    18. Press ENTER key.
    19. Press ENTER key with arrow next to ALTAZ.
    20. Select 2 star alignment mode -- Press NUMBER key 2.
    21. Press ENTER if base is level.
    22. Press ENTER to select align star
    23. Select the first alignment star again using NEXT/PREV, then press ENTER.
    24. Center star in high power eyepiece (reticle eyepiece is more accurate) using the "E, W, N, S" keys and SLEW, FIND, center -- Press ENTER
    25. Repeat steps 19 -- 21 except that after second star is selected, select GOTO & the OTA will move close to the second alignment star automatically.


    Alignment Notes:
    Watch backlash – the last motion to center a star must use the same drives used during tracking. To find: Goto guide mode and push W, that is the direction you want

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Tomn8tr For This Useful Post:

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  5. #3
    Skyhawk727's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi,

    Glad to see step-by step instructions. I think most of us appreciate this kind of effort, thanks for posting.

    Dave
    LX200ACF 10" in observatory, TeleVue Pronto, Astro Tech AT65EDQ, ZWO ASI120MC, SBIG 8300M, SBIG FW5 filter wheel, Baader LRGB and 7nm Ha filter.
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  6. #4
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    Default

    My goto isn't that complicated
    Align level and North
    Turn on (beep)
    enter compass north(2)
    enter align
    wait till it picks star one (beep)
    nudge to centre
    enter
    wait til it picks star 2 (beep)
    nudge
    enter.
    Finished.

    Seems to be accurate all night aftr that......
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  7. #5
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    Default

    Tom,
    While researching this knowledge base I found your post of last year that has your field checklist. I am trying to work my way through the Meade Manual with my new 12" LX 200 ACF - Christmas . . . . I have compounded my confusion by adding a Milburn wedge for initial turn on. Ken & I are neighbors! I have set "Polar" in the menu already and am trying initial alignment indoors (rain outside) and not seeing what looks logical. My specific question is do you think I could forget playing indoors and just use your field checklist when I go outside?
    Thanks,
    John Maguire
    Seattle

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    Andy Jones's Avatar
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    hi John, sorry for poaching on the thread, I'm thinking of getting an LX200 10" but before i do anything, how heavy is that 12"? do you set it up for each viewing or are you in observatory and hence not setting up all the time, is it too heavy for "portable" scope? thanks
    Andy

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    Default

    Hi,

    Meade LX200 scopes are not known as lightweights. I have had 10" LX200s for 15 years and my current machine seems to get heavier each year. The Meade website shows the 12" optical tube assembly at about 35 lbs, but since it's mounted permanently, figure the tube and fork at around 75lbs.

    My 10" weighs in at about 63lbs plus the upper and lower dovetail rails I leave in place, it tips the scales at about 68lbs. It is permanently mounted but removed from it's 48" tall pier plus Meade Superwedge every winter. It takes both my neighbor and I to get the job done in the tight confines of my observatory. There is no way I could do it by myself. He and I are in pretty decent shape but 65 & 75 years old (He's actually in better condition than most 30 year old's.).

    Your use of your telescope will be directly proportional to how difficult it is to set-up and take down. And remember, take down is going to be in the dew covered early morning hours in the darkest, dark of night.

    While I realize not everyone can have the luxury of permanent mounting, when I finally was able to, it increased my use 1000%, and that's not an exaggeration. Now I use the observatory most nights when there are visible stars and if clouds roll in, I just shut down, close up and go in the house, a 2 minute process.

    The 12” is a wonderful scope, but it's the mechanics of telescopes, not so much the optics which dictate satisfaction and frequency of use.

    If doing it again I think I would look at a CGEM with a 9.25 as my base. More versatile mount and the biggest single part is much smaller than the LX200. Both are decent scopes, it's the mechanics I would consider.

    I often tell people that optical satisfaction will vary night by night with seeing conditions, but poor or awkward mechanical functions will frustrate you every night.

    Good luck,

    Dave
    Last edited by Skyhawk727; 01-25-2012 at 08:05 PM.
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    thanks a lot Dave, I can set up my orion reflector in about 5 mins, then wait for it to cool down, I don't want to be spending too long getting set up and take down..
    I'm mid forties and in good shape!
    decisions, decisions....

    Andy

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    Default

    Im in my 40 too and it takes me about 15-20 min for set up with wedge. I leave the wedge on the tripod and use a dolly to move it in a nd out of the house. The telescope is a little ackward at first but I only go about a 100 ft from storage. If I piggyback my 4" it gets a little heavier by about 10lbs. If I were ever to upgrade to a new scope I think I would stick with the 10-12" range. I always have thought about a Permanent mount but havent got that far after owning this one for 10 years.
    Douglas
    12'
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    Hi insomnia

    Florida ain't Northern Illinois... we're leaving in the morning for 6 weeks in Florida. We're bringing our 90 lb dog who's just too big to get in the back seat of the plane so we have to drive, yuck.

    Dave
    LX200ACF 10" in observatory, TeleVue Pronto, Astro Tech AT65EDQ, ZWO ASI120MC, SBIG 8300M, SBIG FW5 filter wheel, Baader LRGB and 7nm Ha filter.
    Other hobbies: flying, history and woodworking,

 

 

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