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Thread: Experience with Meade LS 8" & Reviews Part 2

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    Default Experience with Meade LS 8" & Reviews Part 2



    For ease of use and thread management,threads are limited to approximately 100 posts.
    This is the continuation thread of Experience with Meade LS 8" part 1http://www.astronomyforum.net/meade-...de-ls-8-a.html

    Please continue posting here and thank you.
    Last edited by ghswen; 06-21-2011 at 12:09 AM.
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    Default New Owner of Meade LS-8 near Toronto

    Hi, folks!

    I've owned my LS-8 for a few months now up here near Toronto. I'm using it primarily for elementary school public outreach and education on a voluntary basis. Two local schools ad counting! The long days this time of year aren't ideal for a younger crowd, so I'm looking forward to late summer and fall.

    Looking forward to joining in the discussions!

    -------------------------
    Scopes: Meade LS-8 (and 1970's-era Tasco 4.25" reflector). Eyepieces: 26 mm Meade Super Plossl, 14 mm and 6 mm Televue Radian, Accessories: JMI case, LG 8" Portable DVD/media Player, 30mW Green Laser Pointer, Celestron Power Tank 17. Primary software: Stellarium.

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    Default Observations on several months with the LS-8

    I've just finished reading the entire "experience with LS-8" thread, and I have a couple of points to add...

    I too have found that occasionally a second "acquire from GPS" fix is helpful.
    And make sure that your time zone is correct - for Toronto now it's EDT -4 from Grenwich. (This can be checked under the scope info accessed from the Mode button).

    After that, I believe that the poor alignment with the first guide star is likely magnetic interference with the north alignment. Folks should be aware that the Celestron Powertank has a removable red light that is backed by a powerful magnet (for attaching to the roof of your car?) so keep it well away from the scope or extend the tripod legs. I've also noted that buried utilities can cause problems. If you tend to fail in the same spot each time, try moving a good distance.

    Finally, beware light intereference from residential sources messing up the widefield CCD camera. Sometimes, I've had to stand to ensure the camera is in shadow.

    After a lot of misfires in the early weeks, I've had very good setup times at some "reliable" locations.
    Scopes: Meade LS-8 ACF, Celestron C80ED on
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    Default Observations on several months with the LS-8 cont.

    I have avoided using the Autostar suite. My firmware was up to date and when I loaded the software off the DVD, it seemed bloated and crude compared to Stellarium, which I highly recommend once properly installed and configured.

    After acquiring the correct USB cable for the scope's USB-B socket, I found that I could plug in and drive the LS-8 perfectly from Stellarium on my notebook computer - no special drivers or other software neccessary. I can provide details if anyone is interested.

    No one has mentioned that the audio out plug is a mini stereo size. I picked up an inexpensive adapter and can listen on headphones (or external speakers when running a star party).

    Finally - I can recommend the JMI case for the LS-8. It's pricey, but really makes transport and setup/packup a lot faster. I carefully cut and hot glued in some of the extra black foam to ensure the full telescope weight was supported on both sides at the bottom. I also modified the cutouts and can now transport all my cables and Televue Nagler eyepieces inside with the telescope. I can post some photos if anyone is interested.
    Scopes: Meade LS-8 ACF, Celestron C80ED on
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    SmartEQ, Coronado PST, 70 mm Refractor, and 1970's-era Tasco 4.25" reflector. Eyepieces: WO Binoviewer, 40 mm TMB Paragon, 30 mm GSO Superview, 26 mm Meade Super Plossl, 14 mm, 10 mm, 6 mm, and 3 mm Televue Radians, Baader Mk II 8-24 Zoom, 10 mm and 25 mm Celestron SMA, Accessories: Meade Zero Image Shift Motor Focuser & 2" Dielectric Diagonal, 2x
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by astrogeoguy View Post

    Finally - I can recommend the JMI case for the LS-8. It's pricey, but really makes transport and setup/packup a lot faster. I carefully cut and hot glued in some of the extra black foam to ensure the full telescope weight was supported on both sides at the bottom. I also modified the cutouts and can now transport all my cables and Televue Nagler eyepieces inside with the telescope. I can post some photos if anyone is interested.
    I am contemplating getting the same case, so I would be very interested in seeing your photos. Thanks.

    Bob

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    Default

    Hi, Bob. I'll assemble a few photos and post them soon.
    Scopes: Meade LS-8 ACF, Celestron C80ED on
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    SmartEQ, Coronado PST, 70 mm Refractor, and 1970's-era Tasco 4.25" reflector. Eyepieces: WO Binoviewer, 40 mm TMB Paragon, 30 mm GSO Superview, 26 mm Meade Super Plossl, 14 mm, 10 mm, 6 mm, and 3 mm Televue Radians, Baader Mk II 8-24 Zoom, 10 mm and 25 mm Celestron SMA, Accessories: Meade Zero Image Shift Motor Focuser & 2" Dielectric Diagonal, 2x
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    Default First Light

    Scope: Meade LS-8
    Eyepiece: Meade 26mm
    First Light (with me): 01-July-2011
    Where: Woodbridge, VA - my backyard

    Saturn - wow!

    I had spent the day attempting to update the firmware (1.4a) and was meeting with various failures. Part were procedure, part was media, and the rest was just learning curve. I will attack the problem later today.

    I decided about 1030 to just take the scope outside and see what it could do. My outlook on the evening was that this was to be a learning experience and anything good that came of it was a bonus. (Saturn - wow!). I have not completed building my battery box so I was tethered to the electrical outlet outside the house. I quickly learned that putting the scope as far from the house as the extension cord allows will not work because as the scope rotates, so does the cord. Made a mental note to either finish the battery box or get the longer extension cord out of the shed. After Saturn, I observed a globular cluster (forgot which one) and a couple of stars. I then decided the cord gymnastics had to stop, so I turned off the scope and moved it closer to the house. I probably should have powered down the scope first before shutting it off because its next alignment was off. However, I got to experiment with the finder and the manual controls. (I would like to learn to find things on my own) I also learned how bad my backyard has become for observing. From my backyard, my house (30' high) blocks the East. I also have a street light that lights up about 1/3rd of my backyard. To the South are 30' trees (they did not used to be that big) and a neighbor who likes bright motion activated lights so my eyes becoming dark adapted was not to be. So I am mostly limited to overhead, most of the West and part of the North. Still, that is something and we plan on taking advantage of NOVAC's excellent observing sites in the future. I stopped about midnight as it was feeling a bit damp and I did not like the scope power supply lying on the grass.

    I learned a lot about how to observe at home and learned more of the LS-8's features and capabilities. I was happy to have tried and not beat myself up because it was not great. I used the star tour to see what I could see and get a feel for what was there. I can always stay up a little later or get up a lot earlier and look at those objects to the East once they move to the West. I look forward to learning more and getting better at this.

    I hope this was not too boring and maybe someone can learn from my adventure or point out something that I overlooked/did not know.

    The rest of the weekend is bad for observing so maybe next.

    UPDATE: The problem with the firmware update appears to be the SD card. I purchased a new one and it loaded fine. Now to see if it updates the scope.
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    Default

    That sounds like quite an adventure. A lot of people seem to miss the fact that the LS-8 card slot is mini-SD (very hard to find these days) AND limited to 2 Gb maximum. I ended up buying a 2 Gb micro-SD card and a set of card adapters that included a mini. Fortunately, my scope arrived with up to date firmware, so I haven't needed to use it yet.

    I strongly recommend a high-capacity portable battery pack, so you can go anywhere and run the scope plus dewshield, etc. for hours without worry. While the scope seems pretty smart about keeping track of its rotation, if the power cord does get tight, I simply move the Powertank.
    Scopes: Meade LS-8 ACF, Celestron C80ED on
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    Default

    Still having issues with the SD card. Bought a micro-SD that came with a mini-SD and SD adapters. I was able to properly build the SD card, but when I insert it into the LS-8 and power up the scope, the power light flashes a few times and then nothing happens. The handbox remains blank and there does not seem to be any activity. I read online that the scope does not like adapters so I have a mini-SD on order. Am I doing something wrong or are the SD cards and LS that sensitive?
    Bob
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    How do you like the powertank? I have been reading mixed reviews on Amazon.
    Bob
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