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LX 200 GPS Pointing/Aligning Problems

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Posted by Dan on September 24, 2003 20:03:28 UTC

Before I get into this please note that I have had several telescopes in the past, so I'm not a new user per say. This is however the first GOTO scope that I've had to align which has been harder than a scope without a GOTO computer.

The scope was purchased about a year ago from Astronomics by a friend. I have had the scope out in the field a dozen times, and Iím very comfortable operating it and have a through knowledge of how it works. I have replaced the plastic gears with Buckís gears because a tooth was missing from one of the gears. The owner tried turning the axis manually which I think stripped a tooth. The scope has behaved the same before and after the gears were installed. The scope is a 12Ē LX200 GPS with UHTC. The Autostar II was version 1.2a and has been upgraded to 1.6b.

The upgrade Iím sure is better overall hasnít had a noticeable change the inconsistent and poor ability of the scope to point at anything.

Here are the steps that I use to setup the scope.

Point the tripod North
Level the tripod
Mount the scope control unit south.
Point the scope to True north.
Level the tube and lock the axes
Turn on the scope
Reset the scope
Set the location
Calibrate the scope. Itís sometimes near Poloris and other times itís way off. Either way, I slew it onto Polaris which can take ten or fifteen minutes at most.
Tran the Drives in both axisís using Polaris. I donít have a recital EP and just center it as best as I can.
At this point I will try calibrating the anti-backlash. I just upgraded the firmware yesterday and havenít tries this feature yet.
Than, Autoalign the scope. It has never gotten the alignment Stars in the eyepiece. At best they are just outside the FOV and at worst they are 30 degrees or more off.
In either case, I slew the scope to the correct star.
When Iím done and it says successfully aligned, I GOTO the first alignment star, which lately has been Vega. Vega is rarely in the center and itís a 50/50 shot if itís even in the FOV or near the FOV.

I can continue to GOTO objects but they are never in the center nor in the FOV. The scopeís GOTO accuracy in Alt-Az is poor. I donít think thereís any problem with my technique. I have gotten it to accurately slew between the two alignment stars, but it could not than go to Mars, was near it, and couldnít go to the Moon, was also near it.

Is the scope more than likely okay and itís me? I have a hard time believing that itís me since I know when the scope is off, and two other people besides me havenít been able to get it to work correctly. Since, Iíve read of so many people with similar problems, I have a feeling that the first LX200GPS models had quality control problems

Should I return the scope to Meade and pay them the $400 plus shipping fee plus pull the new Buckís gear and install the old plastic gear before doing so?

Thanks for listen to all of this. I guess my question at this point is what do I do? Calibrating/training drives etc hasnít done much and itís off both axisís. I have to say that at this point the scope seems like it a real waste of $4,000


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