Review of the Meade LX200R
By Mark Sibole
Recently I upgraded to the Meade LX200R from the old Meade LX200 Classic.
I decided to stay with the same 10 inch diameter scope as I felt the 10 inch scope was the perfect size for imaging and viewing.
The telescope arrived via UPS. When it arrives I unpacked it and visually inspected everything .
I checked to make sure all of the parts were there and there was no damage from shipping.
I then checked the OTA to make sure the inside was clean and free of dirt and packing materials.
Once this was complete it was time to change over from the classic model to the LX200R series.
The change over was very simple and all of the accessories from my old classic fit on the new LX200R OTA.
The mount bolt pattern for the base on both telescopes were the same too so adding it to my existing pier was no problem at all.
I added the Losmandy rail system to the
top of the Telescope so I could use my Meade ETX 125, Meade 80 mm
My widefield camera lens for imaging or guiding. I also added the Meade counter weight system on the bottom of the OTA.
When this was all complete, I added the Meade microfocuser and visual back to the rear of the OTA.
I then added the finder scope and finder mount to the opposite side of the tube to hold the PST solar scope.
Every thing was easy and straight forward for adding all of the above mentioned accessories.
The first night out was to check polar alignment and balance of the new setup. Everything went very good and only had to make
a few minor adjustments on the alignment. My next step was to familiarize my self with the Autostar command set.
After some reading and setting things up I was set to go.
It was now time to select my first object to view. I selected Vega to check collimation of the telescope.
The telescope slewed to Vega and put it very close to the center of the finder scope. I then looked in the 26 mm eyepiece to
make sure it was there and it was on the edge of the FOV. I synced on Vega to make sure the computer knew where it was.
I noticed right away the very nice contrast the optics of this telescope provides, and the collimation was right on.
When this was complete I decided to try for M13. I entered M13 into the keypad and selected goto and a few seconds later I was looking at M13.
M13 looked very bright, crisp and sharp and I could see a lot of nice detail on this Globular cluster.
This was the extent of my first night out with the new LX200R.
The second night out I decided to add the Meade ETX 125 piggybacked, to use as a guide scope for imaging with the LX200R.
I installed the DSI PRO II to the LX200R and I used the DSI PRO on the ETX 125 for an autoguider.
Tonight it was time to do a few good PEC trains for imaging. After 1 PEC train and 4 updates I was confident things were working well.
I went to M74 and centered it on the chip and made my adjustments and was ready to image.
I turned on the autoguider and things looked very good until I took my first 2 minute test shot.
I was horrified my stars oblong. I double checked everything and all seemed to look good at the time.
After another hour or so of trying to get the telescope to guide well I gave up on it for the night out of frustration.
The next day I went down to the Observatory and gave the setup a good look over.
I found my problem. When I installed the Losmandy rail system I neglected to tighten the rear bolts all the way and I had flexure in the system.
(shame on me)
Later in the evening I set up to try imaging again.
I powered up the telescope.
It went through all of the boot up sequences and received the GPS signal and was good to go. Right out of the park position I entered M57 this time into the keypad and off we went.
This time M57 was right on the CCD chip of the DSI PRO II. I took a few minutes to check focus and make sure it was placed on the chip where I wanted it to be.
I started the guider and locked on a star. I then took a 2 minute test shot to see how it was tracking and guiding.
The flexture was gone and it looked very nice. I then went for an eight minute test shot and when it was complete I had a very nice preview of M57 with nice round tight stars.
I ended up shooting Luminance and color info for this object tonight.
When I processed the image I was very surprised to see I captured the rose around the ring.
This was something I was not able to do with any of my other telescopes.
I was impressed with the contrast and clarity of the image and the performance of the LX200R.
Over the next few nights I was able to image NGC 7635,M74,IC410 and M76.
By now I was sold on the performance and the optics on this telescope.
This is truly a very nice telescope with very nice optics.
For visual use right out of the box this telescope is a winner. For Astrophotography as with any other telescope it will take a bit of fine tuning but performs very nice.
Pros and cons of this telescope.
The pro's are far more than the cons in my opinion.
The telescope was very well columinated from the factory.
The telescope was packaged well for shipment.
The contrast and optics on this telescope were impressive.
The mount functioned very well with accurate GOTO commands.
All of the accessories from the Classic and GPS model will fit the OTA.
The only con I found on this telescope is that there was no visual back cover installed to prevent dirt and debris from entering the OTA.
So from my experience the New Meade LX200R series is a very nice telescope with very very nice optics and something you will enjoy for years to come.