Meade Instruments Corporation
Telescopes · Binoculars · Microscopes


 
Meade LX200 Instruction Manual
7" Maksutov-Cassegrain, and 8", 10", and 12" Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes
 C. TELESCOPE ASSEMBLY
IMPORTANT NOTICE! Never use a telescope or spotting scope to look at the Sun! Observing the Sun, even for the shortest fraction of a second, will cause irreversible damage to your eye as well as physical damage to the telescope or spotting scope itself.
Use the following steps to assemble your telescope. Note: Section headings list which LX200 model (7", 8", 10" or 12") is covered under that heading.

[ toc ] 1. The Field Tripod (7", 8", 10" and 12" LX200 Models)

The Field Tripods (Figs. 1 and 2) for Meade 8", 10", and 12" LX200 telescopes are supplied as completely assembled units, except for the spreader bar (4, Fig. 1) and the 6 lock knobs (2 knobs for each of the 3 tripod legs) used to adjust the height of the tripod. These knobs are packed separately for safety in shipment.

For visual (i.e. non-photographic) observations, the drive base (17, Fig. 3) of the telescope's fork mount is attached directly to the field tripod.

The telescope in this way is mounted in an "Altazimuth" ("Altitude-Azimuth," or "vertical-horizontal") format. The telescope in this configuration moves along vertical and horizontal axes, corresponding respectively to the Declination and Right Ascension axes (explained later in this manual) in an astronomical observing mode.

Alternately, the field tripod can be used in conjunction with the appropriate optional equatorial wedge (see Appendix A for instructions of the use of the equatorial wedge) for long exposure astrophotography. The equatorial wedge permits alignment of the telescope's Polar Axis with the Celestial Pole (or North Star). After removing the field tripod from its shipping carton, stand the tripod vertically, with the tripod feet down and with the tripod still fully collapsed (see Fig. 2). Grasp two of the tripod legs and, with the full weight of the tripod on the third leg, gently pull the legs apart to a fully open position.

Thread in the 6 lock-knobs (2 on each tripod leg) near the foot of each tripod leg. Refer to Fig. 1. These lock-knobs are used to fix the height of the inner, extendible tripod leg sections. Note: "Firm feel" tightening is sufficient; over-tightening may result in stripping of the knob threads or damage to the tripod legs and results in no additional strength.

The spreader bar (4, Fig. 1) has been removed for shipment. To replace, first remove the threaded rod (2, Fig. 1) from the tripod head (1, Fig. 1); a small piece of plastic holds the threaded rod in place. Remove the small plastic bag that is stapled to the threaded rod. This bag contains the "C" clip retainer (used below) and an extra clip.

Slide the spreader bar onto the threaded rod (note the correct orientation as shown in Fig. 1) and position the threaded rod back through the tripod head. Place the clip retainer ( a "C" clip) into the slot in the threaded rod. This clip holds the threaded rod in place. See Fig. 2.

Position the spreader bar so that the 3 arms of the spreader bar are lined up with the 3 tripod legs.

Place the entire telescope (as shown in Fig. 3) onto the top of the tripod head, and thread the threaded rod into the central threaded hole in the bottom of the drive base of the telescope. Tighten the tension knob (3, Fig. 1); firm tightening of the tension knob is sufficient to result in rigid positioning of the tripod legs.

To vary the tripod height, loosen the 6 lock-knobs, slide the 3 inner tripod leg sections out to the desired height, and firmly re-tighten (but do not overtighten) the 6 lock-knobs.

To collapse the tripod (after removing the telescope and equatorial wedge, if applicable) for storage follow these steps:

1. Rotate the spreader bar 60° from its assembled position, so that one spreader bar arm is located between each adjacent pair of tripod legs.

2. At the base of the tripod is a 3-vane extension strut system, with a circular hub at its center (7, Fig. 1). Grasp the tripod head (1, Fig. 1) with one hand and, with the other hand, pull directly "up" on the central hub of the extension strut system. This operation will cause the tripod legs to move inward to a collapsed position.

PRECAUTIONARY NOTES

1. If the tripod does not seem to extend or collapse easily, do not force the tripod legs in or out. By following the instructions above, the tripod will function properly, but if you are unclear on the proper procedure, forcing the tripod into an incorrect position may damage the extension strut system.

2. Do not overtighten the 6 lock-knobs used to fix the inner tripod leg sections at various heights. "Firm feel" tightening is sufficient.

3. Be sure the spreader bar (4, Fig. 1) is not upside-down on the threaded rod.

[ toc ] 2. Mounting the Viewfinder (7", 8", 10", and 12" LX200 Models)

Each 7", 8", 10", and 12" LX200 telescope is supplied as standard equipment with an 8x50mm straight-through viewfinder. The bracket for this viewfinder is packed separately from the finder itself, and 6 black nylon thumbscrews for collimation are pre-threaded into the viewfinder bracket. The viewfinder bracket mounts onto the telescope with a quick-release mount. See Fig. 3.

[ toc ] a. Attaching the Viewfinder

The viewfinder is shipped separately from the bracket and must be installed into the bracket. Slide the viewfinder into the bracket and lightly tighten the 6 collimation (alignment) screws (2, Fig. 3).

The quick-release mount allows the viewfinder to be easily attached or removed from the telescope. To attach the unit, simply slide the viewfinder with bracket into the mating base on the telescope and tighten the two thumbscrews.

[ toc ] b. Focusing the Viewfinder

The viewfinder has been pre-focused at the factory. However, should it become necessary to adjust the focus, follow these steps:

1. Loosen the Focus Lock Ring (18, Fig. 3).

2. While looking at a star, rotate the Dew Shield (1, Fig. 3) until the star is in focus. (This refocuses the objective lens.) CAUTION! Take care when rotating counter clockwise. You are unthreading the dew shield and it may fall off if rotated too far. Refocusing the objective lens will only require a few turns of the Dew Shield at most.

3. When the Dew Shield is rotated to the sharpest focus for your eye, tighten the Focus Lock Ring against the Dew Shield to fix its position.

[ toc ] c. Collimating the Viewfinder

The viewfinder will require alignment, or collimation, with the main telescope. Using the 26mm eyepiece, point the main telescope at some easy to find land object (e.g., the top of a telephone pole or corner of a building) at least 200 yards distant. Center a well-defined object in the main telescope. Then, simply turn the 6 nylon collimation thumbscrews (2, Fig. 3) until the crosshairs of the viewfinder are precisely centered on the object already centered in the main telescope. With this collimation accomplished, objects located first in the wide-field viewfinder will then be centered in the main telescope's field of view.

[ toc ] 3. Attaching the Eyepiece Holder and Diagonal Prism, or Diagonal Mirror

The eyepiece holder (6, Fig. 3) threads directly onto the rear-cell thread of the 7", 8" and 10" telescopes. The diagonal prism (13, Fig. 3) slides into the eyepiece holder of the 7", 8" and 10" telescopes, while the 2" diagonal mirror threads directly into the rear-cell thread of the 12" telescope. In turn, both the diagonal prism and diagonal mirror accept the supplied 1 1/4" O.D. eyepiece.

For astronomical observations, the diagonal prism or mirror generally provides a more comfortable right-angle viewing position. Alternately, in the 7", 8" 10", and 12" telescopes, an eyepiece may be inserted directly into the eyepiece holder for straight-through observations. In this case, however, the image will appear inverted and reversed left-for-right. (Note that the eyepiece holder is standard equipment on 7", 8", and 10" models, but is an optional accessory for the 12" LX200). With the diagonal prism and mirror, telescopic images appear correctly oriented up-and-down, but still reversed left-for-right. For terrestrial applications, where a fully corrected image orientation is desired, both up-and-down and left-for-right, the optional #928 45° Erect-Image Diagonal Prism should be ordered separately. Eyepieces and the diagonal prism are held in their respective places on the 7", 8", and 10"telescopes by a moderate tightening of the thumbscrews on the diagonal prism and eyepiece holder.

[ toc ] 4. Checking the Collimation of the Optics

The optical systems of all Meade Schmidt-Cassegrains are precisely collimated, or aligned, before leaving the factory. However, if the telescope has received a severe jolt in shipment the optics can become de-collimated, a situation which may result in serious image degradation. Recollimating the optics is, however, a simple procedure which is easily performed by the telescope user. We urge all LX200 owners to confirm the collimation of their telescope, and to recollimate the optics if necessary.

There is no collimation procedure required for the Meade 7" Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope. Factory alignment assures optimal viewing accuracies.

[ toc ] 5. 12" Tube Swing-Through Limit

The length of the 12" LX200 optical tube prohibits the correcting plate end of the tube from swinging through the fork arms as the tube will hit the mount. When the telescope is aligned, the software will stop the telescope from moving into the mount. If the telescope is not aligned, there are also mechanical stops.

When in LAND or ALTAZ modes, this limit does not restrict any sections of the sky, since the limit is set at 45° from straight down. But when in the POLAR mode, some parts of the sky might be restricted, depending on the latitude of the observing site.

Observing sites with latitudes higher than 45° will not have any restrictions. Latitudes below 45° will have the southern horizon restricted somewhat. To determine the amount of sky not available, subtract the latitude of the observing site from 45. This will give the number of degrees of southern horizon that the 12" LX200 will not move to. For example, if the latitude of the observing site is 35°, then 10° (45-35) of southern sky is unavailable for observations.

[ toc ] 6. 7" Tube Swing-Through Limit

The length of the 7" LX200 optical tube prohibits the correcting plate end of the tube from swinging through the fork arms—the tube will hit the mount. When the telescope is aligned, the software will stop the telescope from moving into the mount. If the telescope is not aligned, there are also mechanical stops and some parts of the sky might be restricted if using a wedge, depending on the latitude of the observing site.

Observing sites with latitudes higher than 45° will not have any restrictions. Latitudes below 45° will have the southern horizon somewhat restricted when using a wedge and polar aligning. To determine the amount of sky not available, subtract the latitude of the observing site from 45, this will give the number of degrees of the southern horizon that the 7" LX200 will not reach. For example, if the latitude of the observing site is 35°, then 10° (45-35) of southern sky is unavailable for observations. No restrictions of observable sky occur in the altaz mode of alignment and operation.

[ toc ] 7. Maksutov Fan

The Maksutov optics of the 7" LX200 are equipped with a fan which will assist in the stabilization of the temperature of these optics. The fan will operate when a special power cord (supplied in the accessory box) is plugged into the fan and the LX200 panel plug marked "Aux," and with the power switch in the "On" position. The amount of time required to stabilize the temperature will be dependent upon ambient conditions including the observation site and preexisting condition of the telescope. The fan should be activated at the beginning of the observation session to accelerate the temperature stabilization. As soon as the optics have reached an equilibrium with the environment the fan should be turned off by unplugging the fan power cord. Fan operation time should range between 5 and 25 minutes. While it is permissible to run the fan continuously it is not recommended because the very slight vibration of the fan may cause noticeable movement of the objects observed in the sensitive optics.

Next Page

Related Topics:


| home | about meade | product information | dealer locator | Meade 4M |
| customer support | investor relations | dealer support |
| employment opportunities | site map |

® The name Meade, the Meade logo, and ETX are trademarks registered with the United States Patent Office,
and in principal countries throughout the world.
Copyright © 2006 Meade Instruments Corporation, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be reproduced in any form without permission.