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GENERAL

 
  1. What is the total weight of this mounting including the necessary counterweights for the 20?  For the 16?
    Pier (22" tall) is 39 pounds empty.
    Tripod is 81 pounds.
    Pedestal (wedge) is 66 pounds.
    Right ascension assembly is 75 pounds.
    Declination assembly is 75 pounds.
    Counterweight shaft assembly is 32 pounds.
    Counterweight is 35 pounds, 5 needed for 20" (175 lbs.).
    There is also a 20 pound counterweight available for lighter equipment as an optional accessory.
    Instrument mount assembly (generic, you drill the holes) is 14 pounds also available optionally.
    16" RCX OTA is 140 pounds.
    20" RCX OTA is 190 pounds.


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  2. Is the DEC shaft threaded for these weights or are they attached and held into place via setscrews?
    There are two counterweight weights available, 20 pounds and 35 pounds. Both are equipped with a push button for quick release slide. Once positioned in the rough location, they can spin on the 1-1/2" - 6 threaded shaft for fine balance.

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  3. How many components, not counting counterweights, are there to the MAX mounting?  What is the heaviest single component?
    A basic assembly is made up of six major components: tripod or pier; pedestal or wedge; RA assembly; Dec. assembly; counterweight assembly; and the OTA. The OTA is the heaviest component.

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  4. Being totally realistic about this, Meade shows the MAX mounting on a portable pier (tripod); how many people will be required to set up BOTH mount and telescope in the field if used portably and approximately how long would setup time be?
    The mount itself is set up fairly quickly. It can be done by one person (two are recommended). Of course, it is heavily dependant upon the person(s) assembling the parts. Unfortunately, the OTA's are very heavy and would require a minimum of four persons, if not more.

    Once the system is turned on, it goes through the normal Autostar setup routine. Autostar is expanded for the MAX Mount™. There is an electronic balancing routine that takes literally seconds to balance the mount. If you are using the mount with an OTA for the first time, you will need to go through another routine to align the OTA axis with the RA axis.


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  5. Does Meade really believe that such a high end quality telescope SHOULD be portable or do we recommend that it be permanently mounted?
    MAX is, as the name implies, very large and heavy. It was deliberately designed into sections so that it is easier to transport. That does not mean it is easy to transport. As discussed above, the heaviest part is the OTA. You could attach a lighter OTA to make it more transportable.

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  6. What are the power requirements of the MAX mounting?
    MAX uses the same 12 volt power supply used by the RCX line (Part #07584 - RCX AC Wall Adapter). It is rated for 5 amps. This is enough current to run the fan and the dew heater.

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  7. Are the power connections similar to existing Meade high end telescopes such as the LX200 and RCX lines?
    The main control panel is identical to the RCX main control panel. The saddle panel has all the same connections that are on the RCX OTA panel. This includes three USB connectors for accessories such as cameras and auto-guiders.

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  8. Please compare the control panel configurations of the new MAX mount to that of the LX200 and the RCX telescopes; is there a secondary control panel built into the back of the new 16 and 20 inch telescopes similar to that of the RCX 14 and smaller?  If so, how are these outputs connected to the mounting and control panel?
    The control panel on the back of the 16" and 20" RCX OTAs only has one 9-pin d-sub connector. A cable attaches between the OTA and the saddle panel so Autostar controller (handbox) can operate the focuser/collimation motors, fan and dew heater.

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  9. When attaching the components for the RA and DEC axes, how do the electronic and electrical components connect?  Is this similar in the connection system now in place with the LX200-16, where the top part of the DEC assembly has connectors to fit with the lower mounting electronics?
    MAX cabling is totally internal, just like the 16" LX200. MAX has a single 25-pin cable that jumps between the RA and the Dec assemblies.

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  10. Is the MAX mounting going to be an Autostar II -driven system?  If so, is the firmware different than that for the existing telescope lines?
    Yes, MAX is Autostar driven. But, as described above, there are new features added for MAX, such as electronic balancing and OTA alignment.

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  11. Are there meridian mount limits to prevent accidental pier damage when the telescope and its equipment are aimed at the zenith
    Yes, there is a software limit of 8 degrees beyond. The user can decrease this if a custom set-up limits this further.

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  12. Are horizon limits built into the firmware?
    Yes, and they are again user definable if you have items blocking your horizon such as trees or buildings.

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  13. Mechanical questions:

    a) What size bearings in RA and DEC....and how many in each axis? RA axis uses one 6020 ball bearing (5.9055 OD x 3.9370 ID x 0.9449 wide).
    RA axis uses one 6013 ball bearing (3.9370 OD x 2.5591 ID x 0.7090 wide).
    Dec axis uses one 6015 ball bearing (4.5276 OD x 2.9528 ID x 0.7874 wide).
    Dec axis uses one 6013 ball bearing (3.9370 OD x 2.5591 ID x 0.7090 wide).


    b) What is the overall "thrust size diameter" of the DEC shaft?  Of the RA shaft?
    RA shaft is 3.84" in diameter.
    Dec shaft is 2.90" in diameter.


    c) What is the diameter of the DEC counterweight shaft?
    Counterweight shaft is a threaded rod with a thread of 1-1/2" in diameter and 6 threads per inch.

    d) Is the DEC counterweight shaft stainless steel?
    Yes, type 316 stainless steel.

    e) Are the axes moved manually via unclamping or are they utilizing clutches?
    There are no clutches and no way of disengaging the worm screw from the worm gear. This is for safety reasons along with the potential of stripped teeth on the gear when an unbalanced OTA starts jumping over gear teeth.

    f) Are electronics accessible in case of connector problems?
    Panels are removable if electrical problems are encountered.

    g) Since it is a German Equatorial Mount (GEM), are there provisions for adjustments of the worm cylinder gear to the worm driver gear? This seems almost essential.
    There are many adjustments, but none are recommended for end user use. The worm block assembly can be raised and lowered to align the worm screw with the worm gear. There are spring plungers to hold the worm block assembly in place vertically. There is spring loading to adjust how much force the worm screw is pushed into the worm gear. There is a stop adjustment to not allow the worm screw to disengage the worm gear.

    h) What type, model, size and torque motors are being used to drive this telescope?
    We are using a DC servo motor from Pittman that is capable of very large torque. The model number is 14204S004. Because the worm screw is spring loaded into the worm gear, friction is large and a larger motor was required to overcome the load.

    i) Are there provisions to allow total disconnect (via unclamping....etc.) to achieve good balance in both axes?
    As described above, there are no clutches or any means to disengage the worm screw from the worm gear. Balance is achieved via an Autostar software routine.

    j) Is the telescope affixed to the mounting via a traditional (i.e., Losmandy type-D) dovetail and saddle plate arrangement?
    Dec attachment to RA, and OTA attachment to dec is achieved through the use of very strong custom dove tail arrangement.

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  14. Will this telescope operate to PC connections via the newer RCX-style USB cable or will serial connection be necessary?
    Yes to both. You can use USB or serial to control MAX.

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  15. Will Meade incorporate a more advanced PEC system in this telescope than is currently provided?
    Included in the development of the extended MAX Autostar code is enhanced PEC.


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  16. Can Meade provide for a "Solar", i.e., solar system objects, drive rate in addition to the existing lunar and sidereal rates?
    There is a custom tracking rate that is settable by the user within AutoStar.

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  17. Since this mounting is primarily going to be a permanent installation focus, is it equipped with GPS?
    MAX utilizes Meade's existing Sony GPS technology. For permanently mounted installations, GPS can be disabled.

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  18. Can Meade design and incorporate a continuous internal 24-hour or GMT clock in the memory of this telescope?
    Meade offers an accessory for LNT scopes (Such as ETX Premier or LX90) that gets WWVB time from Colorado . Otherwise, the time is the same as the existing RCX scopes. Both RCX and MAX get accurate time from the GPS signal. It shows you the GPS time at start-up.

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