Meade LX850 German Equatorial Mount w/ StarLock (no tripod)
- Massive German Equatorial (EQ) mount with a 90 lb instrument capacity
- Includes StarLock automatic guider system
- AutoStar II GoTo system (145,000 objects) and built in GPS included
- EQ head separates into R.A. and Dec sections to make transport and setup easier
- Includes 26 lb stainless steel counterweight and universal 12v power supply
The Meade LX850 German Equatorial Mount with StarLock is a true astro imaging powerhouse! The massive LX850 mount holds up to 90 lb. depending on tube size, and most any optional optical tube can be attached, thanks to the included dovetail saddle which is compatible with both Losmandy and Vixen style dovetail rails. When broken down into its constituent pieces, the LX850 is very manageable and can be set up easily by one person. The robust EQ mount, machined from solid 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum and stainless steel, holds the optical tube rock solid to dampen any vibrations, ideal for both high power planetary observation, or long exposure deep-sky imaging. Push button controls, automatic locating and tracking of celestial objects, and a wealth of object data at your fingertips in the AutoStar II hand controller make the LX850 a joy to use. This model is sold without a tripod for those who wish to mount the motor base on a permanent pier or other custom made tripod.
Designed and Manufactured in North America.
Key Features of the LX850 Equatorial Mount
There are several key areas where the LX850 EQ mount differs from the LX600 Alt-Az system, the first and foremost being the style of how the optical tube attaches to the mount. The LX850 features a Losmandy/Vixen style (convertible between the two styles) dovetail cradle on the head of the mount, allowing the user to swap out optical tubes quickly and easily, instead of having a permanently attached telescope between the two fork arms of the LX600. The advantages are two-fold: Counterbalancing is more precise and can be fined tuned to a higher degree of precision when compared with a wedge fork mounted EQ system. Additional counterweights may be necessary to add to the R.A. counterweight shaft depending on the weight and size of your attached equipment. And since the tube detaches from the dovetail cradle, you are free to use most any optical tube on the LX850 mount depending on what you want to observe or image. More on this specific advantage below.
The LX850 is the most robust and stable equatorial mount in the Meade line. Capable of holding up to 90 lb. of telescope gear depending on size (up to a 14" ACF or similar optical tube), the LX850 is designed specifically to obtain beautiful long exposure photographs of deep-sky objects, but works equally well visually for tracking objects through the eyepiece. Of course, if your goal is only visual use with large apertures or you don't care to swap optical tubes, you might consider the LX600 series, as there is no need to polar align the Alt-Az style LX600. But for critical long exposure photography, the LX850 EQ mount can be precisely polar aligned to eliminate field rotation without requiring a wedge, and so allows exposures as long as required for your imaging camera and conditions. And don't forget that your optical tube can be easily removed from the mount, thanks to the included dovetail cradle (compatible with both Losmandy and Vixen style dovetail rails). Need a high resolution image of a small planetary nebula or galaxy? A large 12" or 14" ACF is ideal for pulling out those fine details in super high resolution. Or do you feel like framing a wide angle shot of a very large swath of the Milky Way with a much shorter focal length telescope? No problem! Simply attach any small rich-field astrograph you have in your imaging arsenal. The options are almost endless thanks to the versatility and weight capacity of the LX850 equatorial mount.
The mount includes the StarLock automatic guider system. StarLock optics make target acquisition on your imaging sensor and accurate guiding during exposures completely automatic. No need to buy a separate guide camera — the StarLock is solidly attached to the mount head and provides both a wide field CMOS camera sensor view for automatic target acquisition (14.7° x 11.8° field of view), and a high resolution narrow field CMOS sensor (57.2' x 45.8') for accurate high resolution autoguiding. The side-by-side positioning of the StarLock on the LX850 mount alongside the main optics allows it to be used with any other optical tube you may wish to attach to the mount.
StarLock automatic guider diagram
Mechanics of the LX850
Mechanically, the LX850 series incorporates some notable features that set it apart from the other LX GoTo series in the Meade lineup. Compared with the LX600 combination of ACF optical tube and fork mount, which can be bulky and heavy (especially at the larger apertures!), the LX850 system can be broken down into several much lighter pieces, ideal for transport and setup/disassembly. In fact, even the LX850 EQ head itself can be separated into two pieces (an R.A. section and a Dec section) using four socket head cap screws, further reducing the amount of weight when setting up or transporting the system.
Here is the weight breakdown of the mount's main components including the head assembly subsections:
- LX850 head assembly: 60 lb.
- R.A./base section: 25 lb.
- Dec section: 18 lb.
- Saddle plate: 9.5 lb.
- StarLock weight: 8 lb.
- Included counterweight: 26 lb.
- Assembled weight: 86 lb.
Once set up, balancing the system is easy, and more precise than balancing an Alt-Az system when using a wedge. Simply adjust the main counterweight(s) up and down the counterweight shaft to balance in Right Ascension. Declination is adjusted by sliding the optical tube forward and back in the main dovetail cradle. And even the StarLock includes a small counterweight system (since it is attached offset on the side of the optical tube). Simply slide the small StarLock rectangular weight back and forth to achieve perfect balance for your setup.
Advanced Electronics and AutoStar II GoTo Pointing Technology
The LX850 system is a fully robotic equatorial GoTo system, with no need to manually move the telescope around the sky. Meade's SmartDrive technology provides Permanent Periodic Error Correction (PPEC), allowing the advanced StarLock system to achieve a guiding accuracy of down to 1 arc-second with good seeing.
The "brains" of the LX850 is the included AutoStar II computer system with its 145,000 object-library, multiple guided tours, and High Precision GoTo Pointing capability. The AutoStar II system provides control of virtually every telescope function. The AutoStar II handbox has soft-touch keys, an LCD display that's backlit with red LEDs to preserve your night vision, and intuitive key arrangement and menus that make AutoStar II wonderfully easy and fun to use.
Precise star alignment is performed quickly and nearly effortlessly with Meade's one-star alignment routine, which incorporates a 16-channel GPS receiver for precise time and location data. Ultra Precision Pointing and Assisted Drift Alignment is also incorporated with the help of the StarLock system, which provides very precise slewing, and even more accurate polar alignment. The drive base of the telescope has multiple input/output ports including 12v input, an RS-232 PC interface, separate Autoguider port, illuminated reticle power, Microfocuser power/control, and 12v output power. The mount and electronics are powered by an external 12v DC power source, and an AC adapter — the Meade 12v 5 amp Universal Power supply — is included. If you are using the mount remotely and far from any AC wall outlet, a separate DC power source (not included) will be necessary.
Quality Borne of North American Manufacturing
Designed and manufactured in North America to exacting quality standards, the Meade flagship LX850 EQ mount is perfect for the discerning visual astronomer and dedicated astro-imager. The mount features precision roller bearing on each axis, a 1.75" diameter stainless steel RA shaft, 5.8" diameter, 225 tooth polished bronze main gears, low periodic error with StarLock assisted PPEC, and internally routed cabling. Includes a 12v 5a AC wall adapter and a single 26 lb. counterweight (extra counterweights are available separately if needed for heavier loads). This model does NOT include a tripod. Because of the size of the shipping box(es), the LX850 may be shipped via freight and arrive on a pallet.
Please note this product was not designed or intended by the manufacturer for use by a child 12 years of age or younger.
- Best for imaging
- Solar, lunar, planetary & Messier objects
- Astro-imaging capability
- Lunar, planetary & long exposure
- User level
- Weight rating
- 90 lbs.
- Weight, mount/tripod
- 86.0 lbs.
- Weight, fully assembled
- 86.0 lbs.
- Other features
- Latitude Range: 10° - 70°, One 26 pound counterweight
- Two year