Tag: Astronomy

Meade LX50 Hand Controller Fix

This happened to me on my 3rd night out with the scope and from what I’ve read elsewhere its a pretty common problem. Some of the keys didn’t work, the declination axis worked in one direction, etc… Don’t panic if this happens to you! All that’s going on is that a connector inside the hand controller has come loose.

If you open up the controller it should be pretty obvious what’s going wrong.

Remove the 2 screws on the back of the controller and pull off the back plastic panel. Inside you’ll find the printed circuit board connected to the front of the controller (where the keys are) by a blue connector. (Circled in red in the picture) This is what’s come loose. Just push it back in, pop the back on, screw it in place and everything should be fine again.

I used some electrical tape over the connector and the back of the circuit board to keep it in place. The thing’s been fine since.

Meade LX50 RA Axis Moves Slightly When Locked

This one really spooked me. I was finishing up for the night with a quick look at Orion. I aimed, locked the RA and DEC, and noticed that with the RA locked I could move the scope in a left-right motion very slightly. More or less half a centimeter of travel. Yikes!

I took the scope inside and plonked it on the kitchen table with both the RA and DEC axis UNLOCKED. (This bit is very, very important! When you lay the scope on its side, you’re putting pressure on parts that weren’t make to take a lot of weight. If you have an axis locked you could force the scope and really break something.)

The access panel to the RA drive motor is on the bottom of the scope and is held with 4 screws. Once you pop this off you’re looking pretty much at the heart of your LX50, so treat it like such and be very careful! One thing to steer clear away from is the encoder wheel. (In every picture on the right side) This controls the RA drive rate and breaking that means a $200 repair and at least a couple of weeks without your scope. ‘Nuff said.

After fiddling with the motor system for a bit I noticed the problem was with a weird little screw. (Circled in red in the first picture) This thing basically keeps the spring mounted motor drive from traveling more than a certain distance. Through vibration, (my scope travels a bit), or general use, this thing was going off in its own direction: up!

The space is a bit cramped for my fingers so using a flathead screwdriver and pushing it in a counterclockwise motion I managed to rotate the thing back down into place. (Second image)

I didn’t like the idea of pushing it all the way back so I left a bit of space. (Last picture) I suppose this is the way the telescope is supplied.

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