Meade Instruments Corporation
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8" LX10 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope Instruction Manual
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.
The Meade 8" LX10 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope is a mirror-lens telescope suitable for both astronomical and terrestrial viewing. The LX10 utilizes the exact same optical tube assembly as provided with Meade 8" LX50 and 8" LX200 models and yields optical performance identical to that of these more expensive telescopes.

The Meade LX10 enables the serious amateur astronomer to view fault lines, craterlets, and pockmarks on the Moon; prominent features of the Martian landscape; the rings of Saturn and several satellites of Saturn; as well as surface phenomena on the planet Jupiter and the four principal satellites of Jupiter. Beyond the Solar System the LX10 permits detailed observations of nebulae, star clusters, galaxies, and thousands of other deep-space objects.

For the astrophotographer the 8" LX10 facilitates long-exposure guided photography with its stable fork mounting, DC electronic worm-gear drive system, and hand controller.

For optimal enjoyment of your Meade telescope please take a few minutes to read this manual thoroughly so that you may become completely familiar with all of the instrument's astronomical and terrestrial observing capabilities.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3


[ toc ] Overview

Refer to Figs. 1, 2, and 3 to familiarize yourself with the various parts of the telescope:

[ toc ] Unpacking and Inspection

The LX10 telescope weighs 26 pounds; take care when removing the telescope from the shipping carton.

As you unpack the telescope, take a moment to confirm that you have all parts and assembly materials listed here:

  • Optical tube assembly and fork mount.

  • Equatorial wedge, including:
    • Wedge body with factory-installed fine latitude adjustment mechanism located adjacent to the latitude scale.
    • Tilt plate.
    • 5" threaded rod with manual knob, for attachment of the wedge to the optional LX10 Field Tripod.
    • Separate 3" manual knob.
    • 4 hex screws (with washers) for attaching tilt plate to wedge body.
    • 3 star-shaped, black plastic knobs for mounting the telescope's drive base to the tilt plate.

  • Standard Accessories, including:
    • 6 x 30mm viewfinder mounted in its bracket with six alignment screws
    • 25mm eyepiece
    • Diagonal prism
    • Eyepiece holder
    • Keypad hand controller
    • Hex-wrench set with 4 wrenches
Note: It is strongly recommended that you keep the original packaging materials. Should it ever be necessary to return your telescope to Meade Instruments for servicing, commercially shipping the telescope in its original packaging materials will best protect the instrument.

[ toc ] User Supplied Materials

Before you can begin to use your LX10, you will need the following user-supplied materials:

  • One 9-volt transistor radio battery or 4 AA-size batteries (long-life alkaline batteries are best).

  • Field Tripod. The Meade 8" LX10 is supplied as standard equipment without any tripod. If you choose to use a tripod other than the optional Meade LX10 Field Tripod, be certain that the tripod is specifically designed to carry safely and securely the weight of the LX10 telescope. Do not attempt to use an underweight or undersize tripod with the telescope. Check with the manufacturer of your tripod to confirm that the LX10 telescope is appropriate for use with the tripod.
Caution: Never attempt to observe through the telescope without the telescope being attached to a suitable tripod, such as by placing the telescope-with-wedge-only on a tabletop. In this case the telescope may become seriously imbalanced, to the point where it may actually tip over.

The following discussion assumes that the LX10 telescope will be used with the optional Meade LX10 Field Tripod (see Optional Accessories).

[ toc ] Assembly Instructions

To assemble the telescope, follow these steps:

[ toc ] 1: Setting Up the LX10 Field Tripod

To set up the Meade LX10 Field Tripod, remove the tripod from its shipping carton and stand the tripod vertically with the tripod feet down and the tripod still fully collapsed. 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.

Caution: Check that the legs are fully extended and that the tripod is placed on a solid, level surface before proceeding.

Note: When tightening the screws and knobs discussed below, note that "firm-feel" tightening is sufficient. It is not necessary, or desirable, that these screws and knobs be overtightened, to the point where, for example, it is difficult to unthread the screws and knobs.

[ toc ] 2: Assembly and Mounting of the Equatorial Wedge (refer to Figure 4)

a. The tilt plate (1, Fig. 4) attaches to the equatorial wedge body (2, Fig. 4) by means of four hex-head screws; two of these hex-head screws are located at each side of the wedge body. See (3) and (4), Fig. 4.

Be sure to slide one of the washers included with the telescope onto each hex-head screw before threading the screw into the wedge body.

Attach the tilt plate to the wedge body by first threading two of the hex screws through the two holes at the top of the wedge body into the corresponding holes on the tilt plate (3, Fig. 4).

Thread the remaining two hex screws through the curved openings on each side of the wedge body and into the lower-end of the tilt plate. See 4, Fig. 4. Place a steel washer, then a nylon washer, between the hex-head screw and wedge body to prevent scratching. (The latitude scale, 5, Fig. 4, appears only on one side of the wedge body; the hex screw on this side of the wedge body should be placed in front of the fine latitude adjustment screw. See 7, Fig. 4, and inset drawing.) Using the appropriate hex wrench, tighten the four hex-head screws only until firm.

b. Place the equatorial wedge on the tripod, centering the hole in the floor of the wedge on the hole in the head of the tripod (4, Fig. 5). Slide the 5" threaded rod (this rod has a 3" manual knob at one end) down through the holes in the center of the wedge floor and the center of the tripod head. Then, thread the second, separate 3" manual knob on to the threaded rod from the underside of the tripod head. Thread this manual knob up the threaded rod until the knob firmly presses up against the under-surface of the tripod head. The equatorial wedge should now be rigidly attached to the LX10 Field Tripod.

[ toc ] 3: Mounting the LX10 on the Equatorial Wedge (refer to Figure 5)

Caution: Carefully follow instructions a., b., and c., below, before attempting to lift the telescope.

a. Partially thread one of the star-shaped black plastic knobs into the top hole located on the underside of the drive base. This hole is located at the curved end of the drive base (1, Fig. 5). Thread the knob about 3 full turns only; do not fully thread the knob into the hole.

b. Check the equatorial wedge to ensure that it is securely mounted to the tripod and that all of the adjustment screws (3) and (4), Fig. 4, are tightened firmly so there is no movement of the tilt-plate. Check the tripod for stability and levelness.

c. Place the telescope's Declination lock and Right Ascension lock into the "locked" position (see 3, Fig. 8, and 1, Fig. 9) to prevent movement of the optical tube as you lift the telescope.

d. Once you have completed the steps above, firmly grasp the two fork arms of the telescope with the control panel facing you. Carefully lift the telescope and place it on the tilt-plate by sliding the black plastic knob in (a), above, into the slot at the top of the tilt-plate (2, Fig. 5). Align the motor drive base so that it is flush with the tilt-plate and hand-tighten the black plastic knob to a firm-feel.

e. Looking at the underside of the tilt-plate, locate the remaining two wedge attachment holes (3, Fig. 5). Insert and hand-tighten the remaining two attachment knobs until firm. The telescope is now fully mounted on the equatorial wedge.

[ toc ] 4: Attaching the Eyepiece Holder, Diagonal Prism, and Eyepiece (refer to Figure 6)

a. Remove the dust cap from the rear-cell thread of the telescope.

b. Thread the eyepiece holder (1, Fig. 6) directly onto the rear-cell thread.

c. Slide the diagonal prism (3, Fig. 6) into the eyepiece holder and lock in place by turning the thumbscrew to a "firm-feel."

d. Slide the included 25mm eyepiece (2, Fig. 6) into the diagonal prism and lock in place by turning the thumbscrew.

Note: For astronomical observations the diagonal prism (3, Fig. 6) generally provides a comfortable right-angle viewing position. Alternately, an eyepiece may be inserted directly into the eyepiece holder for straight-through observations. With the diagonal prism in place images will be right-side-up but reversed left-for-right. With the eyepiece inserted directly into the (straight-through) eyepiece-holder, images will be upside-down and reversed left-for-right. For astronomical purposes the image orientation is of no importance whatever. For terrestrial observations, where a fully corrected image is highly desirable, the optional Meade #928 45° Erect-Image Diagonal Prism should be ordered separately.

[ toc ] 5: Mounting the Viewfinder

a. To attach the standard-equipment 6 x 30mm viewfinder, remove the two viewfinder mounting screws from the rear cell of the telescope using the appropriate hex wrench supplied with the telescope. Place the viewfinder with bracket over these mounting holes and replace the two mounting screws to securely attach the viewfinder bracket to the rear cell. Tighten these screws to a firm-feel only.

b. Do not attempt to focus or align the viewfinder at this time. Instructions for focusing and alignment of the viewfinder are presented later in this manual.

c. Once attached, the viewfinder may be left permanently mounted to the telescope.

[ toc ] 6: Powering the Telescope for Motor Drive Operation

The LX10 may be powered in any of three ways: (a) by means of one 9-volt (transistor-type) battery; (b) by means of four AA-size batteries; or (c) by means of the optional #607 Power Cord. All batteries are supplied by the user and are not included with the telescope. Long-life alkaline batteries are recommended.

(a) To power the telescope from one 9-volt battery: Open the battery compartment on the control panel (5, Fig. 2), flip up the thumb latch, and lift the lid. Inside this compartment is a double-connector attached to two wires. Connect the 9-volt battery to the double connector, place the battery inside the battery compartment, and replace the lid of the battery compartment. The telescope is now ready for operation. With the switch on the control panel turned ON the telescope will automatically track objects in R.A. (See "How to Locate Objects in the Night Sky," part 3.) With the 9-volt battery installed, the telescope can be powered for about 25 hours of normal tracking.

(b) To power the telescope from four AA-size batteries: Use one of the supplied hex wrenches to remove the metal cover panel located underneath the control panel on the bottom surface of the drive base; four hex-head screws attach this metal cover panel to the drive base. The internal compartment containing the drive motor and the worm gear assembly will now be visible. Refer to Fig. 7A.

The LX10 telescope is shipped with the plastic AA-battery pack (8, Fig. 7A) placed in one corner of the motor drive compartment and held in place with a Velcro strip; 2 thin wires and a small plug are wound into one side of this battery pack. Note that the 9-volt battery wires in (a), above, are factory pre-connected to the telescope's control panel by means of a small plastic plug (5).

To power the telescope from the battery pack of 4 x AA-size batteries:

1. Unplug the small plastic plug (5) that connects the 9-volt battery compartment to the control panel. Pulling the detent lever (4) slightly to the left (see arrow in Fig. 7A) facilitates removal of the plug.

2. Remove the AA-size battery pack (8) from its position in one corner of the motor drive compartment. Connect the plug from the AA-size battery pack (this plug connects to the battery pack through 2 wires) to the same two pins as the 9-volt battery wires were connected to; take care not to bend these pins when making the connection.

3. Insert four AA-size batteries into the battery pack, orienting the batteries as indicated on the battery pack. Replace the battery pack neatly into one corner of the motor drive compartment, holding it in position with the Velcro strip. The wires leading from the 9-volt battery compartment can be secured in the corner of the drive compartment between the battery compartment (6) and the AA-size battery pack (8).

The telescope is now powered from the AA-size battery pack. With the four AA-size batteries thus installed, the telescope can be powered for more than 50 hours of normal tracking.

(c) To power the telescope from the optional #607 Power Cord: With the #607 Power Cord the telescope may be powered directly from any 12-volt automobile cigarette lighter plug. One end of the #607 cord plugs in to the telescope control panel connector labeled "12v.DC"; the other end of the cord plugs into any standard automobile cigarette lighter socket. An LX10 may be powered all night in this way without risk of significant car battery drain.

[ toc ] North/South Orientation of the Electric Motor Drive

The LX10 telescope's drive base is shipped preset at the factory for operation in the Northern hemisphere (e.g., North America, Europe, Japan). Users in the Southern hemisphere (South America, Australia, etc.) must re-orient the internal motor connection:

a. With the batteries removed from the telescope, detach the front control panel by unthreading the four small hex-head screws located in each corner of the control panel. A hex-wrench appropriate to these screws is included with the telescope.

b. Carefully turn the panel over so that the back side is visible. Locate the motor connection marked "J1," and re-orient the connector by turning it over. The wires should appear as follows:

c. Then carefully reinstall the front panel and replace all four screws.

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