Meade LX200GPS-SMT Technical Manual

8", 10", 12", 14", 16" schmidt-cassegrain telescopes 7" maksutov-cassegrain telescope with autostar ii hand controller.
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Meade Instruments 8", 10", 12", 14", 16" LX200GPS-SMT
Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes, & 7" LX200GPS-SMT
Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope with
Autostar II Hand Controller
Copyright Meade Instruments, 2003 All Rights Reserved / 73 Pages
Provided on line as a courtesy to our customers by Company Seven
Showroom: 14300 Cherry Lane Court
Laurel, Maryland 20707 U.S.A.
Correspondence: Box 2587
Montpelier, Maryland 20709-2587 U.S.A.

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   Summary of Contents for Meade LX200GPS-SMT

  • Page 1

    Autostar II Hand Controller TECHNICAL MANUAL FOR TELESCOPE ASSEMBLY AND OPERATING PROCEDURES Copyright Meade Instruments, 2003 All Rights Reserved / 73 Pages Provided on line as a courtesy to our customers by Company Seven Showroom: 14300 Cherry Lane Court Laurel, Maryland 20707 U.S.A.

  • Page 2

    Instruction Manual 8", 10", 12", 14", 16" LX200GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes 7" LX200GPS Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope with Autostar II Hand Controller Meade Instruments Corporation...

  • Page 3

    Primary Mirror In the Schmidt-Cassegrain design of the Meade 8", 10", 12", 14", and 16" LX200GPS models, light enters from the right, passes through a thin lens with 2-sided aspheric correction (“correcting plate”), proceeds to a spherical primary mirror, and then to a convex secondary mirror.

  • Page 4: Table Of Contents

    APPENDIX G page 66, for features unique to the 14" model. ® The name "Meade" and the Meade logo are trademarks registered with the U.S. Patent Office and in principal coun- tries throughout the world. "LX200GPS" and "Autostar II" are trademarks of Meade Instruments Corporation.

  • Page 5: Quick-start Guide

    Take the from its packaging and place LX200GPS the entire telescope onto the top of the tripod head, inserting the threaded rod into the central hole in the bottom of the drive base of the tele- scope. Tighten the tension knob (see above fig- ure) to a firm feel only;...

  • Page 6

    Autostar II handbox. Attach microfocuser: Remove the dust cap from the rear cell port (A) of the telescope (Note: Telescope not shown for clarity). Thread the micro- focuser adapter (B) into the rear cell port thread.

  • Page 7: Telescope Features

    TELESCOPE FEATURES (not shown) Fig. 1: The Telescope; Computer Control Panel (inset); Autostar II Handbox (inset). LX200GPS (not shown, on left fork arm) 1& Autostar II Hand Controller. See page 9.

  • Page 8

    OFF. The red power indicator LED next to the switch illuminates when power is supplied to the Autostar II handbox, the microfocuser, and to the telescope’s motor drives (the LED can be turned off in the Panel Light menu; see page 27).

  • Page 9

    G. RS232 Ports (2): Provides connection with a PC and for current and future Meade accessories. Your PC can control your scope using serial commands. Go to the Meade website ( to download the latest serial commands and device pinouts.

  • Page 10: Autostar Ii Features

    Download the Want to learn more about latest satellite data, star and object catalogs, tours, serial commands list, and soft- downloading the latest ware revisions, directly from the Meade website ( (Requires the updates of Autostar II software from the optional...

  • Page 11

    "spiral search." Arrow Keys: The Arrow keys have several functions. Press an Arrow key to slew the telescope in a specific direction (up, down, left, and right), at any one of nine different speeds. See SLEW SPEEDS to move the telescope vertically up and down.

  • Page 12

    Autostar II handbox. Coil Cord: Plug one end of the Autostar II coil cord into the HBX port (13F, Fig. 1) of the computer control panel of the telescope and the other end into the Autostar II coil cord port. See above.

  • Page 13: Getting Started, Parts Listing, How To Attach The Tripod To The Telescope

    Place the entire telescope onto the top of the tripod head, and insert the thread- ed rod into the central hole in the bottom of the drive base of the telescope. Tighten the tension knob (Fig. 4); firm tightening of the tension knob is sufficient to result in rigid positioning of the tripod legs.

  • Page 14: How To Assemble Your Telescope

    Fig. 6: Microfocuser and eyepiece assembly. (A) Rear cell of telescope (shown separate from the telescope assembly for the sake of clarity, see 5, Fig. 1); (B) Microfocuser adapter; (C) Microfocuser; (D) 1.25" accessory adapter. SC accessory adapter (L) may be used in this position instead if Schmidt-Cassegrain accessories are being used.

  • Page 15: Choosing An Eyepiece

    Low power eyepieces offer a wide field of view, bright, high-contrast images, and eye relief during long observing sessions. To find an object with a telescope, always start with a lower power eyepiece such as the Super Plössl 26mm. When the object is located and centered in the eyepiece, you may wish to switch to a higher power eye- piece to enlarge the image as much as practical for prevailing seeing conditions.

  • Page 16: Mounting And Adjusting The Viewfinder

    The power, or magnification of a telescope is determined by the focal length of the tel- escope and the focal length of the eyepiece being used (an eyepiece's focal length is printed on the side of the eyepiece).

  • Page 17: Observing, Observing By Moving The Telescope Manually, Terrestrial Observing, Observing Using Autostar Ii's Arrow Keys

    "unlock" position, until it feels loose. For more precise focusing, see Once you get a feel for how your telescope moves and focuses, try to view some- thing more challenging, like a bird or a distant moving train. You can also observe stars and objects in the night sky using this method, but note that objects begin to slowly drift across the eyepiece field.

  • Page 18: Slew Speeds

    Super Plössl 26mm. Speeds 7 or 8: Best used for rough centering of an object in the viewfinder. Speed 9: Moves the telescope quickly from one point in the sky to another. Bring the object into focus (see below).

  • Page 19: To Track An Object Automatically, Moving Through Autostar Ii's Menus, Automatic Alignment

    Autostar II menu options. Observe the Moon Point your telescope at the Moon (note that the Moon is not visible every night) and practice using the Arrow keys, the microfocuser and the slew speeds to view different features. The Moon contains many interesting features, including craters, mountain ranges, and fault lines.

  • Page 20

    When the home position is found, the system knows the limiting positions of the telescope and can avoid tangling cables and over-rotating the telescope. Detects “level” of the base of the telescope; finds tilt and tip. To detect level, Autostar II must calculate "level" at three compass points. See...

  • Page 21: Go To Saturn, Using The Guided Tour

    Observe a Star using the Automatic Tracking Feature Now that your telescope has been aligned, you are able to track celestial objects. In this example, the Autostar II Arrow keys are used to find a star, and then Autostar II's tracking capability automatically keeps the star centered in your telescope's eye- piece.

  • Page 22: Finding True North

    LX200GPS Detecting True Level To detect level of the base of the telescope, Autostar II must calculate the tip and tilt of the telescope at three compass points and then compensate for it. Finding level involves the geometric calculations of a "plane." In order to define a plane, three positions are necessary.

  • Page 23: Autostar Ii Navigation Exercise

    "Event: Sunrise" is displayed. OBJECT MENU Want to see Mars? The Orion nebula? The Andromeda galaxy? Select from over 145,000 objects and press GO TO to move the telescope automatically to an object. Select Item: Event EVENT MENU Display the time of...

  • Page 24: Navigating Autostar Ii

    Navigating Autostar II Autostar II's menus are organized for quick and easy navigation: Tip: When multiple choices are available within a menu option, the current option is usually dis- played first and highlight- ed by a right pointing arrow (>). Press the Scroll Down key once to display the "Sunset"...

  • Page 25

    Align on Home Date Time Daylight Saving Smart Mount Configuration Train Update Load Save As Delete Erase Telescope Mount Model Focal Length Max Slew Rate Mount Upper Limit Mount Lower Limit Park Position Calibrate Home Anti-Backlash Train Drive Calibrate Sensors...

  • Page 26: Objects Menu

    GO TO once to change the second line to the name of the bright- est star in the constellation. Press GO TO a second time to slew the telescope to that star. Use the Scroll keys to cycle through the list of stars in the constellation, from brightest to dimmest.

  • Page 27: Event Menu

    Press ENTER. Autostar II searches the libraries for the identity of the object being observed. If the telescope is not directly on an Autostar II library object, the nearest library object is located and displayed on the screen. Press GO TO and the telescope slews to that object.

  • Page 28: Glossary Menu, Utilities Menu

    Alarm: Selects a time for an alarm signal to sound as a reminder. To use the Alarm, press ENTER, then choose "Set" or "Start/Stop." Eyepiece Calc: Calculates information about an eyepiece for the specific telescope to which Autostar II is connected.

  • Page 29: Setup Menu

    Daylight Saving menu (see above) to turn the Daylight Saving option on or off. Keep in mind that the telescope is receiving the correct time whether or not you set this option to display your local time.

  • Page 30

    R.A. and the Dec. axes by entering a number from 0% to 199%. This sets the backlash in the way the Arrow keys move the telescope along an axis. If you enter a value near 199%, telescope responds more quickly as you hold down an Arrow key.

  • Page 31

    "ENTER to Sync." Center the star in the eyepiece, then press ENTER. At that point the telescope has a high precision alignment to that part of the sky and it then slews to the object that was originally requested.

  • Page 32: Hot Button Menus

    Autostar II handbox. Software: Receives only the basic Autostar II software. This is useful if one user has downloaded a new version of Autostar II software from the Meade website ( and wants to pass this software along to friends.

  • Page 33: Advanced Autostar Ii Features, Adding Observing Sites

    If you plan to observe using Autostar II at different geographic locations, you can store observation sites in Autostar II's memory to help simplify your telescope setup. Perform these procedures using the Site options (Add, Select, Delete, Edit) of the Setup menu.

  • Page 34: Creating User Objects

    Press ENTER to select the site. Make sure Autostar II has been initialized and the telescope has been aligned. After the telescope is aligned, "Select Item: Object" displays. (If necessary, use the Scroll keys to scroll through the menus, as previously described, to find this option.) Press ENTER.

  • Page 35: Observing Satellites

    Satellite orbits change and new satellites (including the Space Shuttle) are launched. Visit the Meade website ( approximately once a month to get updated information and instructions on how to download this data to Autostar II. If orbital parameters are more than one month old, the satellite pass may not happen at the time predicted by Autostar II.

  • Page 36: Identify

    "Landmark: Add" displays. If you wish to add more landmarks, repeat steps 5 through 8. To Select a landmark from the database: Make sure the telescope is located and aligned exactly as when the desired land- mark was entered into memory. Display the "Landmark: Select" menu option. Press ENTER.

  • Page 37: Browse

    In this procedure, you will center an object you wish to have identified by Autostar II in the telescope eyepiece and use the "Identify" menu to find out information about the object or the nearest object to it in the Autostar II database.

  • Page 38: Easy (two-star) Alignment, Two-star Alt/az Alignment

    Autostar II to signify that the message has been read and understood. 6. Autostar II displays "Align: Automatic." You are now ready to align your telescope using one of the three alt/az alignment pro- cedures. Easy (Two-Star) Alignment In this method, Autostar II automatically picks two stars from its libraries for alignment.

  • Page 39: To Set The Home Position Manually, One-star Alt/az Alignment

    Set Home Position. Place the telescope in the home position. To Set the Home Position Manually: a. See Figs. 19 and 20, page 37. Loosen the telescope’s Dec. lock (17, Fig. 1). Set the optical tube to 0° on the Dec. setting circle (Fig. 20).

  • Page 40: Periodic Error Correction

    On and Off Menu Options Select "On" when you want the telescope to use the training information. Select "Off" when you do not want for the telescope to use the training information. Select "On" to enable the Smart Drive. , page 42). PEC training is available...

  • Page 41: Photography

    T-Mount. Rotate the camera body to achieve proper orientation of the object; then re-tighten the adjustment screws. The #62 T-Adapter permits close-coupling of a camera body to the telescope. In this format vignetting occurs: The photographic image appears on film with a slight dark- ening (vignetting) at the corners of the 35mm frame (Fig.

  • Page 42: Optional Accessories

    A wide assortment of professional Meade accessories is available for the telescope models. The premium quality of these accessories is well-suited to the qual- ity of the instrument itself. Consult the Meade General Catalog for complete details on these and other accessories.

  • Page 43

    Moon and planets. Each filter threads into the barrel of any Meade 1.25" eyepiece, and into the barrels of virtually all other eye- piece brands as well. Meade filters are available in 12 colors for lunar and planetary applications, and in Neutral Density as a lunar glare-reduction filter.

  • Page 44: Star Charts

    This dew formation may be inhibited to a significant extent by the addition of a dew shield, essentially an extension tube attaching to the front-cell of the telescope. #608 for Meade 7" Maksutov and 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain models; #610 for all 10" Schmidt-Cassegrain models;...

  • Page 45: Maintenance

    As part of final optical testing, every Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain is precisely collimat- ed at the Meade factory before shipment. However, vibrations in shipping can cause the optical system to become misaligned. Re-aligning the optics is, however, a straightforward process.

  • Page 46

    At this point, look at the front of the telescope where your finger is aiming. It will either be pointing directly at a set screw, or it will be between two set screws aiming at the set screw on the far side of the black plastic secondary mirror support.

  • Page 47: Inspecting The Optics, Gauging The Movement Of The Telescope

    Customer Service hours are 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. In the unlikely event that your write or call the Meade Customer Service Department first, before returning the tele- scope to the factory, giving full particulars as to the nature of the problem, as well as your name, address, and daytime telephone number.

  • Page 48: Specifications

    The fan operates when a special power cord (sup- plied in the accessory box) is plugged into the fan unit of the telescope and the12v DC OUT (13E, Fig. 1) of the computer control panel with the power switch in the “ON”...

  • Page 49

    Clear aperture...254mm (10") Focal length ...2500mm Focal ratio (photographic speed) ...f/10 Resolving power ...0.45 arc sec Coatings ...Meade EMC Super Multi-Coatings Mounting ...Cast-aluminum, double-tine forks Gears ...5.75"-dia. worm gears, both axes Periodic Error Correction ...Both axes Alignment ...Altazimuth or equatorial w/optional wedge Pointing Precision ...2 arc-minutes in GO TO mode...

  • Page 50

    Clear aperture...406.4mm (16") Focal length ...4064mm Focal ratio (photographic speed) ...f/10 Resolving power ...0.28 arc sec Coatings ...Meade EMC Super Multi-Coatings Mounting ...Heavy-duty double-tine forks Gears ...11"-dia. worm gears, both axes Periodic Error Correction ...Both axes Alignment ...Altazimuth or equatorial w/optional pier Pointing Precision ...2 arc-minutes in GO TO mode...

  • Page 51: Appendix A: Equatorial (polar) Alignment

    Fig. 36) is located on the top surface of the telescope’s drive base. The Declination circle (Fig. 35) is located at the top of the fork tine. With the telescope pointed at the North Celestial Pole, the Dec. circle should read 90° (understood to mean +90°).

  • Page 52

    Note: The Meade equatorial wedge is designed solely for use in conjunction with your Meade tripod. The wedge should never be used without the tripod (e.g., by placing the wedge alone on a table top and then mounting the tele- scope on the wedge—the wedge may become seriously unbalanced, to the...

  • Page 53: Autostar Ii Menus

    This tracking may be accomplished automatically with the If the telescope is reasonably well aligned with the pole, very little use of the tele- scope’s Declination slow motion control is necessary. Virtually all of the required tele- scope tracking will be in Right Ascension.

  • Page 54: Precise Polar Alignment

    10 minutes or longer). In particular, the number of Declination corrections required is a direct function of the precision of polar alignment. Precise polar alignment requires the use of a crosshair eyepiece. The Meade Illuminated Reticle Eyepiece (see...

  • Page 55

    NASA, Hubble, HST, astronomy, Messier, satellite, nebula, black hole, variable stars, etc. Check Meade’s website for the latest product and technical information. You can download the latest software revisions, links to other astronomical sites, coordinates of celestial objects and the latest satellite tracking information for your Autostar II handset.

  • Page 56: Appendix B: Latitude Chart

    APPENDIX B: LATITUDE CHART Latitude Chart for Major Cities of the World To aid in the polar alignment procedure (see page 52), latitudes of major cities around the world are listed below. To determine the latitude of an observing site not listed on the chart, locate the city closest to your site. Then follow the procedure below: Northern hemisphere observers (N): If the site is over 70 miles (110 km) North of the listed city, add one degree for every 70 miles.

  • Page 57

    More commands will be added from time-to-time to the list below. Periodically visit Meade's website ( for future additions. When a Guided Tour is selected, Autostar II slews your telescope to a predetermined list of objects and displays information about each object, such as type of object, con- stellation location, R.A.

  • Page 58

    TITLE TEXT PLANET MOON COMET LUNAR ECLIPSE METEOR SHOWER CONSTELLATION STAR PICK ONE/PICK END AUTO SLEW Description String: Description of an object. Must be surrounded by quotation marks. If the description is longer than one line, each line must end with a quotation mark and a hard return.

  • Page 59

    PLANET "name" Enter PLANET and then the name of the desired planet in quotes. Autostar II provides the user with a description of the selected planet from its database. For example: PLANET "Pluto" MOON This command accesses information about the Moon from the Autostar II database. SATELLITE "name"...

  • Page 60

    PICK ONE AUTO SELECT MESSIER 13 AUTO SELECT MESSIER 15 AUTO SELECT MESSIER 92 AUTO SELECT MESSIER 4 AUTO SELECT MESSIER 68 AUTO SELECT NGC 1234 AUTO SELECT TEXT "None Available" "I'm sorry. There are no bright globular" "clusters visible at this time." PICK END AUTO SLEW ON / AUTO SLEW OFF With AUTO SLEW ON enabled in the tour, Autostar II automatically slews the tele-...

  • Page 61: Appendix D: Training The Drive

    APPENDIX D: TRAINING THE DRIVE Train the telescope motors using Autostar II. Perform this procedure if you are experiencing any pointing accuracy problems. Fig. 41 depicts the complete Drive Training procedure. Use a terrestrial object, such as a telephone pole or lamp post, to train the drive. Complete this exer- Note: cise once every 3 to 6 months to maintain the highest level of telescope pointing accuracy.

  • Page 62: Appendix E: The Moon Menu

    When Autostar II synchs to a lunar feature, the telescope switches to Selenographic coordinates, i.e., lunar latitude and longitude. To observe the Apollo 15 landing site using the Moon option: 1.

  • Page 63: Appendix F: 16" Lx200gps Features

    Fig 1). The resulting misalignment of the axes will result in inaccurate slew- ing of the telescope in the GO TO mode. Do not attempt to turn the focus knob of the optical tube (6, Fig. 1) until you have read the following note.

  • Page 64

    Use the following procedure to assemble your telescope: To Assemble the 16” Super Field Tripod The 16” Super Field Tripod (Figs. 44 and 45) for the Meade 16” is supplied as a completely assembled unit, except for the spreader bar (4, Fig. 44) and the six lock-knobs (5, Fig.

  • Page 65

    See Fig. 51. e. A fifth 3/8”-16x3/4” long bolt is supplied with the telescope. Just using your fingers, loosely tighten this bolt under the plate. See Fig. 51. This bolt acts as a safety fea- ture to prevent the DB-15 connector and cable from being damaged when you dis- assemble the telescope.

  • Page 66

    Attaching the Power and Data Cords Several power and data cords are supplied with the 16” be attached before powering up the telescope. a. Confirm that the power switch (A, Fig. 43) on the power panel is in the OFF posi- tion.

  • Page 67: Appendix G: 14" Lx200gps Features

    Next, remove the battery holder and install the batteries as described in step #2 on page 13. Replace the holder and close the compartment. Replace the screws if you plan to use the telescope in equatorial alignment. These screws are not necessary when using the telescope in altazimuth alignment.

  • Page 68: Appendix H: De-rotater And Microfocuser Assembly

    (K, Fig. 6) up against the adapter ring as shown in Fig. 60. Take care not to tighten or loosen the adapter ring as you position and tighten the microfocuser in place. 4. Tighten to a firm feel the other two microfocuser hex screws. 5. Attach the de-rotater to the rear cell of the telescope.

  • Page 69: Appendix I: Smart Mount

    Once Smart Mount training has been performed, the scope will benefit from it so long as you carefully park the telescope at the end of each session and do not modify the mounting.

  • Page 70

    OUNT PDATE above). If Smart Mount was "On" when you last powered off your telescope, it will be "On" when you start the next session. When Smart Mount is "Off," the telescope will not use any model you have created to refine pointing accuracy.

  • Page 71: Basic Astronomy

    Moon, and our solar system comes from observations made by ama- teur astronomers. So as you look through your Meade mind Galileo. To him, a telescope was not merely a machine made of glass and metal, but something far more—a window of incredible discovery.

  • Page 72

    The disk of Venus appears white as Sunlight is reflected off the thick cloud cover that completely obscures any surface detail. Mars is about half the diameter of Earth, and appears through the telescope as a tiny reddish-orange disk. It may be possible to see a hint of white at one of the planet’s polar ice caps.

  • Page 73

    ONE YEAR from the date of original purchase in the U.S.A. and Canada. Meade will repair or replace a product, or part thereof, found by Meade to be defective, provided the defective part is returned to Meade, freight-prepaid, with proof of purchase.

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