Steps to Set
the Mead LX200/GPS Telescopes in ALT/AZ Mode
Note that you must be trained
by Tammy Smecker-Hane or the Observatory TA before using the Meade
LX200 GPS Telescopes! People
who have not been trained should not setup the telescope nor touch the
drives or keypad. The telescopes are complex, delicate and
expensive pieces of equipment that are
easily damaged and very costly to repair. Both the 12" and 8"
telescopes operate identically, and the manuals for each are identical.
(1) Scan through menu items using the
arrows at the bottom of the keypad.
(2) Select a menu item by hitting ENTER.
(3) To slew the telescope, hit SLEW
(1 on the keypad) and then a number, where 1 is the slowest
guiding) speed and 9 is the fastest speed.
(4) The higher the focal length of the
eyepiece (e.g. 40 mm), the smaller the magnification and the larger the
visible field of view are. Most star clusters and galaxies are best
with the 26 mm eyepiece, while objects like Jupiter and Saturn
best viewed with a 13 mm eyepiece. Larger objects, like the Orion
and some open clusters, are best viewed with the 40 mm eyepiece.
Set up the tripod. Make sure the legs are fully extended otherwise the
screw and spreader will not fit properly. Align the tripod so that the
prong (if there is one) is facing North. Using the level, adjust the
legs to level
Put the telescope on top of the mount with the Control Panel facing
Place the telescope tube horizontal with the opening facing North. Take
the cover off the tube. Make sure the RA and DEC drives are locked. The
DEC drive lock should be turned until firm, but do not over tighten
the lock on the drives if you do so it can lead to stripping of
This requires a very costly repair. If you use the hard dew
shield then you should use counter weights to balance
the weight. The better option is to use the Kendrick heating coil and
Screw in the spreader. The easiest way to do this is position the
over the hole by looking from beneath with a flashlight to get good
between the holes in the mount and telescope. Then insert the screw. If
it is not grabbing as you screw, then have a partner slowly move the
of the telescope around until you catch the hole. Be very careful not
strip the threads on the hole! When you're aligned correctly
then you'll feel
the base of the telescope turn as you screw. This is easy to do as long
as you're aligned well. If not, pull out the screw, look up from the
agin and realign. Screw in until the telescope is firmly secure to the
Do not over
Align the finderscope and the telescope + 40mm eyepiece, which has the
widest field of view. This can be done during the daytime using objects
on the horizon.
Make sure the power switch is in
the OFF position before plugging in
the electrical cord, otherwise you can seriously damage the electronics.
Plug in the handpaddle and install the paddle holder on the handle
from the finder scope. Plug in the microfocuser. Turn the telescope on.
When the message warning about looking at the Sun appears, hit the SS
to continue the setup. Contacting the GPS satellites should only take a
few minutes. If not, be sure you've got the telescope pointed
so the sensors have access to the sky.
Be sure the telescope mount is set for alt/az and not equatorial mode.
Setup-> Telescope-> Mount-> Alt/Az.
Every few months the drives need to be retrained and sensors
Do not do this unless the last time you used the telescope it did not
accurately and you're sure the mistake wasn't caused by human error!
the Setup -> Telescope, choose the Train Drives menu and follow the
for retraining both the ALT and AZ drives. You'll be asked to point the
telescope to a terrestrial object (something which doesn't move with
and hence this can be done during daytime. Under Setup -> Telescope,
the Calibrate Sensors and follow directions. In the final stage, you'll
be asked to point the telescope to Polaris.
To align the telescope on the sky, choose SETUP -> ALIGN
-> 2 STARS. You
will be prompted to choose two stars on which to align. Decide on
this before you begin by consulting the Sky Maps at the back of the
Double check to be sure you've correctly identified the stars. It is an
easy mistake to make! Use the up/down keys at the bottom of the keybad
to scroll through the star names. Hit enter to select a star. After the
telescope has finished slewing to the star, use the up/down/left/right
arrows in the middle of the keypad to center the star in the eyepiece.
Hit enter to go to the next star and repeat. If alignment was not
then double check that you've correctly identified the stars and redo
To move to objects in the database, hit a key and enter the number of
object, i.e, M = messier catalog, NGC = NGC galaxy catalog, SS = solar
system objects. Enter the number of the object or scroll through the
system menu. Hit Enter, and once the position is calculated hit the Go
To button and the telescope will slew to that position.
When changing eyepieces, blow off the dust using the air cannister
installing them. Be sure to safely
put away all eyepieces either in small,
individual, plastic cases or in the red tool box at the end of the
At the end of the night, put the star diagonal in its box and inside
the plastic kit for the telescope. Store the 26 and 40 mm eyepiece in
the plastic kit, but put any others in the red tool box so that it
can be used with other telescopes.