Other Equipment

Telescopes  Observatory  Setting Circles  Guiding  Imaging  Miscellaneous

Kendrick Dew Removal System

I can't speak too highly of the Kendrick dew prevention/removal system.  Dew build up on the corrector plate used to be a real problem until I got this system.  I have not had any dew problems since.  The system consists of a controller into which you plug up to four  heaters.  The controller requires a 12V power supply and comes complete with a plug to attach it to a car cigarette lighter.  It has a number of different power settings. I have found that just keeping it on low from the moment you take your scope out prevents any dew from forming. Each heater is a thin strip of material which you wrap around the area you want protected.  I use an 8 inch corrector plate heater for the LX10, a 10 inch heater for the LX200 and have a 4 inch heater for use with the Takahashi FS-60C.  There are different size heaters available for eyepieces and finder scopes.

Eyepieces and Filters

eyepieces.JPG (92688 bytes)

Meade Superwedge for the 10 inch LX200

wedge.JPG (16405 bytes)The Meade LX200 can be used for visual observation without an equatorial wedge.   For visual observation you can simply place the telescope directly on the field tripod and the telescope motors will track the sky in alt-azimuth mode.  However, if you try and take CCD images in this mode you will only be able to take images with exposure lengths of less than 5 minutes before star trails start to appear due to field rotation (in alt-azimuth mode the LX200 will keep the target object in the centre of the FOV but after a few minutes the other stars in the FOV will appear to rotate around the central object).  There are two ways to get around this problem. The first is to buy a Meade Field Derotator. This rotates the camera in the opposite direction to the field rotation to compensate for its effects.  The second is to buy an equatorial wedge and polar align the telescope.  Most people, including me, prefer the latter option because PEC is only available when the LX200 is polar aligned on an equatorial wedge. Meade sell two equatorial wedges, the standard wedge and the Superwedge.  The standard wedge is suitable for the 8 inch LX200 but the Superwedge is really required for the extra weight of the 10 inch LX200.  This is especially true if you plan to do CCD imaging with the LX200 10 inch as the Superwedge will provide a much more stable platform for the telescope.  The Superwedge also has better polar alignment aids than the standard wedge.  Large wheels are provided that you can turn to make very fine and controlled adjustments to the telescope in altitude and azimuth.

Losmandy 2-D Counterbalance System for an 8 inch SCT

When you have a focal reducer, OAG, flip mirror finder, and CCD camera all attached to the back of your scope it becomes a bit back end heavy!  This system allows you to rebalance your scope to avoid the risk of damaging your DEC gears or RA drive.  Instructions on how to set up the Losmandy system are here.   I use this counterbalance system on the LX10.

Meade Counterbalance System for a 10 inch SCT

When you have a focal reducer, OAG, flip mirror finder, and CCD camera all attached to the back of your scope it becomes a bit back end heavy!  This system allows you to rebalance your scope to avoid the risk of damaging your DEC/RA gears and motors.  I use this counterbalance system on the LX200.

Scope Stuff Counterbalance system for a 10 inch RCX400

This Scope Stuff counterbalance system is similar in function to the Losmandy system, but it fits the RCX400 tube and is much better value for money!  I use four 2lb pancake weights attached to the mounting rail on two 5 inch screws to counterbalance the CCD camera and Takahashi piggyback scope. Instructions on how to counterbalance a scope with a 2-D counterbalance system are here

JMI Wheely Bars

The RCX400 10 inch is 20lbs heavier than the LX200 10 inch.  This makes it quite an effort to haul it on and off the tripod and equatorial mount for each observing session.  So I invested in a set of JMI wheely bars.  The RCX400, tripod, and superwedge sit permanently on the wheely bars.  This allows the entire telescope system to be effortlessly wheeled in and out of the garage for each observing session, significantly reducing setup time.  The bars are very strong and once at the desired location metal stabilizers are lowered to level the scope and provide a very stable mount.  I thoroughly recommend them.

Telrad Finder

telrad.jpg (114011 bytes)This relatively cheap finder makes it very easy to line the telescope up with stars and planets that you can see with the unaided eye.  No optics are used in the Telrad it simply projects a set of concentric red circles on the night sky a bit like a fighter pilots head up display.  All you have to do is swing the telescope until your target is in the centre of the innermost circle and it will be visible in the telescope's FOV. Using the Telread I can easily place a target in the FOV of my f/6.3 LX10 or LX200 when using a 12mm eyepiece.

Pier-Tech 2 Telescope Pier

In my observatory I use a Pier-Tec 2 as a permanent pier for the Takahasi TOA-130 and EM200 mount.  It is quite sturdy and can be raised or lowered electrically using a hand controller.  Raising or lowering the pier does not affect the polar alignment of the scope.  My observatory has 6ft high walls and a flat roof so this pier allows me to lower the scope when the roof is in place and then raise the height of the scope to reach low altitude targets when the roof is removed.