Meade LX850 StarLock Equatorial Mount Without Tripod


Availability: More on the way

Combine a robust 90 pound payload capacity with the revolutionary new StarLock full-time automated integrated photoguide system and you have the Meade LX850 go-to equatorial mount – the most complete high precision astro-imaging mount available.

Our Product #: LX850H
Meade Product #: 37-0850-00N

Product Description

This Meade LX850 mount has:
90 pound payload capacity
AutoStar II computer hand control with 144,000+ object go-to library
16-channel GPS system
StarLock full-time automatic guiding for 1 arc second drive accuracy when viewing or imaging

This Meade LX850 mount has . . .

Meade StarLock full-time automatic guiding German equatorial mount: 90 pound payload capacity machined stainless steel and aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum mount weighing approximately 107 pounds, including supplied standard single 18 pound counterweight. It uses a 1.75" stainless steel RA shaft. 225 tooth 5.8" diameter aluminum right ascension and declination drive gears, driven by DC servo motors turning 0.68" diameter precision-machined brass worms.

The mount will track 20 degrees past the meridian during imaging. This makes longer exposures possible without having to "tumble" the tube to avoid having the optical tube bump into the mount and interrupt the exposure.

The RA and dec shafts ride on precision roller bearings for rock-solid tracking. There are home sensors on each axis. The 12 volt 5 amp DC mount is powered by a supplied 110-120 volt 60 Hz universal AC power supply. Internal cabling prevents cable snags and tangles.

With a 90 pound payload capacity, and optional counterweights readily available to balance virtually any load, the Meade LX850 mount can be the heart of a very competent and flexible optical system for imaging and viewing. The dovetail on the mount head will accept both Vixen-style and Losmandy-style D-plate dovetail bars, giving you great flexibility in choosing other optical tubes for the mount to support. You can use it to hold large catadioptric and Cassegrain optical tubes, refractors, reflectors, dual scope systems, and more. The sky is virtually the limit with the Meade LX850 mount as the centerpiece of your observing/imaging system.

Counterweights: One 18 pound stainless steel counterweight is provided for precise payload balancing on the 1.75" diameter threaded stainless steel counterweight shaft. Combined with the 17.8 pound weight of the counterweight shaft, this single counterweight is enough to balance the weight of an approximately 25 pound optical tube. Additional optional 26 pound stainless steel weights are available (#CWTLX850), with each additional weight increasing the payload capacity by approximately 30 pounds.

StarLock/GPS/AutoStar II computer system: A GPS (global positioning satellite) receiver is built into the mount. The GPS receiver, in conjunction with Meade's AutoStar II computer control and unique StarLock automatic guiding system, automatically aligns the scope on the sky so that the AutoStar II computer can locate for you the more than 144,000 stars and objects in its memory.

The system starts by having the GPS use the signals from Earth-orbiting satellites to determine the scope's position on Earth in three dimensions with an accuracy of a few meters and set the time with an accuracy of fractions of a second.

Then, the revolutionary Meade StarLock system takes over to model the sky overhead. StarLock - the heart of the LX850 - is a revolutionary new technology that makes target acquisition in your eyepiece and on your imaging sensor (and accurate guiding during viewing and imaging) completely automatic. With Meade's exclusive LightSwitch technology at its core, StarLock uses a two refractor/two camera system to automatically find your target with high precision, immediately capture a field star for guiding as dim as 11th magnitude, and then guide while you view or image. And it does it all with an incredible accuracy of +/- one arc second.

The built-in StarLock cameras include a super wide angle 25mm f/1.04 optic with a 1/2 inch format CMOS sensor that has a field measuring 14.72 x 11.78 degrees for star field acquisition, and a narrow angle 80mm f/5 refractor with a 1/2 inch format CMOS sensor that has a field of 57.2 x 45.8 arc minutes (with a resolution of 2.68 arc seconds/pixel) for precise centering.

StarLock achieves its exceptional +/- one arc second accuracy because, unlike add-on guiders, the StarLock cameras are firmly attached to the moving equatorial head itself (not the optical tube where it might get misaligned during use as is possible when using a separate photoguide scope attached to the optical tube). In addition, StarLock is integrated into the telescope control system and communicates directly with the motor controllers in real time with a maximum precision of 0.01 arc seconds. There's no need for a separate guide scope and computer and the StarLock system requires no calibration, no user focusing, and no manual guide star selection.

StarLock even automatically programs periodic error correction into the drive and then corrects any other errors down to virtually zero. StarLock also provides computer-assisted polar alignment using the drift method for extreme precision. No expensive shaft encoders or add-on guiding systems can provide this level of performance.

Once the Meade StarLock system has locked the scope on the night sky, the AutoStar II computer quickly and automatically moves the scope to any desired object with just a few strokes on the 20 backlit LED buttons on its hand control, guided by the readouts on its double line, 16 character liquid crystal display. The scope will move to your chosen object at a slewing speed of 3° per second and with a cantering accuracy typically in the +/- one arc minute range. Once on the selected object, it will flawlessly track the object while you observe or image at your leisure. Available tracking rates include 0.01x to 1x sidereal; 2x, 8x, and 16x sidereal; and 1/4°, 1/2°, 1°, and 3° per second.

Tracking modes include EQ North and EQ South. Alignment procedures include 2-Star Align, 1 Star Polar Align, and StarLock assisted semi-automatic drift alignment for ultra-precise polar alignment. High-precision guiding accuracy is +/- 1 arc second RMS (with good seeing). It has a 1 to 4 second correction update rate depending on the guide star magnitude. The faintest usable guide star can be as dim as 11th magnitude. In addition, the Meade AutoStar II computer provides numerous additional visual, tracking, and photographic tools and functions to make your observing easier and more enjoyable.

With its combination of a robust 90 pound payload capacity, and the revolutionary new StarLock full-time automated integrated photoguide system, this LX850 equatorial mount from Meade Instruments is the most complete single-source astro-imaging mount solution available. Meade calls it "the picture perfect platform for effortless astrophotography." Who are we to disagree?

Tech Details

Weight 107 lbs.
Warranty 1 year


Review by:
The LX850 has worked perfectly for me since 2013! The second one I purchased in 2018 (yes I got two of them) - has been outdoors for the last 3.5 years and is used heavily (up to 150 sessions/year). No problems at all during this time period.

Also my rig is loaded with the Meade 14" f/8 ACF OTA, Meade Series 6000 80mm ED APO and cameras...loaded close to the 90 lb limit. The LX850 AND StarLock handles the load flawlessly (not clear with reviewer Leroy is talking about).

The LX850 comes as close to "point and shoot" as one can get with a telescope/mount. I can focus on exploring the heavens and imaging vs fiddling with a mount and software. (Posted on 3/31/2021)
Review by:
seriously overrated on payload capacity. I removed the 17 pounds of the huge mounting plate for the starlock and mounted the star lock on the a 50lb reractor tube. Starlock works if you keep the payload down. (Posted on 1/21/2019)
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