How To ~

LX200 ACCESSORY TRAY

By Bill Castro
September 1999
Updated January 2000


You can build an accessory tray for the Meade LX200 with a standard 17 x 11 inch cookie sheet and a can of black spray paint. This will fit the 7, 8, 10 and 12 inch LX200 when used in altazimuth mode (NO wedge). This accessory tray helps in placing the scope on the tripod and center bolt. It also holds eye pieces and filters. The square lip keeps items from sliding off and is convenient to hang the keypad controller on.

CONSTRUCTION

Use a 17 x 11 inch aluminum cookie sheet with a square lip extending up about an inch or so. (This is not an exact science.) You can check the fit by placing the cookie sheet on a table with the 17 inch side going left to right. Then place the scope base in the cookie sheet with the control panel towards you. The telescope base is 11 inches from front to back and should fit inside the cookie sheet. With the fit confirmed, drill a 1/2 inch hole in the cookie sheet for the tripods center bolt to go through. Place this holes center  4 inches down from the top inside edge of the cookie sheets inside lip and half way between the left and right sides. Apply 2 coats of flat black spray paint (use 1 can) and you are done.
 


click on image to enlarge
Figure 1
Tray with 12 inch ruler in foreground.


 


IN THE FIELD

The tray fits in-between the tripod and the telescope base. First set up the tripod as normal. Then place the tray (with the lip up) on the tripod with the tripods center bolt through the trays hole. The tray should be placed with the 17 inch side going left to right. Pulling the tripod up from the top of the center bolt assures alignment of the tripods legs, spreader bar and center bolt. Hold the scope just to the right of center so that the tripods center bolt is just touching the bottom of the telescope base. The front to back registration of the telescope base to tripod bolt is accomplished by centering the telescopes base within the front to back lip of the tray. Then slide the telescope to the left until it sets in place on the tripod center bolt. Tighten the tripods center bolt and you are ready.
 


click on image to enlarge....click on image to enlarge
Figure 2 and Figure 3
Figure 2 on left shows the tray on the tripod. Figure 3 on the right shows the tray in use.


 


Under normal use I can hang the hand controller anywhere on the trays lip. Filters and eyepieces can rest in the tray without falling out. This is convenient when I am swapping eyepieces and/or filters trying to get that best view. To be on the safe side I lay down my taller 40mm eyepiece. I usually place most of my other accessories on the left side of the tray. This is because the Dec motor cable can bump taller objects over on the right side. The tripods spreader bar can still be used to hold eyepieces that aren't being used at the moment. 

By profession Bill Castro is an electrical engineer and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Power Electronics Society. 
 

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