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Meade RCX400 Tripod Comparison

Yesterday we took a FirstLook at our newly acquired Meade RCX400 Ultra-Stable tripod. Weighing in at close to 60 lbs, this tripod is a beast. However, since it can be taken apart it is actually easier to transport than many other smaller telescope tripods. When we were doing our research on the RCX400 tripod, we were especially interested in seeing the difference in the thickness of the legs and mount as compared to other tripods. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any good comparison articles with other units. Now that we have the RCX400 Ultra-Stable tripod in house, we aim to rectify that issue.

Today, we are going to compare the RCX400 tripod with some of the other tripods we have, especially against the OEM tripod which was supplied with our 10″ LX200 GPS telescope. We hope this comparison will be helpful to others who may be interested in acquiring a similar tripod for their telescope. As always, click on any of the images for a larger version.

With the leg tubes of the various tripods (left-to-right: Celestron CG-5, RCX400, 10″ OEM) in close proximity, it is easy to see that the diameter of the RCX400 is substantially larger. It is also clear that there is something very different about the length adjustment mechanism of the RCX400. There are no screw-knobs at the base of the foot.

The RCX400 Ultra-Stable tripod was standard equipment for Meade’s LX400-ACF 10″, 12″, and 14″ telescopes. The  trigger release leg locks of the tripod are positioned at the top of the legs for easy access. The center bolt is spring-loaded for convenience and will pop into place once it is aligned with the mounting hole on the base of the scope. Note the subtantially larger brace as compared to that of the standard tripod in the rear. The spread of the legs are also wider than the standard tripod. We decided to re-install the Peterson Mounting Assistant on the RCX400 tripod as we don’t really need the Mettler wedge if we are imaging with fast Hyperstar lens, but we do need the convenience of the PMA during setup.

The Meade 10″ LX200 SCT is now fully kitted out for some serious astro-imaging. Unfortunately, another snow storm has been forecast for Friday. We are expecting an additional 3″ to 7″ for the Boston area. It is clear that we will have to do something about the New England weather. Hey, is there an app for that?

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