Standard PRECISION Gears
for 7", 8", 10" and 12" Meade LX200GPS and early production LX200R telescopes
If your 7", 8", 10" or 12" Meade LX200GPS was manufactured before August 2005 the odds are 95 in 100 that it has molded plastic transfer gears in the drive train. Replace these plastic gears with precision machined high strength stainless steel gears. This kit noSky Divisiont only upgrades the transfer gears; it addresses and tunes the full mechanical drive system for both axes.
Note: Meade is inconsistent in what they use for gears and drives. It is strongly recommended that you view Gears or Tune-Up, which do you need? before ordering.
Due to the failures and inaccuracies associated with the plastic transfer gears, Meade converted to precision brass transfer gears some time in August 2005. If your scope has brass gears, you shouldn't need the gears in the Buck's Gears kit. However, note that at least 50% of the tracking improvements associated with Buck's Gears kit are related to the many fine adjustments to your drives that are part of the Buck's Gears kit. As an example of an adjustment - Meade's brass gears may have been machined precisely, but that precision counts for nothing unless they're properly meshed. Meade's assembly line has no way of adjusting for proper mesh and they ship with some gears that are barely cogging (just touching tip of tooth to tip of tooth). If your scope is equipped with brass transfer gears the Buck's Drive Tune-Up kit will allow you to tune your scope to its full mechanical precision limits. If you're unsure at to whether you've got plastic or brass transfer gears call us.
Installation of this kit will:
1) improve the drive precision in both RA and DEC drives, reducing or eliminating transfer gear backlash.
2) eliminate the tendency of teeth to break or strip off of the plastic gears when slewing the telescope at high speed or in cold temperatures.
3) eliminate the tendency of the gears to loosen on their axle, due to use of a larger securing bolt capable of much higher locking torque.
The kit consists of detailed step-by-step photo illustrated instructions for the declination and the azimuth drives, 4 precision stainless steel gears, special gear grease and 4 hex wrenches. And to correct those scopes where the gears do not mesh closely but are only touching tooth tip to tooth tip in a cogging kind of action, the kit also includes a drill bit and 2 special spacer bushings.
These gears were originally developed by the late Buck Harley. Many LX200GPS users knew Buck from Yahoo's LX200GPS group. Buck did the development groundwork strictly on his own for the good of the astronomical community. He offered his gear design to PE Corp. with no compensation to himself simply because of our distribution ability and our experience with this type of a kit.
Although the instructions provided are crystal clear, the installation of this kit is slightly more complex than that of the EZ Focus kit or the EZ Clutch kit. If you had trouble with either of our other kits, or if you consider yourself to be a klutz, please either do not buy this kit or arrange for someone else to perform the installation for you.
For a detailed independent analysis of Buck's Gears and other associated improvement procedures see Geof Wingham's study
Once again, because of Meade's drive configuration variations, inspection of your scope drive as detailed in Gears or Tune-Up, which do you need? is strongly recommended before placing your order.
What do our customers say?
Yahoo LX200GPS user group message #78715 "I did the gear job on my LXGPS 12", and the declination backlash went for 50% to 5%. The RA went from 70% to 15. I did not have to perform the radical third step. There was noticeable improvement in worm gear errors. Both the DEC and RA worm gear errors with PEC are now seeing- limited, which means that both axis are usually less than +/- 1 arcsecond. This was not true before I changed the gears."
From Phoenix AZ: "Since I installed Buck's Gears my GOTOs are just scarry accurate! What's in the eyepiece stays centered in the eyepiece ALL night." (8" LX200GPS)
From Arizona: Hello Pete, I
installed the gears with no problems. The scope had brass gears (12"
LX200GPS purchased last August). There was a good deal of slope in the mesh of
both the RA and Dec brass gear. The new gears went on very precisely and I was
able to eliminate close to all backlash. They are indeed precision gears.
Re-assembly went smoothly. I did a new polar drift alignment and 3 PEC
trainings. With a 12.5 mm dual crosshair eyepiece and X2 Barlows the star I used
for the training stayed very close to the center throughout all the training.
Much much better than when I did this with the original brass gears. I was
clouded out last night and tonight so I have not had a change to test further.
Yahoo's LX200GPS user group posting #85382: I know I've lauded Buck's gears before. I had always known that there was a difference in the way the scope performed before and after. Before, gotos were often out of the field of the eyepiece. After, always within the inner third. It is abundantly clear, though, with photographs. Before, you could see the periodic error as worm trails as the stars moved in the field, often well over a tenth of the image frame (14" scope with Canon 20D). I would keep two images, throw away four or five, keep two images, throw away four or five, ... This was 45 second exposures alt/az. After Buck's gears, I"m seeing almost all of the images as keepers. While most of it may not be the move from nylon to stainless, the gears are a lot more than hardware, but some instructions on eliminating backlash, cleaning, etc.
From Oregon (Yahoo's LX200GPS user group posting #86356) :I installed one of the first sets of Buck's Gears distributed to the public (nearly three years ago?) and I checked them the other day and they look as good as new. Very little grease discoloration, great mesh, and my GOTO's are still great after several years of use.
Yahoo LX200GPS user group posting #86374:
From England - Although I only got my Buck's Gears a few months ago, I'll heartily support this! A few nights ago (just before the clouds cover Cambridgeshire forever) I got my scope out but I didn't put the rigid dew shield on. Hence less wind drag. I couldn't believe it. Sixty second exposures (alt-az) without a hint of the gross trailing. True, PEC was switched on as well, but as I was centring M51, I could not believe how good even single images were. Before doing the upgrade, about 10 seconds was the best it would do and even then, half of the images had to be rejected. I did have to do extensive use of aluminium removal as per the instructions to get a close gear meshing but the results are breathtaking. It's a whole new instrument.
Another group member's response to above - My experiences as well. It's hard to go wrong with the gears. Before, two out of four pictures looked like a worm crawled across the exposure for every star. Afterward, the worst was some oval shaped stars. I'm betting with PEC most of that would go away. My gotos went from "goto and hunt" to "goto inside inner third of fov". Most times I didn't even have to center the image.
From Illinois: I installed the precision Dec. gears last night. WOW, what a difference. Operation is smooth as silk and I now have confidence that the gears will hold up because they are so well aligned. I can't wait to upgrade the RA gears today. By the way, I thought my scope has plastic gears, but when I opened the drive the gears were brass. I was disappointed until I inspected the gears closely. They were so poorly aligned that the tips of all the gear teeth were badly worn. I don't think the worm was ever aligned because the worm and motor shaft weren't parallel. After installing the precision gears and squaring up the worm and shaft, the gears meshed 90% or better. ...... Thanks for your wonderful product and clear instructions.
Yahoo LX200GPS user group posting #99953: I bought a set of the new gears and they are superb. My LX200GPS 10" had the newer Meade brass gears, yet the difference has still been noticeable. I was very wary of trying to change the gears (Having never done anything like it before). However, the instructions are very comprehensive and the tips are good ones.
Yahoo LX200GPS user group message 103854: I have just installed Buck's Gears on my 12" LX200GPS. Going through the adjustment process with the installation and using PEMPro to set my backlash has worked wonders for my backlash problems. I believe that you can purchase just the adjustment instructions for the RA and DEC gears if you already have metal gears in your LX200R. I highly recommend CCDWare and PEMPro for tuning an LX200 (collimation, PEC, Backlash).
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Peterson Engineering Corporation
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