RCX400 Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope

MAPUG-Astronomy Topical Archive     AstroDesigns

Initial Product Announcement on January 3, 2005 of the
RCX 400 Ritchey-Chrétien telescope.
See Meade webpage: <

Reactions to announcement 
Yahoo RCX400 Groups 
Factory Tour with Detail Photos --outside link
More Detailed Specs at CloudyNights --outside link
RCX400 Review --outside link 
Photos— 20" on Maxmount 

RCX400 Telescope


Subject: Reactions to Announcement of the RCX-400     Top

From: Doc G, Date: Jan 4, 2005

I am of course concerned about the mechanical design of the fork mount. Meade has been improving the strength and quality of their fork mounts and I suspect that they will put their best effort into the new scope. I personally prefer using a fork mounted scope. After some experience now with the Paramount, I still have a general dislike for GEM mounts. The Paramount may be among the very few GEM mounts that is both mechanically excellent and actually graceful in its operation through the meridian. It is still an annoyance to do the GEM flip at the meridian. GEMs also take a much larger observatory space.

I believe Meade is putting considerable effort into eliminating the problems with the early "classic" fork mounts. The GPS line certainly has better motors and better electronics. With a more expensive RC line, it is my hope that they will do even better with the details of the mount. Let us hope so. My general feeling for the new line is very friendly and optimistic. If Meade can bring the full advantage of their mass production capability onto this line, it will be a wonderful thing to see happen.

An RC with a corrector plate will certainly push current RC designs. This is a startling and excellent optical design. If Meade can make these complex optics in large and consistent numbers, it will be a significant step forward in optical quality for the amateur at much more reasonable prices. If anyone can do it Meade can. Remember that all has not been well with the RC scopes on the market. They have been very expensive and the optics have been marginally made in many cases.

From: Randy Marsden <> 

The new RC scopes certainly look appealing. However, given Meade's track record with new products, the DSI travails being the latest example, I will wait a year or two to buy one so that the early adopters (unknowing beta testers) can find the majority of the problems.

Many questions remain:

• Did Meade use a true worm wheel this time?
• What is the typical tracking error after PPEC training?
• Are the optics as good as they claim?
• Are the optics that much better than an LX200?
• How big an imaging area do I need to be using before the advantages of the RC design will benefit me?
• I already have a pier, eyepieces, etc., so can I buy the system without these accessories?
• What is the power consumption relative to an LX200?

Note the spot diagram that they show is for a classical f8 Cassegrain, not for a Schmidt Cassegrain which is very deceptive as far as I am concerned. They also show only the green spot diagram - over what range of wavelengths is this spot diagram valid?

So, around 2007, if it is demonstrably better for imaging than is the LX200, then I will buy one used, that has been debugged - maybe sooner if the list of bugs does not live up to Meade's previous history.

From: Doc G    Top

I have to say Mark that I really find this move on Mead's part to be exciting. I do hope fervently that they will have a great success with them.

I see that James Marsden has a lot of questions. These are valid questions, But with his attitude about getting one, there would never be any new equipment. There do after all have to be new users right away. I also think it is a total myth that the first units are not up to standard. This is an old fashioned view. In fact the new units are often absolutely up to standards since they are the representatives of the new line. I would not hesitate to get one right away. I have always gotten the Canon digital cameras right away and never been disappointed. The Meade GPS line has been very good from the start as well.
I might also point out that the use of a corrector plate can actually improve the optical performance over the standard RC.

I note that many of the RCs used by SBIG members have been really poor quality. They have had many primaries which show thousands of optical spikes due to bad edges or turned down edges. Many have been Russian made. I rather think that Meade will not let that happen to their excellent optical reputation. Their optics have always been very good.

All in all, I am very happy about their move to a higher end scope for those more advanced amateurs. Now RC scopes are within reach of those who have less that $50,000 to spend. Hurray and happy new year. Things are getting better and better.

From: Dave Schanz <>

The mount base sure does look tiny in comparison to the size of the fork arms and OTA. Perhaps it's just a problem with the perspective shown in the picture. I wonder if the design still uses the cone/bearing set up the classics use. (I'm not sure what the GPS models use). If it does use the cone/bearing design, that could possibly be another problem area if the OTA has some weight to it.

I cringe to see that beautiful piece of hardware mounted on the same old. same old superwedge - on a tripod no less. I have not heard of any changes to the Meade wedge but that's the last thing I would mount it on.
I also wonder about the three motor focusing set up that moves the corrector/secondary assembly. I'm guessing that will be an area that is problematic - at least at the start of the production models. I am sure a computer can keep the motors synchronized, but wouldn't it be a shame to have one of the three motors go into runaway mode? I'd like to see how that mechanism is designed and executed.

I assume that most of these scopes would be inside domes or other types of observatories. The built-in dew heater is a nice touch, but in my neck of the woods I need a dew shield to keep out the stray light and increase contrast. The shape of the new OTA doesn't appear to lend itself well to using a dew shield.
So are the pictures in the advert real? Are they pictures of a real live prototype or are they a very well done computer generated images?

All in all, if Meade can pull this off it will sure raise the bar...


Subject: Yahoo RCX400 Groups    Top

From: Andy Blanchard

I have set-up a chat group on yahoo for this conversation to continue for those who will be buying a RCX400 or want to follow the conversations. <>
Editor's Note: you are welcome to continue the discussions of the new RCX400 scope here on Mapug.

Another Yahoo Group: <>


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