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LXD75 Belt Drive Modification

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WarpDrive Mod

 

 

2/13/09:
 I've read a lot about replacing the gear train that  connects the the motor to the worm gear with a belt drive from Warp Corps and how most people are very pleased with  the mod but been putting off buying a kit  for some time.

 I finally broke down and ordered one.

This kit replaces the drive gears between the motor and the worm gear with two pulleys and a Kevlar toothed belt for both the RA and DEC motors. The idea is to  provide a smooth drive system without the normal backlash that  you  get with  gear to gear contact. These conversion kits will work on the Meade LXD75/55 equatorial mounts and many other Vixen knockoffs. If your interested and have questions you  can join the WARP Yahoo group or E-Mail directly.

The kit comes with  all the required hardware including some replacement stainless-steel screws and Allen wrenches needed to  mount the pulleys and replacement screws. Warp has also developed excellent instruction on how to  do the mod as well as re-lube the motor gear box if you so choose. A copy of the installation PDF file can be viewed here.

My experience with  the kit was basically uneventful only a few minor obstacles. When I opened the motor housing couple dead bodies fell out. Last summer I had a small invasion of Lady bugs and a few made their way up  into the mount, since I keep it out side all the time.

The biggest challenge was breaking loose the set screws on the gears. The screws were mounted by Meade using Locktite. Using a .050" Allen wrench, it is easy to  strip the inside of the set screw. For a while, I thought I would have to  abort the whole process. Not sure how to  best remove the set screws, I contacted the Warps Yahoo group where one responder said that  he used heat applied to the location with a heat gun to soften the glue. That was the technique I tried and it worked.

While I had the motors out I opted to  re-lube the gearbox with Super Lube on the end of the motor. Following Warp's instructions the process was relatively painless. You  just  need to  have patience and take your time. When you  reassemble the gear box be careful that  you  put the two  intermediate black gears on the proper shaft. They  look almost alike but one has a thicker small gear. If you  switch them around the case will not seat properly and the gear train will lock up. This is due to  the fact that the output shaft will engage both gears if they are installed wrong.
As suggested by Warp, I bought a can of Super Lube which is going to  last me a lifetime since the job only  required a small amount.

When reassembling the the unit and installing the belts, Warp suggested to re-thread the large bolt that secures the motor block to  the mount in just enough to  hold the motor housing from falling off. Then leaver the belt over the worm gear pulley. This turned out to  be a difficult job. I, instead, left the bolt out all together while attaching the belt. This allowed me to  move the pulleys closer together and easily slip the belt over the pulley. Since the belts are long enough I had no problem with attaching the motor block to  the mount.

All in all it took me a couple of hours to  do  the modification.

2/22/09:

 I put the mount on the tripod and wanted to  test it out but found that  the RA motor drive was acting up. I guess I should mention that  during the disassembly  of the RA gear box and subsequent re-lube I accidentally bent the encoder wheel. I thought that  I had straighten it out enough to  work OK but I guess I was wrong.

At first I thought there may be something else wrong  with the drive but I was able to  swap the encoder wheel with that  on the DEC motor after which  the RA worked properly. Now I need to  wait till the replacements Encoders from LXD55.com show up.

To keep you  from having extra expense, unnecessary down time and frustration , let me strongly urge you  to  remove the encoder wheel prior to  working on the motor  gear box disassembly!!!

I neglected to  do  so because I didn't have a 0.9mm Allen wrench  with witch to  loosen the set screw. Thinking that  I'd be extra careful. Wrong!!!

If you  need Allen wrenches Warp provided a link to a SOURCE.

Should you  be unfortunate enough to  require  replacement Encoder wheels you  can get them from LXD55.com . At the time of this writing the price was $50 for a pair.

When the new encoders show up  I'll install them. do  a drive training session and I'll be good to  go . Then I can see what a difference the conversion made.

2/23/09:

   Since I had everything apart I decided to  give fixing the encoder wheel one more shot. Using a small pair of pliers I was able to  get the wheel almost perfect. I then mounted it on the  DEC drive and made sure that  it was positioned as close to  the encoder receiver as possible without it touching.  Then I hooked it up  to  the AUTOSTAR controller and low and be hold it worked the way it should. No skipping part of the encoder. As a test I moved the encoder wheel further from the  received and it started to  skip sections of the wheel. That  proves what  Warp mentioned in his instructions, The encoder circuit works best if the wheel is as close to  the receiver as possible without touching.

Now I'll try the training again and we'll see how it behaves.

  00

 

 

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