The Meade 10" LX200 GPS SCT is a pretty hefty piece of gear. It is a LOT heavier than the Celestron C8 SCT it replaced. We are not exactly sure why that is, but it is what it is. Moving the Meade around can be quite the workout, especially since there are no convenient places on its body to get a good grip. There are handles on the fork mount, but they are skinny and clearly not intended as grip points for picking up the unit.
When we were at NEAF last year and met up with Pete of Peterson Engineering. Pete is an avid astronomer and has created a series of products specifically for the Meade SCT. One of those product is the Get-A-Grip handles. We took a FirstLook of the grips a year ago. We were waiting for a stretch of time where we could work on it undisturbed. When the project was still unfinished a year later, we realized that we needed to just do it.
We kept putting off the installation of these grips because we had mistakenly thought that in order to attach them, we had to drill holes into the fork of the mount. Upon closer reading of the directions, they CLEARLY mention that the grips replace the existing handles "utilizing the existing mounting holes." It is only if we had wanted to keep the OEM handles AND mount these grips that we would have to drill into the fork.
What we thought was going to be a DIY project that would take up the better part of a day (measuring, re-measuring, drilling, cleanup, etc) turned out to be over and done with in about 30 minutes. The most time consuming part was removing the battery compartment to get at the bolt holding the old handle in place. Once we took out the old handle, swapping in the Get-A-Grip was a snap.
We don't know why Meade does not provide ergonomic handles like these for heavy scopes such as the LX200, but we are glad that Peterson Engineering does. If you have a Meade SCT, save your back and install a pair of these Peterson Engineering Get-A-Grip handles ASAP. [Permalink] - Get-A-Grip Install