for all Meade RCX400 scopes
Meade's 14" LX200R
Replace the molded plastic
gears in your drive train with precision machined high strength stainless steel
gears. Install a simple but positive worm engagement system. This kit not only
upgrades and adjusts the scope's gears; it addresses and tunes the full
mechanical drive system for both axes.
Note: The RCX400 line and
the 14" LX200R and LX200GPS share a common drive train. Also note
that these gears do not fit the LX200 Classic scopes. The Classic scopes have a
completely different drive train and there is no plan to develop a gear set for
Installation of this kit
1) improve the drive precision in both
RA and DEC drives while reducing or eliminating transfer gear backlash. Our
Quality 10 precision cut gears hold dimensional tolerances of ±.0005", while the
molded Nylon gears they replace are no better than Quality 8 with a tolerance of
2) reduce wear on and prevent damage to
the scope's main worm gears through installation of kit parts that provide a
positive worm to worm gear engagement. The worm on this drive has a propensity
to lift and partially disengage when under load - resulting in some inaccuracy
and abnormal wear on the gears themselves. As a by-product of this fix the kit
will reduce gear drive "chatter" - a noise that indicates that the worm is
pushing away from the worm gear.
3) eliminate the tendency of the
scope's transfer teeth to break or strip off of the plastic gears when slewing
the telescope at high speed, in cold temperatures, or when slewing a scope that
is heavily loaded with accessories or is out of balance.
4) eliminate the tendency of the motor
transfer gears to loosen on their axle, due to use of a larger securing bolt
capable of much higher locking torque. Or the tendency of the plastic worm
transfer gear to become loose and slip when drive torque is applied.
The kit consists of very detailed
step-by-step photo illustrated instructions for upgrading the declination and
azimuth drives, 2 pairs of precision stainless steel gears, special gear grease,
wire wraps, special premium quality adhesive, replacement worm indexing springs,
worm standoff pins and a set of top quality hex wrenches. 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
The original Buck's Gears were
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 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.
NOTE: When you order, be sure to
specify "Buck's 14" Gears" or "Buck's RCX400 Gears" to avoid confusion with the
gear kits for the smaller LX200GPS scopes. If your scope was manufactured prior
to September 2004 it contains plastic transfer gears. And if it was
manufactured since then it still probably contains the plastic gears as Meade
appears to be using up their old inventory in a rather random fashion.
Effective May '05, Meade seems to be shipping the RCX and 14" GPS scopes with
mixed gears - a precision brass gear on the motor output shaft and a molded
plastic gear on the worm shaft. This eliminates a failure mode wherein the
teeth of the transfer gear on the motor shaft are damaged when someone turns the
manual dec knob while the scope is running. But it does not address the other
problems addressed by the Buck's Gears kit.
Yahoo RCX400 Users' Group message 636:
"The Buck's Gears sold by Pete are the best thing that ever happened to my
LX200GPS. I (embarassedly) considered them fluff until I actually measured my
PEC. It had a "step" that could not be trained out, and Buck's Gears completely
eliminated it. Thanks, Pete."
Yahoo LX200GPS_14 Users' Group message 5023: "I recently purchased and
installed Buck's Gears. What a difference! I'll find some photo sequences I
took before and the one after, but the difference is amazing! I'm just starting
to image with a 14" LX200 in alt/az mode. As such, I'm limited to ~ 40 second to
one minute exposures.
Before, I'd get two or three good photos, then the
next three or four would have the stars trailed in squiggly (highly technical
astrophotog term) trails that often looped back on themselves. After? Most are
rock solid. There is some evidence of very short trails. When I go polar
aligned, I'll have to auto-guide to get long exposures, but it has got to be an
easier job after installing the gears. I'm very satisfied and frankly somewhat
amazed at the difference. This
may be the best money I've spent on the
From Cambridge, England:(Yahoo LX200GPS user's group message
#85155)I have praised the quality of this kit before but last night was the
first night when we have had a seriously clear sky in the East of England. I
wanted to get a better image of the Bubble Nebula than previous attempts. Before
the upgrade, my alt/az mounted scope could not track for more than twenty
seconds (usually 15) before even a suggestion of a breeze spoiled the image.
Note this was not down to PEC but just the wind. Now, the mount is MUCH stiffer
(not binding, it's very smooth - just stiffer) and I got some good 60 second
images (although most were at 40). I've received my SXV guide head back from
repair so PEC will be re-done on the next good night. Backlash was so very much
better and small remote pointing adjustments were absolutely predictable and
accurate. Thank you Pete!
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,
Yahoo's LX200GPS user group posting
#86319: Have just installed Buck's Gears & the EZ Clutch upgrade from
Peterson Eng on my LX200GPS 14" Would just like to say how impressed I am with
both the upgrades & the instructions supplied were the best I've seen for
anything in my life which was a terrific help as I was rather nervous about
dismantling my scope for the first time. I can be clumsy at the best of
times!! My goto's have significantly improved & repeatability is spot on, I
can slew from horizon to horizon & back again & targets are now pretty
much back on centre in a 9mm eyepiece time after time. Thanks to Pete Peterson,
his team of course Buck himself.