In November 2005 I bought my LX200 telescope and I was quietly looking for a suitable and affordable guidescope.
I could use my 400mm SLR Photolens but I wanted a better solution.
And I also was on the lookout for a better travel scope ...

On December 8, 2005 I spotted an advert in the newpaper: just like last year supermarket chain Lidl offered a telescope at a modest price.
I remembered that my good friend Carsten Arnholm had bought the same scope and mount last year, so I did not hesitate and went to the local Lidl shop: they had plenty in stock.

A very nice maintenance page (in German but with pics !) by Stefan Gross
Here is how I motorized this Astro-3 mount
Easier/faster focusing
RA Coarse Clamping worn out
Star test and some images
Autoguiding Tutorial


The Lidl advert [in Dutch]
The price is in Euros
The box.
The bottom of the box ...
It is absolutely impossible that these example images - on the last page of the manual - were captured with this scope, as this part of the moon can only be viewed and imaged from a space craft ... just look where Mare Crisium is ... *laughs*
First time setup
Optics: Bresser Skylux Refractor; aperture: 70mm f/10; focal length 700mm
Mount: Astro-3, not motorized
Eyepiece holder diameter: size 1.25 inch
3 Kellner eye pieces: 4 - 12 - 20mm
Dew cap
A closer look.
The OTA carries the Bresser label.
The equatorial head.
Tripod legs: round metal tubes; the tripod hinges are plastic.
The OTA mounted in the LX200 piggy back rings: the rail nicely fits in the dovetail clamp.
Note: you can also see the clamp which provisionally held the EQ1 motor.

The EQ1 RA Simple Drive motor provisionally attached: it works!
Here is how I motorized this Astro-3 mount

A leftover piece of square aluminium tube [4x2 cm], 2 bolts and the ETX70 is ready to ride the dovetail of my Astro-3 mount, so now the ETX70 has not only found a mount but also a wedge and thus can be operated in Polar Mode now.
The original clamping bolt of the dovetail was too short, but a piece of threaded rod and a knob quickly solved this problem.
LX200 with piggy-backed Lidl scope February 24, 2006.
My LX200 telescope with piggy-backed Lidl scope

In August 2009 I bought this Acuter Merlin Motorised Multi-Function Mount and Tripod, mainly to be used as travel mount for my Coronado PST and the OTA of my Skylux scope.
Here is a fine review written by Steve Wainwright.

Focusing made easier: larger knob and spacer

Focuser modification I bought this wooden wheel in a DIY shop: a larger diameter implies easier focusing.
Mounted on the original focuser wheel with 2 small screws.
Focuser spacer As an imager I use my refractor both with and without my 0.6 Focal Reducer and after swapping from one to another it always took me a lot of time before I could achieve some kind of focus so that I could at least see something on my laptop screen, especially when using my H-Alpha filter.
One night I decided to do something about this and I used a vernier calliper to measure the length the focuser "had come out of the tube".
I did this with and without the 0.6 Focal Reducer installed; my measurements are 96 and 65 mm respectively.
Using the H-Alpha filter hardly made any difference, maybe a millimetre.
So I decided to use a piece of angled aluminium I happened to have and used a hacksaw to cut it to the required dimensions.
In the picture you see how it is used when the 0.6 Focal Reducer is not applied; when I use the Focal Reducer I just use the shorter side of the spacer.
Of course this spacer is nice to use in the dark: I can feel when "I am there".
Using this spacer saves me a lot of time and I can start fine focusing MUCH earlier!

RA Coarse Clamping worn out

After having used the Astro-3 mount for some time - though mainly as travel mount only - I noticed that when tightening the RA Coarse adjustment clamp the aim was no longer true: during tightening something caused a highly unwelcome misadjustment.
After disassembly I found a deep grove in a plastic bus; this groove was a wear-and-tear result of the fastening the RA bolt.
As a temporary solution I mounted the plastic bus upside down, so that the RA bolt now has a fresh surface to work on.
But certainly it will not take long before a new groove has been made, so the hunt for a lasting solution is on.
I thought hard and deep how to fix the problem: I needed something springy, very flat and strong as steel.
Suddenly I remembered that years ago I had owned a Flat Squeeze Coin Purse which closed itself by flat pieces of steel, so called blue tempered spring steel.
The springs in winding clocks are made of the same material and I think your local clockmaker can help you out.
I searched my goodies box and immediately found one of the strips I had salvaged from the long worn out purse.
Here the steel strip is mounted inside the RA part of the mount: it is the curved piece of thin metal.
I do not think I need to fasten it in any way: because of the springy nature it holds itself nicely in place and has nowhere to go.
Also the RA clamping bolt - in top top of the image - will see to that.
I did some tests: the RA is firmly clamped, so for the time being I consider this problem FIXED !

Star test and some images

March 12, 2006
This star test of my Meade Bresser Skylux 70mm f/10 telescope [a.k.a. Lidl scope] shows the extrafocal and intrafocal results.
I had mounted the Skylux OTA piggy back on my LX200 and aimed at Denebola.
I used my SC3 colour webcam with an exposure time of 11 seconds; unprocessed images, single - but cropped - frames.
The diffraction circles are close to perfect, so I am rather pleased with this result.

First light.
March 12, 2006 22:31 - 22:37 UT.
The 12 day 22 hour old moon
March 22, 2006 09:37 UT.
Venus as Morning Star.
Current distance: 98 million km; Magnitude: -4.4; Phase: 0.480; Phase angle: 92.3; Elongation: 46.5; Diameter: 25.42 arc seconds.
Imaging details: Bresser Skylux Lidl scope 70mm f/10 [focal length 700mm], Baader Infra Red Blocking Filter; standard ToUcam Pro webcam.

NGC 6888 - Crescent Nebula.
July 24, 2006 21:43 - 22:21 UT.
Imaged with Bresser Skylux [a.k.a. Lidl scope] 70mm f/10 with 0.6 Mogg focal reducer operating at f/6.2 and Astronomik H-Alpha Filter.
The Skylux scope was piggybacked on my LX200.
Camera: Vesta Pro SC3a bw RAW; 20 x 120 seconds exposures, unguided.

IC5146 - Cocoon Nebula.
August 8, 2006 21:18 - 21:53 UT.
Imaged with Bresser Skylux [a.k.a. Lidl scope] 70mm f/10 with 0.6 Mogg focal reducer operating at f/6.2 and Astronomik H-Alpha Filter.
The Skylux scope was piggybacked on my LX200.
Camera: Vesta Pro SC3a bw RAW webcam; 19 x 90 seconds exposures, autoguided.

The Elephant Trunk Nebula in IC1396.
September 12, 2006 21:57 - 23:28 UT.
Imaged with Bresser Skylux [a.k.a. Lidl scope] 70mm f/10 with 0.6 Mogg focal reducer operating at f/6.2 and Astronomik H-Alpha Filter.
The Skylux scope was piggybacked on my LX200.
Camera: Vesta Pro SC3a bw RAW webcam; 21 x 200 seconds exposures, autoguided.