EZ Clutch™ Kit
This upgrade kit modifies the declination clutch system on Meade LX200ACF, LX200GPS LX200R, LX400 ACF, RCX400 and LX90 families of telescopes. When installed, lightly tightening the clutch knob with two fingers is all that is required to hold even the most unbalanced scope firmly in position. You'll no longer have to turn the declination knob uncomfortably tight or risk having your knob popping off as you tighten it to it's breaking point. With the EZ Clutch you have enough "feel" that can easily dial in enough declination tightness to hold the optical tube firmly but still allow the drive to slip if you hit an end stop or an obstruction.
Meade's design utilizes a "wet clutch" system where two steel plates engage the aluminum declination drive gear. The space between these plates is lubricated to prevent the aluminum gear from galling and having aluminum chips falling onto the worm gear drive below. The EZ Clutch Kit converts Meade's clutch design to a "dry clutch," adding a specially developed friction plate to the system.
While the "obvious" fix was to add a larger knob (as was used on the LX200 "classic") Meade's new smaller "stylized" knob comes with a smaller weaker screw thread. Any machinist will tell you that you NEVER insert a steel adjustment bolt into aluminum, as steel abrades aluminum - causing the aluminum threads to wear out quickly. The aluminum scope trunnion section containing the female threads is thin, and there are usually only 3 full threads there to start with. The excessive force required to clamp the wet clutch plates leads to premature failure of the aluminum thread.* Since a larger knob would result in larger forces and an even more accelerated thread wear, we spent a bit more time with the engineering and developed this easy clutch modification. EZ Clutch forces are light and will prolong the life of this critical aluminum thread indefinitely.
The clutch kit for the 7" through 12" LX200GPS/R & LX90 scopes also contains inspections and appropriate adjustments of the drive if factory settings are found to be incorrect. Here's a 5-1/4" worm gear with minor tooth damage associated with an incorrect factory setting. This damage isn't discovered on some scopes until the teeth are chewed up so badly as to be non-functional
The EZ Clutch installation procedure is simple, and the 4 page photo illustrated instruction sheet contains detailed step by step instructions.
If you have a concern regarding your Meade warrantee with the use of this kit, click here.
"I just installed your EZ Clutch kit into my
12" LX200GPS and I'm very pleased with the results. This is what should have been done in the first place."
From the UK: Thank you for the prompt delivery of the EZ Focus and EZ Clutch kits. The instructions are very clear and the conversions only took about an hour to accomplish. The difference it has made to my LX90 is quite astonishing. It feels like a "new" scope, focusing is so positive now and with the dry clutch fitted all of the slippage problems with the Meade wet clutch problem have gone! A big thanks to you for your exemplary service and I can assure you that I am spreading the word on this side of the Atlantic for you and your products.
From Georgia: "The fix from Peterson
Engineering is great! The instructions are clear and unambiguous to even
an all thumbs kinda guy like me."
From Oregon: "I'm very
pleased with how easy and quick it was to install the clutch. I'm also very
pleased with the operation of the clutch..... The instructions were
excellent. Meade should take a lesson from you on how to develop manual
"I must say, this was one of the
easiest installations I have ever done. The instructions were well written,
precise, and well illustrated. Applause to a great product!"
From Ireland: "I decided to get the EZ Clutch kit (for an LX90) for two reasons - cost and requires no adjustment while in use. It cost $31 postage paid to me here in Ireland and I can safely say that it's the best accessory I have. From using it I would no longer even consider getting a rail balance system as I think this kit is plenty strong for what I want." Pete's note - you don't need perfect balance but you shouldn't operate with a severe imbalance either.
From the Yahoo LX200GPS user group: "This is for anyone considering a
Peterson EZ clutch. I have a 14" LX, and sometimes I bump it in the
dark when I'm sliding weights forward or backward to compensate for changing
eyepieces. Often this results in the dec clutch slipping, and me losing my
alignment. So I got an EZ Clutch to fix this, and installed it last night.
This is my third Peterson upgrade (after Eyeopener II and EZ balance), and
they're all very, very good. It took about an hour, most of the time being spent
cleaning the grease off the inner clutch plate. The instructions were detailed
and complete. The only thing I could have wished for was numbers on the photos
to indicate which instruction was being illustrated. But it wasn't hard to
figure it out.
The finished product does exactly what Pete Peterson says it will, namely, holds the dec clutch about twice as firmly with the same amount of tension. Hopefully it won't slip anymore when I bump it. Peterson also has a kit to fix when the dec clutch knob threads strip out, as they apparently do after a couple of years of regular use. But this is apparently not an option on the 14" LX due to design differences, so the EZ clutch is kind of a "must-have".
In a testimonial on the PE web site, someone says that the clutch is now so strong that he isn't going to bother with counterweights. I don't know what scope he had, but on mine the EZ clutch is NOT a substitute for good balancing. It's a good, inexpensive way to strengthen your dec clutch and save the inner components from excessive wear. But you still need good balance. Short version: Works as advertised, and well worth the price.
From Ohio: "Hi, I
just wanted to simply say what all other customers must say too.
ordered this EZ Clutch from you last fall. I read the instructions and
got cold feet. I don't know why but I did. Then
yesterday it was a nice sunny day to be in my observatory and I thought, what
the heck, DO IT!!! I
couldn't believe how easy it was to assemble the clutch. I followed your
instructions to the tee and had absolutely no problems making the
modification. I have a 12" Meade LX200 GPS. The performance is so smooth
and amazing how slight the tension on the declination knob had the scope
rigidly locked on the axis!
Thanks again for a great product for the Meade owner!
From the UK: I have just installed the EZ Clutch kit on my RCX400-12 and the improvement is amazing!!! So little screw tension required to give a really good Dec Lock. Fantastic value for money and really good instructions. Thank you very much - you have another happy camper. ( I think the gears will be next)
Texas: I just want to let you know that I installed the EZ clutch to my LX200gps and it was one of the best upgrades I ever done. I don’t have to apply pressure to the knob to make it hold solid. It locks it tight. Great product, low cost and very easy to install. The other great upgrade was my EZ Focus upgrade. Again another great product for a low price. Also easy to install. It sure did improve my mirror shift. I know it says it’s not to eliminate this problem but it took out 75% of the mirror shift in my scope. I was afraid at first after reading the directions, but once you take it apart you see what is being said and it is easier than what the directions say. Great products! Keep up the good work guys!
From Australia: Hi Pete, The clutch upgrade to the 14”LX200 is absolutely magic, thanks. Makes me want to drop my ETX from a great height, the clutch slip is so bad. Cheers.
From New Jersey: Well, I installed the 5" EZ-Clutch today. I have to admit that when I read the instructions I thought “oh my, I am going to make a mess of this”. What I didn’t account for was the fact that everything made perfect sense once you opened up the side panel of the scope. It took me about 45 minutes (most of which involved the degreasing part) and it all went very smoothly. The difference is staggering and worth every penny. Such a simple improvement and such a worthwhile one.
IMPORTANT! There are actually 2 different EZ Clutch kits!!!! Order
the correct one!
The LX200ACF, the LX200R, the RCX400 and the 14" LX200GPS scopes use a 5" diameter clutch friction plate.
The 7" - 12" LX200GPS and LX90 telescopes use a 3-1/2" diameter friction plate.
Be sure to select the correct size clutch kit when ordering.
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Peterson Engineering Corporation
405 New Meadow Road
Barrington, RI 02806
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