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 (Almost) New Scope
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nspace01
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 10:23 pm EDT (Read 4947 times)  
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Well, my (Almost) new Meade LXD55 SN-10 Schmidt-Newtonian OTA came via UPS yesterday.

Generally, it was in pretty good shape for a 6 year old, used $300.00 scope.

The corrector plate/secondary mirror assembly was removed and packaged separately for shipment by the previous owner. (Nice of him).

The Corrector plate, and the primary and secondary mirrors were a little dirty, as can be expected, for a 6 year old scope. Following expert advice from several astro websites and forums, I carefully cleaned the corrector plate, secondary and primary mirrors. I used a whole big bag of cotton balls and about half a pint of 90% isopropyl alcohol in the process. The wife thought I was crazy, being so thorough and careful...........but as anyone that has been in this hobby for a while knows, you CAN'T be too careful when you touch a mirror surface or a multicoated optical surface. Your best bet is to leave-em be...........As it turned out, niether of the mirrors or the corrector plate had as much as scratch or a smuge on them when done. Look like new! Laughing Out Loud

The following are Modifications I am making to the OTA, as improvements to the original, since I have it apart anyway:

Mod #1
The Meade (plastic) stock focuser was replaced a couple of years ago by the previous owner, with a JMI MotoFocus Electronic Focuser with hand controller. It works very well and is very robust, but, sadly, is for 1 1/4" eyepieces only. I have two new 2" University Optics eyepieces, so I really can't use this focuser. I removed it from the OTA and have it listed in the "For Sale Forum" for anyone that is interested. (If it doesn't sell in a couple of weeks I will donate it to AOAS to use on one of our club scopes.)

I just happen to have a new Moonlite CR2 focuser just laying around, waiting on a 14" mirror, so I ordered a Moonlite mounting kit for the SN10.

With mounting kit, the CR2 will mount using the same factory holes that the original factory focuser used and will place the focus at the same height.

Continued:

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nSpace01


nSpace01
 
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nspace01
 Wednesday, September 30 2009 @ 11:35 pm EDT  
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Mod #2
The previous owner had removed the original dovetail bar to use an a new OTA with the LXD55 mount.

I removed the 13" Dovetail bar from my 10" SCT OTA and have attached it to the tube rings that came on the SN10. The "New" rings are much lighter than the old ones, being iodized aluminum instead of painted steel.

Since the tube rings on the SCT are the same diameter, I will be able to switch them back and forth between scopes as needed.

One of the minor problems with Schmidt-Newtonians and Newtonians as well, are the awkward positions that the eyepiece can be in on a equatorial mount. One approach to alleviate this problem is through the use of "Rotating Tube Rings". These can be very expensive.

One inexpensive alternative are "Wilcox Rings". These were invented by an amateur astronomer and work almost as good as the expensive ones.

http://www.andysshotglass.com/wilcox_rotating_rings.html

Mine cost less than $20.00 to make. The only variation I made was that I used 5/8" Rubber Tubing (heater hose) and mounted them both on the underside of both scope tube rings, as described on annother Astro Forum.

After installation, you can lossen the regular tube rings and rotate the OTA without it sliding downward, upsetting the balance on the mount, or worse, having your OTA slide off the mount and hit the ground. Rolling Eyes

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nspace01
 Thursday, October 01 2009 @ 12:08 am EDT  
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Mod #3:

To speed-up the cool down of the Primary mirror, I will install a cooling fan at the rear of the scope, blowing on the back of the primary mirror.

The minor problem with that is that there is a 10" piece of "Masonite" between the mirror mount and the mirror, that would interfere with the airflow. I will mark the current location between the mirror, mount and tube. I will then remove the mirror from the mount to remove the obstruction. After removing the masonite. I will carefully remount the mirror in the mount in the exact original location. I am sure that this will throw off the collumation, but the cleaning process probably did that anyway.

To mount the cooling fan, I will drill four holes in the rear mirror mount frame and mount the fan on springs, to keep vibrations from effecting the primary when it is running.

Laughing Out Loud Rolling Eyes Wish Me Luck!!! Rolling Eyes Laughing Out Loud


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dgrosvold
 Friday, October 02 2009 @ 11:12 am EDT  
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Leonard - this scope sounds pretty cool! I'll be very interested in seeing it at our earliest opportunity. Are you going to bring it with you to the RRAC Burgerburn? That would be great! Mr. Green


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LME
 Sunday, October 04 2009 @ 07:09 pm EDT  
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Wow Leonard, you've been busy! The Wilcox Rings you mentioned is money well spent! I made my own soon after my newt arrived, they work great.


Clear Skies-Larry
 
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nspace01
 Wednesday, October 07 2009 @ 01:09 am EDT  
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I've got the scope ready for "first light".

I got a 12 volt PC Case Fan and a filter cover and mounted it with 1/8" nylon wire ties in the center of the back of the primary. The fan is about 1/4" from the mirror.

I wired the fan to a female connector so I can plug it in to my Power Tank that I use to power my mount.

I received via UPS the adaptor kit I ordered from Moonlite and I mounted my Moonlite CR2 on the SN-10 OTA..........Gawd, it is purty and smooth as butter to focus.

I used a laser collumator and seem to have a good collumation. I won't really know untill I do a star test. From what I have read, any time you have a corrector plate, it can be a little tricky.


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bobmoody
 Wednesday, October 07 2009 @ 05:52 pm EDT  
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Hi, Leonard.

You have a very good photographic telescope there. Using your DSLR, it should give you a great picture when you get everything set just the way you want it.

It is a little late to suggest this, but usually when an optical component is removed such as what you described, they should have marked the outside edge of the glass itself with either a spot or a pencil mark or some way to assure that the plate goes back on EXACTLY as it came off....i.e. with the correct side out, and aligned usually with the focuser. Those things are usually aligned using sophisticated machines to give the most precise view. This may be critical, and I hope it works for you right away.

However, if you do decide you need to try repositioning the corrector to get rid of any lingering coma in the future, try checking that outside edge for any trace of a mark. If the previous owner did HIS homework properly, maybe you'll find what I'm talking about. Hopefully you didn't use anything to clean that very outside-edge and the spot (if there was any) may still be there.

Hope it works and I look forward to seeing it later this month, if we EVER get any skies again, that is!

Bob


Bob Moody
 
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nspace01
 Wednesday, October 07 2009 @ 06:06 pm EDT  
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As far as I know, the corrector plate and mirror mount went back, alined as they were "factory fresh". Rolling Eyes

If I can just get an evenning with a clear sky.....................Thought we might have one tonight...........but clouded over (as usual). Frown


nSpace01
 
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nspace01
 Wednesday, October 07 2009 @ 07:09 pm EDT  
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I ordered a used 50" tall,18" wide, and 14" deep bag for the OTA. Laughing Out Loud

It even has a zippered compartment for "Golf Shoes & Balls", whatever they are........ Rolling Eyes


nSpace01
 
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LME
 Wednesday, October 07 2009 @ 10:19 pm EDT  
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Hey Leonard- Does the zippered bag come with air conditioning or maybe curb feelers? Laughing Out Loud


Clear Skies-Larry
 
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nspace01
 Wednesday, October 07 2009 @ 11:05 pm EDT  
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Just a ventilation fan that runs on AAA batteries and red LEDs on the top corners. Cool


nSpace01
 
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nspace01
 Tuesday, October 13 2009 @ 02:59 pm EDT  
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I got my 10" Off-Axis Solar Filter and the "Golf Travel Bag" today. Laughing Out Loud

The OTA is 16"X36" (with the focuser) and fits as-snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug in the bag. The bag even has a little zippered pouch that holds the solar filter perfectly.............. Laughing Out Loud

I took a chance on the golf bag..........I wasn't sure if the OTA would fit..........I saw a couple of golf travel bags at a local sporting goods store and got the idea........there just happened to be a cheap one on ebay.............................. Eek!

I just hope that no one thinks I'm a "Golfer" when they see it!!! Rolling Eyes

I've never had a solar filter. I am looking forward to using it........I will come in handy at daylight AOAS events and our Daytime Astronomy Outreach Program with the schools.


nSpace01
 
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