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#1 ButchA

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 03:29 AM

I got my username/account fixed, so I figured I'd log on and introduce myself.  I am a returning novice to astronomy, having started out with an old ancient, beat up, cheesy, 50mm refractor scope that was on a wooden tripod (I think it was a Tasco).  It was so awful back then, I gave up...

 

All these decades later, to my surprise, my sister-in-law and her husband flat out GAVE ME their old telescope.  It is a Meade DS2114-ATS-TC, reflecting scope.  The box says Telestar though.  It is a 114mm aperture, 1000mm focal length, Bird-Jones style telescope.  It came with a 25mm eyepiece, a 9mm eyepiece, and a 2X Barlow lens.  It dates back to 2005 when you research the paperwork in the box.  Word has it that my in-laws used the scope back in 2005 and looked at the moon and maybe Jupiter or something, and that was it.  I assume they didn't use the Autostar remote, or really and truly understand what the scope was capable of.  So....  they took it back apart, put everything back in its original bubble wrap, and stored it away back in the original box for quite a number of years.  I have a mint condition 10 year old scope that works perfect! :)

 

I hope to learn more about the scope and all of its capabilities.  The motor drive and Autostar function work perfect, after I got it all aligned.  All the glass and mirrors are spotless too.  I was amazed after I put the scope on 0° magnetic north, tightened everything down, and then selected Jupiter from the Autostar menu.  The motor drive went, "bzzzz....wrrrr...." and locked on Jupiter (but then I had to do a little fine tuning, which is to be expected).  I put in the 2X Barlow lens and the 25mm eyepiece, and after focusing carefully - very carefully - I saw Jupiter like I have never seen it before, except in pictures!  I clearly saw 2 distinct cloud bands and 4 surrounding stars (Io, Europa, Callisto, and Ganymede).  Wow!!!

 

MeadeDS2114_zpse6deb095.jpg

 

What a heck of a belated Christmas present, huh?  Anyone else have a scope like this one?  What do you think or recommend?

 

 



#2 Mark Sibole

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 08:28 AM

Been a while since ive seen one.They are a decent beginners scope as i recall.Mr Badger would know more abou it than myself. Im more into the lx200 and lx 90 series scopes on info and Mr Badger is geared more into the lower cost scopes.This way we both dont have to learn every scope out there or we would be reading forever  lol.

Congrats on the new old scope.Go enjoy it and have fun......


Mark Sibole
MTSO Observatory
Fife Lake, Mi.

http://astronomy.qteaser.com

#3 ButchA

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 09:30 AM

Thank you!  One thing I've seen is that there are all sorts of accessories for a Meade telescope!



#4 MistrBadgr

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:00 PM

Hi Butch!

The usability of those scopes seems to vary a lot, but yours may very well be one of the good ones. I have one that came with the primary mirror ground with a focal length an inch too short and it would not come to focus. I called it "Fuzzy." I rebuilt the body and had the mirror re-figured to make it parabolic instead of spherical. That way, I was able to take the existing focuser with it built in booster lens out and put in a different focuser. It made a really nice 425 mm wide angle scope.

The lens was reground by a sixth grade girl, the father of a man that sells curved vane spiders and put new aluminum on mirrors. It was a father-daughter project, therefore it is dear to my heart.

I think you can have a lot of fun with your scope, but there are a few things to do occasionally and to watch out for.

1. You need to train the drives. This tells the scope how much backlash there is in the gear trains. All gears have to have a little slop in them or they cannot move. The drive training exercise tells the scope how much there is in both drives. If your scope starts acting like it is arguing with you, then it means the drives need to be retrained. This will happen as the scope wears in for a while.

2. Look down in the mount, where the batteries go. Under the batteries, you will see a nut and a washer that sits on a plastic bushing. Unscrew the nut and pull out the washer. Look at the washer and see which side of it has a rough edge. The washer is stamped and will have one side where the edge is nice and smooth and the other where it is a bit rough. You can either fill the rough edge smooth or just put the washer back in with the rough side up, away from the plastic bushing. Then, tighten the nut back down just a good hard finger tight. That is all the nut needs. If it is too tight, the scope can bind up. If the rough side of the washer is down, it will cut grooves into the plastic bushing and eventually one of the ends of pieces will come up and work like a barb and stop the drive from moving in one direction. The fix is to pull the nut and washer off, clean out the debris, then put the washer and nut back in place like I state above. It is just better to do it before grooves get cut in the bushing.

3. Be careful with the snap locks on the tripod legs. They are plastic. In cold weather, I found them to be very stiff and if operated below freezing, they can be damaged. They can fail without warning if damaged and the scope can fall over. If one of the legs starts slipping on you, that is a warning sign. That leg can actually fail at any time. If the leg fails and the tripod is at full height, the scope and mount can smack the ground and break the drive shaft in the altitude section in the arm. That drive shaft cannot be replaced and is almost impossible to fix and get it to work right. Basically, the mount is then dead. If I normally put small C clamps under the snap locks to serve as a safety catch for the legs. I also use the scope in a lowered position and use a chair.

4. When you are not using the scope, I would leave the altitude tightening knob loose. There is a little tightening knob inside that looks like a little three legged stool. To get to it you have to take the scope and its mounting ring off of the mount. There will be a keeper nut and the three legged stool nut on the compression shaft that you loosen and tighten from the hand wheel on the other side of the mount arm. If it is left tight over time, the feet on the little three legged nut seem to flatten out until they catch on the slots they go through on the drive shaft. You have to pull out that nut and file the sides of the feet a tiny bit. Leaving the tension off the azimuth drive when not in use cuts out most of the forces that cause the soft metal in that nut to creep and change shape.

There are other bits for later on, but those are the ones I think you need right off. Those are lessons I learned the hard way.

Have fun with your scope, and keep us posted on your explorations if you want to. Reading what other people have done and have observed is fun!

Best Regards,

Bill Steen
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Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#5 ButchA

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 07:27 AM

Wow, what an insightful, well written, reply!  You're the man!  8-)

 

Everything that I have seen so far with my old scope is fine.  There are no issues at all, and all the components work perfectly fine as if the year was 2005 all over again.  My in-laws used it briefly and must have gotten bored (or perhaps confused by it), and for some reason or another, they disassembled the scope and put everything all back in bubble wrap, back in their appropriate compartments in the original box.  In a nutshell:  My 2005 DS2114 (series) scope is in mint condition!

 

I have learned that alt-azimuth configuration and setup/alignment is not always 100% perfect.  You can set the scope on 0° exactly at magnetic north with the compass, and two the two star alignment setup.  Then when you select M42 (Orion Nebula) from the Autostar menu, it will go slewing for it, but will be about 2° or as much as 5° off, which is probably my fault.  So, after a tiny amount of fine tuning, the scope will display some fascinating things!

 

Then again, maybe I need to "train" the drive motor as you mentioned above.  I'll have to read through the owners manual and figure out how to do that.



#6 MistrBadgr

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 06:21 PM

I would train the drive motors, then use the bubble level to level the mount on the flat ledge above the bottom bowl. Then, do the rest of the alignment. That vintage of a scope will work better if you point it at geographic North and level instead of going with magnetic North.

Another bit of information: Once you get the scope on a particular object after the alignment, push the upper left button on the handset and hold it for about three seconds. The handset should make a beep. I cannot if the beep is while you are still holding down the button or after you release it. Then, push the button again and release. The mount will beep again. The scope is now aligned on that object. If you keep doing that each time you go to a different object, the tracking and finding gets better and better. With a mount really tuned in, I have hit as many as six objects in a row and had them at least somewhere in the field.

When I first started using my DS-2114 and a DS-2090 refractor, I was really getting frustrated, but things eventually got better as I learned a few tricks.

Bill Steen
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#7 ButchA

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 05:45 PM

By using Geographic (True) North instead of what the manual says (use Magnetic North via the compass), would you simply tell the scope to do the "One Star" alignment and select Polaris from the menu?



#8 MistrBadgr

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 06:42 PM

Hi Butch,

No, go ahead and use the two star alignment. You need to two stars for the scope to really set things up if at all possible. The scope is actually working as if it were using geographic North. Normally, that will get you close enough to allow you to use your finder (assuming it is set up correctly) to get the star into the view of the scope.

That is one trick you can do, if your finder is set up and aligned with the main scope, it to have the scope go to an alignment star, center it in your finder,then finish the job in the main scope, before hitting the button on the hand set that says you have it centered.

Bill
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#9 ButchA

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 09:12 AM

Thanks...  That's what I've always done is use the 2 Star alignment.  But then when I want to look at Jupiter or M42 or whatever, it will slew to it, but it will be a little off.  I have to adjust it with the hand held remote and zero it in.  Maybe it was just me being a complete "newbie" to GOTO motor drive telescopes, that I naturally just assumed that if (example): you chose Saturn from the Autostar menu, that the scope would do it's Bzzzz... Wrrrrr... slewing, and would lock dead onto Saturn with the planet centered perfectly in the eyepiece.

 

Edit:  I've done that trick that you mentioned with Jupiter and had it get re-aligned by pushing the button until it beeps.



#10 MistrBadgr

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 03:12 PM

This level of a scope will get you generally in the area of the object. Then, use the search function to move around in the area to find the exact object. If the drives are trained really well, the mount is leveled well, the scope pointed level and North within a degree or two, then the alignment process should work pretty well and objects can end up either being in the field or really close.

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#11 ButchA

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Posted 10 February 2015 - 06:20 PM

Thanks...  Yes, the drives work well and have no problems.  The whole scope itself is still in mint condition despite its age.







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