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Date: NA
Price:   $450.00
Design: 254mm Dobsonian, f/4.5 reflector with a 1140mm focal length
Description: Large reflector on a Dobsonian mount with 1.25" focuser.  It ships with one  1.25" Series 3000 Super Plossl eyepieces (26mm), and a 5 x24mm finder scope.

The Review

Very good optics, but you'd better be handy.  If you can't hang up a picture on the wall without alerting the local hospital's er facility, you had better stay away from this scope.

In my opinion, this scope gives you one hell of a bang for your buck.  Large aperture, light weight (everything is relative), small enough to transport in just about any kind of vehicle.  BUT, and it's a BIG BUT!!! there are things that are going to have to be done to this scope to bring it up to snuff.  The focuser is an absolute embarrassment.  How Meade can market such a piece of junk and call it a "deluxe" package is beyond me.  My recommendation would be to order the deluxe package for the slightly larger finder, sell the 9.7mm Super Plossl because there are far better ep's out there in that focal range, throw away the 2" plastic focuser and use the money from the ep sale to get a good JMI reverse crayford focuser that actually does what it is supposed to do.  All the reviews I've read crab about the 6x30 finder that Meade provides.  IMHO the finder is absolutely good enough as a finder.  Sure, some manufacturer's supply apochromatic finders that cost as much as this whole scope, but then some people order $400 bottle of wine with dinner too!  The mount on the finder has to be secured better, but it works just fine.  I would definitely recommend a red dot finder and the ones that Stellarvue sell are very good because the window that you look through is larger and clearer than most red dots.

Next, the scope bottom has to have the vent holes opened up to a larger diameter so that more air can circulate.  Once I enlarged them to three, three inch diameter openings with black plexi grilles, my scope's cool down time improved dramatically.  Don't even need a fan, although it would probably speed things up even more.

The altitude axles come too loose on the tube and cause too much slop in the movement of the scope so they need to be secured with extra bolts.  The base plate benefits from either installing a lazy susan type device or by substituting the plastic friction pads with teflon ez-glide coasters.  The lazy susan mechanism used in conjunction with the ez-glides probably gives you the smoothest motion.  There were a number of other things I did to my scope which improved it's performance that others might not want to do, but I had the time and wanted to get the max out of mine.  So I lined the entire tube with ultra flat black felt, altered the base of the scope to sit up higher on legs so that I could stand comfortably while viewing (don't like to sit), and because I was frustrated with the way the scope would move as I changed ep's, I designed and installed slow motion gears to adjust the altitude of the tube.  If anyone is interested in seeing what these look like, you can see some pictures that I posted at http://photos.yahoo.com/bc/eugeneartemyeff  the album is titled telescope and if you click on that you will see all the shots.

Submitted by Eugene Artemyeff - ecart@surfbest.net

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