little bit about me...
was my first scope and I have been observing for about 2 years now, most
heavily in the last six months, I am probably still in novice range and I
know very little about the optics. I will attempt to share with you my
feelings on this scope as per my experience in my central Oklahoma viewing
skies run about 3rd magnitude naked eye at zenith from my front and back
yard. I am blessed with a baseball field, a car lot, and a highway
all within a mile of my house so anything that's not straight up or
above 45 degrees in the NE is pretty much blotted out. That said, I
have taken this scope to darker skies with slightly better results.
scope was given to me as a 17th birthday present along with the Autostar
controller and was certainly exciting to look at from a novice's eyes.
Assembly is easy and relatively straight forward, documentation was very sparse
though. The focuser is a 1.25" plastic version that is quite a
headache to use. I eventually took it apart, lubricated the tube and
loosened all the Allen screws in it to give it much smoother performance.
I did add an electric focuser eventually, but found that it was too slow
moving until you got to the fine tuning stages, but if you turn it by hand
to get it that close, the electric focuser becomes too loose and won't
turn the knob.
viewfinder is (after experiencing some others) very poor. It arrived
out of focus and is not (as far as I can tell) focusable. This makes
finding objects by hand very difficult in my skies, as if it isn't naked
eye, you probably can't see it in the focuser.
Autostar... dear Meade I think you missed the mark. On the DS scope,
the Autostar was nothing but a perpetual headache. The backlash in
the drive motors was terrible and this threw off your alignment after one
good "go to," even after training the motors. The Autostar
that I bought apparently had buggy software and I had to return it for a
new one, which did not run considerably better. It's warnings for
when the telescope may hit the mount (slewing to an object near zenith)
come too late and too little. Several times did I suddenly
hear the sound of slipping gears telling me that my hard earned, very hard
earned, alignment had just been lost due to the scope hitting a leg of the
field tripod (whose legs don't lock into place making for awkward setup
motor system was nothing special either. The afore mentioned
backlash made centering objects a very unpleasant affair. You either
tap the motors at high speed and over shoot or hold down the button at low
speed for over 2 minutes before the slack picks up. Another problem
that took me a long time to notice (but cured many headaches when I did)
was that the connecters were very loose in their sockets. When the
cords induced tension on the plugs, the would shift a little causing the Autostar
to tell me about a "motor failure" which required recalibration
said, in the past six months I have removed the motors, put the Autostar
in the closet, broken out the star charts and had a lovely time. I
will say nothing more of the optics than that they were good enough for
me. I am not qualified to review them more than that. I did
notice slight coma tonight when viewing Deneb, but I have not collimated
this scope in a long time and I suspect that to be the problem. The
Supplied 25mm eyepiece delivered views that I was satisfied with.
When compared to my ETX-90 though, the DS definitely showed more detail in
the globular cluster M13 in Hercules, even without collimation.
scope is a good scope in my opinion, it's the finder, the focuser, and the
motors that give you problems. And the Autostar is not an altogether
terrible system, it works beautifully on my ETX-90 and when I get lucky
with the backlash on my motors and when I put some tape around the motor
plugs so they don't shift, I get almost as good of results with the DS
scope. If you can get this scope without the motors, I'd recommend
it for a newbie. With the motors the expectations are too high and
the rewards too small.
Submitted by Daniel Hayes