SN10 Chronicles

January 9, 2007

I did some research on the Internet regarding parfocal issues and found a dealer, Adirondack Video Astronomy,  that sells and eyepiece tube extension that will allow me to focus a where I need to when setting up he DSI. We'll see how this works out.

January 8, 2007

Ordered a replacement hand controller coiled cord from Meade which is under warranty.  I also ordered a longer cord from ScopeStuff.  I was not going to go have the same problem with a short cord again.

January 7, 2007

Brought the scope out onto the deck.  I wanted to recalibrate the gears and try use the DSI during the daylight as recommended in the manual.  After a little while I noticed that the Autostar was not responding and that the display was not lit.  I soon discovered that there was a short in the coiled cord that connected the Autostar to the control box.  Another problem!  I had thought that the cord was too short from the beginning ant that I would have problems.  This would be another call to Meade tomorrow.  Next I started getting up to speed on the DSI.  I trained the scope on a pipe with some writing on it in a yard a few hundred feet away.  Using this a my target I was able to get the image to appear in the live window of Envisage.  When I tried to set one of my lens to parfocal I discovered that the eyepiece actual came to focus just outside of the focusing tube.  I guess I'll have to do some more reading tomorrow.

January 6, 2007

Saturday night and we got the scope out side.  It was a great viewing night.  Revisited some of the sight from our first visit out.  I used my Ultrascopic 5mm illuminated reticle eyepiece, from Orion,  in the alignment process by starting with 26mm eyepiece and once roughly centered replace it with the reticle.  We also tried to use the DSI Pro to no avail.  We hadn't read any of the instructions and could not get anything to appear in the live window of Envisage.  We thought we'd give it  try though

January 5, 2007

I had ordered an additional 10lbs counter weight from a Meade distributor.  The weight showed up today however the tightening lever was broken off.  I called the distributor who told me I should contact Meade directly.  While I was on the phone regarding the lever I inquired about the set screws I call on December 26th.  They told me that the order hadn't shipped.  The customer service rep told me that he would go to the warehouse personally and look for the set screws.

January 4, 2007

Received solar cover for scope.

December 29, 2006

The big family 2006 Christmas present this year was a Meade LXD75-SN10.  The process of getting the scope was an adventure that I don't want to go through again.  The first scope was purchased through a Meade distributor who had one in stock.  The scope was suppose to be new but I was surprised to see that the two large boxes had been opened. I first opened the mount box and found that the mount head was missing.  Not good!  When I opened the second box containing the scope itself I found that there was one of the mirror cell retaining screws rolling around in the OTA.  I decided that this was something that I could handle myself.  When I went to remove the mirror cell I found that the screw heads had been stripped.  Obviously someone else had discovered the same problem with OTA and did not have the correct tools to remove the screws.  I called the distributor who was surprised to find that I had a scope in such a condition.  They told me that all boxes from Meade were opened by customs but it was odd that the mount missing.  YES, VERY ODD!  I was contacted by Meade within the next few days to arrange for a replacement.  They were very accommodating.

The second scope was delivered, contents inspected and put away for Christmas.  Christmas morning brought more surprises.  Once assembled, I attempted to test the scopes motors using the Autostar controller.  The Dec motor worked fine but the RA motor appeared just to spin without moving the scope.  I removed the small inspection plate on the side of the motor and discovered that gears were not touching.  I then discovered that the motor itself was very loose.  I figured out how to tighten the motor to the mount which made the gears now mesh.  When I tried it again the scope did not move.  I removed the RA motor housing and found that the worm drive gears was just spinning on the shaft.  There were two set screw hole drilled but only one screw.  I tightened up the screw and reattached the motor housing.  This time the scope moved around the RA axis but stopped in the vertical position. I then discovered that the motor housing jutted out about 1 1/6th an inch and hit a metal block on the mount.  I tightened this casing and held it back with a piece of black electrical tape.  When I called Meade the next day they said to send the mount back to California. I thought this was a little radical for a missing set screw and a housing that didn't quite shut. They said that they would send me a couple of set screws and an Allen wrench to fit them.

What a big scope!  My son, Bruce, and I brought the scope into the backyard and trained the drive using a high tension electrical tower that is at the end our street.  We put the 9.7mm eyepiece on the scope and could see flakes of rust on the metal.

First light was on the night of December 28th.  It wasn't very good with high thin overcast and a first  quarter moon but we weren't going to wait any longer.  This was my first GOTO mount.  Figuring out how to align the scope took a little time but once accomplished the scope slewed to all of the objects that we entered into the Autostar.  Even though we had a lot of problems up to this point the sights we saw made it worth it.  M36, M37, and M38 came right into view.  M31 and it's small companion M110 looked like little fuzz balls.  Orion was just coming up over the trees so we entered M42 and was surprised how much detail we saw for such a poor observing night.  We can't wait for a dark clear night.