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Meade 4504


red_devil
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I have been given a Meade 4504 reflector. I know its technically obsolete in respects on the Meade catalogue but if it ain't broke ....

Now my questions:

1. I am after a converter to fit into the eyepiece to convert the image right way up. It annoys my brain to have things upside down.

2. How to take images with a digital SLT fixed lens camera. I took a test image but was only partially successful. (attached). I doctored it in Photoshop to highlight terrain and remove glare. I also took two with a compact camera -attached. The one with the mountain tops sunlit is Sea of Iridium

3. USB camera attached to laptop. Would there be such a thing that does not cost mega bucks? I have seen one but it was oh so expensive.

I have one more problem which I will discuss in relevant section - star finder.

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Edited by red_devil
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Orion makes a USB eye piece camera that's around $200 usd. It's considered a beginners camera, that's if they even ship outside the US.

But I believe alot a software for imaging has an option to flip the image.

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R.D. I'm also using a 4504 and trying to image with it, lots of people use a Philips SPC880 or SPC900 webcam for image capture then process using registax which is free to download.

The SPC's have become very difficult to source, I got mine from Morgans computers for about £18 and had the SPC880 version reprogrammed to SPC900 spec for a couple more quid.

There are a number of webcam set up's out there that are plenty less expensive than the Orion, a bit of research on these forums and ebay or a google search will throw up plenty of options and 'how to' tutorials, of course if your budget permits spend as much as you want to.

Is your scope fitted with a .966 eyepiece aperture ? some of the later 4504's had a 1.25 fitting, mine was the .966 version and I had to open up the orifice to accept a 1.25 sleeve that I cut off of a 45 degree mirror piece.

This also allowed me to get the webcam (fitted with a 1.25 adapter) deep enough into the focussing tube to bring it into the focal range of the scope.

If you want an upright image when imaging with cameras, just swivel the camera in the eyepiece recess until the image is the right way up, no need for fancy erecting prisms, if you want the same when just naked eye viewing through the scope I just change viewing position with the scope by 180 degrees, works for me :)

As for using compact digital cameras there are some mounts available that allow you to securely fix the camera to the scope and accurately aim the lens into the telescope's eye piece, these range in price from about £18 to £35.

good luck and post your results up on here when you have some more.

Graham

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Thanks eye. I will read you're post again when not working nights, try to digest it more. I am a rank amateur at present, this being my first telescope. I still have to sort out the electronics. Any observations at present have been manual. The eye piece photo attached:

I use photoshop, I will just have to remember to turn image over.

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Edited by red_devil
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OK, from the picture you have the 'old' .966 inch eyepiece cap, the measurement is taken as the inside diameter of the eyepiece cap bore, or the outside diameter of the actual eyepiece sleeve, pretty much all modern accessories are are 1 1/4 inch diameter, this is going to cause a few headaches when it comes to webcams and other optical upgrades that you might consider.

I hope you have a good selection of tools and are confident with a bit of DIY as getting off the ground is going to take a bit of work.

However you can still use a compact digital camera on a mount to image through the eye piece which is not a bad place to start.

Any questions you might have re adaptations etc just fire away, Im no imaging expert yet but I dont think there are many of us left with a 4504 so I can probably help out with how to work around some of the adjustments you might need to make.

Regards

Graham

by the way, what was the issue around starfinder ?

Edited by eye-to-the-sky
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Hmmm, would it be possible to fit a new eyepiece, 1.25, in the existing fittings?

Sorry, starfinder. I have not yet been able to set it up properly, been doing some observing manually. I was wondering if, when the starfinder is set up, does it remember everything? The text is hard to read, being red. Secondly, is there a way of actually upgrading the handset. I tried to connect it to my pc but nothing happened.

Edited by red_devil
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I spent ages looking for a conversion from 966 to 1 1/4 plus many hours trawling ebay for later model 4504's that had the 1 1/4 eyepeice fitting as standard but without luck.

My eventual solution was to hacksaw off the 966 spigot and open up by hand file, the centre hole until I could fit a sleeve, also hacksawn off a 90 degree eyepiece adapter, into the remaining screw cap of the focussing tube.

You need to be as accurate as possible to keep the hole centered, as going off centre has consequences for the light path off of the secondary mirror and up into the eyepiece or camera.

This was mainly because I was too impatient to make friends with the local model engineering club.

That is the route I recommend if you dont have access to, or the skills to use a lathe, milling machine or other tooling.

The next thing to consider is your eye pieces, obviously you have 966 pieces that need to be made to fit a 1 1/4 hole, this again has a diy solution, you will need a 35mm photographic film canister, these are spookily close to 1 1/4 diameter. remove the canister cap, draw around an eyepiece, having centred it as accurately as possible, and cut out a hole with a sharp craft knife, keep opening up the hole until you need just a tiny bit of pressure to push the eyepiece into the cap.

Cut the bottom out of the canister and you have a classic blue peter eyepiece adapter.

Of course if you have the money just go and get some 1 1/4 diameter eyepieces.

I'll run up some pictures of what mine ended up looking like and post them on here, it'll probably make more sense when you can see, rather than try to visualise what I've written.

OK, Starfinder, its a basic system and as far as I can tell you cant run it off your PC / laptop, there is a meade software called starry night with a program called 'astronomers control panel' but this seems to only be compatible with autostar handsets rather than starfinder.

Now I've got no idea if this will work, but the current meade scopes have variations of autostar controllers, and I believe they all use a 'cat 5' signal cable and HBX connection plug, same as on the starfinder handset, maybe if you can source an autostar handset, perhaps from someone on SGL in your local area, you might be able to see if it will run it, if yes you could be in business for going to PC control.

The only way I know of to keep from having to re set everything on starfinder is to have the scope permenantly mounted somewhere and set to 'Park' when you finish an observing session.

I've yet to do a full set up with date, time & location, I tend to polar align on polaris as accurately as possible, skip all the set up and manually drive the thing about on the starfinder as I dont have a home observatory set up like some lucky people, then have to break it all down again at the end of the session.

The text screen is red so that it doesn't destroy your night vision so if you're trying to read in the daytime it will be quite difficult, in this case pull a blanket over your head :)

Sorry its a long answer but hopefully it sheds a bit of light on the subject.

Regards

Graham

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to give you a flavour of what I've achieved so far here are some shots that I've got using the webcam and that have been through the Registax meat grinder, Jupiter + 3 moons, Our moon and lastly Venus, only half of Venus due to its position relative to Earth and the Sun

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Edited by eye-to-the-sky
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Here are the home brew modifications I have made to get the focus tube screw cap to accept 1 1/4" accessories, it consists of a 35mm film canister, cut and shut to accept the eyepiece, the opened out screw cap for the focus tube + sleeve, cut from a 90 degree eyepiece adaptor to accept 1 1/4 accessories, ie, a webcam for now, a 2X barlow lens and then the whole thing assembled

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd still recommend trying to find a model engineering club nearby as the end result will be a lot neater, hopefully what I've been able to produce in terms of images is sufficiently encouraging for you to keep having a go.

just PM me any time if you think I might have any ideas that might help you with something.

Regards

Graham

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you, and to all. I may be quiet but still here!!

I recently started using a Meade 4504 telescope. I have a solar filter, and the 3 eyepieces that originally came with the telescope. I want to be able to use upgraded eyepieces, since I've heard the stock ones are pretty bad. So that puts me in the same shoes as you. Have you come up with any other solutions? I want this to be simple -- Buying an adapter to make the .966 fit the modern 1.25 would be a lot easier for me.

If you can, post more photos taken from your 4504! I've done plenty of google searches, and it's almost impossible to find pics taken with this telescope. I recently used the telescope to view the Transit of Venus, and held up my iPhone 4 to the eyepiece. I couldn't believe how wonderful the pictures were (I attached one). I happened to find an iPhone 4 adapter available! It's not the most elegant solution (webcam, etc.), but it's a very simple one:

http://www.weasner.com/etx/reviews/2011/mx-1_iphone_adapter/mx-1_iphone_adapter.html

Transit of Venus

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post-19061-0-25861900-1339861207_thumb.jpost-19061-0-25861900-1339861207_thumb.jOne of the reasons you might not see a lot of images shot with a 4504 is that the mounts are not the best for stability and tracking, there tends to be a lot of backlash in the drives and the tolerances in some of the other components leave rather a lot to be desired.

The original .966 eyepieces are pretty poor quality, the only route to improve this is to go 1.25

Unless you are able to locate a very late version 4504 you will have to adapt your existing focus tube cap as described earlier in this thread, if you can find a model engineering group this would be the best route to take for a quality fit & finish.

Hopefully attached is a recent shot I got of Saturn

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