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The Celestron RDFs can be rather poor, which is a shame because everything else is top quality!

Mine can lose alignment quite easily. A lot of folks swear by the 9x50 RACI finder.

In the meantime it might be worth trying to align the RDF in the daytime, try and find a tree or something a good distance away. Even adding a DSLR with liveview can he handy as you can zoom the image and get a white box in the centre of the screen to match the red dot with greater accuracy.


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RACI (9×,6× etc, crosshair, illuminated* or not); Telrad or Rigel Quikfinder (target circles rather than a dot). Both options work well as individual units and are great combined. Typically, I'd use my Rigel to select a particular area or bright star, then the RACI to give me more detail for hunting or hopping.

*Both my RACIs are unilluminated - I can see the crosshairs perfectly well without. Whether illumination would be better in truly dark skies I don't know...

I also have an RDF and this works similarly in tandem with a RACI, but I tend to use the Rigel more. All my finders need a tweak in alignment each session, the RDF most of all. I think the mere act of removing, storing and refitting knocks them out by varying degree so I'd guess scopes permanently set up and not disassembled each night, don't need much finder-tweaks?

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Hi there everyone, been having a bit of trouble getting accurate alignment with my celestron SE5 nexstar red dot finder.

has anyone found a better finder to use. Would appreciate any comments on this. Thanks

Target  Polaris then lock the scope rigid. Align the Red Dot finder  to the same target.

Telescope and Finder should now be aligned and work as one.

If not, or there is still some issue you cant  overcome, then as above, you may need another finder?

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I have a couple of William Optics multi-reticle RDF's, they are very good but I also have optical finders as well.

Being a specs wearer I do find the cross hairs hard to see somtimes so the illuminated reticle comes in useful.

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Thanks everyone for your replies. There seems to be a big choice of favourite finders. I dont have a problem aligning the finder to the scope, but when I try the goto operation it never seem to find the star I want. Seems to be more to do with my initial alignment problem.

Anyway will persivere and let you know the results.

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...........and we all thought that you were..............."having a bit of trouble getting accurate alignment with my celestron SE5 nexstar red dot finder"

Alignment errors are almost always user errors. A decimal in the wrong place or Latitude before logitude or the wrong tiime date stamp. There are many areas where it can all go wrong.

Just go back to your manual, take your time a follow each step carefully.

My old Celestron needed polar alignment which needs to be accurate, but there was no GoTo with the scope.

With my Dobsonian, all I need to do is set the tension handle on a reciprical bearing to the other tension handle and its all done ;-) ? I dont think I'll ever go back to any EQ system or GoTo system due to the accuracies required for every sesion, unless the scope is permanently mounted.

Edited by Charic
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Hi Polarispete, so the issue is alignment not the RDF (which can be poor bits of gear). My first scope was a 5SE and i still love it, had problems in the first instance but as Charic says take your time and read the instructions well. The problems i had (and resolved were):

1. Power - need a power source, AA batteries dont work

2. Data input - needs to be accurate, right sequence, and use long and lat

3. Star alignment - i start by locating each star in a low power EP and then fine tune by centering in a 12.5 illimunated reticle EP. Dont rush, it is not time dependant 

Never had a problem since and always find what i am after in a low power EP.

Good luck

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A good trick to help with alignment is to defocus the star. This makes it larger and easier to center in your eyepiece. Also make sure you are slewing toward your guide star in the opposite direction from which it will drift so the gears are meshed. You want the telescope to start tracking immediately, not taking up slop for the first few seconds.

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