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Celestron Astromaster 130EQ


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It's been a very long time since I last posted on here as I've without a scope for some time, since circumstances forced me to sell my beloved Skywatcher 200 EQ5, but I have been given a Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ from someone at work who had it for a present but only used it once and wants get rid of it.

As I have no optical equipment at all now, i said I'd take it off his hands and give him £20 for it. 

i have already done some look up on here and the web and I have read the reviews and the topics on here where this scope has been discussed but what I am trying to find is information as regards to stripping down and regreasing the mount itself. 

I know there is the AstronomyBoy web page that details the procedure for the CG4/EQ5 mount but was wondering if anyone had anything similar with regards to this mount. 

I am really looking forward to getting this at the weekend. Even with it's faults, it should keep me going until I get enough money together to another Skywatcher, as I just love them.

Thanks

Andy

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........your friend wanted to get rid of it after 1 attempt and you offered £20. I think he wins?

I think in all honesty you will be disgruntled with the result of what's possible using the Celestron 130EQ over your previous Skywatcher 200.

I have their Powerseeker 127EQ model  and after my  first session, although basic  enough for the Moon!,  I too discovered I needed to get rid of it? The reason was its just  too fiddly and cumbersome  for visual observations alone. I needed something different?

My 200P is far superior, easier to use, better image quality.

I know much more today than back then, and I have done everything to achieve more from that scope, but it just wont get better, and to be honest, today is shed clearing day, and the Celestron may follow the rest of my junk to the skip? 

If its not to late to avoid, I would only test the scope first, then politely reject your offer, unless you truly like what you see!

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I cut my teeth on a 130EQ and though I had issues with it, I managed to overcome most of them  to a degree where it was became a more usable scope. There are definitely better scopes to be had in that "beginners range"  but that's not the point here because what can you get for £20?

The mount is wobbly and is really on the limit with the 130. I found a good deal of the problem is down to the tripod. Initially I played with the existing tubular steel one, improving the fit between the horrible plastic lugs at the top  and the top plate by shimming it with large washers. A bit of a squeeze but it works, the legs tighten up far better. Eventually I replaced the tubular tripod with a second hand old style aluminium box section type. These are eminently more amenable to being customised. With a bit of work including a new spreader which would stand a bit of weight being placed on it to make the whole thing more stable and was much better.

There is some backlash on the mount itself which I doubt can be improved much, I never tried. The flexible slomo extensions work fine, but I never found them very easy to fumble around with in the dark. The controls on my Tal1 though simple, some would say basic, are so much easier and intuitive to use. I never really used the motor drive. The red dot finder is a real pain, but can be replaced with something that works fairly easily. I used a Rigel, but there are cheaper alternatives.

I had a problem collimating the scope at first, which, eventually, highlighted an issue with the focuser. A strip down revealed one of the nylon guide strips was out of place and another was totally absent.With a bit of "blue peter" work it all worked out well and even now when I brush the dust off the old scope I'm still surprised how smooth it is. Mine might have been just one of those quirky problems but if you have any related issues its worth checking out.

This all sounds pretty damning but in the end it is a capable scope that will give good views with a couple of decent plossl eyepieces and a barlow, (not the original EPs which are not so good). I can well understand Charic's temptation to put it in the skip, the thought crossed my mind a time or two, but given the work I put into mine  I don't think it's quite that bad, but no doubt I will be passing it on to someone before too long to hopefully get them going.

So for £20  is it worth it? Yes I think so, because its cheap enough to play with and not be worried about the consequences and if it gets you back behind the eyepiece again its well worth it. Good luck. 

Edited by Alfian
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Thought the one Charic had is a bird Jones type not this exact one.

There are a few threads about the aeromaster on here and it is a 130mm mirror so a fair bit of light gathering.

Probably a tripod best used not fully extended.

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i have a 130, you are right about the tripod, also the mount itself forget which axis it is never could keep straight but it is a spring type push pull, not a worm gear. The scope itself i really liked, and to this day still have it.

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I too cut my teeth on the 130EQ. I now have a 150P and PL.

Yes the tripod and mount are poor but easily stripped as long as you layout the parts as they come off (i did it but alas din't document it). It will improve things

I have shortened the tube to use as a imaging scope sofar got a half decent dumbell nebula with it on mt exos 2 mount.

I am also keeping the mount as a widfield imaging tracker, though have yet to try it.

Yes the SW variant is superior but i will defend my astromaster to the end of the world because it started it all off for me.

Steve

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Thought the one Charic had is a bird Jones type not this exact one.

There are a few threads about the aeromaster on here and it is a 130mm mirror so a fair bit of light gathering.

Probably a tripod best used not fully extended.

....absolutely right, my Powerseeker 127EQ is a Jones-Bird set-up that contains the Barlow lens at the base of the focuser tube. Best to avoid this system?

Measuring the length of the telescope compared to its focal length, if the  physical length is shorter, its a Jones-bird system, but If the 130EQ in the original post is a genuine scope without the installed Barlow, then it could be a better system?

Edited by Charic
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I have had one for a few months and it has performed admirably. That said, I'd never used a telescope before this one so have nothing to compare it against.

A couple things I've discovered with mine...

1. Get rid of the red dot finder. It can get you close to your target, but that's it. I initially took mine off and replaced it with a Seben right angle finderscope (AU$20 on ebay) and it was an immediate improvement. I've since added a Rigel Quikfinder which i uae in co junction with the Seben works brilliantly.

2. The tripod does have some wobble in it, but thankfully I'm short so i don't even extend the legs more than halfway. I've seen here and elsewhere that hanging a weight of ~10kg from the bottom of the mount improves the wobble, but I've yet to try it. Focusing is when you will notice the wobble the most which makes getting perfect focus tricky. I'm in the process of overcoming this by making a DIY electric focuser.

3. The Dec asjusting can be a little uneven. I plan on pulling the mount apart one day and seeing what improvements i can make. Ra adjusting however is smooth. It does seem a little tight though so regreasing with something other than what they put on it in the factory should help.

4. The secondary on mine was misaligned when i received it and was difficult to align due to wear points from the adjusting screws forcing it back out of alignment. I ended up removing it completely and inserting 2 plastic milk bottle washers which fixed the problem.

Overall i am very happy and have seen some incredible views. Ive only just started looking for DSOs propeely with the scope and have been very happy with its performance.

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One of the eyepieces that came with mine was an erecting EP.

That is good to know I was not sure if they did it by puting an element in the focus tube. Much better being in an eyepeice.

@Charic won't the length of the focus tube be those missing two inches in focal length difference.

Edited by happy-kat
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happy-kat.....yes quite possible. We should find out today if/when the scope arrives?

weareborg, you wont have an issue with the EQ, you have done that before, I just feel you will be at a loss, visually, compared to what you have previously experienced, and as said above, it will get you back into astronomy!

my experience with the 127EQ cost me £70? But I knew nothing back then about short tube reflectors, and no experience of any telescope prior? ........included were some of the latest edition astronomy books that ammounted to £40. That was the best part of the deal for me. Effectively then, £30 on the scope. I suppose that in itself was cheap enough at that time to learn the basics of EQ and Polar aligning, and how much time I wasted moving from one target to the next, due to the system in use. I dont like EQ for visual use only.

.......if the Astromaster 130 EQ is without the additional fixed lens in the focuser draw tube, then yes, it will be a better scope than my 127, for sure!

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