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Sparrow

Celestron Nexstar 6SE

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I thought I'd share my thoughts about this scope that I purchased a month ago from Sherwoods. I would like to point out that I would have dearly loved the 8SE but the cost was just beyond what I could pursuade my wife to let me spend. :angry: I am fairly new to the hobby so this is not an experts view, but that of a beginner. It arrived the day after I ordered it (excellent quick service) and was well packaged which gave me confidence that it should be in good condition after its journey - sure enough it was absolutely fine.

Assembly was very easy and the instructions were clear and precise. Everything fitted perfectly including the accessories tray that doubles up as a spreader for the tripod. So far so good. Now my problems started. I inserted the 8 AA batteries and switched on - Nothing - dead as a DoDo - tried 8 other batteries - same result. I was now beginning to get a bit concerned so I thought I'd try the Mains DC adaptor that Sherwoods had included as part of the package. Plugged in and switched on - still nothing - After the panic had subsided I decided to get my circuit tester and check the continuity of the batteries in the scope - sure enough, there was no contact between the first 4 and last 4 batteries - the battery holder needed "adjusting" so that it would make contact. Hey presto - success - it powered up. So why didn't the DC adaptor work - Ok so I'd missed something really obvious - the transformer on it has different voltage settings (it's just a general purpose DC adaptor - not a Celestron one) - it was set at the minimum output of 3 volts!!! - Once adjusted to 12volts it now also workedSo to put it to work –

first night out – couldn’t resist setting up to image Saturn so after using my Satnav to get precise lat/long co-ordinates I input all the locale details – fairy obvious with the handset and proceeded to try an automatic 3 star align – took 4 attempts before it had success so then slewed round to Saturn – it failed to put it in the FOV of the 25mm eyepiece so I had to do the last adjustments manually – however once in the FOV it tracked it perfectly and I spent the rest of the evening imaging Saturn, by which time the batteries were all but exhausted (only about 2 hours use). Until now I’ve had very little luck with using the Goto, even after trying various alignment methods. I think this was due to 2 causes. Firstly I think the balance of the scope is quite crucial – I’ve read a few reviews that say so – I took the tube out of the dovetail fitting, and carefully rested it on a piece of dowel to establish roughly where the centre of gravity is and refitted it to the mount with the centre of gravity in the middle of the mount – The second thing which has been causing trouble is continuing power problems – I’ve been using the mains adaptor and think I had chosen the wrong tip to connect to the scope – the result is that as the scope rotates round it’s been switching from mains to battery and causing uneven slewing – definitely sorted this one out yesterday. I’m really hoping that the Goto will now work properly and will post further with the results.

So what are my overall views of the scope – The view is certainly impressive and I like the portablility of it – that’s why I went for a Schmidt Cass in the first place – I can be outside and set up in minutes. – From my garden I get a reasonable view of East, South and West but I have to move the scope to the other end of the patio to see West – so being able to move and re-align the scope is important. The scope seems to track very well and will keep the object in the FOV of a 25mm eyepiece for hours. Overall I really like the handset but personally I wish the cord was a bit longer. Putting it back in it’s holder can also be a bit of a chore with cold hands. I find the menus fairly obvious and logical – the hardest part is getting used to the idea of not using the arrows to scroll through the options like you would on a TV or DVD remote – on more than one occasion I’ve pressed the arrows by mistake and then realised I’ve moved the scope away from what I was viewing. I find the scope very sturdy and compared to my previous scope, focussing is much easier and disturbs the image much less. It’s build quality seems very good robust.

Things I don’t like –

1.having to input the date and time each time I switch on – I know there is a hibernate feature which keeps alignment if the scope is not moved so perhaps that also updates the time and date, but as I have to go through the alignment procedure each time I move it, it’s easier not to use the hibernate feature.

2. The date format – it’s in mm/dd/yyyy – OK if your American but the number of times I’ve got caught out and put it the British way of dd/mm/yyyy. I’ve not found an option to change this.

3. Batteries – a waste of time – used up very quickly and seem to cause more trouble than they’re worth – recommendations to use a power tank seem to be very sensible if there is no handy mains outlet.

4. There is no mention of balancing the scope in the instructions which appears to be quite important for its Goto performance. I know this is a fairly superficial review of the scope but as I say, I’m a beginner.

Overall I’m very pleased with it and am hoping for many hours of enjoyment from it. I certainly don’t regret buying it and believe that over the next few months/years I’m going to get more and more from it. Once I’ve had chance to see if the Goto now works OK I’ll post further comments.

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Hi Sparrow,

very interesting review, I did consider the 5SE as a grab and go for a while, before I chose the Megrez 90.

I flew RC heli's for 10 years (just given up) and we used these 12v gel cells to run the engine starter. They do have pretty good life at 7Ah and even in the cold will work well. You can get them in pretty much any model shop. Maybe worth a thought for your power supply?

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That is a very good review sparrow i am thinking of one of these myself thanks for taking time to share your findings on this scope

Mick.

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Thanks for the comments - Mik - those power gels sound interesting - I'd only want remote power once in a while so they sound just the job if I take the scope in to the wilds for better viewing - Chester light pollution is pretty bad. Mik - As I say, I'm vey pleased with the scope and now my power supply and balance problems are sorted I'm hoping the Goto will perform as it's supposed to according to favourable reviews I've read - If the clouds ever clear again I'll put it through its paces to test it out and add my findings to this thread

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Hi Sparrow

Don't bother with batteries, they run down far too quickly and can make the GoTo very erratic as they're winding down. Get a power pack thing, you won't look back. One factor that does make a difference to the alignment is making sure you properly centre each of the alignment star; start with a wide angle EP (25 or 32mm) and once centred in that field, up the magnification (10 to 15mm EP) and re-centre the star.

HTH Martin

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Just a quick update - As I thought, the problems with the Goto were to do with either the erratic power supply or the balance of the scope - having addressed both these issues, I put the scope through it's paces tonight and the Goto worked perfectly - even with only a simple planetary align, the scope was putting all objects that I searched right in the middle of a 25mm eyepiece. I have to say that I am extremely impressed with the Goto performance now - all I need to do now is pursuade the local council to turn off all the street lights so that I can have a decent view. :angry:

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Nice review - covers the pitfalls and mistakes that have happened to us all. The 6SE is a great little scope and once you get used to its little quirks like the date it performs very well both in the optics and GOTO capabilities.

Word of warning on using a "cheap" mains adapters they are usually unregulated and can fail to a voltage a lot higher than the 12v it is set to. If this happens it could fry to electronics - there should be over voltage protection, but I don't if this is truek.

A gel battery it a very safe option is not that heavy and will last for years. The 12v 12Ah battery I used still works well after 10 years.

Scotastro

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Supplementary

As I've now been using this scope for nearly a year I thought I'd update this review.

I'm pleased to advise that I have not regretted buying this scope - yes I'm sure we all aspire to bigger and better but being realistic about budget and other strains on the finances (daughter at University) I've found this scope to give me plenty to enjoy.

In my original review I mentioned about the mains adaptor - one of the biggest problems I've had is in the goto and racking being innaccurate. I was finding that the goto wasn't always putting the chosen object in the FOV of a 25mm eyepiece which was a bit dissappointing. Also, when using the Meade LPI I found that the image would always drift giving me no more than a couple of minutes of imaging before I had to stop and re-centre the object.

It would appear that I've now found the solution to this problem - The solution was twofold - setup and power supply:-

1. A particularly poor sky the other night inspired me to concentrate on spending far more time setting up.

First, I went to great lengths to make sure the scope was absolutely level - the round spirit level provided with the scope is actually quite well suited to this job as long as it is placed centrally on the battery cover. It shows level in all directions. I just wish there was some way of fine adjusting the level - undioing and doing up the legs to level it is a bit cumbersome.

Second, Once I've switched on, I've preset the location with the exact Latitute.longitude co-ordinates courtesy of my car's Tomtom sat.Nav. This doesn't have to be re-entered as the scope memorizes it. I now also set the time from the GMT website to the second rather than just setting it to the nearest minute according to my watch.

Third, alignment - The scope seems to do a perffectly adequate job even with One star alignment so I've not bothered doing more than this, but I tend to choose a star near to the object I intend to view or capture - for instance, for the Orion Nebula, I take a one star alignment from Betelgeuse.

2. I've also now purchased a power tank which seems to have made a big difference to the scope's performance. I can only presume that as it provides a steady 12volts DC suply rather than the mains converting to 12volts DC, it is a more stable supply - I suppose the quality of the mains adaptor is important and mine probably just wasn't a good one.

Having taken these steps, I now find that the scope goto is pretty accurate - Having aligned with Betelgeuse, it wil goto M42 Orion Nebula and put it right in the middle of FOV with a 25mm eyepiece. The tracking is now also very accurate. Using the Meade LPI, the object now stays central and doesn't need repositioning for half an hour or more. Previously I couldn't hope to take exposures of longer than 1 second. Now the LPI will easily take its maximum 15 second exposures without trouble.

So I suppose it's no surprise to read that taking time and care setting up is absolutely crucial for proper performance of the goto and tracking. I'm sure this applies equally to scope of other makes and models.

I've included the photo of M42 to demonstrate the lack of streaking of the stars showing good tracking. I know the image is not good quality and is hopelessly over processed, but that is an area I've still got to learn a lot about.

12061_normal.jpeg

(click to enlarge)

Taken with Meade LPI and celestron 0.5 reducer with Celestron Nexstar 6SE- 60 images stacked images and 20 stacked darks, post stacked with Autostar Envisage using drizzle and de-rotation tool. 15 second exposures (maximum exposure time for the Meade LPI) - No filter and poor viewing. Post processed with Paint Shop Pro v.7

p.s. The power tamk I got last week was from Aldi - £31.00. They might still have them in stock. It's 17.2 Amp Hour, has three 12v Dc outputs (car cigarette lighter type), compressor and line for pumping up tyres etc, jump leads, flashing amber lights and steady work lights. Might not have the FM/AM radio that the Celestron 17.2Ah power tank has, but at almost £60 cheaper, who cares :( All I needed then was the DC lead which I got from maplins for £9.99.

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[ATTACH]25710[/ATTACH]i

have the se 6 aswell ive found the best way to align if just to do one star on polaris works every time for me ive got some ok pictures aswell just by syncing to the object your imaging,

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Great report Sparrow.

I'm currently in the midst of buying my first scope, i would've purchased the 4se today but they were out of stock (luckily) but they have a 6se in stock, I've almost convinced the mrs to allow me to spend the extra $ on the 6, fingers crossed i'll pick it up tommorow night.

PS, i was originally going to buy the power pack but reading your review reminded me i have a power pack similar to your Aldi one , i think you may have saved me some $, cheers.

Edited by Defender

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great reviews of a scope I used to own, although a little old. Only used mine for visual astronomy, it was a great allrounder, no need to add anything :)

Good info for anyone thinking about buying one

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I bought a regulated power supply from Maplins for my HEQ5 and it works very well. Highly recommend this for anyone wanting a reliable 12v (actually 13.8v) power source from the socket.

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I bought a regulated power supply from Maplins for my HEQ5 and it works very well. Highly recommend this for anyone wanting a reliable 12v (actually 13.8v) power source from the socket.

Nice addition to a 4 year old thread!

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