Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

Recommended Posts

Hello guys,

I recently got into astronomy so I bought my first telescope. I've read through several articles and the recommendation for a beginner's telescope (value/price) was Celestron Astromaster 130EQ-MD. I bought this from someone who was not really using it and it is in a very good condition. Prior to actually purchasing this, I've watched countless videos on how the telescope works, what needs to be done - latitude, RA/DEC alignment, polar alignment, etc..

After reading through all available manuals and videos, I finally brought it home from the seller (they've had it for around 5 years but it wasn't used much). After setting up the tripod, mounting the telescope and familiarising myself with all the different knobs, I pointed the mount/telescope towards north. The first thing I had to do was setting up the latitude. Since I am based in London, the latitude is around 52 degrees. Afterwards, I had to align the declination axis so the telescope can be balanced. As I understand it, you should be able to move it to any position on the axis and it should stay in that position. If the front or rear was heavier, I would either pushing or pulling the telescope after unlocking the brackets holding it together. This is where the issues began, I could balance the telescope so it doesn't move while in the horizontal position, however, when pointing it towards north, it would exclusively lean towards one direction - to the left. If the telescope was pointing to north, north-east or east, it would pull towards the west all the time. It is probably easier to show it in the video. I've spent three days trying to balance the telescope by using different methods and it just would not work. 

I've also tried balancing the RA axis first. This could be somehow done, but the declination axis would still pull the telescope to the left.

It is extremely frustrating as I don't know what could be causing this. Balancing the telescope should be relatively easy from what I have heard - either push it or pull it depending on where the weight is. However, I have been really struggling to get it set-up.

I would be thankful for any suggestions and please feel free to ask any questions so I can help with finding out what is wrong.


Thank you.




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It appears that the telescope needs to be moved forward a bit more within its rings.  It's bottom-heavy within the video.  The primary-mirror is located there at the back, and it accounts for a good deal of weight.

The telescope should be balanced on the DEC-axis with the axis at one side.  At 3:48...


Edited by Alan64

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Hi and welcome to SGL, lots of folk here happy to help.

I’ve not watched the video.   However, the scope needs to be balanced in both directions.   As you know, the tube assembly can be slid within the tube rings to balance it In declination.   And in right ascension you can balance it by sliding the counterweights on the shaft.    Balancing is achieved with the lock screws on each axis released.   The balance doesn’t have to be absolutely precise, just get it as close as you can.   Balance each axis separately.

For polar alignment, many tutorials show how to achieve that to a precision necessary for astrophotography.  That precision is not required for basic observations.  Just point the polar axis north as best you can and you will be ok.

One thing to mention is the red dot finder on your scope.  At my local club over the last few years two different visitors have brought along the same scope you have for advice, struggling to use the finder. So did we when trying to help.  I’m sorry to say this, but that finder is not fit for purpose, whoever designed it didn’t understand what’s needed.  I can see that finder in your second photo.  I do realise you probably don’t want more expense, but if you want to use your scope with the least frustration, then a regular design red dot finder, available from companies like our sponsors First Light Optics, would be very well worth getting.

Hoping that helps, Ed.




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, I was struggling with the balancing as well. I could not balance it, especially after I put an eyepiece into the focuser. However, then I tried it this way: before I started to balance it, I put the focuser in parallel to the counterweight axis, basically in upwards direction. Then I locked the declination clutch, moved the telescope along RA and balanced the counterweights. Remember, there are two counterweights, they need not to be together, you can move them separately. When one is locked, you can precisely balance the telescope with the other. After you balance the telescope for the RA axis, lock the RA clutch and release the Declination clutch. Unscrew the screws of the tube holder but leave them there. Move the tube so the focuser is pointing in parallel with the counterweight (declination axis). Put an eyepiece in the focuser when you are doing that. Move the tube forwards or backwards until it is balanced. This worked for me.


I suggest you to replace the red dot finder with a Telrad.

Refer to this manual:

and you NEED a laser collimator. Hopefully, there is a center doughnut on the primary mirror. If not, you have to put one there.


Refer to this video as well.

Hope this helps!


Edited by runway77
  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the same scope. I do not have the necessary experience as yet to offer an opinion but I hoping that I can now get chance to take it out for a spin after my life has now settled down to a normal routine. 

I am interested in the replies and will look to use all the advice given when I do get a chance to get out there myself.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Geordie mc
      Hi. Just starting to use autofocus with the Celestron motor focus and SGP. Can anyone give me some starting points for step size, backlash etc. I’m getting there but wasting a lot of imaging time just trying to get this to work accurately. I’m currently trying a step size of 75 and a backlash of 50. Any tips most appreciated.
    • By Tugboat
      I'm having a bit of a clearout to make way for a new project.  For sale here are a couple of items that have seen very litle use:
      1) Celestron Omni CG-4 GEM Mount + Tripod - £125 *** SOLD ***
      This is in generally very good condition.  There are a few marks, and scuffs consistent with normal use.  There are also a couple of minor (small) patches of surface rust on a few of the bolts and steel legs.  It has seen very litle use, and has been in storage for the past few years so it is time to find it a good home.  The small rubber tips that go on the very end of the feet have perished, so these won't be included.
      It includes tubular steel tripod, 2 counterweights, built in polar scope, built in bubble level and slow motion controls.
      Due to size and weight, collection would be preferred from the RG27 area.  If you are reasonably local, I would also consider delivering.
      Price: £125, but I am open to offers.  Payment can be made via Bank Transfer (preferred), Paypal or cash on collection
      2) ***SOLD*** Celestron Omni XLT 127mm Telescope ***SOLD ***
      Again this is in very good condition, and has been in storage for the past few years and has had very little overall use.  A few marks on the dovetail as is to be expected.
      It includes a small finderscope, diagonal and a 25mm eyepiece
      Can be collected from the RG27 area, I could deliver if you are reasonably local, or can be posted for an additional £8.
      Price: £110, but am open to offers.  Payment can be made via Bank Transfer (preferred), Paypal or cash on collection *** NOW SOLD ***
      Any questions please do let me know.

    • By Gregely
      Hi SGL
      I popped this topic on CN too but noone seems to know anything.

      I came by an old Celestron Ultima 8 pre-PEC. I really like the scope and the mount it may be that I have read too much of Uncle Rod's and other's praise that I feel this scope has some intangible personality and charm.
      Circuitry in the base seems to work fine even though the batteries don't hold charge but drive the Ra axis . I have 2 replacement on its way to me.
      Now my issue: It didn't come with a hand controller. I know it is not needed for tracking, and I don't have a Dec motor but I find it would be useful for centering in RA and D.A.R.V. method drift alignment.
      I was on the verge of making a crude controller out of veroboard and 4 momentary switches that I thought to be correct from the info on various sites, but then I came across an Ultima 8 project that clearly showed the hand controller for my scope.
      The pic attached is the one.
      I am looking for help on how the dial and buttons are wired in and/or photos of the innards of the hand controller or if anyone knows what else is inside the handbox.
      The sources I was going on so far is a combination of the following 3 links:
      These of course don't include drive rate rotary switch in the middle and if I could I would really like to to restore the full ability of this mount without spending too much  on electronics. Plus I don't want to spend time and effort on wiring something that doesn't work.
      Oh and lastly I have no background  or experience in electronics just own a soldering station and a whole lot of determination.
      Thanks in advance

    • By Dodger3k
      Hi all, looking for some help please! 🙏 I have a wedge for my 8SE and when using EQ North to align it, it says it is slewing to Vega but ends up all the way over at Polaris!?  Any ideas? 🤞🏻 Thanks in advance! 😊
      I have updated the firmware, Mount is pointing at north, have inputted my latitude and longitude, I have tried picking the nearest city too and nothing seems to work! 😟
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.