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First night out a disapointment


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Hi guys,

Well i have had my Meade ETX80AT scope for 2 days and played about with it during the daytime as the instructions advised and i went out in my garden at 9pm as it was very clear but chilly (BTW i live just outside Whitchurch, Shropshire) set my scope up as per instructions and off it went, it took me ages to get the goto system to align correctly as the bubble/compass which you place in the 90 degree holder to level and align the scope to north seemed to be way off from where the north star is located and because of this the alignment procedure took over an hour.

Eventually i got the scope aligned and used the controller to select "Tonights Best" which takes me on a tour of what is best to see given the location, time and date of where the scope is being used, the next thing i disliked was that every time i tried to focus the scope on the chosen object the view in the eyepiece was bouncing around as i moved the focus knob (the tripod is really feeble), got use to that then the next thing was i could not mannage to get a good focus (i mean it was poor) the sky did look a bit hazy and after 2 hours i gave up, it was when i was packing up that i noticed that the lens of the scope was completely misted over and the scope barrel looked all wet too, even though i had a dew shield fitted i did not realise that dew had formed on the lens, the outside temp was around 4 celsius and 70%RH.

So all in all not impressed one bit. :)

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I had similar problems with my scope in the winter months even though I had a dew shield.

I was concerned that I had problem with the optics until I realised that dew was still forming on the corrector plate.

I had to invest in a dew heater and controller which seems to have cured the dew in most observng sessions.

Problem is that my dew heater is running off the same power pack that powers my scope.

Looks like I wil need a separate power supply for the heater.

Don't despair as we've all been there.

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We've all had moments of frustration initially, but it will pay off in the end as you start getting to know your kit better.

My biggest first discovery was how a chair or a stool to sit on speedily transforms the quality of an observing session!

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it was when i was packing up that i noticed that the lens of the scope was completely misted over and the scope barrel looked all wet too, even though i had a dew shield fitted i did not realise that dew had formed on the lens, the outside temp was around 4 celsius and 70%RH.

So all in all not impressed one bit. :)

Best to think of the dew shield as more of a light scatter shield with very limited anti-dew capabilities. I invested in a 12v hairdryer and 12v powertank to keep the lens clear. But a heated dew strap is a neater, but more pricey, solution.

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A very cheap and effective cure for the dew problem is to buy some camping mat (6mm thick blue foam stuff) and cut enough to make a tube to fit on the end of the scope. Long enough so that it sticks out 10-15? cm, this will stop the dew from falling on the glass and spoiling your view unless you're pointing the scope near vertical a lot. I got one in Tesco for about £4.50 and the elastic that holds it rolled up is perfect for holding the cut section on to the scope. I also used a small amount as a dew shield for my finder.

The focus problem can be more difficult to fix because it depends on lots of factors, but look for a Bahtinov mask (eBay), if the rest of your scope is ok the mask makes focusing a doddle and again is inexpensive.

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To the OP do you mind me asking if you used binos before you got your scope.The only reason I'm asking is that from my little understanding scopes are a bit of a faff to set up in themselves and if you havent gotten comfortable with the location of things before then its going to be doubley hard. Thats my understanding anyway . Also is the problem of dew commoon to all scopes ?

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Absolutely don't give up, we have all had similar experiences. It is a pity that the tripod is feeble but you can get used to that aspect of focus now you know what the problem is. Dewing is alas a significant problem but a longer dew shield as suggested above could help but failing that, heated dew bands could rescue the night for you.

It will be worth it when you get that first 'Wow' moment and then you'll be hooked.

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Don't give up! (is there an echo in here?).

If you fix the dewing problems with a better dew shield or dew bands, you'll likely cure the problem you're having coming to focus.

My Mak is on a very wobbly mount, it can be a little frustrating - all you can do is turn the focuser a smidgen wait for the wobble to settle, check the view and keep going until you're in focus. Once you've done this you shouldn't need to worry about focusing again unless you change the eyepiece.

Also might I suggest you use your lowest possible powered eyepiece to begin with.

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Regarding your focus issues i used to have an ETX-70 and found that one of these flexible focuser's FLEXIBLE FOCUSER FOR MEADE ETX SERIES TELESCOPES on eBay (end time 30-Mar-11 09:25:49 BST)

this helped a lot with focusing as it reduces the effects of touching the focus knob on the telescope.

Also regarding the alignment i gave up with a bubble level and used a proper spirit level placed on the mount, much more accurate for levelling the mount. The Meade alignment is easy when you get used to it, much easier than the Celestron precedure.

Edited by dave1978
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Many thanks to you all for your replies and encouragement, i do not plan on giving up but i am changing my equiptment as the saying goes "you get what you pay for" and at £250 for a complete package with GoTo is cheap and it showed in the ETX80.

I like the thought of having a GoTo system as i want to spend my time viewing and not searching for or concentrating on star maps, but that does not mean i do not want to know my way around our sky as it is something i am keen to do.

I have the books, stellarium and my helios 10x50WA binos and i know quite a few constelations and stars, but my feelings are to learn alot about what is above us takes time and commitment considering how many objects there are to view and by using a GoTo system along with the books and maps etc, is what appeals to me as it takes years to learn your way around or should i say it will take me years :) and i just want to get out there and see all the wonderful things.

Cheers Guys

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That's great news that the experience hasn't put you off. Sounds like are learning from the experience and moving forward.

Goto is great, especially when your skies aren't the best. I found it invaluable when i was imaging from the garden. It found objects i simply couldn't see or had any hope of finding visually.

But the downside is it swallows a large chunk of telescope budget, which means corners have to be cut....normally with the optics and build. By constrast, a dobsonian has almost all the budget spent on the optics. So for the same money, you get an 8" newtonian capable of doing a bit of everything.

Edited by russ
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Cheers Russ and i do understand that the GoTo part of any setup eats into the budget and that spending the same amount of money but without the GoTo system will result in better grade of optics, but personally i think i would get more frustrated trying to find objects and eventually quit the hobby, as i do get bored very quickly.

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You are absolutely right. Got to go with what you think will work best for you. And there's nothing at all wrong with having Goto.

Have you done a search for improving the ETX80? There are usually simple mods you can do, like filling the tripod legs with sand to damp the vibrations. Or even making up some beefy wooden legs to replace the aluminium legs. Or perhaps putting something heavy on the accessory tray to weigh the tripod down.

You already have the suggestion of a larger dew shield from camping mat, which is a great suggestion.

Edited by russ
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This is something of a concern for me too. I've just ordered a refractor, so I hope the dew problems aren't as bad. However, I'm trying to keep expectations down as initial disappointment seems to be quite a common thing.

I'm inclined to just concentrate on some easier objects to begin with, Orion, the moon, any planets that are high enough.

I think the general opinion is to keep persevering!

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as the bubble/compass which you place in the 90 degree holder to level and align the scope to north seemed to be way off from where the north star is located

So all in all not impressed one bit. :(

Hi,

The compass will point "roughly" to Magnetic north,not to the Pole (its not too far away but enough to make a difference)

Remember to set the scope as "Compass",and to manually centre the aligning Star before pressing Accept,the instructions to my 125 (inc the video's) seem to suggest just clicking Accept without centering with the Handset !,

Im not famillier with the 80 but the goto on my 125 needs setting up well,and can be a little confusing untill you get used to it,

Run through the whole procedure several times and you will get there in the end :)

JJ..:p

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I have decided to return the ETX80 and buy a dearer more substancial scope/tripod GoTo combination, rather than make do.

I have listed 5 possible scopes to try and find out what other more experienced members think as like any hobby without the right information bad choices are usually made at the beginning and they can be very costly, i would like to think that a year or so down the line i can help newcomers to the hobby make better choices based on my own experiences.

Check my other post out: To buy or Not to but this is the question?

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I gave up on my EQ mounts as they were all too much every time I wanted to use them,

2 hours just to get set up was the usual !

The 125 is set up and working within 10 mins every time :)

OK its not as good as an EQ for photography,but a scope that's easy to grab and go is worth several that stay in the corner of the room because the user has no patience :(:D

Good luck,

JJ..:p

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Many thanks for your replies, i think i will go with the Celestron 6SE as all i have heard is good things about it.

Hi Gaz, I have read all of this thread and am pleased to see you are not giving up, like Russ I also voted for the 6se for reasons I gave on your other thread.

I did go through a bit of a learning curve setting it up and dealing with little problems like dew etc, it only took a short time and a few extras to begin to enjoy my observations not that the views through it straight out the box were not anything other than spectacular!

Good luck with it :)

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Hi Gaz, I have read all of this thread and am pleased to see you are not giving up, like Russ I also voted for the 6se for reasons I gave on your other thread.

I did go through a bit of a learning curve setting it up and dealing with little problems like dew etc, it only took a short time and a few extras to begin to enjoy my observations not that the views through it straight out the box were not anything other than spectacular!

Good luck with it :p

Cheers Alan and i expect most if not all scopes suffer from dew occassionaly, but as others have said i can make a new dew shield from a camping mat or use heater bands, i will also need one of those power tanks and some good EP's (just need more money) :)

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