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Nexstar6 Starpointer Finder Problem? Swap w/what?

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#1 elisek

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:31 PM

Hi. I have a Nexstar6 sitting for months. So long story short, is there a finder that can be used in the place of the stock starpointer finder? its attached to the goto computer, so it needs that computer communication function right?? I guess I can't use my telrad? This computer stuff is all new to me! Thanks buddies in advance.

The problem is when I got the nexstar 6, after I focus with the finder first its fine because I can place my object stright inside the center of the dot. BUT then after the scope align's, when I look through the finder again, its way off... { Its been a while since I used the scope so bear with me please....} If the goto computer asks to focus after the initial finder focus procedure when you turn the scope on, then lets say for skyalign on 2/3 objects through the finder, its just won't center on them, and the dot placement is just WAY off, and not accurate, so the scope can't go to where I specifically want and is off by so many degrees, that I can't find a specific nebula or cluster etc. So During setup I have tried to push the finder to its max angle, change its position on the bracket, but it never zones into the middle dot, i hope that kind of makes sense, Anyways, I thought maybe the scope needs collimation or does the finder bracket seems to be factory mounted on the wrong place? etc. etc.? Since I can't ever get it on what I want exactly when centering on a object, and then the goto system is just not going anywhere right. I rebalanced my tripod, then got frustrated after doing this a few times for up to 3 hours, I feel that there must be someone who can help me here so the scope won't be sitting for another 6 months. Can anyone help me out? PS. I hope this is the right forum section to place this post as I'm talking about a Nexstar, so moderators may move it to where they like as this is my 1st post.

#2 Arthur Dent

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 02:56 AM

Hi elisek.

First of all, welcome to the forum:

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Short answer is yes. Most of us ditch the stock red dot finder (RDF) in place of something better.

Most use a green laser pointer (GLP) - the favoured unit was a "Jasper Always" but Jasper Lasers seem to have "gone under" sometime last year. Advantage is that you don't have to crouch in any way to see where the scope is pointing as the green beam connects the telescope to the object in the sky and those around the scope can all see it.

Another favoured option is the addition of a Right-Angle Correct Image (RACI) finder - a small telescope with a magnification of around 5-10x (may also have an illuminated reticle eyepiece). Advantage is that it gives a wide field of view and having a diagonal, the eyepiece is in the same orientation as the scope's main eyepiece - so not contortions required for viewing.

Those that can lift one swear by a Telrad finder. Personally it is way too large for my tastes. Have never used one so can't really comment on uts usefulness.

Finally there is the multi-reticle finder (MRF) which is a cast-metal gunsight. You have to contort your body to use it at high altitudes so only main difference between this and the stock RDF is quality of construction.

Most folks use a combination of two or more of the above.

Here's a picture of my scope with a MRF and RACI finder.

Posted Image

Hope this helps,

Art

#3 ke4kso

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:05 AM

Hi Elisek, First the starpointer has nothing to do with the computer, its just a simple bb gun type sighting device to aid in initial aligning of the telescope. when the telescope is aligned you turn it off to save the battery. I know many people have problems adjusting them because the adjustment knobs just dont seem to work right. Mine works well enough so I havent bothered changing it out. There is no reason you cant use your Telrad on the telescope as it will do the same thing as the starpointer. good luck with it David

#4 Peter9

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

It is best to align the starpointer with the scope during the day. Center the scope on an object in the distance, the top of a post or a street light will do, then adjust the starpointer so that the dot is also hitting the object. I found the starpointer worked well and only change it because I could not get into the positions needed to use it sometimes. I now use a G.L.P coupled with a 9x50 R.A.C.I finderscope.
Lots of us use the Auto Two Star alignment procedure when aligning the scope. It seem to have a greater success rate than some of the others. Give it a try and get back to us if you are experiencing any difficulties.

Regards. Peter.

#5 mitaccio

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:26 AM

I have a telrad an a Stellarvue F60 RACI. I was a telrad fan until I got the RACI. I still use the telrad to get me close, but the RACI is WAY better for star hopping. At 5.7 degrees of sky, I have plenty to work with. And since mine has a 1.25" focuser I can use my various eyepieces to change the magnification.

#6 Skip

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:42 AM

Lots of folks simply hate the starpointers that came stock with the scope. I'm one of those rebels that thought the starpointer was just fine for what it was intended. Then I got a Telrad for my 10" dob. I liked it so I got another Telrad base for my 6SE. But because of the neck and back angles involved, I bought a 4 inch riser for it. That made it better, but still unconfortable for an old f--- like me. So I got a green laser pointer (GLP) and a special mount so it would mount in the Telrad bases on each of my scopes. That was a major improvement, IMO. So, my Telrad and the riser sit in their respective boxes in my kit. Oh yes, I never removed the starpointer for the 6SE, but one day it broke off and I have now trashed it and the remnants that stayed on the scope.

As someone already pointed out, most of the finders (except the RACI) are merely gun sight type devices that help you get the scope aligned and they don't have much use once you are aligned. They have nothing to do with the scope's computer. I have a RACI on my dob and use it nostly for very wide field viewing of large objects. Or occassionally, I'll use it as a two-step procedure to find an object - Step 1, aim the GLP in the general vicinity; Step 2, use the RACI to home in on the object or to star hop to the target.

I never found a use for a RACI on my 6SE, but that's just me. Others love their RACIs. So, as usual, YMMV.

#7 Skip

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 11:49 AM

I forgot to mention the disadvantages of a GLP:

1) It is difficult to align the laser with the optics of the telescope until it is dark enough to see the beam. I have lucked out on occassion and had a large enough building to be able to find the dot from the beam at dusk, in which case you can use that to see through the scope.

2) You have to use care and not aim the GLP at a passing aircraft! This is very important and could land you in the pokey if you illuminated an airplane and the pilot reports you. So, use common sense and be careful!

BTW, sorry if I've wandered off subject of the starpointer.

#8 hopskipson

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 01:54 PM

I use the star pointer. I find if you seat the pointer on its base it will align just fine. If you don't take care it will be too far off and impossible to align. Some folks have experienced the need for a shim to help with alignment. Hope this helps in getting you up and running.

#9 ke4kso

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:08 PM

One more thing about the green laser pointers, They are not welcome at some star parties because of the guys doing imaging.David

#10 DSL72

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 08:22 PM

I'll second the suggestion of the RACI. I hated my star pointer. Had to align it constantly.
I bought an Orion 9 X 50 right-angle correct image finder and never looked back. Set and forget it.
Plus the 9 magnification is a huge plus for getting deep sky objects centered quicker. I have a an 8SE go to, but the RACI is still necessary if you want to move quickly from one object to another.

#11 elisek

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

Mr. Dent, That is an awesome photo, Thank you so much for your time and answers! :D elisek

#12 elisek

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

What is a shim? Thanks Elisek

#13 elisek

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:04 PM

What does the RACI look like on the 6? Is there problems if the computer wants to do a 360 turn over the base? Does anyone have any photos to share? Thanks! Elisek

#14 elisek

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:06 PM

Is yours 9x50 from Orion? I hear they are on sale now...

#15 elisek

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:08 PM

Thank you, if you have photos I'd appreciate it and if you have any probs when the scope is zigging around, please let me know, i'm so happy wiht these replies so far, its awesome!

#16 elisek

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

ok, i will do the 2 star alignment, stars in each opposite direction as far as possible, correct? I think the only success I had was looking at saturn manually done, then when doing the goto it spun around like headless nick. lol.

#17 elisek

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:21 PM

if you have a telrad riser, doesn't that get in the way?? Im concerned as 1 time , the goto system was so out of wack trying to find things that it spun a couple of 360's and my eyepieces were hitting the base. its been a while since i took it out, so please excuse my ignorance as i know the eyepience are at the verticle end of the OTA. And not on the side, i'm trying to get image of these setups in my head... how does that spinning everywhere action work out with the setup?

#18 Peter9

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:22 PM

Is yours 9x50 from Orion? I hear they are on sale now...


My finderscope is a Skywatcher 9x50. I don't have a picture with it on the 6se, on which it looks and works just fine, but here's one of it on my 8se, along with the laser pointer.

Regards. Peter.

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#19 elisek

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:25 PM

Thanks!!

#20 hopskipson

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:39 PM

OK... Your scope is doing some wild slews when you enter a goto? Your optical tube should never flip over or go past horizontal or past 90 degrees verticle. What are you using to power the mount? If you have a power or connection problem this may manifest in eratic slewing. You may want to start a new thread.

Oh and a shim is a small piece of plastic, wood or metal that could be shimmed under one side of the finder to facilitate alignment with the OTA(optical tube assembly)

#21 elisek

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 05:59 PM

Thanks for the photo. Nice, but do you think the Orion 6X30 RACI will give me enough view space looking through on my Nexstar 6? Or the 9X50 is worth the extra bulk on the 6?

BTW: I like the base of your green laser... it is a nice streamlined one and it looks good on the OTA, what brand is it or did you make it yourself? The problem I'd have is screwing it into the OTA so I am scared I'd wreck it.

#22 jturie

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:42 PM

I use the star pointer. I find if you seat the pointer on its base it will align just fine. If you don't take care it will be too far off and impossible to align. Some folks have experienced the need for a shim to help with alignment. Hope this helps in getting you up and running.


That was my experience with my 6SE. I ended up unscrewing the base and all of a sudden it rotated a little bit counter-clockwise, and I was able to align it. Guessing that they didn't assemble it properly.

I'm still looking for substitutes--dang thing just about turns me into a contortionist.

#23 Sorny

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:49 PM

I've never taken the cheap pointer off of my Nexstar 5 and haven't had to adjust it wrt to the main scope in years. Get a reticle eyepiece and line up Polaris and align both to match. During alignment after this, you'll be real close each time. You use a finder on a go-to scope for all of like 3 minutes to line up 2 stars and then shut it off after alignment.

I liked the cheapie red-dot so much, I added one to my CPC1100 so I didn't have to use a regular finder. There are a lot worse ways to spend $20 in this hobby than the el-cheapo celestron red-dot. If you've got a go-to scope, you don't need anything else aside from a reticle eyepiece to do spot-on alignments.

#24 Peter9

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:56 AM

Thanks for the photo. Nice, but do you think the Orion 6X30 RACI will give me enough view space looking through on my Nexstar 6? Or the 9X50 is worth the extra bulk on the 6?

BTW: I like the base of your green laser... it is a nice streamlined one and it looks good on the OTA, what brand is it or did you make it yourself? The problem I'd have is screwing it into the OTA so I am scared I'd wreck it.


Hi Elisek,

Thanks for your comments on my scope. It's marvelous what a few standard add-ons will do.

I'm sure a 6x30 will serve you well on the 6se and give you the reqiuired FOV. You can always up-grade later if needs be.

My Laser bracket is not SCREWED on. It is held in place by double sided sticky tape. It has not moved nor gone out of alignment since I fitted it over two years ago.
I certainly would not dismantle and drill my scope when a perfectly adequate and proven alterative is available.

That said, I don't think the brackets can be sourced in the states. John (Artic Eddie) made enquirers a couple of years ago and draw a blank. For what its worth, here's where I bought mine.

http://www.scopesnsk...ter bracket/...

Regards. Peter.

#25 ben2112

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 03:03 PM

After my first night, I found myself being a contortionist. The red dot worked well for me. But I like the idea of a RACI. Since I am close to the airport, the use of a green laser wouldn't be a good idea. How are the Orion RACI products?






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