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Nexstar SLT 130

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#1 Dave L

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 01:06 PM

I would like to know the following:

How long have you owned your slt 130?
Do you still use the scope?
What problems have you had with the scope?
What did you do to modify the scope?

#2 Arthur Dent

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 05:55 PM

Hi Dave

Had a 130SLT and couldn't get on with it die to vibration issues. Thankfully, the scope was faulty and was returned to the vendor within a month.

I believe that the vibration issue is sorted with tube rings - the main problem being the dovetail fixed to the VERY thin aluminutm tubing of the OTA. Weighting the spreader bar with a sandbag/breeze block/12V leisure battery should help, as would filling the hollow tubing with sand. ANti-vibration pads shouls also help as well as observing from soft ground (ie not a paved or decked area).

Plus, the SLT mount is not one of Celestron's best IMHO.

Focusing was a bear. Should improve with a feathertouch/motofocus.

Hppe this helps,

Art

#3 Bob_B

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:14 AM

Hi Dave
Focusing was a bear. Should improve with a feathertouch/motofocus.

Art


Out of curiosity, do you know of a supplier of a feathertouch focusing system for the 130slt? I had asked this in a separate post, but had no replies.

#4 Midnight Dan

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:31 AM

Hi Bob:

It might help to know what problem you're trying to solve. If you're looking for more precise focusing, there are other focusers that can replace the existing one. If you're trying to reduce vibrations when focusing, then a feathertouch will not help a lot. A motorized focuser might, but that's a lot of money to spend (if you can find one) compared to the price of the scope.

Like Art said, the problems with that particular mount/scope is the structure. Bolting the dovetail to the thin walls of the scope leave it very flexible. You can add tube rings to make that more stable. The tripod itself is also a weak point, and can be improved with anti-vibration pads or by hanging a weight from the spreader.

The scope is an entry level, relatively inexpensive model. The optics are good, but personally, I'd see what I could do to improve stability (if that's indeed your concern) with some of the simple measures outlined, without spending a lot of money. You could spend a fortune on things like upgraded or motorized focusers and not improve things much.

-Dan

#5 Arthur Dent

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:10 PM

Hi Dave
Focusing was a bear. Should improve with a feathertouch/motofocus.

Art


Out of curiosity, do you know of a supplier of a feathertouch focusing system for the 130slt? I had asked this in a separate post, but had no replies.


Dunno. Possibly http://www.starlightinstruments.com/.

I bought my SLT at the start of October 2008 and only had it a month. Focusing was a nightmare due to the vibration and I'd tightened everything up, added a load to the spreader bar and reduced the height of the tripod all to naught. I didn't really get into the upgrade scene - I was trying to get the scope working properly.

Thankfully, the tracking was faulty on the scope and so I was able to get a full refund off the vendor. Bought an ETX105 first (don't buy Meade - optics are first rate but the electronics are carp) and then a NexStar 6SE which has behaved faultlessly so far (that's more than can be said of the weather in the UK which has been appalling for the past few years!)

Hope this helps,

Art

#6 Bob_B

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:12 PM

Hi Midnight Dan--

Definitely More Precise Focusing. My scope doesn't vibrate much, and when it does, it dampens very quickly. But the focus simply bothers me.

Bob

#7 Astrodj

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 12:29 AM

Here is a slightly updated post I made here in response to a similar query last year, hope it gives you some of the info you are looking for!


I've had mine for a little over two years. Here is my assessment. Yes, I still use it. I also use the OTA on an AstroTech Voyager mount, and an SV80ed on the Nexstar Mount at times. I switch them around now and then depending on what I'm doing.

Pros:
Optically it is a very solid performer. Nice low power wide field views for the Double Cluster, the Pleiades, etc., but you can take it up to 200x on a good night without any problem. It stays collimated pretty well, just a tweak or two before each use.


The electronics seem to be bug free and work as advertised. No issues with the hand paddle (bit of a learning curve though), alignment procedures work if you follow the instructions properly, tracking and pointing accuracy is very good, especially considering the cost of the scope. It is also very quiet when tracking and slewing.

It is not too heavy for most, but a tad awkward to balance while carrying it in and out if you leave it assembled.

Cons:

The mount itself is actually sturdy enough, but there are some issues that may make you think it isn't at first. These are:
1. The nuts and screws that attach the legs to the mount head did not come tightened down properly. Easy to fix. This is about half the damping time/vibration problem.

2. Center of gravity... Suspend a three pound weight from under the accessory tray to lower the center of gravity of the unit, it helps a lot. These two fixes will cut the damping time to an acceptable level for most people.

3. No tube rings. This is the reason for most of the rest of the damping time, though I don't find it unreasonable. The OTA uses a dovetail fixed directly to the aluminum tube wall and it allows for some flexing that tube rings would not. Not a hard fix, but more expensive to do. My damping time at moderate powers is a couple seconds, so I didn't add rings.

4. Eats AA batteries like crazy. It works, but not too awful long. Figure a couple hours slewing and viewing on a set. Get an A/C adapter. Unless they have redesigned the cover for the battery compartment, plan on doing a little velcro mod to it to keep it in place 'cause it won't stay on otherwise (easy to do and works fine).

5. The focuser is barely adequate. I list this as a con because a really good focuser so important. It is fine for low to medium powers, which is what this scope is really designed for. But the scope can handle higher powers pretty well, and that is where the focuser falls short. You can indeed focus it, but it takes a very deft touch at high powers because of the tube flex vibrations. Honestly, I think if the scope had a smooth, fine focuser most people would not be bothered as much by the remaining vibrations issues.

6. This mount cannot be used manually as it will not move in azimuth unless it is powered up and you use the hand control. If you try to force it you will break it, so don't try.

Overall I have really enjoyed my SLT130. I chose the SLT130 over several other scopes at a similar price point because I like the wide field use capability, and I just like Newts. The good high power views were a pleasant surprise I did not expect.

Happy Viewing and Clear Skies!

#8 BigC

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 12:05 PM

For myself,the fact so many computerized mounts CANNOT be used manually is annoying.And often the focusers are both too sloppy and filled with a "lubricant" more like thick glue.Yet the optics are good.

Other people have cleaned and regreased the scopes with success so that is some help.Shimming carefully can reduce most of the slop from the focusers.

Remounting the OTA on a good manual mount is about all that can be done to avoid damaging the computer mount.Which means buying more dovetails and rings but it can be worth the effort.

#9 core

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:24 AM

I re-worked the focuser on my 130SLT, cleaned and re-greased. These days it serves as my lightest 'large' aperture grab and go - as pictured I use a UA DwarfStar mount and a CF tripod (not the most stable, but can't beat it for size/utility). Everything fits into a mid-size Eston baseball bag. I'd also done the milk-jug washer mod for the secondary which made a big difference, and will be flocking the interior next. It's gone on a couple of road trips when space was tight and I'm glad I had it when conditions were right.

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