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New LS 6 -- Can't focus!! Picture attached....

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#1 drew4392

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 02:34 AM

I know this is going to sound a bit nuts... but I have no choice but to ask for opinions...

Just bought a Meade refurbished LS-6. Went out to try it out tonight. Put everything together, it aligned itself, and all seemed to be fine. Selected Jupiter. Centered. Perfect. Looked through eyepiece, and that's when I realized something is wrong.

Here is a representation of what I saw:

Posted Image

I previously owned an Orion dobsonian 6" and have the basics down. What I saw through this eyepiece wasn't right. This is the 2nd time I've attempted to use this new scope.

When I adjusted the focus knob all the way, both ways, that inner, smaller circle either grew bigger to engulf the whole FOV, or shrunk smaller and slid off the FOV. Either way, there was no "natural" color to the sky. Very weird.

Any ideas? Sorry if this is vague. Tough to describe.


Thanks in advance!

#2 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 02:36 AM

It looks like you need to Collimate your telescope..

#3 cavefrog

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 09:51 PM

I think you can do a very basic colimation with a laser. after that, do your fine tune with a star. do you have a laser colimator ? I was trying to do a laser collimation on my first SCT and found out to really collimate well, one needs to use a star on a good night. but if your collimation is as far off as I think it is, you might need to do a rough collimation with a laser, or a cheshire.

when you said the smaller image went out of sight is what makes me think your collimation is way out of whack.

Theo

#4 drew4392

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:14 AM

Thanks for the input. I'll ask the local store I bought it from if they have a laser colimator I can use. I remember they used one for my previous Orion scope.

#5 jimb1001

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 01:05 AM

Just a heads up - my refurb LSW8 came the same way. Its now back at Meade for the same issue as yours.
I've had many SCTs over the years and never had a problem with collimation. On this one, I tried small adjustments - 1/8 to 1/4 turn and progressively larger with little or conflicting effects.
Being a refurb, I called Meade and they had me send it back.
The good news is they will fix it, the bad news is that its been gone a month no date when it will return to me.
I'm missing the spring season here in Florida and I had hoped to get a lot of use out of it before the hot weather set in.
I wouldn't fret over it too much. If you can't get it right call them and send it back. Ask if they have another refurb in stock they can send you. I asked but they didn't have one.
I was very happy with the electronics but, being a refurb, I wasn't going to assume collimation issues were my fault.

Good Luck

#6 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 06:21 AM

I think you can do a very basic colimation with a laser. after that, do your fine tune with a star. do you have a laser colimator ? I was trying to do a laser collimation on my first SCT and found out to really collimate well, one needs to use a star on a good night. but if your collimation is as far off as I think it is, you might need to do a rough collimation with a laser, or a cheshire.

when you said the smaller image went out of sight is what makes me think your collimation is way out of whack.

Theo


Never try to use a Newt collimation laser to collimate a compound scope. You are just bouncing the laser off of the secondary anyway and the laser never touches the primary. You also run the risk of cranking your secondary too far out of proper collimation and possibly causing one of your collimation screws to come loose from the secondary assembly.

#7 cavefrog

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:18 PM

I think you can do a very basic colimation with a laser. after that, do your fine tune with a star. do you have a laser colimator ? I was trying to do a laser collimation on my first SCT and found out to really collimate well, one needs to use a star on a good night. but if your collimation is as far off as I think it is, you might need to do a rough collimation with a laser, or a cheshire.

when you said the smaller image went out of sight is what makes me think your collimation is way out of whack.

Theo


Never try to use a Newt collimation laser to collimate a compound scope. You are just bouncing the laser off of the secondary anyway and the laser never touches the primary. You also run the risk of cranking your secondary too far out of proper collimation and possibly causing one of your collimation screws to come loose from the secondary assembly.


hmmm, I expected someone to have something to say about using a laser and how useless it would be, but I really did not expect it would be you Chris. I know you are more experienced and more knowledgeable on scopes than I, and I am totally confused that you would say this.

to start, when collimating an SCT, the primary is not what is being adjusted, unlike a newt. in a newt, one tilts BOTH the primary and the secondary. in an SCT, the only adjustable part is the secondary. if a laser is placed in the focuser and bounced off the secondary, the beam has to go somewhere. if the secondary is way out of whack, the beam will end up out on the primary. if collimation is anywhere near correct, the beam will go back down the baffle to the faceplate of the collimator, where it can be seen to be able to make corrections.
as to the one of the secondary screws coming out of the secondary... with proper procedure, this cannot happen. with improper procedure... it is possible to happen anyway... without a laser!
the point was to do a ROUGH collimation. so if the beam goes out of the focuser and straight back to source, it is in rough collimation... no? is not the point of collimating an SCT to have the secondary parallel to the primary? I think this might mean that the plane of the secondary is orthogonal to the center of the focuser. yes?
admitted, when I tried to collimate my first SCT with a laser it was not perfect way to collimate, but until I learned to do it with a star, it was at least usable. then when I found out how to do it with a star, things sharpened up significantly.

Respectfully, Theo

#8 cn register 5

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 02:56 AM

This looks as if the scope is never getting to focus. The bright circle would be an out of focus Jupiter. Get it as good as you can, then move the EP out. If it get's better then you need some sort of extension.

But by far the best thing is to take it to your local store and get them to help. Their on the spot help and being able to see what is happening will be far better than we can provide remotely.

Chris

#9 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 04:46 AM

I think you can do a very basic colimation with a laser. after that, do your fine tune with a star. do you have a laser colimator ? I was trying to do a laser collimation on my first SCT and found out to really collimate well, one needs to use a star on a good night. but if your collimation is as far off as I think it is, you might need to do a rough collimation with a laser, or a cheshire.

when you said the smaller image went out of sight is what makes me think your collimation is way out of whack.

Theo


Never try to use a Newt collimation laser to collimate a compound scope. You are just bouncing the laser off of the secondary anyway and the laser never touches the primary. You also run the risk of cranking your secondary too far out of proper collimation and possibly causing one of your collimation screws to come loose from the secondary assembly.


hmmm, I expected someone to have something to say about using a laser and how useless it would be, but I really did not expect it would be you Chris. I know you are more experienced and more knowledgeable on scopes than I, and I am totally confused that you would say this.

to start, when collimating an SCT, the primary is not what is being adjusted, unlike a newt. in a newt, one tilts BOTH the primary and the secondary. in an SCT, the only adjustable part is the secondary. if a laser is placed in the focuser and bounced off the secondary, the beam has to go somewhere. if the secondary is way out of whack, the beam will end up out on the primary. if collimation is anywhere near correct, the beam will go back down the baffle to the faceplate of the collimator, where it can be seen to be able to make corrections.
as to the one of the secondary screws coming out of the secondary... with proper procedure, this cannot happen. with improper procedure... it is possible to happen anyway... without a laser!
the point was to do a ROUGH collimation. so if the beam goes out of the focuser and straight back to source, it is in rough collimation... no? is not the point of collimating an SCT to have the secondary parallel to the primary? I think this might mean that the plane of the secondary is orthogonal to the center of the focuser. yes?
admitted, when I tried to collimate my first SCT with a laser it was not perfect way to collimate, but until I learned to do it with a star, it was at least usable. then when I found out how to do it with a star, things sharpened up significantly.

Respectfully, Theo


It really doesn't work very well with a compound scope, potentially not even for rough collimations. You just have to trust me! (grin)

Collimating a compound scope means averaging all of the factors and optical elements to get the best collimation possible and if you aren't involving all of the optical elements, you simply aren't collimating the entire scope. Even though the primary mirror and corrector are usually not adjustable, their effect on overall collimation cannot be ignored. We use the secondary adjustment to find the spot where the summary collimation (averaging all of the defects and imperfections) is as good as we can get it.

Now for that bounce from the focuser off of the secondary and back to the laser. Since the secondary is convex, even the tiniest offset throws the returning laser beam considerably off-target. And multiple offset sources will exist and be caused by your interface to the scope (diagonal, eye-opener, threads, eyepiece set screw, slop, etc.) and these will make the laser collimator slightly off of the center of the optical axis, wildly throwing off the return laser. This offset doesn't bother Newts near as much as it bothers compound scopes. The Newt secondary is a flat instead of a convex surface.

I have tried the technique of doing a careful star-test collimation and then inserting the laser and marking where it came back and hit the collimation target in the collimator. Then as a test I took out the collimator and put it back in with the same rotational orientation to see if the laser could be used as a "quicky" collimation tool. My testing (four different compound scopes) showed me that this technique is dreadfully unreliable.

And besides, a star test is so easy to do that messing around with a laser collimator that isn't going to give good results is just a waste of time.

There is one laser collimator specifically made by HotechUSA for compound scopes ($400) and it is the only on I would recommend.

http://www.hotechusa...tegory-s/23.htm

Sunlight reflecting off of a Christmas tree bulb or chrome bumper makes a good daytime artificial star and you can even buy fiber-optic light sources intended to be used as artificial stars. You can even make your own artificial star with a small flashlight and a high-magnification microscope objective (field lens) purchased off of eBay.

Personally I do star tests.

I hope this helps.

#10 orion61

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 02:12 PM

I would try to focus the scope in the daytime with your lowest power eyepiece. If the mirror isn't moving you will be able to tell. Make sure what you are looking at is at least 2 or 3 blocks away. good luck. They really are a nice scope.

#11 drew4392

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 11:14 PM

I shipped the scope back to Meade today. They said if anything is wrong with it, it will be fixed and shipped out in one week.

I'll update the thread with the outcome. Thanks for everyone's input!

#12 Geo.

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 06:29 PM

Yeah that's way out of collimation. When you look down the tube from a few feet away you'll see the secondary is reflected off one side of the primary. Your outer airy circle may look a little like a fat football, too.

Or I had a repair order on a scope that a kid had stuffed an eyepiece in the baffle tube after removing the visual back and then replacing it to cover his crime.

When I get them this bad I back each screw out and then reinsert it with one complete turn. Then go around and give each screw a half turn until tight. You'll be a lot closer if all's well mechanically.

Probably some buyer fooled with the collimation, claimed it was a bad scope and returned it. Meade put it on the line and the electronics and drives were checked w/o looking at the optics.

Don't think a dealer wants to be working on your warranty issues when you buy online. Not being able to compete with the drop shippers and minimum purchase requirements is why my dealer dropped Meade. You bring your Meade in now and he calls me and I charge $75 an hour portal to portal.

#13 drew4392

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:01 AM

UPDATE: I received my LS-6 back from Meade and the work order says they replaced the focuser knob and RA motor.

I don't recall a motor being bad, but glad they replaced it. Maybe the focuser knob is what created the above (original) problem. They collimated/cleaned/etc... so hopefully this issue is resolved.

Thanks again for all of the input!

#14 REC

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:10 PM

Ok, great and let us know how it performs? That's pretty quick service I would say.

Bob

#15 drew4392

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 08:13 PM

Frustrating that I purchased it as refurbished and having to deal with multiple issues right out of the box... but things happen.

I'll be sure to post how it performs. Hoping to get out and use it within the week.

Thanks,
Andrew

#16 jimb1001

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:58 AM

Frustrating that I purchased it as refurbished and having to deal with multiple issues right out of the box... but things happen.

I'll be sure to post how it performs. Hoping to get out and use it within the week.

Thanks,
Andrew


Got mine back, took it out the next night and results were the same. Collimation looked like a crescent moon.
Called Meade back and they swore they worked on it as the paperwork showed and a supervisor signed off on it.
I explained that whatever they did didn't solve the problem and so back it went.
If it comes back to me with the same issues I'm not quite sure what to do next. I know they don't want to keep paying for it to be shipped from Florida to California and back but I've pretty much lost the spring observing season here in Florida. Another month and the hot, humid weather sets in until November.

#17 *skyguy*

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:55 AM

Sorry to see you still have the same problem. I've never had any luck with refurbished products, so I don't buy them anymore. It seems the manufacturer just sends them out again without even looking at them ... hoping the buyer either doesn't notice the defect or just dosen't care enough to return the product.

Last time I tried a "refurb" was an Orion imaging camera. It was received in a defective condition .... returned it for repair and it came back still defective (same problem). After complaining to Orion, they sent out a new camera which arrived in perfect working condition.

If you get your scope back and it's still defective, Call Meade and request they send you a new scope. I know they've done this for other buyers who have experienced the same "unresolved defective merchandise problem". Good Luck!

#18 drew4392

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 03:49 AM

Frustrating that I purchased it as refurbished and having to deal with multiple issues right out of the box... but things happen.

I'll be sure to post how it performs. Hoping to get out and use it within the week.

Thanks,
Andrew


Got mine back, took it out the next night and results were the same. Collimation looked like a crescent moon.
Called Meade back and they swore they worked on it as the paperwork showed and a supervisor signed off on it.
I explained that whatever they did didn't solve the problem and so back it went.
If it comes back to me with the same issues I'm not quite sure what to do next. I know they don't want to keep paying for it to be shipped from Florida to California and back but I've pretty much lost the spring observing season here in Florida. Another month and the hot, humid weather sets in until November.


Wow... sorry to hear that. I really hope this thing is fixed for good. Won't have a chance to take it out until next weekend. The workorder says parts were changed and collimation performed, tested, etc. Not sure how it cannot work at this point.... I'll be sure to update this thread.

#19 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 04:18 AM

How are you checking collimation?

Was there a diagonal involved?

Did you try several different eyepieces and/or diagonals?

Were the eyepieces/diagonals involved sent back to Meade as well?

#20 orion61

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:55 PM

what are you using for eyepieces or visual back?
If they tested it I would thing it is something you have or doing incorrectly.
Are you trying to use it without a star diagonal?
We need actual pictures of the setup and treough it to help further..
I will bet it is something simple thats being overlooked.

#21 David Castillo

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:16 PM

Look in your Meade manual (available online also) . On pages 33 &34 are instructions on how to collimate your scope. In the dark, you can use Polaris (no fussing with alignment needed)to adjust the collimation knobs. In the day, you can use the sun's reflection off a car's chrome trim to give you a star image. Be sure to use a ridiculous amount of eyepiece magnification so you can judge the concentric rings of an out-of-focus image to better judge the affects of your tweaking the collimation bolts.
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