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Equipment Discussions >> Eyepieces

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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new
      #5789889 - 04/10/13 09:57 AM

Yep! You read the title correctly! I actually picked up yet another 17mm Celestron Ultima LX !!! I found one down the street where I live brand new as the price was so good, and I didn't have to pay brokerage fees like I do when I get something across the border, so I picked up a second one.

Well, as you know, I didn't care for the way the Celestron Ultima LX eyepieces looked or felt, so I thought about ripping it apart for days. I was a bit worried that the top half would come off easy, but the bottom half not so easy. I also thought that I might be left with the top half ripped off leaving me with the bottom half permanently on there and nothing could be done leaving me with a really bad situation, lol.

Here it is below before I started on it:



Well, today I thought about it and said what the heck, so I took the eyepiece, some pliers, a utility knife, a hacksaw, (yes I said a hacksaw, LOL!), a pair of scissors and cheap thin pair of winter gloves and I started to rip the middle rubber piece off of the eyepiece !!!

Before I get into specifics, I want to mention Peter Rasmussen, (Starpal, BetweenThePonds), THanks Peter !!! who was a BIG INFLUENCE and a GREAT CN'r who gave me the COURAGE to do this project. As you all well know, it was Peter who had started this with his decloaking of the Meade Series 5000 SWA and UWA eyepieces.

How To Put a Meade 5000 on a Diet!

Meade 5K 40mm SWA eyecup replacement idea

I think he has a few more threads on this and so do some others here on CN, but anyways, Peter was the one on CN who had these types of threads which I stumbled upon first and I really liked his posts about this and I decloaked a Meade 28mm SWA and Meade 18mm UWA.

OK, getting back to the 17mm Ultima LX ~ I first took a pair of large scissors and I started to cut the top part of the middle rubber just below the rubber that surrounds the twist up eye cup. This rubber is extremely tough and I could barely cut it at first, but eventually it gave way and I got about 1/2" slice though the rubber. I then grabbed it with my fingers and started to rip the rubber and eventually half of the middle piece came right off.



So now I was left with the top half of the rubber that was in the center ripped right off and I had to get at the bottom half. This would prove to be very difficult to get off because the very bottom of the rubber was flush with the metal housing of the eyepiece and the top half of metal housing was larger than the really stiff rubber and it was pretty thick. I tried hacking the rubber off with a hacksaw! That failed. I tried using the scissors again, that also failed. I then tried a pair of pliers and that didn't work either. I sat there bewildered and was at roadblock thinking, "Oh no, what have I done now?"

Next I got two screw drivers and inserted both into the rubber and I pried really hard and the bottom middle piece came off. Before I got it off, I had to remove the top rubber that sits on the rotating eye cup, so it would eventually slide off.



After prying with the two screw drivers to get the bottom half of the stiff rubber completely off of the eyepiece, it looked better already! I then put the top rubber eye cup back on and just covered the center in black tape. IMHO, it looks and feels way better then it's original state.



There isn't a huge weight loss but if you want to know I did weigh it on a scale in it's original state. The weight of this eyepiece is 19.5 Oz. After taking off the center rubber pieces, the eyepiece now weighs 16 Oz. A total weight loss of 3.5 Oz took place after the rubber removal and it just looks and feels way better. What was Celestron thinking when they made these? IMO, the Astro Tech AF 70's look way better, and no doubt feel better in the hands.

Well, there it is. The 17mm Ultima LX de-cloaked for a much better slimmed down look and better overall feel in the hands. If you have one of these and don't care for how it looks you can make it so much better!!!! One last thing: If you wear eyeglasses and want a few more mm of eye relief, you can completely remove the top rubber eyecup and place some felt on the top. The top part still rotates up or down to set up the optimal eye relief if you wish to do so and you don't wear glasses. I tried it with my glasses on with the eyecup in the fully down position and I can still see the whole field stop.

The way it looks now is just temporary with the tape. I am going to try and find a better way to cover it up and look into a craft store for better material....

Here's a few final parting pics...



In focuser with eyecup up


In focuser with eyecup down


Cheers,


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5790091 - 04/10/13 11:31 AM

Found some craft store material lying around so I put it in the middle....what a difference this eyepiece is now !!!

1.


2.


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5790127 - 04/10/13 11:52 AM Attachment (54 downloads)

..

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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5790128 - 04/10/13 11:53 AM Attachment (42 downloads)

...

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dyslexic nam
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/28/08

Loc: PEI, Canada
Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5790256 - 04/10/13 12:47 PM

Very cool. I guess it is a personal-choice thing, but I really don't like some of the added (bulbous) housing that seems to be the hallmark of some Celestron and Meade ep lines. I know brand recognition has value, but I can't get away from the fact that the "decloaked" version always looks much cleaner and less gaudy to me.

Having said that, I don't know that I would have the courage to cut/chop/saw(!) into my eps - even if it is just the housing. Unlike some of the Meade 'undressings', this one definitely appears to be a one-way ticket.


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: dyslexic nam]
      #5790310 - 04/10/13 01:11 PM

Hi Shaun,

I fully agree about the gaudy looking bulbous housings on certain eyepieces. There's no need for the ugly factor! Indeed the "decloaked" versions are much cleaner looking.

You are correct about the decloaking of this particular line ~ It is a one way ticket of no return, unlike the Meade 5000's which can be put back together. However, the one way ticket in this case is well worth not going back, lol.


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Tank
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/27/09

Loc: Stoney Creek, Ontario, CANADA
Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5790568 - 04/10/13 03:30 PM

Looks neat!
You should be on the Celestron Design team


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Jarrod
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/20/13

Loc: SE USA
Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Tank]
      #5790603 - 04/10/13 03:57 PM

The great thing about this mod is that you don't lose the adjustable eye cup. I don't think I could bring myself to lose that feature on the Meade EPs.

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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5791070 - 04/10/13 06:59 PM

Gueeze! At first, I thought it a sacrilege to cut up an eyepiece. Then, I saw that you just trimmed one up a little. I agree with you--the rubber covering is a waste.

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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: GeneT]
      #5791804 - 04/11/13 06:03 AM Attachment (35 downloads)

Quote:

Looks neat!
You should be on the Celestron Design team




No doubt! I don't know what the designers were thinking when they made this? it looks hideous.

Celestron, are you reading this?

Added some pin striping for the final touch this morning, so it will be easier to see in the dark.


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Alvin Huey
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/18/05

Loc: NorCal
Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5792189 - 04/11/13 11:50 AM

Now you need to decloak it further like this guy did with his Ethos.

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star drop
Snowed In
*****

Reged: 02/02/08

Loc: Snow Plop, WNY
Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Alvin Huey]
      #5793461 - 04/11/13 10:50 PM

Mark, is your car the one with all of the upholstery missing?

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ibase
Vendor Affiliate
*****

Reged: 03/20/08

Loc: Manila, Philippines 121*E 14*N
Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: star drop]
      #5793538 - 04/11/13 11:26 PM

Mark, never thought it could be done but you did it! Kudos, you are a brave soul, and the latest incarnation looks really cool!

Best,


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beatlejuice
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 04/05/11

Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada
Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5793715 - 04/12/13 01:56 AM

Mark, I love the racing stripes nice job. Just one thing though, I'm kind off afraid to let you try any of my eyepieces anymore.

Eric


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: beatlejuice]
      #5793847 - 04/12/13 06:25 AM

Quote:

Now you need to decloak it further like this guy did with his Ethos.




The complete dismantling job on that Ethos was an interesting thread indeed! Much braver than myself, but I found all I really needed to do was remove some ugly and it worked out for the better!

Quote:

Mark, is your car the one with all of the upholstery missing?




Yep! Mine's the one with the ripped seats!

Quote:

Mark, never thought it could be done but you did it! Kudos, you are a brave soul, and the latest incarnation looks really cool!

Best,
--------------------
Hernando




Thanks Hernando! I did the same to your 6mm Delos when I was outside. I went in to get the phone and when I came back out it was drenched because it poured rain! Just kidding, All I did to your 6mm Delos was remove the top twisting part to see what was under, and I immediately put it back on. I couldn't do what I did to mine like I did on the Delos because it is was more expensive and a lot more is involved in that eyepiece and it isn't ugly like the Ultima LX line! I almost didn't do the mod to mine because I feared the outcome wasn't going to be good and the next day I took the bull by the horns and I am really glad I did because NOW it looks more like an eyepiece and less like a bloated cow. LOL!

Quote:

Mark, I love the racing stripes nice job. Just one thing though, I'm kind off afraid to let you try any of my eyepieces anymore.

Eric




Hi Eric,

I'm going to get some ORANGE racing stripes to match the orange Ultima LX writing on the eyepiece barrel.....should be even better! Don't you have a few more eyepieces I can borrow and wander off into the bushes with my tools while we're observing?

Cheers,

PS: I'd really like to see others who own some of the Ultima LX line do the same and add your mods on them! Maybe there can be even more improvements and I can make mine better. Any suggestions to add would be greatly appreciated for the middle part.....I also saw some tape that looks like the Carbon Fiber design....looks really nice!

Cheers again!


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starpal
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/06/04

Loc: Mid-USA
Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5794710 - 04/12/13 03:08 PM

Quote:



Added some pin striping for the final touch this morning, so it will be easier to see in the dark.




Awesome looking eyepiece!! Wondering if the pinstripes will help performance. Surely that EP will go even faster!


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: starpal]
      #5794780 - 04/12/13 03:48 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

Hi Peter! Thanks for the compliment!

The pinstripes make it go faster!

All kidding aside, I removed the white pin striping for now and added the hand grip in the middle. Looks much better yet again, but needs something else to top it off now! I'm thinking another hand grip above the first one would be appropriate! I wonder where I could find one?

Cheers,


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5794786 - 04/12/13 03:51 PM Attachment (27 downloads)

Pic 2.

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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5795106 - 04/12/13 05:53 PM

I suggest you also blacken the bottom of the 2" skirt, the inside of the 2" skirt, the bottom of the 1.25" barrel, and the filter threads therein.
This will help eliminate any almost-on-axis reflections from the shiny silver surfaces.


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Re: 17mm Ultima LX De Cloaked !!!! new [Re: Starman1]
      #5795134 - 04/12/13 06:01 PM Attachment (19 downloads)

Quote:

I suggest you also blacken the bottom of the 2" skirt, the inside of the 2" skirt, the bottom of the 1.25" barrel, and the filter threads therein.
This will help eliminate any almost-on-axis reflections from the shiny silver surfaces.




It's already jet black in there Don! It was like that when I got it on the insides. The filter threads are flat black too. If you mean blacken the bottom chrome rings on the bottoms of the barrels, that could easily be done! What do you suggest to use? What kind of markers?

Cheers,


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