Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Meade 320

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
35 replies to this topic

#1 Will

Will

    Messenger

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 484
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posted 28 May 2007 - 08:26 PM

I just picked up a Meade 320. 80MM Japanese refractor on a GEM. Not sure I'd say "classic" but it seems like a nice old scope. Can anyone fill in the blanks? Had any experience with these?

#2 clintwhitman

clintwhitman

    Caveman

  • *****
  • Posts: 5842
  • Joined: 01 Jan 2007

Posted 29 May 2007 - 02:13 AM

I am not sure but I have bought and sold two of these and they were both Taiwan made. OK views but the ones I dealt with were not like the greatest glass. The last one I still have but this lady wants it so off it goes this week. If Meade had Towa make some of these dudes they would be way better I am sure! And if there not classic they should be one day!!

#3 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 76145
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004

Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:20 AM

>>>If Meade had Towa make some of these dudes they would be way better I am sure! And if there not classic they should be one day!!
----
Hi folks:

For what it's worth

I have never owned a 320 but I have the 310(Alt-AZ), 312 (GEM) and 314 (Brass OTA) and these were all manufactured in Japan. I have seen a couple of suggestions as to who built them. One was that someone high up in Meade has a family connection to someone at Mizar so they were made my Mizar. The other is Towa. Maybe some were made by one, some by the other or even someone else.

These are 80mm F/11's and they all have good optics, collimateable cells, reasonable mounts, particularly the 310. It also has a smoother focuser though all are nice.

I consider them classics. It maybe that the 320 was the later model of the 312, maybe some were made in Japan...

Good luck with that new scope, it should be fun.

Jon

#4 Glassthrower

Glassthrower

    Vendor - Galactic Stone & Ironworks

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 18459
  • Joined: 07 Apr 2005

Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:28 AM

Congrats on your new addition!

Of course, we want photos! :)

#5 clintwhitman

clintwhitman

    Caveman

  • *****
  • Posts: 5842
  • Joined: 01 Jan 2007

Posted 29 May 2007 - 08:49 AM

The reason I said Towa is because some of the Meade eyepieces that I have been running into from the 80s have the circle T on them so I was thinking that if this was an older 320 the glass might have been made by them to.

#6 Will

Will

    Messenger

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 484
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posted 29 May 2007 - 01:01 PM

What I've read sounds like Mizar made it. It came with three EPs at least one is a circle t. Not sure if it shipped with the scope when new. I also got a Meade prism type diagonal and Meade erecting prism with it.

I need to identify the mount right off the bat. I'll be wanting to touch up the paint on the head and don't know what they used on the mounts. Epoxy?

The focuser is smooth in action and a good fit but very stiff so that's on the list. I took a peek last night and the optics look pretty good to me but this is my first (real) refractor. I'll put up photos here later. If you can't stand the wait I posted one in the classic scopes forum over at that other site (AM).

#7 Jae

Jae

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1083
  • Joined: 13 Apr 2006

Posted 29 May 2007 - 01:13 PM

I vote Mizar as well. The OTA lens cell and focuser doesn't match the Towa scopes. Where as the 312 I have is the same as the Towa 339.

Nice looking scope.

Jae

#8 mnpd

mnpd

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 689
  • Joined: 28 Jun 2005

Posted 29 May 2007 - 03:33 PM

Old blue tube Meade 320? Yep, I had one 15-17 years ago... GEM mounted too. Bought it from Wolf Camera back when they used to stock a big selection. I was lucky with mine as it had great optics. It came with low and medium power eyepieces, and I somewhere I bought a high power. It gave great planetary views. The refractor got gone in sailboat trading deal.

#9 Will

Will

    Messenger

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 484
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posted 29 May 2007 - 06:19 PM

As promised here are two pics. I can make higer quality images available on my personal web page if anyone is interested. I really want to know about the mount, and if I can locate a drive for it.

I'm also wanting to know about possible lubrication for the bushing that surrounds the draw tube in the focuser. Not sure if it's fiber or plastic. Should it be dry or lubed? I don't want goo on the draw tube but it's very stiff even with the adjustment screws backed off.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1632629-Mount.JPG


#10 Will

Will

    Messenger

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 484
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posted 29 May 2007 - 06:21 PM

Second pic...

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1632636-asm.JPG


#11 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 76145
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004

Posted 29 May 2007 - 06:22 PM

>>>I'm also wanting to know about possible lubrication for the bushing that surrounds the draw tube in the focuser. Not sure if it's fiber or plastic. Should it be dry or lubed? I don't want goo on the draw tube but it's very stiff even with the adjustment screws backed off.
----

Will:

I guess I am a bit more foolish/brave, I generally disassemble them, clean them with ethyl rubbing alcohol and then regrease the draw tube with some silicone gease I bought at Radio Shack many years ago. Some turn out better than others...

jon

#12 mnpd

mnpd

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 689
  • Joined: 28 Jun 2005

Posted 30 May 2007 - 12:30 PM

Yep, non-greasy silicon lube after alcohol cleaning. That scope brings back memories before I retired. Jupiter was crossing at the zenith that winter, and I got some great views of Jove. That 320, through some quirk of mass production, had unbelievable optics. I remember my maximum magnification was 135x, and I easily saw moon eclipses and even sometimes make out the outline of the GRS. Should have kept that even scope, because I don't think I've had anything since to quite equal its sharpness.

I remember the mount had an opening for a polar alignment scope, but the stock telescope didn't come with one. Neither did I bother to buy the accessory.

I forget exactly what I paid, but I do remember the little 320 was pretty pricey in those days... you can get a modern 90mm for less now. And when I bought it, I think it had been in production for some years. I'd say it's a classic!

#13 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6059
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005

Posted 30 May 2007 - 12:47 PM

Yep, non-greasy silicon lube after alcohol cleaning.


I was thinking of using silicone grease for my mount. It has a very broad operating temp range. More expensive but I would say its worth it.

Thoughts? :question:

#14 twhite

twhite

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2461
  • Joined: 28 Jan 2006

Posted 30 May 2007 - 12:57 PM

I use synthetic. SuperLube. Wide operating range, excellent lubrication.

#15 clintwhitman

clintwhitman

    Caveman

  • *****
  • Posts: 5842
  • Joined: 01 Jan 2007

Posted 30 May 2007 - 05:47 PM

I use axel grease works great dont get it on the glass parts

#16 Will

Will

    Messenger

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 484
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posted 30 May 2007 - 07:19 PM

Thanks to all who have replied. More on this scope: Someone suggested Tiwan but it does say made in Japan. The focuser is cast not machined. According to one source that puts in the 90s not the 80s. The focus knobs are plastic and I've been told this is also a clue that it's not an early model. Also I'm accustomed to seeing a brass shim between the spring plate and the focus axle/gear on most focusers and there is none here. Should there be? I've cleaned the back and draw tube and adjusted the fine set screws for tention and it moves easily now at the price of a little backlash. I'll keep working on that. Not set on how to lube the paper bushings, leaning towards the silcon if I can find some thin enough.

I really want to know about the mount. I think it's an LXD300/500. Someone please chime in here. I'd like to drive it if I can find the RA assembly. It's very smooth but I'll be tearing it down to clean, polish, re-lube then possibly touch up the paint.

#17 EJN

EJN

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4233
  • Joined: 01 Nov 2005

Posted 30 May 2007 - 11:26 PM

From the photo of the mount, Mizar for sure. A friend
of mine has a Mizar EQ mount - it is identical.
The Guan Sheng EQ mount (formerly sold by Orion
as the SkyView Deluxe) is a copy of the Mizar EQ.
The distinguishing difference is the Dec. slow-
motion control. The Mizar uses a short tangent
arm/screw. The GS uses a worm gear.

Also, I have the same OTA (without the mount).
I also have a 310/312 OTA, and that is Towa.
The 320 has a better focuser, the Towa has
a straight cut rack and pinion.

The Towa lens is the better of the two. I replaced
the 320 (Mizar) lens with a another Towa lens I
picked up on AM, and now the performance of both
OTA's is virtually identical. The lens cells are
slightly different design, but the Towa lens fit
in the Mizar cell perfectly.

#18 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 76145
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004

Posted 30 May 2007 - 11:47 PM

Also, I have the same OTA (without the mount).
>>>I also have a 310/312 OTA, and that is Towa.
The 320 has a better focuser, the Towa has
a straight cut rack and pinion.
----

Just as a point of interest: My Meade 310 OTA is quite different from the 312 though optically they are quite similar. The 310 has a much smoother focuser with a lock and a 90mm tube diameter. The 312 has a tube that is somewhere around 84mm, don't really remember but it is significantly smaller. I believe it has the same diameter as the 314.

jon

#19 EJN

EJN

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4233
  • Joined: 01 Nov 2005

Posted 30 May 2007 - 11:57 PM

Then I have the 312 OTA. In fact, it is identical to
the photo you posted elsewhere of the 314 brass tube OTA
(except for the brass tube, of course). The tube diameter
is a bit over 80mm. I also have a Parks 80mm f/11
which is identical in every respect except for the paint
job (white tube).
The 320 OTA I have has a 90mm tube dia.

#20 clintwhitman

clintwhitman

    Caveman

  • *****
  • Posts: 5842
  • Joined: 01 Jan 2007

Posted 31 May 2007 - 12:25 AM

Sorry i am on crack and got my number messed up I ment 390 and there Taiwan made I got this one for $60 and re sold it. To big for the kids school program scope essay prize!!! And like I said kinda bloby!!!! :roflmao:

Attached Thumbnails

  • 1635132-Meade3.jpg


#21 Will

Will

    Messenger

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 484
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posted 31 May 2007 - 05:45 AM

This focuser has angular cut r&p. There are two tiny set (Allen) screws on the top of the focuser to adjust the tension. There is also a knurled brass knob to adjust possibly lock the draw tube.

Mizar may be correct for the head. I've seen some good photos of the LXD's and the saddle where the tube rides is different. This one appears smaller, possible designed specifically for this tube. Some searching has lead to JMI for a RA drive that is simply listed as fitting the Meade 320. No drawings to double check. They're asking around $100 which seems a little steep for this so the search goes on.

I began the clean up on the head last night and there is a stud which does not appear to server any purpose other than to mount a motor. This mount seems very smooth, I like it.

#22 Will

Will

    Messenger

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 484
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posted 31 May 2007 - 06:01 AM

BINGO! It's a Mizar SP for sure. I've located some stock photos from Mizar and it's a match. Thanks EJN.

#23 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 76145
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004

Posted 31 May 2007 - 06:21 AM

>>>Then I have the 312 OTA. In fact, it is identical to
the photo you posted elsewhere of the 314 brass tube OTA
(except for the brass tube, of course).
----

That sounds right. Mine all have nice stickers that say what they are... Any idea what vintage the 310-312-314 might be? My guess is early 80's.

jon

#24 Will

Will

    Messenger

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 484
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posted 31 May 2007 - 08:53 PM

From what I've seen the 310 is the alt az version of the 320.

#25 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 76145
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004

Posted 31 May 2007 - 10:27 PM

From what I've seen the 310 is the alt az version of the 320.

>>>From what I've seen the 310 is the alt az version of the 320.
---

It is my understanding that it is the ALT-AZ version of the 312. But you could be right. The 310 has a mount that is significantly more robust that the GEM of the 312 and the ALT-AZ of the 314. The tube diameter of the 310 is 90mm rather than the 83mm diameter of the others.

The focusers are quite different, all three have plastic nobs but the 310 has helical gears, the other two are straight cut. The pinion housing is quite different as well. Also, the 310 has a focuser lock, the other two do not, the focuser is much smoother on the 310, about as nice as a rack and pinion as I have used and I do own a TV Pronto...

Also, looking at your photos, it appears the 310 attaches to the OTA in the same way, slighty oversized rings that tightened against a V-notch in the top of the mount. The other two use clamshells.

Also, the way the finders mount is different. The 310 uses two sets of rings that attach to the tube itself and it is a nice 6x30 while the other two use very good 5x24 finders that mount on the focuser itself.
Other differences are that the 310 has a cover that fits inside the shield but is the full diameter of the shield while the other two use caps that fit over the lens cell.

Any of this ring true??

Jon


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics