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Vintage Sears Tower or Discoverer Telescopes

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#1 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 18 August 2003 - 10:18 AM

Many of us started out back in the 60's with the 2.4" (60mm) f/11 or 15 and 3.0" (76mm) f/16 Tower or Scope
telescopes sold by Sears. Tasco also offered bacically identical models. I still keep my owm 2.4" and 3" models from 1966
-67 respectively. The optics in both telescopes is excellent except of course for the oculars but even those seem to work
reasonably well with these long focus telescopes. The mountings are much more sturdy than those being offered in
today's models of similar instruments. At one point the 3" was even offered in a pedestal mount. I would like to
open a forum for others who may still own these telescopes and may want to exchange their experience
with them.

Guido

#2 bobbie

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Posted 24 December 2003 - 07:04 AM

Dear Guido, I still have a Tasco 2.4 (about 1970-2 vintage) and have been surprised again by how good its views can be. I recently purchased a hybrid diagonal so I can use my Meade's eyepieces on it.

#3 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 26 December 2003 - 09:15 PM

I recently bought a Sears Discoverer Model 4 at a yard sale. It has a couple of minor broken or missing parts, I don't suppose there is a source for these?????

#4 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 03:04 AM

I picked up a 76mm Sears Dicoverer a while ago at a yard sale. It didn't look like it'd been taken too nice of care of, unfortunately, it was really dirty all over, even between the lenses! This meant I had to take the achromat apart and clean it (I would not have done this unless it was really bad.) I put it back together and used it for months, where it routinely offered excellent performance with regard to planets (I used it to view variations of color on the surface of Mars and watch a shadow transit across Jupiter.)

Unfortunately, I must have spaced out when I put it back together and mounted the lens backwards (coated side in.) I took it apart and reversed the lens a while later, but unfortunately it hasn't performed as well since then. I think the collimation's off. I haven't gotten around to fixing that yet, though.

On a side note, the person selling the telescope knew nothing about it (the widow of the unfortunate astronomer who used it), so the eyepieces and diagonal weren't included, as I don't think she knew what they were.

Anyways, I was wondering if anyone knew anything about collimating refractors. I'm not really familiar with them, I only used reflectors and an SCT until I stumbled across this one.

Also, I was wondering if anyone knew what kind of lens was in this. I've heard rumors that the lenses for this model were made by a certain outside company, and I'm hoping it's true.

#5 rodrake

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 09:19 PM

I was given a Sears Discoverer in 1980 by an aunt and uncle (The original owners). I still have it including the wood case all accessories and the owners manual. It came with 5 eyepieces (glass but not very good except the 22mm Kellner), a solar projection screen, diagonals (star and erecting) and an equatorial mount on metal tripod. I've recently acquired some better eyepieces for it and was surprised at how well it performs. Especially with a .965" 12.5mm Plossl I was lucky enough to find. According to the owners manual, the objective is a 76mm Fraunhofer design. The OTA badge indicates the objective is coated. Everything is made in Japan.

Posted Image

#6 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 09:21 PM

Wow! Look at that thing! What is the focal length? It may be small in aperture but not stature! Cool scope.

#7 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 09:44 PM

That's a long one for sure. f/13 maybe?

I like the cool retro '50's colors

#8 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 05 January 2004 - 10:15 PM

I was thinking something like f/15 or 18! that thing is long and skinny! gotta love the color, for sure.

#9 bobbie

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 02:11 AM

Yes they were/ARE great telescopes. Get a Scopetronix "hybrid" diagonal and use the larger diameter eyepieces, give up on the old one inchers. My Tasco now uses them and the difference makes the small expense worthwhile. Regards, Robert Graham.

#10 rodrake

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Posted 06 January 2004 - 08:37 AM

Good guess Tom. It's f/16, 1200mm. It has a 34.6mm focus tube. I ordered a 34.6mm to 31.7mm Vixen adaptor that will screw into the focus tube replacing the .965" eyepiece holder (assuming the threads match). If that doesn't work, I'll just go with the hybrid diagonal. Either way, I'll be spending some time on Astromart looking for 1.25" eyepieces soon.

#11 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 10 January 2004 - 07:57 PM

Help! i just bought a Sears Discover Model #46333 Equatorial Refactor Telescope and know nothing about them or using a telecope. I need maunal and instructions. Any that can help let me know . e mail me at cbyum@aol.com

#12 bobbie

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Posted 23 January 2004 - 11:49 PM

I know your problem, I now have a very nice hardly used early/mid 1970's Towa 3 inch refractor complete down to every bolt and screw except for the manual. Does any one have one they could photocopy or scan in for me? We could start a resouce of old manuals scanned in somewhere. Towa made many of the older Tasco refractors so that I would expect this Towa to be much the same as the 3 inch Tasco of the same vintage which used to be their most classy scope. Thanks.

#13 rodrake

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Posted 24 January 2004 - 08:32 AM

I do have the manual for my Discoverer, but it's a model 46344. Larger objective and I believe different mount and tripod. I'm not sure if it will be much help for your 46333. Let me know if your interested in a copy though.

#14 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 11:38 AM

I have a Sears Discoverer model #6335 that my parents bought for me about 1971 (+/- 1 year). The label on the tube just above the focus knobs also states the following "EQUATORIAL REFRACTOR, TELESCOPE, COATED, F=900 mm, D=60 mm, JAPAN".

The color is identical to rodrake's and came with the same accessories that he has listed with the addition of moon and solar filters and yes, I have trashed the dangerous screw-in solar filter. It has a wooden tripod with a lighted accessory tray that mounts between the tripod legs. The most interesting feature is the finder scope which is integral to the main telescope tube and sights through it using a movable mirror. Optical quality is better than expected from a "department store" telescope.

#15 bobbie

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 03:44 AM

Thanks, yes mine says model 339 in the usual place on the tube, fl = 1200, d = 80.

#16 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 07:40 PM

How about the Tasco 20TE Observatory model? It was incredible and the Japanese Yen appreciation during the late 1960's made them unaffordable.

Other great performing models were: The Tasco 9TE-0, and the Tasco 7TE.

They were superb optically provided you replaced the cheap eyepieces and used the available 0.965" barrel Orthos.

Dan Kahraman :lol:

#17 John Kocijanski

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 08:25 PM

I have used that identical scope. It was donated to the school I teach in a number of years ago. Any idea who made it for Sears?

#18 rodrake

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Posted 25 February 2004 - 09:43 PM

I've heard that some Tascos were made by TOWA, and I've seen a TOWA finder that looked like mine. I can't find any markings on the scope or manual to confirm that though. All it says is "Made in Japan".

Rich

#19 maxdavis

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Posted 27 February 2004 - 08:46 PM

Like CGGARR, I have a sears model 6335 scope, however mine is from the early 60's, and the label near the focus tube reads "Equitorial Refractor, Coated, F-1200mm, D=76mm". Color is similar to RODRAKE's, but not as bright (probably faded with age as I am). I have used this scope constantly over the last 40 years, and have been very pleased, especially with the HM 12.5 mm EP.

I recall looking through the Sears catalog many years ago and asking for the model of this scope with a pedastal mount and an electric drive. Santa delivered the model with the flimsy wooden tripod instead. Does anyone recall the model number of the electrical drive, pedastal mount model? Better still, does anyone know of one of these that may be for sale?

Max..

#20 CharlieT

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 05:25 PM

I put it back together and used it for months, where it routinely offered excellent performance with regard to planets (I used it to view variations of color on the surface of Mars and watch a shadow transit across Jupiter.)

Unfortunately, I must have spaced out when I put it back together and mounted the lens backwards (coated side in.) I took it apart and reversed the lens a while later, but unfortunately it hasn't performed as well since then. I think the collimation's off. I haven't gotten around to fixing that yet, though.

If you were getting excellent performance before, are you sure you assembled it backwards? If you don't think putting it back the way you had it is the way to go, make sure the objective is properly seated in the tube, the lock ring is only just tight enough to keep the lens from rattling, any spacer(s) are in place between the elements, check centering with a Cheshire eyepiece if you have one, and finally, on a good, steady night, focus as best you can on a star, and with the lock ring loosened, slowly rotate the outer element until you get the best image. Indexing the lens elements can make a noticable difference! If you had the focuser off for any reason, be sure it went back on in the same relation to the tube that it was and is fully seated against the tube before you tighten it down. Of course, if you have a Cheshire, you can just look to see where it is in best alignment, then tighten down. Never tighten anything more than necessary.

#21 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 09:00 PM

It is nice to see so many replies to my original post regarding the Sears Discoverer refractor. These were excellent telescopes for their time. My 3" (f/16) Sears is from 1967 but I also have a smaller 1965 2.4" altazimuth refractor (f/11). This was my first telescope and I still use it for solar observing with a Tuthill Solar Skreen filter. When it was new I made the terrible mistake of using the tiny eyepiece filter that came with the scope for solar observing. I was lucky that it never broke. DON'T EVER USE THIS FILTER!
The color of the Sears telescopes changed from gray to that aqua color probably after 1966. The wooden legs of the tripod seem to have disappeared in the 70s and so did the little light for the eyepiece tray.
Does anyone have a telescope like this with an electric drive? Anyone know any newer drive that will fit?

Guido

#22 Awesomelenny

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Posted 02 May 2004 - 09:05 AM

Wow! I never athought I'd found anyone else with the Sears Discoverer! I still have my Sears 3" f/15 equatorial mounted refractor that my folks bought for me back in the 1960's too! Unfortunatley I went nuts in my teens and decided to repaint the tube white from its original silvery gray color. I still own this scope but also had a Cave 8" Deluxe scope which I sold last year to apply funding toward my new 12" Meade LX200GPS. My website will be updated with pictures of my 3" Sears and Meade soon.
Len
www.members.cox.net/lenny0726/IndexPage.htm

#23 maxdavis

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 04:49 PM

Awsome observatory, Awsomelenny. I'm jealous :bow:. Been researching observatories myself for a while now to give my Meade goto a home and to give me something to do (build) after I retire. The roll-off-roof concept looks pretty good to me. Did you buy the kit or just the plans? Now down to business - still waitin' for those pictures of your Sears Telescope!!!!

#24 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 12:12 PM

I recently read your post where you mentioned that you had a manual for the Sears Equatorial Refractor Telescope Model 46344. I recently picked up a telescope just like the one on your picture, but it had no manual.
Could I please get a copy of the manual?
Thanks.

-Tony

#25 rodrake

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Posted 25 May 2004 - 01:07 PM

Tony,

It's cool to see these still pop up from time to time. Where did you get yours? Is it in good condition? I'd love to see some pictures. I'll send you a message about the manual.


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