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Vintage Sears Tower or Discoverer Telescopes

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#26 Tommy5

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Posted 07 June 2004 - 03:41 PM

I own a 1977 model Discoverer scope,it is a 80mmf-15 scope,I also bought a 9mmMeade Orthro .965 to go with it and it still works great for me, the other day a saw the GRS clearly at Jupiters limb, Tomorrow I will use it to view the transit of Venus, I also have a modern 6" achro f-8,with loads of color, the Sears has very little if any purple haze on Jupiter.

#27 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 08:22 PM

My older sister snagged a Discoverer 60mm (#4 6305-A) for me at a garage sale and gave it to me a couple of days ago. I put it together and was pleased to see that it is mostly intact. With a few notable exceptions: the right ascension control and the rough draw focusing tube are both missing.

Aside from the rubber feet and the pieces above missing, this is in great shape. It came in the original box with the packing label (or, how to put your scope back in the box properly) and the manual. The lenses are all there as well (even the filters). It's a little dusty, but nothing that some TLC won't fix.

The two parts that concern me the most are the ascension control and the focusing tube. Does anyone know where I can search for parts?

#28 rodrake

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 12:05 AM

By "ascension control" do you mean the flexible cable and/or knob or some other part? If it's the cable, you should be able to find a replacement. You'll need to find out what size the shaft it attaches to is. ScopeStuff has some that fit 6mm shafts.

Flexible Control Stalks for 6mm shaft

#29 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 11:38 AM

Yes, I did mean the flexible cable. Thanks! That is a huge help. Now, if only it would clear up a little....

#30 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 22 June 2004 - 12:22 PM

Back in the 60's, early 60's I believe. Sears sold refractors by the J.W. Fecker company. Over the years I have seen two of these setup at the same oberving sites as me. All I can say, is if I ever see one of these at a Yard Sale, I'm buying!!!! The dang things were mounted on very solid heavy mounts, were extremely steady, and I'll be darned if the performance wasn't dang near the lower end APO levels of today.

So in short if you ever see "By J.W. Fecker" on the OTA and/or mount of a sears refractor, give it another look for sure!!!!!!

#31 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 08:53 AM

I seem to have found the Sears Discoverer experts and that is good. I have been asked by my daughter-in-law to clean up a Sears Discoverer 4451 that she has for the grand kids. The old piece is in great shape, even has some of the plastic peeloff protectors on some of the dails.

BUT, always a but, what in the world is the sticky lubricant used on these things. This stuff has oozed out everywhere. It cleans up so that not a problem but I need to know what to put in its place when I reassemble it. Its almost like the stuff on fly paper, you stick you finger on it and your a part of it. Is this age or a special lubricant? You can tell I really don't know anything about using this device. But I guess its a special lubricant to keep everything from moving very easy for set up reasons. So what do I buy to lube this device.

Well thanks everyone for any info and have a happy July 4. The USA remains a very great country.

Gary

#32 rodrake

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 10:35 AM

Welcome Gary!

The sticky grease stuff really serves no special purpose. It's just bad. Most of the new chinese made mounts come with similar gunk. Best thing to do is clean it out and replace with a good lithium or teflon based grease. Got any photos of your setup?

#33 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 02 July 2004 - 12:50 PM

Thanks for the quick reply. Appreciate the information and now I can get to work putting it back together. It looks somewhat like your picture, same color, wooden tripod, but it doesn't have the viewer on top. ( you can still tell I don't really know what I'm taking about) When I get it back together and looking great, I will submit a picture of the unit. I'm going to see if the manual is still around. It might be of interest to someone if I can find it.

Thanks again

Gary

#34 Ken

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 04:49 PM

Need Some Help,

Received my Sears Ebay 1976 'ish refractor today. Pretty good physcial shape except some fungus on the interior of the achromat. The lens cell was also loose and appeared to have been taken apart. It is the 60mm f 11.6 Sears Discoverer, Model 44340. The lens cell had two plastic spacers and the two elements of the objective. It 'appeared' that the achromat had a single plastic ring between the forward element and rear element and a second plastic ring against the rear part of the lens cell. Does anyone know for sure what the order of assembly was/is on this thing? My thought is that I'm not positive the plastic ring actually went between the two elements. I'm thinking the plastic rings went between the lens cell and the elements front and back. And the two glass elements were directly against each other.

Like this

cell=plastic ring=front element=rear element=plastic ring=cell

OR Like I found it

cell=front element=plastic ring=rear element=plastic ring=cell

Thanks,

#35 Steve_M_M

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 05:56 PM

Ken,

I have two Sears Discover's. Both probably 10 years older than yours, but the order is

cell=plastic spacer=rear element=spacer=front element=retaining ring=air=stars.

My Jason 313, about the same scope, is the same.

Now, saying this, I will tell you that I have 12 older 60mm Refractors and I keep them in the bay window in the living room organized by lens quality left to right. Currently from the left (best) it goes, Manon f11.7, Unitron, Tasco 14te, Tasco 12te, Tasco 9te, Lafayette f13, Pentax Asahi f11.7, Mayflower f11.7, Jason 313, Both Sears, and then a Monolux f11.7.

The Jason and the Sears have all had their lenses removed, played with, cleaned, etc before they came to me. The scopes are in mint condition, but the out of focus star images are footballs in all but one quadrant of the field at 130x.

So, my suggestion to you is to make sure you mark the lens elements so can you re align them just like they came from the factory. No idea if this matters. If it does not, does anyone have any ideas on how to take a non-adjustable cell with footballs and turn it into a Suiter miracle?

#36 Steve_M_M

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 06:07 PM

BTW, Why is someone over at the Hay paying $395 for this Sears Telescope? Ebay # 3823717264

#37 rodrake

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Posted 03 July 2004 - 08:32 PM

Wow! That ebay scope is exactly like mine. I've haven't seen one go for that much before. I've never taken mine apart, but I can see three tiny rectangular spacers between the lens elements. I have also heard that keeping the elements oriented with each other is important. If your star tests are that far off, you could try rotating one of the elements and retesting. Mine star test very well. Nice concentric rings nearly identical in and out of focus.

#38 Ken

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 12:48 PM

Thanks Steve,

That was the same arrangement that was in the cell when I examined it, and is how I returned it after cleaning. As for the alignment of the two objectives. I did in fact mark them as I dissasembled them. Unfortunately the cell was so loose that the lenses were moving in the cell, so I have no clue how they were originally aligned.

FWIW, This was the first of many telescopes I owned back around 1975, that I sold during college, and upon finding one up on ebay decided to buy after a sudden onslaught of nostalgia. The telescope arrived yesterday from Fedex in pretty good shape. A couple small nicks on the tube was the only damage. The telescope apparently had not been used often, as the stickers etc are still intact on all the eyepieces etc. The telescope was however absolutely filthy, apparently from storage for most of the past 30 years. It has cleaned and waxed up nicely, although I'll have to put some more lemon oil on the legs as the wood has dried considerably. The lens had a significant fungus growing between the elements, but this cleaned up nicely with Zeiss cleaning fluid and distilled water. I no longer own the quality .995 eyepieces that I had purchased 30 years ago, so I am awaiting a couple from Gary Hand and will pick up a 1.25 adapter for my otheres.

Now the telescope I had originally had some very good optics, far superior to the DST telescopes from China that are marketed today. I'm eagerly looking forward to some clear nights to determine if this 'replacement' is as good. Not that I'm likely to use it much, but I do like the looks of it, and may set it up in a study or den. I may have a bit of a battle though as my daughter, who normally uses an Astroscan or Meade 2045D thinks it looks really "cool".

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#39 Steve_M_M

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 01:21 PM

Or call Steve's Eyepiece Emporium :question:

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#40 Ken

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 01:32 PM

1975'ish Sears 60mm f11.6 achromat.

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#41 Ken

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 01:34 PM

Decals...

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#42 Ken

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Posted 04 July 2004 - 02:03 PM

Gary,

I just spent the weekend cleaning up a 30 year old Sears Discoverer I bought on ebay. You are correct, the lubricant had hardened into cement. I could not even get the draw tube out at first. I found good old WD-40 cleaned it right up, and a little moly or teflon lube should keep it in good shape. Everything smoothed out immediately.

Ken

#43 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 11:15 PM

I just picked up a Sears Discoverer model 6335 at a thrift store. It is in mint condition and appears to have all of the lens. Does anyone know where I could get an owners manual?

#44 jlyn

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 08:14 AM

I've been inspired by the above posts to try and clean up my original scope. It is a Sears, but unfortunately is a bit newer than the Discover i think, and obviously not as well put together. the focuser is plastic, and was fused...I just thought it was broken, but the wd-40 worked great. I took out its eyepiece, and just held a 1.25 up to the focuser and the view really wasn't too bad, the lenses are obviously dirty though. After that success, I'm motivated to take it apart and clean the glass. What will I find? I've never taken one of my scopes apart and have to wonder if the old parts are just glued in or something, or will I really be able to get at them? I'm wanting to do this for 2 reasons - one to make this old scope at least somewhat useful for nostalgia reasons, and second because I'm wanting to do some of the modifications on my st-80 that I've seen recommended and thought I would make my mistakes first on the old scope before breaking the new one apart.

thanks!
jlyn

#45 Ken

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Posted 16 July 2004 - 11:21 PM

jlyn,

I've seen many Sears Discoverer telescopes from the mid and late seventies, but never one from that era that was plastic as you describe. The classic Discoverer telescopes are very easy to dissasemble and reassemble. Unfortunately I've never been able to locate an archive of Sears catalogs to actually documemt when the models were discontinued for models like yours. A silly question, but time sometimes confuses memories. Are you confident of the year range of your scope? Perhaps some pictures would help or information from the documentation?

#46 jlyn

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 10:40 AM

Hi Ken, and thanks for the response.

yes, I am confident of the age in general...we moved from one city to another in '76, and I have very specific memories of getting this scope at Christmas, and using it in the 'old' house. I think I got it in '75. The sticker on it says "Sears", the tube is white painted metal, has a metal and plastic eq base, and unfortunately a plastic focuser...(the plastic is sheathed by a thin metal tube which slips off). Anyway, I KNOW it has no 'value', and must be a lower grade...but it did show me Jupiter's moons, and came with a neat little metal screen which attached and let you project sun images...I thought being able to see sunspots was amazing. (the screen is long since gone...). It holds some good memories for me, and I thought it might be a good learning project. I'm thinking they probably started really mass-producing scopes in the mid 70's and the quality went down. When did they stop making the Discoverer?

Jlyn

I just noticed an earlier post commenting on a '77 discoverer...maybe Sears just offered different quality levels....

#47 Ken

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 09:30 PM

Wow,

You must be right about the different quality levels, I've come across a '78 60mm Discoverer Alt-Az scope that was still all metal and of very high construction quality. In fact the latest one I've been playing with is definitely late seventies. I was unaware of catalogued ones as you describe from that era. Yet another reason to keep trying to track down the old catalogues. That being the case I'd guess that the "Discoverer" must have dissapeared around 1980, but that is just an educated guess.

#48 jlyn

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 04:38 PM

Hmmm....
It would be interesting to see the old catalog pages (now that would be a blast from the past...). I did have a friend look at my scope once and go "wow! - I had one just like that!" (he got his about the same year I got mine). Anyway, I think I will take it apart and see what I find. I wish I had one of the metal ones! , But maybe the optics are the same....It's not a bad looking scope even now.

jlyn

#49 jlyn

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 10:31 AM

BTW -
ebay has a ton of the old Sears catalogs...I might just have to pick up the '75 "Christmas Dream Book" one of these days and see if I can find my scope...

#50 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 16 August 2004 - 12:33 PM

Gents new to the forum I am getting back into astronomy and starting out with a Sears model 44521 I will be adding some 1.25 Plossi eyepieces to it as well.
But the one I really want is a Sears model 4-6305 and would like to locate the instruction book for comparison.
Thanks fopr any and all help


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