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DSX-125

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#26 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 11:56 AM

Mike -

Thanks! The latest version of Autostar is 34e (or something like that). I always keep my autostar's updated to the latest version because often little bugs that people report can be fixed through software.

#27 mikee

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 02:01 PM

Thanks John. Guess I need to upgrade the handset one of these days.

Mike

#28 GUNER

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 03:40 PM

Hi All,
Thanks John. It came today! No broken glass sounds when moving it into the house so I guess that's a good sign.
It's funny that you talked about the 497 controller. I bought this scope because I was going to buy a 497 controller for my 70AT & use the 494 controller with the DS mount I put my PST on.(see Post in SOLAR) The 497 controller was running between 150-200 so I figured for another 275 for an 125 OTA it's a no brainer.
mikee,
I'm also hoping to mount my 125 to my 884 tripod. probuly just drill a hole in the center of the plate. If it works I'll let you know. If you come up with something post it please.

#29 mikee

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 03:45 PM

Hi Thomas -


Yeah, that's what I was thinking of doing as well. I'm not all that familiar with drilling through metal plates though. Let me know how it comes out. I don't see why it would work though. Would that mean that you could even polar align a DS series mount if it does work?

Mike

#30 GUNER

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 07:06 PM

Mike,
I would think that you should be able to use it in Alt/azt mode it's in the 497 as an option. But that will have to wait for me as my DSX mount won't move in Ra to the left. :bawling: :bawling: :bawling:
Meade CS was very good. I'm sending it back for repair/replace. Got a heads up from the CS guy. He said to hold on to the 497 & not send it back with the mount. He said there is a shortage of them & he didn't want to see me "lose" mine. So be warned.
I also found out that he thinks that the motors are the same in all the DS mounts. So I'm going to try & hook it up to the DS mount I have for my PST. You know I could even use the same mounting bracket from the 125 for the PST. It has a slot cut down the center. I could just swap the 125 for the PST & back. I just may have a DSX mount for sale soon.

#31 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 02:47 AM

Well, when I got home this evening the familiar Meade box was on my doorstep - the DSX-125 had arrived.

I was impressed with the packaging. Inside a single shipping box is the fancy Meade box with all the seductive language and pictures. Inside that, each component of the scope (tripod, tube, motor arm, accessories) were packed in separate boxes.

Assembly was fast and straightforward. In spite of the instructions in the manual, the metal support for the tube is already bolted on the fork arm, so this is a step you can skip. I like the little shelf that sits on one of the tripod legs - you can hang the Autostar controller off of the shelf, and put 3 1-1/4" eyepieces on it. This means you can fold up the tripod without having to remove the shelf. I also like the way the tube attaches to the fork arm - you can adjust the position of the tube so you get a perfect balance - this is in contrast to the ETX-125 where there is no adjustment and it is always heavy on the corrector end. One thing to be careful of with the DSX-125 is, with the tube in a balanced position, it sits far to the rear of the fork arm, shifting significant weight to that portion of thr tripod. This means it would be easy to tip the thing over if you're not careful.

Overall, the scope looks nice set up. I laugh at the silver color of the tube - I think it's close to the silver color that Celestron used on ther NexStar i series.

I inserted some AA batteries (they had about 85% power remaining) and fired her up. Everything looked okay, although I noted that I had to tighten the altitude clutch really tight to get it to move in altitude. It also sounded like the motor/gears were straining in altitude. It wasn't long before I heard a 'pop' in the altitude gear area, and the scope stopped moving. "Ah nuts" I said, Meade strikes again!

But curiosity got the best of me, and I took apart the altitude fork assembly. Unlike the ETX, all of the gears are nylon in the DSX. There is a small spring that wraps around the shaft of the clutch that had slipped out of a groove. By pushing it back into the groove, the problem was fixed. Still, this is a weak area of the scope, and I do not believe it is prudent to loosen/tighten the cluth to move the tube in altitude. All movement will have to be done with the controller. It should be noted that, unlike the ETX's, the azimuth axis has no hard stops. This means you don't have to fuss with the ETX routine of having the control panel facing west, rotating the fork assembly fully counterclockwise to the hard stop, then clockwise 90 degrees.

Anyway, I took the scope outside, trained the drives, then did an Easy Align. The results were most impressive. It missed each alignment star by only 2 - 3 degrees. And once declaring alignment successful, I found GOTOs to be pretty good - all within the field of view of a 32mm eyepiece. Tracking was also good. In fact, the GOTO/tracking performance of this scope is as good as the ETX-125 I had.

Optical quality isn't bad either, though I suspect it is a tad bit out of collimation, as defocused star images weren't perfectly concentric - but seeing wasn't the best, so I need to reserve judgement on that issue for awhile.

Some of the objects I viewed looked nice for the DSX's 5" of aperture. These included M-27 (Dumbell Nebula), M57 (Ring Nebula), and the Double Cluster. Epsilon Lyra was spilt at 127x.

Focusing was very smooth and precise - much better than what I experienced with an ETX-125 I had. No need for an electric focuser with this scope.

As others have noted, the tripod isn't very good. There is a fair amount of vibration. I did try a set of vibration suppression pads, and they made a remarkable difference. Using a 6.4mm eyepiece (297x) on Mars, a sharp tap on the tripod caused about 2 seconds worth of vibration before things settled down - that's not too bad.

The motors/gears aren't too loud, in my opinion. They do make some interesting noises when tracking - almost sounds like a child's toy.

Overall, this is not a bad deal for $475. I feel good about this purchase. I was originally going to get an ETX-125, but a desire for extreme portability led to the decision to get the ETX-90. But with the low price of the DSX-125, I now have both a 90 and a 125 Mak for about the price of an ETX-125.

#32 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 04:41 AM

A few more quick comments:

The total weight of the DSX-125 all set up is 19.5 lbs. That is a very portable scope! It comes with Autostar version 32E. I upgraded to the latest version, but it didn't seem to affect operations, so upgrading may not be necessary.

My comment about GOTO's as good as an ETX-125 may have been premature. On some objects it nails them - on others it gets close (but no cigar). There is also some residual movement (I think it's called rubber banding) when you try to adjust the position of an object in the FOV. Running on AA batteries often causes problems, so I will need to evaluate performance once my AC adapter arrives.

One more thing. There is a large knob that attaches the base to the tripod. Two are furnished. Use the one with the longer shaft. I used the shorter one, and while it threaded in, it did not do so very far, and I almost lost the entire upper assembly, including tube, when it came loose.

#33 GUNER

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Posted 27 August 2005 - 10:08 AM

Hi All,
John I'm glad everything was OK with your scope. Sent out the mount today. But the other DS mount is working with the 125 on it. I haven't had a chance to use it yet. :cloudy: But hopefully soon. The DS mount I bought for my PST is an older one that I bought from someone. It seems to move & sound better then the one that came with the 125.
I really,really LOVE the bracket they use to attach the 125 to the mount. I made up a knob with 1/4-20 threaded rod & am going to use that same mounting plate to mount my PST to the DS mount it should look sharp.
I did get a quick look at the moon the first night out with it. Scope appears to be fine but that was looking through lots of clouds. maybe tonight will be better.

#34 silversurfer

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 12:16 AM

Hey John,
That's the same problem I had with my DSX-90. I don't think is so much a spring as someone's bad idea of a retaining clip. When it pops off again (and trust me it WILL) replace it with a better quality circlip. I found one that has been working great at my local hardware store.

#35 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 09:19 AM

Silversurfer -

You're right - it's a retaining clip. What clip did you find?

Last night I took apart the altitude assembly and roughed up the surfaces of the 3 pronged aluminum thingey that contacts the large nylon gear wheel, as well as the surface of the gear wheel the aluminum thingey (don't know what to call it) contacts. Seems to have made a slight difference in how well the axis lock works - I don't have to tighten it quite as much, and consequently the motor doesn't sound like its straining so much.

On another note, I will be sending the tube back to Meade for collimation. It's far enough off to be noticeable.

#36 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 09:41 AM

Another comment about the DSX. Last night it was waaaaay off in finding initial alignment stars, and GOTO's were terrible. The reason? I forgot to level the mount. Once I leveled and realigned, everything because very good. So, if you have one of these beasts, make sure the mount is level, and then make sure the tube is at 0 declination.

#37 spanky

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 02:36 PM

Hi John, I would really like to talk to you about your experiences with the DSX-125; especailly how well the mount works. If you would be so kind to call me at work on Monday I would really appreciate it.
Dave K7RGY
(800) 230-2322 ext 4047

#38 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 04:13 PM

Sure Dave - I'll call you around mid-morning.

#39 Bob Pasken

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 09:52 PM

John, did you remember to calibrate and retrain after you updated the Autostar?
The poor goto's can be the result of an Autostar upgrade and then forgetting to calibrate and retrain. Out of habit I also retrain even after I chnage batteries.

#40 kmjk

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Posted 28 August 2005 - 11:44 PM

Did you have to pay to send it back to Meade?

#41 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 12:54 AM

John, did you remember to calibrate and retrain after you updated the Autostar?
The poor goto's can be the result of an Autostar upgrade and then forgetting to calibrate and retrain. Out of habit I also retrain even after I chnage batteries.


Hi Bob -

Thanks for the reminder - no matter how many times we do something, it's easy to overlook or forget a step, so a friendly reminder from a colleague certainly helps.

With the DSX I think I've calibrated and trained every time I've used it. The really bad GOTO's were a one time experience when I forgot to level the mount, and relied on the '0' setting on the altitude scale for levelling the tube.

The DS mount is a strange beast. With careful leveling and alignment on north, it gets closer to the alignment stars in Easy Align than any other scope I've used (Meade or Celestron). Tonight Arcturas and Altair were within 2 degrees of the center of the field of view.

But after alignment, GOTO's are inconsistent. I did the Tonight's Best tour. Some objects were with the field of view of a 40 mm eyepiece. Others were as much as 3 degrees off. Nowhere near as accurate as the ETX GOTO's.

However, the mount is quite useable - I generally observe in one area of the sky at a time, so synching on an object in that area greatly improves GOTO accuracy for that area.

#42 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 12:56 AM

Hey Guner - that's a great idea, using the knob to attach your PST. I think the DSX mount has a lot of potential for attaching different scopes - providing their weight is pretty light.

#43 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 05:10 PM

Today I got the AC power supply for the DSX. What a difference in the sound of the motors! I'm anxious to try it out, but the tube is on it's way to Meade for collimation, and the %$#@#$ slip ring in the azimuth drive slipped out again (I know why they call it a slip ring). Too bad - I had my 5" f/6 refractor mounted and ready to go, as shown in this picture:

Posted Image

#44 GUNER

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 07:32 PM

Hi All,
Look what I did with my DSX mount!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 579463-PST MOUNT 01.JPG


#45 kmjk

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 07:36 PM

Thomas,
What did you add/subtract to do that? It looks very cool. Does the GOTO work with that telescope? Is there anyway you could take a picture looking down and from the other side? Thanks

#46 GUNER

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Posted 29 August 2005 - 09:10 PM

Kevin,
This is just the PST mounted where the 125 would be. If you look under the "Solar" forum you'll find a post "New PST Mount" with photos of how I had it mounted before. Not the "New PST Mount Redux" post. The one you should look for in on page 2.
I Can't take anymore photos of the mount. I packed everything up for the StarParty I'm going to this weekend.

#47 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 02:20 PM

Hi all,

I bought one of the 125's also as a first scope. Apprently I have the retaining clip issue on the alt gears/motors. I would rather repair myself, but was looking for some more detailed instructions doint it.

Thanks

#48 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 03:56 PM

Hey jporter -

I started a new thread to deal with this issue. I believe enough of us have bought these scopes through the closeout that collectively we can come up with some good solutions.

#49 silversurfer

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 10:01 PM

Hey John,
I just PMd this to jporter, but since other folks are having the same issue I think I'll re-post here. Hope it helps!

Below are links to a pictures of the retaining clip I replaced, and the dissembled shaft. On the DSX-90 the replacement retaining clip I ended up using was 5/8". When you take the altitude shaft apart, you will see the retaining clip seated in a groove on the shaft. When properly in place, it will keep the altitude gear in place on the shaft. The problem with my scope was that the original clip was rather flimsy and kept popping out of place allowing the altitude gear to move and not mesh with the motor's gear. I fixed it a couple of times by just re-inserting the original clip back in the groove. After a few times of it happening, I decided to replace the clip with a sturdier one. After replacing the clip, I have had no other problems with the altitude axis.

To get at it you will need to disassemble the altitude shaft. First remove the OTA from the mount. Next remove the four screws that hold the "arm" the telescope was mounted on to the shaft. Behind the "arm" there is a nut you will need to remove. You will need to hold the clutch adjustment knob while you do this to keep the whole thing from rotating as you loosen the nut (it's a locknut so it will be tight). Once you have removed the locknut, unscrew the clutch adjustment knob all the way out of the assembly. There will be another nut with three "wings" on the locknut side of things which will now be loose so make sure you get it before it falls out. Once the knob is removed there will be another nut that holds the altitude shaft and setting circle in place. Remove it and the whole shaft should come out. Pay attention to how everything is arranged (in particular the large plastic gear). You should not need to do any further disassembly other than replacing the clip. Re-assemble by reversing the steps. A couple of notes about the re-assembly. The nut that holds the shaft and setting circle in place needs to be on snug, but not too tight or the axis will bind, and the movement will be stiff. The locknut needs to go on relatively tight to ensure things stay together. The whole thing is really not too difficult. In fact I just disassembled the shaft, took the picture and re-assembled everything in less than 10 min.

Here is the disassembled shaft with things in their relative positions. The retaining ring is in front of the washer that is in front of the large gear on the shaft. Everything to the left of the shaft mounts from the clutch adjustment side of the mount, the rest mounts from the OTA side of the mount.
http://home.austin.r...x-alt-shaft.jpg

and here are pictures of the original and replacement retaining clips
http://home.austin.r...ining_clips.jpg

Good luck!

#50 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 10:46 PM

Great writeup and great pictures! But I'm confused about the retaining ring you're using. I got one of those too. But because of its large diameter, it seemed to prevent the gear assembly from sliding far enough on the shaft. My impression is the Meade clip is small so it can slide inside the hole the main shaft slides in. Since your solution obviously works, I must have done something wrong.

I epoxied the Meade ring to the groove - if that fails, I will have another try at using the large ring that works for you.

Thanks again for the great information!


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