Older Tasco Question
Posted 08 September 2005 - 07:47 PM
Is a late 70's to early 80's Tasco still a "decent" scope, or had they started deteriorating from earlier quality standards by then?
Posted 09 September 2005 - 07:33 AM
Now, the rest of the scope aside from the OTA was subpar. It had a useless 5x24 finderscope that was stopped down to an even smaller aperture, useless 0.965" diameter eyepieces, a sub-par EQ2-equivalent equatorial head, and so on. At least the tripod legs were wooden back then.
Hope this experience of mine helps.
Posted 18 September 2005 - 12:24 AM
Posted 07 October 2005 - 02:54 PM
I still used it and had a lot of fun.
Years later when I got more serious into the hobby again after school, and after using other "better" scopes, I again gave old red a try.
I was somewhat shocked at how good the scope actually was! Well, in some regards. The biggest knock against it was the eyepieces and the finder. The EP's were before the days of plastic, but still poor. I added a cheap plastic 1.25" focuser that was not as good as the original, but allowed use of good EP's.
Wow, nice images. I compared it to one of the new 4.5" newt's on the market today and the difference was noticeable in terms of how much sharper the images were.
I'm now currently in the process of restoring/upgrading this scope for use as one of my primary quick-look scopes. I have moved the original mount on to carrying a little refractor and mounted the 11TR on my spare EQ5. You can never overmount, but it's more than necessary.
I'm replacing the focuser with a JMI crayford, have added a dovetail for the modern Synta finder's, and have some bigger mods planned. Flocking and optical train work are planned.
The mirrors have never been cleaned and really need work. Still, with the JMI focuser and real finder it's a sweet scope. Easily bests my SkyWatcher 80ED even as is. The details I was seeing on Mars the other morning were as good as I have ever seen them. Lots of the details you see in the webcam images were visible.
I'm planning on starting a thread on the whole project to cover what I'm doing. Maybe it will bring back some memories for people.
Sorry to rant, but all this to say that I think any of the 4.5" newts of that era were pretty decent in the main optical train, but did have the weak points mentioned above.
Posted 07 October 2005 - 07:53 PM
Fortunately, we discovered a neat company called "Orion Telescopes and Binoculars" that sold 0.965" diameter Orthoscopic eyepieces. Wow, what a difference that made! A big step up in quality, and the beginning of a 15+ year relationship with Orion.
The mount really wasn't that bad - it was essentially an EQ2 head (the modern ones look exactly the same as the ones from that era, at least when looking at pictures in catalogs) on a wooden tripod. Overall, it was decent, but I was not too skilled with equatorial mounts and the EQ2 design does have some flaws even if it was sturdy enough for the scope.
I guess my point is that I'd love to hear about the restoration project. Once one gets rid of the 0.965" eyepieces and the toy finderscope, the classical Tasco 11TR was a pretty nice instrument. I saw a lot in it before aperture fever set in, and sometimes I wish I hadn't sold it. Not sure how much use it would get these days, but it is a reminder that entry level scopes do not need to be junk. I'd take a Tasco 11TR, bad finder and eyepieces included, over most of the eBay junk special scopes any day of the week.
Posted 08 October 2005 - 12:08 AM
Posted 08 October 2005 - 02:11 AM
Later on, I got a fairly cheap 4" refractor and I have to say, the 4.5" really looked rather poor in comparison. In the 4.5, Saturn never really showed the division very well or the shadows at all, whereas the refractor gives a very nice view. I remember how the reflector topped out on Saturn at about 180x, already soft and mushy, and I just always wished I had a little more. That has never happened on the refractor. In 1994 the spots on Jupiter could be seen in the 4.5, but not all that well. I never made out the red spot or moon shadows in the 4.5." Our moon looked nice as a crescent but at full it was rather washed out, whereas the refractor makes even the full moon just plain amazing.
I liked the scope a heck of a lot, but knowing what I know now, I realize that it was plenty good for a little reflector but nothing wonderful. The first time I looked through the 4" refractor, I could hardly believe my eyes.
I think the scopes like the 4.5" were really quite good for the time. Today much better scopes can be made for much less. The Chinese 4" refractors cost no more and are a lot better. But the 4.5" reflectors were a lot of fun and were at least as good as I might have ground out at home as a first attempt if it'd been 20 or 30 years earlier. I actually loved it and I wish I still enjoyed this stuff like I did then. I could still use that 4.5" and be happy. It showed most of what needed showing.
Posted 08 October 2005 - 02:15 AM
Posted 10 October 2005 - 10:24 AM
Posted 10 October 2005 - 11:47 AM
A simple fix for mount stability is upgraded wood legs. I did this with mine many years ago and it greatly improved the stability. Here is a picture with my 80ED on the mount.
I just finished re-assembling my 11tr last night after some upgrades. My primary has never been cleaned before (it would be almost 20 years) and it was grungy. Big different after a cleaning!
The other big changes included finishing the installation of my JMI focuser, and completing the flocking of the tube. The focuser is a big enhancement to the operation of the scope. But, in terms of noticeability, I think the flocking is a bigger enhancement.
I used Protostar flocking paper and did the whole tube. I also did the mirror cell and a few other bits. It's now like looking into a black hole! The blackness is *very* black and the mirror really stands out.
Should be amazing when the weather finally clears.
Posted 11 October 2005 - 08:29 AM