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Meade Deep Space Telescopes DS-10 and DS-16

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#1 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 02:14 PM

Meade introduced the DS telescopes in 1982, I think actually as a telescope for astrophotography.

At first the electric drive and 2 inch focuser were optional but later became standard equipment with the DS-10A and DS-16A.

The telescope focal ratio for both the 10 inch and 16 inch is f/4.5 for very short exposure times.

The focal point of the DS telescope has been intentionally set beyond the normal travel of the standard focusing mechanism. By setting the focal point in such a position it is not necessary to move the primary for prime-focus photography.

Early the scopes appear to have been painted a sky blue color and latter dark blue.

Over the years I've come very close to owning a DS-16 but never did. You don't see many DS-16's because the equatorial mount is highly desirable for the popular 6"f/15 refractor class scopes and the primary if a fine one for the new wave of Dobsonian design telescopes.

I'm surprised how few DS-10 are around so they must not be very desirable in original configuration, or they too may be being re-purposed into something more practical. 

I owned a DS-10 years ago and  I admit the short pier and non rotating tube got me into some rather gymnastical positions which I've never been one to excel in this arena.

Here is a picture of my old DS-10A I owned years ago. Anyone else here own one or owned a DS?

Robert

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Edited by actionhac, 15 April 2015 - 02:20 PM.

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#2 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 02:42 PM

I recently bought a DS-10 and I'm going to overhaul it. Under the white paint I can see the sky blue paint of a early model DS but this one does have a drive and 2 inch focuser. These options may have been installed by the factory at the time the order was placed or installed by the owner at a later date.

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#3 mdowns

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 03:21 PM

I had an early DS16. Its been forever ago but I think mine was white though it might have been light blue. It had the worse 'professionally' made primary I have ever owned. Was a great shaving mirror. I could use the scope with early generation nags and the original meade UWAs and get good deep sky views though. At the time thats all I was interested in anyway. Very clearly displayed reds in M42,globs in M31 and galactic details in many many targets . Despite the low end figure I got high end pleasure when it came to deep sky.I could never achieve a descent focus on the moon or the planets but at that time in my life I wasn't at all interested in lunar and planetary targets.Still remember it fondly though as it was in my observatory back  under decent skies.I had mine on a very heavy dob mount I had made (all 1.5" plywood) that was far more rigid than the EQ that it came with. Of course my vision was still exceptional back then as well. Never regretted owning it or selling it.



#4 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 03:47 PM

Thats good to know that there can be some dud mirrors out there. I can't remember the views in my old long gone DS-10 and I haven't looked through my new 10 yet.

This mirror is 1-1/4" thick so I guess it may be thinner than standard with a 1:8 thickness to diameter ratio rather than 1:6.

I center spotted the mirror to take advantage of modern collimation tools. Its very steep so it'll make a good bird bath if its a dud!

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#5 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 03:49 PM

The cell is interesting, here you can see a large gap which allows airflow around the mirror.

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#6 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 03:52 PM

and the mirror sits on top of these blocks for air to flow around the mirror. Also note nylon centering screws to keep the mirror from moving around too much, very important at this fast focal ratio.

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#7 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 04:12 PM

The previous owner made this really nice rotating ring assembly but unfortunately threw out all the original parts to mount the tube to mount, so I can't return the scope to original.

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#8 Don Taylor

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 04:46 PM

I've had an early DS10 since new - light blue with the 2" focuser option, no drive. My only scope from 1982 to 2002 when I added an ETX90.

My DS10 picked up a University 11x70 Finder and much later a Rigel quick finder.

I haven't used the scope since getting a Lightbridge 16 about 4 years ago.

The mirror in my DS10 is not great but it sure showed me tons of deep space objects.

I did relocate the primary some years back to eliminate the need for extension tubes and to better make use of the secondary.

Edited by Don Taylor, 15 April 2015 - 04:46 PM.


#9 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 06:19 PM

I hope my mirror is satisfactory. I know its not a planetary scope so my expectations are pretty conservative.

Here's the 2.6" minor axis diagonal and its support,  the same 2-vane bar as the Coulter Odyssey and the same size as the Odyssey 10".

 

 

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#10 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 06:28 PM

The shortest pier in the universe.

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#11 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 07:28 PM

I wonder will my new scope be a Spam Burger or a  Super Deluxe Sirloin? 

I'm okay ether way I guess, except I did spend a lot of money on the DS-10 ($200) knowing Meade makes very good mirrors. 30yrs ago it was probably difficult to make a really good f/4.5

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Edited by actionhac, 15 April 2015 - 07:41 PM.

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#12 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 07:38 PM

The drive sure is nice. Enclosed in a case, Bristol motor, nylon clutch discs. Purrs like a kitten. 

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#13 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 07:46 PM

And setting circles.

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#14 Don Taylor

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 08:37 PM

Robert! Yours is FANCY!!! Mine came with a smooth black plastic drum (with no markings) where your RA circle is, and on the Dec axis I have a shaft collar.

Actually I probably would not have used them anyway - mainly used the scope like a Dob - albeit an Equitorially mounted one.

#15 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 08:48 PM

This little platform is interesting. Its fully adjustable at the 4 corners. My guess is it is to hold a camera to use the telescopes drive for time exposure. Or a guide devise for the main telescope. 

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#16 actionhac

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 08:52 PM

Robert! Yours is FANCY!!! Mine came with a smooth black plastic drum (with no markings) where your RA circle is, and on the Dec axis I have a shaft collar.

Actually I probably would not have used them anyway - mainly used the scope like a Dob - albeit an Equitorially mounted one.

Wow interesting, I wonder if the setting circles were also optional.

Robert



#17 wfj

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 08:57 PM

Had a DS-10A for better part of a decade. Optics better than friends XT8.

 

At one point made it into a "goto" scope by adding  a declination worm gear and servo motor, replaced the bristol motor with a servo motor. Worked pretty good until I found I was finding objects faster by hand - had a few years of darker sky than usual, allowing me to develop my skills with DSO's. Went back to the bristol motor.

 

Picked up a Odyssey Red Tube 10" - had a 10" at two different locations for a while. The dob was easier to use given the eye position of DS-10A's fixed position, as well as lighter to take in/out, where also the challenge of getting the GEM out the door. I added rollers and rotating rings to the DS-10, but it still was a chore.

 

When I ended up in one location with both scopes, the Odyssey got used much more frequently. By this point, I'd lost my run of dark skies, but did get more frequent runs of very stable seeing, so I concentrated on planetary features. I'd kept both under the thought that the DS-10 had a sharper mirror.

 

Pitched both against each other, fixing tube, ventilation, CO size, collimation, and other issues for both. Borrowed a friends excellent 12" long newt, and eventually found to my surprise that while both were pretty fair, the Odyssey reliably out did the DS-10.

 

Sold it to a gentleman who incrementally "un did" all my changes in turning it into a scope for astrophotography!


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#18 Don Taylor

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Posted 15 April 2015 - 09:22 PM

The instruction manual I have says the setting circles are "optional".  Also the"viewfinder" and "motor drive".

 

The original magazine ads were from "Crown Optics" an "authorized Meade Dealer" but it appears that "Crown Optics" was actually part of Meade and all subsequent documentation etc. came directly from Meade. I don't know if the DS series scopes were ever sold through normal retail channels.  If memory serves me it was originally called a "Crown DS-10" but became a "Meade DS-10" after I ordered it but before delivery.  I don't think the first ads referred to it as a Meade product - notwithstanding the guy adjusting the finderscope in the Crown Optics ads was the same fellow adjusting finderscopes in the Meade ads at the time.  

 

Mine was shipped Nov 9, 1982 and the total cost including the 2" focuser and shipping was $512.50.  A piece of masking tape on the back of the cell has the number "288" - maybe a serial number? Mine is the light blue color but has the large metalized plastic Meade "Deep Space Telescope DS-10" label.

 

I recall the price came down shortly thereafter - perhaps to better compete with the Coulters - dunno.


Edited by Don Taylor, 15 April 2015 - 09:29 PM.


#19 Loren Gibson

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 06:38 AM

Robert and all,

 

Nice find and interesting post! I purchased a DS-16 (DS-16A, I presume) from Roger Tuthill c. 1987. I think Meade discontinued the line shortly thereafter. I bought the optional Sealmaster ball bearings for the RA axis. The tube was the deep blue color, and it had setting circles and the synchronous motor RA drive (which I usually powered from a car battery and a Vogel Digitrak drive corrector).

 

It was a bear to carry out of the house, set up, take down, and take back inside. I can’t remember the weights of all the components, but it was plenty! I rigged up a sling to carry out the tube with the primary mounted in it. (I was always worried about damaging the primary mirror when mounting it to the Sonotube.) That arrangement was temporary, as I built a roll-off roof observatory to house it. I modified the OTA with a hole saw and other assorted tools and moved the secondary and focuser a couple of inches or so further away from the primary mirror in order to achieve a wider fully illuminated field, and to not require extension tubes to bring eyepieces to focus.

 

Regarding the gymnastical positions (lol), I accommodated it well. Once I had it in the ROR building, the pier fabricated for it was a bit taller (with respect to the floor) than the standard portable pier. There were really very few positions that I couldn’t be reasonably comfortable during viewing, at least by me at that age. For objects low in the southwest, for example, I would undersling the scope so that the counterweight end of the dec axis was pointed up towards the sky, and it was very comfortable to stand on the floor and lean over slightly to look into the eyepiece. The taller pier, which had no feet on the floor to interfere with the OTA, made for a pretty wide range of western and southwestern sky which was viewable in this manner. For some high altitude objects, I would have a stepladder straddling the drive motor, and I could comfortably (again, for my age at the time!) lean against the upper part of the stepladder and view.

 

I felt that my optics were very good. Views were better than any other telescope had I used to date, aside from the big Newtonians that I used at a nearby university. (In fact, I returned my observatory keys to the university because I was having a very good time at home with the DS-16, and I wound up staying home.)

 

The bad part came after a number of years when I discovered that the scope was not maintaining collimation with changes in orientation. I was looking at Saturn one evening, about 30 degrees in altitude, and it looked peculiar. It could have been seeing, I thought, but yet my impression from other observations was that seeing wasn’t bad that night. I suspected collimation, and did a quick check of the in and out of focus diffraction patterns of a bright star high in the sky. It looked fine. (I rarely had to collimate the scope.) I then pointed to a low-altitude bright star, and the collimation was poor.

 

At the time, I accused the Sonotube weakening and deforming with age. But I now wonder if it was the plywood to which the mirror cell was attached and then bolted to the bottom end of the Sonotube. In any event, it was a hassle to recollimate for specific orientations, and it really wasn’t in the cards for me to rebuild the scope. This scope was eventually given to an interested party as I stopped using it. Wherever its components are today (the Sonotube was discarded), it’s certainly no longer a DS-16!

 

Loren


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#20 actionhac

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 11:10 AM

I came very close to owning a DS-16 twice in my lifetime,  when I was new to large aperture telescopes.

The first one I looked at I plain just chickened out because of the size.

The second one was too far of a drive so I never looked at it.

The third one was a few miles from my house and the tube was badly damaged.

As much as I'd like to see an original restoration done to preserve one of these DS-16 I should have bought the damaged one and replaced the sonotube with a lightweight aluminum Serrurier truss:

http://en.wikipedia....Serrurier_truss

with the Serrurier truss the equatorial can still be used and it would be a more manageable kit. And build it with a rotating upper cage.

I haven't seen another one available locally for years now.

All three were dark blue.

 

Robert



#21 actionhac

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 12:19 PM

It just occurred to me everybody is probably wondering "where's the chip", did Robert buy a telescope that has no clam chips,

that's impossible! Robert is the chip magnet!

here is my chip, never fails!

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#22 MtnGoat

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 12:38 PM

I picked up the EQ mount by itself for a project (with the sealmaster RA bearings), and later on a 16" in dob format from CL dirt cheap. I haven't mated them up, no rings for the big boy and I don't feel like building them anyway. The dob base isn't in the greatest shape and I know they were not regarded as great to start with, but instead the inevitable work in progress. I understand the infamous "Meade creak" now, though. Everytime you move the dob in AZ, it makes a very unique and distinct creaking noise.

 

I picked the 16 up because I knew I couldn't touch a mirror that size for anything near the asking price normally, and the coating has aged poorly with large areas which light passes right through as seen from it's back side. It's pretty funked up, when out side by side with my Z12 dob it does noticably better in light grasp, but only barely and I know that's not right. So at some point I'll send it to Swayze in nearby portland for a few magic swipes of the masters hand, and then a recoat.



#23 madeline

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 01:53 PM

It just occurred to me everybody is probably wondering "where's the chip", did Robert buy a telescope that has no clam chips,

that's impossible! Robert is the chip magnet!

here is my chip, never fails!

Does that chip affect viewing?



#24 actionhac

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 03:58 PM

MtnGoat,

Parallax Instruments sell rings for the Meade DS-16, down at the bottom of the list

for a 19 inch tube:

http://www.parallaxi....html#ringprice

They ain't cheap but they are worth every penny.

 

madeline I think its actually a bubble rather than a chip, it could be a chip, and it does not extend onto the surface past the bevel. If it did I could  put one of the mirror clips over it.

 

I seem to attract the chipped lenses and mirrors and prisms, its so unusual, I really can't believe it.

 

Robert


Edited by actionhac, 16 April 2015 - 07:21 PM.

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#25 MtnGoat

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Posted 16 April 2015 - 07:32 PM

Yup I saw those rings! They're more than I paid for the scope. If I expected to be able to mount it well enough to use it for photography I might consider it, but I don't think that EQ is up to it. My plan was to leave it dob.


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