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Ol' C-8... How Old?

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#1 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 11:38 AM

Calling Old Celestron Aficionados:

I recently picked up a vintage C-8.
It's got sand-cast fork arms and seems to hail from the early to mid '70's. Typical orange tube.
Is it possible to get a more precise date from the serial number?
This one is s/n 111363.

Thanks!

#2 DAVIDG

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 02:35 PM

Does it say Celestron Internation or Celestron Pacific? The 'Pacific units are the oldest and date back to 1975 or earlier. Also the very old C-8's had a rubberized orange coatings vs the powered coated newer units. My clubs owns two very old C-8, serial numbers with a single digit, and one in the double digits. I believe #8 and #54. Also look at the date codes stamped on the AC sync. motors. Sometimes it's stamped on the front, others times the side.

Best Regards,
- Dave

#3 davidmcgo

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 07:57 PM

Clive,

I've got a 1976 C8 with smooth orange tube, sand cast forks, serial number 233835.

Dave

#4 trainsktg

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 08:07 PM

I've got mid-60's S&Ts with Celestron Pacific ads in them...this scope could be older than you think. They boast 1/20 wave optics.

Keith

#5 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 09:07 AM

Thanks to Dave, Dave and Keith!

The tip about Celestron Pacific vs. Celestron International and the synchronous motor info was very useful.
My scope is a "Celestron Pacific" unit.
The stamped info on the motors was hard to read, but definitely end with "- 72".
So, this one is most likely to be circa '72 or early '73.

The nicest thing is it's in virtually mint condition. Nary a scuff or scratch anywhere. I wondered why the ol' Orange was so pristine. Like it had been stuffed in a closet for 30 years.
The dealer informed me that the scope had sat on an observatory pier for a very long time and didn't get moved around. Apart from a thick coating of dust, it had nothing to show it's age.

#6 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 10:00 AM

A pic of the ol' C-8.
One modification from OEM: the power connector was changed to a DIN jack.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 764003-OldC8.jpg


#7 DAVIDG

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 02:56 PM

Clive,
You have a "second generation" C-8. The very first orange tube ones started in 1969 I believe. As I said the orange paint was rubberized, the mount was a light tan, not gray and it used a different plug on the AC power cord. I'll have to look at the old ones my clubs owns but it might be the DIN style connector so that might be original. The very first ones also used a focusing ring around the eyepieces tube to move the mirror and not a focusing knob off to side of the mirror cell. Also somewhere in the late 60's or early 70's Celestron moved to Torrance CA from another location in CA. The super old Celestron SCT were white tubes with blue mounts. I believe they made a 6",10" and 12".
You got a very nice unit.
Best Regards,
- Dave

#8 trainsktg

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 05:59 PM

The super old Celestron SCT were white tubes with blue mounts. I believe they made a 6",10" and 12".


Sure looks that way.

I've reviewed some of the ads in the S&Ts I have from 1965. Although black and white photos were the standard, the scopes shown are definitely not orange, most assuredly white. Interestingly, the price then, considering inflation, seems to be much more than a comparable instrument today. The 10" f15 with fork and pier mount retailed at $1870.

Keith

#9 davidmcgo

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 09:32 PM

The super old Celestron SCT were white tubes with blue mounts. I believe they made a 6",10" and 12".


Sure looks that way.

I've reviewed some of the ads in the S&Ts I have from 1965. Although black and white photos were the standard, the scopes shown are definitely not orange, most assuredly white. Interestingly, the price then, considering inflation, seems to be much more than a comparable instrument today. The 10" f15 with fork and pier mount retailed at $1870.

Keith


White tubes with blue forks and trim. See the picture of my C10 in the classic Scopes gallery. There is also one of my C8 together with the C10. The blue/whites were made at various times in 4", 6", 8", 10", 12", 16", and 22". Robert Piekiel has a CD-ROM book "Celestron, The Early Years" which does a super job detailing these scopes and the beginnings of the orange tube models and is a must have if you like these old scopes.

The C10 I have was made in 1965 and has really super optics, very smooth surfaces, small obstruction for a SCT at 27% of diameter, and is a real treat to use.

Dave

#10 davidmcgo

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 09:38 PM

Hi all,

On a second note, the original power connector was a 2 pin "jones" plug from Cinch. Cinch still shows the type 302 in their products listing (www.cinch.com) but don't know if it is available, and they appear to deal with OEM only. The strange notation is the part with the pins is the "plug", even though it is what is recessed into the drive base. The part on the end of the cord that goes into it is the "socket".

Clive, that's a sweet looking scope and the Meade tripod is much nicer in use than the original locked triangle from Celestron. The original Celestron was steadier but needed flat ground and was too tall to sit at the eyepiece.

Dave

#11 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 10:27 AM

Hi all,

On a second note, the original power connector was a 2 pin "jones" plug from Cinch. Cinch still shows the type 302 in their products listing (www.cinch.com) but don't know if it is available, and they appear to deal with OEM only. The strange notation is the part with the pins is the "plug", even though it is what is recessed into the drive base. The part on the end of the cord that goes into it is the "socket".

Clive, that's a sweet looking scope and the Meade tripod is much nicer in use than the original locked triangle from Celestron. The original Celestron was steadier but needed flat ground and was too tall to sit at the eyepiece.

Dave


Thanks Dave.
The Meade tripod was included by the dealer, since the C-8 had been used on a pier all it's life and didn't have a tripod.
It'll be much easier to take outside and setup with the wedge attached, vs. using the old "locked-triangle" pod.

#12 trainsktg

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 07:18 PM

Clive,

Are you guys out in the 'Cloud' polymorphs, or what?

Keith

#13 Gendo

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Posted 15 January 2006 - 05:55 AM

That old C8 looks brand new. Nice find Clive.

#14 DAVIDG

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 01:27 PM

I checked the very old C-8 my club which has a single digit serial number and it to has the Cinch Jones plug connector in the side of the base. So yours is original equipment.

- Dave

#15 Clive Gibbons

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 01:49 PM

That old C8 looks brand new. Nice find Clive.


Thanks, Gendo.
The ol' Orange must have slumbered on it's observatory pier for many a year. :grin:

#16 Brian Risley

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 10:40 PM

If anyone is looking for the 302 Cinch Jones receptacle or plug, Mouser Electronics carries them. Only a few bucks for either and they take small orders.
I have #458, and was told in 1979 that it was made around 1972. (They had a flood in mid 70's and lost records.)
The real old ones with original drive assemblies will have the RA lock knob beside the RA slow mo knob. Later they moved it up to above the slow mo knob. This was done as the older style pressed a thin metal plate against the face of the gears and was subject to slippage and fatigue. The move to the new position allowed a plate to be pressed against the side of the gears. At first this plate was metal, but they later went to a nylon plate, as the plate was subject to developing a high point that became polished and allowed slippage. I had to have my base exchanged in 1979 because the metal gear face plate broke. They changed the base, using my motors and it had the metal plate. I then had it develop the high point, along with several at the college, so I got in the nylon plates late 79, early 80. Still have one of the old metal plates with the high point, came across it the other day.
The paint on the very old scopes was a 3M velvetone type paint, pain to clean and subject to greening. Even the forks had this coating. Later they went to the smooth tube, then late in the 70's they went to the 'orange peel finish'.
The real early scopes had the wider, flatter focus knob. Around 1975 they changed to a smaller knob with a very low profile focus bearing holder, and then later they went to a narrower focus bearing assembly. Don't know the exact year this change took place.

Brian Risley
72 & 80 C-8's, 80 C90, 62mm Cometron, 11x80 Meade Bino's

#17 Bonco

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 06:13 PM

Looks identical to the one I purchased in 1973.
Brings back fond memories.
Bonco

#18 StarsAbove

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 06:39 AM

I bought one back in '79 or '80 as I recall. I used to spend about 20 minutes each night on polar alignmnet and calibarting the setting circles. When I got really lucky, I could get within 0.5 degrees of finding an object using the setting circles. Pretty good for those days. Now with GOTO it's not as much fun to find things but I can see a whole lot more in one evening.

#19 Gendo

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 06:44 AM

StarsAbove,

That's why I refuse to buy a GOTO mount. It takes half the fun out of it, and at least for me, I'd be less likely to remember where in the sky something is if I didn't have to find it.

All I want is a mount that has really good PEC tracking. Hopefully the lightly used Ultima 8 fork mount I bought will do just that.

#20 Jeff Lee

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 07:48 PM

Does anyone know when Celestron changed from CP to CI?

About 4 years ago I got a CP with "special coatings" C5 spotter. The only thing I can say is that a star party people were pretty blown away by the images it gives. My C8 is a pretty good 2001 model, very sharp images. The little C5 appears just as sharp. I know CP spent a lot of time on the little guys (rumor is that is cost more to make them, check out Brian Tungs site)and they were supposed to be very good (actually, I don't think I've ever known of a bad C5).

It would be interesting to know how old this little guy is. I think the tube ends are sand cast, very nicely made and they are certainly "Tan". This scope might be from the 70's and not early 80's like I thought.


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