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Meade 320 by Mizar

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#1 DMala

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Posted 29 January 2016 - 11:45 PM

The thread that got me started on this scope is locked  and I am therefore opening a new one. Maybe 8-10 months ago I was hopping from one discussion to another and I landed here:

http://www.cloudynig...-80mm-900mmf11/

For some reason the Meade 320 by Mizar caught my attention, because I felt it was reasonably old, it looked good, reportedly has very good lenses and focuser, had a nice mount with wooden tripod, and was made by a good manufacturer. It did not seem one of the hot models sought by collectors which made me hope for a price within the range I am interested in.

Just a few days ago I located one on EBay, I asked for an opinion to a couple forum members that gave a green light (thanks!), and went for it without even asking any question to the seller, as I had too many other things going on. I knew the dew shield has a very noticeable dent. The package arrival (which was a bit dramatic for me)  is documented here:  

http://www.cloudynig...25951-arghhhhh/

Next I got a good workout in order to unscrew the dew shield from the lens cell. My strap wrenches did the miracle again but it was very difficult, the threads where making a sort of grinding noise and I could only unscrew the parts a few degrees at a time. With patience it came off in about 15-20' of work.

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  • Meade 320_10.jpg
  • Meade 320_11.jpg

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#2 Chuck Hards

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 12:03 AM

Which thread is locked?  The other one you just started on this scope is still open.



#3 DMala

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 12:07 AM

Next I cleaned the OTA and focuser, and then moved my attention to the lens cell. It turned out that the lenses and their coatings are perfect, no scratches nor imperfections. They cleaned very well.  Then I reinstalled the collimation screw that was loose and rattling under the front cap when the scope arrived, and I tightened it just enough to hold in place. The front lens is in a mount that is screwed into the main ring with the collimation screws, and I noticed a drop of resin on the treads, to hold it position. This seemed original and I took it as a good sign that the cell has not been messed with. 

 

The dew shield was so hard to take off not because of the dent, but because in several spots the threads appeared jammed with aluminum shavings. It did not look like cross-threading damage  but rather aluminum grit from when the tube was threaded. I scraped it it away and with a dental pick re-shaped the threads where needed. The dew shield went back onto the lens cell like a dream! 

 

I cleaned and re-assembled the mount and tripod, noticing that the wedges that slide into the OTA rings (is there a special name for such type of connection?) are not aligned along the polar axis of the mount. They point the OTA towards the right (see picture). Is this some ergonomic design to make the control cable stick out for easy access? Or is this due to some other reason?

Attached Thumbnails

  • Meade 320_8.jpg
  • Meade 320_12.jpg


#4 DMala

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 12:08 AM

I used the wrong term, it is archived and therefore no replies are possible.

 

 

http://www.cloudynig...-80mm-900mmf11/



#5 DMala

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 12:21 AM

As to my great surprise I finished all this only around 9PM, I peeked outside and saw a starry sky with few clouds.... Star Test!

 

I am happy to say that the optics seem well collimated, the disks are round, the rings seem concentric and I think I could see the three lens spacers, evenly distributed. The mount seemed solid and very smooth. 

The only weak point seem the tripod legs, which are not adequately spaced apart and the scope seemed easy to tip over. Which probably explains the dent at the front! The legs are also a bit skinny and every time I touched the focuser knobs very noticeable vibrations would last several seconds.  I wonder if I can find heavier legs that would fit.

 

So overall this scope seems a winner and will be out a lot with the nice season! 

 

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  • Meade 320_13.jpg


#6 clearwaterdave

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:57 AM

I think that is the same scope as this.,just a different mount.,,it's my most used scope.,,now that I made a more friendly mount.,

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#7 apfever

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 05:11 AM

As to my great surprise I finished all this only around 9PM, I peeked outside and saw a starry sky with few clouds.... Star Test!

 

I am happy to say that the optics seem well collimated, the disks are round, the rings seem concentric and I think I could see the three lens spacers, evenly distributed. The mount seemed solid and very smooth. 

The only weak point seem the tripod legs, which are not adequately spaced apart and the scope seemed easy to tip over. Which probably explains the dent at the front! The legs are also a bit skinny and every time I touched the focuser knobs very noticeable vibrations would last several seconds.  I wonder if I can find heavier legs that would fit.

 

So overall this scope seems a winner and will be out a lot with the nice season! 

 

 

I don't think you have the original legs. Both of mine have much taller and stronger looking legs. Both of mine came with the same legs. Your entire tray/spreader system doesn't match either.


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#8 clearwaterdave

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 07:45 AM

I agree with apfever.,my tray was solid.,,no holes.,,and after looking again.,those legs do look skinny.,,

#9 DMala

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 08:12 AM

Thanks guys.

 

The tray is circular in the picture of post 1 of the old 320 thread:

http://www.cloudynig...mf11/?p=1848576

 

If you guys could post a picture of yours, it would be interesting. Is apfever's scope a Meade 310 or 320?  

 

Note also that Clearwaterdave's Meade 320 is a Towa, you can see the rear end and the lens cell of mine are different, see post 11 in the thread above.

 

So I am not sure if the skinny legs are a replacement or just model variation, since the scope seems almost new and the mount correct and original. In any case they are clearly not adequate, maybe I will try to see if I can find extender plates for the tabs that link the tray to the legs, and spread them apart a bit more.

 

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I also looked at the moon and at medium magnification and higher a small orange fringe was visible, which I presume is fully expected.



#10 Bob S

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 08:42 AM

I bought a 320 back in 1985, it got donated about 20 years ago to a budding astronomer, but as I recall the tray was round, without holes and the tripod was solider than the one in the pictures. The mount looks right, but the tripod doesn't, it could be a tripod from a smaller, maybe 60mm telescope. 



#11 apfever

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:13 PM

The original legs are all like these as far as I know. All of mine have this type and it is the only type I've seen on others.

The extensions are fully adjustable slides, not the individual set through bolt holes.  The tip ends are drilled and I found a single pin in this set, so I think they had rubber tips originally. I cut old drill bits for pins and make tips from rubber stoppers, that would pass a close exam for original.

 

The tray is solid round with a single center hole for a bolt and the clamping knob (note the original knob configuration, NOT a standard hardware item). The spreader arms are simple flat stock with no ridges or bends, only holes for the leg ends and a slot for the tray. This makes them a breeze for home made replacement.  The two items on the right are the original leg spacers that take the ends of the spreader arms. Note the matching two mounting holes.

 

The fully collapsed legs are 3' long and fully extended are 4' - 5".

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Edited by apfever, 30 January 2016 - 01:15 PM.

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#12 apfever

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:37 PM

Here's the full monty.

 

Interesting that I started this just a few days ago as it came up in the room we attacked with a vengeance.  I have the objective out for cleaning. Originally it had a flipped crown that I discovered later the same night I bought it. I did a flip in the field which entailed putting the long exposed surface dust in the middle. It was pretty obvious that the fine dust wouldn't grind between the doublet spacing so I let it be - must be years now. The image snapped to focus when I flipped it, even with the notable dust. I wasn't about to wipe anything in the field, and there has been no adverse effects with it sitting. I considered selling the mount alone quite a while ago, so I had it dismantled to see how it would fit in a large or medium USPS Flat Rate Box.  I'm glad I didn't sell it. There is no dew shield, and it is missing one spreader arm assembly. Besides those two items, this is a full set up that is mechanically and optically very nice. 

 

My new helper here has projects focused for me like I haven't been able to do consistently and this one is moving nicely. I'll even make the set of leg tips.

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#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:58 PM

 

As to my great surprise I finished all this only around 9PM, I peeked outside and saw a starry sky with few clouds.... Star Test!

 

I am happy to say that the optics seem well collimated, the disks are round, the rings seem concentric and I think I could see the three lens spacers, evenly distributed. The mount seemed solid and very smooth. 

The only weak point seem the tripod legs, which are not adequately spaced apart and the scope seemed easy to tip over. Which probably explains the dent at the front! The legs are also a bit skinny and every time I touched the focuser knobs very noticeable vibrations would last several seconds.  I wonder if I can find heavier legs that would fit.

 

So overall this scope seems a winner and will be out a lot with the nice season! 

 

 

I don't think you have the original legs. Both of mine have much taller and stronger looking legs. Both of mine came with the same legs. Your entire tray/spreader system doesn't match either.

 

 

:waytogo:

 

I agree, something isn't  right. My 320 has legs slightly smaller than the Vixen Super Polaris legs and are so steeply angled.  The spreader and tray are also quite different. The tray is triangular and the spreader attaches to the edge and not the bottom.  The spreader arms and not horizontal either but angled down.. The tray itself is only a framework, the actual container is a plastic triangular affair. 

 

 

jon

Attached Thumbnails

  • Meade 320 mount.jpg


#14 DMala

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 04:12 PM

I also found these pictures showing tripod legs like yours, not like mine:

 

http://imgur.com/a/b5abE

 

 

The seller says he was the original buyer and the legs are original... maybe he swapped them by accident, who knows.  I will keep an eye on the local craigslist for some cheap beater with wooden legs, or just keep what I have since I am thinking that my next purchase should be a quality goto mount to align with any known star , since I would like to try astrophoto from my main residence in North NJ but I have no view of Polaris.

 

 

BTW the seller will send me some astronomy books to make up for the poor packaging and extra OTA dings.... 

 

Info on the Meade-Mizar-Hino connection here:

 

http://www.cloudynig...ap-nihon-seiko/



#15 apfever

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 04:41 PM

 

 

Info on the Meade-Mizar-Hino connection here:

 

http://www.cloudynig...ap-nihon-seiko/

 

 

LOLOL, starting about entry number 10, that's my place 4 years ago to the month. Just saying,  here's how that room stays now, and MOST of those in the link post are GONE not just relocated. You won't see a telescope in there, not one. There's an 1876 bino microscope in that case on the far left of the mantle, in perfect functioning condition.

 

OK, enough, another string....

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#16 apfever

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 12:14 AM

Does any one know for sure what the original tips on the legs are like?  There are two main possibilities. One is a simple rubber tip that stopped at the end of the wood. The other option is a special single molded tip that had a collar that raised up over the tapered end of the leg. The set of three matching furniture tips will work excellently for this purpose but it would be nice to know for sure. All three legs are drilled for a pin and I had one pin (on the towel) with this set but I can't trust anything here for originality. 

 

These legs are in nice mechanical condition without gouges, chunkage, splits, warp, etc. The finish is a solid dark brown stain. A wipe with matching stain (I have some) would give a total newer look but I prefer to keep the patina of use. This Old English Scratch Cover for Dark Wood is just what I'm looking for as seen on the one leg end. It's not as black as the picture shows. A first application with a Qtip on the bad spots, then a second wipe to blend it in when the first app reaches a dryer but still tacky feel. Meanwhile the all original hardware gets a soak and possible tooth brush with some CLR for very minor signs rust dust, then a protective machine oil type spray. Not much else needed here.  

 

The objective cleaned up nicely but still needs just a touch and the OTA should be together by the second leg wipe. The mount was already in good shape but I'll check everything as I re assemble it. This should be out of the back room tomorrow.

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#17 DMala

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 12:23 AM

Thumbs up for Old English. 



#18 DMala

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 09:02 PM

The dents are gone, well, say 95% gone which is good enough for me. A bit of hammering with wood dowels, some judicious use of pliers over a piece of leather.....

 

Does anyone have a source for enamel in a blue tone similar to the scope?

 

Also, as during the fall two of the finderscope set screws bent, and one succumbed during surgery, does anyone know a source for them? Diameter is 3.7mm with a 0.70 thread. Note that the serrated ring is a separate part which I saved.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Meade 320_14.jpg
  • 20160130_103720_resized.jpg


#19 Johnnydman

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 10:08 PM

I've had success before straightening a bent set screw by drilling and tapping a hole in a scrap piece of metal, thread in to close to the bend, then carefully bending it back to straight.

I did one on a Towa made Jason 313 clone (A&F 313). If memory serves, it was an m3x0.60


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#20 DMala

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 12:28 AM

I do something similar using a vise with some leather or heavy fabric as tread protector, but this time it did not work, as soon as I applied a minimum of pressure it snapped. Probably it was cracked to start with.



#21 Johnnydman

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 10:08 AM

Yes, if cracked then it'll most certainly break. But, I figure it's worth a shot to try as the screw isn't good any way.

 

I also like to slip a small tube, as tight (i.d.) as I can find over the unthreaded part to use for leverage and also to keep from inducing a second bend.



#22 apfever

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 11:10 AM

When the screw is bent, the metal has done what's called 'necking'.  In arrogant sesquipedalian terms, the screw has exceeded its modulus of elasticity.  I don't care how you support the straight section, when you bend it back, the stretched outside tends to stay put and the inside curve 'necks' so it breaks.  If it wasn't bent bad enough to break when you straighten it, then you'll probably have a screw that is stretched all the way around with a weak section at the bend.

 

Your best bet is to never straighten it by pushing directly sideways.  Try tapping it at a 45 degree angle (or even straighter) to help the outside necked portion to compress back together some. This is very realistic since the stretched side will have fractures in the grain that can close up. This reduces the amount of stretching on the 'good' side too.

The other thing I've done is clamp the bolt in a vice, end to end, with the ends supported underneath, then tap the bend down. This works for longer bolts but takes a funky feel for the vice work. Sorry, what can I say, it's a funky feel from having done it but it's only for longer larger stuff.

 

Your finder screws are probably a little smaller than this but it sure makes the pictures easier.

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Edited by apfever, 01 February 2016 - 11:12 AM.

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#23 apfever

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 11:47 AM

Well, the drill press was already set up due to my #@)  Meade 320.   LOLOLOL, I had the caps on when I typed 320 but the result fits - this dang #@) Meade 320.  and I was geared for pictures already so here goes:

 

I had everything done yesterday, the tube, the lens, the tripod mods, all of it. I lost the day to having to let the legs dry which I wasn't expecting. The legs took some prep to get the patina of aged appreciation that is appropriate to define this scope. Here they are this moning ready to go, hung by the fireplace with care.

 

A very quick scrub with the blue (not the green) and a fast dry. Then a quick rub with the sanding sponge to take down the raised grainy old finish and blend the wear points. The first wipe with the scratch coat did 80% of the work but it needed more so I doped the scratch guard with ebony black stain and did a couple of more wipes. There was no way to get the stain in the bottle, then I remembered the hypodermic I used to inject grease into the Dynamax big bearing.

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#24 apfever

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 12:12 PM

This is a little biggie. I've found many tripod legs that are drilled in pairs instead of a universal jig set up. The Celestron Polaris legs are an example.  You need to make sure the holes all align or they can be off enough to be a pain. Match your rails.

 

One of the spreader attachments is shattered so I replaced them with a spacer. I found these house gutter nail spacer tubes and cut them to size. The washers were perfect O.D. but I had to drill the hole to a slip fit (5/16") and that avoids the dropped washer look as well. The stepper bit is still in the drill press in the above bolt photo.

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#25 DMala

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Posted 01 February 2016 - 01:18 PM

Thanks for the info.

 

On my side, I found that I have to improve my star test skills. Yesterday I peeked at the moon and the craters seems a bit too undefined, so I began to wonder.... today with a cheshire I found one set of rings at 3 o'clock from center, the other set of rings at 9 o'clock, both about 1/8 of the lens diameter away from center. Quite off. All nice and centered now, but I have to verify if I will perceive a difference. I also compared the original diagonal (a bit cheap-looking imo) with my Baader prism diagonal, and the difference is very clear. So the Baader stays on. 




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