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Lafayette Arcturus (Mod F-385) 76mm-910mm f/12

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#1 Stew44

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 08:33 PM

Here are some pics of my Lafayette Arcturus, serial 271581 with Astro Optical logo following. Stargoat states this is probably from 1963-64.  I bought this scope in a deck rail configuration.  It came with the spreader plate, but was missing the legs.  For the pics I have the legs from my Towa 339 employed.  The optics are pristine, although I haven't had it out under the stars for many years.  It came very complete as to EP with 4mm Or, 6, 9 and 12.5mm MH, 50mm H, and a convertible 26mm K-AH32mm.  1.25 adapter for the 50mm and two .965 diagonals.  Also a dedicated Hershel Wedge diagonal in .965, although this is simply the back side of an unsilvered prism, so little light gets reflected.  The Sun filters screw into the bottoms of the eyepieces and don't replace the cap at the eye lens like the Goto's.

 

I've also shown the plate that was used to mount the tripod yoke to a rail or table.  The finder is more of a guide scope at 40mm.

 

The Helical focuser is hardened grease bound at the moment although repeated saturation with WD-40 has allowed me about 20 degrees of free movement from nothing.  A lot more soaking before it is moving like it's supposed to.  Still, that focus wheel was one of the reasons I bought it.  Pretty cool.  A number of you have praised this scope's optics in your posts.  I'm looking forward to getting it out again under the stars.

 

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Edited by Stew44, 08 April 2017 - 08:38 PM.

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#2 Stew44

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 08:37 PM

Pics continued:

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P4080294.JPG

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Oh and looking for a better way to free up the focuser.  If anyone know how to disassemble this focuser I would love to hear about it.  wink.gif


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#3 petert913

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 10:10 PM

That's a beauty !  I like the slant cut on the dew shield. Very '60s modern.



#4 deSitter

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:29 AM

Have you removed the back end from the tube? Interesting, unusual scope! Also that odd sun shade!

 

-drl



#5 Stew44

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:47 AM

I've removed the focuser and added WD-40 to both sides of the inner and outer parts of the helical focuser.  Confident that it's getting where it needs to, but certain all the volatile elements of the grease are long gone and it will take awhile to travel what has to be a very long thread length.  What I've gained in movement is a real smooth turn of the wheel (which says this will be very nice when working right), but only about a 1/16th of an inch of travel outward.  The focuser only allows about 5/8" of an inch of total movement so I won't have to soak forever.  Travel and rotation is limited by a set screw in a slot that is about 5/8" long.  I removed that and there is rotation of most everything in the housing, but really I need to continue to soak and work the wheel with that set screw in place, gaining a bit at a time.  I expect to free up at some point, and not really in any rush.

 

There are two tiny set screws on opposite sides of the wheel in the back of the focuser and I thought removing them would release the wheel for better access.  Didn't.  Now I think they simple hold the whole mechanism in place and when the threads are released I'll be able to extract the assembly from the housing by removing those two set screws. 

 

With that plate that was made for the tripod yoke to mount on a flat surface, I think this may have been used as a sight seeing kind of scope.  No idea why the dew shield is cut in the manner it is, but all pictures of these I've seen are cut that way.


Edited by Stew44, 09 April 2017 - 08:45 AM.

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#6 Stew44

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 09:36 AM

The copy of the manual I have for this scope does not list specification for the finder/guide scope.  It has eyepiece marked only 25X.  Appears to be 40mm x 450mm (f/11.25) and eyepiece 18mm.  Or if f/12 it's 480mm and eyepiece is an odd 19.2mm.  Can anyone verify who owns this model or a Galactica (no helical focuser)?

 

Thanks


Edited by Stew44, 09 April 2017 - 10:20 AM.


#7 Fhuyu

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 10:01 AM

Beautiful telescope! Very complete and in great condition, I love the dew shield and the wheel, thanks for the photos! waytogo.gif


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#8 Bomber Bob

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 02:51 PM

IIRC, CharlieB measured the guide scope as 40x500, so your eyepiece should be a 20mm.  I have the F-384 Galactic and it's one of my favorite scopes.  I only got the OTA, but it rides well on the Royal 76mm GEMs from the 1960s, and just as well on the Vixen Polaris.  Yours should be rock solid on that mount -- it's the same one used by the Sears 6345 90mm refractor.  Counting yours, there are only 4 of the Arcturus models in the Registry.  I'd love to have that captain's wheel helical focuser.


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#9 rolo

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 03:31 PM

Nice little scope! Dew shield reminds me of the old Zeiss refractors. No collimatable cell?


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#10 Bomber Bob

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 03:57 PM

No collimatable cells on either version.  Mine hasn't needed any adjustments so far.



#11 Stew44

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:07 PM

I found the 40x500 in another post and a AH20mm eyepiece that is very similar to the finder eyepiece so that works for me!

 

Thanks



#12 Terra Nova

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:10 PM

That is a truly beautiful instrument!



#13 Stew44

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 07:10 PM

BTW, in looking at the finder more closely I realize this is most likely missing a dew shield that would be white in order to match.  Hopefully I can find something roughly 2" ID and make one.  Matching white paint would be tough though.



#14 strdst

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 11:59 PM

BTW, in looking at the finder more closely I realize this is most likely missing a dew shield that would be white in order to match.  Hopefully I can find something roughly 2" ID and make one.  Matching white paint would be tough though.

I have two finders for the Lafayette Arcturus neither of which I use. Well one because it is missing the objective, but the one with glass I just don't use because I can't find much @ 25X! I replaced it with a Criterion RV-6 finder (6 X 30?). Looks kinda silly in the rings but works for me. The almost identical finder on the also Royal Astro 90mm (Sears 6345) has a thread on dew shield onto a threaded cell. The Arcturus isn't threaded. I don't think it came with a slip on dew shield. It would be nice to make one if that finder floats your boat. The middle one is off of the 6345. 

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Edited by strdst, 10 April 2017 - 12:02 AM.

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#15 Piggyback

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 01:47 AM

I am lucky enough to own a 1959 Arcturus, Serial No. 054294, objective No. 33769. I checked my 40/500 finder. No finder dew cap on mine. I use my Arcturus for sunspot observations. The Herschel prism that came with mine works like a charm in conjunction with a screw-in sunfilter an HM-20mm eyepiece.


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#16 Stew44

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 07:05 AM

Thanks to both of you.  Don't have to make one now.  smile.gif


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#17 Napersky

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 07:52 AM

Cool looking scope I've always admired it. I grew up with a Lafayette store in my town. Never remember telescopes just the electronics.


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#18 rcwolpert

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 08:15 AM

That's a beautiful scope. A Lafayette like that is one that I always wanted to add to my little herd  . . . although at this point, my wife might hit me over the head with the next telescope to be delivered to our door! undecided.gif  


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#19 Stargoat

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 09:01 PM

The copy of the manual I have for this scope does not list specification for the finder/guide scope.  It has eyepiece marked only 25X.  Appears to be 40mm x 450mm (f/11.25) and eyepiece 18mm.  Or if f/12 it's 480mm and eyepiece is an odd 19.2mm.  Can anyone verify who owns this model or a Galactica (no helical focuser)?

 

Thanks

Stew, the Galactic's that I've documented have an eyepiece engraved with 25X and Japan both. This would be a 20mm focal length eyepiece and might be a Ramsden design. The Galactic also came with a H20mm eyepiece as well.

 

Since the Arcturus came with a H50mm eyepieces, maybe they did not come with a special marked 25X eyepiece. But instead figured that the H20mm eyepiece would be used for the finder.

 

As the others have pointed out, there is no dew shield for the 40mm x 500mm finder. Just a metal dust cap that slips over the obj cell.

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#20 Stargoat

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 09:23 PM

Here is the guide scope which was sold by Lafayette separately as F-628 in their 1961 No. 610 Radio catalog.

 

Note they list the 1.6 inch objective as 32mm. But should have read 40mm.

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#21 Bomber Bob

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 09:30 PM

Much as a like the 40x500, it's really not a good finder scope -- small FOV especially for a beginner.  Not sure why AO built the kit this way, but didn't include one of the 6x30's as on my 6336.  My Galactic didn't come with the original 25x EP, but instead had one of the better grade Tani cross-hair EPs with the (T) engraved on the aluminum black cap.



#22 Stew44

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 07:18 AM

Man, I really like that cap on the finder.  One of the nice things about the finder though is that the scope came with two .965 diagonals so I can slide it back in the rings and get finder eyepiece closer to main EP, and I can change to something lower power (and since this scope came with an aftermarket 1.25 to .965 diagonal (.965 nose) I can use the supplied 50mm EP and drop the finder back down to a reasonable 10X).smile.gif



#23 Stew44

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 07:20 AM

Point of interest - After a lot more soaking I now have approximately 120 deg of movement in focuser wheel (up from 15 deg).  Kind of hoping it breaks loose, but pretty sure this will be a long effort.


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#24 TOM KIEHL

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 07:31 AM

Point of interest - After a lot more soaking I now have approximately 120 deg of movement in focuser wheel (up from 15 deg).  Kind of hoping it breaks loose, but pretty sure this will be a long effort.

Can not it be ,  Disassembled , Cleaned  , Relubed  , and  Reassembled  ?



#25 Stew44

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 07:49 AM

Tom,  only a couple tiny screws that I thought removal might release the wheel and allow me to do as you suggest.  Nope.  I will keep squirting both ends and letting it soak down into the helical threads and make slow progress.  Actually quite pleased with progress so far.  Yesterday things picked up and I think release lubricant is a lot deeper into the threads as we go. 

 

Had to do this with the leveling feet on my Pentax 100ED pier.  Took about two weeks to finally free all three of them and now they're lubed with Mobil One synthetic.  Been there before and needs patient application and lots of working of the parts. wink.gif


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