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Meade MTS-SN8

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#1 madlabs

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 04:21 PM

20170830_141557_resized.jpg 20170830_141612_resized.jpg Hi All,

 

I was just given a Meade MTS-SN8 and the Quartz LX Drive. Poked around and didn't find a manual so I called Meade. They promptly answered the phone and just as promptly email me a manual. Alas, it isn't the right one. I have emailed and asked for the correct one but so far no reply. So firstly, anyone got a PDF?

 

Forgive my profound ignorance, as I have only ever had a 80mm refractor (which just got to see the total eclipse!) and an 8" reflector on a Dob mount I built and then later motorized (works pretty well, crude by y'alls standards but fun to play with).  The mount is a forked equatorial. The ascension drive seems to be working fine. The declination motor works but the clutch isn't grabbing. That shouldn't be too hard to deal with. Manually the declination mechanism works. 

 

So at a rough outline, the procedure would be: Level the platform and point to the north star. The legs of the mount don't have adjuster so I guess I am supposed to make one. I saw a pillar mount for this type and if I can get this scope to work I'll do that.  I'll read up more on using an equatorial mount. With the clutches loose, aim the scope. This is the part that seems tough, I'm really supposed to zero in on an object shoving it around by hand? That was a pain on my Dob mount and this mount seems harder to move. Am I missing something or do real astronomers have to have "The Touch"?

 

The scope also has an odd helical focuser. It is *ok* to move but a little sticky. Doesn't seem like a place for lubricants, so is there a way to smooth out the movement? Or just adjust the pre-load screw as best one can and use "The Touch"?

 

The optics all look to be in great shape and it was stored in a garage so it should be usable. Any other tips/tricks/tutorials? 

 

Thanks!

 

Jonathan


Edited by madlabs, 30 August 2017 - 04:22 PM.

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#2 Geo31

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 04:35 PM

Define "real astronomer."

 

But yes, using a [gasp] finderscope, we must maneuver the scope around by hand.  You have slo-mo controls it looks like, to compensate for tracking errors.  But for finding things, you just have to slew it round by hand.

 

Cool scope.


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#3 Ben H

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 06:03 PM

https://ia600806.us....ade_MTS-SNX.pdf



#4 madlabs

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 07:17 PM

OK, I set it up fairly level. I got it trained on the moon, it is late afternoon here. I put a 25mm eyepiece in.  However, I see a black spot in the center of the view. It seems to be the inner cover of the optical tube which does not appear to be removable, other than in the dis-assembly sense. What am I doing wrong? I see it regardless of how far in or out I move the focus tube.

 

Hope I can figure it out. I'm reading through an equatorial mount tutorial and hoping to figure it out before dark.

 

Thanks!



#5 Ben H

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 08:01 PM

Your telescope is an SN-8 or Schmidt-Newtonian, 8". It's comprised of an 8" Schmidt corrector plate (it appears as a flat window, but it actually has a very slight but very specific curve to it), a spherical 8" primary mirror, and a flat elliptical secondary mirror mounted behind the corrector plate. When the telescope is out of focus the secondary should be visible as an obstruction in the center of the image, but when in focus should disappear. 

Note that your focuser can both be rotated but also slide in and out. Reference the figure on page 4 and the instructions at the bottom of page 8 in the manual. 



#6 orion61

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 09:20 PM

OK, I set it up fairly level. I got it trained on the moon, it is late afternoon here. I put a 25mm eyepiece in.  However, I see a black spot in the center of the view. It seems to be the inner cover of the optical tube which does not appear to be removable, other than in the dis-assembly sense. What am I doing wrong? I see it regardless of how far in or out I move the focus tube.

 

Hope I can figure it out. I'm reading through an equatorial mount tutorial and hoping to figure it out before dark.

 

Thanks!

The black spot is because of the 25mm eyepiece and very fast FL of the scope. 

Those have a very well figured mirror, you need a Barlow lens and some higher power eyepieces..

You are here at the perfect time and place,  I am in trust of a passed Astronomers gear,I am helping Johns Widow, selling what I can and GIVING to those starting out, some of the cosmetically challenged yet perfectly usable eyepieces..

Please Private message me.. and I will send you what you need, with only postage from you.

RIP John Cota

your friend,

Duane


Edited by orion61, 30 August 2017 - 09:23 PM.

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#7 bobclark86

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 12:14 AM

To use the focuser, slide it AAAALLLL the way out. These were meant for photo and visual use, so the focuser has lots of travel to accommodate both. I also loosen the focuser slide tube and pull it out as far as it will go, too. 

 

These scopes, the MTS series, came out in 1987. They were a line of lower-end, but modular, Meade scopes (MTS means Modular Telescope System). In fact, at the base level, they came with practically nothing -- no declination setting circles, no declination slow-motion control, not even a finder. I feel bad for those who find the base level ones with none of those, as finding parts can be a bit of a pain. Yours appears to be pretty well spec'd out. The LX drive was a $400 accessory, the declination motor another $100. 

 

They came with blue Schmidt-Cassegrain (8" and 10") tubes and white Schmidt-Newtonians (6" and 8"). I have the 6" one with an AC clock drive. Kinda glad that's the one I have -- shorter forks, smaller tube for carrying/storing, and f/5 is far more forgiving than f/4. Mine also came with an Edmunds RKE 21.5mm instead of the Meade MA 25mm. Glad for that, too.

 

PS: I'm so glad someone scanned their manual for me. I'm the one who put it on Archive.org. Glad to see it's getting some use!


Edited by bobclark86, 31 August 2017 - 12:17 AM.

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#8 madlabs

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 09:23 AM

Folks,

 

Thanks a ton for the help so far!

 

Yes, once I worked with it enough and it got darker I could see past the dot of the secondary mirror. Got a last minute look at Jupiter in the twilight and a view of Saturn as well as checking out the moon. Much easier to aim then my F8 newtonian. The focuser is a little sticky but it gets the job done. I got it aligned with a compass well enough for the tracking to at least help keep it on target. I don't think the lunar setting of the controls is working, seems to track the same regardless. I'll dig into that, electronics are something I can do. I was wondering if I could speed up the movement for fine aiming, if it is driven by a quartz crystal should be able to pulse it a little faster.

 

However, what shut me down last night is the OTA cover (is that what you call the thing on the end of the tube that protects the mirror or is that the corrector plate?) got dewed over and I didn't want to wipe it. What is the best way to dry that off?

 

Thanks again all. The manual was crucial!



#9 Ben H

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 09:58 AM

If its a clear 'window', its the corrector plate. An OTA cover is usually a solid, opaque, plastic cover to keep dust off the optics. 

Also, I think Schmidt-Newtonians are awesome for exploring the night sky. Super wide field views :) 


Edited by Ben H, 31 August 2017 - 09:59 AM.

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#10 bobclark86

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 12:01 PM

For dewing, a hair dryer works. The manual recommends plain Kleenex.



#11 orion61

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 02:11 PM

Folks,

 

Thanks a ton for the help so far!

 

Yes, once I worked with it enough and it got darker I could see past the dot of the secondary mirror. Got a last minute look at Jupiter in the twilight and a view of Saturn as well as checking out the moon. Much easier to aim then my F8 newtonian. The focuser is a little sticky but it gets the job done. I got it aligned with a compass well enough for the tracking to at least help keep it on target. I don't think the lunar setting of the controls is working, seems to track the same regardless. I'll dig into that, electronics are something I can do. I was wondering if I could speed up the movement for fine aiming, if it is driven by a quartz crystal should be able to pulse it a little faster.

 

However, what shut me down last night is the OTA cover (is that what you call the thing on the end of the tube that protects the mirror or is that the corrector plate?) got dewed over and I didn't want to wipe it. What is the best way to dry that off?

 

Thanks again all. The manual was crucial!

You can make a dew shield out of any material that is light weight and will bend around the tube, like the plastic  roll up sleds or toboggans. If it sticks out about 8-10" from the Corrector it will help a LOT against dewing. A friend had one of those in the 80's he was surprised at how good the optics were.. nice find! 


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#12 Augustus

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 02:43 PM

However, what shut me down last night is the OTA cover (is that what you call the thing on the end of the tube that protects the mirror or is that the corrector plate?) got dewed over and I didn't want to wipe it. What is the best way to dry that off?

That is the corrector plate. You can buy/make a dew shield for almost nothing and in addition to preventing dew it helps with blocking stray light.



#13 madlabs

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 09:22 AM

OK, I'll make a dew shield for it today. My god-daughters and friends are camping out this weekend and I'd like to have the 'scope in action. I'll keep a hair dryer handy too.

 

So in terms of polar alignment, if I set the ascension and declination to 0/90 and maneuver the base to get pointed at the north star that should get the tracking working right? Assuming the tracking mechanism is working, which I am pretty sure it is. And how critical is the latitude adjustment? While there is a scale there is no mark to adjust to. The person I got it from lives close by and it looks like it is adjusted for my latitude assuming that the center of the securing bolt is the mark.

 

Thanks again folks! Now if only the smoke would clear. Last night it was pointless to try the 'scope as the smoke was too bad. IN fact, you could look directly at the sun around 7pm last night and it almost looked like it does through eclipse glasses.



#14 Ben H

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 09:49 AM

Getting pointed 'roughly' North, and 'roughly' setting your latitude, is good enough to get you started. The manual has instructions on how to do a drift polar alignment, by which you can figure out which way the alignment needs to be adjusted by which direction the stars are drifting in your field of view. 

A decent polar alignment makes viewing much more enjoyable, but its not super critical unless you're doing astrophotography. Some nights I've been perfectly happy if I could keep Saturn in the FOV for 5 minutes between adjustments. 


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#15 Alen K

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 10:51 AM

+1 for making a dew shield. Lots of articles online for ideas on that. Although tempting, wiping a dew-y corrector with tissue paper is probably not a good idea. Any particles that happen to be sticking to it will just get pushed around and scratch the surface. 

 

Regarding polar alignment, even a rough pointing of the RA axis at Polaris is going to be good enough for low-power observing. High-power planetary observing (which this scope can do but is certainly not ideal for) and especially prime-focus astrophotography require something more exact. (I see that I just echoed the same advice Ben gave a few minutes ago.)

 

BTW, these MTS scopes are now considered classics? Hot dang. grin.gif


Edited by Alen K, 01 September 2017 - 10:56 AM.

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#16 bobclark86

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 11:02 AM

BTW, these MTS scopes are now considered classics? Hot dang. grin.gif

Hey now, Motley Crue's been on "Classic Rock" stations for 10 years now. Ah, the march of time... I bet, again like Motley Crue, nobody ever thought these scopes would be considered "classics" when they were new. Then again, I wonder if anyone thought that cheap 80mm Towa refractors would be "classics."


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#17 Alen K

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 11:17 AM

When I bought my MTS-SN6 second hand from an astronomy store the proprietor told me "You don't want that." But I assured him I did and that I intended to try astrophotography with it. He said "It's not good for that." Ha ha. I did it anyway. Later, I saw a picture in the first issue of "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" of some scopes in an astronomy store, including the one I had bought. The caption read "The good, the bad and the ugly." Guess which one was the ugly. grin.gif


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#18 Ben H

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 12:17 PM

+1 for making a dew shield. Lots of articles online for ideas on that. Although tempting, wiping a dew-y corrector with tissue paper is probably not a good idea. Any particles that happen to be sticking to it will just get pushed around and scratch the surface. 

 

Regarding polar alignment, even a rough pointing of the RA axis at Polaris is going to be good enough for low-power observing. High-power planetary observing (which this scope can do but is certainly not ideal for) and especially prime-focus astrophotography require something more exact. (I see that I just echoed the same advice Ben gave a few minutes ago.)

 

BTW, these MTS scopes are now considered classics? Hot dang. grin.gif

They're a 30+ year old design.. I can probably drum up posts in this forum from nearly 15 years ago pointing to the cutoff being 20-30 years in the past, so... 

30 years ago, in 2003, was 1973. I don't think there was any debate about '73 being 'classic' back then. As time goes on there does seem to be some resistance to letting the 'Classic Cutoff' creep forward but I think that's just human nature to not want to admit we're getting old. lol.gif

 

It's like the old saying goes, the great thing about cheerleaders is I keep getting older but they stay the same. 


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#19 Alen K

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 01:43 PM

The scope also has an odd helical focuser. It is *ok* to move but a little sticky. Doesn't seem like a place for lubricants, so is there a way to smooth out the movement? Or just adjust the pre-load screw as best one can and use "The Touch"?

The focuser on my MTS-SN6 is not sticky. Perhaps it is merely a matter of adjusting the pre-load screw. However, I didn't have the scope long before I modified the focuser slightly for better rigidity. There is only one setscrew holding the focuser barrel assembly in place in the base block that is attached to the scope tube itself. With only one screw I found that the barrel assembly tilted a little under the load of a camera (and presumably would do the same with a heavy eyepiece). I added another setscrew in the block to fix that. 



#20 Tenacious

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 09:23 PM

 

Folks,

 

Thanks a ton for the help so far!

 

Yes, once I worked with it enough and it got darker I could see past the dot of the secondary mirror. Got a last minute look at Jupiter in the twilight and a view of Saturn as well as checking out the moon. Much easier to aim then my F8 newtonian. The focuser is a little sticky but it gets the job done. I got it aligned with a compass well enough for the tracking to at least help keep it on target. I don't think the lunar setting of the controls is working, seems to track the same regardless. I'll dig into that, electronics are something I can do. I was wondering if I could speed up the movement for fine aiming, if it is driven by a quartz crystal should be able to pulse it a little faster.

 

However, what shut me down last night is the OTA cover (is that what you call the thing on the end of the tube that protects the mirror or is that the corrector plate?) got dewed over and I didn't want to wipe it. What is the best way to dry that off?

 

Thanks again all. The manual was crucial!

You can make a dew shield out of any material that is light weight and will bend around the tube, like the plastic  roll up sleds or toboggans. If it sticks out about 8-10" from the Corrector it will help a LOT against dewing. A friend had one of those in the 80's he was surprised at how good the optics were.. nice find! 

 

I'd like to try that aluminized plastic bubble insulation from Home Depot and Lowes on my C8.  I think it weighs almost nothing compared to the mass of other items on the scope, so it wont dramatically affect balance..

 

Your scope has an uncommon optical arrangement and is unique (light path, mounting, drive, focuser, etc.) among the scopes that get the lion's share of attention on this web site.  IMHO, that alone makes it very desirable to own.  I wouldn't mind having one in my motley crew.     If it turns out to have reasonably good optics, then I think you have won twice over!   Even if it won't take you to the highest powers (it might) on the planets, another carefully selected style of scope will.  Show me a golfer who plays with only one club. 

 

I think it is a terrific find and a representation of a different road to the night sky.


Edited by Tenacious, 01 September 2017 - 09:27 PM.

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#21 Tenacious

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 07:23 AM

Your second pic shows a coiled cable.  Does that go to the hand controller?  If you have the time, it would be cool to see a pic of that and another looking down through the corrector plate at the primary.



#22 madlabs

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 10:14 AM

Been too smokey to use the 'scope and then some high clouds moved in last night. Didn't find anything handy for a dew shield, I'll look next time I'm in town.

 

Here is a pic of the hand controller.

 

20170902_104332_resized.jpg


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#23 bobclark86

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:16 AM

A dew shield can be made out of plain plastic placemats or flexible cutting boards sold at the local $1 store. A big plastic tote could also be sacrificed for material. Come to think of it, just about any thin, flexible material that can hold some flat black paint would work. Most "real" ones are made out of kydex or the like. Also check with the local newspaper to see if you could get an aluminum offset plate (might be a few dollars) -- newspapers use one for every two pages in the edition (and four for every color spread), and they're scrap after one use, so anyplace printing even one local daily will go through tens of thousands of them a year. 



#24 gitane71

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 10:18 AM

I have very little experience with these, got to use one briefly Years ago.

I think they are a much overlooked scope.

Finder?  I don't use finders.  I aim them like a rifle and because of 'bumpy', short tube assemblies, have trouble with SCTs.  Yours looks like a 'smoother' tube and if you put a low power eyepiece in, it is its own 'finder'.  

I have used newspaper, light 'poster' cardboard with a shot of black paint as dewshields.  Not as durable maybe as some other things mentioned, and with a wider tube like yours, maybe not as stable, but simple things could get you going. 

  'lunar rate' will be a subtle thing.  It is supposed to follow the moon more accurately.  If you see the moon at the right time, you will see it approach a star, cover it ( 'occult' it) and you could chose to follow the star, or the moon.  The difference won't be quickly noticed on 'normal' viewing.  

  Yes, as someone else mentioned, don't 'wipe' (possibly scratch) the corrector if at all avoidable.  I rarely clean my optics, prefer to keep them covered to prevent dust.  For certain events you really do want Clean optics (for best possible contrast, ability to see faintest things), and then Carefully use a Soft, cotton cloth (preferably just washed) and Don't press hard.  The corrector looks simple, but is a very complex surface, not something an amateur could easily 'fix'.  Try to prevent scratches on that !  Little things Won't be Disasters, but will add up over time.  

Optics? Beautiful idea, rather wide central obstruction, but apparently pretty well executed.   When I got to see Saturn at 'medium' powers, it seemed to give excellent views.  Seems to me that it would be more 'general purpose' than most SCTs', I got a Very favorable impression of it, but like I said, it was brief.  I wouldn't underestimate that scope.  I would think it would be one you'd want to hang on to (but if you want to 'ditch it', please let me know :)  )   

Neat scope !!!



#25 ubernator

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 08:14 AM

Hey now, Motley Crue's been on "Classic Rock" stations for 10 years now. Ah, the march of time... I bet, again like Motley Crue, nobody ever thought these scopes would be considered "classics" when they were new. Then again, I wonder if anyone thought that cheap 80mm Towa refractors would be "classics."

Sorry to wake the zombie, but I saw this and had to add. Mick Mars bought a c14 from OPT either in the 80s or early 90s.

 

And the heavens gate cult bought a 12" LX200, and returned it when they couldn't see the spaceship.

 

DUH, it was BEHIND the comet!


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