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A sucker for a lost cause...

refractor
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#1 suttonjp

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 07:59 PM

I was recently given a Bushnell Deep Space 420 x 60mm refractor (78-9512).  It belonged to an Aunt who recently passed away and it ended up with me because I’ve refurbished a couple small scopes.  I’m not sentimental about it, but would like to bring it back if it’s at all worth it.

 

I looked it up on Amazon and the reviews are horrible.  More than 50% are 1-star, so it wasn’t a great scope to begin with.  Plus, my aunt was a heavy smoker and the entire scope is covered with yellow smoke residue.  The eyepieces are .965 and the alt-az mount is ridiculously inadequate.  This scope has absolutely nothing going for it.  BUT...  

 

But, I have a hard time throwing away a scope if I can turn it into something that someone might get some good out of.  The small scopes I refurbished were all given away to families and kids, and I know an 8-year old who has asks to see my telescopes whenever I see him.  (I’m a pastor and I have a scope in my office at the church)

 

So...here is my question.  Can anyone tell me if the objective in this scope is worth the effort.  I can upgrade the focuser to 1.25 and mount the scope on a solid photography tripod.  I’ve got a couple low-power eyepieces that should work fine.  I enjoy tinkering and have learned more than I can say just tearing apart scopes and putting them back together.  Anyone have experience with Chinese Bushnell refractors?  Will these improvements help?


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#2 stevew

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:37 PM

First I'd like to say good on you for refurbishing unwanted telescopes and giving them to people that will enjoy them.waytogo.gif bow.gif

As far as the scope you are asking about, I'd say the lens is probably ok, given that it's a 60mm X 700mm, but I'd be more concerned about the mount.

Too many optically decent beginners telescopes are ruined due to shaky mounts. If you think the mount can be stiffened up or is usable then I'd say go for it.

My first telescope was a Japanese made Bushnell 60mm that I used to see Haley's comet...

 

Steve


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#3 SeattleScott

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:44 PM

Sounds like a hobby killer. Got one of those as a kid. Pretty well killed by desire for stargazing until the got a real scope at 27. Gave it to a friend so her kids could use it to spy on neighbors. Probably a much better use for the scope than looking at stars.

I wouldn’t waste my time on it. Maybe help his parents find a Craigslist deal. There was a 90mm Orion refractor for $80 here. Now that is a usable scope. Yeah it’s $80 but that’s $220 less than new, and it is a real telescope. So I would help him that way rather than putting lipstick on a pig.

Scott
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#4 suttonjp

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 11:56 PM

Thanks for the input Scott and Steve.  I’m trying to introduce more folks to this hobby, so I wouldn’t give a kid a scope on a shaky mount.  Sadly, I realized when I got into it that there’s no easy way to mount this to anything else I own.  I went ahead and cleaned it up and put it all back together.  It’s actually a decent looking scope.  However, when I took it out to look at the moon, I was surprised by how bad it actually is.  Horrible.  I could see the moon, and the edges were somewhat sharp, but no detail at all.  I could see more detail through the finderscope!

 

When I inspected the objective, I could see that the coating is only on one side of the lens and it doesn’t go all they way to the edge.  I’m not sure how old the scope is, but the coating wasn’t in good shape either.  Everything about this telescope is cheap and inadequate.  Might be a difference between a Japanese Bushnell and a Chinese Bushnell.  Anyway, I’m probably going to scrap this scope, and try to make it into something useable.


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#5 OneGear

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 12:35 AM

I always check Amazon reviews before I eat.  Obviously the folks who leave reviews at Amazon are better judges of what's in front of me than I am, so yeah.</sarcasm>



#6 suttonjp

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 07:24 AM

I always check Amazon reviews before I eat.  Obviously the folks who leave reviews at Amazon are better judges of what's in front of me than I am, so yeah.</sarcasm>

Aww...aren’t you clever?  I also searched the forums here at Cloudy Nights, read the manual online, and dug up as much information as I could find.  There wasn’t a whole lot out there.  I did see several of these scopes for sale on eBay and Craigslist for $50 and more.  Judging by that, I wondered if I’d stumbled into a little gem, but the Amazon reviews suggested otherwise.  The bottom line is that I like to go into a project with as much information as I can gather, and Amazon, taken with a healthy dose of skepticism, can provide helpful information.  Not sure why anyone would view knowledge with contempt, but that seems to be a trend these day.


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#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 09:08 AM

JP:

 

I often take simple scopes and rework them much as you are doing . I think there's a line between worthwhile reworking and best put in the trash can.. 

 

I draw that line with the following criteria:  I began with a $5 at a garage sale, worn out 60mm that I tied to a wornout department store tripod . I had one eyepiece. 

 

Today,  I have much better equipment but i can still enjoy an evening with an entry level refractor. . So. . My criterion:  Will this scope be good enough that I would be happy to use it for an evening every so often .

 

In the past several years , I've been given two Chinese Bushnell 60 mm's . Neither met my criterion.  At some point one has to just say that this scope is seriously flawed and will be more likely to frustrate a newbie than to encourage them. 

 

Jon


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#8 macdonjh

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 09:24 AM

This may be more money that it's worth, but...  What about a new 60mm objective from Surplus Shed?  That way you can keep the OTA and finder, put a better focuser on and use the photo tripod as you planned.  



#9 suttonjp

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 11:09 AM

“this scope is seriously flawed and will be more likely to frustrate a newbie than to encourage them.”

Jon

Jon, that’s the conclusion I came to last night. I did consider upgrading the objective, but decided that even at $12 for a surplus lens, it wasn’t worth it. I’m a fan of small inexpensive scopes (I still enjoy my rummage sale Gilileoscope) but as much as I hate to admit it, I could find no redeeming quality in this scope. My son took apart the objective to make a handheld magnifying glass and the rest is going in the recycling bin.

Edited by suttonjp, 22 January 2019 - 11:10 AM.

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