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Super C8 Plus (With Byers Drive?)

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#1 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 05:05 PM

After receiving an email from a man who wanted to give away his telescope to anyone who would use it, I drove straight to him, a mere 35 minutes away. Turns out he was a hard-core astronomizer back in the day, but was now feeling that, having stored his telescope unused for twenty years, it needed a new home. He lived down a gravel camp road that was so rutted and muddy at this time of year, that he offered to meet me and my low little sedan near on better roadway. When his four wheel drive arrived with an attractive tripod and micro-adjustable wedge visible, but everything else boxed, I recalled the old adage never to look a gift horse in the mouth, and simply accepted his help loading it into my car. Worst I was getting was a nice tripod and mount, along with a bundle of junk or spare parts. Got home, opened the box, and--what happened to Joe Cepleur on his sabbatical from Cloudy Nights; is he actually posting pictures?!--shot a few pix for all to see. First, of course, is the telescope itself: 

 

C8 Super Plus-9047.jpg

 

C8 Super Plus-9054.jpg

 

And, wait; what's this?! It does not have the window into the worm gear or "Celestron -- Byers" in an oversized logo, but the manual (Yep! Came with all the original manuals!) refers to it as a "Byers drive." Has this holiest of holy grails found me?

 

C8 Super Plus-9048.jpg


Edited by Joe Cepleur, 30 March 2019 - 05:35 PM.

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#2 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 05:08 PM

Nice 8x50 finder with an illuminated reticle, and also a scale to help position Polaris perfectly when aligning the mount. There is a custom-made circuit board of some type. The donor did not recall what it was or why he made it. I suspect it allows the illuminated reticle to work off the power in the base, so that its external battery pack would not be needed:

 

C8 Super Plus-9052.jpg

 

C8 Super Plus-9053.jpg

 

C8 Super Plus-9058.jpg

 

C8 Super Plus-9059.jpg


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#3 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 05:10 PM

The tripod is solid, and the micro-adjusting wedge has a built-in bubble level: 

 

C8 Super Plus-9064.jpg

 

C8 Super Plus-9065.jpg

 

C8 Super Plus-9066.jpg


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#4 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 05:18 PM

The accessories warrant extensive photographs of their own. The eyepieces are mostly Vixen, some Tani; Plossls and Orthoscopics galore, with one Kelner for the 40mm. Vixen prism star diagonal! It has both the Celestron hard dew shield, and a soft Tuthill with flocking inside, and some weird, grey bulb attached that I suspect is a heater. The manual was printed in 1985, with the postmark from shipping the hard shield from 1988, so that dates it. Somehow, the donor melted the handle off the hard case, but that can be replaced. The little man was likely not intended to be in the kit, but fell in some time over the last twenty years. I included him because he hopes to be reunited with Nurse Mendy, Glowy, and all his other friends.

 

C8 Super Plus-9055.jpg

 

C8 Super Plus-9056.jpg

 

C8 Super Plus-9060.jpg

 

C8 Super Plus-9061.jpg


Edited by Joe Cepleur, 30 March 2019 - 05:32 PM.

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#5 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 05:27 PM

C8 Super Plus-9062.jpg

 

C8 Super Plus-9063.jpg

 

Now, you don't seriously think I thought to find the serial number prior to putting away my toys, do you? No? Good. You're right. I'll have to find that and post it, and add it to the C8 Registry as well. Oh; did I mention it has Starbright Coatings? or that the optics are clean? 

 

Until today, I have never seen one of these in person. If I recall correctly from my readings on this forum, this may be a superb find (presuming the optics to test well). Am I correct that this is a Super C8 Plus, and does it have a Byers drive? But--horrors!--might it prove to be pretty, but poisoned by whatever scourge afflicted Celestron around the time of the last appearance of Halley's Comet? It would still have been worth the drive for the tripod and wedge….


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#6 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 05:28 PM

P.S. -- There is a motor focuser with a hand-paddly gizmatron in the kit. 



#7 CHASLX200

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 06:03 PM

Looks to be a Powerstar that came out around 1988. I had the NO DU for my C14 but don't remember it having a plug in it. Looks like that was added on by the owner.


Edited by CHASLX200, 30 March 2019 - 06:04 PM.


#8 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 06:14 PM

Looks to be a Powerstar that came out around 1988. 

Hmm… Manual from 1985 definitely says, "Super C8 Plus," but nothing guarantees that it is the correct manual for the telescope. I have yet to study it, to see whether manual and scope match feature for feature. 



#9 deepwoods1

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 06:26 PM

Wow! Lucky dog.......



#10 CHASLX200

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 06:34 PM

Hmm… Manual from 1985 definitely says, "Super C8 Plus," but nothing guarantees that it is the correct manual for the telescope. I have yet to study it, to see whether manual and scope match feature for feature. 

They had the window in 1985 with the funky writing.  Do a search on the Powerstar and see if the control box looks the same on the base of the forks.



#11 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 06:54 PM

Found this so far:

 

Celestron Super C8 Plus Telescope

By Chuck Hawks

 

https://www.chuckhaw...on_super_C8.htm

 

Lacks a good, close-up picture of the drive, but otherwise looks similar.



#12 WoodyEnd

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 07:20 PM

I thought the Byers drive scopes had a window to show off the gears?



#13 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 30 March 2019 - 07:26 PM

They had the window in 1985 with the funky writing.  

Does this mean that, after 1985, Byers drives were made without the window and funky writing? I suppose I could always open the box, to see whether it has a worm gear inside. If so, would having a worm necessarily mean "Byers;" or, did Celestron make some worms that were not by Byers? 



#14 CHASLX200

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 05:52 AM

Does this mean that, after 1985, Byers drives were made without the window and funky writing? I suppose I could always open the box, to see whether it has a worm gear inside. If so, would having a worm necessarily mean "Byers;" or, did Celestron make some worms that were not by Byers? 

Not sure about the gears. I would ask in the SCT section.  The front of the base has the plug ins the Power star had.



#15 Erik Bakker

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 06:02 AM

Joe, it is indeed a Super C8 Plus, the bigger and almost identical looking brother of my Super C5 Plus. An absolutely stunning scope, hopefully with great optics to match! One of the most, if no the most beautiful C8's ever made. And your sample looks in wonderful condition to me. Congratulations!



#16 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 10:17 AM

"Uncle Rod's Used CAT Buyer's Guide" says:

 

"Any bad things to beware of? Only one. Super C8 Pluses were made both during and after the Comet Halley craze. Sadly, Celestron’s quality definitely suffered during this time due to the huge demand for their scopes and the company’s understandable desire to make hay while the sun shone. You’d be well advised to test-before-you-buy any Celestron (or Meade) SCT produced between 1986 and about 1990.

 

"The Super C8+ is an attractive and capable SCT. One in mint condition is quite a find and will make you the center of attention for fellow CAT fanciers out on the observing field. However, as with the plain Super, don’t pass by a better condition and/or less expensive Orange Tube just to get the worm drive if you are not a photographer. Again, it doesn’t make much difference for the visual worker. How much should you pay for either of these two similar scopes, the Super and the Plus? It depends on accessories and condition, but, roughly, about the same as an Orange Tube, 500 U.S.$ approximately."

 

This one surely is in mint condition, so--as would happen with any scope--I need to test the optics. If they are good, the scope is a major winner. If not, there are always low-power views to savor, and the price was right! 


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#17 Terra Nova

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 10:30 AM

That’s a wonderful find Joe, at a ‘price’ that can’t be beat! Certainly well worth the drive and then some! Congratulations waytogo.gif waytogo.gif



#18 DAVIDG

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 10:37 AM

The circuit board is most likely a voltage regulator that replaces the battery. The battery in the illuminator for the finder runs off a  camera battery that used mercury. Mercury isn't used in batteries any longer so that battery type wasn't made for many years. So the circuit board most likely takes the power from the base and drops it down to the voltage of the battery ( 1.5 volts ?)  I think the battery was a  PX-13 . You may now be able  get a replacement for it that using alkaline chemistry.

 

            - Dave 


Edited by DAVIDG, 31 March 2019 - 10:38 AM.


#19 CHASLX200

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 10:43 AM

I am pretty sure it is a Power star.  Do a search for Celestron power star and look as the control panel on the base of the fork. I never saw a Super C8 or + with that base and connectors.



#20 Joe Cepleur

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Posted 31 March 2019 - 06:42 PM

I took the scope to my club's Mr. Wizard fixer and optician, who will perform a star test. Learned a few things:

 

Spotting the needles of a pine tree from 800 feet away brings them close enough to touch! Overall, it works, although still no verdict about high powers at night. 

 

Opened the top panel on the base, to find a worm gear inside. Does this mean it is a Byers Drive, or did Celestron sell worms that were not Byers? There is no Byers name or logo. 

 

IMG_3009.jpg

 

The base specifies 12 Volt power, but the kit contained only a 9 Volt power supply. The hand paddle must be plugged in for the power to reach the motor. The motor hums when power is applied, but the worm does not turn. We do not know whether it would have turned if the correct power were applied, or whether something is wrong with the motor. 

 

It is not surprising that the tripod and wedge may have accumulated dust in thirty years of storage, but everything inside a box looks brand new. 

 

Powerstar 8, Super C8 Plus, or Frankenscope? Both the Super C8 Plus owner's manual and the Powerstar C8 supplement were found in the kit. Both specify Byers drives:

 

IMG_3007.jpg

 

There is also a box for the supplied motor focus labeled, "Celestron Powerstar Motofocus #94041:"

 

IMG_3010.jpg

 

Many accessories have price tags on them from "Astronomy N.E.," which must be "Astronomy New England" or "Astronomy North East," if anyone knows that shop. There is also a business card from Harry Chase of F.C. Meischner Co. of Boston, Massachusetts. 

 

IMG_3008.jpg

 

Some photographs on Astromart show Powerstar C8s with the dreaded wedgepod, not the micro-adjustable, top-of-the-line wedge, but that could be sellers substituting parts to keep the good stuff. Case and overall kit matches pictures of Powerstar, yet at least one reply to this thread says the kit looks like a Super C8 Plus. I don't know one from the other. Do they share the same optical tube? Any other thoughts? 

 

Taken together, I'd hazard a guess that, half a lifetime ago, the donor got the idea to try astrophotography, and bought some gear from a shop that mixed and matched new and used components. Kept it clean, used it some, stored it for twenty or thirty years. "Maybe someday" never came. He believed in the gear he once bought, and grew tired of hearing it knocking on the basement door; so, he gave it to those who would use it, thus resolving the former dream as a gift to others. We're an old-school club. This scope is perfect for us! We can't thank him enough! 



#21 Erik Bakker

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 03:03 AM

Here is a pic of my black Super C5 Plus (1983) for comparison. Production of that scope stopped around 1985, a year or so before the Halley madness.

Mine is a finely crafted instrument with superb optics.

 

 

C5 EB w:fork .jpeg


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#22 Erik Bakker

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 03:18 AM

And here is an ad from June 1984:

 

Jun 1984.png

 

Looks like Joe's scope to me.



#23 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 05:35 AM

I don't see the same sockets like the OP's scope.  Now i could be wrong, but i would almost bet my life it is a Powerstar made around 1988.  Maybe Rod will see this post. 


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#24 Geo31

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 06:13 AM

Chas is correct.  That is a Powerstar C8.  I have two Powerstar mounts (although one is about to be sent to another member).  A fully equipped Powerstar includes a declination drive and electric focuser.  It appears you have neither (they were options).  They can be added.  I think they are JMI items, but I'm not 100% certain.  They look like JMI items.  Keep an eye open in the classifieds.  You may be able to find and add them later if you like.

 

It's always been my understanding that the drive is indeed a Byers drive, although the worm block looks different from the drive on my Super C8.  I think the worm is the same though.  It's a nice scope.

 

IIRC, the serial number is underneath the orange cap over the secondary colimation screws.


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#25 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 April 2019 - 06:19 AM

Glad someone agrees.  That hand control in the pic never came with a Super C8 or + that i know of. Looks like the SP mount controller with the same color buttons.




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