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Fixing up a damaged Meade DS Reflector Telescope

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#1 Mbinoc

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 07:55 PM

I found one of theese electronic Meade DS series scopes lastnight in poor condition for a insanely cheap price at goodwill. The telescope was obviously pushed over at some point, and had a large dent underneath a corner of the focuser that was aproximately 3" in diameter. The focuser took a portion of the fall, and 4 of its teeth were damaged. The previous owner must have lost interest after this happened, as the scope was very dirty and covered in a thick layer of grime that must have taken years to accumulate. I did not realise the focuser was damaged until after I got it home, and that was disapointing, as it was one of the reasons I originally purchased it, I thought I might be able to re-use it on another scope.

 

The other reason for its purchase was I thought the stand may fit my Meade ETX-60, It did not. My disapointment quickly became joy, once I loaded up some bateries and found that all the electronics were working. Do to its condition I was not expecting this at all. I then thought to myself, (Maybe I can actually fix this dang thing, and imediately got to work). After taking it apart I noticed that there were about five good teeth at the end the focus range that were not even being used in its range of motion.

 

From what I have read online, striped out focus gears is a common problem with these models, and this is how I am tackling it.

 

The first step was to cut out the good teeth, and also remove the section of damaged ones.

 

1.JPG

 

Step 2 was to clean up what was left, and glue it all back together. (The red arrows point to where the good teeth were moved over and rejoined after the bad ones were cut out).

 

2.JPG

 

I placed a paperclip over the rejoined gears to use as a clamp while the epoxy set up. I came up with this idea after I noticed the alignment was slowly shifting out of place.

 

3.JPG

 

Once cured to a set, I added some very small pins made from nails, and cleaned up all the mess with a file. I carefully re-cut all the teeth slightly deeper. (I really did not cut far at all, the main objective here was just to get them all cleaned up and shaped nicely.

 

Here is the final result of the work done on the focus mechanism. I had just enough good teeth available that I did not loose any travel. (Anyone who has one of these scopes will notice that the gears tipically run all the way up to the portion that holds the eye peice. I removed almost a 1/4 inch of stripped gears, and then re-attached the good ones that were not being used. I then covered up the cut portion with a metallic chrome paint to help hide it from view, but if you look closely you can still see where it was cut out. (Its more noticible in person than in the photo, but since its on the bottom side of the focuser, its a portion that is not going to be seen or even noticed).

 

4.JPG

 

While waiting for the epoxy to cure, I removed the dent with some autobody tools, similar to theese:

 

https://images.homed...804-64_1000.jpg

 

The dent is now almost undetectectable, and would only be noticed if you knew where it once was and looked for it. While the epoxy was curing I also took the rest of the telescope apart, and cleaned up all the internals. It turned out pretty good and the internal mirrors even cleaned up well..

 

I will post more about its progress in the next few days, once I get the chance to re-assemble.

 

This may sound like it was alot of work for a inexpensive scope, but it wasn't to bad. It only took a few hours of time, and to me I didn't even consider this work, it was a fun evening project that was tackled with common handheld household tools.(Vice, Hacksaw, Files, Autobody Hammers, and a Drill).


Edited by Mbinoc, 20 June 2019 - 08:30 PM.

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#2 BigKahuna

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 03:34 PM

Good job on the repair! Let us know how first light comes out.


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#3 Mbinoc

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 06:23 PM

Today I assembled it, and here are the results after it has been all cleaned up.

 

1.JPG

 

And two photos showing the full range of the repaired focus mechanism, and its full range of motion.

 

2.JPG

 

3.JPG

 

And a quick question: What Is the aux port in this photo designed for? Does this model alow me to control it from a laptop?

 

4.JPG

 

Next Im going to have to buy one of those laser collimator gizmo's and learn how to do that.

 

My last visit to goodwill was a good one, I walked out with this scope, and also a pair of Nikon 8-24x25 Aculon binoculars. My wallet lost less than 20$.

 

I have read a few reviews on the scope, and there not great, but I think there is a chance it might be better than what I already have. The binoculars will also be used as they are compact, and will be great for hiking.


Edited by Mbinoc, 22 June 2019 - 06:55 PM.

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#4 BigKahuna

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 08:38 PM

Nice job on the cleaning. I have the Celestron 114GT which is pretty much the same scope. I paid $40.00 for it so you got a better deal. 


Edited by BigKahuna, 23 June 2019 - 08:40 PM.

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#5 EdIII

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 07:54 AM

Quite innovative. Good job.

 

Ed


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#6 Mbinoc

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 03:18 PM

I hope someone can help answer this next question.

 

Id like to get this scope (a DS-2000 Series), or my ETX-60 controlled by a windows 10 laptop, instead of the controller. The reason for this is that I only have one working controller handset and two scopes that can use it. I would like to keep the scopes at different locations without having to remember to bring the handset back and forth with me each time.

 

My Windows 10 laptop does not have a serial port, My first question is I was wondering if anyone has used a USB to Serial Adapter on Windows 10 with the Meade Autostar Suite?

 

https://www.amazon.c...003917010&psc=1

 

Also has anyone tried a usb aftermarket cable like this one with Meade's Autostar Software and Wndows 10?

 

https://www.ebay.com...AoAAOSwck1dCe~7

 

The seller describes the pin pattern in the listing.

 

I'm basically just trying to figure out what I might need to get it working with Windows 10, and the Autostar Suite. If the scopes are too old, I also have a Vista laptop, but its getting up there in age, and if possible I'd like to get the scope working with Windows 10 instead of Vista, as the old Vista laptop does not have much more than 30 minutes of battery life, if that. It probably does not have much life left in it before something stops working.

 

---------------------------------Edit----------------------------------------------------------

 

Before purchasing a laser collimator, I tried seeing what I can do after some research with a homemade diy collimation cap, here are the results after some adjustments with a cheap webcam pointed out the living room window onto a distant tree.

 

1.jpg

 

2.jpg

 

I'm not sure yet how this will all translate to night time sky views, but I think the daytime results are promising and helps verify I did a semi-decent job cleaning the mirrors and lenses. It looks like tonight is going to be cloudy yet again. Earlier today I thought I had some potential for a clear evening and was hoping I could check this this scope out pointing upwards with my new collimation attempt.

 

The images were captured on a 3$ goodwill webcam purchase that I converted for telescope use, and honestly I like playing with it more than I do with my newly purchased plossl eyepieces, the image captured is not as sharp, but its neat to be able to see it on a full size laptop screen, and also be able to capture photos of what ever is focused in on.

 

Here is the same view captured out my window with a standard handheld Canon 10.0 Mega Pixel PowerShot SD890 IS digital camera from the same seating position. (The Webcam / Cleaned Up Telescope Meade DS / Windows 10 Camera Program Combo Definitely Wins the comparison).

 

IMG_5539.JPG

 

Note the cloudy skies I have tonight frown.gif.

 

Please note: for the webcam, I did splurge a bit, and purchased a new Webcam Adapter that accepts filters, and also used a SVBONY Linear Polarizing Filter when capturing these photos. Those purchases brings the total cost for this setup up to about 23$ total so far, and counting.

 

I will also post some picks of sky views from this scope once I have the opportunity, and report any problems I may encounter.


Edited by Mbinoc, 27 June 2019 - 08:13 PM.


#7 Mbinoc

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Posted 29 June 2019 - 10:22 PM

I found Jupiter tonight, and did not see all the detail I hoped for. I was using a 10mm plossl, either my collimation is bad, or I will need more power from the eye peice.

 

After I found it I walked inside to verify what I think I found, and once I got back out it moved another inch behind my tallest tree. leaving future investigations for some other date. Its amazing how fast everything moves from a point of perspective.

 

I could have moved to another spot. but did not feel like setting up again.

 

I had a long day and am getting tired, A couple weeks ago I picked up a injury that sidelined me from more strenuous phiscal activity, (Cycling wipeout). l I could still do it, but prefered not to.My movement was not as effected as much as my desire to keep the road rash clean.

 

I had alot of catch up yard work to do today that needed attention that has been neglected these last two weeks.

 

What I did see looked something like this: (not my image). There was just not any detail.

 

1.jpg


Edited by Mbinoc, 29 June 2019 - 11:11 PM.


#8 Mbinoc

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Posted 11 July 2019 - 06:18 PM

I am a beginner.

 

Its currently 6:10pm  central time, and I already have a great view of the moon in day light skys. To be honest the moon is still my favorite target.

 

One of theses days I will try and move on to othere targets, but will need your help and experiance to do so succesfully.


Edited by Mbinoc, 11 July 2019 - 06:18 PM.


#9 MitchK

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 10:34 PM

Mbinoc, I know this is an old post, but I can answer some of your questions. Yes a serial to USB adapter will work fine with a win 10 computer. Makesure it is an FTDI or certified Prolific. There are a lot of fake Prolific cables out there and they will not work with win 10.

The Autostar update utility also works fine. You may have to install and run it in combability mode. I don't remember which way it was when I installed it to update a DS-2090 hand controlI have been restoring for a relative. As for the Autostar Suite, I have not been able to download it due to some issue with the online file. I also purchased an upgrade Audiostar hand control. Both work fine. 

 

You will need the interface cable, an RJ-12 plug to 9pin serial adapter and the serial to usb adapter to make it all work. THe interface cable has a 4pin connector on one end and a 6 pin on the other. THe manual shows how it is wired.

 

I have tested the computer control using a program called Stellarium. Make sure you install the telescope plug in, and configure the telescope. I spent bit of time last night playing with the computer and mount to verify it was working properly. 


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#10 Geo.

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 11:38 AM

For the STM32 OnStep mount controller we need a USB to RS232 adapter that converts USB 5V power to 3.3 as the STM32F103C8T6 processor only operates on 3.3V and doesn't have an on board voltage regulator. We use the CJMCU CP2102 USB to UART Module. 

 

CP2102 USB To TTL.jpg  

 

The adapter uses the Silicone Labratories C2102 IC and has proven to be compatible with Win10.1. Additionally, it has a voltage regualtor and can feed only 3.3V to the processor. I buy in quantity from Alibaba and pay $0.95 a unit in quantities of 100. I'd prefer to use these  https://www.ebay.com...zQAAOSwQpNd5K-y

but my current supply of printed circuit boards is laid out for the pinouts of the CJMCU. So until I have the next batch made I have to stick with the CJMCU. I also think the larger A type plug will prove more durable.

 

With this adapter just need a four conductor cable with a modular plug. 


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