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Used Super C8 Equipment Help

cassegrain beginner Celestron equipment eyepieces
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#1 Faraway

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 12:09 AM

Hi,

 

After several years hiatus from my long-time hobby, I recently acquired an 8" Celestron Super C8 with some accessories. I got the OTA, several eyepieces, an EQ wedge mount (or so you guys seem to call it) and a tripod.  I am attaching pictures.  

 

Unfortunately, this scope has some problems and missing parts, some of which I discovered after the fact.  The locking latches on the legs are broken, which means no leveling and thus no polar alignment (IIRC).  I am trying to figure out if I got fleeced, and what I might do to salvage the purchase. 

 

 

1.  These legs look like they can be replaced, so I will call Celestron about buying some.  If not, what are my options?  Is the mounting hole layout on this tripod some kind of industry standard?  So far, I'm hopeful one of these two might be a viable replacement.  Please let me know if you've ever heard of anyone using these on this scope:

 

2.  Can anyone tell me whether these eyepieces are anything special?

 

3.  Am I correct in believing I can take the "fork" mechanism off of the equatorial "wedge", bolt it directly to the mount and turn this into an Alt-Az setup?

 

4.  Are motors still available for a scope of this age? 

 

Thanks for any advice you may have. smile.gif

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_1765 -CN.jpg
  • IMG_1764 - CN.jpg

Edited by Faraway, 05 September 2019 - 12:13 AM.

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#2 Rustler46

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 01:47 AM

Hi Faraday<

I have a similar C-8, a circa 1985 Super C-8 Plus with black tube. So yours is likely a bit older than mine. As for your questions, here's my take.

 

  1. Usually polar alignment is not accomplished by varying the tripod leg length. The equatorial wedge is adjustable so that the tilt (altitude) and azimuth of the fork can be varied for polar alignment. Following are some photos showing how that wedge is adjusted:
    C-8 Fork Mount.jpg
    This shows the C-8 on its wedge. In the lower left can be seen the hand bolt that presses on the underside of the wedge platform to change its tilt (attitude). On the near side of the side plate can be seen the two large hand bolts that must be loosened to allow for movement within the arc of the side plate.

    The next photo shows the equatorial wedge carrying a barn-door camera tracker. 
    Barn-door Tracker on Equatorial Wedge.jpg
    The previously mention altitude adjustment hand bolt is visible in lower right, just behind the wires. On the left side can be seen the three hand knobs that hold the wedge bottom plate on the tripod. Also notice the two azimuth adjustment hand bolts protruding from the edge of the wedge bottom plate. To use these for adjusting azimuth, the three hand bolts on the top must be loosened. 

    The process is not as complicated as it sounds. But your mount, if it has the same functionality as mine, is missing a few bolts. If the tripod can securely hold the fork mount, it shouldn't matter if the leg clamps are missing. If you are just using the 'scope for visual (non-photographic) use, polar alignment only needs to be approximate. If it's 5-10° off, it's no big deal. If your tripod holds the telescope without risk of collapse, there's no need to replace it. As for the tripods given in your links, I would contact Celestron to get their recommendation. Give them your telescope model number and serial number.
  2. The eyepieces are nothing special - just standard high quality 1970s & 80s Orthoscopics. They will give you a nice range of magnifications. These are similar to today's Plossl eyepieces, though a bit narrower field of view. They should work fine. You can always upgrade to new, wider field eyepieces if you want. The new ones will have more modern anti-reflection coatings. But except for field of view, you might not notice enough difference to justify the cost.  Borrow some modern eyepieces to see if you want to go that route.
          The little gizmos next to the Barlow lens are parts of the illumination for the finder. You may have difficulty finding the battery to go in there. If memory serves me correctly it was an EXP-15 battery containing  mercury, and is no longer available. But there may be substitutes.
  3. I don't believe you can attach the fork mount directly on the top of the tripod to make an alt-az mounting.The bolt patterns are different, at least on my mount. Celestron used to make an alt-azimuth adapter plate, that you might be able to obtain, new or used.
  4. As for motors, I don't know if they are still available. But there might be substitutes. I would contact Celestron giving your telescope model and serial number. The motors in mine died this year after some 35 years. When I get around to it I'll see about replacements.

I still have the manual for my Super C8 Plus somewhere. Also I've got a manual for an orange tube C-5/C-8, which may be closer to what you have. If you have any other questions, let me know. I'd be glad to help. You've got a great SCT - a classic for sure. If nothing else you can de-fork the optical tube and mount it on a modern go-to mount. That's what I've done with mine. It sometimes rides on a Losmandy G-11, when that isn't being used with a Celestron-11.

 

By the way the tripod seen in part in the photos is a real beast. It can easily support my 200 lb. weight. Your tripod looks to be lighter duty, but should suffice for most uses.

 

Best Regards,

Russ


Edited by Rustler46, 05 September 2019 - 02:21 AM.

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#3 Littlegreenman

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 04:57 AM

One of the fun aspects of buying used are the surprises. In your case, the locking levers on the tripod legs is known problem. That is a bad surprise. It's possible the seller was unaware of the problem.

The eyepieces I'm guessing were rolled into the selling price. They may have been a good surprise. Sometimes a seller will add up the value of those and add to the price. You have enough in different sizes, although I can't read the info on the tall one toward the left. A 32mm Erfle? An eyepiece around 28 to 35mm will be low power, and some designs will show a large patch of sky, called the field-of-view or fov.

The orthos sell on the used market for roughly $30 each. If the long one is an Erfle, on the used market those sell for $75 or $125, depending on condition. You also have a useable star diagonal.

 

I agree with Russ. Those eyepieces are fine. Down the road you might consider upgrading. Newer eyepieces and diagonal may show brighter, more contrasty images. There are also eyepieces that show a larger fov with the same magnification, which can be impressive.

 

The new tripods you found on Amazon are strong, sturdy and heavy. Buying used can save money, if that is important. Watch out for shipping costs buying used. Shipping rates for UPS, USPS, FEDEX have gone up so much, it may eat up any savings.

 

Here is an example of an early Celestron tripod, the "triangle locked" tripod:

https://www.cloudyni...lestron-tripod/

Quite different, but set up right can be a very stable platform. The legs do not telescope. For storage they fold up. So you always have a somewhat clumsy contraption about 40" long. Once you figure it out, it becomes less clumsy. It weighs about 1/2 or a 1/3rd of the ones you linked to making it easier to haul around. Used tripods similar to the ones you found, if you prefer, show up used. (I almost never buy new... that's me).

Here is a result of a search for "Celestron tripod" on the Cloudynights Classifieds:

https://www.cloudyni...h&fromMainBar=1
(they sell fast) I would avoid buying the same one you have, as those locking mechanisms are prone to breaking.

Celestron 99.999999% has no parts to fix the old tripod.

 

Celestron tripods and wedge should all be the same until you get to the "Nexstar era." The difference is obvious. I think Meade tripods should also work, but verify.

 

Motors. I think the company who the motors no longer makes them. But, again used is where you can solve that problem. I don't see a power cord. Did it come with one? If you need a power cord, ask here and I can point you to finding one.

The motors run on 120V AC house current, or a battery/converter that delivers that. To test the motors, plug it in, there is no on-off switch. Listen real close for any humming or motor sound, and on some looking at the motor from the underside of the round base, there is a little gap or window and you can see something moving.

Final test is to set the scope up, simply putting it on a table is fine, aim it somewhere, anywhere. Note where it is aimed. Come back in a few hours and see if it has moved. Oh, you need to tighten the clutches. If you don't know about the clutches, time to search for a tutorial or manual.

 

You posted this in the equipment forum. There is specific "Cats and Casses" forum that would be a better place to ask these questions.

 

Steven


Edited by Littlegreenman, 05 September 2019 - 09:10 PM.

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#4 S.Boerner

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 11:39 AM

3.  Am I correct in believing I can take the "fork" mechanism off of the equatorial "wedge", bolt it directly to the mount and turn this into an Alt-Az setup?

 

I may have missed the answer to this above.  If so sorry for the duplicate.

 

Assuming your can either mount it directly or with an adapter the answer would be yes, BUT it will limit how long you can view an object by turning the altitude control knob.  When mounted EQ on a wedge you should hardly ever have to touch this knob if the scope is polar aligned.  Off the wedge your object will constantly rise when east of the meridian and sink on the west.  The knob only gives 15 degrees worth of adjustment and eventually it will run out of threads.  At that point you need to turn the knob all the way in the other directions and then you'll have to loosen the altitude clutch to recenter.

 

More of a problem than motors may be the AC cord.  Check it for fraying and weak spots.  Celestron changed the plug at the scope end a number of times and sometimes they connectors are hard to find.


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#5 Skyshooter

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 04:45 PM

I have a c8 plus "black tube" and the tripod locks broke on 2 of the legs on mine also. I just used some hose clamps around the legs and it tigtened them when level. Not an elegant solution but it worked fine. It is a common problem

for those tripods for the locks to break. I have since given away the tripod, I de-forked mine and put it on a gem mount. Still have the fork with the byers drive and hand controller. I may make a project out of that some day.

I think you can forgo the wedge and use it in alt az mode... you'll probably have a hard time finding a battery for the illuminator for your polar finder scope. I believe they have been discontinued. I believe the counter balance was

an accessory that did not come with the scope. How are the images? You will be likely pleased with the images she throws up. Enjoy her, she will bring you much joy!

 

CS

Ed


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#6 Don W

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 08:06 PM

You can delete the wedge. The bolt holes on the bottom of the fork/mount may line up with holes in the tripod. Things changed over the years. It's hard to know all the various combinations.

 

At any rate, if you do this, you can use it alt/az, but there will not be any real tracking.


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#7 Old Man

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 08:08 PM

   I have one of the old tripods that the plastic leg locks broke also.  I thought it too good of a tripod to trash, so I slid the lower legs all the way down and drilled a hole in the upper legs just big enough for a 1/4x20 bolt to fall into, then attached a 1/4x20 nut to the bolt and held it in place while I welded the nut to the upper leg. Then removed the bolt and replaced with threaded 1/4x20 knobs that will tighten against the lower leg. different styles of knobs available at Ace Hardware.

  It will hold anything I have to mount on it without slipping, just don't tighten too much to dimple or egg shape the lower leg. I have never had mine slip, I did all 3 legs because those plastic locks are unobtainum. And these tripods are beasts.

I normally mount my C5+ with wedge and table top base to it, or at least I did until I bought an AVX, which works great, I got a good one. But then found out it is a pain for visual for me, I hate EQ mounts but found that out too late. It was used in the house the first winter, just practicing with it and learning all the manual, [ I cannot due to health, go out and stay in the cold ]  it has been outside exactly 3 times while I was determined to try to get used to it, but I only do visual and prefer alt-az. I use it to store a scope on, expensive lesson learned.

 

                      Mike


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#8 svenk123

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 01:17 AM

Hello,

 

congratulation to your C8. Hope you have a lot of fun with it.

 

 

But sorry, the C8 shown on the photo is not Super C8. It is a classic C8. The Super C8 looks a little bit different, has 8x50 finder and a worm gear drive base system.

 

You fork mount is a spur gear drive with 2 synchronous motors running at 120 V / 60 Hz AC. When you plug power, you should here some ticking noise, which is normal.

When turn the fork and looking at the motors, there is a small round window in each motor. There you can see if the motors are ok and working.

 

Clear skies

 Sven


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#9 Erik Bakker

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 02:41 AM

Congratulations on getting this wonderful old school C8 with some nice accessoires. 

 

Some wonderful advice is already given in this thread. Just lock the tripod legs in place permanently and set the scope up on a reasonably flat/horizontal surface and you're fine. And take it out under the stars and start enjoying the views with what came included with the scope. Collimate the optics (just do a search for collimating SCT on CloudyNights if you can use some instructions) to bring the optics up to their performance level (makes a BIG difference in the views you get) and give yourself that first night to familiarize yourself with the scope and proper set-up.  Later on, you can always add some eyepieces or other accessories if you feel the need for it.

 

For now, start enjoying our universe with it, which it will do wonderfully as is.


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#10 Geo.

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 10:30 AM

We generally refer to your scope as the Classic C8 probably from the Early '80s. It is not a Super C8, which introduced in 1984 with Byers worm gear drive.

 

With the wedge you get tracking in declension w/o the need for constant adjustment. I'd learn to use it. You will need an adapter to use the mount without the wedge. 

 

The battery fro the illuminator is the 3V APX14, which is just two 1.5V Apx13s stacked in shrink tubing. The APX13 is also sold as the L1560 625A PX625A LR9 PX625 PX13. An eBay search will find it. Also go to eBay for bicycle seat post clamps to permit adjusting the tripod legs. They come in various sizes. https://www.ebay.com...clamps&_sacat=0


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#11 Don W

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 10:46 AM

declension? That's a new one, lol. The wedge provides tracking in Right Ascension.


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#12 kksmith

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 03:37 PM

Here's an archived thread on the leg lock fix. 

 

https://www.cloudyni...pod-leg-clamps/

 

I have the same pod and used one of the bicycle clamps to fix the same problem. It works for keeping the leg from sliding down; however,  it doesn't keep the leg from sliding out when you fold the tripod for transport. A minor nuisance.

 

Ken


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#13 Faraway

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 01:02 AM

Wow, I did not expect to find such a treasure trove of information on a telescope of this age :) .  I see similar models have visited many of you well before I found this one.

 

Thanks to all for filling me in on what it is, and the mysterious accessories that came with it. I was beginning to suspect that it might be a lemon, but it sounds I got a good scope and a few gems among the eyepieces that came with it. 

 

I'll take your advice and grab your creative remedies to the mount's shortcomings, and I'm also pleased to hear I may be able to get the motor and RACI illuminator working again if I can find the right cable and batteries, respectively.  As I read and tweak on it more in the coming days, I'll let you know how it turns out.  I am looking forward to getting it fixed up.  Maybe I'll finally be able to cross the Messier Marathon off of my life bucket list next year.  :)

 

Thanks again, and -- how does it go -- "Clear skies!"


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#14 Littlegreenman

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 04:13 PM

Wow, I did not expect to find such a treasure trove of information on a telescope of this age smile.gif .  I see similar models have visited many of you well before I found this one.

 

Thanks to all for filling me in on what it is, and the mysterious accessories that came with it. I was beginning to suspect that it might be a lemon, but it sounds I got a good scope and a few gems among the eyepieces that came with it. 

 

I'll take your advice and grab your creative remedies to the mount's shortcomings, and I'm also pleased to hear I may be able to get the motor and RACI illuminator working again if I can find the right cable and batteries, respectively.  As I read and tweak on it more in the coming days, I'll let you know how it turns out.  I am looking forward to getting it fixed up.  Maybe I'll finally be able to cross the Messier Marathon off of my life bucket list next year.  smile.gif

 

Thanks again, and -- how does it go -- "Clear skies!"

People still talk and post about them because they are very good telescopes. And some of us are bored. But mostly the first point.


Edited by Littlegreenman, 10 September 2019 - 07:18 PM.

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#15 Geo.

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 09:45 AM

declension? That's a new one, lol. The wedge provides tracking in Right Ascension.

Thanks, Don. I didn't express that well and had my head on the idea of trying to manually adjust declination while using the mount w/o the wedge. Should've said you don't have to adjust for Dec that much with the wedge and rough polar alignment.


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#16 laixiaolue

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 01:43 PM

The leg lock mechanism can be fixed using a hose clamp. Just buy the right size clamp from HomeDepot.




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