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No crosshair illumination in reticle eyepiece

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#1 Tom3

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 06:01 PM

I have a University Optics 9mm reticle eyepiece and the reticle is not illuminated, while the light source is working. Is there some adjustment that I am missing or something else?

Any help would be appreciated,

Tom

#2 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 06:07 PM

Is there a brightness level control? I remember owning an illuminated reticule eyepiece that didn't illuminate until I'd adjusted the brightness level.


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#3 Tom3

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 06:19 PM

Yes, there is a brightness control and I set it to max.

Tom
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#4 Barlowbill

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 06:29 PM

Twist every part on the ep and hope you find the correct control.  On my Agena you can turn the reticle completely off.


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#5 Shorty Barlow

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 06:34 PM

Yes, there is a brightness control and I set it to max.

Tom

Not sure about this, I think Barlowbill's advice is worth a shot.



#6 M11Mike

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 06:38 PM

Tom - is your battery 100%???  Many of these aren't very bright and especially if the battery is low.  It may look bright when you look directly at the LED but not be anywhere's near full brightness if the battery is low.  Worth a shot checking.


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#7 Tom3

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 08:51 PM

Just put a new battery in.

Tom
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#8 Castor

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 11:09 PM

I have a University Optics 9mm reticle eyepiece and the reticle is not illuminated, while the light source is working. Is there some adjustment that I am missing or something else?

Any help would be appreciated,

Tom

Hi Tom,

 

With my bad English and poor mechanical skills I’m probably not the right person to help you, but I’ll give it a try.

 

Last year I purchased a Meade 9mm Plossl Illuminated Reticle Eyepiece (probably similar to yours) and modified it to use it as a centering eyepiece for Goto star alignments.  What I learned in the process (after I removed the adjustable thumbscrews) is that the part that contains the reticle is mounted on a spring loaded polygonal cell that is required (flat sides instead of round) for adjusting the crosshair on both axis (X and Y).  One of the sides of the polygon cell is clear so the light from illuminator can reach and illuminate the reticle.  But if someone tampered with the eyepiece (like completely removing the adjustable thumbscrews or the springs), the reticle cell could have freely rotated internally and the clear side of the polygon could no longer be aligned with the hole for the illuminator, hence no light reaching the reticle.  This would be a worst case scenario and let’s hope that’s not the case with your eyepiece.  Removing the adjustable thumbscrews and springs could do more harm than good and should be a last resort option!

 

Here is the thread where I discussed my options for using the 9mm reticle eyepiece as a centering eyepiece and eventually succeeded:

 

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/609944-how-do-i-keep-the-adjustable-crosshair-of-a-meade-9mm-eyepiece-centered-can-i-use-loctite-thread-locker/

 

People (including me) often find reticle illuminators too bright for their taste and do all sort of things to dim them, like using dark paint to tame the bright red LED or introducing an opaque material in the light path between the illuminator and the reticle, like tissue paper, cellophane paper, tail/parking light repair tape, etc.  This would be the first thing that I would check, and for that I’d try shining a bright light through the hole in the eyepiece for the illuminator, say with the beam of a bright white flashlight –I just did that right now with my 9mm reticle eyepiece and a regular flashlight and looking through the eyepiece I can see the reticle being illuminated.  Before you try this, make sure to use a black plastic eyepiece cap to cover the chrome barrel side of the eyepiece so no light can enter from there.  If your reticle illuminates fine when you aim a flashlight towards it through the hole, then problem lies with the illuminator.  On the other hand, if the flashlight fails to illuminate the reticle fully, there could be an obstruction in the hole and you should inspect closely if there is any opaque material in there.  A bright light and a magnifying glass could help to check, you should see a dark cylinder with a thin clear part sandwiched, the clear part is the reticle as shown in the pictures attached here of my 9mm reticle eyepiece.  Else, the only thing that I can think of is the reticle cell becoming lose and rotating unintentionally.  It can be fixed but it would require further analysis and a good dose of patience and mechanical dexterity to do it.

 

Please let us know what you find!

Attached Thumbnails

  • Meade 9mm Reticle Ep-threaded hole-1000x600_212657.jpg
  • Meade 9mm Reticle Ep-threaded hole-lbl-1000x600_212856.jpg

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#9 Tom3

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 12:58 AM

IMG_0136.JPG
Castor,
Good suggestions, I can see the reticle with a flashlight, but I notice that the reticle is not centered in the hole for the illuminator. The reticle also looks thicker than the one in your picture, so maybe it is tilted.
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#10 Tom3

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 12:26 PM

I noticed something else last night, with the illuminator turned on I unthreaded it from its port and pulled it back enough so the cone of light illuminated the whole port, but it still did not illuminate the reticle.

Tom
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#11 Tom3

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 02:26 PM

Twist every part on the ep and hope you find the correct control.  On my Agena you can turn the reticle completely off.


I gave that a try with no luck. It looks like I would need a jeweler's spanner to be able to get to the reticle. There are also two allen-head screws on the barrel.

Tom

#12 Castor

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 06:06 PM

attachicon.gif IMG_0136.JPG
Castor,
Good suggestions, I can see the reticle with a flashlight, but I notice that the reticle is not centered in the hole for the illuminator. The reticle also looks thicker than the one in your picture, so maybe it is tilted.

 

 

I noticed something else last night, with the illuminator turned on I unthreaded it from its port and pulled it back enough so the cone of light illuminated the whole port, but it still did not illuminate the reticle.

Tom

Hello Tom,

 

Thank you for the picture, that confirms that we have the same type of eyepiece with adjustable crosshairs and it helps to diagnose the problem!

 

I have a couple of questions for you:

- When you say that you can see the reticle with a flashlight, do you mean that when you look through the eyepiece with a flashlight beam aimed at the illuminator port you can see the crosshair reticle illuminated?

- If you look through the eyepiece handholding it and aiming it towards a bright background (like a white wall), do you see a controlled motion of the crosshairs when you use the thumbscrews to adjust each axis of the reticle, or is it an erratic motion, or are the crosshairs stuck and don’t move at all?

 

I find the picture of the illuminator port of your eyepiece intriguing.  The longitudinal view of the reticle should look like a thin sheet of a clear material (glass or clear acrylic?) as is usual with all the reticle eyepieces that I have seen, instead your picture shows it as a thick, bright white color band –maybe it’s the light from the camera flash, but I find it confusing.  It’s also very odd that the “reticle” if that is what we are looking at, is not centered in relation to the illuminator port hole, it should!  Do you think is it possible that the shining white band that we see through the port hole in your photo is actually one of the flat sides of the reticle cell made of bare aluminum and not the actual reticle?

 

I look forward to reading your reply,



#13 Tom3

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 12:39 AM

Castor,
"- When you say that you can see the reticle with a flashlight, do you mean that when you look through the eyepiece with a flashlight beam aimed at the illuminator port you can see the crosshair reticle illuminated?"
Yes, I can see the reticle illuminated.
Also, looking through the eyepiece I can watch the reticle move smoothly when I turn the adjusting screws.
As for the appearance of the reticle: 1) no flash was used to take the photo. 2) I am puzzled by the thickness and the fact that it is not centered in the illuminator port. The fact that it is not centered could be part of the cause that I cannot illuminate it with the illuminator. I never considered that there might be some aluminum associated with the reticle.

Tom

Edited by Tom3, 24 October 2019 - 12:41 AM.

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#14 Tom3

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 01:00 AM

IMG_0141.jpg IMG_0141.jpg I just took the lens off the eyepiece and found that the reticle is in fact held by some shiny metal.
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#15 LDW47

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 12:05 PM

I had a red illuminated reticle in a 60mm right angle finder and it was annoying after a very short while, maybe you should be happy it isn’t working !



#16 Castor

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 06:36 PM

Castor,
"- When you say that you can see the reticle with a flashlight, do you mean that when you look through the eyepiece with a flashlight beam aimed at the illuminator port you can see the crosshair reticle illuminated?"
Yes, I can see the reticle illuminated.
Also, looking through the eyepiece I can watch the reticle move smoothly when I turn the adjusting screws.
As for the appearance of the reticle: 1) no flash was used to take the photo. 2) I am puzzled by the thickness and the fact that it is not centered in the illuminator port. The fact that it is not centered could be part of the cause that I cannot illuminate it with the illuminator. I never considered that there might be some aluminum associated with the reticle.

Tom

 

 

attachicon.gif IMG_0141.jpgattachicon.gif IMG_0141.jpgI just took the lens off the eyepiece and found that the reticle is in fact held by some shiny metal.

 

Hi Tom, thank you for your reply!

 

It seems the wide beam from your flashlight (or light source) can reach the reticle but that’s not the case with the narrow beam from the illuminator since the edge of the clear material containing the reticle is not centered in relation to the illuminator port hole.  The fact that when you turn the adjustment thumbscrews the reticle moves smoothly, means that the reticle cell can move freely as it should –it’s not stuck!

 

Thanks for the comment that no flash was used!  I still have a hard time trying to figure out if the white band that we see in your picture of the illuminator port is the “reticle” or something else.  Could it be possible that someone put some kind of white tape or label over there to cover the actual reticle side with the intention to dim the illuminator?  Can you try introducing a sharp non-metallic object like a plastic or wood toothpick through the port hole and carefully try to rub the white band to see if it peels off?

 

I am puzzled too by the thickness and the white color of the alleged reticle.  I agree with you that the fact that it is not centered could be part of the reason that you cannot illuminate it with the illuminator.  The aluminum that you see associated with the reticle is the floating, polygon shaped reticle cell that I mentioned before, it is made of metal because it needs to be strong, two of its sides come in direct contact with the tip of the metal thumbscrews and the opposite sides press against the springs.

 

Once you discard the possibility that the white band is some kind of tape covering the reticle, the only option that I can think of to solve the problem is partial disassembly of the eyepiece, at your own risk of causing damage.  Removal of the lenses is not required at all, you just need to be able to let the reticle cell to float freely so you can turn it or move it to its correct position where the clear edge of the reticle aligns with the center of the illumination port.  In order to do that you would need to back-out (or maybe even remove) the two adjustment thumbscrews and using a flathead screwdriver remove the chrome metal casings that retain the internal counter-springs –I would remove the springs before the thumbscrews, so they don’t fall inside the eyepiece!  Please see my drawing of the 9mm reticle eyepiece as seen from above, the gray area is an oversimplified representation of the adjustable reticle cell, the counter springs, illuminator and port hole are to right, the thumbscrews for adjusting the reticle are to the left.

 

My memory is not that great and I’m not sure if that’s all that is required to let the reticle cell move freely so you can align the clear side of the reticle with the port hole.  As mentioned before you would need to introduce a non-metallic (to avoid scratches) pointy object like a wood or plastic toothpick through the illuminator porthole or the other screw openings at the sides of the eyepiece so you can turn or move the internal reticle cell (with the tip of the toothpick) until it is in the correct position –do not introduce any sharp object through the lens opening, you would scratch the reticle and ruin the eyepiece.  In good theory the cell should have at least two flat sides that coincide with the position of the springs or the thumbscrews so the cell cannot rotate on its own out of its proper position.  If after removing the springs and the thumbscrews you still can’t align the reticle cell opening with the center of the illuminator porthole, you may need to partially unscrew two setscrews on the side of the eyepiece side close to the thumbscrews using a small Allen head key, I think they are there to fix the whole internal assembly to the wall of the eyepiece, but I’m not sure of this.

 

Please let us know what you find out!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 9mm_Illuminated_Reticle_Ep_cell-JPG.jpg


#17 Tom3

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 08:04 PM

Castor,
Probing with a toothpick did not reveal any paper or aluminum foil in the illuminator port. Removing the screws and springs allowed me to probe the reticle cell some more, but I could not change the reticle position. I was only able to loosen one of the Allen head screws. I think it may take a small spanner to use on the holes in the picture.

Tom

Attached Thumbnails

  • Barrel view.jpg

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#18 Castor

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 09:25 PM

Castor,
Probing with a toothpick did not reveal any paper or aluminum foil in the illuminator port. Removing the screws and springs allowed me to probe the reticle cell some more, but I could not change the reticle position. I was only able to loosen one of the Allen head screws. I think it may take a small spanner to use on the holes in the picture.

Tom

Thanks for the picture!

 

Ok, you eliminated the possibility of any paper or foil in the illuminator port, that’s one probable cause less!  But it is a concern that you could only remove one of the set screws from the eyepiece side.  I don’t think removing the retaining ring from the field lens (the one closer to the chrome eyepiece barrel) would be a recommendable course of action, the reticle cell should be able to float freely once the thumbscrews, springs and setscrews with Allen type head are removed.  The reticle cell should be totally independent from the field lens that is a fixed part of the eyepiece.  If after removing the aforementioned parts the cell does not move freely when you push it from one side with the toothpick, then I am at a loss! confused1.gif  

 

When I did that with my Meade 9mm illuminated eyepiece I could rotate the reticle cell by pushing with the tip of the probe (toothpick) and see the flat sides that make contact with the thumbscrews or springs.

 

I hope that you may able to solve the problem with your reticle eyepiece, I’ll keep an eye on this thread just in case! wink.gif 



#19 gnowellsct

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Posted 24 October 2019 - 10:54 PM

I gave up on reticle eyepieces for calibrating pointing models.  I paid careful attention to how much slop there is in (a) the eyepiece fit into the 2" adapter and (b) the adapter's fit into the diagonal.  You can do this by rotating the eyepiece in the adapter and again the whole eyepiece + adapter in the diagonal.  

 

So I gave up on the reticle eyepieces and my pointing accuracy is exactly the same.  The truth is the human eye is pretty good at centering.  GN



#20 Tom3

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 12:24 AM

Castor,
With the thumbscrews and springs out I can see the flat parts of the reticle holder and can flip it left and right, but I can't move in the fore and aft directions. Unless something turns up I can do a decent job of centering by defocusing a star image and centering it that way.

Tom
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#21 Castor

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 12:58 AM

Castor,
With the thumbscrews and springs out I can see the flat parts of the reticle holder and can flip it left and right, but I can't move in the fore and aft directions. Unless something turns up I can do a decent job of centering by defocusing a star image and centering it that way.

Tom

Tom,

 

I’m sorry that the crosshair illumination in your reticle eyepiece could not be restored! frown.gif  Unfortunately 9mm is too short a focal length for practical use without an illuminator –the field as seen through the eyepiece on most scopes would be too dark to see the crosshairs, except when you defocus a star like you mention.  At least that’s better than throwing it in a drawer! wink.gif  

 

Best wishes,




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