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Classic Celestron C6 newt on Polaris mount. I think (hope) there's hope.

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#1 shredder1656

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 07:53 AM

There is another interesting thread on the orange version here.  However, I thought this one might also help someone in the future.  While the orange version is a gorgeous-looking showpiece, mine is a project...hopefully a worthy one.

 

Bought this, and probably overpaid, but the seller was a good guy and drove around an hour to meet me.  He had advertised it as being in need of work, with the primary (no pun, you will see further down, intended) issue being inability to reach focus.  When I met with him, he was correct.  NO image was visible through the 26mm ep.  All that I could see was a whitish blur.  When I removed the ep, I could see reflections of objects in the distance, so I was confused.  Regardless, even though there was quite a bit of rust, typical slop in the Polaris mount controls, and only one ep, I bought it.  I was banking on the hope that the biggest issue could be solved relatively simply.  The seller said he had used it until he disassembled to clean the mirror. 

 

When I got home, I shined a flashlight onto the mirror for a more thorough inspection.  I had initially passed off the weird look of the mirror to what looked like smeared dirt and bad lighting.  When I took a closer look, I was really worried that it was a ruined mirror.  While I could see my reflection, get nice bouncing light, and see the primary mirror when looking through the empty ep holder into the secondary, I could not get anything significant with the ep in place.  I started to suspect that the mirror was in backwards.

 

I took the cell out of the tube, and was pretty certain that was the issue.  Anyone with ANY kind of experience would have probably recognized the issue right away, but I did not.  Sure enough, as I lifted the mirror out of the cell, I found that it had been put in with the mirror facing the cell.  LOL. 

 

I would have felt bad about paying $80 for the whole kit, and realizing the problem was that simple, BUT there is a significant (in my opinion) amount of work needed, for this scope to be up and running well.  Cosmetically, it should be ok.  The focuser/focuser knob, slo-mo controls, mount locks, etc, need some real help.  The mirror looks like it will be "ok", but REALLY dirty.  I am hoping that it is not permanently stained.  The secondary has a variety of sleeks.  But, who doesn't like a project?

 

This will be slow-going, just like everything I seem to attempt.  But, I thought I would start the thread to get a few questions answered, and ultimately help anyone else that tries to cobble one of these back to life.  I have had a few newts in the couple of years I have been into this hobby.  However, I never seemed to get the hang of getting the secondary into the right spot.

 

Questions: 

 

1.  When reassembling, what is the best way to get the secondary in place, relative to the focuser/ep?  Doesn't it need to be properly squared away before trying to actually collimate the thing?

 

2.  Is the mount something that should be disassembled completely, cleaned, and reassembled?  There is a ton of slop in the locks and the controls. 

 

3.  The declination control knob was moved onto the opposite side right ascension shaft???  Not sure why.  I was going to move it back to the correct location, but discovered that the shaft to clamp onto (where the long flexible shaft with the big silver weight/knob is now) is a bigger diameter.  Am I confused?  Shouldn't the longer control knob slip on there?  I do not see why there would have originally been two knobs for the RA control.

 

I will have more, but that is it for now. 

 

wrong

 

20191215_053348.jpg

 

 

RIGHT

 

20191215_053413.jpg

 

 


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#2 apfever

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 09:08 AM

Don't worry about the primary it looks fine. Don't worry about the staining that appears to be from the retainers, just put the retainers back over stained areas. 

Try cleaning the secondary in typical primary fashion and see if that helps. Don't worry about sleaks, only hazy coatings and scratched up areas.

 

1. I've had these focusers apart but can't remember the secondary situation at all now. I believe the secondary will bolt back solid into position. Measure the secondary for centering in the tube when you get to that point. If you are within 1/16" then that will get you started. Some will scream about being within 1mm (~1/25"), but the finer the presicion the more exorbitant the time to get there. Get close and move to function.

 

2. You can't take the mount completely apart. The regular Polaris was assembled with glue in a one way fashion along with other 'one way' assemblies.  It can be done but is a Serious PITA, and I'm the only one I know that has bothered to get one down to nuts and bolts.  I have a string on it, it's a delicate and extensive operation, requires some drilling that never shows as a short cut or some serious finesse and luck. You won't need to get into the guts of the mount housings for RA or DEC.  The locks and slow-mo can be reset while leaving the main assemblies intact.  You can unbolt the RA and DEC worm assemblies, which are interchangeable with each other.  The RA worm will be a double shaft, while the DEC worm will only have ONE side shaft for a knob.  There are brass worms and steel worms,  WHICH ONES DO YOU HAVE? You can inject lube into all the areas you need to once the worm blocks are off. This will 'reset' old grease as I call it. 

 

Once you take the handles off the shaft locks,  you will see how they can be repositioned to work as you wish.  The worm blocks have 4 bolts, two hard mounts and two mesh adjusters. You have to loosen everything to adjust, then simultaneously tighten everything in increments....not rocket science but takes a little fiddle and it's a quick learn. 

 

3.  The long rigid knob goes onto the DEC worm, the short knob goes onto the RA. I haven't seen a Polaris C6 with a floppy control (flexible control). I haven't seen different diameter worm shafts the knobs should switch. Check the shaft for burrs, also check the knob to see if something is stuck inside it.  Also check to see if a worm shaft is bent enough to keep the knob from going on.  I've only seen the brass bent or broken, never a steel worm.

 

Take a picture of the RA gear once the worm block is off. Mount pictures in general would help. I've never found a Polaris mount that absolutely had to have the RA or DEC housing and assemblies taken apart in order to work just fine, and I've had probably a dozen or more.  


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#3 CHASLX200

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 09:14 AM

Never heard of anyone slapping a mirror in the cell face down like a clown. It reflects pretty good from the back side as i first looked at the pics and could not tell.


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#4 apfever

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 09:15 AM

oh, the focuser knob is way overly complicated with a bunch of very fine washers, collars, screws, gears, and adjustments.  The only way to get the knob apart is to take off the glued on silver cover for access to inside. It is amazing what mechanics they crammed into the knob. Look inside the OTA at the focuser and see if the knob shaft has a brass or black plastic gear.  If plastic, what is the condition? The focus knob can be shimmed some to use new contact area of the gear, but this whole focus knob thing a doozy, heads up. 


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#5 apfever

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 09:17 AM

Never heard of anyone slapping a mirror in the cell face down like a clown. It reflects pretty good from the back side as i first looked at the pics and could not tell.

 

All normal mirrors in life are coated on the back side, like bathroom mirrors. First surface optical mirrors are a big exception to the rule for most folks. While I haven't seen a primary backwards till now,  I am understanding of the mistake.

 

Yeah,  I had to keep looking at that picture to figure it out and never did till I read the text. It was too weird. 


Edited by apfever, 15 December 2019 - 09:19 AM.

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#6 shredder1656

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 01:54 PM

Don't worry about the primary it looks fine. Don't worry about the staining that appears to be from the retainers, just put the retainers back over stained areas. 

Try cleaning the secondary in typical primary fashion and see if that helps. Don't worry about sleaks, only hazy coatings and scratched up areas.

 

1. I've had these focusers apart but can't remember the secondary situation at all now. I believe the secondary will bolt back solid into position. Measure the secondary for centering in the tube when you get to that point. If you are within 1/16" then that will get you started. Some will scream about being within 1mm (~1/25"), but the finer the presicion the more exorbitant the time to get there. Get close and move to function.

 

2. You can't take the mount completely apart. The regular Polaris was assembled with glue in a one way fashion along with other 'one way' assemblies.  It can be done but is a Serious PITA, and I'm the only one I know that has bothered to get one down to nuts and bolts.  I have a string on it, it's a delicate and extensive operation, requires some drilling that never shows as a short cut or some serious finesse and luck. You won't need to get into the guts of the mount housings for RA or DEC.  The locks and slow-mo can be reset while leaving the main assemblies intact.  You can unbolt the RA and DEC worm assemblies, which are interchangeable with each other.  The RA worm will be a double shaft, while the DEC worm will only have ONE side shaft for a knob.  There are brass worms and steel worms,  WHICH ONES DO YOU HAVE? You can inject lube into all the areas you need to once the worm blocks are off. This will 'reset' old grease as I call it. 

 

Once you take the handles off the shaft locks,  you will see how they can be repositioned to work as you wish.  The worm blocks have 4 bolts, two hard mounts and two mesh adjusters. You have to loosen everything to adjust, then simultaneously tighten everything in increments....not rocket science but takes a little fiddle and it's a quick learn. 

 

3.  The long rigid knob goes onto the DEC worm, the short knob goes onto the RA. I haven't seen a Polaris C6 with a floppy control (flexible control). I haven't seen different diameter worm shafts the knobs should switch. Check the shaft for burrs, also check the knob to see if something is stuck inside it.  Also check to see if a worm shaft is bent enough to keep the knob from going on.  I've only seen the brass bent or broken, never a steel worm.

 

Take a picture of the RA gear once the worm block is off. Mount pictures in general would help. I've never found a Polaris mount that absolutely had to have the RA or DEC housing and assemblies taken apart in order to work just fine, and I've had probably a dozen or more.  

 

 

oh, the focuser knob is way overly complicated with a bunch of very fine washers, collars, screws, gears, and adjustments.  The only way to get the knob apart is to take off the glued on silver cover for access to inside. It is amazing what mechanics they crammed into the knob. Look inside the OTA at the focuser and see if the knob shaft has a brass or black plastic gear.  If plastic, what is the condition? The focus knob can be shimmed some to use new contact area of the gear, but this whole focus knob thing a doozy, heads up. 

 

 

All normal mirrors in life are coated on the back side, like bathroom mirrors. First surface optical mirrors are a big exception to the rule for most folks. While I haven't seen a primary backwards till now,  I am understanding of the mistake.

 

Yeah,  I had to keep looking at that picture to figure it out and never did till I read the text. It was too weird. 

 

 

Never heard of anyone slapping a mirror in the cell face down like a clown. It reflects pretty good from the back side as i first looked at the pics and could not tell.

I will check on all of those things.  Thank you.  It will probably be several days, if not longer before I can tear into anything.  Hopefully not, but probably.

 

I can certainly see how the mistake can be made, regarding the mirror.  Glad I was able to figure it out. 


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#7 shredder1656

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 06:20 AM

I forgot to mention that there is only the rubber disk behind the mirror.  It seems like I saw something about a disk of paper being between the mirror and the rubber.  If there is supposed to be one, it is gone. 

 

Does it need to be replaced, or just leave as-is?



#8 apfever

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 06:49 AM

I recall the rubber disc on the C4.5, don't recall any paper but that doesn't mean it wasn't there.  

I don't recall the C6 situation.  Consider NEITHER  the paper or rubber.  I'd look at the whole primary and cell, then figure out how to let it breath better without permanent mods. Perhaps you can use some felt tabs instead of the rubber disc, to let some air around the primary. Put the disc with the paper work.


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#9 rolo

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 07:05 AM

I forgot to mention that there is only the rubber disk behind the mirror.  It seems like I saw something about a disk of paper being between the mirror and the rubber.  If there is supposed to be one, it is gone. 

 

Does it need to be replaced, or just leave as-is?

The rubber disc may help keep the proper distance of the mirror to rubber mirror tabs. The black paper I assume may help with any strenuous light or moisture issues since mirrors develope pinholes in the coatings and the back of those mirrors are polished. Just make sure the mirror retaining tabs don't put pressure and distort it's figure. You can tell if the difraction pattern is triangular or you notice some serious astigmatism. Test and tune may be required, at least all the ones I've had needed some.


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#10 shredder1656

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Posted 24 December 2019 - 05:44 PM

Well, I wonder, now that I have read Rolo's post again, if I have the mirror clips too tight.  I had the scope out for a few minutes the other morning, and I tried like HECK to get the stupid thing collimated.  There are any number of other issues, but I thought I would at least be able to get it to a tolerable condition.

 

NOPE! I couldn't.

 

I will try again when I have more than 30 minutes to mess with it. 


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#11 CHASLX200

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Posted 25 December 2019 - 07:19 AM

Stars won't look nice and round at high powers if the optics are pinched.


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#12 danielgolite

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Posted 25 December 2019 - 11:47 AM

    The C6 I owned had push-pull screws for the primary mirror collimation and I never could get the hang of tweaking it just right. The sled focuser was designed, as I understand, to allow a slightly smaller secondary. It worked but the actual focus knob had some play in it and was not the most sturdy. It was a nice looking telescope though. The first question most people asked was "How much did this cost?" I purchased it in 1987 right after the telescope market crashed following Halley's Comet and paid about half of what the list price was prior to Halley's Comet. The Polaris mount was sturdy but I just liked the simplicity and lighter weight of my TeleVue mount and Ranger. I ended up selling the C6 in 2015 at the Cherry Springs Star Party. Sometimes I miss it, but not that often.


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#13 shredder1656

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 08:10 AM

Rolo, Neil, et al, here is the link to the other thread and the post that mentions the paper plus rubber: Paper/Rubber

 

Regardless, I think the mirror is in pretty bad shape.  There are quite a few scratches, and the surface is quite stained.  Based on the position of the iridescent stains, the clips seem to be the culprits.  Why, though, would they cause that sort of effect? 

 

Either way, don't put the mirror in backwards, then leave it there for who knows how long.  I am sure that is where most of the damage came from.  Sure the rubber was there, but I do not see how that did the surface any good.

 

I used distilled water and a drop or two of Dawn.  I did not want to get too aggressive, but did use cotton balls.  It is clean, but I think maybe some more of the stuff could be removed.  I hope the damage that is permanent will not have too significant of an effect.  Still better than it was. 

 

Neil, I think the gears are plastic.  The focuser moves well enough, but I will need to reinforce the knob before it splits completely.  Hopefully that will prevent it from getting worse.  I will get some pics when I disassemble the rest of the scope again. 

 

I was going to mark the center of the mirror with one of those little three-hole reinforcing stickers.  Would that be too big? 

 

20191230_080215.jpg

 

Anyway, slow going, but I am hoping to mess around with this scope this week.  Given the condition, I am not sure I will get too carried away.  I do not want to hurt it further, but if I keep it in the garage for an easy drag-into-the-driveway-type availability, I know it will not stay perfect anyway. 

 

Here is the mirror pre-cleaning:

 

20191229_195756.jpg

 

Here is the mirror after cleaning.  Any hope?: 

 

20191229_210302.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#14 Bill Griffith

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 12:34 PM

I use the same reinforcement stickers with great results. 

 

The sticker sits well inside the size of the secondary and reflects the flat /matte black finish of the inner tube as a dark ring.waytogo.gif

 

Bill


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#15 CHASLX200

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 07:06 PM

Don't look that bad to me. Always have it re coated if need be.  If they are deep chips and dings into the glass they can be blacked out. The center mark is fine size wise as the 2ND dary is much bigger in diameter.


Edited by CHASLX200, 30 December 2019 - 07:08 PM.

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#16 shredder1656

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 07:26 PM

Here it is with a light behind it.   

 

20191230_123557-01.jpeg



#17 davidmcgo

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 08:10 PM

Alcoat is really inexpensive for re-coats and pretty fast turnaround.

 

www.alcoat.net

 

Dave


Edited by davidmcgo, 30 December 2019 - 08:10 PM.

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#18 Littlegreenman

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 10:53 PM

The focuser knob: IIRC the ones I worked on had a set screw or screws in the knob shaft hold if on. Tiny. Microscopic. Kept me chasing my tail for a couple of hours.

I prefer things that the designers considered that in the future someone may try to work on. This is not one of those things.

But, once you get the job done, you can really smooth out the motion.

And, when working on the focuser work on a surface that will gather and who tiny parts that fall out. Over a tube or flypaper or something.


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#19 telesonic

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Posted 30 December 2019 - 11:30 PM

I think the mirror cleaned up pretty decently, considering the factors. These scopes are pushing almost what, 30 to almost 40 years old by now. Who knows how long the mirror was in the cell, aimed the wrong direction. That may have hurt the coating for sure, but 'ya never know.... it could have protected it too. Strange nonetheless.

 

From what I've come to find, these sled focusers are a tough thing to master as far as adjustments go. I've tinkered a bit with the one on my C/C... and worked out a little of the slop, but I've yet dare take it apart. Since the Secondary slides with the focuser, collimation may be a bit different here than with your standard Newtonian.... but I say "may" being that I'm not sure, and I've only had a few days to mess with it and that design.

 

Those old Vixen made C-6's are cool though, a 6" F/5 would be pretty handy for a drag out / quick observing setup. A buddy of mine has one since the 80's / 90's, and gave it really good ratings.... told me it's a scope to keep keen eye out for.

 

It may be worth it to have the primary re-coated, but if you can - get it out for first light. Oh, and if you are going to re-spot the primary.... those donut's do work, but be careful to pay attention that it isn't way out of round. Accurate centering will matter a lot more at f/5 than it would at a scope of say f/8.

 

Cheers, 

T


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#20 shredder1656

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 09:01 AM

Thanks, all, for the input.  I am glad to know that the mirror condition did not shock anyone.  A re-coat (Thanks, for the link, Davidmcgo) is not out of the question, but I am not in a rush to put more money into the scope yet.  I have a few pairs of binoculars that need sent to SOR for some attention, and they are, currently, a higher priority for cash elimination.  I am going to at least try it for awhile as-is. 

 

I am hoping to get the center marked today.  Not a huge job, I am sure, but barely-charted territory for me.  I marked my Edmund, and it went ok, but made me nervous.  I just used a Sharpie. 

 

Regardless, thanks for the input on the mirror.  Gives me a better view of how to proceed.



#21 CHASLX200

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 01:15 PM

Thanks, all, for the input.  I am glad to know that the mirror condition did not shock anyone.  A re-coat (Thanks, for the link, Davidmcgo) is not out of the question, but I am not in a rush to put more money into the scope yet.  I have a few pairs of binoculars that need sent to SOR for some attention, and they are, currently, a higher priority for cash elimination.  I am going to at least try it for awhile as-is. 

 

I am hoping to get the center marked today.  Not a huge job, I am sure, but barely-charted territory for me.  I marked my Edmund, and it went ok, but made me nervous.  I just used a Sharpie. 

 

Regardless, thanks for the input on the mirror.  Gives me a better view of how to proceed.

Shoot first and ask questions later is my moto. If the mirror works as is then keep it. If it needs a recoat then it is pretty cheap to recoat it.
 


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#22 shredder1656

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:01 PM

Well, the dot sure helped get it collimated.  I am not sure that it is perfect, but it is pretty good.  I used these to get it within range.

 

20200101_204656.jpg

 

I pulled the C102F out to compare the images.  I know that there are big differences between the scopes, but it helped to compare nonetheless.  I think that the C6 looks very nice.  Definitely a brighter image.  The focuser is worrisome, though.

 

Pic of the moon, but single cropped image.  It looks surprisingly fuzzy.  I thought I had it sharply focused, but I guess not.  The image I saw was beautiful. 

 

20200101_204233.jpg

 

I spent most of the time looking at Pleiades.  It looked gorgeous with my clean 26mm Silver Top.  It was very nice with a 40mm TV plossl.  The collimation made things very sharp.  I wish I could have taken a pic of the views.

 

The focuser knob worries me, so I will limit my use until I can reinforce that.  I also need to adjust the friction, with the tiny screws along the sled.  Once I was able to sharply focus the scope, it would slowly slide out of focus, unless I tightened down the thumbscrew.  I was afraid I would forget that I had tightened the thumbscrew, and then twist the knob too hard and result in further damage.  Otherwise, though, it seems to work ok. 

 

So far, so good...

 

The tube is in almost dent-free condition.  The paint has a few blemishes, but nothing glaring.  It cleaned up well, and that was only a quick wipedown. 

 

20200101_174818.jpg

 

20200101_175300.jpg

 

 


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#23 telesonic

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:35 PM

Nice to see that you got it working!

 

Regarding the focuser: 

Check out the last 2 posts on this thread https://www.cloudyni...-catcher/page-3

 

Those guys mention using the helical focuser, so something like that might be of use to you. FWIW, I ordered one of those from Amazon last night after seeing the posts here on it... and it was only like 16 or 18 bucks. Since my Comet Catcher uses the same sled focuser as your C6, it should work. It's a pretty inexpensive solution that might do the trick for ya, at least until you can get your focuser worked over / tuned up.

 

Cheers,

T


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#24 shredder1656

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 03:23 AM

Nice to see that you got it working!

 

Regarding the focuser: 

Check out the last 2 posts on this thread https://www.cloudyni...-catcher/page-3

 

Those guys mention using the helical focuser, so something like that might be of use to you. FWIW, I ordered one of those from Amazon last night after seeing the posts here on it... and it was only like 16 or 18 bucks. Since my Comet Catcher uses the same sled focuser as your C6, it should work. It's a pretty inexpensive solution that might do the trick for ya, at least until you can get your focuser worked over / tuned up.

 

Cheers,

T

Thanks.  I appreciate the help.

 

So, is mine a Comet Catcher, or are they just similar scopes?  It just says "C6" on the label.



#25 apfever

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 06:14 AM

It's a C6.  The Comet Catcher is a different OTA.


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