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Is This Really a Unitron?

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#26 KidOrion

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 06:28 AM

`1-7/16 is the diameter of the nosepiece of a Unihex, and that clamp on  the end of your drawtube is the regular Unihex clamp.  Which means it is set up for a Unihex.

Good to know--I'll have to rig an adaptor until I can grab a Unihex (not likely for a while yet).



#27 KidOrion

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 06:28 AM

Congratulations!! That is an excellent find! I also will do some digging. May have a draw tube. Have several that had shady glass. They had years of dust and dirt. VERY carefully disassembled and cleaned. I was lucky. Wish I had your mount! Very nice.... good for you!

Thanks!



#28 starman876

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 08:34 AM

That is the bargain of the year.  bow.gif

 

Great find.   That is a very early Unitron.  The very early ones did not have any writing on the lens cell. Some of the very early ones the dew shield actually held the lens in the cell.   That mount is a very good mount.  Will hold a lot of weight.  Not sure if the mount is the same period as the OTA.  Looks to b a bit later in time.   It looks like you have the legs. Did you get the tray for th legs?  Should look great once restored.  I will PM you and see what you need to complete the find.


Edited by starman876, 28 December 2019 - 08:36 AM.


#29 davidmcgo

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 09:18 AM

If you have the same size threads as the drawtubes on the smaller focusers, try here for a 1.25” adapter

 

http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_utea.htm

 

Dave


Edited by davidmcgo, 28 December 2019 - 09:18 AM.


#30 Terra Nova

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 02:40 PM

That is the bargain of the year.  bow.gif
 
Great find.   That is a very early Unitron.  The very early ones did not have any writing on the lens cell. Some of the very early ones the dew shield actually held the lens in the cell.   That mount is a very good mount.  Will hold a lot of weight.  Not sure if the mount is the same period as the OTA.  Looks to b a bit later in time.   It looks like you have the legs. Did you get the tray for th legs?  Should look great once restored.  I will PM you and see what you need to complete the find.


I’m pretty sure those alt-azimuth mounts came AFTER the yoke mounts? The OTA is definitely older. The objective cell doesn’t have the ‘ears’ and the cell isn’t collimatible. Also it’s marked 100mm instead of 102mm. Since the OTA lacks the pinions to attach the yoke mount (consistent with the model 150s of its time period), I would venture to speculate that the OTA is an early model 152, and the native German equatorial mount was later replaced with the late period Unitron model 150 mount.

#31 ccwemyss

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Posted 28 December 2019 - 03:13 PM

I agree. The mount is much later, having the black-coated wing nuts for the locks. I can't see the far side in the pics, but at some point they had a place to mount a counterweight shaft and weight to balance the heavy tube in the altitude direction.

 

The OTA has the focus knobs on both sides, so was likely on a EQ mount originally. It looks like early 50's from the design of the focuser, although there were some earlier ones that didn't have the focal length and diameter on them. 

 

Chip W. 



#32 Wisconsin Steve

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Posted 29 December 2019 - 08:40 AM

I’m pretty sure those alt-azimuth mounts came AFTER the yoke mounts? The OTA is definitely older. The objective cell doesn’t have the ‘ears’ and the cell isn’t collimatible. Also it’s marked 100mm instead of 102mm. Since the OTA lacks the pinions to attach the yoke mount (consistent with the model 150s of its time period), I would venture to speculate that the OTA is an early model 152, and the native German equatorial mount was later replaced with the late period Unitron model 150 mount.

Agree that the yoke mounts were first.

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#33 KidOrion

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 11:10 PM

Good to know--I'll have to rig an adaptor until I can grab a Unihex (not likely for a while yet).

As it turns out, I won't have to quite grab an adaptor for the Unihex.

 

Knowing what I know now, I went back over to the Science Center to look for remaining parts for the scope. They were already somewhat ahead of me, and had pulled some things they'd found to go with the old scope.

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#34 KidOrion

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 11:12 PM

That's (obviously) the Unihex, an erecting prism, a Vivitar T-ring, and an extension tube of some sort. The Unihex is somewhat damaged; the 1.25" eyepiece holder has had the threads stripped on it where it couples to the Unihex and those will have to be rethreaded. The rest of those parts are in good shape, although the prism in the Unihex and that in the image erector both need some real cleaning.


Edited by KidOrion, 06 January 2020 - 12:32 AM.


#35 KidOrion

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 11:22 PM

I discovered the equatorial head upstairs near where the scope was; it still has the tray-light on it (will need a new battery and/or bulb). The equatorial head is an absolute monster, outweighing the entire equatorial assembly/tripod for my C8; it's probably 60 pounds.

 

I also found what look like the legs and tripod tray of the original tripod. The legs are in pretty poor shape, and I left them and the attached tray there; I'll probably collect them at this month's meeting in two weeks. Apparently they had both an alt-az and an equatorial for this scope. I managed to score the counterweight bar and the weight itself for the alt-az (obviously the weight will work for both, although it seems there must be another counterweight to go with it that wasn't found). But I couldn't track down the original finder scope or its bracket. Nor am I sure what kind of bar goes in the brackets that are currently attached to the scope. (Actually, I’ve since found that they’re the brackets for the solar projection screen.)

 

I'm thinking of stripping off the paint--the tube is seriously scratched up--and lacquering the brass, then perhaps anodizing the black parts either black or rose gold. Cost will play a big part in how much gets done and when.


Edited by KidOrion, 06 January 2020 - 12:35 AM.


#36 strdst

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 11:48 PM

OMG good purchase! So while I was teasing a 4" something out of Tennessee (Go Titans) this was being offered just 20 miles away? I did see a CL ad for a C-90 being sold through the Science Center at a fair price but...Unitron?... 4"???
 

CoNgrAtULatioNs!!!!  Deal of the new decade!


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#37 CHASLX200

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Posted 06 January 2020 - 06:34 AM

As it turns out, I won't have to quite grab an adaptor for the Unihex.

 

Knowing what I know now, I went back over to the Science Center to look for remaining parts for the scope. They were already somewhat ahead of me, and had pulled some things they'd found to go with the old scope.

That looks just like the mount i had with all metal SLO MO rods, smooth weight shaft, but i had no hole for a SLO MO cable for RA in the RA knob and my RA gear was solid with no holes.



#38 KidOrion

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 09:17 PM

Update: The Restoration begins....

 

Today Jerry Oltion and I did some work on the old beast, merely for the sake of getting it up and running again. There was a rattle in the focuser end, and so we had to take the focuser out. We did this without realizing that the middle of the "focuser" unscrews, so we took the whole end of the scope off and realized that we wouldn't be able to get the nuts back on the screws. But aha! once we had the focuser off, we could see how the central part (the focuser itself) unscrewed from it, and it was a simple matter to get the screws and nuts back together. The rattling sound was one of the nuts, which had come off and was rolling around the inside of the tube (it was prevented from going down the tube toward the objective by the internal counterweight).

 

It took a bit of effort to unscrew the dew shield; we were afraid we would have to remove the whole objective end of the scope as well, and had no idea how to put the nuts on the screws at that end. Fortunately, the dew shield eventually worked loose and we could carefully remove it. 

 

The objective was quite a mess: lots of dust and a slight haze on the inside, either on the inner lens or the back of the outer one. The front of the objective was obviously wiped with a handkerchief or something similar, leaving a number of sleeks on the lens. We couldn't figure out how to remove the lens cell from the tube, so we only cleaned the outer surface. The three small screws holding the cell together were extremely tight and we couldn't budge them without fear of damaging them, so we left them alone.  This doesn't solve the cleaning of the optics, though. (And would ROR be safe, or should I stick to distilled water?)

 

We know about marking the edges of the lenses so they match up and they go in the scope in the proper orientation, and about keeping the thin spacers intact. But we're not sure how to release the screws without forcing them, and I suspect that dabbing a tiny drop of WD-40 on each of them (with, say, a toothpick) would be a bad idea, even from the side of the cell. (This thread--- https://www.cloudyni...nd-restoration/ ---was a huge help in getting as far as we did; thanks to all who took part in that discussion.)

 

I'd like for the scope to perform to its best, so I'm going to look into getting a strap wrench to release the cell.

 

There's a lot of cosmetic damage to the tube: scratches through the paint, and a few scratches through the shinier brass plate. I've considered stripping the paint, as I doubt painting the scratches will improve the scope that much cosmetically. A lacquered brass tube would look nicer, I think, although I'd probably take the tube to a shop to have it done rather than do it at home with all the dust and dog hair. The focuser and black trim would stay the same, although it'd be nice to anodize the brass ring at the end of the dew shield (perhaps a rose gold color for accent). 

 

The 1.25" tube that goes on the Unihex is missing. I found a short 1.25" tube near the Unihex, but it doesn't fit; its OD is a very slight bit too large (even though the threading matches). But we've rigged a tube for straight-through viewing, using a couple of parts we found with the scope, so it'll be usable. So far, the view is decent, even with the lenses uncleaned.


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#39 ccwemyss

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Posted 08 January 2020 - 09:35 PM

The front part of the cell just unscrews. A little bit of penetrating oil at the joint where the dew shield threads end (not where the retaining ring meets the cell) probably won't hurt. The three screws hold the retaining ring that keeps the lens in the cell. You need to find a screwdriver that fits really solidly. I have one from a miniature set that works well (also one from a professional electronics tool kit).

 

The glass comes out through the front (unlike many Japanese refractors of the period, which come out the back). The screws cause the ring to apply pressure to the lens, so it is important, when reinstalling them, to do so under a CFL or other monochromatic source so you can see the Newton's rings. When they start to move, it means you're pressing on the glass and need to back off. 

 

The paint on these is actually harder to remove than it looks, from the easy way it seems to scratch. It can turn into a mess. There was one on the classifieds ages ago that had been done in brass. I can't say that it aged well:

 

https://www.cloudyni...unt-and-extras/

 

You could also take it to a body shop to fill the scrapes and dings and give it a good new coat of paint. But I'd save that for last. There is other work to be done, and you may find that you enjoy using it often enough that you're happy to not worry about the finish while doing so. 

 

Chip W. 


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#40 KidOrion

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Posted 01 February 2020 - 04:06 PM

Update again:

 

Finally had a couple of sucker holes to look through last night, as a group of us went up to the local reservoir for our monthly public night. Even through the clouds and poor seeing, I was pretty pleased with the dear old thing (I may call the scope "Dot" as a result!) and its images; they were pretty sharp at low power (I didn't get a fair assessment at higher power, alas). The Trapezium and NGC 1980 were beautiful and the Moon and Venus looked quite nice. Sky conditions weren't really good enough to judge the optics critically, but it seems that even with the dirt and haze on and between the lenses, the optics are pretty fine.

 

I need to do a bit more fiddling with the extended focuser tube and such to make it more user friendly. The triangle tray on the other set of tripod legs doesn't fit these legs, so I wound 6' of chain through the bolts on the legs to keep them from spreading too far. (I'll have to either rig a more permanent solution or get something to protect the legs from the chain so they don't get chewed up.)

 

I was told that I looked like Marvin the Martian sitting there.

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Edited by KidOrion, 01 February 2020 - 04:07 PM.

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#41 KidOrion

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 01:17 AM

Unfortunate news: Jerry Oltion and I got the lens cell out of the scope (thanks for the strap-wrench suggestion!) and while that went well, the outer surface of the outer lens is pretty badly sleeked, as if someone used a grit-filled cloth to clean or dry it. As there didn't seem to be any real dirt or grime between the lenses, we chose not to open the cell and separate the lenses at all; we just cleaned the outer surfaces and replaced the cell in the scope.

 

I'm kind of unsure how to proceed. My first look through the scope was pretty good (although the sky conditions were pretty poor), so I'm not sure how much of an impact the sleeks will collectively have. (We have a decent forecast for several days this week, so I may take the old thing out in conjunction with my 12.5" Dob.) When I get the funds down the road, I may go looking for a set of 4" f/15 Unitron lenses as a replacement. For now, I'm just going to see what it can do (once I've collected the forty Herschel 400/Herschel II objects I need out of the Mon/CMa/Pup region with the 12.5", that is) and appreciate it for what it is.


Edited by KidOrion, 17 February 2020 - 01:27 AM.


#42 Terra Nova

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 10:53 AM

Can you tell if the sleeks are just coating burnishes or if they go clear through into the glass? If it’s just the coating, it can be removed without too much trouble and very little loss of contrast. 



#43 hambone20

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Posted 01 March 2020 - 11:46 PM

Did you get those 40 Herschels collected?  Eureka maybe?  Nice to see you here my friend.



#44 rogue river art

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Posted 02 March 2020 - 10:07 PM

I was lucky enough to visit that store 63 years ago in Boston, Came away shocked at the prices even then. I was 14 yo



#45 KidOrion

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Posted 21 March 2020 - 05:24 AM

Can you tell if the sleeks are just coating burnishes or if they go clear through into the glass? If it’s just the coating, it can be removed without too much trouble and very little loss of contrast. 

They must be only on the coatings, because we had the dear old beast out at a dark site tonight, and it performed quite beautifully. I was stunned by the view of M42 at 107x, dug through some of the winter open clusters, and walked along Markarian's Chain. There's nothing like the pinpoint stars visible in a fine refractor!

 

I left the scope on M64 while I went to do some observing with my 13" Coulter; when I came back later, M53 was in the field and impressive. On a whim, I star hopped over to NGC 5053, and was astounded to see it--it was barely visible (even in 21.43 skies), but certainly there. Another experienced observer verified the sighting. I also checked it by hopping over to NGC 5466 in Boötes; that cluster was certainly faint, but also was a fair amount brighter than NGC 5053, just as it should've been.

 

One issue that arose, and somewhat wrecked my Messier marathon hopes, was that of slippage in the altitude gear. I suspect it was a problem of balance, but it made anything over about 35* N latitude pretty much unobservable--aiming the scope and letting go resulted in a zenith-ward drift of 5 or more degrees. I know what I'll be working on during the extended break....


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#46 starman876

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Posted 21 March 2020 - 06:20 AM

I would not worry about the sleeks.  Sounds like you have a wonderful scope.




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