Long time member trying to get back into Astronomy after a long break.
I've had my XT10i out a few nights in the past few months after it's been sitting in the corner for the past ten years. I bought the scope back in college stored it at home with my parents and did a bit of observing when I came back home to visit, but eventually abandoned the hobby when I graduated and moved from Bortle 4 skies to Bortle 8 skies.
But now I'm trying again and facing frustration after frustration. First night out I checked my primary collimation, pointed the Dob at the Moon, a nice easy target and had no end of trouble landing solid focus. I kept skipping back and forth due to focuser slop. So I started reading through the forums about how to tune up the focuser and I got it tightened up. While there I read a lot of posts on collimation and felt a bit better about my rusty skills. Even picked up a laser collimator and tired the barlowed laser method.
A few days later I took it out again and picked the Orion nebula this time, an easy find but a harder target. I found that even after my adjustments the focuser was all over the place, wobbling in the focuser. That night every time I would refocus stars would look like differently shaped sonic the hedgehogs. I used my collimation cap and the primary looked in alignment, but no clue on the secondary. So to help alleviate my pain I bit the bullet and ordered a nice Moonlite CR2 and the full Catseye collimation kit. Got the Moonlite a week ago and installation was a breeze, so that was a welcomed relief. Had to wait a bit for the collimation kit to ship but got that yesterday.
Then came today.
I got the scope out and started going through the collimation instructions. I pulled the secondary and checked the focuser mechanical alignment, made some small adjustments and was confident enough to put the secondary on and move on to that part of collimation. At that point I realized since I had the primary off I should install some milk jug washers on the secondary and whipped those up. I then put them on and tried the thread on the secondary when disaster struck.
I had the scope tilted up about 30° so I could keep things horizontal-ish, but still work from eye height and look down the tube. I had thought I had the secondary threaded on a few turns and let go to re-position myself only to have the secondary bounce down the entire length of the scope hitting the primary and land resting on one of the mirror cell clips. Luckily, it managed to land mirror side facing up so I was able to slide it slowly back out without pulling the mirror cell.
And the horrors kept coming.
The secondary was fairly dirty after it's tumble down a 16 year old scope, so I rinsed it off with tap water and blew off any excess water with my giotto air blaster and saw two small ~1/16" smudges where the secondary is scratched. Not great, but not completely horrible.
But then when I looked down at my primary I'm fairly certain I see a fairly sizable scratch where the secondary bounced off of the primary. The primary was fairly dirty, so I guess it could have just removed some dust, but I'm fairly certain I see a scratch. Plus now I see something near the mirror clip where the secondary landed, ARGH.
At this point I'm considering pulling the mirror cell at this point to get a good look at the damage, but taking a moment and typing this post suggests I should just figure things out once the endorphins have gone down.