Hello fellow Portaball owner I am the new owner of an older 12.5" f4.8 Portaball and of course I have a few questions. First light will be in a couple of hours :-) The guy I bought this off of said he purchased it used about 15 years ago.
1) If there is a manual that covers these questions please point me to it!
2) How do I remove the primary? Instructions with photos will help a lot. The fan isn't working and I have 12v from the battery that came with it so I am looking to remove the primary so I can check the wiring and fix it.
3) This scope came with a very old JMI focuser that uses metal screws to retain the eyepiece which is not for me. I am looking for a recommendation for a drop-in replacement that is a decent two-speed Crayford-type focuser with brass rings to hold the eyepiece. Needs to handle both 2" and 1.25" eyepieces.
4) Anyone have an idea how old this one is?
5) Anyone have an idea what mirror is in it?
6) Looking for a recommendation on recoating service. I live in So Cal.
7) Is there a Portaball user group, website, forum for us owners? I know the Mag-1 site is down and he's really really really busy.
Thanks guys! Can't wait to try it out, take it apart, fiddle about.
Welcome to the club! I'll attempt some answers . . .
1. I have a manual, and I may be able to take pictures and email it to you. But suspect you'll do better just getting answers on here. For example, the collimation instructions are off, and the older scope shipped with center dotted secondaries--which actually puts collimation off from optimum. In any case, PM me . . .
2. Primary is a little bit of a bugger first time--harder to get in than out. If yours is the same as mine (I'm circa 2003 I think), then you'll find three aluminum strips that come out of the bottom of the cell, and that are screwed into the top-mounted bolts.
Remove the three collimation screws, and the whole cell will drop to the bottom of the sphere. Rotate the cell a few degrees, and lift it out.
3. I don't know what the mounting situation will be with that focuser, so best to hear from someone who has done that.
4. Sounds like older than mine, so at least earlier than '03.
5. I assume most have Zambuto mirrors, but F5 was what I thought was standard. If it is Zambuto, you'll see etching on the primary that identifies it clearly.
6. Carl Zambuto re-coats his mirrors, so if it is his I'd try him. But Ostahowski does coating, and I think is quite near.
7. No idea, but here seems about as good as you can do as you'll find several owners, as well as people who know the owner personally.