I was given this telescope kit but it appears that it is not highly regarded and definitely has some glaring short comings. I am making it work so far and have had some surprisingly satisfying experiences with viewing the moon in various phases and some star clusters. Still looking forward to learning its capabilities and limits. In the meantime I have made some improvements in its usability.
The kits biggest issues are with fit and finish.
Too much play and flex on the Red Dot finder scope. Adjustment was difficult. The foot rocks in the shoe mount. I corrected this by sanding the front edge of the foot square. This also allowed the retainer to properly engage. Shimmed the foot with xray film and the retainer with some foam to snug it up.
There was a bit of play in the adjustment axis. Snugged it up with thin strips of soft foam next to the mechanisms without affecting the adjustment range.
There is some flex in the pedestal but the finder is very functional now. If the flex becomes an issue I plan to glue a split tube from a Bic pen to the front edge of the pedestal to firm things up.
The plastic cover over the focus mechanism had some movement that affected the finder too. I looked for ways to open it up to correct this but couldn't see how without breaking it. So, applied 3 dabs of hot glue on it to lock it in place.
The 90 degree mirror would pull away from the focus tube when weighted with my phone in the Celestron NEXYZ adapter (450 grams). Added a shim of xray film to snug it up.
Added a 3" foam focus knob with a fine focus chopstick to the original focus knob. This works great!
Added handles to the Azimuth and the Altitude axis for smoother more precise movements without handling the scope.
The tripod is junk. Too much play and flex in the top hinges allowed the top to twist and spring back whenever the Azimuth or Altitude axis was moved. Made centering on the object very difficult. So much play that it would wobble for 10 seconds after adjusting or if you had to hit the camera button. It had movement even in the slightest breeze and while focusing. Really surprised to get the photos and video that I did.
Fixing it would be way too much effort. So, I replaced it with a Bosch BT160 contractor tripod ($60).
Added a 3 spoke chain spreader attached to the legs using the existing foot bolts and d-rings used for hanging pictures. Joined the chains together with a heavy split ring.
Suspended a 20lb weight from the head using the same type of chain.
I used unwelded chain for easy length adjustment on the weight and spreader.
Made a plywood spacer to attach the AltAz mount to the tripod using the scopes original knob.
This thing is rock solid now. Quick, smooth, precise movement to objects. Only a slight, fine vibration when performing any operation lasting just fractions of a second now. Have yet to test it all in a bit of wind though.
These mods provided huge improvements in usability with very little effort and expense.
The clamp that holds the telescope to the dovetail is weak and could be susceptible to movement from wind. Options to correct it would be to fill the hollow parts with JB Weld and utilize hose clamps in the front and back of the split collar. Or replace the split collar with 2 split pipe clamps.
I may also add a wood accessory tray /leg locker assembly on the tripod that would act to attach the altaz mount and suspend the weight under it.
This equipment may be a gateway to a growing new hobby for me?? I may consider purchasing a better more appropriate selection of eyepieces down the line??