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Over the top upgrades for an old Meade 826

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#1 Broz22

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 12:34 PM

During the time of Covid my wife and I thought that pulling the old telescope (Meade 826 from about 1984) out of the closet would be a fun activity for the times. When we used it many years ago I thought the OTA itself was pretty good, but not so the mount. So I ordered a CGX for it. That needed a dovetail, so I got one and modded the rings to use it. Then I thought the viewfinder used the old .965 eyepieces and wasn't what I wanted, so I put a new 60 mm finder and rings on it. i wasn't happy with the focuser, so I got and installed a nice Moonlite. That was great, but a motorized focuser sounded even better. Fortunately, Ron at Moonlite had just the thing. Then when trying to collimate, the spider basically just came to pieces in my hand so I got a new secondary and spider. I cleaned the primary, but it was kind of grubby and spotted still, so I sent if off to be recoated. My wife thought EAA might be fun so bought an ASI294MC-P. She didn't like the tripod in the grass in the backyard (although the CGX tripod is pretty nice) and the laptop on a TV dinner table was pretty shaky, so I got an 8"diameter steel pier and used 21 bags of Sakrete for the pier base going down 40". We farmed out having an 11'x12' pad poured around the pier base (8" thick because you pay for 5 yards whether you use them or not) and separated from it with .5 in of styrofoam to isolate vibration. My daughter sewed a nice heavy duty cover for the mount so we could leave it outside on the pier, but I got tired of carrying the OTA out and built a pretty heavy-duty shed (Hardieplank siding over plywood and 2x6 studs) with a roll-on-roll-off metal roof, so I could keep the scope mounted. Running 200' of extension cord out to the shed each time we used it was a pain, so I trenched and installed permanent wiring and Cat 6 cable out to the shed. EAA did turn out to be fun and saved my bad back from so much bending over the eyepieces (a little discussed benefit of EAA, although the sense of being lost in the view is sort of missing), and to make it a little nicer put a large-screen display in the shed for use as the Sharpcap second display. this led to saving the raw frames and trying later off-line stacking and from there into beginning astrophotgraphy. Which, off-course, then needed a camera for the finder/guidescope (got an ASI120MM mini).  SC led to CPWI and Astrotortilla, and from there into NINA/ASTAP/Cartes du Ciel and the Celestron Ascom driver. I'm now deeply in the miseries of trying to get PixInsight doing what I want using piles of books, many free and paid vids.

  So I figure I now have well over $10k and a huge amount of hours invested in the old $200 telescope. I will say that the current level of functioni is way beyond what we dreamed of when looking at Halley's comet so many years ago, and more like some of the observatory stuff we did in college. I don't know if folks here know about GAS (guitar acquisition syndrome), but the telescope world seems to have something similar. I now find myself craving a 12.5" CDK or Edge 11 HD. The CGX could handle the Edge 11, but the CDK would require a mount upgrade (looking at you Mach 2). I think I'm obsessed and this doesn't seem to end, but remember, he who dies with the most toys wins.

John


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#2 bcgroove

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 06:23 PM

Yep, sounds like a rabbit hole, enjoy it. Remember, you only die once but you live every day, go for it.

 

By the way, only you guitar players (drummer here that owns 3 acoustics, 1 electric and a bass) call GAS guitar acquisition syndrome, the rest of us call it gear acquisition syndrome. The virus spreads thoughout all hobbies.

 

Bob



#3 Broz22

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 11:49 PM

Do drummers need to acquire new toys too? I do remember guys talking about new kick pedals and maybe more cymbals?

John



#4 Bullgator

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 06:15 PM

Love this story!



#5 Scott in NC

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 06:26 PM

I think you need to add an AP Stowaway with a 21mm Ethos as a finder scope. grin.gif



#6 Broz22

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 11:09 AM

Please don't tempt me. The Stowaway looks really sweet. But then I'd need an another motorized focusr, probably two filter wheels (looking at one for the present scope), 2 more cameras. And I'm already looking at a 2600mm and trying to get into the mono thing. It never ends. But to tell you the truth. this whole thing reminds more and more of the tree fort building I did as a kid - probably about 30 of them. Building them was my favorite thing, adding amenities like the Swiss Family Robinson tree house, but when they were done, it was kind of - meh, here I am sitting in this tree, now what. Time to build another one - and maybe higher up this time, with 3 floors instead of two ...

John




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