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Given a Meade 6600 w/ Mizar GEM, missing declination knob, other minor parts? Where to buy replacements?

Meade Beginner Classic Equipment EQ Mount Polar Alignment Reflector Tripod
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#1 VidiviciVeni

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:09 PM

In researching and revisiting my passion for astronomy from my youth with my kids, and after *so much help* from many online (on reddit -- this is my first post, here!) for all of my questions and steering me in the right direction (and away from other directions I thought I should go down, initially), I was *very fortunate* to have been given a free Meade 6600 w/ Mizar (I think it may be an AR-1) GEM. This is apparently a scope/mount combo from the mid 1980s, but I think it has a good reputation -- especially the mount, it seems.

 

i9K4cGwrfhbVhPF1wCrA1gOqhlkoAtiVn0om_3uoMkI.jpg

 

However, it's missing a slow-motion knob for the declination, and I'm having trouble finding (understanding?) a compatible replacement. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Is this some universally compatible system I should be able to find various compatible knob styles as replacements for? I'm fine with getting completely different style knobs as long as they're compatible -- if so what should I be looking for?

 

I found the original Meade 6600 manual online as a pdf, but it doesn't say anything about this, unfortunately, and the Meade website didn't seem to have what I'm looking for. 

 

It's old, some of the hardware and weights are a bit rusty, etc -- but it otherwise seems like it works great. The 6x30mm straight finder scope was wobbly on the OTA, but I tightened everything up and just need to calibrate everything a bit better, now. It is also missing the rubber "feet" and so have to place it on soft surfaces to avoid scraping up my floors while it's inside. Any direction on finding these replacements would be helpful, also, along with any other suggestions on improving or otherwise modernizing the situation around this scope & mount.

 

It came with a couple stock, basic plossl eyepieces and I just ordered the SVBony Redline ultra wide angle eyepieces (6mm, 9mm, 15mm and 20mm), a SVBony 7mm-21mm zoom lens and the Celestron Omni 2x Barlow. Also a simple moon filter. Might grab a Telrad as well (it comes with a straight 6x30mm finder scope, no cap), but am curious around what it would take to pick a good quality / versatile gun reflex scope and find ways of mounting one of those, instead. Have already had some fun with it, even balancing it and learning polar aligning, and looking at the moon even with the stock eye pieces, and am very excited to continue down this rabbit hole with my family and kids!

I also wonder if the polar alignment viewfinder is still available anywhere to buy? I've seen a number online but there are many of them and don't know where to start to get the right fitting / compatible one.

 

I live in the South Shore of Boston, MA area, if it matters. Any help & guidance is greatly appreciated!



#2 B 26354

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:30 PM

Measure the diameter of the shaft to which the Slo-Mo cable connects. If it's 6mm... this will work:

 

https://agenaastro.c...handle-6-5.html

 

grin.gif


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#3 JamesDuffey

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:33 PM

What is the diameter of the shaft? If it is 6mm, this should fit:

 

https://agenaastro.c...handle-6-5.html >

 

There are several vendors that offer similar slow motion cables or knobs. If it is 8mm, you may have more trouble finding one.  


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#4 B 26354

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:54 PM

If all you're using the scope for is visual, you needn't bother with finding the polar-alignment scope for it. "Decently approximate" polar alignment will be more than sufficient.

 

Place the mount in a spot where Polaris is visible, and do a reasonable job of leveling the tripod.

 

If there's a latitude scale on the mount, adjust the tilt of the polar axis to match your latitude.

 

Remove the front cap from the polar axis (and the rear cap, if there is one)... and while you're looking through the hollow polar axis, adjust the azimuth and latitude axes, until Polaris is more-or-less centered in the view.

 

That'll get you more than close-enough to enable easy tracking with the slo-mo controls.

 

   ---

 

Align the 6x30 finder with the scope during the daytime, by using the 20mm eyepiece (40mm would be better). Center the top of a distant telephone pole in the 20mm's Field Of View (FOV), and then center the finder's crosshairs on it. Switch eyepieces to the 9mm, re-center the pole-top in *its* FOV, and re-center the finder. That should do it.

 

grin.gif


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#5 VidiviciVeni

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:57 PM

6mm it is, guys! Thank you!

 

I've seen some folks online with the more "springy" knobs -- they seem convenient, but I'd be hesitant due to wobbliness, etc -- any thoughts on these?

 

And, please, any other thoughts / ideas / suggestions around improving the situation around this mount & scope, especially "quality-of-life" improvements on hardware, attachments, etc -- I'd love to hear it.

 

It's all very exciting!



#6 VidiviciVeni

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 10:01 PM

If all you're using the scope for is visual, you needn't bother with finding the polar-alignment scope for it. "Decently approximate" polar alignment will be more than sufficient.

 

Place the mount in a spot where Polaris is visible, and do a reasonable job of leveling the tripod.

 

If there's a latitude scale on the mount, adjust the tilt of the polar axis to match your latitude.

 

Remove the front cap from the polar axis (and the rear cap, if there is one)... and while you're looking through the hollow polar axis, adjust the azimuth and latitude axes, until Polaris is more-or-less centered in the view.

 

That'll get you more than close-enough to enable easy tracking with the slo-mo controls.

 

   ---

 

Align the 6x30 finder with the scope during the daytime, by using the 20mm eyepiece (40mm would be better). Center the top of a distant telephone pole in the 20mm's Field Of View (FOV), and then center the finder's crosshairs on it. Switch eyepieces to the 9mm, re-center the pole-top in *its* FOV, and re-center the finder. That should do it.

 

grin.gif

Thank you, good sir. The old 1980 instructions did a pretty thorough job explaining proper balancing and polar aligning of the scope & mount, and use, but it's good to know for my purposes it doesn't have to be almost absolutely polar-aligned. 


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#7 B 26354

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 10:28 PM

More than welcome!

 

These days -- with so many people jumping right in to astro-photography -- a huge amount of emphasis is placed on polar-alignment accuracy. Starting when I was twelve years old, I used a 4.25" Newtonian on a cast aluminum EQ mount that not only had no motors or setting circles... its steel RA and Dec shafts had no bearings, either... and it wasn't possible to look through its polar axis, like it is on yours.. That Newtonian (and its 6x30 straight-through finder) was my only personal scope for the following eighteen years. Pretty amazing what you can accomplish with a "simple" setup, a Norton's Star Atlas, and a Planisphere:

 

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B005J0XSUA/

 

waytogo.gif


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#8 Bomber Bob

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 03:58 PM

IF you want Original Parts, look at ZEN Market:  https://zenmarket.jp...px?c=2084045043

 

Type mizar in the search box.  I've bought knobs, cables, weights -- even a rare Mizar MMD III drive system in its original box for my AR-1 & SP EQ mounts.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 23 September 2021 - 03:58 PM.

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#9 walter a

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 06:45 PM

Your mount looks like a SP and it should have 8mm shafts and the slow mo and polar scope from carton mounts will fit but they are just as hard to find. Good luck with your great find.


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#10 VidiviciVeni

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 08:54 PM

Your mount looks like a SP and it should have 8mm shafts and the slow mo and polar scope from carton mounts will fit but they are just as hard to find. Good luck with your great find.

Granted I don't have calipers at home (only at work and keep forgetting them) to be exact on the measurement, but with my measuring tape, the DIA looked like 6mm. It really looked liked 6.5mm but I'll chalk that up to the ink line and figure I can call it 6mm.

 

People seem right that for visual astronomy the polar scope isn't necessary, but I kinda want it anyway, for even quicker aligning, and, well, just because! XD

 

Polar Scope from Carton Mounts? Do you have a link or can point me in their direction?



#11 walter a

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 12:28 AM

TV mount on left made by carton and a AR-1 mizar.

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#12 walter a

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 12:37 AM

My caliper has a dead battery so I tried a 7mm wrench and it is to small and the 8mm is a little to big so call it 7.5mm.


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#13 Kasmos

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 12:57 AM

7.5 might be ok but it looks like just a hair over 7mm on my cheap plastic caliper. 


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#14 VidiviciVeni

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 02:17 PM

My caliper has a dead battery so I tried a 7mm wrench and it is to small and the 8mm is a little to big so call it 7.5mm.

Yeah, you're right (my mount is definitely the AR-1, it looks exactly like the gray on on the right in your picture)... it's definitely not a 6mm DIA... I had ordered qty 2ea of these on Agena and they arrived today -- the ID is at least 1mm short, for sure. Total bummer, and reached out to Agena for a replacement (if they even have something) or a refund, otherwise they will never be used (unless I have to bring them to my machine shop at work and ask them to bore them out to 7.5mm or 8mm).

 

Any idea where I can get the right replacements for this?

 

Also, where would you suggest I get a compatible polar scope? Do you have a link?

 

Thank you for your help, btw



#15 Kasmos

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 03:30 PM

Yeah, you're right (my mount is definitely the AR-1, it looks exactly like the gray on on the right in your picture)... it's definitely not a 6mm DIA... I had ordered qty 2ea of these on Agena and they arrived today -- the ID is at least 1mm short, for sure. Total bummer, and reached out to Agena for a replacement (if they even have something) or a refund, otherwise they will never be used (unless I have to bring them to my machine shop at work and ask them to bore them out to 7.5mm or 8mm).

 

Any idea where I can get the right replacements for this?

 

Also, where would you suggest I get a compatible polar scope? Do you have a link?

 

Thank you for your help, btw

If they are not replaced, I would think it would be easy to just put them in a vise and drill a little larger.. or sometimes 7mms come up in the classifieds. The polar scope will be much harder to find. Since the original equipment is old, used parts on Zen market as mentioned in post 8 is probably the best source. Also, as someone mention the polar scope is nice but not nescessary.


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#16 walter a

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 08:11 AM

Your mount looks like a SP and it should have 8mm shafts and the slow mo and polar scope from carton mounts will fit but they are just as hard to find. Good luck with your great find.

I still think your mount is SP not the AR-1, as for the polar finder I tried it in a Astro-physics QMD and it fit so that may be another source if you are heart set on one.

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Edited by walter a, 30 September 2021 - 12:44 PM.


#17 EJN

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Posted 30 September 2021 - 06:27 PM

I still think your mount is SP not the AR-1...

 

That is NOT the Vixen SP (Super Polaris), this is what the SP looks like, clearly different.

Look at the difference in the location of the RA setting circles. That alone shows they are different.

 

post-294878-0-48641100-1533232128.jpg

 

post-381174-0-52156200-1632362774_thumb.

 

 

And for further reference, this is MY Mizar AR-1 mount, also from a Meade 6600. I have a custom saddle on it, and the setting circles were so far gone I put silver tape on them. The extruded aluminum tripod legs on mine are from a Vixen AL150 tripod however.

 

AR-1.jpg


Edited by EJN, 30 September 2021 - 06:55 PM.


#18 walter a

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 02:27 PM

I believe the two mizar mounts pictured above are both mizar SP mounts.The 3 mounts I have posted starting at the left are Mizar SP then a Mizar AR-1 and the Vixen Super Polaris.

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Edited by walter a, 02 October 2021 - 03:19 PM.


#19 walter a

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Posted 02 October 2021 - 02:33 PM

A good way to tell the two mizars apart is the size of the RA housing with the AR-1 being larger and the worm gear hanging lower on the bracket because of it. 

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#20 RichA

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 05:29 PM

6mm it is, guys! Thank you!

 

I've seen some folks online with the more "springy" knobs -- they seem convenient, but I'd be hesitant due to wobbliness, etc -- any thoughts on these?

 

And, please, any other thoughts / ideas / suggestions around improving the situation around this mount & scope, especially "quality-of-life" improvements on hardware, attachments, etc -- I'd love to hear it.

 

It's all very exciting!

Avoid the flexible connections.  They vibrate the scope.



#21 VidiviciVeni

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Posted 03 October 2021 - 08:20 PM

Avoid the flexible connections.  They vibrate the scope.

I have noticed this, a bit -- it's not ideal, but I already bought them, and it's not too bothersome, luckily.




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