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Goodwill Tasco 851tr

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#1 Protheus

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 12:23 AM

Sometime recently I decided I wanted to try a really slow achromatic refractor.  Found this thing at Goodwill for a few dollars.  It's a Tasco 851tr.  It has "Hello my name is" stickers with "telescope" scrawled on the side, the finder is on pretty rough shape, the dew shield has been lost, the mount is a nice old equatorial, but none of the axis locks work for some reason or another, it came with a probably terrible 3x Barlow, but no diagonal.  A previous owner had removed the objective from the cell and bolted it in exactly backwards.  It's a 60mm f/15, though, which is a pretty slow refractor.

 

So, I threw it together as well as I could do quickly, flipped the objective around, took a .965" diagonal from an even cheaper yard sale Tasco, and tried pointing it at Mars tonight.  I have a decent set of 0.965" eyepieces.  Got it up to about 100x on Mars with an orthoscopic.  Saw a reasonable amount of surface detail tonight, and got M35, M36, M37, and M38 right there with it in the same area.

 

Anyway, so far, so good, I guess.  The optics seem decent.  Need to figure out why the axis locks on the mount aren't working.  It's not optimal trying to hold it still at 100x.

 

Chris

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Edited by Protheus, 23 November 2022 - 12:27 AM.

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#2 Bob Campbell

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 01:55 AM

Sometime recently I decided I wanted to try a really slow achromatic refractor.  Found this thing at Goodwill for a few dollars.  It's a Tasco 851tr.  It has "Hello my name is" stickers with "telescope" scrawled on the side, the finder is on pretty rough shape, the dew shield has been lost, the mount is a nice old equatorial, but none of the axis locks work for some reason or another, it came with a probably terrible 3x Barlow, but no diagonal.  A previous owner had removed the objective from the cell and bolted it in exactly backwards.  It's a 60mm f/15, though, which is a pretty slow refractor.

 

So, I threw it together as well as I could do quickly, flipped the objective around, took a .965" diagonal from an even cheaper yard sale Tasco, and tried pointing it at Mars tonight.  I have a decent set of 0.965" eyepieces.  Got it up to about 100x on Mars with an orthoscopic.  Saw a reasonable amount of surface detail tonight, and got M35, M36, M37, and M38 right there with it in the same area.

 

Anyway, so far, so good, I guess.  The optics seem decent.  Need to figure out why the axis locks on the mount aren't working.  It's not optimal trying to hold it still at 100x.

 

Chris

Time Machine

 

very cool!



#3 Tenacious

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 01:01 PM

Sometime recently I decided I wanted to try a really slow achromatic refractor.  Found this thing at Goodwill for a few dollars.  It's a Tasco 851tr.  It has "Hello my name is" stickers with "telescope" scrawled on the side, the finder is on pretty rough shape, the dew shield has been lost, the mount is a nice old equatorial, but none of the axis locks work for some reason or another, it came with a probably terrible 3x Barlow, but no diagonal.  A previous owner had removed the objective from the cell and bolted it in exactly backwards.  It's a 60mm f/15, though, which is a pretty slow refractor.

 

So, I threw it together as well as I could do quickly, flipped the objective around, took a .965" diagonal from an even cheaper yard sale Tasco, and tried pointing it at Mars tonight.  I have a decent set of 0.965" eyepieces.  Got it up to about 100x on Mars with an orthoscopic.  Saw a reasonable amount of surface detail tonight, and got M35, M36, M37, and M38 right there with it in the same area.

 

Anyway, so far, so good, I guess.  The optics seem decent.  Need to figure out why the axis locks on the mount aren't working.  It's not optimal trying to hold it still at 100x.

 

Chris

I found one of these a few years back at a swap table, the next newer Tasco with a plastic 1.25" focuser.  Until then, I had only experienced larger Newtonians.  I was blown away by what I could see with a 60 x 900 achromat!  I started re-visiting the solar system and familiar targets just to make a comparison.  I joined Cloudy Nights and started tinkering with the scope.  It's really been a lot of fun!


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#4 Protheus

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 01:53 PM

I found one of these a few years back at a swap table, the next newer Tasco with a plastic 1.25" focuser.  Until then, I had only experienced larger Newtonians.  I was blown away by what I could see with a 60 x 900 achromat!  I started re-visiting the solar system and familiar targets just to make a comparison.  I joined Cloudy Nights and started tinkering with the scope.  It's really been a lot of fun!

My first scope, ages ago now, was a little Tasco, probably a bit older than this one.  I'm guessing from what little information I can find in pictures of other Tasco scopes that this one is early to mid 90s or so.  Could be wrong.  Anyway, I never got around to doing much with that Tasco.  If I'd known then what I know now, it would have been a much more useful thing than it was.  My parents' hearts were in the right place on it, of course, but they were not astronomers.  We got the thing set up, pointed in the right direction, focused, even aligned the finder properly.  Everything was in order, but we pointed it at the sky and the only thing we ever saw with or without the telescope were stars.  What did I know, maybe that was all there was.

 

A good twenty or so years later, I decided to figure out what I was doing wrong, did all the research, and then impulse bought an old Bausch & Lomb  454 at a big yard sale for $20. I suppose a bit older than my old Tasco.  I think it's a Towa, but I haven't really looked to find out.  That's probably the only other 60x900mm scope I've used.  I do still have it, and quite like it.  Of course, optically, the old Tasco was probably nearly identical to the Bausch & Lomb.  The difference is in how it was used, but I was much happier using that B&L than I ever was using the Tasco with no idea where to point it.  The solar system, open clusters, and even a couple actual deep-sky things are pretty reasonable targets for these scopes.

 

Anyway, this one is a much more compact footprint than the 454, the mount's a bit smaller, not small enough to seem unstable.  The hardware is not quite so substantial all around.  Definitely a fun toy for the few dollars it cost.  We'll see if I can figure out what's up with the locking bolts on the mount.  That fix would help immensely.

 

Chris


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#5 apfever

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 08:01 PM

Can you check the label on the focuser to see where it was made. The Tasco 851 was made in 5 different countries as far as I know. I had at least 4 of the countries, maybe all 5, not sure if I had an actual Korea labeled 851 or just saw a picture of one. They were made in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, ... I thought there were 5 countries but maybe just those 4. It has been several years and all the Tasco Reds have long been gone. The Japan version was the best of the ones I had. 

 

The RA and DEC locks are simple bolts that clamp onto a boss in the mount housings. Make sure the threads on your knobs are good and that the bolts are long enough to engage the boss inside the mount housing. Take one of the lock knobs off and use a stick (toothpick or any long skinny item) to see how far in the hole the bolt needs to go to hit the stop. Some mounts have a brass insert or other soft contact in the hole which the clamp knob then tightens on. This keeps the clamp knob from damaging the contact boss. I don't know if the 851 ever had this type of fancy pin insert. It is worth checking the bolt length. I don't remember taking an 851 mount apart. 


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#6 Protheus

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Posted 23 November 2022 - 08:46 PM

Can you check the label on the focuser to see where it was made. The Tasco 851 was made in 5 different countries as far as I know. I had at least 4 of the countries, maybe all 5, not sure if I had an actual Korea labeled 851 or just saw a picture of one. They were made in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, ... I thought there were 5 countries but maybe just those 4. It has been several years and all the Tasco Reds have long been gone. The Japan version was the best of the ones I had. 

 

The RA and DEC locks are simple bolts that clamp onto a boss in the mount housings. Make sure the threads on your knobs are good and that the bolts are long enough to engage the boss inside the mount housing. Take one of the lock knobs off and use a stick (toothpick or any long skinny item) to see how far in the hole the bolt needs to go to hit the stop. Some mounts have a brass insert or other soft contact in the hole which the clamp knob then tightens on. This keeps the clamp knob from damaging the contact boss. I don't know if the 851 ever had this type of fancy pin insert. It is worth checking the bolt length. I don't remember taking an 851 mount apart. 

 

Well, this one is apparently Korea.

 

Also, upon closer examination, the tripod doesn't lock because half of the slow motion worm mechanism has been removed (and presumably discarded) from both axes, so even when you lock them, the part which should have been held by the gears spins freely.

 

Chris



#7 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 24 November 2022 - 02:15 AM

Someone might have the parts you need. Check out the " Ask away" thread at the top of this forum.
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#8 Mike in Rancho

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Posted 24 November 2022 - 03:58 PM

Neat!

 

I have nearly the exact same 851TR kit, except 2x on the Barlow.  Unsure of the year, but I know it came with a Rand McNally moon map.  If I could find that, it probably has a copyright that could ballpark things.

 

It was my parents', and really just decorative furniture, but of course I fiddled with it.  Learned what a GEM mount was, saw my first Galilean moons, rings of Saturn, as well as Venus as a crescent.  At some point I just absconded with it, but then it spent years in my attic.

 

When I got back into astronomy a couple years ago I took it down, cleaned it up, and now it's my decorative living room furniture.  tongue2.gif   A few months back I took it completely apart and fixed things up to get the equatorial stuff working the way I wanted.  Also ordered a little .965 to 1.25 adapter so I could try things other than the tiny little EP's it came with.


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#9 OutEast77

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Posted 15 February 2024 - 10:40 AM

I recently aquired this scope and its missing the counter weight bar and weight any one can give me some info on how to get one or an after market set up ?  Thanks Outeast 



#10 GeneDiG

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Posted 20 February 2024 - 09:38 AM

I recently aquired this scope and its missing the counter weight bar and weight any one can give me some info on how to get one or an after market set up ?  Thanks Outeast 

Look at a second hand EQ1 mount and cannibalize it.




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