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Install ZWO EAF bracket made for Celestron 8" and 9.25" SCTon a Meade LX200 SCT

Meade SCT EAA DIY Celestron Accessories
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#1 rwoodin3

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 10:19 AM

So, I have a 10" Meade LX200 ACF SCT. I have ZWO main and guide cameras, ZWO ASIAIR Plus and ZWO ASI EAF.
The scope can be operated remotely after being setup and polar aligned. An issue with using the ZWO ASI EAF on a Meade Schmidt Cassegrain, such as I have, is that there are not many options available to mount the EAF with. I had previously bought and used a 3D printed bracket + coupler from or called, the Buckeye Stargazer. This mounting solution worked well for the last 6 months or so. The other night, I suddenly couldn't focus when switching to a new target, near the end of the observing session. I pulled everything in for the night and, as expected, when I looked at the focuser, the bracket coupling had loosened up. Long story short, the grub screws holding the coupler to the motor and scope focuser shafts had lost their grip on the shafts, and couldn't be tightened due to the 3D printed coupling threaded holes stripping. It's real easy to strip the threads on these screw holes. I tried drilling slightly larger holes in the coupling and inserting slightly larger grub screws, but the coupler wound up cracking. 3D printed parts are nowhere near as hard or durable as regular, formed plastic pieces. So, I started looking for what else was available online and found ZWO now has an EAF bracket, coupling and screws kit, that is all aluminum. The only problem is that it is made for Celestron SCT's. There are two sizes of this bracket kit, one fits the C8" and C9.25", while another larger one fits the C11" and C14". I found some discussion online about this ZWO bracket being successfully used on Meade SCT's, but there were no real details that I could find, on if it could be installed unmodified on a Meade SCT, which size to get for the Meade SCT and so on. With that, I bought and received the ZWO EAF mounting bracket made for Celestron 8", 9.25". The reason for this is the hole diameter in the coupler, at 12.8mm looked like it would fit the brass focuser shaft of my LX200, which I had measured at about 12.7mm. I found that the coupler fit both EAF and scope focus shafts perfectly. I did notice a problem though, the coupler is kind of short to fit securely on both shafts, so that the grub screws can be tightened securely. The coupler was just long enough to fit, but the grub screws were grabbing right at the ends of both shafts. As I went through putting the bracket on and off the scope a couple times, I thought I'd make a video of how this bracket and coupler are installed on a Meade SCT. I found that for best fit of the coupler, to fit well and be inserted on both shafts, required the bottom piece of the 3 piece bracket assembly to be cut and filed. That is necessary because of the way the bracket assembly mounts, there is no room to move the bottom bracket inwards, which moves the EAF and it's shaft closer to the focuser shaft, as that piece is already almost touching the back plate on the scope. So in all, it wasn't hard to do, except for the usual fumbling with screws and trying to get everything correctly mechanically aligned. Hopefully the video will help others contemplating mounting their ZWO EAF's to their Meade SCT's. Link to youtube video is below. The bracket can be ordered at ZWO, just select the EAF in their accessories menu and scroll to the bottom. Some vendors carry these ZWO kits as well. I got mine very quickly (2 days), from OPT!! FYI. the larger kit for the C11 and C14 has a coupler with the scope focuser side hole that has a diameter of 32mm, which is way, way to big to be used, at least on my LX200 SCT and I imagine, other Meade SCT models as well.

https://youtu.be/6Pxw9xie9XQ


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#2 w00p

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 11:25 AM

This is good to hear. Until ZWO makes a proper bracket/mounting solution for Meade, this looks like it'll work just fine. Will be interested to hear how it works - any issues you run into, any backlash due to the solution. I just went ahead and ordered the Celestron bracket and will be attempting to do what you did.


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#3 rwoodin3

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Posted 02 December 2022 - 12:43 PM

Sounds great! I hope it works out well for you. Of course it's going to be cloudy for the next week here, but I don't anticipate any showstoppers. I did use the 3D printed mounting bracket quite a bit, and it performed well until just recently. Possible temperatures down near, and below freezing made the piece brittle. I used a hacksaw to cut the excess off of the new ZWO aluminum mounting bracket, by hand. That was a bit of a pain. I need to get a vise for clamping material securely when cutting. Oh, I should have mentioned, ZWO wanted $30 shipping for this $39 dollar piece! OPT only charged $15, which is too much, but better than $30.



#4 rwoodin3

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Posted 05 December 2022 - 03:56 AM

Hi, I watched the video I made and realized there were many pauses and generally superfluous information within it. I edited the original video and uploaded that new video to Youtube. It's length is cut down to 11:55, from 17:44, and I think the important points are all covered. I don't make too many videos, but I thought this would provide info not widely available online.
I'll leave the original up, due to not being able to edit and replace the video on youtube or edit the link in my original post here.

Here's the new link - https://youtu.be/QD1xX2CtwM4
 


Edited by rwoodin3, 05 December 2022 - 03:58 AM.

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