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Meade 16" Starfinder EQ "Unboxing"

Classic EQ Meade Reflector
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#1 cavedweller

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 12:08 PM

I just picked up this Meade 16” Starfinder EQ which I believe dates to the mid-nineties. It is like new provided to me in some of the original boxes. I will be setting it up later this afternoon after Earth rotates to put me in some shade.

 

My only concern right now is that the primary mirror and cell is mounted to a particle backer board and the box label says “Dobsonian”. I am hoping this will fit…

 

Unloaded Small.jpg


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#2 Jim45157

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 12:18 PM

IT SHOULD  THEY USED THE SAME SONA TUBE AND SAME MIRROR CELL IF I REMEMBER RIGHT  I HAD ONE YEARS AGO MOUNT IS OK 



#3 apfever

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 01:12 PM

That should be the DS series since it has the GEM mount. The OTA would have "DS-16" on it. It is possible Meade made a substitution since the Starfinder dob has the same basic OTA as the DS16. There would be differences like the mounting since the Starfinder version would have trunions attached. There might be accessory differences. The solid particle board back plate for the mirror/cell is standard. 

 

Heads up on mounting the OTA:  the scope is a notorious back breaker. 

Set up the mount with no weights or OTA, and position the saddle vertical as if the OTA was pointing straight up (or down).  Measure to see how far off the ground the OTA needs to be in order to mount to the saddle. Place some correct height support next to the mount, stand the OTA on the supports next to the mount, bolt up the OTA to the mount, finally add the counterweights. 

Option 2: Get a friend or fiend to help put it on the saddle with counterweights already attached. 

 

Original postmarks can help date the scope.  It's always nice to see New Old Stock.


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#4 CHASLX200

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 01:37 PM

I don't think they made them after around 1988.


Edited by CHASLX200, 26 August 2023 - 01:38 PM.


#5 starman876

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 04:37 PM

Meade was still selling 16" Newts into the 90's.  Not sure when they stopped.  



#6 CHASLX200

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 04:42 PM

Meade was still selling 16" Newts into the 90's.  Not sure when they stopped.  

They were selling the Dob version. 



#7 jgraham

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 04:51 PM

I always thought that these massive Newtonians begged to be rebuilt as a modern lightweight truss. Keep everything else the same.

Enjoy!

#8 CHASLX200

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 04:55 PM

I always thought that these massive Newtonians begged to be rebuilt as a modern lightweight truss. Keep everything else the same.

Enjoy!

I never wanted a DS16. Just way too big for the mount and most backs.  If it came on a AP3600 then i say go for it.



#9 cavedweller

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 05:46 PM

It's peeking at over 100 degrees (in the shade), so I have still not got to this yet.

 

I am a little disappointed about the mount; it appears no bigger than my 8" RG mount. This one does include the Magellan II system preinstalled by Meade. I figure it is mid-nineties by seeing the DC clock drive motor on the RA. I checked the primary and the coating looks clean and flawless.


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#10 starman876

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 06:21 PM

It's peeking at over 100 degrees (in the shade), so I have still not got to this yet.

 

I am a little disappointed about the mount; it appears no bigger than my 8" RG mount. This one does include the Magellan II system preinstalled by Meade. I figure it is mid-nineties by seeing the DC clock drive motor on the RA. I checked the primary and the coating looks clean and flawless.

I kind of figured mid 90's as they started offering the star finder seiries in the early 90's



#11 CHASLX200

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 06:42 PM

I never remember seeing any for sale in the 90's. I just saw the Dobs.


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#12 apfever

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 06:52 PM

One obscure caution!!:    The DEC tangent arm bolt (red arrow) might not clear the motor housing.  One of mine didn't. It is natural to do a 360 with the saddle during assembly and maintenance, even on occasion while viewing . The saddle would be reversed to use the mount with a refractor for manual slo-mo control of the DEC.  You will mar things up at the least if you hit that bolt into the motor housing. You are guaranteed to break the tangent arm assembly if you slam it in with the mass of a fully loaded mount. 

 

Loosen all 4 of the blue line/arrow lock knobs. All 4 have to be loose for manual slew of the DEC shaft. Check that tangent tip bolt for clearance over the RA drive. 

 

 

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#13 cavedweller

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 07:27 PM

One obscure caution!!:    The DEC tangent arm bolt (red arrow) might not clear the motor housing.  One of mine didn't. It is natural to do a 360 with the saddle during assembly and maintenance, even on occasion while viewing . The saddle would be reversed to use the mount with a refractor for manual slo-mo control of the DEC.  You will mar things up at the least if you hit that bolt into the motor housing. You are guaranteed to break the tangent arm assembly if you slam it in with the mass of a fully loaded mount. 

 

Loosen all 4 of the blue line/arrow lock knobs. All 4 have to be loose for manual slew of the DEC shaft. Check that tangent tip bolt for clearance over the RA drive. 

That happened on my RG. The seller had the OTA on 180 out and was suggesting I add a spacer. It was an ah ha moment when I explained it to him. He inherited the scope from his father.



#14 John Rogers

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 07:34 PM

I just picked up this Meade 16” Starfinder EQ which I believe dates to the mid-nineties. It is like new provided to me in some of the original boxes. I will be setting it up later this afternoon after Earth rotates to put me in some shade.

 

My only concern right now is that the primary mirror and cell is mounted to a particle backer board and the box label says “Dobsonian”. I am hoping this will fit…

 

attachicon.gif Unloaded Small.jpg

Is that the one that was posted on Facebook two weeks ago that was equipped with the Magellan II drive?  Looks like a nice pickup.   I look forward to your reports.



#15 cavedweller

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 07:35 PM

I never remember seeing any for sale in the 90's. I just saw the Dobs.

I bought my 10” Starfinder EQ in 1994 and it has an AC clock drive. The next month’s Ad in the magazines bragged about the new DC drive. I am assuming the 16” transitioned at the same time. Does the presence of the Magellan II hint at the age? Will the date be on the primary if I look for it?



#16 apfever

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 07:35 PM

It is a good idea to check the fit between the pier cap and tangs on the mount (red circled) before you tighten the crap out of the bolts. These are factory matched fits and don't exchange well between sets. The cap and RA tangs should be a very (very) close slip fit if not slightly snug. It is easier to check while the mount is on the ground as shown. Look at what the bolts are trying to pull together, and they do need to pull together. You can't rely on the set screws to bridge a gap.  In the best case scenario, you still can't rely on the set screws anyway! That junction is the single most chewed up area I and many others have found on these mounts. 

 

Your mount is the first one I've seen without a ball burnished finish. Perhaps Meade started the black texture finish when they stopped burnishing.

 

Your entry just in. You should find the RG and this new mount to be the same mount with minor changes.  I did add shims to raise my saddle and let the stock tangent bolt clear the drive. This makes the three tangent locks ride a hair too high on the housing. My plan has been to replace the tall cap bolt with a lower profile, it does work OK as is. 

 

Most of my Meade in house optics have stickers with a date on them.  

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Edited by apfever, 26 August 2023 - 07:38 PM.


#17 cavedweller

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 07:45 PM

Is that the one that was posted on Facebook two weeks ago that was equipped with the Magellan II drive?  Looks like a nice pickup.   I look forward to your reports.

Yes, I think so. I drove from SoCal to NorCal to pick it up. The drive up the I-5 was too boring so I came back south on the US395. I used the 5 because the 395 was closed by the recent storm, but was reopened by the time I was returning. I live five miles east of the 395 and my dark sky observing site is five miles west of the 395. My observing site is inaccessible right now due to the same storm.



#18 sdedalus83

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 09:00 PM

On a tall pier, the mount would be great for your 152ED.


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#19 John Rogers

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Posted 26 August 2023 - 09:30 PM

I am glad that you got that one.  It looks like it was stored in a time capsule.  It was only two hours from me and I was tempted, but I had just returned from rescuing a 1958 10-inch Cave near the same area.  

 

I'll go through the old S&Ts to see when the Magellan first appeared.

 

I think you are going to need a bigger observatory!


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#20 CHASLX200

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Posted 27 August 2023 - 05:35 AM

I bought my 10” Starfinder EQ in 1994 and it has an AC clock drive. The next month’s Ad in the magazines bragged about the new DC drive. I am assuming the 16” transitioned at the same time. Does the presence of the Magellan II hint at the age? Will the date be on the primary if I look for it?

That was a star finder that came out around 1990 to replace the older Newts like the RG and 826's. The DSC's was a add on.



#21 cavedweller

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Posted 27 August 2023 - 07:48 AM

I decided to wait until after the full moon to set this up. I want to be able to leave it setup for at least a week and I want a darker sky to work with. I will work on another project I interrupted to go pick this up; swapping a 10” Schaefer mount in place of a 7” for a 6” F/15 achromat.

 

I searched all the paperwork, boxes and labels and could not find a date on anything. I keep going back to the DC powered clock drive thinking it can’t be any earlier that 1994 vintage.



#22 CHASLX200

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Posted 27 August 2023 - 08:00 AM

Well if it says Starfinder then it is not a DS16 like i was talking about.  They were sold in the 80's.



#23 Skywatchr

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Posted 27 August 2023 - 08:43 AM

I just picked up this Meade 16” Starfinder EQ which I believe dates to the mid-nineties. It is like new provided to me in some of the original boxes. I will be setting it up later this afternoon after Earth rotates to put me in some shade.

 

My only concern right now is that the primary mirror and cell is mounted to a particle backer board and the box label says “Dobsonian”. I am hoping this will fit…

 

attachicon.gif Unloaded Small.jpg

Boy that brings back memories.  I remember when my brand new DS-16A was delivered way back when. A friend of mine worked for the trucking company and brought it to me himself while on his way home.  The "A" is the version with ball bearings in the RA axis. Earlier versions just had the sleeve bearings. These were shipped FOB from Cali, but the invoice was marked paid.  I didn't argue over the $200 "freebie". lol.gif

I still have the mount.  I also have the custom wooden cradle I used, but have no use for it anymore. It made a world of difference to be able to spin the tube for eyepiece position, and much easier to mount than the 2 studs were.



#24 cavedweller

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Posted 27 August 2023 - 08:53 AM

Well if it says Starfinder then it is not a DS16 like i was talking about.  They were sold in the 80's.

 

There was some confusion from the seller I bought it from said it was a DS-16, but I could see that it was newer than that.

 

Definitely a Starfinder EQ:

 

Starfinder Label Small.jpg


Edited by cavedweller, 27 August 2023 - 09:24 AM.

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#25 CHASLX200

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Posted 27 August 2023 - 09:35 AM

No wonder then.  It was really the same scope but the name change threw me off.


Edited by CHASLX200, 27 August 2023 - 09:35 AM.



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