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Issue with new Meade 102 StarNavigator

Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:35 am

Morning all,

First off, hello - I'm a new poster, though I've been lurking here for a while.

Secondly - looking for a bit of advice...

I've been using a Sky Watcher EQ 150 for a couple of years now. It's a PITA to set up and use though as far as I'm concerned, and I've been looking to upgrade to something that'll give me the most out of my viewing time. I settled on the Meade 102 StarNavigator - I'm hoping that it will let me get out and have an easy, informative viewing session.

Anyway, it arrived yesterday, and I set it up. Nice piece of kit - everything seems quality, other than the (ironically - you'll see what I mean) prism.

Anyway - once set up, I was playing around and tilted the scope up past 60 deg. At this point, the entire scope slid out of the mounting arm and hit the floor - causing the prism to shatter into pieces (it's only very cheap plastic).

Now - I might be an idiot (steady...), but as far as I can see, all that is/was holding the scope in place in the bracket is a single screw (as part of a c-clamp style fixture on the arm), which screws down on top of a dovetail joint (attached to the scope, which slides inside the c-clamp style fixture).

While the instructions say to "tighten" this, there is no mention of it having to be "very" tight, nor is there anything to stop the scope sliding out (forwards or backwards) from the c-clamp style fixture.

I've gone back to the supplier, but not sure what they'll say. I've ordered another 1.25, 90-deg prism from Amazon in the meantime (£10) but obviously I'm concerned there will be unseen damage.

I'm just baffled as to the fixture here - it seems ridiculous and I don't know if I've missed something...

I''ve attached a pic so you can see - the only thing holding the scope to the arm is the silver screw you can see, tightened down on the "dovetail" shape joint on the scope. However - unless incredibly tight, this doesn't stop the scope sliding forwards/backwards out of the fixture (in the pic, away from/towards the camera).

Have I done something wrong or is this just bad manufacture design? Maybe this is a common design? Any help appreaciated...

Cheers
D
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Re: Issue with new Meade 102 StarNavigator

Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:24 am

What a horrible experience. :o The only consolation is that the 102 is a refractor, and not a reflector, and it has probably not suffered any other damage. Check the focussing wheels, and look for any damage where the focussing unit screws to the tube.

I don't have one of these, and I've never seen one, but as far as I can see, there is nothing missing. The tube mounted dovetail rail slides the tube as you describe it. They are designed this way to allow you to add attachments, and then balance the tube. That way it puts the least strain on the motor. You need to tighten the screw as tight as you can for the very reason you have already mentioned. It is the only thing holding the tube to the mount.

There are some possible DIY improvements to the design that spring to mind. In this case you could try glueing end stops to the dovetail, since the tube could be removed without sliding it off the end. I would be tempted to use 'sugru' at the ends of the rail. Alternatively, a rubber strip stuck across the length of the dovetail top would give the screw a better grip.

It is a pity that instruction manuals don't give better warnings, but anything in the telescope axis needs to be locked down. I think we have all had an eyepiece fall out when the telescope increases in altitude. It can be a costly mistake, but one you are unlikely to make again.

I hope it doesn't put you off using an otherwise fine telescope.
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