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The Junk Scope

Discussion in 'Telescopes and Mounts' started by Ed D, Apr 15, 2018.

The Junk Scope

Started by Ed D on Apr 15, 2018 at 5:38 AM

7 Replies 281 Views 2 Likes

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  1. Ed D

    Ed D Well-Known Member

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    No, I haven't been dumpster diving. I have an older Explore Scientific AR102 that I bought used. I probably paid a bit too much for it, but really wasn't that much money to begin with. With a lot of TLC it turned out to be a good scope. Everything needed attention, including aligning components and re-drilling and tapping holes so fasteners would actually fasten, and drilling out stripped threads and re-tapping. I flocked the tube with Stone-it paint and Ultra Flat Black, laser aligned the objective and focuser, etc. I even had to make three new spacers for the Crown/Flint objective, then tune it. Cleaning outside of the tube with solvent and finishing with car polish revealed a finish that was in good shape. I installed a second finder shoe, a Vixen standard, so I could use my RDF or GLP, as well as the factory finder scope. Even the focuser sucked before I transformed that uncooperative witch into a princess. The ugly duckling morphed into a swan.

    I refer to this scope as my Junker Scope, or a beater scope. No, it's no piece of junk, to be sure, but it is my low cost scope. This is the scope that lives in my garage and is ready to use at a moment's notice. The views are superb for a 4" achromat, with surprisingly well controlled CA. With a 70deg 2" eyepiece it gives amazing wide field views, even from my back yard. With one of my Tele Vue Barlows and Vixen NPL eyepieces the planetary images show nice detail, nothing like my 6" Mak, but nice. When viewing the moon with my Baader 495nm Longpass filter at stupid high power I'm amazed at the sharp and detailed images. I have even used this scope for imaging with good results.

    I'm closing in on full retirement and my wife and I are preparing to relocate when the time comes. It's amazing how much stuff one accumulates over the course of 30+ years. I have been busy selling off astronomy gear, most of which I just haven't used in longer than I can remember. Yesterday I packed up the AR102 to get it ready to sell. Well, this morning I got up early. Looking outside the clouds were rolling through but Jupiter was beckoning. The only two scopes I had out were my 10" Dob and 6" Mak. Both of these are not exactly grab-and-go and require time to cool. With morning twilight fast approaching and the looming threat of rain I wasn't about to take either one out. The Tele Vue TV-85? No thank you! I'm not risking getting that diamond rained on, or even exposing it to the very high humidity. No observing Jove this morning - BUMMER!

    So, I'm finished with breakfast. Time to get dressed and take our Lab for her morning walk. Can you guess what's next on my agenda? I remembered this morning why I keep that scope with the huge salad bowl of a dew shield. I had planned on only keeping the TV-85 and 6" Mak, which are very nice scopes, and selling all my other scopes. I missed my Junker this morning and realized it does indeed fill a niche for me.

    Thus, that's my case for the Junker Scope. It's a low cost scope that performs and that I don't mind using under harsh conditions I wouldn't dare subject my premium scopes to. It's also an easy to use scope that sets up fast, and can also be taken indoor fast when I see a wall of water coming at me. If that wall of water should get me I'm not crying about it. It's an easy scope for me to clean up and get back into service, and after all the work I know it like the back of my hand, maybe better.

    Ed D

    IMG_20180414_114144.jpg
    My Junk Scope with the hideous salad bowl sized dew shield.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  2. Mak the Night

    Mak the Night Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
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  3. Ed D

    Ed D Well-Known Member

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    Wow, the AR102s are expensive over there. I like your little short tube 102, especially the good looking dew shield. I have to admit that I haven't had dew problems thanks to the hideous salad bowl at the end of my scope. The salad bowl is made out of fiberglass and is light weight. Where I am aluminum and steel tend to be dew magnets.

    Ed D
     
  4. Dave In Vermont

    Dave In Vermont Well-Known Member

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    That's a very cool, if not quite strange-looking, telescope Ed! F/6.5 is also rather strange - and I like 'strange.'

    Thanks for the look and the tale that goes with -

    Dave :cool:
     
  5. Mak the Night

    Mak the Night Well-Known Member

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    I was tempted by some of the Bresser refractors, but none of the ones I saw were fast enough for what I wanted and I was concerned about fitting it to my Vixen mount. I'm a bit of a fan of the Synta air spaced doublets and at f/4.9 the ST102 was more or less perfect. I ordered it and the TS Optics Crayford-rail focuser at the same time.

    IMG_20180126_113529.jpg

    It looked like this when it arrived.

    IMG_20180126_115352.jpg

    Shortly after it was delivered it looked like this:

    IMG_20180129_133938.jpg

    The dew shield is metal. Dewing isn't a great problem for me until the around late autumn when the 'hop picking' weather arrives lol. Most of the time I don't even need to heat the shield.
     
  6. Nebula

    Nebula Well-Known Member

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    @Mak the Night, how difficult it was to replace the stock focuser with the dual speed one? It probably needs some kind of fine adjustment with adjusting screws on the new focuser.. is it a fairly easy task?

    Thanks.
     
  7. Mak the Night

    Mak the Night Well-Known Member

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    It's fairly straightforward. I checked the collimation as well as I can and it seems fine.
     
  8. Orion25

    Orion25 Well-Known Member

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    Not such a "junk scope" after all, Ed ;) Thanks for the interesting history of this unique little instrument. It does, indeed, have a place in your arsenal, and is quite a conversation piece, too. It has a unique look, and you've put much work into it getting it up to speed. Definitely a keeper to me!

    Reggie
     

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