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Advice sought for setting up a Mead model 300 "equatorialrefractor" telescope

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Angel A., Jun 10, 2013.

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  1. Angel A.

    Angel A. Guest

    My kid inherited this apparently ancient Meade 3.1-inch equatorial refractor
    telescope, model 300, presumably in working order - but it doesn't work for us:

    We *think* we have all the parts; but we're not sure.

    Do you know of a decent forum where we can discuss the parts, setup, and
    operation of this telescope for looking at the stars and moon?

    Note: We can't even get the scope to work, at least not on the trees in the
  2. N_Cook

    N_Cook Guest

    Meade queries have turned up on uk.sci.astronomy
  3. Guest

    That sounds like a better place to inquire than electronics repair.
  4. My kid inherited this apparently ancient Meade 3.1-inch equatorial
    I'm not being sarcastic -- in what way(s) do you expect it to work?

    The vertical axis points to the North Pole, so a simple rotation of the
    telescope is all that's needed to keep an object in view. That should get you

    Past that... I'd get a book on amateur astronomy (though I don't know of one
    to recommend). You might also contact Meade to see if it has user manuals.
  5. Guest

    Beginning astronomy doesn't really lend itself to online tutoring.
    The Meade model 300 is an older telescope; their 1972 catalog shows it
    listing at $279. I'll let you translate that to 2013 dollars.

    I'd suggest Googling 'Astronomy Club' and your city. You should be
    able to meet up with someone capable of helping you. Alternatively,
    Yahoo!! has the classictelescopes group. Or you can try

  6. Odysseus

    Odysseus Guest

    It looks reasonably complete, although in the first photo there's no
    eyepiece inserted. The other photo shows several of those in the box;
    start with the lowest power you have, which will be the one with the
    *biggest* number (focal length) etched on it, probably around 20-25 mm.
    In case you hadn't guessed, you focus with the paired metal knobs
    between the "star diagonal" (the elbow below the eyepiece-holder) and
    the main tube.

    One critical element we can't see is the objective lens at the 'big
    end', probably near the bottom of the large black cylinder (which I
    guess is a baffle): this should be clean and unscratched. If you need to
    clean it, be *very* careful not to damage the surfaces, which may be
    coated. Handle it only by the edges, and use the most gentle treatment
    possible, with a soft brush or lens-cloth, and only distilled water or a
    residue-free lens-cleaning fluid that's safe for optical coatings.

    Unless you live on the Equator, the first picture also has the 'scope
    improperly oriented (the polar axis, the short shaft that's shown
    roughly horizontal and parallel to the tube, should be elevated by an
    angle equal to your latitude and locked there), but that makes no
    difference to seeing things through it in the daytime.
    Your best chance of finding someone with directly relevant experience or
    practical tips will be at sci.astro.amateur. I'm taking the liberty of
    cross-posting this message there as well. (And removing sci.astronomy,
    which my news server doesn't carry.)
    This is the finder-scope, an accessory that helps point the instrument.
    There should be screw-holes in the main tube for attaching it, near the
    eyepiece end. It's not strictly necessary, but can be useful, especially
    when using medium-to-high power. Test it hand-held on the Moon: it might
    not focus on anything nearer.
  7. RichA

    RichA Guest

    You know what I'd do? Sell the Meade to one of the collectors of old
    scopes on Astromart or Cloudynights or Ebay and buy a new 6" Newtonian
    reflector from Meade.
  8. Guest

    Try removing the black component that is located between the focuser's
    drawtube and the diagonal. Then use your lowest power eyepiece (it
    will have the highest number in "mm")and try aiming the 'scope at the

    Do not attempt to clean the main lens at this time. Dirty lenses work
    better than lenses that have been damaged by improper cleaning. The
    lens should have a small dust cover that would have kept the lens
    relatively clean, even despite the 'scope's possible age of three to
    four decades. (I found this 'scope advertised in a '76 issue of Sky &

    The large component with the cord is probably a motor drive for the
    scope. Be careful with whatever is in the jar. I don't know how the
    coax accessory figures into any of this. :)

    This should be an interesting scope, especially since it has an
    equatorial mount with slow motion controls and possibly a clock drive.
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