Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Refractor Renaissance a la Moonlite (Focusers)

I am (or was) testing out a new idea for the old Refractor which is not getting any older it seems now that the mount and tripod have been upgraded, the optics collimated and so forth.

Two things remain weak though. The original finder is bordering on useless and the stock focuser, while not bad, is badly out of date and very much inflexible.

Enter this company: Moonlite Telescope Accessories

I was fortunate to get a sample to try out. You have to remember it's a risk to take with older scopes because you are never quite sure if it will work, or in this case focus. It is also a two inch upgrade from 1.25". Previous attempts at adapters up sizing the stock focuser to two inch always fail as the eyepiece would be out too far beyond the focal plane. I am pleased to report that after tonight, the Moonlite upgrade, the CF2 with dual rate and a 4.5" travel draw tube with compression rings to handle heavy loads. I will review the Moonlite focuser later. Also because the new focuser accepts standard finder scope mountings, I replaced the stock focuser with an Orion 9X50 RA finder, a BIG improvement.

The old Refractor has come along way since it's reactivation. The original SP-C102 is slowly being phased out as new parts go into play. A new tripod, mount, focuser, and finder scope have turned this vintage 80's scope into a 21st century gem of a telescope. Originally slated to be retired when the Pronto showed up, it's recent collimation and parts replacement have secured it's place as the proverbial flagship of the telescope fleet. It's better days are not behind it, they are ahead of it.

Now, only the OTA needs to be refurbished. When that happens, it will be essentially a new scope. All that would remain from it's former self, are the optics, and that will never change.


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