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The ETX optics will not need cleaning unless a great glob of something lands on the corrector. Do not try to blow dust of the corrector, you'll just cover the corrector with spit. (THEN it will need cleaning!)
Dust, or the occasional hair, will not affect the performance of the scope. A little dust will drop the light transmission, but the human eye will not see that small a change (unless it's REALLY covered!), It takes a lot of dust for diffraction limited performance to be affected.
If you do have to remove dust, use a can of clean compressed air, available from RS. If any dust stays on the corrector, or you dont have an air can, then use a soft camel-hair type brush, available in any good camera store, and gently with MINIMUM PRESSURE brush the dust towards the edge of the corrector. If you ever NEED to clean inside the ETX, ONLY use the air can. NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES make contact with ANY mirrored surface inside the ETX. You really risk damage if you do, damage that you can't easily fix.
Really nasty finger marks on the corrector can be removed with an appropriate solution. "Neat" iso-propanol, used as described below would be my first choice, but I have NOT tried it, as I don't know how it will affect the coatings. I'm in NO hurry to find out! The 90-EC manual suggests 3:1 distilled water/propanol solution. (Make sure it is distilled, not just deionised.)
With whatever solution you choose, use lens cleaning tissue, folded to a 1/2" pad, and add a few drops of solution, just enough to lightly wet the pad. Avoid touching the part of the pad to be in contact with the optics. The use a SINGLE stroke across the mark, toward the outside of the corrector. Then throw the pad away and use another. It's an idea to cut the pads in half first, with a sharp scissors, so you don't go through too many packs for one mark! But, if you do, take care to fold so that the cut edge of the tissue is INSIDE the pad. Draw the pad very slowly across the area to be cleaned. IF you go too fast, you'll just leave solution on the optics and might leave a mark when it dries. Use medium-light pressure at first, and as the mark starts to clear, use less and less pressure until you literally barely drag the pad across the surface.
Hope this is useful, and if I wasn't clear before, DON'T WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT DUST. It's not a big problem.
Kevin P. Kretsch B.A.(Mod.)Phys e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photonic Materials Group, Tel: +353 1 608 1324
Department of Physics, Fax: +353 1 671 1759
Trinity College, Dublin 2, IRELAND.
Sent: Sunday, April 4, 1999 16:33:33
From: email@example.com (Joe Hartley)
I had been vexed by some crud on 2 of my lenses, both Meade Series 4000 Plossls - the 9.7mm and the 26mm. I know some people can be fanatical about not cleaning lenses for fear of scratching or marring the lens or its coating, but these particles on my lenses were so distracting I felt I needed to clean them somehow.
Trying a tissue moistened with distilled water hadn't done much, nor did canned air or a "blower" bulb. I had yet to try isopropyl alcohol as I didn't have any to hand that was pure (I only had 70% rubbing alcohol in the house, which has other chemicals in it which might leave a residue).
Based on some comments in the USENET group sci.astro.amateur, I went out and picked up a gizmo called a LensPen MiniPro at the local Ritz camera for $7.99.
The LensPen has a retractable soft brush on one end, and a unique flexible cleaning tip on the other end. This cleaning tip, which is 7mm in diameter on the MiniPro and 15mm on the regular LensPen, uses a carbon-based cleaning compound to help get rid of smudges like fingerprints.
I'm very happy to say that the LensPen did a wonderful job on the lenses! The brush took off most of the particles, and almost all of rest easily came off with the cleaner tip. There was one relatively big particle that seemed particularly stubborn. I used my fingernail (gasp!) to dislodge it, then swept it off with the brush. Of course, I'd left a fingerprint on the lens. This came off in seconds with the cleaning tip, leaving me with a very clean eyepiece. No discernable flaws, marks or scratches were visible in the lens coating, and some terrestrial test views shows the lenses to be nice and clean. No residue from the cleaning tip was visible after use.
Eyepiece lenses seem to pick up a lot of dirt from sitting outside on the scope while it sits unused (soot? comet dust? Who knows?). This is not as bug a problem with the main corrector lens on the ETX, likely thanks to my dew cap, so I haven't needed to do anything to that surface except brush a little dust off it.
I'm really happy with this little unit. It seems a lot safer and easier than using lens tissues or cloths on the eyepieces, and is very inexpensive. There is a website for the LensPen at http://www.lenspen.com/ but is not sold through that website. It seems widely distributed through photo stores.
Joe Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org - brainiac services, inc
12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI : 02827 - vox 401.782.9042: fax 401.782.8782
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2000 13:22:47
From: Glenn_Dunlap@lotus.com (Glenn Dunlap/CAM/Lotus)
I thought I would share a tip on cleaning lenses with your readers.
The lens on my ETX-125 was starting to sport a fairly good number of spots on it from where droplets of condensation had dried. It had also collected a bit of dust. Although the image quality was still excellent I'm the kind of guy who just can't leave well enough alone and so I decided to clean the lens. Even though the method that I employed worked very well and did not harm the lens at all I would still suggest that people not clean their lens unless it's gotten pretty grotty. It really does take quite a bit of junk on the lens for image quality to be noticeably impaired.
OK, so here's what I did.
1) buy a gallon of distilled water, a bottle of isopropyl alcohol, and a bottle of biodegradable dishwashing liquid and a small can of compressed air (available at camera stores). Mix up 1 pint of cleaning solution consisting of 3 parts distilled water, 1 part isopropyl alcohol, and 1 drop of dishwashing liquid. Fill a *clean* spray bottle with this solution. This is a solution which is Meade-sanctioned.
2) fill another *clean* spray bottle with just distilled water.
3) remove the lens cover, give the lens a good blow job with the compressed air, align the scope's tube so that it is parallel with the fork arms, and then suspend the ETX upside down over a sink, bathtub, etc. so that the lens is facing straight down. Allow for a 2 or 3 foot gap between the lens and the sink. It's up to the reader to figure out exactly how to suspend the scope ... just make damn sure you suspend it securely and that you don't drop it in the process (ouch!).
4) trim your fingernails short and wash your hands carefully.
5) spray a liberal amount of the cleaning solution on the lens. any excess will drip into the sink.
6) use the tip of a finger to *gently* rub the entire surface of the lens.
7) liberally spray the lens with distilled water until you're satisfied that the cleaning solution has been removed.
8) tilt the tube a little (loosen the dec knob a little if necessary) so that the tube is no longer pointed straight down. This will allow water droplets on the lens surface to run off to the edge of the lens.
9) soak-up the water that is at the edge of the lens by dipping the corner of a paper towel into the water being careful not to let the paper towel brush against the lens.
10) At this point you should have a nice clean lens with some water droplets scattered here and there across its surface. Now you can carefully unsuspend the ETX and place it upright on a table. Remove the majority of the remaining water droplets from the lens surface by employing the same technique of carefully dipping the corner of a paper towel (or maybe now you want to switch to lens tissue and use the corner of the lens tissue) into each remaining water droplet to soak it up. When you're finished there will be remarkably little evidence that the lens just took a good bath ... aside from being very clean. :-)
What I like about this procedure is that you don't ever rub the lens with anything other than the tip of your finger and the rubbing that you do do is minimal and is very light, lubricated rubbing. It also leaves the lens *sparkling* clean. I'm guessing that unless you use your scope *a lot* there is probably no need to do this procedure more than 1 or 2 times a year.
Thanks for taking the time and effort to maintain such a great site.
Mike here: I purchased the dual set of LensPen and LensPen MiniPro from Scopetronix ($17) to see if they really worked. They do. Both pens have a nice brush that retracts. At the other end is the lens cleaner; a rubber-like surface but is soft enough to not damage the lens or coating. The larger model surface is about 1/2" in diameter and is used for larger surfaces (35mm camera lens, binoculars, or telescope objectives). The smaller pen is about 1/4" in diameter and works well for eyepieces or other small lens. I had a rather stubborn bunch of small "dots" on one of my eyepieces; they defied removal by regular cleaning methods. The LensPen miniPro got them off without leaving any smears. I then tried out my ETX-90RA and eyepieces; no distortions or blurriness was evident and the views were clean. These are nice products. If you want ease of cleaning your optics, consider the LensPen and LensPen miniPro. Available from camera stores and the mail order dealers you are likely to see mentioned on this ETX site.
Subject: Re: Cleaning the Corrector Lens Sent: Monday, May 21, 2001 04:33:55 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) First the lens pen is NOT a good way to clean neither the corrector lens nor the eyepieces; the chemicals inside are not good for the coatings and they leave significant streaking and films. Mix a gallon of solution using three quarts of distilled water and one quart isopropyl alcohol and one large teaspoon of Ivory (ONLY!!) liquid dishwashing detergent. You apply this with ONLY Kleenex brand (it is made of cotton,not wood fibers) tissue. Use this generously on the corrector by applying to the Kleenex (never to the corrector lens) and rubbing gently; you should have enough liquid to keep it from drying out; quickly use a dry second Kleenex to very gently rub to loosen particles and stubborn stains; a third dry Kleenex is then used to polish or buff the lens (very lightly!). The same procedure should be used for eyepieces and your finder, rolling up the Kleenex into a "pen" point to get into the difficult crevaces. Clay Sherrod -----Original Message----- >Clay, > >Could you reiterate your method for cleaning the corrrector lens, as well >as eyepieces, lest we have the urgent desire to do so? I have an ETX-90/EC >that could use a better cleaning than what the Carson LensPen does. I >believe you said you didn't like the LensPen, so I'm looking for an >alternative method.
Subject: TECH TIP - ETX 125 finder and cleaning precautions! Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 15:11:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) As part of the ETX Supercharge Service, I always check, clean and collimate the finderscope of all telescopes sent to the Observatory. In most cases, the finders are typically cleaner than the telescope itself but frequently need collimation, particularly the right angle model used with the ETX 125. Another major problem with the ETX 125 right angle finder is GREASE deposits on the eyepiece lens. Almost every one that I see has it. Why? Because the finder is focused via the small helical rack below the eyepiece and this gearing is packed with a very thick and viscous grease for smooth focusing and also for holding the focus once achieved. This grease is very abundant under the rubber eyecup and ETX users typically smear this when cleaning. This grease contains petroleum distillates which are VERY difficult to clean and are very harmful to the magnesium fluoride coatings on the eyepiece lens if left uncleaned. Thus, I have a simple tip for ETX users who have the right angle finderscope. REMOVE THE RUBBER EYECUP prior to attempting to clean! Most of the grease that is smeared across the lens is from an accumulation UNDER that eyecup, and if the lens is rubbed with the cup in place, it is pulled out from the crevace and onto the glass surface. When a telescope arrives that has the grease on the finder (and nearly all do), I typically will use a special solution that has about one-half isopropyl alcohol to one-half distilled water with some Ivory liquid, rather than the 1/4 part iso. to 3/4 water that is typically used to clean other optical surfaces. I have found that this will break the film easily and prevent excessive rubbing on the fine glass surface in an effort to remove the film. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory ETX Supercharge Tune Up Service
Subject: NEW SCT CLEANING SOLUTION Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 1:13:11 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) The "new" cleaning solution formula AND technique is posted (temporarily) on the Arkansas Sky Observatory website under "Current News." It will hopefully be moved under our GUIDES section when time permits. You will find the heading under: http://www.arksky.org Note TWO things about this cleaning solution/process: 1) there is nothing "magic" or earthshaking about the final cleaning solution. I tested all current recommended methods and learned (and groaned....) from those; many worked okay, while others failed miserably. Some were NOT safe for EMC much less UHTC coatings...some seemed to work on Starbright while failing on other types. This concoction is your "kitchen variety" in that EVERYONE can put this together and make it work....and boy does it work well. 2) the TECHNIQUE is just as important as the proper cleaning solution. If you will follow both the recipe AND the proper cleaning process to the letter, you will have very good and streak-free results without any hassle whatsoever. Pay attention to the TIPS that I have provided; these are small considerations that make a HUGE difference in cleaning of your optics. Please read ALL information before attempting to clean optics and remember: DO NOT CLEAN YOUR LENS OR CORRECTOR PLATE UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!! Best of luck, and the most in shiny glass! Clay ---------------------------------------- Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org
Subject: SOURCE FOR CLEANING SWABS!! Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2002 5:53:52 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) There seems to be some confusion and difficultly in obtaining the proper cotton pads to clean corrector plates, lenses and all refractive optical surfaces with. Please follow to the letter the ASO Cleaning Protocol as outlined at: http://www.arksky.org/asoclean.htm Regarding the cotton pads, if they leave LINT, you are NOT using the right stuff. I have found the actual one-and-only source of these wonderful cleaners! OKAY...HERE IS WHAT TO GET: "4 x 4 ESTHETIC Gauze lint-free, 4-ply, opens to 8" x 8", non-woven" "Non-woven, medical-grade wipe ensures lint-free application and removal of a variety of esthetic products" MANUFACTURED BY: Barnhardt Mfg., Charlotte, NC www.instrinsics.net 1-800-277-0377 That should do it! Ask your pharmacy to ORDER IT for you! Or just call the number given above! Dr. Clay www.arksky.org
Subject: Lens Pen Warning Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2002 22:08:31 From: LVGOGATORS@aol.com Thanks for maintaining and sustaining this site. It was integral in my decision to buy an ETX90 RA and is the first place I go for scope info. I bought a LensPen about three months ago and have used it a few times with generally good results. Yesterday I was noticing how dirty my moon filter was and decided to touch it up with the LensPen. I was attempting to gently clean the filter when I noticed that not only wasn't the filter coming clean, but it was getting smeared and streaked. After closely inspecting the pen I noticed that the soft pad on the end of the pen had detached (it was still in the cap) and I was rubbing the black rubber underneath against the filter. A word of caution to anyone who uses a LensPen: Always inspect the thing before you let it touch any of your optics, the tip is black and it is not obvious if the pad has fallen off. I will now try to rehab my poor moon filter. I guess I should look on the bright side, if I must ruin something in my eyepiece case than I'm glad it was an inexpensive moon filter and not an expensive eyepiece or even my scope. BTW I really enjoy the ETX90RA I believe I bought the perfect backyard scope for a beginner. Living in Las Vegas I must contend with some of the most light polluted skies in the country (if not the world). As such, I seriously considered buying an ETX90 EC reasoning that I would never be able to find anything dimmer than the moon in my sky without the Autostar. It takes some work, but with the help of Starry Night Backyard on my PC and my Scoprtronix 40 mm eyepiece I'm finding everything I look for and enjoying the search. Again thanks for the great site. Mike Silverman
Subject: lens cleaning Sent: Monday, July 29, 2002 16:10:31 From: email@example.com (a.hatwood) I've owned my ETX 125 for around 2 years. Apart from the occasional blow from an air can, the front lens has never been cleaned. Every thing I have read about cleaning optics, says "Don't Do It" unless the optics are really dirty. My problem is how do you define dirty? My lens looks pretty mucky to me, but with nothing to compare it to, it's hard to say. Could you or Clay take a look at these photo's, and let me know what you think? Thanks, Tony Hatwood. Wales, U.K.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) Oh, yes absolutely....but first it needs to be brushed off very gently with a soft artists' brush to remove the debris that I can see on it....then cleaned. My new solution under "Guides" at the ASO site is by far the best I have seen, provided that it is used to the letter as described in that new report. It makes cleaning a snap and is near-perfect. Clay ---------------------------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod email@example.com Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: lens cleaning Sent: Saturday, August 10, 2002 7:21:39 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (a.hatwood) I've been collecting the materials I need to make Dr. Clay's magical potion, and I have a couple of questions. 1. I can only get de-ionised water, as opposed to distilled. Is this suitable? 2. I live in the UK. Do you know if Windex (blue) is available here? If not, do you know of a British counterpart? Sorry to be a pain, but I'm determined to get this cleaning process right. Thanks again, TonyAnd:
From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) you CAN use deionized water as a substitute, but it MUST be filter prior to using on optics; a standard coffee maker filter will work fine.....just take your time and filter about a quart which will last you for a long time; the Windex solution -must- be used as is.... Following is the formula and specification from the actual chemical company that does their testing: Dr. Clay WINDEX SPECIFICATIONS: DRACKETT PRODUCTS -- WINDEX GLASS CLEANER BLUE - RETAIL MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET NSN: 793000F040924 Manufacturer's CAGE: 85234 Part No. Indicator: A Part Number/Trade Name: WINDEX GLASS CLEANER BLUE - RETAIL =========================================================================== General Information =========================================================================== Company's Name: DRACKETT PRODUCTS CO Company's Street: 8600 GOVERNORS HILL RD STE 300 Company's City: CINCINNATI Company's State: OH Company's Country: US Company's Zip Code: 45249-5000 Company's Emerg Ph #: 513-583-3900/800-242-1677 Company's Info Ph #: 513-583-3900/800-242-1677 Record No. For Safety Entry: 001 Tot Safety Entries This Stk#: 001 Status: SE Date MSDS Prepared: 22APR92 Safety Data Review Date: 12JUL95 Preparer's Company: DRACKETT PRODUCTS CO Preparer's St Or P. O. Box: 8600 GOVERNORS HILL RD STE 300 Preparer's City: CINCINNATI Preparer's State: OH Preparer's Zip Code: 45249-5000 MSDS Serial Number: BXMRC =========================================================================== Ingredients/Identity Information =========================================================================== Proprietary: NO Ingredient: ISOPROPANOL (ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL), 2-PROPANOL, DIMETHYL CARBINOL Ingredient Sequence Number: 01 Percent: <3 NIOSH (RTECS) Number: NT8050000 CAS Number: 67-63-0 OSHA PEL: 400 PPM ACGIH TLV: 400 PPM Other Recommended Limit: 400 PPM ------------------------------------- Proprietary: NO Ingredient: 2-BUTOXYETHANOL (ETHYLENE GLYCOL MONOBUTYL ETHER), BUTYL CELLOSOLVE, BUTYL GLYCOL, GLYCOL ETHER EB Ingredient Sequence Number: 02 Percent: <2 NIOSH (RTECS) Number: KJ8575000 CAS Number: 111-76-2 OSHA PEL: 50 PPM (SKIN) ACGIH TLV: 25 PPM (SKIN) Other Recommended Limit: 25 PPM (SKIN) =========================================================================== Physical/Chemical Characteristics =========================================================================== Appearance And Odor: CLEAR BLUE LIQUID W/SLIGHT AMMONIA ODOR. Boiling Point: 212F Vapor Pressure (MM Hg/70 F): 17.6 Vapor Density (Air=1): 1.2 Specific Gravity: 0.99 Evaporation Rate And Ref: (BU AC =1): 0.3 Solubility In Water: COMPLETE pH: 11 =========================================================================== Fire and Explosion Hazard Data =========================================================================== Flash Point: 129F Flash Point Method: SCC Extinguishing Media: USE WATER, DRY ALCOHOL-TYPE/ALL PURPOSE FOAM, DRY CHEMICAL, CO2/OTHER CLASS B EXTINGUISHING AGENTS. Special Fire Fighting Proc: WEAR FULL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT INCLUDING PRESSURE DEMAND SELF CONTAINED BREATHING APPARATUS & TURNOUT EQUIPMENT. Unusual Fire And Expl Hazrds: COMBUSTIBLE. KEEP AWAY FROM HEAT & FLAMES. =========================================================================== Reactivity Data =========================================================================== Stability: YES Cond To Avoid (Stability): HEAT, FLAMES. Hazardous Poly Occur: NO =========================================================================== Health Hazard Data =========================================================================== Route Of Entry - Inhalation: NO Route Of Entry - Skin: NO Route Of Entry - Ingestion: NO Health Haz Acute And Chronic: EYES: IRRITATION. Carcinogenicity - NTP: NO Carcinogenicity - IARC: NO Carcinogenicity - OSHA: NO Explanation Carcinogenicity: NONE Signs/Symptoms Of Overexp: SENSATION OF IRRITATION. Emergency/First Aid Proc: EYES/SKIN: FLUSH W/WATER. INGESTION: DRINK MILK/WATER FREELY. OBTAIN MEDICAL ATTENTION IN ALL CASES. =========================================================================== Precautions for Safe Handling and Use =========================================================================== Steps If Matl Released/Spill: FLUSH AREA W/WATER. KEEP OUT OF WATERSHEDS & WATER SYSTEMS. Waste Disposal Method: DISPOSE OF IAW/FEDERAL, STATE & LOCAL REGULATIONS. Precautions-Handling/Storing: UNPLUG ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES BEFORE USING PRODUCT ON THEM. =========================================================================== Control Measures =========================================================================== =========================================================================== Transportation Data =========================================================================== =========================================================================== Disposal Data =========================================================================== =========================================================================== Label Data =========================================================================== Label Required: YES Label Status: G Common Name: WINDEX GLASS CLEANER BLUE - RETAIL Special Hazard Precautions: EYES: IRRITATION. SENSATION OF IRRITATION. Label Name: DRACKETT PRODUCTS CO Label Street: 8600 GOVERNORS HILL RD STE 300 Label City: CINCINNATI Label State: OH Label Zip Code: 45249-5000 Label Country: US Label Emergency Number: 513-583-3900/800-242-1677
Subject: New Cleaning Pads Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2002 04:42:43 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) Our friend at Pacific Sky Observatory, Jim Phillips, has found an excellent source of COTTON PADS for cleaning corrector plates and other lens/optical systems. These pads are a wonderful solution, totally lint and streak-free according to his tests, to the method and cleaning solution that I worked on and posted a couple of months back on the Arkansas Sky Observatory site and that many of you have been using to success. If you remember, most were having a tough time finding the cotton pads here from any source. These ones that Jim has found are excellent and nearly the same thing....here is his information: >>> "It's a US company in business since 1905. "Sentinel Consumer Products 7750 Tyler Blvd. Mentor, OH 44060 http://www.sentinelconsumer.com/html/home.html "The product on the top left (white pads with the green "80" on the bag)is the one I have. Exactly that packaging. They describe them as "textured" pads, but it's more like spun cotton batting. Very soft and absorbent." << Dr. Clay ---------------------------------------- Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org
Subject: The ultimate lens brush.... Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2002 9:31:40 From: email@example.com (Clay Sherrod) Hello to all.... After months of searching and many inquiries about proper brushes for corrector plates and MAK front lenses, I have found and tested the ultimate brush. What's better....you can get it a Lowe's Home Centers.... This is an incredibly soft brush with no bristles hard enough to both even the softest of finishes. I have been using one now for about 4 months to test on refractors, Newtonian mirrors, corrector plates and all other optical surface; I did a long-term "scratch test" using some very soft sprayed lacquer that would sleek over long periods of rubbing should the bristles be too stiff. None. Perfect results. The brush will be ideal for coated, uncoated, special coatings, UHTC, EMC, lenses, mirrors, front surface silvered mirrors.....virtually everything with a large enough surface area to clean with them. Here are the details on the brush: (run....don't walk....to get one of these; you will be amazed at how effective this little brush is for picking up crud, dust and pollen from your corrector plate...FAR softer than the StaticMaster anti-cling brush. I have put my StaticMaster in mothballs because of this neat little brush! 1) small brush with flexible rubber short handle, 2" wide with finely tapered bristles; very easy to hold and maneuver around the edges of your front lens; the soft easy grip handle is ideal for telescopes as it is nearly impossible for the brush to slip out of your hand....it also is so short that you can really turn the necessary surfaces to clean optics. 2) found in Lowe's paint brush department, near the fine quality trim brushes....it will by far be the "shortest" brush on the hanging rack; 3) look for a blue and yellow package with a yellow soft handle hanging out the bottom; 4) DETAILS: "Wooster Shortcut" brush, 2" - (Oil paint and varnish, white china bristle) Distributed by: Wooster Brush Co. Wooster, Ohio, 44691 and Reno, Nevada 89510 Dr. Clay ---------------------------------------- Arkansas Sky Observatory www.arksky.org
Subject: Telescope Optics Cleaning Pads Sent: Saturday, November 2, 2002 10:23:29 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Clay Sherrod) Hello to all......... I have found a source for the cotton cleaning pads we have all been looking for (well, not me....I have several cartons of them) These are the Esthetic Wipes by Barnhard Industries that have been searched out.... The long search for a reliable source for the non-woven ultra-soft cotton cleaning pads that I have found to be the ideal cleaning medium for astronomical lenses, corrector plates, eyepieces, camera lenses and binoculars has now found a source willing to sell direct to the astronomical community at very reasonable pricing. I contacted the manufacturer and turns out the Bobby Barnhard, of Barnhard Industries is also a very enthusiastic amateur astronomer and supportive of our efforts, so he had his marketing staff supply the following source. Note that these are absolutely lint-free and scratch-free cotton pads, 4" x 4" and suitable for all fine optics. They are the ultimate is safe and streak free cleaning if used in conjunction with my new formula and procedure posted at the ASO site under "Guides" ( http://www.arksky.org/guides.htm ) Following is the response from Barnhard's marketing director: ------------[begin quote]: "Dr. Sherrod, I apologize for the delay in getting back to you; however, I wanted to secure a supply source for you and your colleagues before responding. And I have done just that! Our leading distributor, The Nailco Group, has a division called Sunco that is ready, willing and available to supply you and your associates with our 4x4 Esthetic Wipes. Maureen Mann, whom I have copied on this e-mail, is the sales manager for The Nailco Group. She and I have discussed your needs, and you can / / contact her via e-mail (email@example.com) or telephone [...] I am so pleased to learn of yet another professional use for one of our quality products. I appreciate your leadership in putting us in touch with your colleagues and feel quite comfortable that you all will be in very good hands with Maureen and Sunco. Do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of further assistance. ------------------" [end quote] They have indicated their willingness to sell direct for reasonable orders to consumers worldwide (I would assume that we would all have to pay appropriate postages....) OR give us the source closest to your location! I am calling on Monday and setting up some details on being able to get these to at least ONE (hopefully more around the country will contact them as well....) top dealer that I would like to see carry these pads for telescope and optical cleaning purposes. Dr. Clay
Subject: etx 125 flip mirror cleaning Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 15:16:28 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (dan hester) Thought I would pass along some information about cleaning the flip mirrow on an etx that will probably make you and Dr. Clay cringe. My flip mirror was very dirty...pollen, dust, a haze had formed on the mirror. Something had to be done. After much thought, here's what I did. 1. Carefully drilled a quarter inch hole in the bottom of the plastic housing at the rear of the scope for drainage. 2. Mixed distilled water, a tiny drop of dishwashing liquid and small amount of alcohol. 3. Used the focus knob to move the main mirror as far forward as possible. 4. Armed with cotton balls...a small pair of tweezers, one clean container with the solution and another small squeeze bottle with pure distilled water...i went to work. 5. Attached cotton ball to tweezers, turned the mirror to an almost straight up position, used a small bulb to blow off dust. 6. Dipped the cotton ball in the solution and carefully lowered it onto the mirror...being careful to use only the weight of the wet cotton ball on the mirror while the ota was pointed almost straight up (for drainage). 7. After several passes with the cotton ball (carefully)...i used the small squirt bottle to gently squirt distilled water to wash off the solution. All the water drained out the small hole I had drilled. 8. I attached an absorbent lens cloth to the tweezers and let it lie only with its own weight on the mirror to remove excess water. 9. I let the unit air dry with the OTA pointed up...then put a small rubber plug in the hole. Bottom line...it seems to have worked very well. The mirror is spotless, no scratches and no water got inside the scope. Maybe it's a little crude, but if it works, it works. Dan
Subject: Cleaning Optics Sent: Saturday, November 8, 2003 02:20:24 From: email@example.com (Stephen Bird) To: firstname.lastname@example.org (P. Clay Sherrod) Clay, In the UK it is impossible to get Windex. The common glass cleaner over here is Windolene, the product is not the same, being a clear rather than blue liquid. This means that making your ASO Superplus lens solution a little difficult, as I am unable to get an alternate cleaner where I can confirm it as being the same as Windex. Some of the supermarket brands do look the same as Windex, but I am unable to find out from SC Johnson who make Windex if they allow the supermarkets to either re-label windex or manufacture their own brand under license. Chemically Windolene aims to do the same thing as Windex, but the components are different: Windex = Ethylene Glycol n hexyl ether (1% approx) + Isopropanol (5% approx) + Water (95% approx). Windolene = Butoxypropanol [also called Propylene glycol monobutyl ether) (5% approx) + Sodium Hydroxide (less than 1%) + Water (95% approx) With the exception of the propanol (which being alcohol is part of the other ingedients of the lens solution anyway) the components are very similar, except of course that sodium hydroxide is listed, whereas in Windex the only mention is the "smell of ammonia". In your opinion would it make much difference if Windolene was submitted in place of Windex in the cleaning solution? What concerns me is the inclusion of (less than 1%) ammonia in the composition of Windolene. Regards Stephen BirdAnd:
From: "P. Clay Sherrod" (email@example.com) Stephen... Please pass this on to others in the UK... Windolene is excellent, except you need to make one change in the formula to account for the difference in composition: Decrease the amount of Windolene per quart mixed (or whatever volume) by 25% overall....that will make up for the change of the alcohol content; note that Windolene does not contain any vinegar, but does contain some degree of ammonia....that is what you want. Avoid any cleaner for coated optics that has acetic acid (vinegar) as one of its components. Good luck and thanks for writing. Clay -------------------- Dr. P. Clay Sherrod Arkansas Sky Observatory Harvard MPC H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC H44 (Cascade Mt.) http://www.arksky.org/
Subject: Re: Question on Use of Dr. Clay's Cleaning Kit on ETX Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 13:28:34 From: P. Clay Sherrod (firstname.lastname@example.org) On this mirror there is NO protective overcoating, so you must be very, very careful; I suggest using only a brush to clean off the surface and use it very delicately. Using compressed air will blow the dust inside the OTA which just creates even more problems. Sometimes if you rub a square tipped artist's brush rapidly against a nylon or synthetic cloth (a clean shirt) back and forth many times, it will build up enough static charge to attract the dust particles and actually remove them from the OTA! Best of luck... Dr. Clay ------------- Arkansas Sky Observatories Harvard MPC/ H43 (Conway) Harvard MPC/ H41 (Petit Jean Mountain) Harvard MPC/ H45 (Petit Jean Mtn. South) http://www.arksky.org/ ----- Original Message ----- Subject: Question on Use of Dr. Clay's Cleaning Kit on ETX Dr. Clay- I have your optics cleaning kit and had a question of proper use. I purchesed an ETX-90PE as a store demo. I think the eyepiece hole was uncovered at some point-- there is dust on the right angle mirror. What would be the proper proceedure to clean the right angle mirror? Your great instructions talk about different cleaning for "protected" versus "non-protected" mirror surfaces. Wasn't sure which the right angle mirror was. - Use a small brush or air can? (didn't want dust going free and possible up to main mirror) - Your cleaning solution and extra long Q-Tips? This would be just a one time thing. Once clean I'd leave in covered. Thanks so much for your help! Am looking forward to having you supercharge both my scopes when in budget. Regards, Wayne ----- End Original Message -----
And an update:
Thanks Clay! What looked like grime just came off with a light brush or two on the RA mirror with an artist's brush, and putting a static charge on it with polyester also seemed to work. Mike- Thanks for the great site as well. I also have a new LX-90. Maybe your site can expand to that since you just got one. Regards, Wayne
Excellent and thanks for the update. Dr. Clay
Subject: Using Windolene for cleaning Telescope optics From: Brian (email@example.com) To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stephen Bird) Sent: Monday, November 15, 2010 5:41 PM Hi Stephen, I got your details from the Mighty ETX site. I am desperately trying to find a substitute for Windex, and note that you have had the conversation with Doc Clay about using Windolene. Which version did you use? I have seen lots of cautions on camera sites warning that the pink stuff contains abrasives. I assume you used the clear stuff. I haven't actually been shopping for it, because I didn't realise that there were two versions and my years old experience of using the pink stuff for cleaning various things (like aircraft cockpit canopies; don't ask) always seemed to end in tears. Mostly mine!! If you used the Windowlene, what were your results like? Any help greatly appreciated as my 12" LX 200 GPS is about to burst into bloom it has so much pollen on it. Best regards, Brian Martindale
From: Stephen Bird (email@example.com) No!!!! DO NOT use Windolene or any of the UK look-a-like Windex products. All of them contain either abrasives or other non friendly chemical additives that will wreck the coatings on your optics as far as I know. Even though people tell you they are the same, in my researched opinion they are not. In fact Windex is made by SC Johnson a US company. Windolene used to be made by Johnson & Johnson, but it was always a complicated relationship and they never made Windex in the UK. Windolene is now made by Reckitt Benckiser who I think bought out J &J a few years ago. Complex eh! SC Johnson do produce products for the UK market under the "Mr Muscle" name, but not a Windex equivalent that I have been able to find. I pulled the specification sheets on a few of the products that looked promising and none were the same as the good old Blue Windex. So in the UK this gives you a problem. I solved this by bringing a supply in from Australia as I visit every three years and my relations do vice versa. So each time I go I grab a 500ml bottle or get a relative to bring me one over. I get really nervous these days as even though it goes in the hold luggage, we all know what it looks like. Anyway I'm sitting on 2 litres of the stuff, so with Dr Clay's recipe I am set up for life. You have to mix it exactly as he says, and boy does it work great! I use it on the house windows and the car glass too!! As to importing it via post, I have a feeling it would not get through the current freight checks, but with Christmas coming up you might be lucky. Shame I had a friend just back from the land down-under only a couple of weeks back and the standing joke of what to bring me as a present came out:-) Time to check out friends and relatives in far off places for you I think. Regards Stephen Bird
I just got back from the supermarket. It's not good news I'm afraid! The blue Windolene contains VINEGAR and thus is NOT suitable for use in the Doc Clay cleaning system. I never got to read the rest of the ingredients, it says right across the front label 'Cleans with Vinegar!' Also, the listing of ingredients in UK is not as stringent as it is in the US. Some cleaners say 'Contains, among other ingredients....' God knows what is in them! The Windolene that Doc Clay endorsed was either a different version of the product or an old recipe; the post was dated 2003. Back to the drawing board on this one unless someone from UK comes up with the answer for me. Regards, Brian
Apologies, it was Johnson Wax, not Johnson and Johnson! I have been working on a pharmaceutical contract the last couple of months and J & J was on my mind. Johnson Wax was the UK arm of SC Johnson a good few years back. SC Johnson are still in the UK, but Windowlene is not made by them. All very confusing! Anyway Windex Original is the one you want: http://www.windex.com/products/original-glass-cleaner/ Stephen Bird
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