BUYER/NEW USER TIPS
From the large volume of new beginners picking up the DS models and finding your site looking for help info I thought I would make a small list of pointers to help them get going in the right direction to add to the DS site.
#1. Setup - This is pretty easy to follow along with the directions supplied with the telescope in question. It is a good idea when adding on the motor gear assembly to a DS tripod to make sure to place the smooth, even surface of the ear washer (the washer with the tabs in the middle) against the toothed metal gear on the threaded shaft. This will help give more contact area and more friction when tightening the lock knob. It also helps to rough up both the toothed gear and the washer just a touch with sandpaper. Also making the leather washer suggested before helps prevent over torquing on the lock knob.
#2. Collimination - The bigger reflecting scopes need to have the mirrors bouncing the light around inside the OTA (Outer Tube Assembly) properly aligned to send the best possible image into the eyepiece. This is not needed with the refractors because it is physically set at the factory and the refractor scopes have no user adjustments. The instructions are inside the DS manual in the appendix with pictures in the front of the manual of what you will see peeking thru the eyepiece holder with no eyepiece in as you go step by step to properly aligning the mirrors. This is best accomplished with 2 people so that one can look into the telescope thru the eyepiece holder while the other adjusts the screws and bolts.
#3. Setting up in the Field - The DS telescopes have their HOME POSITION with the telescope tube horizontal to the ground and with the scope pointing north. During a Autostar setup when it prompts the user to put the scope in the home position just unlock both axis knobs, swing the telescope to point as close to north as possible, (use polaris as a rough guide but try and pick up a $5 compass to get a better alignment.) level the OTA, and tighten the lock knobs. To help you on aligning with the automatically selected guide stars, make sure you are looking at the right star. Getting a simple planisphere or use evening sky guides from a magazine like Sky & Telescope can help you align properly.
#4. Tripod warnings - When using the Autostar on a DS tripod be wary when you select a GOTO object and the Autostar gives you a warning about possibly hitting the telescope against the tripod. I highly reccommend just skipping that object and go further down the list to find something else to look at. You can damage a motor if the OTA hits a tripod leg and the Autostar keeps trying to move the scope.
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