Last updated: 9 December 2000

Purchasing a Used Telescope

Subject:	 ETX90EC
Sent:	Thursday, December 7, 2000 12:19:57
From:	110641.1527@compuserve.com (Thompson, Robert)
I'm "in the market" for my first scope, and am interested in the
ETX-90-EC. I think that it will meet my needs for an entry-level scope
with good portability & the Go-to goodies. From various sources I'm
finding some nicely-priced packages with used scopes.

What are the most important things to look for when evaluating used
ETC90s? From your website I gather that the scope can have some serious
problems, so I have to think about the cost/benefits of new with
warranty vs. used at a good price.

Thank you for any advice that you can offer.
Bob Thompson
Mike here: The most important thing in purchasing a used scope is to buy it from someone you trust, either a dealer who handles used scopes (Shutan does, or did, and there may be others) or someone who won't run off with your money. If you can't see the telescope in person (such as when purchasing via eBay), you may be taking some chances, unless you purchase from a reputable dealer. If you can see the scope in person, check the optics for dirt, scratches, etc. Take it outside at night and do a star test (see if the circles of light are circular and concentric as you move from one side of the focus to the other). Check the physical condition of the tube, fork mount, finderscope, accessories. Dents and dings can be a sign of rough treatment, which could result in problems. Look inside the battery compartment for signs of corrosion. Check the tripod mounting holes (all of them) for stripped threads. Lock both the RA and Dec and check for excessive play. Unlock them and check for smooth movement. Slew the scope electronically and listen to the drives; there should not be too much variation in the sound level or pitch. With either the standard handcontroller or the Autostar, check that all the buttons are functional.

Added later:

Thank you for your advice.  After reading through your archived
comments, and from what you say here, I think I'll go with a new one.
While I've found some good, used deals, they are all outside of driving
range so prepurchase inspection would be a problem.
Your web page has been a big help.
Bob Thompson

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