Last updated: 16 August 2006
Subject: Meade DS-2090AT-TC Review Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2006 14:25:53 From: Brian Wilson (email@example.com) Included is my review of the Meade DS-2090AT-TC telescope that I recently purchased. I hope you might find it useful for your website. The Meade Factory outlet has featured the 90mm refractor on the DS2000 mount for less than 200 dollars and I figured that this was low enough to satisfy my curiosity. I currently own an ETX90 UHTC as well and the main thing I wanted to see was how a 90mm refractor would compare to an ETX of the same aperture size. Also, I wanted to test out the DS2000 mount. Here is an image of how the assembled telescope and the shipping box: As you can see, the telescope came with a #497 Autostar controller and a nice leg mount for the controller and eyepieces. Assembly was incredibly simple and in case this was a first scope for someone, there is an instructional DVD included. Also included were two eyepieces (9.7mm and 26mm) and a bubble level/compass that fits into the eyepiece hole. Part of the telescope was damaged in shipping. The telescope has two set screws for the right angle eyepiece attachment, and one of the set screws (which feel plastic) was completely sheered off. I had to drill it out in clear the opening. At first light, I realized a major difference between the DS2090 and the ETX. The refractor was much more sensitive to atmospheric disturbance and temperature changes than the ETX. I didn't let the DS cool down at all (major mistake) and images of stars such as Altair, Arcturus and Polaris resolved to points with a blurry tail. I let the scope sit out for about 90 minutes and the issue was solved. I usually don't let my ETX cool down more than an hour before use and I have never had any problems. The telescope alignment was a bit tricky because instead of an actual lens viewfinder, this scope comes with a Red Dot finder which is absolutely useless in my opinion. Finding stars by using the viewfinder was extremely difficult. Once I got the telescope aligned, I did a GOTO Jupiter and was pleasantly surprised to see that Jupiter (while not directly centered while using the included 26mm eyepiece) was in the field of view. I wanted to really test this scope out so I moved next to M13. Since the Focal Length is shorter than the ETX, the image of M13 was smaller, but you could still make out the cluster as a faint blob. The GOTO again was very impressive. To further test the telescope and the mount, I did a GOTO to M57, the Ring Nebula. This was when the problems occurred. The Autostar asked for me to check the mount for clearance, and everything seemed OK so I hit GOTO to slew to M57. The mount was clear, but the accessory tray was not. In the DVD, they shown a different accessory tray that mounts inside the tripod legs, to I flipped the included tray and now have it clamped on the inside. In order to prevent the OTA from hitting the tripod, I would suggest mounting the tube as close to the eyepiece as possible. Meade recommends that you mount the tube at its center of gravity, but with the weight of the objective lens, this might make the back end too long to observe things near the zenith. The attached image shows the tube mounted at its center of gravity. You can easily see the clearance issues that might occur when looking straight up. The DS mount is very flimsy. You can see the object move nearly out of the field of view when trying to focus and the Declination circle is loose in its fitting. When tightening Dec axis you can see the circle shifting. I didn't try it, but I would imagine that any piggy-back camera mount would be a bit risky. After the M57 slewing incident, the Autostar kept reporting Motor Unit Fault Errors and this was only solved by doing an Autostar reset and update according to Dr. Clay's procedure listed in the tech tips section on your site. My overall impression of this telescope is that it is definitely something great for a first time user who has realistic expectations of what a telescope of this size can accomplish. My only major issue is with the sturdiness of the mount. It looks like I will be keeping this telescope and I look forward to taking some pictures with the LPI using this telescope. -Brian Wilson
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