Last updated: 16 March 2006
Subject: DS-2130LNT review, Initial try out Sent: Thursday, March 9, 2006 07:26:45 From: VENTERS Casey G (Casey.Venters@framatome-anp.com) Items that ship with the scope: (1) The Optical Tube Assembly. (2) Tripod, The tripod is easy to setup and has a little tray for storage of star maps and eyepieces. Not much else would go on it. (3) mount with motors. (4)The two eyepieces that ship with the scope were a 26 mm Super Plossl (~37x) and a 9.7 mm Super Plossl (~103x). The each have a hard plastic case for storage. (4) #494 Autostar controller (5)Software for PC. I haven't installed the software yet and probably won't for a while (I have some star maps). The scope was easily put together with just a screwdriver in less than 10 minutes. Some downfalls that I have already seen in this telescope: (1) It is that the drives are a little sloppy. They don't move immediately when told to. I hate to tighten the clutch too much, but I might try that later. (2) Columnation isn't as easy as it appears in the manual. This could be because I was rushed and/or that it was my first time. (3) The tripod while stable appears to be flimsy. This might not be a good scope for astrophotography. But I'll eventually try it. Recommended accessories to have before it arrives: (1) 8 AA batteries - must have, (2) red LED flashlight or head lamp, (3)level, (4) star maps (not needed but it's nice to have) Review: My new DS-2130LNT came via FedEx and arrived ~30 minutes before dark. So I assembled it as fast as I could (already have read the manual online). There was some aligning that I was trying to do before it got dark. But it got dark too quick. Also I thought that I read somewhere that the batteries were included, but I must have misread so I had to run pick up 8 AA batteries from the store. So I took it out side and tried it out. I couldn't get it to focus. I took the scope back inside and tried to columnate it the best I could. It was a little off from shipping. I took the scope back outside and I gave it a few minutes to adjust to the temperature change and I was able to resolve the stars into points of light. I tried again to align the scope. The Level and North sensors are in the viewfinder. So that needs to be plugged in for the LNT to work. The tripod needed to be level and I couldn't find my level, so it wouldn't align properly. From what I know about programming and geometry, the telescope is assuming that it is on a level base. Since I probably didn't have the tripod level it wasn't going to the correct part of the sky for the two aligning stars. Not having looked through a scope bigger than 2" before I was lost as to which star was which. There was a significant number (3-10x depending on the portion of the sky) more stars that could be seen through the scope than I could see with my naked eye. So I gave up on aligning for tonight. But I could find the moon. And boy did I find it. It took me a while to get used to moving the telescope and focusing, but when I got it I got it. I ran back inside to get my 2.5 year old daughter from her bedtime routine, and rushed her out. I told her how to close one eye and look in the eyepiece. It took her a while to figure out which eye was open, but when she did, her face lit up like it was Christmas. We were jumping in the backyard earlier in the afternoon to try and catch the moon, and I managed to get it a little closer for her. It was pretty exciting. The moon (only in it's 1st quarter) was extremely bright. It was so bright that it started hurting my eyes. But the image was so crystal clear, it was hard to not look at it. It's probably because it was on my personal telescope, but that image of the moon is the best that I've ever seen. Even professional photography. I probably have to adjust the telescope a little still, but the quality of the image is way better than I expected. The sky's are going to be cloudy for the next few days so I won't be able to play with it too much until the clouds move on. This was the fueling the desire to rush to see something. Overall, for $400 this is a nice telescope to get you addicted to astronomy. I haven't much to compare this telescope to except a 2" refractor that I had in my youth so I can't tell you how it compares to other scopes. The Autostar controller was a little difficult to read as it was scrolling messages by. The letters would blur together. I reduced the speed of the scrolling and when I could read what it was saying, the words were near standstill. This could be probably be fixed in the contrast and/or brightness setting for the controller. I'll get some pictures of the scope and send them sometime next week, and hopefully I'll have the tripod leveled and I can view Saturn (my main goal of my initial viewing but alas I was foiled).
I have been playing with collimation of the DS-2130-LNT. The stars had a comet type appearance. Let me say that it is very difficult to collimate it apparently. I have yet to get it so that I can see a planet as a disk. It appears mainly as a smear. I can see nebulae very well though. Stars are little triangles of litel with a point and streaks of light off to one side. I have been able to see M42,, M43, and M78 all within Orion. I also have seen Pleides (which was very awesome) and a few other clusters that I just randomly found and really don't remember the NGC #. Stars and planets have been un-seeable due to the poor collimation. The Moon is almost too bright too look at even at a 1st quarter moon. I'll hold off looking at it again until I obtain a moon filter. While I was attempting to collimate the telescope a couple days ago, I noticed some styrofoam debris inside the focuser tube. I'm afraind that I might have touched the lens inside so don't try to put your finger or any other object in there without noticing where the lens is. Some of the slop was taken out of the Alt axis when I noticed that the clutch wasn't fully tightened. I had assumed that the cluctches would have been tight upon shipping but you should ensure that the clutch knobs are both tightened. The alignment is still off even though I have been finding and centering the appropriate stars. I thought that I read something on a website about the DC servo for the Alt axis interfers with both a normal needle style compass and the compass sensor in the LNT module. I need to get the collimation fixed before I attempt this fix. Casey Venters I have attached some thumbnails that have links to some pictures that I have taken. These pics are hosted at imageshack.us. It's a free image hosting service so that you don't have to host the pictures. Tripod with the OTA bracket mounted Telescope assembled Clutches for Alt & Az axes alt clutch- az clutch - mirror mounts and collimation screws Primary- secondary - bubble level that I installed on the tray
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