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Lots of play in declination

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  • couchpot61
    Hi All, This is one of those questions I hate to ask because I m probably not going to like the answer. In any case, here goes. I noticed a couple of nights
    Message 1 of 8 , May 12, 2008
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      Hi All,

      This is one of those questions I hate to ask because I'm probably not
      going to like the answer. In any case, here goes. I noticed a couple
      of nights ago when I had my scope set up that there is considerable
      play of the OTA in declination. Using my hands and while the scope is
      on, I can literally move the OTA several inches up and down before it
      catches. I operate in Alt/Az mode, and the scope appeared to operate
      fine. It alinged without any problem, tracked well, slewed to objects
      well, so for all intents and purposes it seemed to operate just fine.
      But I know that I shouldn't be able to move the OTA up and down so
      freely while the scope is on and tracking.

      I suppose I should mention that I did replace the original
      declination clutch with Peterson's EZ Clutch several months ago. I
      don't THINK that has a direct bearing on what's going on, but at this
      point I'm not ruling anything out. Also, I should mention that I do
      not have an observatory and must set up and break down each time I
      observe - about once a month as of late (weather hasn't been good
      here). I store the scope in a JMI carrying case, so when I'm setting
      up and tearing down, I do have a tendancy to try to lock down the
      declincation so the OTA doesn't move when I pick the scope up.

      I apologize for the long-winded question, but just wondering if
      anyone knows what it is I've likely done to cause this movement in
      the OTA, and what I can do to fix it. I really don't want to ship the
      scope back to Meade, given their current situation. I'm reasonably
      handy and mechanically inclined, so if it's fairly straitforward, I
      can probably handle it. Otherwise, I'll have to think of a Plan B.

      Thanks in advance for any and all help!

      Joe
    • autostaretx
      ... Catches ? Do you mean that the clutch isn t grabbing until you do this operation? Does it droop if you just leave it alone (assuming you initially
      Message 2 of 8 , May 12, 2008
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        --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "couchpot61" <couchpot61@...> wrote:
        >
        > ... Using my hands and while the scope is on, I can literally
        > move the OTA several inches up and down before it catches.

        "Catches"? Do you mean that the clutch isn't grabbing until
        you do this operation? Does it droop if you just leave it
        alone (assuming you initially clamp it at Alt=zero)?

        > I operate in Alt/Az mode, and the scope appeared to operate fine.

        Once the clutch grabs, can you -still- move it up and down?

        As long as you can't budge it without a half pound or more of force,
        it should operate properly in Alt/Az.

        When tightening the clutch, i set it just tight enough to avoid
        droop, i don't continue the tightening beyond what it needs.
        (i'm also Alt/Az, and i don't have extra gear or balancing weights)

        You could remove the motor side's fork covers and look for
        something loose in there (such as the worm having dropped out
        of engagement, or the clutch having caught a bit of grit
        causing strange effects).

        good luck
        --dick
      • barringtonri
        Hi Joe, Since you ve already done the EZ Clutch upgrade you know how to open up the DEC drive. Do so, and retighten the clutch. I suspect that you ll find
        Message 3 of 8 , May 13, 2008
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          Hi Joe,

          Since you've already done the EZ Clutch upgrade you know how to open
          up the DEC drive. Do so, and retighten the clutch. I suspect that
          you'll find that either the drive has come loose due to loose or
          stripped mounting screws or that you neglected to "tune" the wormgear
          engagement and your spring loaded drive is lifting off of the
          wormgear. Those are the 2 most likely causes, and both are readily
          corrected. Whatever's going on should be obvious when the cover is
          off.

          Clear skies,

          Pete Peterson

          --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "couchpot61" <couchpot61@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi All,
          >
          > This is one of those questions I hate to ask because I'm probably
          not
          > going to like the answer. In any case, here goes. I noticed a
          couple
          > of nights ago when I had my scope set up that there is considerable
          > play of the OTA in declination. Using my hands and while the scope
          is
          > on, I can literally move the OTA several inches up and down before
          it
          > catches. I operate in Alt/Az mode, and the scope appeared to
          operate
          > fine. It alinged without any problem, tracked well, slewed to
          objects
          > well, so for all intents and purposes it seemed to operate just
          fine.
          > But I know that I shouldn't be able to move the OTA up and down so
          > freely while the scope is on and tracking.
          >
          > I suppose I should mention that I did replace the original
          > declination clutch with Peterson's EZ Clutch several months ago. I
          > don't THINK that has a direct bearing on what's going on, but at
          this
          > point I'm not ruling anything out. Also, I should mention that I do
          > not have an observatory and must set up and break down each time I
          > observe - about once a month as of late (weather hasn't been good
          > here). I store the scope in a JMI carrying case, so when I'm
          setting
          > up and tearing down, I do have a tendancy to try to lock down the
          > declincation so the OTA doesn't move when I pick the scope up.
          >
          > I apologize for the long-winded question, but just wondering if
          > anyone knows what it is I've likely done to cause this movement in
          > the OTA, and what I can do to fix it. I really don't want to ship
          the
          > scope back to Meade, given their current situation. I'm reasonably
          > handy and mechanically inclined, so if it's fairly straitforward, I
          > can probably handle it. Otherwise, I'll have to think of a Plan B.
          >
          > Thanks in advance for any and all help!
          >
          > Joe
          >
        • mcanfield13
          ... not ... couple ... is ... it ... operate ... objects ... fine. ... this ... setting ... the ... Joe, I think you may be having the same problem I did a few
          Message 4 of 8 , May 13, 2008
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            --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "couchpot61" <couchpot61@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi All,
            >
            > This is one of those questions I hate to ask because I'm probably
            not
            > going to like the answer. In any case, here goes. I noticed a
            couple
            > of nights ago when I had my scope set up that there is considerable
            > play of the OTA in declination. Using my hands and while the scope
            is
            > on, I can literally move the OTA several inches up and down before
            it
            > catches. I operate in Alt/Az mode, and the scope appeared to
            operate
            > fine. It alinged without any problem, tracked well, slewed to
            objects
            > well, so for all intents and purposes it seemed to operate just
            fine.
            > But I know that I shouldn't be able to move the OTA up and down so
            > freely while the scope is on and tracking.
            >
            > I suppose I should mention that I did replace the original
            > declination clutch with Peterson's EZ Clutch several months ago. I
            > don't THINK that has a direct bearing on what's going on, but at
            this
            > point I'm not ruling anything out. Also, I should mention that I do
            > not have an observatory and must set up and break down each time I
            > observe - about once a month as of late (weather hasn't been good
            > here). I store the scope in a JMI carrying case, so when I'm
            setting
            > up and tearing down, I do have a tendancy to try to lock down the
            > declincation so the OTA doesn't move when I pick the scope up.
            >
            > I apologize for the long-winded question, but just wondering if
            > anyone knows what it is I've likely done to cause this movement in
            > the OTA, and what I can do to fix it. I really don't want to ship
            the
            > scope back to Meade, given their current situation. I'm reasonably
            > handy and mechanically inclined, so if it's fairly straitforward, I
            > can probably handle it. Otherwise, I'll have to think of a Plan B.
            >
            > Thanks in advance for any and all help!
            >
            > Joe
            >
            Joe,
            I think you may be having the same problem I did a few months back.
            I was having trouble keeping the scope aligned during imaging. The
            eyepiece I was using to align was much heavier than the CCD imager I
            was using so the scope was rocking forward due to the OTA weight. I
            was worried that the clutch was damaged so I purchased the Peterson
            Clutch Kit to try to solve the problem, but after I got into the
            conversion I found that the problem was easily solved by tightening
            two allen head bolts that are behind the large aluminum gear. I went
            ahead with the conversion and have to say, just in case anyone is
            considering the upgrade, that it is well worth the time. This is my
            first time to post a message and I'm not sure how to attach and image
            or post one to the group, but I have a Word document that I got from
            someone with photos of the clutch conversion and it shows what I'm
            talking about. Just email me and let me now if you would like to get
            a copy of it. mcanfield@...
            Hope this is helpful and good luck,
            Mike
          • couchpot61
            ... Hi Dick, When I say the OTA catches , I mean the OTA moves freely as if the declination gear isn t engaged. Then after moving several inches, the OTA
            Message 5 of 8 , May 13, 2008
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              --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "autostaretx" <rseymour@...> wrote:
              >
              > --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "couchpot61" couchpot61@ wrote:
              > >
              > > ... Using my hands and while the scope is on, I can literally
              > > move the OTA several inches up and down before it catches.
              >
              > "Catches"? Do you mean that the clutch isn't grabbing until
              > you do this operation? Does it droop if you just leave it
              > alone (assuming you initially clamp it at Alt=zero)?
              >
              > > I operate in Alt/Az mode, and the scope appeared to operate fine.
              >
              > Once the clutch grabs, can you -still- move it up and down?
              >
              > As long as you can't budge it without a half pound or more of force,
              > it should operate properly in Alt/Az.
              >
              > When tightening the clutch, i set it just tight enough to avoid
              > droop, i don't continue the tightening beyond what it needs.
              > (i'm also Alt/Az, and i don't have extra gear or balancing weights)
              >
              > You could remove the motor side's fork covers and look for
              > something loose in there (such as the worm having dropped out
              > of engagement, or the clutch having caught a bit of grit
              > causing strange effects).
              >
              > good luck
              > --dick
              >



              Hi Dick,

              When I say the OTA "catches", I mean the OTA moves freely as if the
              declination gear isn't engaged. Then after moving several inches, the
              OTA bumps against "something." The OTA doesn't droop if I let it go -
              it will stay in place. But if the OTA is pointing horizontally, for
              example, I can move it up with my hands several inches. Then, when I
              lower it again, it stops at the point where I started (horizontally).


              Sorry, I know I'm not doing a very good job of describing my problem.
              Hope I've clarified it some. In any event, I won't have a chance to open
              up the scope until at least this coming weekend. I'll let you know how
              it goes when I get into the scope.

              THANKS for your help!

              Joe
            • couchpot61
              ... considerable ... scope ... before ... so ... I ... do ... I ... in ... reasonably ... I ... back. ... I ... I ... went ... my ... image ... from ... get
              Message 6 of 8 , May 13, 2008
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                --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "mcanfield13" <mec13@...> wrote:
                >
                > --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "couchpot61" <couchpot61@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Hi All,
                > >
                > > This is one of those questions I hate to ask because I'm probably
                > not
                > > going to like the answer. In any case, here goes. I noticed a
                > couple
                > > of nights ago when I had my scope set up that there is
                considerable
                > > play of the OTA in declination. Using my hands and while the
                scope
                > is
                > > on, I can literally move the OTA several inches up and down
                before
                > it
                > > catches. I operate in Alt/Az mode, and the scope appeared to
                > operate
                > > fine. It alinged without any problem, tracked well, slewed to
                > objects
                > > well, so for all intents and purposes it seemed to operate just
                > fine.
                > > But I know that I shouldn't be able to move the OTA up and down
                so
                > > freely while the scope is on and tracking.
                > >
                > > I suppose I should mention that I did replace the original
                > > declination clutch with Peterson's EZ Clutch several months ago.
                I
                > > don't THINK that has a direct bearing on what's going on, but at
                > this
                > > point I'm not ruling anything out. Also, I should mention that I
                do
                > > not have an observatory and must set up and break down each time
                I
                > > observe - about once a month as of late (weather hasn't been good
                > > here). I store the scope in a JMI carrying case, so when I'm
                > setting
                > > up and tearing down, I do have a tendancy to try to lock down the
                > > declincation so the OTA doesn't move when I pick the scope up.
                > >
                > > I apologize for the long-winded question, but just wondering if
                > > anyone knows what it is I've likely done to cause this movement
                in
                > > the OTA, and what I can do to fix it. I really don't want to ship
                > the
                > > scope back to Meade, given their current situation. I'm
                reasonably
                > > handy and mechanically inclined, so if it's fairly straitforward,
                I
                > > can probably handle it. Otherwise, I'll have to think of a Plan B.
                > >
                > > Thanks in advance for any and all help!
                > >
                > > Joe
                > >
                > Joe,
                > I think you may be having the same problem I did a few months
                back.
                > I was having trouble keeping the scope aligned during imaging. The
                > eyepiece I was using to align was much heavier than the CCD imager
                I
                > was using so the scope was rocking forward due to the OTA weight.
                I
                > was worried that the clutch was damaged so I purchased the Peterson
                > Clutch Kit to try to solve the problem, but after I got into the
                > conversion I found that the problem was easily solved by tightening
                > two allen head bolts that are behind the large aluminum gear. I
                went
                > ahead with the conversion and have to say, just in case anyone is
                > considering the upgrade, that it is well worth the time. This is
                my
                > first time to post a message and I'm not sure how to attach and
                image
                > or post one to the group, but I have a Word document that I got
                from
                > someone with photos of the clutch conversion and it shows what I'm
                > talking about. Just email me and let me now if you would like to
                get
                > a copy of it. mcanfield@...
                > Hope this is helpful and good luck,
                > Mike
                >

                Hey Mike,

                I appreciate your feedback. I won't have a chance to get into the
                scope until this coming weekend, but hopefully it will be as simple
                to fix as you suggest.

                I have to second your opinion of the Peterson clutch upgrade. That's
                one of the best things I've done on my scope since I got it. Also, on
                a very practical level, I have to say the Peterson handles are also a
                very wise investment. I found that they made picking up the scope a
                lot easier. I'm not a big guy (about 160 pounds), so I need all the
                help I can get to pick up a scope that weighs about 85 pounds. In any
                event, I found the handles made a big difference. I highly recommend
                them.

                Thanks again for your help!

                Joe
              • barringtonri
                If this weren t an RCX400 (LX400ACF?) I d suspect that the inside clutch plate was loose. This is one of the inspections performend when doing the EZ Clutch
                Message 7 of 8 , May 14, 2008
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                  If this weren't an RCX400 (LX400ACF?) I'd suspect that the inside
                  clutch plate was loose. This is one of the inspections performend
                  when doing the EZ Clutch installation, but it happens rarely.

                  Pete Peterson

                  --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "couchpot61" <couchpot61@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "autostaretx" <rseymour@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "couchpot61" couchpot61@ wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > ... Using my hands and while the scope is on, I can literally
                  > > > move the OTA several inches up and down before it catches.
                  > >
                  > > "Catches"? Do you mean that the clutch isn't grabbing until
                  > > you do this operation? Does it droop if you just leave it
                  > > alone (assuming you initially clamp it at Alt=zero)?
                  > >
                  > > > I operate in Alt/Az mode, and the scope appeared to operate
                  fine.
                  > >
                  > > Once the clutch grabs, can you -still- move it up and down?
                  > >
                  > > As long as you can't budge it without a half pound or more of
                  force,
                  > > it should operate properly in Alt/Az.
                  > >
                  > > When tightening the clutch, i set it just tight enough to avoid
                  > > droop, i don't continue the tightening beyond what it needs.
                  > > (i'm also Alt/Az, and i don't have extra gear or balancing
                  weights)
                  > >
                  > > You could remove the motor side's fork covers and look for
                  > > something loose in there (such as the worm having dropped out
                  > > of engagement, or the clutch having caught a bit of grit
                  > > causing strange effects).
                  > >
                  > > good luck
                  > > --dick
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Hi Dick,
                  >
                  > When I say the OTA "catches", I mean the OTA moves freely as if the
                  > declination gear isn't engaged. Then after moving several inches,
                  the
                  > OTA bumps against "something." The OTA doesn't droop if I let it
                  go -
                  > it will stay in place. But if the OTA is pointing horizontally, for
                  > example, I can move it up with my hands several inches. Then, when I
                  > lower it again, it stops at the point where I started
                  (horizontally).
                  >
                  >
                  > Sorry, I know I'm not doing a very good job of describing my
                  problem.
                  > Hope I've clarified it some. In any event, I won't have a chance to
                  open
                  > up the scope until at least this coming weekend. I'll let you know
                  how
                  > it goes when I get into the scope.
                  >
                  > THANKS for your help!
                  >
                  > Joe
                  >
                • couchpot61
                  ... probably ... ago. ... at ... I ... time ... good ... the ... ship ... straitforward, ... B. ... The ... imager ... weight. ... Peterson ... tightening ...
                  Message 8 of 8 , May 26, 2008
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                    --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "couchpot61" <couchpot61@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "mcanfield13" <mec13@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > --- In RCX400@yahoogroups.com, "couchpot61" <couchpot61@> wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > > Hi All,
                    > > >
                    > > > This is one of those questions I hate to ask because I'm
                    probably
                    > > not
                    > > > going to like the answer. In any case, here goes. I noticed a
                    > > couple
                    > > > of nights ago when I had my scope set up that there is
                    > considerable
                    > > > play of the OTA in declination. Using my hands and while the
                    > scope
                    > > is
                    > > > on, I can literally move the OTA several inches up and down
                    > before
                    > > it
                    > > > catches. I operate in Alt/Az mode, and the scope appeared to
                    > > operate
                    > > > fine. It alinged without any problem, tracked well, slewed to
                    > > objects
                    > > > well, so for all intents and purposes it seemed to operate just
                    > > fine.
                    > > > But I know that I shouldn't be able to move the OTA up and down
                    > so
                    > > > freely while the scope is on and tracking.
                    > > >
                    > > > I suppose I should mention that I did replace the original
                    > > > declination clutch with Peterson's EZ Clutch several months
                    ago.
                    > I
                    > > > don't THINK that has a direct bearing on what's going on, but
                    at
                    > > this
                    > > > point I'm not ruling anything out. Also, I should mention that
                    I
                    > do
                    > > > not have an observatory and must set up and break down each
                    time
                    > I
                    > > > observe - about once a month as of late (weather hasn't been
                    good
                    > > > here). I store the scope in a JMI carrying case, so when I'm
                    > > setting
                    > > > up and tearing down, I do have a tendancy to try to lock down
                    the
                    > > > declincation so the OTA doesn't move when I pick the scope up.
                    > > >
                    > > > I apologize for the long-winded question, but just wondering if
                    > > > anyone knows what it is I've likely done to cause this movement
                    > in
                    > > > the OTA, and what I can do to fix it. I really don't want to
                    ship
                    > > the
                    > > > scope back to Meade, given their current situation. I'm
                    > reasonably
                    > > > handy and mechanically inclined, so if it's fairly
                    straitforward,
                    > I
                    > > > can probably handle it. Otherwise, I'll have to think of a Plan
                    B.
                    > > >
                    > > > Thanks in advance for any and all help!
                    > > >
                    > > > Joe
                    > > >
                    > > Joe,
                    > > I think you may be having the same problem I did a few months
                    > back.
                    > > I was having trouble keeping the scope aligned during imaging.
                    The
                    > > eyepiece I was using to align was much heavier than the CCD
                    imager
                    > I
                    > > was using so the scope was rocking forward due to the OTA
                    weight.
                    > I
                    > > was worried that the clutch was damaged so I purchased the
                    Peterson
                    > > Clutch Kit to try to solve the problem, but after I got into the
                    > > conversion I found that the problem was easily solved by
                    tightening
                    > > two allen head bolts that are behind the large aluminum gear. I
                    > went
                    > > ahead with the conversion and have to say, just in case anyone is
                    > > considering the upgrade, that it is well worth the time. This is
                    > my
                    > > first time to post a message and I'm not sure how to attach and
                    > image
                    > > or post one to the group, but I have a Word document that I got
                    > from
                    > > someone with photos of the clutch conversion and it shows what
                    I'm
                    > > talking about. Just email me and let me now if you would like to
                    > get
                    > > a copy of it. mcanfield@
                    > > Hope this is helpful and good luck,
                    > > Mike
                    > >
                    >
                    > Hey Mike,
                    >
                    > I appreciate your feedback. I won't have a chance to get into the
                    > scope until this coming weekend, but hopefully it will be as simple
                    > to fix as you suggest.
                    >
                    > I have to second your opinion of the Peterson clutch upgrade.
                    That's
                    > one of the best things I've done on my scope since I got it. Also,
                    on
                    > a very practical level, I have to say the Peterson handles are also
                    a
                    > very wise investment. I found that they made picking up the scope a
                    > lot easier. I'm not a big guy (about 160 pounds), so I need all the
                    > help I can get to pick up a scope that weighs about 85 pounds. In
                    any
                    > event, I found the handles made a big difference. I highly
                    recommend
                    > them.
                    >
                    > Thanks again for your help!
                    >
                    > Joe
                    >

                    Mike,

                    You were absolutely correct. I finally got around to taking the
                    clutch apart this afternoon. Didn't take long at all to realize it
                    was the two allen head bolts in the inner clutch plate. Once I
                    tightened them, there was no play in declination whatsoever.

                    I'm glad it turned out to be something so minor. Thanks to all for
                    the help!!

                    Joe
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