Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian


 Info  Votes  Messages  More Stats  Up One Level
image
Brand and Model:Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
Price ($USD):1195
Type:Newtonian
Attributes: un-checked Go-To un-checked PEC
Aperture:406mm (16")
f Ratio:f/4.5
Focal Length:1800mm
Finder:5x24
Electric Power:no
Mount:Dobsonian
Tripod:no
Weight (lbs):180 lbs.
Dimensions (w/h/d):80"tall, 32"dia. base
Description:Comes with 25mm MA (1.25") Eyepiece.

Meade's Starfinder Dobsonian Page

Cloudy Nights' Review
Ed Ting's Review

Vote Highlights Vote
Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
There's little quibbling that this is the most aperture for the buck. If nothing else, it seems to be a more afordable way to get the optics, mirror cell, spider, and focuser for a truss scope. (Even some of the wood, if you're real tight on cash.)

While everything functioned, to a degree, right out of the box, I found that the scope required some modefications to make it work as it should:

1) The staples that hold down the teflon pads all needed to be counterset. Easy with a regular screwdriver and a hammer.

2) I found the altitude bearings too stiff, and moved them closer together in their cradles to lighten the friction.

3) There was too much stiction in the altitude bearings, and I found that roughing them (the bearings that are attached to the tube) up with 80 grit sand paper, them candle waxing them worked wonders. Guiding became very pleasant after mod 2 and 3.

4) The scope was balanced for the stock 5X25 (!) finder, and would not balance with my 8X50. This was fixed by moving the altitude bearings toward the primary mirror end of the scope by ~1 5/8".

5) The focus tube rubbed the hole in the scope tube, so re-drilling the screw holes, allowing proper centering of the focuser in the hole, was necessary. The cheap looking 1.25" focuser then perforemed VERY well, much more so than I'd ever have expected, better than the 2" focuser Meade likes to sell with the scope.

6) Cool down was staggeringly long, so I hole-sawed a 2" hole through both the mirror cell and the rear mouting panel, and attached a small 12V fan (from Radio Shack). I found that the fan GREATLY reduced cool down time, and introduced so little vibration that I was able to observe very well with the fan running. The fan also seemed to suck out tube currents, allowing very acceptable viewing even before the mirror cooled. The difference was astounding. VERY worth the little trouble.

My mirror showed slight spherical aberation and astigmatism durring star testing. The astigmatism may be in the secondary, though, and I have not tried rotating the primary to see if the slight elipse changes. The scope is very sensitive to poor seeing, so most nights produce fuzzy stars at powers over 100X. On nights of good seeing, image quality and brightness are astounding. On one particularly good night, I obtained the best views of Jupiter and Saturn I've ever had through any scope. The detail was simply incredible, and very bright. On that night I had the scope up to ~500X with very little degredation; minor ring divisions on Saturn were very evident, and the degree of detail on festoons and whirls on Jupiter were extremely crisp. I've not had a night like that since, and seeing has relegated most high power views to mediocre at best. Most of the time I rarely use more than a 16mm Plossl, with the most pleasant deepsky views using a 35mm Plossl. The scope is also VERY sensitive to light polution, and, in less than semi-rural skies is frequently equalled by an 8" newt. Under dark skies, there's nothing better, other than bigger scopes, I suppose.

The mount sure looks like it'd be wobbly while it's being put together. But, it ended up being the most stable scope I have (more stable than my C8 deluxe, XT8, home built 10" dob, and C102HD). I found it very easy to attain very fine focusing even at very high powers with very little hand induced vibration, and very short dampening times. (And, because the bearing modefications were so effective, tracking at high powers is also very easy.)

The somewhat oversized secondary is very heavy for the spider, and it is this that takes the most dampening time if the scope receives a hard jolt. Thankfully, the scope never recieves such jolts, except by accident. The secondary, at 4", takes a full 25% of the aperture, and it is said that this produces a noticeable drop in resolution. Having not had the opportunity to compare, I simply don't know. I have read, however, an archived e-mail in which someone replaced the mirror with a 3", and noticed little to no difference. While the mirror is oversized by about 3/4" (I think), this apparently serves to provide over 3/4" full illumination and only a ~ 15% drop at the edge of a 2" eyepiece. And, it ensures that the "poor" part of the mirror (typicaly the edges), are not really used, which is likely a good thing, as I hear it is rare that such large mirrors are opticly flat near the edges.

The delivery time on the scope was 2 1/2 months.

BE WARNED. The tube assembly and base are VERY big, approaching refridgerator size. The base is VERY heavy and VERY awkward to carry and insert into a vehicle. The base measures 36", and can be very difficult to navigate through most doors. Once the pirmary is removed from the tube (very easy-- just 3 wing nuts), the tube is quite light. I was able to fit the scope in my Honda Civic Wagon, however. That car has since died, and been replaced with a vehicle which will not hold the scope. Consequently, the scope now lives as a truss tube scope, which was really the intent all along. If this is a direction you are considering, get "The Dobsonian Telescope" by Kriege and Barry, a serious necessity.

Very happy with the scope. Gave it an 7 cuz of the modefications required to get it to work as well as it should have out of the box, because of the slight optical aberations, and because of the teeny, tiny, absolutely worthless, insulting finder Meade sells with the scope.

If anyone has questions or coments, my e-mail is yrrekr@yahoo.com. I'd love to hear anyone elses experiences with this scope.

Overall Rating: 7
Weight: 12 (Trustworthy Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.161.49)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=37645


Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
I am evaluating the optics only. I had a noted optician test the quality of my Meade 16" mirror. Before he tested the mirror he commented that he recommends refiguring about 75% of the meade mirrors that he tests. He said that of that 75%, 75% were under-corrected, hump-centered mirrors and 25% were over-corrected.

Here is his test report on my mirror. While the center was good, the mirror is 1.5 wave p-v.
---------------------------------------
Sorry to take so long. This is a combination of good-bad news. Good news is I've got it tested and it isn't all bad. Wouldn't say it's a dud, but with qualifications.

It's isn't a dud if you only use 15" of it. At 15" of aperture, it gives 1/7 wave indicated p-v error, 1/17 RMS and Strehl of .88. It's worst case error, allowing for my test condition variation, is 1/5 wave, 1/14.2 RMS and .82 Strehl ratio. It meets the Rayleigh tolerance, and then some, if we assume somewhat better than worst case. That's at 15" of aperture.

At full aperture, that's a different case, because there's hardly any correction in the outer half inch of the mirror. It's turned up. If that one-half inch were masked out so it's a 15" mirror, it'd be a very good mirror, with 225/256 the light grasp, or about 88% of a 16"'s light grasp.

At full aperture, it degrades to indicated error of 1.5 wave p-v, worse than 1 wave, 1/2 wave RMS, and Strehl ratio of about .65. It only gets slightly worse with the correction factor added in. 1.56 wave peak-to-valley, 1/1.8 wave RMS and Strehl Ratio ? (my chart and formulas are not valid that low.)

Overall Rating: 0
Optics:1 Value:0
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Date:
By: Peot
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=147252


Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
The 16 Starfinder is a big scope, and heavy, not one to take out to a site. I live in a good dark location so it stays home. The scope is priced right. I hear a lot of people wanting to change to a truss design (using the 16s mirrors). I had a truss telescope. The tube protects the main mirror from curious little hands and there is no need for a light shroud (that acts like a sail in a slight breeze and a dew catcher). Anyway, you get good mirrors and basic telescope so you can add your own personal changes, which is a lot of enjoyment, something for a stargazer to do during the day. Here are a few of the changes that I made. 1. Large casters to move the scope by myself. 2. All pads were replaced and repositioned with Teflon. 3. The pivot points on the tube were repositioned, moved around the tube and slightly forward. This balances the tube for heavy eyepieces like the 35 Panoptic without adding weights to the scope. It also moved the focuser to the side of the tube instead of coming out the top of the tube. This prevents you from getting a stiff neck. 4. Changed the focuser to a DX-3 very smooth and strong. 5. Remove finder and replace with a Telrad. 6. Installed large brass collimation knobs on nylon washer and replaced the springs with heavier ones. 7. Placed to handles, one on top of the tube (for my left hand) and one on the side of the tube under and to the front of the focuser (for my right hand) This is a comfortable way to move the scope while viewing. With these changes it performs like the highest end dob at a fraction of the cost. If you want a scope out of the box to take to star parties, I would give it a 6. If you want a large basic scope that you can be creative with I would give it a 10.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.4.72)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=37648


Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
Good for you. Hope the wait isn't too long. We've gone to vote by mail in WA. Very convenient - I voted two weeks ago - but I have to wendor how safe it is. Last gubernatorial election one candidate won by a couple hundred votes, the other side demanded a recount, nothing changed. They demanded a hand recount and the margin got slimmer, but nothing changed. They went to court to get another hand recount and started "finding" ballots that hadn't been counted because they got "lost" in the basement of the King County courthouse. Eventually the other candidate pulled ahead by just over 100 votes and was declared the "Winner". This year, the same two candidates are running for the same position and the ads have been awful - Who needs soap operas!

Overall Rating: 3
Optics:5 Mount:3 Ease of Use:9 Value:7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.161.162)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=600170


Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
Great Scope with super light gathering views for the price. It is about the same cost as buying the mirrors, and you get the rest for free. If you like to modify and enjoy adding features to your scope like I do, this one is a great platform to use. It is really easy to work on. What did I modify? I added an aluminum painted disc and Teflon pads on all rotation surfaces, rotated the tube to line the focuser on pivot axis, new quality focuser and finder, two handles to guide the scope while viewing, wheels to move it out into my yard (it weighs almost 200 lbs.), counter weights for big eyepieces, 12 volt fan units for cooling, heavy collimation springs and adjustment knobs. After all that what did I get? A big scope that is rock solid even in a breeze and it glides on all axis's like a knife on hot butter, that stays collimated and most importantly, give a view that that no small scope can. The tube is also a nice feature, it really protects the mirror from dust and dew. Unlike a truss model it doesn't need a dew cover and shield. BUT, if you want to buy a scope, set it up, just view with no modifications, it will not be the scope for you. Also, if you want a scope that you can move from you home to a dark site, look for a truss model. This scope is big, just about like moving a hot water heater. PS. I have also owned two 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain scopes and a 12.5 Mag One portaball.

Overall Rating: 10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.212.67)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=453758


Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
Do not buy this unless you want to turn fixing it into a project. The focuser is crap and needs to be thrown away immeditely. On a friends version, the side bearings had 15 degrees of back lash. Tube is unbalanced and does face plant. Comment from the owner "Did the persons who designed and built this ever use a scope before?"

This is Meade at its best (WORST)

Overall Rating: 2
Optics:4 Mount:1 Ease of Use:1 Value:2
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.107.34)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=51240


Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
Great optics. Might want to invest in a new focuser from JMB, etc-mine is quite bad. I also bought am 8x50 right angle finderscope. The straight through unit is awkward to get to. The mount is not well balanced at all, but if you put some weight on the end, you should be alright. These modifications add a couple-few hundred $, but they greatly improve the scope. With them, this is a first rate deep sky/planetary scope!

Overall Rating: 4
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.2.110)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=37651


Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
This scope is BIG, and HEAVY! The optics are quite good for the price. A few mods the the mount will make it easier to point and track objects. First, buy the big Dob Teflon kit from AstroSystems. Get a sheet of FRP(about $25), and cut a piece to fit the base of the mount(use carpet tape to secure the FRP), screw the Teflon pads to the ground board. Cut some short 2 by 4 pieces and screw them directly under the Teflon pads. The scope now moves like is should. I gave the scope rating this high because where can you buy a 16"scope for $1300 complete?

Overall Rating: 8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.166.23)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=37650


Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
Excellent telescope for the money. Only two complaints, No#1-The 6x30mm finder sucks, I HAD to upgrade to an 8x50 finder. No#2-The placing of the teflon pads on the pivot points cause the turnstiles to JAM between the pads resulting in perminent damage to the sono tube if not repositioned to a lower level in the pivot sculpts.Opticly 10 over all 8

Overall Rating: 8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.12.187)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=37649


Meade Starfinder 16 Dobsonian
One gripe, It should come with an 8x50 finderscope.

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.13.184)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=37644

Click here to see all votes (22 total)
[Click Here to Login]
Don't have a login? Register!