Meade DS-114EC


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Meade DS-114EC
For the price, this is a good first scope. The electric drive motor mechanisms need a little help. After 1 hour or so of use, the alt. motor will not drive the tube. After a little "adjustment" it is good for alot longer. The finderscope is pathetic. Off center crosshairs and poor image quality. The .965" eyepieces should be 1.25". Views of the moon, planets and brighter deep sky objects are very good. The supplied 3X barlow lens is useless and of poor quality. I don't have an autostar yet, so no comment. The Star Locator II software that comes with is very good. Overall, this is a good instrument. If a little more effort was put into the little things, it would be really good.

Overall Rating: 7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.118.139)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39569


Meade DS-114EC

I have about 20 scopes, and thought the DS114 might be a fun
little scope to carry outside (in one piece) for occassional
quick observing sessions. I also had in mind to put either
my TV85 or AP Traveler on the mount. My ETX-90 (also
from Meade) has been fun and is an emanantly usable scope,
so I had high hopes.

The reality has been woefully disappointing. While the
DS114 is beautifully designed and well thought-out,
the quality of construction is very poor, and the scope and
mount (at least my one sample) is more or less useless.

Optics: Primary mirror has about 3 waves of astigmatism;
secondary about 1/2 wave astigmatism. On the positive side,
both the primary and secondary have nice adustments -- if
it had good mirrors, you could adjust them properly. Also,
the primary has the most pristine mirror surface I've
ever seen; it is really too bad the figure is so awful.

Finder: the finder objective has huge amount of spherical aberration.
I thought maybe they had the lens in backwards, but that wasn't it.
If you stop the lens down from 30mm to about 8mm the spherical
aberration goes away, but then images are very dim. (It reminded
me a little of puting an 50mm F/1.2 Nikkor lens in front of a
7mm Nagler.)

Mount: This scope has alt-az mount. The altitude axis is a
metal fork with two bearings, and a plastic cradle that holds
the scope. On mine the two trunions of the altitude axis were
badly misaligned, so that it was very hard to make the scope
go below about 30 degrees elevation. The bearings would
grind and grunt and move in jerks. It turns out this also makes
the electronic drive (Autostar) more-or-less useless, since the
setup procedure requires you to "train" the telescope on a
terrestrial target. I could not see any way to adjust the
bearings.

The stiffness of the altitude motion led to other problems
before I figured out what was going on. Part of the drive
includes a worm gear which is held in place by two brass
nuts with nylon inserts. The extra torque on these caused
the nuts to come loose, and it was very difficult to get
them tightened properly again. Apparently the nylon inserts
don't hold so well after they've been threaded and un-threaded
a few times. This must be a common problem, since the
instruction manual included a one page addendum explaining
that you might need to re-tighten these nuts (but I could
not get them to stay tight for more than a few slews).
I eventually found that some Locktite 242 and teflon
plumbers tape in the threads seemed to help.

I also had problems getting the altitude axis clutch to
hold. Someone on Weasner's ETX site mention puting a leather
washer in the altutude clutch assembly to get more friction,
and this seemed to help.

Battery pack: the plug on supplied battery pack was intermittent.
Whenever the telescope tried to move, the power would flick
off, and the controller would re-initialize itself. (I had a
battery pack from another scope I was able to use.)

Autostar controller: position error on "goto" slews was very
large -- about 10% (i.e. 90 degree slew gave error of about
10 degrees). This may have been related to other problems
with the altitude axis.

Well, at these prices, I did not expect Astrophysics quality,
but neither did I expect anything this bad. It is difficult to
imagine that this is the same company that made my ETX-90.
I truly hope they are not all like this, and I really feel sorry
for any kid that got one for xmas with this many problems.

Overall Rating: 1
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.206.5)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39570


Meade DS-114EC
Stable mount, sturdy design, good light-gathering ability. Large size makes it easier to view without straining yourself. Good beginner and expert telescope.

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: <none>
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.195.23)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39572


Meade DS-114EC
This was the first in my search for a properly operating telescope. My first attempt was this "department store" telescope on December 24th, 1999. About the only good thing about this unit was an understandable explanation of collimation and the toy "EC" drive system. In the end all rather useless. While at the time I didn't know much about this stuff I did know I wasn't about to invest $350.00 in this unit. The vision was blurry and I was barely able to make out lines in Jupiter. You could tell Saturn had rings but that was all. Orions Nebulae showed only 2 stars instead of four. The mount was awful making focusing frustrating and viewing a careful excercise of remaining still. The controls were fun and were the saviour for fine adjustments. Since it is a alt/azimuth mount though you will always adjust - no tracking here, as for the computer control option it's performance would be questionable considering the sloppy mount and drive system. Comes with cheap .965 eyepieces. The software was not very intuitive. Within three nights this puppy was packed up and returned to Target for a refund. In terms of marketing which is the greater evil, wild claims of power such as Tasco or space hubble pictures of planets and galaxies with cool looking gizmos such as Meade? Stay away from this one and you will be happier in the long run (in retrospect since this is not an EQ mount for the same money you would have more scope with a 6" dobsonian). I almost gave up at this point but then came across a bargain. (see, Tasco 45-114375 Galaxsee)

Overall Rating: 0
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.37.65)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39573


Meade DS-114EC
It is much better optically than most department store refractors. However, it has never functioned the way Meade implied it would. The motors have never worked well, drive nuts keep coming off...etc. Owning a DS is an exercise in patience and anger management. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Bottom Line: You can get a less expensive scope with good optics that will give you much more satisfaction.

Overall Rating: 5
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.121.3)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39574


Meade DS-114EC
I rate the Meade DS114-EC an 8 because it is a very nice scope for beginners because it is not complicated or difficult to use and gives great results. The only disadvantage I could find in this scope is the tube's un-sturdy mount, especially when viewing at high powers. The finderscope also seems to loosen after a couple nights. The motor works very well, though, and the battery power seems to last forever. The tripod is very sturdy, but the tube has some loose spots. This scope works very well with image quality on any celestial object.

Overall Rating: 8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.195.198)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39575


Meade DS-114EC
My Dad bought me this telescope (my first!) as a birthday present. For what he paid it was alright, but I do have a few complaints. The motors seem to work intermittently, and at times it will only move in one direction, so I will have to unplug and replug the battery pack. I was very disappointed with the Barlow lens- it was a total squint and groan fest. The eyepieces also lack in quality. Not too bad for my first telescope, though.

Overall Rating: 6
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.39.21)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39576


Meade DS-114EC
I'd have to say that I agree with most of the comments here. The electronics suckered me into buying. I won't be buying the autostar unit, as I'm sure it would not work. The optical quality is fine for a scope in the price range, but the mount sucks. I've pretty much given up using the hand controller, except perhaps to recenter once I've found something.

I don't think I could in good faith recommend that anyone buy one of these. For the same or less a beginner could get a nice 6" dob. The electronics are NOT WORTH IT.

Overall Rating: 4
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.134.203)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39577


Meade DS-114EC
I bought this scope due to the sale price, $250.00 new was hard to pass up for a first scope. Being a beginner and the lack of a collmanation tool was not good. for an experienced person this probably would not hinder them.
THe tripod was good, but the mount is terrible. If they had use metal and not plastic in the cradle things would have been alot more stable. The Alt motor drive started to give me trouble on the 4th night of trying to use it. (wish there was a web page devoted to user fixes) I got my hands on an AutoStar, for a beginner this is a god send. New people want to see something, and have no idea what they are looking at. The Autostar has helped me to quickly learn some of the major bright stars, and various other naked eye skymarks. Last night was the first clear night I have had, and even with the optics not aligned properly, views of the moon were breath taking. The 3x barlow is usless, and I wish I had 1.25" EP, not the .925 ones. Meade is sending me a 1.25" holder free. I will look at the Alt drive tonight to see what I can do to tighten it up, and possible add some mass to the mount to make it not too shakey. But for a first scope, I can't really complain. I have a $350.00 investment, but I have a scope with semi good GOTO ability. Sure I would love to have a 10" reflector with all the above abilities, but I don't have $1500.00 to invest into one. As a side note, on the first few nights, when the motor drive was working properly, the GOTO of the autostar would put the object I wanted to see in the FOV, maybe not 100% centered, but atleast it found it for me.
If anyone has sugestions on how to improve what I have please let me know.
Email: Lemontwthr@mediaone.net

Overall Rating: 7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.155.233)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39578


Meade DS-114EC
This was my first scope since my little childhood carboard tube reflector. I am absolutely furious. I cant get this thing back to the store quick enough. This will be my third return. Right out of the box, one of the nylon friction pad set screws was stripped rendering the motor drive totaly inoperable. The female threads were, of course, plastic. I cant believe the amount of plastic in this thing. And then there was Autostar. Right in the middle of an alignment, up popped a "Proc Trap 2" message on the display and it refused to go anyfurther. Even after power down, it never made it to the sun warning. After numerous calls trying to get through to customer support, Meade finally told me to return it for an exchange. That was trip number two. On the first night out, I could NOT get the things to track or hit a single object with GOTO. I adjusted, readjusted, aligned, realigned, leveled, releveled, and never hit a single object. Tracking was abismal even with precise lattitude, longitude, and time settings in the time and location setup. I spent the entire time making manual adjustment. I spent the rest of the night simply scanning the skys in "terrestrial" mode. Focusing was NOT a fun experience. The mount is so flimsy it was impossible to focus at hight magnifications. Last night was no different. I spent 3 hours fighting alignment then another 3 hours just scanning the skys manualy. After the Autostar, I have nearly $600 tied up in a worthless piece of junk. Today, it goes back to the Discovery Store. I'll be going to the city to spend the same money on a larger objective with quality optics and a sturdy mount. I can always add bells and whistles later. My advice...stay away from this piece of junk.

Overall Rating: 0
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.200.53)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39579


Meade DS-114EC
I have a meade DS114 and so far am very pleased with it, within an hour of opening the box I was checking out the skies with pleasing results, the one thing I will say in a negative way is the barlow lense is a piece of crap. The motors have worked well with no problems, even after 2 hours of going here and there, they worked fine, for a beginner scope I would say it is worth it, and the auto star works very well...I almost feel professional....perhaps the negative reports are just a few examples of a few bad scopes......aside from many cloudy nights here recently....no problems worth mentioning with the meade DS114...................................Clear skies 2 all

Overall Rating: 8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.216.224)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39582


Meade DS-114EC
This scope has meet all of my expectations, but I still do have some dificulty with the "goto" accuracy. This does however cause me to learn more about the sky, and where things are.;)

Overall Rating: 7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.3.1)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39583


Meade DS-114EC
The DS114 was my first telescope!i found it quite impressive.
With the DS114 you can get clear views of moons and planets.
Although the finder is very crap you can get high resolousion with it for a finder.
Itsnot very stable there are a few loose screws here and there but tou can tighten them easilly.

Overall Rating: 7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.238.132)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39584


Meade DS-114EC
I was originally going to start with a more expensive scope like the NexStar 5. I saw this at Sam's for $250 with AutoStar and decided to give it a try. I wanted a training scope since it had been years since my last foray into astronomy.

First, I have read the other votes and find some of the complaints puzzling since I have had no such trouble:

1. My Drive motors work great. I had Jupiter on 1 side of zenith and Saturn on the other. This requires the mount to totally "unwind" to go from 1 to the other. I did this twice, from Jupiter to Saturn and then the return, each time the target was very near the center crosshairs with very small adjustments to get it in the eyepiece FOV. I do find that you MUST tighten the DEC and ALT locks very tightly to get consistent results. I also find an appliance leveling bubble very useful to level the scope. When allowing the scope to track for 25 minutes I could not see jitter as it tracked and the images stayed on center. A friend with 1.25" camera adapter took a picture of Jupiter through my scope (for kicks since he has a much nicer setup). The outcome was very pleasing and he was amazed by the sharpness of the 7 minute exposure.

2. The .965 25mm and 12.5 mm eyepieces perform well. The 4mm is useless on most nights, though I had a great night recently where it seemed worthwhile. My 3x Barlow is very good with the 25mm, somewhat good with the 12.5mm. I find viewing with the 12.5mm/3x Barlow better that using the 4mm even though there is very little difference in the magnification, better brightness. I think the 4mm may just be a dog. What do you expect with a $250 scope with GOTO?

After calling Meade about the fact that I had noticed the very same scope bought from Meade has a 1.25" holder, they sent me a replacement eyepiece holder (not an adapter, this replaces the actual head of the focuser tube so I get the full benefit of the 1.25" eyepiece). Meade seems very responsive to their customers. I just bought some 1.25" eyepieces and various other accessories and that were $250 on their own.

3. The finder scope is mainly useful for spotting Polaris and the final centering. Since I use the Fine Precision mode for spotting many objects (where the scope goes to the nearest bright star), I have little need for it on less visible objects. I think this is exactly what it was intended for. Again, what can one expect for $250? I found I could center the crosshairs on mine and then center it on mounting. My crosshairs on the target mean the target is very near dead center in the eyepiece.

I practiced with this scope during the day quite a bit. I wandered through the menus and figured them out. (I write software so I am used to reading manuals and figuring out other people's logic trees.) I have lots of Nimh batteries so I always have fresh ones! They are only $2 each, so get yourself a fast charger and go.

Overall, I have been very pleased with the scope. For $250 I got a scope that rekindled my love for the sky. Meade upgraded my scope to allow me to purchase some higher quality optics I know I will use on my next scope. I can see bands on Jupiter and 5 moons. I can see the planetary disk of Saturn surrounded by black with the rings on the outside (though a bit oblique) and I think a moon (still trying to figure that out). I have seen Adromeda and a double star. After another 6 months I am going to try out a bigger one! I wonder if my results are due to design changes because of customer feedback?

All in all, if you want to try out a good first scope, get the DS114-EC.

Overall Rating: 8
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.200.7)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39585


Meade DS-114EC
Major dissapointment. Got one as a present for Christmas and now I face
the delema of hurting my fathers feelings by wanting to return
this lemon back to the Discovery store.

Oh well, it was under a $500 investment right...

The electronics and "go to" were a joke, motor problems and the mount and gear
system is crap.

I'm getting a Dob, the fun will be to manually scan the skies and actually "see" something worth viewing. The "go to" is a marketing scam,
the first time out my motors quit - so I decided to scan the skies with my naked eye and had more success finding Jupiter and Saturn without the electronics! The Meade box is a marketing scam - so is whole
14,000 database of object idea with a 4.5" scope, not to mention those
wonderful photos on the box - someone stop me...

Image quality on Jupiter was blurry - and most likely due to the 1" EP
included. I did notice some positive posts on getting a free adapter
from Meade and bumping this up to a 1.5"

Did see some incredible views of the moons around Jupiter.

Hope to get an Orion 10" Dob.

Overall Rating: 1
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.29.185)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39586


Meade DS-114EC
I want to know more about it's quirks and bugs

Overall Rating: No Vote
Weight: <none>
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.177.228)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39587


Meade DS-114EC
For the money, this was a GREAT investment. I am completely new to astronomy and have had this scope now for a little over 3 months.

Unlike some of the other comments here, the optics of this scope for me have been very good. Somebody said something about only seeing two stars in the Orion Nebula Trapezium. Mine always shows four easily, even with a full moon out and low power eyepieces. Saturns rings are beautiful always clearly separated by space from the planet itself, and even the Cassinni division of the rings were visible on good nights. Jupiter always shows two bands and the four moons (when they are not behind Jupiter), and the Great Red Spot and festoons are sometimes visible on good nights.

The greatest thing for me being new to astronomy is the Autostar computer. It took me a little while to figure out how to level the telescope and properly set it up for computer navigation, but once I did, boy, this was great! The GOTO isn't always perfect, but sometimes it is and it almost always gets you real close. The Autostar computer is like having a private tutor right there with you all the time. It has taught me stars, galaxies, clusters, nebulas, all kinds of things. I can see a star or something and wonder what it is. All I have to do is slew the telescope over to it and select "Identify" on the Autostar, and it tells me what it is, its magnitude, and all kinds of information about it. Something else great about this scope is that new satellite and comet data can be uploaded into the Autostar computer all the time. Furthermore, I have hooked this telescope up to a computer and can use the supplied software, Starfinder II, to control the telescope. This software shows a sky map, and I can manuver whereever I want, select an object, and tell the software to move the telescope to it. The scope moves over there and the software shows me right where the scope is pointing in the sky. I can also move the telescope from the Autostar handbox and the computer tracks where the scope is. The computer scope extends the number of objects that the telescope can locate. You can also add your own objects to the Autostar computer. I mean, for the money, this little scope is amazing!

Another thing great about the Autostar is the guided tours. I have spent hours taking the guided tours. It takes you on a tour of the sky, with lots of information about what you are looking at scrolling across the Autostar screen. I usually have to sit down on a chair and read the computer for awhile, then resume looking at the object.

With this scope, the star charts suddenly started making more sense to me. I just needed this computer to point out the stars on the chart for me, and I immediately began to understand them. I still had some difficulty identifying objects from the charts. Mainly, I had doubt. But when I take this scope out, all the doubt goes away. I just tell the Autostar to point to the star or object, and it does. I look through the scope, look at the chart, and say to myself, "oh, that's where it is."

If you are new to astronomy, I highly recommend this telescope for the beginner because of its computer GOTO capabilities.

The only problems worth mentioning are the following:

1) the focuser needed some help. I put teflon tape inside the ribs it slides on and made a smooth focuser that way. The tape only cost me $1.

2) the finder scope is blurry, but I don't expect much for this price. It enables me to align on stars, and that's all I need it for, because of the computer.

3) The stock eyepieces I got were 0.965", and the 4 mm and the 3x barlow are not good for anything. The other two eyepieces (12.5 mm and 25 mm) were fine. I eventually got a free 1.25" adapter from meade and used a 1.25" zoom eyepiece (8 mm to 22 mm). I bought a better barlow too.

4) Tripod is lacking. The tripod legs sometimes slip. They have friction locks that snap rather than screws that lock the legs at the desired extension. Also, they seem to need more support between the legs to keep them the same distance between each other. Still, the tripod is useable. I never went out to replace it.

5) The worse problem of all right now is that the galaxies and nebulas that this scope has shown me look like faint little fuzzy things. I now have aperature fever, wanting a bigger scope to get a better look at these things.

This is the only telescope I have ever looked through, so I don't know what others might be like. I would imagine any telescope for this price needs some tinkering or has some drawbacks. I'm still amazed that I can get a computerized GOTO scope that works and actually teaches me the sky for $399. I highly recommend this telescope.

David Miller
David@Rentpro.com

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.191.12)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39588


Meade DS-114EC
This was my second telescope, my first being an even smaller Department store 60mm Refractor (Jason) scope when I was very young. I received the DS-114EC as a Present from my Wife, and my initial results were partially disappointing. I received mine stock with the 1.25" EP and a 9mm and 26mm lens. I purchased a separate 2x barlow, and a 16mm Plossl lens for the scope. I also purchased the autostar later. The initial scope had problems with the mount, so much so that I returned the first scope and got a replacement. The second one has been much better, but is still a somewhat shakey mount. The autostar did not work at first, but after speaking with a meade technician, I was able to get replacement motors, which along with a upgrade to the ROM and fresh batteries cleared the problems up very well. Goto now brings objects into or near center, and it tracks without errors for up to about ten minutes on deep space objects.

It's not the highest performing scope I've ever used or seen, but it's been reasonable performance for the dollar value.

Overall Rating: 6
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.45.89)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39589


Meade DS-114EC
I bought the Meade DS114-EC and found that the optics were okay. The moon looked good. Nice detail on the craters and such. Mars and Saturn were less than good. But what I disliked the most was that the stability of the scope had a lot to be desired. The finder scope was terrible and there was a lot of plastic parts... I mean cheap plastic. The small gears and motors were real bad as well. The 3X attachement was junk! Needless to say, I retured the scope after a week.

I am now wainting for a new scope to arrive on my doorstep. An Orion Starmax. It appeared to be well constructed and to have high quality optics, but hey i ended up spending a couple hundred more also. I'll let you know the results on this Orion. I expect the best!

Overall Rating: 7
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.35.148)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39590


Meade DS-114EC
I bought this scope as a gift for my mother-in-law for Xmas 2000. Now, it ended up at my house and my wife will not hear of getting a better telescope ("you already have Mom's!"). I'm a veteran beginner, but find I can get some useful work done with this scope although it fails to live up to the marketing hype. Here's the deal - Mine came with a 2" focuser and a 1 1/4" adapter and two 1 1/4 eyepieces: 9mm MH & 25mm MA. The 9mm is useless, the 25mm has narrow view but is OK. I quickly added several others EPs and figure good EPs are a good investment no matter what, cause you can take them if you upgrade. (Check out GTO optics from Hands On - great cheap barlows and plossles). Other reviews here mention .95 eps and a crappy 3x barlow. I suspect they're talking about the "Saturn by Meade" version. The conventional wisdom is never buy a "by Meade" scope because they're made for department stores. The scope's fittings are all plastic, but high quality plastic. If you take care and don't force anything (and don't drop the scope) these things will last a reasonable amount of time. The finder is difficult to align, but is reasonably sharp. I find it very useful, once I did a star alignment. It's a pain in the neck to site through it because you have to lay your head against the tube to view through the straight through finder (If only they'd ship 90 degree finders instead). I use the finder a lot because the GoTo feature is difficult to use. First of all, forget easy align unless your viewing site has a completely unobstructed sky and you know the arabic names of all the stars in the constellations. Much better to do the two star alignment because you can select the stars you see and whose names you know (yes, you'll need to learn the names and locations of some major stars in order to do alignment). Once aligned, I find that the scope almost never actually hits GoTo targets. It gets close, but the original alignment North and leveling have to be perfect - more perfect than I have patience for, to really use the GoTo. I still align because the computer will track objects you manually star-hop to using the directional arrows. What I'm saying is that I end up using the mount as a motorized clock driven mount which I star hop using the paddle buttons. It works great in this mode (holds an centered object at 100x for 10-15 minutes or more) and seems like much less of a design failure when I think of it this way. The problem here is the play in the screw gears. The slop when operating the motors isn't the problem, it's that the slop costs the scope ridgidity. The tall aluminum mount isn't too stable to begin with, although the head's iron yoke is pretty heavy-duty. The real source of wobbles is the play within those gears. As it is, stability is good for observation up to about 125X which isn't that bad. My observation site has Mag 3.5 skies, so I do a lot of double star, lunar, and planetary viewing (Messier objects just don't make it through that North Jersey light pollution haze, alas). I'm often cranking the power up to 180x-200x and find that optically the scope can (barely) handle it, but the focuser and wobbly mount are exasperating at this power. If you have 35x-125x in mind, you'll be fine. Forget all about the 300x figure in Meade's literature - it's based on some mathematical equation out of touch with reality. The central obstruction at this aperture robs contrast, but I can usually see a few bands on Jupiter and see some texture there. So, I give the thing a 6 because it's actually reasonably useful as a beginner's scope with a cool motorized mount that keeps alignment at the cost of stability. In retrospect, the five bills this thing cost would be better spent on a good 6" dob like Orion's or Discovery's plus a few extra GTO eps - you'd get more aperture and stability for viewing at higher power. Such as it is, it's not a bad party scope because it will keep visual alignment for a while (as long as nobody bumps it too hard).

Overall Rating: 6
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Date:
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.103.93)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=39591

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