View Full Version here: : Meade 12" Dob.
I`m Tage and I`m new to both astronomy and to the forum. I have immersed myself recently on the subject and done a fair bit of research into equipment.
Since size DOES matter in regard to aperture, I have come across a Meade 12" Dob available from Bintel that is within the budget.
Before I jump the gun though, I`d like to know peoples thoughts on this scope, Meade in general as a company and their quality and if I should be considering any alternatives. I did come accross a YouTube video where someone showed poor manufacturing quality of Meade`s secondary mirror.
Since I`m new to the game, and a bit of a traditionalist. I`d like to learn the old fashion way of navigation by "star hopping" than using a "Go-To" system. But at the same time, later down the track, I would like to partake in astrophotography. In which case I`m aware a good quality tracking system is imperative. Though I have read in my studies a Dobsonian is not suited for astrophotography.
Thank you in advance.
15-04-2012, 12:50 AM
Hi Scott. welcome.
Can't see how you could go much wrong with the chosen scope - I have a similar GSO and it has very good optics (I understand that they are from the same source as those in the Meade). You will need to learn how to collimate it, but it will provide you with great views. Forget astrophotography for now though - for that you need a good quality tracking mount and a scope designed for the purpose. Planetary imaging could be possible with this Dob on an equatorial platform though. Regards ray
15-04-2012, 02:44 AM
and welcome to IIS :welcome:
In short, I'd echo what Ray said.
It certainly sounds like you have done your homework.
Everything you mention is in line with my own beliefs.
The 12 DOB is a great scope to begin with.
Meade is a traditionally well respected company.
And Bintel are a well respected supplier and (more importantly) great support.
I also agree with ray that the first accessory should be a good collimator. I have the orion laser collimator (from Bintel for $79). And a light shroud (also Bintel have one for $69).
Once you are happy with that lot, you move into the area of better eyepieces. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. :)
Best advice I can give newcomers is to get along to an observing night near you and look at and through some various scopes and talk to the owners. Same applies to eyepieces and accessories. CAUTION: It can be a money pit if you let it.
Good research so far! :thumbsup:
Good choice for first scope.
Keep asking questions.
15-04-2012, 07:40 AM
I picked up a Meade 12" Dob back in November and it's a good scope. Much more portable than my C11 so I tend to use this scope more often as it can be carried out the back door (in two pieces) and is ready to use in a few minutes. I highly recommend you do the following though.
Get a collimator
Replace the primary mirror springs with bobs knobs or similar product. This makes a big difference.
Replace the secondary screws with bobs knobs. This makes collimation quick and easy and no tools required.
Get some counterweights for the back of the scope-needed for big eyepieces
Bintel can supply all of the above. It will add another $150 to the scope but it is worth it.
I also looked at the GSO scopes but the 12" would not fit into the car being a solid tube.
Good look with your decision. I reckon I researched my Dob decision more than I researched our new car:D
15-04-2012, 11:25 AM
I have the 12" GSO (the same as the Bintel 12" solid tube) which has the same optices as the Meade you are looking at. I would echo the comments regarding Bobs Knobs. The optics are fine for the price. As far as I know the secondary is identical in both scopes and mine is fine. Personally I prefer the GSO/Bintel alt movement to the Meade one as it is more adjustable, but may just be me!
Good to see you getting into star hopping, get some quality charts and guides!
You are right, dobs are very limited for imaging. A solid tube can be mounted later onto an EQ mount, but truss tubes would need some major re-engineering to do that.
Oh! and welcome to IIS!!:welcome:
I have had my Meade truss 12 inch dob now for 6 years.
It is great value for money. Mine has been used quite often and has stood up well to the outdoor elements and being transported about.
As a visual observer, I find the scope to be well-suited to my needs.
Plenty of aperture and when collimated, it gives sharp images.
In my opinion, the biggest restraints on visual observing are skyglow and seeing. If you can get to a darker site, galaxies will look far more spectacular and when the seeing is very good, you will see fantastic detail in the planets and you will easily split the closest of double stars. Having said this, a 12 inch dob has a great advantage over smaller more expensive goto imaging scopes.
As others have said, you will need a collimator. I collimate my scope every time I disassemble and assemble it. The primary mirror springs on my Lightbridge were way too weak and the mirror unit shifted about. I went to Bunnings and bought some heavy springs, cut them down and they work fine. They were cut to about 1.5 times the size of the originals i.e. longer.
For visual observing, I also use an 8x50mm finderscope. Zero power finders (red dot, Telrads etc) are great for getting you into the area but not so good for finding those faint objects.
The 26mm eyepiece supplied is low power (1500/26 = 58x). I suggest you get the Bintel 2 inch 2x ED barlow ($79). Combined with the 26mm (58 x 2 = 116x), at least it will give you a closer view of objects like the planets. At this stage, I wouldn't waste money buying cheap low-end eyepieces.
Thank you Ray, Allan, John, Malcom and Rob for your speedy reply.
I`ll think this will be the way to go then. I`ll be sure to add at least a collimator and shroud to the order. I have come across a few tutorials on how to use collimators on the internet. It looks simple enough. At the very least I`d expect someone at the Brisbane Astronomical Society could give me a run down on it.
I`ll do a bit more research into "Bob Knobs" John, sounds interesting. Is it easy to install or does it require a professional?
This might be a better option than doing custom mods such as what you suggested Rob. I don`t feel confident enough to be hacking into a $1000+ telescope with springs from Bunnings just yet, not to mention the wife would neuter me for doing so if I did. This model does come with a "Deluxe zero power, reflex site with 4 reticle shapes and variable brightness" finderscope. So that should do for a start. I like the idea of the Barlow eyepiece. That`ll be something I`ll look into, I have come across a full kit of filters and lenses that come in a little brief case available from both Celestron and Meade. Going for around $300. But I`ll learn the basic first before I start playing with things like that.
Lastly though, does this model have bearings in the base or is it the Teflon slipper tracks? I can`t find a definitive answer online.
I will speak with Bintel this week as well.
Thanks again all for your help.
16-04-2012, 06:34 AM
Replacing the primary springs only takes a minute. Take them out one at a time. Also with the knobs on the secondary , simply replace one at a time. Easy to do and the knobs come with instructions. Good luck with your decision.
16-04-2012, 08:56 AM
Hi Tage...full agreement from me regarding all the previous opinions. I've had the 16" version for some time and it performs very well optically, once you've mastered the mysteries of collimation. There is one thing I might warn you about though. My Lightbridge base and sides are made out of rather cheap chipboard. My first major outing resulted in this getting wet, and, as I hadn't sealed all the edges, I ended up with the dreaded Chipboard Bulge, beloved of cabinet-makers everywhere. This noticeably affected the rotation of the base. I am currently rebuilding the base with a new marine-ply (12mm) top plate and 16mm MDF sides, all to be sealed in several coats of paint. I've already done some mods to make the base easier to transport and lift :http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=105018&d=1323031171
So, a good idea is to go over any edges and unselaed bits of chipboard and seal them.
17-04-2012, 10:40 AM
When I purchased my scope from Bintel, I bought the Bob's Knobs at the same time and the Bintel guys fitted them for me. They will do the same for you, I'd expect.
17-04-2012, 12:35 PM
Sounds like a great scope to go for - I've had my eye on that one for quite a while, having used 8" scopes for the past 18 years I fancy a bit more aperture! You'll learn a lot about the sky through star-hopping, and that will be very rewarding but ... I'd absolutely recommend getting a magnifying finder for your scope. As Robh says, zero finders are bad news for locating faint objects, or even relatively bright objects in star-poor parts of the sky. If you're in a city or suburbs, a magnifying finder is essential as there will quite often be no easy naked-eye stars near your targets.
An 8x50 finder will make locating bright objects a snap, and help lots in star-hopping to those tricky-to-locate objects. I currently have just a simple Bintel 6x30mm finder on the 8" scope, but it means that even from Melbourne skies I can see nearly all stars plotted on SkyAtlas 2000 (down to 8th mag), and can pinpoint the location of fainter objects much more easily. I'd prefer to have the light-gathering power of an 8x50 though (and would recommend that for a 12" scope).
17-04-2012, 01:28 PM
Welcome on board :)
I agree with all previous comments. Firstly saying I bought mine second hand here on IIS, the only detail, that I'm not happy with my 12" Lightbridge, is the the altitude wheel handling. Even using counterweights, at high magnification doing tiny adjustments to track targets, can be challenging.
The zero magnification multi pattern red dot finder coming with your new dob is a very good one and I wouldn't consider replacing it with other zero mag finders. However, you will surely benefit from an optical finderscope.
In this case, my advice is for a straight through, than a right angle one. While the latter is more comfy to use, the first will give you a view matching the dob scope one.
Surely I advise you to get also, if you don't already have one, a decent binocular to help you identify star hopping patterns. A bino to be used in this role, should offer a wise compromise between field of view and magnification. After several experiences, I'm happy with the 11x70mm (my one is from Andrews).
As others already warned you, you may get the accessory bug and end up like me actually using both a Telrad (a cumbersome red dot finder) mounted on top of a short refractor scope (70mm, FL300mm) mounted on the dob by.... :D
17-04-2012, 06:19 PM
As Trevor said the mount sneeds to have the edges sealed, I went around mine with super glue, we get pretty dewey nights here and have had no problems so far.
Collimation is fairly easy once you have done it a couple of times. Here is a simple guide to collimating a Newt that I have found really helpful. Use this method first, then only use a laser to tweak the collimation. If you buy a laser and jsut use that usually it will not be correct!
Those eyepiece and filter kits are dubious value IMHO. They are jst plossl EPs and coloured filters. Unless you are a very keen planetary observer the filters will not get any use, and you are better saving for some good quality eyepieces. One or 2 really nice EPs are much better than a whole case full of cheapies.
Installing Bobs knobs is not difficult, no tools or hacking required. I am not a big fan of zero mag finders like the one supplied, much prefer an 8x50 or the 9x50 I am using now, but others like them. I have used Straight through and RA finders. I am used to the RA finder now and it is definitely more comfortable. Probably the best option with finders is a zero power combined with a finder scope.
A barlow is useful, but not essential. I personally prefer to get EPs in the power I want. You will find you do most of your observing at low power anyway, so good quality EPs in the 10 to 20mm range are a much better investment.
17-04-2012, 07:17 PM
Thanks for letting us know about the Lightbridge base.. i'll seal mine up so it doesn't bulge...
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