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Feathertouch Two Speed Focuser Upgrade

Started by Eblanken, 05/22/2013 11:56PM
Posted 05/22/2013 11:56PM Opening Post
I'm looking for advice, council & experience for the following situation:

I currently own & use an older, modest, Meade LX-10, 8-inch (200mm) fork mounted SCT as my largest and most versatile scope. I used to own a Celestron C-8 that was also fork mounted, but I sold the OTA to fund the Meade purchase so my buddy could upgrade to a 10 inch Meade LX-50.

Both scopes are/were used for through-the-eyepiece viewing of sun (with 8 inch solar filter), moon, planets and some double star viewing as well as some Messier objects. I have slowly added accessories such as a 2 inch diagonal, 6.3 focal reducer and most recently a "starlight" filter that all have SCT threads and can be used alone or in combination. I'm considering either adding yet another device into the external SCT optical path or avoiding that by upgrading my Meade SCT stock focus knob with a Feathertouch two speed (10:1) focus knob upgrade. The Celestron C8 focus knob seemed smoother and focus was achieved with less effort whereas the Meade knob seems "stiffer" and the extra effort seems to make me work harder to achieve focus (much waiting in between adjustments for Meade LX-10 to stop shaking, more adjusting, to get a good focus). Please realize that this is a totally manual scope, so I'm touching the Dec. & R.A. knobs too, but that doesn't shake the scope nearly as bad as the "stiff" focus knob.

I have done some research and find the Meade focus knob works differently than the Celestron focus knob: both move the primary mirror, but the Meade knob attaches to a small rod inside the scope that in turn attaches to the mirror whereas the Celestron knob attaches to a threaded rod that comes out of the scope (less scary to me). I saw a U-tube video that made the Celestron knob upgrade look easy, but the Meade knob upgrade looks kind of scary (reaching into the scope's interior and hooking the end of the Feathertouch onto the small rod that moves the mirror). I've read several good postings about happy Celestron owners that have upgraded using the Feathertouch, but haven't yet seen Meade owners reporting good results.

Which would be a better use of my money: (1) Achieve better fine focus with the internal Feathertouch two speed knob upgrade or (2) spend the money to put something like a Feathertouch, JMI, Crayford, etc. into the optical path and reserve the Stock Meade Focuser for "large mirror adjustments" which would open up the possibility for a motorized fine focus, but might make Polaris unavailable because the base of the forks would interfere with the longer optical path moving between the forks.

Thanks in advance for your wisdom, experience & council

Posted 05/23/2013 07:07AM #1
Stick one of these on your scope, if it works keep it, if not send it back...
Posted 05/30/2013 09:37PM #2
Hi All,

Just by chance I looked at an ad for "For Sale: MEADE 10" UHTC PETERSON EQUIPPED OTA " and followed the link to eventually find and read up on the thrust bearings that the $30 mod adds to reduce the "slop" in the stock Meade focus knob. I am still going to try the feathertouch internal focus upgrade that I have on the way, but I'm surprised that no one vectored me to the Peterson Engineering Corp. Site yet. I did read their "what it does & what it doesn't do' page and have a better feel of what is inside my Meade 8 inch LX-10.