Tip & How-To about Optics

How to make a DEPARTMENT STORE telescope better.

Even though we warned you NOT to buy a "department store" toy telescope, you went and bought one anyway!

Here are a few things you can do to upgrade the telescope. Unfortunately some of the upgrades may cost almost as much as you paid for the scope! That's why you should not buy one in the first place! Anyway here are some ways to improve your "toy" telescope:

Stabilize that SHAKY Tripod!

Tie a heavy weight underneath the tripod, hanging from the central bolt. A bucket of sand will help stabilize the shaky tripod. You can also open up the legs and fill them with concrete, or sand -- anything that will tamp-out vibrations which will help your view tiny objects through the eyepiece.

Tighten up all the bolts on the tripod and mount. DO NOT extend the legs on the tripod to their fullest extent. Try to use the scope with the legs 1/2 way extended if at all possible. A shorter tripod will be more stable.

Buy a better finder scope!

The one that came with your scope is probably almost unusable. Buy a 50mm Right Angle finder scope, or mount a red dot finder. See the two links below:


Replace those cheap eyepieces with better quality.

Even the low cost Plossl design eyepieces will be better than what came with the scope. Here are two retailers that sell eyepieces. Measure the hole so you know what size to buy. They come in .965, 1.25 and 2 inch sizes. The 1.25 inch is the most popular. However some "department store" toy telescopes have .965 inch eyepieces. These .965 eyepieces are largely obsolete, hard to find, and hard to see through.



Get a better diagonal.

If your scope is a refractor it probably came with a very cheap low cost diagonal. A better one will improve light throughput, and probably yield sharper images. Here are some diagonals for sale:



Clean those dirty eyepieces!

Keep your hands away from the glass! In case you did not, then you will need these Never take the glass elements OUT of the eyepiece! Only the outside surfaces need to be cleaned.



It goes without saying that you should check all the bolts and nuts on the telescope and the tripod and make sure they are tight.

Use LOWER magnification-

Put the eyepiece with the largest number written on it into the telescope. DO NOT use the 2x barlow if you have one.
Your small aperture telescope was NOT meant to have 525 power magnification! With a 70mm telescope your maximum usable magnification will be about 140 power.

Buy a better METAL focuser and replace the plastic focuser that came on your telescope.

The problem with several of these "fixes" is that they will cost a significant portion of what you spent on your shaky low cost department store telescope. You would have been better off buying a better scope and junking the toy scope on Craigslist.com. Stop buying these toy $89 telescopes, join an astronomy club and get good advice on what to buy!

Remember, all things being equal -- the bigger the hole in the telescope - we call that aperture-- the more you can see. Most objects in the sky are VERY tiny and dim, except for the moon, several of the brighter planets, and a handful of other deep sky objects. Your scope must be pointed directly at the object in order to see it. Telescopes have very small fields of view.

Clear Skies!

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I just bought a 60mm star tracker II. The eye pieces do not secure into the telescope. THe little screw that should secure the eyepiece just pops out when you try to tighten it in to secure the eyepiece. Is this normal? Wondering if I should exchange it at the store.

No, it means the focuser set-screws are broken. Hate to tell you but we receive the most complaints from THAT telescope brand, which is being sold by Toys R Us. It is TERRIBLE. I would suggest you return it to the store and never buy another telescope from a toy store, or Wal Mart, or Craigslist. Most of the scopes sold there are junk- toy telescopes.

The scope you bought is NOT suitable for Astronomy. Next time buy one of these:


and read these web sites:



Aug 22, 2010 | Edu-Science (10166) Telescope

1 Answer

I need some parts. Where can I find them? It is a Reflector Telescope 672 Power.

You will not find actual parts for this small refractor, being sold by Toys R Us.

You might try the store where you bought it, but most likely no parts are available. Try a local well stocked hardware store for simple bolts and nuts that you may need.

Next time do not buy a "department store" toy telescope. Read my TIPS on my profile page and read this:

May 13, 2010 | Edu-Science (10166) Telescope

1 Answer

Tasco Novice 30060402 Telescope MANUAL, MY EMAIL IS MOJOAOAO@YAHOO.COM

That is a tiny 60mm telescope not much larger than a pair of 10x50mm binoculars. You will not find a manual for that scope.

Sorry, but you bought a toy telescope. We call them department store telescopes. Read my TIPS on my profile page. Sky objects are very tiny and most of them are very dim. You should be able to see Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and a few of the brighter sky objects that you can SEE without a telescope.

Buy several good Astronomy books like "Turn Left at Orion" and "Nightwatch" and download the free monthly star chart at www.skymaps.com ; these will help you learn the sky and point the telescope. USE ONLY the eyepiece with the largest number written on it. This is your LOWEST magnification. About 100 power is the MAXIMUM for that size telescope.

Jan 29, 2010 | Tasco Optics

1 Answer

please help with the manual for the professional dynasun 76x700mm

That is NOT a professional telescope it's what we call a toy department store telescope.

Look under REFRACTOR on the Meade web site for a manual similar to your telescope.


Next time have a local astronomy club help you before you buy any telescope.

Sep 20, 2009 | Optics

1 Answer

Bushnell 78-9945

Take it back to the store and get a refund then buy your son this telescope--

Do not buy Tasco, Bushnell, Jupiter, Baytronic or any other department store junk telescope.

Sorry but it costs at least $200 to get a small good telescope-- and the prices go up from there. Also run away from any telescope that has pretty color pictures on the box taken by the Hubble Space Telescope-- or that has the POWER listed on the box (something like 550x) --- magnification is not important...... most of us us less than 100 power even in LARGE 8-10 inch telescopes costing thousands of dollars.

Dec 25, 2007 | Bushnell Voyager 78-9945 Telescope

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