Question about Bushnell NorthStar 78-8846 (675 x 114mm) Telescope

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Does my telescope needs acounter weight to keep it still even when the motor is off?

My north star goto scope is ok but the main problem with it is as follows: when i focus on lets say the moon with no help with the finder scope(red-dot) it came with. the scope ALWAYS moves up ward by it's self. the motor is off and when the power is on it does the same. i was told to get a counter weight for it because the mirror (it's at the bottem of the tube) weights so much and tends to make it move upwards. is thier a way to tighten any screws or bolts to stop this problem. p.s the finder scope is not usful at all.

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Re: does my telescope needs acounter weight to keep it...

Hi.I have the same problem.I bought a few 1oz magnets and place them under the tube at the bottom by the mirror. They counter ballance the real eyepieces. Depending what I put in the focuser tube determines how many magnets. Better yet,dump that junk if you can.I hope to.

Posted on Feb 10, 2008

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Re: does my telescope needs acounter weight to keep it...

Sorry i couldn't answer you on the live chat. here is the link for the user manual for your scope if you need it; Page 5 has a fairly detailed photo of how the hinge assembly should look. The counterweight should help - any tightening up you do other than the hand adjustable items has the potential to damage the scope, the motor or the tripod, but make sure that at the hinge at the top of the tripod there is not a damaged or missing washer/spacer and ensure no lubricants have got in contact with it. If you want to make up a counterweight of your own just to see if it solves the problem, then i would suggest getting a small bag with a cloth tape type strap and hang it just in front of the finder scope - fill it with clean dry sand until it weighs about a quarter of the weight of the telescope - half maximum, but start small and see how much you need - don't overload it as there is a possibility of making the scope/tripod unstable or overloading the motor. I would recommend contacting Bushnell for advice especially if you still have a warranty - they apparently give good customer service, and , there may possibly be a fault in your particular batch of tripods that they can solve for you; The finder scope is more for calibrating/aligning the scope before using the motorized feature, so is not designed to be ideal for general "finding", but in some conditions they have their uses - remember that having a really good finder scope could potentially nearly double the price of the unit. These are pretty good scopes in general, even without the automated features. Good luck, I hope this helps, please ask again if you need more :)

Posted on Apr 22, 2007

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I have a celestron Cosmos 90 GT Wifi telescope and so far haven't been able to use it. I struggle with aligning the telescope to 3 bright stars... if by chance it says its aligned when I choose a star

Aligning a scope requires several things to be correct.
1. You must follow the setup in manual 100%
2. You must pick the correct alignment stars. Most failed alignments are because you aligned on the wrong star. So alignment requires you to learn the names of a few bright stars and be able to spot them in the sky.
3. With many goto scopes there might be a "home position" to start the alignment. For example, tube pointed roughly North, and level. Check your manual for a "home position. Also time, date, and site must be correct.

Clear skies,
TelescopeMan and

Feb 16, 2015 | Celestron COSMOS 90GT Wi-Fi Refractor...


So you bought a COMPUTER GOTO Telescope!

First the good news. Personally I believe a computer GOTO scope or a Dobsonian telescope with PUSHTO makes a great telescope for a beginner.

Why? Because you can use the hand controller to help you find those dim sky objects that are almost invisible from a typical suburban observing site with lots of light pollution.

Also if you pay attention you will learn many of the brighter stars in the sky, the Constellations, and the location of many of the brighter sky objects.

Now for the bad news. There are many cheap goto telescope systems being sold that do not work as advertised, and you still need APERTURE to see many of the dimmer sky objects. So a goto with a little 70mm refractor mounted on it will frustrate you!

Right off the bat let me list a few links to the better goto and pushto telescopes. See these web sites:
This is just the mount, you need to also buy the telescope tube. I would suggest a 6 inch Celestron SCT Optical Tube Assembly (OTA), and also what is called a "dovetail" metal bar to mount the scope tube onto the side of this goto mount. This is a computerized equitorial mount. It works differently than the scopes listed above.

That should be enough to get you thinking! All of the ones listed above will have good goto performance IF:

You read the manual TWICE!

Test the scope out INSIDE in the light before you take it out at night and learn how to operate the hand controller.

Follow all the instructions in the manual about training the drives and or calibrating motors.

Accurately center BOTH alignment stars. Yes you will need to learn the names of a few stars in the sky.

AND NEVER plug or unplug the hand controller while the scope is turned on! This can burn out the circuits in the scope!

I would suggest that your first goto telescope be like the very first link above; a Dobsonian with a PUSHTO hand controller. This is the cheapest and best entry point to own a computer telescope. Yes, the prices are a little higher and old timers will tell you you do not need the computer goto to find objects in the sky.

I disagree! Beginners get very frustrated with the hobby when they cannot find anything other than the moon or several bright planets; or search for several hours to find one other dim sky object. Also most of us live in light polluted cities, and hopping around from star to star to find something is not really possible.

Add eye problems like cataracts and you will only see 6 or 7 stars in the sky, not enough to use to find other sky objects.

If you decide to buy a GOTO scope, please attend several star parties at your local Astronomy club. Many of the members will have this kind of telescope. You can ask questions, and they may even let you DRIVE the telescope!

Remember, READ the manual, train the drives, and do all the other initial setup that the manual recommends. Yes, you will need to know the names of a few bright stars in the sky! Your new computer telescope is not as smart as 3CPO in Star Wars!

Clear Skies!
Joe Lalumia

on Dec 31, 2009 | Telescopes


You Just Bought an EQUATORIAL Telescope Mount!

Even though we warned you not to do this, you bought one anyway! Beginners should never buy an EQ telescope mount as their first telescope. It's too late now; so I guess we will need to teach you how to use it!

Equatorial mounts move in a way that seems not to very intuitive. Unlike the easy Alt AZ mount which moves up and down and left and right, the EQ mounted telescope seems to move in TWO dissimilar directions at the same time.

Additionally you must first polar align the mount on the North star Polaris before you can use it. SEE! we told you not to buy it!

Here are the steps to roughly polar align the telescope so you can use it. If it is motorized the single Right Ascension motor will keep the sky object inside the eyepiece for long periods of time. If you do not have a Right Ascension motor, the slow motion RA knob can be slowly turned to keep the sky object centered in the eyepiece.

Begin by leveling the mount and tripod. Move the entire mount and tripod so it is pointing roughly to North, as close as possible using the steps below or a compass. Don't forget to adjust for your magnetic deviation. My location's compass reading is about 5 degrees away from true North. This is called magnetic deviation. You can find your location's deviation on the internet. Then proceed with the steps below.

First, adjust the Declination to the latitude for your observing site. Declination is the angle that the scope is pointing UP, and it's the same as your latitude. For example Dallas, Texas is about 32 degrees North latitude, adjust the scope so the small indicator reads 32 degrees. By the way, the North star in Dallas, TX is about 32 degrees above the horizon. Your latitude matches the elevation of Polaris (the North star) above the horizon.

Second, either look through the polar alignment scope buried in the axis of the telescope mount, or look along side the axis, and get the star Polaris lined up in the cross-hair of the polar alignment scope, or as best you can by looking along the side of the mount axis, or lining it up using your compass.. This will put the scope to within about 3/4 of 1 degree of the TRUE North celestial sphere. This is good enough for VISUAL observation, but NOT good enough to do astro-photography..

Adjust the DECLINATION up or down, and move the entire mount left or right until you can see Polaris as indicated above, or it is lined up as close as possible.

Now you are roughly polar aligned. Now you can move the tube around by loosening the Right Ascension lock, and or the Declination lock until your sky object appears in the small finder scope mounted on top of the main telescope tube.(DO NOT MOVE THE MOUNT, and the counter weight should never be higher than the telescope tube) Lock down the scope in both axis and use the fine adjustment RA and DEC knobs to center the target. Again, DO NOT move the mount or tripod. The mount should still be pointing at Polaris.

This web site illustrates this procedure:

also this web site

You should be able to keep an object within the field of view of the eyepiece by slowing turning the Right Ascension slow motion control knob-------- IF you are actually accurately polar aligned. Small adjustments may also be needed with the DEC slow motion knob since you are not exactly polar aligned using this rough alignment technique.

However it can be used successfully for visual observation. Your scope will now track the motion of the stars as they move across the sky.

Hope that helps you!

Clear Skies!

on Dec 29, 2009 | Telescopes

1 Answer

While trying to do the initial alignment the telescope says slewing to Vega, but when it stops it is nowhere near Vega, Its almost 180 degrees out. some help would be very much appreciated The telescope is...

All GOTO scopes have specific setup procedures, usually:

1. Level the tripod

2. Point the scope NORTH or in the HOME position.

3. Center both alignment stars

etc etc

Read the manual and follow the instructions exactly.

Jan 11, 2011 | Tasco Telescopes

1 Answer

I have a meade lx200gps 10" scope. The ra up is not responing. the down is working only. After initializing and fining north the auto star says stalled motor.

Do a calibrate motors and make sure you are using a separate 12 volt power pack or BRAND NEW internal batteries. All goto scopes work better with smooth, regulated power. The internal batteries will NOT work well for very long.

The Calibrate motors routine adjusts the motors for the power supply being used.

Oct 10, 2010 | Meade LX200GPS Telescope

1 Answer

Meade LX200GPS The scope does not complete the 'Auto Alignment'

Once the scope has taken a GPS fix and knows TIME, and SITE, and you do a two star alignment your alignment stars overide any automatic alignment issues.

You could turn off the GPS put in Time, Date, and Site, do a two star alignment and everything would be fine. Centering the alignment stars is the "trick". Apparently the scope also finds NORTH OK, or the alignment stars would be way off. Since you pre-level the tripod already the software can FAIL on "tilt" and you still get good gotos.

I would not worry about it, especially since your gotos seem perfectly fine.

May 28, 2010 | Meade LX200GPS Telescope

1 Answer

Calc north not working

Are you running this scope off of the internal batteries? If you are put in fresh batteries. The hand controller will go wacko once the batteries fall below about 60% charge. We always recommend that goto scopes be run from a separate 12 volt power pack. If new batteries to not solve the problem, return the scope to the dealer while it is still under warranty.

Apr 06, 2010 | Meade DS-2114 ATS (325 x 114mm) Telescope

1 Answer

I need simple set up instructions for australia

All GOTO scopes require a setup routine-- on my ETX 90 I must--

1. Train the drives

2. Set the time and the date, and the observing site in the hand controller

3. Level the tripod and the tube

4. Point the tube NORTH

5. And align and center on two stars BEFORE the telescope will find anything.

Read the manual TWICE--- and then practice inside before you take it outside at night.

Apr 04, 2009 | Bushnell North Star 78-8850 Telescope

1 Answer

Auto Align??? DS-2114ATS-TC

The alignment stars will be nearby BUT MAY NOT BE in the eyepiece-- you must center the alignment stars using the hand controller-- after you center the second star the GOTOs should be OK.

Dec 28, 2008 | Meade DS-2114 ATS (325 x 114mm) Telescope

1 Answer

GoTo Problem

Be sure that the telescope is configured for EQ SOUTH mode to tell it is in the southern hemisphere. Once a star alignment is completed NEVER manually move the telescope. Use only the control panel to slew. Everytime the telescope is move by hand, the motors do not know it has been done, and assume it is still pointing at the old direction. Check the manual for setup.

Apr 06, 2008 | Celestron NexStar 130 SLT (306 x 130mm)...

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