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Balancing my Telescope

I'm trying to balance my Celestron AstroMaster 70 EQ refractor telescope, but the manual is confusing. This is the first telescope I've owned, and could really use some help.

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Hi Twiggie,
You will find good advice here:
http://starizona.com/acb/basics/using_balancing_gem.aspx

Good luck,

Clive.

Posted on Mar 21, 2008

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As you would expect, this is not a good sign at all.

Probably, something happened to the drive train responsible for folding in the optics. Now it all depends on what the "something" was.

Start by ensure the battery is fully charged: you don't want to go haring for a hardware failure when the problem is only not enough juice to the motor assembly. Try getting the battery out, then in again, to clear some unlikely (but best try it first) electrical problems.

At this point we're most likely looking at a motor train failure.

If you hear a buzzing sound on power off, the motor is working but it's not gearing to the drive train itself. OR, it is engaging but there's a physical resistance foiling its operation. This could be caused by something (grit, sand, ...) between the telescope rings, or a small "overextension" or misalignment of the telescope assembly.
First the easy check: verify there's nothing between the telescope rings. Try gently working a corner of a plastic (not paper! if it shears inside, it'll worsen the problem!) sheet between the rings and check there's no obstacle.
If that was it, you're all set up. Enjoy your working camera.

If there is no dust, no sand, no grit, and yet it doesn't close, check the telescoping rings are axially aligned. If they are not, be very sure of which ring is the misaligned one and try twisting it back in the correct position. Do not overforce, and do not use tools; if you can't fix it with three fingers, a tool would only break it for good.
Third possibility, the rings are aligned but one of them, usually the one nearest the camera body, got "too stuck out". You may be able to fix it, at least temporarily, by gently pressing that telescope assembly ring in, with the machine powered on, and while keeping up the pressure, powering it off. I repeat, "gently". Forcing it won't help. With luck, your pressure will lock the gears against the motor gear enough to make it engage. How permanent the solution is, depends on why it went off-kilter. If it was a physical shock - it banged somewhere - you should be golden; unless something broke and provided it's not banged again, there's no reason why it should disengage again.
If the end-run block (sorry, I'm trying to translate as best I can) broke, then unfortunately the telescope assembly will disengage again the next time you power it on. You can't fix it permanently, it has to be unassembled and repaired.

Back to case zero: you power off the camera and hear no noise at all (except for a 'click' perhaps). The motor isn't running, so it either broke, or its internal connection is loose, or something triggered the end-run safety. Unfortunately you can't fix any of these conditions. Perhaps by pressing in and "rotating" the telescope assembly you might disengage the end-run, IF that is the problem, but there's a big risk of completely breaking the thing.

Other possibility: powering off the camera results in a clack-clack-clacking sound, like a plastic gear misengaging with another. That's probably exactly what it is - the internal drive train is broken or badly misaligned, most likely due to a physical shock (falling, etc.). There is no real chance of fixing it short of taking it back to the shop.

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