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Thread: How to correct Celestron Nexstar 130 slt focus for Astrophotography

  1. #11
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    Alright - So finally after going to about 7 different big box hardware stores, figured out that they don't carry this screw. So for people looking for this specific type of screw in north america for the SLT 130 Celestron Telescope, will have to look for 'Chicago Bolt' or '*** Bolt'. The thread that you will require is 10-24. A length or 1"1/4 or 1" 1/2 will do the trick. I bought it from a mom and pop hardware store by my house called Lee Valley Tools. If you want to look at the screws that I bought just go to leevalley dot com and search for the word chicago. You can though find this type in multiple sites online.

    You will definitely require some re collimation of the scope but that was expected. For some reason my secondary is out of whack.. I am working on that right now. The weather has not been cooperating for the past 3 days, so haven't had the oppertunity to test this. I will soon provide an update and/or pictures (if successful).

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  3. #12
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    Now that you remind me, i will attach the link to the post where I took some pic of the full moon with the modifications I made. These are my first photos, so they are not perfect.

    Photos with prime focus of the Moon.

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    very beautiful images! It looks like Dob can do a great job in atro-image.

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    I have an OMNI XLT 150 and, like you, I was right at the innermost focal point when attempting prime focus photography. Thankfully however, my focuser is a 2" model that is already threaded for my T ring and it does focus (though barely). One thing that has bothered me is that there is a LOT of focuser tube obstructing the primary. I have also noted that contrast seems to be an issue with this particular tube. So, to make a long story short, I just happened to have my camera off and looked down the empty hole where the eyepiece adapter normally goes and noted that my secondary was about a full centimeter too close to the spider. That is, the reflection from the primary was not leaving the secondary at 90 degrees to the focal path. AHA!!! As it turns out, the tube came with the secondary's central mounting screw cranked almost all the way down. I gently reached through the spider and held the secondary with my left hand, while I loosened the mount screw with my right. I did this enough to center the secondary in the focuser, then tightened (gently) the secondary collimation screws and aligned normally. That gave me a full centimeter of additional focus movement. I then turned my attention to the primary adjustment screws, which were also turned almost all of the way out. This put the primary almost as far from the secondary as it could go. I turned the tube vertical (primary at the bottom), then adjusted the screws until they the springs relaxed, then tightened them up a few turns each and recollimated. The net result was that it moved the primary a little over a centimeter toward the secondary. These two adjustments gave me a little more focus room without having to replace any hardware. Because the end of the focusing tube is now further away from the secondary, it obstructs slightly less light and contrast and brightness should improve slightly.

    The additional space behind the primary should allow slightly more air flow, which is also a good thing.

    One other adjustment I made was to the spider vanes, which seemed to have a slight "twist" to them near where they attach to the tube. It took about 10 seconds to loosen each screw and retighten it while holding the vane parallel to the tube with an adjustable wrench. I also verified the spider had the secondary centered in the tube. There is a lot of adjustment here, so I suspect that some tubes may need to be adjusted.

    It is hard to tell a difference in the image during the day, but I should be able to check it in a few nights. I took some pictures a few nights ago, so I should have something to compare to.

    Hope this helps!!

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    uh guys, you do know that the 1.25 ep holder on the 130slt is actually 2 pieces? to get prime focus i unscrew the 1.25 portion from the larger base. then screw the base onto the t-ring of my camera. but i prefer using the ep holder normally and then just put a 2x barlow on the t-ring.

    i know the tread is pretty old but just stating this for the next newbie like myself

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    Default Re: How to correct Celestron Nexstar 130 slt focus for Astrophotography

    Forgive the tardiness of my response on such an old post but I just got my Nexstar 130 for Christmas 2013 and I couldn't manage to take photographs with prime focus because of the well documented back focus problem. I had tried the barlow trick and while I got satisfactory results, I thought I'd get better results with the prime focus (even if it just because the view in my camera viewfinder would become brighter)

    I tried the solution in the original post but I couldn't make it work. Let me stress that the solution detailed by "Pikeru" was sound, I just could not source the correct female fasteners at any of my local hardware shops.

    I had to take the solution detailed by "Pikeru" further and completely disassemble the mirror assembly (it sounds scarier than it really is, I'm a total klutz and it was simple for me to do).
    -I took out the 6 tiny screws holding the mirror in place (the threads are pretty long but the heads are tiny).
    -Remove the glass mirror and put it in a very, very safe place (you don't want to drop a screw, or worse, screw driver on the mirror).
    -Remove the cardboard spacer. It has cork plugs to stop metal to glass contact.
    -Take out the three bolts in the metal mirror support, these are countersunk M5 screws. Be careful with these. I almost stripped on of the bolts. For some reason, one of the screws was firmly glued into position. I tried penetrating oil to no effect. I had to gently persuade this bolt out of position by using a spanner attached to my screw driver for more torque. Gently does it. I'd hate to remove a stripped bolt out of the mirror support ring; it would get very awkward.
    -I bought some 40mm replacements which did the trick. You'll need some long 40mm springs as well. I also found some 50mm M5s for the locking bolts (I couldn't find any with nice finger friendly heads on them, so I need a phillips head to move the locking bolts when collimating).
    -Replace the short screws in the metal support ring with the 40mm M5 countersunk bolts.
    -Then replace the cardboard spacer (cork side to the mirror), mirror and the 3 mirror locking devices (sorry, I don't know the terminology). If you are a klutz like me you'll need to clean your mirror of fingerprints; I used a lint free lens cleaning cloth.
    -Then place the mirror assembly back in the rear of the telescope and replace all of the screws.
    -Collimate your mirrors and you are done.

    A word of warning: with the original focusser on the Nexstar 130, you will have prime focus for your camera when it is completely racked in and your eyepieces will focus when the focusser is completely racked out. I have a few millimetres of focus either side of the perfect focus positions for my camera and strongest eyepieces. There isn't much play when setting the primary mirror. Don't let this dissuade you though. I nailed the mirror position on my first attempt (probably more ar$e than class). You just have to be careful not to give your camera too much room to focus either side or you'll lose the use of your eyepieces (and vice versa).

    Hope that helps some other newbie kick start their astrophotography hobby. I've only had my telescope a month and I already want an upgrade to take my photography to the levels of hubble, spitzer, kepler and the james webb when that gets launched......
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  10. #17
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    Default Re: How to correct Celestron Nexstar 130 slt focus for Astrophotography

    Here is another but very similar way of moving the mirror of the 130slt forward to allow focusing a DSLR with a mirror, eg the Canon 1100d and the rest.

    The problem:

    The mirror means that the camera sensor is a long way from the front of the camera, and even with the thinnest t ring available, the camera cannot get close enough to the 130slt tube to come into focus. Moving the prime mirror of the telescope up the tube toward the front increases the distance to focus at the eyepiece and means the DSLR camera will focus.

    Overview of the solution to move the mirror forward:

    The telescope prime mirror is held in position by three 'studs' (threaded rods) fixed to the rear of the mirror. The objective is to extend these studs in a way that the modification is 100% reversible, uses commonly available parts and as much of the original mounting hardware as possible.

    See photo of final modified holder extensions

    What you need to extend the main mirror studs. (It's far less complicated than it may seem):

    See photo of parts

    1. A vinyl (latex if you are not allergic) glove to protect the mirror from fingerprints. You do not have one? DO NOT skimp. Think you can do it without getting grease on the mirror. NO. You can't. Just in case I am not being clear, you NEED a vinyl glove for the hand that will be holding the mirror as you work. Get one.

    2. Six M5 nuts. M5 is the metric thread 5mm in diameter and what Celestron has used in forming the original studs fixed to the rear of the primary mirror.

    3. Three 15mm long M5 bolt extenders, sometimes called connectors. These are basically a M5 nut but much longer, so that a threaded rod can be screwed in at a each end with enough depth to make the connection rigid.

    4. Three 'penny washers' 15x5mm. These are washers 15mm in overall diameter with the central hole being 5mm in diameter. These penny washers are so called as they resemble an old British coin in size. They are also sometimes called 'repair washers', used mainly for mending holes in saucepans in days long since gone, but if you put repair washers in Google you will get endless unhelpful ads for mending your washing machine. If you can't get 15x5 you can get away with 15x6. The outer diameter can be no bigger than 15mm to fit the telescope tube, but the slack of a 6mm hole round a 5mm thread is not an issue other than making things a bit more fiddly.

    5. Six M5x70 pan head pozi drive (or Phillips) head screws. These have the M5 thread - like a bolt not a wood screw - and are 70mm long.

    6. The original springs, the LARGE thumb screws and the nylon washers under their head. The small knurled head lock screws will be too short but should be saved for when you want to revers things.

    Tools needed:

    Patience, for handling fiddly items when one hand is occupied holding the mirror.

    Small pliers

    A screwdriver to fit the head of the M5x70 screws (if you want to be fancy you could use a 70mm long socket head screw, but they are quite hard to obtain in that length and they requires an Allen key and we all know how much fun they are to use).

    A small hacksaw. This is often called a 'junior hacksaw'.

    An extending tape measure (or ruler)

    Newtonian collimator such as a Cheshire.

    As far as possible buy STAINLESS screws, washers and bolt extenders to avoid rusting. Either A2 (standard) or A4 (intended for marine environments) grade of stainless steel is fine. Use nickel plated for any items not available in stainless steel.

    Method:

    Make three extension studs by cutting off a length of thread from M5x70 screws:

    Mark a point 25mm from the tip of three M5x70 screws. Hold the screw in pliers to the screw head side of the mark. Check with extending tape measure that the length to be cut off is correct. Use hacksaw to cut the 25mm length off. Hold pliers firmly. Don't rush the sawing. The hacksawing will take a bit of work to cut through but is made easier by changing the angle of cut slightly from time to time and making sure you do not relax the grip on the pliers. Getting the length exactly to 25mm is not essential within reason.

    Remove mirror assembly:

    provide a clean white fluff free soft surface, eg folded up cotton sheet, and a pot to hold small items.

    slacken and remove the four SMALL BLACK screws on the EDGE of the telescope tube. The mirror will have nothing to hold it in place once all four screws are removed so take care with the last screw to hold the mirror assembly.

    Remove mirror assembly by pulling gently backwards. It should come out easily. At this stage there are no items that will go flying.

    Note the rectangular NOTCH in the outer mirror ring. This fits over the rolled seam of the telescope tube. The mirror must be put back with the notch over the seam.

    Hold the mirror asembly in your GLOVED hand with the mirror towards your palm so you can work on the rear. Good, you did get a glove!

    Disassemble mirror assembly: NOTE: In this stage the tension of springs will be released so make sure they don't catapult themselves where you can't find them.

    Get comfortable holding the mirror assembly in just the gloved hand. Unscrew (anti-clockwise) the SMALL head knurled lock head screws completely and place in your holding pot.

    Work over your clean white fluff free surface.

    Now unscrew (anti-clockwise) the LARGE head mirror adjusting screws SLOWLY and EVENLY, each a little in turn. Aim for all three screws to get to the point of being almost undone at the same time. Putting gently pressure on the rear ring of the mirror and not worrying about the grease off your other hand getting on the mirror because it is covered by a glove, use your third hand or an assistant to finally undo the three screws in turn making sure the springs are not lost.

    The rear ring of the mirror assembly should now be free. You should now have the ring metalwork, three small head locking screws, three large adjusting screws, three springs and three black nylon washers. If not go in search!

    Perform modification:

    Put all required parts in easy reach. Hold mirror in gloved hand.

    Screw one M5 nut on to each mirror stud.

    Thread connector nut onto each stud, tightening BY HAND firmly but not excessively.

    Screw each new 25mm stud into connector again using fingertip pressure.

    Place one 15x5 washer loose over each new stud.

    Screw one M5 nut onto stud to secure washer (if using a 6mm central hole washer centre washer centre it as best you can as nut is tightened). Use pliers to tighten the nut VERY gently - hardly more than finger tightness.

    You should now have a 'column' starting at the rear of the mirror, comprised of one nut, connector, one new stud, one washer, one nut.

    Place one of the original springs over the nut on each extended stud.

    Hold mirror horizontally and lower back metal ring over the studs so that holes in ring line up with studs. The springs will prevent the studs going trough the holes of the back plate but line things up as accurately as possible.

    Place an original black nylon washer over the reduced shoulder of each of the original LARGE adjusting screws. Then one screw and insert large screws into hole and press down gently turning the screw clockwise until it starts to thread. Repeat for the other two studs. This is the fiddly bit requiring patience.

    You now have a reassembled extended mirror assembly. It is not as bad a job as it sounds from the description. An assistant is always useful to have around in case though.

    All you do now is replace the mirror assembly in the telescope tube using the 4 small black screws. Insert mirror assembly back with notch over seam. Insert and tighten small black screws into holes on edge of mirror assembly, using a diagonally opposite sequence. Tighten all screws equally until almost fully home and then apply a final tighten but do NOT use excessive force. It is a very thin aluminium tube you are screwing into and you don't want to strip threads.

    Screw the remaining three M5x70 screws in the locking screw holes. Tighten against the plate on the back of the mirror.

    Attach DSLR and check you can get focus. Collimate scope.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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  12. #18
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    Default Re: How to correct Celestron Nexstar 130 slt focus for Astrophotography

    Here is a similar but somewhat simpler approach using hex male-female standoffs of sufficient length so as to not require replacing the studs in the mirror cell.

    Parts required (McMaster-Carr p/n's are referenced, but the vendor is not important):

    98952A278 Metric Aluminum Male-Female Threaded Hex Standoff, 8mm Hex, 30mm Length, M5 Thread
    9657K369 Steel Compression Spring, Zinc-Plated Music Wire, 1.75" Long,.455" OD,.039" Wire
    91100A140 Black-Oxide Class 12.9 Socket Head Cap Screw, Fully Threaded, Alloy Steel, M5 Thread, 60 mm Long

    DSLR Attached (1280x960).jpgEyepiece Installed (960x1280).jpgMirror Cell Photo 2 (1280x960).jpg

    The first photo shows the focuser position for my DSLR to focus on a nearby object (my neighbor's tree) with the mirror pushed forward as far as possible with the new hardware. The second photo shows that one of the stock eyepieces must be brought out of the eyepiece holder a little with the focuser racked out all the way in order to focus. Note that when focusing objects at infinity, the focuser and eyepiece will be moved in a little. The third photo shows the mirror cell removed from the OTA and partly disassembled to more clearly show the new hardware. I backed off one of the M-F standoffs a bit to show the original stud it screws onto. In order to adjust the mirror position, I start with the mirror as far back as possible and then move it forward until the focuser tube no longer blocks the light path of the primary mirror.
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    Default Re: How to correct Celestron Nexstar 130 slt focus for Astrophotography

    Correction to previous post: The right part number for "Black-Oxide Class 12.9 Socket Head Cap Screw, Fully Threaded, Alloy Steel, M5 Thread, 60 mm Long" is 91290A199 (91100A140 represents a washer for M5 screws).
    Note that total cost for all 3 items is $21.39 - a low cost solution to achieving prime focus with this scope.
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  16. #20
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    Default Re: How to correct Celestron Nexstar 130 slt focus for Astrophotography

    This might be a very late reply, but I thought I'd share some first results after modifying my nexstar 130slt the same way others have done. (Thanks for the help!)

    Using chicago bolts / *** bolts and some extended springs, I was able to push the primary mirror about 2-3cm's further in. Finally got prime focus

    Moon shot is a stack of 9 images. The Ring Galaxy is a stack of 99 images (with some dark and bias), total exposure was just over 13 minutes. Images taken using a Nikon D3200, 8" shutter speed and ISO 3200.

    The tracking of the nexstar mount appears to be good enough for astrophotography. I'm not sure what causes the blurring at the edges though, maybe my collimation isn't exactly right yet.

    stacked.JPGAutosave-2.JPG
    Last edited by astrowood; 10-22-2015 at 10:32 PM.
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