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Thread: Mod the focuser on a Celestron 130 SLT?

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    Question Mod the focuser on a Celestron 130 SLT?



    Hi,

    I am currently using a Celestron 130SLT reflector with an auto-align camera from Celestron. I purchased it a few years ago and have been dipping in and out of Astronomy when I get the time. However over the past year I’ve developed more of an appetite for it again.

    What I have found with my scope since using it in earnest again, other than it being thirsty on AAs - so got a power bank for it, is the focuser is seriously stiff. This is possibly due to age but also not being great in the first place. This makes focusing on things like Jupiter and Saturn quite challenging, to the point where it is actually quite frustrating bordering on impossible!

    What are thoughts on fitting a new focuser to it? I’ve seen fairly old forum posts on the internet about getting things like the GSO Crayford focuser or even a motorised one. Particularly a 2 speed one which gives a good level of control it seems.

    Has anyone done this recently? What were the challenges for doing so? I think drilling the tube is one which scares me somewhat!

    Is it worth doing mods like this to the 130? The scope is good but not great for anything past the planets anyway so there is something in the back of my mind about saving and getting something a little better.

    Neil.

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    Default Re: Mod the focuser on a Celestron 130 SLT?

    The 130 SLT is a good scope for the price. For sure good to start out with. It does have its issues though and the focuser is one of them.

    I have one and don’t use it much anymore, but if I want to get out for a short session, it works great. Especially with the Skyportal running it wireless with the iPad or phone.

    You can try to loosen the screws on the bottom of the focuses and re-lube the gears. If it loosens up a lot, you can snug the screws back up. The focuser shouldn’t be tight.

    The focuser on my 130 SLT is okay, but to make it much better (after it is loosened up), you could add a Orion Accufocus motor to the focuser so that you don’t have to touch it at all. Vibration free focusing.
    I find that the scope is only marginal for planets, but is fast and pulls in dso’s very well. I’ve seen over 80 Messiers with it in Bortle 7-8 skies.

    I hope that this helps.

    Thanks,
    Jim

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    Default Re: Mod the focuser on a Celestron 130 SLT?

    I would agree, the Orion Accu-Focus works very well to get rib of focusing vibrations with the SLT mounts.
    The 130mm is a good little telescope but I would just use it for visual and some afocal images as there are much better options for AP.
    They are great quick setup telescopes for a quick session.
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    Default Re: Mod the focuser on a Celestron 130 SLT?

    I would remove the focuser, clean it up, re-grease lightly with white lithium, and try to remove any slop. But any funds I had would go to another scope.

    The SLT mount is one I like a lot and use frequently. It will carry many different small to medium sized scopes. You may be well served to keep your eye open for a used 127mm Mak, that would give you some very nice planetary views and keep the 130mm reflector for the DSOs. Or a 4" refractor for good planetary views along with good DSO grasp.
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    Default Re: Mod the focuser on a Celestron 130 SLT?

    Thanks for the replies.

    I'll certainly be giving the focuser a bit of a service to see if I can loosen it up and the Orion focuser sounds pretty good for £60. Good for hands free focusing (especially when the gloves come on in the winter ).

    I do like the 130 SLT for a quick session though the auto-align camera can be a little frustrating in an urban environment (especially when your neighbour leave lights on and curtains open for a fair bit of the night (clueless rather than malicious I think)). However, I've had a couple of "away" sessions with the scope and had much better results which has been great.
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