Flintstone Stargazing

August 7, 2008

Sunset, a Focuser and the Moon

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Clouds, Equipment, Moon, Observation Journal — Tags: , , — Ed @ 10:35 am

Tonight’s sunset was really nice, but was not very encouraging for stargazing this evening. I thought it would be a good idea to work on a project that I’ve been working on sort of on and off for a couple weeks. I purchased a Meade 1244 Electric Focuser which is not designed to work with my telescope (there isn’t one for my telescope). I knew I could make it work with the right bracket and I wound up fabricating one this evening out of supplies I’d bought a while back.

Here’s the bracket:

Focuser Bracket

It wound up much simpler than I had feared – it was actually a lot harder to make the shaft extender, but I was able to do that using a brass rod and my tap set. It worked great and here’s the final assembly:

It seemed to work well, but the proof would need to come while stargazing so I peeked my head out and while still somewhat cloudy, the stars and Moon were mostly visible. I would try it out tonight!

Unfortunately, by the time I got set up, the Moon was behind some clouds, so I couldn’t really focus very well:

It worked okay, but I’ll need to try something else.



  1. Hi Ed,
    The electrical focuser is a great idea!
    I think my OTA and focuser are similar to yours and I’ve been looking at your pictures and… the plate you used do make the bracket is flat it doesn’t have the round cuts to support the pinion. Shouldn’t it be away from the rack that way? How did you managed to keep the rack and pinion together?

    PS. Your images are awesome!!

    Comment by Ricardo — August 9, 2008 @ 5:47 am

  2. I’m going to take it apart and show pictures of what I did in a post soon. Keep an eye out for it and you’ll be able to see just how I did it.

    Comment by Ed — August 9, 2008 @ 10:40 am

  3. Ok.
    Another doubt: with the electrical focuser in place are you able to achieve focus manually also?

    Comment by Ricardo — August 9, 2008 @ 11:00 am

  4. Not without unattaching the electric focuser. I can use it for both astrophotography and visual observing, but I can’t manually spin the focus knob. This doesn’t bother me though because when I manually adjust the knob, I tend to move the scope and get a less precise focus. After using it over the past few days, I’m really sold on electric focusing.

    Comment by Ed — August 11, 2008 @ 1:52 am

  5. Ed, that was an outstanding program you presented to the BAS last Thusrday. I enjoyed very much and the elec. focuser 1244 caught my attention since I have a SN10, same focuser. I purchased a new one on ebay for $56. question is step #1, removing the focuser knob. I am trying to avoid crushing it with large pliers. does the foil peel off and there is a screw under? maybe you used the threads to extend the shaft? thanks for any advice you have on this to get me started. I received the 1244 just yesterday. clear skies…..

    Vic Rogers

    Comment by Victor Rogers — August 22, 2008 @ 10:29 am

  6. Thanks Vic – the knobs came off pretty easily on my focuser and I extended the shaft by tapping a rod and then screwed it right onto the shaft – I’ll post some more photos on this soon.

    Comment by Ed — August 22, 2008 @ 10:33 am

  7. Wow! I cannot believe I am trying to revive a 4 years old thread but, I am really stuck on a electric focuser with my scope (Meade LXD75). I am having the same problem as Victor Rogers had…I cannot remove my focuser knob no matter what I try and I do not want to start using a plier on it either (too riky in my opinion). I checked everywhere on the knob and I cannot find a single set screw to unscrew. I know that some sites saies that the set screw is under some rubber on the knob but my Meade SN-LXD75 knobs are full aluminuim. Not rubber strip to remove at all.
    Please help me on that one, I just bougth an electric focuser and I would love to try it out.


    Comment by Mathieu Simard — February 29, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    • Hmmm – Mine just unscrewed – they were tight, but I was able to take them off by hand. Assuming you’ve removed the shaft, if you can’t untwist them, they may be on too tight or someone may have used locktight or something.

      Comment by Ed — March 5, 2012 @ 9:49 am

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