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Telescope Maintenance

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I'm sure there will be much to add to this section over time.


I have done a few basic thing to maintain my scope since its purchase in May of 2002.


The maintenance has centered on following areas currently. 


1.    Lubrication

Buck Harley and Dr. Clay have suggested the use of a Lithium-based grease for lubricating the moving parts of the scope.  Buck has gone further to warn that the grease used be sufficiently stabile so as to not outgas inside the OTA and cause optic damage. In addition consideration of the thermal properties (both cold and heat) were raised. Based upon this I took Buck's suggestion and procured Mobil One Synthetic Red Grease  I use it to grease all the gears (including Buck's Precision Steel gears) and have found it performs at or above the level suggested. I am not sure of this but I think Pete Peterson's modifications employ this grease. It comes in a caulking type cartridge, costs about $8.00 and will last a lifetime of scope maintenance. I check the grease every three months to make sure it has not become contaminated with dirt or need replenishing. Your maintenance cycle may need to be different based upon the frequency of use of your scope.


2.    Rust Prevention

As mentioned in my Telescope Setup Page I implemented Scopestuff's "Rusty Screw Replacement Screws". I found that not only do they not rust but because they are stainless and much much harder than the screws supplied by Meade, the incidence of stripped screw slots are greatly diminished. There is nothing worse than trying to maintain your scope only to find that the darn screws are stripped and need to be drilled out (I have to do this a number of times prior to replacing them).


3.    Wiring Protection

When I first started using my scope and going onto the Meade LX200GPS based forums I encountered an extraordinary number of concerns related to the way wiring in the scope was laid out as well loose wires, loose connectors and pinched or frayed wires due to rubbing. Though I was concerned about my ignorance of the subject I decided based upon Donovan Conrad's web info, to proceed with checking and remedying any potential trouble spots. As suggested by Donovan I placed all wiring in either 1/4" or 1/2"plastic wire looming. This runs through the fork arms under the bottom of the forks to the central pivot points. I also used plastic wire ties and plastic wire tie holders to buckle down wires and components that appeared to be somewhat questionable. Since doing such I have not experienced any problems whatsoever with the integrity of the scope's wiring


4.    Tripod Lubrication

Since I am still using my scope outside in a non-permanent setup (darn it I do want an observatory) I place the tripod on the grass or a concrete pad. Just schlepping the tripod in and out it picks up a lot of dirt and grass and heavens to murgatroyd, scratches. To minimize the potential for rust and to treat the scratches I wipe down the tripod legs and other areas on a time to time basis with WD40 oil spray. This seems to keep them as pristine as possible and prevents rusting.