Well,I performed the hypertune on my scope this weekend and it proved….well…interesting to say the least.I arrived at Michael’s house and home of “Mount Washington Valley Astronomy,a few hours later than I said I would be.Heh,I fell asleep at my home 😛 .As the evening meal was being prepared (Michael proved himself as being one heck of a good cook),we watched the Hypertune DVD trying to digest as much understanding as to the inner workings of the LXD75 mount as possible.
TIME 9PM:No sooner had the DVD ended,that we headed out to the workshop and proceeded to dismantle our LXD75 mounts.Almost from the beginning,I knew that we were in for a struggle.Not being very mechanically inclined,I was the one doing the struggling and in the back of my mind figured that I would have parts left over after the hypertune!.Both mounts proved to be quite tough to disassemble and it wasn’t long into the tear down that we realised that our mounts were in fact quite different compared to what we were expecting in relation to the DVD.After a couple hours of carefully dis assembly,we decided to start fresh the next morning.
After breakfast on Sunday morning,we began the task of cleaning the nasty factory grease off of the gears,spacers,bearings and all the other places that this sticky grease resided.The next step in the hypertune process was the time consuming sanding and polishing of the gears.This proved to be very satisfying and interesting to see,as the gears go from a dull finish to almost a mirror finish.Soon however,my lack of mechanical ability began to show it’s head.Instead of keeping the spacers and the other partstogether for each drive separate.I just willy nilly placed all of the parts together in the cleaning tray,not giving any thought to any possible problems that this would create.To give a idea of what I am talking about,each drive has a minimum of 5 spacers of various sizes.These spacers have to be assembled in the order that they were removed!!! 😦 .Not including the other small threaded pieces!.To add insult to injury,the set screws for these mounts proved to be trouble as some were nearly impossible to remove.Now began the assembly of the freshly polished and greased mount and the increase of my frustration.As tough as the tear down was,it didn’tcompare to the problems that I had putting it back together.Good thing I didn’t have to put humpty dumpty back together again.I would have gotten frustrated and turned him into breakfast!!.During my battle of trying to remember which spacer went where and in what order,Michael in the mean time was calmly and efficiently putting his LXD75 mount back together without a hitch.My scope however,had suddenly turned into a stubborn mule and it seemed to fight me every step of the way to completion.The biggest battle was inserting some copper shims that keeps the DEC housing from binding up against the rest of the mount.Without the shims the scope would be able to move on it’s DEC axis.Finally,after creating more shims from thin washers,we were able to tightly bolt the 2 housings together without binding.The next thing was adjusting the worm gears and installing the motors….no problems!!.
The time had finally come to test the mount for smoothness.I placed the mount on the tripod and fired the scope up.The RA gear moved much better than before and this gave me a boost in spirit.The DEC motor seemed to work a bit smoother but,sounded much louder than before.While testing the motors,I forgot to do one important thing.I forgot to add the counter weights and without thinking,I had slewed the scope to a point where gravity took over and the OTA flopped over and made contact with a tripod leg.It seemingly didn’t hit very hard (or so I had thought at the time) as Michael and I had tried to stop it before it made contact.With that said,I decided it was time to head for home and said my thanks and goodbye.I awoke very early yesterday morning and felt unsure of the resulting hypertuneand sound of the DEC motor so,I removed the motor and tweaked the worm gear again.This time the gear sounded much improved and ran even smoother than before.All happiness fire that I had at that point was quickly extinguished when I looked down the long axis of the OTA and saw a dent near the primary mirror.OMG,the OTA did hit and had apparently hit hard as the dent is about 3″long and about 1/32-1/8th deep.Fearing the worst,I quickly inserted a laser collimator to see how badly the mirror was out of whack and wouldn’t you know it….the batteries were dead.So,I drilled a hole into the supplied eye piece cover and checked the mirror that way.It didn’t look too bad but,I wanted to be sure it wasn’t messed up so I went to Radio shack for new batteries.I inserted the new cells into the laser and checked.Yay!.The laser light was dead center and the OTA just looks… well… used!.
In the mean while,I contacted Richard of Scopetrader.com (where I bought the hypertune kit from) and presented the above problems to him.I had other issues with the hypertune that I didn’t mention in this post as well.He has offered to tweak and finetune my mount at no charge except shipping to and from his shop.I must say,it is nice to see a company stand behind their product and I highly recommend Scopetrader to anyone that wants to tune up their gear!.I won’t be shipping the mount to him yet though.I want to give the scope a trial run first, to see if it will or won’t perform to what I am expecting.
I will keep everyone updated on the results so,wish me luck!!.