Loose bolts on my Celestron N8i

Important ones, too.

Celestron 8i surgeryAs I carried the scope outdoors tonight, I noticed the OTA (Optical Tube Assembly) seemed to have too much play in it. I checked the Ray’s Brackets, but they were tight. I took the scope and motor assembly off the tripod, and isolated the excessive looseness to the joint between the assembly base and the single fork (illustrated at right). Holding the base in one hand and the fork in the other, I could move the fork about 5mm, measured at the top of the fork. I hadn’t noticed this before, but I can’t imagine how the scope could Go To correctly, let alone track an object with that much slop in the system.

Celestron 8i surgeryAfter a bit of disassembly and exploratory surgery, I found the four 3/18″ allen bolts that join the base to the “uni-fork.” They were behind the power switch plate. Two of them are visible at left, the other two bolts were behind the other side of the switch plate. All four bolts were a quarter turn loose! I could have tightened them another 16th or so, but I was afraid to over-tighten the bolts.

So now things are good and snug again, and the scope performed well tonight.

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