Telrad 4 inch Riser and Bob's Knobs on XX14i

The Telrad, the 4 inch riser and the Telrad base.

Well, I got two more packages in the mail. The first I'll review and wish I had known this a LONG time ago. I would have purchased a riser a long time ago. See I was once under the impression that the base of the Telrad sat on the top of the 4 inch riser and that the 4 inch riser had its own base. Nope, Nope, Nope! The Telrad base is put on the scope and then the riser fits onto the base, and the Telrad firmly attaches to the top of the rise. This means you can swap the Riser between scopes. Dumb, should have figured that one out on my own, but I post it here since life is truly a learning experience so I share with you my learning experience. It's okay to snicker and laugh if you want, I laughed at myself bringing in my son and daughter wanting to know what I was laughing at.

Anyway, here are some images:

Top of the Telrad (i.e. the Telrad) and the top of the 4 inch riser.

The bottom of the riser fitting onto the base of the Telrad.

The 4 inch riser going onto the Telrad's base.

First image with a ruler. The Telrad attached to the four inch riser results in just over 9 inches of height as shown here and in the next image.

I'm not going to figure the actual calculation on the ruler, you can do that if you want (I'm lazy, been teaching since last August and I'm finally done until mid to late August after tomorrow so no more mental calculations for now).

Bottom line this is HUGE with the riser. I haven't mounted it on the XX14i yet because where I would like to mount it, I don't think I can. Right next to the finder scope would be nice but the truss screw on for one of the poles is there and I fear it is going to interfere with that vital action. The left side opposite the finder will work so I"ll just have to take some bungee cords and try out a few locations. Steve Coe said I may want it mounted on the side near the bottom. If you have advice or opinions I would love to hear them in a comment!

Some may question why put a Telrad on this since it has the intelliscope. I'll use the intelliscope no problem. Yet as I've stated, I am a star hopper and I love hunting them down, that is part of the run for me. So a Telrad will go on and with the riser because I'm tired of cranking my neck into weird positions. I tried it out tonight and it worked really nice. Should have spent the $19 a LONG time ago!

The next package were my Bob's Knobs. They were in a set of three which is common and are stainless steel I believe with black knobs. Per the site, I ordered the one for the Meade Lightbridge. Instructions are basic and offer tips if you haven't done this before.

Installing is easy. If you have done this you use the Allen Wrench you use to collimate to take one screw out at a time, and then put in a knob. The knob and the screw (yes, they is a difference here of that much).

Okay, over at Cloudy Nights a member mentioned about the Bob's Knobs resulting in a loose secondary, and he went back to the original screws. What I discovered is that on the secondary holder are three small, round metal ends and the Bob's Knobs need to line up on them. When lined up, everything is fine. I fear that the CN member means in the field when one goes to collimate the knob loosens and thus the secondary isn't firm. So I am going to see if that is the case when I do the collimation. I'll also ensure I keep the knobs on the metal pads. We'll see and I'll share that info in my next observing report.

This image is blurry, sorry, but you can see the metal that the screw touches here (I withdrew the screw).

Here is a clearer picture of the knobs and the screws touch the metal circles so you can't see them.

A different angle:

I truly like using these to collimate and hope they work out. In case they don't I'll take the Allen Wrench and the original screws to swap them out. Still waiting for the clouds and the wind to subside to take it out! Going to try the intelliscope feature in the house per this comment from Steve over at Cloudy Nights:

"I haven't had any issues with my XX14i other than some az encoder spacing issues at the time I assembled it, I recommend checking the spacing by referring to the Intelliscope manual under the "hidden functions" heading. You can check just about everything that might be an issue using the built-in trouble-shooting, and you can do it with just the lower tube set on the base while it's in the house, garage or wherever. Personally I really like the COL, it's accurate and dependable in my experience." Quote at this link on Cloudy Nights, 14th post down if I counted correctly.

So, that's all I got done tonight along with a run to gas up my car and get some stuff for dinner.
Here are the review of my purchases and as always, they will be followed with a first light. First the Telrad riser. 9 and 1/4 est. inches is very high but in every position I put the Telrad and Riser on the upper tube, the riser made it so much easier to view. I also tried it on the XT10 and WOW!!!! Heaven. No more sitting on the ground to view, no more contorted positions to view. Easy to view, easy to see. I have no regrets on getting the four inch over the two.

Bob's Knobs. The jury is out on these. I need to watch to make sure they aren't grooving or causing the secondary to be loose. If needed I will go back to the originals and sell these at cost to someone in SLAS or local who would like to own them. I have a gut feeling that they will work though they may need a washer and that would be fine. Pretty excited is insufficient on my actual excitement level to get out and view this. I may try to snag a few Herschels on Saturday but will try it out at the Star Party on some of the brighter Messiers to see how it goes. Clear skies to you!


  1. My own comment on this. With Bob's Knobs on the XX14i you need to put in some milk jug washers. Here is the link to where and how you install them, and a pattern to cut them out with. Contact me if you do this as I have a larger pattern for the secondary holder for the XX14i.

  2. Jay,

    Chris again. I have now read the blog in full ... fascinating !!!

    I recently performed the mod, where you stuck down the AZ encoder disc. Following this (and no doubt it was there before) I have found an issue and I am hoping you can offer some pearls of wisdom.

    I have read that when doing the ALT-AZ test with the intelliscope that the first 4 pairs of hexidecimals (on the left hand side of the display) should not reach readings as high as F3 - F9. In ALT this is fine, in AZ, i get readings of F5 and F6, indicating that the sensors are too close to the magnetic disc.

    Additionally the 2 sets of 3 digits in the middle of the display are supposed to fall between 30<x<125, with a max and min of less than 30 ideally.

    For ALT values for this range with motion from 89-107, great. For AZ, as i rotate the scope i see 119-170 (failing in both magnitude and min to max range), again indicating that the disc and sensor are too close.

    I separated the base and the ground board and realised that (i had noticed this before but not realised it was a problem) that the AZ encoder disc has a slight groove, where the AZ sensors pressumably are contacting it as it rotates.

    Presently, other than putting something between them i see no real way of keeping them apart?

    I was wondering if you have a solution for this. Additionally it strikes me that this situation can only get worse as the teflon pads are worn away by rotation against the ebony star ... as this will slowly lower the base (and sensor) towards the groundboard (and magnetic disc) increasing the wear/grooving that i see.

    If my description here isn't clear enough i have a few images that i could email you.

    I have my fingers crossed that I haven't done something silly here ... but we all live and learn I guess !



  3. Chris,

    Feel free to email me directly if you want. JEads@g (I don't want spammers to nail me) related to Google. If you have Skype I could video conference with you via my MacBook Pro.

    Your issue sounds almostexactly what I had happen when I got my XX14i. First call Orion and tell them that your Azmuith Encoder Disc is has a grove in it. They will send you a new one and may or may not want the disc back (one guy did, another didn't).

    Next the only way I got into the right range was to remove one of the silver washers on the encoder pad screw. I had one silver and the gold one on there and my ranges were fine until I started taking my base apart (top and bottom) so I could get it through my doorway to the office to where I store it.

    So 1. get a new encoder disc. 2. Take a washer out and see if that helps. 3. Make sure you are not too tight on that center bolt. 4. Make sure the brass center bolt is protuding above the board as that has been an issue for me (need to check that also again on mine). The only thing I don't like about the XX14i is the Intelliscope, I like when it works but I find I am back to star hopping which isn't bad, I just paid for it and wish it would work right more than 50% of the time. Time to call Orion I think.

  4. Jay,

    Hi, Its been a long while, you helped me with advice on my xx14i encoders some time ago. I'd have used your personal email, but i had a mail delivery failure.

    I have a new question for you.

    Have you ever looked into ASCOM drivers for the intelliscope.
    •The intelliscope basically send the encoder derived coordinates through the drivers to the PC
    •Programmes such as cartes du ciel and stellarium can then show a telrad like position on screen.
    if you have had any experience with this it would be great if i could ask you a few questions.



  5. Hi CHris,

    Sorry its taken awhile to get back to this. I haven't looked into the ASCOM divers for the intelliscope and to be quite honest, I really don't use the intelliscope that much. I still Star Hop 95% of the time. My email so you know is JayLEads at g m a i l dot com (put it all together). Sorry.