In the photo, (ABOVE), you will note where I have labeled Original Pad Location. This is where the factory installs the Teflon Pivot Pads for the turnstiles in the pivot sculpts.
On the 16" and most likely on the 10" and 12.5" Starfinders, this presents a MAJOR problem. The weight of the larger Starfinder tubes are great enough that this placement of the Teflon Pads cause the turnstiles to JAM between the pads resulting in permanent damage to the tube if not repositioned to a lower level in the pivot sculpts. If you look inside the Starfinder tube, you will note that the turnstiles are secured with one bolt with a retaining washer and nut on the inside of the tube. The resulting increased friction produced by the turnstile being wedged between the pads instead of riding ON the pads cause the turnstile to TURN on the tube a little each time you raise or lower the telescope tube instead of fully turning in the pivot sculpts like it should. In turn, this is slowly PULLING the retaining washer and nut through the sidewall of the tube. If this is not corrected SOON after you get the Starfinder, the retaining washer and nut will be pulled completely through the sidewall of the telescope tube, rendering your telescope close to useless. Without the turnstiles attached to the tube, you would have to figure out another way to be able to use your telescope as it will no longer work with the Dobsonian mount. This is a VERY BIG PROBLEM.
This is perhaps the easiest and cost FREE solution of all the modifications. Just carefully remove the existing Teflon Pads and move them down. In the photo (ABOVE), you will note I have moved the teflon pads down substantially from their original position and have also added two additional pads on each side of the mount. Although the two additional pads are not needed, I decided to add them anyway out of preference. In most cases, I would recommend you move the pads down about one inch. By doing this, it will eliminate the wedging effect of the turnstiles, thus eliminating any damage to the telescope tube.
By moving the teflon pads, this will also make your Starfinder tube move far more quickly and smoothly up and down. My 16" Starfinder can now be manipulated with just a slight touch of my small finger. This, in turn, makes it extremely easy to stay on and track a celestial object. Before the modifications, I had to keep yanking and pushing on the telescope tube front end to get it to move. In many cases, this made it difficult to get onto and stay on the object you are trying to view. Additionally, your Starfinder will now require the addition of counter balance weights, covered in the Counter Balance Weights section on the main page.
What the Starfinder looks like with the tube in place.
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