One day, I decided that I will mount Red Dot Finder from my old telescope to my DSLR camera. It should help with aligning and also framing the objects that I’m shooting. So I went into the garage and took my old telescope(Bresser 70AZ Reflector) that was sitting there for a few years. I remembered that it had a working red dot finder, so my plan was to remove it from the telescope and attach it to the toe shoe on the DSLR. But to my surprise when I replaced the old battery with the new one, the red dot finder was not working.
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It was strange because I remember that it was working perfectly when I used it last time. And it is a very simple device with an LED that is almost indestructible. After some google research, I found out that many people have the same problem. The red dot finder just stopped working, or it is not working at all right after telescope purchase. It is common with Celestron Star Pointer finder scope not working from the box. Don’t worry, Celestron will exchange it for the new one, so it is not a big problem. In my case, I discovered that there was a simple problem with an even simpler solution.
How To Fix It
I found out that my issue is with battery contact point. The pin that is holding the battery was not providing enough pressure to push the battery and make contact with the send contact point under it. Maybe this was caused by changing the battery because you have to lift the battery and bend the pin to remove it. So the solution was easy. All I had to do was to bend the pin little bit inside to provide more pressure when the battery is inside and voila the red dot finder was fixed.
But I didn’t locate this problem right away. I took the red dot finder completely apart at first to see if something is wrong with the electronics inside.
Other Issues With Red Dot Finder
So, if you have an issue with the red dot finder check the battery pins and contact points first. The problem can be somewhere else, of course. If you check that and there is nothing wrong with the battery pins, it must be something inside. It can be a loose wire or something burnt. The good idea is to take it apart. All you have to do is to remove a few screws to inspect all the inside parts.
Actually, that is more often the issue with the Celestron Star Pointer finder scope. If it is from the box just contact the Celestron and they will send you a new one. But if finder scope stops working after a while and it is not in the warranty anymore check the inside. Repeating turning on and off the LED can create an issue with the switch as well.
Here is the helpful thread on the cloudynights forum where you can find a complete guide with pictures on how to take it apart and fix it.
I Don’t Like To Use The Red Dot Finder
Let alone the issues with the red dot finder; I personally don’t like to use it. I know that there are many types of these devices, but the principle is the same. The LED is shining on the small lens, in some cases only glass at the front and creating a little red dot in the middle. But my issue is that if you are trying to locate something and you point the telescope, especially with high magnification, when looking from slightly different angles the red dot is moving all over the place. You have to be looking from the exact same position as you did during the alignment with the optical tube.
So I hate it, and I always replace these red dot finders on the telescopes with proper finder scopes.
Better Alternative If You Can’t Fix It
My personal preference is the proper finder scope, which is a little refracting telescope with crosshair inside the eyepiece. They are cheap and more accurate. They are perfect because when they are aligned with the OTA correctly, they are excellent with high magnification eyepieces. You always point the telescope where you want and where the crosshair is. In s some rare cases I encounter the problem with actually seeing the crosshair. But it is rare, and it depends on the condition of the skies.
Another great advantage of these finder scopes is that if you are willing to invest a little bit more, you can later use them as guiding scopes for astrophotography — something like this SVBONY Multi-Use Guide Scope.
I hope that this article helped you to fix your issue with the red dot finder. You don’t have to throw them into the trash right away. It is good to have one fixed and working so you can attach them to the DSLR for example-like me. They are lightweight as well, so it is a good choice for any camera.