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Posts Made By: victor bradford

April 29, 2008 12:14 AM Forum: Eyepieces

Re: TeleVue Ethos eyepiece can damage vision!

Posted By victor bradford

-OK, Ed, so where is the article?
-If this was indeed an April Fools joke, perhaps you could just have your laughs and then let people know this by now. We see SO many product recalls that it pays to be cautious, but we also see a lot of nonsense too. Vision is important and we old guys are losing enough of it as it is.

July 17, 2006 05:00 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Edmunds RKE 28mm

Posted By victor bradford

-Thanks for your "views." Until recently, I've never admitted that the RKE 28 is one of my favorite eyepieces for wide-field views, and it's the one I usually plug in to show people who are new to astronomy. I like it not so much because of the optics as because of the wide viewing area that it gives -- like looking into a porthole.
-You might try a recent Cloudy Nights forum entry by Daniel Mounsey, who gave his views after comparing several eyepieces. His entry was #1029367, dated 7-4-06. The direct link via the Cloudy Nights page is pretty long but I could access it by hitting tinyurl.com/etxm8. He liked the RKE but was mainly interested in planetary views.

-Importantly, has anyone heard how the quality of the newer Edmund eyepieces compares to the old ones? This is always an issue and I am hesitant to purchase the newer equipment in many cases. Does anyone know if the new ones are made in Japan or in the "People's" Republic?
-Thanks and happy viewing.

December 20, 2006 01:30 PM Forum: TeleVue

Best eyepieces for Pronto.

Posted By victor bradford

Paulo: I have sent you this response on another site but perhaps other recipients of this site might be able to use this information too.

--I would highly recommend the excellent Televue website's section on eyepiece selection. They recommend selecting eyepieces based on Exit Pupil, and their eyepiece calculator pop-up can give you many suggestions (this also works for competitor's eyepieces, and for any other scopes you have, too). A power of 150 is recommended for high pwoer viewing (the Pronto can often handle higher powers, but focus travel and mount stability can become issues). I find that if more power is needed it might be time to bring out a bigger scope.
--I have found a super wide angle (we have had a Meade 32 mm for many years) is good, although for general night and terrestrial wider-angle viewing an Edmund RKE 28 mm is actually my favorite because the wide lens and narrow housing make for enjoyable viewing. A TV 20 Plossl is hard to beat for contrast and sharpness. I'm glad to see other members like the old TV 9mm Nagler (we also enjoy the contrast on our 7 mm Brandon). A Barlow is good for the scope. Siebert makes some outstanding eyepieces at higher powers, including the Starsplitter series.
--I recently purchased a Denk binoviewer and find it is ideal on the Pronto. A binoviewer seems best for brighter objects, which often makes quick setup a more desirable factor than power -- hence the Pronto's advantage.
--Some accesories to consider are polarizing filters for the moon, a camel's hair brush to lift dust off the glass, and the balance bar. For this scope, a slo-mo drift control (like on the Vixen Icarus) is hard to beat too. Stability with a lightweight mount is one of the advantages of the size.
--Congratulations on your purchase. The Pronto is a decent, forgiving scope and we have yet to find a "bad" eyepiece, so this makes your selection easier. We have owned one for several years and decided to kep it even after our TV-60 (its intended replacement) arrived. Hope you enjoy yours as much as we have ours. What a decent scope.

June 17, 2007 01:05 PM Forum: Eyepieces

Nagler 9mm Type 1 vs. Nagler 9mm Type 6

Posted By victor bradford

-FWIW I have had one of the 9 mm T-1's for many years and it is one of my favorite eyepieces with any scope I have (I have a TV-60, Pronto, Renaissance-102, LX200 8," and have also used it on a 16.5" Dob I had). It is heavy but just seems right. I have heard at least three people tell me it is a classic, sort of like a '57 Chevy. I am sure there are advantages to the T-6's, especially size, but I would keep the T-1 too. BTW, I used to have to worry about rebalancing when also using smaller eyepieces, but TV's brass equalizer adapter has cured this for the refractors, and the SCT doesn't seem bothered by it. I also use a set of Siebert brass eyepieces in smaller focal lengths and they weigh in the range of the 9 mm, and are beautiful to boot. Good luck and my recommendations second that of most other responders!
-Money saved is money spendable on another eyepiece.

March 19, 2008 09:53 PM Forum: Meade

LX200R - collimation/off-centered secondary proble

Posted By victor bradford

Have you tried arksky.org (big website but lots of advice and address for questions) or weasner.com/etx/techtips.html (also available through optcorp.com, then "Weasner's Corner" under information (also gives an email #). I have had good results using both sites on my unusual LX problems. Both seem run by knowledgeable, helpful astronomers. Hope this helps.

June 22, 2008 03:44 PM Forum: Meade

Meade Conference Call

Posted By victor bradford

Thanks for your work and your excellent summary. Here are some other items for consideration regarding concern over Meade's future and some of the concerns on this forum (this information may be of interest to other astronomers).

1. If concerned about a company's viability, one may often find helpful information at a brokerage webssite, at an investment website (such as Morningstar.com or Yahoo Finance), or at the company's own website. This assessement can HELP make any decision about product purchase, company viability, and future support. For example, one can read the teleconference on a brokerage website by keying in Meade INstruments and then News or Recent News.

2. If you already have a Meade product, fortunately, over the years Meade's customer quantity and products have meant Meade products enjoy many aftermarket supporters, such as this website, arksky.org, or Weasener's World (available through direct links at optcorp.com). They can HELP guide one about the likely tech support when the warranty (or "factory" support) expires, can greatly help with technical advice, can give assessments about what to avoid (including repairability, quality considerations, or support for various products), can help repair your scope, and can help maneuver through the often-challenging electronics functioning or repair issues. At any rate, these people seem to enjoy helping others in the hobby. Nevertheless, as Floyd aptly points out, when the parts are gone you can only expect so much.

3. To help prevent unrepairable damage to your scope's delicate electronics, I would STRONGLY SUGGEST using a plug-in circuit analyzer anytime you use AC power, especially when using an unfamiliar wall socket (as when traveling). Such devices are cheap and quick, and can be found at nearly any Recreational Vehicle dealer -- they have colored lights that tell you if you have a ground fault, reversed polarity, etc. These devices are like "virus checkers" for your electric circuits. Laptop computers are a bit more robust, but are stressed, so it's a good idea to use one whenever you are traveling (I would also recommend a one-time check for each circuit in your home, too). Faulty electricity can (unrepairably) destroy a scope's computer in milliseconds!
We have found bad circuits about a dozen times when traveling, and found two of them in our house (we had them re-wired before they did any more damage). A DC power source may be safer (although AC or solar is needed to charge batteries). I don't know if surge protectors do much good but I still use one.

4. If the electronics, warranty, or repairability have given up the ghost, and one can't get the "go-To" capability that has helped to make Meade famous, consider trying to find an aftermarket digital setting circle (such as from JMI equipment, marketed through jimsmobile.com or through nearly any astronomy outfitter). I have not seen anything for LX200's, but you never know when someone might offer such a product (especially if demand is high) and they may also be a good option for other Meade instruments or mounts.

5. I sent in a 10+-year old LX200 for off-warranty repair a couple of years ago, and it was not cheap (and this service may no longer be available from Meade), so it greatly helps to find out how to take the best possible care of such a sophisticated scope. Simple things -- reading the owner's manual, reading their website, talking with other owners, asking questions on the forum sites or aftermarket tech support people, joining a local astronomy club, checking any electrical outlet before you use it, etc. From talking to people who know something about Meades, they have been generally reliable if all goes well, but can be fairly easy to mess up irreversibly, and it's not a good idea to take chances. Experience Counts!

BTW I have no financial connections with anyone I've listed above, but would like to help someone else avoid expensive problems that could put their scopes out of commission for a while. Meade has helped our hobby, and it's sad to hear they are having problems (many of them probably from things they have little power over). Electronics manufacturing seems to be something that is now pretty much out of our control, too, and this situation may be more common (and more worthy of caution when using certain products) in the future as we outsource our capabilities to indifferent sources.
Hope this helps.

September 28, 2008 07:10 PM Forum: Meade

LX 200 Classic conversion

Posted By victor bradford

Victor:
Another option would be to contact Dr. Clay Sherrod, at arksky.org. If anyone can repair or modify a Meade, he is probably T.H.E. man. He fixed my Meade classic 8" a couple of years ago and the skies have never been brighter through this scope. Consider giving it a try and see what he recommends. CS!!

November 8, 2008 11:20 PM Forum: TeleVue

TV Sky Tour instruction manual

Posted By victor bradford

Hi! I lost my original manuals in a move and called Televue. They sent both the operating guide manual and the sky database manual for less than $15. They always seem happy to help.

FWIW, inside the database manual, I keep a sheet with the magnification, exit pupil, and FOV listed by eyepiece for each scope I have. Most of this information is available on Televue's Eyepiece Calculator in the eyepiece section of their website, and you can calculate or extrapolate most of the info for non-TV eyepieces (their website shows you how to do this). I find the information helpful for general viewing information, navigation, and using a star atlas.

July 14, 2008 07:38 AM Forum: Polls

You have to choose one for your backyard to help in the energy crisis

Posted By victor bradford

I voted for geothermal because I already have a unit about three blocks away, where a local school installed a geothermal setup for their heating and cooling (and some electricity). You can see a small control unit and some pipes, and that's about it. On the other hand, if something breaks deep underground and they need repairs ... one can only imagine. Geothermal has the advantage that its energy source is continuous and can easily respond to demand fluctuations.

Solar would be fine too. The Germans have done well with solar -- one advantage is they need considerable technological input, which benefits the educational infrastructure (one reason the Germans like them).

Having lived downwind from a coal plant, and having driven through the refineries of Louisiana, those are certainly out for my backyard. Windfarms are cool, but you need many generators and they are noisy if you are close. Nuclear? I'd personally avoid nuclear in my backyard for the reverse reason that people play the lottery -- the chances of The Big Event happening are small but not infinitely small (completely avoiding nuclear plants is like a tax on the statistically challenged). On the other hand, nuclear would also improve the educational infrastructure, since you need so many engineers and designers.

By the way, in the last general election Colorado voters (a notoriously tight-fisted lot) passed an initiative that a certain percentage of our electricity must come from renewable resources, and we have had no problems getting electricity at a reasonable price.

At the recent caucus, our party passed a platform initiative calling for all federal vehicles (except those in the Defense Department) and buildings being run with renewable energy sources within the next 7 years. Worth considering!!

July 14, 2008 01:55 PM Forum: Polls

You have to choose one for your backyard to help in the energy crisis

Posted By victor bradford

Yes, that's an interesting observation!
For instance, one very prominent lobbyist for the Natural Resources Defense Council (a group which supports conservation and renewable energy), is also one of the community leaders opposed to an offshore windfarm near his home (and yacht berthing) off the Massachusetts coast (actually, if the world were completely just, those who consume the most power might have to live nearest the sources of power generation).