Image of the day

From the
ATWB Customer Gallery

Moon Snapshot with Starmaster 11 "Shorty"

My Account

New to Astromart?

Register an account...

Need Help?

Posts Made By: John Shutz

July 4, 2012 01:18 AM Forum: Eyepieces

ES 70 degree EPs

Posted By John Shutz

Just thought I'd mention the 70 degree Explore Scientific eyepieces you see around are considered "starter" eyepieces and don't possess the same quality as their 68, 82 and 100 degree lines. The 70s were included in new scope packaging just like Celestron or Orion would include with their scopes. Woodland Hills sells them and they range from $39.95 to $69.95 for the 2" models. Just thought I would mention for those who are unaware of the difference.

January 22, 2013 07:43 PM Forum: Reflectors

reaching focus with focal reducer and external foc

Posted By John Shutz

I have a CPC1100 and recently installed a Celestron f/6.3 reducer for visual use. The optic train also includes a William Optics focuser that I really like because it solved the image shifting associated with the OTA's focuser. However, I cannot now reach focus and I don't know if there is anything I can do about it because I've been told the eyepiece has to be approx 100mm behind the focal reducer to reach focus. That means I need to reduce the distance and I don't see any resolution without removing the WO focuser and replacing it with a shorter extender. I did that and was able to reach focus down to almost an 11mm EP. Still not satisfactory in my book and I could reduce the distance more if I could find an extender/adaptor that is shorter by about 3/8". If I were able to get down the additional 3/8" I hope this would enable the scope to reach focus with a range of magnifications, otherwise I'm simply going to remove the reducer and put the scope back to the way it was with the WO focuser. As much as I like the increased field of view and flatter field, I want to maintain the flexibility of having the dual speed focuser and no image shifting.

I suppose my question is has anyone installed a reducer and was still able to reach focus with an external focuser like the WO I have? Seems like an impossible task since you have to stay within 100-105mm distance from reducer to EP. One other thing I neglected to mention and I didn't try the set up without the diagonal, I think doing that reduces length some more, but at the same time adds viewing comfort problems at higher degrees.

January 22, 2013 07:44 PM Forum: Reflectors

reaching focus with focal reducer and external foc

Posted By John Shutz

I have a CPC1100 and recently installed a Celestron f/6.3 reducer for visual use. The optic train also includes a William Optics focuser that I really like because it solved the image shifting associated with the OTA's focuser. However, I cannot now reach focus and I don't know if there is anything I can do about it because I've been told the eyepiece has to be approx 100mm behind the focal reducer to reach focus. That means I need to reduce the distance and I don't see any resolution without removing the WO focuser and replacing it with a shorter extender. I did that and was able to reach focus down to almost an 11mm EP. Still not satisfactory in my book and I could reduce the distance more if I could find an extender/adaptor that is shorter by about 3/8". If I were able to get down the additional 3/8" I hope this would enable the scope to reach focus with a range of magnifications, otherwise I'm simply going to remove the reducer and put the scope back to the way it was with the WO focuser. As much as I like the increased field of view and flatter field, I want to maintain the flexibility of having the dual speed focuser and no image shifting.

I suppose my question is has anyone installed a reducer and was still able to reach focus with an external focuser like the WO I have? Seems like an impossible task since you have to stay within 100-105mm distance from reducer to EP. One other thing I neglected to mention and I didn't try the set up without the diagonal, I think doing that reduces length some more, but at the same time adds viewing comfort problems at higher degrees.

August 2, 2014 08:53 PM Forum: Digital SLR AstroPhotography

Portable power set up

Posted By John Shutz

I don't even know if I'm in the right category, so here goes.

I'm preparing to escape to some dark sky locations in the next couple months. I have the locations pegged, its having the portable power requirements that has me confused.

I'm running a typical set up: mount, DSLR, laptop, and possibly dew heater if needed. I've posed some questions elsewhere with some people asking for my exact power needs in terms of watts, amps, volts, etc. I looked buy I couldn't find one value that was consistent enough to add it all up so how much does your typical set up as I have draw? All I need is a general figure so I can move on. I know I'll have to get an inverter to cover the initial power surge of the device, so the power number will be substantially more than the total watts needed.

Another problem are the connectors, some items have cig lighter while others like the laptop and camera battery adapter requires a two prong outlet. I've heard it's best not to connect your laptop to a modified sine powered pack, like the big box store power packs. I know people use them and I was thinking on purchasing a pure sine inverter just for the laptop, or the whole kit if I can afford it.

I wish I could convert the items so they could run on a cig lighter adapter, is that possible? I don't think I've seen one for a laptop ever.

I've settled on getting an AGM or gel battery. I've also heard why use an inverter when it coverts wall AC power to DC then the computer adaptor converts again.

Does an inverter in general use a lot of battery juice, more than using a cig lighter adapter to power pack set up?

I've seen pure sine inverters with 2, 3 and more three prong plugs, even some with a USB adapter. The number of plugs relates to the power output of the device. I can't recall seeing one with a cig lighter adapter. But if I had one of reasonable power and two outlets I could plug in the laptop and DSLR battery adapter and if it had three plugs I could include the mount too. I can then keep the Celestron 17ah power pack in reserve for the dew heater if needed. The set up would be clean with all plugs going to one source.

Besides cost, anything wrong with the above set up?


June 30, 2015 12:09 AM Forum: AstroMart FAQ

classified ads to my email address

Posted By John Shutz

I recently posted a classified ad and now I get every new ad posted by others sent to my email address on my home desktop. I can't find where I can stop this, my mailbox is being overrun by classified ads.

November 4, 2012 04:52 PM Forum: Refractors

Re: high price views for less

Posted By John Shutz

I totally agree if you were to pick up an older Vixen/Orion or Vixen/Celestron, the ones where the optics were made in Japan. Mine is the former of the two, a 102mm that happened to receive an excellent review on an older thread in CN. The series of 102 scopes started with what I have, a 102mm achromat followed by a 102ED that in its own right has been raved about in reviews as well. The top dog in the series was the highly regarded and still to this day the 102FL fluorite. At one time it was rated the best telescope three years running. I got spoiled on my 102 because later on when I bought an AR152 it was clear to me the 102 had better optics, better contrast too. So good on one particular night I was able to resolve the six stars in the Trapezium, detected the "continents" and polar cap on Mars too.

Another 102mm owner I chatted with early on even upgraded his to a moonlight 2" focuser, spending much more money on it than what he paid for the scope. He did it because he felt the telescope was good enough to image with even though it was an achromat. CA is minimal, in fact it took me a while before I even detected a hint of it on the Moon, a very faint hint of yellow on the limb and some blue only on the brightest stars. But the resolution and contrast made up for it. At this time I'm trying to buy a used Vixen 2" focuser I found because I want to upgrade it. Finding a focuser or rings isn't easy because of the 115mm OD of the tube and 112mm ID. Great value scopes.

January 11, 2013 01:51 PM Forum: Refractors

Wyorock Adapter

Posted By John Shutz

I just went through the same thing trying to find a focuser for my Orion by Vixen 102, I have the achromat model in the series and wished I had what you have, but even the achromat is highly regarded, so much so I'm going to try and start up imaging with it. My first goal was to try and fit a spare AR152 focuser to it and I contacted Crawmach and they would make the proper flange as long as I supplied the proper measurements. After mulling this over and if I went ahead with this option I would have sent the focuser back to them to make sure the fit was accurate. I recently changed directions and decided instead to buy a Moonlight focuser. They have exactly the correct flange for my model, the Synta 3 bolt flange. It is also the same flange for your Fluorite. However, that is if you have a Moonlight focuser. I have a couple things I wanted to resolve first before buying, but it will happen. I contacted Moonlight before about this and they advised they couldn't make a flange for the focuser I have, I don't know why or whether it had to do with the fact it wasn't a Moonlight or it was because of the way the focuser was built. I think it was the latter reason.

February 26, 2013 02:42 AM Forum: Refractors

Orion Vixen 102FL Fluorite

Posted By John Shutz

I strongly believe it will be when I finally get it done. I've been held up, immersed in this AP thing and the focuser upgrade is no longer a priority since I decided not to use the 102 for imaging. I bought an SV70ED as my "training" scope along with Orion mini guider, adaptors and a new DSLR. But, I will get it done and have the 2" replacement focuser boxed up and ready to send to Crawmach so they can match a flange for me. My only concern is the short lip on the ES focuser and wonder if its compatible with a custom flange.

I didn't know you had the Orion/Vixen 102 fluorite you lucky dog! Talk about a scope that not many people know how really good it is. Well, newbies anyway because the word has been out about the excellence of those era scopes. If I were smart I should buy one if one ever becomes available. I know of one that was posted for sale a few months back, in my opinion the owner was asking too much for it and I know it sat for a long time with no bites. If he had it listed in the $1,300 to $1,450 range it would have sold quickly. But I believe he had it listed it on the high side, you might remember the ad better than me. For all I know he sold it for what he was asking and considering the Fluorite has a reputation equal to scopes priced 2x to 3x more, then his price is fair after all. Like I said, what do I know?

Theres a guy by the name of Tom Chris who has the same Orion/Vixen 102 achromat like I have and he upgraded to a Moonlite focuser and paid more for the focuser than he did for the telescope. But he likes the scope enough to upgrade the focuser and he was thinking about imaging with it so a better focuser was called for. I believe Tom is over on the Cloudy Nites site if you want to track him down and ask how he likes the set up. Down the road and if I ever get half way competent, I'll give my 102 a try at imaging just to see how much CA it throws up. I don't have a problem with the optics, they are superb and the CA is fairly minimal, only on bright stars. I ran into a couple of 102 fanatics in the last couple months and as a matter of fact one of them also upgraded his with a Moonlite focuser. I almost forgot about that. I'll get a hold of him and get an update opinion on how the Moonlite is working out for him. I know there were some minor issues (to me) that he encountered with the product and I believe he resolved them. I to would like to find out how its going with him and the focuser.

John


September 3, 2013 05:53 PM Forum: Refractors

Meade 684 focuser

Posted By John Shutz

Hello Roland,
I've been doing a lot of focuser removal and exchanges lately, but on refractors other than Meade. However, based on a picture of the scope it looks like the focuser is secured to the back of the OTA housing by three or four screws. It would be just a matter of taking them out to remove the focuser body. What is different about the mounting points is the location of the screws not being on the flange that attaches to the OTA.

Good Luck

December 18, 2013 04:32 PM Forum: Refractors

Astro Tech 106LE Opinions Requested

Posted By John Shutz

Hello All,
I'm evaluating an Astro Tech 106LE for purchase. I don't know a lot about them. It will be my first high end refractor purchase and I have some questions:
-Is a field flattener a good thing to have for a visual refractor or is it primarily a benefit for astrophotography?
Mainly for astro imaging.

-Does the AstroTech 106LE have a flattener.
No, aftermarket only, but AT makes a decent flattener for it on their website.

-What does the LE suffix stand for in AT106LE?
Limited Edition. AT made 50 price point 106LE. Same glass as the AT106 with a less robust focuser at 2" vs 2.7", capable of carrying about 3 maybe 4 lbs. I heard from one source the aluminum tube might be slightly thinner, I don't know about that, but AT did put the AT106 on a "diet" in the last year or so. What they did I have do details, but likely made the OTA thinner among some other things. The move to make the instrument lighter was a good move on Astro Tech's part. In all of the information comparing the AT106 with the AT106LE, the only issue to crop up was the focuser. If an owner felt the stock focuser on the LE didn't suit their needs they would replace it with either the Moonlight or FeatherTouch. But then you are back up to the same price as the AT106. However, its apples and oranges comparing a stock AT106 to the Moonlight, which I installed on my C80ED. You buy a MoonLight and it makes the AT106 focuser feel cheap, thats just me though. I'm even at the point where I would like to upgrade the focuser on my AT106 based on my experience using one. I also like the fact they are pre-drilled for their auto focus package, whether DC or stepper design. Since I'm involved in imaging, its important to have a excellent quality focuser with equally excellent carrying capacity. Speaking of focusers, one of the reasons why I want to switch out the focuser is the fact the compression ring is held "tight" by only one thumbscrew. I don't know why Astro Tech went this route with such a fine instrument. Having only one securing screw for the imaging train doesn't instill confidence in my opinion. But for imaging, the focuser is more than adequate for the job.

My target refractor is a Williams Optics GTF-102, is this a better scope for a first higher end refractor? Is it worth holding out for a used one to appear on the market. The scope will be mounted on a new iOptron ZEQ25 with a 27lbs capacity. I'm setting a limit of weight at ~15lbs.

I can't provide any opinions here, I haven't had the opportunity to look through the WO scope, nor do have I read much about it. I like the fit and finish of WO products, always have. I like bling and cool machined parts and WO supplies all that. The WO brand catches my eye for sure. However, there was a period of time they were getting hit with QC complaints, I don't know if all that has been resolved. As you know the WO GTF-102 has a built in flattener. First of all and I don't know if this is even relevant, I read a comparative review sometime ago that involved three different FF. The WO flattener came in last and the images posted you could see why. Stellarvue had the best performing FF, but considering it's high price you would expect that. Personally, if the FF gives you edge to edge round stars and doesn't degrade the brightness of the image, thats all that counts with me. Most flatteners won't give you exactly middle image flat stars, but you would expect at least close to that. Furthermore, before buying a FF obviously you have to evaluate your views to even justify the purchase in the first place. The requirements are tighter when imaging and I went ahead and bought a FF even though I haven't had a real chance to determine the edge performance of the AT106. Chances are it will need a flattener, most scopes in the price point do and is understood. The fact WO did it at the plant and placed it internally is a convenience for sure, but I don't know what the majority opinion would be from imagers about this feature, again, it all depends on the cost and performance of the upgrade.

The AT106 has a pot load of favorable reviews to it's credit, I would imagine the AT106LE, sans the focuser should be as well accepted as it's brother is. In fact the AT111 also receives glowing reviews and that scope was on my wish list equal to the AT106 even though the center element is configured out of FPL-51 glass instead of the more expensive FPL-53 glass. However, there are variables between the two glass elements other than comparing one to another. It has to do with the manner the glass was configured, even TEC uses FPL-51 glass in some of their scopes and they are considered very high end instruments. The AT111 apparently has been configured correctly because it performs like the AT106 with well corrected glass and no hint of spurious color.

Its a tough choice, I know about the AT106 to more of a degree than the WO product, but I'm sure you would be happy with either one fitted to the ZEQ25GT mount. Good luck to you.

Sincerely,
John