View Full Version here: : Are we failling our equipment???????
01-04-2011, 12:12 AM
You guessed it, I've got the sads at the moment and could almost sell the lot.
This got me thinking about why I feel the way I do and as usual I came up with a few things which have bothered me of late.
We all spend an awful lot of hard earned dollars to buy the best gear we can possibly afford and in return the Astro equipment manufacturers seem to think they can just pump out equipment with no standards so to speak or at least no standardisation.
Almost all telescopes use differing size focusers, diferent size and pitch threads and different size adapters and connectors.
We as gulible sheep are expected to continually buy the next adapter on their shopping list so we can connect cameras and accessories to our new scopes.
I for one have a box full of bits and pieces I have put together over the years which I suppose will serve me into retirement for it's scrap vallue if for nothing else.
At least the top of the line manufacturers produce adapters to fit all their equipment and in some cases these fit their entire range. I intend over time to standardise all my telescopes to Takahashi threads wich are at least manufactured to 2 major standard sizes.
Are we too soft on these companies treating us as fools with specialty fittings for each scope in their range or releasing new equipment before they have been able to release drivers, user manuals or even just basic instructions. Seems more and more hits the streets without the basics being provided at the time of sale and in some cases, not at all.
Bearing in mind that we can't all afford PME's, Astrophisics and Takahashi, do the other suppliers have some resposibility to test, document and sell their equipment to us with all the required bits and pieces?
WHAT DO YOU THINK.
I was quite annoyed when my 2" ED barlow that cost me $175 ridiculous dollars didn't fit my 10" dob after having it work beautifully on my 6". :sadeyes: I didn't know things could vary to that degree so much - and they were both Saxon dobs to boot! :mad2:
Sounds to me a lot like fishkeeping (which I do). With fishkeeping you pretty much get guilt tripped into buying everything for the health of your fish. Much of it does more damage than good I eventually found out.
01-04-2011, 04:16 AM
I bought and sold my dream 10" newt without getting an image out of it. That did it for me, I'm not buying anything else till I've used all the stuff I have, a lot. I've had a robofocus sitting there for almost 4 months unused. Mind you, there has been bugger all opportunity to use it which is half the problem. When will it stop raining :shrug:
You've got a lathe doug, adapters should not be a problem for you. When can we put orders in :)
01-04-2011, 08:27 AM
This thread looks like a good old Agony Aunt one! Cool, here's mine...
I don't spend big money on my gear. I don't need to. But I do try to do as much research on a product before I lay my money down. But even then I do get bitten. Like a laser collimator that doesn't fulfil its job description. It's fit in a 1.25" focuser is sloppier in one particular axis than any other 1.25" barrel eyepiece I have. So sloppy that it can't be used at all as a collimator as it doesn't hold true in the focuser.
Dozens of these are flogged of during the year. But they are all useless. All of them.
I can't even bring myself to sell it on because I know it is rubbish, and value my relationship with fellow amateurs, unlike some manufacturers. Such a shame.
Your dead right Doug, and it seems that most of us except the manufactures decision to come up with what they think is best, truth be known some of them have never even looked through a scope, or the like.
It is frustrating that there is no standard in this industry, and as you say Tak stuff is usually pretty good in relation to thread sizes and such.
I don't think any of them would really care if we jacked up, because they know if you don't buy their stuff someone else will.
01-04-2011, 10:49 AM
My problem is that I dont tend to maximise the equipment I have. Its taken me quite a while to get the exact optimum distance from my focal reducer to get sharp stars in the corners for instance. I was convinced I needed either a new scope or FR. However having just got it right now things are sweet. The temptation is if it doesnt work after several attempts to "upgrade" to fix the problem. Sometimes thats right but often perseverance wins out.
01-04-2011, 11:18 AM
Seems there's a lot more room for disappointment/aggravation with imaging than visual - of course there are potentially greater rewards as well. I've found it more relaxing to be a lesser than a morer - less stuff to go wrong, less expense, less set-up time, less anguish. Our high dollar is putting pressure on my lesser approach though - temptation :)
01-04-2011, 11:35 AM
What peeves me off is selling stuff that doesn't do what they say it does in advertising.
Where is our fall back, Australian laws on misleading or false advertising and warranty requirements are quite strict.
If you buy a product from an Australian supplier that doesn't do what it's meant to do tell them you are returning it (at their cost) for a refund or replacement.
If they don't oblige refer them to the ACCC.
01-04-2011, 11:39 AM
These problems are primarily the bain of those doing astrophotography as opposed to visual.
But I do wonder if its a case of attempting to trivialise the entire process of connecting all sorts of different equpment made at different times, from different countries and manufacturers using various standards (Imperial, Metric, T-thread, SCT thread etc) across different types of scopes having a multitude of ideal or critical dimensions and back focus distances etc etc
And then using what are essentially quite complex image processing techniques to calibrate and process our data in a way that gives us our desired result.
Everybody is approaching their pursuit from a different angle - with widely differing budgets, different skill sets and different ideals, intents and standards.
Some people will use a camera and no filter wheel, some with, the next person will feel the need for a flattener or corrector the next not, electronic focusser or not, rotator or not, others will use whatever gear they had for visual observing rather than starting with AP suitable optics and then upgrade 3 times to get to where they want to go
The sheer number of permutations is astronomic !
How do you standardise that and still get the CCD chip spacing perfect - you cant.
Each bit of gear can have different apertures from 3" to 20" refractor to reflector and every type of design therein and therefore you will need smaller or larger adapters and approprate sized bits of gear having different corrections for different aberrations - you cant really standardise this.
An ED80 is different to a CDK17 and everything in between !
We now expect our systems to produce the sorts of results that once a took a multimillion dollar budget at a professional observatory, using a team of people (and professional consultants and graduates) to manage each aspect of an observatory that had been refined and developed over many, many years - and then we become disheartened if our results are not at this standard by doing it in our spare time with a minimal budget from our backyards with no professional experience in any of the different fields !
Often setting up each night to boot !
I think the real issue is one of expectation ?
Nobody should think that its just straight forward and easy thing to achieve - it is not.
But it is achieveable by anyone who wants to persevere and be prepared to learn at every step (and fail occasionally too)
Sure if you buy all new equipment with an unlimited budget, following the perfect OTA/Camera recipe (of course no such thing exists) and you get a professional to set it all up for you (How ?) - maybe then you may have a chance - but the reality is the processes are quite complex, time consuming and do require lots of skill and a lot of experience to master - which means invested time, frustration and worldly experience - successes, failures, experiments and continual improvement.
That characterises our hobby.
Then when we have mastered all of that its on to the next quest, next upgrade with all its new problems - that is human nature !
I do not think we could, nor should we try to standardise everything - it is not possible because we already have different sizes and types of scope . . . and different budgets.
But that is like saying lets draw a line in the sand for technological development - we will stop any future developments and we will all use T-thread adapters and limit our CCD size to 1/4" or stay with 35mm film.
Or maybe stick with 1.25" compresson adapters.
Every year cameras get better and often bigger (and heavier) - necessitating more stable attachment systems, larger image circles, bigger filters and filter wheels, bigger AO's and OAGs, larger aperture adapters, focussers and rotators etc etc
If we standardised to suit that and put it on an ED80 we would bend the OTA !
To blame the manufacturers for frustration is bit like cutting yourself with a sharp knife and blaming the knfe maker or maybe the person who last sharpened the knife !
There is now more product information available to us than ever before - PDF's, spec sheets, numerous reviews, forum posts, direct email/PM to known users, ability to contact the manufacturer direct etc so we are able to make a very careful selection process when we select and buy our chosen astro items.
You dont have to buy it, its your choice entirely but if you do its the full package - backfocus calculations, thread compatibility, custom adapters - one doesnt go without the other - why think otherwise.
Hang in there - we have all been through it - or still going through it !!
My 2c worth anyway
01-04-2011, 11:54 AM
yep, it's a shame it doesn't all work straight out of the box.
01-04-2011, 12:11 PM
That's it in a nutshell JJ you'd think it would for what we are paying, this gear isn't cheap as you know
01-04-2011, 01:49 PM
I whole heartedly agree with you Doug:thumbsup:
I have 1.25" and 2" eyepieces that 1.25" and 2" filters don"t fit:screwy:
The threads are either different or the barrels to big for the filters:mad2:
You only usually find this out when it is dark and you want to use them for the first time sometimes months after you have bought them:sadeyes:
01-04-2011, 10:06 PM
Don't get me wrong here. I know it is an impossibility to standardise all things astro but to make a standard set of threads for say 2" focuser connections, a standard set of threads for 2.5 inch focuser connections and so on would mean companies like Baader who try very hard to make adapter pieces could make some headway into producing adapters and spacer s for telescopes and cameras etc.
Baader are the one company who try very hard to supply the astro community with adapters for almost everything. If any of you have seen the complete Baader catalogue you would understand what I am saying and then understand why I get so angry when confronted with another thread or adapter requirement which is out of the ordinary and requires special manufacture for a piece the manufacturers should foresee the need for.
The whole problem of course extends to the use of non standard fittings and fixtures which could be standardised.
Visual observers have it so easy but still have some problems as pointed out by Ron.
There has to be a better way. Paul Haese has been able to achieve quite a lot working with GSO on the RC range of scopes and we can all hope this interaction with manufacturers pay off for all of us in the end.
02-04-2011, 12:18 AM
It isn't cheap HERE.
I'm not so concerned with the differing standards as I don't have much gear and I do a bit of research before I purchase.
What I am concerned with is the difference in prices from USA to here which doesn't alter with the exchange rate.
The fact we can't buy from anywhere else.
When there's no competition, you get some really annoying price differences.
Like my OTA was 1700 in USA and 3000 here. Not really a good comparison.
A canon camera available in the States for 650 is 1600 - not impressed.
Time to go fishing again Douggy for a little while, ;) dont give up buddy hang in there ((((hugs)))) :D
02-04-2011, 03:20 AM
I couldn't agree with you more.
I've been up and down the greasy pole with various manufacturers and more by luck than design have narrowed my 'collection' down.
The hell of it is, one can't even rely on top-shelf companies to produce a consistantly good product (I speak here of readily available gear).
I've had rubbish Taks and Televues and super Meades and Skywatchers.
The provision of 'extras' is getting to be a bad joke.
I was contemplating the purchase of a high-end GEM recently and it turned out that the tripod was a $500 extra!
In what world is a mount useful without a pier or 'pod?
But almost nothing annoys me more than the optional finderscope!
Almost invariably the scope you purchase will not be compatible with the FS you have (or vice-versa) and you will be forced to buy at the least an extra set of rings. More often I wind-up having to buy a $10 mounting plate that cost $20 to post. AAARRRRGGGGHHH!
Small beer I know, but MOST annoying! :)
02-04-2011, 09:45 AM
Little extras that after awhile you'd think manufacturers would include as standard as these little extras come about because of user feedback and a lot of cases Beta testing but no whole new markets pop up to sell these little extras at our expense.
We are too complacent as consumers
02-04-2011, 02:42 PM
Typical clear skies withdrawal symptoms. Let it go, take a few step backs, walk away from it for a little while and relax. :)
Threads and diameter standards would be nice yes but I feel there is too much money to be had in exotic adapters and bits and pieces (not unlike car spare parts market). Not going to happen IMHO.
02-04-2011, 09:55 PM
Certainly won't happen as long as we sheep are prepared to accept whatever is dealt up to us. The day Gso or Synta get a bundle of scopes returned as unfit for advertised use and start to have their retailers in Australia saying we need this or that to meet Australian standards then watch how fast they change their routines to keep our little market, let alone a market like the US. Perhaps we should be using our consumer law to our advantage instead of just being accepting sheep.
02-04-2011, 10:34 PM
Can't agree with you more Doug. there is no standardisation whatsoever.Take something as simple as slow motion control cables. The GSO ones has a bore ID of 7.5mm while the Skywatcher ones are 6mm.
I wanted to replace the short stiff GSO ones but the long flexible SW ones won't fit. Pulling my hairs out.
02-04-2011, 10:51 PM
Same here with my tube rings.
Simple Tube Rings!
I mount one scope on top of the other by mounting one set of tube rings on top of the other.
All my tube rings have different threads :lol: Unbelievable!
Not only in diameter and thread count but imperial to metric as well. :screwy:
The 2 sets of rings I use now have 3 different bolts in them.
03-04-2011, 02:38 PM
I've just found this frustration myself two nights ago.
I paid $150 for a Feldstein #6 adapter, which is a Takahashi adapter designed specifically to be bolted on to an STL-11000M and the other end on to the end of the FSQ-106. It, therefore, negates the use of using thumbscrews on adapters.
I finally got a chance to install it on Friday night. Come nightfall and I go to focus for the first time, what do I find? I don't have enough backfocus in the focuser drawtube to come to focus! I fell short by about 1.5 cm. ARGH! $150 down the drain, or, rather, I now need someone to create me a spacer/ring which will give me that extra 1.5-2.5 cm. Frustrating, to say the least.
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