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Go Back   IceInSpace > Beginners Start Here > Beginners Equipment Discussions

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  #1  
Old 12-03-2018, 09:56 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Skywatcher 12” collapsible goto dob with synscan

I’m thinking late this year of upgrading my 10” Bintel solid tube dob to a SkyWatcher 12” collapsible goto dob with synscan

My 10” dob sits on a flat bed trolley with castors so I can just pull it out of the garage and set it up 5 metres away in the driveway at my observing position

I’m getting lazy trying to find everything in the sky and would find the goto a useful tool in finding more objects with satisfying results

My questions are -

1/ Could I manage the 12” myself on a flat bed trolley or parcel trolley with rubber tyres due to the additional weight ?

2/ Does the 12” have a clear advantage over the 10” in regard to observing power on small DSO objects, planetary and detailed lunar terrain

3/ Being a collapsible dob is there an issue with stray light ( street light 20 metres away ) crossing the open pathway of the optical tube ? ( I’m not in a totally dark site )

4/ How do you level such a beast for good az alt alignment ( my driveway has a 5 to 10 degree slope ?

5/ Does the 12” goto use the same 12 volt 5 amp power supply as say a HEQ5 mount ?

Any advice on the Skywatcher 12” collapsible goto dob is most welcome and appreciated
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  #2  
Old 13-03-2018, 08:58 AM
gaseous (Patrick)
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1/ Could I manage the 12” myself on a flat bed trolley or parcel trolley with rubber tyres due to the additional weight ? Not knowing your physical prowess, only you can answer this, but I would imagine that a decent trolley with rubber tyres would be able to take a moderate increase in weight without too many issues. I have a 16" dob which I sometimes put on a very ordinary flat base with castors and a handle from Bunnings, and it's fine. The slope of your driveway may be an issue for handling though. 5°-10° is a decent slope.

2/ Does the 12” have a clear advantage over the 10” in regard to observing power on small DSO objects, planetary and detailed lunar terrain

Again this is probably a subjective point, but theoretically the 12" will have 113 square inches of aperture compared to about 78 square inches for the 10". Some people may notice a large difference, others not so much. It should make SOME difference, though your own eyes and seeing conditions may place limits on this. You would hope to gain something on the brightness of DSOs, but unless your focal length increases to give you more magnification I wouldn't think the lunar views would improve much - they're probably blindingly bright already. I stand corrected if others have a contrary opinion on this.

3/ Being a collapsible dob is there an issue with stray light ( street light 20 metres away ) crossing the open pathway of the optical tube ? ( I’m not in a totally dark site ) A light shroud will alleviate this - you can get one for under $50. If you've got a nearby street light I'd invest in a shroud.

4/ How do you level such a beast for good az alt alignment ( my driveway has a 5 to 10 degree slope ? That's a nasty slope. I put some adjustable furniture legs from bunnings under my 8" dob to get it more or less level with a spirit level - not sure what you can do on such a pronounced slope. I've heard that the syncan will take into account your "uneven" ground providing your location/time is entered accurately and your star alignment is correct, but a level surface would be best and you'd probably want to run this by the telescope vendor.

5/ Does the 12” goto use the same 12 volt 5 amp power supply as say a HEQ5 mount ? Can't answer this one, sorry. A low-end jump starter from supercheap auto will run a scope for several hours.
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  #3  
Old 13-03-2018, 09:40 AM
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dannat (Daniel)
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i don't see much difference -i think a better investment is to get your mirror tested first, either by some really exp observers or with nsw astro society - if you have quite a good mirror if would be worthwhile keeping & maybe getting a collapsible upgrade kit [someone like scope stuff]-if the mirror is average then think about purchasing new...i personally find 1" just a bit big -10" is the limit of wanting to move it around - do you take it to dark sites?
buying the vx10 in the classifieds might also be a worthwhile, you can buy the collapsible tube as spare parts from a supplier of skywatcher goods
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  #4  
Old 13-03-2018, 12:14 PM
m11 (Mel)
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12inch Skywatcher dob

Hey Martin,

I am still new to testing scopes but I have found the 12inch dob with motors the limit of carrying for myself. At home I use a trolley to move scopes 12inch and above to save my back. Even lifting as a whole kit setup is a killer. I need to disassemble the primary and base at least to move any distance, mainly for a dark site.


1/ Could I manage the 12” myself on a flat bed trolley or parcel trolley with rubber tyres due to the additional weight ? A trolley will work and be able to handle a 12inch scope size and bulk. I just use a flat trolley that I reverse the handles to drop down to the ground.

2/ Does the 12” have a clear advantage over the 10” in regard to observing power on small DSO objects, planetary and detailed lunar terrain. I have found the visual difference for me not as significant coming from a 10", objects were brighter but the weight and bulk for me came in to play.

3/ Being a collapsible dob is there an issue with stray light ( street light 20 metres away ) crossing the open pathway of the optical tube ? ( I’m not in a totally dark site ). As Patrick mentioned, a light shroud will help in this case, which a relatively cheap.

4/ How do you level such a beast for good az alt alignment ( my driveway has a 5 to 10 degree slope ? I have found non level ground effects the goto alignment. My Orion dob that has a variation of synscan was way off until I propped some yellow pages under it to level it.

5/ Does the 12” goto use the same 12 volt 5 amp power supply as say a HEQ5 mount ? I just use a 12 volt 28amh battery to power the goto system. I have used supercheap auto batteries but found them variable in winter. The power will cut out and I have the 7amh to 19amh car charger packs.

If you have any questions, happy to give my personal experience if that helps.
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  #5  
Old 13-03-2018, 01:42 PM
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doppler (Rick)
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Be carefull you might get aperture fever, bigger is always just that little bit better. Most people will state that weight is the deciding factor, so if your young or fit enough go for it, I know a few 60+ guys that don't have a problem handling 16" dobs. And once you get GOTO you wont go back, dark time is too limited to waste time star hopping looking for faint objects.

Last edited by doppler; 13-03-2018 at 05:04 PM.
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  #6  
Old 13-03-2018, 02:13 PM
m11 (Mel)
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12inch Skywatcher

Rick is right in that aperture fever can take hold.

If you have a means of transport like a trolley then weight and size becomes less of an issue.

I have found looking at larger aperture makes it easier to see detail/contrast in smaller scopes.

Goto helps heaps to find objects as long as the alignment is close to accurate. Also handy for outreach and basic videos of objects.
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  #7  
Old 13-03-2018, 06:02 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Thanks all for the quick replies and advice

I’m 57 around 77kg reasonably fit but have had back trouble in the past, however my existing 10” dob is a piece of cake to pull out of the garage on it’s flat bed trolley and set up 5 or 6 metres away.

The 10” Bintel solid tube dob weighs around 26kg and I think from memory the Skywatcher 12” goto weighs around 40kg ( quite a weight difference) but with a good designed trolley I’m confident of pulling it out of the garage to the observing location 6 metres away.

Yes in hindsight I should have originally bought a 12” goto as most people say it would be a scope for life as it offers a lot more than the manual guided 10” dob

I will never need to take the 12” to any other location in my wagon.It’s a stay at home scope. I will take quite a few months to make a decision.

One other question, as this scope is an F4.9 is there a problem with coma when viewing Stars and DSO’s ?

If anyone else in IIS has experience in owning and using the Skywatcher 12” goto dob I welcome their advice
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  #8  
Old 13-03-2018, 06:25 PM
gaseous (Patrick)
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I don't think coma is going to be an issue on DSOs. My 16" is F4.4 and I rarely notice any coma when looking at stars, so your 12" is probably going to be OK I would have thought. I bought a coma corrector to be on the safe side, but rarely feel the need to use it.
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  #9  
Old 14-03-2018, 09:20 AM
m11 (Mel)
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skywatcher 12inch

I have a f 4.4 dob and I only notice a bit of seagulling at the edge with stars. Different eyepieces also help with the coma.

I do have a Televue Parracor but I found it more cumbersome to use with different settings for various eyepieces.
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  #10  
Old 18-03-2018, 04:41 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Has anyone else owned or currently owns a Skywatcher 12” collapsible goto dob as I would like to hear from you

Visual performance levels with good eye pieces for Stars and DSO’s ( I know these scopes are unbelievable for planetary and lunar observing )

Goto performance with Synscan ( does the base have to be perfectly level )

Portability within your property ( from garage to observing position in yard )

Assembly issues

What size is the biggest carton when you purchase it ( could it fit in a late model Mazda 6 wagon ?? )

Would you recommend upgrading the standard focuser to a dual focuser ? ( the 14” and 16” come with dual focuser as standard issue )

Would you recommend upgrading the standard 8 x 50 straight finder scope with an angle finder scope ?

Thanks in advance !!
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  #11  
Old 18-03-2018, 06:37 PM
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MattT (Matthew)
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I owned a 16” GOTO SW dob....sold it a few months ago.

GOTO’s were spot on every time, tracking is excellent.

I used and would again use the ES HR coma corrector. It has a threaded top so fine focus is achievable without need for the focuser to be used. No need therefore to upgrade the focuser.....though I admit I put a feather touch as I used binoviewer’s and wanted a good focuser for that.

Assembly took 10 minuets tops with no isssues, everything fitted perfectly.

Yes I added a RACI finder to it for wide field views.....sold it with an 8x50 but I used a SV 60mm with Panoptic 24mm eyepiece...very nice.

Don’t know if going from 10” to 12” is a big jump...I went from 10 to 16 and there was a difference. FWIW the OOUK 10” for sale was the 10” I used for four years, and it’s a really good OTA....Refractor like views with a coma corrector.
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  #12  
Old 18-03-2018, 11:27 PM
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Personally a jump from 10 - 12 is really not worth the $$'s expended . No .

As already said to see an improvement yes 16 inches is where it;s at , but !
A 16 inch scope is in the monster territory BIG ! and monstorious true as .

I would start with the 10 inch that you have and be very happy because aperture fever is ,,, expensive .
Enjoy your 10 inch ! it's bigger than I owne

Brian.
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  #13  
Old 19-03-2018, 07:38 AM
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Allan_L (Allan)
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I had a Skywatcher 10 collapsible DOB (not goto).
It was a great scope. Definitely needed the RA finder.

I upgraded to a 12" GOTO.
The improved vision was very slight, but just noticeable if really looking for it.
The upgrade was worth it because it included moving to GOTO.
The base has to be level.
I built a levelling platform, adjustable height legs from Bunnings, on form ply. Simple!
I used it for a couple of years happily.

I sold it recently and went back to a 10" (without synscan goto, but with Argo Navis push to).
My back is much happier with the reduced weight. (main reason for selling).
The views are pretty much as good (nearly).
And I am very (very) happy with the Argo Navis system.

Only thing I miss, a little, is the tracking. But that is no biggy.
And the Argo is so much easier to setup, align and use

Hope this helps.
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  #14  
Old 19-03-2018, 10:16 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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Thanks Alan ( and everyone else for the feedback - most appreciated )

Understand the weight issue with a 12" Goto and also only a slight improvement on the views and yes I would consider purchasing it mainly for the Goto and tracking

How far did you have to move your 12' Goto from storage location to observing location ?

Mine would sit in the garage and then be moved to the observing location 5 or 6 metres from the garage roller door on good smooth concrete driveway

If I made a purpose built flat bed trolley with adjustable feet for leveling at the front do you think one could manage this scope in my situation ?

I had my 10" out 2 weeks ago at 4.30am and had Jupiter at 416 x mag with a 6mm Delos eye piece and a 2 x 2' Barlow just for the heck of it

The views of Jupiter and its moons were not to bad considering the ridiculous magnification ( I have a good semi dark site down the south coast at my holiday house, however I was nudging the scope every 10 seconds which in itself was also ridiculous
If I had the 12" Goto the views would have been much better with just my 4.5mm Delos eye piece at 330 x mag ( no Barlow ) and Jupiter would be in the FOV for at least 5 to 10 minutes

That's one of the reasons I would consider the upgrade from the manual 10" to the 12" Goto

Welcome any comments

Thanks
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  #15  
Old 19-03-2018, 10:30 AM
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Allan_L (Allan)
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I had to move my scope approximately 250k to my regular dark sky site.
My closer site, not so dark, was 49k.
Then when you get there, 20 metres or so over rough grass paddocks.

My home, is good and dark, but trees make it mostly impractical.
Steps back and front also do not help.

I have had the 10" on Jupiter with a 3mm Radian, and steady.
Those days are few but.
Quote:
If I made a purpose built flat bed trolley with adjustable feet for leveling at the front do you think one could manage this scope in my situation ?
Definitely.
It was mainly the lifting the scope (base and tube separate) in and out of the van that really caused my pain. A trolley over flat ground with adjustable legs would be the best option from what I know about your situation. Take your time to get it level, it is really important to accuracy.

Good luck with your decision.
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  #16  
Old 19-03-2018, 10:51 AM
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Allan_L (Allan)
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Quote:
Would you recommend upgrading the standard focuser to a dual focuser ?
Good idea, I thought so too.
I tried, but no success.
Then I asked an expert...

Quote:
Hi Allan,
SkyWatcher do not have an upgrade to suit their Dobsonians for dual speed Crayford focuser
Sorry about that
Cheers
Don
BINTEL
I did use a SW electric focuser on my previous SW's.
They are good. (and only $99 new from Bintel)
Fine focusing, and hands free so no shake.
But I did not put it on my new scope, because you cant move it manually with the motor fitted.

Quote:
Assembly issues
I bought all my SW's second hand so already assembled.

Assembly at site, once level, only minutes.
Check collimation. (It generally holds collimation all night, and even between trips - over some rough roads.
But you would already know that if you have a SW10".

With the goto, I did experience some problems with the clutches slipping.
But this was easily adjusted.
And I think the new designs may be better than the older (parallel imported) models.

A MUST DO: Bobs Knobs for the secondary.
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  #17  
Old 01-04-2018, 03:29 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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Alan,
I looked on the Sky-Watcher Australia website and they do have a dual speed Crayford focuser to suit replace a single speed focuser on their Newtonians so I am assuming this includes the 12” goto as well

The 14” and 16” come with dual speed as standard kit

I guess I should give them a call to confirm
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  #18  
Old 01-04-2018, 05:12 PM
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Allan_L (Allan)
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interesting...
now I am confused.
Let me know what you find out please.
thanks
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