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Old 04-03-2013, 07:00 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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My experience with SX's customer support

Folks,

I thought I'd post up my thoughts on my recent quest with SX and their customer support. I purchased a Lodestar from TS (Teleskop-express.de) simply because even after shipping, it came to be $100AUD cheaper than buying local. I chose UPS Express, and my god, are those guys efficient. 4 days from it being dispatched to arriving at my doorstep. I bought their TSOAG9 2 weeks later on a friday, and it came on the tuesday - again 4 days, even over the weekend! Very happy with this.

Anyways on receiving my lodestar, I noticed that there were hot pixels on the sensor. Not one, not two, atleast 20 to my count. I was very disappointed with this, having paid top $$$, I'd expect it to be damn well perfect. I took darks and it worked just fine with my RC8, but it still kept nagging me that spending so much money and I still got so many hot pixels. So I jumped onto SX's website on a sunday morning and explained to them what was going on and how I was disappointed with the product.

Sunday afternoon a representative (Terry, later I found out he is infact the Technical Director for SX) emailed me back, explaining that uncooled devices are expected to have a few warm/hot pixels and darks usually fix the problem. He said if I thought the images were badly affected, to email him some FITS file and go from there. So I sent him the FITS file and expected a response from him within the next few days.

That same evening Terry replied and pointed out something which made me very embarrassed - the hot pixels were infact actually not truly 'hot' (hitting 65535) but just warm pixels. He explained that Sony supply the chips as grade 1, and reject chips based on the saturated pixel count, not warm ones. Having a look on Maxim, it turned out he was right. They were just ~1200, barely above the background of ~700. On PHD and Maxim it just seemed so bright because of the screen stretch. I honestly felt like such an idiot, but yet Terry still replied professionally and also said that he will handpick a few lodestars with a low warm pixel count, and is happy to swap with my unit.

In the one day from me complaining, SX had assessed my problem, pointed out effectively that I was wrong in my thoughts, that the product was fine, yet they will still ship me a replacement unit free of charge half way across the world to keep me happy. Not once did he ask to see my proof of purchase either or where I bought it from. This is bearing in mind that SX is not obligated in anyway to replace my lodestar given that their product is functioning as described and spec'd. I am honestly blown away by this level of service, I really would not have expected any of it. In subsequent emails which followed, Terry would always reply within the space of a few hours, very courteously, and I really am very thankful for it.

My replacement Lodestar came today, and it functions alot better (As in very low warm pixel count). Wanting to try it out before I ship my old one back, Terry was more than happy for me to keep both over this coming weekend to try it out at a friend's dark sky site. Never have I experienced such customer support from any other company, manufacturer or supplier before - especially from one that is overseas. I know where my loyalty lies now, and I do believe you get what you pay for.

If only I had a few more $$$ to buy their items Thanks for reading guys n gals, I hope you found this a good read
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:04 PM
gbeal
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Nothing new to me, it's the way Terry Platt does things. Superlative service.
Great product, great service.
Gary
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:07 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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Glad to hear its not a one-off case then
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:59 PM
LewisM
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EXEMPLARY service, and always fast and informative with responses.

I bought an SXVR-M25C recently (it arrived today) I had asked a bunch of questions about Win7 compatability, best method for achieving results with a slightly faster than "preferred" focal ratio (the SXVR-M25C is designed for sub-f/5 refractor- mine operates at f/6.3 reduced or f/9 native).

GREAT company with ultra-professional service, and made in the UK rather than China!

Now to just have a night clear enough to use my new treasure.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:40 PM
clive milne
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I think it is germane to the discussion to include a comparison of the loadstar's performance relative to the available options:

http://www.stark-labs.com/craig/arti...oundup_API.pdf

Written by Craig Stark, creator of the PHD guiding software.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:48 PM
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Tandum (Robin)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clive milne View Post
I think it is germane to the discussion to include a comparison of the loadstar's performance relative to the available options:

http://www.stark-labs.com/craig/arti...oundup_API.pdf

Written by Craig Stark, creator of the PHD guiding software.
AstroPhoto Insight October / November 2008

It's an old camera now.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:54 PM
clive milne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tandum View Post
It's an old camera now.
It may be old but is there a better one out there?
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:02 PM
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Tandum (Robin)
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I really don't want to get involved in this. But a better one do do what? Take 3 second exposures through a guide scope to guide a mount, or take sub second exposures to run an AO device.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:22 PM
cfranks (Charles)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tandum View Post
I really don't want to get involved in this. But a better one do do what? Take 3 second exposures through a guide scope to guide a mount, or take sub second exposures to run an AO device.
Not sure what you're after, Robin, but I use my Lodestar taking 5 secs exposures and 0.2 sec exposures when I use my SX-AO. The only 'wish' I have for the Lodestar is a shutter.
I echo the praise of SX Customer Support. Terry went 'above and beyond' for me.

Charles
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:39 AM
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Tandum (Robin)
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I'm simply pointing out that, that review is very old and these days you may not need to throw that much cash at a guider unless you have a valid reason to do so, ie an AO device.

The last thing you want is an SX shutter. They only have one camera with a shutter and it has been withdrawn from sale.

Last edited by Tandum; 05-03-2013 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:45 AM
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RickS (Rick)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tandum View Post
The last thing you want is an SX shutter. They only have one camera with a shutter and it has been withdrawn from sale.
Yes, the early H-18 shutters had a copper oxide coating that would shed dust particles on the sensor cover glass which was quite a PITA. SX did change to a different shutter once they figured this out and I did eventually get sent a replacement shutter, but I had to chase them a few times.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:16 PM
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Meru (Michael)
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I think we're getting a bit side tracked here, each to their own as they say. It's not about throwing cash, for me atleast I had used it with my RC8 when I borrowed one earlier and it worked fine. I also had another QHY5-II on loan (Yes not the 'L' version but I was assured by the supplier that there wouldn't be too much a difference). I suffered massive driver problems and couldn’t get it to work for more than 5 minutes at a time. Plus I've had alot of issues with other QHY products in the past. Considering the price difference between the two was $250 or less, I thought it was well worth spending the extra. One of those 'for life' purchases.

Maybe a friend in the future will buy a QHY5L-II and we can do a direct comparison and see how it goes. I'm happy to be convinced either way. Its also important to remember that for a large portion, the relative response of a lodestar stays within 0.9 of it's max QE; the QHY5L-II tapers off very sharply. Not to mention the lovely large pixels of the lodestar goes well with my RC8, 4 times the area of the QHY5L-II. These small differences can end up becoming very important when you're at 1.6m, have a 50% secondary and also at f/8. But as I said, each to their own!

Now I'm sidetracked!! Anyways the point is, SX had great customer support and I was very pleased about it. It's something I will definitely consider next time I buy anything.

Clear skies
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Old 08-03-2013, 09:46 AM
Enrique
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I had a problem with my SX-AO. One of the motors was not working properly. I informed SX and Terry Platt responded immediately. He guided me to pinpoint the problem. He did not ask about how old the product was or anything related to the purchase. I felt that he was so proud of his products that he would not tolerate a malfunctioning one. He ended up sending me new electronics and motors at no cost, no questions asked. What a service!

Enrique
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