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New Losmandy polarscope illuminator?

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#1 Jeff Young

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 07:27 AM

So Losmandy has a new polarscope illuminator out with an integral battery.

http://www.losmandy.com/whatsnew.html

Anyone know if it's dimmable (like the Tak illuminators), or does it just have an on/off switch?

Thanks,
-- Jeff.

#2 hudson_yak

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 09:50 AM

Just has an on/off switch. Dimness probably isn't a problem, in fact I found mine to be too dim. I took it apart and further hollowed out the translucent nylon part (with a drill) so that more light could get through it. Works well now.

I was disappointed that, with the GM-8 anyway, the illuminator is long enough to bump into the mount base. So this means at some times of the year there would be interference getting the star map rotated to the right position. Not that huge a deal, but should have been avoidable by picking a different keychain flashlight design.

Overall it's not a bad solution, but I keep it off the mount most of the time.

Mike

#3 Jeff Young

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 05:29 PM

Thanks, Mike.

I've got an AP600, but it looks like it might hit the altitude adjustment knob when pointed straight down. Still, I only use that mount during the summer, so hopefully it won't be an issue.

My existing illuminator has a flaky connection so it needs to be replaced with something.

-- Jeff.

#4 btschumy

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 09:37 AM

Chiming in on an old thread...

I just got a new GM-8 mount with the new illuminator. Tried it last night for the first time. I found the new illuminator was too dim. It didn't light up the reticle enough for me to see it. Anyone else find this is true? Admittedly, this was from my backyard which is not exactly a dark sky site. Perhaps at a truly dark site the reticle would be more visible.

#5 hudson_yak

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 01:38 PM

Anyone else find this is true?


Please look two messages up from yours.

Mike

#6 BrendanF

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 07:11 PM

Astro-Physics has also updated their illuminators, though not to the new Losmandy one. They also have a new battery box with a dimmer. You might be able replace your flakey illuminator with a new but very similar one and one of their dimmer boxes. Check out the options just below the PASILL4L on the Astro-Physics web site.

Edit: Did not notice the thread age... :o

#7 SkyscraperJim

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 11:52 AM

I've been considering getting one of these illuminators as well, since the old-style one that came with my G-11 (the battery holder in the bag with wire-to-LED) had its cheap plastic battery holder split in half. Last time I polar aligned in twilight so no problems seeing the reticle. $40 seems a bit pricey for something like this though, and looking at the pics of it it looks like the threaded part is plastic.

#8 hudson_yak

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 12:16 PM

The threaded thing looks a lot like a nylon screw that's been hollowed out. It's made from nylon, anyway, so is not likely to break with reasonable care. The black part is plastic, though of a very tough variety.

The length of the flashlight body does allow for damage from a good bump so I prefer to have it in place only when actually using it, which for me as a visual non-goto user is not that often. Besides which it looks sort of goofy.

I like it better than any of the wired solutions I've seen so the cost was worth it to me. If I had a more permanent photographic setup I might prefer something else though.

Mike

#9 pete1958@aol.com

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 09:16 AM

I too find the new Losmandy polarscope illuminator TOO DIM. I purchased a second one for a gift. I let you all know what my friend thinks of the brightness level.

I compared the Losmandy illuminator to two other illuminators that I use with my finder scope and reticle eyepiece and the losmandy is much dimmer. Again TOO DIM.

It will have to go back unless I can find a way of getting it brighter.

#10 gnowellsct

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 01:22 PM

I got the gift from Pete. Thank you Pete! It is in fact too dim. If you do a side by side with a standard finder illuminator, the Losmandy button shaped PSI at its HIGHEST setting is less bright than a standard finder illuminator at its LOWEST setting. So there is a design issue here.

Greg N

#11 gdd

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 11:02 PM

I have been looking to get one of these. Can the nylon screw be taken out an hollowed out a bit more?

Gale

#12 Doug D.

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:16 AM

I'm not sure about the thread size and fit but you might want to consider the Rigel Pulseguide. It is the only illuminator I have used that has a well-controlled dimmer switch allowing a stable and wide dimmer range (from too dim to too bright with just right range in-between. I also find the pulse feature to be very useful - much better than constant on.

I think the new RAPAS finder from A-P is great but it does use what looks like the same Chinese-sourced illuminator that came with a 20mm reticle EP I bought from Orion a while back. While it is one of the better built illuminators I've used the dimmer often doesn't work properly and is almost always too bright (maybe A-P fived this?). If the Pulseguide fits the RAPAS (haven't tried yet), I'm going that route.

A while ago I went through a frustrating search for a replacement polarscope dimmer (for both PASILL and Astrotrac scopes) that lead me to the Pulseguide. You'd think it wouldn't be so tough to design a quality illuminator with a decent pot switch that works....? Well, at least there is the Pulseguide.

BTW, I just checked the specs and the Pulseguide uses 8mm threads but there are 10 and 14mm set-screw adapters available, so maybe it can be made to work on non-standard thread holes?

#13 gnowellsct

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 01:01 AM

I'm not sure about the thread size and fit but you might want to consider the Rigel Pulseguide.


There's a variety of such illuminators out for finders and what not unfortunately they won't work on a Losmandy polar scope. GN

#14 Charlie B

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 07:56 AM

I too find the new Losmandy polarscope illuminator TOO DIM.

I don't, even with bright lights around. Did you click the button 5-6 times to increase the brightness?

Charlie B

#15 RGM

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:57 AM

Agree with Charlie B. At first I did not read the directions. Once I did, I realized all the various options available.

#16 Keith-in-Texas

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:14 AM

Hi Jeff,

Contrary to what was answered on the CN forum the new Losmandy polar scope illuminator can be dimmed. In fact it has six different brightness steady on settings and six different pulsing brightness settings.

I will write the actual direction for use on the forum.

Hope this helps!

Happy holidays,

Keith

#17 Keith-in-Texas

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:21 AM

Following are the operating instructions for using the new Losmandy polar scope illuminator (PSI) which does have multiple brightness settings.

"When the button is held dow the PSI will sequence through six levels of constant and then six levels of flashing illumination. Releasing the button at any time will maintain that setting for two minutes before automatic shut-off.

To re-activate the PSI, press the button until the LED comes back on and release. The PSI will awaken at the last setting and remain on again for another two minutes. Holding the button down will step through the sequence of increasing intensitites."

The PSI uses one CR2032 coin type lithium battery.

Hope this helps for those of you who are wondering how this new Losmandy product functions.

Best regards,

Keith

#18 Ranger Tim

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:27 PM

The level of dependability of the run-of-the-mill illuminator is abysmal. The ones that ship with typical reticle eyepieces are a joke. The wires that are soldered to the battery contacts will become detached quickly and the device often falls into pieces in the dark. Most of these poorly made illuminators have a poor range of brightness, averaging between bright and super bright. I have spent too much time trying to fix them compared to what they cost. They are truly part of this hobby's "disposable" apparatus.

I applaud the illuminator from Losmandy. It is functional, simple and virtually foolproof (unless you don't read the instructions!). I believe it is priced too high for what we get but I was willing to pay this just to be rid of the older version. (edit: Please understand that the sky is so dark where I live that an illuminator is only necessary when there is a bit of moonlight - on dark sky nights the reticle in the GM-8 polar scope can be seen without any need for an illuminator!)

The other illuminator I bought recently was the one orion uses on their 20mm centering eyepiece. Can't remember where I got it from, but it works pretty well and seems to hold up okay for now. It's the one that has a funnel-shaped section in the middle. I use it with my Meade 9mm to drift align.

I have spent countless hours fiddling and messing with illuminators, trying to get the light to stay on, trying to get the batteries to make contact, etc. This accessory has generally been the most frustrating failure to date of any of my astronomical equipment. And Meade should just quit selling the ones they use with their reticle eyepieces- Just awful.

Buy the Losmandy for your Losmandy polar scope, there aren't any others that fit. All the others are a gamble. Of course there is the Takahashi version for $175 :bigshock:

#19 Steven

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 06:31 PM

The new one is definitely dimmer compare to the old one even at its brightest setting. This is an issue for my use. I am planning to replace the LED with a brighter one. And if that doesn't works because of limiting current, I may try a YELLOW or GREEN LED :grin:

#20 bobblack

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:01 PM

If you have the upgraded locking knobs, when you turn the polar scope to position the dipper the illuminator hits the handle on the knob
I had to take out the illuminator, turn the polar scope to position then screw illuminator back in. bob






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