Jump to content


Photo

**NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO!

  • Please log in to reply
240 replies to this topic

#176 rboe

rboe

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 67082
  • Joined: 16 Mar 2002
  • Loc: Phx, AZ

Posted 13 November 2012 - 02:54 PM

I spent about ten hours last New Years Day on the Apache Trail when I got a flat tire on my Moto Guzzi Quota and had to get trailered out. Not a big fan of tubed tires. But the road its' self is quite the scenic tour.

Need to find more places to eat, too many places, so little time.

#177 DavidOpticsmart

DavidOpticsmart

    Vendor (Opticsmart.com)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 319
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Alabama

Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:04 PM

Yeah the Apache Trail was quite a bit more remote and primitive than I expected. I absolutely LOVED it and can't wait to go back with the wife. But I started my day off thinking I was just going to take a leisurely scenic drive with a nice lunch somewhere along the way.

WRONG! :foreheadslap:

My flight was out of Phoenix, and was scheduled to take off at 4:35pm. So I left Lunt Solar Systems in north Tucson about 9:30 yesterday morning and planned to drive to Globe Arizona, which would let me come in the "back way" and drive the Apache Trail back towards Phoenix. The entire route from Tucson to Phoenix International was 210 miles, and I had a good five and a half hours before I needed to be at the airport around 2:30, for a nice two-hour cushion before takeoff. So 5.5 hours to cover 210 miles - sounds easy, right? At a leisurely 50-mph pace it shouldn't take much more than four hours.

Well I obviously didn't do enough reading about the Apache Trail because I had NO IDEA that over 20 miles of it was a DIRT ROAD that was full of switchbacks and was one lane in many places! During that stretch it was hard to cover much more than 15 miles an hour! So as I crawled along the trail I began to get more and more worried that I was going to miss my flight, and needless to say I wasn't able to enjoy the scenery as much as I would have liked, as I became more focused on driving like I was racing in the Baja 1000. :lol:

Fortunately I did make it to the airport about an hour before my flight was supposed to take off, but by the time I got the rental car returned, rode the shuttle bus from the rental center to the terminal, checked my bag, and inched my way through security, I was cutting it VERY close, getting to the gate about the time the plane was supposed to be boarding.

Of course, wouldn't you know it, I come running up to the gate ready to jump on the plane, and it's 25 minutes late. :smirk:

David Giles
Opticsmart.com

#178 rboe

rboe

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 67082
  • Joined: 16 Mar 2002
  • Loc: Phx, AZ

Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:12 PM

Next year we may have to arrange a Vendors Tour, before or after the show for folks that would like to explore AZ a bit while they are out here.

#179 DavidOpticsmart

DavidOpticsmart

    Vendor (Opticsmart.com)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 319
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Alabama

Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:32 PM

Sounds good Ron!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com

#180 tinrinnie

tinrinnie

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2009
  • Loc: The Woodlands, TX

Posted 19 November 2012 - 06:10 PM

David, you have found your niche...and I have found HALO!

After getting my Zhumell Z10 and having fun pushing around the sky, I soon realized I'd never be able to find what I wanted to find unless I learned how to read the sky. So I've patiently spent the last year completing the AL Binocular Messier list, a terrific way to learn how to star hop, right? Well, only if you're never going to use a telescope! As soon as I returned to my Z10, there I was scanning the sky again, hoping to find something I could recognize and then looking it up to make sure.

I found this thread nearly in tears :bawling:, upset that I might never be able to find a DSO on purpose, spending all my days, I mean nights, stumbling upon objects. And then when I found HALO, I nearly cried again, this time from joy :jump:.

HALO is part of the answer. The other is the altitude, which I seem especially bad at. What do you think about this product, the Husky digital level? http://tinyurl.com/c69vk5q I plan to test it out over Thanksgiving.

Sooo glad to have found your product. Going to order it now.

#181 DavidOpticsmart

DavidOpticsmart

    Vendor (Opticsmart.com)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 319
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Alabama

Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:30 PM

David, you have found your niche...and I have found HALO!

After getting my Zhumell Z10 and having fun pushing around the sky, I soon realized I'd never be able to find what I wanted to find unless I learned how to read the sky. So I've patiently spent the last year completing the AL Binocular Messier list, a terrific way to learn how to star hop, right? Well, only if you're never going to use a telescope! As soon as I returned to my Z10, there I was scanning the sky again, hoping to find something I could recognize and then looking it up to make sure.

I found this thread nearly in tears :bawling:, upset that I might never be able to find a DSO on purpose, spending all my days, I mean nights, stumbling upon objects. And then when I found HALO, I nearly cried again, this time from joy :jump:.

HALO is part of the answer. The other is the altitude, which I seem especially bad at. What do you think about this product, the Husky digital level? http://tinyurl.com/c69vk5q I plan to test it out over Thanksgiving.

Sooo glad to have found your product. Going to order it now.


I'm also glad you found the HALO tinrinnie! :) I think you will really enjoy being able to easily zero in on those tough-to-find objects. Some people enjoy hunting for objects on their own, but it sounds like the HALO will take a lot of stress out of astronomy for you.

I haven't seen that Husky digital level in person, so I can't say for sure how well it will work. Just by looking at the description/specs, it looks like it should do the job. But if you want to get a product that has been proven to work well by many astronomers, then you might want to go with either the Wixey WR300 or the Sears Torpedo Level.

Anyway, before we ship out your HALO, we just need to verify whether your Zhumell base has the newer/flatter rubber bumper, or the older/rounder rubber bumper around the perimeter of your groundboard, so that we send you a HALO that fits properly.

Here are some photos of both types, which will hopefully help you (and other customers) determine which bumper-style you have.

These first three photos show the groundboards standing on their edge so that you can see the shape of the bumpers:


Posted Image


Posted Image

Posted Image






And in these two photos, the groundboards are flat on the floor, showing the thickness of the bumpers:


Posted Image






Posted Image




So please take a close look at the bumper on your Zhumell (and measure the thickness of it), and let me know which version you have. Thanks for your order tinrinnie, and I look forward to hearing how you like your new HALO!


David Giles
Opticsmart.com

#182 Gastrol

Gastrol

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1297
  • Joined: 04 Nov 2011
  • Loc: los angeles

Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:58 PM

What do you think about this product, the Husky digital level? http://tinyurl.com/c69vk5q


One thing you need to consider is the weight of some of these torpedo levels. Some can be as heavy as a very large 2" eye piece and can cause balance issues depending on where you mount it. Wixeys are relatively small and weigh almost next to nothing.

#183 beatlejuice

beatlejuice

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1591
  • Joined: 05 Apr 2011
  • Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada

Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:35 PM

Anyway, before we ship out your HALO, we just need to verify whether your Zhumell base has the newer/flatter rubber bumper, or the older/rounder rubber bumper around the perimeter of your groundboard



Just wondering David if anyone has tried yet to fit the older/rounder Orion groundboard to a Halo.

Eric

#184 DavidOpticsmart

DavidOpticsmart

    Vendor (Opticsmart.com)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 319
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Alabama

Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:46 AM

Just wondering David if anyone has tried yet to fit the older/rounder Orion groundboard to a Halo.

Eric


Hey Eric. An XT8 owner who has one of the older Orion bases with the round groundboard did contact us to ask about this, and his groundboard was over 1/2" smaller in diameter than the inside diameter of the HALO for 8" GSO-made scopes, so unfortunately it wouldn't be a very good fit.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com

#185 Gastrol

Gastrol

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1297
  • Joined: 04 Nov 2011
  • Loc: los angeles

Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:23 PM

That's really a bummer with the different ground board specs. There are so many other users out there that can benefit from the use of the Halo. There has got to be a more practical solution out there to deal with this.
I know this has been discussed before but at least with the smaller dob bases perhaps a slightly larger than stock replacement Halo ground board is the only "simple" solution I can think of. One size can accommodate a variety of different diameter bases within a certain size range.



#186 rboe

rboe

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 67082
  • Joined: 16 Mar 2002
  • Loc: Phx, AZ

Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:28 PM

Just thinking out loud here, may be a crack pot idea but maybe it'll give someone else a good idea.

For certain sizes (perhaps a family of four) the HALO is shipped complete except the center is solid. A center hole with pivot is include along with a scrap of hardboard attached to the pivot.

The user is expected to attach their router to the hardboard and route out the center to fit their scope using the scrap hardboard as a cheap circle jig.

Since the center is about the hardest thing to do, if Opticsmart had already done this it would make success at home easier to come by.

At the very least a center hole would be provided to pivot the user supplied circle jig (with plans on how to make your own if you don't have a commercial jig - after all, it's about the easiest jig to make!).

#187 rboe

rboe

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 67082
  • Joined: 16 Mar 2002
  • Loc: Phx, AZ

Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:28 PM

In fact, just a dimple to mark center would be good enough too.

#188 Gastrol

Gastrol

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1297
  • Joined: 04 Nov 2011
  • Loc: los angeles

Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:52 PM

My thinking on that is if the user already owns a router, might as well build a clone Halo from scratch.

#189 Mary B

Mary B

    Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 3070
  • Joined: 21 May 2010
  • Loc: Minnesota

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:57 PM

Or just substitute it for their current ground board. Wouldn't be hard to use the old one to lay out the screw holes etc.

#190 rboe

rboe

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 67082
  • Joined: 16 Mar 2002
  • Loc: Phx, AZ

Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:22 PM

True, but the HALO has that very nice printed waterproof numbered ring and the levelers all made in that very nice water proof material. So it is not without its' advantages. Pricing would determine if it was worth it to the buyer.

#191 Gastrol

Gastrol

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1297
  • Joined: 04 Nov 2011
  • Loc: los angeles

Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:29 PM

True, but the HALO has that very nice printed waterproof numbered ring and the levelers all made in that very nice water proof material. So it is not without its' advantages. Pricing would determine if it was worth it to the buyer.

Good points. Now, only if the numbered laminate rings were available separately... :)

#192 audioaficionado

audioaficionado

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 979
  • Joined: 24 May 2012
  • Loc: Medford, Orygun, USA

Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:23 PM

I'd think some steel or hardened aluminum backing would give me more confidence in the long term composite durability of the rather thin looking Apertura versions. Could there be more meat left on the inside edge/shelf lip? Perhaps don't hollow it out at all except just the feet cutouts.

It looks real nice though. Definitely will consider one when I order my future AD10 dob.

#193 rboe

rboe

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 67082
  • Joined: 16 Mar 2002
  • Loc: Phx, AZ

Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:27 AM

Perhaps you could convince Mr. Giles to post another photo showing the thickness with something for scale. I got to see these in person in Tucson and they are thicker in person that what I assumed from viewing the pictures here.

These are quite beefy units; in looking at them, while there may be design tweaks I'd consider; making them stronger is not one of them. They are over built for a 16" dob, for anything smaller; well they are silly strong.

#194 DavidOpticsmart

DavidOpticsmart

    Vendor (Opticsmart.com)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 319
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Alabama

Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:39 AM

I'd think some steel or hardened aluminum backing would give me more confidence in the long term composite durability of the rather thin looking Apertura versions. Could there be more meat left on the inside edge/shelf lip? Perhaps don't hollow it out at all except just the feet cutouts.

It looks real nice though. Definitely will consider one when I order my future AD10 dob.


Hey Steve,

We could certainly add aluminum or steel backing, but it would significantly (and in my opinion, unnecessarily) increase the cost of the HALO. And keep in mind that the HALO is made from 1.25" thick material which is pretty darn thick.

We've tested the HALO in various ways. We've dropped it flat on its feet onto a concrete floor from a height of seven feet (which is an EXTREME test for ANY piece of astronomy gear) with absolutely no damage whatsoever. And we've set the groundboard for an AD12 in its matching HALO and had TWO grown men stand on the groundboard at the same time (a little over 400 pounds!) with no damage whatsoever. Naturally the groundboard and the HALO flexed a fair amount with that much weight on them, but neither cracked or broke. And 400 pounds is obviously WAY beyond the HALO's design limit.

In another test, I jumped up and down on the AD12 groundboard in the HALO several times without failure. I continued jumping higher and higher until eventually the HALO did break. BUT it was taking a very serious beating at that point, and TWO of the 5/16"-18 legs were severly bent in the process, which shows how much stress was being put on the system when it finally failed. And if you jump up and down as hard as you can on your Dob base (or just about any other piece of astronomy gear) you're probably going to have to replace it as well. :lol:

And in regard to weatherability, we've soaked HALOs under a sprinkler for over half an hour and left them out to dry in the sun, with no change in appearance, strength, or functionality.

So although the HALO is certainly not indestructible (and neither is any of your other astronomy equipment), in my humble opinion, the HALO is more than durable enough for its intended use.

But I suspect that the only thing that is really going to give people confidence in the HALO's durability is widespread use of them in the field over the long term. The 3/4" thick MDF used for Dob bases has already gone through that period, so naturally people have a level of confidence in its durability. I wish we could send people through time into the future, so that they could actually see how the HALOs held up over the long term, but unfortunately we haven't developed the time machine yet. :grin:

David Giles
Opticsmart.com

#195 audioaficionado

audioaficionado

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 979
  • Joined: 24 May 2012
  • Loc: Medford, Orygun, USA

Posted 28 November 2012 - 03:20 PM

It sounds like it will work as is. I can always retrofit metal reinforcement by any perceived weak areas in the future as needed.

I like the product lines you are offering. They look like good value for the investment.

#196 DavidOpticsmart

DavidOpticsmart

    Vendor (Opticsmart.com)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 319
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Alabama

Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:20 PM

It sounds like it will work as is. I can always retrofit metal reinforcement by any perceived weak areas in the future as needed.

I like the product lines you are offering. They look like good value for the investment.


Yeah you can definitely add any reinforcement that you feel is necessary. But once you hold the HALO in your hands, and use it for awhile, I think you might get comfortable with it and decide that reinforcement isn't necessary.

Anyway, thanks for the compliments Steve, and I look forward to hearing how you like your your Apertura dob and your HALO!

David Giles

#197 Mary B

Mary B

    Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 3070
  • Joined: 21 May 2010
  • Loc: Minnesota

Posted 28 November 2012 - 06:10 PM

Okay how about this for those of us who like to tinker. Make an option without the center cut out so we can adapt it to our current scope as a new ground board. Think on my Z10 all it would need is the insert for the center tension bolt. Less to carry when setting up.

#198 DavidOpticsmart

DavidOpticsmart

    Vendor (Opticsmart.com)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 319
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Alabama

Posted 28 November 2012 - 07:32 PM

Okay how about this for those of us who like to tinker. Make an option without the center cut out so we can adapt it to our current scope as a new ground board. Think on my Z10 all it would need is the insert for the center tension bolt. Less to carry when setting up.


Thanks for the suggestion Mary! We're definitely considering a groundboard-replacement style HALO for the future. But we would use 3/4" thick material for that design, because a solid groundboard made from 1.25" thick Extira with no center-cutout would be WAY too heavy (and most people complain about their bases being too heavy already). I'll definitely let you know when we do have that type of HALO ready to go, but it may be awhile because we still have some other projects that need to get done first. :)

David Giles
Opticsmart.com

#199 JamesL

JamesL

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 96
  • Joined: 19 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Pacific,MO

Posted 29 November 2012 - 12:16 AM

composite wood product???

#200 DavidOpticsmart

DavidOpticsmart

    Vendor (Opticsmart.com)

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 319
  • Joined: 15 Aug 2011
  • Loc: Alabama

Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:16 AM

composite wood product???


Not sure if you're asking about the HALO, or the Dobsonian bases that it supports, but either way the answer is yes. The main difference is that the HALO is made from a thicker, higher grade composite wood product that is virtually waterproof.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics