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Discovery telescopes-nervous

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#1 aatt

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:29 PM

I am, or was, about to buy a Discovery telescope. I had the misfortune, or good fortune, to read the BBB rating. One person asserted that they took his money and never delivered.For obvious reasons, along with the reputed flakiness and alleged dishonesty of the owner, I am having serious second thoughts about going through with this. Before I put my very hard earned and scarce cash into what I hope is a great value, I would appreciate hearing about peoples' experiences, particularly recent purchases, with this company. Thanks!javascript:void(0)

#2 wavelandscott

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:27 PM

The scopes are nice, I have a second hand one. Maybe you should consider buying through a retailer...I think OPT might handle their scopes. This would five you a buffer and advocate...

#3 okieav8r

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:56 PM

The scopes are nice, I have a second hand one. Maybe you should consider buying through a retailer...I think OPT might handle their scopes. This would five you a buffer and advocate...


Or, consider buying second hand as Wavelandscott has done.

#4 simpleisbetter

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:19 PM

OPT does carry Discovery. I talked to them several times last winter. They seem to have a pretty good channel of communication with Discovery, and as I understand, you won't be billed until shipment.

#5 Ed D

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 09:00 AM

I purchased a set of mirrors from Discovery about a year ago and received a good product with good customer service and support. I'm a satisfied customer, for what one experience is worth. Keep in mind that very few (if any) companies have 100% customer satisfaction.

In addition to the suggestion of dealing through Discovery's vendors, I also suggest using a credit card for the purchase. I went through a recent nightmare with an unscrupulous R/C vendor. I called my credit card company and explained the problem, and they promptly investigated and recovered my money, including the shipping fees. Check to see if your credit card offers similar fraud protection.

Ed D

#6 Al Miller

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 09:39 AM

I've heard the delivery times can vary greatly however, I ordered a 15" PDHQ earlier this year and received it in less than a month. I ordered through OPT, and had no issues, albeit, the optics for the scope were in stock (at Discovery) at the time so they were pretty much ready to go. I would ask OPT to check on that for you before ordering. As for the scope, I really like mine. It's BIG though, and the mirror weighs a ton. Optically it is very good. The build quality is OK but has room for refinement so they are "work in progress" scopes. That's OK with me since I don't mind doing some modification. I used to own Coulter Odyssey scopes, and those really needed help! The owner of Discovery (can't recall his name) even called me on the phone when I submitted a question (through OPT) about the spider assembly. My only disappointment is that he didn't send me the replacement he said he would. I thought the placement of the stock spider was too far down the tube and interfered with collimation adjustment. We were going to go with a narrower-vaned spider that would allow the secondary stalk to have more forward-backward movement. Although I would have liked to have that replacement, I have been able to make due without it. My scope provides very nice views so I can't complain about that.

#7 Mike B

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 01:03 PM

Before I put my very hard earned and scarce cash into what I hope is a great value...


Hi aatt- i know precisely what you mean!

They <OPT> seem to have a pretty good channel of communication with Discovery, and as I understand, you won't be billed until shipment.


This would be an excellent avenue of approach! Is what i'd do, were i to go at a Discovery Dob.

Check to see if your credit card offers similar fraud protection.

I suspect most do. I know American Express is top-tier in this regard. Also an excellent suggestion- even better taken with the above (going with OPT)!
:ubetcha:

My own biggest astro-blunder was to send a deposit *cheque* to a custom scope builder ("Tscope", by Taychert telescopes)... that was down-the-tubes, now five years & running.

Ended up buying a "used" Dob (the one in my sigline), and couldn't be happier! For sheer bang-fer-buck, this option may be the optimum.
:grin:

#8 Patrick

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 03:48 PM

I bought a 10" f/6 Split Tube Dob directly from Discovery about 4 years ago. The scope puts out really good images but I'm not sure if it was worth the angst of actually working with Discovery to get them to deliver it. The main thing that really irritated me was that they would make promises they knowingly couldn't keep and several times flat out lied to me. On top of that they are notoriously difficult to contact once they have your money. I did a test one time when trying to contact them regarding a shipping date. After attempting to call them using my regular phone with no success, I called them from a different phone to ask about ordering a scope. I got right through. If you decide to go the Discovery route, by all means go through OPT. You will always get someone to answer the phone who honestly cares about your business.

Having said that, the finished product is very functional with very good optics. The only negative 'product wise' is that the sonotube material they use is pretty heavy. Splitting the tube in half helps, but then you have three pretty heavy and bulky components to load in the car for transport...the rocker box, and the two tube halves. The only other complaint is the somewhat spartan mirror cell which uses silicon to hold the mirror to the cell (and that's all). The one nice thing about Discovery is that they will do some custom work. For example I sent them a Protostar curved secondary support and a Moonlite focuser and they installed them at no extra charge.

Here's A PICTURE OF THE SCOPE before I converted it to a truss tube.

Patrick

#9 davidpitre

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 10:08 PM

I would do a bit of reading here on Cloudy Nights about Discovery before purchasing.

#10 Mr. Marbles

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 12:19 AM

I second everything that Patrick said. He and I commiserated over Discovery's dishonest lead times all those years ago. Well, perhaps, I went through it before he did: in 2006. As others have said, Discovery offers a quality product but their customer service needs work. When I did finally get the scope, it was missing the dust caps, telrad, and eyepieces that came with it (although I could careless about those). I brought this to Discovery's attention -- but, to this day, I haven't gotten those things. If you go Discovery, do so through OPT.

#11 JayinUT

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:29 AM

If you have a good mirror another option is Dennis Steele at DobStuff. I am getting regular updates on my new scope he is building and his communication is great. He includes me on all the decesions for the scope while providing his opinion. I'm a long way from being done but so far A1 customer service and I'm so happy and thrilled. Just another option.

#12 drollere

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:58 AM

wow, well there are good and bad customer experiences, but if what patrick and marbles say is true (and i don't doubt them), then that's a full stop.

i'd second the advice that you start with resale. if you can't find the scope you want that way, it would be a sign that most users are happy with theirs. (or that few people own them.) otherwise, go through a third party.

and ... grain of salt ... whatever an astronomical *manufacturer* tells you for lead time -- double it. if they promise you a scope in one year, expect two. they lie because they need the business. they deliver late because they are doing the best they can. the other stuff about filtering phone calls and not delivering parts, that's just trash business. otherwise, these guys are working on narrow margins; they are not petrochemical companies.

#13 davidpitre

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:10 AM


and ... grain of salt ... whatever an astronomical *manufacturer* tells you for lead time -- double it. if they promise you a scope in one year, expect two. they lie because they need the business. they deliver late because they are doing the best they can.

This is too generalized. Some mirror makers and scope builders are very upfront about lead times and generally deliver as promised. Many or most do not "lie".

#14 Mike B

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 10:20 AM

....they are not petrochemical companies.


... even tho there apparently are some that behave like the byproducts therefrom.

As a buyer, do your homework as best you can, then purchase wisely with the proper precautions. This is just prudence.

My own example of buying my Dob "used", after seeing no action from my deposit $$ for nearly a year :ohmy:- i waited & watched until an ad popped up from a seller near enough to me where i could drive to see the scope & meet the seller in-person. I drove home with it that afternoon!
:grin:

#15 Mr. Marbles

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 11:50 AM

Not every telescope maker provides inaccurate lead times -- in fact, so far as I know, most do their best to provide as accurate a lead time as possible. A few months ago, I purchased a Teeter S.T.S. and everything was delivered at the time it was promised. Not to mention Rob was very upfront and responsive during the process.

#16 drollere

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:40 PM

i'm appropriately rebuked for stating an eternal truth. but i still recommend putting little weight on delivery times.

these are mostly small businesses, and personal vagaries loom large. a health crisis, a supplier shortfall, a financial need, late receivables, there are a lot of reasons why a small business can't meet a projection.

i'll rephrase for close parsing. a delivery quote, if not met, is not a "lie" per se. but it is often optimistically massaged. missing a delivery quote by quite a lot is also not a "lie", it's just how government work gets done.

i *am* saying that if delivery is delayed beyond double the quoted time, then you finally do have good reason to get moral on the topic.

#17 Tim Gilliland

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 03:06 PM

I have a 17.5 Discovery split tube. It is coming up on two years old. It took Six months to the day after ordering which does'nt sound all that long. But it was promised in two months at ordering. It came missing the dust cover and EP. When I complained to discovery, I requested two dust covers instead and both were shipped promptly. When I wanted DSC's for the scope they were shipped promptly. I ordered mine through OPT. If you can deal with being missled on expected delivery and minor details like the EP thing Discovery is a good buy. Large quality aperture's at very little over mass produced expense. Just don't sweat the small stuff. And order through OPT just in case.

#18 Binojunky

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:06 AM

Well if it was me I would (and did)go with Dennis at DobStuff, also the other option of buying used is worth considering, around my way(Ont: Canada) their have been several used truss dobs for sale at very reasonable prices the selection in th US has to be better,sorry, to much negative has been said in the past about Discovery,DA.

#19 careysub

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:47 PM

I haven't bought a scope from Dennis, but I have bought parts and I second that he is the greatest to work with. Very responsive, always ready to help.

#20 hoof

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 06:23 PM

I've had two Discovery 'scopes so far in the last 8 years. One was a 12.5" mirror set from a solid-tube 'scope that was re-built into a truss tube. The age of the mirrors was probably 2001 or earlier. Excellent optics. Sold the 'scope (ironically to the person who sold it to me), because I was moving and needed the money.

In '07, I ordered my current 15" truss dob from Discovery, and got it 4 months later. Again, phenomenal optics, and the rest of the 'scope is very nicely put together. When I went to pick up the 'scope in January '08, I got to see the facility that Discovery makes their 'scopes in. Very nice, lots of equipment and 'scope parts in various stages of being built.

So (at least as of '08) the product that Discovery provides is very good. As others have said, their customer service leaves a lot to be desired. But I'd rather have *BLEEP* customer service and good products than good customer service with mediocre products, IMO!

#21 Gastrol

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 06:29 PM

But I'd rather have *BLEEP* customer service and good products than good customer service with mediocre products, IMO!

Yeah but accounts of *BLEEP* customer service keep many people from ordering scopes from them in the first place.

#22 aatt

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:04 AM

Thanks to all of you who responded. Evidently, they have a 15" F/5 mirror ready to go. I went ahead and dropped the financial hammer.Scope should be ready to ship in two weeks.After having a 6"Dob for 14 years (ironically with a Discovery mirror) the 15" should be a real game changer. :jump: Hope things go smoothly :praying:. Thanks again.

#23 Al Miller

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 10:02 AM

The 15", f/5 is a nice scope. I have one as I mentioned before. It's BIG however, and it's a good thing the tube is split. Upper half isn't heavy but, the lower is... particularly when the mirror is in it. Since the mirrors are in stock, you should not have a long wait.

I think you will like it once you get everything working, and I'm looking forward to your first impressions, and first-light reports.

#24 Mr. Marbles

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 07:25 PM

I've had two Discovery 'scopes so far in the last 8 years. One was a 12.5" mirror set from a solid-tube 'scope that was re-built into a truss tube. The age of the mirrors was probably 2001 or earlier. Excellent optics. Sold the 'scope (ironically to the person who sold it to me), because I was moving and needed the money.

In '07, I ordered my current 15" truss dob from Discovery, and got it 4 months later. Again, phenomenal optics, and the rest of the 'scope is very nicely put together. When I went to pick up the 'scope in January '08, I got to see the facility that Discovery makes their 'scopes in. Very nice, lots of equipment and 'scope parts in various stages of being built.

So (at least as of '08) the product that Discovery provides is very good. As others have said, their customer service leaves a lot to be desired. But I'd rather have *BLEEP* customer service and good products than good customer service with mediocre products, IMO!


Valid point. Good to see the optics were excellent in both scopes, as the mirrors likely came from different sources.

#25 MRNUTTY

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:28 PM

I bought the 17.5 inch this year, it took 6 months. It's the split tube model. Bought it direct from Discovery. No problems!






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