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Beat up Astrotrac

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#1 Tori

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:44 PM

I ordered an Astrotrac travel system, as it looked to meet my needs perfectly.

I received it and it was missing parts and looked like someone had put it together, dropped it down the stairs, and sent it back without a few parts and without one of the instruction booklets.

So I talked with the vendor I bought it from, sent it back and they sent me another one which I received today.

This one has all the parts, but it too looks like it was dropped. The magnetic ring that holds the polar alignment scope on has come unglued and is not attached to the alignment scope, and there are several minor gashes in the various metal bits.

The vendor I bought from is *very* reputable and everyone here knows them. I'm sure it's not in any way their fault. I'm quite sure they'd take it back, but I don't want to try for a third one, I'm going to keep this one.

But I'm curious if others have had this problem with the travel system?

Thanks,
Tori

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#2 Tori

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:45 PM

Minor dents:

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#3 Tori

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:45 PM

more dents:

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#4 Tori

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:45 PM

And another:

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#5 Zamboni

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:48 PM

I would contact the manufacturer and find out why they're sending repackaged used / refurbished scopes to dealers and calling them "new." There's no way that can be sold as a new mount and someone along the supply line is jerking you around.

#6 Dave M

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:02 PM

I would send that back, get a refund and buy from another dealer, theres no excuse for it, they should have inspected this one before sending it..

#7 Mkofski

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:13 PM

Even the best vendor can have a bad item go out. They could have (should have)inspected the second one before shipping it to you. Hopefully, if you get this one replace, the third time will be the charm.

#8 orlyandico

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:14 PM

well there goes my idea of buying one...

considering how much they charge for it and their lavish claims of "manufactured with loving care by highly skilled engineers" i would be nuts to buy something with so many dings.

#9 chboss

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 12:09 AM

Quite surprised to see such bad QC on this product since it is rather high priced.
Usually the dealers do not unpack and check such items, since mechanical parts like this, should be in perfect condition when arriving from the factory.
It is important to inform the dealer and even try to contact the manufacturer so he can review is QC process!

best regards
Chris

#10 crazyqban

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 12:28 AM

Send it back, doesn't look right. Looks like a previously used item.

#11 core

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 01:01 AM

My used travel system shows none of the nicks and gashes in you pictures - system is about +1 yrs old.

#12 bilgebay

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 01:34 AM

This is what me and my friend went through last NEAF too. I will try to post a photo later in the day if I can find it on my work computer.

I received my set of Astrotrac, wedge and the equatorial head from Farah (Woodland Hills) on the first day of NEAF. When I came to my hotel room in the evening, I have started playing with the stuff I received that day and noticed some dings and dents on the equatorial head. Also the DEC tightening screw head, the big circle, was kind of sloppy as if it was dropped.

Of course, next morning I took the equatorial head to the show to ask for a replacement. Woodland Hills booth wasn't open yet but the Astrotrac booth was and Richard , the owner of Astrotrac, was there too. When I mentioned my problem to him he suddenly started overreacting and blaming me and Woodland Hills for the damage. I stopped talking to him as I haven't purchased the product directly from him. I believe I was more than naive and expected him to lovingly care for his product and do something about my problem. After all, I have done my part, paid a lot of money for such a small piece and naturally was expecting to receive a product in brand new condition. Please allow me to drop it and damage it myself!

I waited for Farah to arrive. Explained her my problem. As always, she took care of it immediately. She arranged for the demo unit on the Astrotrac stand to be delivered to me after the show ended. She personally dropped the TH3010 equatorial head to the front desk of my hotel.

The head was a different one for sure. The sloppy thumbscrew and the markings on the RA shaft (these were caused by tightening the RA clutch screw, the little brass tip was displaced during the demo assembly by WH I believe) were gone. But the marking on the body, right beneath the big wheel, was exactly at the same position. This left me puzzled (but there was nothing else to do).....until we come together with my friend Ozzy 2 months later.

He was with me during NEAF and had picked up a complete Astrotac travel kit from OPT. In June, he asked my help to try and test the kit. When we unpacked his set, we noticed an exact replica of that very mark on his equatorial head too. This led us to conclude that this should be something to do with Richard's production method. He should be knowing about this and he shouldn't have tried to put the blame on me or his business partners.

If you consider the amount of money we spent on this system, I think you can conclude none of us is deserving this poor execution. I guess more loving care is needed.

Overall, I find Astrotrac very useful and precise. Astrotrac itself is very well executed. However, I cannot say the same for the Wedge and the TH3010 head. There is great room for improvement on those two items.

#13 Tori

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 05:49 AM

The marks on mine weren't identical, but *very* similar. I had marks on both dec screws, but the first one looked dropped (the screw was bent too). The first one had marks on the counterweights, the second one didn't. The first one was missing several screws and the instruction booklet for the wedge, the second one has all the screws.

Here's the photos from the first one.

I can't imagine where the problem is. I'd almost say after they produce the various components they're tossed in a bin full of that component without wrapping. But that's pure speculation.

I don't know. But hearing that one from Woodland Hills had the same problem as mine tells me it's not the vendor's fault but rather the manufacturer's.

Mine were from OPT and their response has been prompt and fantastic, I have no complaints whatsoever about OPT.

Ugh. It's almost a great product but the QC is clearly dreadful. If they would fix the quality and change out the screws they use to connect the components it really would be a perfect little product.

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#14 jmiele

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 07:53 AM

Tori, You should not have to accept that. And this has been becoming commonplace fro OPT. I have had the same experience with seemingly used - or damaged gear . I would return it and buy from someone else..

Joe

#15 PGW Steve

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:53 AM

I've got the AT travel system and it showed up mint, even though I accumulated all of the bits and pieces over a period of time from multiple vendors.
Most of the problems begin with the manufacturer in that they don't pack things properly, then they show up at the distributor with damage and sit on a shelf, to get forwarded on to you.
When I bought my Coronado 90mm, it showed up in the sealed factory box with lame packaging and a damaged case, Coronado/Meade spent about $1 on foam to protect a $6700 scope. Had they spent another $4 it would have been properly protected.
Now considering that two have gone out with issues, I would demand that they open and inspect anything they are going to ship you, repackage it PROPERLY and next day air it out. Then the distributor can take it up with the manufacturer.

#16 EFT

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:28 AM

Tori,

It looks like the dings are painted over. Is that the case?

#17 tim57064

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:42 AM

There is no acceptable excuse for an item like that or any item you may receive to be in that condition when it is suppose to be new.I would send it back even if it is for the third time and ask for a refund. Take your business elsewhere. No excuses.

#18 Tori

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:11 AM

Tori,

It looks like the dings are painted over. Is that the case?


I really can't tell. I'm not a metals girl. While some parts are clearly CNC'd, the parts with the marks have a kind of eggshell finish... not the smooth grooved CNC appearance - is that finish due to paint or from being anodized? or are they cast? I have no idea. At any rate, in the dents is the same gritty/sandy kind of finish as on the outside. If they were anodized or painted before being dented, would it flake off? If so and if the finish is painted or anodized then it was dented before that process.

#19 EFT

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:17 AM

That sounds like it might be a casting (i.e., manufacturing) problem rather than later damage in that case.

#20 PGW Steve

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:49 AM

All of the AT stuff I have, the aluminum has been glass bead blasted, there is no paint and doesn't appear to be anodized either. The Astrotrac stuff is all very nicely machined, no castings.

Tori, I know you are heading to AZ for some darker skies and were no doubt counting on having this set up there, consider this. If OPT is out of stock, or can't get you replacement items in time, use what you have. The dings are primarily cosmetic, some of the mating surfaces (wedge) could use a quick hit with a fine file. Does the wheel that locks the 'dec axis' still rotate fully and lock the shaft? I think the key thing is to make sure your trip isn't comprimised, and then sort out the fact that you deserve pristine product. Maybe at the ASAE show which is after the Mt. Lemmon workshop, you can get stuff swapped out with OPT or AT, and you still have had four potential nights with your camera.

#21 bilgebay

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:07 PM

There is a consistency in the problems :) So it should be easy to avoid them if they wanted to.

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#22 Tori

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:08 PM

Thank you everyone!

OPT is going to take care of me. I'm going to be keeping what I have - it works right now (except the PA scope) until I get replacements (which are being checked out before they ship) and once I have them I'll send the banged up parts back.

Yes, Steve, it's important to me that I have it in working order for AZ, which is why I want to keep this working one and why I was about to settle for banged up instead of insisting on pristine.

I'm really saddened, though, to hear that others have had similar issues. The product is physically gorgeous and looks and feels so well engineered - that so many go out with physical scars is sad.

#23 Tori

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:24 PM

There is a consistency in the problems :) So it should be easy to avoid them if they wanted to.


I wonder if the one I first received WAS the first mount you had, recycled by AstroTrac? Perhaps that is the problem!

#24 Dave M

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 06:11 PM

Tori
Glad to see OPT is taking care of you on this, they are a top rate outfit..

#25 Midnight Dan

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:26 PM

... the parts with the marks have a kind of eggshell finish... not the smooth grooved CNC appearance ... in the dents is the same gritty/sandy kind of finish as on the outside.


That eggshell finish is part of the manufacturing process ... probably bead-blasted. But however it was applied, if the dents have the same finish then they definitely occurred before that finishing step. So these were NOT caused by being dropped after they were shipped to the distributor.

-Dan






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