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having problems and not impressed with binoviewer

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#1 nemesis256

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:53 PM

I recently started using binoviewers from Siebert Optics. I've been testing with Jupiter, M42, some open clusters, as well as the sun with h alpha viewing. In all cases, I've been having problems with getting the focus (diopter) correct and merging the images. And when I do get a decent view, it's still not that impressive. It just doesn't seem as sharp as it should be, and the diopter adjustment is way too subtle, making it difficult to find the right spot.

Is there also a trick to making images merge? Changing the distance between the two eyes helps, but this is also difficult to find the right positioning. Once in a while the image doesn't merge vertically, which I have no idea how to fix.

Any hints?

#2 avenger

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:18 PM

Why not call Harry and let him know what's going on with the binoviewer. He will take care of it even if you bought it second hand.

#3 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:55 AM

I'm increasingly inclined to think that all binoviewers should be supplied with a comparator for the checking of collimation. The number of threads posted here in which difficulty with image merging is mentioned is just plain alarming. Are binoviewers often shipped as defective, or are many customers simply not capable of using them properly? A device which could unambiguously differentiate between the two cases would be useful...

In this specific case, might I ask what focal length eyepiece is being used? Binoviewer mis-collimation scales linearly as the inverse of the eyepiece focal length. Halve the eyepiece focal length, and the image divergence doubles.

#4 Jawaid I. Abbasi

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 05:53 AM

I definitely agree with Glenn. Also, make sure that IPD sets properly and test with "Blink test" . Relax your eyes and try to use the smooth barrel eyepieces to see if they fully seated properly.

#5 nemesis256

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:05 AM

I'm using 18mm Meade HD60. I would have liked to use 25mm but the FOV of those are bigger than the 22mm binoviewer allows. I wasn't able to see the hard edge of the eyepiece with the 25mm.

#6 johnnyha

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 07:29 AM

Try rotating the eyepieces to find better collimation. Give it a little time, experiment some more - it could definitely be worth it - if you do get them to work binoviewers are truly amazing. Siebert guarantees collimation so you can always send them back to Harry for inspection.

#7 mich_al

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:12 AM

The merging issue is one of the things that, so far, has kept me from buying a set of binoviewers. I have one eye that is much weaker than the other (20/200). All is well with binoculars but binoviewers is an unknown and spending $800-$1600 to find out is unappealing.

#8 Eddgie

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:20 AM

Can I ask you about your configuration?

What kind of scope, what kind of diagonal?

Here is what I do.

First, I turn the diopters all the way in and insert the eyepeices to ensure that they can fully bottom in the eyepeice holder on the binoviewer. This is because if they don't then if you turn the diopter in, the eyepeice can bottom in the barrel and stop moving. You're turning away, but the eyepeice isn't moving anymore.

Assuming that this test does not indicate a problem, the next step is to turn both diopters the same number of turns up, and usually about half way.

In other words, if they have a rotation of 10 full turns, I try to get the both turned almost exactly 5 full turns so they are both as close as possible to being in the center of their range of travel.

The next step is best done during the daytime, but you can do it at night if you wish.

With the telescope aimed at a sharp glint off of a distant car bumber or tail light (the reflectors often make tiny Airy disks) or a star at night, rack your focuser out. If it is an SCT, turn the knob clockwise past best focus.

Now, using the right eye and the right eye only, rack in the focuser very slowly until the right eye comes into as sharp a focus as you can get. Approach slowly. Once you get to the point of best focus, stop. Even if you go very slightly past this point, just stop. Your eye can accomdate a bit of missed focus if you overshoot by moving the focuser inward (counterclockwise motion in an SCT).

Now, open the left eye and close the right eye, and look at the glint. If it is not in focus, it will be necessary to adjust the left diopter.

But first, loosen the collet and slide the eyepiece out rather than use the diopter. This is just to see if you are inside or outside of focus.

If sliding the eyepeice allows you to reach focus, then put the eyepiece back in and raise it using the collet PAST best focus. Do not approach final focus using outward movement of the focuser knob or clockwise motion of the SCT focuser. Go PAST best focus.

Now, use the diopter to approach fine focus using inward focuser movement, or counter clockwise knob movement of an SCT. Once again, slowly approach best focus, and if you very slightly overshoot, don't worry about it because your eye can accomdate some over-travel.

Now, your diopters are set. When you open both eyes, your eyes should be able to easily visually accomdate a tiny amount of mis-focus if you overshoot from the inward/CCW focuser motion.

If when you slipped the eyepice, it was determined that you were outside of focus, the put it back in and screw the diaopter inward until best focus or a very slight overshoot.

Now, once the diopter is set, you hopefully won't have to mess with it again, but if you do, focus the right side using ONLY the telescope, then using the trick above to quickly determine which way the dipoter needs to go (slipping the eyepiece) and reposition the diopter to get it outside of focus so that when you approach with the diopter for fine focus, you are moving inward or using CCW motion of the SCT knob.

Also, when you put the eyepieces into the barrel, push down on them to ensure they are not canted and are fully seated against the diopter shoulder. If they are not square, they can shift when you tighten the holder so that you don't hit your prefocused position.

And as others mentioned, if you can't merge, check your IPD and try loosening, turning, and re-tightening each eyepiece. But my bet is that the eyepieces are not sitting square. Self Centering dipters are suppose to do this for us, but even in the Mark V, I feel that sometimes it doesn't quite get the eyepiece perfectly aligned.

And a lot of eyepeices today have wierd tapers or undercuts, which again, the self centring is supposed to manage, but I am not so sure.

Again, it would be helpful to know your configuration. If you are using an MCT or SCT with too much back focus, you could be loosing aperture and greatly increasing your magnification, which could cause issues, or you could be just using much higher magnification than you are used to, so that seeing or other factors are influencing the view more.

But focusing can be tedious until you get a method that works for you.

And my feeling is that it is far better to only use the focuser for one eyepeice and match the other eyepeice to the first one using the diopter.

And once you get a method estabilished, you will be able to hit focus quickly.

#9 dcoyle

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 11:29 AM

Hey, Jawaid,

Could you elaborate on how you use the blink test to zone in your binoviewers?

Thanks,

Dan

#10 Jeff B

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:16 PM

Also, watch out for eyepieces with undercuts as they can become cocked relative to each other even in binos with self-centering diopters.

Also, also, there can be eyepiece to eyepiece variation in the mechanical construction of the eyepieces such that the optical train may not be exactly centered in the barrel.

Both can make it difficult to focus and merge images.

#11 nemesis256

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:57 PM

Thanks for the detailed instructions, Eddgie! That's mostly what I was attempting to do, except for sliding out the eyepiece. The difference the diopter makes is so subtle, it still sounds hard to do! Hopefully I'll get a chance tonight to try it out. By the way, when you say "collet" do you mean the ring that tightens the eyepiece?

The binoviewer I got was the $200 model (22mm), apparently slightly better than the cheap chinese models. There's no way to lock the diopter or tightening ring, and even after tightening, the eyepieces can move around a bit. My night time scope is Celestron 6SE, and my solar scope is Solarmax 60 with BF10. Both setups using 18MM Meade HD60 eyepieces.

I called Harry and explained my problems, and he told me that he stopped selling the cheap model I purchased, because too many people were having problems with them. He then tried selling me his $500 model (being able to return the binoviewer I have), which I'm not sure I want to do. I also asked if I could just return it and the corrector lenses for the solar scope, in case I give up on binoviewing, but he basically said no.

Annoying...

#12 bhuloka

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:34 AM

Hi Nemesis256.
I just yesterday had first light with my new Siebert Black Night binoviewers. 5 hours of testing. Again tonight I had 2 hours. No problems whatsoever merging. Good clear views. Easy diopter adjustment. I've never used binos before, but these worked quite easily. So if you do choose to get the better binos, I would guess you'll be satisfied. I got mine with the 1.3x-2.0x-2.7x multimag OCA corrector, and a pair of Siebert Ultra 24 mm eyepieces. I also got the 13 mm ultras. Everything works well in my 16" f/4.5 Dob. I wonder if those 24 mm EP's might help with your problem. They are quite nice; at least as nice as my Explore Scientific 82* EP's. Much lighter weight, too.

#13 Eddgie

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:50 AM

I am very sorry to hear about your problems.

I think though this calls into question whether it is "Binoviewers" that you don't like, or the specific binoviwer you have.

At any rate, I can understand your frustration. No offense against Siebert intended, but this is often the case of small mom and pop kind of vendors. They lack the resources to provide the in depth, no questions asked kind of return polich that larger firms offer.

As to what you should do, I would persue him and ask him "Tune" the parts of the binoviewer that are giving you so much trouble. If he won't return it, perhaps you can prevail upon him to fix it. Maybe it is a simple fix for someone like him.

And if he refuses, then once we have that info (and please be fair) then others can use that information to make their own decisions regarding who to do business with.

The Binoviewer market is not a big market, and Siebert has a niche that I think needs to be served because he provides a lot of innovations, but if he wants to serve that market, then he needs to step up and serve it well.

Ask him to fix them.

#14 avenger

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:10 PM

I am very sorry to hear about your problems.

I think though this calls into question whether it is "Binoviewers" that you don't like, or the specific binoviwer you have.

At any rate, I can understand your frustration. No offense against Siebert intended, but this is often the case of small mom and pop kind of vendors. They lack the resources to provide the in depth, no questions asked kind of return polich that larger firms offer.

As to what you should do, I would persue him and ask him "Tune" the parts of the binoviewer that are giving you so much trouble. If he won't return it, perhaps you can prevail upon him to fix it. Maybe it is a simple fix for someone like him.

And if he refuses, then once we have that info (and please be fair) then others can use that information to make their own decisions regarding who to do business with.

The Binoviewer market is not a big market, and Siebert has a niche that I think needs to be served because he provides a lot of innovations, but if he wants to serve that market, then he needs to step up and serve it well.

Ask him to fix them.


Siebert does give up to 60 days to return the product which in IMO is very good. On Siebert's website, they do give the $200 bino an alignment warranty of 2 years.

#15 Grandpa Jim

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:55 PM

I have found Harry Siebert very nice to work with......although I had to give up my "BN-25" order due to financial issues with the VA, he went out of his way to be helpful and answer any and all of my questions.
He is quite plain about being a "Mom & Pop" operation, and he does take care of his bottom line, but who can blame him?
He is always willing to answer questions and do what he can.

#16 TG

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:57 PM

Why not call Harry and let him know what's going on with the binoviewer. He will take care of it even if you bought it second hand.


His charge is something like $30 to clean/collimate them and $20 ship. Turnaround is a few weeks.

Tanveer.

#17 ErikB

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:11 AM

While the 22 mm units are stated to be "out of stock", his website still retains the information that describes difference between two different 22 mm bino's he used to carry. The first option is a unit with 60 days satisfaction and 2 years alignment guarantee for $199. The second option has 30 days satisfaction guarantee and no alignment guarantee for $149. So the buyer had the option of paying $50 up front for multiple alignments if needed, or pay $50 later for each instance of alignment. I see that as a well disclosed and fair choice. BTW I have his 25 mm unit and it works really well, including with 24mm Pan's and also with short ep's like 7.4 mm Plossl's.

#18 killdabuddha

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:41 AM

So the buyer had the option of paying $50 up front for multiple alignments if needed, or pay $50 later for each instance of alignment. I see that as a well disclosed and fair choice.


Yeah, we like Harry too, and nobody expects him to eat that. And I know yer not suggestin that. What you will get, tho, is the most reasonable and hopeful solution to a case of caveat emptor(?), if you decide you wanna keep them.

#19 nemesis256

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:13 PM

Had another try with binoviewers and DSO observing. Focusing and merging was better this time, but I'm still not impressed. Images are too dim with my 6" scope (plus observing from a white zone) and I think I'm done trying on DSOs. I'll still attempt observing the sun and moon with them, although the forecast is showing clouds until Wednesday, so it may be a while.

#20 Eddgie

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:56 AM

What diagonal are you using?

If you are using a 2" diagonal, your telescope could be working at reduced aperture.

Even with a Baader Maxbright diagonal on my Mark V binoviewers, my C5 is only working at about 122mm.

For SCTs, when a binoviewer is used, the mirror must be moved very far forward.

This causes two things... First, the power is likely much higher than you realize, so the exit pupil is much smaller than you may think.

Next, if the mirror gets to far forward, the baffles may cut into the light cone reduceing the aperture of the scope.

If you want to know how to test for this, let me know.

The binoviewer does indeed cause the image to dim a bit, but it should not be severe. My first binoviewers did cause severe dimming and this is when I figured out that my scope was loosing a lot of aperture.

I changed to a system with a very short light path and it made a huge difference.

So, what kind of diagonal are you useing? And again, if you want to measure the apeture, let me know and I will tell you how to do it.

#21 Eddgie

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:20 AM

My previous post was edited. I had said my C15 was working at reduced aperture.

Should have read my C5. Apologies. Edited to correct.

#22 nemesis256

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:27 AM

The diagonal is the one that came with my 6SE. So it's 1.25 inches

#23 Eddgie

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:37 AM

Ok.

Might still be intereseting to measure the aperture.

There is no doubt that binoviewing dims the image in my own experience, but adjusting for the higher magnification in an SCT, the dimming has not been severe except at high powers (for me)

And I suspect that some of this is the case for you as well. The lowest power you are probably getting is much higher than you are used to working with.

And if you read my post about the 40mm Plossls, you can see that I too regret some of the light loss. I am thinking about changing from 24mm Hyperions to a 28mm Pentax XL set to try to get a little brightness back.

Or maybe a pair of 32mm Plossls.

If you are using wide field eyepeices, try picking up the cheapest, lowest power plossl pair you can use with the clear aperture you have in the Binos to get some of the brightness back.

#24 orion61

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:11 PM

I'm increasingly inclined to think that all binoviewers should be supplied with a comparator for the checking of collimation. The number of threads posted here in which difficulty with image merging is mentioned is just plain alarming. Are binoviewers often shipped as defective, or are many customers simply not capable of using them properly? A device which could unambiguously differentiate between the two cases would be useful...

In this specific case, might I ask what focal length eyepiece is being used? Binoviewer mis-collimation scales linearly as the inverse of the eyepiece focal length. Halve the eyepiece focal length, and the image divergence doubles.

AMEN and Plus 1 for that Glen.
There are few of us with perfect Ocular Alignment, the majority have at least some Esophoria Exophoria \Esotrophia, or Esotrophia.
In extreme instances the common term people use is a
"Cast eye"
I sold a brand new Binoviewer and had nothing but complaints about it untill I bought it back. I still have it and it works perfectly.
Some of the less expensive models are good at one interocular distance and off at a larger or smaller one.
Then we have to figure in for the eyepieces and how close to optical center they were made to. I have seen up to 1 Diopter difference.
I wish they would make Binoviewers with a small adjustment on one eye built in to tweek it to individuals. Upown In/Out

#25 nemesis256

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

Might still be intereseting to measure the aperture.

How would I do that? Is it complicated?






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