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SkyProdigy 70 on sale for $299

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#1 Mgauthier

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:30 PM

Not sure where this post should go, but I figured I'd let you people know that the SkyProdigy 70 is on sale for $299 over on telescopes.com. That strikes me as a great price for what it is, and I'd definitely jump on it if I didn't already have my 102SLT. I don't know how long the sale's going to last.

#2 BigC

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:47 AM

The SkyProdigy 70 is also available on Amazon; I just ordered a used one for $171 shipped.Shipping is free IF you allow them to take more time,and the weather here seems like another week could hardly matter!

It was said elsewhere that all the SkyProdigy sets use the same mount,only the OTA varies with the model.Assuming that is correct then this mount will soon be hosting the "OTA du jour" from my collection.

#3 Mgauthier

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:12 PM

That's a fantastic price! Looking at Amazon, a few vendors also have the $300 new price. I wonder if they're going to phase out the 70 or something.

EDIT: I just saw that the used $171 is fulfilled- and apparently quality controlled- by Amazon rather than sold by a random 3rd party. I might have to pick one of these up after all...

#4 BigC

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:37 PM

Thank you for alerting us to the $299 price.

Of course after checking out that ad I ran a search just in case,downloaded Celestron's brochure,looked for online reviews, and finally decided the Amazon -backed used model at a savings of another $100 would suffice!

Although SkyAlign works on the scope I have the idea of just turning on the scope and letting it orient itself is attractive.

#5 BigC

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 02:33 PM

It was just delivered by UPS ,maybe 30 hours after ordering! :) :shocked:
That's service!

#6 Mgauthier

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 03:47 PM

It'd be great to hear your first impressions... assuming the clouds haven't rolled in yet.

#7 BigC

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 10:30 PM

OK,unpacked the scope and everythig seems there and only a few tiny scuff marks on OTA show it is used.

Put the SkyProdigy outside and level,plugged in a power supply, tossed a nylon jacket over it and went back after dark.

Despite some haze it did a successful self-align on the first try although it seemed to "look" at 4,not 3 different patches of sky.Siting was not the best,sitting amongst a garage,storage building,trees and stuff.But quite a bit of high sky visible.

After alignment,selected "Solar System" and it displayed Uranus;hit enter and scope slewed and when I looked there was a blue-green dot in the eyepiece.Not dead center but at least within the middle third of the FOV.It wouldn't show any other planets ;either none were up or the operator needs to learn the controller.

Selected Messier and put in M42,hit enter and there it was ,well-centered.Put in M31 and ,voila!-right there in center of FOV.M51 not so good but 70mm scope and 25mm EP may not be the tools needed to see that.

Switching to "Named Stars" ,Pleiades centered and excellent,Rigel about one-third from center,Pollux and Castor not in FOV,Nor was Betelguese.

I also experimented by laying aside the 70mm f10 and placing the 102GT OTA in the SkyProdigy mount.Took three tries to get a successful align and then seemed to work.But the long 102 tube and relatively short mount was poor for high objects.

Attempted installation of a SCT OTA but the dovetail base of the SkyProdigy has a curved shroud that interfered.The 6" SCT model of the SkyProdigy must have a different dovetail base.

Clouds moved in and ended the session at 10PM.

.

The instruction book is the same for the 70mm f10 refractor,90mmf14 Mak, and 130f5 Newtonian.

Based on my inmitial couple hours I think this is a neat scope,and do not regret the puchase

#8 Mgauthier

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:33 AM

The curved plastic shroud on the SLT mount is removeable via a few small screws here and there to allow other OTA sizes. Is the Skyprodigy's shroud removeable, do you think, or is it part of the mount arm?

#9 BigC

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:55 PM

Anyone who has difficulty or is hesitant because of alignments will love these scopes.I was very pleased with its performance.

Will have to examine the dovetail shroud in the light.After several hours of us both in the cold ,when the clouds moved in the scope was carried inside and left while I got warm!

Even if this one can only take modest diameter refractors-it did accept the 102 OTA- at $171 it is a bargain.I'm actually considering ordering another one!

Any OTA swapped onto the mount should probably be kept relatively short for mechanical reasons.Note the 130mm reflector is very close in overall lengrth to the 70mm refractor and the 90mm Mak is under that length.

Probably any OTA of no more weight than the 6" SCT and not too much longer than the refractor should work on the SkyProdigy mount. The 102mm/1000mm made for awkward viewing position of objects high up and was likely pushing the mechanical limits.

A Meade 102mm f7.7 refractor OTA is much lighter (I don't have one of the Celestron 102GT short f6 OTA to try)and ought to work,although it will need a dovetail.

The scope controller continued to show in alignment during my careful tube swaps but errors in pointing at stars occurred after swapping,so best advice is use the same OTA(if not the original) throughout a viewing session.


Forgetting all that,the SkyProdigy 70 as sold appears to me a very capable model.The original list price was too steep for me .On sale at $299 it is a good deal;at $171 it is a great deal.The mount's capabilty to self-align has much appeal to anyone who doesn't know all those alignment stars by name and is a wonderful addition to the standard goto capabilities.Note that like many goto scopes it must be used with batteries or power adapter.It can be used for daytime land views by just using the direction buttons.For those who want more,and can spend $999(new), I expect the SkyProdigy 6 would be a super beginner and casual stargazer scope.
Note the scopes have gotten mixed reviews so either quality control or reviewer expectations are lacking.

#10 Sorny

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:39 PM

I'm actually interested in the standalone starsense to add to my CPC1100. Not because I think it's too hard to point to polaris and then some other bright star, but just because I like gadgets. That thing is going to go for more than the SkyProdigy 70 package. Unreal.

#11 BigC

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:58 AM

I'm actually interested in the standalone starsense to add to my CPC1100. Not because I think it's too hard to point to polaris and then some other bright star, but just because I like gadgets. That thing is going to go for more than the SkyProdigy 70 package. Unreal.

I noticed that.Except for the price,it seems a neat accessory for all the other Nexstars.

Here is an idea and question:
Cannot a computer program be written or modified to get the pointing co-ordinates from one Nexstar handset and then command another handset to move to and track from those co-ordinates ?

And not just Nexstar but any goto system ?

Can you imagine a trio or quad of 8" SCT scopes simultaneously tracking and imaging ,in three or four different wavelengths , the same object ?

#12 wcstarguy

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:22 PM

Any update on the possibility of removing the shroud on the SProd 70 to allow use of the mount with other optical tubes?

#13 BigC

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:34 PM

Yes, the shroud can be removed .There are three metric hex head socket cap screws ,size 3.0mm .Remove the shroud and the dovetail receptacle will accept any dovetail-mounted scope. But there are obviously limits to the weight and size the mount can handle.Removing the shroud also exposes the elevation gear somewhat although it is recessed about half an inch.

The user might cut out the center of some plastic lid to cover the opening,mostly to prevent stuff getting to the gear.The factory shroud is not itself much protection in that regard;it looks partly cosmetic and partly intended to mechanically stiffen the attachment.Maybe even mostly cosmetic.

#14 BigC

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:40 PM

Note: I tried an 8" SCT because it was handy and dovetailed but the mount felt unstable and overloaded just sitting here.Celestron does sell a 6" SCT version and that is probably as big as you should try on this mount.

#15 nine44

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:40 PM

Anyone know if the CCD camera in this scope serves as a star guider as well? Or just a one time align and then tracking?

#16 BigC

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:37 AM

Anyone know if the CCD camera in this scope serves as a star guider as well? Or just a one time align and then tracking?

That is a very good question.

A CCD camera capable of acquiring star images sufficient to determine its own alignment OUGHT to be capable of then acting as an autoguider.There is no mention of such function in the manual so it is probably an "unimplemented feature".The user can't see or download the images from the mount camera,which is likely because Meade has a patent on that feature.

I suppose someone willing and capable of hacking the hardware and software could add those functions .That would void the warranty and might even violate some software license besides the risk of ending up with an inoperable mount.

#17 Midnight Dan

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:02 AM

Still a couple available at the $170 used price:
http://tinyurl.com/dye5zgo

-Dan

#18 Peter9

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:24 AM

You eyeing another scope Dan? :watching: :thinking:

Regards. Peter.

#19 cyclist7531

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:39 AM

Thanks for the tip on this scope. I just ordered a used one for my grandson off amazon. I've got an extra auto jumpstarter with a 12v acc port that I think will work for him so they won't have to go through gobs of "D" cells.

#20 Midnight Dan

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:55 AM

You eyeing another scope Dan? :watching: :thinking:

Regards. Peter.


:lol: I'm tempted! But it would only be for a lark. With my observatory on the way I have to save my shekels for that. Just like a scope, once you get it there's lots of other things needed to go along with it!

-Dan

#21 BigC

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

Silly me!

I just realized guiding by the built-in mount camera is what Meade's Starloc does;so if that is what one wants,then for now,buying the Meade is how you get it.

The SkyProdigy is still a great bargain for the beginner or casual observer or anyone who just likes letting the scope set itself up.

The SkyProdigy has the usual Nexstar tracking and I think autoguiding can be accomplished through the mount's AUX port or the port on the base of the handset.Of course another camera is needed and a guiding program like PhD.

#22 Widespread

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:39 PM

Someone mentioned that you can perform a SkyAlign with the SkyProdigy.

I assume this means that 2-star auto and 1-star align are also available?

And here I thought the one advantage of my SLT was that I could do 1-star alignments from obstructed my 2nd floor deck!
Ah, well, for me, it's too similar to the SLT to justify buying.

Best,
David

#23 wcstarguy

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:49 PM

I was thinking of getting one of the used ones but with no warranty and the sellers fairly low (lower 90s) ratings decided to go another way...(rather not risk even $170). Still, a great buy if it works out...

#24 Mgauthier

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 05:23 PM

I'm thinking the same thing, David. It would be cool to have in a gadgety sense, but I think I'll put the money towards a new OTA or something.

#25 BigC

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 01:20 AM

Got the warranty card with mine.






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