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New For Me XX14I

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#1 Dhellis59

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:15 PM

Guess what I did? I sold my Sky Watcher 10 Truss Dob. Yep, put it n CN Thursday night and by Friday it was sold. Monday it was enroute to it's new owner.

Yeah, a xx14i is it's replacement. Bought it from a local guy who advertised it in Sept on Craigslist. I kept his info, and followed up with him last week just in case. He responded on Thursday, and by Friday night it was in my garage.

God is in the prayer answering business, isn't He? He knows that this hobby keeps me gainfully active. Not an easy task for one of his lambs that has been known to stray from the herd now and then. But He has kept me. I say these things not because of all that He has blessed me with, but because of all the Grace and Mercy He has shown me over the years. I know some of you know what I am talking about.

Anyways, I got her out for the first time last night. Seeing was the best its been in a while. But I could not get it collimated because one of the primary collimation knobs was missing. I actually hand manipulated the secondary to get it as close as I could and just took it out to the driveway because I couldn't stand it anymore. I also have a new Meade 30mm uwa that I had not even looked through either.

Between the two of them I was immediately blown away. I saw things from my driveway last night that I have not seen from my driveway since getting into this hobby in June! I saw more stars and star clusters east of Orion than I knew were up there! As I marveled at this I then realized that I did not even have the shroud on, and I was positioned under the street light at the end of my driveway. I set up there because I wanted to view Orion which quickly descends below the tree line behind my house which is to the west but I was too late.

I later moved closer to the house, and as I was looking towards Ursa Major I found M81 and it's companion, M82. I was able to get closer looks with the 24mm uwa and the ES82 18mm as well. However, the grotesque lack of a good collimation prevented me from getting a good focus with the 9mm. I was pysched though because I had only seen M81 and M82 once before on a night of good seeing as well. After that I called it a night.

I figured out a fix for the collimation knob. It seems on the Orion xx14i and 12, they use a reverse collimation stud and knob combo. That is the knob is female, and the stud of course is male, but it's head is behind the mirror with the threaded end facing out. The knob which has a slim down section so it fits through the hole in the mirror cell barely, screws onto the stud. And, Orion won't sell it to people who buy used scopes! Anyways, I was anxious for nothing and through prayer and supplication let my requests be known of God, and he gave me the idea that instead of looking for a replacement of the weird shaped knob, just take the mirror out and replace the more common stud. Guess what? You know it; it worked!

And since I had the mirror out, I gave it and the secondary a good bath in warm soapy water with a touch of Alcohol per the original instructions.

I hadn't tried to recollimate it yet. I figured I'd give it a break tonight. I'd about wore myself out these past few days selling and buying telescopes and stuff. But I am a happy camper. Besides, the clouds came back. They not only show up for new astro gear but for clean cars too. I happened to get a car wash today.

Clear Skies Ya'll,

Darryl

#2 David Knisely

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:34 PM

Just be careful about the two PC boards that hold the sockets for the Intelliscope cables. They are not well protected and can easily be broken either when transporting the side boards of the rocker box or when putting the OTA into the mount. I broke mine and I can no longer fix it with superglue, so I guess I will just have to fall back on my regular star-hopping (which I have done successfully for decades anyway). Good luck and clear skies to you.

#3 Dhellis59

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:47 PM

Thanks for the advice, David. The former owner warned me about that as well. But, my goodness, how can you with this behemoth?

I am used to being able to move my former scope around in one piece using my collapsible hand truck, but no way with the xx14i. I have to separate the OTA from the base which necessitates picking it up twice each move.

Needless to say, it won't get moved around much!

Oh yeah, I haven't even used the intelliscope function yet except only to check and see if it worked. It does from what I can tell, but first I have to get it collimated and then get the finderscope aligned.

I am seriously in the elementary stages of ownership of this monster...and loving it.

All the best...

#4 Project Galileo

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:49 PM

Congrats on your new telescope. You are going to love it!

#5 Dhellis59

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 12:41 PM

Thanks Project Galileo. Looks like you can appreciate the move up to a large aperture scope or two.

#6 FirstSight

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 02:00 PM

Just be careful about the two PC boards that hold the sockets for the Intelliscope cables. They are not well protected and can easily be broken either when transporting the side boards of the rocker box or when putting the OTA into the mount. I broke mine and I can no longer fix it with superglue, so I guess I will just have to fall back on my regular star-hopping (which I have done successfully for decades anyway). Good luck and clear skies to you.


David:

You're an original owner, and Orion will sell replacement connector circuit board parts at reasonable prices. They'll gladly take your order over the telephone. I had to replace the broken female connector on the base where the COL wire plugs into, as well as replacing both my azimuth and altitude encoder at one time or another.

#7 Paraclete

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 03:04 PM

Thanks for the enjoyable report! Congratulations on your many blessings...

#8 David Knisely

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 04:45 PM

Just be careful about the two PC boards that hold the sockets for the Intelliscope cables. They are not well protected and can easily be broken either when transporting the side boards of the rocker box or when putting the OTA into the mount. I broke mine and I can no longer fix it with superglue, so I guess I will just have to fall back on my regular star-hopping (which I have done successfully for decades anyway). Good luck and clear skies to you.


David:

You're an original owner, and Orion will sell replacement connector circuit board parts at reasonable prices. They'll gladly take your order over the telephone. I had to replace the broken female connector on the base where the COL wire plugs into, as well as replacing both my azimuth and altitude encoder at one time or another.


I am not a fan of Orion anymore. While their stuff is affordable, their design people just seem to be making too many bone-headed mistakes lately. I have a real problem with the design and placement of that board. The board with the top surface-mounted phone jacks is exposed as it *never* should be in good electronic design. These phone jacks were never designed to be used in the "stand alone" way for repeated connection and disconnection, as even a slight hit from any object during assembly or dissassembly will knock the plastic housing off of the PC board, bending the socket wires and potentially breaking the connections. It wouldn't have been so bad if the board had been out of the way and the cables never (or infrequently) disconnected during regular use, but they have to be messed with every time you set the scope up. I did manage to finally pull the board and repair the housing by gluing it, as it was the azimuth jack that had been knocked out of the board (I had earlier repaired the altitude jack that had been damaged before). However, Orion should have put glue in each of the holes in the board to at least make the phone jack's housing stayed-put. They did not. It is a simple thing, but one which they apparently didn't feel they should do. In addition, this board with the exposed phone jacks needed to be in a location where it would not be potentially hit by other objects or when the rocker box is disassembled and stored for transport. They put the external jack in a hole in the wood behind the PC board to protect it, but they failed to protect the jacks on the board itself. At the bare minimum, the board should have been placed inside of a thick metal or plastic housing or under a shield to protect it from objects striking the connector jacks or the board itself. This is a serious design flaw which makes me consider just taking off all the encoders, boards, and cables and just "going bare". When it did work, the silly thing often couldn't get the scope pointed within half a degree (or worse) of its target anyway (my NexStar 9.25 easily gets within 15 arc minutes of whatever target it goes to and can even do better than that much of the time). The Intelliscope's horrid green backlit display is also a nuisance when it comes to staying dark adapted (as is the limited 9V battery inside, which doesn't like cold). It also flashes its "warp" number a little too fast to be read easily. Orion presumably did the design work for this telescope, but once again, as with other aspects of the XX14i, whoever did that work wasn't thinking all that clearly. Electronics need to be protected, and this simply was not done. Even if I bother to order another board, there is no guarantee that it won't be hit again (unless I retrofit a cover for it or move it to a more protected location). I shouldn't have to do Orion's design work for them, as I am not a paid beta tester. Clear skies to you.

#9 Aeryck

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:57 PM

Congrats on the scope! I'm planning on getting the very same on in the next few weeks. I was looking at it for some possible AP uses but that seems totally out of the question unless it's done afocally. I'm eager to hear more of your thoughts as you use the scope more and my day gets closer. I used to own an Orion 12" dob in the 90's and now own an 8" so am ready for the larger mirror again. Big difference!

#10 Scott in NC

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:09 PM

Very nice, Darryl--congrats on the new scope! :)

#11 mark379

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 10:16 AM

Congrats on the 14! They really shine at dark sites!
One of my best purchases too!
Best
Mark

#12 Dhellis59

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 12:55 PM

Thanks for the well wishes and advice everyone. Much appreciated. I finally got it collimated but of course nothing but clouds and rainy skies until last night. A quick look in the driveway showed good views.

However I discovered that my altitude sensor for the intelliscope is not working. No biggie, I will use my Galaxy Note 2 Skeye app clamped to the top of the scope with a clamp mount until I source a replacement.

I did notice though that I had a real problem with stray light from my personal source of LP, the nuclear powered street light at the end of my driveway. It most bothered me when using the ES100 9mm moreso than my other EPs though. In fact the Meade uwas were impacted much less.

I have to devise some sort of light shield solution like I did for my former scope. The xx14i came with a shroud which helps.

Going to dark skies in North GA tonight. I will report further afterward.

Blessings all,

Darryl

#13 David Knisely

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 01:01 PM

Thanks for the well wishes and advice everyone. Much appreciated. I finally got it collimated but of course nothing but clouds and rainy skies until last night. A quick look in the driveway showed good views.

However I discovered that my altitude sensor for the intelliscope is not working. No biggie, I will use my Galaxy Note 2 Skeye app clamped to the top of the scope with a clamp mount until I source a replacement.

I did notice though that I had a real problem with stray light from my personal source of LP, the nuclear powered street light at the end of my driveway. It most bothered me when using the ES100 9mm moreso than my other EPs though. In fact the Meade uwas were impacted much less.

I have to devise some sort of light shield solution like I did for my former scope. The xx14i came with a shroud which helps.

Going to dark skies in North GA tonight. I will report further afterward.

Blessings all,

Darryl


In the early models, there is a small nylon bushing that has to be present on the locking knob's shaft that goes into the side with the altitude encoder on it. If that is missing (and it isn't held in place at all to begin with), the altitude portion of the Intelliscope will not function, so make sure that is there. Clear skies to you.

#14 donnie3

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:07 PM

david, I know what your talking about in orion design!! I love the simplicity of the intelliscope hand controller. I purchased a solid tube 12" intelli, about a couple years age and the azimuth movement was real bad, I had to order a ebony star kit from scope stuff ( $80) to get it smooth enough for viewing. now they have the ebony kit on their truss design scopes. the least they could do it send you a kit with the solid tube scopes. I sold the scope because at the time I moved into a condo, now ive purchased a home and thinking about buying another 12" intelliscope. would like the purchase another solid tube but I don't wont to go through putting on the ebony ring again so im thinking about the truss. once set up it will not be taken apart because it will be for home use only. I have only one question, it will be on a cart and moved out in my back yard about 15 feet, does the truss poles hold up when moved around like that. will it stay collimated. I never had a truss design scope. thanks, donnie

#15 David Knisely

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 12:39 AM

david, I know what your talking about in orion design!! I love the simplicity of the intelliscope hand controller. I purchased a solid tube 12" intelli, about a couple years age and the azimuth movement was real bad, I had to order a ebony star kit from scope stuff ( $80) to get it smooth enough for viewing. now they have the ebony kit on their truss design scopes. the least they could do it send you a kit with the solid tube scopes. I sold the scope because at the time I moved into a condo, now ive purchased a home and thinking about buying another 12" intelliscope. would like the purchase another solid tube but I don't wont to go through putting on the ebony ring again so im thinking about the truss. once set up it will not be taken apart because it will be for home use only. I have only one question, it will be on a cart and moved out in my back yard about 15 feet, does the truss poles hold up when moved around like that. will it stay collimated. I never had a truss design scope. thanks, donnie


Yes, as long as the primary is properly locked down with the locking bolts tight, the assembled scope holds collimation pretty well. The springs on my XX14i's primary mirror cell are on the weak side, so they have trouble holding the thick primary mirror in-place. I have to keep the locking bolts tight, but otherwise, things hold up pretty well. Clear skies to you.

#16 Dhellis59

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 10:14 AM

The azimuth movement on mine is really stiff. The top baseplate sits directly on the pads of the ground baseplate. The largest ebony star kit Jim at Scopestuff has is 23". My base board is 29". Will the 23 inch kit help, or does anyone know of a better solution?

#17 mark379

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 01:59 PM

I had the same problem. I called Orion and they sent me a replacement straight away. Its apparently a known problem.(they tend to stick sometimes)

#18 cpr1

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 06:45 PM

Hi Dhellis59, If you bought the xx14i secondhand I am not sure Orion can help you. From what others have stated they won't.
I thought the 14 inch orions came with ebony star bottom and teflon already? Could be just dirty or too tight.

If it doesn't have ebonystar on the bottom then a cheaper option would be to contact cement some FRP on the bottom and use at least 1.5 inch teflon pads with a center bolt pad also. I used this on my rebuild and it worked very well. It has smooth motion and no stiction. My scope weighs around 60lbs on the base it's a 12.

I bought my teflon from Astrosystems. They have three different sizes I think. The size you buy is dependent on the weight of your scope. I purchased the center pivot kit for future dsc. But, it helps with the motion too. It supports the center.

The only thing about adding any laminate material, is it may raise the gap between the two boards and may cause issues with the orion dsc. I am not sure about this so someone that has done this already may chime in.

#19 Dhellis59

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 08:50 PM

Thanks Mark 379 and CPR1. I copied a simple solution that others have done some with more success than others. I purchased a 12" lazy susan bearing from a local woodworking supply store. The movement is much smoother and freer now. I am still working on the spacing because the teflon pads were slightly taller than the lazy susan. I just put some small spacers under it, and now the teflon pads are not touching. I may add some felt tips to them to get a little more friction, but it is definitely not jerking when I try to move it like it was before.






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