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The usual ones. Age and price

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#1 roy26

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:58 AM

Hi, You guys must get fed up with us tyros. I posted on another board re buying a Questar (having missed this forum)!
I am UK based (Scotland)and prices here seem to be, generally, much higher than in the USA.
Well, here goes anyway:
(A)a no case Field model No:F-4300-BB; 24mm EP, at around $1000 or (B) a Birder model No: F-5392-BB-F-X with case; 32mm EP and a Tripod of some kind at $3300. I figure on offering $1400/$1500. Figures are given in $ rather than £.
What is a Takahashi Sky 90 with Extender Q, and clamshell worth against a Questar?
Any advice would be welcome, thanks.
I have added a few pictures.

#2 Mike E.

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 08:44 PM

By the current exchange rate, I figure I pay roughly 30% more here in the UK for the same items as purchased in the US.
Some things to consider.
If you are going to purchase an older Questar, it will most likely still use mains power rather than a 9 volt battery, so your setup will be limited to the legnth of your extension cord; and you will also need a transformer. Scopes equiped with the 9 volt Powerguide drive will give you the freedom to use the scope anywhere in the world.
Check to make sure that the adjustable leg for the scope you are interested in has enough latitude adjustment for where you expect to use it.
Some models do not come with a fork mount, make sure you know what your buying; that bargin price may not be a bargin after all ???

#3 Erik Bakker

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:40 AM

The greatest charm of the little Q is that of a portable observatory.
It comes in 2 versions: the Questar Standard, or if you prefer, the Duplex.

The field models/birders are not nearly as nice/special a scope to use as the fork mounted versions.
If you imply you already have a Tak Sky90 and consider trading it fo a fieldmodel or birder, I suggest you keep the Tak for its versatility. Especially at the prices you mention.

A Questar Standard is everything that makes a Questar so special. You can buy them used in Europe for around € 2.500. APM sometimes has one. The Powerguide option gives you even more freedom and is a great accessory. But I even used my Questar 7 frequently without power and just used the super smooth hand controls.
You could also buy a Q in the US and import it yourself. Shipping is around € 100 and import duties + VAT are around 28% combined. Well worth it from a reputable seller.

#4 roy26

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 04:55 AM

Thank you gentlemen, that information was most welcome. To be honest, I have spent so much time recently researching Questars that my head is fit to bust. It's really about money. Why they are so expensive over here is beyond me, apart from the shipping and maybe the relative absence of choice. Maybe the answer is a newer one from the states as Erik suggested. I shy away from the older models because of the possibility of mirror coating decay and the newer ones have more longevity.
The Tak with the Q-extender does give a sharp image; would a Questar be any better?

#5 Erik Bakker

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 05:25 AM

The Tak with the Q-extender does give a sharp image; would a Questar be any better?

No.

The older Questars wit intact coatings (easily visible) are superb, with possibly even finer optics than the newer ones. As soon as the edges of the primary start to look brownish/tarnished/funny, you know that the coatings are starting to reach the end of their service life, although they will still have a few more years up their sleeves.

#6 roy26

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:42 AM

Thank you Erik, that was a useful piece of information. I had a couple of rums last night to clear my head. Ha! I will probably keep the Tak and maybe, just maybe, a right priced Q will come along. As my mum used to say "What's for ye will no gaun by ye."

#7 Panotaker

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 07:57 AM

I got news for you, used Questars are not exactly cheap over here either. I own a Questar birder. The fast focus on it takes some getting used to, especially if you are going to use it for astronomy. There is no slow motion focus movement, you either nail the focus, or it is out of focus. So I would get a regular field model or a standard, unless you are going to use it strictly for birding.

#8 Mike E.

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 09:54 AM

Hi Roy,

If you do consider an older Questar, here is a source for a reasonably priced mains Transformer.

www.newmarket-transformers.co.uk

#9 roy26

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 10:45 AM

Thank you again Mike, good to know,and thank you too Panotaker for that bit of info, I hadn't appreciated the focusing issue. Puts a different slant on it. I have to say that I really appreciate all this as it informs my thinking re usage. I am hoping to stick an DSLR on the end for terrestrial and astro photography.
Roy

#10 Giorgos

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 01:24 PM

If you are going to purchase an older Questar, it will most likely still use mains power rather than a 9 volt battery, so your setup will be limited to the legnth of your extension cord; and you will also need a transformer

A better option would be to buy a cheap 12V DC to 110V/60Hz AC inverter on ebay and use your telescope with a 12V battery (car battery for example) either at home or in the outdoors.
PS I envy you Questar owners I dream some day I can afford one myself! :)

#11 Michael Lomb

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 03:59 PM

I should mention that if you purchase a Questar from the US to use it in the UK and plan on using the mains power supply, it is a simple and inexpensive option just to buy a new 220 volt 50 HZ motor and install this yourself. The motor costs $45.oo vs the Powerequide II at $450.oo (which is not user replaceable).

#12 Mike E.

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 11:29 AM

I should mention that if you purchase a Questar from the US to use it in the UK and plan on using the mains power supply, it is a simple and inexpensive option just to buy a new 220 volt 50 HZ motor and install this yourself. The motor costs $45.oo vs the Powerequide II at $450.oo (which is not user replaceable).


This is good to know, I wasn't aware of this option. Would you be able to tell us of a source,
and perhap a motor model number ?

Thanks.

#13 Michael Lomb

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 09:42 PM

The motors have not changed since the 1950s. You can order them directly from Company Seven or Questar. Just say you need a 220 volt 50 hz motor.

Company Seven had them run 24 hours a day for about two years and they never stopped working. They unplugged it after that. Changing voltages with a transformer is a clumsy way to do this, and the frequency will be wrong anyway. This will affect the speed of rotation. You will need to ask for a new power cord, the two pin plug of the motor has changed from non-polarized to polarized, meaning they only go on one way. You will still need an adapter for the US two prong plugs to the three prong UK power points.

You need to unscrew the bottom plate, and remove the old motor with two aluminium screws. You need to rock the gears back and forth when inserting the motor to make sure they mesh and don’t jam.

#14 Mike E.

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 03:35 AM

I learn something new every day.

Thank You. :)

#15 R Botero

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 06:32 AM

Unfortunately the motors are not $45. They are very good though. The one in my 1960 Standard runs of a transformer no problem.
I ordered a 220VAC for my new (1991) Duplex from Questar a couple of months ago and it was $120 plus P&P and import duties into the UK. One can find a step-down transformer with frequency regulation which may be cheaper. Or an inventer.
Roberto

#16 Michael Lomb

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 06:32 AM

It will be obvious when you enquire, but you also need to specify which hemisphere the motor will be used as the direction or rotation differs. My 220 volt 50 hz motor is for the southern  hemisphere and will be of no use in the UK . If you are just observing with low power you do not need the clock drive at all as the manual right ascension control works so well. There is no need to be hands off when observing as the equatorial mount does not behave like tuning fork. You need a solid tripod or the tripod will act like a tuning fork. Picnic tables shake more than you would think. 

The clock drive is more useful at high power, double stars, planets and close ups of the moon. Low power is more for open clusters. You will need a the right ascension motor running to make the most of the setting circles. There is no point in using the clock drive at all if you are not going to set up the telescope in equatorial alignment. If the alignment is perfect the object should stay centred for hours. In practice this is hard to achieve. The motor is almost totally silent, in fact I can not hear it at all. 

#17 Michael Lomb

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 06:42 AM

I just checked the invoice from Company Seven from 2011. They charged me $40.oo for the motor. Perhaps this was a discounted price the scope was fully serviced.

#18 R Botero

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 07:21 AM

That was a great price Michael! I didn't have my scope over to Questar. Just ordered the motor alongside other replacement parts for the older Standard. I would be surprised if the motor cannot be sourced directly from the manufacturer or if there is not an equivalent one for slightly less.
Roberto

#19 planetmalc

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 11:42 AM

Thank you Erik, that was a useful piece of information. I had a couple of rums last night to clear my head. Ha! I will probably keep the Tak and maybe, just maybe, a right priced Q will come along. As my mum used to say "What's for ye will no gaun by ye."


Keep the Tak, it's more versatile; you'll really miss those low-power views.

#20 roy26

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:32 PM

Well, I bought one; Field model; took a picture through it as well. Must admit it was small but, perfectly formed. Took a few moments to come to terms with the focusing but eventually twigged what was to be done, then read the manual! I intend to use it for photography and a bit of planetary and lunar viewing. The 3 phase magnification is pretty nifty and is a great idea. The magnification appears to be better a the highest setting than my Tak 90 but not massively. I have only used it looking across to the hills but it bodes well for taking out and about.

As is the rule when a new scope arrives, we had rain for the first time in weeks.

#21 Mike E.

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 05:24 PM

Enjoy :)

Here in the UK, the rain never seems to end.

#22 roy26

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 08:37 AM

I managed to screw up the the diopter focuser when trying to unstick it. It happened to jam when I was focusing the finder; it just seemed to fuse. With the help of a big brawny guy we managed to get it moving again; it stuck again later and we were unable to shift it. We bent the very thin adapter tube, so I am now waiting for a new one from Company7. There was another thread from a guy with a similar problem, so it wasn't just me. Are the tolerances so fine that surfaces can weld themselves together? Bear in mind that I did not tighten the finder focus down hard. I propose to introduce some teflon oil in it when the new one arrives.
By the way, my wife thinks its a big improvement on the SPC8 and the vixen GEM mount and tripod. We had a good look at the moon before cloudy skies and the image was very sharp. I had the Q on a piggyback mount on the SPC8 and could go from one scope to the other. Surprisingly, I felt that the Q was very well able to hold its own in respect of detail. I may have to get a Classic!

#23 EddWen

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:45 PM

I wouldn't use an oil, teflon or otherwise, unless I knew it would not out-gas or migrate.

I use DuPont Krytox 240AC grease. Pricey but worth it and a little goes a long way.

#24 roy26

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 12:30 PM

I took the Q out to look at some ospreys which nest not far from me and all who had a look were impressed, even the warden of the area. He reckoned he could read the ring markings. I could see the ring but not the letters. This was around 500m plus on a day with heat shimmer.

I got a view of Saturn too the other night and it was very sharp although small and the lunar landscape is also very sharp. I did a side by side with my SC8 which is a good scope and... As it is written "The scope you use most is the best one for you." I do seem to be using the smaller one more.When I get round to building a small observatory (hopefully)I will keep the big one set up. Bottom line is that it is really handy to be able to put it up so easily I guess I'm sold on the Q and will now try to get a 3.5 standard for astro use.Thanks to all posters. That's all folks.






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