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#1 Mike in Tampa

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 10:25 PM

I've tinkered with telescopes off an on since I was young but I have never had a decent scope. I was basically doing lunar viewing and on a good night if I was lucky, I could see Saturn (a small dot with a slim line through it). so suffice it to say, my personal scopes had been pretty cheap and *BLEEP* to say the least. now that my daughter is getting older (11) and taking an interest in Science and astronomy, it's piqued my interest again as well.

I started my internet searching a few weeks back and discovered the wonders of the goto scope with gps and having seen all the wonderful things they can do, I intended to start small (Nexstar 4 or 6 se) and maybe one day get myself the CPC800 as a dream scope. But as I was doing all my searching I stumbled across a used (brand new condition less than a year old CPC1100) for a price cheaper than I could have bought the 800 for new and it also included a few extra's that even sweetened the deal more, so I went ahead as I usually do and dove into the deep end which leads me to this post.

as you know this thing is huge so I'm not sure how often I will be taking it out, but I plan to get one of the Stanley tool chests and turn it into a transportation crate as many here have done. my next order of business is that I hope to join a local astronomy club and attend some of the local star gazer events to gain as much 1st hand knowledge and tips as I can. So what kind accessories are crucial? I know I will need a portable battery pack of some sort. is the Celestron pack a good one or are their better/more recommended alternatives out there? also living in Tampa and dealing with high humidity, I think some means to deal with dew is probably a good idea. should I go with a dew strip or would the dew shield suffice. again any dew fighting product recommendations are welcome.

Next on the list of potential additions would be to add or improve upon the eyepieces that came when I bought the scope. I have the celestron 40mm plossl, vixen npl 10mm, and orion edge-on planetary 12.5mm. All are pretty inexpensive eyepieces but would probably be fine for the time being until I get my feet wet a bit more. I would like to be able to view a range of objects, so I cant say at the moment if I will be spending more time looking for planets or DSO's. And when I do start upgrading or adding new eyepieces would it be worthwhile to get into the 2'' eyepieces over the standard 1.25's? A little background that I probably should have started with is that I wear glasses for everything and have astigmatism to boot so I'm not sure if there's a particular brand/model that is more user friendly for viewing while wearing eyeglasses? I have seen the dioptrix option from televise and would probably consider that except that 99% of the time I will be viewing will be with my daughter and wife so swapping the dioptirx on and off would become tiresome. I would like the get some quality eyepeices but not break the bank. I think my max comfort range would be in the $250 or less per eyepiece where I would probably add 1 or two here and there. Considering what I have already listed (40, 10, and 12.5), what focal length would be a good addition for my next eyepiece(s), say one for DSO's and one for planetary viewing?

thanks in advance for any recommendations/suggestions. I've already picked up a lot from reading though the forum the last few days, but I know I have a long way to go.

Mike

#2 Brian Risley

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 11:14 PM

Welcome to CN and the CPC family.
I have observed with the St Pete group up at their site at the Withlacochee Park in Dade City. Not sure exactly where you are in the TB region. You should be able to find a club in your area.
I would say a dew shield and also dew strips if you plan on being out for more than an hour. Almost any of the 'jump start' battery packs that utilize an 18ah or so battery would be good, just follow the charging instructions and recharge after each use. If you can observe with a group, that is the best way to find out what eyepieces work best in your scope with your eyes. Each person has their favorites. It may be good to look at posts over in the eyepiece forum as well.
Brian

#3 Monadnock

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:30 AM

Congrats on the new scope! Before you invest in the Stanley tool chest, search around to see if it'll fit. My 9.25 fits very snugly. Another option is the Scopebuggy or JMI Wheeliebars. I'm still waiting on my Scopebuggy to arrive and when it does, I plan to use my scope a LOT more. While not a nightmare to set up, I think you'll find it gets old quickly. Setting your scope up and having clouds roll in shortly thereafter, despite the weather forecast, is very frustrating. With some sort of dolly system you will simply be able to fire off a few swears at the clouds, and roll her back inside.

I 100% agree with BRisley's comments regarding the dew heater. That was my first upgrade. I use a deep cycle marine battery to power everything. The AC adapter does work but I've read earlier models had issues. Mine actually krapped out yesterday while I was doing a mock alignment in my office.

#4 zippeee

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:24 AM

Apart from the aforementioned dew control hardware and power supply, my best upgrades have been a Telrad and a Feathertouch focuser. You'll be surprised at the detail you can eek out with a 10:1 focus reduction knob.

#5 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:45 AM

The only thing you really need at this point is a jump start battery (WalMart.Advanced Auto etc) AS dew unheated inexpensive dew shield is next on the list and then a Chair ..

I find I only NEED dew heaters here in Maryland no more then 2 or 3 times a year and now that my CPC is pier mounted in my Domed observatory I actually do not even use any form of dew protection...the dome itself seems to do the job ..

Congratulations..

Bob G

#6 MikeBOKC

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:46 AM

An adjustable seat or chair -- these scopes are made for comfortable seated observing.

#7 dragonslayer1

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 11:08 AM

Before you invest in eyepieces, you might want to look at video-photography. I wish I had before I got as much as I did for "viewing". Diagonals, 2", filters, Denkmierer, etc etc. Not pushing anything or dogging anything. I just found for me, that sharing visual is a lot easier off a monitor or laptop. And can second a Jims wheelybar and chair,
Kasey

#8 Mike in Tampa

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 01:46 PM

thanks all for the welcome and recommendations. I am planning to try to attend an upcoming star watch event at the local museum of science and industry where I think they also have a local astronomy club affiliated with them. Since we are currently members at MOSI and they are close by, it would make sense to check out their club and get some 1st hand ideas of what is needed as far as sufficient dew control for the area.



Mike,

I will also double check on the Stanley case but thought there were several 1100 owners who confirmed it fit. Maybe the fit with was with very little to no foam protection, which if that is is case I may keep looking. do you have any photos of your 925 in the Stanley box for comparison?

Zippee,

the feather touch is on my radar of upgrades. do you use the telrad as a replacement to the included spotter scope or in addition to? curious if it can work for all spotting duties.

Kasey,

I'm definitely interested in the video/monitor viewing alternative. It would be an easy way for the whole family to see the same object easily. I'm curious how the over all monitor viewing compares to viewing through a quality eyepiece as far as clarity and perceived size. That, and if it can be done for a reasonable amount of money or would I need a multi $K ccd camera.

Bob,

do you have any larger photo's of your Dome setup? it appears to be elevated iin your avatar but I see much detail.

#9 dragonslayer1

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:20 PM

try this site for info on video or the site in here is good also http://tech.groups.y...lincam/messages
Kasey

#10 zippeee

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 04:17 PM

Zippee,

the feather touch is on my radar of upgrades. do you use the telrad as a replacement to the included spotter scope or in addition to? curious if it can work for all spotting duties.


I also replaced the stock, straight through finder with a RACI one, however I rarely use it. The telrad is all that's needed for finding alignment stars and I don't use a spotter for much else.

#11 A. Viegas

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 04:42 PM

Mike

The key to enjoying the new scope is to use it. Frankly, invest first in what will make it easiest to use. In this regard I think how and where you observe is key. I have gotten back into this hobby just over a year ago and I got a big JMI case and I have yet to take my scope out of my yard. Hence, for me ease of use is very important. The CPC1100 is a big scope you want to have it 'at the ready' as quickly as possible. Hence, if you have a semi-permanent location in your yard, I would say set it up and leave it there with a Telegizmo cover. Otherwise I would strongly suggest getting wheeley bar or scope buggy/scoperollers if you have a level concrete or blacktop observing location and you store your scope in your garage. Maybe if you have plenty of time on your hands these concerns are minor, but if you have maybe 1-2 hr viewing window, especially if you want the kids/family to look, having it all set and ready to go is a very big priority...

Just my 2c

Al

#12 dragonslayer1

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 05:07 PM

I second that, for me one of the best investments was a jim wheelybar, like Al said, need to make it easy to use..
Kasey

#13 Lee.S

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:49 PM

congratulations and welcome,I received my 1100 13 days ago and due to conditions have only 23 hrs of observing.So I really can't advise on extras YET so I get to read the members suggestions .Their advise is always true to fact.Thanks to all


your gonna really like the scope!!

#14 HeyJP

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:17 PM

I had a Celestar 8 for 17 years and just upgraded and bought a CPC 1100 a few months ago. Man, what a scope! It has completely re-invigorated my interest in astronomy and astrophotography. The best suggestion was one of the above... no excuses (except weather), just get out there and observe!! You'll quickly discover for yourself...

- man, I need a comfy chair. (adjustable Denver chair, lurking)
- man, it's a little tough to focus on those saturn moons (need a FeatherTouch)
- man, that 150 million light year galaxy is faint (need a 14 inch scope)

NOT! You'll have a blast with that bad boy.

Jim in Boulder

#15 Lancem

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:04 PM

Congratulations and enjoy the scope. You've made a great choice. I would agree that the Feathertouch focuser, the Telrad, and a good observing chair are excellent upgrades to start with. If you are into apps, you might want to purchase SkySafari and even connect your device to the scope. This really enhanced my observing. Have fun!

#16 jchaller

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 09:43 PM

I'm definitely interested in the video/monitor viewing alternative. It would be an easy way for the whole family to see the same object easily. I'm curious how the over all monitor viewing compares to viewing through a quality eyepiece as far as clarity and perceived size. That, and if it can be done for a reasonable amount of money or would I need a multi $K ccd camera.


If video astronomy is something you want to try, you don't have to spend much for a camera. An inexpensive security camera will do the trick. If it's something you like, then you could step up to something more expensive. You can find pertinent info in the: Video and Electronically Assisted Astronomy forum.

#17 Brian Risley

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:20 AM

Check HD for the Husky case, I believe it has more interior room than the Stanley (I have the Stanley for an 800.) and is actually a little cheaper.
I don't know if the FarrOut group is part of MOSI. They had a sight just a short distance from the Withalocochee site that St Pete uses. I stopped by one time when I was at the St Pete site.
Brian

#18 Monadnock

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 07:15 AM

Mike, no photos of my scope in the case. I only had it in there once last year. IIRC, the length was the dimension that was tight, but I could be wrong. Its currently being used as a storage box for my cameras, eyepiece cases and all my other associated accessories.

I agree with the Telrad and FT focuser suggestions. I have both but have yet to use the FT. While the stock one is usable, there's no doubt in my mind the FT will be far superior.

Keep in mind, if you decide to use some sort of dolly, the Scopebuggy takes a while to get. 4-6 weeks :( I'm on week 3 of the wait and fully expect it to be worth that wait. I have a 17 month old and setup time, or more importantly breakdown time, is VERY important to me.

#19 Mike in Tampa

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:57 AM

Check HD for the Husky case, I believe it has more interior room than the Stanley (I have the Stanley for an 800.) and is actually a little cheaper.
I don't know if the FarrOut group is part of MOSI. They had a sight just a short distance from the Withalocochee site that St Pete uses. I stopped by one time when I was at the St Pete site.
Brian


Brian,

assuming this is the one you are referencing from Home Depot.

Husky case from Home Depot

I will have to stop by and check out the shape of the interior. compared to the Stanley.

Husky appears to be 38x23x23 and Stanley is 37x23x23 so I will have to look at both interiors and see if there's any difference. if not, the Husky looks almost identical in terms of wheels and handle and is a few $$$ cheaper.

As for the group that was part of MOSI, I was referring to the Museum Astronomical Resource Society (MARS) that I thought was associated with MOSI, but you got me to look up the FOO astronomy group and they do look like a nice group to view with. I will have to check them out.

I hope to do most of my viewing at home if the street lights and trees cooperate, but wanted another alternative for some really clear nights or special viewing events. we have family up in the panhandle that has a nice wide open dark back yard and we head up there a few times a year at least, so when I was deciding to purchase a scope, I had their yard in mind. That was until I saw how big this thing is and that hauling it up there may not be so easy since I just sold my truck 6 months ago to get a hybrid. Talk about bad timing on my part. :foreheadslap:

#20 katie

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 09:19 AM

I hope to do most of my viewing at home if the street lights and trees cooperate, but wanted another alternative for some really clear nights or special viewing events. we have family up in the panhandle that has a nice wide open dark back yard and we head up there a few times a year at least, so when I was deciding to purchase a scope, I had their yard in mind. That was until I saw how big this thing is and that hauling it up there may not be so easy since I just sold my truck 6 months ago to get a hybrid. Talk about bad timing on my part. :foreheadslap:


A word of caution.

Do not EVER take that beast to a really dark site. It will ruin you. You will be plagued with the memories of what that scope can do in clear and dark skies.

I am home-bound (Orange Zone) with mine, but when I first got it I bribed hubby, son and a small dog to drag that beast to a dark (Black/Blue Zone)site. What a mistake. Looking through that thing was an OMG moment. Actually, lots of OMG moments.

Don't say you were not warned. You will be forever changed. :grin:

#21 Mike in Tampa

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:15 PM

Katie,

I dont know if your caution is scaring me off or making me look at my finances to see if a new truck can be had so I can easily haul this thing to some dark skies! I'm chomping at the bit to really put her through her paces, but unfortunately since I bought it the other day it's been terrible weather and I've been on call for work and cant risk taking it outside only to be paged to work.

Monday is a holiday so hopefully we have clear skies planned for the area.

#22 iam1ru12

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 03:57 PM

I just picked up my new (to me) CPC 1100 back in April and have had a few nights out with it now the pollen season has died down.

Prior to my CPC 1100, I used a Celestron Celestar 8. Most of my comments will be based on my experience with my Celestar 8 over the past 5 years and trying to get every little bit of performance out of that 8" aperture.

DEW CONTROL:
I always use a dew shield when observing with an SCT. Not only will it delay the formation of dew but it also helps block stray light as well as help protect the corrector for dust, pollen or other items floating around in the air.

After about a year with an SCT and have a few observing sessions cut short due to dew, I decided to go with a more comprehensive solution, a Dew Buster controller with Dew-Not heater strips. What convinced me to go with the Dew Buster was the great reputation for customer service and the ambient temperature sensor that allows the controller to more efficiently heat by only heating up to a few degrees above the ambient temperature. Basically it's a set it and forget it. You will not over heat your corrector which drains your battery quicker as well as deteriorates your view (just like an OTA whose air inside the tube is warmer than the outside air - gives you views like poor seeing).

As for heater strips, I recall hearing that Dew-Not strips we one of the most efficient so that's what I went with. They work great no complaints. If fact the very first accessory I bought for my CPC 1100 was a heater strip for the corrector.

Ever since I've been running my setup as described above (which also ways includes not only be Dew Buster & Dew-Not strips but a dew shield), I have never dewed up even when dobs next to me had their primaries and secondaries dewing up.

COMFORT:
The last thing you what to do is tweak your back from leaning over your eyepiece all night long. An adjustable observing chair will extend your observing sessions, keep you comfortable and arguably improve your observations. It has been postulated that sitting instead of standing when observing is like adding an inch or two of aperture to your scope. The thought is you are much more stable / still and thus are able to observe finer details.

I purchased mine from http://www.buyastros...-frame-page.htm

A buddy of mine also bought one but he managed to mangle the mechanism that allows for multiple adjustments. Now I use my all the time, including all outreach event (so much easier to kids to see through the eyepiece sitting up high on a chair instead of their parents holding them) and it has held up beautifully.

EYEPIECES:
Nothing beats the views you'll get thru Naglers or Ethos eyepieces. However their price tag is quite daunting! One of those eyepieces cost what I spent on my entire set. I went with the Baader Hyperions. They are not quite a wide (only 68 degrees) as the Naglers (at 80) or Ethos (at 100). I've compared theses Televue EPs side by side to the same focal length Hyperions in my telescope and the Televues win hands down. But are they 3, 4 or 5 times better as their price tag would suggest? No way! The Televues are marginally better. If you are the kind of observer that demands perfection for your optics, go with the Televues. If you want improved wider views and better eye relief as compared to Plossls while not breaking the bank, the Hyperions are a solid choice!

I purchased my set (21mm, 13mm, 8mm and 5mm) one by one on the used market over the course of a year. I also bought a new 38mm 72 degree EP from Agena Astro. The price new is about $85 and in our long focal length scopes the views are pretty good. It's been my experience that the outer 10% to 20% is hard to get focused in the same plane as the inner 80%.



TRAVEL CASE:
Around the house I typically use my son's 6" Dob because it is so easy to set up and move around. I have lots of trees around me. However the site my club users is only 15 minutes away so I travel back and forth a lot with my scopes so a case was a must. I picked up the Husky case from Home Depot. The CPC 1100 fits, just barely with some foam on ends. I'll have to post a pic in the case thread here on cloudy nights.

POWER:
I try to go to 3 or 4 star parties a year and many of them do not have power on the field. I need to be able to power my scope and accessories for at least 2 nights of observing before recharging so I needed a portable power solution. Check out some of these home-built options:

http://www.cloudynig...rd=telescope...

Here is my design: http://www.siriusast...ories.htm#power

Well that's my 2 cents worth.

#23 Mike in Tampa

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 06:00 PM

I just picked up my new (to me) CPC 1100 back in April and have had a few nights out with it now the pollen season has died down.

Prior to my CPC 1100, I used a Celestron Celestar 8. Most of my comments will be based on my experience with my Celestar 8 over the past 5 years and trying to get every little bit of performance out of that 8" aperture.

DEW CONTROL:
I always use a dew shield when observing with an SCT. Not only will it delay the formation of dew but it also helps block stray light as well as help protect the corrector for dust, pollen or other items floating around in the air.

After about a year with an SCT and have a few observing sessions cut short due to dew, I decided to go with a more comprehensive solution, a Dew Buster controller with Dew-Not heater strips. What convinced me to go with the Dew Buster was the great reputation for customer service and the ambient temperature sensor that allows the controller to more efficiently heat by only heating up to a few degrees above the ambient temperature. Basically it's a set it and forget it. You will not over heat your corrector which drains your battery quicker as well as deteriorates your view (just like an OTA whose air inside the tube is warmer than the outside air - gives you views like poor seeing).

As for heater strips, I recall hearing that Dew-Not strips we one of the most efficient so that's what I went with. They work great no complaints. If fact the very first accessory I bought for my CPC 1100 was a heater strip for the corrector.

Ever since I've been running my setup as described above (which also ways includes not only be Dew Buster & Dew-Not strips but a dew shield), I have never dewed up even when dobs next to me had their primaries and secondaries dewing up.

COMFORT:
The last thing you what to do is tweak your back from leaning over your eyepiece all night long. An adjustable observing chair will extend your observing sessions, keep you comfortable and arguably improve your observations. It has been postulated that sitting instead of standing when observing is like adding an inch or two of aperture to your scope. The thought is you are much more stable / still and thus are able to observe finer details.

I purchased mine from http://www.buyastros...-frame-page.htm

A buddy of mine also bought one but he managed to mangle the mechanism that allows for multiple adjustments. Now I use my all the time, including all outreach event (so much easier to kids to see through the eyepiece sitting up high on a chair instead of their parents holding them) and it has held up beautifully.

EYEPIECES:
Nothing beats the views you'll get thru Naglers or Ethos eyepieces. However their price tag is quite daunting! One of those eyepieces cost what I spent on my entire set. I went with the Baader Hyperions. They are not quite a wide (only 68 degrees) as the Naglers (at 80) or Ethos (at 100). I've compared theses Televue EPs side by side to the same focal length Hyperions in my telescope and the Televues win hands down. But are they 3, 4 or 5 times better as their price tag would suggest? No way! The Televues are marginally better. If you are the kind of observer that demands perfection for your optics, go with the Televues. If you want improved wider views and better eye relief as compared to Plossls while not breaking the bank, the Hyperions are a solid choice!

I purchased my set (21mm, 13mm, 8mm and 5mm) one by one on the used market over the course of a year. I also bought a new 38mm 72 degree EP from Agena Astro. The price new is about $85 and in our long focal length scopes the views are pretty good. It's been my experience that the outer 10% to 20% is hard to get focused in the same plane as the inner 80%.



TRAVEL CASE:
Around the house I typically use my son's 6" Dob because it is so easy to set up and move around. I have lots of trees around me. However the site my club users is only 15 minutes away so I travel back and forth a lot with my scopes so a case was a must. I picked up the Husky case from Home Depot. The CPC 1100 fits, just barely with some foam on ends. I'll have to post a pic in the case thread here on cloudy nights.

POWER:
I try to go to 3 or 4 star parties a year and many of them do not have power on the field. I need to be able to power my scope and accessories for at least 2 nights of observing before recharging so I needed a portable power solution. Check out some of these home-built options:

http://www.cloudynig...rd=telescope...

Here is my design: http://www.siriusast...ories.htm#power

Well that's my 2 cents worth.


thanks for the information. I will probably steal your idea of making my own power box as I havent been able to find anything that I really like except one item called a power port 312, but your option may be cheaper.
power port 312 link


I also like the idea of the kick me nots as I almost tripped over someone's tripod recently so I can see how that can easily happen.

I'm definitely in the market for some dew fighting products, so I will check out the dew buster. how do you like the celestron dew shield compared to others? it seems to be more reasonably priced, but I was curious about the quality to say the astrozap.


and finally if you could post a picture of your husky case, I would greatly appreciate it. I was curious how it was able to fit and if there can be any foam inside the box for added protection.

#24 Lancem

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 10:05 PM

I would also recommend the chair from buyastrostuff.com. It is reasonably priced and has worked great for me.

#25 iam1ru12

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:47 PM

Mike,
I really like(d) my Celestron 8" dew shield, it held up really well; I lost one that came with my scope when I bought it in 2008; it was 10+ years old but I great condition. The one I bought for my 8" as a replace was the same flexible one from Celestron. They hold up well as are nice and lightweight.

My CPC 1100 came with one already (astro zap aluminum version with the not lches and an opening for Hyperstar cables). It's a bit easier to put verses the Celestron flexible one with Velcro. But is that worth the $135 price difference, no.

I'm in vacation with family sans any astronomy related equipment :-(. However when I get back in town, I snap some pictures of the case with the scope in it.

-Mike






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