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Happy Owner of Used Webster D14

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#1 JMW


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Posted 16 June 2013 - 11:12 PM

I have been reading the CN and a*mart classifieds daily for about a year. Last February I bought a used C11 EdgeHD for a wonderful price including upgrades. Last September I bought a fantastic TEC 140 with add-ons for a great price and no waiting. Since then I have been focusing on a mid size dob. I was thinking about buying new because the size and features I want don't come across used very often. The other issue is location. I want to be able to inspect and pick a dob without have to deal with shipping.

I saw a Webster D14 with 14.5 inch f/4.3 Zambuto mirror, Argo Navis, 10K encoders, and ServoCAT. The price was a little more than I wanted to pay. I waited a week and it moved to I price I could love. Yesterday I drove 4 hours to inspect and buy scope and another 4 hours home. Last nights first viewing had a lot of little issues, such as lousy balance, sticking ServerCAT in azimuth and to slippery of motion.

I spent about 8 hours today making little improvements and now the scope is working great. It was way light in the UTA so I added 2 boards to the UTA, one for the Telrad and another for a Stellervue 60mm finder. The balance is now perfect. I used a Powermate 2x plus my ES 25mm 100 AFOV as the heavy test. The Powermate is a proxy for the ParaCorr 2 that I ordered. I also put a Naglar 5mm T6 as the light test. The scope stays in place with the heaviest eyepiece combos and also with no eyepiece at all.

I removed a lot of excess Turtle wax and the movements are much better. I put a 20mm rubber rim arround the ground board and the azimuth works great without sticking. The previous owner used it in some heavy grass and it stay stuck on the board and leave some groves that caused the sticking. The rubber rim resolved the issue. I built a platform out of plywood and 4x4 wood in each corner. This gets the ground board out of the grass and improves the hight for viewing. The scope was a little low for me directly on the ground. The focal length of the scope is 62.7 inches according the the mark on the Zambuto mirror.

I spend about a 1/2 hour on the moon this early evening after collimating to check out my improvements. I am content with my work and very happy with the purchase. I am now awaiting enough darkness for alignment stars.

I previously was considering buying an 18 inch dob new but decided to save myself 5-9K$ by downsizing to the 14.5 inch instead of a new 18 inch dob. I have access to our clubs 20 and 24 inch Dobs whenever I feel like dealing with a big, heavy and ladder encumbered dob. The D14 fits in my car better, is much easier to push up the ramp and is a much safer scope height wise for public outreach. The ServoCAT will free me up from nudging the scope so I can tend to my TEC 140 when doing 2 scope public outreach.

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#2 turtle86


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Posted 16 June 2013 - 11:33 PM

Congratulations! The scope looks great and you sure can't go wrong with a Zambuto mirror. Looks like you did a very nice job with the platform. Excellent idea. Would you be able to post a picture of the 20mm rubber rim you mentioned? The extra Turtle Wax is certainly no big deal but I was a little surprised to read about the UTA balance issues. I know that some Dob builders design their scopes so they will be already balanced with a Paracorr in place. Anyway, looks like you got a great scope at a great price.

#3 JMW


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Posted 16 June 2013 - 11:40 PM

Just did an alignment on the Argo Navis and my first successful gotos via ServoCAT. I spent some time on Saturn appreciating the scope tracking the object. Three of Saturn's moons are in a straight line at this moment. Next weekend I will work on the SkyFi to ServoCAT link so I can use Sky Safari directly to control the scope. The ServoCAT wireless controller is a lot nicer to use now that I have read the instructions. I didn't under stand last night about the speed control on the row of 4 buttons.

I can use the wheelbarrow handles to place and remove the scope from the low platform. I made a space in the garage to keep the scope setup. One of the additional items that came with the scope is a full size white scope cover. This will keep the dust of it in the garage and the sun off it at multi-night star parties. The scope also came with a full set of catseye collimation tools plus the 2 inch Howie Glater lasers and flug. I already had a bunch of these tools so I will hopefully sell them to some other members of our club.

I planted the willows about 4 years ago. They now do a great job in blocking car lights coming up the road. My imaging roll-away observatory is in the back. My horizons are more open in the front yard. It's about the same amount of time to roll out the dob as it is to roll away the shed.

#4 JMW


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Posted 16 June 2013 - 11:49 PM

It is rubber pipe wrapping tape, 20mm thick. I didn't have it in 3/4 inch so I had to cut it down to size. I will have to see how it holds up to hot and cold weather.

The previous owners had the telrad zip tied to one of the UTA support posts. I didn't like it because it was a little floppy. I probably added 5 ounces of wood on the two mouting planks for the optic and telrad finders. I just painted the wood flat black to match the UTA.

I full expected to have to fiddle with a used scope, I was basically betting on a good Zambuto mirror. Everything else was gravy. At $5200 I figure the mirror, encoders, Argo Navis and ServoCAT was the bulk of that. The structure and accessories were almost free. I kind of wondered if the previous owners only used the scope with the ServoCAT engaged. I like to nudge a scope when I feel like it so I had to get the balance and movements to my liking.

#5 JimMo


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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:09 AM

At $5200 I figure the mirror, encoders, Argo Navis and ServoCAT was the bulk of that. The structure and accessories were almost free. I kind of wondered if the previous owners only used the scope with the ServoCAT engages. I like to nudge a scope when I feel like it so I had to get the balance and movements to my liking.

That's a great deal for that scope. I was wondering who was going to buy it. I chose this size for the same reasons you did. BTW- I had a little hand in the making of the D14 as Eric W. had helped me with my clone. He called one day to ask about the depth of my mirror box. I think mine is an inch deeper than what the Webster ended up. This was a bunch of years ago so I hope I'm remembering correctly. I ordered a mirror cell from Eric, too, and as he didn't have a jig made up for this size my cell was the first made with the new jig. The cell is awesome and the S.S. cable sling keeps the mirror supported correctly on the edge.

Anyways, it's a great sized dob and I know you'll have lots of good observing with it. Congratulations!

#6 Achernar



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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:18 AM

While the views are undeniably fantastic through 18-inch and even bigger Dobs, the pain in your wallet and sometimes your back too are real drawbacks. That was why I opted for a 15-inch, and a 14 or 15-inch telescope is more than enough for all the well known objects and many, many others. You'll never run out of things to see, and you got a great deal too. Congratulatons!


#7 UmaDog



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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:55 AM

Congrats, it looks awesome.

#8 Mike B

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 01:24 PM

Congrats, Jeff- that should be a marvelous scope! :waytogo:

I went the same route as you, opting to go "used", as well as that same size range. And *yes*, mine had changed hands several times- i think its previous owners had neglected to put the effort into the mods required to truly "make it work"; not me- i did! And it DOES!
We're eager to hear more of your impressions from its use. ;)


#9 JMW


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Posted 17 June 2013 - 01:36 PM

I will be taking it to the Golden State star party at the July new moon. I will also be bringing our club's Obsession 20f5 and will also have the club's 24f5 nearby. Should be a good chance to compare the capabilities of the modest aperture scope next to the big ones. I have a 5x8 astro cargo trailer for when I want to bring it all. All this time will include 2 Dobs, 3 refractors, C11 EdgeHD with Hyperstar, DM6 mount on Planet and a AT900GTO for imaging. I tend to start the imaging and observe while the computer collects photons. My wife know how to manage all the scopes so she doesn't have to wait for me to start observing.

This weekend I am looking dig out the collimation tools to verify the setup. I only have used the Howie Glatter laser so far. I am also working on ideas for a iPad/eyepiece support surface to attach to the back corners of the rocker box. Have seen some pictures of this in the past. I need to dig some up for good ideas. I have the 2 and 1.25 inch forstner bits already. I just need to pick out the wood to match the mirror box.

#10 GalaxyCollide


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Posted 17 June 2013 - 02:02 PM

Congrats! Hope spend good time on Gold State Star Party with your new scope! :jump:

#11 sn1987a


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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:50 PM

Well done JMW, I'm glad that scope went to a good home. I have the same issues on grass and I'm going to steal your groundboard/platform idea.

#12 tigerroach



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Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:51 AM


My Webster has been great... I wish the skies would cooperate one of these weekends so I could get out with it again...

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