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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Beat up Astrotrac
      #5476023 - 10/17/12 10:44 PM Attachment (51 downloads)

I ordered an Astrotrac travel system, as it looked to meet my needs perfectly.

I received it and it was missing parts and looked like someone had put it together, dropped it down the stairs, and sent it back without a few parts and without one of the instruction booklets.

So I talked with the vendor I bought it from, sent it back and they sent me another one which I received today.

This one has all the parts, but it too looks like it was dropped. The magnetic ring that holds the polar alignment scope on has come unglued and is not attached to the alignment scope, and there are several minor gashes in the various metal bits.

The vendor I bought from is *very* reputable and everyone here knows them. I'm sure it's not in any way their fault. I'm quite sure they'd take it back, but I don't want to try for a third one, I'm going to keep this one.

But I'm curious if others have had this problem with the travel system?

Thanks,
Tori


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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5476026 - 10/17/12 10:45 PM Attachment (48 downloads)

Minor dents:

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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5476027 - 10/17/12 10:45 PM Attachment (46 downloads)

more dents:

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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5476029 - 10/17/12 10:45 PM Attachment (44 downloads)

And another:

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Zamboni
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 01/03/05

Loc: Colorado Springs
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5476035 - 10/17/12 10:48 PM

I would contact the manufacturer and find out why they're sending repackaged used / refurbished scopes to dealers and calling them "new." There's no way that can be sold as a new mount and someone along the supply line is jerking you around.

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Dave MModerator
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/03/04

Loc: Ohio
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Zamboni]
      #5476053 - 10/17/12 11:02 PM

I would send that back, get a refund and buy from another dealer, theres no excuse for it, they should have inspected this one before sending it..

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Mkofski
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/19/11

Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Dave M]
      #5476066 - 10/17/12 11:13 PM

Even the best vendor can have a bad item go out. They could have (should have)inspected the second one before shipping it to you. Hopefully, if you get this one replace, the third time will be the charm.

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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Dave M]
      #5476073 - 10/17/12 11:14 PM

well there goes my idea of buying one...

considering how much they charge for it and their lavish claims of "manufactured with loving care by highly skilled engineers" i would be nuts to buy something with so many dings.


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chboss
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/24/08

Loc: Zurich Switzerland
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5476179 - 10/18/12 01:09 AM

Quite surprised to see such bad QC on this product since it is rather high priced.
Usually the dealers do not unpack and check such items, since mechanical parts like this, should be in perfect condition when arriving from the factory.
It is important to inform the dealer and even try to contact the manufacturer so he can review is QC process!

best regards
Chris


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crazyqban
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Miami, Florida
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: chboss]
      #5476196 - 10/18/12 01:28 AM

Send it back, doesn't look right. Looks like a previously used item.

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core
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/23/08

Loc: Mostly in Norman, OK
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: crazyqban]
      #5476237 - 10/18/12 02:01 AM

My used travel system shows none of the nicks and gashes in you pictures - system is about +1 yrs old.

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bilgebayModerator
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 11/06/08

Loc: Türkiye - Istanbul and Marmar...
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: chboss]
      #5476275 - 10/18/12 02:34 AM

This is what me and my friend went through last NEAF too. I will try to post a photo later in the day if I can find it on my work computer.

I received my set of Astrotrac, wedge and the equatorial head from Farah (Woodland Hills) on the first day of NEAF. When I came to my hotel room in the evening, I have started playing with the stuff I received that day and noticed some dings and dents on the equatorial head. Also the DEC tightening screw head, the big circle, was kind of sloppy as if it was dropped.

Of course, next morning I took the equatorial head to the show to ask for a replacement. Woodland Hills booth wasn't open yet but the Astrotrac booth was and Richard , the owner of Astrotrac, was there too. When I mentioned my problem to him he suddenly started overreacting and blaming me and Woodland Hills for the damage. I stopped talking to him as I haven't purchased the product directly from him. I believe I was more than naive and expected him to lovingly care for his product and do something about my problem. After all, I have done my part, paid a lot of money for such a small piece and naturally was expecting to receive a product in brand new condition. Please allow me to drop it and damage it myself!

I waited for Farah to arrive. Explained her my problem. As always, she took care of it immediately. She arranged for the demo unit on the Astrotrac stand to be delivered to me after the show ended. She personally dropped the TH3010 equatorial head to the front desk of my hotel.

The head was a different one for sure. The sloppy thumbscrew and the markings on the RA shaft (these were caused by tightening the RA clutch screw, the little brass tip was displaced during the demo assembly by WH I believe) were gone. But the marking on the body, right beneath the big wheel, was exactly at the same position. This left me puzzled (but there was nothing else to do).....until we come together with my friend Ozzy 2 months later.

He was with me during NEAF and had picked up a complete Astrotac travel kit from OPT. In June, he asked my help to try and test the kit. When we unpacked his set, we noticed an exact replica of that very mark on his equatorial head too. This led us to conclude that this should be something to do with Richard's production method. He should be knowing about this and he shouldn't have tried to put the blame on me or his business partners.

If you consider the amount of money we spent on this system, I think you can conclude none of us is deserving this poor execution. I guess more loving care is needed.

Overall, I find Astrotrac very useful and precise. Astrotrac itself is very well executed. However, I cannot say the same for the Wedge and the TH3010 head. There is great room for improvement on those two items.


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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: bilgebay]
      #5476426 - 10/18/12 06:49 AM Attachment (33 downloads)

The marks on mine weren't identical, but *very* similar. I had marks on both dec screws, but the first one looked dropped (the screw was bent too). The first one had marks on the counterweights, the second one didn't. The first one was missing several screws and the instruction booklet for the wedge, the second one has all the screws.

Here's the photos from the first one.

I can't imagine where the problem is. I'd almost say after they produce the various components they're tossed in a bin full of that component without wrapping. But that's pure speculation.

I don't know. But hearing that one from Woodland Hills had the same problem as mine tells me it's not the vendor's fault but rather the manufacturer's.

Mine were from OPT and their response has been prompt and fantastic, I have no complaints whatsoever about OPT.

Ugh. It's almost a great product but the QC is clearly dreadful. If they would fix the quality and change out the screws they use to connect the components it really would be a perfect little product.


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5476551 - 10/18/12 08:53 AM

Tori, You should not have to accept that. And this has been becoming commonplace fro OPT. I have had the same experience with seemingly used - or damaged gear . I would return it and buy from someone else..

Joe


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PGW Steve
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: jmiele]
      #5476707 - 10/18/12 10:53 AM

I've got the AT travel system and it showed up mint, even though I accumulated all of the bits and pieces over a period of time from multiple vendors.
Most of the problems begin with the manufacturer in that they don't pack things properly, then they show up at the distributor with damage and sit on a shelf, to get forwarded on to you.
When I bought my Coronado 90mm, it showed up in the sealed factory box with lame packaging and a damaged case, Coronado/Meade spent about $1 on foam to protect a $6700 scope. Had they spent another $4 it would have been properly protected.
Now considering that two have gone out with issues, I would demand that they open and inspect anything they are going to ship you, repackage it PROPERLY and next day air it out. Then the distributor can take it up with the manufacturer.


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5476770 - 10/18/12 11:28 AM

Tori,

It looks like the dings are painted over. Is that the case?


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tim57064
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/23/12

Loc: Southeast South Dakota,USA
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5476786 - 10/18/12 11:42 AM

There is no acceptable excuse for an item like that or any item you may receive to be in that condition when it is suppose to be new.I would send it back even if it is for the third time and ask for a refund. Take your business elsewhere. No excuses.

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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: EFT]
      #5476834 - 10/18/12 12:11 PM

Quote:

Tori,

It looks like the dings are painted over. Is that the case?




I really can't tell. I'm not a metals girl. While some parts are clearly CNC'd, the parts with the marks have a kind of eggshell finish... not the smooth grooved CNC appearance - is that finish due to paint or from being anodized? or are they cast? I have no idea. At any rate, in the dents is the same gritty/sandy kind of finish as on the outside. If they were anodized or painted before being dented, would it flake off? If so and if the finish is painted or anodized then it was dented before that process.


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5476843 - 10/18/12 12:17 PM

That sounds like it might be a casting (i.e., manufacturing) problem rather than later damage in that case.

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PGW Steve
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: EFT]
      #5476903 - 10/18/12 12:49 PM

All of the AT stuff I have, the aluminum has been glass bead blasted, there is no paint and doesn't appear to be anodized either. The Astrotrac stuff is all very nicely machined, no castings.

Tori, I know you are heading to AZ for some darker skies and were no doubt counting on having this set up there, consider this. If OPT is out of stock, or can't get you replacement items in time, use what you have. The dings are primarily cosmetic, some of the mating surfaces (wedge) could use a quick hit with a fine file. Does the wheel that locks the 'dec axis' still rotate fully and lock the shaft? I think the key thing is to make sure your trip isn't comprimised, and then sort out the fact that you deserve pristine product. Maybe at the ASAE show which is after the Mt. Lemmon workshop, you can get stuff swapped out with OPT or AT, and you still have had four potential nights with your camera.


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bilgebayModerator
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 11/06/08

Loc: Türkiye - Istanbul and Marmar...
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5477185 - 10/18/12 03:07 PM Attachment (25 downloads)

There is a consistency in the problems So it should be easy to avoid them if they wanted to.

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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: PGW Steve]
      #5477187 - 10/18/12 03:08 PM

Thank you everyone!

OPT is going to take care of me. I'm going to be keeping what I have - it works right now (except the PA scope) until I get replacements (which are being checked out before they ship) and once I have them I'll send the banged up parts back.

Yes, Steve, it's important to me that I have it in working order for AZ, which is why I want to keep this working one and why I was about to settle for banged up instead of insisting on pristine.

I'm really saddened, though, to hear that others have had similar issues. The product is physically gorgeous and looks and feels so well engineered - that so many go out with physical scars is sad.


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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: bilgebay]
      #5477339 - 10/18/12 04:24 PM

Quote:

There is a consistency in the problems So it should be easy to avoid them if they wanted to.




I wonder if the one I first received WAS the first mount you had, recycled by AstroTrac? Perhaps that is the problem!


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Dave MModerator
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/03/04

Loc: Ohio
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5477584 - 10/18/12 07:11 PM

Tori
Glad to see OPT is taking care of you on this, they are a top rate outfit..


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5477775 - 10/18/12 09:26 PM

Quote:

... the parts with the marks have a kind of eggshell finish... not the smooth grooved CNC appearance ... in the dents is the same gritty/sandy kind of finish as on the outside.




That eggshell finish is part of the manufacturing process ... probably bead-blasted. But however it was applied, if the dents have the same finish then they definitely occurred before that finishing step. So these were NOT caused by being dropped after they were shipped to the distributor.

-Dan


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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5478254 - 10/19/12 05:05 AM

I can't say for certain either way. In the dents it looks a bit grainy to me, like the rest of the surface... but could that be from the bead blasted surface being marked by being pressed in by being dropped on something? Or would that be completely smooth?

Anyone have a convenient way to turn a telescope into a microscope? Oh! Let me play with the macro end of my telephoto lenses...


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5478368 - 10/19/12 08:05 AM

Quote:

I can't say for certain either way. In the dents it looks a bit grainy to me, like the rest of the surface... but could that be from the bead blasted surface being marked by being pressed in by being dropped on something? Or would that be completely smooth?

Anyone have a convenient way to turn a telescope into a microscope? Oh! Let me play with the macro end of my telephoto lenses...




Look through a telescope or a pair of binoculars backwards with the object very close to eyepiece (now the objective) and it becomes a microscope.

Remove the barrel from an eyepiece with the field stop in the barrel (first making sure that the barrel does not hold the optics in place) and it becomes a magnifying loop.

If the finish were dented after the finish was applied, the denting process would have yielded (plastically deformed) the aluminum and it would have been imprinted with the surface of the object that caused the dent.

Jon Isaacs


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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5478466 - 10/19/12 09:45 AM Attachment (24 downloads)

Thanks Jon,

At least several of the dents were caused prior to finishing:


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Tori]
      #5478496 - 10/19/12 10:02 AM

Sure looks like it! No question, those are manufacturing defects.

-Dan


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jmasin
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/22/08

Loc: Murphy, TX (DFW)
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5478508 - 10/19/12 10:07 AM

Good to know you will be taken care of.

I got here searching because I'm interested in a travel kit too... heading to some dark-sky parks for daytime photo trips and would love to have a night-time option too.

Above is pretty disappointing, for me it's most disappointing the reaction of the AT booth...

I hope it all works out for you. Please post your results when you get it all put together!!


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avarakin
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/13/09

Loc: Parsippany NJ, USA
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: jmasin]
      #5481300 - 10/21/12 01:35 AM

To me all the issues seem to be cosmetic and not impacting performance of the unit, so if the unit works as expected, why not just keep it? Looks like the vendor has some consistent manufacturing issues so replacing one unit by another will not solve the issue. At the end of a day, we are using our equipment at night

Alex


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: avarakin]
      #5481319 - 10/21/12 02:02 AM

would you buy a new BMW with a huge dent on the fender? you can't see it from inside the car...

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avarakin
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/13/09

Loc: Parsippany NJ, USA
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5481334 - 10/21/12 02:36 AM

BMW is a status symbol. This mount is a scientific equipment used for taking images. Or is it also status symbol?

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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: avarakin]
      #5481402 - 10/21/12 04:10 AM

Ok BMW was a bad analogy. But my point is, when you pay that much money, you expect at a minimum a ding-less object.

Feathertouch recognizes this - they sell their less-than-perfect focusers as "cosmetic seconds" at a significant discount. And I accept that. You can settle for less than perfect (although fully functional) if you pay less money.


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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5481503 - 10/21/12 07:23 AM

I was going to keep this one at first, until a number of people convinced me to send it back.

One thing I find a little worrisome, more so than simple entirely cosmetic manufacturing defects, is that the first one had a bent dec tightening bolt; the second one has an unglued polar alignment scope. Both indicative of physical abuse, not manufacturing trouble. Honestly the factory packaging is lousy, these things might be shipping damage. But since the packages don't even remotely meet ups or FedEx shipping guidelines, it is not the shipper's fault....


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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: avarakin]
      #5481627 - 10/21/12 09:45 AM

Quote:

BMW is a status symbol. This mount is a scientific equipment used for taking images. Or is it also status symbol?




It's neither. But the condition this unit arrived in was _pitiful_. The makers don't exactly give this thing away, remember. For the prices they charge for this rig it ought, in fact, to come in a silk lined mahogany presentation box.


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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Beat up Astrotrac new [Re: rmollise]
      #5487762 - 10/24/12 10:20 PM

I just received the third one from OPT and it arrived in perfect condition, no marks at all.

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