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Moonlight Sonata
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Reged: 02/23/13

Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob
      #5697551 - 02/23/13 11:17 PM

Hi everyone, I've been lurking around on Cloudy Nights for awhile researching various types of equipment to make observing through my 10" dob (XT10i) better and finally decided to join to ask a question of my own. When I first started researching eyepieces I found the convenience of a zoom eyepiece appealing but ultimately decided to go the fixed focal length route for a few different reasons. While browsing around some accessories on the Agena site I stumbled upon a piece of gear that I thought could help make switching between different focal lengths more convenient while preserving the quality and FOV of the eyepieces I currently use.

Baader Q Turret

I had a hard time finding much info an anybody using an eyepiece turret for a dob. Does anybody have any experience with this piece of gear or something like it? I know it would require sufficient in-focus due to extending the placement of the eyepiece, but are there any other concerns that would cause anybody to caution against using this? My main concern is the depth of each individual eyepiece holder. They look rather shallow, and my most used eyepieces are an ES82 14mm and ES82 8.8mm which have fairly long barrels. I know there are much more expensive turrets out there, but those are out of my price range and also seem impractical considering they incorporate a mirror or prism. Thoughts?


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SeattleScott
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/14/11

Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5697687 - 02/24/13 01:42 AM

Weight can be a problem with Dobs. Now you are talking the weight of up to four eyepieces plus the turret, which is probably heavier than most eyepieces. In order to keep the weight from moving the scope, you would have to really crank up the friction, which is going to make the scope's movements stiff and make tracking difficult. Especially when viewing objects low in the sky, where eyepiece weight is most critical for Dobs. One might be able to fashion enough counterweight to offset this however.

I wouldn't worry too much about the shallow sleeves. Parfocal rings should solve any problems that might arise there, although if the barrel is tapered it might be hard to attach the parfocal ring in the right spot. But the weight, that is a problem. Also, how easy is it to rotate the turret? Dobs do not lock down like many other scopes, although an azimuth brake could help in this regard. As you switch to higher magnification and the field of view gets smaller, you might find that the act of rotating the turret nudges the scope enough to put the target out of view.


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Moonlight Sonata
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Reged: 02/23/13

Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: SeattleScott]
      #5697800 - 02/24/13 05:30 AM

I've wondered some about the weight issue, but if it makes switching eyepieces quick and easy then getting a few magnetic counterweights is a small price to pay in my mind. I've been fairly conservative in avoiding eyepieces that are very bulky. With the 4 EPs I intend to use with the turret the total weight would come to 36oz, about the weight of a single low power wide field EP. I haven't found any specs for the weight of the turret itself, but it's made out of aluminum/plastic, so I'd think it wouldn't be very heavy.

You raise a good point I didn't think about. I have no idea how easy it is to rotate the turret. Presumably, it would be easy, but I don't know if it would be smooth enough to keep an object in the FOV while bumping up the magnification. It would be interesting to hear from somebody that's used this turret on a dob if simply rotating the turret ends up nudging the scope.


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Dick Jacobson
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Reged: 12/22/06

Loc: Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5697981 - 02/24/13 10:11 AM

For a really radical solution, see my recent project that includes a seven-focuser rotating secondary cage (see Seven-focuser secondary cage). It was a lot of work to build but works very well. The object almost always stays in view when switching eyepieces. My standard set of eyepieces includes a binoviewer and a couple of 100-degree eyepieces.

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csrlice12
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Dick Jacobson]
      #5698124 - 02/24/13 11:38 AM

Wonder how this would work with orthos?

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Moonlight Sonata
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Reged: 02/23/13

Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5698439 - 02/24/13 03:14 PM

Funny, I came across that seven-focuser setup while searching for info. That thing is wild! It must have been a tricky idea to conceptualize and build. So I take it if rotating that whole secondary cage doesn't nudge the object out of the FOV that you think rotating the little turret wouldn't create an issue either?

csrlice12, the Q-Turret is actually designed for use with orthos that can be bought as a package with the turret. So, I think it would work well as long as the other considerations raised don't pose a problem.

One thing I'm curious about is how securely the eyepieces would be held in place if they only fit part way into each sleeve. It appears the Q-Turret uses a single set screw for each sleeve. I'm not sure how secure that is compared to two set screws or a brass compression ring. I guess with a dob though the angle of the focuser never reaches a position that the eyepieces would be hanging down facing the ground. So maybe that's not something to worry much about?


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André Heijkoop
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5698474 - 02/24/13 03:44 PM Attachment (47 downloads)

Just bought a Q-turret.
The Q-turret is not heavy at all. It is made of some sort of sturdy plastic, probably Delrin or ABS.
Attached a picture of the turret on my 24" Dobson.
In the turret are 4 UO HD's. I think the weight is less as a 2" Nagler alone.


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johnnyha
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: André Heijkoop]
      #5698486 - 02/24/13 03:55 PM

That's the thing - it works great with orthos. But you start loading it with heavier longer eyepieces like the ES 82's and worse, and next thing you know it becomes less and less elegant looking and more and more difficult to use.

But it looks like fun!


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Dick Jacobson
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/22/06

Loc: Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5698722 - 02/24/13 06:06 PM

Quote:

Funny, I came across that seven-focuser setup while searching for info. That thing is wild! It must have been a tricky idea to conceptualize and build. So I take it if rotating that whole secondary cage doesn't nudge the object out of the FOV that you think rotating the little turret wouldn't create an issue either?



When I rotate the cage I hold on to the truss with one hand and this usually steadies the scope enough so the object stays in view even at high magnification. I would be surprised if you have any problem using the Q-Turret.


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Moonlight Sonata
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Reged: 02/23/13

Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: André Heijkoop]
      #5698902 - 02/24/13 08:48 PM

Quote:

Just bought a Q-turret.
The Q-turret is not heavy at all. It is made of some sort of sturdy plastic, probably Delrin or ABS.
Attached a picture of the turret on my 24" Dobson.
In the turret are 4 UO HD's. I think the weight is less as a 2" Nagler alone.




Thanks for sharing the pic of your setup. Have you tried using it loaded up with wide field EPs that have longer barrels and weigh more than orthos? Does it work pretty well for you so far?


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André Heijkoop
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5699278 - 02/25/13 03:47 AM

Quote:


Thanks for sharing the pic of your setup. Have you tried using it loaded up with wide field EPs that have longer barrels and weigh more than orthos? Does it work pretty well for you so far?



I bought it last Saturday especially for the UO HD orthos. I didn't have the chance to test the turret in the field as of yet.
I also have a Nagler 12T4 and a Pentax XW5, I don't think the turret is suitable for those big 1.25" eyepieces, I will let you know how it works as soon as possible.


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André Heijkoop
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: André Heijkoop]
      #5699952 - 02/25/13 02:33 PM Attachment (40 downloads)

Here is a picture off the turret with the XW5 and 12T4.
It looks funny. I still think the turret is not suitable for big 1.25" eyepieces.


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5699999 - 02/25/13 03:01 PM

An interesting idea. There are some issues for a Newtonian, but none insurmountable:

1) Torque may be an issue for truss designs. Solid tubes would probably be ok;

2) The scope would probably need to be balanced for it in the design phase and then built accordingly. Easy enough for the ATM. The commercial scope owner will have to use a sizable counterweight, which means lots of extra dead weight; and

3) Only four eyepiece positions! Most people have more than this. I suppose when you reach the highest magnification (position 4) you could start swapping out of that position and still retain most of the advantage.


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csrlice12
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5700167 - 02/25/13 04:21 PM

For the price, I'm gonna have to check this out....Wonder if it would work on my XLT refractor? Backfocus issues?

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johnnyha
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5700231 - 02/25/13 04:53 PM

The turret will require enough infocus to account for the length of the barrels, looks like at least 1". I am definitely considering this, I had never thought it possible to use a turret in my dob.

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Scanning4Comets
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5700242 - 02/25/13 05:00 PM

Looks great, until the dew or frost sets in, lol. Then you'll have frosted or dewed up eyepieces to look through.

If you have dew buster, then you're looking at heating 4 eyepieces with 4 straps. What a mess that would be! Some focus points on eyepieces will require gobs of in or out focus as well.

Don't think I'd be interested in this at all.

Cheers,


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Moonlight Sonata
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Reged: 02/23/13

Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: André Heijkoop]
      #5700345 - 02/25/13 06:13 PM

Quote:

Here is a picture off the turret with the XW5 and 12T4.
It looks funny. I still think the turret is not suitable for big 1.25" eyepieces.




A picture is worth a thousand words. It's helpful to see it loaded up with some bigger EPs. It does look kind of funny, but I wouldn't be bothered so much by that if it functioned well. Seeing how big the EPs are in relation to the turret does make me wonder how securely they would be held by the single set screw, especially if the barrels were too long to fit all the way in.

André, I can see why you'd recommend against trying it with big eyepieces. It seems like perhaps the bigger the EPs get, the more unsuitable the turret becomes. I'm not sure how they stack up next to each other, but I'm fairly certain my ES82s are shorter and weigh less than the 12T4 and XW5. Maybe with some less bulky wide-fields it would fall into a gray area of being a worthwhile piece of gear. I'm really on the fence about just ordering one and trying it out. It would be great to hear your feedback once you're able to test it out in the field!


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5700735 - 02/25/13 10:53 PM

Quote:

The turret will require enough infocus to account for the length of the barrels, looks like at least 1". I am definitely considering this, I had never thought it possible to use a turret in my dob.




Oh yes. Didn't think about that one. If it uses prisms that could be quite a bit of in-focus, a big problem for a faster Newtonian. Then there is vignetting to consider.

All the sudden eyepiece swapping doesn't look so bad.


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johnnyha
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5700997 - 02/26/13 04:03 AM

There are no prisms involved that's why you have to account for the length of the barrels, this turret just swaps eyepieces out and to do so you need room for the barrels to rotate w/o hitting the focuser or diagonal. Most turrets have a prism or mirror diagonal built in and the eyepieces rotate inside the diagonal, like the TEC - but this is just a revolving turret that attaches to the outside of the existing diagonal or in this case, the dob focuser.

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csrlice12
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5701278 - 02/26/13 09:49 AM

Thinking this would really be nice on my XLT frac with the orthos in it for planetary viewing...........

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Astrojensen
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5701317 - 02/26/13 10:08 AM

Quote:

Looks great, until the dew or frost sets in, lol. Then you'll have frosted or dewed up eyepieces to look through.

If you have dew buster, then you're looking at heating 4 eyepieces with 4 straps. What a mess that would be!




That's precisely the reason why I stopped using my wonderful Zeiss turret on my refractors.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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csrlice12
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5701321 - 02/26/13 10:10 AM

All the talk of dew....really makes me glad I live in a dry climate.....We usually only see dew (as frost mostly)in the early morning just before sunrise, and it's usually pretty light.

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Moonlight Sonata
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Reged: 02/23/13

Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5702869 - 02/27/13 03:31 AM

Luckily, I live in a dry climate as well. I've yet to experience dew or frost at either of my dark sites. Having enough in-focus is probably the biggest concern, followed by weight. I tend to relax my eyes when I view and end up racking out the focuser a good distance with most of my EPs. Hopefully there would be enough in-focus to prevent from having to do something like adjusting the position of the primary to move the focal point a little further out, although that's not a very big deal.

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FirstSight
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5703096 - 02/27/13 09:10 AM

To me, part of the Zen meditation-like quality of the observing experience is the ritual of changing out eyepieces. The ritual involves just enough movement with just enough parts to impose some discipline on the viewing experience, to more sensibly attuned to whether I've sufficiently exhausted the beneficial contemplation of an object or panorama with the eyepiece currently in the scope to properly enter the eyepiece change ritual with a calm, rather than fidgity, unsettled state of mind.

There's benefits to not so quickly jumping around between different eyepieces. I say this as someone who often eventually uses most or all of the different focal-lengths in my set across a night's observing session.


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csrlice12
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5703364 - 02/27/13 11:55 AM

but some nights just aren't Zen-like; they're more like a WWF match.....I'm actually interested in this. Wonder if it would work with orthos on the 102XLT refractor? This would be great for planetary viewing with orthos..

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Moonlight Sonata
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Reged: 02/23/13

Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5703594 - 02/27/13 02:15 PM

Quote:

but some nights just aren't Zen-like; they're more like a WWF match.....I'm actually interested in this. Wonder if it would work with orthos on the 102XLT refractor? This would be great for planetary viewing with orthos..




I don't know about your particular refractor, but I think it would work well inserted into the diagonal with your orthos. There are also other turrets, though more expensive, that incorporate a mirror or prism which replaces your diagonal.

For the rather brief period of time I've had in this hobby so far I'd say I find the act of switching eyepieces more distracting than anything else, especially if it's cold outside. For me, I like being at the eyepiece more than taking it out and fumbling in the dark to grab another one. If the object I'm searching for isn't something I find all that enticing to look at, then it seems like wasted time to switch between EPs to find the best magnification for that object. The thought of putting in a 24mm, 14mm, 8.8mm, and 6.7mm into a turret and effortlessly switching between them seems like it would be a convenient way to increase my time at the eyepiece.


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Doug Reilly
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5707879 - 03/01/13 10:01 PM

When I built my dobstuff 10", the f4.5 version, I built it with a .965 vixen eyepiece turret in mind, and four tak orthos. It actually worked very well. With small, modest eyepieces the weight was not much more than a larger more modern eyepiece, so the only design consideration was the back focus. Worked quite well, and personally I think it is liberating to not have to swap eyepieces. More time looking through the scope, and easy to compare between different magnifications. When i rebuilt the scope to be an f7 (new mirror) i did not integrate the turret. .965 is a little small and limiting in the FOV department. I remain impressed with the turret concept however and have used them for various refractors over the years too. The vixen made multiple ocular holders, made for celestron and meade scts in the 80s i think were also very good, and the sct threads come off and a 1.25" eyepiece barrel put in its place, if you can find a donor vixen diagonal from the same period.

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BigC
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5708605 - 03/02/13 11:23 AM

On the economy side, a 3-holer is sold under the Galileo label and probably other names.

I have one on a small dob and several more intended for use on other scopes. It works well although certainly alters the scope's appearance.

Since my eyes require the focuser usually be cranked out further than most the added length of the turrret usually causes no issues.

But it is a 1.25" device so the best range is : a 25 to 40mm plossl, a 7-21 or 8-24 zoom,, and a 2 to 6 planetary ep.Of course any three oculars of your choice can be used for your viewing interests.

Since the weight doesn't change no re-balancing needed,and oculars are less likely to e dropped whilst swapping.

For true Rube Goldberg fans I need to set up and photograph the full panoply of filter selector,inline balow,flip mirror,and ocular turret!

One could have two zooms,one inserted into a 3x shorty barlow ,and thereby have a 9:1 range of magnification,ans then still have one more ocular for wide field.


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BigC
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #5708638 - 03/02/13 11:46 AM

You need only use ONE long dew buster and wrap a loop around each ocular in turn.The portion of the heater strip not in contact will simply give its heat to the ir but so what?

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beatlejuice
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: BigC]
      #5708901 - 03/02/13 02:11 PM

Can't you just cap the eyepieces not in use?

Eric


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André Heijkoop
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: beatlejuice]
      #5714650 - 03/05/13 03:01 PM

I finally had the chance to use the turret in my 24" f3.7 Dobson with a Moonlite 2" focuser.
As already mentioned you need quite a bit of extra inward travel.
The turret in combination with a Paracorr couldn't come to focus, so I had to use the 2 x 2" Powermate instead. The Powermate with the turret worked wonderful.
The eyepieces I used in the turret where a 25 UO, 18 UO HD, 12 UO HD and a 9 UO HD.
Although the seeing wasn't to good, the views on Jupiter where great.
Another plus is that I can switch between my lightweight orthos without any balancing problems.

The turret is definitely a keeper.
Greetings,
André


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Moonlight Sonata
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Reged: 02/23/13

Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: André Heijkoop]
      #5714933 - 03/05/13 05:23 PM

Thanks a lot for the update! I take it you would still recommend against using big 1.25" eyepieces with the turret?

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André Heijkoop
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5716299 - 03/06/13 12:27 PM

Quote:

I take it you would still recommend against using big 1.25" eyepieces with the turret?



Yes, the main factor is the plastic material the turret is made of.
Lightweight eyepieces (orthos, plossels) give no problem.
And another factor; the turret with 4 small orthos weigh about the same as one big 2" eyepiece. I always had trouble with balancing the Dobson when I switched from a 2" widefield eyepiece to a 1.25" ortho. Balancing problems are gone with the turret!


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Moonlight Sonata
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Reged: 02/23/13

Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: André Heijkoop]
      #5716671 - 03/06/13 03:32 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I take it you would still recommend against using big 1.25" eyepieces with the turret?



Yes, the main factor is the plastic material the turret is made of.
Lightweight eyepieces (orthos, plossels) give no problem.
And another factor; the turret with 4 small orthos weigh about the same as one big 2" eyepiece. I always had trouble with balancing the Dobson when I switched from a 2" widefield eyepiece to a 1.25" ortho. Balancing problems are gone with the turret!




What is it about the plastic material that gives it a problem with bigger eyepieces?

It sounds like you're pretty happy with the turret. I'm glad! I'm still kind of hopeful that it might work out with my fairly bulky EPs even though you're cautioning against it.


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csrlice12
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5716776 - 03/06/13 04:26 PM

The weight of the turrent + big eyepieces would just be too much for most any scope. Not 100% certain, but you could possibly damage the focuser with too much weight on it, especially if you have to crank it way out....

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johnnyha
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5716960 - 03/06/13 05:57 PM

And also as Don has pointed out, it's physically impossible to put more than two XWs in the Q Turret - so you are actually physically limited to smaller eyepieces.

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André Heijkoop
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Re: Eyepiece Turret/Revolver for a Dob new [Re: Moonlight Sonata]
      #5717783 - 03/07/13 06:34 AM

Quote:


What is it about the plastic material that gives it a problem with bigger eyepieces?



The Q-turret is very lightweight and as so feels that way. Although I have never seen a Van Slyke turret I now for sure it is made of a better and sturdier material.
As always, you get what you pay for.

Quote:

It sounds like you're pretty happy with the turret. I'm glad!



Yes, you have the pros of a zoom eyepiece without the cons.

Quote:

I'm still kind of hopeful that it might work out with my fairly bulky EPs even though you're cautioning against it.



You could try, the turret sells for $85, if it doesn't do the job, you still have a nice holder for 4 eyepieces


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