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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
**NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO!
      #5446616 - 09/29/12 11:11 AM

Opticsmart is proud to introduce the HALO, a combined azimuth-setting-circle/leveling-base designed to fit many of the most popular Dobsonians on the market.

Add a digital angle gauge like the Wixey (sold separately) and finding the most difficult celestial objects becomes fun and easy!


























We should be able to post actual photos to this thread by the middle of next week, and we expect to begin shipping in the next couple of weeks (the designs are complete and we're just waiting on a few materials). Items will be posted to our website for ordering in the next few days.

Prices for the Halo (based on the size of the Dobsonian they are designed for):

8" - $159.95

10" - $169.95

12" - $179.95

David Giles
Opticsmart.com

Edited by DavidOpticsmart (09/29/12 11:17 AM)


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5446791 - 09/29/12 01:19 PM

Looks like a nice product! I'd be interested if you will be having one for an AT 16" in the future?

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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5446889 - 09/29/12 02:18 PM

Thanks Carol!! Your mega-epic thread has inspired many astronomers over the years to build their own DIY setting circles, and needless to say I read through it MANY times to make sure we incorporated all the best ideas into the Halo.

We do have a 16" version of the Halo fully designed with a finished prototype in-house. BUT the inside dimension of the ring (which is supposed to fit the groundboard of the Dob) is based totally on heresay, because we haven't been able to get our hands on a Meade LB16 for months (the LB16 SHOULD have the exact same groundboard as the AT16). They're on back-order with Meade, but hopefully should be available within the next few weeks. As soon as we can get a base in here so that I can do some very ACCURATE measurements, then we'll be ready to produce the 16" version within a week or two.

You deserve a lot of credit for the popularity of setting circles and the Halo probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for your enthusiasm and promotion of the setting circle method. So just let me know when you're ready for a Halo and I'll make sure you get some of the $credit$ you've earned.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5446932 - 09/29/12 02:50 PM

David, thanks for your kind words. My DIY setting circle thread was a product of love for Astronomy, and I've been so thrilled to see how many members adapted it to their scopes, and passed on new ideas as well.

I'll certainly be looking forward to the availability of the 16" Halo!


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coopman
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/23/06

Loc: South Louisiana
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5447061 - 09/29/12 04:22 PM

I use a hand truck to move my AD10. Would I still be able to do that with the HALO installed? I can't tell if it extends down past the ground board enough to cause a problem with the hand truck blade getting under it. Probably not, but I will pose the question anyways.

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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: coopman]
      #5447087 - 09/29/12 04:39 PM

Quote:

I use a hand truck to move my AD10. Would I still be able to do that with the HALO installed? I can't tell if it extends down past the ground board enough to cause a problem with the hand truck blade getting under it. Probably not, but I will pose the question anyways.




You don't actually "install" the Halo. You simply point it north and set it on the ground, and then level it. Then you set the Dob base in/on the Halo (a bit like setting a drinking glass down into a form fitting coaster). Then you pick the Dob base up at the end of your observing session, and pick the Halo up separately.

Now technically you COULD permanently attach the Halo to your Dob base if you wanted to, although personally I wouldn't want to do it that way because it would just make the base unnecessarily heavier and bulkier. But you could, and I don't think it would cause any problems with the hand truck. I'll test that at the office on Monday to find out.

And I realize that a couple more images would make the setup a little more clear so I'll try to add some more as soon as possible.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com

Edited by DavidOpticsmart (09/29/12 11:00 PM)


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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5447131 - 09/29/12 05:17 PM

Very nice product indeed! I was hoping someone would come out with a product like this with leveling feet.
Someone should also come out with a dob mat degree circle with a beam of laser as pointer. Just a thought....


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5448494 - 09/30/12 01:41 PM


Okay, here are several more images. We'll have some photos of the real thing on our website in the next week or so, and we plan to do a video in the near future (when we find time to get around to it...). But hopefully in the meantime these images will help make it more clear how the Halo works with a Dobsonian base.







































David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5448507 - 09/30/12 01:48 PM

Quote:

Very nice product indeed! I was hoping someone would come out with a product like this with leveling feet.
Someone should also come out with a dob mat degree circle with a beam of laser as pointer. Just a thought....




Thanks Gastrol!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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beatlejuice
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 04/05/11

Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5448661 - 09/30/12 03:11 PM

I have a feeling that designing a HALO for the Orion base will be a bit of a head scratcher but I would like to see it.

Eric


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: beatlejuice]
      #5448705 - 09/30/12 03:45 PM

Quote:

I have a feeling that designing a HALO for the Orion base will be a bit of a head scratcher but I would like to see it.

Eric




Hey Eric, that is definitely high on our agenda, but with the Orion's triangular groundboard it will definitely require some redesign (and probably a little head-scratching along the way ).

But all we really need are some friendly Orion owners willing to trust us with their base for a week or two so that we can get some really accurate measurements and do some fit-testing. Know any such persons.....?

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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beatlejuice
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 04/05/11

Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5448766 - 09/30/12 04:30 PM

David, I will be away until Oct 10. When I get back maybe we can talk about the shipping charges.

Eric


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: beatlejuice]
      #5448775 - 09/30/12 04:35 PM

Sounds good Eric.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
*****

Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5448854 - 09/30/12 05:24 PM

Price for a z10? I can't find it on your website.

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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5448863 - 09/30/12 05:33 PM

Quote:

Price for a z10? I can't find it on your website.




Hey Mary,

We don't have the products listed on our website just yet, but they should be up by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.

But the price for the Zhumell models are the same as for our Apertura scopes:

8" - $159.95 (fits Apertura AD8, Astro-Tech AT8D, Zhumell Z8)

10" - $169.95 (fits Apertura AD10, Astro-Tech AT10D, Zhumell Z10, and Meade Lightbridge 10")

12" - $179.95 (fits Apertura AD12, Zhumell Z12, and Meade Lightbridge 12")

Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks Mary!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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AhBok
sage


Reged: 12/02/10

Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5449043 - 09/30/12 07:38 PM

David,

I am the happy owner of a new AD12. If I may make a suggestion. You know those casters you can get at hardware stores that have three wheels and a nice little well in the center? If the wheels on those were locking, then you could offer them as another option for your Halo. There would be no redesign of the halo and then folks wanting the option to wheel their scopes out could simply set the feet into the casters and the levelers would still work. The Halo, while really cool, would not appeal to me personally, since I prefer to keep my AD12 on wheels. But, if it had the option to use wheels, it would be a leveling base, setting circle and scope dolly all rolled into one. Also, do you plan to sell angle finders for alt? If you could source something like the Wixey, but with a red backlight, many of us would buy it.


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: AhBok]
      #5449292 - 09/30/12 10:06 PM

Quote:

David,

I am the happy owner of a new AD12. If I may make a suggestion. You know those casters you can get at hardware stores that have three wheels and a nice little well in the center? If the wheels on those were locking, then you could offer them as another option for your Halo. There would be no redesign of the halo and then folks wanting the option to wheel their scopes out could simply set the feet into the casters and the levelers would still work. The Halo, while really cool, would not appeal to me personally, since I prefer to keep my AD12 on wheels. But, if it had the option to use wheels, it would be a leveling base, setting circle and scope dolly all rolled into one. Also, do you plan to sell angle finders for alt? If you could source something like the Wixey, but with a red backlight, many of us would buy it.




Sounds like an interesting idea AhBok! I can't visualize the exact caster wheels you're talking about, so if you can find a picture of them some where, please send it to me. In the meantime I'll take a look at the hardware store some time this week and see if I can find what you're talking about.

We've looked into sourcing digital angle gauges and we MIGHT offer one at some point. But don't hold me to it.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5450556 - 10/01/12 05:46 PM

Also, for dob owners like myself who are tired of using shims I'd like to see low profile permanent leveling feet which can be mounted under the ground board in place of the standard rubber feet.
Perhaps something like large hockey puck sized knurled discs beneath the ground board with large swivel feet which can be easily turned by hand.


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5455713 - 10/04/12 08:44 PM

We now have the HALO listed on our website and are ready to take orders:

HALO Setting Circle/Leveling Base for Dobsonian Reflector Telescopes

Currently we have HALOs listed for the Apertura AD8, AD10, and AD12 as well as for the Zhumell Z8, Z10, and Z12. These models will also fit the corresponding size Dobs in the Astro-Tech line as well as the Meade Lightbridge line (and we believe Skywatcher too, but that isn't absolutely confirmed yet). In the next few days we will add specific HALOs for those other brands/models, but in the meantime if you own one of those brands, you can simply order one of the Aperture or Zhumell items since they will fit.

We expect to begin shipping no later than Monday October 15th (possibly sooner, but no guarantee).

And finally some photos of the real thing:


































David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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aznights
member
*****

Reged: 04/23/12

Loc: Glendale, AZ
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5457277 - 10/06/12 12:07 AM

Please dont get me wrong, I really like this idea, and I'm very excited about this product announcement. I've even shared about this idea on reddit.com/r/astronomy and to some of my colleagues. But I have to be honest, I feel like price on this is a little high.

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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5460698 - 10/08/12 01:56 PM

Quote:

Please dont get me wrong, I really like this idea, and I'm very excited about this product announcement. I've even shared about this idea on reddit.com/r/astronomy and to some of my colleagues. But I have to be honest, I feel like price on this is a little high.




I'm glad you like the HALO aznights, and thanks for spreading the word about it to your friends and colleagues!

And I can understand wishing that the HALO was less expensive. I wish EVERYTHING I wanted to buy was less expensive.

But the HALO isn't a mass produced product that can take advantage of huge economies of scale. All of the materials and parts that make up the HALO must be purchased in relatively small quantities (as compared to say the parts of a wheelbarrow that is made in China and sold by the millions in every Lowe's, Home Depot, and WalMart in America). And the HALO rings are CNC-machined out of 1-1/4" thick Extira (which isn't inexpensive, and because of the ring-shaped nature of the product, as you can imagine the material-yield isn't great). Then we have to do some hand-finishing work on the rings because they aren't ready for prime time right off the CNC bed. The degree circle inlays are also custom-made for us to perfectly fit the CNC'd Extira, and the leveling feet were special ordered as well. After finishing the Extira, we have to properly assemble everything and get it ready to ship.

CNC-machining certainly isn't the least expensive way to produce a mass-produced product, and the truth is that if we thought we could sell TENS of thousands of HALOs in a reasonably short period of time, those quantities MIGHT justify investing in injection molds and manufacturing the rings out of plastic. With the cheap cost of raw material, and with the mold costs amortized over tens of thousands of HALOs, we could probably offer them at a significantly lower price. But injection molds are incredibly expensive, and we would need to invest in FOUR different molds just to cover the GSO-made 8", 10", 12" and 16" bases. Then we'd need several more molds to fit the different Orion bases.

But even if I was 100% confident that we could recover the huge investment in injection molds in just 2-3 years, I still wouldn't go that route, because then if the Asian OEM base-makers changed the diameter of their Dob bases by just a little bit, our huge investment in molds would become instantly worthless. Instead, with CNC-machining, we can change the HALO dimensions to fit any change in bases with just a few keystrokes in Solidworks (the 3D CAD program used to design the HALOs).

So yes, you are paying more for the HALO, which is a highly customized product available in several sizes for a low volume, niche market, than if it were a one-size-fits-all mass-produced product on the shelf of every WalMart in America.
And believe me, I wish everyone in America wanted a HALO. But unless I'm completely wrong about the actual demand for HALOs, I suspect it will remain a very cool, albeit niche product which carries a price tag that is reflective of its production volume and production method, and is not unreasonable (IMHO) when compared to other niche products in this market.

And by the way, aside from all the manufacturing issues, keep in mind that the prices do include custom-made shipping boxes as well as the cost of shipping the product to your front door. If you check the costs of purchasing 30"x30"x6" boxes in relatively small quantities from a box-supplier, and THEN check the cost of shipping that size box across the U.S. you'll find that those costs aren't insignificant....

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5460924 - 10/08/12 04:32 PM

David, considering the cost of eyepieces, etc.; I don't see the prices as being "too high". Shipping costs are high also, so shipping included in the pricing is a bonus. As you said, this is a very specialized, practically a handmade product, which will keep the quality up!

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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
*****

Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5460952 - 10/08/12 04:51 PM

Maybe CNC from a plastic material that can be recycled? 3d printer? Other production ideas anyone?

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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5461017 - 10/08/12 05:54 PM

Quote:

this is a very specialized, practically a handmade product, which will keep the quality up!




Definitely!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5461041 - 10/08/12 06:08 PM

Quote:

Maybe CNC from a plastic material that can be recycled? 3d printer? Other production ideas anyone?




4'x8' sheets of 1.25" thick plastic are VERY expensive (4-5 times the cost of Extira), so I'm not sure if recycling the waste would be enough to offset the high cost or not. But it's an interesting idea and I'll definitely look into it!

And 3D printing honestly hadn't occurred to me! Based on my limited knowledge of the technology, it is mostly being used for prototypes and models at this point because of strength/durability issues. But I know the technology is changing and improving rapidly and it certainly might be a possibility in the near future. Not to mention, it would just be way cool.

Anyway, thanks for your ideas Mary!!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com

Edited by DavidOpticsmart (10/08/12 06:09 PM)


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gregory93
super member


Reged: 07/03/12

Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5463783 - 10/10/12 12:38 PM

How do these DCircles work?

Best regards


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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: gregory93]
      #5463874 - 10/10/12 01:42 PM

Another nice thing about these separate outboard degree circles is that both the degree circle base and the setting needle can be oriented almost anywhere in relation to your dob base depending on which side of the ota your eye piece is located, for instance.
Some people even find having the setting needle at the front of the scope (under the belly of the scope) more comfortable as well.


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: gregory93]
      #5463879 - 10/10/12 01:46 PM

Quote:

How do these DCircles work?




Basically, they help you find objects in the sky by allowing you to point your scope at the current azimuth of the object you want to observe. You also need a Digital Angle gauge like the Wixey (sold separately) to point your scope at the current altitude of the object you wish to observe.

And to get the current Altitude and Azimuth of objects you want to observe, you can use an application on your phone, iPad, laptop computer, etc. Popular apps are SkySafari (my fav), Starwalk, and Stellarium.

So, for example, if you're observing shortly before dawn in central Alabama, and if you look up the Orion Nebula (M42) in your app/computer program, it might show that M42 is currently (at the time you're observing) at an Azimuth of 193° and an altitude of 48°. You would simply rotate the scope until the HALO's pointer is pointing to 193°, then raise your scope's tube until the Wixey reads 48°. At that point, your scope should be pointed at the Orion Nebula and you should find it in the field of view of a low power/wide angle eyepiece.

Let me know if that helps you understand the basic concept, or if you want more detailed info.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5464099 - 10/10/12 04:24 PM

Quote:

Another nice thing about these separate outboard degree circles is that both the degree circle base and the setting needle can be oriented almost anywhere depending on which side of the ota your eye piece is located, for instance.
Some people even find having the setting needle at the front of the scope (under the belly of the scope) more comfortable as well.




That is absolutely true, although the HALO's "standard" configuration is with the pointer mounted on the left side of the Dob base (as seen from the rear) and with the compass on the north side of the ring. Like this:






Now if someone wanted to mount the pointer on the front of their base instead, they could certainly do that. But then they would need to set the HALO on the ground with 0° facing north and with the compass on the eastern side of the ring (instead of the north side) The compass would of course still be pointing north, but it would be at a right angle to the little "N"s printed on the face of the HALO (the arrows by the "N"s would be pointing east in this type of setup). Like this:







David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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John Carruthers
Skiprat
*****

Reged: 02/02/07

Loc: Kent, UK
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5464857 - 10/11/12 05:08 AM

How does one ensure the scale is exactly concentric with the axis of rotation?

I too think the price a little high when you consider a Manortronics Astrofix 2 axis pointer is less.

Looks very well made and finished though.

Edited by John Carruthers (10/11/12 05:10 AM)


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gregory93
super member


Reged: 07/03/12

Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5464866 - 10/11/12 05:51 AM

Quote:

Quote:

How do these DCircles work?




Basically, they help you find objects in the sky by allowing you to point your scope at the current azimuth of the object you want to observe. You also need a Digital Angle gauge like the Wixey (sold separately) to point your scope at the current altitude of the object you wish to observe.

And to get the current Altitude and Azimuth of objects you want to observe, you can use an application on your phone, iPad, laptop computer, etc. Popular apps are SkySafari (my fav), Starwalk, and Stellarium.

So, for example, if you're observing shortly before dawn in central Alabama, and if you look up the Orion Nebula (M42) in your app/computer program, it might show that M42 is currently (at the time you're observing) at an Azimuth of 193° and an altitude of 48°. You would simply rotate the scope until the HALO's pointer is pointing to 193°, then raise your scope's tube until the Wixey reads 48°. At that point, your scope should be pointed at the Orion Nebula and you should find it in the field of view of a low power/wide angle eyepiece.

Let me know if that helps you understand the basic concept, or if you want more detailed info.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com



Thank you for clearing it out.


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: John Carruthers]
      #5464884 - 10/11/12 06:16 AM

Quote:

How does one ensure the scale is exactly concentric with the axis of rotation?




The HALO is by design concentric with the Dob's groundboard, so assuming the Dob's axis of rotation is centered on its circular groundboard (which is the case with all the Dobs that the HALO is designed for), then the HALO will be concentric with the Dob's axis of rotation.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: gregory93]
      #5464887 - 10/11/12 06:18 AM

Quote:

Thank you for clearing it out.




You're welcome gregory93!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5465082 - 10/11/12 10:05 AM

David; I'd like to see some sort of a red light on the pointer, to avoid using a light everytime one moves the base, that would be a great addition.

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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5465137 - 10/11/12 10:50 AM

Quote:

David; I'd like to see some sort of a red light on the pointer, to avoid using a light everytime one moves the base, that would be a great addition.




Hey Carol, somebody else made that suggestion via PM, so I'll just recap my response to them here:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Yeah an [optional] lighting solution is definitely something we hope to be able to provide in the not-too-distant future. I've done some R&D already but haven't come up with a product that I REALLY like. The product would have to be elegant, useful, AND inexpensive or I wouldn't be happy with it. :-) And it's tough hitting all those goals without designing something from scratch. I certainly wouldn't mind designing something from scratch made just for the Halo, but it would be pretty difficult to make it affordable at the low quantities that I would expect to produce. Once we get past the initial introduction-stage with the HALO, I do intend to get back on the light project and see what I can come up with.

But until we come up with a marketable solution, I've found that you can do quite well with something you may already have available (or can purchase pretty cheaply). Just a few nights ago I was out with the HALO and I just laid my red LED headlamp right on the Dob base (basically right on top of the metal pointer) and it did a VERY nice job of illuminating the degree circle. In fact, it worked so well that if people start lighting their HALOs this way, then we probably wouldn't sell many of our own custom lighting solution. :-)

I've attached a couple of photos that I just took with my iPhone. This is an actual HALO with the headlamp I was talking about, sitting on top of the pointer. As you can imagine, the iPhone doesn't do a great job in such incredibly low light, so the images are a little bit blurry and grainy. It actually looks MUCH sharper in real life and is VERY easily readable, and as you can see, the ring is lit up very nicely right where you need to read it. In fact it's brighter than necessary for totally dark-adapted eyes, so if we do come up with our own custom solution, we'll probably make it a bit dimmer than this. And with the headlamp sitting on top of the pointer, obviously it moves with the base, so you shouldn't have to touch it again all night (after you've initially calibrated the pointer to zero).








Keep in mind though, that if we DO offer a custom lighting solution for the HALO at some point, it will be an optional add-on. The reason is that obviously we would have to increase the cost of the HALO if a light was included by default, and the last thing I want is to hear people complain that the increased price of the HALO is too high because they can buy some cheap mass produced LED light on ebay for five bucks, or they already have some red flashlight that they'd like to use. So if we do come up with a custom light solution, we'll price it separately so that those who want it can buy it, without it affecting the base price of the HALO.


David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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csa/montana
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5465169 - 10/11/12 11:08 AM

David; nice idea! There's so many red lights avail, that I'm sure something will work for buyers.

Quote:

that if we DO offer a custom lighting solution for the HALO at some point, it will be an optional add-on.




Absolutely! This is the best way to go!


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5465237 - 10/11/12 11:48 AM

As far as illuminating the pointer I've been using an inexpensive clip-on gooseneck book light with several layers of red celophane. Works quite well.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5465283 - 10/11/12 12:16 PM

Quote:

David; nice idea! There's so many red lights avail, that I'm sure something will work for buyers.

Quote:

that if we DO offer a custom lighting solution for the HALO at some point, it will be an optional add-on.




Absolutely! This is the best way to go!




Thanks for understanding Carol.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5465286 - 10/11/12 12:18 PM

Exactly. There are many different types of LED lights out there that would be suitable to light the HALO (or any homemade setting circle). Obviously they wouldn't be made specifically for the HALO, so they wouldn't look quite as cool as something custom-made for the HALO, but they would do the job just fine. Now we could develop something perfectly designed to fit the HALO pointer with just the right size, attachment method, power supply, brightness, wavelength of red light, etc. I can envision it, and it would look VERY cool! But then the quantities would be so low that we couldn't possibly compete with the price of cheap products made by the gazillions in China.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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aznights
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5465421 - 10/11/12 01:55 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Please dont get me wrong, I really like this idea, and I'm very excited about this product announcement. I've even shared about this idea on reddit.com/r/astronomy and to some of my colleagues. But I have to be honest, I feel like price on this is a little high.




I'm glad you like the HALO aznights, and thanks for spreading the word about it to your friends and colleagues!

And I can understand wishing that the HALO was less expensive. I wish EVERYTHING I wanted to buy was less expensive.

But the HALO isn't a mass produced product that can take advantage of huge economies of scale. All of the materials and parts that make up the HALO must be purchased in relatively small quantities (as compared to say the parts of a wheelbarrow that is made in China and sold by the millions in every Lowe's, Home Depot, and WalMart in America). And the HALO rings are CNC-machined out of 1-1/4" thick Extira (which isn't inexpensive, and because of the ring-shaped nature of the product, as you can imagine the material-yield isn't great). Then we have to do some hand-finishing work on the rings because they aren't ready for prime time right off the CNC bed. The degree circle inlays are also custom-made for us to perfectly fit the CNC'd Extira, and the leveling feet were special ordered as well. After finishing the Extira, we have to properly assemble everything and get it ready to ship.

CNC-machining certainly isn't the least expensive way to produce a mass-produced product, and the truth is that if we thought we could sell TENS of thousands of HALOs in a reasonably short period of time, those quantities MIGHT justify investing in injection molds and manufacturing the rings out of plastic. With the cheap cost of raw material, and with the mold costs amortized over tens of thousands of HALOs, we could probably offer them at a significantly lower price. But injection molds are incredibly expensive, and we would need to invest in FOUR different molds just to cover the GSO-made 8", 10", 12" and 16" bases. Then we'd need several more molds to fit the different Orion bases.

But even if I was 100% confident that we could recover the huge investment in injection molds in just 2-3 years, I still wouldn't go that route, because then if the Asian OEM base-makers changed the diameter of their Dob bases by just a little bit, our huge investment in molds would become instantly worthless. Instead, with CNC-machining, we can change the HALO dimensions to fit any change in bases with just a few keystrokes in Solidworks (the 3D CAD program used to design the HALOs).

So yes, you are paying more for the HALO, which is a highly customized product available in several sizes for a low volume, niche market, than if it were a one-size-fits-all mass-produced product on the shelf of every WalMart in America.
And believe me, I wish everyone in America wanted a HALO. But unless I'm completely wrong about the actual demand for HALOs, I suspect it will remain a very cool, albeit niche product which carries a price tag that is reflective of its production volume and production method, and is not unreasonable (IMHO) when compared to other niche products in this market.

And by the way, aside from all the manufacturing issues, keep in mind that the prices do include custom-made shipping boxes as well as the cost of shipping the product to your front door. If you check the costs of purchasing 30"x30"x6" boxes in relatively small quantities from a box-supplier, and THEN check the cost of shipping that size box across the U.S. you'll find that those costs aren't insignificant....

David Giles
Opticsmart.com




Thank you for your detailed response. I can see you've put a lot of research and capital into this project and it makes sense. I'll be watching the developments of this product closely, especially since a few people have chimed in with the "red led" idea that immediately came to my mind as well when I first saw this. I'll be waiting for v2.0


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5465459 - 10/11/12 02:17 PM

I'm thinking more about this, and I'm trying to think of ways that you could keep production costs down- yet keep the quality of the product the same. I'm not sure how much bigger each base is for the GSO scopes, but perhaps you can make a version that is universal to all three GSO sizes. I'm picturing a design where you have three inner sections, each with a corresponding degree circle platform. Perhaps you could alternate between black and white on the setting circles to help differentiate between the different ring sizes- or you could just use this as an overall base design and install the appropriate sized degree circle to order. Does that sound doable?

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5465473 - 10/11/12 02:23 PM

Thanks aznights!




Quote:

I'll be waiting for v2.0




v2.0? Do you know something I don't know?

Seriously though, if we do come up with a custom red LED light solution it will be an optional add-on to keep the price of the HALO low.

Other than a custom-made light, what other developments did you have in mind?

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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aznights
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5465477 - 10/11/12 02:27 PM

Quote:


Other than a custom-made light, what other developments did you have in mind?





See my other comment above yours regarding a possible universal design.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5465549 - 10/11/12 03:40 PM

Quote:

I'm thinking more about this, and I'm trying to think of ways that you could keep production costs down- yet keep the quality of the product the same. I'm not sure how much bigger each base is for the GSO scopes, but perhaps you can make a version that is universal to all three GSO sizes. I'm picturing a design where you have three inner sections, each with a corresponding degree circle platform. Perhaps you could alternate between black and white on the setting circles to help differentiate between the different ring sizes- or you could just use this as an overall base design and install the appropriate sized degree circle to order. Does that sound doable?




Thanks for putting some serious thought into the production process aznights!! I really do appreciate you trying to come up with ways to refine the process.

I’ll have to put some serious thought myself into your comments. But at first glance, I'm not sure a one-size-fits-three design would be cost effective (if it could even be done practically). In order to accommodate 12" scopes, it would have to be AT LEAST as large as the current HALO for 12" scopes. So it would take as much (or more) machine time as the 12" version (which takes longer than the 8" or 10" versions), and it would take more raw material than the 8" or 10" versions. And to duplicate the inlayed degree circles three times on a single HALO would cost more too. And last but not least, a HALO large enough to fit 12" scopes requires a box size of roughly 30"x30", which does cost a good bit more to ship than the smaller boxes that the 8" and 10" versions fit in.

So I think that making a one-size-fits-three version would force the price to be at least as much as the 12" HALO (likely more because of the extra work/materials involved with three inlayed degree circles on the face).

But I may be misunderstanding the concept that you're describing, so please straighten me out if I'm off base. In fact, if you want to make a quick-n-dirty sketch and send it to me via PM, I'd love to get a visual of what you're thinking.

Now if your idea for the one-size-fits-three design is that it could help justify investing in a single plastic injection mold, it would certainly help by not dividing sales volume among three different sizes. But I'm still seriously doubtful that quantities would be high enough to justify the huge cost of a single injection mold. Plus there’s the LightBridge/Astro-Tech 16" Dobs to consider. And we certainly don’t want to leave all those Orion Dob owners out in the cold. So multiple molds would still be required if we wanted to serve the whole market with injection molded HALOs.

But as I mentioned previously, even if sales volumes COULD justify the huge investment in injection molds, I wouldn't go that route because then our investment could be instantly made worthless if the base manufacturers changed the diameter of their base just a little bit.

Anyway, thanks again aznights for your participation in the process. Please keep your ideas coming!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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aznights
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5465631 - 10/11/12 04:24 PM

It sounds like you pictured my idea exactly (glad I didn't confuse you)! The only thing I'd emphasize is that you would still only have one inlayed degree circle per product since that would be the only item that would be placed per order based on the size the customer requested. And indeed, I was also referring to helping the cost of dividing sales volume with the injection mold process of a one-size-fits-three design. I was also sort of suggesting a one-size-fits-three for each of the other brands as well, so you'd have a total of about 4 instead of 12 products. The 16" dobs would still be the one-offs though.

Well, I'll let you know if I come up with anything else. I don't have any experience with polymers, but I wonder if a poured polymer would work in place of injection molding. Seems like you could make your own molds as needed that way possibly?

I'll most likely be placing my order for one of the 10" GSO versions next week by the way.


--Steve


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5465702 - 10/11/12 05:17 PM

Quote:

It sounds like you pictured my idea exactly (glad I didn't confuse you)! The only thing I'd emphasize is that you would still only have one inlayed degree circle per product since that would be the only item that would be placed per order based on the size the customer requested. And indeed, I was also referring to helping the cost of dividing sales volume with the injection mold process of a one-size-fits-three design. I was also sort of suggesting a one-size-fits-three for each of the other brands as well, so you'd have a total of about 4 instead of 12 products. The 16" dobs would still be the one-offs though.

Well, I'll let you know if I come up with anything else. I don't have any experience with polymers, but I wonder if a poured polymer would work in place of injection molding. Seems like you could make your own molds as needed that way possibly?

I'll most likely be placing my order for one of the 10" GSO versions next week by the way.


--Steve




Hmmm... the poured polymer idea sounds interesting! I'll definitely devote some time to reading up on the technique. Being able to make our own molds (and modify them if necessary) would certainly have some advantages.

Anyway, thanks again for sharing your ideas Steve, and I'll look forward to hearing how you like your HALO!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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csrlice12
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5466527 - 10/12/12 09:08 AM

Not really, the equipment just for printing and laminating circles that size is VERY expensive; it's also probably a little labor intensive making sure the compass and the degree circle are in the exact proper alignment (ya just can't slap them on any old way). If they are mfg the base, the plastic moulding equipment isn't cheap either. Compare that and the ease of use to getting hold of an accurate setting circle (luckily, most are free, lucky us), Printing and Laminating will cost about $25 (for a 10" anyways) at Kinkos/Fedex, then YOU have to tear apart your scope mount, mount it (don't forget to align the 0* with your compass (you'll need one) and perpendicular to the mount and in line with the OTA. Not rocket science, but not the easist thing you'll ever do either. Just 1* off and it's back to square one.

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aznights
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5466652 - 10/12/12 10:41 AM

For best results, you don't align your 0* with a compass, you align it with Polaris as viewed with a high power eyepiece- and even then you want to see if Polaris is at 0* or 359* that particular night. At least that's how I've been doing it- and it seems to keep me spot on with everything in SkySafari. Having a perfectly level dob bass is also critical.

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csa/montana
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5466718 - 10/12/12 11:32 AM

Quote:

For best results, you don't align your 0* with a compass, you align it with Polaris as viewed with a high power eyepiece- and even then you want to see if Polaris is at 0* or 359* that particular night. At least that's how I've been doing it- and it seems to keep me spot on with everything in SkySafari. Having a perfectly level dob bass is also critical.




Agreed, centering Polaris with a high power eyepiece is the first step; then set the pointer to "0".


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5466806 - 10/12/12 12:23 PM

Quote:

Quote:

For best results, you don't align your 0* with a compass, you align it with Polaris as viewed with a high power eyepiece- and even then you want to see if Polaris is at 0* or 359* that particular night. At least that's how I've been doing it- and it seems to keep me spot on with everything in SkySafari. Having a perfectly level dob bass is also critical.




Agreed, centering Polaris with a high power eyepiece is the first step; then set the pointer to "0".




EXACTLY! The compass is just to help you set the HALO down in (approximately) the correct orientation, so that your pointer will be somewhere CLOSE to 0° before calibration. Your local/current magnetic declination will determine how far AWAY from 0° the pointer is when you first point the scope towards Polaris (or if you're using some other star/object for calibration, how far the pointer is from that object's azimuth)

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5466833 - 10/12/12 12:33 PM

I can't see Polaris from my site so using the compass gets me close enough. It's a lot easier to simply move the pointer when calibrating than to re-position and re-level the entire dob.

While I was modifying my base I also thought it was nice to have a large universal fitting DC base with leveling feet.
Degree lines can be drawn from the center point of this base to the edge......like a bicycle wheel with 360 spokes. A pin of some sort in the middle of this base can engage with the exact point of rotation underneath the dob's ground board.

OR....even better yet, how about a complete new replacement universal ground board with DC marks and leveling feet to fit most any dob. Good thing is this will not increase your ep height.


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aznights
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5466943 - 10/12/12 03:23 PM

I just noticed that my iphone autocorrected the word base to bass on my last post. What a "dob bass" this phone is sometimes. Oh well.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5466999 - 10/12/12 04:10 PM

Quote:

I just noticed that my iphone autocorrected the word base to bass on my last post. What a "dob bass" this phone is sometimes. Oh well.




Hey, don't knock it! You never know where your next inspiration might come from.



Astrotaxidermy!!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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AlBoning
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5467172 - 10/12/12 05:51 PM

Oh yes, now I remember ... I read about the Bas-Cas in a recent issue of ATT

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: AlBoning]
      #5467211 - 10/12/12 06:20 PM

Just a thought for the waste, while you are cnc routing why not design some eyepiece holders that can be made from the scrap in the center? Route them out first then the rings.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5467288 - 10/12/12 07:15 PM

Quote:

Just a thought for the waste, while you are cnc routing why not design some eyepiece holders that can be made from the scrap in the center? Route them out first then the rings.




Excellent idea Mary! I'd hoped we could find something productive to do with all the cutouts, but with all the design work and production planning on the HALO itself I just haven't had the time to put any real thought into utilization of the waste. That's a good start though!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: AlBoning]
      #5467292 - 10/12/12 07:18 PM

Quote:

Oh yes, now I remember ... I read about the Bas-Cas in a recent issue of ATT




You mean the Schmidt–Bassegrain?




Sorry, couldn't resist. I'll stop now.

David Giles
Opticmart.com

Edited by DavidOpticsmart (10/12/12 08:05 PM)


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aznights
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5467930 - 10/13/12 09:40 AM

You're killing me over here David.

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aznights
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5467970 - 10/13/12 10:08 AM

Well, I just pulled the trigger and bought one for my Z10. I'm hoping to have it by next weekend- where I can show it off to some friends who are also dob owners. I'm looking forward to possibly writing a review for CN as well.

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aznights
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5468052 - 10/13/12 10:55 AM

Hey David, It just occurred to me that I would actually need two of the magnetic strips and pointer assemblies for the one Halo. I have two dob bases in two different cities and I travel back and forth with the OTA. Can I get another pointer kit with my order? Let me know what I owe you for it. My invoice ID is #100000771 Thanks.

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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5468104 - 10/13/12 11:19 AM

Quote:

You're killing me over here David.




Yeah I know, it was starting to smell a bit too fishy in here.....



Quote:

Well, I just pulled the trigger and bought one for my Z10. I'm hoping to have it by next weekend- where I can show it off to some friends who are also dob owners. I'm looking forward to possibly writing a review for CN as well.




Thanks for your order aznights! I'm fairly confident that your HALO will be in the first batch that ships out on Monday. But if not Monday then DEFINITELY on Tuesday, and shipping time-in-transit to your zip code is only 3 business days, so you should receive it no later than next Friday.



Quote:

Hey David, It just occurred to me that I would actually need two of the magnetic strips and pointer assemblies for the one Halo. I have two dob bases in two different cities and I travel back and forth with the OTA. Can I get another pointer kit with my order?




Sure, not a problem at all! I'll email you the details. Thanks again aznights, and I'll look forward to your review!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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derangedhermit
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5470318 - 10/14/12 06:25 PM

Is there some reason a version that had no central cutout, so it could be used as a "traditional" 3-Teflon-pad ground board, doesn't work?

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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: derangedhermit]
      #5470460 - 10/14/12 08:17 PM

Quote:

Is there some reason a version that had no central cutout, so it could be used as a "traditional" 3-Teflon-pad ground board, doesn't work?




Hi derangedhermit,

No, there's no particular reason that wouldn't work. We did consider that possibility during the design process, but just wasn't sure if there was enough real benefit to offering a version like that (more variations make the whole line more expensive). But if enough customers demand it, we'll certainly be glad to make them available in that configuration.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5470678 - 10/14/12 10:19 PM

Did you ever consider making it out of arch segments (1/3 or 1/4 of a circle) then joining with a half lap or bridle joint? Less waste, but more labor and you'd need to buy adhesive. Probably epoxy.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5470682 - 10/14/12 10:20 PM

If you used a 1/3rd arch the bridle joint can be pinned with the shaft of the foot so a failed glue joint would not mean total failure of the product which then be repaired later.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5470761 - 10/14/12 11:24 PM

Quote:

Did you ever consider making it out of arch segments (1/3 or 1/4 of a circle) then joining with a half lap or bridle joint? Less waste, but more labor and you'd need to buy adhesive. Probably epoxy.




Okay now Ron, did you have a mole in our organization last summer???



This is an early design drawing from July:









1/3 arch segments with Lap Joints! And we even had one variation where the feet shafts went through the lap joint! So, either you've been doing some spying Ron, or maybe great minds just think alike.

We did make up prototypes from this design, as well as a few other variations. But when all the dust settled we decided that the 1-piece design was the overall winner for various reasons. But boy did I beat my head against the wall for what seemed like an eternity trying to decide on an optimum design. I'm EXTREMELY happy with the way the product has turned out, and I think we did choose the right design in the end. But there are certainly other ways that the HALO could have been realized.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5470815 - 10/14/12 11:59 PM

I've never done a segment; always felt a monolithic design was stronger; an easier to make. On the other hand, all that waste in the middle of the cut out drives me bonkers.

But it hardly takes a mole; these are tried and true fabrication methods in woodworking. Especially if you follow Chris over on Popular Woodworking. But hey, always nice to have several ways to skin a cat.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5471934 - 10/15/12 05:27 PM

A batch of HALOs fresh out of the oven...





Get 'em while they're hot!


David Giles
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5472014 - 10/15/12 06:07 PM

Quote:

I've never done a segment; always felt a monolithic design was stronger; an easier to make. On the other hand, all that waste in the middle of the cut out drives me bonkers.




Same here!



Quote:

But it hardly takes a mole; these are tried and true fabrication methods in woodworking. Especially if you follow Chris over on Popular Woodworking. But hey, always nice to have several ways to skin a cat.




Yeah I was just kidding about the mole. But I was pretty surprised when you mentioned a design concept so similar to one of our early prototypes. I don't follow Popular Woodworking, and I guess I didn't realize that it was common practice to make ring-shaped things out of 1/3 segments with half lap joints.

And we certainly tried every other way we could think of to skin the cat. Our silliest design idea that quickly ended up in the trash can was a segmented design where the pieces had interlocking puzzle-piece type fittings on the end. Looked like a piece of Thomas the Tank Engine track! My kids REALLY liked it, but it didn't take long to realize it wasn't a great idea.







David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5472285 - 10/15/12 09:07 PM

Oh man, you missing some good stuff. There are fancier joints out there; pretty much hybrid joints of half laps and dovetailing. (strength plus the self indexing like the design above).

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog

Look at old ship wheels (normally you pirate captains and parrots hanging off them ) for a good example of these joints.

They do look good though. I'm thinking about adapting my dob rebuild using one of these. I really like the idea - frankly it's one of those things I wish I had thought of.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5472396 - 10/15/12 10:19 PM

Quote:

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog




I'll check it out!

Quote:

They do look good though. I'm thinking about adapting my dob rebuild using one of these. I really like the idea - frankly it's one of those things I wish I had thought of.




Thanks Ron, I'm flattered!!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5477038 - 10/18/12 02:00 PM

Just an FYI, we've registered as a vendor for the Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo next month in Tucson (they don't have us listed on their exhibitors page yet, but hopefully will soon). We'll be showing the HALO along with Apertura Dobsonians. Those of you who will be attending the show, please stop by our booth and say hello!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5479191 - 10/19/12 05:44 PM

The family of HALO products is growing rapidly...

A very brave Cloudy Nights member trusted us enough to send us his Orion XT10 base so that we could prototype the HALOXT10. The CAD work is done and we hope to get the CNC work done in the next few days. Now we just need a few more brave souls who want a HALO for their Orion Dob bad enough to live without their base for a week or two (so that we can prototype the other sizes).

Any takers?











David Giles
Opticsmart.com

Edited by DavidOpticsmart (10/19/12 05:58 PM)


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5479201 - 10/19/12 05:47 PM

Also, a customer with a 12" SkyWatcher just posted a very brief video showing that his new HALO is a perfect fit!



HALO Setting Circle a perfect fit for 12" SkyWatcher Dobsonian base.



Of course we still have to find out for sure if the 8" and 10" SkyWatchers will fit the 8" and 10" HALOs, but at this point I'm pretty confident that they will. Just need more brave souls…

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5484186 - 10/22/12 07:14 PM

Well, you now have me hooked on this idea! I too have a 12" Sky Watcher Collapsible Dob, but am a bit concerned about the long-term structural integrity of the material you use. According to CMI's Extira website, Extira is not meant to be a structural material. I realize that they probably mean that it's not meant to be used in place of proper 2x4's to build a house. However, there must be some characteristic inherent in Extira's composition that might significantly affect its ability to carry a long term, static load past a certain weight. Of course, something as heavy as a 12" Dob would be a significant dynamic weight load.

As I look at your design, I see a distinct possibility that the span between the bosses that hold the three leveling feet, and the inner weight bearing surfaces, could allow for the inner portion of the ring to possibly sag over time. There is an appreciable amount of weight being born by that inner bearing surface, and there doesn't seem to be anything in the ring's design that would mitigate the effects that the weight could have as time goes by.

Perhaps I'm missing something? Maybe the nature of Extira is mitigation enough? Your website provides a 30 day money back satisfaction guarantee, however I see no information regarding a long term warranty. Again, have I missed something?

Beyond that, I hope my reservations are misplaced, and I really hope this ends up being the excellent implementation that an equally excellent idea deserves!

Edited by mayidunk (10/22/12 08:52 PM)


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5484320 - 10/22/12 08:56 PM

Those are perfectly reasonable questions and concerns Bob. To be honest, it took a good bit longer than I expected for someone to bring up the "non-structural" comment found on Extira's website. As you pointed out, by "non-structural" I'm pretty sure they mean don't use Extira to hold up your roof.

Seriously though, all of the telescopes that the HALO is designed to support come with bases made from .75" thick MDF (covered with a thin laminate). MDF is most definitely a "non-structural" product that is most definitly not intended to support significant dynamic weight loads over the long term. Yet it has been used successfully over the long term to support thousands of beloved Dobsonian telescopes, some of which weigh upwards of 130 pounds. And I have no doubt that there were lots of questions and concerns about the “long-term structural integrity” of MDF when manufacturers first started using it for telescope bases. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy the incredible bang for the buck provided by MDF-supported scopes, manufacturers moved ahead despite any concerns that might have been expressed.

Of course Extira basically is a high-tech version of MDF, with the main difference being that Extira is specially treated to be extremely moisture-resistant. You could leave your HALO out in the rain overnight, and let it dry in the sun the next day and it would be fine. Don't try THAT with your Dob base!

Regarding the strength of the design, the HALO is designed so that the telescope’s weight is evenly distributed around the inner support "shelf", with the shelf supporting the Dob’s rigid groundboard equally around its perimeter. Now, if the HALO was made to support a very flexible load (say a 130 pound bag of sand) so that the load could "flow" into the span between the feet, then I think there would be a reason to be concerned. But as mentioned above, the Dob groundboards are rigid (at least as rigid as you can expect .75" thick non-structural MDF to be) so they don't really "push down" disproportionally on the spans between the HALO's feet. So if the Dob base stays flat (which they seem to do a pretty good job of, even though they are normally only supported at three points out near their perimeter) then the HALO shouldn’t sag either. And regarding strength, we’ve tested prototypes with almost 300 pounds sitting on the groundboard in the HALO, so they are certainly much stronger than required.

But regardless, since the HALO hasn’t been on the market for years it obviously doesn’t have a track record yet. So it will be up to the brave early-adopter types to prove to the rest of the astronomy world whether the HALO will stand the test of time. Fortunately the price isn’t astronomical, so those risk-takers aren’t risking a fortune. :-)

In any case, we do need to get some warranty information listed on the website! Just been so busy…. Anyway, the HALO will have a 1-year warranty against defects in material and workmanship.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5484531 - 10/22/12 11:40 PM

Just a couple observations; the ring is subject to a static load; just the weight of the scope and acc. Dynamic loads would be seen when you placed the scope in place; but beyond that just static loads.

If you can imagine cutting away the ring except for the legs the loads would not change, the weight of the scope is supported by the legs and not the ring. It serves to hold the index and to keep the legs properly spaced so I don't think the material will suffer sag or warping due to excessive weight over time. I have seen this sag in particle board shelving and it is huge. Very surprised the shelving did not break. Pine would have been a better choice but particle board is cheap.

I used to sell windows (wholesale and retail) and the brand had come out with a new sill for the double hung windows made of a very fancy particle board but it was glued with something pretty fancy so it could not absorb water. This material sounds similar. But that was an extruded product. Can't wait to see this in Tucson in a few weeks.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5484753 - 10/23/12 03:10 AM

Ron and David,

Thanks for the replies. The type of sag I refer to is not the ring sagging at points on the circumference between each leg, but an eventual inward cupping towards the center, with a corresponding outward splaying of each foot away from the center of the ring as their mounting boss is tilted up. Granted that, with a smaller scope this may not be a likely scenario. However, given the additional weight of a larger Dob, coupled with the increased diameter of the Halo, its structure could become more prone to flexing unless there is a corresponding increase in the amount of material to offset its tendency to do so. Perhaps the boards used to create the larger Halos are thicker than the ones that are used for the the smaller Halos?

Ron, I suppose you could say that the movements of the scope when it's being slewed from one part of the sky to another are inconsequential enough to consider the weight of the scope to be static. However, if some people are not balancing the tube, preferring instead to rely on an altitude bearing brake or spring friction device, then any azimuthal slew can cause the resulting unbalanced load to be carried to different parts around the circumference of the ring. Granted it may not be much weight, but it does represent a dynamic load. In addition, it's also conceivable that some will add things to the base that could cause an uneven weight distribution, even though the OTA may be perfectly balanced. If the amount of material used to fabricate the larger Halo isn't scaled up dimensionally (read, thicker cross-sections), the uneven loads from the scope could very well induce flexing in the Halo which over time, could begin a process leading to it starting to sag inward. However, "could," and "might," are the key words!

That being said, it's likely that Extira is rigid enough to prevent that from happening without having to "beef up" the design for the larger diameter. David has probably thought of that, and more, and has more than likely allowed for it in his design! However, I believe it's still worth touching on. Especially considering that, the more dimensionally uniform you can specify your raw material needs to your supplier, the lower the overall supply costs are likely to become at production levels. Especially if they are able to meet your needs with standard, "off-the-shelf" stock. I imagine that shipping expenses would also come into play, as you wouldn't want the smaller Halos to be any heavier than they actually needed to be.

David, speaking of MDF being non-structural, I'm also wondering if using a Halo might cause the groundboard to eventually start cupping, or sagging upwards at some points along the edge, or perhaps even failing entirely! Since the groundboard is no longer being carried by the feet as designed (hence their ability to get away with using MDF, provided their design is a good one), the extra load being carried by the extreme outer edge of the groundboard might become problematic. Indeed, it's certainly not what the designers anticipated. Especially for larger scopes; especially those using a "Lazy Susan" bearing, due to there now being a longer distance between the bearing and the edge causing more bending and shearing stress than the original thickness of the groundboard was meant to bear! Even those using Teflon pads will usually have them positioned at nearly the same radius as the feet, both being more or less in line with the rocker box, in order to minimize bending and shearing loads on both the baseboard, and the groundboard (at least, that's how it appears to me on both of my Dobs...). Given how MDF is likely to weather over the years, and given that it would be supported at its extreme edge and not by its feet, any balancing of the loads on the groundboard that may have been provided by the feet would be lost, and the result could be eventual sagging, if not complete structural failure of the groundboard!

Please don't take this as me bashing your product in any way. Again, the operative words here are "could," "might," and "maybe." Once again, you've probably already figured this all out, and I'm just a day late, and a dollar short! So, if I'm in any way out of line, please disabuse me of my ignorant notions.

I bring this all up because I'm torn between either having a AZ ring made to mount on top of the baseboard, and mounting a pointer on the groundboard, or buying a Halo. Considering that the Halo obviously provides a more elegant way to calibrate the azimuth scale, provides an easy way to level the base, and keeps the pointer moving with the user, I would very much prefer buying one, as it really seems to be a very good, well thought out, and very complete solution. I just want to know that my scope, and the Halo itself, won't be subject to any unfortunate failures years from now. Especially failures that could arise from supporting the groundboard by its extreme outer edge.

I tend to be pretty careful with my gear, as I am no longer in a position to replace it later on if need be. Therefore, an ounce of prevention...

I was a bit long winded, my apologies... thanks for reading this far!

Edited by mayidunk (10/23/12 08:28 AM)


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5484982 - 10/23/12 10:08 AM

Oooh, that IS an interesting failure mode. If the feet are not dialed out too much (keep their moment arm short) but one would have to see it in person and flex it to see how likely this would be. Just an off the cuff observation the material looks thick enough to resist this but still. Interesting.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5485047 - 10/23/12 10:55 AM

Quote:

Oooh, that IS an interesting failure mode. If the feet are not dialed out too much (keep their moment arm short) but one would have to see it in person and flex it to see how likely this would be. Just an off the cuff observation the material looks thick enough to resist this but still. Interesting.



Yes, and quite unfortunate if the designers chose the thickness of the groundboard based upon the load being carried by the feet. Flexing may not show up right away, but would most likely become apparent over time. How long that would take would depend upon how much additional moment would be added, and the how long it would take the MDF to finally reach its failure point.

This could be mitigated by the addition of metal straps, angle iron, or even a stamped steel dish set in the empty space underneath the groundboard, resting on the inside bearing surface of the Halo, that would then accommodate the feet, allowing the groundboard to work as designed while the metal dish transferred the weight back to the inner rim of the Halo. Such a fix would probably raise the price a bit, and might add some complexity to the construction. However, doing this might prove to be worthwhile in the long run! Whether or not it would need to be done for smaller Dobs would need to be looked at. However, for the Halo to carry something as heavy as the SW 12" Collapsible, it may be needed to ensure the integrity of the groundboard.

In fact, if he were to go with an insert for the existing Halo, he may not even need to alter the existing design! He could just offer the insert as an option for those who may need it. It would just drop into the Halo, and then the Dob would be placed on the insert, with the groundboard still fitting far enough into the ID of the Halo to ensure its coaxial alignment with the scale, while allowing the stock pointer to still be used without being too far from the surface of the scale. But even if the stock pointer would be too short, he could either include a longer replacement pointer with the insert, or provide instructions on how to bend the existing pointer to accommodate the increased distance. In fact, if it's possible to fabricate the insert out of Extira, he wouldn't even incur the added costs of materials, fabricating the dies, or someone to make the stampings! He could just add another program to his machine that would route out the insert! No muss, no fuss? Maybe... I'd be interested to hear David's take on this.

Edited by mayidunk (10/23/12 11:32 AM)


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5485171 - 10/23/12 12:23 PM

Quote:

Can't wait to see this in Tucson in a few weeks.




Thanks for your input Ron. I look forward to meeting you and putting the HALO in your hands in Tucson!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5485235 - 10/23/12 12:57 PM

Quote:

I just want to know that my scope, and the Halo itself, won't be subject to any unfortunate failures years from now.




And therein lies the rub Bob. There is simply no way for you (or I) to KNOW right now what will take years to be proven one way or the other. If we were Ford or Toyota, we might be able to design some Rube Goldberg machine that could apply accelerated stress testing to the HALO so that it would only take six months (and vast amounts of money) to simulate what would otherwise take several years of field use to prove out. But we’re not, and we can’t. As I mentioned before, I’m quite certain that there was much concern and hand wringing when MDF was first used for telescope bases, and I’m also quite certain that the manufacturers didn’t have advanced stress testing data to assure concerned prospective customers that the MDF bases wouldn’t suffer "unfortunate failures" several years after purchase. Overly concerned buyers simply had to wait and allow less risk-averse buyers to find out one way or the other. So if your prerequisite for buying a HALO is knowing something right now that simply isn’t knowable, then I think the only prudent thing for you to do is to just install a DIY setting circle ring on your groundboard and enjoy using it. No need to stress over the HALO.

For others reading this thread, I can only say that I don’t BELIEVE that the HALO (or your scope) will be "subject to any unfortunate failures years from now". If you need more assurance than that, then you’ll just have to wait. You’ll survive without the HALO, and we’ll survive without the order. Several years from now you will know, based on the historical record, how the HALO has performed over the long term and you can make your purchasing decision then.

And for anyone who isn’t worried about the HALO itself failing, but is now concerned that their Dob base "could" or "might" suffer an unfortunate failure after using it for several years with their HALO, I think that is in fact far less likely than the HALO itself failing (which I also think is highly unlikely). Again, I can’t KNOW what the long term effect of using the HALO with your Dob base will be, until HALOs have actually been used with Dobs for several years. But since these MDF Dobsonian base designs have been on the market for many years now, I think we can more easily make some assumptions about how THEY will hold up.

The groundboards for the 12" scopes that the HALO is designed for have a diameter of 25.08". They are ONLY supported at three locations by three rubber feet that are 1.14" in diameter. And the center of each of those three feet is only ONE INCH from the "extreme outer edge" of the groundboard. So the entire weight of your telescope is being concentrated on three small points pretty darn close to the extreme outer edge of the groundboard. By comparison, when your base is sitting in the HALO it is practically on a throne. The HALO has a 3/4" wide shelf that supports the groundboard all around its perimeter (except for six small cutouts). So yes the HALO does indeed support your Dob base around its "extreme outer edge", but the factory foot positions are within 1/4" of the edge of the HALO shelf, and again there are only THREE of them.

So considering the fact that three small feet situated 1" from the extreme outer edge have been historically proven to adequately support the MDF groundboard, then personally I think it is safe to assume that a shelf that comes within 1/4" of the existing foot locations, but supports almost the entire perimeter of that MDF groundboard, is a safe substitute. Actually I suspect that the perimeter-shelf would be LESS likely to allow the groundboard to sag, warp, or fail, than three feet just 1" from the edge. But again I don’t have any hard historical data or accelerated stress analysis to back up that assumption, so if you’re looking for hard proof, you’ll have to wait.

And one thing to keep in mind during all this discussion of failures, is that the HALO is SEPARATE from your Dob base. You simply set the HALO on the ground when you arrive at the observing site, and then set your Dob base in the HALO. Then at the end of your observing session you lift your Dob base OUT of the HALO, pick up the HALO, and go home. Even for EXTREMELY active observers, the Dob base will only spend a small fraction of its life sitting in the HALO. The other 95% or so of its life the Dob base will be sitting on three feet 1" from the extreme outer edge....

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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csa/montana
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485253 - 10/23/12 01:07 PM

Quote:

Even for EXTREMELY active observers, the Dob base will only spend a small fraction of its life sitting in the HALO.





Not so, in my case with my 16" setup in my observatory. the HALO would become a permanent addition to the setup.

One other question I might have is, what is the diameter for the feet on the HALO for the 16"? This is important, as I would most assurdedly want the HALO feet resting on my concrete support; rather than on the wood floor around the concrete.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485261 - 10/23/12 01:14 PM

Hi David,

Yes, I guess I sounded a bit like a screaming mimi. Of course, there really isn't any way to predict the future, so it will come down to how well early adopters are doing with it a year or so down the road.

Thank you for answering my questions and concerns, and for putting up with my admittedly sophomoric, armchair engineering. The Halo looks to be a very well thought out product, I hope many will take advantage of all that it offers.

I wish you well!


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5485270 - 10/23/12 01:20 PM

Carol, your floor is quite stout and it should work just fine. That said, only an eye piece test will confirm it. Your scope would be one of the heavier scopes on a HALO. With it being on there 24/7 it will a good long term test of it. Still, the loads are not that great so I would be very surprised to see a a problem. I suspect if any problems did show up it would be well within a year and under warranty.

They could convert to phenolic resin - at a great cost.

In any event, YOU will be able to answer these fears with your setup.

If by some wild stress the legs did splay out, turnbuckles tying the three legs together would fix it up straight away.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5485308 - 10/23/12 01:40 PM

Ron, yes the observatory floor is stout, however, I still prefer to have the scope resting completely on the concrete base. When I had my refractor in the observatory, on the wood floor, there was definitely vibration when I moved. I really don't want to have to "answer these fears" with my setup; as I'm the least likely to be able to fix any problems that "could/might" arise.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5485314 - 10/23/12 01:43 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Even for EXTREMELY active observers, the Dob base will only spend a small fraction of its life sitting in the HALO.





Not so, in my case with my 16" setup in my observatory. the HALO would become a permanent addition to the setup.

One other question I might have is, what is the diameter for the feet on the HALO for the 16"? This is important, as I would most assurdedly want the HALO feet resting on my concrete support; rather than on the wood floor around the concrete.




Hi Carol,

I can’t say exactly what the diameter of the circle that circumscribes the feet on the 16” model will be until we get one in here for prototyping. But I THINK it will be around 35.5”, give or take a half inch or so. Will that fit your concrete pad?

Of course if you plan for your telescope to permanently live on the HALO, then Bob’s concerns about sagging/failure are certainly more relevant (as compared to the normal usage situation where the Dob sits in the HALO infrequently and for short periods of time).

Personally, I still think that the HALO will hold up just fine over the long term because of its thickness and because it supports the Dob base symmetrically around the perimeter of the groundboard. But again I don’t have any hard historical data to back that up, and if you are concerned about that, Bob’s idea of a stamped steel insert sounds like a pretty good way of making the whole unit incredibly strong (albeit more expensive, heavy, etc.)

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5485320 - 10/23/12 01:46 PM

Quote:

Hi David,

Yes, I guess I sounded a bit like a screaming mimi. Of course, there really isn't any way to predict the future, so it will come down to how well early adopters are doing with it a year or so down the road.

Thank you for answering my questions and concerns, and for putting up with my admittedly sophomoric, armchair engineering. The Halo looks to be a very well thought out product, I hope many will take advantage of all that it offers.

I wish you well!




No problem at all Bob. I figured that sooner or later somebody would express concern about the fact that the HALO is basically made of "non-structural" MDF (albeit a higher-tech, thicker version than used in the Dob bases it is designed to support). And I knew that the HALO would have to establish some history before everybody became comfortable with the construction. Fortunately there are enough early-adopters out there who like to try new stuff regardless of any perceived risks involved, that we should all know in short order whether the HALO lives up to its promise.

Anyway, thanks for your well wishes and encouragement Bob, and Clear Skies!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485329 - 10/23/12 01:50 PM

Thanks David; I'll get down to the observatory to meature the concrete in a day or two; had snow yesterday, & it's extremely slick out.

Indeed, I would want it for a permanent setup; as once setup in the observatory; there would be no reason to ever move the scope or remove the HALO.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5485357 - 10/23/12 02:02 PM

Quote:

Indeed, I would want it for a permanent setup; as once setup in the observatory; there would be no reason to ever move the scope or remove the HALO.




Well then, as Ron mentioned you may be the perfect test case since you would be putting one of the heaviest telescopes on the largest HALO. Once we get a 16" LB base in here so that we can get the HALO dimensioned perfectly for it, I'll get in touch.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485431 - 10/23/12 02:57 PM

Carol,
For a permanent setup you can perhaps get rid of the Halo feet all together and instead use leveling blocks/shims directly underneath the circumference of the Halo for more solid support, directly over your concrete footing.
This would also prevent potential splaying of the Halo feet over time.
But on the other hand if you did that that would be a rather expensive degree circle setup as one attractive feature of the Halo are the leveling feet, which you are also paying for and a nice feature to have every time you set up your scope out in the field.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485432 - 10/23/12 02:59 PM

I suspect we'll be visiting carol again in about two years ( or less) and can check things out then. Even correct any floor interface problems that would cause vibration for her - like playing her music too loud.

I'd use my scope but the rebuild schedule keeps getting pushed off.....


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485436 - 10/23/12 02:59 PM

And speaking of perfectly dimensioned HALOs, check out the new model for the Orion XT10 (not 100% complete but should be finished and shipped out by tomorrow):





Ain't it purdy??

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5485446 - 10/23/12 03:09 PM

Quote:

Even correct any floor interface problems that would cause vibration for her




Don't know how that would be done; it's carpeted, and no way to get underneath the floor. My idea of the concrete support under the scope is level with the floor, to prevent tripping on the edge.
When I can, I'll measure the concrete; but if I remember correctly; it's just large enough for the feet of the base of the scope. The scope as it sits, has absolutely no vibration, and that I'm not willing to give up.



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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5485466 - 10/23/12 03:18 PM

Quote:

Carol,
For a permanent setup you can perhaps get rid of the Halo feet all together and instead use leveling blocks/shims directly underneath the circumference of the Halo for more solid support.
This would also prevent potential splaying of the Halo feet over time.
But on the other hand if you did that that would be a rather expensive degree circle setup as one attractive feature of the Halo are the leveling feet, which you are also paying for and a nice feature to have every time you set up your scope out in the field.




DUH, I don't know why I didn't think of that Carol! One of the things that makes the HALO so cool is that you can just plop it down in any old field (within reason) and easily and quickly get it leveled without needing shims. But Gastrol is absolutely right, that you probably don't NEED adjustable leveling feet for your permanent installation on a concrete slab (that is presumably level already).

Of course I'd love for you to have a HALO anyway, and I'm sure you would enjoy using it. And if nothing else, your Dob will certainly look MUCH classier sitting on the HALO. So we can continue to explore the possibilities.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485492 - 10/23/12 03:30 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Indeed, I would want it for a permanent setup; as once setup in the observatory; there would be no reason to ever move the scope or remove the HALO.




Well then, as Ron mentioned you may be the perfect test case since you would be putting one of the heaviest telescopes on the largest HALO. Once we get a 16" LB base in here so that we can get the HALO dimensioned perfectly for it, I'll get in touch.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com



David, if the I.D. of the Halo is a slip fit for the O.D. of the LB's base, that might add enough additional support to help prevent the Halo from cupping in over the long haul (provided that cupping is even an issue to begin with!). Especially if the outer edge of the LB's groundboard is flat, or has a large diameter radius milled into it. Perhaps that, along with only extending the Halo's feet just enough to keep the LB's feet just off the floor, and tightening down the lock nuts on the threaded rods once the mount has been leveled, might go far towards greatly increasing the Halo's overall rigidity and resistance to any sag that might otherwise develop over the long haul under such a load.



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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485495 - 10/23/12 03:32 PM

David, as you know, I'm very interested; but only if it works well for me. I really don't think the HALO would look very classy up on blocks.

We'll just wait & see what the actual diameter of the feet will be for my 16"; and in the meantime, I'll get the measurement of the concrete pad.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5485504 - 10/23/12 03:39 PM

Quote:

I really don't think the HALO would look very classy up on blocks.




You probably won't even see them anyway as they will be pretty thin. Hockey pucks or even poker chips can be used instead of blocks.
Or, if your concrete surface is completely level, you don't even need any of these, except for perhaps a layer of felt paper as a moisture barrier.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5485508 - 10/23/12 03:44 PM

Quote:

David, if the I.D. of the Halo is a slip fit for the O.D. of the LB's base, that might add enough additional support to help prevent the Halo from cupping in over the long haul (provided that cupping is even an issue to begin with!). Especially if the outer edge of the LB's groundboard is flat, or has a large diameter radius milled into it. Perhaps that, along with only extending the Halo's feet just enough to keep the LB's feet just off the floor, and tightening down the lock nuts on the threaded rods once the mount has been leveled, might go far towards greatly increasing the Halo's overall rigidity and resistance to any sag that might otherwise develop over the long haul under such a load.




Yeah I didn't really go into that, but your thinking is basically correct. The HALO isn't an exact fit for the Dob base because we don't want customers to have to pry their base out of the HALO with a crowbar. So there are several thousandths of an inch clearance all the way around. And the outside edges of the groundboards aren't perfectly flat. But still, the groundboard itself will prevent the inside walls of the HALO from falling/sagging inward (more than a few thousandths of an inch) which is what would have to occur for the feet to be splayed out. So basically what you're saying is true: the groundboard and the HALO mutually support each other.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5485513 - 10/23/12 03:47 PM

Quote:

I really don't think the HALO would look very classy up on blocks.




I shudder at the thought!

Seriously though, if your floor is flat and level, we could simply send you a HALO without feet, and you could remove the rubber feet from the bottom of your Dob's base. Then just set the HALO flat on the floor, get it oriented perfectly north, set the Dob in it and you're good to go.

David Giles
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485518 - 10/23/12 03:49 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I really don't think the HALO would look very classy up on blocks.




I shudder at the thought!

Seriously though, if your floor is flat and level, we could simply send you a HALO without feet, and you could remove the rubber feet from the bottom of your Dob's base. Then just set the HALO flat on the floor, get it oriented perfectly north, set the Dob in it and you're good to go.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com



Might there be a way she could lock the Halo to the floor so the alignment doesn't drift over time?


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5485546 - 10/23/12 04:03 PM

Quote:

Might there be a way she could lock the Halo to the floor so the alignment doesn't drift over time?




She could absolutely do that if she wanted to. If we send the HALO without feet installed, she could simply drill holes in her concrete floor (with the appropriate drill bit) and install concrete anchors at the positions where the leveling feet would normally be on the HALO. Then use long bolts to run through the HALO's leg-holes and into the anchors. Of course when screwing into the concrete anchors she'd have to be careful not to crank down on them TOO hard (as with any MDF/wood product) so as not to damage the HALO.

David Giles
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485599 - 10/23/12 04:26 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Might there be a way she could lock the Halo to the floor so the alignment doesn't drift over time?




She could absolutely do that if she wanted to. If we send the HALO without feet installed, she could simply drill holes in her concrete floor (with the appropriate drill bit) and install concrete anchors at the positions where the leveling feet would normally be on the HALO. Then use long bolts to run through the HALO's leg-holes and into the anchors. Of course when screwing into the concrete anchors she'd have to be careful not to crank down on them TOO hard (as with any MDF/wood product) so as not to damage the HALO.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com



David, I'm very tempted to just plunk down the credit card! However, I have to hold off for the time being, at least until the funds become available. But I'll tell you, I really want to see this for myself. Despite everything I said, I really like the thinking behind it, and hope to get one sooner than later!



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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5485611 - 10/23/12 04:37 PM

Do the leg holes have tapped metal sleeves that the threaded rods screw into?

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5485643 - 10/23/12 04:52 PM

Quote:

David, I'm very tempted to just plunk down the credit card! However, I have to hold off for the time being, at least until the funds become available. But I'll tell you, I really want to see this for myself. Despite everything I said, I really like the thinking behind it, and hope to get one sooner than later!







Believe me Bob, I understand about funds being unavailable.


Quote:

Do the leg holes have tapped metal sleeves that the threaded rods screw into?





We install threaded metal inserts into both sides of the Extira before installing the leveling feet.


David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5485666 - 10/23/12 05:04 PM

Quote:

Quote:

David, I'm very tempted to just plunk down the credit card! However, I have to hold off for the time being, at least until the funds become available. But I'll tell you, I really want to see this for myself. Despite everything I said, I really like the thinking behind it, and hope to get one sooner than later!







Believe me Bob, I understand about funds being unavailable.


Quote:

Do the leg holes have tapped metal sleeves that the threaded rods screw into?





We install threaded metal inserts into both sides of the Extira before installing the leveling feet.


David Giles
Opticsmart.com



Thanks! If you were to leave the inserts in Carol's Halo, could they prevent the concrete anchoring screws from damaging the Halo while at the same time providing a bearing surface for the anchors to be torqued against? Or, would it preferable to leave the inserts out, and just torque the screws against a flat washer?


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5485697 - 10/23/12 05:19 PM

Quote:

Thanks! If you were to leave the inserts in Carol's Halo, could they prevent the concrete anchoring screws from damaging the Halo while at the same time providing a bearing surface for the anchors to be torqued against? Or, would it preferable to leave the inserts out, and just torque the screws against a flat washer?




I would probably recommend leaving the metal threaded inserts out, and using a large flat washer on top of the HALO.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5485705 - 10/23/12 05:21 PM

I seriously doubt that the Halo will shift to a point where you had to make constant re-alignment of the pointer. A thin rubber pad or felt paper underneath should prevent it from shifting with all that weight on top. I can understand locking down the mount for EQ mounts, but for setting circles I don't think it's that critical.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5485738 - 10/23/12 05:35 PM

Quote:

I seriously doubt that the Halo will shift to a point where you had to make constant re-alignment of the pointer. A thin rubber pad or felt paper underneath should prevent it from shifting with all that weight on top. I can understand locking down the mount for EQ mounts, but for setting circles I don't think it's that critical.




I would tend to agree. Just the friction between the concrete and the bottom of the HALO would probably be enough to keep it perfectly still.

David Giles
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5486241 - 10/23/12 11:15 PM

Wow, that 10" Orion base board sure looks familiar to me...

The picture of my Halo is awesome!!

Great job,
Bill

Edited by PhaedrusUpshaw (10/23/12 11:39 PM)


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5486788 - 10/24/12 10:57 AM

Quote:


Please dont get me wrong, I really like this idea, and I'm very excited about this product announcement. I've even shared about this idea on reddit.com/r/astronomy and to some of my colleagues. But I have to be honest, I feel like price on this is a little high.



Well aznights, if you wanna play you gotta pay and it has been my experience in astronomy as well as in everything else you get what you pay for. The Halo is a simple solution to a complex problem. If you do not have the means or the ability to build your own setting circle with leveling and azimuth aligning capabilities it would seem as if Dave's Halo is one very good solution to the common problem of finding and viewing celestial objects.
Of course that is simply my opinion so please take it for what it might be worth...
Bill

Edited by PhaedrusUpshaw (10/24/12 11:03 AM)


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: PhaedrusUpshaw]
      #5486823 - 10/24/12 11:19 AM

Quote:

Well aznights, if you wanna play you gotta pay and it has been my experience in astronomy as well as in everything else you get what you pay for. The Halo is a simple solution to a complex problem. If you do not have the means or the ability to build your own setting circle with leveling and azimuth aligning capabilities it would seem as if Dave's Halo is one very good solution to the common problem of finding and viewing celestial objects.
Of course that is simply my opinion so please take it for what it might be worth...
Bill




Thanks for your comments Bill! But just for the record, aznights did go ahead and order the HALO. He's paid, so he can play.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com

Edited by DavidOpticsmart (10/24/12 11:20 AM)


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5487479 - 10/24/12 06:53 PM

Ahhh....the joys of manufacturing.....

Anyone who has followed this thread closely may remember me saying that I wouldn't dare make the huge investment in injection molds for the HALO because the Asian OEMs could at any time make a very small change to the groundboard diameters and totally ruin our day. Well, that comment was more applicable (and timely) than I ever would have guessed….

Much to our dismay, we’ve recently discovered that in just the past few months GSO made a minor change to the bases that they supply with their scopes. All they did was change the rubber “bumper” that goes around the perimeter of the groundboard to a flatter, less rounded shape. The change is completely inconsequential with respect to the functionality, usability, quality, and durability of the product. BUT, the newer bumper style does reduce the outside diameter of the newer groundboards by approximately .16”, which means that HALOs designed for GSO bases with the older bumper style won’t be a good fit for bases with the newer bumper style.




There are thousands of GSO-made bases out there with the older bumper style, so we will of course continue to stock the current HALO sizes. But we are also working on HALOs for the newer GSO-made bases and will stock them as well. It’ll make inventory a bit more complex (and costly), and we’ll have to communicate well with customers to make SURE they order the appropriately sized HALO for THEIR particular base. But hey, that’s all just part of the fun right?

David Giles
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5487594 - 10/24/12 08:25 PM

Hmmmmm, self adhesive shims so you can use one base for both, or a peg that the user can tap in (or leave out) depending on the size of base.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5487598 - 10/24/12 08:27 PM

You'd think that something so inconsequential as a rubber bumper would be the last thing you'd change! Then again, maybe their supplier dropped out and they had to go with someone else.

Anyway, I have a couple of questions:

How thick is the shelf that the edge of the groundboard sits on?

How tall are the feet on the end of the leveling screws?

I'm curious about the minimum amount the threaded rods would need to be extended before the feet on my telescope's groundboard start to lift off the floor.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5487983 - 10/25/12 01:28 AM

Quote:

Thanks for your comments Bill! But just for the record, aznights did go ahead and order the HALO. He's paid, so he can play.



Oops, I gotta remember to check out all the pages on a topic in this forum before I make a post! I hope aznights is as excited regarding the acquisition of a HALO for his Z10 as I am for the HALO for my XT10. And aznights I truly apologize for having spoken out of turn.
…now we both can play.
Clear skies,
Bill


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5488240 - 10/25/12 09:20 AM

Quote:

Hmmmmm, self adhesive shims so you can use one base for both, or a peg that the user can tap in (or leave out) depending on the size of base.




Yeah we've considered shims, but I just don't like the idea of some customers getting perfectly dimensioned HALOs while others have to live with a less optimal workaround. And I suspect that engineering and procuring customized shims that are durable, look good, and REALLY fit well, would probably take more effort/investment than simply making HALOs that are properly dimensioned to begin with.

David Giles
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5488316 - 10/25/12 10:18 AM

Quote:

You'd think that something so inconsequential as a rubber bumper would be the last thing you'd change! Then again, maybe their supplier dropped out and they had to go with someone else.




Yeah I suspect it was a supplier issue.





Quote:

How thick is the shelf that the edge of the groundboard sits on?




.5"





Quote:

How tall are the feet on the end of the leveling screws?




Approx. 1.5". Or to be more precise:








Quote:

I'm curious about the minimum amount the threaded rods would need to be extended before the feet on my telescope's groundboard start to lift off the floor.





Unless your Dob's feet are taller than the standard rubber feet that are supplied with most Asian Dobs (which are typically .95"-1" tall), then your Dob's feet WILL be off the floor by at least an inch (at the HALO's minimum height setting). I think this image has the info you're looking for:







David Giles
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5488462 - 10/25/12 11:42 AM

Thanks, Dave. Especially for taking the time to enclose those photos. Especially for then doing the math for me! You're easing my worried mind.

What did you use to seal the machined surfaces on the Halo?


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5488493 - 10/25/12 11:55 AM

Quote:

Thanks, Dave. Especially for taking the time to enclose those photos. Especially for then doing the math for me! You're easing my worried mind.

What did you use to seal the machined surfaces on the Halo?




We don't apply any sealer. The HALO will withstand far more exposure to moisture un-sealed than your Dob base ever could. As I said you could leave the HALO out in the rain overnight. And eventually I'm sure someone will.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5490213 - 10/26/12 01:13 PM

David; that does beg the question; How well does the machined surface take a finish? I foresee a desire by some to paint or varnish the exposed surface for looks (say white paint to match their scope). If the surface does not accept paint very well a heads up before hand would save some grief.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5490524 - 10/26/12 04:37 PM

Well I got my XT10 ground boards back from Optismart along with the first HALO Setting Circle/Leveling Base they produced for the Orion XT10 and I must say this HALO unit is a precision piece of equipment that greatly enhances my viewing pleasure. I can track satellites, find obscure celestial objects and it looks great sitting there under my XT10 too. Excellent job Dave and thank you for allowing me to participate in the design phase of Orion XT10 HALO development. The crew at Optismart is very customer satisfaction oriented and a pleasure to do business with.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5490561 - 10/26/12 05:09 PM

Quote:

David; that does beg the question; How well does the machined surface take a finish? I foresee a desire by some to paint or varnish the exposed surface for looks (say white paint to match their scope). If the surface does not accept paint very well a heads up before hand would save some grief.




We haven't experimented with painting them Ron. Personally I kind of like the natural finish, and we didn't want the product to be unnecessarily expensive due to us having to prime/sand/prime/sand/prime/sand/paint, when it simply wasn't necessary for the performance of the product. So we didn't go down that road. But if you were trying to get the HALO to "match" your Dob base, I suspect that it would be pretty difficult to get a smooth finish similar to the laminate used on Dob bases. The sides of the HALOs have a semi-rough finish that kind of feels slightly "fuzzy" to the touch (its just the way the cross section of the material machines, even with a brand new sharp bit). You might be able to get it perfectly smooth with several coats of shellac or polyurethane, with sanding between each coat. But I doubt many people would want to do that to their HALO and risk getting the paint/sealer on the setting circle, compass, or leveling feet. In any case, if someone did want to paint their HALO, they would need to use an oil-based paint because Extira REALLY doesn't like water (which is a good thing!!) and a water-based paint or varnish probably wouldn't stick.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: PhaedrusUpshaw]
      #5490564 - 10/26/12 05:10 PM

Quote:

Well I got my XT10 ground boards back from Optismart along with the first HALO Setting Circle/Leveling Base they produced for the Orion XT10 and I must say this HALO unit is a precision piece of equipment that greatly enhances my viewing pleasure. I can track satellites, find obscure celestial objects and it looks great sitting there under my XT10 too. Excellent job Dave and thank you for allowing me to participate in the design phase of Orion XT10 HALO development. The crew at Optismart is very customer satisfaction oriented and a pleasure to do business with.




Thanks PhaedrusUpshaw!!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5491033 - 10/26/12 11:28 PM

http://thephotolaboratory.shutterfly.com/818
http://thephotolaboratory.shutterfly.com/815
http://thephotolaboratory.shutterfly.com/819

Ah, Dave that is an old screen name, actually it is my second life avatar's name. And of course this post wouldn't be complete without a few photographs of the newest acquisition to my rapidly growing arsenal.
Clear skies,
Bill


Edited by PhaedrusUpshaw (10/27/12 12:46 AM)


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5493327 - 10/28/12 04:25 PM

Bad news. Went down to check the scope on the concrete. The base extends about 2" beyond the concrete. So the Halo would be sitting outside of the concrete on the floor, which would not be acceptable.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! *DELETED* *DELETED* new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5493346 - 10/28/12 04:41 PM

Post deleted by Gastrol

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5493393 - 10/28/12 05:16 PM

I would like to see a replacement ground board setup... bolt it on in place of the original.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5493400 - 10/28/12 05:21 PM

There's less than 3/4" space between the floor & the base.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: PhaedrusUpshaw]
      #5494460 - 10/29/12 11:18 AM

Quote:

http://thephotolaboratory.shutterfly.com/818
http://thephotolaboratory.shutterfly.com/815
http://thephotolaboratory.shutterfly.com/819

Ah, Dave that is an old screen name, actually it is my second life avatar's name. And of course this post wouldn't be complete without a few photographs of the newest acquisition to my rapidly growing arsenal.
Clear skies,
Bill




Thanks for posting photos Bill! Looks like your XT10 and the HALO are going to be very happy together.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5494520 - 10/29/12 11:59 AM

Quote:

Bad news. Went down to check the scope on the concrete. The base extends about 2" beyond the concrete. So the Halo would be sitting outside of the concrete on the floor, which would not be acceptable.




Oh well, thanks for checking Carol! I would be honored for you to use a HALO in your observatory simply because your mega-thread has inspired so many members to embrace setting circles. But honestly it just doesn't sound like you really need the HALO. One of the HALO's greatest benefits is its ease of on-site setup with the integrated bubble level, compass, and leveling feet. Because it is so portable, you can easily and quickly set up just about anywhere and have accurate object location. It's also nice that the HALO is separate from the Dob base and doesn't permanently add any weight or width to the base, so it doesn't make your Dob base any more difficult to pick up, to get through doorways, or to fit in your car. But obviously none of those benefits would matter in your particular permanent installation. Your Dob is probably already level, and you can just point it north one time and never have to touch it again. So it sounds like a basic setting circle is all you really need.

But thanks anyway Carol for your support and your enthusiasm for the HALO!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5494553 - 10/29/12 12:15 PM

Quote:

I would like to see a replacement ground board setup... bolt it on in place of the original.




Thanks for the suggestion Mary! But just to clarify, are you saying that you just want to "see" a groundboard-replacement-style HALO, or that you actually want to BUY one? After years in business I've learned the hard way (as I'm sure you have) that casual statements of interest on a forum don't always translate into actual orders, so we have to be careful about jumping on a given product/feature based on a comment or two.

Seriously though, we may consider a full groundboard-replacment-style HALO if the demand appears to be strong enough. The main reason we didn't offer them that way to start with is that a HALO made that way would obviously add roughly 3" of width to the Dob base, making the base harder to move/transport, not to mention heavier. Now we could use Birch Baltic plywood with several coats of polyurethane, which should allow us to keep the weight down, but because of the cost of material and finishing it would have to be more expensive than the standalone HALO. So I'm not sure how popular that would be...

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5494601 - 10/29/12 12:49 PM

Although I also suggested a replaceable ground board, I agree with David here in that they will be large and rather expensive to manufacture due to the materials. This would be more of a DIY project more than anything else. I'm currently building a complete new birch base for my Lightbridge with a smaller diameter Halo style ground board using two sheets of 1/2" birch ply laminated together for 1" thick ground board.
I can understand how expensive these things can get as just for parts for 3/8" thread leveling feet alone will cost me about $40. But this sure beats getting down on your hands and knees trying to shim the base to bring to level every time you set up.


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5494966 - 10/29/12 04:51 PM

http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/phenolic-coated-plywood.html

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5495013 - 10/29/12 05:19 PM

Quote:

Oh well, thanks for checking Carol! I would be honored for you to use a HALO in your observatory simply because your mega-thread has inspired so many members to embrace setting circles.




David, thank you! I haven't given up; still tossing some ideas around; as I would love to have a Halo residing in my observatory.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5495056 - 10/29/12 05:41 PM

As long as the feet stay in the same spot to fit my transporter I would be very interested. I roll my dob out to use it on this





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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5495058 - 10/29/12 05:43 PM

Quote:

Although I also suggested a replaceable ground board, I agree with David here in that they will be large and rather expensive to manufacture due to the materials. This would be more of a DIY project more than anything else. I'm currently building a complete new birch base for my Lightbridge with a smaller diameter Halo style ground board using two sheets of 1/2" birch ply laminated together for 1" thick ground board.
I can understand how expensive these things can get as just for parts for 3/8" thread leveling feet alone will cost me about $40. But this sure beats getting down on your hands and knees trying to shim the base to bring to level every time you set up.




Yeah once you start trying to build something similar to the HALO, the costs do add up.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5495062 - 10/29/12 05:46 PM

Quote:

http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/phenolic-coated-plywood.html




Thanks for the link Ron!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5495063 - 10/29/12 05:47 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Oh well, thanks for checking Carol! I would be honored for you to use a HALO in your observatory simply because your mega-thread has inspired so many members to embrace setting circles.




David, thank you! I haven't given up; still tossing some ideas around; as I would love to have a Halo residing in my observatory.




Well, just let me know if you come up with a workable idea.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5495087 - 10/29/12 06:06 PM

Quote:

As long as the feet stay in the same spot to fit my transporter I would be very interested.




Mary, could you possibly lay your Dob base over on its side and take a picture of exactly how its feet fit in the transporter? And once you get outside, do you take your Dob base off the transporter for observing?

In any case, if we did make a replacement-groundboard-style HALO, it would have leveling feet similar to the standard HALO, and those leveling feet would be outboard of your upper round baseboard (similar to the standard HALO). And it wouldn't have rubber feet at all. Now it MIGHT fit your transporter anyway, but I'd need to get some measurements to be sure.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5495156 - 10/29/12 06:59 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Oh well, thanks for checking Carol! I would be honored for you to use a HALO in your observatory simply because your mega-thread has inspired so many members to embrace setting circles.




David, thank you! I haven't given up; still tossing some ideas around; as I would love to have a Halo residing in my observatory.




Well, just let me know if you come up with a workable idea.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com




David, I surely will; and will keep following the threads, to get more ideas!


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5496457 - 10/30/12 04:30 PM

I would make it minus the levelers, I have them on the transporter. Use rubber feet in the original location as the factory ground board. I see it being an inch or so larger in radius to accommodate the azimuth ring. Would be simple to make that way. many observe on level areas like concrete or from observatories or use a transporter with levelers like mine has.

The feet just sit inboard of the aluminum rails, I mounted rubber bumpers on top to center the base on the aluminum. I will go out and try to grab a couple pics.

Bumper that centers the base



How the foot sits against the rail



Front foot sits between these 2 bolts





Edited by Mary B (10/30/12 05:33 PM)


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ErnieM
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5498016 - 10/31/12 04:10 PM

I will measure my old Hardin 8" base to see if it will fit.Is it really important to also purchase the digital angle gauge and if so I need a link as to which and where to purchase this device.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5498054 - 10/31/12 04:33 PM

Quote:

I would make it minus the levelers, I have them on the transporter. Use rubber feet in the original location as the factory ground board. I see it being an inch or so larger in radius to accommodate the azimuth ring. Would be simple to make that way. many observe on level areas like concrete or from observatories or use a transporter with levelers like mine has.

The feet just sit inboard of the aluminum rails, I mounted rubber bumpers on top to center the base on the aluminum. I will go out and try to grab a couple pics.

Bumper that centers the base




Thanks for all the detailed photos Mary! They definitely help me understand what you want/need. I'm not sure if or when we will make a HALO like you want, but I'll definitely keep your ideas in mind, and I'll let you know if we do go that route.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: ErnieM]
      #5498071 - 10/31/12 04:44 PM

Quote:

I will measure my old Hardin 8" base to see if it will fit.




Sounds good Ernie! I'll look forward to seeing if your Hardin is a good fit.



Quote:

Is it really important to also purchase the digital angle gauge and if so I need a link as to which and where to purchase this device.




You definitely need SOME kind of gauge to allow you to set your altitude. Here's the Wixey: Wixey Digital Angle Gauge

Some people use this one instead: Sears Digital Torpedo

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5499145 - 11/01/12 10:18 AM

From Rocklers if you have one nearby (also mailorder). It's the one I bought (for woodworking).

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=22143&site=RO...


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5499149 - 11/01/12 10:22 AM

Amazon has the same one a bit cheaper.

Woodline had two models for $40.
http://www.woodline.com/p-2196-digital-bevel-box.aspx


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5499642 - 11/01/12 05:10 PM

I would purchase plain, seamless, laminated degree circles with large numbers (for my old eyes), or even printed on thin gauge material like aluminum which can be contact cemented to the ground board (or adhesive backed) for DIY projects if they were made available.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5499722 - 11/01/12 06:49 PM

Good Idea Gastrol, I could make a new larger ground board for my scope myself if I have the degree circles.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5499748 - 11/01/12 07:05 PM

Quote:

Good Idea Gastrol, I could make a new larger ground board for my scope myself if I have the degree circles.



I personally would prefer the ground board to be no larger (except for protrusions for feet levelers) than the rocker base board and make a cutout instead to keep the base from being unnecessarily large.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5500571 - 11/02/12 09:03 AM

Quote:

I would purchase plain, seamless, laminated degree circles with large numbers (for my old eyes), or even printed on thin gauge material like aluminum which can be contact cemented to the ground board (or adhesive backed) for DIY projects if they were made available.




Quote:

Good Idea Gastrol, I could make a new larger ground board for my scope myself if I have the degree circles.




Thanks for the ideas Gastrol and Mary! That is definitely something we have considered and may offer in the future.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5500599 - 11/02/12 09:31 AM

Quote:

I personally would prefer the ground board to be no larger (except for protrusions for feet levelers) than the rocker base board and make a cutout instead to keep the base from being unnecessarily large.




That's the tough part about marketing any product - satisfying all the different needs and preferences out there.

If we do produce a groundboard-replacement style HALO, and we make it LARGER in diameter than the rocker base board (like the current HALO), then obviously the Dob base would be more difficult to get through doorways and into your vehicle (which isn't a problem for the current HALO because it isn't permanently attached to the Dob base). For some people I think that a permanently larger-diameter base would be a serious deal-breaker, while it probably wouldn't be a problem at all for others.

But if we produce a groundboard-replacement style HALO that has the SAME diameter as the rocker base board, then obviously customers would have to cut into their rocker boards to be able to see the setting circle that would otherwise be hidden under the the rocker base board, and I think that would be a serious deal-breaker for a lot of people. I guess we could offer both, but that would mean two SKUs for each size Dob (above and beyond the current detachable HALOs, which already require two SKUs for each GSO Dob because of the different base diameters). And I suspect that the sales for each individual SKU would be pretty small, so I'm not sure if that would be a workable plan.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5500629 - 11/02/12 09:57 AM

What if the scale was placed on the outside edge (vertically) of the base like a ribbon; not unlike what you see on GEMs?

It could even get real cute where this ribbon is a vertical rib that is transparent and the needle is attached to the moveable base and swings behind it. Add a little red light to back light the needle and its' shadow appears on the scale.

Does not solve the SKU proliferation problem but hey, we're brain storming here.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5500672 - 11/02/12 10:32 AM

Quote:

What if the scale was placed on the outside edge (vertically) of the base like a ribbon; not unlike what you see on GEMs?

It could even get real cute where this ribbon is a vertical rib that is transparent and the needle is attached to the moveable base and swings behind it. Add a little red light to back light the needle and its' shadow appears on the scale.

Does not solve the SKU proliferation problem but hey, we're brain storming here.




I LOVE brainstorming! And that sounds like a VERY cool idea!

But if its a vertical transparent rib that the pointer would travel behind, then it would pretty much have to be made of plastic (which probably means an expensive mold for each separate Dob base). And the groundboards on Dob bases tend to take a pretty good beating (bumping into doorways, getting kicked, etc) so I'm not sure how well a thin, transparent piece of plastic would hold up as the "bumper" on your groundboard (instead of the standard rubber bumper which can take the beatings).

But I can visualize what you're talking about Ron and it would certainly be a very slick, high-tech-looking design! Makes me want one!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5500782 - 11/02/12 11:40 AM

Quote:

What if the scale was placed on the outside edge (vertically) of the base like a ribbon; not unlike what you see on GEMs?




I did exactly that on my very first setting circle mod. Very easy to do and you can place the pointer anywhere. I applied electrical tape along the edge of the groundboard and drew degree marks all around. I think I even posted photos earlier this year on Carol's setting circle thread.
It actually worked quite well but I did not like squatting each time to see the degree marks. So that lasted just a couple of sessions out in the field before I moved on to another method.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5500808 - 11/02/12 11:58 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I would purchase plain, seamless, laminated degree circles with large numbers (for my old eyes), or even printed on thin gauge material like aluminum which can be contact cemented to the ground board (or adhesive backed) for DIY projects if they were made available.




Quote:

Good Idea Gastrol, I could make a new larger ground board for my scope myself if I have the degree circles.




Thanks for the ideas Gastrol and Mary! That is definitely something we have considered and may offer in the future.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com




In fact, on second thought, instead of stocking several different pre-cut diameters perhaps you can produce say a single 36" diameter sheet with a dozen or so setting circles in successive smaller diameters printed on it. The DIY'er can then cut out whatever size needed for the project and slap it right on the groundboard.


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5500818 - 11/02/12 12:06 PM

If it was wide enough, and very well back lit that would help the visual problem a bit but I can see where that would get annoying over time (especially for tall guys like me).

Getting a bit more complicated (as brain storming sessions are want to do ) but a digit setting circle with an LCD readout that could be placed where the use would like it. But nixie lights would be uber cool.


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5500830 - 11/02/12 12:11 PM

In fact, a niche market would be a base and bearing kit with DSC with a nixie tube read out for both attitudes. I've been too lazy and way behind on other projects to pursue that myself (bucket list though) but would buy one in a heart beat.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5500861 - 11/02/12 12:30 PM

Quote:

It actually worked quite well but I did not like squatting each time to see the degree marks. So that lasted just a couple of sessions out in the field




This would be a disadvantage for many! It's much more convenient to simply look down at the base, to see the degree circle, rather than having to squat down (with me, would be more like laying down, with the base so close to the ground), in order to see it.

The degree circle on the top base, with the pointer on the lower base, works very well. That's why I'm still not ruling out a Halo for my 16"; as it's the same idea, only much more updated. I'm even considering having someone cut out the inner circle that holds the base, & just having the Halo encircle the base, not supporting the dob. This way it could be moved to incorporate "North", at will. This is just one of the ideas I'm considering, since I really don't need the leveling feet for the dob, when it's permanently in place, already level.


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5500875 - 11/02/12 12:36 PM

Quote:


The degree circle on the top base, with the pointer on the lower base, works very well.



That requires the degree circle to be printed counter-clockwise which I'm sure works equally as well.


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Den Mama
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5500918 - 11/02/12 12:57 PM

Indeed it does. This is how I setup my 8" dob. However with the Halo, this is not a factor.

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DavidOpticsmart
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Reged: 08/15/11

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5506480 - 11/06/12 08:39 AM

Quote:

In fact, on second thought, instead of stocking several different pre-cut diameters perhaps you can produce say a single 36" diameter sheet with a dozen or so setting circles in successive smaller diameters printed on it. The DIY'er can then cut out whatever size needed for the project and slap it right on the groundboard.




Sorry folks, got busy over the weekend and just realized that I hadn't responded to some comments that were directed at me.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestion Gastrol! I'll definitely consider that solution (and price it out) and see if it makes more sense than stocking individual circles.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5506490 - 11/06/12 08:48 AM

Quote:

Getting a bit more complicated (as brain storming sessions are want to do ) but a digit setting circle with an LCD readout that could be placed where the use would like it. But nixie lights would be uber cool.




Oh yeah, those nixie tubes are sweet! And a HALO all tricked-out like that would definitely have a very cool "retro-modern" look to it! Not sure anybody would buy a HALO made that way, but it would sure make a nice conversation piece.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5506508 - 11/06/12 09:04 AM

Numbered boutique run for us snobs. You could sign it and call it your Signature Line.

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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5506545 - 11/06/12 09:36 AM

Quote:

Numbered boutique run for us snobs. You could sign it and call it your Signature Line.




I like your thinking! And while we're at it, we could make the HALO out of some exotic wood. Imagine a beautiful Ebony with a highly polished finish. With matching hand-carved knobs on the leveling feet.
With the DSC, nixie tube readouts, and exotic wood, you could own the first $1,000 HALO Ron!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5506575 - 11/06/12 09:52 AM

Quote:

That's why I'm still not ruling out a Halo for my 16"; as it's the same idea, only much more updated. I'm even considering having someone cut out the inner circle that holds the base, & just having the Halo encircle the base, not supporting the dob. This way it could be moved to incorporate "North", at will. This is just one of the ideas I'm considering, since I really don't need the leveling feet for the dob, when it's permanently in place, already level.




Hey Carol, if we make you a HALO without the leveling feet, you could simply attach it to your Dob base with wood screws (from the bottom) as seen in this image:





You would simply need to turn your base over, set the HALO on it, and drill through the shelf of the HALO into your Dob base with the appropriate size drill bit for the wood screws that you want to use (making sure not to drill all the way through the Dob base). 1" long, #6 woods screws would be the right choice.

In a previous post you said "There's less than 3/4" space between the floor & the base." As long as there is just a tiny bit more than 1/2" of space (like 17/32"), then your Dob's feet would still rest on your concrete slab. With this kind of setup, the HALO wouldn't be supporting your Dob base - instead your Dob base would be "wearing" the HALO like a skirt.

Now of course, this kind of installation wouldn't allow you to independently rotate the HALO on the groundboard, but I wouldn't think that would be necessary in your particular installation. You would simply set your base up one time so that it is pointed perfectly north and then you shouldn't have to mess with it anymore (if I'm understanding your setup correctly).

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5506595 - 11/06/12 10:10 AM

David, indeed that will work!! As you mentioned, it would only be a one-time setup; no need to re-adjust it further.

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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5506707 - 11/06/12 11:22 AM

Quote:

David, indeed that will work!! As you mentioned, it would only be a one-time setup; no need to re-adjust it further.




Cool! Now we just have to get the 16" HALO dimensioned properly. It may be awhile before we get that done, but I'll let you know as soon as we do.

Thanks Carol!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5515232 - 11/11/12 10:44 PM Attachment (26 downloads)

Met Mr. Giles and his Halo this weekend. Hope this shot will add some scale for you folks. the font is nice and large to make for easy ready for dilated eyes in the dark.

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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5515732 - 11/12/12 10:31 AM

Thanks Ron, and it was great meeting you at the show!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5515967 - 11/12/12 01:00 PM Attachment (23 downloads)

Thanks for the close up pics. Those really are nice big numbers! I'll be able to make those out without having to squint or get down closer.

That degree mark layout is perfect for my current new dob base project I'm working on for my Lightbridge 12.


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5516799 - 11/12/12 09:29 PM

Ooooh, nice base! Looks like there will be conflict with the installed feet you have there. Which by themselves is a nice touch to the base.

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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5516926 - 11/12/12 10:26 PM

Quote:

Ooooh, nice base! Looks like there will be conflict with the installed feet you have there. Which by themselves is a nice touch to the base.



Thank you. Yes, the studs are too long now and they will be shortened by about an inch to clear the corners of the rocker box. Besides, I only need about an inch of adjustability at most. After everything checks out the base will get further sanding and will be painted white to match the scope.
The cutout to view the setting circle will be at the front of the scope.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5517818 - 11/13/12 12:23 PM

Quote:

Thanks for the close up pics. Those really are nice big numbers! I'll be able to make those out without having to squint or get down closer.

That degree mark layout is perfect for my current new dob base project I'm working on for my Lightbridge 12.




Beautiful woodwork there Gastrol!!


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5517920 - 11/13/12 01:11 PM

Just a few shots from our trip out to the Arizona Science and Astronomy Expo this past weekend.



Our booth on Friday night before the crowds arrived (show started Saturday morning):







Dr. Phil Plait hamming it up with the AD12 on Saturday:





Favorite Mexican food dive:





Favorite view on the Apache Trail (an incredible drive through remote canyons, much of which is on a one-lane DIRT road!):





It was a great show with very good attendance (especially considering that it was the show's FIRST year) and we look forward to attending next year!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5518088 - 11/13/12 02:54 PM

I spent about ten hours last New Years Day on the Apache Trail when I got a flat tire on my Moto Guzzi Quota and had to get trailered out. Not a big fan of tubed tires. But the road its' self is quite the scenic tour.

Need to find more places to eat, too many places, so little time.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5518208 - 11/13/12 04:04 PM

Yeah the Apache Trail was quite a bit more remote and primitive than I expected. I absolutely LOVED it and can't wait to go back with the wife. But I started my day off thinking I was just going to take a leisurely scenic drive with a nice lunch somewhere along the way.

WRONG!

My flight was out of Phoenix, and was scheduled to take off at 4:35pm. So I left Lunt Solar Systems in north Tucson about 9:30 yesterday morning and planned to drive to Globe Arizona, which would let me come in the "back way" and drive the Apache Trail back towards Phoenix. The entire route from Tucson to Phoenix International was 210 miles, and I had a good five and a half hours before I needed to be at the airport around 2:30, for a nice two-hour cushion before takeoff. So 5.5 hours to cover 210 miles - sounds easy, right? At a leisurely 50-mph pace it shouldn't take much more than four hours.

Well I obviously didn't do enough reading about the Apache Trail because I had NO IDEA that over 20 miles of it was a DIRT ROAD that was full of switchbacks and was one lane in many places! During that stretch it was hard to cover much more than 15 miles an hour! So as I crawled along the trail I began to get more and more worried that I was going to miss my flight, and needless to say I wasn't able to enjoy the scenery as much as I would have liked, as I became more focused on driving like I was racing in the Baja 1000.

Fortunately I did make it to the airport about an hour before my flight was supposed to take off, but by the time I got the rental car returned, rode the shuttle bus from the rental center to the terminal, checked my bag, and inched my way through security, I was cutting it VERY close, getting to the gate about the time the plane was supposed to be boarding.

Of course, wouldn't you know it, I come running up to the gate ready to jump on the plane, and it's 25 minutes late.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5518218 - 11/13/12 04:12 PM

Next year we may have to arrange a Vendors Tour, before or after the show for folks that would like to explore AZ a bit while they are out here.

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DavidOpticsmart
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Reged: 08/15/11

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5518249 - 11/13/12 04:32 PM

Sounds good Ron!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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tinrinnie
journeyman


Reged: 07/08/09

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5528503 - 11/19/12 06:10 PM

David, you have found your niche...and I have found HALO!

After getting my Zhumell Z10 and having fun pushing around the sky, I soon realized I'd never be able to find what I wanted to find unless I learned how to read the sky. So I've patiently spent the last year completing the AL Binocular Messier list, a terrific way to learn how to star hop, right? Well, only if you're never going to use a telescope! As soon as I returned to my Z10, there I was scanning the sky again, hoping to find something I could recognize and then looking it up to make sure.

I found this thread nearly in tears , upset that I might never be able to find a DSO on purpose, spending all my days, I mean nights, stumbling upon objects. And then when I found HALO, I nearly cried again, this time from joy .

HALO is part of the answer. The other is the altitude, which I seem especially bad at. What do you think about this product, the Husky digital level? http://tinyurl.com/c69vk5q I plan to test it out over Thanksgiving.

Sooo glad to have found your product. Going to order it now.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: tinrinnie]
      #5530176 - 11/20/12 01:30 PM

Quote:

David, you have found your niche...and I have found HALO!

After getting my Zhumell Z10 and having fun pushing around the sky, I soon realized I'd never be able to find what I wanted to find unless I learned how to read the sky. So I've patiently spent the last year completing the AL Binocular Messier list, a terrific way to learn how to star hop, right? Well, only if you're never going to use a telescope! As soon as I returned to my Z10, there I was scanning the sky again, hoping to find something I could recognize and then looking it up to make sure.

I found this thread nearly in tears , upset that I might never be able to find a DSO on purpose, spending all my days, I mean nights, stumbling upon objects. And then when I found HALO, I nearly cried again, this time from joy .

HALO is part of the answer. The other is the altitude, which I seem especially bad at. What do you think about this product, the Husky digital level? http://tinyurl.com/c69vk5q I plan to test it out over Thanksgiving.

Sooo glad to have found your product. Going to order it now.




I'm also glad you found the HALO tinrinnie! I think you will really enjoy being able to easily zero in on those tough-to-find objects. Some people enjoy hunting for objects on their own, but it sounds like the HALO will take a lot of stress out of astronomy for you.

I haven't seen that Husky digital level in person, so I can't say for sure how well it will work. Just by looking at the description/specs, it looks like it should do the job. But if you want to get a product that has been proven to work well by many astronomers, then you might want to go with either the Wixey WR300 or the Sears Torpedo Level.

Anyway, before we ship out your HALO, we just need to verify whether your Zhumell base has the newer/flatter rubber bumper, or the older/rounder rubber bumper around the perimeter of your groundboard, so that we send you a HALO that fits properly.

Here are some photos of both types, which will hopefully help you (and other customers) determine which bumper-style you have.

These first three photos show the groundboards standing on their edge so that you can see the shape of the bumpers:














And in these two photos, the groundboards are flat on the floor, showing the thickness of the bumpers:














So please take a close look at the bumper on your Zhumell (and measure the thickness of it), and let me know which version you have. Thanks for your order tinrinnie, and I look forward to hearing how you like your new HALO!


David Giles
Opticsmart.com

Edited by DavidOpticsmart (11/20/12 01:33 PM)


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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: tinrinnie]
      #5530247 - 11/20/12 01:58 PM

Quote:

What do you think about this product, the Husky digital level? http://tinyurl.com/c69vk5q




One thing you need to consider is the weight of some of these torpedo levels. Some can be as heavy as a very large 2" eye piece and can cause balance issues depending on where you mount it. Wixeys are relatively small and weigh almost next to nothing.


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beatlejuice
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5530681 - 11/20/12 05:35 PM

Quote:

Anyway, before we ship out your HALO, we just need to verify whether your Zhumell base has the newer/flatter rubber bumper, or the older/rounder rubber bumper around the perimeter of your groundboard




Just wondering David if anyone has tried yet to fit the older/rounder Orion groundboard to a Halo.

Eric


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DavidOpticsmart
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Reged: 08/15/11

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: beatlejuice]
      #5531708 - 11/21/12 08:46 AM

Quote:

Just wondering David if anyone has tried yet to fit the older/rounder Orion groundboard to a Halo.

Eric




Hey Eric. An XT8 owner who has one of the older Orion bases with the round groundboard did contact us to ask about this, and his groundboard was over 1/2" smaller in diameter than the inside diameter of the HALO for 8" GSO-made scopes, so unfortunately it wouldn't be a very good fit.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Gastrol
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Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5532152 - 11/21/12 12:23 PM

That's really a bummer with the different ground board specs. There are so many other users out there that can benefit from the use of the Halo. There has got to be a more practical solution out there to deal with this.
I know this has been discussed before but at least with the smaller dob bases perhaps a slightly larger than stock replacement Halo ground board is the only "simple" solution I can think of. One size can accommodate a variety of different diameter bases within a certain size range.



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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5532488 - 11/21/12 03:28 PM

Just thinking out loud here, may be a crack pot idea but maybe it'll give someone else a good idea.

For certain sizes (perhaps a family of four) the HALO is shipped complete except the center is solid. A center hole with pivot is include along with a scrap of hardboard attached to the pivot.

The user is expected to attach their router to the hardboard and route out the center to fit their scope using the scrap hardboard as a cheap circle jig.

Since the center is about the hardest thing to do, if Opticsmart had already done this it would make success at home easier to come by.

At the very least a center hole would be provided to pivot the user supplied circle jig (with plans on how to make your own if you don't have a commercial jig - after all, it's about the easiest jig to make!).


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5532490 - 11/21/12 03:28 PM

In fact, just a dimple to mark center would be good enough too.

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Gastrol
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Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5532537 - 11/21/12 03:52 PM

My thinking on that is if the user already owns a router, might as well build a clone Halo from scratch.

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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5532642 - 11/21/12 04:57 PM

Or just substitute it for their current ground board. Wouldn't be hard to use the old one to lay out the screw holes etc.

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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5532689 - 11/21/12 05:22 PM

True, but the HALO has that very nice printed waterproof numbered ring and the levelers all made in that very nice water proof material. So it is not without its' advantages. Pricing would determine if it was worth it to the buyer.

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Gastrol
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Reged: 11/04/11

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: rboe]
      #5532702 - 11/21/12 05:29 PM

Quote:

True, but the HALO has that very nice printed waterproof numbered ring and the levelers all made in that very nice water proof material. So it is not without its' advantages. Pricing would determine if it was worth it to the buyer.


Good points. Now, only if the numbered laminate rings were available separately...

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audioaficionado
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/24/12

Loc: Medford, Orygun, USA
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5543062 - 11/27/12 11:23 PM

I'd think some steel or hardened aluminum backing would give me more confidence in the long term composite durability of the rather thin looking Apertura versions. Could there be more meat left on the inside edge/shelf lip? Perhaps don't hollow it out at all except just the feet cutouts.

It looks real nice though. Definitely will consider one when I order my future AD10 dob.


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rboeAdministrator

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5543459 - 11/28/12 09:27 AM

Perhaps you could convince Mr. Giles to post another photo showing the thickness with something for scale. I got to see these in person in Tucson and they are thicker in person that what I assumed from viewing the pictures here.

These are quite beefy units; in looking at them, while there may be design tweaks I'd consider; making them stronger is not one of them. They are over built for a 16" dob, for anything smaller; well they are silly strong.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5543692 - 11/28/12 11:39 AM

Quote:

I'd think some steel or hardened aluminum backing would give me more confidence in the long term composite durability of the rather thin looking Apertura versions. Could there be more meat left on the inside edge/shelf lip? Perhaps don't hollow it out at all except just the feet cutouts.

It looks real nice though. Definitely will consider one when I order my future AD10 dob.




Hey Steve,

We could certainly add aluminum or steel backing, but it would significantly (and in my opinion, unnecessarily) increase the cost of the HALO. And keep in mind that the HALO is made from 1.25" thick material which is pretty darn thick.

We've tested the HALO in various ways. We've dropped it flat on its feet onto a concrete floor from a height of seven feet (which is an EXTREME test for ANY piece of astronomy gear) with absolutely no damage whatsoever. And we've set the groundboard for an AD12 in its matching HALO and had TWO grown men stand on the groundboard at the same time (a little over 400 pounds!) with no damage whatsoever. Naturally the groundboard and the HALO flexed a fair amount with that much weight on them, but neither cracked or broke. And 400 pounds is obviously WAY beyond the HALO's design limit.

In another test, I jumped up and down on the AD12 groundboard in the HALO several times without failure. I continued jumping higher and higher until eventually the HALO did break. BUT it was taking a very serious beating at that point, and TWO of the 5/16"-18 legs were severly bent in the process, which shows how much stress was being put on the system when it finally failed. And if you jump up and down as hard as you can on your Dob base (or just about any other piece of astronomy gear) you're probably going to have to replace it as well.

And in regard to weatherability, we've soaked HALOs under a sprinkler for over half an hour and left them out to dry in the sun, with no change in appearance, strength, or functionality.

So although the HALO is certainly not indestructible (and neither is any of your other astronomy equipment), in my humble opinion, the HALO is more than durable enough for its intended use.

But I suspect that the only thing that is really going to give people confidence in the HALO's durability is widespread use of them in the field over the long term. The 3/4" thick MDF used for Dob bases has already gone through that period, so naturally people have a level of confidence in its durability. I wish we could send people through time into the future, so that they could actually see how the HALOs held up over the long term, but unfortunately we haven't developed the time machine yet.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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audioaficionado
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5544071 - 11/28/12 03:20 PM

It sounds like it will work as is. I can always retrofit metal reinforcement by any perceived weak areas in the future as needed.

I like the product lines you are offering. They look like good value for the investment.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Reged: 08/15/11

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5544172 - 11/28/12 04:20 PM

Quote:

It sounds like it will work as is. I can always retrofit metal reinforcement by any perceived weak areas in the future as needed.

I like the product lines you are offering. They look like good value for the investment.




Yeah you can definitely add any reinforcement that you feel is necessary. But once you hold the HALO in your hands, and use it for awhile, I think you might get comfortable with it and decide that reinforcement isn't necessary.

Anyway, thanks for the compliments Steve, and I look forward to hearing how you like your your Apertura dob and your HALO!

David Giles


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Mary B
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5544325 - 11/28/12 06:10 PM

Okay how about this for those of us who like to tinker. Make an option without the center cut out so we can adapt it to our current scope as a new ground board. Think on my Z10 all it would need is the insert for the center tension bolt. Less to carry when setting up.

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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5544429 - 11/28/12 07:32 PM

Quote:

Okay how about this for those of us who like to tinker. Make an option without the center cut out so we can adapt it to our current scope as a new ground board. Think on my Z10 all it would need is the insert for the center tension bolt. Less to carry when setting up.




Thanks for the suggestion Mary! We're definitely considering a groundboard-replacement style HALO for the future. But we would use 3/4" thick material for that design, because a solid groundboard made from 1.25" thick Extira with no center-cutout would be WAY too heavy (and most people complain about their bases being too heavy already). I'll definitely let you know when we do have that type of HALO ready to go, but it may be awhile because we still have some other projects that need to get done first.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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JamesL
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: aznights]
      #5544859 - 11/29/12 12:16 AM

composite wood product???

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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: JamesL]
      #5545002 - 11/29/12 06:16 AM

Quote:

composite wood product???




Not sure if you're asking about the HALO, or the Dobsonian bases that it supports, but either way the answer is yes. The main difference is that the HALO is made from a thicker, higher grade composite wood product that is virtually waterproof.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5545500 - 11/29/12 12:58 PM

Quote:

Okay how about this for those of us who like to tinker. Make an option without the center cut out so we can adapt it to our current scope as a new ground board. Think on my Z10 all it would need is the insert for the center tension bolt. Less to carry when setting up.




I think transferring azimuth bearing hardware to the new ground board should be pretty straight forward. At least these makes of scopes (Apetura, Lightbridge, Zhumell) I believe all share the same bearing hardware.


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mayidunk
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5546182 - 11/29/12 08:22 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Okay how about this for those of us who like to tinker. Make an option without the center cut out so we can adapt it to our current scope as a new ground board. Think on my Z10 all it would need is the insert for the center tension bolt. Less to carry when setting up.




I think transferring azimuth bearing hardware to the new ground board should be pretty straight forward. At least these makes of scopes (Apetura, Lightbridge, Zhumell) I believe all share the same bearing hardware.



If you're referring to them using a "Lay-Susan" bearing, then you can add the Sky-Watcher 12" as well, and likely the 16", though I don't know if the 16" is available in the US. I can't speak to the 8" or 10" though.

Edited by mayidunk (11/29/12 08:25 PM)


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5547180 - 11/30/12 01:03 PM

Yes, the Lazy Susan needle bearing assembly with its associated center bolt assembly. The stock assembly works pretty well as is but I modified mine slightly with a thicker 3/8" center bolt, ground board insert, and a collared bronze sleeve.

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simpleisbetter
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5547358 - 11/30/12 03:00 PM

Quote:

Okay how about this for those of us who like to tinker. Make an option without the center cut out so we can adapt it to our current scope as a new ground board. Think on my Z10 all it would need is the insert for the center tension bolt. Less to carry when setting up.




Looking at the HALO product on their website, it should be easy to do Mary. There appears to be enough of a flange that a little double-sided foam tape and short (1.5") deck screws should turn them into a one piece groundboard nicely.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5555276 - 12/05/12 08:36 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Okay how about this for those of us who like to tinker. Make an option without the center cut out so we can adapt it to our current scope as a new ground board. Think on my Z10 all it would need is the insert for the center tension bolt. Less to carry when setting up.




Looking at the HALO product on their website, it should be easy to do Mary. There appears to be enough of a flange that a little double-sided foam tape and short (1.5") deck screws should turn them into a one piece groundboard nicely.




True, you can certainly attach the HALO to your groundboard as simpleisbetter describes if you don't want to carry the HALO separately. But 1.5" screws would actually punch through the upper surface of the groundboard, because the lip on the HALO is .5" thick and the groundboard is .75" thick. So it would be better to use 1" screws, or 1.25" at the MAX. If you use 1.25" screws, it's possible that the sharp tip of the screws might just slightly pierce the upper surface of the groundboard, so with 1.25" screws I would recommend putting a washer under the head of each screw to prevent that.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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audioaficionado
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Loc: Medford, Orygun, USA
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5555633 - 12/05/12 12:53 PM

You should pre drill the holes too.

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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5555640 - 12/05/12 12:56 PM

Quote:

You should pre drill the holes too.




Definitely!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5555677 - 12/05/12 01:24 PM

Quote:

You should pre drill the holes too.




Those anchor points should also be located very close to each leveling feet to keep those areas as rigid as possible to prevent possible splaying of the feet and part of the Halo, as they will be bearing at least the weight of the base permanently.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5556060 - 12/05/12 05:41 PM

Quote:

Those anchor points should also be located very close to each leveling feet to keep those areas as rigid as possible to prevent possible splaying of the feet and part of the Halo, as they will be bearing at least the weight of the base permanently.




I honestly don't think that splaying of the feet, or sagging of the unsupported spans would be a problem over the long term with the current HALO design. The 1.25" thick Extira material is pretty darn stiff.

But what I think isn't really what matters. What customers (and potential customers) think is what matters, and clearly there is some concern about the strength/stiffness of the current HALO design.

So I'm considering altering the design to make it even stronger than it already is. The change would add 2-3 pounds per HALO, and the price would increase slightly (shouldn't be more than 10-15 bucks) but it would make the HALO MUCH stronger and stiffer. But before we commit to this new design, I figure we might as well throw it out here and get some good feedback.

This new design would have a 1" wide support lip around the inside perimeter (current design has .75" wide support lip) plus connecting "spokes" that would add a lot of strength to the overall ring, and especially to the unsupported spans between the leveling feet. Keep in mind that the current 12" HALO design has been tested to support over 400 pounds, so I suspect that this spoked version would easily handle another couple hundred pounds (just in case anyone out there has a 600 pound 12" Dob. )
























So what do you all think? Would anyone have any lingering doubts about the strength of the HALO with this design? Would anyone balk at the extra 2-3 pounds? Would anyone balk at another few bucks if they were more comfortable with the strength of the HALO?

I'm all ears!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5556117 - 12/05/12 06:16 PM

And if anyone thinks that there STILL isn't enough "meat" there, we could do this:






David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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audioaficionado
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Reged: 05/24/12

Loc: Medford, Orygun, USA
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5556356 - 12/05/12 08:23 PM

This one interests me the most. Heck just have the 3 or 6 small feet holes and a center hole. I'd like the shelf thickness to be 3/4" too.



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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5556387 - 12/05/12 08:38 PM

Last version, I will figure out a way to put it on wheels so weight doesn't matter. be easy enough to widen my dob carrier.

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beatlejuice
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5556705 - 12/06/12 12:13 AM

Am I mistaken or would this design also be a fit for some odd sized ground boards.

Eric


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5557088 - 12/06/12 08:57 AM

Quote:

This one interests me the most. Heck just have the 3 or 6 small feet holes and a center hole. I'd like the shelf thickness to be 3/4" too.




Thanks for the feedback Steve! But why would you want the shelf to be 3/4" thick?

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5557095 - 12/06/12 08:58 AM

Quote:

Last version, I will figure out a way to put it on wheels so weight doesn't matter. be easy enough to widen my dob carrier.




Thanks Mary!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: beatlejuice]
      #5557128 - 12/06/12 09:25 AM

Quote:

Am I mistaken or would this design also be a fit for some odd sized ground boards.

Eric




No, the fit characteristics of each HALO wouldn't change, because these proposed design changes to the underlying shelf (that the Dob base sits on) won't affect the inside diameter of the HALO "ring" that surrounds the Dob base.

You want your Dob base to be concentric with the HALO's onboard degree circle, so the inside diameter of the HALO needs to be a very close fit with the outside diameter of your Dob base. If someone's Dob base has a larger outside diameter than the inside diameter of the HALO, then it simply wouldn't fit at all. If their Dob base has a smaller outside diameter than the inside diameter of the HALO, then the Dob base wouldn't be automatically held concentric with the degree circle, unless the user manually centers their Dob base in the HALO every time (which is very difficult to "eyeball" to a high degree of accuracy), OR if they use some properly and consistently sized shims around the inside perimeter of the HALO to reduce its diameter to fit the Dob base.

In the case of triangular Orion groundboards, the triangular cutout in the HALO needs to be perfectly centered around the center-bolt hole (which they are) and the triangular cutout needs to be a very close fit with the outside dimensions of the Orion groundboard (which they are).

But thanks for asking Eric!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Gastrol
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Reged: 11/04/11

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5557412 - 12/06/12 12:14 PM

I also like the new design with all that extra meat.

Instead of the current spoke orientation in relation to the leveling feet would it make any difference if the spokes were oriented at/against each leveling feet? It gives me a better perception of increased strength and ridgidity in those areas, especially with the larger Halos.


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simpleisbetter
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5557483 - 12/06/12 12:48 PM

The new design proposal is certainly interesting but to me a bit excessive; I personally don't see anything wrong with the current design and hoping to be able to try one out in the next few months. My thinking for this if David goes through the trouble of reinforcing and adding that much material to the center of the ring, then it might as well just be made as a replacement ground board, which seems like overkill, not to mention added cost. Drills and screws on the current product don't frighten me.

Edited by simpleisbetter (12/06/12 12:59 PM)


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5557543 - 12/06/12 01:23 PM

In line with the 'Dream Package' that Opticsmart offers, perhaps another idea is to offer as another option, pre-installed degree circle with cut out window on the stock base of Apetura dobs, mods similar to what many DIY'ers have been doing to their dobs.
I think degree circles should one day come standard with all mass produced dobs, IMO.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5557725 - 12/06/12 03:19 PM

Quote:

I also like the new design with all that extra meat.

Instead of the current spoke orientation in relation to the leveling feet would it make any difference if the spokes were oriented at/against each leveling feet? It gives me a better perception of increased strength and ridgidity in those areas, especially with the larger Halos.




Thanks Gastrol! But as Steve (simpleisbetter) mentions above, the added "meat" is pretty much overkill and a HALO made this would be WAY stronger and more rigid than it actually needs to be, regardless of how the spokes are arranged.

But having said that, we could go with this design, as suggested by Steve (audioaficionado) above. Again, it would be way stronger than actually necessary, but should satisfy even the most skeptical tire-kickers.










David Giles
Opticsmart.com

Edited by DavidOpticsmart (12/06/12 03:32 PM)


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: simpleisbetter]
      #5557736 - 12/06/12 03:28 PM

Quote:

The new design proposal is certainly interesting but to me a bit excessive; I personally don't see anything wrong with the current design and hoping to be able to try one out in the next few months. My thinking for this if David goes through the trouble of reinforcing and adding that much material to the center of the ring, then it might as well just be made as a replacement ground board, which seems like overkill, not to mention added cost. Drills and screws on the current product don't frighten me.




Thanks for your comments Steve!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5557747 - 12/06/12 03:31 PM

Quote:

In line with the 'Dream Package' that Opticsmart offers, perhaps another idea is to offer as another option, pre-installed degree circle with cut out window on the stock base of Apetura dobs, mods similar to what many DIY'ers have been doing to their dobs.
I think degree circles should one day come standard with all mass produced dobs, IMO.




We're way ahead of you. It's only a matter of time now...

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5557781 - 12/06/12 03:53 PM

Quote:


We're way ahead of you. It's only a matter of time now...

David Giles
Opticsmart.com




That's great news! I'm sure that would be a highly desirable option, for sure.


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5558660 - 12/07/12 03:37 AM

At that point make the center hole to fit the hardware for the lazy susan bearing scopes. it can replace the ground board.

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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Mary B]
      #5559175 - 12/07/12 12:01 PM

I hope we're not running David crazy from all these suggestions and ideas which he probably already had in the back of his head at some point.

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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5559405 - 12/07/12 02:26 PM

Quote:

I hope we're not running David crazy from all these suggestions and ideas which he probably already had in the back of his head at some point.




Well I'm already crazy, so no harm done there.

Seriously though, I love getting all the suggestions and ideas! Even Ron's "crack pot" ideas. I just hope everyone understands that we can't implement all suggestions, and even some of the ones that we do decide to implement may not happen overnight.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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audioaficionado
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5559412 - 12/07/12 02:32 PM

This or a leveling ground board replacement as per simpleisbetter would be awesome IMHO.



Edited by audioaficionado (12/07/12 02:35 PM)


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: audioaficionado]
      #5559464 - 12/07/12 03:04 PM Attachment (18 downloads)

Quote:

This or a leveling ground board replacement as per simpleisbetter would be awesome IMHO.






I agree.
Also, on the other hand, a solid, flat ground board will be able to accommodate a variety of smaller and/or odd sized rocker boxes by using longer pointers.

As an example here's an 18" diameter (excluding leveling feet ears) ground board I made for my Lightbridge which can easily be adapted for smaller diameter or even square rocker boxes. All you need is a slightly longer pointer.


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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5559489 - 12/07/12 03:27 PM

Nice base Gastrol!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5559552 - 12/07/12 04:18 PM Attachment (29 downloads)

Thanks David!
After you introduced the Halo and its leveling feet, as a DIY'er, I knew I had to have a set for my new base as well.
No more getting down on my hands and knees with shims to level the base, I get precise leveling in seconds now. And the accuracy of finding objects is primarily dependent on how level your base is. I love my leveling feet!
Here's my Lightbridge with its new base.


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Gastrol
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5559557 - 12/07/12 04:20 PM Attachment (26 downloads)

Another pic..

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DavidOpticsmart
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Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5559604 - 12/07/12 04:55 PM

Quote:

Thanks David!
After you introduced the Halo and its leveling feet, as a DIY'er, I knew I had to have a set for my new base as well.
No more getting down on my hands and knees with shims to level the base, I get precise leveling in seconds now. And the accuracy of finding objects is primarily dependent on how level your base is. I love my leveling feet!
Here's my Lightbridge with its new base.




I'm glad the HALO was an inspiration for you!

Yeah, having leveling feet built right into the base is REALLY nice. In fact I've been surprised to find that several Orion Intelliscope owners have expressed interest in the HALO. I assumed that since they already have built-in push-to capability, that they wouldn't be interested in the HALO. But the built-in leveling feet are apparently quite appealing to them (not to mention that they like the idea of having a "backup" system just in case the batteries die on the computerized system).

And by the way, the rest of your base is beautiful too!

David Giles


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5561395 - 12/08/12 07:34 PM

Quote:

Thanks David!
After you introduced the Halo and its leveling feet, as a DIY'er, I knew I had to have a set for my new base as well.
No more getting down on my hands and knees with shims to level the base, I get precise leveling in seconds now. And the accuracy of finding objects is primarily dependent on how level your base is. I love my leveling feet!




Well, since we’re discussing the miracle of leveling feet, I might as well go ahead and announce our new product.

Okay, maybe the word "miracle" was a bit strong. But leveling feet are certainly a very nice feature to have on any Dobsonian base, and they’re especially useful with setting circle installations. And since we introduced the HALO a couple of months ago, several people have mentioned how they would really like to have a nice set of leveling feet like the ones built into into the HALO. So we listened!

These attractive, low profile leveling feet will include the same exact articulating foot pads, bolts, and adjusting knobs used on the HALO, and are designed to be used with popular Dobsonian bases from Apertura, Astro-Tech, Orion, Meade, SkyWatcher, Zhumell, Hardin, etc. But they should also work with just about any Dobsonian base that has a flat bottom to attach the brackets to.

The brackets are laser cut from heavy, 8 gauge steel (.160" thick!) with a 7/8" tall nut welded in place for strength and stability, and are powder coated for durability. As you can see from the images below, when the feet are retracted up as far as they can go, your Dob base will sit flat on its factory feet (assuming they are the typical 1" high feet as included on GSO Dobs). So these leveling feet won’t add ANY height to your eyepiece when retracted, yet give you lots of leveling capability when you need it.

The price for a set of three complete leveling feet with brackets and screws necessary for installation will be $64.98, and that price will include shipping (in the continental U.S.)

We expect to have production parts in stock in the next 3-4 weeks and will be ready to take orders at that time.





























David Giles


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Gastrol
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/04/11

Loc: los angeles
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5562323 - 12/09/12 12:07 PM

Wow! That's a real simple and practical looking set of leveling feet! And I like the fact that you can still use the stock feet with the levelers fully retracted. Cleverly designed.

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DavidOpticsmart
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Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5562692 - 12/09/12 03:53 PM

Thanks Gastrol!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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stevetaylor199
sage
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Reged: 09/21/11

Loc: SE Wisconsin
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5564260 - 12/10/12 02:11 PM

I've been enjoying this thread. I bought an Apertura 8 from David a year ago, and I have been very pleased with its value, Apertura's dedication to bringing "tweaks" to the GSO design, and the company's enthusiastic customer service.

I like the idea of the HALO. Actually, my main interest in this product was its leveling feet! Even at the price of the full-featured HALO, I think that David's option beats the value of far more expensive leveling feet available for, say, my Atlas mount tripod. (<- Hint for future product. Don't forget to include a Sorbothane option. )

Here's my issue that piqued my interest in the HALO and the leveling feet. I use my Dob on a backyard lawn, which is a good three inches high, and definitely higher than the ordinary feet on the bottom of these rocker boxes. As a result, I'm not only susceptible to unevenness of the ground in my backyard, but my scope is literally resting on a bed of smooshed-down grass. The feet don't necessarily touch the ground, and so movements of the scope don't always feel very good. For example, there's some backlash when I stop the movement, as the affected grass underneath rebounds a bit.

So, what I'm getting at is that I want a base with tall feet -- and one with a leveling feature! The HALO seemed perfect, but the new leveling-feet only option sounds even better. (I suppose an Apertura-branded bubble level would be a nice complement, but as long as I can set my iPhone and GyroLevel app down on the ground board, I'll probably be fine.)

Now -- since I am still intrigued with the azimuth setting circle -- I wanted to comment and ask a question on the proposed new HALO design. The first, least aggressive (and lightest) option seems nice, but I've gotta ask since I have no experience in engineering: just what is that extra material doing? What potential deformations of the existing HALO are being addressed by adding what essentially appears to be cross-bracing in the plane of the HALO? I'd buy the first of the options that David pictured here, but turning the HALO into a almost completely solid, additional ground board just doesn't seem too sexy.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: stevetaylor199]
      #5565882 - 12/11/12 12:40 PM

Quote:

I bought an Apertura 8 from David a year ago, and I have been very pleased with its value, Apertura's dedication to bringing "tweaks" to the GSO design, and the company's enthusiastic customer service.




Thanks for your support Steve!







Quote:

Even at the price of the full-featured HALO, I think that David's option beats the value of far more expensive leveling feet available for, say, my Atlas mount tripod. (<- Hint for future product. Don't forget to include a Sorbothane option. )




Yeah there are some very expensive leveling options out there! I love the design of these tripod leg levelers:






But at $380 for a set of three (with shipping) they're over twice the price of an entire HALO!








Quote:

Here's my issue that piqued my interest in the HALO and the leveling feet. I use my Dob on a backyard lawn, which is a good three inches high, and definitely higher than the ordinary feet on the bottom of these rocker boxes. As a result, I'm not only susceptible to unevenness of the ground in my backyard, but my scope is literally resting on a bed of smooshed-down grass. The feet don't necessarily touch the ground, and so movements of the scope don't always feel very good. For example, there's some backlash when I stop the movement, as the affected grass underneath rebounds a bit.




Sounds like you have some very lush grass there Steve! The HALO (or just a nice set of leveling feet) would probably help in your situation, BUT you would need to make sure that the feet actually go through the grass down to solid ground. If you just sit the base down and the feet only "smoosh" the grass down on top of the ground, the base will still be less stable than a base sitting on hard dirt or concrete. So you might need to reach down and move the grass aside to let the feet find actual terra firma.






Quote:

just what is that extra material doing? What potential deformations of the existing HALO are being addressed by adding what essentially appears to be cross-bracing in the plane of the HALO? I'd buy the first of the options that David pictured here, but turning the HALO into a almost completely solid, additional ground board just doesn't seem too sexy.




It would simply add stiffness to the overall structure of the ring (and in fact, it would become less of a "ring" and more of a "platter"). Some people are concerned that the unsupported spans between the leveling feet would deform/sag over time. Based on my experience so far with the HALO (and with the MDF that has been used in Dob bases for many years), I don't think those concerns are warranted. But as I mentioned before, what I think isn't really what's important, which is why I'm considering adding more material to the design (or actually not "taking away" as much material during the CNC process).

Obviously the stiffest design would have a floor that is virtually solid (except for a 3/8" hole right in the center to make room for the Dob's center-bolt that drops through the bottom of the groundboard). But that would seriously be overkill. It would be heavier than necessary and it would cost more than necessary because it takes more CNC time to "hog out" .75 inches of Extira to create the solid floor, than it does to simply cut out the profiles shown in my redesign proposals.

And as you mentioned, a solid-floor design just simply wouldn't be very sexy. Personally I think either of these designs would be plenty strong enough, not too heavy, not overly expensive, and pretty darn sexy:












In either case, the Dob's groundboard would be sitting on a "floor" that is quite substantial, with a surrounding/reinforcing ring that is 1.25" tall. And the Dob groundboards are pretty darn stiff themselves, so they aren't going to "ooze" through the holes in the floor of either of these designs, and they aren't going to put significant uneven pressure on the spans between the HALO's leveling feet. If MDF groundboards had the tendency to do that, then we would have heard many complaints over the years about how they've deformed/sagged in their unsupported spans between the three small feet that they sit on for their entire lives.

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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stevetaylor199
sage
*****

Reged: 09/21/11

Loc: SE Wisconsin
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: DavidOpticsmart]
      #5565900 - 12/11/12 12:58 PM

Thanks David! Maybe I should take a good look in daylight at how my rockerbox is sitting on my lawn, and if it's time to bring out the weedwhacker. (I *do* mow my lawn, believe me.) In any case I definitely want the leveling feet you will be offering, so please post when you're ready to retail them.

Thanks for the additional comments on the CNC process. I prefer the first of the two designs in your post.


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DavidOpticsmart
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Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: stevetaylor199]
      #5565934 - 12/11/12 01:25 PM

Quote:

In any case I definitely want the leveling feet you will be offering, so please post when you're ready to retail them.




Will do!




Quote:

Thanks for the additional comments on the CNC process. I prefer the first of the two designs in your post.




Thanks for the feedback!

David Giles
Opticsmart.com


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RobFriedman
member
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Reged: 12/25/05

Loc: Long Island, NY
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: Gastrol]
      #5620005 - 01/12/13 11:21 PM

Quote:

As far as illuminating the pointer I've been using an inexpensive clip-on gooseneck book light with several layers of red celophane. Works quite well.




way back when I first started at stargazing.. I made a few led lights.. including breaking a small bulb (this is pre-led light days) and made a red led and resistor to fit in a penlight bulb socket.. worked well

also back in the day my only scope was (I still have it) an Astroscan that I built a Pipe Equatorial Mount with RA and DEC circles...

now to recent times.. I just picked up a used Hardin DSH-8 and while I've not had a clear nite to use it yet... the setting circle idea stayed with me. reading how to use Alt/Az setting circles in this thread clued me into what is going on. (I was used to only RA/Dec circles).Now is there another listing that has that or do I only have to use a computer or smartphone (android)?? would Google SkyMaps show me the AA settings? I'm not sure.. since the price of the Halo would be almost as much as I paid for the used DSH-8. I was looking at making some kind of stand or leveler since my backyard is not level ground. The DobStand is $109.. the legs you offer look like a good idea. the entire Halo looks like a nice idea. (I've been reading on making setting circles for Dobs and they all want printing and laminating. one version I saw for the Angle finder was from Harbor Freight Website

now all I need is money and an easy way to find dark skies on long island. (let alone I had 4 eye surgeries last year for glaucoma... hoping I will still have some dark vision left)

Rob Friedman
Bay Shore, NY


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DavidOpticsmart
Vendor (Opticsmart.com)


Reged: 08/15/11

Loc: Alabama
Re: **NEW PRODUCT INTRODUCTION** - Check out the HALO! new [Re: RobFriedman]
      #5622287 - 01/14/13 09:02 AM

Quote:

Now is there another listing that has that or do I only have to use a computer or smartphone (android)?? would Google SkyMaps show me the AA settings?




You do need some sort of computer or smartphone to give you current Alt/Az coordinates, because unlike RA/Dec, Alt/Az coordinates are not constant (they change with time and location).




Quote:

since the price of the Halo would be almost as much as I paid for the used DSH-8.




Yeah it's tough for a brand new micro-niche product that's made in America to compete with the price of a used Dob that was mass produced in Taiwan 8-12 years ago.






Quote:

the entire Halo looks like a nice idea.






Thanks Rob!


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