Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

Announcements and News >> Discussion of CN Articles, Reviews, and Reports

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: MikeM6]
      #4498813 - 04/05/11 06:34 PM

Quote:

I also enjoyed this review. If I ever get one of these, I probably would not use the intelliscope feature. Too bad they can't knock a bit off the price if you don't want this feature. I just need a bigger light bucket, not gee-whiz electronics. That's just me.




Actually, the Intelliscope's cost isn't all that high (less than a good 2" eyepiece). It is simple to set up and use, although its pointing accuracy isn't quite as good as with my NexStar 9.25GPS. I often don't use it myself, as I know the sky pretty well. However, it did prove useful the other night when hunting down a faint double star in strong moonlight (a day before full moon). Then, all I had to do was match the Intelliscope's Right Ascension and Declination readout to the figures in my book and voila, the double was nicely in the field of view. Clear skies to you.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
MikeM6
super member


Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: NW Illinois
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: David Knisely]
      #4498824 - 04/05/11 06:40 PM

Thanks for the info!

I also wonder how well the collimation holds from session to session. Anyone notice a problem?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: MikeM6]
      #4499016 - 04/05/11 08:08 PM

Quote:

Thanks for the info!

I also wonder how well the collimation holds from session to session. Anyone notice a problem?




The secondary holds up pretty well. The primary does need a slight tweak or two right after you get the scope set up, but otherwise, the scope stays pretty well collimated during observing. Clear skies to you.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: David Knisely]
      #4575841 - 05/11/11 05:58 PM

Well, after a while using the scope, I have had some interesting thoughts about parts of it:

1. Mirror Cell: this has been something of a disappointment. While it looks like an 18-point mirror cell, the way it is implemented, it really isn't. The triangles that support the mirror are not free to pivot in all directions to allow them to conform to the mirror's back surface, although they can rotate a bit. Indeed, on the connecting arms between the triangles, there is a tiny pin inserted which pushed up against each triangle, preventing it from pivoting inward. This makes the entire mirror cell more like a six point system than a true 18 point system, so the support on the mirror is not nearly as good as I would have liked (and it sometimes shows up in the images). The connecting arms between the triangles also aren't allowed to pivot very much. At least the 9-point Novak cell on my 10 inch f/5.6 is a true 9-point system, as each triangle can pivot with all degrees of freedom so that each support point on the triangle can contact and support the mirror equally. This seems to be another case of Orion wanting things to merely look good rather than actually being good.

2. Intelliscope Boards: As predicted, I did manage to temporarily "break" one of the encoder boards, but it was the azimuth encoder that had a problem first. In removing the cable for the encoder prior to disassembly for transport, the housing for the socket came loose from the board, remaining firmly attached to the plug. After taking the encoder board out, I discovered that the phone jack for the cable was merely a press-fit into two tiny holes on the board, so after putting a little superglue into each hole and re-seating the jack, all was well again. Just a tiny dab of glue in each hole at the manufacturing facility would have prevented this problem, so again, the appearance of this is another symptom of "cheapness". As for the Intelliscope itself, that ugly green illumination was actually almost painful to my eyes while at my dark sky site, so with the continuing inaccuracy of the unit (about 1/4 to more than half a degree pointing error), I doubt I will be using it much other than nights when I am going after double stars in strong moonlight.

3. Fan Power Jack: The small computer cooling fan on the bottom of the mirror cell is a nice idea, but the power jack left much to be desired. Rather than firmly mounting it in a panel or some other mechanical arrangement, the fan's power jack was merely stuck on the side of the fan using double sided foam tape! Needless to say, that tape didn't last long. Once the tape let go, the jack and its wires were free to go anywhere they wanted to, and unfortunately for me, this included a place where something could trap the jack and pull it off the wires! This was the situation, as I store the bottom section of the OTA on its base, allowing the jack to get pulled off when it rubs against anything (like my back seat where I put the scope for transport). I was lucky to find the jack in my van where it was, lying on the floor. The wires to the fan were rather short, but I did manage to get them re-soldered back onto the jack. After that, I pulled out the superglue again and firmly glued the jack onto the side of the fan slightly behind where it had once been to avoid contact with any objects. Sticky tape (even double sided foam tape) is *not* mechanically mounting anything! This again says "quick and dirty" rather loudly.

Clear skies to you.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: David Knisely]
      #4766767 - 08/24/11 04:26 PM Attachment (142 downloads)

Well, it turns out that the person who assembled the primary mirror cell probably had his Wheaties that morning, because each and ever pivot point retaining screw was tightened-down incredibly hard. No wonder the pivots in the cell wouldn't move! Once I released them a little, the triangles and the rocker arms connecting them all are free to move a bit, so the cell is now indeed a full 18-point unit. I also had my machinist shorten all the truss tubes by a full inch, so now all my eyepieces and Barlows come to focus (as well as my binoviewer, which was a pleasant surprise). As for the performance, the scope did *really* well at the 18th annual NEBRASKA STAR PARTY, where I was able to use up to 961x on the Cat's Eye. I have named the scope, "The Black Mamba", and here is what is going on the side of the lower OTA:

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
CurtJ
member


Reged: 05/04/12

Loc: Northern, NJ
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5263164 - 06/09/12 10:34 AM

Dang, and I thought I was learning something about my XX12G, but alas I'm but the noob I started as. Humbling to read that review in all its detail.

I would add for anyone considering this scope that while I can second all that David said about assembling/disassembly for purposes of daily viewing, that I nevertheless feel it is less of a concern to me. Meaning the points he makes are accurate, but I gave them far less weight in my estimation. Of course, I have only the 12" and he the 14", plus your mileage may vary by age and whatever else, but to me getting the thing up and out and assembled is a bit of a breeze. Just my .02, for anyone considering this scope or its 12" twin. I like that i can fit the whole thing in my smallish-mid sized sedan for transpo purposes, with room for other stuff.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: CurtJ]
      #5264300 - 06/10/12 04:30 AM Attachment (106 downloads)

Well, yes, there are notable differences in the assembly of the 12 vs. the 14 inch. First off, the OTA of the 14 inch is three inches longer than that of the 12, and the upper part is larger and heavier than with the 12 inch. This makes it notably easier for one person to assemble the 12 inch than the 14 inch. I can put my 14 in some rather small vehicles as well, but I can still set up and get my NexStar 9.25GPS SCT aligned and ready for use faster than I can my XX14i (I am rather picky about Newtonian collimation). After the Lockwood Custom Optics refiguring of the primary and secondary mirrors, the 14 inch has been a real killer on both deep-sky and the moon and planets, but that big thick mirror does cause some delay in cool-down, so the fan must be kept running a lot of the time (no big deal, as it is quiet and doesn't induce any vibration at all). However, I am less satisfied with the dual-speed focuser now that I have used it for a while. I used the scope so much that the focuser started slipping, occasionally completely losing the ability to move 2" eyepieces. There were no good instructions on how to adjust and maintain that focuser, so it took nearly two hours just to figure out what needed to be done and get things tightened up enough to get the unit back in operation. That experience alone made me long for my old belt-driven focuser on my 10 inch or even an old rack-and-pinion focuser. The XX14i is a fairly good scope, but it is definitely *not* a great one. Clear skies to you.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Jb32828
sage
*****

Reged: 08/01/10

Loc: Orlando, FL USA
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5266310 - 06/11/12 01:16 PM

I have to second David's experience with the focuser. I happen to like mine on my XX12G, but, yes, the documentation on how to get it adjusted correctly is pretty much non-existant, and took me more time to figure out than the entire initial scope assembly did.

Unlike David's unfortunate experience, I got a very good mirror. As I stated in my review of the XX12G, there are some things that could be improved on, but that shouldnt take away from what I consider to be a very good value for the price.

Edited by Jb32828 (06/11/12 01:18 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
droidModerator
rocketman
*****

Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: Jb32828]
      #5326407 - 07/20/12 07:16 AM

Dave; great review....2 questions ,if I might.

Was your 14 the new version with the conical mirror?
And if someone bought one, Id assume it would usable as is???refering to the mirror.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: droid]
      #5328662 - 07/21/12 06:18 PM

Quote:

Dave; great review....2 questions ,if I might.

Was your 14 the new version with the conical mirror?
And if someone bought one, Id assume it would usable as is???refering to the mirror.




My mirror was the standard cylindrical model which came out first. Its aspect ratio (1 to 7) is a little on the thick side, which contributes to its longer cool-down time. As-is, it was somewhat usable at lower powers, but on the planets at higher magnifications, the views were just a little on the soft side. The newer mirrors out now are all conical with radial "rib" structures. I got to test one of our Nebraska Star Party attendees' XX14i that she got recently, and on the star test, it passed with flying colors. However, right out of the box, the focuser exhibited a nasty grinding sound and feel from one of the two knobs when used, so I guess Orion's quality control is still slipping up. Clear skies to you.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
gene williams
member
*****

Reged: 01/17/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: otocycle]
      #5485386 - 10/23/12 02:23 PM

Very nice report David. I recently bought the Orion XX14g and like it alot. I did, however, notice that setup of the upper tube assembly is made much easier XX14g. Orion must have changed the way the trusses connect due to your article because I simply tighten the lower truss poles to the lower tube assembly until they are tight, and place the UTA on top. The UTA fits perfectly without having to juggle it around on top.

By the way, is there an approximate price that you can give me that Lockwood charged to refigure the mirror? I am happy with the mirror so far, but I may want to install some premium optics in this telescope at some point.

Gene


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i new [Re: gene williams]
      #5485556 - 10/23/12 04:08 PM

Quote:

Very nice report David. I recently bought the Orion XX14g and like it alot. I did, however, notice that setup of the upper tube assembly is made much easier XX14g. Orion must have changed the way the trusses connect due to your article because I simply tighten the lower truss poles to the lower tube assembly until they are tight, and place the UTA on top. The UTA fits perfectly without having to juggle it around on top.

By the way, is there an approximate price that you can give me that Lockwood charged to refigure the mirror? I am happy with the mirror so far, but I may want to install some premium optics in this telescope at some point.

Gene




I had both the primary and secondary mirrors refigured to as close to perfect as Mike's equipment would test to. He charged me around $900 for the two refiguring jobs together (re-coating was included), which, given the incredible quality of what I got back, seems fairly reasonable to me. If your scope gives reasonably good images, chances are that refiguring is not required. I recently did a star test of another XX14i at the Nebraska Star Party, and it passed fairly well, so maybe what I got originally was something of a fluke. Clear skies to you.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
gene williams
member
*****

Reged: 01/17/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: CN Reports Review: Orion SkyQuest XX14i [Re: David Knisely]
      #5485822 - 10/23/12 06:27 PM

David, that seems very reasonable for the refiguring cost. I might perhaps have someone give me an honest evaluation of my mirror. I am just not very good at knowing the difference...

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)


Extra information
0 registered and 3 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  droid 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 15153

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics