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Daystar Filters’ SR-127 ‘QT’ Dedicated Hydrogen Alpha Solar Telescope (Chromosphere Model)


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Daystar Filters’ SR-127 ‘QT’ Dedicated Hydrogen Alpha Solar Telescope (Chromosphere Model)

 

 

Daystar Filters has been well known for its filters and solar telescopes for many years. But now they are relying on that reputation to sell inferior telescopes with little to no quality control and little to no product support after purchase. I purchased Daystar’s SR-127 Solar Telescope for both solar viewing and imaging, but it cannot be used for viewing at all. It’s as if Daystar began selling this telescope before it was ready, likely timing its release—ready or not—for some anticipated solar activity.

 

The SR-127 ‘QT’ is a short-tube (29”), lightweight (13 lbs.), 127mm aperture doublet achromat fully integrated solar telescope with a retractable dew shield. The SR-127 is optimized for H alpha in design, figuring and coating for Hydrogen Alpha, with a 2667mm focal length. The SR-127 has a digital readout and precision tuning control accurate to 0.01Å in center wavelength. It uses 12-volt DC power and also can run off batteries. The SR-127 comes in three models: Chromosphere, Prominence and specific bandpass in PE grade. I purchased the Chromosphere version. This telescope sells new for $10,000 USD.

 

The initial telescope I received from Daystar would not power on, so I called Daystar to find out the procedure for returning the “dead” telescope to them for replacement. When I spoke with Daystar, they told me to ship the telescope back to them—at a cost to me of $440!—for their review. Once they determined what caused the failure to power on, they would let me know if they would be repairing or replacing the telescope.

 

I followed up with Daystar after not hearing from them for several weeks after they received the telescope. When I spoke with them, they claimed it was my fault that the telescope would not power on. They said the failure to power on was due to damage to the electrical wires connecting the telescope to the power supply and that I caused that damage by turning the rotator on the focuser! If turning the rotator on the focuser damages the wires to the power supply, why put a rotator on the
focuser at all?! To me, this is a huge design flaw.

 

Despite their claim that the problem was my doing, Daystar agreed to repair the telescope and send it back to me at no cost. Nearly two months went by before I got the repaired telescope back. In the course of setting up the repaired telescope, I saw that it had significant scratches in the OTA that had not been there before. Even worse, when I tried to view the sun through the telescope, the center was so bright, I couldn’t look at it without my eyes hurting.

 


 

I emailed Daystar about both problems on September 19, 2022. In that email, I requested a refund from Daystar, given all the problems I’d had with the telescope. On September 22, 2022, I received an email from Daystar saying that a refund was not an option and referring me to Daystar’s Terms of Sale. This was the first time I was told about the Terms of Sale. No mention was made of the Terms of Sale during my initial telephone calls with Daystar, nor were they referenced on the invoice Daystar sent me for the telescope’s purchase.


 

On September 24, 2022, I emailed Daystar back, acknowledging that a refund was not available under the Terms of Sale and requesting a replacement instead. I heard nothing from Daystar until October 7, 2022. In that email, Daystar asked if a “dusty objective” was the only problem with the telescope and if I had “looked through the telescope”! Clearly, they had not read my September 24, 2022 email. I responded the same day, reiterating the problems with the telescope that I had described in my September 24, 2022 email.

 

In the hopes that Daystar would take my complaints more seriously, I asked a long-time friend and colleague with significant experience using and writing about solar telescopes to test the SR-127 with me. He agreed with me that the center of the sun is so bright visually when viewed through the telescope that the telescope is effectively unusable for viewing. I had my friend speak with Daystar directly about the testing and Daystar told him that neither of us had provided Daystar with the exact specifications the telescope was failing to meet and that the excessive brightness was due to configurations and circumstances. Daystar then suggested I consult with their customer service and technical departments to resolve the brightness issue. In addition, Daystar was unwilling to replace the OTA due to the scratches because the scratches didn’t impact viewing or imaging.

 

Daystar’s insistence that we provide the exact specifications that the telescope was failing to meet was based on another section of its Terms of Sale, which said that I could only get the telescope repaired again or replaced if I could show that the telescope doesn’t meet one or more of the telescope’s specific stated specifications by means of “optical laboratory testing using independently verified spectrometer testing methods, visual inspection, and visual qualification of performance.” For many
of Daystar’s customers, that requirement would be excessively burdensome and costly. Fortunately for me, my friend was willing to independently test the telescope against its stated specifications and send detailed descriptions of the telescope’s deficiencies—with supporting images—to Daystar on my behalf.

 

My friend sent Daystar two lengthy emails with detailed technical analyses of the results of his testing of the telescope for both viewing and imaging (since the telescope is supposed to be able to do both), including images, all of which proved that the telescope was defective and unusable for viewing.

 

The following is a portion of what he sent to Daystar regarding the results of the imaging testing he did:

“The detail is superb on the right side of the image. Toward the left it gets incredibly soft (lack of contrast) and is much brighter. I can play around with exposure times and keep the image darker and try to brighten it during processing. The results aren’t bad, but it is noticeable, and my 80 Scout has better overall detail across the image. Please see the attached chromosphere image[s] and compare the right and left side[s]. This was especially noticeable when I imaged a prominence. I had it on the right side of the image and then slewed it slowly to the left and physically watched the detail drop. Moved it back and watched it rise. I took images of both with the same exposure and gain and all images were taken at a wavelength of 6562.8. Both images were processed in Autostakkert and Registax exactly the same using the same wavelet values in the later program. I can send you the avi files to process if you wish; let me know. ... [I]t’s almost like something isn’t centered or something is tilted. This brightening is especially noticeable visually. …I can adjust the exposure to help compensate for imaging, but not for visual.”

 

 

 

My friend also documented that dialing the contrast up or down did not solve the inability to use the telescope for viewing. He told Daystar that the sun was “overall still too bright, especially the center of the solar disk. No granulation or other features could be seen at the middle of the solar image,” regardless of the contrast setting. He also tested the telescope using a Baader ND09 filter with the same adjustments to the contrast setting as he made without the filter. He told Daystar that even with the ND09 filter, it didn’t make enough of a difference and the sun “was still way too bright [and] would not be an acceptable image to [view] features in the chromosphere.” Daystar told my friend that the Daystar filter installed in the telescope was “brighter,” but still within its specifications.

 

Daystar’s response to this extensive testing was that, since it was possible to get satisfactory results from the telescope for imaging through adjustments made in post processing and the use of solar flats, Daystar would not repair or replace the telescope. It didn’t matter to Daystar that the telescope was unusable for visual observations, even though it was supposed to be usable for viewing. So, in the end, all of my friend’s and my work testing the telescope and documenting in detail its deficiencies against its stated specifications were a waste of time and energy, and ultimately changed nothing. Daystar would not stand behind its product.

 

In addition to the documented problems with my Daystar telescope, I have been told by others, including a third-party reseller, that Daystar’s current quality control is very poor and their telescopes often don’t work as they should. It’s sad that Daystar is no longer producing quality solartelescopes and doesn’t care about its customers. At this point, I would never purchase another telescope from them.


  • Zackaryk1, siriusandthepup, Tinker and 43 others like this


124 Comments

That sounds horrendous shocked.gif.

 

Don't know kind of laws you have for customer protection but here in EU those kind of 'Terms of Sale' would be illegal.

    • Live_Steam_Mad and tedfrimet like this

I guess the days of "the customer is always right" are long gone now. What a sad tale. Makes me wonder about the QC of the Quark now even more.

    • PeterWar likes this

Was thinking of acquiring the Scout model as an entry level H-alpha unit . After  reading this report of how they treat high-end customers, why would anyone want to chance it ? 

    • petert913, jimmc6468, ampglow and 1 other like this
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Andreas8810
Feb 01 2024 09:36 AM

I have also had similar bad experiences with the customer service.

I bought one of the "new" 60mm Dedicated Carbon Fiber Hydrogen Alpha Telescopes. When I used it for the first time, I discovered that there was a fault in the optics. The field of view shifted during focusing.
I sent the telescope back and received a normal (no longer carbon) telescope in return. The whole process took more than 3 months, so I will think twice about recommending this product to others.

    • jimmc6468 and neoclassicalguy like this

Such Terms of Sales agreements would not hold up in US Courts, unfortunately, the cost of legal actions and time spent would be expensive.  I would not purchase from DayStar nor would I recommend.  

    • jimmc6468 and tedfrimet like this

Thanks for sharing. I have been contemplating purchase of a solar telescope, and will remove them from my list. 

    • havasman, jimmc6468, tedfrimet and 1 other like this
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SandyHouTex
Feb 01 2024 05:46 PM

Thanks for the review, and letting folks know that daystar is now a disaster.

    • havasman, jimmc6468 and neoclassicalguy like this

Hopefully they might see this and recognize their mistake and take some sort of helpful action for you, if not then hopefully enough people read this and can then decide if giving them hard earned money is the right choice.

    • Northwind and AstroMacedonia like this
Unless they can provide definitive evidence that you've agreed to their TOS, then they are not enforceable. I would contact an attorney in MO and have them draft a letter threatening legal action. Lastly, have you tested the spectrum that you are seeing at the eyepiece to ensure you aren't risking damage to your eye?
    • Live_Steam_Mad, Terra Nova, jimmc6468 and 3 others like this

"Even worse, when I tried to view the sun through the telescope, the center was so bright, I couldn’t look at it without my eyes hurting."

 

I wouldn't use this scope in it's present configuration at all if this is the case. Sounds like something is seriously wrong. kgb is correct.

 

The prominence right - left business sounds a bit like the 'sweet spot' on my PST, where if I move the sun around in the FOV detail will go in and out. I would have hoped a scope of this size wouldn't have that issue.

 

And those scratches inside the OTA are unconscionable!

 

Perhaps legal action is required. Just try to return it and get your money back.

Unless they can provide definitive evidence that you've agreed to their TOS, then they are not enforceable. I would contact an attorney in MO and have them draft a letter threatening legal action. Lastly, have you tested the spectrum that you are seeing at the eyepiece to ensure you aren't risking damage to your eye?

Agreed. If the sale was completed without an acknowledgement of the terms of service, and the customer was never provided with a copy at any point, then they are absolutely not enforceable. A company cannot assume a customer went digging through a website to find it, if it exists there. Regardless, I imagine a court would reach the correct conclusion relatively easily and quickly despite not understanding exactly what this telescope is intended to do. " A person cannot safely look through this telescope" is likely a persuasive argument even for those who have never looked through a telescope. 

 

I know solar telescopes are not cheap, but $10,000 starts getting beyond the point where variations in performance due to manufacturing processes are acceptable. I'm reminded of how Celestron sent me a new cap for a Luminos eyepiece because I had lost the original. For free. If doing the right thing by a customer who dropped $10K on a telescope is not a moral/company values obligation, it is at least a solid business decision these days. Our niche community talks, and while a number of us in it are willing to gamble a few hundred dollars on a product with variations in quality, that number drops to near zero on a product costing $10K. It's not as if there isn't competition in the small h-alpha solar imaging and viewing market. 

    • ericb760, Stars_and_Spectra and AstroMacedonia like this

Those scratches... That makes you question everything else that was done to the scope! And that for solar observation, where you put your eyes behind a burning furnace. It's the one reason I never consider second-hand solar gear. They even have the nerve to say it's passable because it works for photography, ignoring any issues affecting visual, while the scope should be all the way up to visual standards, if only for safety considerations. Scary!

    • Live_Steam_Mad, gfstallin and neoclassicalguy like this

did you pay for this using a credit card? this literally sounds like fraud

    • jimmc6468, Floridastarman, Stars_and_Spectra and 1 other like this
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steveward53
Feb 02 2024 10:37 AM

And that is why , despite being very eager to , I will not pull the trigger and actually buy the Quark that will get me into H-alpha viewing/imaging.

 

If that attitude applies regarding the $10k stuff then the chances of any QC being done on the 'budget' items in their efforts to meet the demand in the run-up to the eclipse seem slim at best.

 

I am not prepared to waste my hard-earned with them.

    • Prasad, gfstallin and gstrumol like this

Given the popularity of this site among potential buyers, and the fact that searches for this scope on Google will have a link to this article, I suspect pretty soon Daystar will come to the realization that this article will cost them far more than it would have to just replace the scope you have. The scratches inside the OTA, their incredible poor and shady response to a customer, and their cavalier reaction to the potentially dangerous brightness reported has turned me off from them. Like Steveward53, I was also considering a Quark, but given the posts here by many on QC issues and this, I will not be going that route in the future.

 

So instead of doing the right thing and fixing the problem for the customer, thereby getting a nice story on what a good company they are, they have this hot mess. Great job guys!

    • Live_Steam_Mad, steveward53, Floridastarman and 4 others like this

These people can't even bother inspecting a $10k scope before sending it out (I presume it's from China, the tube anyway) WRITE them OFF as a company to deal with.  There are other solar scope providers.

I wonder how the correctly exposed images look like, both left and right side.

    • C0rs4ir_ likes this

You just bought a Quark Chromosphere with an achromat for 10k $.. and still would have been better off informing yourself a bit and getting both things separate.

If i have 10k i dont spend it on a Daystar but on a Lunt or other...

Everybody in the scene should know that by now.

    • Live_Steam_Mad, steveward53, havasman and 2 others like this

You just bought a Quark Chromosphere with an achromat for 10k $.. and still would have been better off informing yourself a bit and getting both things separate.
If i have 10k i dont spend it on a Daystar but on a Lunt or other...
Everybody in the scene should know that by now.

That's helpful
    • Terra Nova, aman125, gfstallin and 1 other like this

That's helpful

Its sad to read that people still lose so much money to a company that just doesnt care anymore. Probably still in business because victims have no energy left to take legal actions after being treated like this.

    • steveward53 likes this

Wow, what a horrible experience. I was considering a Daystar Quark for this year's solar maximum activity. Not a chance now. Solar equipment needs to meet the highest standards of quality for safety and actual performance (which is why it's so relatively expensive). After reading this I would not trust Daystar for anything.

    • steveward53, havasman, jimmc6468 and 2 others like this
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Waterman480
Feb 02 2024 09:24 PM

That's helpful

You are correct.  However, it is unfortunate that there are now there are only limited models from Lunt that will be delivered before April.  Some people may be feeling desperate.  I bought a Quark, and I was unimpressed. Yes, I will use it, but an older PST seemed to do about just as well.

    • lionel likes this
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LunarObserver
Feb 02 2024 09:57 PM

Wow.  I had a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT experience with this telescope.  Absolutely awesome customer service before and after purchase of SR127 chromosphere.  I did get it in 2021 before the price jumped.  Once I got the scope, there was a minor issue, I sent it back and in a month have had it back and running perfect.  I have used it most sunny days with great seeing since then, always drawing the Sun and when time/seeing permitted, imaged the Sun in hydrogen alpha.  Visually, it gives stunning views, (not the over-bright views discussed above) with high contrast.  It has provided me with great hydrogen alpha images (though I can't claim to be much of an imager).  I recently completed my 10,000th solar white light drawing since 1979.  Since 2002 I have used hydrogen alpha setups from the big three USA hydrogen alpha filter producers.  Some were better than others.  I must say for my eye, I prefer the views from the Daystar.  Yes, the Lunt equipment is also very good.

It is terribly bad that the OP had such an experience with their SR127.  I can very happily say that this was not my experience.  I am not a Daystar employee or paid by them.  Just a satisfied customer.  If you google Daystar 127 SR, you generally come upon my drawings. 

    • Skywatchr, Live_Steam_Mad and Spot On like this

Solarscope uk, Solar spectrum and Lunt are the best brands that come to my mind. But Solar spectrum does only make mica spaced etalon units i think.

    • BYoesle and Live_Steam_Mad like this

Wow.  I had a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT experience with this telescope.  Absolutely awesome customer service before and after purchase of SR127 chromosphere.  I did get it in 2021 before the price jumped.  Once I got the scope, there was a minor issue, I sent it back and in a month have had it back and running perfect.  I have used it most sunny days with great seeing since then, always drawing the Sun and when time/seeing permitted, imaged the Sun in hydrogen alpha.  Visually, it gives stunning views, (not the over-bright views discussed above) with high contrast.  It has provided me with great hydrogen alpha images (though I can't claim to be much of an imager).  I recently completed my 10,000th solar white light drawing since 1979.  Since 2002 I have used hydrogen alpha setups from the big three USA hydrogen alpha filter producers.  Some were better than others.  I must say for my eye, I prefer the views from the Daystar.  Yes, the Lunt equipment is also very good.

It is terribly bad that the OP had such an experience with their SR127.  I can very happily say that this was not my experience.  I am not a Daystar employee or paid by them.  Just a satisfied customer.  If you google Daystar 127 SR, you generally come upon my drawings. 

Interesting perspective. Two points. One, your customer service with DS was back in 2021 when you purchased the same scope. 3 years later and many company's CS performance have degraded significantly.

 

Second, looking at your sketches I noticed that you seem to exclusively use an 80mm Daystar scope for Ha, not your SR127. Wouldn't it give a better view? Perhaps you have a dual mount with the 60mm for WL?

    • warddl and RIch_Williams like this


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