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PrimaLuceLab Eagle Review


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PrimaLuceLab Eagle Review

 

Name: Christopher Corkill

Location: Italy (soon to relocate to USA)

Experience: 5 years

Number of Telescopes Owned: 3

Number of Eagles Owned: 3

 

Abstract

I am reviewing the PrimaLuceLab Eagle which helps simplify the astrophotography workflow and gets you imaging faster and more efficiently. I purchased a three models of the Eagle new and in this review I will be focusing specifically on the Eagle 2 (non-Pro edition). The current model range include the Eagle3, Q, S, and Pro.

What is the Eagle?

The Eagle, named after the Apollo lunar lander, is a super compact specialized computer that controls your astrophotography gear using mostly proprietary connectors, chips and design. This computer is designed with the astrophotographer in mind by making set up/tear down a snap and reducing those long, winding, snaggable wires to a more manageable option. The Eagle is a self contained system that has several power ports in the rear that distributes the appropriate amount of amps to connected devices, such as a CCD camera or focuser. Along the lengths of the computer you have typical ports that any computer would have: 3.0 and 2.0 USBs, HDMI, mini display, dew heater ports, and ethernet. In addition to the ethernet port, you have the option to use the internal WiFi system to join a network or broadcast it's own network. The latter option is very handy for when you are out in the field as it allows you to remote desktop into it without running internet. This can happen using virtually any device.

 

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My impressions of the Eagle

As with everything, there are many pros and cons of the system. I can't really pin point what the best selling point was for the Eagle because there were too many however my favorites would include the ease of setting up my telescope at night and tear down in the morning. The Eagle helps with fast assembly because the wires are all connected with shorter lengths and powered through the rear of the unit thus eliminating all power cables except the computer power cable. I am able to move my telescope (minus the counter weights) in three pieces: the telescope, the mount and pier/tripod. As you can imagine I can fully set up within about 15 minutes or so.

 

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Another one of my favorite features are how you 'set and forget.' With the Eagle I can power the entire astrophotography system on and start up Sequence Generator Pro with one button. Once it is all on, I just remote desktop into the Eagle and select my sequence that I had prepared earlier in the day and then press play. Once done, I can sleep inside where it is warm and not have to worry about wires snagging or having power issues. It really cannot get any easier than that.

 

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Lets talk power. Who likes carrying a second marine battery to power your laptop? Not me and neither does PrimaLuceLab. The small team of Italian designers have engineered the computer to have no onboard screen which makes power management very efficient. No LCD, no extra power draw. They've also designed the computer to use low power-consuming components to save the juice in that heavy battery you've been lugging around. An example of this is by using a lower power processor because most astrophotography software doesn't require a lot of horsepower (probably because most AP software is ancient). One last thing worth mentioning is the three silver ports labeled 5-6-7 that are used for controlling various accessories but most commonly used for dew band heaters. These ports can be automatically controlled by the Environmental Computerized Controller for Eagle (marketed as ECCO) which is a custom electronics board that has several sensors/algorithms for calculating the best power output for dew control. The ECCO is an expensive little guy but worth it for automation.

 

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When it comes to the interface and software of the Eagle it uses a full version of Windows 10 Enterprise so that it allows you the Remote Desktop function. Included and preinstalled is the Eagle Manager which is a PrimaLuceLab coded software that helps the user view and manage the system and view power consumptions. Another great feature that the Eagle Manager brings is your ability to connect and disconnect power to ports that you choose. This is especially handy for remote setups.

 

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This sounds great but what are the cons?

As I am attempting to write a unbiased review, I want to also touch on the cons and problems I have had in the past with the Eagle. I have owned the Eagle since the first model was released and I have to admit that I did have performance issues however this was quickly resolved once they had faster processors. That being said, there aren't any user serviceable parts that you can upgrade without voiding the warranty (the insides are intricate so it's best to leave that to PrimaLuceLab anyway). The Eagle has come a long way from the first model and the Eagle 2 is amazing. I've not had any problems with it ever.

 

As the Eagle has progressed in powerfulness, the price has been drastically lowered over each model. I don't necessarily consider the price a con compared to what I originally payed for my first Eagle however it still is a pricy bit of hardware. For what it's worth, all the conveniences it gives makes it worth it to me. One thing that I haven't noticed to lower in price is the accessories (i.e. power cables and ECCO). At the end of the day, the Eagle and it's components/accessories/cables are all custom made so the price can be justified.

As a disclaimer, I want to remind everyone that the PrimaLuceLab team are always there for their customers and respond/repair quickly. I've never had a bad experience with PrimaLuceLab's products that weren't immediately remedied. I also want to note that I've not been charged for any of the repairs to their products. Because I live down the road from PrimaLuceLab, interestingly anytime I had a problem they were so polite that they often dropped what they were working on to fix my issues that were often user error.

 

Verdict

After using the Eagle for about three years I can comfortably say I would purchase this product all over again. Seeing the product in person and being able to hold it in my hand really helped with my decision to make my purchases with PrimaLuceLab. With it's ease of use, safety, customer support and conveniences, I say that this is a winner in my book. I would give this product a 9/10 stars.

This is my first review so please don't be harsh. If anyone has any questions or comments please let me know as I am more than willing to answer them.

 

Pros                                             

Cons                                             

Ease of use

Cost (however this is going down)

Customer service

Not user upgradeable

Quicker assembly of gear

Not user upgradeable

Quicker assembly of gear

Expensive accessories

Shorter cables/No snagging

No built in espresso maker

One power cable

 

No extra batteries required

 

 


  • Delta608, stephendej, BinoGuy and 1 other like this


36 Comments

Dew is an issue. Living in Fl. I have had the Eagle serviced twice, once under warranty and once out of warranty that cost $400.00, for Dew related issues. When it was opened I was told the boards had water residue on it. It is a fantastic unit but if you live in an area with a  lot of dew I recommend using screws or tape to over all the open bolt holes.

thats interesting as I never had an issue and we live in a pretty damp place!

 

how is your Eagle mounted ??

 

I have mine on top of the tube with the guidescope on rings mounted to the top 

 

I don't turn off Eagle at the end of an imaging run till I am due to come in and usually its not wet or icy when when the rest of the scope is dripping 

 

keen to understand how you have it mounted and how its used as I'd like to avoid the dew issue!

 

maybe they should offer some rubber bungs for unused holes on the top when mounted like that 

Received it yesterday...To my surprise in the computer box was a power cable (Cigar Type)...SO I'm able to return the one I bought for fifty bucks !!

    • ZL4PLM likes this

1. You don't need to buy ready made cables - if you can handle a soldering iron the connectors are available on mouser and you can make up what you want 

 

2. You don't need a W10 PC to remote to it - thats the beauty - it can be a Mac, or Windows 7 or an Ipad or android tablet ... whatever you can get a remote desktop client for.

 

3. Eagle will run SGP so you can automate a full nights imaging, control the whole deal from your arm chair or check in on it during the middle of the night from bed 

 

Its a lot more than just a computer and cable manager.

 

I have found it speeds up my setup time - I can be running in 10 mins now now 40 and break down in faster - unhook power, undo the dovetail and lift off the whole scope/eagle setup 

 

When you own one you will wonder how you didnt get one earlier - I now have 2 and love them to bits 

Hi ZL4PLM

In regard to #1 above "You don't need to buy ready made cables - if you can handle a soldering iron the connectors are available on mouser and you can make up what you want," can you provide a part description that can be used to find the correct connectors on Mouser.com? I've tried to search for them using variations of "round 12 volt DC power connectors" but have not been able to locate them in the myriad search returns. I have an Eagle 2 and wanted to build my own cables for while now.

Thanks in advance.

Miker K

Received it yesterday...To my surprise in the computer box was a power cable (Cigar Type)...SO I'm able to return the one I bought for fifty bucks !!

ohh thats new 

 

I rechecked the Eagle 3 box I recently bought  and tucked in a corner was .. a power DC cord!

 

Nice!!!

Hi ZL4PLM

In regard to #1 above "You don't need to buy ready made cables - if you can handle a soldering iron the connectors are available on mouser and you can make up what you want," can you provide a part description that can be used to find the correct connectors on Mouser.com? I've tried to search for them using variations of "round 12 volt DC power connectors" but have not been able to locate them in the myriad search returns. I have an Eagle 2 and wanted to build my own cables for while now.

Thanks in advance.

Miker K

12v in - TE T4110001031-000      m12 straight female 3p pg7

 

12v out - TE  4111001031-000 m12 male straight 3p pg7 

Hi ZL4PLM

In regard to #1 above "You don't need to buy ready made cables - if you can handle a soldering iron the connectors are available on mouser and you can make up what you want," can you provide a part description that can be used to find the correct connectors on Mouser.com? I've tried to search for them using variations of "round 12 volt DC power connectors" but have not been able to locate them in the myriad search returns. I have an Eagle 2 and wanted to build my own cables for while now.

Thanks in advance.

Miker K

 

  Highpoint Scientific sells the connectors, 15.00....Search for Prima Luce and all their stuff comes up including the connectors...

How much do the current models cost (my apologies if I missed this in the review)?  The one on sale at High Point is a DSLR control unit.  Does the Eagle also work on CCD Cameras?  

thats the Eagle Core not the full blown Eagle 

 

i think the base model is around 950$ just now and goes up depending on CPU/RAM/SSD sizes

How much do the current models cost (my apologies if I missed this in the review)?  The one on sale at High Point is a DSLR control unit.  Does the Eagle also work on CCD Cameras?  

The basic "Eagle Core" is only for DSLRs. It will not work on CCD cams and is controlled only by a mobile device. Priced under $500. 

About 1/2 the size of the 'full' Eagles, it has just 3 USBs, 3 12V outputs and 1 wireless antenna....

Which version of the Eagle3 would you recommend?  Choices are:  Eagle 3, Eagle3 Q, Eagle S, and Eagle3 Pro.  Is the basic version adequate or do you really need the Pro version or middle range versions?  The only software I'd have running all night would be Sequence Generator Pro, PhD2, Cartes du Ciel/Stellarium, and EQMod.  I don't need a lot of storage, since my images total less than 10GB in one night and I'd offload them the next day to free up space.  Just wondering what the better processors would help with.  Thanks.

For the Eagle 3 users in the field..What voltage stabilizer are you using, if any...??

 

 

Thanks



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