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A NOTE FROM THE CAVE: RE ED BYERS 812

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#26 Glassthrower

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 08:40 PM

Hi Mike,
Ed Byers is a gentleman and a real sharp mind. Back when I worked with him, his drives and mounts were so far beyond all the rest, well it was pathetic! Top quality, through and through. The quality we all enjoy today in drive systems and in mounts is largely the result of the standards Ed Byers set back in the 70s and 80s. None of this went to his head though, as he always was a very friendly and rather unassuming guy. We need more people like him! As far as the logo goes, I'm just an amateur!

Robert


I love to hear personal stories and anecdotes about "famous" or respected people in the field. Ed Byers truly did some of the finest work in the realm of drives and mounts and the more I become enamored with the wide world of classic scopes, the more I come to respect people like him whose work is leagues ahead of comparable gear on today's market. Sure, things have gotten more high-tech in the years since these original Byers drives/mounts were produced, but the quality and craftsmanship is what sets these apart. It's like laying eyes on a Questar or Unitron - it exudes an heirloom quality. I look at the cold, hard, geometric lines of today's high-tech premium mounts, and I would prefer a classic heavy Unitron mount with a clock drive over some Losmandy-GoTo type configuration.

People like Byers took great care and pride in their work and their creations shout this. Today's mass produced gear lacks that essential quality.

If you don't mind me continuing to pepper you with questions about Byer....? ;)

What kind of observer was he? Did he actively observe? Was he a faint-fuzzy type of guy, planetary, binaries, ...?

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG

#27 Robert Provin

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 10:35 PM


What kind of observer was he? Did he actively observe? Was he a faint-fuzzy type of guy, planetary, binaries, ...?

Regards and clear skies,

MikeG


Hi Mike,
As far as I know Ed isn't much of an observer. He seems to be far more interested in building mounts and drives! I know he did observe on occasion, but I was never witness to it! Not unusual though. In my experience, many of the premier telescope builders had little interest in looking at the sky! :shrug:

Robert

#28 clintwhitman

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 12:52 AM

Robert My mount asked me to say high and wanted to see if you will drop by sometime and say hi to it since its been years since its seen you! Also you could give me your advice on setup and maint...... Clint
Michael
Hang on I have a G-11 goto type configuration? It is an awsome piece of equipment and very well built I would say it is one of the best built things I own including the 812. The three unitrons and the nikon. Losmandy products hold up to all these mounts! Except there also High Tec! so there!! Caveman.......

#29 Lew Chilton

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 01:38 AM

Mike,

I disagree with you about the Losmandy mounts. Have you looked at them up close? They're not made of rough sand castings like the Synta mounts. They are in the Unitron style, in my opinion; beautifully machined from high-grade materials. I am proud of my GM-8. Sure beats my old pipe-fitting mounts of yore.

Back in the late 1960s, I accompanied Jack Eastman to Ed Byer's place in Barstow because Jack was interested in obtaining a drive gear from him. (I just went along for the ride.) We were taken thru Ed's machine shop, which, if memory serves, was at his residence. Barstow was (and is) a railroad town. I believe Byers said he had worked for the railroad, possibly as a locomotive engineer. He showed his gear hobbing machines and discussed the finer points of gear-making. He used a lot of gear jargon terminology that I didn't understand and have long since forgotten.

Below is a picture I took of Ed Byers (left) and Norman James (right) at the very first RTMC in 1969, when it was held at Riverside City College, in Riverside, CA.

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#30 George N

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 03:16 PM

Awesome George someone told me about the shaft problem so I really checked it out before using this thing all night tonight Boy this beats the heck out of the Astrola bounce mount!! This is an incredible old mount tracking seems perfect


One other thing, to set the record straight: The scope I currently use the most, again at Kopernik Observatory, is an Optical Guidance Systems 20-inch RC Cass with an OGS 100 GEM. It has 15-inch Byers StarMaster drive gears on both axis. There is a PEC adjustment in the system, but I've never used it since I can't measure any periodic error in the RA gear.

#31 clintwhitman

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 04:43 PM

George we would love to seesome shots of that setup is there any on the web or can you post some?

#32 fxxm747

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 05:45 PM

Thank goodness Ed wasn't wearing a tie in that shot. It would have taken half the shot! Very cool to read these stories. Very cool indeed!

#33 clintwhitman

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 01:35 AM

Last night I cleand up the cradle and mounted the camara to her did some 60 sec star shots my alinment skills are weak but once I got the drift out the stars were pin point for 60 seconds thats all I will ever need. Clint THANKS ED

#34 Awesomelenny

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 06:54 AM

I would prefer a classic heavy Unitron mount with a clock drive over some Losmandy-GoTo type configuration.

Hi Mike...

Don't get me wrong, I am not bashing anyone here...but I'm not sure I really like that comment about Unitron vs. Losmandy. Losmandy mounts and drives are also very very good. I own both of these great name mounts. Each one has beauty and performance in its own way.

#35 clintwhitman

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 08:49 AM

This actualy is a dead point, its like compairing a 1966 Elcamino to a 2007 Ferrari... Actualy Losmandy mounts are like a chunk off a helicopter! Aircraft grade milled aluminum is hard to beat! Unitron mounts are some of the best japan made mounts, but Losmandy quality is supierior to Unitron. Thats a given considering they spot on tracking right out of the box mine is 2 arc seconds acurate....Unless you go to a paramount at $14000 the losmandy is the way to go. Or you can get lucky and find a Byers boat anchor for $900 like some lucky Caveman!! :rofl5: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :refractor: :goodjob:

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#36 Glassthrower

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 10:01 AM

Now that I am done dodging vegetables and fruit..... ;)

I will clarify and retract part of my statement about Unitron vs. Losmandy mounts.

First, I'm sure Lenny and Clint know FAR more about Losmandy than I do - they own Losmandy mounts and are fully qualified to render an opinion on one. On the other hand, I have never owned one and have only seen them from afar. So I really have no business making comparisons between two mounts I have never owned or used. So from a functional or practical standpoint, I have no personal opinion about which one is better and I would take Lenny or Clint's word as law on this subject. But speaking from the standpoint of a "fan" or admirer of this type of gear, I can render an opinion on aesthetics. Aesthetically-speaking, I prefer the old Unitron EQ mounts. I just don't like anything that looks new - it reminds me of the declining workmanship in today's mass-produced products. Things have lost their "soul". Look at one of those highly-regarded AstroPhysics mounts (I'll pick on them for a change) - robust, high-tech, and surely worth every penny. But, it has no soul. It has no character. (IMO) .... Look at an old Unitron heavy EQ with the clock drive and all the accessories. WOW. Rube Goldberg eat your heart out. It's art. One's eyes are drawn to the smooth sweeping lines, and that unmistakable look/feel of old-world craftsmanship - like a fine early swiss watch. I'm a sucker for that old world look. It's why I prefer a 1950's Chevy over a brand new Dodge Viper any day. It's why I would take one of those old wooden-hulled pleasure craft from the same period over a shiny new cigarette-jet boat. And it's why I chose an older black-body Vixen Super Polaris over the much-later Great Polaris models - the newer GP models are GoTo ready, slick, sleek, quality mounts. But they have no manual setting circles and they look like a prop from Star Trek the Next Generation. Too high-tech looking to me.

Gimme that gimme that old school gear!

No offense to Losmandy or AP - I'd love to own either one to be perfectly honest..........of course, I would sell it instantly and buy a Unitron, but that goes without saying...

;)

Regards and clear classic skies,

MikeG

PS - you may now resume throwing produce!!! :)

#37 Awesomelenny

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 10:49 AM

I know exactly what you mean now. That's why I am a Unitron nut. You are correct in that there's that "Michaelangelo" effect to the stuff manufactured in the 50's. It seems no matter what America did in the 50's was with class and pride. It extudes in everything manufactured here. I just wonder if that's just us guys though, that were just kids back then and we crave and want to cling onto that "bosom" so-to-speak? I wonder if all generations are that way with the latest and greatest of things made while they too were children? I have that exact same feeling when I also see a 50's automobile too. Just the 50's... when I was just between the ages 3-10. (Born in '53) Like I love those Lionel Trains which I have many of, and that beautiful 1956 Chrysler New Yorker with the navy blue light blue two tone finish on it and all that chrome! Oh that chrome was beautiful!

... :brick: ...ok, ok...I'm back now!!

#38 JWW

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 11:59 AM

Lenny,

... you mean like one of these ...

#39 Glassthrower

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 12:02 PM

Now, THAT, is a classic.

:waytogo:

#40 Lew Chilton

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 01:00 PM

Here's another classic! What a telescope hauler this would make. :bounce:

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#41 Glassthrower

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 02:04 PM

I can hear myself now, in about 20 years....

"But honey, I need something powerful to haul around my observatory-model 6" Unitron and pier. You don't expect me to put my pride and joy in the back of some modern tin toy do you?......Look, it's only a fraction of what I paid for the scope, we'd be silly *not* to buy it...."


;)

#42 Awesomelenny

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 02:26 PM

Oh man!!! So beautiful! Again... lookit all that chrome!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :jump: :jump: :jump: :jump:

#43 BHunt

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 07:52 PM

Wow what a beauty.
Bill

#44 trainsktg

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 08:35 PM

I just picked up the Byers thread, here. Very nice find, Clint, and some amazing workmanship on Mr. Ed's part. I'm very impressed. I didn't realize how big the mount was until you had the scope mounted to it.

This all sort of makes me wonder how 'industry giant' (hah) Meade can continuously get away with putting nylon gears in their premium mounts and still be a viable company? This is, of course, a rhetorical question. I know why. There was never a need for Bob's Knobs, Dr. Clay's Supercharging (hah), and Buck's Gears when stuff was designed for lasting performance and not planned obsolescence.

Thanks again, Clint.

Keith

#45 mikey cee

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 12:56 AM

Mike...I concur with you on your viewpoint on yesteryears quality and soul. I guess thats why I love '50's and '60's rock 'n roll and rhythm and blues. It all goes hand in hand. You can't improve on near perfection you can only create new "garbage" to a new market. I too would love a 6" Unitron if it weren't for an 8" hidden out there somewhere. :smirk: :grin: :lol: Mike

#46 clintwhitman

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 12:24 PM

A Note on the Byers and a Quality Report Here is the first shots of jupiter with the Cave on the new byers drive and a cheapo Toucam pro this is from last night and the seeing was awfull But none the less it is cool for thrity year old equipment. The byers tracks as good if not better than my G-11 I was really amazed by is tracking spot on for hours of fun trying to get a decent shot of Jupiter with this silly video dohicky! The Cave 10" at F8 with a three times barlow televue japan model. tracking has to be spot on or your sunk.
:yay: :usa: :usa: :refractor: :usa: :whee: :whee:

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#47 clintwhitman

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 12:26 PM

Now I need a lesson on how to run the Toucam uuugghg!

#48 Vesper818

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 12:51 AM

Yeah,
Those shiny new scopes have no appeal to me either, A classicist all the way... but then I'm that way about my sewing machine too....

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#49 mikey cee

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 01:31 AM

Carol....I could've swore I saw one just like that Singer the other day with my wife at Jo-Ann Fabrics Store......yeah right what planet am I livin' on? :smirk: :smirk: :smirk:Mike

#50 Vesper818

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 01:55 AM

That's the Unitron of sewing machines, a 1952 Singer Featherweight portable. I've sewed uphostery, denim curtains and tents on this little beauty, with nothing but occasional oiling and cleaning... The very best!.....Oh, Ive got a 1947 Sears machine too...no, not a Discoverer, its a Kenmore,\ :lol:


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