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ULTIMA 8

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#1 Wayne Parrish

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 10:28 AM

What can I expect from the Ultima 8 scope/setup in say comparison to Meade/Celestron later versions of 8 inchers ? Is it a viable option or ,RUN ! Thanks,Wayne

#2 jrcrilly

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 10:44 AM

The forks are a little bouncier but the tracking should be as good as anything out there today. The electronics were produced by a very small outfit (Tangent) and there's no real support these days if it should break, but there are lots of them still running without problems. Optically there shouldn't be any important difference.

#3 Robo-bob

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 11:53 PM

Sorry to disagree with John, but the forks are the most ridgid heavy duty ones EVER made for an 8" SCT. They were absolutely rock solid but at a cost of 66lbs for the scope. The drives were just awesome (Byers Drive) with minimal error. Optically, the correctors of the Ultima 8's were made from BK7 (not regular green float glass) giving consistantly excellent optics. Everyone one I have looked thru was superior to an average SCT from that time.
If you can get one in good shape for a reasonable price, I'd jump on it. Selling mine was one of the dumbest things I ever did. And I do dumb things on a very, very regular basis.....

Rob

#4 khoferer

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 09:34 AM

Hi,

I believe that Celestron produced a couple of different versions of the C8 with the Ultima moniker. The Ultima 2000 which was computerized and the Ultima 8 PEC (not sure if PEC is officially part of the name or not) which is the model Rob is referring to with the larger forks and Byers drive. IIRC, the 2000 had a grey tube.

Which version are you considering purchasing?

Clear skies,
Kevin

#5 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 10:33 AM

I 'spose I'm about to do a "dumb" thing! I own an Ultima 8, purchased in the early 90's. The scope has served me well over the years but I am going to upgrade very soon to either a CGE-11 or a Meade LX200GPS-12. I will entertain offers so, if interested please let me know. I'll take a photo later today and post it or send it to anyone who may be interested. Anyway, the scope is in very good shape...included is a hard carrying case for the OTA, mylar solar filter, wedge, tripod...all the original accessories. The finder bracket is cracked but still useable. Everything on the scope "works" just like when it was new! The price will be negotiable and all "reasonable" offers will be considered.

#6 Bob Pasken

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 06:40 AM

Bouncier :question: Is that like the Meade LX-6 perpetual motion tuning fork :bawling: The Ultima-8 PEC was Celestron's top of the line SCT. When combined with a top of the line tripod/wedge it was/is very sturdy and stable. Since it had the Byers gears it had very low PE.

If you are refering to the Ultima-2000 the both Uncle Rod and Sky & Telescope say that it is a virtual dead heat between the Celestron 8" Ultima-2000 and the Meade 8" LX-200. S&T felt that Celestron had better optics, but the Meade had slightly better goto's. Comparing all the two across a long list the 8" Ultima-2000 bested the 8" LX-200 as many times as the 8" LX-200 bested the 8" Ultima-2000. Tangent instruments built the electronics in the Ultima-2000 for Celestron. You may recognize the name as Tangent makes the electronics for almost all DSC made :jump:

#7 jrcrilly

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 09:01 AM

Bouncier :question: Is that like the Meade LX-6 perpetual motion tuning fork :bawling: The Ultima-8 PEC was Celestron's top of the line SCT. When combined with a top of the line tripod/wedge it was/is very sturdy and stable. Since it had the Byers gears it had very low PE.


Hi, Bob.

I did mention that it would track as well as most current gear. Compared to some other forkmounts of the era it was pretty solid but the question was in comparison with current gear. Have you tried a Nexstar 8GPS or an 8" LX200? I have; those are beefier.

Tangent made both the Ultima and the Ultima 2000 electronics and yes, they are still around supplying private-labelled DSC boxes - but there's little or no support for the obsolete boards produced for Celestron. I know our Club is getting ready to dispose of an Ultima 8 with one bad board and one unsuitable board that was as close as Tangent could come to a replacement. The Sky Commander and Argo Navis units seem to have pretty much taken over the DSC market; I haven't seen many new Tangent DSC boxes in use lately.

I dunno what happened to the Ultima 2000; they never achieved any significant market penetration yet some folks still use and love them so they must have been pretty good.

#8 Bob Pasken

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 09:20 AM

Yes John I have and I don't see much difference between the LX-6 and an LX-200. The castings for the base and forks on the LX-6 are as large or larger than the LX-200. The Nexstar-8GPS seems to be a beefier more solid scope than the LX-200GPS. At the starparties I've been to as of late Nexstar's seem to be an all around better product than the LX-200. Consider that Peterson engineering exists only as a supplier of parts to replace the poorly engineered or miss designed parts in the LX-200. I don't see many ads for electronics repair services for the Nexstar, but there is one for LX-200 and it is not because there are more LX-200's out there they just have more problems

#9 jrcrilly

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 09:50 AM

The castings for the base and forks on the LX-6 are as large or larger than the LX-200. The Nexstar-8GPS seems to be a beefier more solid scope than the LX-200GPS. At the starparties I've been to as of late Nexstar's seem to be an all around better product than the LX-200.


Hi, Bob.

Regarding the LX200 v. earlier forkmounts I don't have the same feeling that you do; the LX50 and LX200 forks seem much more stable to me than the LX-3's and LX-5's. I haven't owned an LX-6 but I believe it's the same mechanically as the LX-5. I agree that the NX8GPS is even better than the 8" LX200 in this regard. Regarding overall quality I can't choose a clear winner; I've owned several NX8GPS telescopes and several LX200GPS telescopes and I liked them all and all worked well for me.

#10 jrcrilly

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 10:02 AM

Consider that Peterson engineering exists only as a supplier of parts to replace the poorly engineered or miss designed parts in the LX-200. I don't see many ads for electronics repair services for the Nexstar, but there is one for LX-200 and it is not because there are more LX-200's out there they just have more problems


Hi, Bob.

It's a matter of opinion; neither company is sharing those figures so we can't be sure. My presumption that the force driving this difference in aftermarket support is a matter of relative quantity rather than a qualitative difference is based on the fact that Meade had the market to themselves for nearly 10 years and must have pushed a raft of product out during that period; there are LOTS of Classic LX200's out there. Even today, with Celestron offering a clearly competitive product, their domestic manufacturing capacity is far smaller than Meade's. They could fix that by shipping SCT production overseas but I hope they don't; I like their products as they are.

#11 Starman1

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 10:46 AM

Some of the earlier scopes' reputation for vibration was/is due to the wedges they were mounted on.
If used in the vertical alt-az mode, todays dual arm SCTs are very stable and vibrationless. The single-arm C8i from Celestron, though, is a vibrator for sure (I've seen 15+ second vibration periods).
And if any of these contemporary scopes is mounted on a truly heavy-duty wedge (like the Milburn), then vibration really isn't an issue.
There are combinations of SCT and mount that are somewhat questionable, though, like a C11 on the ASGT mount.

#12 Bob Pasken

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Posted 21 October 2005 - 08:14 PM

Don I agree about the alt-az configuration. All of the forces are directed down along the vertical axis, through the tripod to ground making them far more stable than when in polar mode. There is too much torque applied to a too short stub axle to make the current crop of SCT's stable in that mode. I have never seen a Nexstar 8i if that's what you mean by a C8i vibrate that long. I'd say something was wrong with the scope's mount.

#13 davidpitre

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Posted 26 October 2005 - 08:44 AM

Thanks guys. this was an excellent and very helpfull discussion on 8" SCTs !


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