Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Questar 5

  • Please log in to reply
310 replies to this topic

#101 Edd Weninger

Edd Weninger

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2014

Posted 30 May 2017 - 03:01 PM

A lot of the Questar experience comes from the unique control box.  Nothing like it on any other scope I know of.  To me, this is a more important convenience than a GoTo mount.  And can be improved with a bit more finder capability.

 

I've had my 3.5 since 1989, and I use it often, in the same way I did when new.  Regardless having an observatory and other scopes available. 

 

Regarding the perils of introducing state-of-the-art electronic mounts, I bought a Nexstar 11 in 2007, worked as advertised.  In 2015 it was essentially obsolete and began to exhibit electronic issues.  Now, unsupported by Celestron, I've been able to keep it functional because my electronics knowledge comes from about the same epoch.  I have a CGE mount in similar circumstance.

 

Questar would be wise to provide a 5 inch OTA only for those who might want to mount it on whatever the disposable mount-of-the-year might be. 

 

Cheers,

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_1045  questar g&g.jpg

  • Mike Allen, NC Startrekker, TerryWood and 1 other like this

#102 Bomber Bob

Bomber Bob

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 15913
  • Joined: 09 Jul 2013
  • Loc: The Swamp, USA

Posted 30 May 2017 - 08:15 PM

In 2015 it was essentially obsolete and began to exhibit electronic issues.

 

One reason why I hope Questar will stay away from gadgets.  Even if they use top-quality hardware, software changes rapidly, and if it's designed to work with Windows and/or Mac OS X...  compatibility with the latest version can be a nightmare.  Even if it's self-contained, what are the odds we'll find it lacking in "new essential features" after a few years that come standard on much cheaper scopes.

 

An accurate & reliable single or dual axis drive system would be plenty for me -- don't need go-to, either.


  • Mike Allen, NC Startrekker and TerryWood like this

#103 Augustus

Augustus

    Fly Me To The Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 8148
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2015
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 30 May 2017 - 09:47 PM

Wasn't Braymer's original idea for a 5" and only scaled down to 3.5" due to cost constraints?


  • ehallspqr likes this

#104 Optics Patent

Optics Patent

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1838
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Dallas TX

Posted 30 May 2017 - 09:51 PM

In 2015 it was essentially obsolete and began to exhibit electronic issues.

 

One reason why I hope Questar will stay away from gadgets.  Even if they use top-quality hardware, software changes rapidly, and if it's designed to work with Windows and/or Mac OS X...  compatibility with the latest version can be a nightmare.  Even if it's self-contained, what are the odds we'll find it lacking in "new essential features" after a few years that come standard on much cheaper scopes.

 

An accurate & reliable single or dual axis drive system would be plenty for me -- don't need go-to, either.

The Powerguide history is a good guide, and all that was doing is inputting a signal to an electric motor.  Once electrons are involved, things get tricky over time.

Consider that even original power cords are a minor challenge!



#105 RichA

RichA

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2010
  • Loc: Toronto, Canada

Posted 31 May 2017 - 02:29 AM

Wasn't Braymer's original idea for a 5" and only scaled down to 3.5" due to cost constraints?

That is the story.  But the sheer portability of the 3.5" was nice too.  Fleshing out the line, also modernizing the mount is a good idea.  This could lead to modifications of the 3.5 and 7 forks as well.


  • ehallspqr and Augustus like this

#106 ehallspqr

ehallspqr

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 446
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2009
  • Loc: Port Townsend, WA. USA

Posted 31 May 2017 - 02:44 AM

I suspect we'll see Questar stay with the basic form/function as the current 3.5. It's a proven design and what most Questar buyers seem to be quite happy with. It doesn't get anymore basic and reliable than mechanical setting circles and a simple tracking drive.

 

Offer the upgraded drives, encoders and computer control as an Option to those that want it. Actually Questar has developed and seems to be working towards a goto setup for quite some time. As I understand it, the Powerguide 3 utilizes stepper-motors and controller for more acurracy and faster slewing speeds. It also offers imputs for encoders and in the near future will act as the DSC computer. Questar has a working partnership with JMI for encoders/mounts on their current offerings. It sounds like they already have 3 quarters of what is required to have goto?

 

Basic commercial goto drive have been around for decades. They are mostly unchanged really, the main thing is the price has gotten cheaper just like most electronics. The accuracy and user interface may have improved a little but the basic functionality is the same on my latestet Celestron CPC goto as my first goto scope, a Celestron Ultima 2000 way back in 1997. There's nothing new under the sun and Questar will be treading a well worn and throughly vetted path. I agree with what someone previously mentioned, that drives or builtin electronics go bad or the software is not being supported. This can become an issue in the future. I suspect most people's goto experience is with Celestron and Meade which I have been in the same boat with unsupported models. Very aggravating. I would hope that Questar's mount, drives will be much higher build quality and be supported better/longer.

 

Instead of a builtin standalone system, offer the upgraded drives as an option with a PG3 controller and encoder kit. Plug the encoders into a third party bluetooth or wifi module like the BETI or Nexus from Astro Devices. Then your free to use your astro navigation program of choice like Skyportal, Sky Commander etc. Let those companies maintain and develope the software and keep it current with your ever-changing mobile device or computer.

 

 


  • Mike Allen, NC Startrekker and TerryWood like this

#107 RichA

RichA

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1082
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2010
  • Loc: Toronto, Canada

Posted 06 June 2017 - 07:34 PM

Broadening their offerings instead of relying on 3rd party products makes a telescope company a more viable entity, IMO.



#108 luxo II

luxo II

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1149
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 04 July 2017 - 05:49 AM

I'd buy a Q5 in a flash if it was set up as a push-to setup that could also track - with high resolution encoders and wifi to interface to software on smartphones or laptops. This much could all run on rechargeable batteries in the base. And no exposed cables. Would be truly elegant to use.

Forget the GOTO bit.

FWIW I nearly bought a Q7 recently but instead found a 9" Santel mak. I know I'll be in the market for a Q one day as a grab & go scope.

Edited by luxo II, 04 July 2017 - 05:53 AM.

  • ehallspqr, BGeoghegan, kevint1 and 1 other like this

#109 ehallspqr

ehallspqr

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 446
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2009
  • Loc: Port Townsend, WA. USA

Posted 04 July 2017 - 06:48 PM

I'd buy a Q5 in a flash if it was set up as a push-to setup that could also track - with high resolution encoders and wifi to interface to software on smartphones or laptops. This much could all run on rechargeable batteries in the base. And no exposed cables. Would be truly elegant to use.

Forget the GOTO bit.

FWIW I nearly bought a Q7 recently but instead found a 9" Santel mak. I know I'll be in the market for a Q one day as a grab & go scope.

You may just get your wish for a goto Q-5", they are probably 2/3rds of the way there already. Questar has been developing the hardware and software to make this a reality. The PG3 has room to grow with included encoder ports and future library of objects to be added in the near future allowing it to function as a digital setting circle computer. The upgraded PG3 motors allow near slewing speeds. The current encoders and dec drive are an afterthought at the moment but I suspect they will be more elegantly integrated on the Q-5, since they are starting with a blank sheet.

 

For now I will be using a Nexus wifi device and Skysafari pro to locate objects. This setup worked great on my pushto mount.

 

Photo below illustrates a work in progress. Manual purist advert your eyes.

 

image_25.jpeg


Edited by ehallspqr, 04 July 2017 - 06:51 PM.


#110 luxo II

luxo II

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1149
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Sydney, Australia

Posted 05 July 2017 - 03:52 AM

Nice try but that is ... so last century.

The point I was trying to make is that while telescope optics - and especially Questar - are a mature product, the available software and display technologies (hardware) are not - they continue to evolve very fast to the point they are obsolete after 2-3 years.

The enduring protocol that has survived is tcp/ip, over wireless links.

Conclusions: a 21st century mount must have encoders, and this not negotiable.

It must be capable of interfacing to external devices that can be replaced by the user - both for the user interface, and for catalogues of objects particularly those likely to change.

The notion of handsets with buttons, clunky text-based interfaces like 1970s game consoles and object databases stuck in handsets are all relics of the 20th century thinking conceived by old fellas now in their 50's. High time to "think different" as Steve would have said 15 years ago.

Lastly it is possible to run off rechargeables and route the cables inside a mount. Time to ditch the umbilicals tethering it to handset, car battery or a mains outlet.

The earlier remark previously about mating a Q to whatever mount is one solution. There are even commercial mounts that do all the above and can take a Q5 so it can be done, albeit with low-res encoders. But plug ugly and not something wife would approve of in the lounge.

I'd happily pay Questar for something that solves all of the above in a self-contained scope in a box that is also a work of art like the Q3.5, to the extent I'd be happy to have it in the lounge.

And now that I know there is a point in having encoders that have resolutions in seconds of arc, I'd also suggest a double fork essential - the mechanical errors arising from flexure in a 1 arm fork will be evident.

Price is not the issue - the functionality is the real decider.

Edited by luxo II, 05 July 2017 - 04:39 AM.


#111 93711dude

93711dude

    Mariner 2

  • ****-
  • Posts: 206
  • Joined: 04 Aug 2014
  • Loc: Iapetus

Posted 05 July 2017 - 02:37 PM

If it has 1/8th wave optics, a control box, and a fork mount with 2 arms - and the ota is blue - I want one, period.  anything beyond that - Zerodur/Quartz/Cervit, BB, modern electronics, etc. - is just gravy, imo. BTW, a wise old owl tells me it will be 2018.


Edited by 93711dude, 05 July 2017 - 02:38 PM.

  • TerryWood likes this

#112 Optics Patent

Optics Patent

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1838
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Dallas TX

Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:30 PM

I'm with Luxo. Encoders for each axis, minimal processing to control the motor, on board lithiums replaceable by removing base plate screws. An on off switch and USB plug for recharging.

Stuff that doesn't add too much to the price beyond what would have been needed to power the clock drive. Upgrade cost for the user installable board that connects to the encoders and has Bluetooth transceiver for full control by a smartphone. That would make it a push-to setup but with good audio ergonomics it should be easy to spin the knobs to a location.

I remain a PG1 fan and my "go to" scope for quick viewing isn't the one with the best optics it's the one with a cordless motor drive.
  • JHollJr and jdupton like this

#113 Erik Bakker

Erik Bakker

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8091
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2006
  • Loc: Netherlands, Europe

Posted 05 July 2017 - 06:36 PM

May I suggest a completely electric power independent version? With a spring loaded precision clock-drive that can be hand wound to run for say 8 hours? 


  • TerryWood and munirocks like this

#114 TerryWood

TerryWood

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2955
  • Joined: 15 Mar 2012
  • Loc: USA

Posted 05 July 2017 - 07:36 PM

I'd like it to remain simple, like it is now with PG II, but just larger. Being able to remove the OTA (duplex style like the Q7) would be a nice bonus.  I'm probably in the minority, but I don't want it to stray from it's analog roots. 

 

V/R

 

Terry


  • NC Startrekker and Bomber Bob like this

#115 Optics Patent

Optics Patent

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1838
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Dallas TX

Posted 05 July 2017 - 10:22 PM

Terry I suspect you're in the clear majority around here but it's always possible that Questar will hope to expand their market beyond us traditionalists. I hope not and predict they won't buy any business would look at segments besides us.

That said I presume my inquiry has me on the list for the Q5 and if electronic aspects don't encumber the aesthetics I will tolerate their effect on the price. I'm still hoping the the entry level mounted model will be $9995 as a tribute to the early pricing of the original for many years after its intro price of $795.

I'd pay a big deposit now to reserve preproduction pricing of $7995 but Questar is too smart to price it before they know what it costs. So that's just in my dreams. If they did preproduction pricing at $9995 I still think I'd bite and I'd predict they'd have several years of orders before they could catch up. Just reach out to their customer list and have no advertising expense for some time.
  • TerryWood likes this

#116 HansD

HansD

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 15
  • Joined: 23 Feb 2013

Posted 06 July 2017 - 04:08 PM

I agree with Terry. However, I have the PG 1, and the absolute best feature of this is that I can run it without the hand controller. Just turn on the drive at the base and I'm good to go. Quick, easy, excellent performance. Making it in a duplex configuration would allow it to be used with any mount for more sophisticated setups.

 

I also agree with luxo. Having encoders and using TCP/IP over wireless would allow it to be untethered and free from clunky handsets and interfaces. Any app then would simply read the position, and you could push to, or rather with the excellent configuration of the Questar, dial to, any object you want based on databases that are not encoded in a hand controller.

 

If there is to be a declination drive, it should integrated with the base unit and all the wiring should be internal. I've always thought that any argument for the unique design elegance of the Questar Is lost with the declination motor hanging on the arm.



#117 Panotaker

Panotaker

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 550
  • Joined: 12 Sep 2003
  • Loc: Austin, Texas

Posted 06 July 2017 - 06:09 PM

Since Qurestar has been making the same scope since the 50's, I bet they are just going to make a 5" version of the regular Questar, which is basically what they did when they made the 7". It still going to cost around $10K, just for a regular version.  Personally, if I had $10 grand to spend on a new 5" Questar, I would just get a used 7" Questar, which would probably cost less than $10K.



#118 Optics Patent

Optics Patent

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1838
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Dallas TX

Posted 06 July 2017 - 06:16 PM

Hans, the on board smarts don't even need to "know" the RA and declination. They just need to transmit to the external smart device an "I just moved by this amount" message.

#119 HansD

HansD

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 15
  • Joined: 23 Feb 2013

Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:05 PM

Ben,

 

Of course. I was just suggesting that the scope provide the basic data from the encoders and all of the computation would be done on whatever device is connected wirelessly to the scope.

 

Hans



#120 JHollJr

JHollJr

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2040
  • Joined: 10 Jun 2006
  • Loc: Northern Virginia

Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:02 AM

Am I the only person who is perfectly content with the analog setting circles that have been around for decades? Once my scope is set up, it takes only seconds to find the objects I'm looking for. I hate wires.


  • Matt Looby, cbwerner, Erik Bakker and 5 others like this

#121 Rpsqueezer

Rpsqueezer

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 108
  • Joined: 16 Feb 2013

Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:48 AM

Hi Justin,

 

No, you are not alone. Technology is nice, when it works, but electronic devices do not have the same longevity as the basic telescope and so they can be expected to expire when the rest of the instrument remains fully functional. By all means, make proven technology available as an option.

 

Ross Schlabach


  • JHollJr likes this

#122 ehallspqr

ehallspqr

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 446
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2009
  • Loc: Port Townsend, WA. USA

Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:25 AM

Yes I agree it is "very last century" but this is the state of affairs at Questar in 2017. People can wish for wireless and enclosed encoders/electronics etc but there will almost certainly be wires with any Questar goto/controller supplied 5". The PG3 is the "future" going forward. That acording to the literature that came with the PG3 unit. There is talk about future upgrades, expanded capability and compatibility with future models (Hmmmm?). I would be extremely surprised if they came out with a completely new system for the 5" but I suppose anything is possible. 

 

So on one hand there are those that want pure mechanical analog vs those that want state of the art wireless goto. Somebody is going to be very disappointed. If Questar takes the middle ground and releases a base analog model with the ability to add electronics then this would satisfy the majority of potential customers. No wires showing and wireless? Me thinks not. At least not in this century : )

 

There are mount solutions for those like me desiring full-up goto, even wireless goto that cuts all chords. You can always get just the 5" OTA and a dedicated goto mount from a 3rd party. Many to choose from at all different price points. While I desire a beautifully machined piece of Astro-art from Questar with all of the latest goto wireless technology, I am a realist. Its looking more and more likely I will go the OTA only route, provided it has the control back. For a mount I'm looking at the Avalon M-UNO wi-fi mount which is a beautiful Italian made piece of astro-art in its own right.

 

Can the 5" OTA be ordered yet? Has anyone here done so?


  • JHollJr likes this

#123 93711dude

93711dude

    Mariner 2

  • ****-
  • Posts: 206
  • Joined: 04 Aug 2014
  • Loc: Iapetus

Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:47 AM

Questar is neither assembling a waiting list nor accepting deposits at this time


  • ehallspqr likes this

#124 JHollJr

JHollJr

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2040
  • Joined: 10 Jun 2006
  • Loc: Northern Virginia

Posted 07 July 2017 - 03:23 PM

Hi Justin,

 

No, you are not alone. Technology is nice, when it works, but electronic devices do not have the same longevity as the basic telescope and so they can be expected to expire when the rest of the instrument remains fully functional. By all means, make proven technology available as an option.

 

Ross Schlabach

Thanks, Ross. I love technology, but have found over time that for me, and I know this is not always the case, the technology often robs me of time at the eyepiece. My GoTo scope is the least used. The most used is the Questar 3.5 on a Tristand with Powerguide III.


Edited by JHollJr, 07 July 2017 - 05:20 PM.


#125 NC Startrekker

NC Startrekker

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 644
  • Joined: 28 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Sandhills of NC

Posted 07 July 2017 - 03:28 PM

Am I the only person who is perfectly content with the analog setting circles that have been around for decades? Once my scope is set up, it takes only seconds to find the objects I'm looking for. I hate wires.

No Justin, you are not alone.  I'm in the same foxhole with you.  In fact, I think it would be a mistake for Questar to go down an alternate path (chasing technology).  Questar should no more get caught up in computerized go-to technology than Rolex should start making smart watches.  Like Rolex, Questar established itself long ago as the crème de la crème of small cat telescopes.  They shattered all standards in precision and engineering and packaged it with timeless aesthetics.  It has remained largely unaltered for over 60 years and they are still in business and their product present and past is highly coveted.  How many other telescope companies can make that same claim?  They have also accomplished this as a very small business (almost a mom and pop).  That is not a business model that lends itself to chasing technology.  The pace of change is to fast for a small business to keep up with and support.

 

Secondly, I have noted in previous threads that Questar would not likely be able to stay in business on sales and support to the amateur astronomy community.  Although that's where they started, they have endured due to government contracts.  That is now their primary focus and we continue to benefit by riding those coat tails.  This is not a bad thing and has not detracted in the least in the support that I have gotten from the folks at Questar.  In fact, I think they are very dedicated to supporting us within their means.

 

Alan


  • JHollJr and Bomber Bob like this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics