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Dirty Astrodon filters

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#1 je2000

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:04 PM

I just opened a new set of Astrodon 1.25" E-Series II LRGB and 5nm Ha, SII and OIII filters inside a clean room at work. There is debris from what looks like the white foamy cut outs all over the filters. Some of the threads are marred. Some of the "tested and sealed by Astrodon" stickers are missing. The corners of some of the UPC stickers were already creased as if they had been peeled. Finally, there was a hair stuck underneath one of the UPC stickers.

 

I mounted them in the filter wheel and promptly felt like an idiot contaminating our cleanroom by using a blower to get the particles off the filters. I've opened a set of Baader visual filters before and had none of these issues. These were ordered from OptCorp. I've already mounted them inside my filter wheel for testing, but I'm hesitant to even use them as some of these particles will have to be removed by physical means. Another thread mentioned a film on the filters. Is there some kind of removable sticky cover I need to take off? Also thread mentioned paper inside the NB filters. I've seen this paper in an UHC visual filter before, but not these. Same foamy holders. I couldn't take a photo at the time because we aren't allowed to take any photos on site and have to cover our cameras on our phones.

 

What do I even tell OptCorp, "waiter, there's a hair in my $330 filter"?


Edited by je2000, 12 January 2018 - 09:06 PM.

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#2 rigel123

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:18 PM

You bet you call them, no way they should come to you in that shape.  Take them out of your FW and take shots of them, I’m sure OPT will make it right.


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#3 rockstarbill

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:24 PM

Send them back, and order your filters directly from Don. 

 

www.astrodon.com 


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#4 schmeah

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:56 PM

Check out this thread. Hopefully you did not get recycled filters.

https://www.cloudyni...astrodon dirty

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#5 spokeshave

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:16 PM

I ordered my filters directly from Don and they were dirty. It is apparently fairly common. I admit that it does no inspire confidence, but I doubt that OPT had anything to do with it. I not only had to brush the dust off of mine, I had to clean then with IPA.

Tim

#6 je2000

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:34 PM

I ordered my filters directly from Don and they were dirty. It is apparently fairly common. I admit that it does no inspire confidence, but I doubt that OPT had anything to do with it. I not only had to brush the dust off of mine, I had to clean then with IPA.

Tim

 

That's nuts. Wear a mask and nitrile gloves. Choose a different foam. I don't have this issue with $20 Orion filters. 

 

Also, don't get your hair stuck on the UPC sticker. I emailed OptCorp and asked what my options were. We'll see.



#7 Jon Rista

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:55 PM

These were ordered from OptCorp. I've already mounted them inside my filter wheel for testing, but I'm hesitant to even use them as some of these particles will have to be removed by physical means.

 

What do I even tell OptCorp, "waiter, there's a hair in my $330 filter"?

This is not the first time this has happened with this seller. Another thread not too long ago detailed many of the same issues, particularly (but not solely) with filters sold by OPT. I think it is a more recent problem, possibly due to a change of ownership of OPT. Very sad (really liked them in the past, did not have good experiences buying from them this year.) Based on your description, you received a set of filters that were already opened and returned, and probably resold. I would return them, and then order from someone else, or even from Don directly. Don was made aware of an issue with some of the paper envelopes his filters ship in after that same thread (and even ones that shipped directly from AstroDon), and last I heard he had addressed or was addressing the issue with different packing materials. You might have been  unlucky enough to get an older set that still had the old packing materials.


Edited by Jon Rista, 12 January 2018 - 10:57 PM.


#8 je2000

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:58 PM

 

These were ordered from OptCorp. I've already mounted them inside my filter wheel for testing, but I'm hesitant to even use them as some of these particles will have to be removed by physical means.

 

What do I even tell OptCorp, "waiter, there's a hair in my $330 filter"?

This is not the first time this has happened with this seller. Another thread not too long ago detailed many of the same issues, particularly (but not solely) with filters sold by OPT. I think it is a more recent problem, possibly due to a change of ownership of OPT. Very sad (really liked them in the past, did not have good experiences buying from them this year.) Based on your description, you received a set of filters that were already opened and returned, and probably resold. I would return them, and then order from someone else, or even from Don directly. Don was made aware of an issue with some of the paper envelopes his filters ship in after that same thread (and even ones that shipped directly from AstroDon), and last I heard he had addressed or was addressing the issue with different packing materials. You might have been  unlucky enough to get an older set that still had the old packing materials.

 

 

After looking at their return policies, it's doubtful I will get a replacement at no cost to me. 



#9 spokeshave

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:28 PM

Jon Rista, on 12 Jan 2018 - 10:55 PM, said:

Don was made aware of an issue with some of the paper envelopes his filters ship in after that same thread (and even ones that shipped directly from AstroDon), and last I heard he had addressed or was addressing the issue with different packing materials. You might have been  unlucky enough to get an older set that still had the old packing materials.


I was encouraged by reading in that thread that Don was changing his packaging and I ordered my set shortly thereafter directly from him. I was pretty appalled at the grunginess of the filters and the amount of very careful effort I had to put into cleaning them. They were not just dusty, they had a film on them almost like they had been exposed to cigarette smoke or something. They cleaned up just fine and work great, but Don clearly had not fixed his final cleaning and packaging problems before I got mine.

Tim



#10 Salty_snack

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:36 PM

Send them back and address the matter with your credit card company if OPT doesn’t handle it honorably. Although, when receive something like this and it isn’t exactly what you’d expect you should stop and contact the supplier.

Finally, you really don’t need to handle filters in a clean room. You are going to take them into the field after all.

#11 je2000

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:51 PM

Send them back and address the matter with your credit card company if OPT doesn’t handle it honorably. Although, when receive something like this and it isn’t exactly what you’d expect you should stop and contact the supplier.

Finally, you really don’t need to handle filters in a clean room. You are going to take them into the field after all.

 

I know, it was mostly just because I could. But now it's just like "oh come on!". 

 

Would 100% IPA be ok to use with Kimwipes? We have near unlimited supply of each here.



#12 Jon Rista

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 11:51 PM

 

Jon Rista, on 12 Jan 2018 - 10:55 PM, said:

Don was made aware of an issue with some of the paper envelopes his filters ship in after that same thread (and even ones that shipped directly from AstroDon), and last I heard he had addressed or was addressing the issue with different packing materials. You might have been  unlucky enough to get an older set that still had the old packing materials.


I was encouraged by reading in that thread that Don was changing his packaging and I ordered my set shortly thereafter directly from him. I was pretty appalled at the grunginess of the filters and the amount of very careful effort I had to put into cleaning them. They were not just dusty, they had a film on them almost like they had been exposed to cigarette smoke or something. They cleaned up just fine and work great, but Don clearly had not fixed his final cleaning and packaging problems before I got mine.

Tim

 

Well that is a bummer. I had heard about the problems with the old envelopes flaking off particulate all over the filters, and last I heard he was switching to a different kind of envelope. The grime though, that's really bad. Wonder what the deal is...



#13 gunny01

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 07:55 AM

  I spoke with Don directly a few months ago about all of this and I thought he was genuinely concerned and was going to do something about it............Apparently not, and this issue seems to be rising to the surface from time to time. 

 

 According to Don, he personally inspects each filter before they are shipped out.  If that is the case, then why does this keep cropping up Don?  My expensive nb filters were wrapped in kimwipes and one of the cases didn't even have an astrodon label, let alone any seals.  When I asked Don why they were packed without envelopes, he "thought" that at one time he had wrapped filters in kimwipes,  but due to his hesitation for an answer and others still commenting about the condition of the filters, I now think I was given the run around. He assured me that opt was not the source of the problem. 

 

  The above referenced link to this topic on CN will show that this is not just a few isolated incidents.  Don's filters are still the best out there for me, but it is a rather sad commentary on the qc of his product and how he views customers.  There has been a long enough period of time since this was brought up to correct the problem.  Maybe Don should get on this forum and clear it up one way or another.  There is always two sides to every story and I'm willing to listen.  But not responding and resting on one's laurels, isn't the best way to handle your  customers.  Don has asked for public comment and he has gotten it on this forum. 

 

  By the way, the recommended way to clean the filters is with 91% IPA.  It took quite a lot to remove the grime on my lrgb and nb filters.   



#14 spokeshave

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 08:42 AM

Jon Rista, on 12 Jan 2018 - 11:51 PM, said:

 

spokeshave, on 12 Jan 2018 - 11:28 PM, said:

 

Jon Rista, on 12 Jan 2018 - 10:55 PM, said:Jon Rista, on 12 Jan 2018 - 10:55 PM, said:

Don was made aware of an issue with some of the paper envelopes his filters ship in after that same thread (and even ones that shipped directly from AstroDon), and last I heard he had addressed or was addressing the issue with different packing materials. You might have been  unlucky enough to get an older set that still had the old packing materials.


I was encouraged by reading in that thread that Don was changing his packaging and I ordered my set shortly thereafter directly from him. I was pretty appalled at the grunginess of the filters and the amount of very careful effort I had to put into cleaning them. They were not just dusty, they had a film on them almost like they had been exposed to cigarette smoke or something. They cleaned up just fine and work great, but Don clearly had not fixed his final cleaning and packaging problems before I got mine.

Tim

 

Well that is a bummer. I had heard about the problems with the old envelopes flaking off particulate all over the filters, and last I heard he was switching to a different kind of envelope. The grime though, that's really bad. Wonder what the deal is...

 

I don't want to disparage Astrodon unnecessarily. I ordered my filters maybe two weeks after it was posted in that other thread that he was changing his packaging. The benefit of the doubt would be that my filters were stock that had already been packaged before the change was made. I also admit the possibility that some unknown process is causing the griming after they are packaged - maybe off-gassing from the foam in the cases.

 

If what others say is true and Don personally inspects his filters for perfection before final packaging, then I can see only one off two things as being true - either the inspection process is not perfect (as Astrodon claims it is - literally) or something unknown is happening to them after packaging.

 

Having said all of that, some cleaning with Kimwipes and 99% IPA cleaned them up nicely. Because his coatings are sputtered, they are substantially harder than vacuum-deposited coatings so there is much less risk when cleaning, so the filters arriving dirty is not the end of the world nor a tragedy as long as one is careful.

 

Tim



#15 Salacious B Crumb

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 10:34 AM

I got my AstroDon Ha and OIII filters yesterday through OptCorp also (ordered about a week ago) and as far as I can tell, they look good. Both had stickers verifying that they had been inspected and sealed by Don. I have photos if anybody wants to judge them. Good luck with yours je2000.

 

 

- Sal


Edited by Salacious B Crumb, 13 January 2018 - 10:36 AM.


#16 GaryO

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 10:47 AM

I got my Astrodon Ha and OIII filters about three months ago from OPT and they arrived packaged perfectly and sparkling clean.....for what its worth. This situation described by many in this and the original thread is strange indeed!

 

Gary



#17 ChrisPA

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:00 AM

This happened to a friend of mine as well. He sent them back to OPT.



#18 SXBB

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 12:17 PM

This happened to me also.  It was my 1st set of quality filters and I was very surprised that they arrived with a filmy grunge on all 7 filters.  At the time, I was unable to find a good set of instructions to clean the filters other than using 91% isoprophyl and Kimwipes.  I eventually spoke with Don and he told me that his method was to put 2 drops of the alcohol in the center of a Kimwipe and place the filter over that and drag it to the edge.  Hopefully this info will be helpful.

 

Best,

 

Bruce



#19 Cary

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 01:07 PM

I'm not going to speak to Don's procedures, QC or quality etc... but I can relate my own experience as a filter supplier (Lumicon) and dealing with my vendors.  

 

I have the Lumicon filters manufactured by various thin film / glass houses, the most notable being Hoya Optical.  When I first started working with the incoming filter elements I assumed that they would be "clean room" clean.  I would take them out of the factory packaging, mount them in cells and put them aside for final packaging.  Just before we place the filter in its package we would give it a final inspection and many of the filters would be dirty and needed to be cleaned.  I ASSUMED that I was somehow smudging the filter in the assembly process.  We wear clean room type latex gloves and it was a bit frustrating that we were somehow still getting the filters dirty. 

 

One day, I decided to inspect an entire lot of filters as they came out of the factory packaging.  Much to my surprise, I found that a large percentage of the filters come out of the factory packaging quite dirty.  One type of filter that I purchase has what I believe to be residual grinding fluid on them left over from the edge grinding process.  Some suppliers are better than others for cleanliness and some, not so much.  After discovering how dirty filters come from our suppliers we now clean the entire surface, front and back after taking them out of the factory packaging and before installing them into their mounting cells.  I am even considering setting up a small ultrasonic cleaning line to better clean them.

 

So I guess the point to my diatribe is that, as a filter supplier, I can relate how difficult it is to produce a consistently clean line of optical filters.


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#20 Stelios

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 01:38 PM

Part of my spring Astronomy wallet-draining is very likely to be a complete 1.25" Astrodon mounted set, so I'm reading this with some trepidation.

 

What has emerged (for me--and I could well be very unfair in this) is that OPT is receiving returns and shipping them out as new. OPT was never a vendor of mine (I usually buy from HPS, Agena and Astronomics, as well as from ADM) but this has eliminated them for the foreseeable future for any kind of purchase. 

 

I'm interested in reading experiences of people who *recently* (last 2 months or so) bought directly from Astrodon. Have there been similar problems? It's not the end of the world of course if I have to clean my filters, but I certainly hope I don't need to.



#21 Cary

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 03:56 PM

Again, I am not going to speak as to Astrodon products or procedures but to my own astronomy experiences.

 

 

An important thing to consider is that astronomy is almost the worst environment possible for precision optics there is.  We transport our optics, telescopes, cameras, computer etc. in a bumpy vehicle ride to remote places that are often extremely dirty and dusty.  Set them up in the night, subject them to large temperature swings, wind, sometimes rain and often dew.  A fact of certainty in astronomy is that all of your equipment will get dirty, even your filters.

 

My contention is that at some point, you will have to tackle learning to clean your optics and filters and you will have to do it on more than one occasion.  Modern filter construction is very durable and cleaning these coatings is relatively safe and simple.  It's probably best to learn to not fear dirty filters.
 

Hopefully I didn't derail this conversation to much.  Carry on and enjoy your astronomy pursuits!


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#22 NorthField

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 03:58 PM

Got mine a couple weeks ago from Don.. all in little plastic boxes...

Nothing gross on em..

#23 Peter in Reno

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 04:03 PM

Again, I am not going to speak as to Astrodon products or procedures but to my own astronomy experiences.

 

 

An important thing to consider is that astronomy is almost the worst environment possible for precision optics there is.  We transport our optics, telescopes, cameras, computer etc. in a bumpy vehicle ride to remote places that are often extremely dirty and dusty.  Set them up in the night, subject them to large temperature swings, wind, sometimes rain and often dew.  A fact of certainty in astronomy is that all of your equipment will get dirty, even your filters.

 

My contention is that at some point, you will have to tackle learning to clean your optics and filters and you will have to do it on more than one occasion.  Modern filter construction is very durable and cleaning these coatings is relatively safe and simple.  It's probably best to learn to not fear dirty filters.
 

Hopefully I didn't derail this conversation to much.  Carry on and enjoy your astronomy pursuits!

Well said!!!!

 

After a few days of using the new filters, they are going to be dirty anyway and will need periodic cleaning. If you don't know how to clean filters, maybe you should pursue a different hobby. It's no different than changing oil in a car.

 

Peter


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#24 spokeshave

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 05:09 PM

Cary, on 13 Jan 2018 - 3:56 PM, said:

Again, I am not going to speak as to Astrodon products or procedures but to my own astronomy experiences.

 

 

An important thing to consider is that astronomy is almost the worst environment possible for precision optics there is.  We transport our optics, telescopes, cameras, computer etc. in a bumpy vehicle ride to remote places that are often extremely dirty and dusty.  Set them up in the night, subject them to large temperature swings, wind, sometimes rain and often dew.  A fact of certainty in astronomy is that all of your equipment will get dirty, even your filters.

 

My contention is that at some point, you will have to tackle learning to clean your optics and filters and you will have to do it on more than one occasion.  Modern filter construction is very durable and cleaning these coatings is relatively safe and simple.  It's probably best to learn to not fear dirty filters.
 

Hopefully I didn't derail this conversation to much.  Carry on and enjoy your astronomy pursuits!

I don't disagree with this at all. Nobody should be afraid to clean things that need cleaning.

 

However, brand new filters for which one pays a substantial premium for the best quality possible should not arrive needing deep cleaning. That's a completely different issue.

 

Tim


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#25 spokeshave

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 05:17 PM

 

Again, I am not going to speak as to Astrodon products or procedures but to my own astronomy experiences.

 

 

An important thing to consider is that astronomy is almost the worst environment possible for precision optics there is.  We transport our optics, telescopes, cameras, computer etc. in a bumpy vehicle ride to remote places that are often extremely dirty and dusty.  Set them up in the night, subject them to large temperature swings, wind, sometimes rain and often dew.  A fact of certainty in astronomy is that all of your equipment will get dirty, even your filters.

 

My contention is that at some point, you will have to tackle learning to clean your optics and filters and you will have to do it on more than one occasion.  Modern filter construction is very durable and cleaning these coatings is relatively safe and simple.  It's probably best to learn to not fear dirty filters.
 

Hopefully I didn't derail this conversation to much.  Carry on and enjoy your astronomy pursuits!

Well said!!!!

 

After a few days of using the new filters, they are going to be dirty anyway and will need periodic cleaning. If you don't know how to clean filters, maybe you should pursue a different hobby. It's no different than changing oil in a car.

 

Peter

 

This is an apt analogy. Everyone, IMO, should know how to change the oil in their car. However, having the knowledge and ability to change the oil in you car is completely unrelated, in my opinion, to the frustration you might experience if you bought a brand new, very expensive car and you found that it contained dirty oil that needed changing before you even had a chance to drive it. Sure, you should be able to change your oil, but you shouldn't have to in a brand new, very expensive car.

 

Tim


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