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Update on my SW ED150 order...

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#301 stevew

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 05:43 PM

A couple more pictures - just look at those blue skies!

And that gold fleck paint.... LOL…

Well I guess what your paying for is the optics.....

I hope it all works out for you Jim..


Edited by stevew, 04 August 2018 - 05:48 PM.

 

#302 starman876

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 09:04 PM

The OTA don't look that big compared to what i am used to. Gonna be a easy grab and go and weighs the same as my now sold TMB 105/650.  The GM8 should hold it fine.  I am gonna give it one more week and see if SW can come up with a better box.

The weight is spread out over a longer length which will make it a little more difficult on the mount to balance out.   You will most likely see a bit more vibration with the 6" APO.  


 

#303 starman876

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 10:02 PM

The OTA don't look that big compared to what i am used to. Gonna be a easy grab and go and weighs the same as my now sold TMB 105/650.  The GM8 should hold it fine.  I am gonna give it one more week and see if SW can come up with a better box.

Of course it does not look that big compared to that mountlol.gif  It is a 6" F8.   The specs say it is 50.5" long long.  


 

#304 jrbarnett

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Posted 04 August 2018 - 10:12 PM

Funny how the Ayo Master makes the SW150 look small.

 

Have fun under the stars, Emil

Hi Emil.

 

I actually have exchanged e-mail with Beat regarding a special order larger capacity alt-az - an AYO Overlord.  :grin:

 

I love the mount.  I love the fact that the friction clutches take up whatever balance issues eyepiece swaps produce.

 

But I want more.  I want a larger, taller, alt-az head with excess capacity for a C14 or Mewlon 300; or both at once.  I want beefier clutches with even more granularity in friction - and a structure with ridiculous overkill on bearings and girth.  Typical American - want, want, want, bigger, bigger, bigger.  :grin:

 

Yeah, I know.  But AOK Swiss do make custom mounts like this one...

 

 http://www.aokswiss...._atlas_v24.html

 

So I am looking at something that could go on an AP 1600 Portable Pier and remain not unreasonably transportable.  Call it an Atlas V16.  :waytogo:

 

I also like the color clash.  My AYO Master is anodized in colors normally reserved for AOK Swiss' custom observatory/university class mounts.  The Tak SE tripod (this one is an SE-L) features classic Tak mint green paint on the junction, a white enamel coated eyepiece tray and mahogany legs, and the Skywatcher scope is metal flake black with white powdercoat trim, and a bright green anodized dovetail bar.  Like wearing plaid and stripes together.

 

https://rhymeandreas...me-Reason-1.jpg

 

Regards,

 

Jim


 

#305 emilslomi

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 06:23 AM

Well, there is a pdf on the AOK site describing the mobile use of an AOK Hercules. Seems just what you want Jim. I bet you could even mount a nice reclining chair and do some tracking with you and a pair of binoculars in it. Hmmmm ... I may get in touch with Beat myself ...

Now, how did that 150 do?!?

Cheers, Emil


Edited by emilslomi, 05 August 2018 - 08:42 AM.

 

#306 hfjacinto

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 07:19 AM

Jim,

So is the scope ok?
 

#307 Erik Bakker

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 07:59 AM

Let the man get some sleep first!!
 

#308 hfjacinto

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 08:00 AM

Astronomer get no sleep!!
 

#309 Erik Bakker

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 08:03 AM

A good ons does wink.gif


 

#310 roadi

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 08:18 AM

Astronomer get no sleep!!

lol.gif


 

#311 CHASLX200

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 08:30 AM

I just keep planting to keep my mind off the SW150 that is stuck in Cali.

6zx63a.jpg


 

#312 jrbarnett

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 09:59 AM

Okay, before we get to the meat and potatoes, I had some additional thoughts on shipping.

 

In my opinion, given that this version (non-DX with standard focuser) is targeted at visual observers, the problem in the equation is case size.  The case is massive, like a small casket, and inside mostly empty.  The scope is not centered in the case and there's a large foam area with cutouts, most of which aren't used.  This foam section needlessly makes the case much larger than it needs to be - needlessly increasing weight, shipping container size, shipping cost, the difficulty of the carrier personnel safely handling the parcel, and limiting the amount and quality of the padding possible in shipment.

 

A smaller case capable of carrying scope and ring/dovetail assembly, would be much easier to ship, live with, and also allow for much more secure packaging in a smaller volume of shipping container.

 

Regards,

 

Jim


 

#313 CHASLX200

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 10:11 AM

I don't even want the case, just ship me my scope in 2 boxes and let me see Jupiter before it is too late.


 

#314 starman876

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 11:08 AM

get in your Vette drive up here to VA and you can look through a whole bunch of scopes to view Jupiter.  The red spot is really special this year.  


 

#315 jrbarnett

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 01:13 PM

Now to business.  Here's the factual preliminary testing and first light report.

 

Site and Conditions:  These evaluations were conducted over the course of 3 hours from my suburban backyard.  Air quality was good initially as it had been extremely windy throughout the day, but forest fires to the north fed smoke into the are over the course of the session, reducing transparency through time.

 

Seeing was extremely poor early (first half) of the session as the front that passed through earlier was displaced by warmer, heavier, particulate laden air.  Later things settled down a bit.  Let's call it Pickering 3-4 early in the session with 5-6 later.  Transparency was excellent early and declined later in the session.

 

Collimation:  I started with an artificial star to check colimation and centering.  Recall that the aluminum case was damaged in shipping - perforated in one corner (by something?) and he wooden panel in the lid was cracked, tearing the aluminum skin on the top of the lid.  The damage to the lid is directly over the focuser and as-received the focuser reducer knob was aimed up at the lid.  Given that the focuser clicks and is not smooth when racking (much more on this in a moment), the logical conclusion is that the box was dropped and something hard perforated the side of the box and case inside, causing the focuser to slam into the lid hard, fracturing the thin wood and ripping the aluminum overlay.  With indicia of a major impact and a history of decentering, I assumed the worst.

 

Bad assumption as it turns out.  While the focuser well and truly sucks, and utterly cripples the scope making even moderate magnification use unpleasant (if perfect focus is on either end of a "click", you can't focus perfectly rendering the scope much less useful than it otherwise would be), based on the artificial star check and multiple live-sky bright star checks later in the session, the optics are reasonably well aligned.  I think I can detect just a hint of coma -a bare hint - at times suggesting perhaps a tiny shift in centering or imperfect correction by my dealer, but it may also be imaginary on my part (i.e., given the brutal handling and the scope's prior shipping maladies, I expect to see something off).  The artificial star image (artificial star tripod mounted with duct tape placed in the lower yard approximately 70 meters from the telescope) features good concentricity of the diffraction rings suggesting that, perhaps, I'm imagining the coma I think I spot on live sky defocused stars from time to time.

 

I didn't have conditions early to support a credible star test.  In fact, early in the session seeing was so rough that I got slop both intra- and extra-focally.  Again, my bias was to assume the worst.  Again it was unfounded.  Let me back up a bit.  Though a doublet the scope definitely needed some cooldown time.  I am so spoiled by the TEC which cools remarkably quickly despite a big block of heavy glass at the end, I forget that air-spaced optics do need a little time to stabilize.  This scope took about 35 minutes before tube currents and OG thermal issues became negligible.  Though I had the objective covered by day with a reflective cover, the lower half of the (black!) tube was exposed and soaking up heat, heating the interior of the OTA and the back side of the OG due to chimney effect.  Black is a bad color for refractor OTAs; especially big ones that are tricky to cover entirely.

 

Initial Star Test:  Though later in my session things calmed down a bit, seeing was never really optimal for star testing.  Nonetheless I made the attempt unfiltered and with two different green filters (Wratten 58 and Wratten 11).  I used 240x (5mm Nagler Type 5).  I did not center mask the optic, yet.  However preliminary here's what I saw.  The optics are not rough.  Not the smoothest I've owned by polish looks decent.  The transitions between rings are "unhairy" even in chancy seeing.  Spherical correction likewise wasn't perfect.  I noted a bit over-correction; that is the diffraction pattern was softer a bit inside of focus than outside of focus.  It reminds me of my TV-102, which is not perfect and is also slightly over-corrected, though to a lesser degree than the ED150.  I want to wait for better seeing before reaching a definitive conclusion on figure quality, but if I had to go out on a limb, I rate the TV-102 as ~1/6 wave.  I would put this optic somewhere between 1/4 wave and 1/6 wave, probably close to the center point (i.e., 1/5 wave) and maybe leaning to the 1/4 wave side.  A respectable large ED optic by any measure, and at this price (1670 Euros!) really quite impressive from the quality/price perspective.

 

Color Correction:  The elephant in the room on big ED doublets.  Yes, it shows secondary spectrum.  For visual use I would not call this an APO.  Nor would I call the Kunming 152ED an APO visually.  But how bad is the color error?  It's actually pretty interesting.  Out of focus you can encourage false color; violet with a tinge of red/magenta on on side of defocus and chartreuse/yellow on the other.  In focus on brilliant blue-white stars like Vega here's what I saw.  At 120x (10mm XW) there is a modestly saturated violet fringe.  At 240x it was much more pronounced, though the seeing wasn't doing me any favors by inducing random defocus which the damaged focuser wasn't up to allowing me to chase reliably for best focus, It's really not that bad, though.  As a benchmark let's say that the old Meade 127ED f/9 doublet, which on like targets shows a moderate (worse than modest) blue halo, rates a 5 (1-10 scale, 1 being worst and 10 being best color corrected).  This scope would be a 6.5 or maybe a 7, which is exactly where I would put the UO competitor too (though the images in the APM 152ED were warmer based on recollection from my recent dark sky trip where I was able to spend some time with the Kunming) than the images produced by this scope.  I would put the TEC 140ED at 7.5 to 8 on the same scale.  The FS-78 would rate as a 9 or better visually, again for reference.

 

Color Correction on Mars was fine, but the planet was in the smoky slop and atmospheric scatter put up a ruddy halo even at 120x.  No detail other than slight darkening on the upper half of the planet (as seen in the eyepiece).  No polar cap seen.  I'll try with Jupiter with an earlier start tonight or midweek if I get some time.

 

Miscellaneous:  That Tak 2" compression fitting extension I added?  Bad idea.  It added too much back focus such that many eyepieces couldn't come to focus.  I swapped back to the torture device with the two set screws  and punished the nosepiece on my diagonal.

 

The damaged focuser is virtually unusable for anything but low magnification sweeping.  I have no choice but to either replace it on my nickel or try and work something out with my dealer or the regional distributor to make up for the manufacturer's shoddy packaging and the resulting damage to the focuser.  I am leaning towards ordering a FT adapter and using one of my mothballed 2" FT Crayfords, but...

 

Here's the thing.  I need to be careful about draw tube length.  With the 30mm Leitz 88 and the 42mm Vixen LVW I detected vignetting.  My suspicion is that the draw tube on the stock focuser may be a bit too long and vignetting the light cone a bit.  It manifest as slight EOF darkening, something not seen in either eyepiece when used in the 6" f/5.9 achromat with Sharpstar 2.5" R&P focuser that preceded this scope in my stable.  My current FT focuser may not have the right length draw tubes and I don't think the unit on the scope is a good measure for what drawtube length is correct/optimal.

 

A bit scattered, but I wanted to get something up.  I'll do some more methodical comparison and testing through time.  But last night I saw enough to decide to keep the scope, provided that I can remedy the focuser problem, and repair the damaged case using aluminum HVAC tape on the ripped skin on the lid and a wax plug and the same metal tape on the side to correct the through-wall perforation.

 

Regards,

 

JIm    


Edited by jrbarnett, 05 August 2018 - 09:57 PM.

 

#316 Erik Bakker

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 01:18 PM

Wonderful report Jim, love your realistic, nuanced descriptions of what you saw, thanks!

 

Personally, an optic in the 1/4-1/6th wave P-V range is not my cup of tea. Color correction is the least of my worries and seems OK enough for me for visual use in your scope. Appreciate your efforts to bring us this update bow.gif


 

#317 hfjacinto

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 02:08 PM

A couple more pictures - just look at those blue skies!

HA we have blue skies also!!

Attached Thumbnails

  • P8050087.jpg

 

#318 bigjy989

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 02:09 PM

Thank you for the detailed report Jim,

Sounds like a good cost/quality option and basically meets any reasonable expectations, 150mm ED at about 1/5 wave for $2200 which can be user collimated... The R&P focuser +400 seems to be the way to go (I have never had a good experience with a Crayford in any brand) for half the price of a FT. Too bad of for the suspected damage of the Crayford preventing an accurate assessment of this incarnation.

I will probably pick one up for my children once the packaging improves. I don’t like to share my TEC :) although I still don’t have an option to stop the CFO from auditing the merchandise.
 

#319 Tyson M

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 02:22 PM

Thank you for sharing your preliminary experiences. Looking forward to hearing more in better sky conditions. Hopefully you get that focuser issue worked out, including the vignetting.

 

Cheers from Canada


Edited by Tyson M, 05 August 2018 - 02:26 PM.

 

#320 starman876

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 02:25 PM

Great unbiased report Jim.  Thanks


 

#321 jrbarnett

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 02:38 PM

I will go through the various tests proposed by me and others to flesh out the performance and compromises of this scope in the coming weeks, but I first wanted to decide if keeping this example makes senses or rather should I return and try again.

 

I am happy enough with the optics to not want to "try again" so this one is a "go" as the test platform.

 

Best,

 

Jim


 

#322 salico

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 02:42 PM

Thanks for the report, Jim. Thought, The APM 152 would be better colourwise (on your scale).

 

Salico


 

#323 jay.i

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 02:52 PM

Good report, Jim. It's a bummer to hear your focuser is so jacked, but at least the optics seem decent. I was also bummed to hear that even though SW slapped the same Crapford with cheap setscrew visual back on this scope, with a new adapter, they didn't have the decency to make the focuser removable from the adapter so existing the FTF adapter would fit onto the SW step-down adapter. Now Starlight has to make another adapter, excellent for them, bummer for people who would love to put the stock focuser back on an existing ProED/Evostar and swap an FTF onto this new big boy. But I digress.

 

Looking forward to hearing more as you get the opportunity. Thanks for sharing Jim!


 

#324 Jeff B

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 02:58 PM

I really like your honest assessments (mechanical and optical) Jim and thanks for taking the time to do this.

 

Regarding astigmatism.  You didn't mention looking for it but I assume you didn't see any as you made not mention of any slight ovalization of the out of focus diffraction rings that would flip 90 degrees on the other side of focus.  

 

Regarding mild coma, I find it terribly difficult to see it in the out of focus diffraction rings of a refractor as the rings still look concentric.  However I can easily see it in focus as a local bunching or thickening up of the first in focus diffraction ring and a thinning or gap in the ring 180 degrees away on the "opposite side".  For me, I easily see 1/4 wave of coma at focus as a pretty good sized gap in the first ring that spans an arc of about 30-45 degrees or so while the out of focus rings still look concentric. 

 

However, I've also found that tube currents can mimic both astigmatism and coma to a degree.

 

Of course if the seeing sucks, well as you said, even trying to maintain focus or even recognize when you're even at focus can be a challenge.  Now throw on top of that a focuser which can make getting to focus a challenge by itself and, well, I applaud your tenacity.  

 

Regarding the focuser draw tube.  I ran into the same thing with my early 120ED in that the tube was very long and had internal baffling that reduced the fully illuminated field diameter to something like 5-6mm.  If that's the same case with your stock focuser, no wonder you get edge darkening with the big 2" eyepieces.  Of course, a new focuser solves all this stuff.

 

But the upshot is that it appears the lens does not suck, in fact, it seems pretty good (!), especially for the money. 

 

And the focuser is an "easy upgrade".

 

Thanks Jim, seem like perhaps a diamond in the rough here...but still a diamond that with some additional polishing could be quite a gem.

 

Jeff


 

#325 tony_spina

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 05:06 PM

Jim,

Thanks for the initial update. The other takeaway I got is that despite the rough handling in shipping the lens alignment appears to have held.

 

I hope that SW takes your advice on redesign of the storage case. Getting rid of wasted space and thickening/supporting the walls will make it a better case for storage and transportation.

 

For me this scope is on the list for consideration. Looking for 6" ED/APO strictly for visualization


 


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