I was pretty much set on a Moonlite this morning...but I'm glad that I waited. Clearly I need to do some more reading and exercise more patience before pulling the trigger.
Here's some of my thoughts:
Only issue with getting a moonlite is that it will ruin it for you. You’ll find the current focusers lacking.
1. Geez, Moonlites sure look beautiful. There's a certain pride one naturally feels when using well-engineered and well-built equipment. It would sure be nice to, for a change, own something like that. With a Moonlite, it's either going to work perfectly, or the folks at Moonlite will work with me until it does. It's hard to put a price on the kind of support that they're known for.
I have several scopes, so budget is important to me.
2. I can certainly empathize. I don't have so many scopes, but after plenty of tinkering with my AVX, I'm finally able to image reliably with my ED100. Whereas it would be very nice to FINALLY not have to worry about rebuilding an item to get the most out of it, I've gotten to the point where I've convinced myself that it's all part of the fun of the hobby.
A couple of things that were red flags:
The block that carries the pinion and two speed is plastic . There's a brass insert in the plastic for the thumbscrew that tightens the pinion drive force (the tension ). The plastic has started to split around the insert . That block ought to be aluminum.
Thanks to Jon's assessment however, it doesn't look like there will be much that I'm capable of doing other than a lube job on the GSO.
3. It all comes down to money, I guess.
If you want to image, do yourself a favor and get the best focuser you can afford, it will make things a lot easier for imaging. And if you find yourself wanting to go mechanical on the focuser with a controller, by all means, pay attention to that so that you can easily add the motor to it when you decide to go that route, regardless of which focuser you go with.
That's great advice. I can afford a Moonlite, but it would mean re-prioritizing the wish list. Going with a GSO means I can spend money on other things, like:
Hi! Those rings are from Parallax and they are set between two ADM Losmandy dovetails.
As well as a motorized focusing solution (I've got no plans in the immediate future to upgrade any of my OTAs, and working with doublets and LRGB filters means a lot of refocusing throughout the night, even in best case scenarios).
4. I haven't been a Cloudynights member for too long, but in the time I've been here I've kept a pretty close eye on the Classifieds. Maybe just something interesting to note, and please correct me if I'm wrong....but it doesn't seem like upgrading the focuser on a cheap refractor like mine adds much to the resale value. Just another thing I'm trying to consider, I don't expect to use doublets exclusively forever
Well anyway, those are my thoughts. I appreciate very sincerely all the help you folks have given me to help me decide.
Edited by zakry3323, 30 December 2018 - 04:02 PM.