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Focuser Upgrade - Synta ED100/ED80

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#26 russell23

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 01:26 PM

lol.gif lol.gif I've NEVER had any problems with any of my Synta focusers so I won't be replacing them anytime soon.  In fact, in over 15 years of owning and USING Chinese scopes, I have yet to get one with a bad focuser.  I can't say the same for some of the American made ones or those made in other countries beside China/Taiwan!!

Like I said - use the Synta focuser until you have a problem with it.  If that is never, then never replace it.  My Synta Crayford focuser on the 120ED was a disaster out of the box and the scope had to be sent back to get  it serviceable.   When you deal with a bad one, take it apart to try to adjust it, and ultimately have to send it back, you realize just how finicky the adjustment of these things is. 

 

I still don't know if Skywatcher just adjusted the original focuser that came on my scope, replaced parts, or replaced the entire thing.  I just know that when they sent it back to me it was very good - until I tried a 2 pound eyepiece in it.   The fine focus on that focuser was never as smooth as it is on the Moonlite. 

 

Actually the best stock focuser I have ever received with a scope is the focuser on my Williams Optics Z61 APO.  Now that is a really smooth 2" focuser. 


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#27 barbie

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Posted 26 December 2018 - 08:41 PM

Like I said - use the Synta focuser until you have a problem with it.  If that is never, then never replace it.  My Synta Crayford focuser on the 120ED was a disaster out of the box and the scope had to be sent back to get  it serviceable.   When you deal with a bad one, take it apart to try to adjust it, and ultimately have to send it back, you realize just how finicky the adjustment of these things is. 

 

I still don't know if Skywatcher just adjusted the original focuser that came on my scope, replaced parts, or replaced the entire thing.  I just know that when they sent it back to me it was very good - until I tried a 2 pound eyepiece in it.   The fine focus on that focuser was never as smooth as it is on the Moonlite. 

 

Actually the best stock focuser I have ever received with a scope is the focuser on my Williams Optics Z61 APO.  Now that is a really smooth 2" focuser. 

As I said, I've never encountered any problems with any of the Synta focusers I've had over the short or long term usage periods I've had them so I don't see any reason that I'll need to replace my current Synta focusers with a Moonlite or similar.  The stock focusers are as smooth as butter and work fine for my intended use.  Enough said!!grin.gif


Edited by barbie, 26 December 2018 - 09:03 PM.


#28 m9x18

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 12:00 AM

I'm visual only but here is my Celestron C100ED with MoonLite.

 

C100ED Moonlite.jpg


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#29 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 12:07 AM

As I said, I've never encountered any problems with any of the Synta focusers I've had over the short or long term usage periods I've had them so I don't see any reason that I'll need to replace my current Synta focusers with a Moonlite or similar.  The stock focusers are as smooth as butter and work fine for my intended use.  Enough said!!grin.gif

 

In my experience, the stock Synta focusers are quite decent if one does not use heavy loads.  In this case, the original poster is doing photography and having issues.  

 

Jon


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#30 zakry3323

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Posted 27 December 2018 - 07:28 AM

I'm visual only but here is my Celestron C100ED with MoonLite.

 

attachicon.gif C100ED Moonlite.jpg

Looks very sharp! Thanks for sharing!



#31 piaras

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 09:49 AM

It is now discontinued but WO made a replacement focused for the Synta scopes. I have one on my Orion 80ED that was with the scope when I bought it used. It works fine for myself but I doubt it would hold as much as the FT or Moon focuses. I usually only have FF Canon and flattener and the motor will pick it up in the vertical position. On my SW120ED I did upgrade to the 2.5” Moon vs the original stock focuser as I found the stock unit was only ok. 

Pierre



#32 MalVeauX

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 09:54 AM



 

 

I'm considering the GSO Linear Bearing Crayford\

Heya,

 

I use the GSO linear bearings. They're inexpensive. But they really do the job. To do better you basically have to spend twice the price or more practically. I put monster loads on my linear bearing and they hold it very well and you still get a butter smooth micro focus that can move a heavy train at different positions. Once you experience a linear bearing and how well they hold weight while operating so delicately, I see why folk are willing to throw down lots of money on premium focusers like feather touches and all that. That said, if on a budget, the GSO versions are quite good. I have them on all my refractors, including the ED80 and upwards of my 6" F8 refractor too. I use very heavy loads that are very long (causing a huge moment arm). The linear bearing focusers handle it so well that the moment I use anything else the cussing begins.

 

26137720597_a946df46e4_c.jpg

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 29 December 2018 - 09:58 AM.

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#33 BKBrown

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Posted 29 December 2018 - 12:56 PM

Your upgrades really do make a huge visual improvement! Thanks for sharing! Can I ask you what kind of rings you're using for your ota on the Sirius mount? I find the stock rings for the 100ED less than a joy to use. I've swapped over to the ES102 rings and a losmandy dovetail that I use with my achro, but it doesn't fit exactly right, and I'd prefer to have more than a single point at which to fasten the rings to the plate. 

attachicon.gif IMG_20181111_155807.jpg

Hi! Those rings are from Parallax and they are set between two ADM Losmandy dovetails. Rigged this way I can have any number of payloads ride piggyback on the SW100ED, including the WO ZS66SD seen in the image with the Sirius or different camera packages. I endorse the rings and dovetails without reservations of any kind smile.png

 

Clear Skies,

Brian snoopy2.gif


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#34 zakry3323

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 11:26 AM

Heya,

 

I use the GSO linear bearings. They're inexpensive. But they really do the job. To do better you basically have to spend twice the price or more practically. I put monster loads on my linear bearing and they hold it very well and you still get a butter smooth micro focus that can move a heavy train at different positions. Once you experience a linear bearing and how well they hold weight while operating so delicately, I see why folk are willing to throw down lots of money on premium focusers like feather touches and all that. That said, if on a budget, the GSO versions are quite good. I have them on all my refractors, including the ED80 and upwards of my 6" F8 refractor too. I use very heavy loads that are very long (causing a huge moment arm). The linear bearing focusers handle it so well that the moment I use anything else the cussing begins.

 

26137720597_a946df46e4_c.jpg

 

Very best,

Now that's a pretty long train! Thanks for sharing! Looks great!



#35 zakry3323

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 11:29 AM

Hi! Those rings are from Parallax and they are set between two ADM Losmandy dovetails. Rigged this way I can have any number of payloads ride piggyback on the SW100ED, including the WO ZS66SD seen in the image with the Sirius or different camera packages. I endorse the rings and dovetails without reservations of any kind smile.png

 

Clear Skies,

Brian snoopy2.gif

I KNEW I should have sprung for the last pair of Parallax that popped up on the classifieds! They looks great on your setup, and it seems nicely rigid. Another update to the wish list! Thanks!


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#36 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 12:00 PM

I use the GSO linear bearings. They're inexpensive. But they really do the job. To do better you basically have to spend twice the price or more practically.

 

 

David Russell purchased a GSO linear bearing focuser for his 120ED . He has already commented on his experience and why he eventually decided to purchase a Moonlite .

 

He sent the Linear Bearing focuser to me to look at after his efforts at improving it failed. 

 

I did get it working reasonably well though apparently not as well as you have. 

 

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. 

 

I believe they make a helical rack and pinion version,  is that what you have? 

 

The other red flag was the lack of a dust seal on the recircularing bearings for the linear bearing.  I do most of my observing in the dusty dry desert and bearings need to be sealed to protect them from contamination . Those tiny balls would be vulnerable .

 

Jon


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#37 MalVeauX

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 12:10 PM



David Russell purchased a GSO linear bearing focuser for his 120ED . He has already commented on his experience and why he eventually decided to purchase a Moonlite .

 

He sent the Linear Bearing focuser to me to look at after his efforts at improving it failed. 

 

I did get it working reasonably well though apparently not as well as you have. 

 

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. 

 

I believe they make a helical rack and pinion version,  is that what you have? 

 

The other red flag was the lack of a dust seal on the recircularing bearings for the linear bearing.  I do most of my observing in the dusty dry desert and bearings need to be sealed to protect them from contamination . Those tiny balls would be vulnerable .

 

Jon

Hey Jon,

 

Yea, I've had you post this before a few times in response to similar threads as this on this subject. smile.gif

 

I have several of them, they all work really well and are always in service on my imaging trains being used with heavy loads in my observatory here in Florida. Not a dusty environment, but a very humid one. My trains are very long and heavy and I do high resolution solar imaging primarily with them, with tremendous moment arms on the focuser. I've yet to have one break or slip or anything. I also have no taken them apart, so I cannot answer as to what is inside, plastic or aluminimum or not, or what kind of mechanisms are in there. I also have not seen a lot of threads showing these fail or anything. All of our opinions and experiences here on this subject are quite frankly anecdotal, including my own.

 

I certainly would not turn down a premium focuser if it were offered at a similar price. A Moonlite is twice the price.

 

On one of my scopes I have a GSO linear bearing (SCT thread) and a feather touch focuser replaced the original stock SCT focuser. I use both for different purposes (the GSO is for high resolution solar/lunar/planetary; the feather touch is when I'm using the scope for DSO). 

 

Again I cannot speak to seals or stuff, I have not opened these focusers up. They're simply functioned flawlessly.

 

Here's my heaving imaging train and it's long moment arm and the focuser is manually being focused at 5040mm effective focal length with an ASI174MM sensor (I don't even have an electronic focuser, I should have one, but I still do this manually; and the linear bearing focusers work so well that I can do this manually without much effort):

 

SolarSetup_150mm_12182018.jpg

 

And the full scale high resolution solar surface imaging I'm doing with it (the linear bearing makes it so much easier to focus this long heavy train), this at 5040mm:

 

32498550808_a8b78b2b99_b.jpg

 

32498550178_d3f5d8045b_b.jpg

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 30 December 2018 - 12:17 PM.

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#38 zakry3323

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 02:19 PM

Hey Jon,

 

Yea, I've had you post this before a few times in response to similar threads as this on this subject. smile.gif

 

I have several of them, they all work really well and are always in service on my imaging trains being used with heavy loads in my observatory here in Florida. Not a dusty environment, but a very humid one. My trains are very long and heavy and I do high resolution solar imaging primarily with them, with tremendous moment arms on the focuser. I've yet to have one break or slip or anything. I also have no taken them apart, so I cannot answer as to what is inside, plastic or aluminimum or not, or what kind of mechanisms are in there. I also have not seen a lot of threads showing these fail or anything. All of our opinions and experiences here on this subject are quite frankly anecdotal, including my own.

 

I certainly would not turn down a premium focuser if it were offered at a similar price. A Moonlite is twice the price.

 

On one of my scopes I have a GSO linear bearing (SCT thread) and a feather touch focuser replaced the original stock SCT focuser. I use both for different purposes (the GSO is for high resolution solar/lunar/planetary; the feather touch is when I'm using the scope for DSO). 

 

Again I cannot speak to seals or stuff, I have not opened these focusers up. They're simply functioned flawlessly.

 

Here's my heaving imaging train and it's long moment arm and the focuser is manually being focused at 5040mm effective focal length with an ASI174MM sensor (I don't even have an electronic focuser, I should have one, but I still do this manually; and the linear bearing focusers work so well that I can do this manually without much effort):

 

attachicon.gif SolarSetup_150mm_12182018.jpg

 

And the full scale high resolution solar surface imaging I'm doing with it (the linear bearing makes it so much easier to focus this long heavy train), this at 5040mm:

 

32498550808_a8b78b2b99_b.jpg

 

32498550178_d3f5d8045b_b.jpg

 

Very best,

Wow, just beautiful, incredibly detailed, strong, strong work. 

I'm looking at your gso linear bearing focuser, and I don't see any motorized focus assist on there. Are you dialing in this kind of precision at 5040mm by hand? Either way, my hat's off. 



#39 MalVeauX

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 02:25 PM

 I don't see any motorized focus assist on there. Are you dialing in this kind of precision at 5040mm by hand? Either way, my hat's off. 

Yessir, manually focusing. The dual-speed makes it easy on a strong linear bearing focuser. This is why I have not purchased a mechanized focuser because while I should need it for precision critical focus, I'm able to do it without it with the focuser manually. I get focus in a matter of seconds, no focusing aid, other than visually on my LCD while looking at my subject (which is a high contrast subject, solar in HA, it looks like a pencil drawing). A strong focuser that can handle weight and a long moment arm makes this a much easier process. Doesn't matter if it's an entry level GSO linear bearing one with its budget manufacturing, or a premium focuser with superior manufacturing. 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.

 

I have several scopes, so budget is important to me. I'm able to focus without a problem with these cheap GSO linear bearing focusers, so I have a few of them and they're doing the job fine. If I had one scope, I'd probably go all in on a better single focuser with a motor and all that. But it gets very costly when you're doing this with 4+ scopes. I primarily image, so this matters a lot to me, compared to visual-only, where this is not that important (at least to me).

 

Very best,



#40 zakry3323

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Posted 30 December 2018 - 03:07 PM

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.


#41 russell23

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 09:43 AM

One thing to remember is if you keep the stock focuser you can put it back on the scope for resale and then you still have the Moonlite for a new scope.


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#42 zakry3323

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 10:03 AM

One thing to remember is if you keep the stock focuser you can put it back on the scope for resale and then you still have the Moonlite for a new scope.

We'll see how the re-tapping of the tension bolt hole goes smile.gif

I wouldn't consider selling someone an ota with a bum focused.


Edited by zakry3323, 31 December 2018 - 09:38 PM.


#43 YAOG

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 08:45 PM

Only issue with getting a moonlite is that it will ruin it for you. You’ll find the current focusers lacking. All my scopes have moonlites or feather touch except for the APM as that one has a 3.7” focuser and moonlite/ft focusers in that size cost lots. I did get Ron at moonlite to motorize my APM so it’s still usable for imaging.

Hey I am interested in how you mounted the Moonlight stepper on the APM 3.7" focuser. I have one on the way and would like to be able to use the Moonlight stepper motor focuser controller. I saw the photo but it is not clear where it attaches.

 

Chip



#44 zakry3323

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 07:56 PM

Well hey, it's been a while! Just in case anyone runs into this thread-

I sat on making a decision for a while. Finally a WO hybrid focuser hit the classifieds, and I snapped it up. Couldn't be happier with its performance.
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#45 Lookitup

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 08:34 PM

This previous ED100 deserved a Moonlite 2.5" for heavy loads. The stock Orion single speed had to be locked. The ED120 was unusable with this setup. Wish SW would upgrade stock focuser like Alltair, AT etc. 

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#46 Jond105

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 09:14 PM

Heck, even I’ve recently purchased my first ever GSO dual speed focuser for an achro, and even those I feel are better than the stock Synta dual speeds. Though I love moonlites on the ED’s or better. 



#47 hfjacinto

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Posted 21 March 2020 - 07:33 PM

 

Hey I am interested in how you mounted the Moonlight stepper on the APM 3.7" focuser. I have one on the way and would like to be able to use the Moonlight stepper motor focuser controller. I saw the photo but it is not clear where it attaches.

I took off the APM 3.7 and Ron made an adapter for me and added the motor. Wasn't cheap but works really well.

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#48 YAOG

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Posted 22 March 2020 - 08:57 PM

I took off the APM 3.7 and Ron made an adapter for me and added the motor. Wasn't cheap but works really well.

Wow, that's a time lag but thanks for the information. I got the 3.7" focuser and sent the bespoke Parallax/AT130mm f/6 EDT apo back to Parallax and Joe cut off maybe 6" off the OTA and machined and trued up the mounting ring for the new focuser. It got damaged in the mail on the way back to me but I have fiddled with the R&P adjustment and got working okay again.

 

In the meantime I sold all of my QHYCCD brand astro camera gear and started buying the same QHYCCD stuff with the ZWO ASI name on it. So far I bought a mint ASI183MM PRO and filter wheel from a club member friend for cheap. Like everybody else I put in an order for a new ZWO ASIAIR PRO and like everyone else have been waiting for it to show up along with a ZWO EAF focuser and an ASI290mm mini as an autoguider. I'd buy it used but all ZWO stuff has dried up! 

 

In case you missed it here is the reworked bespoke Parallax/AT 130mm f/6 EDT apo. 

 

 

Parallax-AT130 3.7 ZTA -091414.jpg  Parallax-AT130 3.7 ZTA -091343.jpg


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