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Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet Essential series

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#1 pepperonihead

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 09:39 PM

So, I just finally pulled the trigger on one of these which is my first Refractor ever. I have had just about every SCT that Celestron has ever made, including the Nexstar 11 GPS which I have had three throughout the years! LOL. I have done a ton of research and was driving myself crazy trying to make a decision so I finally ordered it. This was all I could afford at the time and would love to own one of the carbon fiber ones in the future but they are over my budget now. I thought this was a good one to start with. It was on sale and comes with an  EQ mount (Explore Scientific EXOS2-GT PMC-Eight Equatorial Mount) so for the money at this time I think it was a good buy. 

I cannot find a lot of reviews or much on this particular model. Lots of unboxing videos on the ED80 model but not much on this one. 

Has anyone here ever owned one and what are your thoughts on it. 

I am going to do some simple imaging with it to start and will most likely delve more into this as time goes by and I can piece together more items for imaging.  

At some point in the future if I really like working with a refractor I will probably sell my CPC 800 that I have now and maybe this one and get the 127 CF version of this scope.   

I live upcountry in Kula on the Island of Maui so my skies are somewhere between 2 and 3 Bortle. I am really excited to start viewing and imaging with a refractor!  

Of course as soon as I get it here it will rain for at least a month! LOL.

 


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#2 TrustyChords

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 10:13 PM

Nice! I just ordered the 127 FCD100 CF myself.. arrives tomorrow.

But I’d rather have your 102 and bortle 3 skies.
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#3 geminijk

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 10:16 PM

Nice! I just ordered the 127 FCD100 CF myself.. arrives tomorrow.

But I’d rather have your 102 and bortle 3 skies.

 

looking forward to the 1st light reports!

 

John



#4 MikiSJ

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 11:20 PM

But I’d rather have your 102 and bortle 3 skies.

I imaged with an APM/TMB 152/1200 from 7-8 Bortle skies (San Jose, CA). Good filters (Astrodon LRGB), a stable mount (Paramount ME) and a CCD camera (QSI) overcomes the sky portion of the image. The rest is up to you and your post-processing.



#5 pepperonihead

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Posted 02 January 2020 - 11:27 PM

Nice! I just ordered the 127 FCD100 CF myself.. arrives tomorrow.

But I’d rather have your 102 and bortle 3 skies.

Man. That 127 CF scope is way better than the one I just bought. Sure we can trade if you want! LOL! That one is almost $1,500 more than the  ES Essential series one I just ordered.   As far as the skied go, your just gonna have to move to Hawaii! 


Edited by pepperonihead, 02 January 2020 - 11:28 PM.


#6 HeliAv8r

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Posted 09 January 2020 - 11:46 AM

Howz it, Bra? (that's about the extent of my pidgin english) Congrats on the new scope! I just ordered the same one from Amazon (OTA only). I am budget constrained (mostly by the wife) and I had saved up about $500 in gift cards & points, so this allowed me to purchase it with minimal cash outlay. If I could have afforded it, I would have opted for the carbon fiber version as well; I had my eye on the 115mm version but that one runs about $3K. This will also be my 1st refractor and my 1st setup for imaging; I'll be using it with my Celestron AVX in bortle 5ish skies. I know there are better setups but, IMO, this was a good fit for the price and for getting my feet wet in imaging. I had been researching different scopes and found some decent pics on Astrobin taken with this scope, so I'm hopeful I'll be able to produce some half way decent pics. Please do share your experiences, setup, any gotchas and fixes, and of course, pictures. Mahalo, Dave

#7 pepperonihead

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 02:43 AM

Wow, so just like I thought. It has poured down rain or been cloudy for two months! There was two clear nights that I was able to get out of the house with my new scope and I had nothing but trouble trying to Polar Align it, as well as computer/internet problems trying to run my camera. Tried to use my windows laptop to run the Explore Scientific Explore Stars software and although all its components were loaded onto the laptop and working is was completely impractical as it does not have a touch screen and is difficult to try to move the scope using the laptop mouse pad. I ordered a tablet and now I am having problems loading the app and all of its data base onto the tablet.  One thing after another and it just keeps raining. Oh well, it is a challenge and the rain is never ending which is keeping me in the house trying to figure out all this stuff which I kind of enjoy, doing Nerd stuff! LOL.  I will with time, figure it all out and try not to drive myself nuts. Unfortunately, I have found NO ONE on the Island of Maui who can help with this so it is up to me! Man, a nice Celestron GPS Scope with a hand control and an Alt/Az mount is SO much easier! LOL!     



#8 Mr. Mike

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 09:21 AM

I own the ES102mm triplet which is based off of FCD-1 glass.  I got a "good one" as they say.  Excellent, pin-point stars, zero false color on any objects.  Nice and sharp.  Im very pleased and I suspect you will be too.  The focuser is OK....Ive used better and at some point I might upgrade it but not sure yet.  The red dot finder is very cheap but amazingly gets the job done.  Im pretty seasoned whenit comes to finding stuff and star hopping so I dont need a fancy finder.  Just get me close and Ill find what Im seeking. wink.gif

 

The scope rings work well and appear to be decent quality.  Overall, Its a very solid scope and well worth consideration for anyone looking to dip into the 4" triplet market without having to spend a huge amount.  They are priced fairly for what you get.  Like any of the middle tier refractors there will be some scope to scope variation but Ive read mostly positive things about the ES triplets and my experience has also been quite positive.  Im using mine on a semi-modded TW1 mount and all is well!!!

 

Its pretty friendly to eyepieces too - The F/7 ratio is a nice balance between widefields and some magnification capabilities.


Edited by Mr. Mike, 10 February 2020 - 09:22 AM.


#9 airbleeder

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Posted 10 February 2020 - 01:55 PM

   I've owned a Silver Grade ED102 Essential for about a month, but we've had our share of rain here for several months here too, so I haven't had a lot of time observing either. I do visual observing only, so I can't comment on use for photography.

   My Silver Grade looked new when I received it, not a blemish. The scope without diagonal was perfectly collimated, but the diagonal collimation was off. I had doubts about it having a rack&pinion focuser until I used it. It's super smooth handles my ES 34mm 68* eyepiece with no problem. I also see no collimation shift while racking the focuser.

   You'll need one supplied extension for visual. Color is very well corrected when in focus. I see no false color on the moon or Venus in my limited use. Stars are tight tiny pricks of various colors.

    I couldn't be more pleased with the ED102-01. I don't think I could have done any better for the money although I did have to beef up the altitude arm on my Twilight I  mount which I had already put on a Skyview Pro tripod which has 1.75" ss legs to cure the shakes. I've only had it out once (last night) to try it. Clouds were moving in but I didn't see any vibration at 300x on a very low and blurry Venus, so I'm hoping it's significantly improved if not completely remedied. I expected Venus to be blurry as it was atleast 20* if not lower, through the clouds and all I was interested in was if I had improved the shaking. 

   It's a good scope for the money IMO, hopefully you'll feel the same when you can get yours out and use it. 


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#10 Mr. Mike

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 10:28 AM

   I've owned a Silver Grade ED102 Essential for about a month, but we've had our share of rain here for several months here too, so I haven't had a lot of time observing either. I do visual observing only, so I can't comment on use for photography.

   My Silver Grade looked new when I received it, not a blemish. The scope without diagonal was perfectly collimated, but the diagonal collimation was off. I had doubts about it having a rack&pinion focuser until I used it. It's super smooth handles my ES 34mm 68* eyepiece with no problem. I also see no collimation shift while racking the focuser.

   You'll need one supplied extension for visual. Color is very well corrected when in focus. I see no false color on the moon or Venus in my limited use. Stars are tight tiny pricks of various colors.

    I couldn't be more pleased with the ED102-01. I don't think I could have done any better for the money although I did have to beef up the altitude arm on my Twilight I  mount which I had already put on a Skyview Pro tripod which has 1.75" ss legs to cure the shakes. I've only had it out once (last night) to try it. Clouds were moving in but I didn't see any vibration at 300x on a very low and blurry Venus, so I'm hoping it's significantly improved if not completely remedied. I expected Venus to be blurry as it was atleast 20* if not lower, through the clouds and all I was interested in was if I had improved the shaking. 

   It's a good scope for the money IMO, hopefully you'll feel the same when you can get yours out and use it. 

My experience exactly.  I too did beef up the arm of my TW1 mount and also bought an aftermarket holding clamp that helps with stability. I actually posted a thread about my TW1 upgrades which can be found.  But yeah - I got a great example of the ES102mm.  Couldnt be happier with it.  I was skeptical at first due to the FCD-1 glass and not being familiar with Explore Sci but Im very glad I took a chance.  This scope is good enough that its holding me off from wanting to "upgrade" to something much more expensive.

 

If anything, aperture fever has been nagging at me so maybe its time for an 8" SCT or a 10" dob? :D


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#11 NWAAstronomer

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Posted 11 February 2020 - 11:23 AM

Tried to use my windows laptop to run the Explore Scientific Explore Stars software and although all its components were loaded onto the laptop and working is was completely impractical as it does not have a touch screen and is difficult to try to move the scope using the laptop mouse pad. I ordered a tablet and now I am having problems loading the app and all of its data base onto the tablet.  One thing after another and it just keeps raining. Oh well, it is a challenge and the rain is never ending which is keeping me in the house trying to figure out all this stuff which I kind of enjoy, doing Nerd stuff! LOL.  I will with time, figure it all out and try not to drive myself nuts. Unfortunately, I have found NO ONE on the Island of Maui who can help with this so it is up to me! Man, a nice Celestron GPS Scope with a hand control and an Alt/Az mount is SO much easier! LOL!     

Explore 1, I suspect the tablet you are using is an Android. The Android database (the Windows database will NOT work on the Android) must be unzipped on a Windows machine, then installed on the Android tablet's external memory. (There is a way to map things to work without the external memory; details on that can be found on the PMC-Eight online community -- here's the link to the main page:  )

Additionally, there may be two security settings, one in the ExploreStars apps setting, the other in the device's security settings, that must be set to allow the app to use the external memory.

If you continue to have trouble, please send an email to service@explorescientific.com, where customer service will help you get things worked out. Once running, you'll find the app is easy to use.
 

Anyone having a problem with an Explore Scientific product should feel free to contact me for technical support. There's no reason to just keep hammering away at it, when a solution may be an email or phone call away. Use the email above, call 866-252-3811, or open a case in our support portal -- https://explorescientific.supportsync.com/  

 

Kent Marts

Customer Service

Explore Scientific


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#12 Mauikj

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Posted 26 February 2020 - 03:16 AM

Aloha Pepperonihead,

 

I live in Napili, good to see a fellow Mauian on here!  I have the ES 102 CF (Carbon Fiber) scope.  I've had it a couple years and it is a great scope!  Probably the scope I use the most as is is a great grab and go. And really great optics at a great price.  You will love it - and if you have any issue their support is first rate too.   I'm actually selling it now as I got the long awaited Astro Physics email that my name came up for the Stowaway scope.  But If I was not getting the Stowaway it would hold a valued place in my scope line up.  

 

Enjoy the new scope - you will be a refractor nut before you know it.

 

KJ


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#13 pepperonihead

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 01:08 PM

Thanks Kent. We got this fixed over the phone! I appreciate your awesome service!!! 

Explore 1, I suspect the tablet you are using is an Android. The Android database (the Windows database will NOT work on the Android) must be unzipped on a Windows machine, then installed on the Android tablet's external memory. (There is a way to map things to work without the external memory; details on that can be found on the PMC-Eight online community -- here's the link to the main page:  )

Additionally, there may be two security settings, one in the ExploreStars apps setting, the other in the device's security settings, that must be set to allow the app to use the external memory.

If you continue to have trouble, please send an email to service@explorescientific.com, where customer service will help you get things worked out. Once running, you'll find the app is easy to use.
 

Anyone having a problem with an Explore Scientific product should feel free to contact me for technical support. There's no reason to just keep hammering away at it, when a solution may be an email or phone call away. Use the email above, call 866-252-3811, or open a case in our support portal -- https://explorescien...portsync.com/  

 

Kent Marts

Customer Service

Explore Scientific



#14 pepperonihead

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 01:12 PM

Hey Maui bra! I am pretty sure you and I have corresponded through email. There is another guy on here from Maui called Travelmonkey. I am going to message him and see where he lives. Maybe he can help me with polar alignment after this nasty virus runs its course and we can start hanging out with other humans again! Polar alignment is the next thing I am going to have to tackle when I EVER get this scope outside. Nothing but clouds every night in Kula for months now.   Kent from ES helped me to get the data base downloaded onto my tablet so that is good to go. 

Aloha Pepperonihead,

 

I live in Napili, good to see a fellow Mauian on here!  I have the ES 102 CF (Carbon Fiber) scope.  I've had it a couple years and it is a great scope!  Probably the scope I use the most as is is a great grab and go. And really great optics at a great price.  You will love it - and if you have any issue their support is first rate too.   I'm actually selling it now as I got the long awaited Astro Physics email that my name came up for the Stowaway scope.  But If I was not getting the Stowaway it would hold a valued place in my scope line up.  

 

Enjoy the new scope - you will be a refractor nut before you know it.

 

KJ




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