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Konus Motormax 90 Vs. Meade ETX-90 Quality - Help

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#1 Aquarianperry

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 12:46 AM

Okay, I've been through the long winter of traveling the skies with a Tasco Galaxsee 114EQ my kids got me for X-Mas and my Barska 10X50/15X70 Binoculars that I purchased to learn my way around the heavens. I've learned quite a lot and now think I'm ready to get into some bigger and better scopes for me and my family, I've decided to get one for planetary viewing and one for the long shoot to catch glimpses on detail with DSO's. After thorough research I think I've narrowed down the choices my pocket can afford for a nice two scope combo for my (oh, and of course my family :cool:) viewing pleasure, a nice small 90mm tracking MCT for the family to look through and a nice Dobsonian for my deeper interests - I'll be getting the 90mm first and the dig dob sometime in may (return tax money time :D). To help me with my decisions I've once again come out of the wings to get some input from the knowledgable CN forum members with the matter of the 90mm Mak choice.

I have tried to find some reviews on the Konus Motormax 90mm but couldn't really find any so I looked at the bigger aperture model reviews instead. Overall the Konus line looks like it is a great bang for the buck Mak with the decent eyepieces to start off with and a flip lens feature which seems good for using two lenses withough having to switch out and for a little astrophotography on the planets later on when I'm ready. The tracking will help a lot with letting friends and family take good looks and would also help in minor astrophotography as well. I know that the EQ mount leave a bit to be desired on the Konus scopes but with a little effort I've read that people can fix it up into a decent mount. for a nice pricetag of $200 - $250US it seems like a great product.

As for the Meade ETX-90, it seems like the best small scope with tracking there is - great optics, good mount with GOTO, nice eyepieces, overall a complete package for an all around small scope. Only thing that is terribly daunting is the pricetag of $500 - $600US, that is about the price I'm looking to spend on my Dobsonian (either Orion Intelliscope X10 or Hardin Optical DSP 10").

One thing I don't want to do is get another bad scope into my home, while the Tasco was fun it is very limiting and I had to do a heck of a lot to get it at least a decent view out of it. Goto is a great feature to have for family to use with the Meade but is it worth the 50 - 60% price increase over the Konus (I think I know my way around the sky pretty well to find the things that the 90mm is capable of catching so I can use that money towards the Inteliscope controller to help me find DSO's with the Orion Dobsonian if I decide on it or extra eyepieces for both scopes)? I am also wondering what is the difference in optics and quality of the OTA's, is the Meade optics and build overwhelmingly better than the Konus or just marginally superior? Besides the differences in tracking options, are both the scopes about the same?

Any input highly appreciated, TIA!

#2 wilash

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 03:21 AM

Why can't your family use a dob? It is not that complicated. I would go straight to the dob and use the budget for the 90mm Mak for accessories or flowers and dinner for your spouse.

#3 Topcat

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 07:05 AM

I have a Motormax 90. In my opinion, the optics seems as good as any ETX 90 I've ever looked through. All components are metal and the Equatorial mount is certainly adequate for that size scope. Nice views of the planets. The finder is junk but I have heard other ETX owners lament the finder on those are sorta useless also? I'm replacing mine with an Orion red dot which is easily done. I pondered the exact same question as you, looked at the ETX but could not justify spending almost $600 for a 90mm. I wanted a light quick grab n go to view the moons and planets. I plan on getting a dob or equatorial reflector for DSO's...I guess it all depends on what you want to do with it. Certainly, you can get a nice dob for a lot less than the etx. Dob's are quick and easy to set up. You could get the Motormax and a dob for the price of an ETX. I've heard a number of people claim balky performance in there ETX and other GOTO systems.

#4 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 08:28 AM

Don't overlook Astromart as a source for a small Mak. ETX scopes show up there all the time, at a substantial discount from new.

#5 Aquarianperry

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 11:40 AM

Wilash: Of course the family can use the Dob as well (when they can get me away from it), but unfortunately they have a hard time finding things in the sky which is why I want something with tracking and easy to use. With a dob I would have to recenter the object in the eyepiece every time it went out of range which means my family members would have less time taking turns viewing. Dobs with tracking are way out of my price range which is why I'm choosing the best of both worlds, a small Mak with tracking and a nice big dob for more detailed viewing - of course at an affordable price.

Topcat: I'm glad to hear that the Konus is all metal and seems to have good optics, did you have to do any tweaking/mod's on the mount to better stabilize it or was it adequate right out of the box? How about the focuser and flip mirror - are they smooth operating or rinky dink, and how good is the tracking motor that comes with it and is the findersope mount on it a dovetail or some type of special konus mount? OTO alone, would you say they are both close enough in views to not really make a difference?

#6 StarWars

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 12:02 PM



ETX 90 on EQ2 MOUNT

http://www.astromart....asp?cid=264070

#7 Topcat

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 12:03 PM

The mount seems fine as is, the only thing I would and will replace is the knobs that attach the OTA to equatorial head. I would like the no tool knobs to facilitate removal for transport. The fasteners in general are typical low quality. But easily replaced from your local hardware store. The focuser and flip mirror system work great on mine. It OTA seems top quality. The tracking motor works OK but sounds like a coffee grinder. The finder is a dovetail type and lookd to be identical to the Orion Starmax. To me, the Konus and ETX views looked pretty much the same. In mine, planetary views are tack-sharp, much better than my 80mm achromatic refractor. Keep in mind that a mak does need to cool properly before best views are achieved. It's a pretty hard deal to beat for a little over $200.00. Plus you get a moon filter and 2 half-way decent plossl eyepieces and batteries for the motor...when did the last toy you bought come with batteries? My kids love this thing...it is sorta cute and the blue tube finish on mine iss flawless. From the few Konus owners I talked to, these scopes seem to be overlooked bargains.

#8 StarWars

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 12:24 PM



TC


I have not seen alot of Konus scopes on AstroMart...
(must be a good value!!)

#9 Topcat

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 01:15 PM

I think I've only seen one. Orion Starmaxes seem to have cult status in most astronomy circles and the no doubt have Orion's great customer service behind them. The 5 and 6 inch Konus Mak's sure seem to be nice. Let's face it, to some extent, you get what you pay for but I think the Meade ETX's are way overpriced and as an automation engineer, I can assure you the cheap motors they use for autostar aren't worth $400 more than a Konus or Starmax. I do however, like the fork mount vs. the German just for ease of use. It's all about choices!

#10 Aquarianperry

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 02:11 PM


ETX 90 on EQ2 MOUNT

http://www.astromart....asp?cid=264070


That is even worse than the ones with the Autostar, that is basicly $525 for the same setup as the Konus or the Orion Starmax 90mm. For that price I could get one of each of those other scopes.

Thanks for everyones input, like I was thinking they are pretty much the same scope but the Meade is way overpriced being twice the amount of other manufacturers with the same OTA setup. Goto should not mark the price up that high, I could see another $100 like the Celestron Nextar 80GT which goes for like $299-$399US.

I haven't really looked at the Orion Starmax 90 much but from what I've seen it is pretty much the same as the Konus with the exception of the included motor drive which comes with the Konus (not sure if the Orion includes a flip mirror system or not), but to add the drive it would be another $50US so that still makes it @ $100 more than the $229 price of the Konus. Seeing that the Konus Motormax 90 will only be @ $250US shipping included and I have read mostly comments stating that it is as good as the ETX-90 OTA wise and in some points better I see no reason to try it out, I'm sure it can't be worse than the Tacso Galaxsee I'm currently using(which I'm selling cheap to a co-worker).

Now if only I can decide between the Orion Intelliscope 8" or the Hardin DSP 10", decisions decisions decisions :question:.

#11 Topcat

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Posted 20 April 2004 - 02:47 PM

The Starmax does not have the flip system. That feature I really like. I hope you like it as much as I like mine. Let me know. Mine was packaged really well also. Some assembly is required. It will be nice to be able to compare a few Konus scopes just to see how their quality control is. I'm personally thinking of the Orion XT 10 as my DSO hunter. Keep in touch.

TC

#12 Aquarianperry

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 11:06 AM

The Starmax does not have the flip system. That feature I really like. I hope you like it as much as I like mine. Let me know. Mine was packaged really well also. Some assembly is required. It will be nice to be able to compare a few Konus scopes just to see how their quality control is. I'm personally thinking of the Orion XT 10 as my DSO hunter. Keep in touch.

TC


The votes are in and I'll be ordering the Konus Motormax 90 next week. Seems like your going the same route as I am and getting a dob for DSO's and the Mak for planetary viewing and quick views when you don't feel like lugging the 10" out to see something, good minds think alike :D! Now I'm just trying to convince myself that getting the Orion 10" Intelliscope is not splurging and to cut the Hardin 10" out of my decision making process :smirk:.

I'll be sure to come back to this post to post my findings with the Konus as soon as possible. A couple of the places where I'm debating n purchasing mine from (i.e. Antlers Optics) states that it now comes with a red dot finder instead of a finderscope, Could this be an updated model or something?

#13 StarWars

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 11:20 AM


Konus Telescopes..

http://www.digitecop.../tele-konus.htm

#14 Aquarianperry

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 12:00 PM

I've seen the Digital optics one, that is one of my choices also. The place I am talking about is here:

http://www.geckoopti...html#motormax90

I've dealt with this guy a few times and he has good customer service. Since the price is the same as Digitec Optical It would be worth it to just get that one if it comes with the red dot finder since I would probably replace it anyway. I'll e-mail him to confirm the red dot to make sure.

#15 Topcat

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Posted 21 April 2004 - 01:13 PM

I got mine from Antlers and Scott is a good guy to deal with. A real Astronomy enthusiast. I seen that red dot on the add but sadly, mine didn't come with it. Maybe you can give Scott a call and inquire if it's available. I'd buy from Antlers again very satisfied and he always has some good deals on eyepieces and barlows. I can't wait to try mine out on the moon to see if the filter is any good. Good luck. I am also considering the Konus 8" equatorial reflector as most people seem to really like them and it comes with dual axis motors I believe.

#16 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 09:23 PM

Topcat,

How did the Motormax 90 work out for you?

Jay

#17 Topcat

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 07:06 AM

Hi Jay

So far so good...Although after reading all the negative post, I'm worried something will fall apart. Optically its wonderful and the mechanics of the OTA seem really nicely made. The Finder is junk and the mount is just adequate for a scope of this size. Fasteners are kinda junky also but that's an easy remedy. It serves its purpose as a quick grab and go for lunar and planetary viewing. I do have a machine shop at my disposal so any parts that need to be remade or improved upon won't be an issue. I know Chaz bought the 6" and while he seems happy with it optically, I guess the mount/drives needed a lot of fixing to be usable. I'd go with Orion if I had to do it over again. I've bought from them before and they are great people who stand behind the product. Are you considering a Motormax?

#18 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 12:29 PM

Topcat,

I was considering a Motormax, but with all the issues that seem to be surfacing im not sure, But then I read the whole discussion and at first Chaz was so high on the scope, then suddenly changed. It's just a lot of money to spend, I think I might be better off going to Cancun lol. I might just go with the orion, and take chaz's advise of looking for the clearance from Orion, but I don't want to spend that kind of money just to be disappointed.

So then I was kinda thinking that I wanted a scope that is less expensive and more portable. The 90mm seemed like it would be an ideal scope, but I'm worried about the quality. I would consider the Meade but $$$$$$$ is a big issue for that model, so I figure if the motormax 90 works, I could save some $$$$ (I could spend that on a VACATION!!)

Anyway, thanks to you and every1 that responded. =)

Jay

#19 Topcat

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 03:45 PM

Hi Jay, for what I paid ($209) I'm satisfied, no real issues I can't deal with for that price and the flip mirror is useful. Optically impressive for the $$. If nothing falls apart I'll be satisfied. Orion currently has a Starmax 90 in the clearance section for $249 (I think?) Not a bad deal. The Meade is sort of a novelty item and is pricey...I always liked the fork mount though (C8 envy maybe) I'd be interested in other Motormax 90 owners comments if I could find one.... I may be the only guy in the US with one LOL....

#20 Aquarianperry

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 04:03 PM

I doubt you are the only one with a Motormax 90 Topcat, those things have been selling like crazy and are always out of stock which I went ahead and purchased the Orion Starmax 90.


Justlooking, If your worried about all of the quality issues that Konus has been having then I'd suggest you look at the Orion Starmax 90. While it doesn't come with all the extra features and accessories of the Motormax 90, you do get quality parts and from what I have heard but not had to use yet excellent customer service in case anything goes wrong. Check out the mini review I posted here in the Cat's section to see what I thought of it. I say go with the Orion clearance model while it's there and add on the other accessories later if desired (motor drive, moon filter, etc.).

#21 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 08:07 AM

Every1 has been talking about how great Orioin's customer service is, but if you look you can find complaints about every1 scopefreak just had a bad experience and siad:
"Ok so enough is enough! Orion is now saying that the web picture is in error and it is just tough luck. I am really not believing that I paid $25.00 each for ugly round pieces of steel with a hole in the middle.

I am going to post the pictures I took of the weights so you can all see what you would be getting and what you should be getting. This is a picture of what they have on the web site. They look just like the Celestron weights and just like the one I have which is why I ordered them!"

Look at the Thread Orion Telescopes, is there any telescope company that gives good customer service??? I just want to buy a scope that if there is any problem I will be able to have it fixed =(

Jay


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