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Sky Watcher 10” Collapsible Dob

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#1 Elfbob

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:36 PM

I’ve been researching and pondering over what I want my first scope to be for the last 6 months. I’ve been to a couple star parties and bought myself a good pair of Orion 10x50 binoculars that I’ve gotten used to. My bonus is finally in and I’m ready to buy my first scope. After much debate I want to get a Dob. I know this could technically be put in the beginners forum but figured it made just as much since here. I’m looking at the Sky Watcher 10” 250P Flextube Dobsonian. I only plan on transporting it a few times a year, but when I do I need it to fit in the back of my CRV, and not on the seats (hence the collapsible function). Has anyone used/own this scope, thoughts? Pros/Cons? I’m also thinking about getting a double finder scope bracket adapter and using a telerad and a mounted laser, and switching out the laser for a RACI finder when/if I take it to a star party. The locate with binoculars and constant on laser is an awesome combo (of course responsibly maintaining possible aircraft awareness). With that I would just use a really low power wide eyepiece for visually spotting. A long starting post, I know... Thoughts on the Collapsible Skywatcher or my intended setup are welcome.

#2 ShaulaB

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 07:54 PM

With the back seats down, I can fit a normal solid-tube 10 inch Dobsonian into a vehicle smaller than a CRV. The hard part for you would be lifting the rig up onto the cargo deck. Any SUV has a higher-up cargo deck than my VW Golf does. Do you work out much?

 

Two of my observing friends have the 12 inch version of the SW Collapsible Dob, and they have both been very pleased with it for 6 and 5 years. Both dudes haul their scopes in mini-vans (Toyota Sienna and Dodge Caravan). Another friend has the 8 inch version, which can fit just about anywhere.

 

Be careful with an "always on" green laser if other people may be around. In the dark, you can't see them, and they might not know to look away fast if the green laser streak comes their way.



#3 Zwick

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 08:19 PM

I have the 12" Skywatcher Collapsible. Love it. I routinely transport it to outreach events in the back seat of my Subaru Forrester, as buckling in the OTA secures it nicely. Though I haven't tried the 12inch in the back area, it might well fit. I would be surprised if you could not manage the 10inch in the back of your CRV. How I transport came up on another string and is pictured there: https://www.cloudyni...-2#entry9515325



#4 Luca Brasi

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 08:47 PM

I own a 14" Skywatcher Flextube and an 8" Orion. The 8" sees more use simply because it is a solid tube. They hold collimation better, are lighter, don't require a shroud, and are easier to keep clean. If you can fit it into your car, get a solid tube...

Don't get me wrong, my 14" Flextube is awesome. The collapsible design is stable and fast to set up. But it is a necessary evil. It would never leave my closet (or fit in my closet) if it was a solid tube.

#5 JohnBear

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 08:57 PM

If you are under 70 yo and in decent shape - Go for the 10" Sky-Watcher Dob. I am in my late 70's and settled on the 8" collapsible Dob (looking to the future) - and I LOVE it!  

 

The 10" should fit in the back seat of most cars easily.  The base can be more of a problem. I am planning to make a "collapsible base" for easier transporting of my dob to the local semi-dark site.

 

Hint: Get a used collapsible golf bag carrier ($10-20) for hauling the OTA around w/o the base. It makes it very manageable, and should fit the 10" Dob perfectly. 

Dob Cart.jpg I


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#6 vtornado

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 09:03 PM

I have the 12 inch flex tube and like it for quick take down and setup.

That being said it is at the limit of my lugging limit.  Just the tube weighs about 50 lbs.

If I had a 12 inch truss, I don't think I would use it as much because of the assemble/disassemble time.

Every time I use the flex tube, I have found I have to adjust the secondary, something I don't have to with my solid tube dob.

Some day I will replace the OEM screws with hex caps or bob's knobs.

Once collimated the collimation holds for the nightly session.

 

I find a 10 inch solid tube dob managible, but that is up to you.

I would not want to carry a solid 12. 

 

I don't like the focuser on mine.  There is a lot of slop.  The zhumell's two speed focuser has a much better build.



#7 asjr

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 09:45 PM

I myself bought the SW 250 classic solid tube a year ago...it was easy to transport in the back of an Acura MDX, and easy to lift the tube into the base. Collimation was almost always spot on after transporting to star parties.

 

However, what stood out to me was the fact that I found out that I'm not fond of "push to" dobs that cannot track. My passion is higher magnification planetary, and when, for example, I would get Jupiter or Saturn perfectly centered at around 300X magnification, I would have either my daughter or my wife to come and take a look...it would be out of the field of view. If your budget can afford it, you should consider a dob with "go to" or at least tracking capability. There are usually many great condition used dobs for sale at about the same price as new, that will have this ability.

 

I ended up selling my dob and purchased an Orion 10" f/3.9 Astrograph and an Celestron AVX mount (both used) that cost around $900 complete. Now I have the same light gathering in a more compact package.

 

This setup also gives me the flexibility to mount other smaller scopes, if I'm going camping with the family and don't have the room for the bigger scope with all of the other gear.



#8 Bean614

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 10:24 PM

Tornado wrote. "I don't like the focuser on mine.  There is a lot of slop"

 

What happened when you adjusted the Focuser using the set screws provided for that purpose? 



#9 S.Boerner

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Posted 16 February 2020 - 10:38 PM

I'm one of the two friends with a 12" that ShaulaB mentioned above.  It just occurred to me that the tube probably won't be a problem but the base might.  I'm going to suggest that your contact SkyWatcher to get a handle on how tall/wide/and heavy the base of the 10" collapsible is.  I transport my 12" in a minivan and I know that it won't fit in my Camry.

 

Putting the base together and taking it apart for every use would be a real chore.



#10 Will_S

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 12:53 AM

The collapsible tube is great IMO for making a much more compact package that's easier to store and transport than a solid tube, and much quicker to set up, and maybe more importantly break down, than a truss tube.

 

The stock base is ridiculously oversized for keeping the whole package compact though. I didn't go for a collapsible base, just one that makes much better use of space:

 

SW10.jpg


Edited by Will_S, 17 February 2020 - 12:53 AM.

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#11 Elfbob

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 02:29 AM

The collapsible tube is great IMO for making a much more compact package that's easier to store and transport than a solid tube, and much quicker to set up, and maybe more importantly break down, than a truss tube.

The stock base is ridiculously oversized for keeping the whole package compact though. I didn't go for a collapsible base, just one that makes much better use of space:

SW10.jpg

So the good news is that my Honda CRV is pretty spacious in the rear as far as crossovers go. I’ve got a floor space of 32x40” and 36” high. So if I really wanted to I think I could probably fit the original base, but may have problems fitting other things like a cooler, chairs, and a tent when I go camping. Will_S where did you get the shorter base, is it homemade, or sold online somewhere? I’ll also only be taking it away from home a handful of times a year, the majority of its life will be spent in my backyard with a cover over it. Will the collimation still fall out with it not even being moved? And as far as the zoomed planets leaving the frame too fast, I’m really leaning towards buying a BH Mark IV. Seems like a good long term investment and would work well on the faster 10” Dob? Does anyone have experience with a Mark IV and a Dob, thoughts? And where would I acquire a shroud?

Edited by Elfbob, 17 February 2020 - 02:32 AM.


#12 vdog

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 11:30 AM

The tube is very manageable when collapsed.  It'll easily fit in the back of a car.  The base will too but it will take up a lot of space.

 

Finders:  I use a dual-mount bracket with an RDF and the original RACI.  This works very well but might work even better with a laser instead of the RDF.  I've thought about making this change myself.  The diagonal on the RACI will fall off constantly if you so much as brush it.  A little super-glue solved that problem for me.

 

Focuser:  There is a lot of slop.  Not sure how to fix this other than replacing it so I'll keep an eye on this thread myself for suggestions on that.

 

Collimation:  When you can, replace the collimation springs under the primary mirror with stronger springs.  This makes a huge difference.  I've found that it will hold collimation much better even after being moved around a lot.

 

Mobility:  Lifting the scope constantly is going to be a PITA.  Get some wheels for it.  There are many options.  I use casters attached to the base.  This is not a perfect solution, but it works for me.

 

Shrouds:  Astrozap makes one for this scope that is available from many vendors (Highpoint Scientific, OPT, etc.).  Looks like the price has gone up a bit since I bought one, but it's a good investment.

 

I really like the scope.  I think you will too.



#13 Zwick

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 12:00 PM

So if I really wanted to I think I could probably fit the original base, but may have problems fitting other things like a cooler, chairs, and a tent when I go camping. .... And where would I acquire a shroud?

My wife and I often take two scopes to outreach events, the 12" SW and a little tabletop Dob (OneSky). While the space is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, the space inside the base is quite usable. The Onesky and its tripod typically travel nested in the base of the larger scope for the car trip. Tents and various camping equipment would easily go inside the stock base of the 10" SW, ice chests and chairs may be more of a challenge.

 

As Vdog has mentioned, shrouds are available from Astrozap (Shrouds by Heather and others are probably out there as well). These are usually Lycra or similar fabric stretchy tubes. There is an extensive forum section on my other scope (the little Onesky). I, like most Onesky users seem to have done, made my own shroud out of material stiff enough to be rolled into an appropriate tube and permanently fixed to the upper tube assembly. I see no reason this strategy would not be effective on the larger collapsibles as well. This just slides into the lower tube for transit/storage. I intend to do this for my 12" soon. The only real challenge seems to be finding appropriate material in the larger sized sheets needed. I am planning to try these plastic sheets. Adding 3d printed stiffener rings at each end of the tube will hopefully be enough for the large tube to hold its shape well enough. We'll see...

 

https://www.tapplast..._m_m_opaque/258


Edited by Zwick, 17 February 2020 - 12:03 PM.


#14 Will_S

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 01:25 PM

I got my new base as a kit from Astrogoods, there is a bit more discussion here:

 

https://www.cloudyni...10-collapsable/

 

Unlike some others in this thread, I've had no problem with focuser slop. I found it pretty good as stock and while it benefits from the Lacerta two-speed modification, I couldn't really fault it as far its single-speed performance stock. Compared to other focusers I've used extensively, I rate it not quite as good as a Moonlight focuser, but better than a GSO two-speed.

 

I also use an Astrozap shroud. I thought about making one out of Kydex similar to what folks have done with the 130mm collapsibles, but the tube inner diameter is fairly small to start and then there are nuts for the altitude bearings protruding in further, so I was worried about impinging on the off-axis illumination, though it probably wouldn't have been significant.



#15 Will_S

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 01:29 PM

Collimation:  When you can, replace the collimation springs under the primary mirror with stronger springs.  This makes a huge difference.  I've found that it will hold collimation much better even after being moved around a lot.

 

I've been thinking about doing this. Where did you get / what kind of springs did you use?  Do you still use the locking screws too, or are the stiffer springs enough to do away with them?



#16 rhetfield

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 03:24 PM

So the good news is that my Honda CRV is pretty spacious in the rear as far as crossovers go. I’ve got a floor space of 32x40” and 36” high. So if I really wanted to I think I could probably fit the original base, but may have problems fitting other things like a cooler, chairs, and a tent when I go camping. Will_S where did you get the shorter base, is it homemade, or sold online somewhere? I’ll also only be taking it away from home a handful of times a year, the majority of its life will be spent in my backyard with a cover over it. Will the collimation still fall out with it not even being moved? And as far as the zoomed planets leaving the frame too fast, I’m really leaning towards buying a BH Mark IV. Seems like a good long term investment and would work well on the faster 10” Dob? Does anyone have experience with a Mark IV and a Dob, thoughts? And where would I acquire a shroud?

Take a good look at what the base is made of before leaving it outside.  If it is made of particle board or other similar thing, it will not respond well to getting damp.



#17 vdog

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 03:40 PM

I've been thinking about doing this. Where did you get / what kind of springs did you use?  Do you still use the locking screws too, or are the stiffer springs enough to do away with them?

I took the old springs to Ace Hardware and matched them up as closely as I could to the compression springs they had in stock.  I had to cut the new ones to size with wire cutters, but they work great.  Sometimes I pull my scope out after a previous heavy night's use and it's still collimated.

 

I still use the locking screws.  It's possible I don't need to, but I don't want to mess with a system that's working.


Edited by vdog, 17 February 2020 - 03:40 PM.

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#18 SteveG

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 05:09 PM

I've been thinking about doing this. Where did you get / what kind of springs did you use?  Do you still use the locking screws too, or are the stiffer springs enough to do away with them?

It's very worth while, and easy. I bought springs from a local Ace Hardware. You can get them long and cut them with wire cutters. They will improve the movement of the primary cell, and it will hold better. I removed the locking screws after doing this, as they're not needed. I've done this to every Chinese dob I've purchased.



#19 outofsight

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 06:12 PM

Here's a great focuser upgrade for anyone interested. Easy to do and < $100.

 

https://www.365astro...d-Focusers.html



#20 Bean614

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 06:42 PM

VDog wrote  "Not sure how to fix this other than replacing it"....????

 

I have had over 300 scopes, and not one of them, brand new or used, didn't need a focuser adjustment!   What if your 'New' focuser needs adjustment? What do you suppose those little set screws are for? 

If you can't find instructions in your owner's manual,  then visit the Orion website.   They are the same as Skywatcher,  and there Manuals for their various focusers have much in common with MANY other Brands. 

Additionally,  search here on Cloudy Nights, and you'll even find Videos!

Most focusers need adjustment after shipping,  same as SCT's all need collimation after shipping.  Take 15 minutes, learn, save money, and enjoy a nice, finely tuned by you, focuser.



#21 S.Boerner

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 06:46 PM

+1 on Will_S's Lacerta 2 speed focuser and Astrozap shroud.  Both are great additions to my 12" collapsible.  The focuser is very easy to install.  Follow outofsight's link (^^^^^) to see it.



#22 Elfbob

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 09:47 PM

This a ton of good information! I’m definitely looking at getting the shroud. $100 for a measured cloth is kinda steep, but worth it and I think I’ll try the original focuser and see if it works for me, then look at buying the upgrade if necessary. As far as the “leaving outside thing”, I live in AZ so, it doesn’t rain often and when it does there’s usually a season for it.

How hard is it to replace the collimating springs?

And, has anyone tried a Bayder Hyperion Mark iv with a medium size Dob like this, thoughts?

Edited by Elfbob, 17 February 2020 - 09:47 PM.


#23 vdog

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 09:40 AM

How hard is it to replace the collimating springs?

Easy.  With the truss in the collapsed position (you may also want to remove the OTA from the base or lay a cushion of some sort underneath the primary) remove the little screws around the base of the OTA.   Don't let the primary fall when you remove the last screws (hence the cushion, just in case).  If the OTA is still on the base, point it straight up and lock the clutch as it'll now be top heavy (which is why the truss needs to be collapsed).

 

Once you have the base assembly out, remove the clips holding the primary mirror in place and lift it out.  Set it somewhere safe. Now you can disassemble the cradle that holds the mirror and take the springs out. When you replace the clips, make sure you don't tighten them too much.  They should be loose enough to slip a business card in between the clip and the edge of the mirror.


Edited by vdog, 18 February 2020 - 09:48 AM.


#24 vdog

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 09:43 AM

VDog wrote  "Not sure how to fix this other than replacing it"....????

 

I have had over 300 scopes, and not one of them, brand new or used, didn't need a focuser adjustment!   What if your 'New' focuser needs adjustment? What do you suppose those little set screws are for? 

If you can't find instructions in your owner's manual,  then visit the Orion website.   They are the same as Skywatcher,  and there Manuals for their various focusers have much in common with MANY other Brands. 

Additionally,  search here on Cloudy Nights, and you'll even find Videos!

Most focusers need adjustment after shipping,  same as SCT's all need collimation after shipping.  Take 15 minutes, learn, save money, and enjoy a nice, finely tuned by you, focuser.

You left out the rest of that sentence: " . . .so I'll keep an eye on this thread myself for suggestions on that."

 

So, ummm, thanks.  I'll look into it.



#25 Elfbob

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Posted 18 February 2020 - 12:46 PM

I pulled the trigger and ordered it from OPT along with the Astrozap shroud. They were able to price match the scope at $595, that’s a great deal! I’m excited!
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