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ES UltraLight Dob 10 -- Help needed

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#1 OpenCluster

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 06:54 PM

Hello everyone,

 

I'm new to astronomy and I've been following the forum for few months now. Thank you for all the info you have put out there, I found everything really useful.

 

I have bought a pair of 10x50 binoculars to start my journey in astronomy and I've observed few Messier objects from my backyard for few weeks now... until I decided to move to a larger instrument. I have decided to buy an Explore Scientific Ultra Light Dob 10 inches -- Generation II, i wanted to have something reasonably transportable. While my experience with the binoculars has been great (I had a chance to read books and learn by observing), my experience with my first telescope has been miserable so far (I had a small refractor few years ago but I haven't used it much apart from planet observation).

 

I have bought the ES UL Dob10 at the beginning of May and after few days I've received it here (well packaged). Once I opened the boxes I've noticed the following issues: two missing parts (manual and battery pack), many metal debris everywhere (mirror box and rocker box) and few spots with rust on the mirror box (nothing major but I've found it a little disappointing for a new product). Unfortunately, once I opened the mirror box I had an even less pleasant surprise. I've noticed (without flashlights or anything, just looking at it): i) the north side of the mirror was irregular for a portion of the mirror edge circumference (irregular like the reflecting surface being irregular instead of an arc of circumference); ii) there was a blue/green smudge on the mirror surface (like a coating issue; at least that's what it looks to me for comparison with other optical instruments). After that I've opened the rocker box and I've discovered that the focuser (two speed) was not working correctly either: the micro focuser wheel was actually not moving the barrel when rotated. I've contacted the customer service, provided several photos and they offered a replacement (they previously agreed to ship to me the battery pack for the fans and the manual which I received in few days).

   

I have asked to them to make sure to inspect the unit to verify the content and the working condition of all components. This took more than a week but they notified me in advance that would have been a lengthy process due to my request. I have received the replacement unit today (it took a while to get here due to Holiday as well)... as you might imagine at this point, things do not look good either. The mirror presents a similar blue/green coating issue in few spots (before it was only in one spot), actually this actual one is slightly less pronounced in intensity but covering more mirror surface (I would be grateful if you could help me understanding what that is -- photo attached below for one of these spots). Moreover, there is a white circular sign (residue?) on the mirror edge and a small scratch just close to it (photo attached below).

 

Now, I have contacted the customer service again this afternoon and they are looking at the pictures, but my question for you is: am I being unreasonable here? Should I just use the scope without looking at the mirror? Is it reasonable to expect to get a mirror unaffected by macroscopic defects like these? They told me that this mirror has been inspected by two people for 3 hours and they haven't seen any defects under a magnifying glass. I surely trust them, that's why I would be grateful if you could look at the photos and help me interpreting what I'm seeing since these issues are visible without magnifying glass. Now I understand that the mirror will look dirty after a while, but I feel I should not get a mirror with a stain on it right out of the box.

 

I really do not know what to think, I can just say that I'm not particularly happy with what I have received.

Thank you all for the help and sorry about the lengthy post

 

scratch.jpeg

coating.jpeg



#2 Pinbout

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 07:00 PM

 

: am I being unreasonable here?

 

NO.

 

Let them make good. they're good like that. this scope has had its problems.

 

seems like the company is, make it quick, sell it cheap, fix it if we'er asked to.


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#3 Barlowbill

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 07:08 PM

I wouldn't believe anyone who told me that 2 people inspected a 10" mirror for 3 hours with a magnifying glass.  If it is just dust or packaging then it can be blown off (the proper way!).  If there are scratches and blue smudges...that ain't right.  I would want a new mirror. 



#4 Darren Drake

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 07:51 PM

Those slight smudges should come off and the scratches while a nuisance will themselves have zero impact on performance.  If the star test is good I would keep it.  If not then send it back...



#5 jeremiah2229

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 08:27 PM

Send it back and get a refund.

 

 

Peace...



#6 OpenCluster

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 08:29 PM

Thank you all for the replies.

 

I guess I'm still quite a bit confused:

 

Those slight smudges should come off and the scratches while a nuisance will themselves have zero impact on performance.  If the star test is good I would keep it.  If not then send it back...

Are you suggesting that I try to clean the smudges? How should they come off? isn't cleaning the mirror something potentially risky that might cause more damage? If this happens I'm not sure I can even return the unit (most likely not). Also, I am a beginner and although I'm starting this hobby to learn and I'm eager to, should I just trust my ability to interpret a star test (never done before) to evaluate if I need to keep this or not? I understand that this is actually the preferred way to evaluate a mirror, but is it actually something so easy that even a beginner (without any supporting tool) can catch a potential issue due to these mirror imperfections? I have to confess that, at this point, I trust more my eyes that my ability to interpret a star test. I apologize if this does not make sense     



#7 stargazer193857

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 09:11 PM

Oil on the surface can make colorful smudges. Green is the most common.

#8 Hilbily

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 09:35 PM

Maybe just exchange the mirror, much better chance of somebody actually looking at it before you get it.

#9 OpenCluster

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 11:11 PM

Maybe just exchange the mirror, much better chance of somebody actually looking at it before you get it.

Thanks that's a good suggestion. How difficult is to remove and reinstall the mirror?

 

This might actually be a good solution also because the metal debris during transportation are always going to be a danger for the mirror if it travels in the mirror box. This time I've found less debris than with the previous unit, but when I've contacted the customer service for the first replacement they told me that this issue cannot be solved because those debris fall inside the structure during drilling and they come off during transportation and there is no way for them to eliminate this problem. This was kind of a surprise since I've seen posts suggesting that this was an issue of the first generation that was supposed to be fully resolved for Generation II.

 

I will certainly do a full report about my impressions on the scope and its build quality once I get more clarity from the customer service on how we are going to handle this in the case someone else is interested in this ES scope 


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#10 Rock22

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 11:36 PM

I am actually very interested in this scope.  I was about to make the purchase yesterday, but saw a used Skywatcher collapsible dob at a great price.  Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to make the 6-hour round-trip drive to get it until July, so I went back to either the ES 10" tube or 10" truss.  I was opting for the truss because I don't want the particle board rocker box of the tube version, and transporting it to dark sky sites would be easier with the truss.  Seeing the problems you're having makes me not want the truss version anymore - I might get the one you returned!

 

I was about to make the purchase again today, but my coupon expired at 12pm Central.  I thought it would expire at 12pm Pacific where I am.  It looks like I might just get the tube version now.

 

Let me know how it works out for you.  I'd still like to keep hope that I can get the truss version.


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#11 Hilbily

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Posted 26 May 2020 - 11:40 PM

Easy to take it off the 16", just three web straps to unscrew on the bottom of the mirror frame.
They could fix the debris problem in manufacturing if they wanted to, just takes a little more time/$.
I think it would be pretty simple to pre drill the holes in the parts and blow it out with an airhose before and after they pop rivet it together.
It's too bad they are 80% there, with just a little better execution and a few gen 3 mods they would have a good product.

#12 OpenCluster

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 12:44 AM

Oil on the surface can make colorful smudges. Green is the most common.

How is that possible that something like oil is on the mirror surface? is that some sort of residue from cleaning process? For comparison this is the smudge that I had on the first unit. As I mentioned in the original post, on this first unit it looked more visible and more localized (with a distinctive pattern -- photo below), whereas on the actual unit is more like an cloudy haze (just to give a sense of the difference). 

 

 old_smudge.jpeg   

 

I am actually very interested in this scope. 

I was also weighting a close tube (Apertura Ad10) versus this truss tube. I thought that transporting the truss tube might be much easier than the close tube, but honestly I am not happy at all with both these two units I've got. This scope has all features, on paper, to be a great scope and I have read multiple posts about the excellent customer service of ES. This was another big selling point for me. The first unit I've got had so many things wrong that I actually do not believe it went through any QC, however for this unit I'm puzzled because they guaranteed to me that they would have fully inspected the unit (it took more than a week for them to ship this second unit for this reason). So I believe there might be an explanation (perhaps they shipped the wrong box?) because these issues with the mirror are very well visible as you can see from the photos in the original post without either flashlight or magnifying glass.      



#13 OpenCluster

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 01:28 AM

I've just looked at the bottom of the mirror box after I've read some unpleasant stories about issues there as well. This is how mine is looking.

For what I understand I can see: a missing screw, a small plastic support for the mirror that is broken/misplaced (it should be between mirror and the black support) and some sort of corrosion (?) going on at the welding point it seems.

 

bottom_annotated.jpg


Edited by OpenCluster, 27 May 2020 - 01:28 AM.


#14 stargazer193857

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 07:37 AM

How is that possible that something like oil is on the mirror surface? is that some sort of residue from cleaning process? For comparison this is the smudge that I had on the first unit. As I mentioned in the original post, on this first unit it looked more visible and more localized (with a distinctive pattern -- photo below), whereas on the actual unit is more like an cloudy haze (just to give a sense of the difference).


Finger prints are a common source of oil. Also if you sharpy a center dot and then soap gets some of that loose.

I can't tell what I'm looking at in you picture. Too zoomed in.

#15 OpenCluster

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 09:13 AM

Finger prints are a common source of oil. Also if you sharpy a center dot and then soap gets some of that loose.

I can't tell what I'm looking at in you picture. Too zoomed in.

Thank you for following up for this. Here a version of the photo with less zoom in. As you can see from the comparison with the smudge I found on the previous mirror (few posts above), in this case this looks less regular and it is present on a larger surface. This is only one spot, but I've seen other spots as well. Again this is only natural light, no flashlight.

 

coating_issue_2_full.JPG

 

Thanks also for the tip about cleaning with soap, but given the other issues I've discovered at the bottom of the mirror I might just get a replacement or a refund. I do not think it is worth to mess with this particular unit given its conditions. Now my doubt is: how many chances do I have to get a mirror/unit with no issues if I ask for a replacement? Should I just go for another brand (like an apertura or zhumell close tube) to increase my chances to get something acceptable for a similar price point? I've read many positive feedback from owners of these telescopes, but I went for the ES UL 10'' for portability requirements


Edited by OpenCluster, 27 May 2020 - 09:37 AM.


#16 stargazer193857

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 09:47 AM

What are your portability requirements?


One of the problems with big companies is the owner can't look at every unit that goes out. Sounds like customer service is very responsive though.


Dawn dish soap is what many use. But some soaps or tissue papers have moisturizer I them, which means more green. And isopropyl alcohol might have other stuff dissolved in it.


Also, some tissue papers can scratch the mirror surface.


The easiest route with mirrors is to keep them sealed and wear gloves when touching them. Thumb prints are green often.

#17 OpenCluster

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 10:03 AM

What are your portability requirements?

I have a small car and being able to fit the parts without folding a seat was a plus especially for longer trips when I need to perhaps leave the car unattended. However, at the same time, having a portable unit that is subpar is not going to work for me either, so that's why I'm going back to consider a close tube setup. 

 

 

One of the problems with big companies is the owner can't look at every unit that goes out. Sounds like customer service is very responsive though.
 

Yes, they were indeed very responsive, this is why I'm extremely puzzled. I wanted to return the first unit once I saw all the issues (including the focuser not working) but I've asked if it was possible to guarantee to me to send an inspected unit. They guaranteed to me that and took more than a week to do so. once I called back for this second unit's issues, they told me two people inspected the unit for three hours and looked at the mirror with magnifying glass. Should I assume these smudges and the white dot of 2/3 mm in diameter and the small scratch that you can see in the first post (also at the mirror edge) are just things that I need to accept in any scope of this price range? What about the other issues at the bottom of the mirror box where a plastic support seems to be off/broken? I was certainly not expecting a perfect unit in the mechanical components (given a lot of other posts where people complained about quality issues), however I was under the impression that indeed they are supposed to have good optics and therefore I was expecting a 'clean' mirror at least? Is this something we cannot really expect for this price point ~$750? 



#18 stargazer193857

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 10:06 AM

As for other options,

Many like the fast contraction of the Sky-watcher flex tube. But one person did not like how the outside hardware kept him from sliding it across the seat. I think he should have held it at angle longer.

He bought a structure from dobstuff.com. It collapses down small. Cheaper if you finish it yourself. Pricey otherwise.

Solid tubes are very inexpensive. Just bigger, as is their base.

Teleport telescopes are very portable, but long line and higher price.

Meade makes a 10" truss.

I've not bought any of these, as I'm finishing up my own design, which is a ways out. Still, get some viewing before the skies get worse. A solid tube is a cheap way to keep finds for later.


You can get a dobstuff conversion of just the 10" base so it will fit in your trunk.



As for the ES truss, I think their 12" and 16" are best. The 10" needs counterweights, I think.

#19 OpenCluster

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 10:17 AM

As for other options,

Thanks for all the suggestions. I will wait for the customer service to get back to me, but I can definitely consider some of the options you mentioned if things do not go well with the ES truss model

 

PS. Adding the counterweights is something I've factored in, I think I can live with that requirement if the other things are right


Edited by OpenCluster, 27 May 2020 - 10:19 AM.


#20 stargazer193857

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 10:22 AM

I've read other reviews of metal drill shavings inside the mirror box. The mirror was fine. The box has no escape for shaving to fall out like with a metal tube dob.



I've not inspected the rest of your pictures, so others will have to advise what to do. Take your best guess as to whether the green is hand oil or an improper multilayer coating job.

#21 stargazer193857

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 10:27 AM

I have no idea what should be expected at a price point. Their claim of 3 people inspecting it sounds like them getting defensive. Maybe they wonder if you touched it.


Some people enjoy fixing stuff. My father buys lots of nicknacks off Amazon for his art projects. He says they often arrive broken, and he enjoys fixing them. He also modified them.



Many workers in Amazon factories are getting their backs destroyed by the high work load they must adhere to. Maybe one of them dropped the box. But it the fault of RS for using Amazon. My father never complains, since he knows the workers are stressed.

Edited by stargazer193857, 27 May 2020 - 10:30 AM.


#22 OpenCluster

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 10:57 AM

Take your best guess as to whether the green is hand oil or an improper multilayer coating job.

they do not seem fingerprints to me, but I cannot say for sure what they are, I know they seem to be on the surface of the mirror

 

 

Many workers in Amazon factories are getting their backs destroyed by the high work load they must adhere to. Maybe one of them dropped the box. But it the fault of RS for using Amazon. My father never complains, since he knows the workers are stressed.

Just to make sure: this unit has not been bought on Amazon, and it was shipped directly from ES (Springdale, AR). The shipping/handling process can certainly play a role on some defects, but the smudges or the white circular stain on the mirror seem to come from something else. I am curios if any owner of this model can chime in about those issues: did anyone have issues with their mirror condition?


Edited by OpenCluster, 27 May 2020 - 10:59 AM.


#23 OpenCluster

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 11:08 AM

Their claim of 3 people inspecting it sounds like them getting defensive. Maybe they wonder if you touched it.

This is why I think there was an issue there (perhaps this was a return and they mistakenly switched the box with the unit they actually inspected): I do not know why they claim two people inspected it for 3 hours if these issues are visible even in the pictures (which is not an easy task due to the difficulty of focusing on a surface of a mirror). I am a beginner and when I removed the protective cardboard they jumped off right away; including a small piece of black dust (?) that does not come off even by blowing with rocket blower that I use for cleaning optics (this is as far I can go on a new unit, I do not want to mess with cleaning the mirror out of the box). I do not think they are wondering if I touched it. I've ordered (and payed) the scope on May 4 and on May 27 I still cannot use it. I am not getting anything out of this and I would have been very happy with a good unit for the start. I rarely return items, but the price of this scope is pretty much all in the mirror, so I guess it has to look fine (at least this is what I thought and why I am asking for help here) 


Edited by OpenCluster, 27 May 2020 - 11:11 AM.


#24 Keith Rivich

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 12:52 PM

This looks like a product that was returned by another customer. Then re-sold without a close inspection. Perhaps the company can knock a few bucks off or give you some credit for accessories. 


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#25 OpenCluster

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Posted 27 May 2020 - 02:40 PM

UPDATE: I've just heard back from them. It seems that the 'stuff' on the mirror is cleaning residue. They are offering to ship a new mirror box and clean the new mirror even if they do not see anything on it (not sure why this should be necessary on a new mirror). Any advice on this? Can I trust this cleaning procedure or should I just ask for a refund at this point? is cleaning a new mirror a standard procedure for making sure everything is in order? The have not commented on the status of the mirror box bottom (I guess that's fine since they are going to replace the mirror box).

 

Also, I'm sure they are moved by the best intentions, but they are asking me to inspect the scope a make a 'final list' of my findings so that they can deal with them. Although I understand why this would be necessary to deal with the issues, as a beginner I'm feeling a little bit uncomfortable here. What will it happen if I find something else after the final list? The warranty should cover for defects for a year at least, and I do not want to be in the situation of accepting the unit 'as is' just because I've missed something in my inspection (whatever the inspection of a beginner is worth...).

 

Please if you have had similar experiences help me out here. As a customer I never had to deal with similar circumstances for anything else I had purchased so far.

Thank you 




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