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good guide scope for a TEC 160fl

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#1 Tom Godsey

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 03:13 PM

Hi, I need a good guide scope with a solid base for my tec 160fl  any ideas?

Edited by Tom Godsey, 04 July 2020 - 12:52 PM.

#2 mtminnesota


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Posted 04 July 2020 - 04:58 PM

How about a 60mm F/15?  The Takahashi FOA-60Q would seem to be a good guide scope.

#3 DocJim


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Posted 04 July 2020 - 09:03 PM

Hi Tom, we have used our TEC-160FL (OTA #30) to image for over 10-years. It has been at Deep Sky West, a really first-rate choice if you want dark skies and great people for the past 5-years, but we are about to swap it for a TEC-180FL which will be shipped by TEC on Monday and has the advantage of greater native back focus. You may have discovered the 160FL only provides 78mm of back focus when using the TEC Field Flattener (f/7) making the use of some OAGs difficult. But the OAG is the option I would suggest if you can swing it---instead of a separate Guide Scope. Our current 160FL image train uses the TEC FF with an SBIG STXL-16200 and the STXL-FW8-G self-guiding filter wheel that just squeezes into that short back focus window. The FW8-G has a built-in 0.7x reducer for the guide camera---and we guide at 1x1 giving us 1.95" per pixel.  I know that Dean Salman and Peter ? also use the 160FL to image so they may chime in as well. You can see what two of our team members have produced with the 160FL data from DSW by looking for---Alberto Pisabarro from Spain and Rick Stevenson of Australia over on Astrobin.
Our new 180FL will use an SBIG STX-16803 with their new StarChaser-3 and an AO-X rig. The SC-3 acts much like the self-guiding filter wheel, so you may want to check on using one of those instead of a separate Guide Scope. I have tested it here on a TMB-130SS carried on our older Paramount ME (we have an ME II at DSW) and the SC-3 worked great even under light polluted skies. We originally used our 160FL with an STL-11000M and a Stellarvue 90T f/7 (carbon fiber OTA) at a dark sky location where BYO constructed our 24' x 24' ROR but would occasionally get some flexure with that rig. The SV-90T was mounted atop the 160FL using heavy-duty rings and a Losmandy dovetail and succeeded perhaps 70% of the time---which is not bad if you want to use a guide scope. We purchased an A-P Baader Vario/St-i  to mount on the FT-3545 focuser of the 160FL but have never used it---nor have we tried our SBIG E-Finder Guide Scope on the 160FL since the self-guiding FW works. However, that E-Finder has done well with our Televue 127is here at home---but it shoots at f/5.2 so the demand is less that at f/7. Most experienced imagers urged me early on to avoid guide scopes and use an OAG system where possible. I know that is tough with just 78mm to work with---but PM me if you want to chat more about this issue and how we solved the challenges.
You will love the 160FL, for visual or imaging--no kidding. We are keeping ours and will be sending the OTA to Yuri for a cleaning (after 10-years of continuous use) and then return it to service with the 16200 and another StarChaser-3 as a second scope at Deep Sky West. Anyway, I hope this helps and PM me if we can assist you. Clear Skies.
Jim and Linda

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