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Review of the Hubble Optics 14 inch, f/4.6 Premium Ultra Light Dobsonian Telescope

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#1 Chris Westland

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 12:38 PM

I looked at HO telescopes for some time before purchasing mine. On paper, the design is elegant, and takes advantage of the 6063-T6 aluminum alloy used in all of the telescope’s components. The sandwich mirror is innovative. The upper cage looks more rigid than a flat ring, but without being too heavy. In general the HO telescopes are unique and affordable. I am a previous owner of an Obsession Classic 20", and Dave Kriege’s scope set a standard for what I was expecting from a Dobsonian telescope.

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#2 Neptune

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 02:03 PM

Thank you for adding to the 'shallow pool' of information on Hubble Optics.



#3 Zackaryk1

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 05:20 PM

Any chance you could clarify your experience with the order time frame - 3 months or 6 months? - their web site clearly states ~60 days, however members of the now defunct Hubble yahoo group were saying 6 months+ to a year wait. (The group devolved to a email only thread where we have been exchanging experiences and question) Also there were records of wrong items, replacement parts needed etc. Also any experience you had with communication with Hubble - from the same group we were determining that communication was sporadic at best. One of my biggest concerns with pulling the trigger on a Hubble have still been these two issues. Thanks.



#4 Chris Westland

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 05:31 PM

Any chance you could clarify your experience with the order time frame - 3 months or 6 months? - their web site clearly states ~60 days, however members of the now defunct Hubble yahoo group were saying 6 months+ to a year wait. (The group devolved to a email only thread where we have been exchanging experiences and question) Also there were records of wrong items, replacement parts needed etc. Also any experience you had with communication with Hubble - from the same group we were determining that communication was sporadic at best. One of my biggest concerns with pulling the trigger on a Hubble have still been these two issues. Thanks.

Six months to a year right now is about right, and communication with Tong is sporadic; the information you have from the group is in my experience correct.   I believe business is pretty good, and I think they are focusing on mirrors.  I also suspect that sales inside China are picking up, as there is more and more interest in astronomy there, though I can't seem to find a Chinese language site for HO.



#5 Ellis

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 06:42 AM

Good Morning. Thank you for a very useful review. I would like to know if you have any information regarding the long term stability of the Hubble mirror. Are there any temperature or humidity storage requirements? If needed, can the mirror be re coated or re figured by standard means?

Thanks.

Ellis.



#6 BillCline1

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 08:34 AM

"I ordered my 18" on Jan 28th. Received it Late July. They did ship the wrong feet but a reshipment of the correct size feet was very quick. I found Tong's response to emails after I received the scope very adequate, within 8 hours even on a Sunday. prior to receiving the scope though it was hit or miss. My main dislike was that the downloadable manual was has not kept up with the changes made to the scope design. That was somewhat problematic. Haven’t taken it out yet but should be able to very soon."



#7 Chris Westland

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 11:11 AM

Good Morning. Thank you for a very useful review. I would like to know if you have any information regarding the long term stability of the Hubble mirror. Are there any temperature or humidity storage requirements? If needed, can the mirror be re coated or re figured by standard means?

Thanks.

Ellis.

It's no different than any other mirror.  Mine is made of plate glass (you can also get, for more $, ones made of borosilicate glass).  It's just a bit lighter, and much faster to thermally stabilize because it has an air-gap in between the top and bottom plate.



#8 Chris Westland

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 11:12 AM

"I ordered my 18" on Jan 28th. Received it Late July. They did ship the wrong feet but a reshipment of the correct size feet was very quick. I found Tong's response to emails after I received the scope very adequate, within 8 hours even on a Sunday. prior to receiving the scope though it was hit or miss. My main dislike was that the downloadable manual was has not kept up with the changes made to the scope design. That was somewhat problematic. Haven’t taken it out yet but should be able to very soon."

Thanks for sharing your experience Bill.



#9 jim molinari

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 04:17 PM

"I ordered my 18" on Jan 28th. Received it Late July. They did ship the wrong feet but a reshipment of the correct size feet was very quick. I found Tong's response to emails after I received the scope very adequate, within 8 hours even on a Sunday. prior to receiving the scope though it was hit or miss. My main dislike was that the downloadable manual was has not kept up with the changes made to the scope design. That was somewhat problematic. Haven’t taken it out yet but should be able to very soon."

Thanks for your input Bill. Did you have your telescope shipped surface or air? I just ordered one late July and specified air shipment. I am at 60 days and waiting.



#10 BinoGuy

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 04:27 PM

Great review, thank you so much.  It is indeed an interesting scope, and I really like the way you explain your modifications.

 

Regarding your extra counterweights to balance the large EPs you use, consider the hunk-O-chain method,  I like to flip between the big 2" EPs and dinky (by comparison) 5mm and 3mm 1.25" EPs, which always throws off the balance of my Dob.

After seeing a post on CN I went to ACE and got a 2', 8(?) lb. length of steel chain that is plastic coated,  This isn't screen door thickness, I'd trust it as a trailer safety chain.  I attached it to one of the bottom mirror retainer (not collimation) screws and it just sits on the ground when not in use.  What it like is that it is never overweight because any unneeded weight just coils on the ground.  As I add a larger EP a little more chain is lifted off until it is in equilibrium.  Not sure if it would work as well with a a go-to so you might need to keep an eye on it,


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#11 Chris Westland

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:41 PM

The hunk-O-chain method sounds interesting, and actually might work for my scope in place of the counter and counter-counter weights.  I may experiment with this.  Thank you for the idea.


Edited by Chris Westland, 30 September 2020 - 09:50 PM.

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#12 Damo251

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 08:23 PM

Created an account to comment here after 18 months of reading the site as anonymous, as one other commenters has said thankyou for the additional information on Hubble's products. I too have just received one of their scopes (UL16 f4.5) but this only took 13 weeks to my door and a week of that was due to a misunderstanding on my part, which is quite different to other commenters wait times.

 

Clear skies

 

Edit; spelling


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#13 Andrew Brown

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 05:47 AM

Glad you're enjoying it but "twisted copper wire" really!



#14 Chris Westland

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 12:56 PM

Created an account to comment here after 18 months of reading the site as anonymous, as one other commenters has said thankyou for the additional information on Hubble's products. I too have just received one of their scopes (UL16 f4.5) but this only took 13 weeks to my door and a week of that was due to a misunderstanding on my part, which is quite different to other commenters wait times.

 

 

Thank you for the kind words, and congratulations on your new scope.  I'm glad to see that the delivery time was reasonable.  I was considering the 16", but opted for slightly more portability.   I hope you post pictures once you've gotten it together with any modifications you might add.


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#15 Chris Westland

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 12:57 PM

Glad you're enjoying it but "twisted copper wire" really!

I know.  It works, but it's just not very elegant.



#16 alwayslookingup

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 06:43 PM

Excellent review. I have ordered one myself the date was 6/14, however it was 11 days before they even acknowledged my purchase. Every email unanswered. Until finally after 90 days i decided to register a complaint with paypal, stating I never received product their response was go through the seller. Then all of a sudden Bam! next day get this reply from Tong your order is ready, will be shipped in 14 days, imagine that. Scope and options paid in full, now just waiting and trying to figure out how to overcome the problems you mentioned. Anyhow thanks for the info.



#17 trapdoor2

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 12:25 PM

Excellent review! I tried to get someone at HO to answer emails (I was looking at a 16") but after several attempts (last year and then again in Feb), I gave up. No way I was going to just order one without a first contact of some sort (Hello? Anyone home?). I couldn't tell if the website was active or not and I've had two minor skirmishes with the relatives of dead web-store owners already.

 

I like the design of the scope itself and the engineering behind the mirror.



#18 Chris Westland

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 03:32 PM

Excellent review. I have ordered one myself the date was 6/14, however it was 11 days before they even acknowledged my purchase. Every email unanswered. Until finally after 90 days i decided to register a complaint with paypal, stating I never received product their response was go through the seller. Then all of a sudden Bam! next day get this reply from Tong your order is ready, will be shipped in 14 days, imagine that. Scope and options paid in full, now just waiting and trying to figure out how to overcome the problems you mentioned. Anyhow thanks for the info.

Thank you for the kind words.  The ordering and communications are definitely a hit or miss process, but Tong has a good product.  I've never met him, but may try to look him up next time I get to Dallas.   I suspect this may not be his main job, or he may just have a pretty active business.  I do know he is the whole business more or less.  Everything HO sells is designed and managed by Tong, but it's all made in South China (I'm not sure exactly where, but I recall he is from Hong Kong, so it's probably in Shenzhen or Dongguan, Pearl River Delta area).  I've actually got another HO scope on order, and plan to buy the GoTo system whenever it's ready.



#19 Chris Westland

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 03:36 PM

Excellent review! I tried to get someone at HO to answer emails (I was looking at a 16") but after several attempts (last year and then again in Feb), I gave up. No way I was going to just order one without a first contact of some sort (Hello? Anyone home?). I couldn't tell if the website was active or not and I've had two minor skirmishes with the relatives of dead web-store owners already.

 

I like the design of the scope itself and the engineering behind the mirror.

Thank you.  And I could certainly understand your hesitance.  But HO is legitimate, and committed to quality.  I just suspect that Tong has more business than he can handle (I'll give him the benefit of the doubt).  He lives in Richardson TX, so I perhaps you could find a phone number and just call.



#20 ButterFly

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 07:41 AM

Have you tested the edge support on these.  It appears to be a belt sling on a light thin split mirror.



#21 Chris Westland

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 12:38 AM

ButterFly, on 05 Oct 2020 - 05:41 AM, said:

Have you tested the edge support on these.  It appears to be a belt sling on a light thin split mirror.

 

 

It is ... it seems to be a standard Dobsonian mirror mount (pictures below).   This should distribute weight well: it's a light, small mirror so the surface should be quite solid.  

 

Should I be looking for anything specifically?

 

 

 

b1.jpgb2.jpgb3.jpg

 



#22 mr.otswons

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 09:37 AM

Thank you for a great review. Very interesting read, for someone dreaming of making such an instrument ATM.

Could you please explain what these metal rulers are doing? I didn't understand, is it your own mod or was already in the scope?



#23 trapdoor2

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 11:26 AM

Thank you.  And I could certainly understand your hesitance.  But HO is legitimate, and committed to quality.  I just suspect that Tong has more business than he can handle (I'll give him the benefit of the doubt).  He lives in Richardson TX, so I perhaps you could find a phone number and just call.

I moved on and bought a used xx12i Orion this past August. If I had seen your article before that, I would certainly be giving Tong a call. Very happy with the xx12i though.

 

If I ever go DIY, their mirrors will be on the top of my list.



#24 Chris Westland

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 01:52 PM

Thank you for a great review. Very interesting read, for someone dreaming of making such an instrument ATM.

Could you please explain what these metal rulers are doing? I didn't understand, is it your own mod or was already in the scope?

Thank you for the kind words.  All of the scopes come with the cut metal ruler struts that hold the encoder.  Since the Az bearing is a Chinese lazy susan ring(a 转盘)you don't have the  center stud for mounting.  I'm guessing the factory that makes these are getting metal school rulers from the local office supply store in bulk (I have a bunch of these rulers that I brought back when we returned from China).  They look nice, and the rulings help assure that the encoder mount is dead center.  You don't have the same issue with the Altitude encoder strut, because it isn't fastened at the bottom.

 

BTW Dave Kriege gave an interview about 10 years ago where he described the operations at Obsession.  He said that the original idea for the company came from John Hudak of Galaxy Optics, who liked Kriege's structure, and realized he would sell more mirrors if he didn't require buyers to DIY their own structure.  Dave keeps about 200 scopes in production / inventory at any time.  Since HO's scopes are cheaper than Obsessions and they have to be 'containered' from China to the US/Europe/Australia/etc., I'm guessing that number may be a lot larger at HO, with mirror making and structure manufacture occurring at two separate source companies.  Dave is pretty amazing as he spends a lot of time with customers; the customer outreach is not as organized at HO as it is at Obsession.


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#25 Chris Westland

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 02:02 PM

I moved on and bought a used xx12i Orion this past August. If I had seen your article before that, I would certainly be giving Tong a call. Very happy with the xx12i though.

 

If I ever go DIY, their mirrors will be on the top of my list.

Check HO's site and eBay, as they are always selling a range of HO mirrors.  Particularly if you want a non-standard size/focal length, you can find them at these sites.  Also sale priced mirrors.




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