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Upgrading my Orion ED80 focuser (adventures of Mak and Frac Ep 3)

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#1 ABQJeff

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 02:51 AM

Having read a lot on CN about upgrading focusers for the Orion ED80, when I received my new ED80 I decided to give the focuser serious consideration for upgrade.

 

First accusation is that the stock single speed focuser will slip and not hold focus.  To test this I extended the focuser and held onto the end putting the whole weight of the OTA, the rings, dovetail, even the lens cap, onto the focuser.  There was ZERO movement.  So no points to upgrade the focuser.

 

Orion ED80 stock focuser doens't move 1.jpg

 

However, a proven concern is there are no compression rings on the focuser for the stock Orion ED80.  This means your expensive EPs, diagonal, filter wheel, iPhone, etc.  are being held by 2 (for 2") or 1 (for 1.25" ) set screw.

 

Only 1 set screw on ED80 stock focuser.jpg

 

A Baader click lock upgrade plus click-lock 2" to 1.25: conversion will run ~$150 to get compression rings with  "high-end performance".  You could always go less expensive with First Light Optics compression ring for the 2" visual back on Orion/Skywatcher ED80s and another brand 2" to 1.25" converter, but this combo will also run ~$100.  Again, a new GSO dual speed focuser will cost ~$150 with tax/shipping.

 

Besides being two speed, the GSO focuser also allows (with a screw hole on each side) for attachment of 2 finder scopes without having to buy a two finder scope bracket.  So I was able to attach my RDF and a RACI using the two direct finder scope to focuser mounts (with purchase of two vixen holders).

 

ED80 in all its glory 2.jpg

 

Clear Skies!

 

Jeff


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#2 LDW47

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 07:35 AM

So what is your issue, what are you asking or are you just commenting / looking for comments ?


Edited by LDW47, 01 October 2020 - 07:35 AM.


#3 Agatha

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 09:54 AM

I take Jeff's comments to be a testimonial on the GSO focuser being a very nice upgrade.  I agree.  waytogo.gif


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#4 Wildetelescope

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:53 AM

Having read a lot on CN about upgrading focusers for the Orion ED80, when I received my new ED80 I decided to give the focuser serious consideration for upgrade.

 

First accusation is that the stock single speed focuser will slip and not hold focus.  To test this I extended the focuser and held onto the end putting the whole weight of the OTA, the rings, dovetail, even the lens cap, onto the focuser.  There was ZERO movement.  So no points to upgrade the focuser.

 

attachicon.gifOrion ED80 stock focuser doens't move 1.jpg

 

However, a proven concern is there are no compression rings on the focuser for the stock Orion ED80.  This means your expensive EPs, diagonal, filter wheel, iPhone, etc.  are being held by 2 (for 2") or 1 (for 1.25" ) set screw.

 

attachicon.gifOnly 1 set screw on ED80 stock focuser.jpg

 

A Baader click lock upgrade plus click-lock 2" to 1.25: conversion will run ~$150 to get compression rings with  "high-end performance".  You could always go less expensive with First Light Optics compression ring for the 2" visual back on Orion/Skywatcher ED80s and another brand 2" to 1.25" converter, but this combo will also run ~$100.  Again, a new GSO dual speed focuser will cost ~$150 with tax/shipping.

 

Besides being two speed, the GSO focuser also allows (with a screw hole on each side) for attachment of 2 finder scopes without having to buy a two finder scope bracket.  So I was able to attach my RDF and a RACI using the two direct finder scope to focuser mounts (with purchase of two vixen holders).

 

attachicon.gifED80 in all its glory 2.jpg

 

Clear Skies!

 

Jeff

Looks like a nice upgrade!

 

JMD



#5 ABQJeff

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 05:16 PM

So what is your issue, what are you asking or are you just commenting / looking for comments ?

No issue, just knowledge sharing.  smile.gif  For instance I was not sure if the ED80 came with compression rings or not (it doesn't), I did not know how well the stock focuser would hold weight or not (it does do a pretty good job), I did not know until I was in process of buying it that the GSO focuser allows for two finder scopes to be mounted in it (if I knew I wouldn't have pre-bought a dual finder scope holder).  So just passing on lessons learned and sharing some eyecandy.  lol.gif

 

ABQJeff



#6 ABQJeff

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 05:17 PM

I take Jeff's comments to be a testimonial on the GSO focuser being a very nice upgrade.  I agree.  waytogo.gif

That is correct, just sharing my lessons learned for others thinking about doing the GSO upgrade.  bow.gif


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#7 LDW47

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 05:24 PM

No issue, just knowledge sharing.  smile.gif  For instance I was not sure if the ED80 came with compression rings or not (it doesn't), I did not know how well the stock focuser would hold weight or not (it does do a pretty good job), I did not know until I was in process of buying it that the GSO focuser allows for two finder scopes to be mounted in it (if I knew I wouldn't have pre-bought a dual finder scope holder).  So just passing on lessons learned and sharing some eyecandy.  lol.gif

 

ABQJeff

I own at least three of those GSO’s both single and double, great focusers but I honestly didn’t know the intent of your post. Thats why I asked if you were just looking for comments !


Edited by LDW47, 01 October 2020 - 05:27 PM.

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#8 ABQJeff

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 06:44 PM

I own at least three of those GSO’s both single and double, great focusers but I honestly didn’t know the intent of your post. Thats why I asked if you were just looking for comments !

All good!  That is why you asked for the clarification, which I was happy to provide.  smile.gif


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#9 Stelios

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 07:59 PM

I don't necessarily recommend the GSO focuser for AP. I had one, and it definitely had slippage with an autofocus motor--if you tightened it enough to prevent the slippage, the motor would find it hard to move. It may be possible to find the "perfect" degree of pressure, but somehow I never managed it (the scope has since been sold, it was actually a Celestron ED80, but same F/7.5 ED doublet--great scope other than the focuser). 

 

Incidentally, the amount of slippage we're talking about would never be seen by holding the focuser and looking. The slippage was about 30 ticks on an 18000 tick range over a few mins. Enough to degrade focus though, especially approaching zenith. 



#10 MarMax

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 09:10 PM

If you did keep the original focuser or have the Orion two-speed focuser, you can use the #FAS2 focus adapter from Scopestuff. It converts either to a compression ring. I just ordered one myself.

 

Edited to add that the FAS2 is $44.


Edited by MarMax, 03 October 2020 - 09:30 PM.


#11 Echolight

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 10:33 PM

Sounds like a good'n.

 

I was thinkin if I got an ED80 I'd like a PrimaLuce Hybrid. But I think it's for a 90mm tube.



#12 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 12:10 AM

I don't necessarily recommend the GSO focuser for AP. I had one, and it definitely had slippage with an autofocus motor--if you tightened it enough to prevent the slippage, the motor would find it hard to move.

 

 

There are astrophotographers today that actually manually focus their scopes.. amazing but true.. :)

 

Still, I have three scopes with GSO Focusers. A very effective focuser for visual. For AP I'd want something with a more positive drive.

 

Jon


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#13 beanerds

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 01:29 AM

I put one of the GSO 2 speed focuser's on my ED80 years ago and yes it made a great scope even better , long since sold but now have an ED100 and have fitted the newer and solider GSO ' Liner Bearing ' 2 speed and I like it a lot .

 

Enjoy yours .

 

Beanerds.

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#14 alphatripleplus

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 07:36 AM

There are astrophotographers today that actually manually focus their scopes.. amazing but true.. smile.gif

 

 

Yes indeed.

 

Speaking for myself, I really should have upgraded the extremely coarse original focuser on my ST80 -  a scope that for AP I am able to use only for narrowband  (due to its CA). In my case, I believe it was a false economy to rationalize not upgrading because the cost of the upgrade would exceed the value of the scope. What I didn't consider was the value of NOT being frustrated every time I tried to get an accurate focus! 


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#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 04:16 AM

Yes indeed.

 

Speaking for myself, I really should have upgraded the extremely coarse original focuser on my ST80 -  a scope that for AP I am able to use only for narrowband  (due to its CA). In my case, I believe it was a false economy to rationalize not upgrading because the cost of the upgrade would exceed the value of the scope. What I didn't consider was the value of NOT being frustrated every time I tried to get an accurate focus! 

 

I started down the path of ST-80s with 2 inch focusers a number of years ago when I realized that I could mount a William Optics 2 inch Crayford I had in the parts box to an ST-80 using the three mounting screws and a 0.060" shim.  Since then I have installed a number of older Crayfords on ST-80s.  A couple of years ago, I bought a used ST-80 with a GSO two speed for $100.

 

5543416-Ioptron Halloween Scope.jpg

 

A focuser that costs more than the scope is always a dilemma.  My thinking is that any time I upgrade a focuser, I keep the old one. That way the upgraded focuser is really an investment and if I decide to part with the scope, I can reinstall the original focuser and I have the upgraded focuser for another scope. 

 

Of course for Jeff's ED-80, the scope is worth substantially more than a new GSO 2 speed and with the optics of the ED-80, a 2 speed is a worthwhile upgrade.  

 

Jon


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#16 cupton

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 03:59 PM

If you did keep the original focuser or have the Orion two-speed focuser, you can use the #FAS2 focus adapter from Scopestuff. It converts either to a compression ring. I just ordered one myself.

Edited to add that the FAS2 is $44.

Everything good with your ScopeStuff #FAS2 adapter? Curious if you ran into any issues with it. Any photos? I’m also considering this for my Vixen ED80Sf after noticing some scratches on the nosepiece of my 2” diagonal.

#17 SteveG

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 04:17 PM

I had the same issue with my Ed100. I even rebuilt the stock focuser, filed the flat so that is was flat, adjusted the parts. When I was done I placed it in the freezer, then put my heaviest 2" eyepiece in the focuser, holding it upside down as you did. It was rock solid, but a year later started slipping again.

 

I finally gave up and went with the same $150  GSO, and can say after using it the season it is fantastic. The only thing I don't like are the metal grub screws in the rotating device. I'm going to replace them with nylon.

 

 

ED100-6.jpg


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#18 kazi

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 06:25 AM

In the first post the focuser is fully out. How that is demonstrate it doesnt slip?

#19 cupton

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 03:26 PM

Everything good with your ScopeStuff #FAS2 adapter? Curious if you ran into any issues with it. Any photos? I’m also considering this for my Vixen ED80Sf after noticing some scratches on the nosepiece of my 2” diagonal.

I’m impatient and after a couple of email exchanges with Jim from ScopeStuff and after confirming measurements I went ahead and ordered the adapter with the stainless screws. The Baader ClickLock looks like an awesome option but right now the ScopeStuff adapter at $47 is a much smaller pill to swallow. I don’t change diagonals all that often anyway. My only concern was the scratches I found on my 2” diagonal.

#20 MarMax

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 08:10 PM

Everything good with your ScopeStuff #FAS2 adapter? Curious if you ran into any issues with it. Any photos? I’m also considering this for my Vixen ED80Sf after noticing some scratches on the nosepiece of my 2” diagonal.

The adapter works nicely (I have the nylon screws) and my only recommendation is to firmly set the lock ring against the adapter to make sure things don't spin. I use a small strap wrench for this. You can sort of see it in this picture of the rig.

 

gallery_332504_14303_6471.jpg


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#21 cupton

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 08:17 PM

The adapter works nicely (I have the nylon screws) and my only recommendation is to firmly set the lock ring against the adapter to make sure things don't spin. I use a small strap wrench for this. You can sort of see it in this picture of the rig.

 

gallery_332504_14303_6471.jpg

Looks great. Thank you for sharing the pic. Ordered yesterday so hopefully I will see it on my doorstep this week sometime. 



#22 MarMax

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 12:11 PM

Looks great. Thank you for sharing the pic. Ordered yesterday so hopefully I will see it on my doorstep this week sometime. 

I was in a hurry to get that prior photo up so I've cropped another one that shows the #FAS2 better. You can see the two black nylon set screws. The rest is kind of funky because it's the Celestron f/6.3 reducer setup with a 2" visual back to a 2" extension adapter on the 2" to 1.25" adapter to get proper backfocus. The first piece is the knurled lock ring that you need to firmly lock against the #FAS2.

 

gallery_332504_14593_147954.jpg


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#23 cupton

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 12:29 PM

I was in a hurry to get that prior photo up so I've cropped another one that shows the #FAS2 better. You can see the two black nylon set screws. The rest is kind of funky because it's the Celestron f/6.3 reducer setup with a 2" visual back to a 2" extension adapter on the 2" to 1.25" adapter to get proper backfocus. The first piece is the knurled lock ring that you need to firmly lock against the #FAS2.

 

gallery_332504_14593_147954.jpg

Nice setup! Thank you for posting that 2nd photo. Appreciate it! Even with the stock Vixen/Synta setup I had to make sure that knurled lock ring was nice and snug. A couple of times it loosened up on me. I got it nice and tight one night when I was wearing gloves so I could get a better grip. I’ll be sure to do the same with the ScopeStuff adapter. 




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