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Lessons learned . . . the hard way.

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#1 Borodog

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 10:56 AM

Two nights ago I accidentally let my heavy duty tripod & wedge (the tripod is originally for a C-14; I use it with a C8) topple over into my guitar rack, damaging two of my guitars, my favorite ocean blue flame maple acoustic (two nasty dings in the top side) and the formerly mint condition Ibanez Artcore (semi-hollow jazz box) that my wife gave me 10 years ago (cracked the veneer on the top side all the way across the thickness of the body). I was gathering up the tripod to take it outside, and thought of something I wanted to grab to put in my pocket (leveling shims for beneath the feet) and left it stood up but mostly collapsed. Well the wedge put the CG about a millimeter beyond the footprint of the legs and it slowly toppled before crashing into the guitars. I saw it happening and lunged for it but I was too far away by then. Thankfully the damage to either guitar is only cosmetic; nobody but me can really even see the damage except when I point it out and hold the guitars so the light hits them just right. And I can't see the damage while playing them. But I know it's there. But they still sound just the same and still make me happy. So, lesson learned. The hard way.

 

What lessons have you learned the hard way in your journey into the hobby?


Edited by Borodog, 04 February 2021 - 12:38 PM.


#2 Couder

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:09 AM

I learned counterweight shafts are very hard and do not give at all when struck by a head.


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#3 jmillsbss

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:21 AM

When storing your 10" dob, upright, make very, VERY sure the thumbscrew on the dual finderscope mount, the one carrying the 70mm wide field RACI finderscope and green laser pointer, is very, VERY tight.  Otherwise, it slides down the scope and bounces across the hardwood floors.  Cost me a GLP holder and a 1.25" prism diagonal.  Only lucky that I had removed the 13mm Nagler first!

 

Hard learned lessons are the ones you don't have to be told about twice.  Thankfully!


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#4 Richard O'Neill

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:21 AM

"What lessons have you learned the hard way ..."

 

 Plenty, too numerous to list. flowerred.gif


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#5 PirateMike

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:33 AM

Everything I know about anything was learned the hard way. wink.gif

 

Miguel   8-)

 

.


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#6 SloMoe

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:35 AM

Check those leg clamps before moving your tripod ,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Sometimes  while pondering up a change or up grade I set my stuff up in the house, like most of us might, 

 

Well this time I was sizing a new tripod bag, for my Sky Pro to fit real snug one of the leg clamp levers needed to be pointing in instead of out, that meant a 1/2 flip loose, these legs are longer than my AVX mount that was in the bag so it was a squeeze fit, but it covered the tripod and got set on the floor & forgotten as I searched for a good bag again for my AVX,,,,,,,,

 

Couple weeks pass, I change my mind about which pod to store in the bag, set the bag on the bed, drug out the tripod, setting horizontal on the bed, easy grab of one leg to lift & move, had the legs bundled together with a cord,,,,,,,,

Set the AVX tripod in the bag, zipped it up, and set it to the floor,,,,,,

 

Did I mention these are long 1 3/4" metal legs with cast aluminum semi pointed feet?

 

thought I would just start my dual scope project on it to start pondering a collection of dove tail bars & clamps, plus some counter weights,,,,,,,

 

So I removed the bundle cord, grabbed the tripod by two legs,,,,, needing both of my hands to do so,,,, 

Well I turned it vertical, didn't hear the metal sliding, n

Cool moon crater next to my left foot in the hard wood floor,,  and not near a wall, quite out in the open


Edited by SloMoe, 04 February 2021 - 11:38 AM.

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#7 SonnyE

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:37 AM

Mostly lessons about buying low, and costing high.

It's really hard to make a silk purse from a sow's ear when you are handed lemons.

Lemons don't work well.

It costs the initial expense, then the cost of the right stuff compounds the sting.

 

Oh, and last night I learned to check the hardware fasteners I've been ignoring, thinking they were fine.

But, of course, the clouds decided to not cooperate, so I couldn't test the differences...

I hate Brush Growing Season!


Edited by SonnyE, 04 February 2021 - 11:41 AM.

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#8 SloMoe

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:40 AM

Two nights ago I accidentally let my heavy duty tripod & wedge (the tripod is originally for a C-14; I use it with a C8) topple over into my guitar rack, damaging two of my guitars, my favorite ocean blue flame maple acoustic (two natsy dings in the top side) and the formerly mint condition Ibanez Artcore (semi-hollow jazz box) that my wife gave me 10 years ago (cracked the veneer on the top side all the way across the thickness of the body). I was gathering up the tripod to take it outside, and thought of something I wanted to grab to put in my pocket (leveling shims for beneath the feet) and left it stood up but mostly collapsed. Well the wedge put the CG about a millimeter beyond the footprint of the legs and it slowly toppled before crashing into the guitars. I saw it happening and lunged for it but I was too far away by then. Thankfully the damage to either guitar is only cosmetic; nobody but me can really even see the damage except when I point it out and hold the guitars so the light hits them just right. And I can't see the damage while playing them. But I know it's there. But they still sound just the same and still make me happy. So, lesson learned. The hard way.

 

What lessons have you learned the hard way in your journey into the hobby?

Make this change,

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#9 MisterDan

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:46 AM

In my own case, it was more akin to "rule's validity demonstrated," because I fully understood and recognized the rationale and potential danger behind the rule, yet chose to bypass or ignore them, regardless.

 

I'll relay the key aspects in "bullet point" fashion:

 

I was building legs for a custom tripod and mount.

Rather than borrow/rent/buy a more-appropriate tool for a particular job, I decided to use my table saw to perform the necessary function.

The "work around" necessitated removal of the saw blade guard.  (Yes, I heard the sirens and whistles, and I saw all the referees throw their red flags.)

I finished the last cut on the last leg and cleared the leg from the saw table, then brought my left hand back across the working area.

The tip of my left thumb nicked the spinning blade for (as they say) a "split second." (My reflex thought was, "Hey - that sounded different than a comparable cut into wood!")

 

-Nothing severed and very little blood, but I was quite adept at scolding myself for the following few minutes.  The blade cut an eighth-inch-deep notch along the left sector of my thumb tip.  I did some quick math to determine my previous Tetanus booster's "vintage" and realized a visit to my doc would be the wise thing to do.  I did not bypass or ignore that rule. cool.gif

 

Suture strips instead of stitches, and my thumb tip is now a wee bit "lopsided."  Since the blade didn't reach my nail bed, I didn't even lose that thumbnail.  Yes, very lucky.

 

I reinstalled the blade guard and never again removed it.

 

Best wishes, and be careful.

Dan


Edited by MisterDan, 04 February 2021 - 11:57 AM.

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#10 Andynator

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 12:27 PM

There are two kinds of astronomers: those who have had the finder scope fall off; and those who haven't had the finder scope fall off *yet*.
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#11 Borodog

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 12:53 PM

I learned counterweight shafts are very hard and do not give at all when struck by a head.

Just last week I cracked my head on the end of my 10" Dob. Thankfully neither was damaged.

 

When storing your 10" dob, upright, make very, VERY sure the thumbscrew on the dual finderscope mount, the one carrying the 70mm wide field RACI finderscope and green laser pointer, is very, VERY tight.  Otherwise, it slides down the scope and bounces across the hardwood floors.  Cost me a GLP holder and a 1.25" prism diagonal.  Only lucky that I had removed the 13mm Nagler first!

 

Hard learned lessons are the ones you don't have to be told about twice.  Thankfully!

 

There are two kinds of astronomers: those who have had the finder scope fall off; and those who haven't had the finder scope fall off *yet*.

 

When I first replaced the finder on my 10" Sky-Watcher Dob, I looked at it and thought, "That's going to fall off." So I put a thick rubber band around the rail and shoe in such a way that it will be retained if it comes loose.
 



#12 Borodog

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 12:53 PM

Mostly lessons about buying low, and costing high.

It's really hard to make a silk purse from a sow's ear when you are handed lemons.

Lemons don't work well.

It costs the initial expense, then the cost of the right stuff compounds the sting.

The SVBONY 1.25" 0.5X reducer comes to mind. 


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#13 alphatripleplus

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 03:17 PM

I've learned to be careful when handling counterweights, and to always make sure the "toe saver" is screwed in at the bottom of the counterweight shaft.

 

The feeling of a 10 or 15lb weight hitting your toes is something I never want to experience again.


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#14 KTAZ

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 03:34 PM

I learned that the retainer screws on my diagonal won't retain an eyepiece if they don't get tightened sufficiently.

 

Of course, I was set up on concrete when I made this discovery.


Edited by KTAZ, 04 February 2021 - 03:35 PM.

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#15 KTAZ

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 03:38 PM

I learned that the retainer screws on my diagonal won't retain an eyepiece if they don't get tightened sufficiently.

 

Of course, I was set up on concrete when I made this discovery.

EDITED FROM ABOVE:

 

Lesson 1: I learned that the retainer screws on my diagonal won't retain an eyepiece if they don't get tightened sufficiently.

 

Lesson 2: I learned that sometimes you have to make a mistake twice before you actually "learn" from it.

 

Lesson 3: I learned that the ES 24mm 68° is a tank of an eyepiece!


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#16 vdog

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 03:46 PM

I jammed my shoulder pretty hard into my finder when standing too quickly.  Didn't damage the finder, fortunately, but the upper truss is made of wood and I did enough damage where the shoe attaches that now the whole assembly is loose. 

 

The lesson I've learned is to never be in a hurry while observing.  That's how scopes get knocked around and stuff gets dropped.


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#17 t-ara-fan

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 04:28 PM

I learned counterweight shafts are very hard and do not give at all when struck by a head.

Ditto. I 3D-printed a flexible plastic shield - a 4" diameter disk -  that goes on the end of my counterweight shaft.
 


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#18 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 04:33 PM

Ditto. I 3D-printed a flexible plastic shield - a 4" diameter disk -  that goes on the end of my counterweight shaft.
 

A piece of the large size pool noodle would work well also.


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#19 Jarno

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 02:58 AM

Some of the lessons I've learned:

  1. Always, always, ALWAYS put a safety screw on your dovetail to prevent it from sliding out of the clamp fully. The TMB was alright though.
  2. Always, always, ALWAYS check that said safety screw actually contacts your clamp. If you're using a Losmandy plate in a dual style Losmandy / Vixen clamp, the screw might actually slide through the Vixen slot...
  3. Check, double-check and triple-check polarity when making your own custom connectors. Did you know electronics work on magic smoke? If you get polarity or voltage wrong, all the magic smoke will escape from the device and it'll no longer function.
  4. When using two counterweights, make sure all fingers are well clear before loosening the top weights holding screw.
  5. When making large slews, never just trust that the OTA will clear the tripod.

Jarno


Edited by Jarno, 05 February 2021 - 04:59 AM.

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#20 jmillsbss

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 09:31 AM

Make this change,

I feel ya.  I eventually did that too.  You remember how, when you first got into the hobby, how EVERYTHING looked like a good idea?  Yeah, you do.  Everybody else does too.  I finally figured it out when 1. I never USED the RACI finder, and 2. I had to add a 5 pound weight to balance at 45 degrees because I was still mounting the 9x50 RACI because it looked so cool on the dual fork holder. I feel like I'm in confession!

 

I went back to the RDF solo for a while, then I thought how much people liked actually seeing where we were looking through the scope, and went to a GLP entirely.  I have added the 70mm super finder to my C8 but not as a finder, rather with a 13 Nagler it serves as a wide field "context" for what's in the C8 eyepiece.

 

I'm sure I'll make changes again when the weather breaks and I get to start observing again.  I know it's coming!



#21 jmillsbss

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 09:32 AM

The SVBONY 1.25" 0.5X reducer comes to mind. 

oooh yeah, I forgot about that one.  You guys are sure we're not all living in the same experience?


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#22 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 09:34 AM

Be careful with the GLP.  It might not be legal in your area.



#23 jmillsbss

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 09:40 AM

Be careful with the GLP.  It might not be legal in your area.

Everything is legal in my area. I'm a mile away from anybody but my mother in law.  (And she's the best mother in law I've got!)  It's kinda like the tree-falling-in-the-woods-when-nobody's-there-to-hear-it  deal.  Now, that said, I understand that you can't leave it on the whole time. (Thank you. I'm a grown man.) I just use it when I'm slewing or blinking to point to something for a guest.  You're right though.  Gotta be careful regardless.

 

However, since it's been cloudy or raining for the last 3 months, without pause, I have discovered the cat loses her mind when you shine the GLP at her on the ground.  She likes to lay down and swat at it forever but you should see when I slowly, and then increasingly, zip it away from her.  She looks like a cheetah chasing a gazelle!


Edited by jmillsbss, 05 February 2021 - 09:44 AM.


#24 Borodog

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Posted 06 February 2021 - 11:22 AM

oooh yeah, I forgot about that one.  You guys are sure we're not all living in the same experience?

It's funny about SVBONY. Some of their stuff is really good value, and some of it is absolute junk. Even when I get burned I still go back because their stuff is often so cheap it's worth a shot just to see. Their cheap-o Moon & Sky Glow filter seems pretty good, comparable to MUCH more expensive filters. Their 2" UV/IR cut filter seems like a piece of glass that does absolutely nothing. But I went ahead and ordered the 1.25" version of the exact same filter just in case, because it was only like $20. It comes today and I'll try it tomorrow night. The definition of insanity.



#25 alphatripleplus

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Posted 06 February 2021 - 05:02 PM

Another thing learned "almost" the hard way is to make sure you have a ratchet strap to secure your tripod on a ScopeBuggy or similar buggy. Fortunately, I have not had a tipping accident, but I did come close at one point when I was testing things out and tried to get the ScopeBuggy up onto a slightly elevated patio in the backyard.




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