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How precious do I need to be with my Dob? How robust are they? Horror stories and triumphs welcome!

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#1 Manic Mouse

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:32 AM

Proud owner of my first telescope - a 10" Dob, which I will admit is a smidge bigger than I thought it would be.  Just means better views right!?  It only just fits in my car.

 

Which brings me to my question - how delicate is this thing?  How much do I have to baby it?

 

Is it going to get dents?  Can I permanently de-collimate it if I hit it hard enough?

 

I already knocked my tetrad off it while lifting it and catching it - of course this was inevitable.  New toy curse.

 

Have to say really looking forward to getting out and viewing! smile.gif  Also worried for my new baby!


Edited by Manic Mouse, 23 February 2021 - 09:32 AM.

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#2 Couder

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:42 AM

I helped a friend build a 20" We hauled it everywhere, being as careful as we could, of course. First we changed the board that held the focuser. Then the focuser. Then the tubes. Then the way we collimated the system. Then the whole mirror mount. Then........so they are not as delicate as you fear, you just need to get to know it and take precautions. Very doubtful you will not be able to re-collimate it unless you break something, then you replace it and start again.


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#3 Barlowbill

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:48 AM

Treat it like a government mule.  It is pretty robust.  


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#4 LU1AR

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:50 AM

You cannot fear that your Dowsonian will lose collimation. It will....!
A touch-up 'in situ' should be easy to do by taking a bright star out of focus and centering the Airi disk.
Some people extend the adjusting screw up, to access it while looking into the eyepiece.
Regards.
Edgardo


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#5 DAG792

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:51 AM

Proud owner of my first telescope - a 10" Dob, which I will admit is a smidge bigger than I thought it would be.  Just means better views right!?  It only just fits in my car.

 

Which brings me to my question - how delicate is this thing?  How much do I have to baby it?

 

Is it going to get dents?  Can I permanently de-collimate it if I hit it hard enough?

 

I already knocked my tetrad off it while lifting it and catching it - of course this was inevitable.  New toy curse.

 

Have to say really looking forward to getting out and viewing! smile.gif  Also worried for my new baby!

Dobsonians are pretty tough. I've never heard of anyone permanently de-collimating their dob. If everything is inside the scope, then do whatever you want with it. However, do keep it covered. Also, if you have the optics out of the tube(for cleaning, flocking etc), you shouldn't touch the mirrors 


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#6 Zwick

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:54 AM

Certainly don't try to beat it up, but most of them are actually pretty resilient. Projecting parts like Telrads or finders are naturally more vulnerable when moving and loading (I remove my finder and have a place for it in my eyepiece box). You do want to baby the mirrors and the spider, it is surprisingly easy to drop things on them and that is not good. Definitely don't transport without the tube cover on! Dents? I really wouldn't advise throwing the rig around roughly, but yes, if you whack the metal tube hard enough, it will dent. But unless you get pretty crazy, minor dents should just be a cosmetic issue. I normally re-collimate my dob every time I set up after a transport, it is fast and easy when you get used to it, but it usually isn't off by much. Others I know have scopes that hold collimation well after transport and rarely collimate, YMMV.


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#7 wrnchhead

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:59 AM

I haven't stress tested my dobs, but I have ripped usb ports off of camera boards, and dropped eyepieces, and dropped and permanently broken an AVX. (Momma always told me "Slow down!" but clearly it never sunk in.) 

 

I have learned it's best practice to take it slow and deliberate, unless your money tree is bountiful. I would hate to drop a dob on concrete or something, there's no way it's going to survive that unscathed. 


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#8 havasman

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 10:43 AM

Mirror surfaces are the parts you want to protect from, well... pretty much everything. Everything else on the scope is in service of those surfaces. My 10" solid tube Dob has a dent in the tube that was there when I got it. It has NO effect at all. But you don't want to be dropping the scope just on general principles. It is a precision instrument. If you're having trouble carrying it around, look at SCOPE TOTES. They work well. Mine is in the Orion padded bag that also works not only as a carrier but helps a lot in keeping the mirrors clean.

I'd say if you're knocking the Telrad off then you might want to be a bit more careful. But there's no reason to fear handling the scope.


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#9 Chris Johnson

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 11:05 AM

I have kept my Hardin 10” dob on it’s mount since 2003. I run it in and out to my backyard, about 100’, on a hand cart. No dents no problem with collimation. It is stored with an ASTRO ZAP cover. Solid tube dobs are reasonably rugged and stand some rough handling. This is my grab and go scope. Put 4 eyepieces in the side holder and I am to readyto view in 2 minutes with a large scope.


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#10 Manic Mouse

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 11:26 AM

Thanks for the replies everyone!  I was hoping I wouldn't have to baby it too much.  I guess once I have hundreds in eyepieces the scope itself may be replaceable anyway :)


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#11 JMW

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 12:24 PM

Read how to properly clean the mirrors. Don't clean them until they need cleaning. Reduce exposure to dust to reduce the need to clean.

 

Learn how to collimate the scope and get the tools to be able to do so. Check your collimation after you setup for observing. 

 

I put a couple of straps and a handle on the 12 inch dob I used to own. Helped make carrying it a bit easier. I now use a f/6 8 inch custom dob as my easy to move scope. I have a 14.5 truss dob for the times I want to setup and look at the dimmer stuff.


Edited by JMW, 23 February 2021 - 01:06 PM.

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#12 Keith Rivich

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 01:01 PM

Good advice above. What I didn't see is to try and not whack the focuser on doors and ceiling fans. Done both!


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#13 sevenofnine

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:43 PM

They are tough I've read but I still baby mine...that's just how I roll lol.gif  If you store it in the garage like many do put shower caps on both ends to keep dust, spiders, mice and others out. Then throw a cover over it and it should be fine. Good luck! waytogo.gif


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#14 Feidb

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:58 PM

My home-built 16-inch dob is built like a Russian tank. I originally finished it in 1987 and literally built it out of junk. I had it equatorially mounted in the back yard in base housing at Incirlik AB in Turkey. Then we moved to Spain (for the third time) and I threw the entire thing out except the optics and focuser and rebuilt it as a Dob in Spain. When we moved back to the You Ess And A, I threw it all away again and built the next version as another Dob in Oklahoma. It lasted through our move to Indiana. Then I trashed it and rebuilt it again when we moved to Las Vegas where it sits under a tarp in the back yard. It's seen a lot of action and rough treatment and yes, I had to align it each use, even when it sat there under a tarp and hadn't moved in months.

 

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

 

My current 16-inch is a Meade LightBridge and I take it everywhere. It's my grab and go because I don't use anything else, except once in a while, the home built one, which never moves anymore. Too big (it's f/6.4).

 

That Meade gets moved every time I use it and it also takes a beating and keeps on ticking. A dob isn't a delicate beast.

 

Oh, and just breathing on a Newtonian warrants an alignment check, or leaving it overnight...usually.


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#15 epee

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 08:24 AM

When transporting the tube, try to lay it so the trunnions keep it from rolling. If the tube is riding in a truck or SUV bed, make sure it has some padding underneath it in proportion to the surfaces you will be driving on (towels, sleeping bags, camping ground pads, etc.)  and use straps to keep the tube from shifting/rolling/sliding. Remove finders as they just ask to be damaged, poking out on stalks like they do. Try to prevent the focuser taking any hard knocks. Keep the covers and plugs on the tube and if you're really contentious, wrap the tube with a sheet to protect the paint.

 

Regular collimation is just part of owning a Dob/Newt. 


Edited by epee, 24 February 2021 - 08:29 AM.

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#16 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 10:04 AM

Dob's are the toughest scopes around.. treat them with care but they'll take punishment and walk away that no other scope would survive..

 

Examples: 

 

- I have had my 10 inch GSO (Zhumell, Apertura) 18 years. I've used maybe a thousand nights. I usually carry it cradled but twice it's slipped and focuser end hit the concrete from 4-5 feet. One time it slightly tweaked the tube so I had to tighten up the spider.

 

- On a very windy night, I made the mistake of putting the cover over my 16 inch. When I woke up in the morning, the scope had blown over and was laying on its side.  It had hit the asphalt hard enough than the impact bent the secondary center bolt..  I had some threaded rod with me and replaced it. That was the only damage. It was undersized, 1/4-20 for a 4 inch secondary..

 

The main thing is to avoid dropping things on the mirror. With a tube Dob, that means if I'm working on something, the scope is horizontal. With a truss, the mirror cover is always in place..

 

Jon


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#17 bbasiaga

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 10:36 AM

If you protect the mirrors, everything else is just hardware.  It pays to learn the mechanics of the scope, how it all goes together (without taking it apart!!!! - watch Youtube, look at manuals etc).  It takes a lot of the mystery out. Also learn how the optical system is supposed to be aligned.  They are pretty simple once you take the mystery out. 

 

-Brian



#18 coopman

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 11:34 AM

I always treat my scopes as if they are loaded with explosives that could go off at any second.  It saves a lot of time on collimation for my newts. 


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#19 RobertMaples

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 01:05 PM

No horror stories for mine, but the worst one I've heard is someone on this forum was transporting his upright and the screws holding the secondary mirror vibrated out and the mirror fell on the primary.  I don't remember the specifics, but it's something to keep in mind.



#20 Echolight

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 10:00 PM

I'd mostly be worried about keeping the ends and focuser sealed up when not in use. And keeping the base away from water.



#21 RobbC

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 11:33 PM

I had my homemade 10" dob out in a field here in west Texas - taking a food break in the cab of the truck - the wind suddenly gusted strongly and over she went. No damage that I could see, didn't even lose collimation much. I still don't recommend it though.   


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#22 Sky_LO

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Posted Yesterday, 11:14 PM

Do you still have the packing material if you bought it new? 

 

My XT 10 i came cradled inside the big box with that stiff (but flexible) foam.  

I saved two of the cradle style pieces and place them on the back seat of my SUV for travel.

 

Then place the dob in the foam cradles on the back seat.   

 

Makes for "solid as a rock" during transport. 

Scope doesn't move or  budge even on bumpy winding observation site back roads! 

 

-Lauren    



#23 KBHornblower

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Posted Yesterday, 11:39 PM

My homemade 17.5" truss Dob was blown over by strong wind at the Spruce Knob Mountain Center observing field.  It broke several glue joints in the wooden structure but did not damage the mirrors.  It somehow held together enough for me to observe with it that night.  After that I secured it with four ropes hitched to big spikes with tautline hitches.  At the annual star party on that same field the following year, it withstood a storm that flattened my tent and toppled several telescopes, along with three portapotties.



#24 Sheol

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Posted Today, 07:28 PM

                                 My 8 inch has had more thumps & bumps than I could possibly count. The only thing I worry about is the RACI finder. It sometimes slips the dovetail & falls off. Its hit the hard floor in my house twice. No damage to lenses, but the threads are slightly cracked, I need to keep an eye on that.

                                 My metal tube has one or two small dings in it. But the mirror has mostly held collimation since 2009. Even had it re-checked by experts from here & S & T. Its good. LOL

 

                                 Clear Skies,

                                       Matt.



#25 Napp

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Posted Today, 07:35 PM

Really, you just need to strap the seatbelts around it in case of a hard stop.  If you're really concerned about the pretty finish, wrap it in a blanket or sleeping bag.  I prefer to lay it flat on the seat without supports.  That way the scope tube is evenly supported under its whole length.




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