I am trying to keep this to WHAT, not who. Stay on point, not bashing. Here is my experience.
Let me tell you all, a long term tale of using a UC-22 loaded with all the goodies.
I am a long time (since the 70's) astro-nut. I have had 60mm, 80mm, 90mm, 20cm and 25cm SCT's, AP APOs, an 18cm APO, 18cm, 28cm, 30cm, and 45cm dobs. I still have 80mm f/15, 90mm Triplet APO, 60mm Ha, 127mm SCT, 120mm ED APO, 15cm Mak Newt, 18cm Dob, 25cm dob, and the 55cm UC-22.
So let us get to points. Good points (without too much detail as they speak for themselves)
#1 the UC-22's optics by Ostahowski are fantastic. Just everything one could hope for.
#1,5 I really have had little to no collimation issues.
#2 The FT focuser? Great!
#3 I have the astrocrumb filter sider, highly recommended.
#4 And the Markless stalk... really good!
#5 When the scope performs as one would think, 22 inches is wonderful!
I'll get to the more not-so-great points even if long...
The altitude drive has been a real source of frustration. The drive roller was misaligned when I got it. I have the pics. The assembly was obviously assembled wrong. Not my word, the word of others that have installed such drives. I have never had a large driven large dob so I did not know it was put together wrong, that it would be problematic, and that the ALT drive cable would come off all the time as sent to me. I just did what the instructions said. Put the cable on as per the instructions.
You must know, I spent more nights in the first year or so with a JAMMED altitude cable because there is nothing to keep in on the altitude bearing. There is a cut channel in the Teflon which goes all the way around the VMB (Virtual Mirror Box) bearings. The channel does nothing however. Even at the bearing touch points as the cable does not ride in the channel it runs on the hard bearing surface. Nor at the two actually touch points of the bearings, and certainly not at the 100 degrees plus elsewhere that the bearings make contact. It does look like the cable would stay in there. But it's not supposed to contact all the way around (I now know.)
Most of the teflon is a complete waste as the bearings do not touch it. I understand why. However guess what? That gap between the Alt bearing on the top and the VMB (aka rocker) on the bottom means if you loosen the cable too far, it falls out the side because of the gap between the upper bearing surface and the VMB's bearing surface. Oh I understand the Alt bearing should not ride on the Teflon all the way around for 160 degrees or more. There is the teflon, and there is the channel, and there is 12 inch long gap at the bottom, and there is ALT cable falling out... and the scope if unlucky is jammed with 100 lbs of weight needing to be taken off,
in the dark, to either remove the cable and forget tracking for the night, or get it back on, which can not be done by myself. Indeed I've had three people at once have to lift, guide, and align. It's just too heavy/awkward at that point. There are hoops needed to keep the tension on the cable while the scope is put back on it. Imagine being alone?
The whole scope slides side to side when moved by hand or by the drive in altitude. That makes the furniture glides, which are the hi-tech way the UC-22's bearings are kept on the Virtual Mirror Box (VMB) bearings, get pulled out (they are nailed in), from falling into the ground board on one side and the ground on the other. They work loose because the nails are no match for the 100+ pound force unevenly applied by the lack of alignment, or precision of the VMB and work their way out. I am not against furniture glides, indeed my friends said, "Go get these" and I screwed those in. No nails. However before I did that, guess what? If the whole 100+ pounds does not fall into the VMB, yes the scope slides sideways enough and the ALT cable falls off. Again. And often chewing up the teflon. Once the whole scope (one side of it of course) fell into the ground board!!! Fifteen thousand dollars?
Then there was the teflon square pad on the azimuth bearing which fell out to the side of central bearing it surrounded.
If there is no weight on the VMB nothing keeps it in place. So if you CARRY the VMB out of the trunk of the car (which is almost impossible at 90+ pounds, but say you are just lifting it out of a car), that pad, once not centered on the azimuth shaft, will cause the entire VMB to rock as it's not riding true on the ground board (which will also causes a loss of power at random times, as you move the scope in azimuth. Until you are embarrassed by someone who says and this happened, "You know this thing is rocking a bit as I turn it!" Of course that means you lose your alignment as well.
Keep in mind if you are alone, this will means you have take the scope apart, in the dark. Essentially you are done for the night. If you understand what is going on. Doing so? As far as the drive? There is no way a normal 60 year old guy, IMO, will be able to fix any of these issue in the dark, by himself. It's just too heavy. The UC-22 is fine if moving by the wheelbarrow handles. But to lift the mirror out, or the VMB? If daylight that is hard, imagine at night? Not a good idea!
Yes years later I am still upset. The best thing about the UC-22 is the views, when the flawed scope moves. Let me say that the ServoCat guy Gary has tried to help. He's really been a great example of support after the sale. Even tho he was not the actual vendor.
I have gotten no other support. My friends have Classics and they are great. If you get a good UC-22 or are happy to have to tinker and futz with a $15,000 scope, then maybe the UC-22 is for you. Or you'll get a good one and wonder what am I 'on about'. Fortunately I have friends that have helped. People that have installed their own drives etc on 20's and 25's. Without them the UC22 would have had the drive ripped out years ago.
So bottom line I would not recommend the UC-22. I do not know if the UC15 or UC18 are better. I know the Classics are, as far as I
have seen, fantastic. I'd trade my UC-22 for a tracking 20 classic or a 25 f/4 with no tracking, without even thinking about it. What is above is so. I have others who thank goodness were around to help me, some night. Did I just get an outlier? Maybe so. Am I a malcontent? Sure. Does Toyota make a bad car now and then sure. But when something is not right, you judge the product by the response you get. Like any product.
I am done. IM me if you want more and I have not again violated T&Cs
Edited by gdjsky01, 25 February 2021 - 03:00 AM.