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Focuser Overkill

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#1 dfva

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 11:44 PM

I was having problems with the focuser on my Williams Optics Zenithstar 66 SD and decided to splurge and put a Moonlite focuser on it.  The focuser cost more than I paid for the telescope, but it is really nice and high quality!  I now also have a standard 2 inch focuser rather then the strange SCT threads on the old focuser.

 

I tried many times to adjust the old focuser and was never sure if there was something wrong with it or just my poor abilities.  Whatever was going on with it, the new focuser is in a entirely different league, which you would expect given the cost.

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#2 petert913

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 12:21 AM

 Good choice. 


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#3 Avgvstvs

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 03:15 AM

Love my 2 MoonLite's

But you can often get another flange/adaptors to use it on another telescope

So your investment is sound


Edited by Avgvstvs, 17 March 2021 - 03:31 AM.

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#4 TOMDEY

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 03:46 AM

Great upgrade! I've retrofitted uncountable MoonLite and FeatherTouch focusers to my telescopes. Even my trusty old original TeleVue Genesis sorely needed a good focuser. What attracted me to MoonLite is that they also make the perfect threaded adapter to accommodate the exact make and model scope. The stock one was terrible. I took a picture of the old one... and threw it out!     Tom

 

~click on~ >>>

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#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 07:07 AM

Great upgrade! I've retrofitted uncountable MoonLite and FeatherTouch focusers to my telescopes. Even my trusty old original TeleVue Genesis sorely needed a good focuser. What attracted me to MoonLite is that they also make the perfect threaded adapter to accommodate the exact make and model scope. The stock one was terrible. I took a picture of the old one... and threw it out!     Tom

 

~click on~ >>>

 

With the newer TeleVue Focusers, the focuser itself is very good but there was a period where they were single speed.  The Feathertouch micro focuser (two speed) upgrade replaces the pinion assembly with a new pinion, pinion mounting block and Feather two speed.

 

It's an easy 5 minute swap and it's my favorite focuser, more so than my Feathertouch Crayford types. The positive drive of a rack and pinion means it can't slip no matter how light the focuser is set and it's super smooth.

 

As far as dfva's Moonlite upgrade:

 

I had a WO Zenith star 66 ED. The older William Optics Focusers were on the flaky side, they worked more or less.  This should be a big improvement and the ability to use 2 inch eyepieces adds significant capabilities.

 

Jon


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#6 scotsman328i

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 07:18 AM

I was having problems with the focuser on my Williams Optics Zenithstar 66 SD and decided to splurge and put a Moonlite focuser on it.  The focuser cost more than I paid for the telescope, but it is really nice and high quality!  I now also have a standard 2 inch focuser rather then the strange SCT threads on the old focuser.

 

I tried many times to adjust the old focuser and was never sure if there was something wrong with it or just my poor abilities.  Whatever was going on with it, the new focuser is in a entirely different league, which you would expect given the cost.

I know this is about refractors, but the point is, it’s not overkill to want quality workmanship and fine accessories on your telescope. Case in point...I have a Orion XT8 Plus with a MoonLite CR tri-knob focuser with shift lock. When I tallied up the additional extras on the focuser and the Universal Install Kit, the total came to close to $350. Now that doesn’t seem too bad, but installing it on a telescope that cost $550 would seem insane to some. Putting an accessory that costs 2/3 or so the price of the scope would seem like a waste of money better spent on an eyepiece or another few accessories.

    However, please remember this...this is NOT their scope, it is YOURS! YOU choose to do what YOU want to do to YOUR scope. I will argue to the bitter end that wanting a fine quality focuser over the stock mediocre one is money well spent, regardless how much the focuser costs compared to the telescope in question. The sheer quality and buttery smoothness of both coarse and fine focuser knobs is total luxury and the MoonLite with its universal install kit is actually lighter by a very small margin than the GSO stock focuser. The MoonLite outperforms the GSO stock focuser in pure workmanship, tight tolerances, smoothness of travel and even the color brings a nice aesthetically pleasing look to the scope now. No such thing as overkill...but there is such a thing mediocre or bad performance. Congrats and enjoy your beautiful MoonLite focuser! waytogo.gif

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Edited by scotsman328i, 17 March 2021 - 07:31 AM.

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#7 scotsman328i

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 07:22 AM

Great upgrade! I've retrofitted uncountable MoonLite and FeatherTouch focusers to my telescopes. Even my trusty old original TeleVue Genesis sorely needed a good focuser. What attracted me to MoonLite is that they also make the perfect threaded adapter to accommodate the exact make and model scope. The stock one was terrible. I took a picture of the old one... and threw it out!     Tom

 

~click on~ >>>

Tom, COMPLETE night and day! That change up completely transformed the appearance and focusing performance of your Genesis. Great call!



#8 scotsman328i

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 07:29 AM

With the newer TeleVue Focusers, the focuser itself is very good but there was a period where they were single speed.  The Feathertouch micro focuser (two speed) upgrade replaces the pinion assembly with a new pinion, pinion mounting block and Feather two speed.

 

It's an easy 5 minute swap and it's my favorite focuser, more so than my Feathertouch Crayford types. The positive drive of a rack and pinion means it can't slip no matter how light the focuser is set and it's super smooth.

 

As far as dfva's Moonlite upgrade:

 

I had a WO Zenith star 66 ED. The older William Optics Focusers were on the flaky side, they worked more or less.  This should be a big improvement and the ability to use 2 inch eyepieces adds significant capabilities.

 

Jon

My purchase was part of that period back then. My TV76 was bought in 2003. I don’t know when exactly they started putting the tri-knobs on them. 

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Edited by scotsman328i, 17 March 2021 - 07:29 AM.


#9 peleuba

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Posted 18 March 2021 - 10:38 AM

With the newer TeleVue Focusers, the focuser itself is very good but there was a period where they were single speed.  The Feathertouch micro focuser (two speed) upgrade replaces the pinion assembly with a new pinion, pinion mounting block and Feather two speed.

 

FWIW, my favorite single speed focuser is the TeleVue original model with chrome tube and rubberized knobs.  I still like it even today.

 

Focusers are important parts to a telescope more so then just allowing an eyepiece to meet the light cone at the focal plane, For me, its more intimate then that.  The focuser is the interface to the telescope much in the same way a keyboard is the interface to a MAC/PC and a steering wheel is the interface to an automobile.  A comfortable interface can make a big difference to the overall user experience.

 

With the popularity of the dual speed focusers in the last decade and-a-half TeleVue knew they had to innovate as a cottage market had popped up with users replacing their knobs/pinions with a Starlight instruments mechanism.  TeleVue first came out with the fine-focus lever which clipped onto the focus wheel of the standard TV focuser.  This provided additional focus control.  It was a neat little device.  This bought TeleVue some time in order to develop a dual speed focuser, organically.   When finished and in production this  original TeleVue dual speed focuser was, generally, not well received.  Later, working in conjunction with Starlight Instruments, TeleVue released a newer model and this is what we see today.  This cooperation with Starlight also yielded the SIPS device which is a Type 2 Paracorr in a housing machined by Starlight to be fully integrated into the FeatherTocuh focuser for fast Newtonians.


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#10 scotsman328i

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Posted 18 March 2021 - 12:49 PM

FWIW, my favorite single speed focuser is the TeleVue original model with chrome tube and rubberized knobs.  I still like it even today.

 

Focusers are important parts to a telescope more so then just allowing an eyepiece to meet the light cone at the focal plane, For me, its more intimate then that.  The focuser is the interface to the telescope much in the same way a keyboard is the interface to a MAC/PC and a steering wheel is the interface to an automobile.  A comfortable interface can make a big difference to the overall user experience.

 

With the popularity of the dual speed focusers in the last decade and-a-half TeleVue knew they had to innovate as a cottage market had popped up with users replacing their knobs/pinions with a Starlight instruments mechanism.  TeleVue first came out with the fine-focus lever which clipped onto the focus wheel of the standard TV focuser.  This provided additional focus control.  It was a neat little device.  This bought TeleVue some time in order to develop a dual speed focuser, organically.   When finished and in production this  original TeleVue dual speed focuser was, generally, not well received.  Later, working in conjunction with Starlight Instruments, TeleVue released a newer model and this is what we see today.  This cooperation with Starlight also yielded the SIPS device which is a Type 2 Paracorr in a housing machined by Starlight to be fully integrated into the FeatherTocuh focuser for fast Newtonians.

Funny you should bring that up. I still have my Televue Focus Lever I use at times on my 76. I’ll attach it sometimes when lunar viewing to tweak out that last bit of detail on mountain peaks throwing shadows on the terminator line or when tweaking out that fine extra hair of sharpness on a peak within a crater. Many hated that device, but it still fills a seldom niche for my 76.



#11 dfva

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Posted 18 March 2021 - 01:04 PM

Thanks everyone for the interesting comments.  

 

Going back to my original post, I now face the question that everyone who changes their focuser faces...What to do with the original focuser?

 

In my case, the focuser was of marginal value to begin with and may have other "issues".  Is there a market for such a thing or is the best place for it the garbage can?


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#12 scotsman328i

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Posted 18 March 2021 - 01:10 PM

Thanks everyone for the interesting comments.  

 

Going back to my original post, I now face the question that everyone who changes their focuser faces...What to do with the original focuser?

 

In my case, the focuser was of marginal value to begin with and may have other "issues".  Is there a market for such a thing or is the best place for it the garbage can?

Actually, either or. I see many focusers on the classifieds that members sell, as there is a market for these focusers for a modest price. Many amateur telescope makers like purchasing them for their builds as they know most of them are decent focusers and basically brand new as many like to upgrade immediately to Starlight Instruments and MoonLite focusers. Go look in classifieds under ‘focusers’ to get an idea of what is sold and the asking price for such focusers. 



#13 markbc

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 09:54 PM

One approach:

- I replaced the focuser on my Star Watcher StarTravel 120 and simply put the old focuser aside.

- If I ever do pass down or sell this ST-120, I will include it as something that might just come in handy one day, just in case. . . wink.gif

 

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#14 Wilsil

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Posted 06 April 2021 - 09:59 PM

With my new camera and filter wheel, I have to upgrade the focuser as it is slipping under the weight.

I have a Feather Touch on loan and man what a difference with the stock SW.

Although I have to used the thumb screw to control the slipping so an auto focuser is out of the question with this focuser.




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