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Did Halley's Comet hurt some manufacturer's reputation

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#1 grif 678

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 11:38 AM

I have read numerous times that the Classic scopes during the early to mid 80's were so fastly produced in time for the comet, that quality control took a dip, and some bad optically scopes were turned out, that usually had a good reputation. I guess the most noticable was the C-8"s, and other mass produced scopes.

I would think that high end scopes like Taks, Astro Physics, and Questars, and other scopes in that category were not affected.

Just wonder how many new buyers of the mass produced scopes were disappointed with their scopes, when if they may have purchased them at another time, may have been better satisfied.



#2 CHASLX200

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 11:49 AM

Not sure about SCT's as any year had bad and very good.



#3 Look at the sky 101

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 11:50 AM

Funny you should ask, 

I've had the same discussion with some dealers.

They all agreed that we are once again in the same dilemma with this situation we are in now.

Some of them remembered that time of the famous comet.

Now is it as bad as that time, only time will tell.


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#4 duoglide98

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 12:14 PM

As usual greed will play well with the uninitiated masses and substandard offshore optics will abound.


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#5 dgreyson

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 12:56 PM

They all agreed that we are once again in the same dilemma with this situation we are in now.


You mean the supply and distribution problems caused by the pandemic? Not being one to buy new telescopes these days, I was unaware that the scant supply is accompanied by lack of quality as well.

I purchased a mediocre B&L Criterion 4000 during the comets return. Not for the comet though, I just needed an excuse to buy myself a new telescope.
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#6 Look at the sky 101

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 01:04 PM

You mean the supply and distribution problems caused by the pandemic? Not being one to buy new telescopes these days, I was unaware that the scant supply is accompanied by lack of quality as well.

I purchased a mediocre B&L Criterion 4000 during the comets return. Not for the comet though, I just needed an excuse to buy myself a new telescope.

No ,

They said that the production was at a frantic pace, which meant that the quality of the telescopes could suffer.

The quality control is not always in line with the demand.


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#7 bobhen

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 02:05 PM

That might be a hard question to quantify, as SCT quality can vary, even from unit to unit.

 

This might add a data point. In December 1989, S & T did a review of 6, 8-inch SCTs, 3 Celestron and 3 Meades.

 

None of the SCTs had excellent optics or what would be called very good.

2 had decently good SCT optics
1 Celestron had obvious zones and a rough figure

4 had outside the norm image shift
1 Meade was basically unusable as delivered, as it could not be collimated properly and the least bump

     knocked it out of alignment. From S & T: “…made me wonder about the quality control check…at the factory”

 

The comprehensive review ended with this… “The truth is, if your primary goal is to observe the planets, you should consider a refractor or long focus Newtonian."

 

I think that statement says what S & T thought of the optical quality of the scopes tested. Worth a read if you can find it. 

 

Bob

 

 

 

 

 

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#8 Bowlerhat

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 02:05 PM

I wonder if Vixen 60L Halley is the same as Celestron C60, because member Kasmos has one and it seems to be good. But I would imagine such, as the Vixen Halley C 60L, Halley R-80s, or Halley 80s quality dip.

I would believe that's the case for the C8s though.



#9 Rbuckyfuller

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 02:32 PM

How long did the craze last after the comet faded? When did the unused telescopes flood the market? I’m wondering how long we have to wait until we see a buyers market again.

#10 RichA

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 04:00 PM

I have read numerous times that the Classic scopes during the early to mid 80's were so fastly produced in time for the comet, that quality control took a dip, and some bad optically scopes were turned out, that usually had a good reputation. I guess the most noticable was the C-8"s, and other mass produced scopes.

I would think that high end scopes like Taks, Astro Physics, and Questars, and other scopes in that category were not affected.

Just wonder how many new buyers of the mass produced scopes were disappointed with their scopes, when if they may have purchased them at another time, may have been better satisfied.

Halley's comet didn't hurt them, THEY hurt themselves.


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#11 DAVIDG

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 04:39 PM

 Look at the wording of the guaranties of a majority of telescopes sold during the Halley Comet era or even today. They do not guaranty any type of wave front rating or passing any type of optical test. They guaranty your satisfaction. So unfortunately if you do not understand how to critically evaluate optical quality and the image that typical 1/2 waves optics produces is fine for you then the telescope manufactures are happy to continue to produce that quality. If your not happy then you can return the scope and try another and another to you find one that you are happy with but unless you know how  to test the optics, the one your happy with can be not much better then 1/2 wave.   

   Here is a  link to Celestron's warranty. I can not find anywhere  where it states what the spec's are on their optical quality. Maybe I missed it but if not, then it is what they determine is "good". So  you either live with it, try another scope to see if it is better or get your money back. 

 https://www.celestro.../pages/warranty

 

     Here is  a link to the Celestron 1972 literature when they  first started selling  the orange tube models. https://wiki.telesco..._Literature.pdf

    Here is a quote from that literature that does have specs that can be tested against to see if the scope they sold at that time meet their spec but at least you had something spelled out that you could test against to see if the optics meet their spec.

 

Optical testing and Guarantee - Each of the
three components in the objective system of the
Celestron (primary mirror, secondary mirror, and
Schmidt corrector) are manufactured to such exact·
ing standards that good performance could be
achieved by simply randomly assembling these
components into a telescope. We are not satisfied
with just good performance, however. We there·
fore set up each of these optical systems in a laser
collimator capable of detecting 1/100th wave
errors. We then carefully hyperbolize the secondary
mirror to bring the optical system of each Celestron
to a perfect optical null. The Celestron optical
guarantee is as follows: using a point source at
infinity (star test) and with the system properly
collimated, a knife edge shall indicate a clean optical null; when tested with a l00-line Ronchi

grating with three lines intercepting the cone, the
shadow bands shall appear straight. The intra and
extra·focal diffraction patterrns shall appear similar
in regard to the central obstruction using a 12
mm ocular with the out-of-focus blur circle filling
1/3  of the field. Further, each Celestron is guaranteed to be free from defects in material and workmanship for a period of one year subject to repair
or replacement at our factory.

       

                         - Dave 


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#12 ccwemyss

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 04:46 PM

How long did the craze last after the comet faded? When did the unused telescopes flood the market? I’m wondering how long we have to wait until we see a buyers market again.

In the case of Celestron, they ran the masters beyond their useful life to keep production up. What I've heard is that they then made business decisions to expand as if the Halley craze would become the norm. When it died out, they nearly went bankrupt and sold themselves to a company that continued the low quality output. It wasn't until they were sold again, and made an effort to regain their reputation with the Fastar optics and the new corrector production process, that quality improved.

 

Chip W. 


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#13 John Rose

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 07:13 PM

Back in early 1990 Astronomy Editor-in-Chief Richard Berry spent several days touring Meade and Celestron. The resulting articles were published in Astronomy October 1990 edition. In the article on Celestron it was noted that in 1985 they were working 24 hours a day 6 to 7 days a week to meet the perceived demand for telescopes. When the market collapsed in 1986 and a backlog of unsold telescopes they reduced the work force to a skeleton crew.  Alan Hale returned as President in 1987.  Rocky Cimarusti the head of the optical shop was quoted as acknowledging the quality had suffered badly.  In the articles on both companies the leaders recognized the problems there had been and recognized the need to correct them.

 

In Telescope Making #34 Richard Berry in response to a letter mentioned that his first mirror.  Which he described as a lumpy 6" F7 with a badly turned down edge he had made while in Junior High School.  Did better then some Halley Era SCT's he had seen. 


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#14 CHASLX200

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 07:22 PM

There are plenty of bad SCT's from any year. My last C8 made in 2004 was the worst ever i have had. Best ever was a 1984 C8.



#15 grif 678

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 08:48 PM

It does seem that Celestron did actually make some junk ( they actually admitted it )

But B&L did not need the comet craze to make bad SCT's, they just did anyway.


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#16 oldmanastro

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 09:17 PM

In 1993 I bought a B&L 8000 8" SCT knowing that it was originally from the Criterion RV6 manufacturers. I thought it would be as good as the RV6. It was not. The only thing good about it was the fork mount. The optics could not get a star to focus as an Airy disc. Images of the planets were blurry at medium to high powers. It didn't mattered how well collimated and centered the optics were, the B&L 8000 was an optical disaster. I usually stored it with the corrector looking down. One day I found oil on the corrector inner face. That would have been my last SCT if I hadn't observed through a loaned Celestron Orange tube SCT from the 1970s. That one had very good optics. In 1996 an SPC8 came into my hands. This one had good optics but not as good like that 1970s loaned scope. Then in 2019 I was able to get a very good deal on a Celestar 8. After re-centering the corrector plate and rotating it to the original factory position, this telescope has provided the best images I have seen in an SCT. Star tests show very nice round Airy discs with concentric diffraction rings. The telescope handles high power very well. So, I guess that by the early 90s Celestron cleaned up their act.


Edited by oldmanastro, 09 January 2022 - 10:33 PM.

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#17 Tenacious

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 09:23 PM

What year did Celestron make new master blocks for 8" SCTs and who owned the company then?



#18 grif 678

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 09:46 PM

In 1993 I bought a B&L 8000 8" SCT knowing that it was originally from the Criterion RV6 manufacturers. I thought it would be as good as the RV6. It was not. The only thing good about it was the fork mount. The optics could not get a star to focus as an Airy disc. Images of the planets were blurry at medium to high powers. It didn't mattered how well collimated and centered the optics were, the B&L 8000 was an optical disaster. I usually stored it with the corrector looking down. One day I found oil on the corrector inner face. That would have been my last SCT if I hadn't observed through a loaned Celestron Orange tube SCT from the 1970s. That one had very good optics. In 1996 an SPC8 came into my hands. This one had good optics but not as good like that 1970s loaned scope. Then in 2019 I was able to get a very good deal on a Celestar 8. After re-entering the corrector plate and rotating it to the original factory position, this telescope has provided the best images I have seen in an SCT. Star tests show very nice round Airy discs with concentric diffraction rings. The telescope handles high power very well. So, I guess that by the early 90s Celestron cleaned up their act.

It is a real shame that B&L did not have good optics, as well built as the rest of the scope was. I do not understand how optics this bad could get out the door and into stores. Did not they at least look through some of them or something. It seems that they had no QC at all on the optical part of the process . The ads claims lifetime warranty, so it would also seem that so many of them would have been sent back, that the company should realize that something was wrong, and stop their process until the problem with the optics were solved.

If as many of those scopes were as bad as all the owners say, returns would have caused B&L to go bankrupt, is all the money for them had to be returned. Evidently the lifetime warranty was as bad as the optics.


Edited by grif 678, 09 January 2022 - 09:46 PM.

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#19 Bomber Bob

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 10:02 PM

To answer the OP's question:  Yes.  Seems like there was a 4-yr period -- about 1984 to 1988 -- of Halley Hype.  Lots of brand new models for the occasion; and, unfortunately, a lot of them were sub-par.  Some I didn't know of back then, and they pop up on ZEN now, and.... I shake my head.  (I guess they're collectible?) 

 

You were better off getting a good pair of 50mm or larger binoculars...


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#20 oldmanastro

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 10:41 PM

What year did Celestron make new master blocks for 8" SCTs and who owned the company then?

I think it was 1987 when Tom Johnson returned as head of the company and brought Alan Hale too. They had to remake the corrector blocks. The original ones had been damaged due to the manufacturing frenzy during the pre-Halley years of 84-85. Appropriate maintenance had not been carried out on the corrector master blocks.


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#21 ccwemyss

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Posted 09 January 2022 - 10:55 PM

What year did Celestron make new master blocks for 8" SCTs and who owned the company then?

Yes, it was in the late 80s. Company Seven says that the quality improved quite a bit by 1992. That was still under the Swiss holding company. Even so, they did let bad scopes out the door. I think the new corrector grinding system that eliminated the print-through of the support structure came in with Fastar in 1997. Then, in mid-1998 they were sold to Tasco, and Company Seven says quality started slipping again as Tasco was squeezing them to maximize profit. Four years later they were bought back by Celestron management. Three years after that (2005) they sold to Synta.

 

Chip W. 


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#22 Kasmos

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 12:53 AM

Back in early 1990 Astronomy Editor-in-Chief Richard Berry spent several days touring Meade and Celestron. The resulting articles were published in Astronomy October 1990 edition. In the article on Celestron it was noted that in 1985 they were working 24 hours a day 6 to 7 days a week to meet the perceived demand for telescopes. When the market collapsed in 1986 and a backlog of unsold telescopes they reduced the work force to a skeleton crew.  Alan Hale returned as President in 1987.  Rocky Cimarusti the head of the optical shop was quoted as acknowledging the quality had suffered badly.  In the articles on both companies the leaders recognized the problems there had been and recognized the need to correct them.

 

In Telescope Making #34 Richard Berry in response to a letter mentioned that his first mirror.  Which he described as a lumpy 6" F7 with a badly turned down edge he had made while in Junior High School.  Did better then some Halley Era SCT's he had seen. 

John,

I'm so glad you posted this because my brother and I couldn't remember Rocky's last name. My brother lived in a duplex that shared a wall with Rocky and his wife. When my brother bought a C90 Astro and a few months later a C8, Rocky picked grade A telescopes for him each time. I bought the C90 in March '79 when my brother upgraded to the C8 and then the C8 just a little over a year later in July '80.  Besides working at Celestron, Rocky and his wife were just great people. I still have both scopes!


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#23 GreyDay

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 03:34 AM

 I’m wondering how long we have to wait until we see a buyers market again.

 

 

When the manufacturers/retailers drop their prices back to prepandemic... maybe another year or so, that's if they do drop the price. If people keep buying at the higher price manufacturers are reluctant to reduce profit margins, instead they do limited "reduced sales" to clear stock.



#24 CHASLX200

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 06:49 AM

It does seem that Celestron did actually make some junk ( they actually admitted it )

But B&L did not need the comet craze to make bad SCT's, they just did anyway.

Just about every scope i bought was not that good from Celestron.  Just 2 very good SCT's, the Newts were not good and around 30 SCT's were not good.  But all the vixen made stuff was very good, but Celestron never made them.

 

I had much better luck with Meade.



#25 RichA

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Posted 10 January 2022 - 09:53 AM

Yes, it was in the late 80s. Company Seven says that the quality improved quite a bit by 1992. That was still under the Swiss holding company. Even so, they did let bad scopes out the door. I think the new corrector grinding system that eliminated the print-through of the support structure came in with Fastar in 1997. Then, in mid-1998 they were sold to Tasco, and Company Seven says quality started slipping again as Tasco was squeezing them to maximize profit. Four years later they were bought back by Celestron management. Three years after that (2005) they sold to Synta.

 

Chip W. 

Wow! I had no idea Tasco owned Celestron at one time.  I was one of four unfortunates I know of who bought defective C14's in the early 1990's.  The suspected problem (though never proved) was a worn corrector master plate.




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