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AP 155 to TEC 180: give in to aperture fever?

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#1 ichdien

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 02:43 AM

I've been happily using an AP 155 as a purely visual instrument for 10 years or so.  Mounted on a DM6, it's almost a big grab and go, which suits my observing style.  Lately, though, I've been dreaming of upgrading to a TEC 180.  Here's the thing.  I'm 66, about average height, and in reasonably good shape, but I wonder how much more of a hassle the 180 will be and if the extra effort involved will be worth what I expect will be even better views.  I realize that in the coming years the increased bulk of the larger scope is likely not going to get any easier for me, even if my health remains good, and that eventually it will become too much for me.  Then again so will the 155.

But I have smaller refractors when that day comes.  I'm interested in hearing from those of you who may have made a similar jump in aperture.  What's your experience been like?  Would you make the jump if you had to do it again?  Fortunately, the additional $$ of the 180 is not a major factor in my decision.   Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.

 

Cheers,

 

Jim



#2 Stewc14

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 03:52 AM

I went to a 9” apo. I can mount it with one other person. 180 can be done by one I believe but you must figure out a technique to make sure it goes well and have your fall back plan in place in case it doesn’t. I can always find a hand to help. Because I use a pier tech pier I can mount the 228 mm alone but it can be tricky. I am 68 plus and have Parkinson’s.

the tube is 85 lbs. I believe it will work out fine.


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#3 bobhen

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 07:31 AM

You haven’t said “why” you want more aperture; is it because you want more resolving capability for the moon and planets or because you want more light-gathering capability for deep sky objects or both?

 

For the moon and planets:
If you live in an area with good to excellent seeing on many nights of the year the move will be productive. If you live in an area where the seeing is average or below on most nights of the year then the move might not be as productive as you would like.

 

For deep sky:
More aperture is always better but the jump from 155 to 180mm is not that great. Will there be an improvement? Yes. But that improvement might not be as dramatic as you would like.

 

Suggestions:
If you are unsure about your seeing then buy a cheap 10” Dobsonian and use it for a year on the moon and planets. If there are enough nights where the 10” shows an improvement to your satisfaction, then the 180 would do even better. If not, then seeing in your area might not justify the 180 to your level of satisfaction.

 

For deep sky:
Again that 10” will give you an idea of the level of improvement. If you like what you see, then the 180 would be worth it. If the 10” does not deliver enough of an improvement to satisfy then neither will the 180.

 

After the evaluation:

if you are convinced that the 180 will deliver enough to satisfy then you can easily sell the 155 and the 10”. If after the evaluation you are convinced that the move will “not” deliver enough, then you can sell the 10” and you have saved a ton of money by not spending thousands on the 180 while also having departed with the wonderful AP 155.

 

Something more out of the box:
If you are happy with the 155 for the moon and planets but want more deep sky penetration, I would strongly consider an image intensifier. An intensifier is as easy to use as an eyepiece and will deliver deep sky views that few if any telescopes used with regular glass eyepieces will match. An intensifier and an AP 155 on an alt/az mount will be a true, deep sky, killing machine! Objects like the Horsehead Nebula will be child’s play.

 

Thoughts:

If you have already evaluated your seeing and you are sure the 180 would deliver more to your satisfaction and you are sure you can handle it then great – go for the 180.

 

For more information about image intensifiers, go to the Night Vision forum. With your 155 or possible 180 an image intensifier is highly recommended. You get a “huge” light-gathering boost with "no portability penalty".

 

Keep in mind that telescopes "get heavier" as we age.

 

Good luck

 

Bob


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#4 Neptune

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 07:57 AM

For what it is worth, when I had a TEC140 (amazing scope btw) but I knew I wanted to go larger because when I used my TeleVue 3-6 Zoom on the planet Jupiter it would get dimmer when zooming in (which is normal). I wanted the same brightness I saw with the lower power at higher power. So, after some calculating I figured about 175mm dia would get me the additional brightness I was looking for.   That was a 35mm increase or 1.56X larger by area  or 1/2 magnitude gain.  As a side note, I was one of the lucky (jackpot lucky) ones to get one of the the five 'extra' Astro-Physics 175 EDF's. It was a great scope. Keeping in mind, EVERYTHING is a trade off of some sort.  The lager scope was just that, larger, heavier, needed a better mount, different focal length eyepieces.  I will say it was fun while it lasted.

 

A TEC180 vs your 155 is 25mm larger by dia, 1.35X by area and 1/3 magnitude gain.  Honestly, it's not that much of an increase.  I know my 175 dressed out for visual with a 2"AP diagonal was about 57 pounds.  Yuri has kept the weight down on his 180 to a manageable level for most individuals.

 

If I was going to do it all over again, I think I would go with a TEC160 and a nice 14" dobsonian with a high quality mirror.  Best of both worlds.


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#5 weis14

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 09:10 AM

I wouldn't do it.  In my opinion, there is not enough of an increase in performance on most targets to justify the additional hassle of mounting and transportation.

 

I have a CFF160 and find that it is easy to manage.  I've had it on a DM-6 and I fully understand what you mean about it being almost a grab and go.  Setup is easy and quick.  I have always thought that going up to a 180mm scope would make mounting enough of a chore (more because of the added length and awkwardness than the weight) that I'd usually use a smaller scope.  That is not a problem with my 160.  It would also probably be more than the DM-6 can handle.  

 

Neptune's post above gives a good breakdown of the added benefits of a 25mm increase in aperture.  Like him, I've often found that it takes a 1.5x increase in area to make moving up worth it.  For a 155 or 160mm scope, that generally means the next step I would consider is 200mm.  Unfortunately, I don't consider a 200mm refractor and a suitable mount to be portable, so I don't plan on getting one unless my circumstances change significantly.  


Edited by weis14, 19 January 2022 - 09:10 AM.

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#6 snovosel

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 09:30 AM

You have to go for it.  We only live once.  We're in the same situation -- same age, health, transition from 155 to 180, etc.  My 155 weighs 28 lbs; your AP is 27.  The 180 comes in at 36.  Not much of a difference, really.  You didn't mention what tripod you plan to use, but if you work it as I do -- also a DM-6 (I'm on an iOptron Tri-Pier w/ ext.), then you are simply lifting up the scope/mount onto/straddling across your shoulders and easily walking to wherever you intend to observe.  100% control over ice, snow, whatever. 

 

Scratch the itch.  Enjoy the 180.


Edited by snovosel, 19 January 2022 - 09:34 AM.

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#7 AZStarGuy

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 09:41 AM

Tough call.  I get the allure of the 180 but weis14 & Bob might be right in that 200+ might be the better answer.  My logic when going up in aperture is try to get close to going another magnitude deeper.  Depending on which method you use, starting at 155mm pushes you closer to 200 - really 250 to achieve that. That also changes the mount and portability.  

 

IMO 180 is at the limit of one person portability/setup.  If you have the funds, it's worth a shot to see how you like it.  It should run just fine on your DM-6 although I wouldn't try anything larger.  Tom Peters uses it for his TEC-180 and I believe his is the longer non-FL version?  You'd have to check that.  Mounted on a Losmandy FHD tripod, that would be a formidable combo.  

 

I think if you have realistic expectations and the budget, it would be fun to move to the 180.  Keep the 155 until you can test drive the difference.  


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#8 JimP

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 09:47 AM

I’m 71, pretty much a wimp and Love my AP 155. I would never pass up an opportunity to add a TEC 180 to my collection. Refractors are my preference and that would be a killer scope especially give your financial situation. Go for it!

JimP
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#9 Paul G

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 10:10 AM

Unfortunately, refractors don't upsize gently. I have the 155 and the AP 175. I'm 68, in good physical condition (I do a 5 minute plank three times a week) except for my back, have had back surgery once, probably will again. The 155 is easy, is within my lift limits. The 175 is not, it's a 50 pound dead lift above my head and forward, an awkward position with a lot of very expensive weight. Easier to do when I set up, but dismounting it at 2 am when it is wet with dew and I am fatigued is scary with a scope that costs that much. I reinjured my back doing something stupid and the 175 is definitely a two person scope for me for the rest of my life and is my least used scope.

 

I'm a lunar/planetary/cluster observer, and on a night of stable seeing I can tell the difference, but it is subtle, not dramatic. Cool down time is also longer, so figure that in if you get it. If I want a dramatic difference from the 155 I use a 10" Mak-Cass which weighs considerably less and is easier to handle due to its short length. Any of the three happily ride on my 900 GTO mount.

 

That said, if you are lusting after the 180, get it. Life can be ephemeral and you should satisfy that itch. You won't lose money selling it, so my advice is to go for it, but don't get rid of the 155!!!!


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#10 t.r.

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 10:46 AM

This is probably the toughest decision a refractor user will face, whether to stick with the aperture they have or move up…all I can offer is, Good Luck with your decision! 😜

Edited by t.r., 19 January 2022 - 10:47 AM.


#11 soulprophet

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 11:00 AM

You haven’t said “why” you want more aperture; is it because you want more resolving capability for the moon and planets or because you want more light-gathering capability for deep sky objects or both?

 

For the moon and planets:
If you live in an area with good to excellent seeing on many nights of the year the move will be productive. If you live in an area where the seeing is average or below on most nights of the year then the move might not be as productive as you would like.

 

For deep sky:
More aperture is always better but the jump from 155 to 180mm is not that great. Will there be an improvement? Yes. But that improvement might not be as dramatic as you would like.

 

Suggestions:
If you are unsure about your seeing then buy a cheap 10” Dobsonian and use it for a year on the moon and planets. If there are enough nights where the 10” shows an improvement to your satisfaction, then the 180 would do even better. If not, then seeing in your area might not justify the 180 to your level of satisfaction.

 

For deep sky:
Again that 10” will give you an idea of the level of improvement. If you like what you see, then the 180 would be worth it. If the 10” does not deliver enough of an improvement to satisfy then neither will the 180.

 

After the evaluation:

if you are convinced that the 180 will deliver enough to satisfy then you can easily sell the 155 and the 10”. If after the evaluation you are convinced that the move will “not” deliver enough, then you can sell the 10” and you have saved a ton of money by not spending thousands on the 180 while also having departed with the wonderful AP 155.

 

Something more out of the box:
If you are happy with the 155 for the moon and planets but want more deep sky penetration, I would strongly consider an image intensifier. An intensifier is as easy to use as an eyepiece and will deliver deep sky views that few if any telescopes used with regular glass eyepieces will match. An intensifier and an AP 155 on an alt/az mount will be a true, deep sky, killing machine! Objects like the Horsehead Nebula will be child’s play.

 

Thoughts:

If you have already evaluated your seeing and you are sure the 180 would deliver more to your satisfaction and you are sure you can handle it then great – go for the 180.

 

For more information about image intensifiers, go to the Night Vision forum. With your 155 or possible 180 an image intensifier is highly recommended. You get a “huge” light-gathering boost with "no portability penalty".

 

Keep in mind that telescopes "get heavier" as we age.

 

Good luck

 

Bob

I took a similar approach when looking at a batch of refractors or a mewlon and bought a Zhumell Z10 last year off amazon. It really opened up my eyes to what reflectors could do and also narrowed down what I would want in another refractor. It probably saved me some money.

 

If cost isn't an issue, then go for it and sell it when it becomes too much.



#12 Esso2112

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 12:51 PM

I did a similar jump - FS-152 to a TMB 175. Still have both scopes, but the TMB is used a lot more. The TMB is a beast, but I can mount it safely on my AP1200. Visually, the TMB is better than the Tak and objects get more three dimensional, especially on the moon and planets. For deep sky, the TMB does show slightly more, but it really isn’t huge. If I need to go deep, the C14 comes out, but open and globular clusters are stunning in the TMB.
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#13 weis14

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 01:31 PM

I did a similar jump - FS-152 to a TMB 175. Still have both scopes, but the TMB is used a lot more. The TMB is a beast, but I can mount it safely on my AP1200. Visually, the TMB is better than the Tak and objects get more three dimensional, especially on the moon and planets. For deep sky, the TMB does show slightly more, but it really isn’t huge. If I need to go deep, the C14 comes out, but open and globular clusters are stunning in the TMB.

Esso - that is a serious list of scopes in your signature!  I'd have decision paralysis just figuring out what to use on a given night.


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#14 StarAlert

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 02:02 PM

I decided in September to upgrade from my current TEC160ED to a CFF180 and haven’t looked back. I can’t wait for it to arrive this spring. If I can’t see what I’m looking for in a 7” refractor, I’ll find a picture on the World Wide Web.

I’ll be mounting the CFF in my back yard, on a 10Micron which is permanently mounted on a Linak DL2 elevating pier. Everything is covered with a TG365. It takes less than five minutes to be seated and viewing.

If money isn’t an issue, I say go for it. Life is short and you can’t take the money with you.

I also really enjoy the reactions from neighbors and friends when they see the big refractor for the first time. Priceless!

Edited by StarAlert, 19 January 2022 - 03:09 PM.

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#15 donadani

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 02:50 PM

Had a AP155 too next to the TEC180 and other 5" and 6" scopes...

 

Finally sold the 155 and stayed with TEC140ED (about same views as AP155 but less hassle) and TEC-180 more hassle but a good jump over the 155 and of course any smaller scopes. Next to these two only some collector scopes stayed (e.g. FS-128, FC-100).

 

I´m done now - until maybe sometimes a fixed installation is possible.

 

Use both TEC´s on a DM-6 with Berlebach Planet btw.

 

Go for the TEC :)


Edited by donadani, 19 January 2022 - 02:51 PM.

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#16 ichdien

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 04:49 PM

Thanks for your comments, Wise Ones.  Very helpful.   As some of you have said, we only live once, which is a pretty compelling argument as we age.  (Even if reincarnation is a thing, I'll probably come back as a dog and won't be able to appreciate a good apo.) I've never observed with a TEC 180 (though I loved the 140 I sold to finance the 155), but having that opportunity might help me decide.  If you'd like to lend me yours for a trial run, please send a PM.  wink.gif If I had a permanent setup, the 180 or even a 200 would be a no-brainer, but that's not likely to be my situation moving forward. Ideally, I'd acquire the TEC, hold on to the AP, and then maybe sell one or the other.  Somehow, though, the idea of having two largish apo's in the house, even for a short while, seems a little extravagant.  I wouldn't need extra equipment for the 180, though.  The two tripods I use for the AP, a Tak heavy duty metal and a Rob Miller 36M, would both work well, along with the DM6, so there'd be no added expense on that end.  Ah, these first world problems!  Will continue thinking and let you know what I decide.


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#17 StarAlert

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 05:53 PM

If reincarnation is a thing, I’m coming back as an owl. Then I won’t need an APO.


Edited by StarAlert, 19 January 2022 - 05:53 PM.

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#18 rgsalinger

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 05:59 PM

Well, they don't make 155's anymore, so don't sell it quite yet. Get the 180 and see if you like it. If you don't, then someone will buy it for pretty much what you paid for it. So, your financial risk is actually quite small. If you like it, then sell the 155 only if you need to reduce your overall astro-assets balance sheet. Just don't drop the 180.

 

My guess is that I'll see that 180 in 3 years on astromart and I've always kind of wanted one....................

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#19 StarAlert

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 06:18 PM

Well, they don't make 155's anymore, so don't sell it quite yet. Get the 180 and see if you like it. If you don't, then someone will buy it for pretty much what you paid for it. So, your financial risk is actually quite small. If you like it, then sell the 155 only if you need to reduce your overall astro-assets balance sheet. Just don't drop the 180.

 

My guess is that I'll see that 180 in 3 years on astromart and I've always kind of wanted one....................

 

Rgrds-Ross

Haha. There is a TMB 175mm f/8 for sale locally, at a nice price. I wonder how long that will last. 


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#20 BRCoz

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 06:51 PM

For 20 years I wanted a 6" but never got one.  I retired at 64 late 2020 and ordered an AT152EDT.   I have a G11 mount and it works fine with the 152.  I have not been able to use it much since.  My wife has some health issues the got worse and I was not able to drive the 99 miles to the dark site I go to and also has no cell service.  This year I hope she can have surgery and get better.   

 

Get the 180 and enjoy it.  You can always go back to the 155 if needed.    


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#21 payner

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 07:07 PM

Best wishes to your wife on recovery and health moving forward, Bruce. 


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#22 ichdien

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 07:37 PM

Well, they don't make 155's anymore, so don't sell it quite yet. Get the 180 and see if you like it. If you don't, then someone will buy it for pretty much what you paid for it. So, your financial risk is actually quite small. If you like it, then sell the 155 only if you need to reduce your overall astro-assets balance sheet. Just don't drop the 180.

 

My guess is that I'll see that 180 in 3 years on astromart and I've always kind of wanted one....................

 

Rgrds-Ross

Some good points.  Thanks.  You've got first dibs in 3 years.  lol.gif



#23 ichdien

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 07:38 PM

For 20 years I wanted a 6" but never got one.  I retired at 64 late 2020 and ordered an AT152EDT.   I have a G11 mount and it works fine with the 152.  I have not been able to use it much since.  My wife has some health issues the got worse and I was not able to drive the 99 miles to the dark site I go to and also has no cell service.  This year I hope she can have surgery and get better.   

 

Get the 180 and enjoy it.  You can always go back to the 155 if needed.    

Best of luck to your wife and you.


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#24 BRCoz

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 08:18 PM

Best wishes to your wife on recovery and health moving forward, Bruce. 

 

 

Best of luck to your wife and you.

Thank you guys.  COVID has stopped getting her surgery last year and it may get pushed back again. I will see in the next few weeks.



#25 Jeff B

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Posted 19 January 2022 - 10:39 PM

Thanks for your comments, Wise Ones.  Very helpful.   As some of you have said, we only live once, which is a pretty compelling argument as we age.  (Even if reincarnation is a thing, I'll probably come back as a dog and won't be able to appreciate a good apo.) I've never observed with a TEC 180 (though I loved the 140 I sold to finance the 155), but having that opportunity might help me decide.  If you'd like to lend me yours for a trial run, please send a PM.  wink.gif If I had a permanent setup, the 180 or even a 200 would be a no-brainer, but that's not likely to be my situation moving forward. Ideally, I'd acquire the TEC, hold on to the AP, and then maybe sell one or the other.  Somehow, though, the idea of having two largish apo's in the house, even for a short while, seems a little extravagant.  I wouldn't need extra equipment for the 180, though.  The two tripods I use for the AP, a Tak heavy duty metal and a Rob Miller 36M, would both work well, along with the DM6, so there'd be no added expense on that end.  Ah, these first world problems!  Will continue thinking and let you know what I decide.

I can tell you from personal experience, that will quickly pass.


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