Author Topic: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights  (Read 447 times)

teoknoxparli

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2018, 11:38:18 AM »
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Quote

Does it need to be pointed at Polaris when you start the alignment?
Nope, but I do take care to level the base. I always use a 2 star align. Once the routine starts I have to find the first star that I pick from a list. Once centered, I pick a second star and the scope does a goto with the second star almost always pretty well centered.

Does it need just two stars to align or do you add calibration stars to refine the alignment after the initial two?
Two stars alignment works well and I don't think that it is even possible to add calibration stars after the alignment.

How well does it hold alignment through the night?
Pretty well, but I rarely go for more than four hours other than Messier Marathon.

Has dew been a problem on either mirror? Do you use fans or heaters? (If so, which ones?)
I live in eastern Missouri, home of summer humidity sometimes in the +90% range. Never dew on the primary, but sometimes dew on the secondary. I've never put a heater on the secondary, but sometimes think about adding something home made.

Did you ultimately acquire a field flatter then?
Nope, I'm OK with what I see.

Do you have any recommendations for:
-some sort of cart
-flocking 'kits'
There is a picture of the modified Harbor Freight dolly I use and other suggestions in https://www.cloudyni...barrow-handles/
One of the places I frequent requires a 100 yd walk to a pad. The dolly works well with the ota mounted on the base.

I used some freebie flocking material from a friend so I can't really tell you what it is. It was peal and press.Many thanks in advance for your time!
~Lem
Thanks so much for your time and informative answers, S.!

Robert Estrada

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2018, 03:00:24 AM »
I have to say, there is a bit of learning curve it seems, in terms of considering gear needed, learning new techniques,adjustments to be made, and nomenclature apprehended, etc. It will take me longer to get the hang of the Dob vibe than anticipated, I suspect...

Many thanks again to all who've contributed here--much appreciated!

buddderpdrivla

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2018, 01:11:47 AM »
Congratulations for a great purchase!  I've had mine 12" SW collapsible dobsonian for almost 4 and a half years now and I LOVE it. My example has nice very optics and I am not sure if I would ever let mine go. I think the 12" size is the ultimate compromise when it comes to size/cost and capabilities ratio.

Haven't read all replies thouroughly but I would second a few minor tweaks:

- one of the most needed "mod" righ from the start is to add additional friction to azimuth bearings. Just add a couple of foam pieces (you can glue them or attach with any kind of duct tape). The "stock" aziumuth movement is too smooth. Not sure how this works on a go-to base though! My remark is refering to manual one.

- a pair of plastic washers between secondary and secondary base - one of the best, simplest and pretty important mods that you can do. It contributres a lot to ease of collimation and to holding the collimation of secondary mirror.
https://www.cloudyni...lk-jug-washers/

- focuser - stock focuser isn't a high end one but it works. I added a 1:10 micro transmission to the stock focuser and it is enough for me. Could upgrade more but I think it's not neccessary for me and I'd rather allocate the funds for other astro goodies instead

- Collimation - do yourself a favour and keep the foam in witch the scope is seated in the box. I transport mine on the foam and on the back seat. I had couple of cases when I drove home, packed the scope back, took it again out and transported it to a dak place, set the telescope, checked the collimation and BANG - it was spot on! Lately I notice collimation shift here and there when I suddenly move the tube, say, from lower altitude voewing to zenith viewing. The primary locking bolts are somewhat stiff and maybe I should upgade them.

- laser collimator - I am not a big fan of those. But you do need one (a cheapest, generic laser collimator) to use it for barlowed laser method for collimationg the primary mirror . simplest and extremely accurate way of collimating a dob.

- lighshoud - yes, take it

- flocking - not neccessary from the start, but you can do it over time. It doesn't hurt. I've flocked the part of the tube opposite the focuser and would someday flock the primary end of the tube.

- finder - I use both stock finder and a rigel finder. Telrad could be a heavy beast. Rigel is feather light and perfectly functional and should suffice.

- cooling fan - yes I use it. 12" is already a big chunk of mirror and why not to speed up the thermal adaptation proccess.

- Eyepiece selection: you already have a very nice selection but it is somewhat lacking in shorter FLs. I tend to use my 30mm very little, mostly for filtered wide filed views under my skies. You will use 14ES A LOT. From here 9-10 mm eyepiece is a nice jump - you have all this covered. 9mm Nagler will be your DSO killer (globs, galaxies, bigger planetary nebulae). I second 7mm suggestion as the nicest step from 9 mm. It would serve you very often on planets, planetary nebulae, globs, and all sorts of smaller galaxies etc. Down the road you also need a barlow or at least 5-ish mm eyepiece. One of the most spectatular visual DSO experience is showcase planetary nebula under 300 + magnification (400 + if you are lucky). 12" will tackle this magnifications like piece of cake, if only seeing condition allsow it. Thnink of Eskimo, Jupiter's ghost, Blue snowball, Cat's eye and all bunch of others that would benefit from hight magnification.

- Coma corrector - well, this depends on personal taste, but once I started using coma corrector, I can't use it witohut it any more. It DOES make a difference. Light loss is totally insignificant and irrelevant. CC WOULD improve the views! Period.

- Dew shield - make yourself one that extends 30-40 cm from the tube and it will make a world of difference keeping your secondary dry when you are in humid conditions. You don't have to use it when you are under dry conditions.

These are couple of points that I can think of.

HAVE FUN!

EDIT: a remark regarding primary mirror holding collimation. I think the mirror shift occurences are due to softer springs. Stiffer springs are probably one more good update down the road and I wll consider that.

Milan Gainer

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2018, 01:55:11 AM »
Quote
Congratulations for a great purchase!  I've had mine 12" SW collapsible dobsonian for almost 4 and a half years now and I LOVE it. My example has nice very optics and I am not sure if I would ever let mine go. I think the 12" size is the ultimate compromise when it comes to size/cost and capabilities ratio.

Haven't read all replies thouroughly but I would second a few minor tweaks:

- one of the most needed "mod" righ from the start is to add additional friction to azimuth bearings. Just add a couple of foam pieces (you can glue them or attach with any kind of duct tape). The "stock" aziumuth movement is too smooth. Not sure how this works on a go-to base though! My remark is refering to manual one.

- a pair of plastic washers between secondary and secondary base - one of the best, simplest and pretty important mods that you can do. It contributres a lot to ease of collimation and to holding the collimation of secondary mirror.
https://www.cloudyni...lk-jug-washers/

- focuser - stock focuser isn't a high end one but it works. I added a 1:10 micro transmission to the stock focuser and it is enough for me. Could upgrade more but I think it's not neccessary for me and I'd rather allocate the funds for other astro goodies instead

- Collimation - do yourself a favour and keep the foam in witch the scope is seated in the box. I transport mine on the foam and on the back seat. I had couple of cases when I drove home, packed the scope back, took it again out and transported it to a dak place, set the telescope, checked the collimation and BANG - it was spot on! Lately I notice collimation shift here and there when I suddenly move the tube, say, from lower altitude voewing to zenith viewing. The primary locking bolts are somewhat stiff and maybe I should upgade them.

- laser collimator - I am not a big fan of those. But you do need one (a cheapest, generic laser collimator) to use it for barlowed laser method for collimationg the primary mirror . simplest and extremely accurate way of collimating a dob.

- lighshoud - yes, take it

- flocking - not neccessary from the start, but you can do it over time. It doesn't hurt. I've flocked the part of the tube opposite the focuser and would someday flock the primary end of the tube.

- finder - I use both stock finder and a rigel finder. Telrad could be a heavy beast. Rigel is feather light and perfectly functional and should suffice.

- cooling fan - yes I use it. 12" is already a big chunk of mirror and why not to speed up the thermal adaptation proccess.

- Eyepiece selection: you already have a very nice selection but it is somewhat lacking in shorter FLs. I tend to use my 30mm very little, mostly for filtered wide filed views under my skies. You will use 14ES A LOT. From here 9-10 mm eyepiece is a nice jump - you have all this covered. 9mm Nagler will be your DSO killer (globs, galaxies, bigger planetary nebulae). I second 7mm suggestion as the nicest step from 9 mm. It would serve you very often on planets, planetary nebulae, globs, and all sorts of smaller galaxies etc. Down the road you also need a barlow or at least 5-ish mm eyepiece. One of the most spectatular visual DSO experience is showcase planetary nebula under 300 + magnification (400 + if you are lucky). 12" will tackle this magnifications like piece of cake, if only seeing condition allsow it. Thnink of Eskimo, Jupiter's ghost, Blue snowball, Cat's eye and all bunch of others that would benefit from hight magnification.

- Coma corrector - well, this depends on personal taste, but once I started using coma corrector, I can't use it witohut it any more. It DOES make a difference. Light loss is totally insignificant and irrelevant. CC WOULD improve the views! Period.

- Dew shield - make yourself one that extends 30-40 cm from the tube and it will make a world of difference keeping your secondary dry when you are in humid conditions. You don't have to use it when you are under dry conditions.

These are couple of points that I can think of.

HAVE FUN!

EDIT: a remark regarding primary mirror holding collimation. I think the mirror shift occurences are due to softer springs. Stiffer springs are probably one more good update down the road and I wll consider that.

Tom, thanks for your input. BTW, I have a TV 2x Barlow. I could use that in combination with 14mm ES to get that "sweet spot" magnification, no?

What kind of cooling fan do you use and how is it attached?

Could you provide a picture of what your dew shield looks like when attached? Is it homemade?

Thanks again!
~Lem

selusmiystag

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2018, 08:26:48 AM »
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Tom, thanks for your input. BTW, I have a TV 2x Barlow. I could use that in combination with 14mm ES to get that "sweet spot" magnification, no?

What kind of cooling fan do you use and how is it attached?

Could you provide a picture of what your dew shield looks like when attached? Is it homemade?

Thanks again!
~Lem
As for the barlow, it depends upon your preferences for using barlow and if you like "baseball bat" aombo sticking out of your focuser.
I use regular computer hardware cooling fan, it just hangs on elastic bands from the collimation bolts.
Don't have a pic of dew shield at hand. It is homemade from camping foam pad material.

Trendsetters Branch

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2018, 09:13:22 PM »
Quote
Quote

Tom, thanks for your input. BTW, I have a TV 2x Barlow. I could use that in combination with 14mm ES to get that "sweet spot" magnification, no?

What kind of cooling fan do you use and how is it attached?

Could you provide a picture of what your dew shield looks like when attached? Is it homemade?

Thanks again!
~Lem
As for the barlow, it depends upon your preferences for using barlow and if you like "baseball bat" aombo sticking out of your focuser.
I use regular computer hardware cooling fan, it just hangs on elastic bands from the collimation bolts.
Don't have a pic of dew shield at hand. It is homemade from camping foam pad material.
Great, thanks for the info!

revekosque

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2018, 03:01:05 AM »
Here's a shot of the fan mount on the push to 12"

John Newsom

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2018, 09:28:20 PM »
Quote
Here's a shot of the fan mount on the push to 12"

Thanks for this, Dave. Looks great! Where did you by that fan?
Did you adhere it with the screws and all yourself?
What do you power it with?
Lastly, does it have an on/off switch?

Thanks again!
~Lem

gatawestwall

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2018, 01:04:04 AM »
I'm the equipment loan coordinator for our astro club and we now have a 12" and 8" version of the Skywatcher collapsible. The 3 truss design is really nice and the goto version would be super cool. As others have said this scope is heavy. The one disadvantage of the Skywatcher over the Orion is that you cannot separate the parts and make them easier to carry. Also the base of the Skywatcher does not disassemble and the 12" base is a hoss! I've carried the non goto version up my basement stairs three times and its crazy.

The Orion has the captive bolts for disassembling the base. Maybe the GOTO version disassembles?

Jon

rossbalfigen

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2018, 05:18:44 AM »
Just bought the Orion XX12G,I think it's better than the SW, the base does come apart ,it comes with a fan ,duel speed focuser,and has closed loop Electronics so once you align it won't get loss if you want to push it around ,,think you should check it out

micfullprovlo

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2018, 05:54:35 PM »
I think you'll love it. I just bought my first dob...the Sky-Watcher 8" goto collapsible. I'd love to have the 12" but I'm disabled, use a wheelchair, and have only one arm, so there's no way I could manage anything bigger than my 8".

I put mine together (one handed from my wheelchair) in just a few hours. My only complaint is that they should have made the cutouts in the base where the bolts are installed much bigger or bevelled a bit. It's hard to get these tightened down with the hex key...just not much room.

As for size, the 8" is really big to me but not too heavy. I think an able bodied person could easily manage the 10" or 12". I don't think it would become a chore or a closet queen. Aside from the finder scope and not making the cutouts big enough, I have zero complaints with mine. In fact, it's a very attractive and well engineered instrument.

Also, it's nowhere near as loud as it sounds on a couple YouTube videos. Mine is only a hair louder during slewing than my Celestron 5SE.Attached Thumbnails

Robert Spencer

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Re: Potential Skywatcher 12" go-to Dob buyer seeks your insights
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2018, 11:03:36 AM »
Quote
Just bought the Orion XX12G,I think it's better than the SW, the base does come apart ,it comes with a fan ,duel speed focuser,and has closed loop Electronics so once you align it won't get loss if you want to push it around ,,think you should check it out

Greetings and thanks for your comment.

I've spent the last 2 hours reading up on the Orion XX12G--it seems very similar and comparable indeed to the SW version. The SW has the same feature, fyi, in that you can push it around after alignment without losing your alignment. So the differences seems to be the dual speed focuser (the lack of which I've heard only mild complaints from purchasers of the SW), the inclusion of a fan (one less things to worry about!), and, importantly, the collapsable base. I've heard from about 80% of the respondents that a cumbersome and unwieldy base is a drawback of the SW's.

BTW, do you know if theOrion XX12G is compatible with SkyFi? I believe it would be but am not certain.

Now I'm thinking of posting and asking folks for the theOrion XX12G vs. the SW 12" go-to. The difference in price right now is not much.

I'm really torn over which one to get. Any further comments and insights are very welcome!

Thanks again,
Lem