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Everything posted by ronb

  1. Wanting higher magnification for the moon than I could get from a couple of 19mm Panaviews and the Powerswitch with my Denkmeier STD binos and not wanting to splash out on more duplicate ep's I eventually decided to go for a 2" barlow, the larger size hopefully better supporting the weight of the binos than the usual 1.25". Then came the decision as to which barlow. I was thinking of the TV but was not sure whether it was overkill or even whether it would work with the binos. Advice was not found on any forum or Google search so I bit the bullet and emailed Denkmeier. I got a lot of help from Russ Lederer at Denkmeier and, after reading only good reviews of Denkmeier kit, I placed an on-line order for their 2" barlow. I must thank Russ for his help and prompt replies to my many questions and emails including his personal thanks for placing the order - additional to the automated response to an on-line order. For full details of the Barlow see The barlow arrived in a plastic bag, wrapped in two layers of 3mm foam in a white carboard box in a padded envelope. Nothing fancy. No comparison with Celestron or TV's packaging but no damage so adequate packaging with no unnecessary frills or expense. The cost from Denkmeier was at their introductory price of US$129 (full price will be US$149) with a US$46 shipping fee. There was an import VAT charge of £24.28 plus a Parcelforce VAT free clearance fee of £12.50 and the option of a Saturday delivery for an extra £12. There was also an additional non-sterling transaction fee of £3.63 on my debit card account. This comes to £2 more than purchasing a TV Big Barlow in the UK. The barlow is well made and looks a quality piece of kit with a yellow plastic dust plug at one end and an aluminium screw cap at the other. Why not a metal cap at each end one wonders? Everything was nice and clean as should be expected and lens coatings look good (see video). The inside of the barrel is ribbed to prevent reflections. The ep is held by a single screw and a plastic compression ring which is my only critisism as when I removed the plastic plug while writing this review to see what the ring was made of I found that the ring had dropped out of its groove and fallen part way down the barrel - strange as this had not happened before even during use but will now need watching for. I have not used the barlow enough to find out whether the plastic compression ring is as good as or lasts as long as the usual brass ring. On querying the compression ring dropping out of the groove, Russ Lederer replied to my email within 70 minutes. "As far as the internal split ring goes, I have no explanation. That's a first since it's the same ring and eyepiece holder that we use on our star diagonal. I do occasionally bend the very end of the split ring on each side INWARD to allow accessories to be inserted more easily. If the ring is not bent inward at the very ends enough, it can cause the ring to be pushed out a small amount. This is what I suspect just sort of guessing since I work on these rings myself." His response to my comment on the plastic plug: "My goal was to make a variable 2" barlow for single eyepieces, for a reasonable price. Yes, we include a machined cap on one end to protect the optical cell. This cost me about $8 to make. I am trying my best to keep the overall price as low as possible but also give the buyer something a bit special." I will say I have never had a Barlow before (not quite true as one came with my first scope but was never used) so am not too sure where I am treading here but thought the best test I could perform was to do the following comparison using my C11: my 15mm Axiom with 2.3x barlow (6.5mm) against my 7mm Axiom, any differences showing up hopefully being due to the barlow. The targets used were M42, the Pleiades, Dubhe and Jupiter, further testing being interrupted by dew on the corrector plate. As far as I could make out, other than a slight difference in magnification, there was no difference whatsoever between the two ep's either in the centre of view or at the edge. With no clear skies forecast for the foreseeable future I then tried my 23mm Axiom in my Equinox 80 during daylight on my usual test target - a farmhouse near the horizon some 6 or 7 miles distant. Once again, other than magnification, I could detect no difference in the quality of the view with the barlow fitted either in the centre or at the edge. With the full barlow (2.3x) as far into the diagonal as I dared go I only just managed to achieve focus on the farmhouse with the focuser wound fully in so I doubt that it would achieve focus on the sky. The 23mm Axiom plus barlow really proved too heavy and kept turning the diagonal if not held vertical - turning the focuser in the scope body at one stage and unscrewing the front barrel from the diagonal at another. No problems however when the end of the barlow was screwed directly into the Axiom to give the 1.25x, focus being achieved well within the range of the focuser and at a much reduced weight (turning moment). If I may add that these results are what I found as a relatively new observer. Then again it could be my aging eyesight. The more experienced members of this forum may be able to detect problems with the barlow that I could not. If I may now digress slightly for the benefit of anyone who has not bought anything on-line from the States. The barlow was ordered from Denkmeier on 19th Jan and shipped, so I was informed, on the 21st. Thanks to USPS's excellent on-line tracking system the barlow appeared at the Hauppage Sort Facility (Denkmeier's home town) on the 30th (?????) and travelled via several USPS depots to JFK then Heathrow arriving at UK customs on 3rd Feb. Customs was cleared after three days and the ep arrived in a further five days (11th Feb), the day after paying customs fees. Verdict: I have no idea how this barlow compares to any other barlow. OK, it is expensive but, it is flexible in that you get two barlows for the price of one and as far as I can see it does exactly what it says on the tin and introduces no abberations other than those which may already be present from the equipment used with it.
  2. Sorry, link didn't copy correctly, should be http://www.nexstarsite.com/Book/StarLists.htm
  3. Does this help? http://www.nexstarsite.com/Book/StarLists.htm
  4. Depends on your abilities. I doubt you will be successful opening up the socket as it will be a moulded unit. Best option would be to replace the cable provided you can open up the controller as some modern kit appears to be either glued together or held together with clips which easily break off. The easiest would be to joint the cable - solder the wires, insulate the bare wires with tape then cover with heat shrink tubing.
  5. Received the book this morning. Looks interesting so am looking forward to reading it. I just hope it isn't too deep for me to understand!!!! Plenty of brilliant photos though so I won't be disappointed if I can't understand it.
  6. I recently acquired a Denkmeier bino from a friend. After some use I decided I wanted higher magnification than I can get with the 19mm Panoptics and power switch in my C11 so wondered whether a Barlow was the way to go as I don't fancy having to duplicate more EPs. To cut a long story short I contacted Denkmeier at around 3pm this afternoon asking for advice. Within one hour I received the following rather curt response from Russ Lederer: "Ah. Another query from a second hand purchase;)). I have to say that you are asking me advise on whether to buy a barlow from another company for use with another companys eyepieces in a bino we made but was bought second hand. I understand that the astro community has no idea of the difficulty some companies have faced over the past 7 years but when 95% of emails and calls are on advice for used products, it gets very frustrating for me. How am I to keep a company going? Do people realize this?? I imagine you are a good person who maybe does not think about my end of things of course. I mean to not be offensive, more wondering if people understand the dilemma the used market is creating for tiny niche markets. Consider buying our new 2" barlow. It will thread to the 2" nose of the bino. It is $129 intro price. See linkhttp://youtu.be/VA58NuNV_cgHighest quality. By the way, when the world learns of my new invention that requires our D21 eyepieces, they will be selling other brands to buy our D21s and D14s. RegardsRuss"This was followed at about 5 minute intervals by two much more helpful emails. The first explained about Denkmeier dealerships within the UK and his offer of the purchase of Denkmeier kit at cost. The second was to remind me that the power switch already gives 2x magnification and did I really want more.I was a little upset by his initial response but after some thought accept his response and I am certainly more than pleased with the speed of his replies and his advice.Anyway, on the strength of the good reviews I have read on various forums about Denkmeier kit and that a 2" Barlow should hold the binos much more stable than a 1.25" Barlow I have placed an order with them. I hope to write a review on receipt of the Barlow.According to the order confirmation there is no shipping charge.If anyone is interested, there is much more information about the Barlow on the above link than there is on the website - and I needed to search for "Barlow" on the Denkmeier website as I couldn't otherwise find it.
  7. I recently purchased a Denkmeir Binoviewer from RonPatt and have used it successfully with my C11 and Equinox 80 - and very impressive views it gives too. However I am unable to achieve focus on my Solarmax 60. The manual simply states that a Barlow is required. Bearing in mind that I don't have (and obviously don't use) a Barlow, anyone able to advise on what to try with the Solarmax? Will a 2x be sufficient? I appreciate that the Denks are top quality and as such deserve good quality ep's (I use Panoptics with it) but as I only intend using the Barlow with the Solarmax I don't want to go overboard.
  8. I have an interest in this discussion as I am trying to talk myself into getting one. Although some sellers are quoting 72deg most sites, including Vixen's, state 65 deg.
  9. Hi Steve, I have no experience of the Ascension UWA but do have a 38mm SWA. In my C11 the view is excellent in the centre but stars become noticeably elongated towards the edge. I would expect the UWA to be slightly worse???? I will leave it to others with more experience to suggest alternatives.
  10. Hi Steve. You had better give them a call first. I was talking to Peter last week and he said that, since becoming the UK Meade distributor, they have had to close the showrooms - see also their website. For the foreseeable future they will only be available for online or telephone sales. I doubt very much that, other than no longer being able to see things in the flesh, this will affect their excellent service.
  11. Wednesday afternoon I emailed GW querying the price quoted on their web site for Panoptics as they were advertised at a lower price elsewhere. Email sent by Lee at 9.10 am Thursday saying their web site is due for updating and that they would match the competitor's price. Placed an order online just after 9.30am yesterday for a couple of Panoptics. Email confirming the order sent by GW at 9.36 am. Email confirming dispatch sent 9.41 am. Email sent yesterday afternoon saying delivery to be expected today. Email sent by courier (Interlink) at 7.55am this morning saying delivery to be expected between 10.27 and 11.27 am. Parcel arrived 10.45 am. Oh yes, and Lee emailed me yesterday to thank me for the order and confirming that it had been dispatched. Brilliant service yet again.
  12. I have been giving your idea some thought as to how I could best implement it for my scope. What if you replaced your flat wood adaptor by a 90 deg angle bracket with the clamp on the inside of the vertical edge? Your your tripod head would need to be horizontal and the c of g of the scope could be kept over the centre line of the tripod - if you see what I mean. I'll have a look at this possibility for myself tomorrow.
  13. An interesting solution Michael but is the centre of gravity with the scope mounted not too far out from the centre line of the tripod thus making it easy to topple over? I like the idea though as it could be better solution than mine - an aluminium plate bent to an angle of about 110 deg fixed to a Manfrotto geared head (sorry but no photo at present). This keeps the centre of gravity closer to the tripod centreline but makes for an ungainly solution. Having said that, I have the Solarmax 60 which will be much heavier than the Lunt 35.
  14. If you are thinking of using your household insurance policy check the small print first. I also collect vintage guitars and have several worth a few thousand pounds. Even though they were only covered while at home I did have all my guitars listed on my household policy for several years, at an appreciable increase in the premium, until I discovered that although all guitars were listed the insurance company would only pay out for one guitar in the event of a claim. So effectively only one guitar was covered. It may depend on the insurance companiy's idea pf risk but it's worth checking directly with the company if you have several items of large value.
  15. My copy arrived this morning. Obviously not had time to read it yet but have been thumbing through it all day. From what I have seen I agree with Ian's comments and the many figures make the text much easier to understand. Looking forward to a good read. Many thanks Ian for the original review otherwise I would probably have missed this one. Many thanks to Charles also, I reckon you have done a darn good job.
  16. You may be right Ian. I ordered a copy last night (16th) on 3 - 5 working days delivery. The confirmation email said the estimated delivery will be 22nd to 25th Feb.
  17. I also have the Baader 2" SCT clicklock back, Baader 2" clicklock diagonal and an Altair 2" to 1.25" self centring eyepiece adapter. A vast improverment on the original Celestron setup. Other members are better qualified than me to recommend EPs but for the price I find the 38mm Ascension SWA from Opticstar gives a good wide view in this scope albeit with some astigmatism at the outer edge - I originally purchased it as a finder EP but it is now probably my most used EP, certainly on the larger DSOs.
  18. The originals look like neutral connector blocks as used by the supply company at your meter and rated at 100 amps. They should be available from your local electrical wholesaler though I have no idea what they would cost these days - I would expect them to be fairly expensive as it is quite a large lump of copper. The ones available from ilecsys will be adequate and the cheaper option because they have a lower current rating.
  19. I have a couple of these from Opticstar (Ascension branded) and can find no reason to improve on them. Perhaps I haven't used them under "real" conditions but have never had any problem with dew.
  20. Stumbled across this site earlier today - I don't know whether anyone here has seen it before but there may be something of interest for some DIYers http://bedair.org/ScopeStuff.html Not much of interest on his links page though as most astronomy links don't work.
  21. Sky Watcher weights for the EQ 3-2, 5 etc fit and are much cheaper than Celestron. Only problem is they may be the wrong colour (white)!
  22. I purchased this set several years ago after I got my first scope. The LERs may be a little better than those supplied with your scope but to be honest I have never really used them and although I have tried them I have never found a use for the colour filters. In fact the whole set lurks at the back of the cupboard and only sees daylight when I get them out wondering whether they are worth selling. The LED torch is the only bit I actually use. Personally I think you would be better spending the money on one or two better EPs - there are plenty of posts on this site which will advise on which give best value for money.
  23. Is this the one? http://uk.farnell.com/lumberg/1636-04/plug-low-voltage-3-3mm/dp/1216985?_requestid=168667 Don't know about the Atlux but it fits the GP2. Farnell was the only source I could find in the UK.
  24. I got one last year as part of a side by side mount for my C11. I have a lot more confidence in its holding ability than the original CGEM clamp. For me the only downside is that due to closer manufacturing tolerances the clamp can jam if the clamp screws are turned too far requiring the screws be alternately turned a bit at a time. The upside though is that the clamp remains more parallel to the dovetail.
  25. I recently upgraded to the Baader clicklock sct back and diagonal on my C11 and find both much easier to use over my previous setup especially with cold hands. For me it was a good move. I ended up stripping the thread on my previous sct back through overtightening the clamp screw to stop the diagonal ratating with heavier eyepieces. As other members have commented I havent noticed any difference in views between the diagonals. Whether it is worth going for the clicklock is your decision but it is a good product. Sorry I can't help with your other queries.
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