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Collimation done the HoTech Lazer way!

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I have dreaded this day since the first time I have looked through my sky-watcher. That would be the day when I would have to "tinker" with all that makes it "tick". Today, I grabbed the Dobsonian by both horns and attempted collimation using the HoTech SCA Lazer Collimator. I bought this little gadget with the hopes that it would make the task at hand less intimidating. It wasn't complicated at first since I followed a YouTube video and the somewhat simplistic directions that came with the device. Click

for the video.

I tinkered, second guessed myself many times, and finally let out a sigh of relief, "It was done". Just to make sure, I asked my husband to take a look. This is where I learned a very valuable lesson: Two people attempting collimation is a recipe for disaster! My husband, being the perfectionist that he is argued that the scope was still off center and started re-adjusting the primary and secondary mirrors. The result? It was grossly misaligned! I then tried to help and we were both tinkering here and there (probably making it worse as we went along) until I couldn't bear the sight of my Sky-Watcher anymore.

After two hours, it was still misaligned!

Steven (my husband) gave up and adjourned to the living room where he watched a movie called "White Noise". Upon feeling some major "heebie jeebies" coming along, I decided to give my scope another try.

Fifteen minutes later, it was perfectly aligned! Personally I blame the telescope. IT doesn't play well with others! :)

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Well done Isabelle. I too dreaded the thought of collimation until i finally did it. You will find the more you do it it will become a routine less than 5 minute job. The Hotech is a top piece of kit. I have only recently started to use a laser myself ( Baader Mk lll ). I have always relied on a Cheshire and collimation cap ( still use the Cheshire first ) but have to say i find collimating with the laser is a little faster.

Edited by Damo636
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Well done Isabelle.

The first time is always the worst. I've got a hotech, a cheshire ep and a colli cap. When I first used the hotech I noticed that the alignment was out with the cheshire, now I've had time to practise I can get both to agree. I've yet to be convinced that the hotech is better but it certainly is a godsend when in a hurry and in poor light. As others will say, the only real way to check collimation is with a star test, while that is probably true, my experience is that a star test isn't necessarily the best way to align the optics.

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Thanks Rabbithutch! I'm a determined little nut and won't let go of a project until it is complete.

I have heard that other lazer collimators have to actually be aligned themselves except for the HoTech which is why I purchased it. The "big selling" frenzy of their latest model is the fact that the device itself is in no need of collimation. Since I have dreaded collimation up till now, I sprung for the best.

I admire those like John and Damo for doing it more manually. I would think that this method is much more exact. I hope you're all right, that with practice, this will be a piece of cake!


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