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Astrotrac Travel System Hire?

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Can we do some quick market research please :)

We are pondering whether to make an Astrotrac Travel System available for hire so people can kick it's tyres or perhaps take it on holiday.

Is this something that might interest you? Perhaps we could make it available for monthly and/or three-monthly periods? Perhaps there is another product that you would like to see available for hire, an APO refractor perhaps?

Thank-you for your thoughts,

Steve

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well worth setting up for holiday use and maybe discount the rental cost if a purchase is made after the hire? An obvious other item would be an EQ6 or some of the bigger CCD cameras?

It would help trying before buying as I think a lot of people are uncertain if various combinations of equipment will work together, which is why this forum is such a great source of practical information

Edited by Photosbykev

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Excellent idea and yes - I would love this.

If you want to trial your rental system feel free to put me down as an early adopter for an Astrotrac and maybe a short focal length refractor. If you can get this service up and running by the 17th August, so much the better :-)

Mike

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APO refractor? Yes!

The only thing that concerns me is insurance

Edited by shaunster

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Off to the Highlands next week and would have loved to take an Astotrac along. Bins and a static tripod are all I'm taking though since the moon is going to be a nuisance.

Edited by RikM

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It's possible that one won't need the entire AstroTrac travel system.

One other thing that I'd like to see a rental of is a SQM device. I'd like to measure my sky quality (and that of some local observing sites) but it's not the sort of thing that you need to own. Just use it, send it back. It's nice and small and lightweight and very unlikely to be damaged in use or transit. This might be an idea too?

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Astrotrac definitely, and a great idea because of I'm sure the average Astrotrac user has it as a travel option alongside their main mount, so they probably don't use them all year. The only hitch I can see is that there would be certain times of the year when everyone was trying to hire one, and other times when they would sit around unused, so would it be worth considering seasonal pricing? That might help spread the usage out a bit?

As you mentioned, Steve, there are a lot of other things I'd love to try, either before I commit to buying them, or simply because I know I'd never be able to buy them outright.

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It's possible that one won't need the entire AstroTrac travel system.

One other thing that I'd like to see a rental of is a SQM device. I'd like to measure my sky quality (and that of some local observing sites) but it's not the sort of thing that you need to own. Just use it, send it back. It's nice and small and lightweight and very unlikely to be damaged in use or transit. This might be an idea too?

That's a good idea :)

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This is a seriously good idea, Steve. Hope you can make the numbers and the logistics fit!

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Great idea :) You could trial run it at the next big star party by making a few units available for a few days or a week :)

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I hired/bought a saxaphone on a scheme like that. £90 hire for 3 months x 2 then either return equipment or pay 6x £50 monthly to own it.

Was a fantastic scheme.

Made a £900 purchase seem affordable and easy.

Andy

Edited by AndyDix

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:DHell yeah !!!!!!!! GREAT IDEA - 14" dob for a star party hire etc loads of things come to mind.

Only 1 drawback I foresee is distance hiring, oooh I could become the FLO NORTHERN HIRE BRANCH :)

DAVID

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If you can get the logistics right a rental system would be a good thing.

I do get the impression that with astronomy, very much like audiophile hi-fi, there is a big element of "upgraditis" that sets in.. especially on the imaging side.

Where astronomy differs though is that not many retailers seem to offer a buy-back or trade-in policy. This is understandable due to the more fragile nature of the equipment.

With this in mind though, perhaps you could couple the two and offer a limited trade-in policy for items that then have a rentable value?

Certainly any try-before-you-buy scheme has merits. Getting good advice here on SGL is one thing but a home test of equipment is the only thing that demonstrates whether something works like expected or ensures compatibility with any existing equipment.

At the moment I'm researching CCD cameras and while it's good to see other people's images, they are not really a true indication of the results I might get at home. Being able to "hire-purchase" would certainly make any decision easier.. as long as the HP agreement doesn't come with a whopping APR. ;-)

I do agree with Shaunster about insurance and liability though. Usually rental agreements come with signed contracts and I imagine you'd also have to implement a deposit scheme, especially for the more expensive items.

Another way to approach it would be like they do with classic car clubs. A friend of mine was in one of these and he'd buy a certain amount of rental credits each year and then book a week at a time from the list of available cars. He was driving a big 1960's Mustang last time I saw him.

Not that I think you'd have many cases of people ripping you off but I'd certainly advise getting customers to join the "club" with some sort of membership rather than just renting out to all and sundry.

Alan.

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Great idea Steve , I would be very intrested, especially in light of my forthcoming trip to NZ

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