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FLO

Astrotrac Travel System Hire?

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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?

I'd be interested in this too ;)

One thing tho Steve, what about accidental damage etc?

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Thank-you for your feedback, is this forum good or wot! :rolleyes:

So, the Astrotrac Travel System, a OSC imaging camera, Sky Quality Meter and Coronado PST are all of interest. And possibly a large imaging mount.

We can definitely offer the Astrotrac Travel System, we will be setting one up at the South West Astronomy Fair this Saturday so we can start with that one.

An Atik camera is doable, the Atik 314L Plus is the bestseller but perhaps a larger sensor would be more popular as a rental camera. Perhaps we should offer a camera with an Atik EFW2 filter wheel and filters.

Which Sky Quality Meter would you like?

We can easily offer a Coronado PST but we'll need to include a note to take extra special care of it as we know from experience they are not particularly shock-proof!

Large mounts are expensive to courier and I doubt their packaging would hold together for more than two or three delivery/collections, but we will look into offering one, perhaps a Celestron CGEM DX.

We'll need to consider prices, hire periods and packages. We will also need to consider liability. Astronomers are trustworthy upstanding citizens :hello2: but it might be that we offer rental only to existing FLO customers, which would cover most of you here on SGL ;)

We will definitely do something soon, and if it is successful we will extend the range of products offered.

Steve

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Hi Steve,

Sky Quality Meter: I thought there was only one? The Unihedron. It's not that expensive at around £100 or so - but that's still too much for the week or so that one might wish to rent one for and it's very small and light. It's possibly an ideal rental product as you could even include a postage paid cardboard box with it so it can be returned via a postbox like a DVD rental ;)

There are a couple of Coronado PST's - the single 0.5A and the double stacked version. I'd quite like to rent one (even the cheaper one) and I expect that there might be quite a few people who'd like to try the ~£1k double stacked one as a rental.

You also mentioned in your first post maybe an APO refractor and Shaunster seconded it. I'd like to third that suggestion. A GT-81 or Megrez 72 might make a nice combination for the Astrotrac.

It would be quite nice to rent an Astrotrac Travel System and APO refractor for a holiday, a Coronado PST to "do the sun thing" and a SQM to check garden and local dark sky sites.

I hope that you can make it work.

All the best,

Mike

Edited by MikeWilson

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Sky Quality Meter: I thought there was only one? The Unihedron. It's not that expensive at around £100 or so - but that's still too much for the week or so that one might wish to rent one for and it's very small and light. It's possibly an ideal rental product as you could even include a postage paid cardboard box with it so it can be returned via a postbox like a DVD rental :rolleyes:

Heck, if it costs only £100 we'll loan one to existing customers for the cost of postage to-&-fro ;)

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You also mentioned in your first post maybe an APO refractor and Shaunster seconded it. I'd like to third that suggestion. A GT-81 or Megrez 72 might make a nice combination for the Astrotrac.

Okay, we'll see what we can do ;)

We'll also consider offering a 'posh' Coronado.

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Heck, if it costs only £100 we'll loan one to existing customers for the cost of postage to-&-fro :rolleyes:

and there was much rejoicing ;)

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Yeah, packaging will certainly be an issue if the equipment doesn't come with a dedicated hard case. You could get custom flight cases made for anything that ships in cardboard boxes. It will add to the cost and weight for the courier but I think it would be worth it in the long run.

If you're doing this for mount heads, get them sized up for when the mount is set at 50 - 59 deg latitude. The NEQ6 I got last week was preset to about 25 deg and won't go back in the cardboard box after use.. well, not without some gratuitous carving of polystyrene. ;)

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Heck, if it costs only £100 we'll loan one to existing customers for the cost of postage to-&-fro ;)

We could build up a lovely map of the country with dark sky details for each area! :rolleyes:

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Plus 1 for an atik and filterwheel- like a try before you buy scheme for those looking to change from DSLR or OSC.

what about a big apo? I'd like to hire one just to see what all the fuss was about! I think this is a great idea- has it ever been done before?

Stephen

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We could build up a lovely map of the country with dark sky details for each area! :rolleyes:

We'll order a handful ;)

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I'd certainly consider renting an astrotrac and maybe a PST. Brilliant idea - hope you can make it work.

Brinders

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I would defo be interested in checking this out: First Light Optics - Astrotrac Travel System

And you've put the flippin' price up!!! lol.

Astrotrac increased their prices by 10% from 10th June. We stock a fair bit of Astrotrac so were able to hold the price of the Astrotrac Travel System til this week (nearly two months). We still have a small quantity of pre-increase Astrotrac TT320X-AG and Astrotrac TW 3100 Wedge available... ;)

HTH,

Steve

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Very nice idea...

I wonder if you can get cloudy skies insurance? So that you can recover part or all of the hire cost if you can get to use them....

Some nice flight/packing cases would help the kit survice the multi drop courier experience....

Peter...

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Cracking idea mate, given that the insurance and whatnot is reasonable for the renter, I think it could be a winner ;).

Perhaps maybe imaging 'packages' where say for example for a refractor you'd have the scope, reducer/flattener, spacers and camera. For a reflector, scope, camera, coma corrector and spacers. Add in a guiding package (ADM bar or OAG, ST80 & guidecam), just add a mount :rolleyes:.

Tony..

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A great idea Steve, try before you buy? hope it works for FLO.

Peter

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I would be interested in hiring a solar scope to put on my own Astrotrac ;)

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Not surprised, Andy, if you got a £900 saxophone for £480. ;):rolleyes:

*cough* Typo *cough*

But you get the idea.

I would jump at the chance of a hire/buy option on a ccd.

Andy

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Sky Quality Meter: I thought there was only one? The Unihedron. It's not that expensive at around £100 or so...

Unihedron Sky Quality meters are incoming ;)

Our first delivery should arrive in 10-12 days. I'll make a proper announcement here in the sponsor section later.

Thank-you for the suggestion (have just discovered James has been using a Unihedron SQM for over a year :rolleyes:).

Steve

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*cough* Typo *cough*

But you get the idea.

I would jump at the chance of a hire/buy option on a ccd.

Andy

Course, Andy, I was only teasing. ;)

I hope this idea takes off. It could allow us all to try stuff we'd never be able to justify buying the equipment for.

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AndyDix, how did it work?

It sounds like you hired a £900 saxaphone for three months at £90 (10% of the retail value) then you had the option of either returning it or buying a new one with part of the hire fee refunded. Have I understood that correctly? ;)

Steve

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