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Largest Solid Tube Dob for Travel?


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In an ordinary sized car.

The general consensus is after 10" tubes, its perhaps best to go with a truss or flex /strut design. However depending on the focal ratio and weight of the tube, how realistic would it be to go larger in aperture, if intending to use as a portable travel scope in the car? I think that Shane (Moonshane) might be able to offer some advice with this.

The reason I ask is that I noticed the OOUK 14" F4.5 VX on Astro Buy and Sell recently and looked up the measurements. The tube would just fit length ways into my smallish hatchback (Skoda). It might accommodate a dob base alongside. The tube weighs in at 20kg, which is 1kg less than my 12"flextube. Not exactly committed - logistics, finance and marital harmony all being considered, but would like to debate.

Cheers

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A 12" solid tube fits nicely in the back of an average estate, with the seats/seat down. Pack it down well with duvets or sleeping bags and you may not even need to collimate it!

Managed to take my family camping for one night & take the scope as well.

Anything above that I'd recommend a truss tube, especially if you have to take other gear with you. (just in case the car breaks down and you have to stay warm/sleep overnight).

Edited by Beulah
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It will depend on several things, strength, commitment, size of car, other stuff to fit in around the scope (like the missus :grin: )

My 10" F4.7 tube fits across the back seat of my Fiesta. A friend of mine had a 16" F4 solid tube that he transported length wise in his Escort estate, bit of a hassle lifting it, but the views were great. Best to go carefully, measure up, try to lift various scopes to judge what suits you, that's the critical factor, not what is ok for someone else.

Hope you find your ideal setup, Ed.

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A lot will depend on what else you want to get in the car. If it is just scope, EP case and driver then you can get a fairly big tube in most cars. OO scopes tend to be slimmer and lighter than SkyWatcher equivalents. I can quite easily get a solid tube 10" f/4.7 SkyWatcher in a Honda Civic together with wife and at least one child but an OO 12" f/4 would also fit (if I could afford one).

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Personally, I don't see the point of solid tubes beyond 10" - they just become difficult to transport. What you want is something that can pack away into a (wooden) box roughly the width of the diameter of the primary mirror. That way, you can fit much larger scopes in the car, of course there is a need for more set-up time if you go down this route.

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Personally, I don't see the point of solid tubes beyond 10" - they just become difficult to transport. What you want is something that can pack away into a (wooden) box roughly the width of the diameter of the primary mirror. That way, you can fit much larger scopes in the car, of course there is a need for more set-up time if you go down this route.

I feel the same. When I do get a larger scope it will be a truss tube 16" or 18".

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If you don't need to transport them I see nothing wrong with solid tubes in larger sizes. It's only the portability that's a problem. If you can wheel one out to observe, or keep it in an obsy, a large solid tube is fine.

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Some solid tube 12" scopes are relatively easy to move around. My 12" F/5.3 Orion Optics tube weighs just 16kg and the mount that Shane has made for it (which is similar to OO's own mount but in birch ply) is 10kg more. The tube is just too long to fit across the back seat of my estate but with the split rear seat half down it goes in easily with the base standing in the boot area. I can lift the whole scope and move it (carefully !) around the garden.

Chinese 12" dobs are somewhat heavier than mine though - truss / flex tubes even more than solid tubes ironically.

Having owned a 12" truss tubed dob (a Lightbridge) I'd go for a solid tube. Even a 14" OO solid tube dob weighs slightly less than a 12" chinese truss dob.

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Steve, yes my flextube is very conveniently portable. I think that the scenario is, as Mark has mentioned, how well something like a 14" solid tube scope will fit, based on only one person plus equipment, in the car. John I noticed that a 14" OOUK, weighs a little less than a 12" skywatcher, so might be reasonalbe to handle.

I guess that if observing periods were split 50 / 50 between home and away then a solid tube at this aperture might be OK.

Edited by scarp15
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Reckon I agree John. A 12" f/4 would be little bigger than my 10" f/4.5. This is a simple Dob to move about.

Sorry Iain you snuck that reply in between :D

Does it have to be a solid tube? You can get a really big truss Dob in a car.

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I find the SW 12' OTA easily fits into the back seat of my 5 series estate. But the Base Unit is a beast even in that large car. I have my whole base in bits at the moment - during the summer months when observing starts at midnight [not] ! - redesigning and rebuilding it. The optical quality of 12" scope is super.

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Yep, I had envisaged a large truss in due course, which is logical, as I prefer not to observe from home. Just pondering the options really, as I will probably be looking second hand and Orion Optic scopes have always held an appeal. I certainly would like to have a go at making one, but do not have the workshop or facilities. No hurry though.

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hi Iain

I can get my 16" f4 OTA in my car which is a small hatch (I used to have a Rover 200 and now a Daewoo Lanos which is almost the same). the problem is the base. I can get it on the roof but more portability is one reason I am likely to covert it to a truss system in the future when time allows. and my base is smaller than average - possibly smaller than your 12" base at 550mm square.

a 14" is the same length but probably with a smaller base so I'd suggest it would go in most cars but not with passengers although you might just at a push get one person in the passenger seat if pushed forward.

if done with attention to how you handle it and not straining your back, it's do-able with one person but better with two.

it's worth it though.

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Iain

IMO The only way to know whether a big truss scope is in your future is to buy one.

From your 12" I would look at 16" minimum, with 18" being ideal.

After 18" we start looking at problems with wheeling it through doorways. Trust me I've had to get round this ;)

A solid tube 14" IMO won't give you a realistic idea of what a big truss Dob is like, they are very different beasts.

The solid tube 14" is more bulk than weight and the big truss scope the other way round, if you catch my drift? :)

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Ive got a lightbridge 16 inch which collapses nicely into manageable parts and also means the part of the tube holding the primary can be stood up on the back seat which gives the mirror a better ride. I wouldnt think a solid tube version would be managable as a portable scope though, and I cant see the point when truss tube designs are available and make transporting much easier.

The base is big though, manageable but big !

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As we are on the subject of truss tube dobs, how long does it take to construct & collimate one, once you have arrived at the site? I don't mean the Skywatcher hybrids, but the ones that can be disassembled.

Edited by Beulah
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