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Skywatcher Skyliner Flextube 350P unboxing


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So the many months of planning and researching arrived today, at last. I thought I'd take some time to post the unboxing of this beast for our community.

Firstly, I ordered this from FLO yesterday lunch time and it arrived today at 11 o clock. Paid for Saturday delivery and it arrived before noon, fantastic service.

So 3 boxes turn up. Large, as expected.

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Unfortunately, some box damage. The OTA box.

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I started with the base. I figured I would build the base, unpack the OTA and then mount the mirror.

First thing I noticed when opening the base box.

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WRONG INSTRUCTIONS! This mean't from here on I had to guess how to put everything together. Believe me I can't overstate how rubbish this was, particularly when I got to having to mount the mirror without instructions.

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So I had to build the base first.

THE BASE

The turn table base was reasonably straight forward to build. The part that had me stumped for the longest time was the feet.

They come with the screws in them the wrong way around, obviously without instructions I figured they screwed into the base as they were delivered.

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I offered them up to the holes and there was simply nothing for the thread to bite into.

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I stratched my head for a bit and then realised I had to take the screws out and put them through the base and attach them back to the feet from the opposite side.... go figure...

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Once the feet are attached, all of them overhang the edge by 1-2mm, bit sloppy from Skywatcher but I can live with it.

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After this the turntable was pretty straightforward. You put in the teflon bush, put the giant bearing over the top of it and then bolt the whole lot together.

This is what the bearing looks like:

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Then came the bolts which allow the base to be taken apart. These consist of a bolt, a spacer and a rubber ring and again zero instruction. This was a royal pain in the bum to work out again.

I tried a few combinations and settled on the following one.

1. Put space onto bolt and then insert bolt into hole

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2. Put the rubber O-ring on the other side, where the thread is. this acts as a way to captivate the bolt so it doesn't fall off everytime you take it apart and you end up losing the spacers

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After these the rest of the base was pretty straight forward. Attach handles and teflon Alt bearings. the alt bearings had the same puzzle as the feet, you had to take the bolt out, it back through the base in the reverse configuration to how it was delivered.

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Base done:

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OTA

OTA in the box - box damage did nothing thankfully

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OTA out of the box

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quick inspection, one of the friction bearings on one side was misplaced. It appears to have moved in packaging, rather well stuck in the wrong place.

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After peeling it off I relocated it, it appears to have stuck in the correct place so I'm not worried.

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Noticed a small dent on the cell end of the scope. Bit disappointed about this but not really going to send it back over a tiny little dent.

MIRROR

Now this is where things go really hairy. The mirror is very well packed.

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It appeared to have rice paper on the mirror itself and was massively shrink wrapped. This was VERY difficult to get off without putting any pressure on the mirror/paper surface. I was incredibly concious of slowly peeling the shrink wrap off without letting the paper drag on the mirror surface. I believe I did this well but it was very intense and stressful. In my opinion this could have and should have been packed differently.

All else in the box was simple a bag containing the bolts, springs and washers to hold the mirror in place.

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I decided to load the OTA onto the base and then lower the mirror into the OTA onto the cell. this appeared to work. I then tilted the OTA with mirror to 45 degrees and slowly lifted each bolt from it's seating to put the springs in place and then put the washers and bolts on the outside.

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I noticed that the lock bolts are completely useless. I tightened the mirror/spring bolts up as tight as they could go and the lock bolts dont even touch the cell at all. They are literally useless, they should have been 5-8mm longer. I've left them in for now but the mirror is sitting on the spring bolts only which means it's not going to hold collimation at all. I'm going to need to think about this. Have I put it together correctly? This was done without instructions again and this seemed like the only sensible configuration - if the springs were not where I put them then the mirror would be sitting on OTA cell directly with no cushion.

I then went and got my 10" from the shed an stripped it's secondary thumbscrews for the 350p. I took a number of comparison photos for size.

250px next to a 350p

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Absolutely dwarfs the 10". Awesome :D

All in all, putting this scope together was incredibly stressful without instructions. But I ended up with a big grin on my face when it was all put together.

One thing I have noticed is that it does not come to focus on a TV aerial 200 feet away were my other scopes always have. It doesn't back focus far enough. I am hoping that this is not a problem with the scope and that it will find infinity focus no problem as infinity would require the focuser to be wound in, not further out. I did manage to get it to focus by stacking a 55mm and 35mm extension and winding the scope out about 5mm more.

Will have to wait till first light to see if this is a problem or not.

Edited by Stargazer_00
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Recommend you seal round the bare chipboard where the holes are 'over-countersunk' , damp winters nights will soon cause this to become a problem.

Using chipboard for something that is used outside is one of my main bugbears regarding SW , especially when there are motors and such-like involved , if or when the board swells in the damp it can play havoc.

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Congrats on the new Dob. :)

It does sound that something is wrong with the cell bolts to me, but not being familiar with the design of the cell I'm afraid I can't help. Hopefully someone more familiar with the design can.

The flextubes have a pretty good reputation for holding collimation from what most seem to say.

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Congrats on the new Dob. :)

It does sound that something is wrong with the cell bolts to me, but not being familiar with the design of the cell I'm afraid I can't help. Hopefully someone more familiar with the design can.

The flextubes have a pretty good reputation for holding collimation from what most seem to say.

You can see in the photo of the cell bolt, I have the cell bolt tight up to about half a turn short of it's maximum. The lock bolt is wound out about as far as I'd expect it to be after making contact with the cell to lock it. As you can see it isn't even visible in the back of it's thread assembly, let alone bridging the gap to the mirror part which itself has a further recess about half the thickness of that side. It's way too short. Fully tightened it bridges the gap and enter the recess, just, but does not make any contact.

Here is one of the whole cell end I forgot to load up. This was before I worked out what to do with the springs, washers and bolts. The springs are very very stiff, possibly the mirror needs to rest on them for a while to squash them and then they will tighten up further and the lock screws may become useful. I wouldn't expect they would design in for spring fatigue though, that can take a while.

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You can see screw holes all over the cell, I presume for after market fans to be added. Nothing came supplied to fill these holes. The mirror itself is a giant lump of glass with a throat on the bottom. It isn't just some slab of glass affair. More like a glass mushroom. You can see the bottom of the mushroom has a threaded end and this is screwed onto a cell. That all comes out the box like that. You drop it down the OTA onto the 3 parts of the OTA cell and then fix the springs, washers and bolts last.

Edited by Stargazer_00
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It's quite a nice design in my opinion. Not held in with clips over the face like the other smaller ones I've had. This one is mounted on that central part. It seems the entire glass mushroom was cast onto a metal threaded section on to which the ringed section is screwed.

I'll draw a cross section of it later so it makes more sense.

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The reason I thought there may be some packaging is the fact you said you needed spacers ta attain focus, if the primary sat further back.......

I may of course be totally wrong :D as said SW design is not something I'm familiar with. Hopefully someone with a big Flextube will let you know one way or another.

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here this might do it:

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The blue part is all cast glass apart from the bit where it joins the red part where there is embedded metal threading in the glass. I believe the glass was cast onto this section in production.

the threaded part goes into the red section. This is the white circular parts you can see There are 3 bolts fixed into this, tne main colimation bolts.

You drop this down the inside of the OTA onto the green part which is fixed to the tube. Aligning the fixed bolts on the red part to holes on the green part. you then fit a spring between the fixed bolt and the green bit and screw the collimation k n o b s to the other side and tighten up against the spring's tension. The lock bolts are there but too short to reach from green to red.

The mirror has nothing at all above it and due to it's shape it is actually about 3-4 inches up the tube from where all the bolting is going on.

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Oh there was ne absolute corcker too. Look at the specs on FLO

Focal length 1600mm aperture 355mm which gives F4.5

The actual scope has a sticker reading 1650mm 355mm so its actually F4.65 so you could say F4.6 or F4.7 really! Slower is better for me, so that's good!

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missed you post there jake. It collimated instantly. really easy :) I noticed the collimation moves as the scope goes from horizontal to vertical according to the laser. Only about 0.5mm so I will always collimate it at 45 degrees so it doesn't go out to much as it's moved. The forecast looks awful for days too :) I don't expect it to be great in the moon with all that aperture I expect it'll be more vulnerable to poor seeing too.

Edited by Stargazer_00
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Congrats, it's a lovely 'scope - I had one and sold it, too big and I didn't have the space to keep it or the willing assistant to help move it, but certainly miss the views.

WRONG INSTRUCTIONS! This mean't from here on I had to guess how to put everything together. Believe me I can't overstate how rubbish this was, particularly when I got to having to mount the mirror without instructions.

Can't believe they're still doing this. Mine had the wrong instructions, but was one of the first made so excusable. But, still?

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My 400P goto manual covered the mirror part. I think the manual I had is the same one here - any help?:

http://ca.skywatcher...01335568752.pdf

The mirror part was the scary bit for me :-o

Love the photos with the 10 in the background!

Thanks for those instructions, it's reassuring to know i got the base bolt configurations right.

Very amusing how it says nothing at all about the mirror and how to fit it!

Edited by Luke
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Aah! Now I see, cheers for clearing that up Luke. :)

I've never taken the time to really have a good look at the cell on these. I think I will now. It's an interesting idea. Certainly different than any scopes I've ever owned or made.

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Looks like i did it right then. Weird how the lock screws don't reach the mirror cell.

that manual instruction shows extra bolts on the 'end ring' sticking through (?) that aren't on mine. That threw me for a second.

Edited by Stargazer_00
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