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Daniel-K

Sumerian Alkaid, the scope that never was.

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I thought Mike73 had been a bit quiet for a while.  I've missed his sketches.  Turns out he's not logged in to SGL for three months.  Anyone heard from him?  Hope he's ok...

James

Edited by JamesF
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Very good post.

Sometimes products do build up reputations on the net without any real evidence. I've read dozens of posts recommending Sumerian Dobs but not seen many actual reviews and this review serves as a bit of a wake up call. I'll give you an example which plays against myself. A national newspaper (for some people the most reputable in Britain) described the meals we offer as 'excellent.' The journalist who wrote this has neither visited us nor, to the best of my knowledge, spoken to anyone who has. Now I hope our meals are 'excellent' but that isn't the point. The point is that an unsupported opinion can pass into internet orthodoxy very easily.

Olly

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Very sorry to hear your experience, but wanted to add a thank you for your honest post to help others make informed decisions. It's what these forums are all about.

I'm hopefully close to ordering a premium dob, and this has been invaluable. I hope it is a once off issue. Quality control is so important: we place so much trust in people when purchasing remotely.

Best of luck - Niall

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Gutted reading this.  Thanks for writing it, it must have been difficult.  What an awful experience.  :embarrassed:

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Hi All

I have only just found this section of the forum.  Am glad I hadn't whilst I was waiting for my 16" Sumerian Alkaid!

I've had the opposite experience with my 'scope.  The only issue was dealing with the supplier of the optics - Orion in Stoke.

The scope arrived well packed, well made and assembled very easily, despite the outdated instructions.

The poles are substantial and the scope holds collimation and balance for a range of eyepieces from light weight 1 1/4" through to the 2" 31mm Nagler with a TeleVue Type II Paracorr.

First light was a couple of weeks back under dark, rain washed skies in the Elan Valley.  I, and my experienced astro colleagues have never had a 16" dob. perform that good before.  It was excellent and then it packed away into 'nothing' to go back in the car.

Michael is great to deal with and I am at a loss as to how the two experiences could be so different.  Maybe you were at the 'bleeding' edge of his development cycle  :(

Glad you have yourself sorted with another 16!!

Cheers

Paul

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Hi All

I have only just found this section of the forum.  Am glad I hadn't whilst I was waiting for my 16" Sumerian Alkaid!

I've had the opposite experience with my 'scope.  The only issue was dealing with the supplier of the optics - Orion in Stoke.

The scope arrived well packed, well made and assembled very easily, despite the outdated instructions.

The poles are substantial and the scope holds collimation and balance for a range of eyepieces from light weight 1 1/4" through to the 2" 31mm Nagler with a TeleVue Type II Paracorr.

First light was a couple of weeks back under dark, rain washed skies in the Elan Valley.  I, and my experienced astro colleagues have never had a 16" dob. perform that good before.  It was excellent and then it packed away into 'nothing' to go back in the car.

Michael is great to deal with and I am at a loss as to how the two experiences could be so different.  Maybe you were at the 'bleeding' edge of his development cycle   :(

Glad you have yourself sorted with another 16!!

Cheers

Paul

paul its nice to see that you got a good scope from Micheal yes he is a pleasure to deal with but i think i was just the 1% that got the duffer. i wanted this scope so bad for 2 years and finally to be in a situation where i could afford one was great just when it turned up it never met my expectations. how ever your only 40 mins away i wouldnt mind seeing yours in action sometime just to see what its like when its done properly if you dont mind that is.  

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Hi All

I have only just found this section of the forum.  Am glad I hadn't whilst I was waiting for my 16" Sumerian Alkaid!

I've had the opposite experience with my 'scope.  The only issue was dealing with the supplier of the optics - Orion in Stoke.

The scope arrived well packed, well made and assembled very easily, despite the outdated instructions.

The poles are substantial and the scope holds collimation and balance for a range of eyepieces from light weight 1 1/4" through to the 2" 31mm Nagler with a TeleVue Type II Paracorr.

First light was a couple of weeks back under dark, rain washed skies in the Elan Valley.  I, and my experienced astro colleagues have never had a 16" dob. perform that good before.  It was excellent and then it packed away into 'nothing' to go back in the car.

Michael is great to deal with and I am at a loss as to how the two experiences could be so different.  Maybe you were at the 'bleeding' edge of his development cycle  :(

Glad you have yourself sorted with another 16!!

Cheers

Paul

This is good news! I'm anxiously awaiting delivery of a Canopus so great to here some recent positive feedback.

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This is good news! I'm anxiously awaiting delivery of a Canopus so great to here some recent positive feedback.

Richard im sure all will be fine, as i said ive been spoilt by using excellent dobs crated by superior craftsmen. hope to see you at dobfest in febuary with you canopus :)

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Richard,

I get the impression your knees are knocking and I really hope you are happy with what you get. My scope would have to be from another planet to see through what is outside at the moment, just thicker gloom.

Hope it shows up soon, I don't know if you are in front or behind me in the queue.

Alan.

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Richard,

I get the impression your knees are knocking and I really hope you are happy with what you get. My scope would have to be from another planet to see through what is outside at the moment, just thicker gloom.

Hope it shows up soon, I don't know if you are in front or behind me in the queue.

Alan.

Nah not really. The best time to get something is just after a bad review, (as long as there's time to fix any faults). I think I'm ahead of you, ordered it 5/9/14?

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Richard,

Way in front I should get mine next Christmas then. I ordered mine a fair time ago but then the mirror had to go to Orion for coating, Micheal only got it around 15th November but I am not sure exactly when. It is not as if I could use it even if it were here, also I do do have other scopes so not like Dan who was scopeless for 6 months.

Alan.

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Alan, I made it quite clear to Michael I was happy to wait until it was thoroughly tested so the fact it's taking longer is a good sign and I'm quite relaxed about it at the moment.

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What I don't understand is how a small, custom telescope shop lets a scope out like the one shipped to Dan. Either he didn't check it himself or he OK'd the shipment regardless of its condition. Lets hope this serves as a "heads up" to Sumerian.

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Richard,

Way in front I should get mine next Christmas then. I ordered mine a fair time ago but then the mirror had to go to Orion for coating, Micheal only got it around 15th November but I am not sure exactly when. It is not as if I could use it even if it were here, also I do do have other scopes so not like Dan who was scopeless for 6 months.

Alan.

it will take around 6-8 weeks from then.  as i said Alan i was probably the 1% that got the duff. i hope so anyway cause that 18" JN mirror will be sweet as a nut in a truss dob

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Hi

Sure Dan.

To reassure anyone with a 16" Alkaid on order.

I've had a look at mine and can see a couple of design changes.  The holes for the poles down at the mirror are much, much further apart to prevent the splitting of the wood.  The safety clamps/mirror cover bolts are also in the gap rather than against the wood.  The wooden clamps are also all cut correctly.  The secondary damage could be during transport?  

The Canopus has been part of the Sumerian range for a few years so hopefully no problems there...

...regards

Paul

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I am telling myself I am carm and relaxed as Richard has just said he is, that's why we are writing about them every 5 mins.

Alan 

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Hi

Sure Dan.

To reassure anyone with a 16" Alkaid on order.

I've had a look at mine and can see a couple of design changes.  The holes for the poles down at the mirror are much, much further apart to prevent the splitting of the wood.  The safety clamps/mirror cover bolts are also in the gap rather than against the wood.  The wooden clamps are also all cut correctly.  The secondary damage could be during transport?  

The Canopus has been part of the Sumerian range for a few years so hopefully no problems there...

...regards

Paul

any chance of some pics to put everyone at ease, pics are always nice

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Paul,

Are you saying yours is a different design to the scope Dan was offered even though the name is the same, I mean we are talking very recent history here not years apart, as Mike said some shots would be great if you can find the time.

Alan

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Just a couple of changes that could be a direct result of the problems that Dan experienced.  Wider hole positioning and mirror safety/lid bolts.  The 16" is new to the range.

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that looks far neater than mine was !

Edited by Daniel-K

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By moving the poles further apart at the bottom this effects the triangulation on the trusses and would actually if anything induce more flex into the design. 

Cant see narrower poles helping with flex issues either. more likely to cause the opposite.

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Good account, Dan, what a shame it didn't work out for you though hopefully your change of direction will work out fab after the heartache.

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By moving the poles further apart at the bottom this effects the triangulation on the trusses and would actually if anything induce more flex into the design. 

Cant see narrower poles helping with flex issues either. more likely to cause the opposite.

Hi All

it is Friday afternoon, time for a few ramblings on the Sumerian Alkaid?

I cannot comment on the flex experienced by Dan.

The 'scope that I have appears rigid enough to hold a decent collimation with all my EPs including the 31 Nag and TV Paracorr combination.  Movements are precise and vibration damping was not an issue at x160 (excellent views of Stephan's Quintet and NGC 891).  I haven't gone to higher magnifications yet.

It is a lightweight and extremely portable scope and does (will) not have that truly solid/rigid feel of the heavy weight dobs.

An equivalent is the Obsession 15" UC.  The cost of this, with box and optional(!!) secondary dew heater this is ~ $5500 => £5500 after shipping, VAT, duty etc.  This is about £2000 more for a 'scope of 1" less aperture.

BTW, the mirror spec. I have is from Orion Optics and the Zygo gives 0.984 Strehl (Obsession guarantee >0.9).

I sincerely hope that there are more, positive experiences of Sumerian being recounted in the near future  :)

This maybe the end of my Friday ramblings...or not.

Cheers

Paul 

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