FenlandPaul Posted June 27, 2016 Share Posted June 27, 2016 OK, so this is only half a review really as I've not been able to see a star since using this collimator for the first time. But I'll update on that side of the performance once the UK emerges from the current dose of cloud cover. I ordered a Hotech SCA laser collimator from First Light Optics, who had it in stock and it arrived 2 days later. I chose this collimator as I ahve always struggled with my Cheshire; not having arms like Mr Tickle and being of less-than-average intelligence, I found the collimation guides completely baffling in practice. I'm not sure I've ever really cracked it, and the propsect of trying successfully in the dark was just not realistic. So a conversation with someone from this forum led me to think a laser was the best option, vwith collimation then taking place at the primary-end rather than scooting between eyepiece and primary and getting all confused and frustrated. Please don't laugh at me... The Hotech seemed to get good reviews for its simplicity, the high level of out-of-the-box collimation, and the fact that it is self-centering. So I went for it even though there are plenty of much cheaper options around (and a handful of more expensive options). The Hotech comes in a rather nice, solid presentation case - the sort you might expect a nice pair of cufflinks or a fancy watch to arrive in. Come to think of it that would have to be one large pair of cufflinks. The battery is in the box separate to the collimator itself, presumably to ensure it doesn't leak or discharge in transit. That's just as well as the chances of finding one of these curious batteries at your local Poundland is minimal. I imagine it's an online-purchase job. The instructions that come with the collimator are really clearly laid out. Installing the collimator in the focusser was dead easy, and the integral compression rings really hold it fast. I wiggled the laser after it was clamped and the dot hardly budged at all on the primary. First of all you look (carefully!) down the tube and use the secondary collimation screws to get the red dot centered on the primary mirror, right in the centre of the ring that came on my primary mirror when I bought the scope. Not sure what you'd do if you didn't have a centre-dot on your primary. This was pleasantly easy. In fact, the Hotech comes with a red dot overlaid on which is a cross-hair, so when you have the dot centred in the primary "donut" sticker you can see 4 dots overlaying the donut, which is the crosshairs intersecting the donut. This is useful to show that you have it bang on centre. Once that's done, you head to the primary mirror and tweak collimation until you see the red dot and cross-hairs appear in the viewing window of the collimator. My scope was horrendously out of collimation as I recently had the mirror cell out to drill some holes in the tube, so initially I couldn't see a dot at all. After a while of experimenting I saw a whisper of one of the cross hairs, but I had to keep experimenting until I could see a very defined dot appear. Once that was visible, it was reasonably straightforward to get it centered. I was pleased at how easy the process is - much easier in my view than with a Cheshire, but I know there are people on this forum for whom using a cheshire is like riding a bike, and is second nature. I'm not one of those people. I can genuinely envisage using this every time I set up to check collimation, and this undoubtedly will improve the quality of my sessions. I'm looking forward to that. So I know the proof of the pudding will be in using this under the stars, but first signs are good and I'll post an update once I've got the scope out under the stars. Paul 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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