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alanjgreen

2" Eyepiece Heater Tapes - are they all the same?

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This is a quick review of the initial impressions of my just received W&W Astro 20cm large 2" eyepiece heater tape.

My existing Astrozap 2" eyepiece heater tape failed while in use on Thursday morning :(. Luckily I use a fused heater system so only this was taken out and all other electrics were unaffected. The tape was two years old (so I had decent but not great service from it). It failed at the single most weak point in the wiring (obvious really), where it exits from the back of the tape you can now see exposed copper wire.

Yesterday, I scoured the market and found this W&W Astro heater tape that has an alternative route for the wiring as it exits the heater tape (removing my perceived weakness from the previous tape). The wire comes out at 90 degrees to the tape rather than straight out the back. Here are some pictures

First, lets compare the two eyepiece heater tapes side by side...

tape1.jpg.f7a587b131958f6ce61c7ba74e087c76.jpg

Pay attention to where the wire exits the tape, particularly the angle. When the Astrozap tape is wrapped on a 2" eyepiece (smaller than the Ethos21) then it overlaps as you wrap it around and this puts pressure on the tape/wire joint at the back (this is where the wire has eventually broken)

 

tape2.jpg.70ec6c2c3022d563498a586e2596117d.jpg

Second, look at the wire thickness. The W&W Astro uses a thicker wire that feels more flexible. We will see...

Here is the new tape fitted on an Ethos21.  The new tape is slightly shorter than the Astrozap. The W&W Astro large 2" eyepiece tape is 20cm. (They do two versions, a 15cm and a 20cm, make sure you get the right one!)

Both tapes fit the Ethos21 (my biggest EP) but the heating element does not quite make it all around, the velcro tab however does easily pass over to stick to the other side (you can see the gap if you look carefully at the first photo below).

tape3.jpg.5988f25ed3c9e8b18ab07467d2d9f114.jpgtape4.jpg.451a6d2396d754fd46c13992c62857b4.jpg

 

Hopefully, this new exit angle of the tape and lack of overlap (of the wire) on smaller EPs (than the Ethos21) will result in a longer life for this tape...

I just wanted to tell my story and highlight the area that I see as a problem with the Astrozap 2" eyepiece heater tape.

Thanks,

Alan

Here is a link to the W&W Astro heater tape...

https://dewheater.com/?product=ww-astro-dew-heater-20-cm-for-for-large-2-eyepiece-or-finderscope

 

Edited by alanjgreen
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And finally, here is my REPAIRED Astrozap 2" eyepiece heater tape after I rewired and restiched it (copying the wire route from the W&W Astro version). All tested and working fine :)

Spot the difference?

tape5.jpg.c52f005976c2019c983a71a81b9a0309.jpg

And now I have a SPARE tape in case of any future failure!

Alan

Edited by alanjgreen
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I always thought the same, poor design that you have improved :)

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The wiring is dead simple inside the Astrozap tape. There is a white wire and a load of strands of bare copper (that needs to be twisted to make the other wire). This cheap cable is another reason for the failure. If they had used 2 core cable then the break in one wire would not have shorted to an "insulated" second wire (at least for a few more months). :BangHead:

The two wires are secured to the heat element by two "crocodile clamp" type connectors which are easily prized open to release and re-connect the wires.

The original configuration used some sort of "rubbery tape" to cover the connections & make a water seal at the open end. I used a few wrappings of Gorilla tape (my favourite accessory) to protect the connections and help keep and dampness off them :).

I even did the stitching myself (I was once in the cubs you know!), which is why it looks a bit crap. But never mind.

Edited by alanjgreen
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Alan,

My Kendrick 2 inch strap wire broke ! strange thing is it was atached to the telescope as Kendrick recommended, so there was no stress on the wire ?

Not good !

Regards,

Jack

Essex UK

20171218_161304.jpg

Edited by Jack Martin

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I picked up a set of 4 W&W Astro straps last week. They are by far the best ones i have come across in my limited astro experience. Bold statement, yes! but the build and materials speak for themselves.

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Thanks Alan for the tip.

I also got some w&w straps last week. Great service and the straps do appear more sturdy than my astrozap ones.

Edited by GavStar

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