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I used to get newsletters from Kieran (R.I.P) at SCS astro, and I believe he was one of the first UK retailers to import and sell DayStar Quark units; and also the first to stop dealing with Daystar due to Q.C issues ( reading between the lines he was probably sick and tired of sending defective units back to the States, and dealing with frustrated customers). He issued a damning report in one of his latter newsletters regarding his decision for stopping selling the units, (not long before retirement). Hopefully Q.C issues have now been resolved; although I've noticed one or two of the previous UK stockists have DayStar products in less prominent places on their websites.

I'm sure that having the backing of a major UK astro retailer like FLO, would bring peace of mind to prospective buyers.

 

pc387

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The one which I have now which has passed Daystar QC has very little tuning ability, turning the tuner fully from one end to the other a click at a time and waiting for the LED to go green has hardly any effect on the view.

If / when I purchase a new one from FLO I shall be giving this one to the first enquirer :grin:

Dave

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I know someone that could have a play with it Dave (not me, I have one as you know!).

He has a 5" f7 frac so would be very interested.

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OK Jon he can have first refusal.

Dave

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Posted (edited)

I’m about to send one back to the US for repairs under warranty. The email response was swift and acknowledged they’ve seen a small number with the problem I have and accepted straight away that it is a manufacturing defect so not unhappy with them. Now if I could deal with service and repair through FLO! 👍

Edited by haitch
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I think the biggest issue here is that everyone mentions they would be happy for FLO to sell them because of their returns policy etc. but it is whether FLO wants to run the risk of the associated costs and damage to reputation should the QC issues not be fully resolved.

Tricky one to call I reckon because if I was a retailer I'd probably be a little nervous.

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9 hours ago, Tim said:

Scary how pretty much everything has gone up the last couple of years, more than inflation and without correlating pay rises in many sectors. One thing for sure though, FLO will offer the best prices that they are able to.

That’s exchange rates for you Tim! :( 

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Posted (edited)

From the manufacturer's point of view I'd have thought that having a trained and licensed service and repair agent in the UK, or at least in Europe, would make a lot of sense. Transatlantic returns are slow and irksome, sometimes falling foul of obscure customs requirements. QSI got wise to this, if I remember.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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The Quark and other Daystar Ha instruments use mica chips as the Ha band pass element. Their operating performance is dependent on their temperature, hence the need for powered, adjustable heating. From what I understand from other forums, the manufacturer has no control over the quality of the mica and the quality only becomes evident on test. The goal is to obtain research quality chips, those that perform to that level are so earmarked. Those that fall short are used in Quarks or if too far off spec, binned. The customer problem is deciding whether or not to chance getting a marginally failed research grade or one that scraped past binning.  :icon_biggrin:

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10 hours ago, haitch said:

I’m about to send one back to the US for repairs under warranty. The email response was swift and acknowledged they’ve seen a small number with the problem I have and accepted straight away that it is a manufacturing defect so not unhappy with them.

It's just another indication of poor QC control, surely none should leave the factory with a problem if they were tested properly.

Let's hope they fix it at the first attempt, there was no problem with their customer liaison, communication via email and phone was OK but promises of prompt fixes did not translate through to  the actual folk doing the fixing who appeared to want to palm customers of with any old bit of tat  then swear blind it worked when they tested it and must have somehow gone wrong on the journey back to the UK but send it back and they'd have another stab at fixing it.

The price has risen considerably ahead of inflation since they were introduced and not just in the UK so not caused by the exchange rates, hopefully it is caused by better quality control.

Dave

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As with a number of products across the world, manufacturing defects that "should not have left the factory" sadly are mainly due to poor QA at the supply chain manufacturer, not the owning company.

I doubt Daystar manufacture these things themselves, probably in China, but it still doesn't excuse it.

It does appear to be 'on the limit' in terms of design, but hey, I bought one as I couldn't afford / justify a Lunt or PST.

They even state that they can't cherry pick 'the best' - http://www.daystarfilters.com/Quark/QuarkUniformity.shtml

Due to production processes and scarcity considerations, uniformity above specified SE grade cannot be guaranteed in a production QUARK.  Therefore, hand selection of "honey" or "extra good" QUARKS is also not possible. All filters are tested prior to shipping both spectroscopically and visually to meet or exceed the SE grade qualification standard.

Those who require true PE grade uniformity should consider the original Daystar Quantum PE line of filters for their application. Note that SE grade filters do not qualify as warranty repairs to upgrade to PE grade filters.

Any QUARK may be returned to DayStar for inspection of uniformity standards. If the filter does not pass SE grade uniformity standards, that filter will be replaced under warranty.

But to get back to FLO's original question, should they stock them - if it were me, I would do a real world test on small bataches, with an agreement to the importer / supplier that any that fail the test (with proof) can be returned.

This may put a small price on each item (ala Es Reid checks) but is it worth it? Probably.

Another supplier did the same thing (test each one) I believe, as the used one I bought came with the letter saying so.

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They are I believe all manufactured "in house"

The problems arise because their QC / QA is not consistent.

The Quark now in my possession which has according to Daystar passed their minimum standard is incapable of tuning through the expected range, I consider this to be a basic flaw and not to be fobbed off with " oh well it passed our test so it must be all right "

I frankly wonder whether they in fact test them at all as on one returned to me the LED light didn't even turn green, it hardly needed laboratory testing to reveal this.

After six months of back and forth I decided life's too short and gave up trying to get it fixed, it does give nice views / images of proms and average surface views but can't tune to filaments end.

On the subject of research grade etalons, a member of this forum has one of the expensive $3000 / $4000 versions and has had endless problems with it and endless problems getting it fixed.

Dave

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If I was the manufacturer I'd raise the price and reduce the acceptance spectrum. At the moment a good Quark in good hands is an exceptional piece of equipment at the price but disappointing if proved to be the lower end of the scale. If Takahashi (that word again!) offered very good telescopes but some obviously better than others I don't think they would have the same reputation as they currently do.  :icon_biggrin:

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51 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

If Takahashi (that word again!) offered very good telescopes but some obviously better than others I don't think they would have the same reputation as they currently do. 

Seem to remember some baby Q problems and Tak' not being any more helpful than Daystar :)

Dave

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Thank-you for your thoughts and comments :smile: 

Clearly Daystar have had QC issues in the past so I don’t regret delaying our involvement. But I am more confident today. 

I have been speaking with Jen at Daystar who says their QC has improved over the years. They were required to increase their production capacity almost 2 years ago to meet demand for the lunar eclipse, in doing so they made improvements to their manufacturing processes and QC. They are now able to ship to a higher grade with more yield. Jen says their "final eyeball on-sun test quality grading (after all other tests are passed) is ["pass" / * / ** / *** / **** and "hot damn"]. We only ship *** units and higher as Quarks. Pass, * and ** crystals are destroyed."

Quarks are built to Daystar's SE grade so are accurate to +/- 0.5Å (1/26,000 wave) or less in CWL variation over any 12mm area to the next. (They also offer a higher PE grade accurate to +/- 0.05Å (1/260,000 wave) or less variation. No other manufacturer offers PE grade but accuracy that high is expensive at around $16k!). 

Having read the comments posted so far, it sounds like the bandwidth variation within Daystar’s SE grade (*** / **** and “hot damn”) is causing concern. Naturally everyone wants the ‘best’ but what is best? For visual use (and older eyes) a slightly wider bandwidth is arguably better because it provides a brighter view and shows more of the prominence. Imagers of course will favour the narrowest bandwidth for higher contrast. So if two people buy a Quark, compare them and notice a difference, is one of them 'faulty'?

Anyhow, I think we can agree ‘any’ SE grade Quark will outperform any similarly priced product. And I believe Jen when she says “We are 100% confident in our QC” so FLO will stock Quark and will fully support it so you can buy with confidence. 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

HTH, 

Steve 

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10 hours ago, Peter Drew said:

If I was the manufacturer I'd raise the price and reduce the acceptance spectrum. 

FWIW, speaking as a retailer, I like and agree with Peter's suggestion (though it would increase the cost of entry). But that isn't how Daystar work so we will focus instead on managing expectations. 

Steve 

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6 minutes ago, FLO said:

FWIW, speaking as a retailer, I like and agree with Peter's suggestion (though it would increase the cost of entry). But that isn't how Daystar work so we will focus instead on managing expectations. 

Steve 

Perhaps (as a differentiator) you could test each unit before shipping and return any suspect ones before they reach your customers? I'm sure those who buy from you would be happy to know they were not expected to be part of the QC process :wink: 

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5 minutes ago, DRT said:

Perhaps (as a differentiator) you could test each unit before shipping and return any suspect ones before they reach your customers? I'm sure those who buy from you would be happy to know they were not expected to be part of the QC process :wink: 

This is not something that Daystar will agree to witness other dealers they have fallen out with.

You have CEO Miz J Winter who does a good ostrich impression, the inept "service" dep't and stuck between them the lovely Miss Tiffany Messerschmitt trying to keep the peace with grumpy clients :grin:

Dave

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Posted (edited)

@FLO

I just happen to be a QA manager for a very large global company and I will be more than willing to test them all for you 😀 I also have a very good and reliable Quark (that incidently is up for sale) and I have also owned a Lunt 60mm thus I am aware of the differences.

I am sure with your expetional customer service these units will fly off your shelves .... the only problem I can see for you is your Lunts will become a very slow moving product 😀 FLO are also correct to address people’s expectations.However, the views can be expetional when the weather plays ball.

Edited by Pig

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13 minutes ago, Pig said:

 

the only problem I can see for you is your Lunts will become a very slow moving product

I own a Quark and a Lunt 50Ha (purchased from FLO when first released).

I have often asked myself whether or not I need both and the answer has always been a definite "YES" :grin: 

This is not a flippant reply - these two devices show very different views of the solar disk and very often our poor skies here in the UK result in better views through the Lunt than through the Quark. When the seeing and the activity are both excellent the Quark is hard to beat, but sometimes less is more :wink: 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, DRT said:

I own a Quark and a Lunt 50Ha (purchased from FLO when first released).

I have often asked myself whether or not I need both and the answer has always been a definite "YES" :grin: 

This is not a flippant reply - these two devices show very different views of the solar disk and very often our poor skies here in the UK result in better views through the Lunt than through the Quark. When the seeing and the activity are both excellent the Quark is hard to beat, but sometimes less is more :wink: 

 

 

The Lunts are lovely looking and after all they  are part of the refractor family, so credit where credit is due 😀 I would never associate flippant with you Derek.... you are a top bloke 🔭

Edited by Pig
I typed Lunt not blunt... although it does kind of fit 😀
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May I suggest a price for the Quarks. Including all extras..... I think somewhere around the 1300 pound mark. 

Well, least then, I'd feel better about the price I paid. 

Lol

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Posted (edited)

Just to strike a balance, PST etalons are also very variable, I don't know what their policy is regarding minimum performance.

Dave

Edited by Davey-T

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