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