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StellaLyra Dobsonian Series - Owners thread


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Would seem sensible to have everything about this series of scopes together so others have an source of information.

For a while i have been considering another scope to complement my Tak and C9.25. A dob for aperture really was the only choice. I did however want a solid tube not too easy to find as these were appearing to be a bit out of fashion above 10" currently, it was looking like i either went to a supplier abroad or tried something like Orion Optics or a second hand option, not easy if you cant collect a dob.

So Flo's announcement that they were now supplying their own version of the GSO dobs was extremely good timing, I was not hanging about too long either due to the issues with supply chains currently.

The big box and its smaller sibling arrived 22 hours after ordering which is great service ūüĎć

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Just the usual signs of the bands digging in when lifting the OTA, and of course its double boxed in reassuringly thick cardboard

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The OTA is supported in polystyrene blocks with the ancillaries in recesses to protect them

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My last dob a 200P arrived with the poly end blocks broken (scope was ok), not the case this time when i removed them, all looking good

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Time to get the OTA out of the box and it is quite awkward, not so much the weight as the sheer size of it. Definitely be having a hunt on ye olde WDS. Paintwork is very nice although the usual caveat is going to apply with black tubes always showing up fingerprints worse.

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At this point it started to rain so the tube was quickly moved into a shed, i was also getting close to starting time for work so further exploration had to be postponed

The initial impressions are very good, i am very happy man its an impressive looking scope even if i am a touch daunted by the overall size of the big beastie. This should not be a problem though as this will only ever be moved a couple of metres in and out of its shed. 

Tomorrow i will update this thread once i get the base built and scope mounted ūüĎć

Edited by omo
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  • omo changed the title to StellaLyra Dobsonian Series - Owners thread

Perhaps this thread could be widened to include GSO-made dobsonian scopes ?

There are quite a few of those around aleady so the thread might have some more variety in it ?

Just a thought !

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It sure looks like a GSO made Dob.  These have been branded as Zhumell at first and later as Apertura, along with Orion's recent SkyLine, here in the US, Revelation in UK, and Delta Optical in Poland.  Anyone know of other brandings?

I'm always concerned about the altitude bearings based on the number of them up for sale on CN classifieds.  Either they mounted the tube with rings to a EQ mount or they mounted their own bearings (probably larger) and made a new Dob base to match.  I'd love to see GSO offer a JOC style Dob altitude bearing as on the ES and Bresser Dobs.

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Having the TS Optics deluxe 10", which looks identical to the FLO spec from 8" upward (except with a white tube and straight through finder) I have to say I find the altitude bearing very smooth and easy to adjust position and change friction level. The azimuth adjustment is a little sticky to start off whenever it has sat for more than a few minutes (though then smooth once it's moving), which can be annoying at high magnification.

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Just to confirm this is the 12" scope

i got a bit distracted yesterday with another pier mounting adaptor for the Planet. I did get the base built last night though.

As per the OTA, the contents of the box are well protected

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Small box contains the eyepiece holder which i will not fit. There is not a lot to it, if you have built one before you'll work it out easily. There are no instructions in the box but these are on Flo's site which those new to the hobby may find useful:  https://www.firstlightoptics.com/user/manuals/stellalyra_8_10_12_dobsonian_manual.pdf

You need a cross head screwdriver for fitting the handle, not many fixings to put it together

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I really like the azimuth having the bearing much better than my previous 200p (quite a few things are in my opinion)

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The most complex part of the construction would be the screw to hold the top and bottom base together

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With the base is complete I felt it sitting last night in the living room, it needs a duster applied.

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I'm going off on a tangent now but have you ever wondered how some objects can attract people and even trigger there imaginations? I am not meaning the tube either ūü§Ē

I moved the base closer to the chair this morning as it was less in the way when my younger sister visited. Gail never had much interest in science, fiction or otherwise. Anyway I showed her the scope outside but it was the base that got her, quite taken she was moving it back and forward, next thing she clambers into the chair and has her feet on the base still toing and froing stating its quite therapeutic. What she then did was not so much for me.

She stands up¬† - on the base (so thats stress tested to 55ish kg then) then crouches down and is wiggling her bum trying to keep the base rotating a bit. This is priceless if i had a camera I would have, but had i asked her to wait, she would have moved quick enough to have Einstein reeling in confusion. She then astounds me "They used to sit like this in the Daleks didn't they EXTERMINATE EXTERMINATE"¬† ūü§£

55 years young, she really did hide behind the settee when Jon Pertwee was the Doctor.

Back to the scope and you have a range of adjustment to help with balancing the scope depending on your added bits and bobs, you do have to lift the tube out to accomplish this. Its graduated so you can keep the scope in balance on both sides. Will have to experiment with this further. You can use the same 4mm allen key that came with the scope to tighten the screws to the mount block / tension adjusters - just remember to slacken the knobs before you lift the scope into the mount.

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A complete scope :) Resplendent in black

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The focuser is very smooth, the screw nearest to the tube on its body is to lock it, the outer screw allows you to adjust the focusers tension, it has a brass compression ring on both 2" and 1.24" fittings so gouging of eyepiece barrels.

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The finder shoe is the first irritation, it has a grub screw fitted, easily removed but why not just give it a second thumbscrew? I have a Baader finder shoe that will replace this once i find it.

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Like the large screws for collimating and the springs on said screws. Would like to know if the fans on the base actually have an effect in helping cool the tube

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Like the these, less chance of dropping a screwdriver compared to an allen key

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Moving the scope proved to be interesting has to be done in two parts, a bit of a bear hug and a penguin shuffle for the OTA is required so as @Mark at Beaufort has done a few handles will be required.

On the subject of handles. Why do the manufacturers always put one on the front of the dob base - as soon as you pick it up its likely to drag the back edge on the ground, would one on each side not make a bit of sense?

One last pic before i go out to have a check on collimation having rediscoved the hotech and cap. I have not even got to looking at the ancillaries. Its very exciting - looking like i might get first light  later this evening, usually a new scope means i have to wait weeks

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1 hour ago, omo said:

Moving the scope proved to be interesting has to be done in two parts, a bit of a bear hug and a penguin shuffle for the OTA is required so as @Mark at Beaufort has done a few handles will be required.

With the Zhummel 12‚ÄĚ I bought for our club, I just used to use the two tensioning handles to pick it up which worked well.

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23 minutes ago, Stu said:

With the Zhummel 12‚ÄĚ I bought for our club, I just used to use the two tensioning handles to pick it up which worked well.

Yes i have been using the handles but would like something a bit higher up the tube to save bending quite as low, would also help getting it in and out of its small shed, the roof is too low to allow sitting the OTA in the base. Also noticed as you said in another thread that you want to have the alloy mount blocks at the right position before lowering into the base ūüĎć

8 minutes ago, Mr Spock said:

Really good scope for the money.

Looking down the tube, I'd say it would benefit from some flocking.

Think my camera auto settings are making this worse, its newish to me. Would be an interesting project, i thought about it with the 200p and wimped out and used blackboard paint instead of material.

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I decided to flock my 10", which looked a similar finish inside - on moonlit nights there was a lot of glare evident reflecting from the side of the tube if pointing within 20-30 degrees of the moon. It was a good improvement (for me at least).

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With my 12 inch I flocked a section of the upper tube wall opposite the focuser / behind the secondary and also about 18 inches of the bottom end of the tube immediately above the primary mirror.

I also find using a light shield at the top end of the scope important in keeping unwanted light off the secondary and the inward end of the focuser when I'm using the scope at home where there are a few stray light issues.

NB: Mine is not a GSO, sorry :embarassed:

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Edited by John
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I would also flock the internal wall, at least the area opposite to the focuser.

I assume the focal ratio is F5. At some point you might want to replace those Philips screws for collimating the secondary with hand knobs, so that the process becomes tool free.

Regarding the fan at the back of the primary mirror, well, to me it is required for cooling the mirror faster and keeping it close to the ambient temperature. However, I'm in the group of less than 1% of SGL members thinking so.. 

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Will be following this, have been looking at Dobsonians for a little while to complement my little 90mm frac and these look like they have some good standard bits (crayford etc) compared to the other options SW 200P / 8" Bresser. 

I keep wondering how portable they are (as I keep eyeing the 10" as well as the 8"), I don't have a long walk from the garage to the garden (out the garage through two doors) but due to the building angles etc I do have to move my scope around alot during the night which is easy with the light 90mm so any opinions on 8" vs 10" in regards be able to reposition without giving oneself a hernia would be appreciated before I commit many of the pennies in pursuit of a big mirror :D

Edited by wibblefish
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On 14/08/2021 at 10:06, John said:

With my 12 inch I flocked a section of the upper tube wall opposite the focuser / behind the secondary and also about 18 inches of the bottom end of the tube immediately above the primary mirror.

I also find using a light shield at the top end of the scope important in keeping unwanted light off the secondary and the inward end of the focuser when I'm using the scope at home where there are a few stray light issues.

NB: Mine is not a GSO, sorry :embarassed:

oo12march20.JPG.386c3120cf539d62230fb5f1793ad031.JPG

 

Totally love that scope John, Wish I could get a dew/light shield like that one for my dob.

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Photographing a black telescope interior using a camera set to Auto causes over exposure. This is why the interior in omo's photo looks grey (omo says this himself in his post). In reality the interior is darker. 

Having said that, I think any Dobsonian telescope will benefit a little if flocking is applied opposite the focuser and around the mirror (bottom of the tube). 

HTH, 

Steve 

 

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22 hours ago, wibblefish said:

I keep wondering how portable they are (as I keep eyeing the 10" as well as the 8"), 

The 10" is portable enough for me (I carry it through the house from garage to the back garden). The base is lighter but more awkward with the larger base diameter than the OTA and the single handle. It's easy enough to pick up the tube by the altitude bearings and the top of the tube rests against my shoulder. If you are moving it around outside, to do more than udge it a foot or so I'd still want to split the two as you can't really pick the two parts up together, in which case you'll want something soft to put the OTA down on while you move the base.

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1 hour ago, chrispj said:

The 10" is portable enough for me (I carry it through the house from garage to the back garden). The base is lighter but more awkward with the larger base diameter than the OTA and the single handle. It's easy enough to pick up the tube by the altitude bearings and the top of the tube rests against my shoulder. If you are moving it around outside, to do more than udge it a foot or so I'd still want to split the two as you can't really pick the two parts up together, in which case you'll want something soft to put the OTA down on while you move the base.

Good to know, thanks! Sadly with all the weird angles from neighboring buildings and streetlights in my garden it requires me to shift positions by a few meters if I need to move to what I want to observe though I guess I could do better planning and move less during the session! Food for thought certainly. 

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1 hour ago, wibblefish said:

Good to know, thanks! Sadly with all the weird angles from neighboring buildings and streetlights in my garden it requires me to shift positions by a few meters if I need to move to what I want to observe though I guess I could do better planning and move less during the session! Food for thought certainly. 

I need to move my 12 inch dob a small distance here and there around the garden during a session.

Fortunately my current dob weighs around the same as a 10 inch so that's not too much of a problem - I can move it a short distance in one piece.

My old Meade Lightbridge 12 inch was much heavier and had to be moved, even short distances, in two parts.

These little things can make quite a difference to the practicalities of using these medium-larger scopes.

 

Edited by John
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5 hours ago, wibblefish said:

Good to know, thanks! Sadly with all the weird angles from neighboring buildings and streetlights in my garden it requires me to shift positions by a few meters if I need to move to what I want to observe though I guess I could do better planning and move less during the session! Food for thought certainly. 

You could make a dolly/trolley/buggy/cart for it with jacks at the corners.  You'd wheel it into position, and then drop the jacks to raise it off the wheels.  To move it, simply raise the jacks and wheel it to another location and drop the jacks again.  The jacks can even be used to help level the base on uneven terrain.

Something along the lines of this, but with a Dob platform:

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