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Skyliner 250PX Flex Tube Auto Tracking Dobsonian


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Anybody got one of these and what are your thoughts on the quality of this scope. I have heard good reports but it would be nice to get first hand reports from people who own this telescope. I would like to own a largish dobsonian and this looks like a good scope. Steve

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I have one and can highly recommend it. Some of the best optics you'll find in a mass produced dob. You would have to move up to one of the premium dobs to get better optics :D£££££ ! The 10" is a good "compromise" size, not too big to move around but enough aperture for DSO's (also great at lunar / planetary). The auto tracking works very well indeed and is very simple and quick to set up. Useful review here of the 12" version .

http://www.opticalvision.co.uk/documents/93.pdf

Here's my 10" Auto dob which I call the "Mini Dob" (swapped flextube OTA for a solid tube OTA) next to my 14" dob. I have added GOTO to my 10" Auto by adding the SynScan hand control, but please note that this upgrade is not authorised by SkyWatcher yet as they are apparently making a few tweaks to the hand control firmware before officially releasing the GOTO upgrade although I find the GOTO works just fine now with no problems, but as it's not authorised yet it's a strictly at your own risk upgrade at the moment. Lots of discussion on various forums about the delay and as to when and if it will actually be released.

John

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The two dobs compliment each other very well. The 10" seems like a bit of a "grab-n-go" scope in comparison to the 14". I am impressed by how good the 10" SkyWatcher dob is for the money. It delivers very nice views even when the seeing isn't that good and cools down very quickly.

However when the seeing is good the OO 14" with it's 99 Strehl mirror comes out, and it's in a different league entirely. I'm making some alterations to the base at the moment to lighten it up a bit and I'm about to re-install the ServoCAT system.

John

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Castors don't come with the scope, you do have to install your own. However it's a very simple job. On the Flextube base there's a wide gap between the baseboard and the groundboard so you don't have to disasemble anything to fasten the castors in place.

Remove the three rubber feet from the bottom of the groundboard and drill out the small holes to 10 or 11mm. You will probably have to shorten the 10mm dia. bolts that hold the castors in place down to the correct length so that they just go through the groundboard enough to engage the nuts properly. You'll have to buy the three 10mm bolts seperately. Except for the time it takes to shorten the bolts it's about a five minute job to fit the castors.

I prefer the twin wheel locking type castors as they are easier to roll about than a single wheel type as you have twice the ground contact area and hence only half the weight on each castor. Also they seem to be more stable than a single wheel type.

Here's where I got mine from:

http://www.bearingboys.co.uk/CDTWBHB75GRT_Twin_wheel_castor-1040-p

John

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John, I am extremely impressed with your two telescopes. I have a 8" Schmidt Cassegrain but would like something a little larger when the sky is darker. I live on the outskirts of London but surrounded by forest land and can manage to see quite a few faint fuzzies. Would it be worth my while in buying one of these? Steve.

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John, I am extremely impressed with your two telescopes. I have a 8" Schmidt Cassegrain but would like something a little larger when the sky is darker. I live on the outskirts of London but surrounded by forest land and can manage to see quite a few faint fuzzies. Would it be worth my while in buying one of these? Steve.

Hi

The 10" dob would indeed show you more of the fainter fuzzies, but in your case I'd go with the 12" dob as it will show a lot more than the 10" and it's still not too big to move around, although quite a bit heavier than the 10". It all depends on if your budget and just how important portability is.

As I already had a 14" dob there was no point in getting a 12" dob.

John

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Great pair of dobs there John. At the risk of hi-jacking the thread, how do the motors on the skyliner drive the axis,

John

The drive units with their encoders are built into the base unit and the base comes pre-assembled. The OTA just lifts off with the removal of one thumb screw. The auto dob base is different to the standard base as it has specially machined cut-outs to mount the drive units so you couldn't fit the drive system to a standard base. It works in the same way as the SupaTrak mount and does track very well and only takes a minute or two to set up.

The first photo shows the Alt drive where the OTA drops into it and and the matching mounting plate on the OTA engages the drive. The second photo shows the Az drive unit.

John

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Castors don't come with the scope, you do have to install your own. However it's a very simple job. On the Flextube base there's a wide gap between the baseboard and the groundboard so you don't have to disasemble anything to fasten the castors in place.

Remove the three rubber feet from the bottom of the groundboard and drill out the small holes to 10 or 11mm. You will probably have to shorten the 10mm dia. bolts that hold the castors in place down to the correct length so that they just go through the groundboard enough to engage the nuts properly. You'll have to buy the three 10mm bolts seperately. Except for the time it takes to shorten the bolts it's about a five minute job to fit the castors.

I prefer the twin wheel locking type castors as they are easier to roll about than a single wheel type as you have twice the ground contact area and hence only half the weight on each castor. Also they seem to be more stable than a single wheel type.

Here's where I got mine from:

http://www.bearingboys.co.uk/CDTWBHB75GRT_Twin_wheel_castor-1040-p

John

thanks for the info. buy 3 of those wheel jobbies and some 10mm "bolts" and i'm good to go?

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Yes, you will just need 3 of the M10 bolts, washers and nuts to go with the castors. If you can't find some bolts localy that will do here's some stainless ones on eBay that will do or try to see if you can find something cheaper. I think that you will have to shorten the bolts slightly for clearance. I prefer the stainless as they will be easy to remove later on if you want to. With the Allen cap bolts you may have to get hold of or borrow a hex key large enough to fit.

M10 x 40 Bolts

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/M10-X-40-STAINLESS-ALLEN-CAP-HEAD-BOLTS-6-PACK-freepost_W0QQitemZ160288753623QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_DIY_Material_Nails_Fixing_MJ?hash=item2551f447d7

M10 Washers

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/STAINLESS-WASHERS-M10-FREE-P-P-30-pack-20mm-outside-dia_W0QQitemZ350120994073QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_DIY_Material_Nails_Fixing_MJ?hash=item5184d66519

M10 Nuts

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/M10-STAINLESS-NYLOC-NUTS-A4-HIGH-GRADE-MARINE-10-PACK_W0QQitemZ150304015164QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_DIY_Material_Nails_Fixing_MJ?hash=item22fed1433c

John

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Re: the above post.......I'm assuming that the castors are to fit an SkyWatcher Auto dob so I recommended the Allen head bolts. If they're to fit a regular SkyWatcher dob then you'll want countersunk head bolts for clearance and will have to remove the groundboard and fit the bolts from the top.

John

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  • 8 months later...
I have one and can highly recommend it. Some of the best optics you'll find in a mass produced dob. You would have to move up to one of the premium dobs to get better optics :)£££££ ! The 10" is a good "compromise" size, not too big to move around but enough aperture for DSO's (also great at lunar / planetary). The auto tracking works very well indeed and is very simple and quick to set up. Useful review here of the 12" version .

http://www.opticalvision.co.uk/documents/93.pdf

Here's my 10" Auto dob which I call the "Mini Dob" (swapped flextube OTA for a solid tube OTA) next to my 14" dob. I have added GOTO to my 10" Auto by adding the SynScan hand control, but please note that this upgrade is not authorised by SkyWatcher yet as they are apparently making a few tweaks to the hand control firmware before officially releasing the GOTO upgrade although I find the GOTO works just fine now with no problems, but as it's not authorised yet it's a strictly at your own risk upgrade at the moment. Lots of discussion on various forums about the delay and as to when and if it will actually be released.

John

Hi There, just getting into this and my first is the motorised 10" skywatcher dob, and was considering the upgrade, where can you purchase the synscan handsets from?

Cheers,

Juz

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Unfortunately they don't sell the SynScan AZ hand sets on their own. You have to buy the SynScan AZ GOTO mount which is about £200.00 and use the hand set from that.

The EQ handset is supposedly the same and just needs a custom made cable using instructions found on SGL. However someone here on SGL had a cable made a few weeks ago and it fried the control boards in the mount.

The AZ hand set is more expensive but it definitely works with no problems.

John

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I got my az goto mount from Harrisons (£190) and simply switched the handset for the auto tracking one on the flextube. They are totally interchangeable so you'll have a sellable az mount/tripod with tracking out of it.

The goto on the flextube is terrific for observing but don't count on it for photography. Get the twelve inch rather than the ten - it's a better step up from eight :)

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Thanks Guys, Hopefully my telescope will arrive tomorrow,

I will buy another smaller AZ goto telescope so I can get the best of both worlds by using the handset as well as the telescope as a whole and having the interchangeable handset.

I got the 10" for portability and without going overboard on my first telescope. The reason I went for the tracking was so I don't lose interest after a reasonable initial investment.

Fingers Crossed it will be a clear night tomorrow night!

Thanks for the tips!

Cheers

Juz.

Edited by juz72
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Well it turns out the one I ordered got damaged and now the suppliers are not supplying any more tracking versions but will be doing the synscan goto as the standard. I'll have to wait until about the 3rd week in August but I guess it will work out cheaper in the long run.. now it is just the waiting game...

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  • 4 months later...

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