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I just bought my first telescope, but on further reading it seems the one advertised isn't the one I got. It was from Gumtree, and the guy was in the final stage of moving house, so there's no way I can return this.

The guy claimed to know nothing about 'astrology' (his words). I have no experience buying telescopes, and didn't know what to look out for.

Here's the advert:

Was bought as a birthday gift for son but he has never mastered it and therefore rarely used.. If you love the idea of star gazing then you'll love this!

If bought new this would retail at Price: £262.96 (Including VAT at 20%)

This telescope comes with its own tripod, sky clock

The Techi piece

• Highest Practical Power (potential):x300

• Diameter of Primary Mirror: 150mm

• Telescope Focal Length: 900mm (f/5)

• Tube assembly available separately

• Supplied complete with 10mm & 25mm eyepieces

• 6x30 finderscope

• Parabolic Primary Mirror

• 0.5mm Ultra-Thin Secondary Mirror Supports

• EQ3-2 Deluxe Equatorial Mount

• Built in Polar Alignment Scope Holder

• Aluminium Tripod with Accessory Tray

• 33% more Light Gathering than 130mm

• Tube rings and dovetail mounting bar

Come and get it!

Here's what I got:

SkyWatcher Explorer 130

http://firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=SW_explorer_130&cat=150

I paid £99. It seems there's a similar model to what I got for £129 new:

Skywatcher Explorer 130 (922) - Best Price at Bristol Cameras

The difference is the one for sale there has a "red dot" finder, mine is a standard crosshair (which I can't get to focus). Also the 10mm lens that came with mine appears to be badly scratched, I also noticed a small dent in the side (although this doesn't seem to affect performance, but wasn't pointed out at the time of sale). I'm thinking I've bought a lemon, or maybe £99 is about right for what I got. It did come with the sky clock as advertised (about the only bit of truth in the whole advert). I'm new to this, so not really sure if this is reasonable price for what I got.

Edited by Brainstorm

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Sounds like you got ripped off!

It's certainly inferior to the "advertised" 150mm with an EQ3-2 mount.

Never the less for that price, if the main mirror and the rest of the scope and mount are OK, you still got a pretty cheap usable telescope.

There are many members of the forum successfully using the 130 and it's a good first scope. It will (should) give you great views of the moon and planets and allow you to see some of the "Wonders of the Sky" star clusters, double stars, galaxies and nebula.

If there's nothing you can do about the sale, then just accept it; put it down to experience and enjoy what you now have....

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Well, based on what you have said, it certainly isn't the scope advertised. However, the 130 is quite a nice starter scope (many on SGL have started with that one). An rdf can be picked up second hand quite cheaply enough if you want one and TBH the e/ps that come with these scopes are nothing special even when new. As you say the dent "doesn't seem to affect performance", I presume you have used it and it is giving reasonable views. You may need to think about the collimation (one of the reflector guys on the forum will be able to advise on that) and so the views might get better if that is out and is corrected.

I guess you may have paid a little over the odds, but as you cannot return it anyway, I would say the scope is good for a starter and you will have some good evenings with it.

EDIT: must learn to type faster ... at least Ken and I seem to be on roughly the same wavelength :)

Edited by Demonperformer

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unfortunately there are a lot of things wrong with the information provided,

150mm with 900mm focal length and F5 is wrong, it would be 750mm focal length to be F5.

the practical power thing is just a gimic as you can only get to around 250 max on a good night.

If its the model i think then i don't think its a parabolic mirror

on the plus side, the 10mm is always very poor and not worth much,

overall the 130m (i think this is the one you have) is considered a good starter scope and generally sells for the value that you paid,

badly sold YES, ripped off... maybe not

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Might still be worth a trip round to the guys address if you're local, just to see if he's still there.

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Thanks for all your replies, I do feel a bit better about the deal now. I know it's not as advertised, but if that's an acceptable price for what I got then I'm happy with that.

Demonperformer, with regards to collimation, I spent a good few hours calibrating the mirrors, as they were way out when I got it (I'm assuming this is what you're referring to). It appears to be good now (as recommended in the manual with my eye central looking back at me). I've had quite a lot of experience with optics, as I'm also into photography (and hopefully soon, astrophotography). However, any pointers to make things better would be welcomed.

Thanks again :)

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I know it's not as advertised, but if that's an acceptable price for what I got then I'm happy with that.

I think you may have overpaid a bit, but not a disaster.

Regarding the incorrect description, i've learned to be very careful with people who say they don't really know/understand what they're selling. Sometimes it's a rip-off, but I think more often it's genuine and the item has been in the cupboard for years, they're not quite sure what it is and a half-hearted attempt at identifying it on the internet found something that looks similar. Maybe what happened here, the description looks like it was a cut'n'paste from a website somewhere.

edit: original description/picture looks to be here (quoted price matches) http://www.binoculars-uk.co.uk/acatalog/SkyWatcher_Explorer_Telescopes.html so guess it's a case of maybe confusing a 150P with a 130

Edited by Ben Ritchie

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I think you may have overpaid a bit, but not a disaster.

My sentiments too. I little pricey for what it is but nothing disastrous. It's a good scope and for not a huge outlay.

The finder does focus but not many people realise it's the main objective you turn to focus. There's a knurled ring behind the main lens, unscrew that so it loosens and then turn the main lens to focus. When focused re-tighten the ring.

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£99 for a 130 is an excellent price. You've not been ripped off at all. The 130 used to come with an optical finder - mine certainly did - in the last couple of years SW changed for a RDF, probably for cost saving.

The 130 is a brilliant all round scope, ideal for the beginner. Wish I'd never got rid of mine.

£99 is a small price to pay for the numerous nights and sights you'll have with it. Enjoy!

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I paid £60 for my 130 version of the same scope so a little expensive compared to me. Its a great scope to start for starters though.

As for eye pieces you can change them as you want. You can pay from £20 (poor quality) to £30-£40 (slightly better) or £100's of pounds for better quality ones so to start with see how you go.

So for you question 'have you been ripped off' I'd say 'NO., just not told the truth. '

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Also the 10mm lens that came with mine appears to be badly scratched, I also noticed a small dent in the side (although this doesn't seem to affect performance, but wasn't pointed out at the time of sale).

As others have said it doesnt look like you have been ripped off but what I'd like to know is. Did you inspect it before you bought it and if so did you not point out these faults before you parted with the money. Might be something to think about in future :)

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To be honest this could be a honest mistake. He could have just had a rummage online ane found what he thought it was and cut and pasted the info. The new owners should know where to find him, though.

As always, it's always worth using paypal - no 'gifts', no buts.

Edited by Parus major

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Ripped off or not: I think there's a "heck of a lot" to be learned from a 5" scope. Get the "best" out of it, and fate (finances) may yet smile up on you. <grin> But seriously, don't be downhearted... I would never part with my "small" scopes. :)

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Brianstorm, just a little thought, have you measured the scope yourself to see what you have? The length od the tube and the diameter of the tube inside?

As most other people have said, its a cracking starter scope, and will give you hours of pleasure.

For collimating ( aligning of the mirrors) it is always best to get a collimator...

Astro Engineering AC656 Colli-Mate Deluxe eyepiece for collimating Newtonian and other telescopes

Well good luck with it and any futher questions post them up and were all here to hel p:)

Keiran

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Thanks for all your replies, I do feel a bit better about the deal now. I know it's not as advertised, but if that's an acceptable price for what I got then I'm happy with that.

Post a picture of the mount, just to see if what you got was an EQ2 or an EQ3.

You focus the finder scope at the objective side (you have to unscrew a locking ring and then you can screw the objective in and out and lock the objective again.)

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As others have said it doesnt look like you have been ripped off but what I'd like to know is. Did you inspect it before you bought it and if so did you not point out these faults before you parted with the money. Might be something to think about in future :)

To be honest, I didn't know enough about what to look for, and never noticed the faults before leaving his property

Brianstorm, just a little thought, have you measured the scope yourself to see what you have? The length od the tube and the diameter of the tube inside?

As most other people have said, its a cracking starter scope, and will give you hours of pleasure.

The measurements are on the side under the eyepiece D=130mm F=900mm. I wish I'd noticed that before parting with the cash.

It also seems to be missing all the dustcaps from the eyepieces and the focus tube (I wonder if I can buy a set of these), it's also missing one of the tightening nuts for the finderscope. Again, I wonder if these are sold as replacement parts.

I'll look into the collimator, does it make that much difference in performance from a hand aligned, and if so, what would I be gaining?

Edited by Brainstorm

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Hmmm... F=900mm? for a 130 scope - doesn't quite sound right. It's usually F=650mm. Now I'm curious - does the plate look tampered with at all?

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Collimation: check out Astro Baby's guide to collimation. She recommends a Cheshire collimator tool. To be honest, I find that a simple collimation cap gives good results for a fraction of the cost. Buy an AE posh dust cap which is almost drilled through in the exact centre; just drill it through and away you go for £3.50!

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Well, that's what you're telling us, but a picture of *your* scope would be preferable.

Unless you are 100% familiar with the differences between an EQ2 and an EQ3.

Nothing looks more like a blue Newt tube than another blue Newt tube, and nothing looks more like a German equatorial mount than another German equatorial mount, but there's a world of difference in the stability of an EQ2 vs. an EQ3.

EQ2:

EQ2L.gif

EQ3 (don't get hung up on the colour, they exist in black too):

EQ3L.gif

Even an EQ2 with a 130mm scope for 99GBP isn't a catastrophe, by the way. New, you'd be hard pressed to get more than a 114mm scope on an EQ2.

Edited by sixela

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Hmmm... F=900mm? for a 130 scope - doesn't quite sound right. It's usually F=650mm.

There's a long tube version as well, but that doesn't correspond to the original poster's picture of "what he got". Which is why I was asking for some photo's, because I don't know if the original poster is familiar with all the subtle differences and flavours of tubes and mounts available.

This is the long tube 130mm (older model, with thick spider vanes) on EQ3:

SKN1309EQ3.jpg

Edited by sixela

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To be honest, I didn't know enough about what to look for, and never noticed the faults before leaving his property

That sounds like the stupid thing that I would do - which is why I hate buying second hand :)

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Same as my scope. I'm over the moon with it, you got it for less than I paid as well (although I bought mine new) Have fun with it!

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