Most helpful customer reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
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In conclusion, this telescope is excellent for introducing kids (or adults!) to astronomy and is very affordable, especially if you can grab it at the original Costco price. You’ll have to decide whether or not the higher price the resellers offer it for at other times is worth it or not. I’d normally give it five stars as a starter telescope but will deduct one star because of the GOTO inaccuracies when slewing across a large distance.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
First, the optical tube assembly seems fine. I was able to see the dark spot on Jupiter and one of its bands when set up in a backyard at the edge of a city in mediocre seeing conditions. The focusing rack works OK and the eyepieces seem fine to me.
Many others on the net have found the instrument fine, including some serious hobby astronomers, and there is one site that details how to improve the optical performance of the scope if you are willing to dismantle it. So I would suggest a net search of other sites before you make a decision.
My problems were in four areas: the finder, the tripod, the GoTo features, and finally, a mechanical failure of the gears in the drive. While the first three could be tolerated considering the price of the instrument, the gear failure caused me to make the return.
First, the finder is adjusted by two screws which provide up/down and lateral adjustment. But the plastic base is such that adjustment of either screw creates an oscillating moment in both directions at once, making adjustment a fiddly thing. Also, the mount is so light that the slightest touch will throw the finder out of alignment. I was going to use my machinist skills to make a new mount but didn’t because of the decision to return the scope. The finder’s flaws are an annoyance and not enough of an issue to reject the telescope, but added to the whole picture.
Second, the tripod is a fair piece considering the price, but I found it to be too short for this refractor. I ended up sitting on a short stepstool for most views and using the finder required me to get down in the dirt on my hands and knees and test the flexibility of my neck to look through it. The tripod needs to be leveled for setup, but the bottom of the mount casting was not completely flat so I could not be certain what spot to use. (The provided level was not spot-on accurate, either, but total accuracy in tripod leveling may not be needed.)
Third, and this was an important one for me, I could never get the GoTo features to work properly. To be fair, I did not call in for support, but I believe I am fairly good at reading and following directions and checking on-line for help. I followed the setup and alignment procedures carefully yet the scope consistently missed its targets in the goto mode. At times it was off by as much as 15 degrees. One night after following the alignment procedure which included Arcturus, I sent it to Saturn, which it missed by about 15 degrees. I then sent it back to Arcturus and it missed its own alignment point also by about 15 degrees. Also the tracking was not accurate, requiring frequent manual corrections. I “trained” the motors according to the manual with no improvement.
Finally, after about six uses in the backyard, the gears in the head started skipping. Upon hearing this and seeing the head jump, I decided that all of the above added up to the point where I needed to return the scope. While it was still under warranty, I’d have to pay the postage for the relatively heavy (postage-wise) head to be sent in for repair, yet in the end I’d still have something wherein the design or construction allows for such a failure in the future. Figuring that after the warranty runs out, the repair costs could add up, my decision to return it was made.
In the end, I’ve since learned more about telescopes. Next time I will skip the electronics and tracking features in favor of a good star chart and manual control. There is a 6-inch reflector in a Dobsonian mount available on Amazon from Orion for the same money or for about $60 more there is an 8-inch reflector, either of which, albeit physically larger, would be mechanically simple and optically a major step up for the same or slightly higher price.
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