Orion (GSO) 6" RC; Focuser is less than Stellar

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a100171
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Orion (GSO) 6" RC; Focuser is less than Stellar

#1

Post by a100171 » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:01 pm

Pun intended!

I spent the holiday doing some overdue maintenance on the scope collection. Coming off my very successful alignment/collimation of the ancient Meade 10" SCT, I decided to try my hand with the Orion 6" SCT that has gotten little use (due to crappy collimation/alignment).

More than once, I tried to get this thing setup correctly. I had a feeling that something was not quite right with this thing, when I was not able to even get the stock finder aligned with the scope. I had examined the scope using a Glatter Laser collimator, and could never seem to get it aligned using just the primary/secondary adjustments. After some research, I went out and bought the collimation ring (which was back-ordered) but never messed around with it after moving onto other things.

But with the 10" out back, I cannot see the south too well. I wanted to grab Jupiter, and a nice portable scope like this on say the AVX would have been nice. The observatory is going to be a while still, until I get myself a backhoe-loader or pony-up a huge chunk of change to a landscaper. I have my eye on a Case 580 4x4 which would work for snoww as well. But I digress...

After watching a few different videos, I felt that I was ready to get started today. I put the collimation ring on the scope, got all my allen wrenches together, and started with the focuser collimation. It was not close. Not remotely close. After making the adjustments, I managed to get it all squared-up nicely. Moved on to the secondary, which ligned-up nicely. Then the Primary...which I also got ligned up spot-on. With the coincentric attachment, it all looked just beautiful. I was feeling pretty darn good about myself at this point. I had tightened-up most of the screws, and wanted to turn the focuser a bit so that I could torque it all down. But then I looked at the pattern. And that feeling of angst with this thing returned.

If the focuser is rotated at all, the alignment goes to crap. And this is with the focuser all the way in, and everything locked-down. All the screws looked solid, and nothing appeared to be loose. But this thing is so dang out of square, it could only be aligned in one position. Not happy. Not at all.

I am not sure how something like this ever got out of QC. And this was bought directly from Orion. I can remember writing them about the "finder issue" when I first got this thing. It should have setup a flag, but I had intended on using a RDF anyways. It appears that the whole back-end is just messed-up, from the dovetail mount, to the focuser, etc. almost like this thing was dropped at the factory. THe packing for these scopes is pretty good, and I cannot imagine that it happened in shipping.

Sooooo, I am considering getting a Moonlight for this thing. It will cost more than the rest of the scope. There are some used ones out there, but ...


I was considering donating this thing a short while ago, but in retrospect, Iam glad that I did not. Well, maybe to someone who I want to get all 'issed-off, or who loves endless challenges. It would be good to give to a mortal enemy I suppose. Otherwise, I am not a very happy man with this thing. A lot of time was spent figuring things out. I guess I learned a lot in the process, and certainly a "you get what you pay for" lesson as well. Not happy with Orion though. Maybe I will write them.

Has anyone experienced remedying these GSO RC focusers? Might there be something I am missing?
I can see that they sell GSO RC focusers, but they look exactly like this thing. I am more inclined to get a gooder one with some extra adapters so I could use it on other scopes.
Any pointers would be appreciated.
Meade 6", 8", and 10" SN, Meade 10" f/6.3 Lx200, ES ES-102, Meade 90mm DS-2000, Celestron CPC-800 HD, Celestron 11" EdgeHD, Meade ETX-90, AVX, CGEM, CGEM-DX, Twilight I mounts. Omegon 2.1x 41mm Binocs.
Hyperstar for EdgeHD, ZWO and Celestron Nightscape CCD. And now: a fully-functional Meade 12" RCX-400. And now: a Vaonis Stellina!
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#2

Post by Bigzmey » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:42 pm

Sadly Orion QC is lacking. I had to return Orion (Synta made) Crayford focusers three times in a row. All 3 came defective brand new.

Never had issues with GSO products including three focusers, but they were all for refractors, so can't comment on your model.
Scopes: Stellarvue: SV102 ED F7; Celestron: 9.25" EdgeHD F10, 8" SCT F10, 6" SCT F10, Omni XLT 150R Achro F5, Onyx 80ED F6.3; Meade: 80ST Achro F5.
Mounts: ES: Twilight I; Bresser: EXOS2; SW: SkyTee2, AzGTi; UA: MicroStar.
Binos: Orion: Little Giant II 15x70, WorldView 10x50, Nikon: Action EX 8x40.
EPs: Pentax: XWs; TeleVue: Delites, Panoptic, Plossls & barlows; ES: 68s; Vixen: SLVs; Baader: BCOs, Aspherics, Mark IV; Meade: UWAs & Plossls.
Diagonals: Baader: BBHS silver mirror, Zeiss Spec T2 prism, Clicklock dielectric; TeleVue: Evebrite dielectric.
Filters: Lumicon: DeepSky, UHC, OIII, H-beta; Baader: Moon & SkyGlow, Contrast Booster, UHC-S; Astronomik: UHC, Orion: UltraBlock, SkyGlow.
Observing: DSOs: 1694 (Completed: M110, H1, H2. In progress: H3: 195, H2,500: 1272, S110: 77). Doubles: 1150, Comets: 14, Asteroids: 73
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#3

Post by UlteriorModem » Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:17 am

Two words. "Tilt Ring" ;)

https://www.agenaastro.com/gso-rc-6-8-f ... -ring.html

Add to the cost the endless time spent getting the thing adjusted.

Best is to find a 'favorite' position for the focuser and leave it there. Do not rotate ;)
Tom

Current Equipment:
Scope: 130mm APO triplet atop a CGX-L mount
Cam: ASI071mc-pro
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#4

Post by Michael131313 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:15 pm

I don't know if this will help, but Gabby just sent me this great link.

http://polluxchung.com/gso_crayford_fix/
ES AR 102 102mm, f/6.5, Orion Starblast 4.5 114mm,f/4 , Obie 10x50, GSO SV 30mm, ES 68° 20mm, ES 82° 14mm, 11mm, 8.8 mm, 6.8mm, 4.7mm. Twilight 1 mount.
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#5

Post by dcrowson » Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:35 pm

The focusers on all of the cheap RC scopes are like this. It helps if you can get the tilt/tip ring mentioned above. I ended up putting a Moonlite on my AT6RC (one of the originals) and then that one moved to my AT12RCT.

I have a first generation AT12RCT and I had pretty much the same luck as you in that it didn't hold collimation if I rotated. The focuser attachment is not a separate part on my first generation so there's just not much I can do. I haven't had to rotate yet for a guide star even though I'm using an OAG at 2430mm. I do have a good mount so I'm sure a lot of this has to do with being able to take 10-15 second guide exposures if I want.

Dan
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#6

Post by a100171 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:16 pm

UlteriorModem wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:17 am
Two words. "Tilt Ring" ;)

https://www.agenaastro.com/gso-rc-6-8-f ... -ring.html

Add to the cost the endless time spent getting the thing adjusted.

Best is to find a 'favorite' position for the focuser and leave it there. Do not rotate ;)
I have the tilt ring, which was the only way to get it aligned at all to begin with.
But any outwards travel on the focuser and it was all over the place. Or any rotation. This is just a staggeringly bad piece of equipment. Sad really.
Meade 6", 8", and 10" SN, Meade 10" f/6.3 Lx200, ES ES-102, Meade 90mm DS-2000, Celestron CPC-800 HD, Celestron 11" EdgeHD, Meade ETX-90, AVX, CGEM, CGEM-DX, Twilight I mounts. Omegon 2.1x 41mm Binocs.
Hyperstar for EdgeHD, ZWO and Celestron Nightscape CCD. And now: a fully-functional Meade 12" RCX-400. And now: a Vaonis Stellina!
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#7

Post by a100171 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:22 pm

Michael131313 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:15 pm
I don't know if this will help, but Gabby just sent me this great link.

http://polluxchung.com/gso_crayford_fix/
I may take this thing apart and see what the heck happened. Who knows, maybe something is downright missing in there. Some seriously bad centering. Maybe a dead insect or something in there!

I still wonder if someone dropped it or something. Maybe it was a Friday or Monday focuser.
Meade 6", 8", and 10" SN, Meade 10" f/6.3 Lx200, ES ES-102, Meade 90mm DS-2000, Celestron CPC-800 HD, Celestron 11" EdgeHD, Meade ETX-90, AVX, CGEM, CGEM-DX, Twilight I mounts. Omegon 2.1x 41mm Binocs.
Hyperstar for EdgeHD, ZWO and Celestron Nightscape CCD. And now: a fully-functional Meade 12" RCX-400. And now: a Vaonis Stellina!
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#8

Post by Michael131313 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:12 am

Good Luck!
ES AR 102 102mm, f/6.5, Orion Starblast 4.5 114mm,f/4 , Obie 10x50, GSO SV 30mm, ES 68° 20mm, ES 82° 14mm, 11mm, 8.8 mm, 6.8mm, 4.7mm. Twilight 1 mount.
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#9

Post by UlteriorModem » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:27 am

Yea if I remember correctly I had issues with my GSO with an auto focuser attached.

Finally slipped down the hole a little further and got a moonlite ;)
Tom

Current Equipment:
Scope: 130mm APO triplet atop a CGX-L mount
Cam: ASI071mc-pro
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#10

Post by a100171 » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:18 pm

Man, what a difference. I bought a used Moonlight, and these things are built like a Shrick Brickhouse.
I aligned this with the 'Glatter and it appears to be pretty dang close.

I should have had it out last night (late) when the skies cleared, but we had neighbors over for movies until 12:00 and I had to play Host. I can't wait to see how it actually looks. The way it all appeared to lineup, it almost makes me think that the rest of the scope may be decent.

Heck I was so excited, I almost unboxed my CGEM to set it all up (yes, it is still boxed-up). I think there is something wrong with the guiding on the AVX. Maybe a short exposure will tell me how I did.

Never again on the cheap focuser thing. Just too old for this stuff.
Meade 6", 8", and 10" SN, Meade 10" f/6.3 Lx200, ES ES-102, Meade 90mm DS-2000, Celestron CPC-800 HD, Celestron 11" EdgeHD, Meade ETX-90, AVX, CGEM, CGEM-DX, Twilight I mounts. Omegon 2.1x 41mm Binocs.
Hyperstar for EdgeHD, ZWO and Celestron Nightscape CCD. And now: a fully-functional Meade 12" RCX-400. And now: a Vaonis Stellina!
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#11

Post by dritter » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:54 pm

I agree on avoiding low end focusers too.

I've been through a few myself and there's almost nothing worse than a good piece of gear being ruined by a bad focuser. It's like having a great stereo but a speaker that came with with a rip in the cone.

It's good to hear the Moonlite seems to be the cure. A friend had one on one of his scopes and his was really nice to use.

I've also used the higher-end GSO focuser as well. They are not bad, but they are not Moonlight or the other premium focusers either.

The GSO focuser I have is the two-speed crayford with a linear steel track. It's on a small GSO entry-level newtonian with quite good optics actually. (or they were quite good until I accidentely knocked over the scope and broke the mirror a couple of months ago. Good thing identical replacement mirrors are available from GSO dealers for a reasonable cost. I miss the little guy...)

Anyway, the focuser is an upgrade over the original single speed and is a good match for that scope. It carries all the eyepieces just fine including the 2" ones.

But for imaging with anything heavier than an uncooled planet-cam, I'd still probably want a Moonlight or equivalent.
Dave
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