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North Group 102mm triplet-focuser problems

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North Group 102mm triplet-focuser problems

Post  lauriep on Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:41 am

I recently purchased a North Group 102mm triplet refractor. As most would know, North Group do not have a good reputation for their focusers, so I ordered it with their new photographic crayford focuser which is supposed to handle 4KG.
The scope arrived in a very nice, solid aluminium case, along with a right angle finder and 2 different mounting brackets. I could not work out how to mount the finder, and after several exchanges of emails with Gilman Zhang, we worked out that the part of the focuser, a ring that should fit in the middle of it, was missing. I was already unhappy about the focuser since it is rotatable to allow for camera orientation-yet unless the 3 grub screws and the hand knob were done up so tight that it couldn't move, the 2 halves would just fall apart! The other problem was the baffling inside the draw tube had not been machined in far enough to allow a 2" diagonal to slide fully in, resulting in a floppy diagonal.
I waited for the missing part to arrive, hoping that might solve the problem with it falling apart, but it did not! Also,This missing ring had only one hand screw to hold the finder bracket, meaning that collimation of the finder and scope could never be maintained.
So I gave up and ordered a Moonlight focuser, which is absolutely magnificent.
Optically the scope is very good, and I am now happy with it, but I feel North Group telescopes are probably designed by people who do not use telescopes.
Would I recommend a NG refractor?-yes I would, their optics are excellent, but unless they redesign their focuser, be prepared to replace it.
Gilman Zhang, to his credit, has been very helpful in trying to resolve problems-even organising for the focuser to be picked up and sent back to China for repair/replacement-It has not been returned yet, so I will see if they have sorted out their problems when it comes back.

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Re: North Group 102mm triplet-focuser problems

Post  vinculum on Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:50 am

Yes that is pretty frustrating, on a similar vein. Many years back when I purchased a new Telescope, the Meade LXD55 10" F/4 Schmidt Newt. it came on an EQ4 mount that could only just support the weight putting a bit of strain on the gears. The encoder was also hit & miss when using the GOTO system in this case Autostar. You would have thought they would up the price & put emphasis on a good solid high quality mount, an EQ6 or HEQ5, but no they did not.

So many years after I bought myself a Skywatcher EQ6 mount wide head, the OTA loved this marriage quite a bit Wink The current focuser I'm using is the Event Horizon of crayford design, holds the DSLR with ease & has micro focuser for that extra tweaking.
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Re: North Group 102mm triplet-focuser problems

Post  lauriep on Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:06 pm

vinculum wrote:Yes that is pretty frustrating, on a similar vein. Many years back when I purchased a new Telescope, the Meade LXD55 10" F/4 Schmidt Newt. it came on an EQ4 mount that could only just support the weight putting a bit of strain on the gears. The encoder was also hit & miss when using the GOTO system in this case Autostar. You would have thought they would up the price & put emphasis on a good solid high quality mount, an EQ6 or HEQ5, but no they did not.

So many years after I bought myself a Skywatcher EQ6 mount wide head, the OTA loved this marriage quite a bit Wink The current focuser I'm using is the Event Horizon of crayford design, holds the DSLR with ease & has micro focuser for that extra tweaking.
The EQ6 would certainly handle things with ease!

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