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  1. #1
    TambourineMan's Avatar
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    Default what level of service to expect from B&M Dealer



    Either the telescope manufacturers are effectively price fixing, or there is so little profit in telescopes that everyone sells at a close enough price that it makes no cost difference as to where one buys their telescope locally or on line.

    I have heard that Orion provides good customer service although I do not know if that is to all customers who buy from an authorized reseller or just direct from them. I think it is both.

    Obviously if one buys online you get to unpack, check, set up, and adjust the new telescope. But for some things, brick & mortar stores provide extra customer service as part of the sale, such as preping a new car.

    I am interested in an XT10 probably with the Intelliscope.

    I have an XT10 loaner from my local astronomy club. Reading the manual it seems like the base needs to be assembled which it says is a 30 minute job and appears simple enough.

    There are some other things that need to/should be done that would best be done by a professional or someone familiar with these scopes, such as:

    Checking that shipping did not affect the factory collimation setting, collimate as needed with a professional collimator
    If an Intelliscope; do an encoder test and adjust the encoder gap as needed
    Adjust/loosen the screws that hold the mirror as they may have been tightened too much for shipment.
    Add two 3" diameter washers cut from milk bottles to improve shifting (or something to improve on the teflon washers0
    Wax/lubricate base with Super Hard Shell Turtle waxing or marine lubricant
    Replace the main base bolt/nut combo with a longer bolt and use an elastic-stop nut on it
    Drill thru the base or sides to replace ALL tiny self-taping screws with stainless steel bolts and elastic-stop nuts.
    Replace the collimation screws with screwdriver-less knobs.

    What is reasonable to expect a dealer to do for free, and for those which call for an additional charge what would be a reasonable charge?

    There are certain other add-ons that have been cited as being particularly useful, such as:

    Switching to an EZ Finder Deluxe/Telrad
    Adding Ebony Star round bearing/shifters/laminate (from ScopeStuff)

    If add-ons such as these are purchased at the same time as the telescope is it reasonable to aks the dealer to install them as part of the sale?

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    FatherGuse's Avatar
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    ... alright ... I don't mean to state the obvious here ... but I'd check with the group you borrowed that scope from and find out who has been maintaining it ... chances are they are local and can help you out for little or nothing at all, might even be several people within the club who are willing to teach you how to do some of that yourself, and can help you do the rest ...

    RE: collimation ... as difficult as it sounds it really is not (meaning, if I can figure it out, anybody can) ... just remember not to force anything (there are a few models of scopes out there that you can bottom the collimation screws into the mirror base/mount and event the mirror itself ... I would absolutely bet there are at least a few scope owners in your club that will/can teach you everything you need to know about collimation, and once you have done it a couple of times you will find that you can do it yourself in just a few minutes on just about any scope (reflector) you ever run across again.

    I can't claim to be an expert on Dobsonians (yet), but between playing around with this one I got a few weeks ago and reading up on them pretty heavily, most of the mods/upgrades you mention can be done with minimal tools and some careful patience. Biggest Rule I know about is to never mess with screws/nuts/bolts with the tube tilted up (such that anything falling would contact the mirror) ... I make a point of sitting on the floor when I am working on mine (and I am completely re-building it) ... same for my 114mm Newt ...

    .. I have re-built a couple of a Meade DS sets, but they are a completely different animal from the intelliscope so I really can't offer you to much advice there ...

    ... it does sound like you have a really kewl scope to learn with there ... I'd bet within a year you'll be handing out advice on her to other new/potential owners ...

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  3. #3
    Vinnie's Avatar
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    Just one point.

    The Telrad is a great finder. I tend to steer away from it with smaller scopes because the thing is fairly bulky, but if you are shooting for a 8" plus Dob I would highly recommend it over all the other reflex finders from a beginners perspective. The whole concept of the Telrad may well have been developed specifically for Dob owners, it goes hand in hand with a Dob so well
    Last edited by Vinnie; 01-08-2009 at 11:22 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TambourineMan View Post
    I have heard that Orion provides good customer service
    I have had a very good experience with Orion. Here is my story (please do not laugh at my stupidity). When I would go out observing in my driveway I used to put my lense covers on the trunk of my wifes car. For some reason my wife decided at 10:00 she needed to go get gas. Guess who forgot where his lense caps were at. I went on to Orions web page but could not find replacement caps that I needed (including the 6" one that fits over the scope). After contacting Orion I was very surprised when they shipped me a new set free of charge. I have been happy with both their products and service.

  5. #5
    TambourineMan's Avatar
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    I know I can do the things I listed myself. However, professionals in a field can do them better than I can at this point. I know that club members would be very willing to help me out but it would be nice to be able to bring a new one home and have it correct right from the get go and not have to wait on the good graces of an experienced club member. The person who had borrowed the scope before me gave me some valuable tips already. I plan tot ake it to at least two club observation nights in the next couple of weeks and I am sure people will sure me how to do things. I will, no doubt, learn how to collimate with the club's XT10, but I am not going to presume to switch out the self-tapping screws or change the teflon washers, etc.

    If you buy a new car, would you prefer the dealer to wax it, or would you rather wait to drive it until you can it yourself the first time? . Before I washed and waxed mine myself I did considerable research on how to do it and what to use. I now have the proper equipment such as a Porter Cable random orbital sander. For collimation I will not initially have a laser one, but the dealer surely will. So why not have it finely collimated to start?

  6. #6
    Vinnie's Avatar
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    Yeah I can see your point, Tam.

    I've got to order a new 4x4 work ute (pick up in US speak?) in the next couple of weeks. Best part it that my vehicle is company supplied, and "The Company" is the Qld State Government, which is even better. Anyhow, I always get all accessories fitted by the dealer, even though I know that a lot of these things will be subbed out and so will take longer than if I took the vehicle to different suppliers myself. It makes it so much easier for any warranty issues just to take the thing back to one place and let it become their problem.

    Still, lots of us recreational astronomers are avid DIYs probably for two reasons: cost, and also getting things exactly as you personally want them.

    Your logic is sound, and I guess that you would have to get things done by a B&M dealer (maybe not) but obviously I can't recommend anyone in the US.

    Re collimation. That is something that you will quickly need to learn. Reflectors sometimes hold perfect collimation for months or even years, sometimes not, its a very big variable and often even with the most gentle handling is really something beyond your control to a point.

  7. #7
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    ... wow ... man ... I apologize if it sounded like I was busting your chops ... not my intention ...

    I tend to forget that I re-build and retro-fit motorcycles all the time and don't consider that other people are not comfortable with retro-fitting a scope or other items ...

    ... again ... my apologies if it came off that I was putting you down or not taking you seriously ... that was not my intent at all ...

    ... I'll just rephrase my answer ... there may very well be a local shop that can do that for you, around here (North-Central North Carolina) there aren't any and the last Camera shop I used to take my camera gear to (whom I would trust with a scope) went out of business two years ago ...

    ... just to make myself sound even sillier ... I had very good luck with Remington Firearms when I had an old "family heirloom" re-built a few years ago by calling them and getting their recommendation on who to send it to, turned out to be a guy out in California and it cost me a small fortune, you might have similar luck (though hopefully not as expensive) by seeing whom they (Orion) refer you to ...

    Best of luck with your scope ...

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  8. #8
    FatherGuse's Avatar
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    ... another thought ... I'd check to make certain that any work you have done does not invalidate any warranties ... even if the work is done by the manufacturer or one of their approved/recommended facilities ...

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  9. #9
    TambourineMan's Avatar
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    I asked for all your thoughts, so why would I take offense?

    I should have been more clear as to what I was asking.

    I do/have done many things before in my life from building computers, fixing electronics, replacing auto transmissions, electrical, carpentry and plumbing work, etc. etc. I think I can do just about anything. When something is unfamiliar to me, I do think an experienced professional may initially be able to do it better and especially faster (as I would spend time researching it) than I - until I learn how and then I can do it better, or at least my way. Eventually I will know a lot about my telescope and help others on them.

    I was really just asking what I could reasonably get done for free (or as part of the sale price) versus my doing them as time is money and maybe I could be putting it to better use responding to y'all forum posts.

  10. #10
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    kewl ... just wanted to make I didn't offend or come off wrong there ... sometimes what we type just does not carry the inflection of the words, or their intent ...

    ... best of luck with that scope ... she's a beauty

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