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Thread: Scopebuggy Review

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    Default Scopebuggy Review



    Those who have been around the forum have heard me lament the girth of "Black Beauty", my C6RGT and CGEM mount before. Well I did some searching and discovered the Scopebuggy company. A Scopebuggy looked to be just the thing I needed to make getting Black Beauty moved around and getting out and observing easier, so I talked the wife into getting me one for Christmas. It arrived today, and here is my subsequent review.

    1. Company perceptions;

    Scopebuggy is obviously a mom and pop business, which can be both good and bad. When you call them you immediately talk to a real person, no computers, so that is good. They are a hair on the scatter brained side, but are nice folks so I can tollerate a bit of scatter brain for dealing with pleasant real people.

    My wife placed the order Feb 2, and when we hadn't heard anything by March 21, I called them. Spoke with an older gentlemen who apologized profusely. He said they needed to call me to ask what size the tripod legs were so they could put the proper cups on the buggy, so they had set the cart aside then forgot about it. He promised me they would get it shipped out the end of last week and it got here yesterday, so they were good on their word.

    2. Packaging;

    The buggy came well packaged, with everything wrapped in poly wrap and secured with styrofoam. No damage to any parts of the cart occurred during shipping.





    3. Build Quality;

    Structuraly the Scopebuggy is very sound, being made from heavy duty steel. The welds are all sound and it will definitely take the weight of large and heavy telescopes. The tires are pneumatic and are quite large, so when rolling it across the grass or bumps it fares quite well for vibration as well, and the telescope was surprisingly solid on the cart.

    That said I was a little disappointed with the tollerances in places. There are at least 1/4" gaps left between the wheel and the cotter pin on all wheels, and about the same for the pull rod where it mounts into the buckle. This was easily resolved by spending another $7.00 and buying some washers & key pins rather than cotter pins. I used the washers to take up the slack and replaced the cotter pins with key pins for ease of use and maintenance. While it was an inexpensive and easy fix, it seems shoddy not to narrow the tollerances down and eliminate the slop.



    I also purchased a couple of lock nuts, as they had sent standard nuts to hold the bolts that hold the frame extension together. Using lock nuts should prevent the frame from vibrating apart ever. At .09 cents each, I can't imagine why Scopebuggy wouldn't include locknuts rather than standard nuts, and it seems like a silly over sight.

    The assembly instructions weren't the best I've ever seen, but they suffice. They obviously have also gotten some questions about some of the concerns I had, as there is a Q&A in the back that did answer my questions. One of them was about the slop on the wheels not causing a problem. I fixed it anyway with the washers and key pins, because I don't like slop. The other explained that the weight of the telescope is what holds the rear axles in place. I had a concern about that, as there was only a dimple in the underside of the outer housing for each rear axle to create friction, and they easily slid in and out without the tripod on the cart. That is actually an intentional design feature though, allowing for the the axles to slide out to accomodate extending the tripod legs. The dimples in the underside do prevent the axles from sliding around once the weight of the telescope is on them, so what initially seemed a sloppy design, actually works well.

    4. Ease of use;

    Once you have the tripod on the Scopebuggy, I don't think it gets much easier. Simply wheel the telescope out of the garage out to your viewing location, turn the 3 stabilizing bolts down, and you are observing with a solid, non moving platform.




    I do plan to get some short bungie cords and double wrap them around each tripod leg, then around under the buggy rail to help hold the tripod in place on the cart. I didn't notice any overt movement of the telescope wheeling it across the grass to the garage, but with nothing but gravity holding it on the cart, I'm a little squeamish and would like a little insurance to make sure it stays on the cart.

    5. Final thoughs and impressions;

    I think the Scopebuggy is a terrifc idea, and will work well overall. I think the design and construction could definitely use some refinement though, and would like to see the company work on improving the design. Tightening up the tollerances would be first on my list, followed by implementing some type of clasp or hasp that grips the tripod leg and physically attaches it to the cart, so gravity isn't all that is holding it on. Also replace the standard nuts with lock nuts to avoid vibration loosening them up. Those issues are easily overcome with a few dollars in washers, lock nuts and some bungie cords, but it's a redneck way of fixing issues that should be addressed in the design and construction.

    Overall I would give this product a 6 out of 10. It's a worthwhile product and will make observing much easier for me, but it needs some refinement before it goes mass market and before I can give it my full recomendation.

    johnrfeeney likes this.
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    The Scopebuggy is a solidly made product. I used to have one when I had my Z12 dob. I agree you should find a way to secure the tripod to the buggy, especially if you have rough terrain to move it over. I had to move the Z12 over some rough patches and it would begin to teeter somewhat until I used bungees to secure the base to the frame. The only complaint I had was that it took up a lot of room in the garage, and I had to move the Z12 off of it once I got to my observing location. Since the Z12 was a bear for me to lift, I wound up selling it (and the Scopebuggy) to downsize to a Z10, which I can carry easier.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KT4HX View Post
    The Scopebuggy is a solidly made product. I used to have one when I had my Z12 dob. I agree you should find a way to secure the tripod to the buggy, especially if you have rough terrain to move it over. I had to move the Z12 over some rough patches and it would begin to teeter somewhat until I used bungees to secure the base to the frame. The only complaint I had was that it took up a lot of room in the garage, and I had to move the Z12 off of it once I got to my observing location. Since the Z12 was a bear for me to lift, I wound up selling it (and the Scopebuggy) to downsize to a Z10, which I can carry easier.
    Don't get me wrong. I would still recommend the Scopebuggy, just with the qualifier that there are a few niggles buyers may not be completely happy with. It's very solid and will work well for it's purpose, it just needs some refinement to make it a stellar product and get my full recommendation.
    -C6-RGT refractor w/JMI EV-1r focuser & Orion 80mm guide scope on CGEM mount. Orion 10" Dob
    -Canon 1000D, StarShoot Autoguider & Blue Fireball Elim-T 2" prime focus adapter
    -Televue Delos 12mm & 17mm, Baader 5mm, 10mm, 36mm & 8-24mm zoom & Orion 20mm centering


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    Default

    Looks like you have the problems solved.

    Might not hurt to send the folks at Scopebuggy a link to this tread. Feed back from end customers is always appreciated and I'm sure they would like to hear about your 'fix'.
    Gordon
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    Well I spent an additional $6.00 today and resolved my last concern, that being my concern about the telescope staying on the cart. This is my high tech redneck solution that worked like a charm.



    I purchased three 10" high strength rubber bungie cords, wraped one around each leg, then down around the axle and back up to hook on the tripod foot cups. I stretched them as tight as they would go without hurting myself, and it worked awesome. The telescope now feels like it's nailed to the Scopebuggy and I don't have any concerns about dragging it across the bumpy lawn now.

    I wheeled her around to the back yard to see how it worked, and as long as you remember to raise the stabilizing bolts , it trucks through the grass with aplomb. Maybe 1-2 more inches of ground clearance would eliminate all drag, but I'm sure they were trying to keep the center of gravity as low as possible, so I'm not going to complain about that.

    Then when you get it pulled around to your observing location, you just screw the stabilizing bolts down to contact the ground, and it makes a solid non moving observing platform for you. If one were really lazy, a 2 1/4 inch socket attached to your cordless drill would make turning the bolts down to contact the ground really easy too. I'm just guessing that is. I wouldn't actually know from personal experience. *cough*



    Having had a chance to drag it around and use it now, I will bump my score up to 7 out of 10. I'd still like to see some refinement in the design tollerances, but for $13.00 additional spent on washers, key pins and bungie cords, I resolved all of the issues I had with it, so I can't complain too much. I'd definitely recommend it as is, and if they tighten up the design, I'd happily call it one of the best accessories you could buy for large heavy telescopes.




    P.S. I forgot to mention it in the initial review, but the handle uses a key pin to hold it on to the buckle, so you can very quickly remove it and get it out of the way for observing.

    Clear skies!
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    Congrats on the new Tric, very well dressed out! It looks like a great setup! Great review with excellent details and pics! Thanks! Clear Skies!

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    Wow! That's a cool scope and rig. Making life easier to get out under the sky...all the better.
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    I have thought about buying one of these contraptions. My main concern is the distance i would have to roll it over a less than perfect lawn to get to my driveway. I have a fear of that thing tipping over, or falling off the buggy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimt View Post
    I have thought about buying one of these contraptions. My main concern is the distance i would have to roll it over a less than perfect lawn to get to my driveway. I have a fear of that thing tipping over, or falling off the buggy.

    Jim
    And that is one of the issues that both the OP and myself commented on. He is using it for a refractor, and when I had mine, I used it for a Z12 dob. In both cases, we used bungees to better secure it to the scopebuggy frame. In his case, I could see that refractor being really top heavy on the buggy. In my case, I was afraid of (and had it happen) that going over rough terrain, the rubber feet on the bottom of the dob base would pop up and out of the round collars meant to hold them in place, allowing the bottom of the dob base to sit directly on the frame and potentially slipping off. The bungee cords put enough tension on the base to prevent that from happening again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimt View Post
    I have thought about buying one of these contraptions. My main concern is the distance i would have to roll it over a less than perfect lawn to get to my driveway. I have a fear of that thing tipping over, or falling off the buggy.

    Jim
    I can tell you that it does fine wheeling it across the lawn no sweat, and it handled side hilling on my 10 degree angled driveway fine as well. I have to drag it out of the garage in the front of the house, around to the gate on the opposite side of the house from the garage, and then all of the way to the back patio in the center of the back of the house, where I do my observing. It handled the long trip around the house on the lawn with ease.

    The only issue I ran into with the top heavy aspect was pulling it up onto the back patio from the lawn. I tried to pull it straight initially, and although the front tire came up onto the patio without issue, when both back tires caught the edge of the patio simultaneously, it did try to tip backward. A quick step on the front tire quickly brought it back down. When I tried the second time, I angled it so one back tire at a time was coming up onto the patio and then it worked fine. I was VERY glad I had secured it with the bungee cords though. Without them it would have gone over! So I would say securing it to the cart has to be a priority if you purchase one, and Scopebuggy should make designing an included way of physically securing the mount to the cart a priority as well.

    In the meantime, the heavy duty rubber bungees did their job and then some, and they would be my recommendation for securing the mount to the cart in lieu of a permanently manufactured solution from Scopebuggy.
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