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AstroSystems Astro Beam Collimator

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Date: 8-17-2001
Price: $120.00
Design: Laser collimator
Description: Collimator for Newtonain and Dobsonian reflecting telescopes.

Review

I finally sprung for a collimator, although it wasn't the one I was planning to buy. The one I chose was the AstroSystems Astro Beam laser collimator. I can't figure out which model I have (model 1 or 2), because the instructions are for both and there is no model number I can see on the unit.

The aluminum barrel fits either a 1-1/4" or 2" focuser tube, and is gold anodized with a black and white "head" that contains a red square push-button switch to turn the laser on & off. There are a number of tapped holes in the minor barrel, and a set screw in the major barrel to facilitate removal and replacement of the battery pack. (2 AA batteries) The unit is heavier than I had anticipated, and yet it doesn't add enough weight to tip the 8" Dobsonian I own over unless I get it nearly horizontal.

The instruction manual is a 12 page booklet describing how to mechanically collimate the Newtonian reflector prior to using the laser for final collimation. Finally it covers the star test to finish off the collimation principle in full. The noteworthy issue I found is the booklet describes the alignment of the focuser tube in detail using measuring devices such as scales and drilling holes in the opposite end of the telescope tube wall to make sure the focuser tube is perpindicular to the OTA. Though neccessary in theory, this method seems a bit of overkill and could have been eliminated by including a sight tube as a inexpensive extra. At the retail price of $120.00 US, I don't think it is to much to ask.

The collimation went well. It is indeed alot easier to use than I thought. The slightest error in the angle of everything showed up big time, and it was only 10 minutes work to get the telescope collimated perfectly. The only safety issue is the chance of the laser beam exiting the OTA objective end while adjusting the secondary. The manufacturer did an excellent job at warning of this safety issue, and included a good tip of using your hand or a piece of paper to test for the laser before looking into the tube assembly.

All in all I would say the device is a very good tool that works as advertised, yet the price is a bit higher than some like the Orion, but it is less than others. A good middle of the road collimation tuner.

Submitted by David  - davidr@wf.net - USA

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