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The Brackets sure work GREAT
The brackets arrived and they installed "like they were made for the scope!" They fit the N5 beautifully.
I drilled and countersunk two holes in the blank and the Stellarvue 80mm scope fits perfectly also.
You did a really professional job on the design of the brackets. They look like they were part of the original design and make my N5 ota and the 80mm interchangeable.
I'm headed out to try them on the night sky now with my 80mm (even though it's somewhat cloudy). I've already tried the N5 and it works perfectly. I'll let you know how the 80mm works (I anticipate no problems) and I'll send you a picture when I get one.
As the weather get more predictable we really need to get together - or - maybe try for the Oregon Star Party again.
I have a set of the N5 brackets and they are wonderful. They make it easy to balance my scope when I'm using a camera (either piggyback or afocal) or 2" diagonal and eyepieces, and with the adapter plate I can change out the N5 ota to my 80mm Stellarvue Refractor in about 20 seconds - and no tools are required for the change over. These brackets are very well designed and made. Thanks for a great accessory - I now have two "go to" scope!
George Greenfield Oregon
Good Job! This site really works well. Well written also
Hi Ray & Frank
I got one of the Astro Chairs. What a Joy. To bad I waited so long on getting a chair. You were correct in the statement that you made on (THE MORE ENJOYABLE VIEWING TIME.)
Thanks again for a GREAT chair at a good price.
Got the chair just now and I can already tell I'm going to love it!! Adjusts higher than the legs on my 6' 1" frame can reach, lower than my legs can bend and firmly supports all 200# of my well fed body. Feet are wide enough to be secure, but will easily fit between the tripod legs. I think you have got a winner!!
I am headed for the cabin this evening for some dark sky viewing and pre-4th of July festivities clean up and will give the chair a thorough test. If it will stand up in a meadow with so much vegetation built up over the years that I'm not sure dirt still exists - then it will stand up anywhere. I really appreciate your chair. I thank you and my back really thanks you. As I hope you know, anything I can do to help, just let me know.
Frank and Ray,
Congratulations on a successful launch of a new astro business. I can't wait to get my chair!
I received a set of Ray Cooper's N8 extension brackets a few days ago (hmmm.. new piece of gear and clouds... imagine that!) Anyway, I did install them and gave them a go on my N8. To say the least, I am absolutely thrilled with them.
I came to these brackets by way of having too much weight on the tail end of my N8. I had become annoyed with jiggling focus so I decided to get one of the JMI auto focuser units. It is a pretty big piece of gear and about the weight of a 35mm camera. It is a wonderful addition to my scope, but... fix one thing (jiggly focusing) and break another (tracking... goto). I messed with the Dec nut and backlash and really was becoming unhappy. I was all set to send the JMI unit back and just deal with the focusing as best I could. To make this short, I snagged a set of Ray's brackets and I am absolutely thrilled at the performance. IMHO, the ability to balance the OTA, clearance at zenith and the increased stability provided by the brackets make Ray Cooper's modification an essential addition to the N8.
GoTo and tracking are much improved and I am very happy with my setup.
The documentation is clear and easy to follow making installation straightforward. The craftsmanship of the product is excellent and Rick Thomas at TNT Precision is to be commended.
I hasten to add that I have no vested interest in this product. It is a great idea and I wanted to share my experience.
Thanks for a really nice innovation, Ray.
I've just recently ordered the Ray's bracket to gain base clearance with my 2" diagonal and to balance the OTA with some of my heavy Televue Nagler eye pieces. My decision to order the bracket was greatly influenced by all the wonderful responses I've been reading from the egroup community about the bracket. I'm hoping that that I will be writing an equally wonderful response once I receive and install my bracket to my N8. -Ricky Lee (rundmlee@a...) Huntington Beach, CA
got the brackets installed last night. instructions and installation were a snap. it's like having a brand new scope. thanks!
Hi Ray...just bought your N8 extension kit...my new 2" stuffs need it. I hope you have one in stock. By the way, you may know me in the Yahoo Starry Night or Nexstar groups by firstname.lastname@example.org My N8 is only 4 weeks old...a babe, I must admit. Bought a 2" visual back and a 2" TV 14mm UWA and, well, you know the problem, going vertical it hits the base. I am learning a lot from you guys in the groups. Cheers, Al Baldwin
Hi Frank and Ray,
I received the bracket yesterday.
I was impressed by its well thought design and good finishing.
I plan to put the N5 tube on a Bogen/Manfrotto 501/3433 fluid video head and enjoy bird watching in addition to astronomy.
Thank you very much for developing such a useful tool. It was just what I was searching for.
You are an Awesome person Ray.
See you on the wire
I can't wait to come over to the USA to actually meet you guys and see how some of these gizmo's all work. From all reports they work beautifully.
Hi Guys... have been way out of touch with the N* group. Cool site!
I've been using my Astro Chair for a couple of weeks now. My time observing through my 6 " refractor with increased comfort is more enjoyable than ever. Thanks so much for the time you took outlining the chair's feature/benefits as well.
Exactly what I needed was a C8-Bracket.
I'm all suited up now -- I can swap my N5i 5" SCT with my Tasco short tube 80 on an N5i mount all thanks to Ray's Brackets and some good friends. :-) Thank you!!!
I have also installed Rick's Screws and can collimate the SCT without tools. It was my first time collimating an SCT but I found it went much easier than collimating a Newtonian. The screws really helped a lot because I could look in the EP and adjust the mirror easily, so I could see what effect each adjustment had w/o having to walk back and forth.
Hi Ray and Frank:
Finally got the old junk box bracket you sent me installed. Messed it up a little, but nothing a little JB Weld couldn't fix. Fits perfectly now.
I really appreciate the superb communication and service you have given. Can't thank you enough.
It's been about a month since I fitted (with some outside help*) my Nexstar 8 with Ray's bracket. I can't believe Celestron didn't just buy this design from him. It is professionally CNC machined and anodized aluminum and with only two thumb scres lets you slide your OTA backward or forward should you need to re-adjust to balance for light or heavy accessories/EPs.
But that's not all. I wasn't too happy with my 8" SCT optically speaking and wanted to try something else around the same weight/size. So I picked up an Intes MK67 Maksutov which were rumored to have great contrast and refractor-like star fields. Welll, it does, and I (with some outside help*) got it mounted to my Nexstar goto drive and basically it attaches in about 30 seconds. The bracket has two parts: one for the Nexstar Arm, and one for the scope. Mate the two together, slide into its balance pooint and tighten down the thumb screws. You could pop refractors on one minute then switch to your SCT if you like. In short, it's great.
*Now, here is the crazy part of my story:
When I bought the Russian Mak, it came with an unused Ray's Bracket. I could NOT by hook or crook get it to mate to my N8. Then I realized that although the N5 & N8 mount are the same, their mounting points/mechanism/bars are different. Of course they are, just look at the N8. There's a steel bar that goes from corrector to primary: way longer than the N5. So I first emailed Ray and asked if there was any thing he could do. He soon realized I lived in Portland, OR, not 10 minutes from his house and invited me over! Unbelievable coincidence coupled with an unbelievably generous guy. He had a 'spare' plate around that he gave me, and just traded out my N5 half for a proper N8 half (the difference in heft is nearly double, so yeah, I could see the difference at that point). What was really interesting was seeing him quickly and handily break the whole thing down, point out 'landmarks' along the way, like: "see this gear here, thats the one that people have found causes the most backlash, if you want you can put a little piece of brass in here to prop this litte part up and that makes it go away." or "you can put a resistor here to charge your batteries whenever you are plugged in" etc. etc.
It was like watching a watchmaker, you got the feeling that he's broken down and reassembled his N8 a million times and can do it in the dark. He sent me off to buy some screws and whatnot for my Intes to mount (it basically has a tripod-like mounting block on it, so we used that instead of me buying rings to hold the scope which may have worked better as I've been noticing long dampening times) and had the whole thing mounted in no time. WHAT A GUY!!! I keep running into amazing generousity in this hobby personified by the likes of Ray and people like him.
Before I left he showed me his new setup: an N11 controlled by a laptop running HC anywhere, controlled not by the keybaord but by a wireless gamepad. And I thought I was a gadget hound?! Anyway, I don't expect everyone is going to get house calls from him, but just to let you know that the product is excellent whether you want to correct balance issues or swap OTAs on your N8/N5, and that although he can't come over to everyone's house, you are dealing with an excellent quality product and person in Ray and his brackets.
TomL Portland, OR
Nice site you have here!!
I ordered one of your Lightweight (#10) Observer's Chair's back in March 2003 and have been using it for fishing as well as observing. It is still like new and working perfectly. Thank you for a great product at a great price,
Tom NE Pennsylvania, USA
Great Astro Chair . . . a great value and a Best Buy . . . Thanks guys for a fine product!
Forgot to come back and comment on the observing chair I bought sometime a while ago. Excellent chair - light but sturdy and even better, comfortable. I also use it to use my computer in the house and both kids like to use it as well. Better than a booster seet for a 3 YO. So the chair gets its use, even when it isn't out next to the scope.
The Brackets: Before buying the brackets I was a bit intimidated by the installation, but the instructions we're very clear and I knew what to expect. The scope tracks much better now than before. Plus I really get to "Pimp my Ride" with all sorts of accessories: 2" diagonals, cameras. The brackets really allow me to max out the capabilities of the N8i. Thanks!
Astro Chair: I've had Accessory Fever for a while and have been sending money everywhere. The accessory that has made the biggest impact in my observing has been the Astro Chair. Being comfortable makes all the difference. Shortly after I bought it I sat still for 30 minutes straight looking at Saturn. I've been glancing at Saturn for years, but this was perhaps the highlight of my observing experience. A 30-second look is visual. A 30-minute interlude is spiritual. Couldn't have done it with a perfect chair. Yours is it!
I just wanted to check back with you to let you know how pleased I am with the Astro Chair. I use it all the time, and find it is so nice to be able to adjust the seat height. The build is just heavy enough to be sturdy, yet light enough to be easily portable.
I get a kick out of my observing buddies. They all come over to admire the Astro Chair, but say they are going to build one for themselves rather than pay for one. I always tell them "yeah, and what year will that happen in?" There is only one guy who actually built an observing chair (out of wood). He did a nice job, but yours is still superior.
Thanks for offering a great product at a reasonable price. All the best to Ray and yourself for the New Year.
VOOHOO!! The Astro Chair exceeded all of my expectations. The chair felt solid underneath my 6’4” 250 pound frame and that was on my soggy lawn. This chair is a perfect balance between weight, size, and strength.
Brian asked, Would the addition of Ray's Brackets to balance the scope avoid the gear breakage problem (or at least provide longer life to the gears)?
Brian here is my two cents: the balance we get with Ray's bracketts has got to help. That said, my scopes gears still sounds alittle different with the heavier loads. But as for gear wear only time will tell.
I purchased the bracketts mostly for clearance problem that the 8iSE has with hitting it's base with any accessories added. Just a sky/dust filter would cause the scope to hit the base during some of my slews. I don't mind waiting to put my Slr camera on until after I have the object located, but I sure don't want to take my reducer or my now 2" diagonal off everytime just to be sure I'm not gonna hit the base and really screw up the gearing!
So in my opinion Ray's bracket's are a must gear wear or not. At least for anyone who want's to push our cool little telescope a little farther, be it visually or photographically.
I've already recommended it and people in our astronomy club are buying it.
I'm also adding a link from my website.
Keep enough around :)
Hi Frank and Ray! It was wonderful to meet you at the Idaho Star Party! I wish that I was not so pre-occupied with my duties as BAS Treasurer and the money box because I wanted to have more time with you to get to know you better. Frank, Thank you ever so much for that new eyepiece! The pleaties has never been so incredibly beautiful in either of my scopes as it is with that new eyepiece. I didn't realize what I was missing until that came along. But Imust admit, now that I have seen what that can do, I am getting that itch called EAS - Eyepiece Aquisition Syndrome! Thanks Again! Your generousity is surpassed only by your warm smile! Barb
Hey Ray & Frank
Just received my "ASTRO CHAIR" today and although the humidity is almost 90%, (Typical Florida weather) I just had to take one of the scope's out tonight and give the chair a try.
What a great addition to viewing. Stable, and light enough to move around with one hand. Beats the heck out of kneeling or almost laying down when the business end of the C6-R is pointing almost straight down.
You said most people love it, so you can add one more to most people now +one.
A great product. Can-not imagine the one's costing twice as much, as being any better.
Thanks for the chair and a great price.
Chuck, in Florida
Hi Ray and Frank.
I received the Ray's Bracket on the 3rd of July. It arrived right on schedule. I was really impressed after I opened the package and saw the bracket. It looks really "first class" and well machined. All the necessary hardware was included. I installed the bracket on my Celestron NexStar 8i on Friday 7 July as per the included installation instructions.. The installation was much simpler than I envisioned and went without any problems. I worked slowly and carefully and checked everything as I proceeded and was finished after about 40 minutes. I was impressed with the way the telescope appeared with the bracket installed. It looks like it was designed and manufactured this way. I easily balanced the scope. It was "tail heavy" with the added Starlight Filter, CN16 GPS, and the 2 inch diagonal I added. And now the diagonal clears the base when pointing to the zenith. Just want to say thank you for the fine upgrade.
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