Well, this system arrived today so I thought I would post my first impressions. My back is killing me so I had to recruit help to set the scope up and try collimation with it. That wasn't one of my smarter ideas (L5/S1 and my muscles and discs/nerves in my neck are killing me today, to the point I am staying in tonight). Let me state up front that I have the Catseye Passive Collimation System and I love using it. However, I also have to admit I haven't mastered the use of the Catseye System at night, though I purchased Jim's red light that attaches to the spider vanes. Jim Fly posted directions over at CloudyNights in this thread at this link.
The following is what I posted on that thread: "
That is the clip light that I got from Jim at Catseye when I ordered my system last year. The light on my scope is just too bright and is drowning out the primary so I can't see any reflections. I need to read and practice more."
Jim replied with some suggestions for using the system at night:
"As mentioned, when using the autocollimator, place the clip light on the far side of the spider vane opposite the focuser pointed at the center spot. Then, while looking at the spot through the central pupil, adjust the angle of the light at the clip swivel slightly to diminish the background peripheral glare while maintaining bright spot illimination. I might add that when illuminating the BLACKCAT XL Cheshire, the clip light works best when placed on the same outboard vane but moved in adjacent to the Secondary mounting hub."
I will have to try that (thought I had as I placed the red light on the vane opposite the focuser on the outer edge. I did not adjust the angle of the light at the clip swivel slightly to diminish the background peripheral glare though.
Well, anyway, I have always wanted a Howie Glatter barlow laser collimation system so to use with the Catseye System I purchased the following items from Howie.
2” 650nm standard brightness red collimator.
Holographic attachment (for collimating the secondary).
Here are some pictures I took of the items:
In the picture below is the tuBlug on the right (black with the white face), the hologrpahic attachment for the laser collimater (in the bag) and the 650n 2 inch Red Laser Collimator on the left.
Same items, same position, just angled down.
A close up of the 2 inch tuBlug
Close up of the 2 inch 650n Laser Collimator.
Centering the secondary is a breeze with the holographic adapter. It worked just as advertised on Howie's site Next collimating the primary, then the secondary and then back to the primary was a breeze using both the laser and the tuBlug. In about 10 minutes I had it down. I'll have to make a movie of the collimation process using these tools and post it along with the Catseye passive tools and compare results. I'll see if my friend Jeff can arrange a time to do that with me.
The build of the items are first class. The 2 inch laser is extremely sturdy and well built. The tuBlug is also of the hightest quality and both should last for a lifetime of observing if taken care of. I have an extra case to hold these so they will be an item I take with me all the time. I look forward to using both tools to maximize my observing with the outstanding Zambuto mirror that I have!