Today I got to have a first hand look at a cheap Newtonian telescope that was designed at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore. The scope is an entry level instrument that costs just about Rs 3500/-. Pity there is a saying, you get what you pay for.
The scope we’re talking about is a 100 mm Newtonian designed by IIA and manufactured by Level Optics Pune. Least to say, I can nothing good to day about this instrument which is a paradigm in bad engineering
The scope construction is a Newtonian tube on a Alt-az mount construction. On a first distant look, it appears very nice aesthetically, but a closer look reveals it to be a piece of junk. Both the Altitude and the azimuth axis pivots are a single bolt that takes all the load. There is considerable play in this kind of a fulcrum, and the mount is something short of a spring, has absolutely no damping. Whats worse the alt mount is a half-fork type design, with the fork angle not being 90 deg. The center of gravity of the mount is biased to one side of the mount, and the associated “sag” is pretty visible.
The material used for the alt-az is a cheap square pipe welded by hand, with no regard to precision. What that does is that the scope can never look “UP” completely.
Other issues being that the focuser is not smooth, and is not of a 1.25″ standard. From just looking it looked like a 0.96″ barrel and comes with a single 10x eyepiece.
Other construction flaws, locking nuts are not very secure, collimation nuts could have been simple winged nuts and maybe it had been deigned for short people. The whole assembly is not even 3 feet high.
(Okay maybe its a tabletop design)
Finally i decided to put it back in the box, and may i let you know disassembly is such a bit**!
Personally I can go on and on about this thing but in all the scope is a serious joke and reflects poorly on the “engineering” abilities at IIA.
MORAL OF THE STORY: This telescope is what we recommend people to sty way from. Instead of encouraging people towards astronomy, its only going to drive them away. Our suggestion, save your money for something else. The brains behind this project (or you may say the lack thereof) have done a serious disservice to the astronomer brethren and to the Institute they represent