Tale of two Astronomy stores

Today I would like to share my experience with 2 different stores in UK which sell astronomy equipment. I have to say that the experience is very contrasting, and just goes to show that there are great stores who you can trust with great customer support, while others are completely lacking in customer support. I know which I would avoid and which I would buy from again in future.Great Astro shop – FLO (First Light Optics):

In January ’16, I bought the ADM Losmandy/Vixen Dual mount clamp from FLO. Recently (about 2 weeks ago), one of the locking knobs became dethreaded and I could not lock the mount properly. I emailed FLO on Saturday and early Monday morning I had an email back from them to confirm the issue and very promptly they had sent me the replacement part, and also postage to mail the damaged part back to them.

ADM Losmandy Mount clamp fixed onto the puck
ADM Losmandy Mount with the 2 aluminium locking knobs (one became dethreaded)
The damaged locking knob being prepared for shipping back to FLO
The damaged locking knob being prepared for shipping back to FLO
All packed prior to returning - they should have received this back by now
All packed prior to returning – they should have received this back by now

I have bought from FLO on a few occasions and have not had any problems with the items I had bought. But it is great to know that if there are any issues with the items bought from them, they do provide great customer support. So FLO is definitely a store I would buy from again and would recommend.

Disappointing shop – Altair Astro:

The same however cannot be said about Altair Astro. Earlier in the year I had bought the tilt adapter mount for my Astro-tech 8″ Ritchey Chretien telescope focuser from them. There is a known collimation issue with these scopes due to the primary mirror being attached directly to the collar holding the focuser, which this adapter was designed to address.

8" RC focuser collimation tilt plate adapter
8″ RC focuser collimation tilt plate adapter

Now to the problem – while the tilt plate adapter will thread fully onto the scope, the other end will not allow any of the extension tube rings or the focuser to thread fully onto it. This is the case even with the extension rings which I have never used before, so is definitely an issue with the threads on the tilt plate adapter. If neither side of the tilt adapter would fit, then I would suspect that it is an issue with the thread depth, but the scope side fits perfectly – so clearly that is not the case.

Tilt adapter attached to the 8RC scope and focuser - will not allow focuser or extension tubes to thread fully into it
Tilt adapter attached to the 8RC scope and focuser – will not allow focuser or extension tubes to thread fully into it

I did email Altair Astro about this issue, but there is absolutely no response from them. So the lack of customer support is rather off-putting and I will try my best to avoid buying from them in the future. So they are totally the opposite of FLO.

Boon