A good summary of the 'status quo' Per
In a sense the consumer and western demand for goods at lower cost, is partly to blame. We want quality but don't want to pay too much for it, and cheap and quality don't mix.
Manufacturing in the UK just could not compete on cost with goods made in the far East, and as a result most of our manufacturing industry has gone. Our Steel Industry, and our Ship Building to name but two.
However, like many people I am prepared to pay a sensible figure for quality, and believe that in many cases, the price I am paying deserves a quality product. Albeit, I don't seem to be getting this from astro-equipment manufacturers.
The optics in all three of my Meade LX200 series scopes, were made in the U.S., and were very good. However, the Meade Series 5000 refractor that I bought, was made in China, and the optics were not good at all.
I now have the WO FLT 110, and IMO, the optics are excellent, but then the focuser is not fit for purpose. All made of course in Taiwan.
With the Skywatcher MN190, some people were lucky and got a good one, others were not so lucky.
It really is all about the lack of quality control throughout the manufacture and assembly process.
What has really surprised me is that SX chose 'style' for the 'R' series cameras against good engineering design. Its not difficult science to understand that Peltier devices generat heat, that this heat needs to be diposed of, and that a small heat-sink surface area won't do this very effectively.
I also find it difficult to believe, that an astro imaging camera wasn't designed to work with the confines of an observatory, but only outside. If you want to use it in an observatory, it needs an 'add on' cooler.
I know they have to compete with Atik, who must be their main competitor, and as the H16 and the Atik 4000 use the same Kodak 'chip', the circuitry of both cameras must be very similar. So, the only way they can make the cameras look different, is in the design of the casing. Atik's is much larger than the SX, and flashy orange coloured, with water cooling pipes. The SX is much smaller a neater looking.
I'm sure that as a very experienced electronics designer, Terry Platt would have been very well aware of the potential for cooling problems with the compact case design, but maybe he was was over ruled by marketing side of the company. This is not uncommon in industry.
You are absolutely correct Per, with regard to digital designers not understanding RF. As Conultant EMC Engineer (now a professional layabout
) I had the task of teaching digital designers to think RF. They had little understanding that their nice square wave digital signals, with nice sharp corners, were rich in harmonics, extending way up into the radio frequency spectrum.
A pbc track could act an antenna, radiating electromagnetic interference.
A narrow ground track my be fine at DC, and at RF its not a ground at all, and that one layer of the PCB must be a solid ground-plane offering a low impedance RF 'ground'. The wrong choice of capacitor type, could result in them appearing as inductors at RF. The story goes on and on!!
Goodness, this is like being back at work
As far as the Widescreen Centre goes, they have sold me an early last years model, with a late 2011 registration plate on it.
I just hope the end of this saga, and a satisfactory conclusion is now in sight.