But as a thank-you for being honest, FLO very kindly sent me a freebie to use with my new C6-S telescope, and asked me what I thought of the gadget.
Rigel QuikFinder Introduction
It’s a red-dot finder scope from Rigel which is apparently a fairly new finder scope on the market. I already own a red-dot finder that I got for use with my XT10i newtonian-reflector telescope, but that one was the ScopeTekNix Multi-LED Reticule Reflex Red-dot Finder that I purchased from Scopes-n-Skies. So I already had a similar type of finder to make the comparison with.
My first impressions of the Rigel QuikFinder when I opened its box was that it seemed rather “plasticky” (click picture for larger image), but this was because my ScopeTeknix finder is CNC machined black anodised aluminium, which looks and feels a more professional product than the Rigel, and so I wondered about the durability of the Rigel finder. It looks functional and appears to be fairly rugged.
Constructed of plastic does however mean that the Rigel is very light, so has little effect on the balance of your scope.
The price of the Rigel is very similar to the ScopeTeknix, which surprised me too. I get the impression that your money is going on the electronics, rather than the solid engineering of the ScopeTeknix.
The unit is supplied with two baseplates so that you can attach a mount onto two seperate telescopes and swap the finder between them which I thought was a nice touch. Attaching and removing the finder from the baseplate is quick and easy, yet the clipping action is good and firm when in place, and the finder does not move at all, essential once aligned.
Some double-sided contact adhesive strips are supplied to allow the baseplate to be fixed to the telescope, but each baseplate also has a single central screwhole for mounting. I used one of the mounting screwpoints already provided on my C6-S telescope to fix the baseplate, and found that it needed tightening reasonably fast to hold the baseplate firm as otherwise it might rotate when attaching or using the finder.
LED Operation - Dim-n-Blink
The Rigel finder scope comes with a CR2032 type battery for operation. The big black knob switches the unit on, and rotating the knob dims/brightens the red LED bulls-eye display (whereas the ScopeTeknix has a multi-position switch to effect brightness of its LED in steps). I quite like the ability of the constant variability of the Rigel LED, it produces a very nice fine bulls-eye (just the one reticule display type, two circles, one at 1/2 degree, and the other at 2 degrees), and dimming it to match the brightness of the stars you are finding is very useful. Being a bulls-eye you can see the star inside the central ring, which is nicer than a crosshair which obstructs the view of the star when centred.
However I noticed when outside in the freezing cold, that the rotary dial knob became quite stiff to turn, and this I suspect is due to the lubrication in the potentiometer becoming more solid in the cold. It wasn’t a major problem, but just made me worry that I had turned it off, and was forcing the knob the wrong way it had become so stiff!
Next to the black power knob is a small white knob that controls the pulsing of the LED display. I quite like this feature. The LED can be adjusted to blink, from slowest at about 1 second on, 1 second off, faster until it is on constantly. This enables you to see the view unhindered without the bulls-eye, then with, pulsing at the rate you have chosen.
Aligning the Rigel finder is one thing I think is handled better than the ScopeTeknix. With the ScopeTeknix you have to use an allen/hex-key to adjust the collimation of the finder so it is parallel to the telescope. Therefore its more of a “do it in daytime” kind of task.
The Rigel has 3 more small white knobs which control the angle of the reflecting mirror. I found these very convenient and easy to adjust, and had the finder accurately sited up on the C6-S in just a minute or so, while the ScopeTeknix took me several minutes to get it aligned accurately on my XT10i scope.
The angled mirror that the bulls-eye is projected onto and reflects back into your eye, superimposing the image on the night sky, is made of perspex, and glued onto a bracket fixed to the 3 adjusting knobs. While I again have concerns over the use of plastic as an optical element (it could become scratched over time if cleaned carelessly), the advantage of this seems to be that its temperature remains higher, and therefore is less prone to water-vapour condensing and causing dew on the mirror. This is often a problem with the ScopeTeknix finder, but while my eyepieces and corrector plate of the telescope where gathering dew, the Rigel finder remained clear all night long.
In use I found that the Rigel QuikFinder was a pleasure to use. In particular I liked the ease of collimating the finder with the telescope. The other major plus was how it seemed to be little affected by dew. I often find I am cursing the ScopeTeknix’s glass optics for becoming unusable as dew forms on it.
The blinking LED which I at first considered a gimmick, is I think a useful feature, and the bulls-eye display is nice to view with its fine variable brightness. Apparently a 2xAA battery holder option is available to give longer life. I have not used the unit long enough to tell how long the CR2032 battery will last, and I wonder if this battery option is provided because the electronics eat through the smaller CR2032? This is only a guess, but also the pulsing on and off of the LED will lengthen battery life since the LED is not on constantly.
The finder is about 4 inches tall, and where I had mounted it near the eyepiece end of the telescope I found that I kept brushing my head against it when viewing through eyepieces. I think it requires the height to allow easy sighting through the finder, so really this is a minor problem caused by my own choice of position.
Although the finish of the product is as I said “plasticky”, its advantages do make it a serious contender to the ScopTeknix.