Importing a telescope from the US

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Tony, 23 Jan 2012.

  1. Tony

    Tony

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    HI all. I want to import a Meade LX 90 ACF telescope from the US but there arent US/UK based companies that will ship directly to SA. Maybe someone can help out here with a company that exports to SA;) if there are any astronomers out there.

    I have found a site called myUS.com among a few other. They will create a US based postal address for you and and for a nominal annual fee allow you to ship things within the US to this address which is usually free on most sites. They will then courier the product to you in various countries for another fee depending on how quick you want the stuff and how much it weighs. This scope weighs 16kgs

    My question is, has anyone used an intermediary company like this? Will I get hammered in SA with duties/VAT as the product costs about $2000-00? Will the telescope arrive in one piece?

    Any pointers will be most appreciated.


    P.S. This is also good to import marine products:tt2:
     
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  3. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    I imported a Meade telescope a few years back
    It arrived in one piece but needed to be calibrated again

    I will see if my freight forwarder can help
     
  4. Tony

    Tony Thread Starter

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    Thanks Dallas
     
  5. Quintin

    Quintin

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    I have a couple of scopes here at home.
    Celestron CPC800 XLT, Sky watcher 120mm and a smaller Meade 125PE.
    The Meade 125PE with ultra bright coating in a steel carry case, tripod, GPS chip, and a couple of eye pieces is up for sale at the right price.
    Let me know if you are interested.

    Q
     
  6. Tony

    Tony Thread Starter

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    PM me info on the celesrton.

    Is it the GPS model?
    Does it have the starbright XLT coatings?
    How old is the scope?
    Does if have te star align?
    How much?
     
  7. Quintin

    Quintin

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    Hi there Tony.
    Celestron, Sky watcher and Borg are not up for sale.
    But I can part with the Meade ETX 125, although I think it may be a bit small for your liking.

    Also have a couple of astro cameras and stuff if you are interested.
    Q
     
  8. Quintin

    Quintin

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    Try these guys. http://www.foton.co.za/ (011 7874375)
    They are quite good with prices.
    Worked out cheaper to buy the Celestron HD Wedge from them than shipping it from the US.....

    Q
     
  9. Tony

    Tony Thread Starter

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    Ignore my PM. I just saw your response now. The Meade although a good brand is a bit small but I will check out the web site.
     
  10. Quintin

    Quintin

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    What have you got at the moment?
     
  11. Tony

    Tony Thread Starter

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    Quintin. I've got a Sky watcher 5,5 inch newtonian with GOTO. It's a bit entry level but I didnt want to buy an expensive scope just to find I didnt like the hobby. The images are brilliant and sharp with the William optics eyepieces opposed to the ones given with the scope which are cheapos. The GOTO works well and accurate with a powertank, and is great for helping find things in polluted skies.
     
  12. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    @Tony howdy
    have you got the rough dimensions of the packaging?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  13. Tony

    Tony Thread Starter

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    Dallas, I cannot for the life of me find the box dimensions on any web site. Maybe I can try and mail Meade themsleves. All I can find is that it weighs 33 pounds and comes in two boxes. I have mailed myUS and asked them how critical the dimensions are, but I have received nothing yet.
     
  14. Tony

    Tony Thread Starter

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    The scope comes in two boxes which just makes things worse
     
  15. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    most shipping is volumetric weight instead of mass
     
  16. Tony

    Tony Thread Starter

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    Guess I'll contact Meade and ask for the box dimensions. Thanks for the help Dallas
     
  17. Quintin

    Quintin

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    OK.
    Just incase you want to know.
    Here is my little one (Taylin 4 1/2 years old) next to one of my toys.
    The Celestron CPC800 XLT on an HD Wedge.
    Be sure to check out the size before you buy as the Meade is a similar size.....

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 29 Jan 2012
  18. Tony

    Tony Thread Starter

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    Thanks Quintin. That is a serious scope there. I see you have changed/modified the mount and finderscope. Did you have issues with the original mount?

    I made a mistake. The Meade scope and tripod wigh about 50 pounds so it's extremely heavy. On the plus side I found a US based web site that delivers internationally. It's called smartastronomy.com. The stuff is so much cheaper than SA even with the import cost and VAT I will probably pay this side. The Meade scope I want with the ACF costs $2000 and the delivery is about $500-00 which works out to about R 20000-00 without VAT and duties. I like the celestron you have but this company doesnt keep that model. The same Meade scope sells here for R41000-00. Crazy
     
  19. Quintin

    Quintin

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    Hi there Tony.
    The mount is standard but I'm also running the Celestron Heavy Duty HD wedge for polar alignment.
    You will need to buy this extra if you want to put your scope into polar alignment.
    The HD wedge is HEAVY and weights about 25kg on its own.

    The scope has been modified.
    I have taken out the original focuser and replaced it with a feather touch focuser from starizona.
    I have also changed the front optics to make it hyper star capable (Will post pics of this if you want) and normally run the hyperstar on the scope for photography.

    The finder scope is super and works very well but you can't see it in the picture.
    I'm running a SkyWatcher 80mm refractometer in piggy back mode on the SCT.
    As I hardly look through the scope I use the Refractometer for visual purposes or I use this for my guide camera when taking pictures.

    Contact customs and see what they going to charge you on import duty.
    I got stung a couple of months ago when I ordered a full leather Dianese Racing suit + boots to use on my bike when on the track or out on the breakfast run.
    The total purchase was USD 950 and customs stung me R5000 on import duty.
     
  20. Tony

    Tony Thread Starter

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    I thought the scope had an alignment GOTO already to align it.

    Thanks for the heads up on customs. I think I should give them a call before I go ahead and buy the scope
     
  21. Quintin

    Quintin

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    Yes the scope does have an alignment goto but you first need to point at three bright random stars for it to align every time you use it.
    Has built in GPS and those gadgets but obviously doesn't know what direction it is facing (N,S,E,W) until you give it the position of three stars (Can include the moon and planets).
    If you put in in Polar Alignment it assumes it is pointing north / south depending on the hemisphere.

    Also look at getting yourself 2" eye pieces or a binoviewer.
    The difference is like looking through a portal as opposed to a keyhole.

    Happy to give you a demo on the scope when we have clear skies as you are just up the road from me.
     
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