Astro-Physics 2.7” Focuser Upgrade
Starlight Instruments Feather Touch Micro (27FTMU)

Our new specially designed dual-speed pinion assembly with a 9:1 speed reduction knob for critical focusing is now available as an upgrade or you can purchase a whole new focuser with this feature. The precision mechanical Feather Touch™ assembly was designed and produced for us by Starlight Instruments. The assembly will fit all 2.7 inch Astro-Physics focusers (including Traveler focusers) that have the newer-style pinion block (A1034-A). Simply remove the original block and replace it with the new dual-speed unit. A similar unit will be available for the 4" focuser in the summer of 2004.

This new dual-speed focuser allows very precise manual focusing on our relatively fast Apo lenses. The coarse-focus knobs allow you to rack the drawtube out quickly, and then the fine knob is used to find and hold the final focus point. Ideal for very high powers with short focus oculars and Barlow amplifiers. It will also allow quick, precise manual focusing with CCD cameras. You'll love the smoooooooth feel and the very cool reflection of the gold anodized knob on the polished aluminum knob.

We recommend this accessory for those who do mostly visual astronomy and manual focusing with imaging equipment. If you plan to use electric focusing motors and accessories, we recommend that you stay with the original single-speed block. When focus motors are attached to the pinion, the dual-speed function can no longer be used. The extra drag of the dual-speed mechanism will result in higher loads and torque requirements for the focus motors. Therefore this is not recommended.

Group 1 - Upgrade to Refractors Shipped after June 2003
All of the customers who had a 130 f8.35 StarFire EDT, 130 f6 StarFire EDFS or Traveler on order were offered the Feather Touch Micro assembly as an upgrade - shown on the 2.7" focuser pictured on the left. The focuser that was already included with these orders featured the new greaseless drawtube design, but did not have the 9:1 reduction unit. This focuser is shown on the right (note, the design of the Traveler focuser body - large black portion - is slightly different). The part number for the upgrade placed during the production run was S27FOCFPU . Most of these customers ordered the upgrade. If you did not order the upgrade at that time, but wish to purchase it now, please contact Astro-Physics. The part number is be 27FTMU

Group 2 – Upgrade most recent 155 scopes
All of the people who received their 155mm f7 StarFire EDFS (2.7” focuser version) October 2002 or later were offered the opportunity to purchase the Feather Touch Micro assembly (part # 27FTMU) to install on their existing focusers.

On March 17, 2004, we sent an e-mail and letter to these customers and posted a notice on the ap-ug user group. If you missed your opportunity at that time, give us a call to upgrade today.

The upgrade for the 4" focuser is under development and will be available later in the summer of 2004.

Group 3 – Upgrade scopes and focusers shipped since July 2001
All of the people who received their Astro-Physics refractors with the 2.7” or Travelers focusers or ordered the focuser separately after July 2001 are eligible for the Feather Touch Micro assembly (part # 27FTMU) upgrade. It will not be possible to upgrade to the greaseless drawtube (you can purchase a new focuser if this feature is important to you). This group includes scopes purchased from RC Optical, Optical Guidance Systems, Parallax Instruments, D&G Optical and Telescope Engineering Company. In order to determine whether your focuser can be upgraded, please compare the hole pattern on the bottom of the pinion block of your focuser to these photos. Focusers that can be upgraded must have the current hole pattern. Note, some of these focusers had black focuser drawtubes.

The upgrade will consist of the assembly shown on the left below. The photos on the right correspond show the original assembly.

We contacted this group April 2, 2004. This upgrade is still available for these scopes.

Group 4 – New focuser orders
New, complete 2.7” and Traveler focusers with the Feather Touch Micro and greaseless drawtube are be available for everyone to order. Please review the focuser section of our website for complete information. New 4" focusers will be available later in the summer of 2004.