DayStar has actually been in business longer than Meade Telescopes. Naturally, there are a large number of older DayStar filters all around the world in various states of repair and age.
Because the etalon at the heart of a DayStar Filter never ages or wears out, with the proper service, that filter can live on and give good views indefinitely. Some of our older filters in operation were made in the 1970's and are still working just fine.
Thousands of other filters are lost; boxed up in the back of a dark observatory cabinet where nobody remembers how it works or what the DayStar is used for. We always love to restore older filters so they can be placed back into service.
Older models include: ATM / UNI / T-Scanners ATM's and UNI filters were in white or silver rounded housings with an AC power cord attached and a tuning knob pot. T-Scanners were silver (and recently red) with no power cord and a tune-by-tilt screw.
DARKENED OPTICS: Owners of ALL MODELS must remember that after about 10 - 15 years, some elements will age and darken over time. There is no safety concern of a filter which has aged. It actually becomes more safe because it blocks more or all of the light than before. It just gives poor views. These Blocker and Trimmer elements age with heat and humidity. Those filters in cool, dry environments have been known to last over 20 years without need of service. Those in warm, humid climates barely make 10 years before service is required. For this reason, DayStar now ships all NEW filters in SEALED pelican style cases with descant inside the case to help prolong B&T life regardless of the climate.
Blockers and trimmer age can often be detected visually from examining the color of the glass. On the red end, aged blockers and trimmers vignette in from the outside. On the gold side, aged B&T can get a mottled appearance (usually in from the outside as well) that resemble moldy splotches. Another way to check for darkening is to hold the filter up to the sun Naked Eye without a telescope. (Do not fear. This is a solar filter. It is safe to look through it on the sun without a telescope) With the Sun visible through the filter, move the filter side-to-side so the sun passes through different parts of the aperture. In an aged filter, the brightness will drop off as the sun's image moves around. In a fresh, new filter, the density and brightness of the sun will remain constant across the entire aperture.
If your filter has aged blockers and trimmers it is NOT DEAD. The repair is relatively painless. Depending on the workflow of our laboratory, DayStar can have your Blockers and Trimmers restored in a matter of weeks. The cost is currently (as of April, 2011) $750 US to have them restored. These new Blockers and Trimmers will have a 10 year life expectancy or greater, provided they are kept cool and dry, and not out in the observatory cupboard.
HOUSING UPGRADES: ATM and UNI filters may be upgraded into the new Quantum housing. Owners who have defective electronics or who want to operate their DayStar on 240VAC or 12VDC will need to upgrade to the new Quantum. Unfortunately, we can no longer repair older style ATM and UNI electronics. The electronic components for those housings became obsolite in the late 1980's and reliable replacement parts are simply no longer ava
ilable. At this time, Quantum upgrades cost $750 US.
Owners with older T-scanner filters are now offered an upgrade to the new ION housing. While we offer the ION currently in 20mm aperture, we are also producing T-scanner-ION upgrade housings for the original 1.5" aperture optics used in older model T-scanner filters. This allows the owner of the t-scanner to use the filter year-round in all weather. At this time T-scanner-ION housing upgrades cost $900 US.
Housing upgrades take a few weeks and carry a 10 year warranty.
Etalon Upgrades: Often owners who have an older filter enjoy the option to upgrade to a narrower etalon or a more uniform (PE Grade) etalon. Etalon upgrades are priced as exact difference between MSRP column prices for each grade or bandpass. That is that an upgrade from .7SE to .5SE is priced as the difference between a new .5SE vs a new .7SE.
Value of Older Filters: Owners occasionally wonder if it is "worthwhile" restoring an older DayStar Filter. Any filter of any age (who has not been opened or tampered with) who has restoration of blockers and trimmers and a housing upgrade will have the same exact value and warranty as that of a brand new filter of those specifications. Compare the $1500 cost to restore blockers and trimmers and a housing - to that of any new Quantum Filter made by DayStar and the value is evident.
We love hearing from astronomers who "find" an old wooden DayStar box in the back of a cupboard in their club's observatory. Restoring a filter is a much better bargain than buying anything new; and we are together salvaging decades of future solar observing with the very useful and valuable tool that might have otherwise never seen sun again.
The Box: We know that many observers who bought their filter from the previous owner, Del Woods, love the classic styling of your old wooden boxes. However, we hope you will consider also upgrading the box as well. The foam in these boxes deteriorates and you quite possibly already have a mess inside. The box also affects the life of your filter as well. The box stores humidity in its wood and does not in any way protect the filter from climate harm. DayStar offers a choice of Pelican/Storm cases available at discount to DayStar owners.