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Rigel Systems "QuikFinder" Compact Sight

Right: Front view of Rigel Systems "QuikFinder" Compact Sight showing three white collimation knobs, black on-off and brightness control knob, white blink/continuous control dial, with Base. Note observer views from behind the window (39,313 bytes).

The Rigel QuikFinder is a compact, lightweight night time or low light reflex sight that is engineered for use on large binoculars, and compact or large telescopes. It is well suited to the needs of astronomers, or anyone who must work in low light while preserving their night (scotopic) vision. The QuikFinder can be employed as the sole or primary sight to help you find objects that would be invisible to the naked eye, or in other small finder telescopes. Or, you may choose to use a QuikFinder in combination with a second conventional magnifying finder telescope.

This is a more compact evolution of the Telrad sight - the original astronomy heads-up display sight. The QuikFinder is distinguished not only for its compact profile, but also for its blinking circuit which allows one to have the Bulls-Eye pattern blink on or off.

Because of its relatively compact arrangement, and bulls eye sight which is more useful than similarly priced "red dot" sights, the QuikFinder is particularly helpful on smaller, fork mounted telescopes such as the Questar 3-1/2 inch Maksutov-Cassegrain, or Celestron C-5 Series fork mounted Schmidt-Cassegrain, or compact 70mm to 105mm aperture Achromatic and Apochromatic refractor telescopes such as those we offer by TeleVue and Astro-Physics.

QuikFinder Arrangement:

The QuikFinder sight is composed of two components: 1) QuikFinder Sight, and 2) Quick Release Platform/Base. The Base is installed onto a telescope by either double sided tape, or velcro straps, or the base may be bolted on as well. The Sight snaps onto either of the furnished bases.

The Sight houses the power supply (a button size, long life Lithium battery), a black on-off rotary switch which also can vary the brightness of the display, a smaller white rotary dial that can adjust the "pulsing" of the display from a slow blink to rapid or continuously on pattern, a red L.E.D. lamp, the QuikFinder Bulls eye reticle, a 45 degree inclined transparent display window, and a lens to bring the image of the reticle to focus on the window.

Rigel QuikFinder Bulls eye pattern, adjustable red LED brightness set to medium to show better in this image (13,585 bytes)Left: Rigel QuikFinder "Bulls eye" circles pattern; the adjustable brightness red LED set to medium to show better in this image (13,585 bytes).

The optical arrangement is simple, and reliable. It provides that the QuikFinder's distinct bulls eye pattern will be projected by a long life red Light Emitting Diode (LED) onto the display window. The LED is superior to simple incandescent bulbs with a red filter, or painted lens to dim the light and provide the dark red color. The QuikFinder incorporates an on-off switch with a variable intensity potentiometer to permit the user to vary the brightness of the LED. The circuitry regulates the power so that as battery voltage drops the illumination will not fade. The LED is durable and almost never burns out, and it's uniform brightness can be lowered across a wider degree than most incandescent sources.

The QuikFinder is installed onto a telescope. The telescope is pointed to a distant target. Then the three large white knobs provided on the QuikFinder are turned to gradually adjust the Bulls-Eye pattern precisely up or down, and left or right so that the reticle lines up onto the center of the telescope's field of view. This alignment may be performed initially observing out from a dim room on a terrestrial target, or at night on a bright object overhead.

When the window is viewed from the observer's vantage point then the Bulls-Eye pattern (1/2 and 2 degrees in diameter as viewed by the observer) will appear to float, apparently suspended in front of the stars or other objects in the background. The QuikFinder sight is delivered from Company Seven with the reticle pattern focused onto the window. The focus is factory set by adjusting the spacing between the L.E.D./reticle assembly and the focusing lens. The L.E.D. and reticle assembly are cemented into place within the QuikFinder housing.

The reticle pattern is scaled so that each one of the two circles appears to cover a set area of sky: two degrees for the outer circle, one half degree for the circle in the center. And so Star hopping (moving from one star to another) with the sight is very easy:

  • the view through the window is "normal" in that the image is correct and not reversed left to right, and stands erect instead of upside down as is common in many telescope finderscopes,
  • one may clearly see the expansive area of sky around the QuikFinder window,
  • the two projected circles help one to learn how to judge angular distances from one object to another.

The QuikFinder is furnished with one quick release plastic base, and a spare base in the packing box so that you may readily employ your QuikFinder on two telescopes. The bases differ only in that one is fit for a larger radius of curvature platform than the other base; and so you may use the QuikFinder on a small refractor for example, and also use your QuikFinder on a larger diameter telescope. The arrangement permits easy clip-on attachment to, or the removal of the QuikFinder from a baseplate with no need to use tools. Additional Base plates are among the available options.

Use of the Quikfinder:

To locate an object with the aid of the Quikfinder, simply move the telescope so that a bright star or other object near the desired object comes into the display window of the Quikfinder. if the desired object is bright enough to see in the QuikFinder sight, then simply center the object in the center circle of the Quikfinder, and then move to the main telescope for a detailed look. If the object to be viewed is fainter than what can be seen with the naked eye, then use the QuikFinder to navigate onto the target by "star hopping".

Some examples of "Star Hopping":

  • To find the "Rosette Nebula" in the constellation "Monoceros":

      Move the telescope to center the QuikFinder onto the bright star Betelgeuse (in Orion). Move the telescope to the left (west) about five Reticle diameters. This should put the telescope just about centered onto the Rosette Nebula.

  • To find the "Ring Nebula" in the constellation "Lyra":

      Center the QuikFinder pattern onto the bright star "Vega". Next move the telescope about four Reticle diameters (about eight degrees) south east over to the two brightest stars nearest to Vega; these will be the stars "Sulafat" and "Sheliak". Move the telescope to position the stars "Sulafat" and "Sheliak" on the middle ring of the reticle at about two degrees outside both the 9 and 3 o'clock positions. The "Ring Nebula" should be just about centered in the Reticle.

    The more you practice this skill, the easier it becomes to use the Quikfinder. And a side benefit will be that you improve your own ability to judge angular separations.

    History of Quikfinder:

    With Leon and Linda Palmer's Rigel Systems Starlite and PulseGuide Illuminator products generating positive cash flow (a good thing... yes a very good thing, given their two children approaching college age) the founders of Rigel started looking around for their next product idea. Having heard the lament about the Telrad over the years "couldn't it be made smaller?", Leon and Linda decided to make an effort to refine the concept. This was not a criticism of Telrad, it is an excellent product and in fact Leon bought ten of them for use on telescopes at the local community college where he teaches astronomy part-time, but this effort would focus on serving an unscratched niche - a niche since scratched down to bone by those "red dot finders" then being marketed for use on telescopes - yet which were originally developed for the rifle and pistol market!

    Left: The four main evolutionary stages of the Rigel QuikFinder up the present day model (No. 4) (24,225 bytes).Rigel QuikFinder evolution (24,225 bytes)

    Rigel's first foray into the reflex sight product line (No. 1 in the illustration above) was a product about the size of a pack of cigarettes, of aluminum construction, with a comparatively narrow field of view. These first sights were functional, but were difficult to fabricate. Leon soon found a source of gray PVC square tubing and started fabricating the next incarnation of QuikFinder (No. 2 in the illustration above) in the garage, banned from Linda's kitchen forever! Refinements came including a dew shield (No. 3 in the illustration above), and thanks to customer feedback the present model incorporated a pulsing circuit. After running up sales to about 1,000 QuikFinders a year, Rigel could justify the $15,000 expenditure to manufacture plastic injection molds used to make the current (and final) incarnation.

    Scotopic Vision: The human eye responds to low light levels by dilating (opening) the Iris; this diaphragm dilates to permit a greater area of light and color sensitive cones and rods in the Fovea (at the rear) of the eye to become stimulated. If the eye is exposed to common white light, then the Iris will accordingly constrict thereby reducing the eye's sensitivity to faint objects. To see how this works, walk into a room and turn off the lights - notice how over time you will be able to see more and more fine details in the dark room as your eye adapts to this. Scotopic vision has been understood for some time, this is why military vessel interior control areas often switch to red light when operating at night. And this is why astronomers avoid white light sources when trying to attain and preserve their night vision.

    Quikfinder Features:

    • Most compact of our better reflex sights.

    • Adjustable red LED preserves night vision. On-Off, and LED brightness adjust thumb wheel switch varies the amperage delivered to the LED.

    • Wide sky view with Bulls-Eye pattern aids celestial navigation and the learning of angular measurement.

    • Wide sky view with Bulls-Eye pattern also facilitates learning the "Star Hopping" technique.

    • Blinking circuit to help find and center objects just within the threshold of human vision.

    • Lightweight, easy to find, long life three volt Lithium/Manganese Dioxide battery included. High energy density, excellent rate capability, good low temperature performance, excellent shelf life, and relatively flat discharge characteristic.

    • Two Bases provided - one for installation onto smaller diameter tubes of about 13cm diameter, the other for larger diameter tubes.

    • Engineered and made consistently well in the U.S.A.

    Housing: ABS Plastic construction
    Height: 4-1/2" (115mm)
    Width, and Depth: 1.4" (36mm)
    Maximum Height (incl. Base): 5" (127mm)
    Base Dimensions: 2.5" (61mm) long, 2" (51mm) wide, 1/2" (12.7mm)
    Weight with battery and Base: 2.75 ounces (75 g)
    Battery: One 3 volt, Eveready ECR2032/Duracell DL2032
    Draw/Avg. Battery Life: 1 milliamp, 250 hours
    * Specifications are subject to change without notice.

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