Jump to content


Photo

Does a really high quality Alt/Az mount exist?

  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 Aquatone

Aquatone

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 347
  • Joined: 23 Mar 2006
  • Loc: California Bay Area

Posted 09 April 2009 - 04:06 PM

A simple question for the Alt/Az mount gurus as I am not an expert in this area. Can anyone recommend a really solid and high quality Alt/Az mount and pier/tripod combination that could handle at least a 160 mm refractor? Ideally it will be compatible with a Losmandy dovetail plate.

Perhaps I have been too spoiled by the battleship solidity of my Astro-Physics GEM's, but I can't see a mount/pier/tripod "system" built to the same level of build quality in the Alt/Az market. I am looking for something I could chain an oil tanker to...

It does not have to be a GOTO though that would be ideal. I have looked at the iOptron but frankly I am not too impressed by the build quality or issues reported in this forum.

Chris

#2 mclewis1

mclewis1

    Thread Killer

  • *****
  • Posts: 10752
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006
  • Loc: New Brunswick, Canada

Posted 09 April 2009 - 04:12 PM

http://www.discmounts.com/
http://www.tetontele...?cPath=25_36_72


#3 dtsmith

dtsmith

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 776
  • Joined: 22 Mar 2006
  • Loc: Lafayette, IN

Posted 09 April 2009 - 04:21 PM

Don't know if a Half Hitch will handle something that big, but do check out the image gallery at DiscMounts for ideas of how large you can go. It is generally suggested that you replace the DM tripod if you go larger than about a 130 mm refractor.

#4 Tamiji Homma

Tamiji Homma

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3090
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2007
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 09 April 2009 - 10:14 PM

Don't know if a Half Hitch will handle something that big, but do check out the image gallery at DiscMounts for ideas of how large you can go. It is generally suggested that you replace the DM tripod if you go larger than about a 130 mm refractor.


APM 7" f/8 on DM-6/AP Eagle Pier
TMB 180 on DM-6/G11 Tripod

This is my setup WO FLT 152 f/8 on DM-6/G11 extension+G11 tripod:
Posted Image

I think DM-6 can handle AP 160 if you get G11 tripod or better.

Tammy

#5 little_ hubble

little_ hubble

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 34
  • Joined: 19 Apr 2008
  • Loc: Aschaffenburg, Germany

Posted 10 April 2009 - 12:48 AM

hi, the ayomaster from aokswiss. wo eazytouch on steroids.

http://www.aokswiss.ch/

greets, m.

#6 alanon

alanon

    Nobody tells me anything

  • *****
  • Posts: 3140
  • Joined: 29 Jun 2007
  • Loc: Las Vegas

Posted 10 April 2009 - 02:10 AM

You might also check out the Stellarvue offering. They have a very beefy mount and tripod set up that at least has a push to system. I have never seen one in person, but the photos make it look quite rock solid, and tempting.

#7 Telescopeman54

Telescopeman54

    Vendor - Trapezium Telescopes & Services, LLC.

  • *****
  • Posts: 1715
  • Joined: 16 Aug 2007
  • Loc: New Hampshire

Posted 10 April 2009 - 03:27 AM

You did not give anything specific about the 160mm such as f/ratio, weight, etc. It may be a bit too much for the Mini Tower. You might want to wait until after NEAF. Some intersting stuff is SUPPOSED be announced there. Don't ask. I can't tell. Just be patient.

Steve

#8 Herenomore

Herenomore

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1833
  • Joined: 29 Nov 2004

Posted 10 April 2009 - 09:05 AM

Can anyone recommend a really solid and high quality Alt/Az mount and pier/tripod combination that could handle at least a 160 mm refractor?

Chris:

As others have mentioned, the DiscMounts DM-6. Here are some customer pics from the DiscMounts website:

http://www.discmount...y3/DMG3_p1.html

Tom

EDIT: I just saw that Tammy linked you to some of the same pics. Anyway, you get the picture (pun intended) ;)

#9 rob cos.

rob cos.

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 779
  • Joined: 11 Mar 2004
  • Loc: New England

Posted 10 April 2009 - 09:12 AM

http://www.universalastronomics.com/

#10 GShaffer

GShaffer

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1560
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Bogart, Ga USA

Posted 10 April 2009 - 12:42 PM

Was going to suggest that mount myself.....Looks like it could handle pretty much anything you throw at it.....

You might also check out the Stellarvue offering. They have a very beefy mount and tripod set up that at least has a push to system. I have never seen one in person, but the photos make it look quite rock solid, and tempting.



#11 Aquatone

Aquatone

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 347
  • Joined: 23 Mar 2006
  • Loc: California Bay Area

Posted 10 April 2009 - 12:51 PM

Many thanks for all the feedback everyone - much appreciated. The DM-6 looks the best option so far. The picture of one holding a 7" refractor on an AP Eagle pier looks pretty solid - and as I already have an Eagle pier being delivered for my new Mach 1.0 I would have a complete system.

Even so, looking at pictures of the DM-6 I note there are only two small bolt/screw holes for attaching the mounting plate and the entire telescope on top of that. It does not seem to have much redundancy in case a bolt should fracture. (It has happened to me) On my other mounts the mounting plate is secured with up to 6 bolts. (Neurotic!)

However it seems there is little in the Alt-Az mount market that offers both GOTO/tracking, DM-6 like solidity, and also a high level of build quality. There is the iOptron but that seems very much built to a price rather than a very high quality level. (nylon gears etc)

I can wait until after NEAF though in case anything should appear there!

Chris

#12 insinu8

insinu8

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 410
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Sunnyvale, CA

Posted 10 April 2009 - 02:41 PM

I would also recommend the DM-6 + G-11 combo. I use it for my TEC160ED and it's VERY nice and stable.

#13 chboss

chboss

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 707
  • Joined: 24 Mar 2008
  • Loc: Zurich Switzerland

Posted 10 April 2009 - 03:00 PM

Another vote for the AYOmaster.
400x magnification with a long 150mm Refractor:
http://www.aokswiss....iel_ha-150.html

English translation:
http://translate.goo...tml&sl=de&tl=en

Cheers
Chris

#14 Telescopeman54

Telescopeman54

    Vendor - Trapezium Telescopes & Services, LLC.

  • *****
  • Posts: 1715
  • Joined: 16 Aug 2007
  • Loc: New Hampshire

Posted 10 April 2009 - 04:06 PM

Many thanks for all the feedback everyone - much appreciated. The DM-6 looks the best option so far. The picture of one holding a 7" refractor on an AP Eagle pier looks pretty solid - and as I already have an Eagle pier being delivered for my new Mach 1.0 I would have a complete system.

Even so, looking at pictures of the DM-6 I note there are only two small bolt/screw holes for attaching the mounting plate and the entire telescope on top of that. It does not seem to have much redundancy in case a bolt should fracture. (It has happened to me) On my other mounts the mounting plate is secured with up to 6 bolts. (Neurotic!)


However it seems there is little in the Alt-Az mount market that offers both GOTO/tracking, DM-6 like solidity, and also a high level of build quality. There is the iOptron but that seems very much built to a price rather than a very high quality level. (nylon gears etc)

I can wait until after NEAF though in case anything should appear there!

Chris





The Mini Tower may be able to handle the load. Not knowing the details of your OTA does not allow me to provide a good assessment. The Cube is the only iOptron product with all plastic gears. The Mini Tower is a tank in comparison.

If you are attending NEAF then stop by our booth, or the iOptron booth and check things out.

CS

Steve

#15 Mr. Bill

Mr. Bill

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6106
  • Joined: 09 Feb 2005
  • Loc: Northeastern Cal

Posted 10 April 2009 - 04:53 PM

Try this....

http://www.tetontele...?cPath=25_36_72

or this.....

http://www.tetontele...?cPath=25_36_70

or this.....

:cool:

Attached Files



#16 Aquatone

Aquatone

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 347
  • Joined: 23 Mar 2006
  • Loc: California Bay Area

Posted 10 April 2009 - 05:36 PM

"The Mini Tower may be able to handle the load. Not knowing the details of your OTA does not allow me to provide a good assessment. The Cube is the only iOptron product with all plastic gears. The Mini Tower is a tank in comparison."

Thanks Stephen... My Astro-Physics AP-160 is an F7.5 of 27 lb's weight though you can add at least another 10 lb's of rings, eyepieces, mounting plate, finder, etc...

In terms of mounting security - given the prices currently being discussed for AP160's on Astromart and on the refractor forum at the moment I am rather nervous about any risk to mine!

Chris

#17 Nick Lloyd

Nick Lloyd

    He asked for it

  • *****
  • Posts: 2218
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2006
  • Loc: cincinnati

Posted 10 April 2009 - 07:20 PM

I had a 178mm f/9 refractor on my Giro II DX mount w/counterweights. The mount didn't sneeze. You would be fine with a 160mm.

#18 Telescopeman54

Telescopeman54

    Vendor - Trapezium Telescopes & Services, LLC.

  • *****
  • Posts: 1715
  • Joined: 16 Aug 2007
  • Loc: New Hampshire

Posted 11 April 2009 - 01:15 AM

Chris:

I've had my 4" f/15 Jaegers on one side of my MT and my C8 as well as an 11 pound CW on the other side with no problem other than the OTA for the Jaegers was too long. That was darn near 50 pounds and it never even knew it was there.

The MT has a very well built Vixen saddle plate which grabs quite well. Look around at NEAF and I think you will see some welcome options appearing.

CS

Steve

#19 Herenomore

Herenomore

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1833
  • Joined: 29 Nov 2004

Posted 11 April 2009 - 08:34 AM

Many thanks for all the feedback everyone - much appreciated. The DM-6 looks the best option so far. The picture of one holding a 7" refractor on an AP Eagle pier looks pretty solid - and as I already have an Eagle pier being delivered for my new Mach 1.0 I would have a complete system.

Even so, looking at pictures of the DM-6 I note there are only two small bolt/screw holes for attaching the mounting plate and the entire telescope on top of that. It does not seem to have much redundancy in case a bolt should fracture. (It has happened to me) On my other mounts the mounting plate is secured with up to 6 bolts. (Neurotic!)

However it seems there is little in the Alt-Az mount market that offers both GOTO/tracking, DM-6 like solidity, and also a high level of build quality. There is the iOptron but that seems very much built to a price rather than a very high quality level. (nylon gears etc)

I can wait until after NEAF though in case anything should appear there!

Chris:

If you are going to NEAF, Tom Peters (DiscMounts) will be there with the DM-4's/DM-6's and various mount/tripod/scope combinations to play with. If you're not going, give him a call. He's a great guy and will advise you according to your own needs even if it means not selling you a mount.

Tom

#20 Doug D.

Doug D.

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2720
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2005
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 11 April 2009 - 09:17 AM

Chris,

I'm going to take a slightly different approach here and ask you why you really feel that you need an Alt/Az for a 160, particularly if you've got a Mach 1 on order and already appreciate the solidity of your 1200 (by all accounts the Mach 1 will give you the solidity you require for your 160 in a much more travel-friendly package)? I've owned a DM-6 and used it with a TOA130 and an AP140 - there is no question that it will handle your OTA with grace and solidity. But my reasoning has taken an opposite trajectory from yours, and I am now convinced (for me at least) that the move from Alt/Az to solid GEM for refractors in excess of 5" is definitely the way to go. To do your 160 service you will need not only a DM-6 but also a very beefy tripod/pier like the G11, Eagle, etc... Personally, I would prefer the leg spread of something like the Eagle over a G11 with such a heavy scope off to the side.

In any event, it is hardly going to be a grab and go or travel friendly set up. And since you expressed a desire for GTO in this mount, you presumably would be ok with lugging a power supply (although I don't know of a high-quality motorized Alt/Az that can handle your OTA at the performance levels you desire). Thus, by my way of thinking - all roads lead to that exceptional Mach 1 you've already got on order!!

As much as I like the DM-6, I guess I just don't see an Alt/Az as the best option given your scope and wishes for GTO and solidity. To me, Alt/Az mounts are all about convenience but represent a series of compromises out of the gate relative to a GEM of Mach 1 quality/performance levels.

Doug

#21 Aquatone

Aquatone

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 347
  • Joined: 23 Mar 2006
  • Loc: California Bay Area

Posted 11 April 2009 - 04:21 PM

"I'm going to take a slightly different approach here and ask you why you really feel that you need an Alt/Az for a 160, particularly if you've got a Mach 1 on order and already appreciate the solidity of your 1200"

Hi Doug,

It's a perfectly good question. The answer is I am looking for an Alt/Az primarily for astronomy outreach purposes. I do a number of star parties and observing sessions at schools and elsewhere etc, and an Alt Az is really quick to set up, can be moved instantly around the sky more quickly than a GEM, (especially when combined with a laser pointer) and its simplicity is less intimidating to the public as well. (None of those "how does it work" questions) I remember too many "shaky mount" experiences as a teenager, hence my fetish for solidity.

The Mach 1.0 is more for portable astro-photographic purposes and my AP1200 is permanently mounted at home.

I am now thinking that the Eagle Pier (which is easily collapsible) could be used for both the DM-6 and the Mach 1.0.

Chris

#22 Doug D.

Doug D.

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2720
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2005
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 11 April 2009 - 04:58 PM

In that case - my vote would be the DM-6 on the Eagle..!!

Only problem I see with outreach on such a set-up though, is that the scope will be easily nudged out of view inadvertently and the lack of tracking can make it tough to show inexperienced viewers high mag views of planets.

#23 Herenomore

Herenomore

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1833
  • Joined: 29 Nov 2004

Posted 11 April 2009 - 06:05 PM

In that case - my vote would be the DM-6 on the Eagle..!!

And mine, too. What is really incredible about these mounts is that the DM-4, a 4" X 4" cube (with an orthogonality of less than 1/50 of the diameter of a human hair), will handle (Tom Peters' defintion of "handle" is a completely giggle-free, rock solid, backlash-free, track-and-observe-and-focus/refocus, all at the same time with one hand at 300X+) ~ 20 lbs and the DM-6 (a 6" X 6" cube) will handle nearly 3X that. Imagine what a 7" diameter (DM-7?) could do. ;)

#24 Doug D.

Doug D.

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2720
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2005
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 11 April 2009 - 07:32 PM

That is true Tom - the mistake I think, for some people using a DM-4/6 is to skimp on the legs when trying to mount a heavy OTA. When mated with the right tripod the DM-6 can really "handle" (by TP's definition) some serious weight. I suspect the Eagle and DM-6 would be a killer combination if you've got deep enough pockets.

I've really just gotten attached to high quality GEMs for heavier OTAs. But for my ~4" and smaller refractors there is a lot to be said for an Alt/Az mount. My all time favorite Alt/Az (aside from the DM-6) has to be the Half-Hitch II (with DSCs and SkyCommander).

Sorry, but I never get tired of showing off my baby (i.e., babies)..... While it doesn't quite have the capacity Chris requires for his 160, the HH is clear evidence for the existence of a "really high quality Alt/Az mount" (along with Tom P.'s mounts). When it comes to Alt/Az mounts, you really do get what you pay for IMHO.

Attached Files








Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics