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AT Voyager mini-Review

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#1 Lane

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 05:36 PM

After a two week wait it finally arrived today, my new grab and go mount for my Pronto and ED80, the AT Voyager. The packaging is very good with plenty of foam to protect the tripod and mount parts during shipping. I will include a picture below that shows everything that was inside the box. There is a single page of instructions and the assembly is very easy, taking only about 10 minutes. The arm can be mounted in 3 different positions and is held in place by two hex screws, so it can be removed and placed in the other positions with only minor effort. I currently have it in the middle position as shown in the pictures I will post below. Overall the mount looks very nice with no scratches or paint problems. Just about everything is made from aluminum with the exception of the tripod spreader, the covers for the slow motion gears, and the knobs that lock the tripod legs. The tripod is very nice and sturdy and extending the legs is effortless. On each axis there are two positions for the slow motion knobs, so regardless of with direction you mount the OTA you can put the slow motion knobs on the side of the mount that makes it easiest to operate. There is also a long flexible slow motion knob supplied but I did not attach it. The mount can be moved just by pushing the OTA or it can be moved with the slow motion knobs. The movement from left to right is very smooth and the slow motion knob is tight but easy to turn. The up and down motion however is not very smooth. I found with both my scopes as I push down or up the motion is jumpy, so instead of moving smoothly it hops in 1 or 2 degree increments. The up and down slow motion is also very tight to turn. This would probably smooth out with a heavier ota on board. There are cluch knobs on each axis to loosen or tighten the movement, but I found these to be fairly useless. They are really more like locking bolts since they don't affect the movement much at all. If you have the scope unbalanced they are useful because the up and down slow motion will not work if the balance is not fairly close. By locking those knobs you can use the slow motion regardless of the balance. The way this mount works best is to push the ota to the general location that you want to view and then just use the slow motion controls from that point, which is probably what was intended by the manufacturer. The saddle is very good and can be mounted in a couple of different ways to suit your needs, it holds my AT dovetail and my Losmandy V-series dovetail very tightly. There is a large bolt and a smaller locking bolt to ensure that the dovetail will not slip out of the saddle. There is some vibration with this mount but with my small scopes it was acceptable. I did not time it but I would say less than 1 second of damping time. Vibration pads could be used with the mount but may not be necessary with small scopes like mine. I will know more after I use it on the night sky, but after doing a little bird watching with it today I would guess that the level of vibration will be acceptable even at high power for planetary viewing.

So the bottom line:
Appearance - *****
Weight - *****
Price - *****
Ease of Use - ****
Stability - ***
Slow-Motion performance - ***
Push-To performance - **
Value for the Price - ****

This mount only cost me $250 on sale and for that price I would say the mount is a bargain. But I would like to see both slow motion controls made a little easier to turn and to do something about improving the push-to performance of the up and down motion. Pics to follow.

#2 Lane

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 05:37 PM

What was in the box:

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#3 Lane

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 05:38 PM

Set up with my ED80:

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#4 Lane

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 05:38 PM

Another closer shot:

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#5 Lane

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 05:41 PM

And with the Pronto on board:

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#6 Trebor777

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 05:58 PM

Great report Lane.

If you wanna do more for stability, (I highly suggest vibration suppression pads) check out some of the mods "Manny Myles" does. Right now he's making me an EP tray - which will add to the stability and he's also making me a Pan Handle w/ mounting bracket. This moves the scope closer to the middle (balance point) and with the Pan Handle it makes "push to" a heck of a lot easier.

I attached a pic of csa/montana's "Manny Myles Voyager". I'm getting that same bracket, except without the piece pointed forward. The bracket allows "hockey puck" to be mounted on the bracket, therefor the scope is mounted "up" instead of on the side.

Picture of the Mount

Notice of Edit: Changed image to a link at the request of the image owner... CH

#7 Trebor777

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 06:00 PM

Here's the bracket he's making for me. It's gonna be painted white to match the Voyager. You can see how it's rounded to accept the "hockey puck" (I'm having a brain fart for the actual name of the piece)

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#8 Lane

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 06:21 PM

He did a good job on that bracket, looks like it came with the mount.

#9 Manny Myles

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 09:56 AM

The name for the bracket would be PhAT RaAT
and here it is in white.
This device changes the Push To from a 2 star to a 5 star with the pan handle
m2

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#10 Moggi1964

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 05:01 PM

Lane,

you could also increase stability by buying the 8 inch extension which would allow you to reduce the leg extension by said amount leading to greater stability. I tried it with one of the Voyagers we had at NEAF and it worked.

#11 Lane

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 07:56 PM

Morris - Actually my concern about stability wasn't stated in my review. The concern isn't about the vibration, I am ok with that. My concern is when you have the arm positioned at one of the 45 degree angles then the scope want to tip over easily. I will be keeping mine in the upright position and just bypass on seeing things near zenith. It is better for terrestrial viewing in this position anyway.

Manny - do you sell those PhAT RaAT's or just doing a favor for Randy?

By the way I got a nice case for this mount. Actually got the case for my CGEM + Tripod Extension since I always keep them mounted together. But it turns out the same case fits this mount perfectly. It is the HAKUBA PRO-SERIES PSTC 400 (10.5" x 8.5" x 48" outside dimensions).

#12 Manny Myles

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 09:09 PM

Lane, PM sent
m2

#13 MikeB 2

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 07:37 PM

I just got mine a couple days ago and I agree that the up/down movement is indeed "jumpy" any idea if this can be fixed?

#14 Lane

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 08:25 PM

I think it is a matter of weight, a heavier scope or that plate that Manny sells might help out. I don't think adding a handle by itself would do anything, because if I try to move it by pushing the front end of the scope it is still jumpy and that end of the scope is out more that a foot from the pivot point, longer than the handle would be. I am sure a 3 foot handle would smooth out the motion, but that isn't very practical.

After using it just a few days it is definitely starting to loosen up a bit so it may improve automatically over time. But I have come to the conclusion that it isn't a big deal anyway. You just move the scope close to what you want to view by pushing it then use the slo-mo controls, I have already gotten use to doing that and it works fine.

#15 drshr

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 05:13 AM

I have this mount. It does improve over time. Also it seems to do better with a heavier scope. It really is perfect with my 150mm Achro.

The only thing I don't like are the Aluminium legs. Good and light but not nearly as good as stainless tube or wood. I need to upgrade the legs.

#16 Terrance

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 11:39 PM

I just got this mount. I noticed movement up and down was jerky until I loosened the screw that controls altitude tension and now it moves up and down smoothly. I also noticed azimuth tension was too high and made it hard to turn left or right. Just a quick flick with a screw driver loosened the alt clutch and then finger tightening produced the right tension.






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