Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Half Hitch--who has one?

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
11 replies to this topic

#1 LivingNDixie


    TSP Chowhound

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 19088
  • Joined: 23 Apr 2003

Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:44 AM

I have picking over the review in Astronomy Technology Today... the mount seems interesting. I still haven't gotten a mount for the FS 78, I know I have been slacking :roflmao: :tonofbricks:

#2 Doug D.

Doug D.


  • *****
  • Posts: 2858
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2005

Posted 12 May 2009 - 08:48 AM

Preston - you might want to start with this recent thread.

In a word, they are great mounts with a loyal and enthusiastic (and growing) following ;)

#3 SkyscraperJim


    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 852
  • Joined: 29 Jul 2007

Posted 12 May 2009 - 06:05 PM

It seems that a lot of the discussion is about whether you prefer a mount that uses friction (to compensate for eyepiece changes) and one that works smoothly (but needs to be balanced). I've been using a Half-Hitch (Mark I) for about a year, and it has changed the way I observe somewhat. The whole notion of frequently switching eyepieces I think is a bit overdone, as I usually keep the 13mm Ethos in the entire session. I have enjoyed how the Half-Hitch has given me the ability to observe and move about the sky while looking through the eyepiece. Exploring the summer Milky Way in this manner is a real treat, and it helps me familiarize myself more with the sky and the scale of things, since I'm not just going from point-to-point and looking only at the objects but rather navigating my way along and seeing everything in between. I almost never use the slow motion controls since the mount moves so smoothly you can make minute and precise adjustments without them, although they are a joy to use.

For those who say that the Half Hitch is expensive, I can only say that the old adage of "you get what you pay for" rings very true in this case. The first time you use it you'll never think about the price again.

#4 SchrödingersCat


    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 373
  • Joined: 02 Nov 2008

Posted 12 May 2009 - 07:00 PM

I have a Mark II and it's a great bit of gear. It has intuitive slomo controls, (used it with magnifications of 300+) accurate push-tos (with requisite computer) and no battery box to lug around, so setting up only takes minutes. It has been paired with a Meade 80 apo and a celestron 8 inch SCT and it has performed flawlessly.

If that's not enough Charles, the proprietor of the HH system, is always available to personally answer your questions.

#5 jason_milani



  • *****
  • Posts: 2377
  • Joined: 03 Sep 2004

Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:09 PM

I'm about to GRAB mine and GO outside so i'll get back to you later ;)

#6 Denimsky


    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 969
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2007

Posted 12 May 2009 - 09:43 PM

I love my Half Hitch mount.

It is light weight but very sturdy for my TSA-102 and TMB-105. It is well balanced at any direction that my scopes are pointing with very little friction applied. All the attention to details paid to the mounts are great such as built in bubble head, scales on the dovetail plates and saddle plates, horizontal stop, vertical stop and the best dovetail clamp(Mark III feature) that I've every used.

The encoders are very accurate. The objects are always within FOV of my Pentax XW using 240X.

The mounts are very comfortable to use pointing at any direction due to its excellent zenith clearance and the two axis balance.

#7 Mike Sandy

Mike Sandy


  • -----
  • Posts: 1122
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posted 12 May 2009 - 10:47 PM

I have two Half Hitches.....love 'em both! One is a Mark II that I use with a Pentax 75 or a TV-102, and a Pre-prod unit that I use for my Lunt solar scope. I sold my Giro III when I picked up the HH - the HH was a large improvement.

I enjoy the smooth operation of the mount, and really like how little it weighs. Attached to a light weight tripod and one of the many 80mm class refractors - it is the ultimate grab and go set-up. Easily handles the TV-102 if I need to use a 4" scope. Adding a FS-78 would be an excellent choice.

#8 mypontiac



  • -----
  • Posts: 1303
  • Joined: 06 Sep 2007

Posted 13 May 2009 - 12:08 AM

Does the half hitch actually follow the viewed object or do you use controls to move with it?

Please explain the benefits.


#9 swsantos


    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 238
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2005

Posted 13 May 2009 - 12:39 AM

I have a Mark II and that is my scope in the video.

I have already been the friction route with the AstroTech Voyager. It was nice and held my TV 102 well enough, but along with a friction held mount comes constant fiddling and battling the balance between holding your scope securely and maintaining precision control.

Critical to being able to track an object, especially at high power, is to be able to effortlessly move your scope very slowly with precise control. If you have to constantly think about starting friction/moving/overshooting/compensating/jiggling observing sessions all that mental energy that you should be bringing to bear on the object in the eyepiece is instead being diverted to taming the physics of the mount. Even with slow motion controls there is friction to overcome, backlash to deal with, and jiggles because of the force needed to move it, stop it, control it..

Enter the Half Hitch. No starting friction. The same minimal energy to start it moving is the same energy that keeps it moving. It moves with fingertip control to any position and stops exactly where you let it go. There are no jiggles. Even without using its amazing slow motion controls.

You know how when you glide a new laser mouse on a nice mousepad you never have to think about the physical effort to move it? What would it be like to use a computer mouse that had the physics issues and lack of precise control of a typical AltAz that relies on friction? It would be a constant intrusion to the task at hand.

The Half Hitch moves in its 3D task as easily as a mouse does in its 2D task. It disappears and does not intrude in the experience of observing. I find that I can observe with much more ease and concentration because I am not constantly being distracted the mount.

#10 Mike Sandy

Mike Sandy


  • -----
  • Posts: 1122
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posted 13 May 2009 - 12:47 AM

You move the mount by just pushing it, or by the slow motion controls. It is an Alt-Az mount.....simple, and needs no polar alignment. It has encoders and an optional computer to help find objects, but it is not powered in any way.

#11 BarrySimon615


    Pa Bear

  • *****
  • Posts: 3224
  • Joined: 01 Mar 2004

Posted 18 May 2009 - 12:36 PM

I am the one who wrote the Half-Hitch review that appeared in Astronomy Technology Today. I echo the sentiments expressed by others - it works effortlessly and smoothly. It is a very well thought out mount. I had it for about 6 weeks and really enjoyed using it. While many may consider it pricey, especially if used with lower priced tube assemblies, it is not over priced considering the cost of materials, engineering and workmanship which is put into it.

I quite possibly would have bought the one I tested had it not been for some pending surgery and other medical treatment and the fact that I have an earlier alt-azimuth mount made by Charles Riddell, maker of the Half Hitch. My mount, the "Wagon" is a dual arm alt-azimuth with a 60 lb. payload capacity.

Barry Simon

#12 jason_milani



  • *****
  • Posts: 2377
  • Joined: 03 Sep 2004

Posted 18 May 2009 - 04:34 PM

I have owned Gibraltars, Telepods, an EZ touch, AT Voyager, 5 Helix Hercules (single arm, 8", 2-10" and a 12"), and a boatload of cheaper manual alt-az mounts and i can say that the Half Hitch is THE BEST BY FAR that i've owned, especially with the Sky Commander computer. It's smooth and accurate. With any other mount i've used you always have to slightly overshoot the target so the natural flex in the mount brings it back to the center of the FOV. I had the Half Hitch out 2 nights ago, turned on the Sky Commander, sighted and centered Polaris then Arcturus in about 60 seconds and then i was hopping from object to object without a problem - everything dead center in my zoom eyepiece at 7.5mm.

I was actually moving the scope with my forehead pushing the eyepiece for tracking! No backlash here baby!

Can't say enough about this mount. I usually get tired of equipment fairly quickly so i can try out new stuff but i won't be getting rid of this unless it's to upgrade to a Mark III.

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics