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Travel Mount for 3" Refractor?

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#1 kapu


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Posted 22 May 2009 - 07:34 PM

I just purchased my first refractor (SV80ST), and I'm looking for the ideal travel mount. Note that I do mean travel, as in I want to be able to carry the entire rig on a plane with me, or even backpack with it. I opted for the 80mm over larger aperatures to maximize portability. The OTA is about 6.5 lbs. There are some nice grab-and-go mounts like the Voyager out there, but that is still bulkier than what I want. I'd like the entire mount to be under 12 lbs, better yet under 10 lbs, and break down to less than 32" in length. The SV M1 head on a photo tripod is one obvious option. It is very compact. Good Manfrottos aren't cheap, but they are readily available used. If anybody has definite opinions about this head or which tripod suits it and a 80mm scope best, I'd very much appreciate hearing about that. I don't know much about the lightweight M1 tripod that SV pairs with this head. Many SV dealers don't seem to carry it, though they all stock the head and the heavier surveyor style tripod. Tele Vue makes the light weight Telepod mount. That is another option, though the TV head is a lot larger than the M1. Maybe an M1 on a TV tripod? Are there other options people prefer from experience or would avoid? Any and all advice welcome. I have no experience with any mount weighing less than 20 lbs.


#2 ngc6475


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Posted 22 May 2009 - 07:51 PM

You might consider a Bogen 501 head on a Bogen 475 tripod or a slightly more bulky Bogen 3046 tripod.

Bogen 475 Tripod

Bogen 501 head

My personal grab'n'go setup consists of a Universal Astronomics Microstar mount on a Bogen 3046 tripod and it is light and easy to transport, although it is not suitable for carrying onto a passenger plane.

#3 Joe Aguiar

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Posted 22 May 2009 - 09:42 PM

what about this:


It can carry a 80mm refractor & you can add a drive on it.


#4 kapu


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Posted 23 May 2009 - 02:43 AM

Thanks for the tips. The 475 tripod is one that others have recommended as sturdy for the weight. Joe - I honestly hadn't considered a portable Eq mount. It has obvious advantages over alt-az in a manual drive, but I hadn't seen such a small one, especially for such a small price. 15 lbs (including counterweight) is a little on the heavy side for what I want, but it would certainly pack small. I might have to look into that one, even if I do pick up an alt-az mount. According to the reviews on the link you sent, it can be tripod mounted as well, when you don't have a convenient eye level surface. I see you own one. Do you find it performs well?


#5 tonyhuynh


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Posted 23 May 2009 - 05:33 AM

Hi Rick,

How about a DwarfStar by Universal Astronomics. It is only 1 pound and can carry up to 8 pounds.

Here are some info from their site:

• Light Weight
o 1 lb. (Rated for up to 8 lbs.)
• Quick Setup
• Compact Size (fits in the palm of your hand)
• Amazing Stability - No counterweights needed!
• Completely Waterproof
• Tension adjustment in both directions
• Eyepiece tray available
The DwarfStar Mount is the latest offering from Universal Astronomics offering superior portability and ease of use. Designed to fit most popular camera tripods (3/8-16 thread), at 1 lb it can carry 8-10 times its own weight. Its dovetail design accepts most narrow dovetail plates on the market as well as UA's Light and Medium Binocular adapters. An optional eyepiece tray that installs with a single clamp screw can carry up to 4 eyepieces, both 2" and 1.25" barrel.
The product retails for $149 + $7 shipping


There is a recent review by a CN member here:


#6 Joe Aguiar

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 06:24 AM

yes i have one on a 90mm Mak as well, it can handle the 90mm mak or a 80mm ST refractor which they sell up here in Canada (not sure if Orion sells it though). it all fits in a carry bag only 16" long. The bag i have has 2 compartments bottom side for the EQ1 mount & feet with contols, & the top side for the ota, so its about the most poratable complete thing to carry on a air-plane.

you can put it on a poarable carry table for comforable.
viewing. The EQ1 mount is not rock solid but its decent for this type wight & size, but i dont have to carry a much heavier weighted scope & mount.

Besides i do most serious obsevering from home so if i can get to somewhere & take a decent complets scope all the better.

Yes it can go on a full height tripod as well just screw ther= nut on the bottom of mount & put it on the full triopd & tighten down its done.

Also the counter weight that comes with it is 7 or 8 lbs what you can do if you have a 80mm ST refractor they weigh 3 to 4 lbs buy another weigh like 4 to 5 lbs which is enough you dont have to use the one that comes with the scope, & that will lighten your load by 1/3.


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