Jump to content


Photo

Stellarvue MG Mount

  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 27 May 2009 - 11:45 PM

Here’s a quick “Executive Summary” of some of my initial experiences with the new MG Mount (Alt-Az) from Stellarvue. I’ll provide a quick description, how it performed while observing and then some initial PROS, CONS and some Recommendations I can best give from having the mount for only a short time.

I’ve had the Stellarvue MG mount for a couple of weeks now and have the opportunity to use it quite a few times at home, on the road and at a few Star Watches with my local club.

Description:

In a word: “Beefy.” As you can see by the picture below it is significantly greater in size and much more massive than my M1 mount. Yet it is also a lightweight, tipping the scales at a mere 7.5 pounds. That’s very important to me because I’m always looking to shave weight off my telescope “package” when I travel by air. My previous travel mount weighed 11 pounds.

Attached Files



#2 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 27 May 2009 - 11:47 PM

SV offers two variants of the mount. I have the base model which is listed as “MG.” The next model up is the “MGE” which has step encoders installed so the mount can be used with a Sky Commander or other digital setting circle computers. This would give the user a “PUSH-TO” mount. The cost for the MG and the MGE is $499 and $799 respectively.

In the manual, it states that the MG is able to support the SV130 scope which weighs 21 pounds. I’m not sure what the max weight is. But the mount has more than enough moxie to support my SV115 which is 11 pounds. Here is the “obligatory” picture of my scope on the new mount:

Attached Files



#3 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 27 May 2009 - 11:48 PM

The mount arrived fully operational with no quality control issues. The Altitude and Azimuth control knobs are big and solid and very easy to work. The locking levers are very ergonomic and “dark friendly” (they are easy to find and use in the dark).

Operation:

The first time I had it in my hands I (naturally) had to “play” with the new toy. As I turned the Azimuth knob for the first time – I moaned. Thick grease! I immediately flashed back to the import GEM mount that I had a while ago and how I quickly changed out the thick grease for a lighter synthetic. I was initially disappointed but quickly changed my tune after I mounted the bigger scope on the mount and began to observe. It was then I realized that the thicker grease in this mount had a positive dampening effect on moving the scope at high power. The scope moved very smoothly as I was viewing Saturn at 300X. At least for this particular mount and its gear ratio, the thicker grease may be a very good thing. I’ll have to wait until November to see how it fairs in cold weather.

The mount easily handles the weight and length of the SV115 – and with no counterweight! I recently went to a Star Watch that was held on a local soccer field. What we didn’t know is that a scout troop was camping there that night too! I had tons of scouts looking through the scope (you can only imagine what my eyepiece looked like at the end of night). I had fun showing the bigger kids how to use the knobs of the mount. For the smaller ones I was able to get them to tell me to move the scope up, down, left or right to keep the target in the field of view. The gearing is very precise so I had no problem following their lead - and I had a LOT of laughs with them!

The locking knobs work very well. What I like most about them is that there are stops on the mount that prevent the locking knob from spinning around so locking and unlocking is simply a quick wrist movement. No play or backlash in the adjustment knobs. Viewing at Zenith was not a problem. I had the mount on a wooden tripod from Stellarvue and the two worked together very well. No noticeable vibration.

The other day my wife mentioned that there was a pair of bald eagles seen at our local park. On a whim, I grabbed the mount, tripod, SV115, 45 degree diagonal, Hyperion Zoom eyepiece and my wife and off we went. I never thought of using the mount (or the big scope) for terrestrial viewing but you should have seen the eagles! The mount worked exceptionally well and I have used it several times since for bird watching!


PROS:
- Very Stable – no problem handling my 115mm scope
- No counterweight needed
- Thick grease on gears – works very well – giving very smooth movement even when using high power
- Ergonomic knobs and levers
- Lightweight – great for travel

CONS:
- Unknown until November: Will the thick grease work well in cold temperatures?

CONSIDERATIONS FOR STELLARVUE:
- Make the Altitude and Azimuth gear shafts long on both ends so the user can have the choice to put the knob on either end of the shaft (more ergonomic options).
- Make a double mount version that can support a second telescope
- Provide optional long SLO-MO cables that extend well past the end of the OTA (don’t hit it)

CONCLUSION:
A very solid Alt-Az mount for larger aperture short-tube refractors. Yet still light enough to take on the plane or use as a grab and go mount.

Attached Files



#4 NHRob

NHRob

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4903
  • Joined: 27 Aug 2004
  • Loc: New Hampshire

Posted 28 May 2009 - 04:15 AM

Could this handle a TEC140 on a good tripod?

Rob

#5 t.r.

t.r.

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4393
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2008
  • Loc: 1123,6536,5321

Posted 28 May 2009 - 06:33 AM

Thanks for the report Preston. I too have considered the mount for my use. Another CN'er had little good to say about the first one out of the chute, finish issues and other things. Glad to hear it works for you.

#6 Jim7728

Jim7728

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 7835
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Stoop Landing Observatory, NYC

Posted 28 May 2009 - 08:56 AM

Great report, Preston!

The mount looks promising, but I wonder if it would be beneficial to have a counterweight on the opposite end of a somewhat heavy ota so as not to put so much stress on the gears and promote smoother tracking? IMHO. ;)

#7 Luigi

Luigi

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5320
  • Joined: 03 Jul 2007
  • Loc: MA

Posted 28 May 2009 - 09:23 AM

I saw this mount on the website of one of the main Chinese astro companies, I can't remember which, but at that time there was discusion as to when we'd see it in the US. I guess SV is the first to bring it in?

#8 Clive Gibbons

Clive Gibbons

    Mostly Harmless

  • *****
  • Posts: 16724
  • Joined: 26 May 2005
  • Loc: Oort Cloud

Posted 28 May 2009 - 10:04 AM

Kunming United Optics.
Actually, their version has dual scope capability.

Vic's talking about introducing the "MG2", with dual scope capability.

#9 Stellarvue1

Stellarvue1

    Vendor (StellarVue)

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 85
  • Joined: 26 Apr 2005
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 28 May 2009 - 10:49 AM

Correct.

Their mount has dual scope capability and is not encoder capable. The history behind this mount is well documented on the Stellarvue Yahoo Forum. After long delays in getting gears we needed to make these in house, I decided to outsource this mount. This was a joint project and we agreed that they could make a non encoder dual mount version and sell it outside of the USA and Canada. They provided me with a sample of the dual mount but it had issues so we both decided to go to work on an encoder capable dual mount that would have greater stability. We hope these are ready in about 90 days and since the design is mine, Stellarvue will offer this mount exclusively.

Most of this mount will be made in China but we will machine many of the parts like the dovetails and encoder attachments in our cnc shop here.

Vic Maris

#10 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 28 May 2009 - 04:51 PM

Could this handle a TEC140 on a good tripod?

Rob


Rob had also asked this question on the Stellarvue Yahoo Group. Vic responded that the longer tube of the TEC 140 might be pushing it. The MG2 which Vic mentioned above is the dual scope version of the MG that will have the option of using a counterweight. He felt this may be a better solution. And that the M7 could hold two 140's side by side and would be the best solution.

#11 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 28 May 2009 - 05:06 PM

Great report, Preston!

The mount looks promising, but I wonder if it would be beneficial to have a counterweight on the opposite end of a somewhat heavy ota so as not to put so much stress on the gears and promote smoother tracking? IMHO. ;)


Hey, you can't argue with Physics, Jim! Absolutely. I know that the mount handles my scope with no problems. However, the SV115 is amazingly light for its size, just 11 pounds. I might be tempted to manufacture a counterweight when observing at home but when I travel with this mount I will be very grateful that I do not HAVE to bring a counterweight along. :jump:

#12 PhilG

PhilG

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1234
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Denver, CO - USA

Posted 28 May 2009 - 05:51 PM

This looks nice and very thorough and professional review as always, Preston.

I got to see an early version of this mount last summer at the Tony Hallas workshop and it showed a lot of promise. It would be great to do a side-by-side comparison with a couple of the other mounts in this category: EZtouch, Orion and Tak Teegul. It seems to me like this might be in the same class as the Teegul with its slo-mo controls.

Phil

#13 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 28 May 2009 - 05:52 PM

Thanks for the report Preston. I too have considered the mount for my use. Another CN'er had little good to say about the first one out of the chute, finish issues and other things. Glad to hear it works for you.


Hi Tim!

Yes, this one seems to be in very good shape. I've only had it for a couple of weeks so I am still putting it through its paces. But it is DEFINITELY getting used!

#14 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 28 May 2009 - 05:55 PM

This looks nice and very thorough and professional review as always, Preston.

I got to see an early version of this mount last summer at the Tony Hallas workshop and it showed a lot of promise. It would be great to do a side-by-side comparison with a couple of the other mounts in this category: EZtouch, Orion and Tak Teegul. It seems to me like this might be in the same class as the Teegul with its slo-mo controls.

Phil


Thanks Phil! Grab your scopes and mounts and get up here to PA so we can compare! ;)

#15 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 28 May 2009 - 06:06 PM

For those of you who don't know me. I do a lot of traveling - it goes with the job. I recently traveled with the SV115 which is the biggest scope I have ever carried on a plane!

It looks like the MG mount may give my current travel mount some competition. Here's the link to my "trip report"

First Flight with the Stellarvue SV115T

#16 Starlighter

Starlighter

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Joined: 03 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Sunny California

Posted 28 May 2009 - 06:31 PM

Nice report!

#17 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 28 May 2009 - 06:53 PM

Thanks!

That new Orion Alt-Az mount and extension you have looks pretty good too!

#18 rlalum

rlalum

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 446
  • Joined: 17 Jul 2007
  • Loc: Northern California

Posted 28 May 2009 - 07:02 PM

Thanks for posting. Very insightful and helpful. :jump:

#19 Starlighter

Starlighter

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Joined: 03 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Sunny California

Posted 28 May 2009 - 07:32 PM

Thanks!

That new Orion Alt-Az mount and extension you have looks pretty good too!


It's a great mount. Back in January when I was forced to return the first one for the lack of tension issue, I really did it reluctantly. After I shipped it back I found myself missing it. There was so much to like about it. First of all, it's extremely well made. The way the extension attaches is with three silver hex bolts plus large center screws at the top and the bottom. Once everything is secured, I never worry about it becoming loose. My problem with the extension on the MG was it was held in place using tiny hex nuts that literally bit into the metal shaft of the mount head. Is yours that way or has it been changed? I'd be worried those little hex screws would work their way loose.

#20 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 28 May 2009 - 07:44 PM

My problem with the extension on the MG was it was held in place using tiny hex nuts that literally bit into the metal shaft of the mount head. Is yours that way or has it been changed? I'd be worried those little hex screws would work their way loose.


Mine has the little setscrews that are just below the surface. None were loose but I sorta took a preemptive strike on this. In one of my many former lives I was involved with aircraft and weapons maintenance where setscrews have a tendency to work loose with vibrations. So... I took the setscrews out one at a time, applied some locktite to the threads and screwed them back in. :rainbow:

#21 Starlighter

Starlighter

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4820
  • Joined: 03 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Sunny California

Posted 28 May 2009 - 07:58 PM

I'll bet it's the same Loctite Uncle Al Nagler uses on those pesky screws that hold the Televue focus knobs in place. :lol:

In my situation with the MG, the mount arrived with the extension not attached so without instructions, it took me a minute or two to come to the conclusion that the tiny hex screws held the extension in place by biting right into the mount. I realized this was the case since after I screwed them in tight to hold the extension, I unscrewed them, lifted off the extension and noticed where they had penetrated the paint. I would have thought these screws would be longer and thus go into threaded holes around the base of the mount head, but after examining the mount as well as the screws, I discovered that wasn't the case.

#22 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 28 May 2009 - 08:03 PM

I'll bet it's the same Loctite Uncle Al Nagler uses on those pesky screws that hold the Televue focus knobs in place. :lol:


:ubetcha: :ubetcha: :ubetcha:

#23 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 29 May 2009 - 09:04 AM

Thanks for posting. Very insightful and helpful. :jump:


Your Welcome Robert! Thanks!

#24 Preston Smith

Preston Smith

    The Travel Scope Guy

  • *****
  • Posts: 6051
  • Joined: 24 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Eureka, Pa

Posted 10 August 2009 - 09:51 AM

Hey Folks,

I noticed that Stellarvue now includes a surveyor's tripod with the purchase of the MG mount. :jump:

MG Mount






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics