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Alt-Az mount for small refractor

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#1 tcat

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 10:16 AM

I have been looking at the Vixen Porta II and the AT Voyager mounts and reading back on previous posts regarding these two. It would seem that neither work well out of the box without modification of some sort. I don't want to go over the same issues previously discussed here but would love to hear from any users of these mounts that found they worked well out of the box without any modification. My application would be for a short tube refractor in the 600-700mm focal range weighing no more than 12 lbs or so with diagonal and eyepiece. What scope(s) have you used on these mounts with satisfactory results without buying new tripod legs or add-on accessories? Or is there some other mount I should be considering in the same price range? Slo-mo controls are a must and it has to be light enough for grab-and-go operation (25 lbs or so with scope).

Thanks,
Tom

#2 EdZ

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 10:43 AM

I use my TMB80 and my TV85 on an AT Voyager very comfortably. I've also had my long tube 90mm f/11 on for a bit. I've mounted the Voyager arm at the 45° angle and it works just fine for me just the way it is. I really don't see the need to do anything else to this mount. Slow motion controls work well in both axes. I've been doing all viewing seated, which is far more comfortable for me.

edz

#3 Manny Myles

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 11:17 AM

Where are all the comments on the PortaII or did I miss them all?
I have one and its just wonderfull out of the box and a bit better with my mod added to it.
Same with my Voyager just wonderfull.
The weak link are the legs, but at the price point they have to fall back some where.
m2

#4 Ron B

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 05:44 PM

Same with my Voyager just wonderfull.
The weak link are the legs, but at the price point they have to fall back some where.
m2


I agree with Manny, I replaced the legs on my Voyager to use with my 102, however it worked well for my 90mm without modifications.

Ron

#5 Phil Frederick

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 06:09 PM

Tom,

I agree with Manny and Ron that the legs are definitely the weak link with the Voyager--otherwise the mount is quite nice.

And since you asked about other mounts you may want to check out the Tak Teegul (Lapides). I use Teeguls on both my SV Stablelock and TV Gibraltar tripods and end up with a very stable platform for my TV85, SV102ED2 and Orion ST120 scopes. IMO this is a very nice mount, very solid, smooth bearings for panning and great slo-mo controls. It is a little more expensive however and it appears that availability is sometimes a bit spotty.

Having tried all the other similar alt-az mounts (except the DMs and the HH) this would be my recommendation. :D

Phil

#6 tcat

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 07:00 PM

Thanks for the comments, Phil. I am not familiar with the Teegul. Saying Tak and expensive is somewhat redundant, no? :lol:

I have read that the Voyager can be a bit sticky on the alt axis, glad to read the positive experiences by others. The only knocks I have read about the Porta is the legs and that the 20 lb load rating may be a bit suspect. Both seem like fine lightweight mounts. Putting the load over the center of the tripod seems like an advantage for the Porta. I would give both an a+ in the appearance dept, especially if a white scope is riding on top.

Tom

#7 Manny Myles

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 10:34 AM

At least with the Porta II the head easily removes from the tripod making the transistion from the Vixen legs to a better set.
I use the Porta II with my Oberwerk surveyors tripod with excellent results.
m2

#8 tcat

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 10:52 AM

I just find the thought of having to buy legs for a new mount that I paid $300+ for off-putting. Surely some find the standard legs on the Porta II or Voyager satisfactory stability-wise?

I thought the lightweight legs supplied with my EQ-1 would be a problem when I unpacked them. Not so. The EQ-1 is quite a nice mount for the ST80 but I would not want to test it with more than the 7 lb load rating. If I get a heavier short tube I am just going to have to move up in mounts and the ease of the alt-az mounts seems very attractive for grab-and-go.

Upgrading from satisfactory to near perfection sure gets expensive quick in this hobby, whether it be scopes, mounts, or eyepieces.

Tom

#9 Preston Smith

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 11:01 AM

Tom,

Based on your criteria above you may want to take a look at the Stellarvue MG Mount. Here is a link to the mini-review I did a while back.

Stellarvue MG Mini-Review

#10 Manny Myles

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 11:50 AM

tcat,
I do find the legs satisfactory and used them for quite some time till I got the Oberwerk.
Some folks expect Rock of Gibraltar stabitity from these mounts, the mounts are what they are aprox $300.00 mounts.
I typically use both the Porta and Voyager with the legs as short as possible making them a lot more solid than fully extended.
m2

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#11 csa/montana

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 12:00 PM

Same with my Voyager just wonderfull.
The weak link are the legs, but at the price point they have to fall back some where.
m2


I agree with Manny, I replaced the legs on my Voyager to use with my 102, however it worked well for my 90mm without modifications.

Ron


I'm using my Voyager with the stock legs with my Vixen 80mm, & am quite happy with the stability. Of course my 80 is pretty lightweight.

#12 tcat

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 12:13 PM

Tom,

Based on your criteria above you may want to take a look at the Stellarvue MG Mount. Here is a link to the mini-review I did a while back.

Stellarvue MG Mini-Review


Preston:

I commend you on a well written review of the MG mount and some really sharp photography! I had skipped right by this mount on the SV site due to the cost ($499 if purchased with a scope). Your comments regarding traveling with the SV115T further challenged my wavering opinion of what constitutes the upper weight and size limits of a "grab-and-go". I have talked myself all the way up to 110mm/f7 and back down to 90mm. I keep asking myself would I hesitate in hauling out a scope approaching 3 feet in length for those short viewing sessions?

The Voyager and Porta II still seem like the best choices for my circumstances but I think your SV115T deserves the first class ride!

Thanks for some interesting reading,
Tom

#13 cuzimthedad

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 12:35 PM

I use the Voyager for my Lunt 60mm solar scope and it is rock solid. I like the slow motion control knobs and have not had any trouble with sticking when pushing the scope in both axis. I used to own an Orion VersaGo mount and the Voyager is far better with a greater load capacity. On the VersaGo I had mounted a 4" TV Genesis. It pushed it's capacity but nevertheless was a good grabngo combo. I have not used the TV102 on the Voyager, but with the experience I had with the VersaGo/Genesis combo I would think the scope you have in mind would be a great combo with the Voyager.

#14 Preston Smith

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 03:07 PM

Preston:

I commend you on a well written review of the MG mount and some really sharp photography! I had skipped right by this mount on the SV site due to the cost ($499 if purchased with a scope). Your comments regarding traveling with the SV115T further challenged my wavering opinion of what constitutes the upper weight and size limits of a "grab-and-go". I have talked myself all the way up to 110mm/f7 and back down to 90mm. I keep asking myself would I hesitate in hauling out a scope approaching 3 feet in length for those short viewing sessions?

The Voyager and Porta II still seem like the best choices for my circumstances but I think your SV115T deserves the first class ride!

Thanks for some interesting reading,
Tom



You're Welcome Tom! A 90mm refractor is an excellent size scope for traveling. Here's a link that talks about my travels with the larger SV115T but there is a lot of info that you may find helpful. I travel a lot with scopes and often give presentations (such as NEAF) on traveling with a scope. Best Wishes on finding the right mount for your needs!

Traveling with a larger refractor

#15 crazyqban

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 05:27 PM

Tom, I once had a Porta-Mount and was not too happy with it. I now have the Tak Teegul (Lapides) and I am super satisfied with it. It is more expensive but the ease of use that it provides is priceless. You can probably pick one up used for about $400. You will also need a good sturdy tripod, I currently use a wooden one made by Oberwerk which is very economical ($80 blem / $150 new) and rock solid (at least with my FS-60C). It is a great grab n go setup that I can have up and running in like 2 minutes. Also, the Teegul can handle pretty nice loads. I had a Tak TSA-102 mounted on it with no problems whatsoever. Thanks my 2 cents worth...

Sergio

#16 tcat

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 09:03 PM

tcat,
I do find the legs satisfactory and used them for quite some time till I got the Oberwerk.
Some folks expect Rock of Gibraltar stabitity from these mounts, the mounts are what they are aprox $300.00 mounts.
I typically use both the Porta and Voyager with the legs as short as possible making them a lot more solid than fully extended.
m2


Thanks for sharing your experience, Manny. That is a very attractive combo - Voyager +WO.

Tom

#17 Manny Myles

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 11:19 AM

Thanks,
The eyepiece tray I made really helps get rid of the slop in the spreader arms, reduces movement of them to just the leg connections.
It would be really nice if the manufacturer's of these mounts would come up with a better tripod, but what would the cost get sent up to OR sell the heads seperately, but I think they would be stuck with a lot of tripods they could not get rid of.
m2






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