Jump to content


Photo

What is your favorite mid weight A/A mount?

  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Scruffy

Scruffy

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 163
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Arkansas

Posted 12 February 2010 - 01:34 PM

I have been looking at Alt/Az mounts for a while now. I have probably researched over a dozen. Currently I have come to think of the Half Hitch (and it baby brother Quarter Hitch) and the DM 4&6 as the quality, mid weight standouts.

What are your favorites. Can they comfortably hold 25 lbs of scope and accessories? Are they stable? Easy to use? Easy to transport (grab and go)? Do you need or like to use computer aids?

Hopefully this discussion, and in particular, your contributions will help me find the perfect A/A mount for my Tak TSA 102. (Got notice from Tak it will be shipped next week!)

#2 Lt 26

Lt 26

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Northwest Illinois

Posted 12 February 2010 - 04:11 PM

If I were to build the perfect mount it would be:

DM6 head, 8" DM6 tilt plate, 9" slotted dovetail II, 18" handle (strait or angled), DM6 8" tripod ext., tripod tray, Sky Commander/Encoder Kit, DM6 Ash wood tripod / Red Mahogany finish, DM6 to G11 tripod adapter and the Losmandy G11 H/D tripod

Two sets of legs, one for grab and go and one for stability.

Dereck

#3 Scruffy

Scruffy

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 163
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Arkansas

Posted 12 February 2010 - 06:03 PM

If I were to build the perfect mount it would be:

DM6 head, 8" DM6 tilt plate, 9" slotted dovetail II, 18" handle (strait or angled), DM6 8" tripod ext., tripod tray, Sky Commander/Encoder Kit, DM6 Ash wood tripod / Red Mahogany finish, DM6 to G11 tripod adapter and the Losmandy G11 H/D tripod

Two sets of legs, one for grab and go and one for stability.

Dereck


Would that be for your TV 102? That is in the weight ballpark with the Tak 102 trip.

I use a TV 85 for quick G&G. Would consider with a nice Berleback uni under the DM 6 for serious work.

How much do you use the Sky Commander/Encoder?

Is the DM 4 too light or just not enough for the next scope?

Your idea of the perfect mount sounds like a great A/A!!

#4 Doug D.

Doug D.

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2736
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2005
  • Loc: Virginia

Posted 12 February 2010 - 06:24 PM

With or without binoviewers?

DM-4/6 and HH are on a lot of short lists in this category. I guess the choice would depend on several factors. For example, do you want "slo-mo" like controls? Would the weight of the DM-6 be a put off? Do you prefer having the OTA centered over the tripod? Would you likely be switching between heavy and light eyepieces and or binoviewers?

I've owned a DM-6 and 2 different Half Hitches (prototype and #2). They are both in the running for the "perfect mount" except that there is no perfect mount and there probably never will be, IMHO. Unless we can all agree to use it with one identical OTA, eyepieces and accessories. There are things I like very much about both the DM and HH. Some of these things they both do well and some areas of performance where each shines separately. They are both well thought out, beautifully crafted pieces of gear. The innovation and craftsmanship that goes into both are very much evident and there is a certain pride of ownership that comes from this (at least in my case).

If you want a mount that can tolerate a wider range of mid-large scope sizes and/or big changes in EPs/BVs etc. without much fiddling, I think the edge goes to the DM-6. If you want x-y hand controls with zero "backlash" and remarkable smoothness, edge to the HH 2/3. The DM-4 to HH comparison becomes a little more interesting if only because the DM-4 is more of a compact solution (compared to DM-6). I'm sure the DM-4 performs very well but I've never done the comparison with the HH. My guess - and it is only a guess - is that the HH would have the edge overall.

Most perfect A/A mount for me: a HH 2/3 plus a DM-6 (but only because I own a lot of different scopes I'd like to use on an A/A). I wish I kept my DM-6 but don't really want to part with the HH for exceptional grab and go performance.

Notable mention for me would include the Lapides modified Tak Teegul. I was very satisfied with mine. I just happened to end up more satisfied with the HH.

#5 noah way

noah way

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 486
  • Joined: 04 Nov 2009

Posted 12 February 2010 - 06:35 PM

It seems to me that the Vixen Porta head is quite solid. We'll know as soon as I finish fabricating the parts for a new wood tripod.

The clamping brackets are fixed to the upper leg, the lower leg is adjustable. The spreader will be a wire lanyard. Haven't drawn all the details, like the shim plate on the leg clamps or the top attachment bolt ...

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#6 Lt 26

Lt 26

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 911
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2009
  • Loc: Northwest Illinois

Posted 12 February 2010 - 09:33 PM

Scruffy, I don't have this setup yet but I will someday. I think the DM4 could handle your scope, but the DM6 would leave plenty of room to move up sometime. I really like the way the Losmandy H/D G11 tripod looks and goes together. Rather beefy, I think it would be very stable. The DM6 head installs easily and the Sky commander gets good reports.

It is a lot of money but I don't think I would regret it one bit. It would be big enough, easy to use, and clean looking. PERFECT.

Dereck

#7 Wes James

Wes James

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5504
  • Joined: 12 Apr 2006

Posted 12 February 2010 - 09:54 PM

I have both a loaded Half Hitch Mark II with a Sky Commander- and a iOptron Mini Tower modified by Steve Forbes, of Trapezium Telescopes. My Half Hitch is gathering dust. GPS, Go-To/tracking, will handle 2 scopes up to 40 lbs easily. While the stock tripod is "satisfactory", I'm either going to mod a KB tripod for it- or put it on a Giotto GT5331S. Either way, I'm loving the Mini Tower.
Was less expensive, too.

#8 Scruffy

Scruffy

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 163
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Arkansas

Posted 13 February 2010 - 12:54 AM

Your iOptron MT holds two 40 # scopes? It is good looking and I would trust it with one of my scopes neither of which should ever exceed 20# full up.

I think if I was mounting a 40 lbs anything I'd opt for a Berleback Uni24 or bigger legs. I ordered a Gitzo GT3531S. It was back ordered and won't get here for another week or more so I haven't played with it yet. But in my research most agreed that above about 20 lbs it was less stable and not too good in the wind. It will hold my TV 85 when it gets here. Half Hitch works very well on the GT with my friends 90mm Apo.

The Tak will end up on wood and a Half Hitch until I get the next mount. I am leaning more and more to bigger legs for the bigger scope. I'll look harder at the iOptron.

So many mounts, so little money!

#9 zawijava

zawijava

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 920
  • Joined: 06 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Wells, Maine 04090

Posted 13 February 2010 - 01:18 AM

I have been looking at Alt/Az mounts for a while now. I have probably researched over a dozen. Currently I have come to think of the Half Hitch (and it baby brother Quarter Hitch) and the DM 4&6 as the quality, mid weight standouts.

What are your favorites. Can they comfortably hold 25 lbs of scope and accessories? Are they stable? Easy to use? Easy to transport (grab and go)? Do you need or like to use computer aids?

Hopefully this discussion, and in particular, your contributions will help me find the perfect A/A mount for my Tak TSA 102. (Got notice from Tak it will be shipped next week!)


I have a TSA 102, I currently use it on a GM8 but next week will be receiving one of the last 2 Half Hitch Mark III's that Charles has available. I intend to put it on a UNI24 or Planet but won't make up my mind on that till I have the HH in hand and see how it carries the TSA. I am confident that I will not be disappointed in the HH Mark III and intend to take full advantage of the SkyCommander DSC's. I'm not certain that I would have purchased the Quarter Hitch if the HH had not been available.

Tim

#10 Wes James

Wes James

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5504
  • Joined: 12 Apr 2006

Posted 13 February 2010 - 09:11 AM

I'm sorry if I was misleading with my comment

will handle 2 scopes up to 40 lbs easily.


Obviously I meant up to a total load of 40 lbs easily. If you check out Steve's blog- off his website, he's loaded his up to 50 lbs, so I feel quite comfortable stating 40lbs! He has his on an Atlas tripod. I have a Berlegach 24 tripod, a beautiful monster tripod indeed! I have my H/H on the recommended KB tripod, however I feel that the KB tripod is heavier than the purpose of the H/H, which is lightweight grab-n-go... I feel the Gitzo GT5331 would be an ideal mate for the H/H- or the Tinkman-upgraded Mini Tower, only weighing 5.9 lbs, yet supporting up to 55 lbs! Now that might be on the light side if you chose to load down the Mini Tower like Steve does, but I don't see me ever having more than 30 lbs on it, so I see it as the ideal tripod for either mount.
Wes

#11 Scruffy

Scruffy

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 163
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Arkansas

Posted 13 February 2010 - 02:44 PM

Wes: Sounds like a great setup. 5.9 lbs sounds like it would be good for G&G as well as a super mount on the UNI for real stability.

Tim: My mount from Charles was supposed to be here last week. He had a sale that ended 31 Jan, so I guess he got real busy. Is the reason you would not purchase the QH the lack of DSC?

Post pictures :) I'll post mine when they finally get here.

Thanks Guys.

#12 Scruffy

Scruffy

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 163
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Arkansas

Posted 13 February 2010 - 02:52 PM

Update: I added the iOptron MT and the Giro GR3 family. The reports I have read on the Giro have been very impressive. But the addition of the DSC has been met with somewhat mixed reviews.

Early on in the release of the IOptron there were some quality issues reported. I am curious to know if they persist or have been solved. Also the MT GoTo Pro looks interesting!

#13 Phil Frederick

Phil Frederick

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1234
  • Joined: 19 Dec 2005
  • Loc: Seattle, WA & La Paz MX

Posted 13 February 2010 - 04:02 PM

My mount from Charles was supposed to be here last week. He had a sale that ended 31 Jan, so I guess he got real busy.



I was expecting the QH last week as well but hasn't shown up yet. Charles told me me that this mount will work very well for 80-105 mm class scopes so I'm anxious to try it out especially with my SVR90T and SV105T.

That said, I've used Tak Teeguls (Lapides) for years and think they're a very fine mount when used on a solid tripod for 15+/- pounds.

I also have a Stellarvue MG which I primarily use with my SV105T. This mount has no backlash in the slo-mo controls and absolutely no stiction or backlash when panning. It moves very smoothly and stops immediately when you stop pressure. I'd say its capacity if easily 20+ pounds. Very happy with this mount tho' it's a bit heavier than the Teegul.

Phil

#14 zawijava

zawijava

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 920
  • Joined: 06 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Wells, Maine 04090

Posted 13 February 2010 - 06:25 PM

Tim: My mount from Charles was supposed to be here last week. He had a sale that ended 31 Jan, so I guess he got real busy. Is the reason you would not purchase the QH the lack of DSC?


yes the lack of DSC's was a major reason but also I'm not familiar enough with the modifications Charles made to the Quarter Hitch in order to be able to offer it at a substantially lower price than the Half Hitch. Also, who knows when/if Charles will ever offer the Half Hitch again. I feel lucky to have gotten one of the last 2 available for the foreseeable future.

Tim

#15 Quintessence

Quintessence

    Vendor

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 265
  • Joined: 02 Jun 2007
  • Loc: Austin, Texas

Posted 13 February 2010 - 07:38 PM

Tim,

To answer your question, there is very little mechanical difference between the Half Hitch and the Quarter Hitch. Both mounts have the same overall dimensions, same size shafts and bearings, and mostly the same structure. Both mounts have exactly the same slow-motion controls, saddle assembly, etc. The Half Hitch has two more stiffening elements, but this difference is really only noticeable for 115 mm and larger refractors.

The big cost savings comes from deleting everything related to the DSC installation and from making some of the features that are standard on the Half Hitch into options on the Quarter Hitch.

In many ways, the Quarter Hitch is a more pure grab 'n go mount developed from customer feedback.

Charles

#16 JMW

JMW

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1411
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2007
  • Loc: Nevada

Posted 14 February 2010 - 06:32 PM

I recently purchased a Gitzo 5541LS and it handles my SV115T on
my DM4 mount without any problems. I don't notice any difference
in stability with the Gitzo 5541LS verses the standard DM4 ash tripod.
The 5541LS is tall enough that I can leave of the DM4 8 inch extension
for when I am concerned about traveling with the extra weight and space
of the 8 inch extension. I think Gitzo 55XX series tripod with a DM4 or
Half-Hitch mount makes the perfect travel mount.

Jeff

#17 Scruffy

Scruffy

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 163
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Arkansas

Posted 15 February 2010 - 11:35 AM

I recently purchased a Gitzo 5541LS and it handles my SV115T on
my DM4 mount without any problems. I don't notice any difference
in stability with the Gitzo 5541LS verses the standard DM4 ash tripod.
The 5541LS is tall enough that I can leave of the DM4 8 inch extension
for when I am concerned about traveling with the extra weight and space
of the 8 inch extension. I think Gitzo 55XX series tripod with a DM4 or
Half-Hitch mount makes the perfect travel mount.

Jeff


Thanks Jeff. I am considering a second (used) quarter hitch so that I can keep my TV85 permanently mounted o the Gitzo and just walk it outside. The second QH would be for the Tak 102 triplet.

I think I'll call Charles and see what he thinks about the QH on a nice wooden T'pod for the Tak.

Jack

#18 Scruffy

Scruffy

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 163
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2010
  • Loc: Arkansas

Posted 15 February 2010 - 11:38 AM

Thanks Charles! Saved us both a call!

#19 zawijava

zawijava

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 920
  • Joined: 06 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Wells, Maine 04090

Posted 15 February 2010 - 12:22 PM

Tim,

To answer your question, there is very little mechanical difference between the Half Hitch and the Quarter Hitch. Both mounts have the same overall dimensions, same size shafts and bearings, and mostly the same structure. Both mounts have exactly the same slow-motion controls, saddle assembly, etc. The Half Hitch has two more stiffening elements, but this difference is really only noticeable for 115 mm and larger refractors.

The big cost savings comes from deleting everything related to the DSC installation and from making some of the features that are standard on the Half Hitch into options on the Quarter Hitch.

In many ways, the Quarter Hitch is a more pure grab 'n go mount developed from customer feedback.

Charles


Thanks for the informative response Charles. My apologies for what may have sounded like a "questioning" of the integrity of the Quarter Hitch in my previous post, that was not my intention. I am very happy to have been able to get a Half Hitch and it appears as though you have MANY other very happy Quarter Hitch customers as well!

Tim






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics