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Review of HOO Wooden legs

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#1 Djarum

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 09:11 AM

My only telescope is a Celestron Astromaster 130EQ. The telescope came with a CG-3 EQ mount. I've owned it for over a year now. After about 6 months of owning it, I broke one of the plastic spreader bars. One of the legs had gotten stuck into the ground and when I went to close the legs, too much torque caused the spreader bar to break.

I also added more weight to the scope by adding a finderscope. I believe the weight of the EQ head and the telescope was too much for the 1.25" aluminium legs. The legs mount to the hub with a plastic U joint. The sleeves for the leg extensions are also made of plastic with a metal tightening bolt. About 3 months ago I noticed that the plastic was starting to crack around the bolt. Needless to say, I was in need of some new tripod legs.

After a post on this forum a month or so ago where a user purchased these legs for an upgrade on a Porta mount, I decided to give these a try.

They came well wrapped and packed upon arrival. Once I started to look at how these legs mount to the hub, I noticed two problems:

1. The gap where the legs mount to the hub were too wide for the tabs on the hub. This is an easy fix because I can put washer to help with the spacing.

2. The holes on the hub would not line up with the bolts on the legs. The description states that the legs would work for CG3 mounts, but there are older CG3 mounts out there. This is a new CG3 mount that comes with the Astromaster line of scopes. The reason why the holes would not line up was because the wooden "slats" are 1.5 inches wide, and the metal tab sticking out from the hub only goes 1.25 inches out from the hub.

I still was not deterred. I was determined to make these legs work because honestly, I had no choice. I could not find an easy tripod solution for this CG3 mount. What I ended up doing was shaving off some wood from the inside of the two slats for leg. This is the inside part of the legs where the hub bolts to the legs. I did this using a hacksaw, pocket knife for taking just the minimum wood necessary, and sandpaper to smooth it out. Keep in mind I only did this from the holes to the top of the legs.

After about an hour for all three legs, I was able to mount the legs to the hub. I did need a washer on each side of the tab so I could mount the legs tightly to the hub. Once I did this, the entire mount was seemingly stable.

Of course, the real question is, how well do these new legs work at keeping the vibrations down and keeping the entire setup stable?

In one word, great. I had a 2 hour viewing session on Wednesday night which included some deepsky objects and Mars. In the past, when focusing at 250x, it could take 8 or more seconds to wait for the mount to stop vibrating. This time around, it only took 2 seconds if not less. The only part that vibrates while focusing is telescope tube itself.

Pros
Extremly stable, weigh about 12lbs
Can go higher than the previous tripod legs
The metal EP tray helps stabalize the whole setup and is well made.
The two bolts holding each leg when extended is rock solid.

Cons
Had to do modifications to work with my EQ head.
It would be nice for the tray to attach to the center spreader with a central bolt. This would make transportation easier.
It requires a wrench/socket to lock the legs in place once extended because eventually the bolt will just spin when turning the wing nuts.

Overall, I am extremly happy with the purchase. For 89 dollars, I don't think anyone who is looking for leg upgrades can go wrong. I have no idea how these legs compare to the 1.75 or 2 inch steel legs, but they are worlds better than the 1.25 inch aluminum ones.

This is a picture of them mounted to the mount. Its slightly blurry, but it shows some of what I had to do to get them to mount:

http://home.comcast....131002small.jpg

#2 Ed Kessler

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 07:27 PM

I've purchased several of those sets from Hands On Optics. They are a great bargain, IMHO. Much more stable than the typical aluminum tripod that comes with those sorts of mounts.

Clear Skies,

#3 BKBrown

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 09:35 PM

Terrific review Djarum! I'm getting ready to pick up a set for my Porta II so I appreciate the insights. Clear Skies, BrianB :waytogo:

#4 Djarum

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 10:18 AM

Thanks for the comments. The thread isn't getting much traction, so I'm guessing that with the CG5 and EQ6 type mounts, the legs aren't much of an issue. I know a while back there was a post about putting these legs on a porta mount, and worked out.

What I am starting to gather about tripod legs in general is that it doesn't matter how rigid the legs are as much as how much weight is in them. It seems to bring the center of gravity lower in the entire setup, reducing vibrations.






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