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Skyview Pro AZ mount first impressions

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#1 Djarum

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 11:09 AM

So, I have an Antares 105mm/660fl telescope I was looking for an Alt-az mount for. I was looking for something that was easy to setup and fairly easy to use.

I also picked up a longer dovetail plate for this scope figuring it would be easier to balance. But it took a trip to the hardware store because Orion does not counter-sink its ring mounting holes on the dovetail plate, and the screws I had were not long enough.

Getting past these small inconviences, I was finally able to use the mount. First thing is first, balance in the Altitude direction is pretty critical. The first night out I was sort of lost. I really couldn't figure out how to balance the scope since I would go from a 20oz 2" EP to an 8oz high mag EP.

I finally got a second night out with it and had a plan. What I decided to do was to balance the scope for the high mag EP coupled to a barlow so I could track Venus. Of course, this means that the scope with the 40mm 2" EP would be back heavy. I decided to tighten the clutch enough so that the scope wouldn't fall back with the heavier EP on it. It was still pretty easy to slew the scope over to Venus.

I locked down the alt clutch, pulled the EP out. Now here is my only problem. The scope would fall a little before staying put. The altitude knob would actually shift a bit up and down, almost like the clamp inside was locked to the bearings, but the clamp wasn't fully locked to the mount until the shaft of the alt lock knob touched the top of the hole it goes through. Basically, I had to take this into account when centering venus. I then used an 18mm EP to recenter again, and this EP is pretty close in weight to my high mag EP coupled with my barlow.

Once I had Venus centered in the 18mm, I had to do the same thing. Lock and recenter venus in the EP. Then I put the 6mm EP coupled with a 2x barlow on Venus. I losened the clutch almost all the way. I was ablt to track Venus easily for 30 minutes befor it got too low into the horizon. This is roughly 220x in my scope. I first found out with no tension it all that just a touch moved both alt and az axis too much, they needed just a little tension to track consistently. I would "nudge" the scope in both directions pretty easily. The nice thing about the mount is it took less than a second after each nudge for the view to settle, which was impressive for me.

Then I decided to do some widefield scanning. I rebalanced the scope for smooth tracking with the heavy EP. I scanned Sagittarius and Cygnus. I would then lock the alt clutch and switch to my 18mm. I would have to keep the alt slightly tightend with the 18m, but the motions were still reasonably smooth for this magnification.

So the only complaint I have is that I'm not sure how to easily remove EP's without the scope shifting in the Alt direction a little even with the alt clutch down. Maybe a shim or washer around the clutch knob would do the trick. Other than that, the mount is solid, and its great to take this mount out only for an hour and I don't feel like the setup time detracts me from taking it out for a short time unlike the CG3 I have. The weight of my CG3, with counter weights and wooden legs, is still a good 5 pounds heavier than this mount. The AZ bearing is super smooth. It is the one really big plus for this mount.

My only other thoughts on this is that I think this mount, when switching EP's, would be suited for maybe a heavier scope. A 1.5lb EP on the end of a 10lb scope is much more significant of an imbalance than a 1.5lb EP on the end of a 20lb scope. Yes, the scope would not be balanced with the removal of an EP, but the percentage of imbalance would be less. At least thats my thought.

#2 j3ffr0

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 12:17 AM

My experience is much the same as yours. I have to lock the alt down when removing EPs 2. Just a little twist for the 8 ounce inch and a quarter EPs. Significantly more for the pound and a half 35 PAN.

It took my several times out to really get used to tracking objects with it a higher power. Now I can do it a 300 power with a 50 degree EP. It's takes a little extra care and concentration, but I can pull it off without too much trouble as long as the mount is level.

Hope you enjoy the mount. I really like it.

#3 Djarum

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 11:08 AM

Well, just for an update. I seemed to have fixed the alt-shift issue. The issue is, when the alt clutch is locked, the clamp wants to move slightly down, maybe 3mm or so before it truly "locks". Basically, I can wiggle the alt clutch up and down a few mm, and this moves the alt axis. I believe the original intent was that the shaft on the knob would hit the top of the hole to lock. I think the problem is, the hole is too big by a few mm. What I ended up doing was taking some strips of plastic packaging tape and wrapping a layer around the shaft of the knob. Basically, this increases the diameter of the knob. Now the alt axis stays in place when fully locked down.

#4 Djarum

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 11:10 AM

My experience is much the same as yours. I have to lock the alt down when removing EPs 2. Just a little twist for the 8 ounce inch and a quarter EPs. Significantly more for the pound and a half 35 PAN.

It took my several times out to really get used to tracking objects with it a higher power. Now I can do it a 300 power with a 50 degree EP. It's takes a little extra care and concentration, but I can pull it off without too much trouble as long as the mount is level.

Hope you enjoy the mount. I really like it.


Tracking venus at 220x was easy, and thats about the limit of my scope anyways. The main issue I had was centering the object, and then locking. When I locked and took out an EP, the alt bearing would shift several degrees before really locking. This is a problem. The above post shows how I fixed this issue.






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