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Astrophysics Portable Piers

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#1 drksky

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 03:23 PM

I've been thinking about getting a new G-11, but instead of getting the HD tripod, was contemplating getting one of the Astrophysics portable piers instead.

Anyone have experience with these that can comment on their stability in relation to a sturdy tripod like the HD or FHD?

#2 DeanS

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 03:27 PM

When I got my AP900 I decided to get the G11 tripod/pier instead of the AP pier. I felt it gave me more flexibility on uneven ground, and able to use it at many different heights. But I know the AP piers are stable.

#3 Ad Astra

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 04:48 PM

AP piers are very stable and lightweight, but they must have level ground because you cannot adjust the legs more than an inch or two on each side.

I considered the Eagle1 portable pier, but that only goes from 32-36" high, and I need a taller pier for my f/12 refractor. Particle Wave makes a portable pier that is very highly regarded (pwtec.com) but I've heard that delivery may be slow.

I'm with you.... undecided!

Dan

#4 drksky

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 04:49 PM

Even when I had my CGE, I never raised any of the tripod legs more than I needed to level the mount. When I'm using the GEM, I'm doing AP, not visual observing, so height doesn't really matter as much as stability to me.

#5 DeanS

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 04:56 PM

I only image with mine, and was concerned about the struts on the AP pier dragging cables. On the G11 tripod the leg knobs could catch cables but they can be turned around so they don't.

I have a parallax pier for my AP1200, it is very nice and stable. No struts, and not too wide of a footprint. Might be worth looking at it.

#6 skybsd

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 06:03 PM

Even when I had my CGE, I never raised any of the tripod legs more than I needed to level the mount. When I'm using the GEM, I'm doing AP, not visual observing, so height doesn't really matter as much as stability to me.


I don't do this sort of thing very often, but I'd suggest to you that there's very little out there that's more stable than the Losmandy HD Tripod.

My $0.02..,

Regards,

skybsd

#7 drksky

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 06:09 PM

And that's what I'm looking for. Having used neither, I'm looking for opinions of those who have. I was never very impressed with the stability of the CGE tripod, but I realize that the HD is a very different design.

Was also looking to justify the price difference between the AP piers and the HD, particularly the folding HD.

#8 skybsd

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 06:32 PM

Hello,
Well.., I can't comment on how you would view the justification for one over the other, but what can I say? Its a rock solid tripod and I would have thought it'd be a question of finding reasons why not to choose this option..,

Regards,

skybsd

#9 RAKing

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 06:51 PM

I use both the A-P Portable Piers and the Losmandy tripod. Either choice works great for me.

The A-P pier is lighter and very stable. I don't really worry about leveling the unit because after you do the polar alignment, the GEM doesn't care if it's level or not. I have never had a cable snag the struts, either.

The Losmandy tripod is a great, sturdy unit and if you need multiple height options, it's the best choice.

Cheers,

Ron

#10 frolinmod

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:14 PM

The Astro-Physics 10" diameter portable pier is rock solid stable. I highly recommend it. As another poster pointed out, it does require fairly level ground as it has no provisions for leveling other than differential torque on the turnbuckles which will only get you so far (half inch or so off level at most).

I've attached a picture of my scope sitting atop a 10" diameter Astro-physics portable pier:

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#11 M13 Observer

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:29 PM

Check out Rob Miller's new tripod offerings. You can contact him through Catamount Systems.

#12 Traveler

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 01:23 AM

Nice equipment Frolinmod!

#13 frolinmod

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 03:10 AM

Check out Rob Miller's new tripod offerings. You can contact him through Catamount Systems.

Or just reply to his add on Astromart now running in the Tripod related classified adds area of that website. I bought a TRI36H from him last year. Alas, I have not yet had an opportunity to use it extensively.

#14 LLEEGE

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 08:37 AM

My only gripe with the AP piers is they need to be assembled and taken apart. But the parts store inside the tube and pack nicely in vehicles. I just wish they folded. They are rock solid when assembled.

#15 drksky

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 08:39 AM

Well, you can get the Eagle folding pier, but the price is ridiculous.

#16 LLEEGE

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 09:15 AM

Well, you can get the Eagle folding pier, but the price is ridiculous.

Not for larger mounts.
I have a Meade Giant field tripod that I adapted to use with my AP mounts as well. It's nice in that it folds up but it is quite bulky to transport and takes up a lot of space.
The G11 tripod is probably the best of both worlds. Solid and breaks down into a more easily transportable package. Setup is faster then the AP pier.

#17 davidmcgo

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 11:38 AM

The adjustable height is a good thing to consider. I have had an AP900 and 8"dia 48" pier for my refractor for years. Then I put together a really sweet 8" Newtonian and need a 24". Cost with the AP setups just doubled unless like I did you get lucky and find someone just selling center column and turnbuckles. Astro-physics will only sell complete piers.

As far as leveling, carry a few blocks of 2"x4" and you can put one or tow under a foot as needed.

But if I was doing over, the Losmandy HD would be my choice for the convenience of adjustable heights, less to take apart and put together, and easier leveling.

Dave

#18 Mike E.

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 12:16 PM

As mentioned by Dan, "Particle Wave Technologies" is highly regarded.
I have been to P.W.T. and have a portable pier on order. The engineering, workmanship, and quality are second to none! You will not be dissapointed.

.

#19 RAKing

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 01:45 PM

Astro-physics will only sell complete piers.


Dave,

That's not accurate - Give them a call.

I have ordered new center posts and extra struts as needed.

Take care,

Ron

#20 DeanS

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 03:04 PM

Here is a picture of both my parallax and G11 tripod, with a Mach1 on it. The parallax is a 36" tube and puts the top plate around 39-40". I ordered a 36" thinking it was the overall height but I can live with it.

Notice how unlevel this site is, look at my trailer behind me. I still had to put a block under the adjustable foot on the parallax. This was at Peach State Star Gaze 2008.

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#21 DeanS

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 03:07 PM

A better look at the parallax, and in the background is the G11 tripod with the 900.

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#22 DeanS

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 03:10 PM

This is the first one I ever saw and I knew I wanted one. It was at WSP one year, and it shorter than mine.

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#23 gnowellsct

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 03:22 PM

There are many piers if one wants a pier: ATS is also good. However I can't imagine choosing a pier over a Losmandy HD tripod because of the advantage one has in leveling. I have set the HD tripod up on slopes far worse than anything shown here: where ONLY a very adjustable tripod could be set up, and the short leg of the G11 was almost fully retracted to accommodate the upper slope.

ANYHOW one of the real nice things about the G11 tripod is the substantial area underneath it to put your power supply and eyepieces. That's real nice you can get everything out of the way of wandering feet of yourself or kids or whatever.

regards,

Greg N

#24 DeanS

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 04:50 PM

Not sure I know the difference between the G11 and HD tripods? The G11 is pretty HD, although I would not want to go much larger than the AP900.

#25 Richard McC

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 10:35 PM

Dean, unless I'm mistaken the HD tripod is the one Losmandy ships with the G11. Losmandy also sell a folding version called the FHD-MA tripod (same legs, different top).

Has anybody got experience with the even bigger (7" diameter pier, 3.5" diameter legs and weighing ~66lbs) tripod that Losmandy make for their Titan mount?






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