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Alt/Az Experience needed...

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#26 FirstSight

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 08:09 AM

I've had very good results with Universal Astronomics' Unistar altaz mounts on UA aluminum surveyor tripods.


I second the recommendation of UA's Unistar mount. The owner of UA, Larry, is extremely helpful to talk to, and is the sort of guy who won't gladly sell you something that is a poor fit for your needs, just to sell you something.

#27 NHRob

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 11:08 AM

It was a homemade mount, for my own use.


I've used a Gibralter, a Gyro, and Unistar mounts, as well as a Discmount "clone".


I never encountered a Discmount clone. What is it?
Thanks,
Bob



#28 NHRob

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 11:13 AM

I would also take a close look at the DM4, the Discmount4. That appears to be a nicely sized for the AP130 GT!

#29 coopman

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 08:25 PM

I have a 127mm Antares f6.5 and a Sky-Watcher 120ED. These OTAs take turns on my Unistar Deluxe and UA heavy duty surveyor's tripod. These are enjoyable combos to use in my opinion and work very well for my purposes, but I am more of a rich field scanner and pump up the power when I run across something that I want to take a closer look at. I look at the moon a good bit, but the planets only casually. It is easy to nudge the OTA on the Unistar, but the control is all you, there are no slow motion controls or knobs to turn - that would be the one improvement that I'd love to see them make. Like was said previously, Larry at UA is a great guy and he will give you straight answers about what he believes your set-up should be. I don't recommend using the light alum. tripod because this will increase the shakes and dampening times so much that it will be annoying. When I first got my 127, I was planning to use it on my lightweight alum. tripod with the Unistar light mount. That combo was very unsuitable and I knew after the first night under the stars that I was going to have to beef up the mount and tripod if I wanted to use the scope without a lot of patience and frustration. Of course, I was exceeding the rating of the mount, so you can't blame the poor Unistar Light for it. I am now using a Unistar Deluxe and heavy duty surveyor's tripod on a Scopebuggy. This is a great set-up for me, because I can let up the garage door, grab the scopebuggy handle and pull it on out into the yard whenever I'm ready to observe. If you under-mount your 130 you will be miserable with it, especially if you want to do high mag. planetary observing. You should plan on taking the tripod & mount outside first, followed by the OTA. In my experience, refractor tubes are awkward to carry around when mounted and you don't want to bang up your scope.

#30 philrod

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 08:52 PM

I don't know how I managed to miss this interesting discussion. Probably too much tv. Anyway,I'm considering upgrading my telepod to a light weight Alt/Az for my TV85 & SV102ED. My tenative choice is the DM4 with encoders installed on a Stellarvue heavy duty surveyors tripod. If it works out, I'll probably sell the telepod & GM8 as I don't have much storage space and, as t.r. says, it's all about "grab and go simplicity".

Philrod

TV85/Telepod
SV102ED/GM8
10x50 ultraview
Various Radians Plossls & Panoptics

#31 Jawaid I. Abbasi

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 09:24 PM

Three mounts but now a days; oly using P-mount.
22# P-mount capacity
25# Each side Orion AZ (dual mount)
22# Capacity Slik SH-909

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#32 Jawaid I. Abbasi

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 09:24 PM

Another one

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#33 Jawaid I. Abbasi

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 09:25 PM

And another one

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#34 NHRob

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 05:38 AM

So Tim,
Which way did you go??

#35 Waxing Gibbous

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 11:32 AM

Much as I'd love to agree with Ira, I think the T-Rex is a little hefty for a "Grab & Go" :shocked:
Mine is perfect in it's semi-permenant spot, but takes a bit of shifting unless you use a buggy.

The Half/Quarter Hitches were second on my list as they appear beautifully made and have good slo-mo capability.
I by-passed them because of:
a) Price. At the time the HH would have cost me over $2500 to import!
and
b)Lots of exposed bits are not condusive to long equipment life in my bit of the world :bawling:: hot & dry, cold & wet, windy, dusty, muddy, gritty. Sometimes all at once.

But in less hostile places, I think the 'Hitches would be very nice.

#36 MattT

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Posted 26 April 2011 - 07:55 PM

One of the best and most dedicated observers on the old shallowsky email list observes with a 6" f9 (IIRC) refractor at powers up to 300x, on a homemade alt-az mount. When that list was more active he posted many amazing sketches and observations. So, it can be done.

I've used alt-az mounts often with my various refractors going back 15 years, from 70 to 100mm. I find it gets a little tiresome to track by hand at powers above around 150x. But that's ok, since with scopes of 100mm under my sea-level atmosphere I seldom want to push the magnification any higher. Keep in mind I like to sketch, so my 150x limit is based on an observing style that requires more time away from the eyepiece than others might require.

I have tried a few mounts with geared manual slow motions and haven't found one I've liked. Without polar alignment they seem to get in the way more than anything else. For one thing, you better have both hands free: if you have a spare eyepiece, flashlight, or sketchbook in one hand, good luck trying to turn two knobs simultaneously. With a smooth, free-moving alt-az mount I can just reach up with my pencil hand and nudge the scope along much more easily.

As for brands - I have a Unistar Light that I like, but the 130mm would be too heavy for it. The same maker, Universal Astronomics, also offers larger versions that I think are well regarded.

Clear skies,






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