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New Equatorial Platforms

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#1 Alvin Huey

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:18 AM

Fellow Observers,

My observing buddy, Gregg, is now starting production on low-profile all-aluminum equatorial platforms. He will offer two models; medium and heavy duty. The medium is designed to support up to approximately 120 pounds or 18 to 20” truss telescopes and the heavy model supports about 180 pounds or up to 28 to 30” reflectors, possibly more. He is currently using his home-built 25” f/4.5 on his heavy platform.

I’ve been beta testing it for a year now and totally blown away by it’s performance. It is not meant to compete with Tom O’s platform as they are totally at different price points and Tom's is built like a tank, you can probably throw Tom's off the roof of a two story house and it'll probably survive. NOTE: The platform under my 22" is NOT anodized as it is the beta version!

The tracking accuracy is pretty impressive. My first light with it was in my front driveway. I just aligned the platform by eye (see seventh bullet), put my 22” on it. Then centered M-13 on it with a 6mm ZAO-II (383x with a 6.6’ field of view). Went in the house to do stuff for 20 minutes, went back out. It was still in the field of view!

Some key features:
-Black anodized.
-Up to 65 to 70 minutes of tracking.
-About 3.5” to 4” high. In actuality, the eyepiece height gain is about 1.5 to 2” as the ground board would be removed prior to installation onto the platform. The ground board is typically 2” high.
-Able to use a range of telescopes on a single platform. Medium – up to 18 or 20” reflectors (I’m using my 22” on it as it is lighter than the 20” Obsession by at least 10 pounds). Heavy – up to 28 to 30” reflectors. The pads can be moved in or out from the pivot point as the pads are approximately 120 degrees apart. The pads on the photos is configured for Gregg’s 16” travel scope.
-Uses either a set of 4 AA or a single 9V battery. The voltage regulator will take care of that. The 4 AA’s lasts about 20-30 hours and the 9V about 12-15 hours.
-One can take it apart and travel with it in a travel bag similar to a camp chair bag. About 15 minutes to remove or install about 15 screws.
-Easy alignment with Polaris as the long arm is just an arm, unlike competing platforms, so you can just stand back about 10-15 feet and align the long arm to Polaris to the best of your ability. That should be good enough. You can use a compass, I do that during the day, and still need to fine tune it at night. I just grab the platform with the scope on it at the end of the long arm (second photo) and drag it left or right until I’m happy.
-Leveling feet.

He is still working on his website.

Any information, please contact me and I’ll try my best to answer your questions or get in touch with him as he is currently out of the country for a business trip.

The BEST part is that he is offering the medium duty model for an introductory price of $675! The heavy duty model is approximately $100 more. You CAN’T BEAT that.

It is obvious that his goal is to provide a tool for observers at an attractive price. Lastly, I have no financial benefit from this other than helping out good friend to finally "release" this product.

Posted Image
Drive side of the platform

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Polar Axis side of the platform

Posted Image
My 22" on the platform. NOTE: This platform is a different beta-version and not anodized.

Moderators: Let me know if this is the wrong place to put this.

#2 rockethead26

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:29 AM

Alvin,

This looks like an awesome deal. The platform looks really well done. I'm gonna see what I can do about ordering one. I hope he can maintain production at a profit so he'll be in business for a while.

Jim

#3 The Ardent

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 07:58 AM

Im ready to buy one. It just looks right.

Any chance I can pick up at NEAF?

#4 GShaffer

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:18 AM

What are projected delivery times like? Looks like a nice unit!

#5 GeneT

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:22 AM

Glad to see new platform products. I have a Tom O Platform for my 12.5 inch Portaball. A platform really ups the ante for good viewing, especially when using high power. Also, when changing out eyepieces, the objects just hangs there and you don't have to relocate it.

#6 rockethead26

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:59 AM

Alvin,

I forgot to ask two questions for Gregg.

1)My Teeter uses the ground board as part of the encoder system for my Sky Commander. Is this platform compatible, since you remove the ground board to use the platform?

2) How does it deal with latitude?

Thanks,
Jim

#7 Alvin Huey

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:02 PM

Im ready to buy one. It just looks right.

Any chance I can pick up at NEAF?


Hi Ray,

He will not be at NEAF. I'll send you a PM soon with his contact info.

#8 Alvin Huey

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:03 PM

What are projected delivery times like? Looks like a nice unit!


I'll check with Gregg when he returns tonight. I don't want to misquote him.

#9 Alvin Huey

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:04 PM

Alvin,

I forgot to ask two questions for Gregg.

1)My Teeter uses the ground board as part of the encoder system for my Sky Commander. Is this platform compatible, since you remove the ground board to use the platform?

2) How does it deal with latitude?

Thanks,
Jim


The platform will have a threaded hole for the pivot bolt, so it will be compatible with the azimuth encoder. He uses his Sky Commander with his 25" on it. He just needs to know the bolt size and thread count and he'll make the hole to match it.

#10 John K

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:18 PM

I think it looks good ,but I am a little concerned with the polar axes side sticking out so far.It seems it would be a tripping hazard in the dark as well as a general nuisance.

#11 Alvin Huey

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 12:28 PM

I think it looks good ,but I am a little concerned with the polar axes side sticking out so far.It seems it would be a tripping hazard in the dark as well as a general nuisance.


The polar axis sticking out as far as it does because the tip is a little higher than the bottom of the rocker box...hence when I rotate the scope, the corner would clear the axis by about 1.5 inches. He can not make it much shorter. This is pretty much the largest scope I can put on that particular beta model.

#12 rockethead26

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:38 PM

Alvin,

I forgot to ask two questions for Gregg.

1)My Teeter uses the ground board as part of the encoder system for my Sky Commander. Is this platform compatible, since you remove the ground board to use the platform?

2) How does it deal with latitude?

Thanks,
Jim


The platform will have a threaded hole for the pivot bolt, so it will be compatible with the azimuth encoder. He uses his Sky Commander with his 25" on it. He just needs to know the bolt size and thread count and he'll make the hole to match it.


Thanks Alvin. Sounds good. How about the latitude requirement? Are these built for a specific latitude or are they adjustable?

#13 John K

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:57 PM

So it sound like he can make them shorter to accommodate a smaller LTA box.
How heavy is your scope on the basic model?
My scope is 115Ibs (built like a tank for a 15")

Is there a bearing at the polar end of the platform?
What are the welds like?It looks like he uses a spot weld as apposed to a continuous weld?

Is there a motor cover for the production models?

Does he ship to Canada via USPS?

Thanks Alvin for all helping me out with all my crazy questions. :rainbow:

#14 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:24 PM

WOW! :shocked: Alvin, those are nice, clean & simple. Absolutely beautiful work he's doing. :bow:

#15 BWAZ

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:59 PM

I'll be in for one as soon as it is ready! What an impressive piece of work!

#16 John K

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:48 AM

Is there away to adjust the legs for uneven ground use?

#17 GShaffer

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 01:26 PM

The initial posting says it has leveling....

Is there away to adjust the legs for uneven ground use?



#18 Alvin Huey

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 03:19 PM

Hi all,

Just wanted to post that I'm not allowed to post this product pushing or product Q&A per CN vendor TOS rules...as I'm not officially a vendor.

My friend Gregg Blandin should be on CN shortly and I'll defer all questions to him. If he doesn't get on, you can PM me privately and I can give you his email address.

Best,
Alvin

#19 G Blandin

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:20 AM

I'm now a member of CN so I'd be happy to answer any questions about the platforms I'm offering. Thanks for all the compliments and interest!

Gregg Blandin

#20 G Blandin

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:35 AM

2 Corrections on Alvin's original post since he is unable to edit it at this point:

1. The height of the platform is 5" which includes the teflon pads

2. The heavy-duty model price is $850 (I have one of these that I use for all 3 of my scopes 10", 16" and 25")

#21 rockethead26

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:36 PM

Gregg,

Welcome to CN and good luck with this platform. It looks like a real winner.

I posted a question earlier as to whether the platform has adjustable latitude or is it built specifically for the observers location?

Thanks,
Jim

#22 G Blandin

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 02:15 PM

Gregg,

Welcome to CN and good luck with this platform. It looks like a real winner.

I posted a question earlier as to whether the platform has adjustable latitude or is it built specifically for the observers location?

Thanks,
Jim


Jim,

Thanks for the interest. The platform is designed for one latitude but is adjustable by raising or lowering the ends. On this platform, 5/8" corresponds to a 1 degree latitude correction. The adjustable feet have a 3/4" range so if you start off level, you can get plus or minus 1 degree with the platform adjustments. Personally, I like to level it and I carry some small shims for the different sites I go to. That's the fastest and most accurate way.

#23 rockethead26

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 02:34 PM

Thanks, Gregg. I'm temporarily in Indiana for a couple of more years before I return to my Flagstaff home, a difference of 5° or so in latitude. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait to order one until I return to Flagstaff.

I hope you're still cranking them out when I'm ready.

Jim

#24 G Blandin

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 03:08 PM

Jim,

I think I'll still be making them in 2 years. I am also considering a retrofit kit for different latitudes. Since the platform comes apart easily, the front piece for the polar axis can removed with 4 screws and replaced, then the top assembly is easily removed and replaced, just remove the pivot screw. It should take less than 5 minutes to do. I will also have these parts in stock anyway for the different latitude platforms so I would just need to figure out the pricing.

#25 rockethead26

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 03:23 PM

Jim,

I think I'll still be making them in 2 years. I am also considering a retrofit kit for different latitudes. Since the platform comes apart easily, the front piece for the polar axis can removed with 4 screws and replaced, then the top assembly is easily removed and replaced, just remove the pivot screw. It should take less than 5 minutes to do. I will also have these parts in stock anyway for the different latitude platforms so I would just need to figure out the pricing.


That sounds like a great solution. Then I wouldn't have to wait! Let me know when you figure out the pricing on the spare parts.

Thanks again,

Jim






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