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#1 GShaffer

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:48 AM

Not too long ago a gentleman named Gregg Blandin started offering a new design on tracking platforms and it was announced in the vendor forum. I decided to give one of them a try and it is just about ready to ship. He sent me a pic of mine right after getting it back from the anodizer. Appears to be complete except for adding the 3 PTFE pads to the top.....Looks pretty good. This is the "heavy" version for larger scopes (upto 25" I believe) but can support multiple sizes by relocating the pads....A final test run will be done prior to shipping it according to Gregg.

I have a small wood platform I use with my 12.5" and really miss having tracking with the 20" so this will be a welcome addition to the stable....

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#2 AZStarGuy

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:44 AM

Nice!! :waytogo: Be sure to post up a review after you've used it. I am interested in hearing your comments. At some point I have to add tracking to my dob - not expecting delivery until July though.

#3 GShaffer

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 11:45 AM

I thought I was posting this to the mounts forum.....Mod should probably move it.....

#4 GShaffer

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:09 PM

I am intrested in hearing my comments on its performance too! LOL

Nice!! :waytogo: Be sure to post up a review after you've used it. I am interested in hearing your comments. At some point I have to add tracking to my dob - not expecting delivery until July though.



#5 AZStarGuy

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:16 PM

Well Alvin Huey has used one and liked it. You probably already read this: Alvin Huey's Post

#6 GShaffer

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:33 PM

Yep....matter of fact Alvin's post in the vendor forum is what led me down this path.....After my conversations with both he and Gregg I have little doubt it will be an excellent platform and compared to the rest of the industry extremely light and easy to handle.

I know Alvin was taking the 1st production heavy model to the TSP to demo.....mine is the 2nd one off the line so to speak. I have not heard how it went as yet though.

#7 demiles

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 04:20 PM

Mine shouldn't be too far behind!

#8 Alvin Huey

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 06:13 PM

Hi,

Let me know your thoughts when you receive your platform.

Clear skies,
Alvin

#9 GShaffer

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 07:32 PM

It arrived today and I assembled and tested on the dining room table....Really slick design and while extremely light appears to be real sturdy....

Only issue at the moment is it came with a center bolt that isnt setup for DSC's so I wont be able to test it until I mod the bolt.....

If it tracks as well as its built and as good as it looks then its going to be awesome :)

Hi,

Let me know your thoughts when you receive your platform.

Clear skies,
Alvin



#10 andrew0414

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 08:18 PM

What's The point of having tracking platform?Just buy servocat and you will be happy.
nice job though.

#11 GShaffer

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:07 PM

LOL....Andrew. My guess based on your posts is that you have never seen a tracking platform or a servocat so I will take your advice for what it is :)

Edit: seems the moderator cleaned the nasty out of Andrews post so I will do the same with mine :)

#12 davidpitre

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:10 PM

Andrew. Judging from the great number of posts you've made in the last few days, you don't have much experience in this realm. With all due respect, you will do better here by not making grand pronouncements about things you know little of. Listen and learn Grasshopper.
To all those getting ready to jump on him: "Let it go".

#13 spaceoddity

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 01:33 AM

I think this will be my next major astro purchase when i accumulate enough spare change. I don't mind nudging too much but tracking sure would be sweet.

#14 GShaffer

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 09:21 AM

The biggest drawback to platforms in my opinion is the weight when it comes to one big enough for a 25" scope....Most weigh in the 50 to 70lb range that I have seen.

This one?.....shipping weight was 22lbs.....While I have yet to put my scope on it I can tell it should should hold my 20 very well without groaning.....I was going to get a servocat because of the bulk and weight of what was available even though goto doesnt excite me. Then Alvin posted about Gregg's new design and it was off to the races for me.

#15 careysub

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 01:12 PM

The biggest drawback to platforms in my opinion is the weight when it comes to one big enough for a 25" scope....Most weigh in the 50 to 70lb range that I have seen.

This one?.....shipping weight was 22lbs.....While I have yet to put my scope on it I can tell it should should hold my 20 very well without groaning.....I was going to get a servocat because of the bulk and weight of what was available even though goto doesnt excite me. Then Alvin posted about Gregg's new design and it was off to the races for me.


The Atomic Platform weighed 18 lb and it had a 150 lb weight capacity, and it was made of wood. The EquatorialPlatforms compact platform (also wood) can handle a 25" Obsession (weight around 200 lb) and it weighs 35 lb. (They don't give weights on their aluminum ones). These are load ratios of 6:1 to 8:1.

The Blandin platform is aluminum and so should be able to do at least as well with its load ratio.

This review:
http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

Indicates it carries 120 lb, so if 20 lb is its true (not shipping) weight then it is a 6:1 ratio.

#16 GShaffer

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 01:53 PM

Atomic Platforms are not still being made are they?

As for The TomO stuff.....good stuff but pricy

Blandin is making two versions a medium and a heavy....Mine is the heavy version but that definately refers to capacity and not weight lol Gregg has been using the heavy version with his 200lb 25" for a couple of years. I have not weighed my 20" but I am guessing around 140lbs.....I am guessing here but the shipping weight was 22lbs and there was at least 4lbs of packing material.....so its 18lbs or under. That thread you reference is what led me to placing the order.....

#17 careysub

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:33 PM

Atomic Platforms are not still being made are they?


No, hence the tense I used:
"The Atomic Platform weighed 18 lb and it had a 150 lb weight capacity, and it was made of wood. "

#18 Jason D

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 04:37 PM

http://atomicplatforms.com/

#19 Jarad

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 11:34 AM

What's The point of having tracking platform?Just buy servocat and you will be happy.
nice job though.

Hi Andrew -

I have both a GOTO scope and a scope with a tracking platform. The four advantages of the tracking platform are:
1 -you can put it down facing roughly north, put the scope on it, and start observing without needing to do a 2-star alignment.
2 - it's very convenient for star-hopping without needing to release clutches or reset your alignment.
3 - there is no field rotation if you want to photography.
4 - price.

For me, 1 and 2 are the main reasons I like the platform. I do a lot of school star parties for kids in town, and I can be observing and tracking the moon even before the sun sets. In town in Atlanta, it may never get dark enough to see enough stars to do a good 2-star alignment, and by the time it does, half the kids have left to go home. I also enjoy star-hopping with my Portaball, and a platform is the only way to get tracking on that.

Of course, the disadvantage is you don't get GOTO - you have to star hop. For a normal dob, you could add DSC's and do push-to if you want, but not for the P-ball.

So it depends on what you want to do. For me, its the only way to get tracking on the Portaball, and the convenience and quick set up are a bonus that I happen to really appreciate. Since I enjoy star-hopping, the lack of GOTO isn't a big deal. If you really want the GOTO, then a servocat or other drive system is the better choice.

Jarad

#20 G Blandin

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:53 AM

I think Push-To is actually better than Go-To because there are less things that go "break" in the night. The less things to go wrong, the better. Plus the low battery consumption of a platform and simple Push-To DSCs. No need to have heavy lead-acid batteries and recharge everything daily at a Star Party.

#21 GShaffer

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 04:46 PM

I am with you Gregg.... I find I spend more time observing and less time waiting for the goto to actually goto also.

I think Push-To is actually better than Go-To because there are less things that go "break" in the night. The less things to go wrong, the better. Plus the low battery consumption of a platform and simple Push-To DSCs. No need to have heavy lead-acid batteries and recharge everything daily at a Star Party.



#22 demiles

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:11 PM

Gshaffer have you had a chance to use the new platform yet. If so what do you think?

#23 GShaffer

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:13 PM

Weather has not been co-operating since it came in.....I have done 3 things though. I weighed it, 17.8 lbs. I also weighed my scope 170 lbs. I fitted it to the scope and tested in the shop....it runs and if I am not mistaken it is just as steady with it as without it.....Really cant feel any difference.

#24 G Blandin

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 05:59 PM

I am with you Gregg.... I find I spend more time observing and less time waiting for the goto to actually goto also.


I agree and can get an object in the field really fast with my DSC system, it's very simple. I am big into simplicity. I repair things for a living, but I'd rather not have it be part of my hobby. Who wants to be fixing and fiddling with things in the dark, when you're tired? Everything you add: every motor, every clutch, every circuit, etc. is another point of failure.

#25 demiles

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 04:34 AM

I've purchased one of Gregg's platforms as well and I should have it on Sat. The stability is one thing I hope to gain over the RTP I have now. It's a 23 in. thats was made for up to a 12.5 in scope. My 15 is pushing its limits and stability suffers. It's useable for sure and has got me hooked on using a platform. The other issue with it is it's cut for a much lower latitude than where I live and have to shim it 6 degrees. Despite these issues the RTP has performed very well.






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