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Universal Astronomics DoubleStar

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#1 exparrot

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 08:17 PM

I keep going to UA's website and looking at this thing, so that spells trouble for my savings account. :) Anyway, I was hoping someone here might have purchased one, or had some experience with it, and could share their impressions. I know it's load capacity, but was wondering what the mount itself weighs. What's the dual-OTA fine alignment process like - easy, hard? As for tripods, I like the heavy wood one on the UA website, but I'm open to any other suggestions. The plan would be to later add DSC's/encoders.

Jerry

#2 exparrot

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 09:38 AM

Answering part of my own question...

Larry at UA provided this for me: the mount weighs 10 lbs. with 3" saddles and 12 lbs. with twin 7" saddles.

Jerry

#3 exparrot

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 03:55 PM

FedEx left this on my door step today. It's a beautifully made ALT-AZ tandem mount from Universal Astronomics. It holds 40lbs on the right and 30lbs on the left. It has a fine-align mechanism for the dual-OTAs, which works perfectly and is quite simple to use. I only spent a few minutes, figuring it out - Larry includes clear instructions on how to do it. In no time, I had the top of a cell tower centered in the EPs of both scopes. I've been switching out EPs, trying to get a combination where the target is way off in one or the other, but so far, it's staying centered in both.

To support this mount and equipment, I also have a Berlebach UNI-18 on order from Germany, but it appears to be hung up in customs. It could be weeks before it arrives. In the mean time, I had a CG-4 tripod doing nothing, so I'm using it for now. I have no idea what it's capacity is, so I'm not going to load it down too much. Nevertheless, that's about 35lbs on it in the pic and it's completely steady.

This thing is solid - no play whatsoever. The movement in both axes is as smooth as butter - no vibrations, no jerking, no slipping, etc. It's a very well-constructed mount and all the positive reviews I've read on it are in line with I've seen so far. Later, I plan to ship it back to Larry and get it retrofitted with encoders and then add a Sky Commander to it. Fun stuff!

By the way, Larry is so easy to work with and he takes the time to go over what your arsenal consists of, what you plan to run on his mounts. He helps you make certain you're getting the right one, with the right tripod. He's a good man to do business with.

Jerry

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#4 exparrot

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 03:56 PM

Here's another pic...

Jerry

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#5 catboat

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 04:30 PM

That's a beauty. I remember when these first were announced on the UA website, but until now I've never seen good photos of one.

Please keep posting reports. I'm really interested in how it performs.

#6 LateViewer

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 09:31 PM

Very nice. Larry's stuff is great.

#7 exparrot

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 11:48 PM

I was able to take it out for a short while this evening, not really long enough to put it through its paces. But, I found I could carry the mount+tripod together with one hand. This might change once I get the Berlebach. It only took me about 10 minutes to attach the OTAs in the dark, another 5 minutes to balance and another 10 to do the fine alignment. I was hoping I could do it all in the dark, but I finally had to flip on the flashlight for a brief moment while I was doing the fine align. I'll get better, though. Regardless, it's already proven itself to be easy and intuitive to use. :)

I aligned on Vega and then later swung east to Altair and Fomalhaut. I had a 25mm Ortho in the 8" SCT and a 9mm Ortho in the 4" refractor. The targets stayed aligned as I moved around. I really enjoyed trying out different EPs and comparing views between the two OTAs.

I think I made a good purchase. This is going to be a solid, but portable, tandem mount to carry to a dark site. Once I get the encoders going, it should be even better.

Jerry

#8 coopman

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:57 AM

Thanks for the report. Looks like a great mount. Larry's products are quality stuff!

#9 exparrot

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:20 PM

Yes, Larry's mounts are top rate and he's a great guy to work with. When I first saw this mount on his web site, I reached out to him via email, but after a few back and forth, I just called him. He's super friendly and easy to talk to - he explains everything you need to know about using his mounts, answers all your questions and doesn't try to up-sell you on something you don't want or need. You can tell he's sharp and experienced, too. I'll be going back to him for a Microstar, or Macrostar some time later. One of those and an 80mm refractor would make a nice grab-n-go.

Jerry

#10 Bill Barlow

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 07:43 PM

I've bought several mounts and tripods from Larry at UA and all are great performers. I can use the Unistar Deluxe with the duel clamps with my C14 or M12 attached to a CGE tripod. I really like star hopping and finding my objects that way. Enjoy the nice mount, it looks like a nice setup.

Bill






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