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Warning on Orion's Versa Go III mount

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#1 Dave Ittner

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:20 PM

Hi folks,

Thought I should warn you of a major design issue with the Versa Go III mounts.

The mount got bumped during set up, fell over and broke. Fortunately no telescope was attached.

There is a design weak point in the arm where the arm wraps around the head (the part that swivels and contains the saddle). It goes from a very sturdy and thick form to a small thin curved section of probably no more than 3/16" thick. This is where it snapped clean. The legs were not extended so the head was probably waist high at most.

Top view showing the arm and the part that becomes thin
where it attaches to the swivel head
http://imageshack.us.../imag0064l.jpg/

The thin part of the arm that is attached to the head
http://imageshack.us...imag0066bb.jpg/

another view
http://imageshack.us...imag0065su.jpg/

Orion's response was that there is nothing they can do for me. It was my fault. There are no spare parts.

Only thing is to buy a complete new mount.

Just thought I would let you folks know.

#2 CJK

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:54 PM

Orion's response was that there is nothing they can do for me. It was my fault. There are no spare parts.

Only thing is to buy a complete new mount.


And I'm willing to bet you won't be buying one from Orion.

-- Chris

#3 Mkofski

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:06 PM

Thanks for this post. The Versa Go III was on my short list of altaz mounts until today.

#4 Dave Ittner

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:10 PM

It's a sweat mount. My only complaint till this happened was that there is no way of adding any extension posts to raise up a telescope (make it easier to view while pointing at zenith).

I am still looking for a decent Alt Az mount that will allow me to do so.

#5 terraclarke

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:28 PM

That is a shame about your Orion Versa Mount. It looks like the metal crystallized like what we used to call pot metal. I would imagine it is poorly cast aluminum.

I love my Vixen Porta II. Seems quite rugged. I did however, replace the legs with sturdy wooden ones, replace the accessory tray with the steel triangular one (you would be surprised what a difference this makes, especially since it firmly bolts to each of the three struts that support the tripod legs), and I also replaced the slow motion controls. I guess the only original part I kept was the mount head, but none the less, I love the result. Here you see it adequately supporting a 4 inch long focus refractor rigged for h-alpha.

If you are considering a replacement, I would strongly recommend something like this.

Attached Files



#6 Dave Ittner

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:30 PM

Thanks Terra, that looks nice.

#7 CJK

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:49 PM

That's a nice looking setup, Terra.

-- Chris

#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 05:46 PM

Dave:

It looks like a weak design. In fact when I first saw a picture of it, it looked like a weak design.

I spent some time looking at the photos plus the photos on the Orion Website. Do you think that there is any chance of repairing it? Is there any chance you could fabricate a bracket of some sort?

It looks to me like the piece that broke could be replaced with an aluminum plate that had the appropriate holes drilled it it, it would just replace the existing bracket.

In fact, with longer bolts and appropriate washeres, a nice piece of 1 inch x 3 inch oak might do the job....


:question:

Jon

#9 Dave Ittner

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:26 PM

As to adding a bracket ...

the arm is offset by about 3/4" (the width of a penny) so I am not sure how to create a bracket let alone fasten one.

I am consulting with as many folks as I can and have a few ideas.

Dave

#10 Dave Ittner

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:38 PM

uploaded a new photo ... it's not a really clear photo but it does illustrate just how thin the corner section is.

http://img827.images.../imag0068ca.jpg

#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:49 PM

As to adding a bracket ...

the arm is offset by about 3/4" (the width of a penny) so I am not sure how to create a bracket let alone fasten one.

I am consulting with as many folks as I can and have a few ideas.

Dave


Dave:

I am just trying to make sense of the design. From the photos, it appears to me that the part that broke was a piece that bolted to the lower part of mount, maybe 10-12 inches long and then has some bolts that attached it to the upper gear box.

Is this a correct understanding?

Jon

#12 Dave Ittner

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:14 PM

Jon,

No. The part that broke off is the top part that connects to the head that has the saddle.

Let me post another picture.

Dave

#13 Dave Ittner

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:22 PM

Another image showing how the arm is offset. There is a thin section that wraps around so as to form a round plate which is bolted onto the head assembly (the head swivels and contains the saddle plate).

http://img845.images.../imag0069ok.jpg

#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:34 PM

Jon,

No. The part that broke off is the top part that connects to the head that has the saddle.

Let me post another picture.

Dave


Broken Part alongside the gearbox

Dave:

If this is the photo and I am interpreting what I am seeing correctly, what I am seeing is that the part that broke is the piece that fits between the top and bottom. The saddle is there to provide an offset.

But I think the mount would still be functional if you just replaced that piece with a piece that has no offset. The scope would not be quite over the center but that's not uncommon..

Alternatively, f you wanted, you could build a two or three piece arm with an offset to replace the offset of the saddle.

Just thinking out loud.

Jon

#15 Dave Ittner

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:09 PM

yes the piece that fits between the top and the bottom is the "arm" as I call it. It could be a single piece and that is one option that I have available to me. A nice piece of hardwood would do the job. Or metal for that matter, if I had the ability to form such a piece.

#16 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:46 PM

yes the piece that fits between the top and the bottom is the "arm" as I call it. It could be a single piece and that is one option that I have available to me. A nice piece of hardwood would do the job. Or metal for that matter, if I had the ability to form such a piece.


Either hardwood or aluminum would do the job. If you have a drill, it would be quite easy with the hardwood.

Mcmaster-Carr is a good source for aluminum. My engineering sense is that a 1/2" x 3" x 12" piece would be just about right, it would weigh about 1.8lbs and be very stiff. 3/8" would probably be fine too and weigh about 1.35lbs. It would probably be best to have access to a drill press but you could clamp the broken piece to the aluminum and use it as a template.

1/2 x 3 x 12 aluminum bar

jon

#17 stevew

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:19 PM

Hi folks,

Thought I should warn you of a major design issue with the Versa Go III mounts.

The mount got bumped during set up, fell over and broke. Fortunately no telescope was attached.

There is a design weak point in the arm where the arm wraps around the head (the part that swivels and contains the saddle). It goes from a very sturdy and thick form to a small thin curved section of probably no more than 3/16" thick. This is where it snapped clean. The legs were not extended so the head was probably waist high at most.

Dave sorry to hear about your misfortune.
I wish I had heard about this a few weeks ago, as I have just recently purchased one.
Although I'm not sure its a design flaw. I paid for a lightweight cast aluminum mount and that's what I got.
Mine is the Explore Scientific labeled version. And it was only $299. Most of us have several eyepieces that cost more than that.
I find it an acceptably solid mount for a small scope, with smooth and balanced controls.
I also think it's more stable than the Synta stamped aluminum tripod due to the particularly wide stance of the tubular legs and the heavier gauge steel.

Still thanks for the warning.
I will try to be very careful with mine. So far I have been very happy with it.


Why not see if you can get a Voyager or Porta Mount head and put it on your Versa Go tripod.

Steve

#18 Lt 26

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 09:29 AM

I don't think I would put anything to large on that. Unless you hated it.

Dereck

#19 mark savage

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:10 AM

The ES Twilight I mount is the same mount, which I was considering. Looks like it's a Porta for me. Thanx

#20 Thomas Karpf

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:52 AM

For what it's worth, the Unistar mount by Universal Astronomics is a ridiculously solid mount for $399. It's capable of holding 30 lbs no problem.

VERY solid.

#21 Dave Ittner

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 12:05 PM

Yes the ES mount is the same, but Explore Scientific was able to sell me just the arm. I should be getting it the same time my new SD card arrives so I can take pictures once again. It's nice that ES was able to support me even though the original purchase wasn't from them.

I have been using the mount because I made an arm out of plank of Trex decking. Looks goofy but is solid. Will take pictures once the camera is working again.

Also have been testing out all alt az mounts I can get my hands on. Voyager mount is out - not sure why it has so much slop in the gears (both). You have to turn the knob 120 degrees or so before any motion starts. Real pain in the butt when you are finally at your object and want to center it.






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