Jump to content

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


NexStar 127 SLT

  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 Chaz659


    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 296
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012
  • Loc: Seabrook, TX

Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:38 PM

Hi everyone. Well, after some research and questions on other forums, I chose to purchase the 127 SLT as my return to astronomy. Last scope I owned was 40 years ago. So far, the cold has kept me from using it much. Winter on Long Island..ughh. Anyway, so far I have not gotten the Go To feature set up, but I have observed Jupiter and Orions Nebula with very little effort. My question is the mount. It's pretty flimsy IMO. The vibration can be ridiculous and lasting for several seconds. I have seen many suggestions, most adding a weight of some kind. Ok...how much weight? Another suggested creating new brackets lower than the ones it came with. Another suggested epoxy everything...so much for the portability. Someone else suggested getting an old CG5 mount and replacing this one altogether. But I have only seen the CG5 Go To mounts for sale and they don't last very long. You guys are the experts here, and I remain open to suggestions. Could I please ask the question and see if some kind of consensus comes about? What is the best way to improve this flimsy mount? Thank you in advance.

#2 Midnight Dan

Midnight Dan

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12012
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortle 4.5)

Posted 02 February 2013 - 10:23 AM

Hi Chaz & welcome to Cloudy Nights!

Unfortunately, the price you pay for portability is a lack of stability. I don't own an SLT, but I've heard from many here on the forums that this is an issue.

Moving to a CG-5 would be a HUGE improvement ... BUT it is a LOT heavier and, being an equatorial mount, comes along with all the complications of setup, polar alignment, awkward eyepiece position, etc. If you were going to spend $700 on a CG-5, you would be better off to move to something like a Nexstar SE5 or SE6. You would gain stability without losing the portability and ease of use that you have in the SLT.

But before going to that extreme, there are some things you can do to improve your current mount. First is to go over it and make sure all the bolts are properly tightened. Hanging a weight from the spreader can indeed improve stability. If you use a power tank for 12v power, that is a good thing to hang from it. But a weight in the vicinity of 10-20 pounds is about right. A small cinder block can fill this role too.

When you're observing, use the legs in as short a configuration as is practical. Use a chair or stool to sit on so you can lower the tripod as much as possible.

Anti-vibration pads ( http://tinyurl.com/cd7268d ) definitely work and should reduce vibration settling time by about 50%. At $60, they are not cheap, but compared to the expense and hassle of a heavier mount, they don't seem so bad! And even if you decide to move to another mount, the pads will be useful there too. I employ them all the time regardless of what mount I'm using.

In the end though, the SLT is a very lightweight mount that will never be as stable as a heavier one. You can certainly make some improvements and hopefully make it perform adequately for you. But you'll have to decide at what point you want to trade off stability for portability.


#3 BigC



  • *****
  • Posts: 4138
  • Joined: 29 Sep 2010
  • Loc: SE Indiana

Posted 03 February 2013 - 01:07 PM

You might try this:
Cut a large blunt triangle of plywood to fit the legs as a spreader.Drill the center and put a long eyebolt through the hole with washers and nuts on both sides.The upper washer and nut just to keep the eyebolt from falling out. Now from the loop of the eyebolt run three small chains up to the mount ears where the top of the tripod legs fasten. Loop the chains around the ears or back out the tripod leg bolts ( replace with longer?)and pass the bolt through a loop .

Then by tightening the eyebolt on the bottom of the triangle it should draw the chains taut and hold the triangle's ends firmly against the tripod legs. This should stiffen the tripod .It is as similar to the method used with the larger Nexstar as I can think of given the problem of the "cup" mount of the SLT.

Good luck.

#4 Chaz659


    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 296
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012
  • Loc: Seabrook, TX

Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:38 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. Right now I plan on going the simple route first. Not fully extend the legs, make certain everything is tightened correctly, and anti-vibration pads. Again, thanks for the replies. It is amazing how many people are on here and willing to help! I have been looking at how many people are participating on here and had no idea I was was joining such a large and enthusiastic community.

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Reviews

Imaging/Sketching Contest

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics