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Medium-duty Alt/Az mount & Tripod?

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#1 steve-in-kville

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:15 PM

I currently have a 90mm Orion Astroview. I have a 910mm tube. It's been mounted to a Vixen Porta II. I really like this scope but I feel that the mount and tripod is under-gunned. I wonder if stepping up to a medium duty mount and base would help? I do mostly lunar, NEO and some planetary viewing.

I have been looking at the Stelarvue M2 base and tripods. Would this be a step up? Or should I be looking at something else?

I am not unhappy with the Vixen, I just want to go a bit heavier.

#2 Gary Riley

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:17 PM

That or maybe the Unistar Deluxe on a wooden tripod or surveyor tripod.

#3 JMW

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:37 PM

Discmount DM4 will handle up to a 115mm refractor and is very well behaved. You can buy the DM4 wooden tripod or mount it on another
sturdy tripod with a 3/8 inch thread post at the top. We the 910 mm
tube you probably need the 8 inch pier extension to help clear the
tripod near the zenith.

#4 core

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:28 AM

I feel that the mount and tripod is under-gunned. I wonder if stepping up to a medium duty mount and base would help? I do mostly lunar, NEO and some planetary viewing.
....
I am not unhappy with the Vixen, I just want to go a bit heavier.


It's the tripod that is under-gunned. One of the best bet (imo) is to get a set of 'blemished' Oberwerk Wooden Tripod for $120+shipping, or in my case I got the tall version for $150+shipping. It has a 3/8" stud on the top, so you'll need to either have a the correct adapter plate on the Porta II head, or switch out the mounting bolt on the tripod to fit the Porta. The other additions in my setup is a panhandle from Manny Myles here at CN, and a eyepiece tray also from Manny. For high power viewing like you're doing, you'll appreciate the slo-mo controls imo. fwiw I also use a Universal Astronmics MicroStar and UniStar Ligth Dlx, but for long, small (~4") refractors I prefer the Porta.

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#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 07:13 AM

I currently have a 90mm Orion Astroview. I have a 910mm tube. It's been mounted to a Vixen Porta II. I really like this scope but I feel that the mount and tripod is under-gunned. I wonder if stepping up to a medium duty mount and base would help? I do mostly lunar, NEO and some planetary viewing.

I have been looking at the Stelarvue M2 base and tripods. Would this be a step up? Or should I be looking at something else?

I am not unhappy with the Vixen, I just want to go a bit heavier.


Two things:

A stiffer tripod helps the Portamount, the Hands on Optics Wooden legs are a nice improvement but I understand the require a small amount of handiwork.

If you are going to spend real money on a new mount, at least consider buying a higher quality 80mm refractor like the Orion ED-80. Used these can be found for around $300 and ride nicely on an unmodified Portamount.

Jon

#6 SteveG

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:44 PM

I agree that you should just upgrade the tripod. The Hands On tripod uses your Vixen hub, and is an improvement over the stock aluminum legs. The surveyors tripod as shown above, uses its own hub, and will provide a huge leap in stability due to the tripod design. I'll be replacing my Porta II tripod with the Oberwerk - on its way as we speak.

#7 steve-in-kville

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:52 PM

Thanks for the replies. Don't get me wrong, I really love my Porta II, but I didn't think about just replacing the tripod or just the legs.

I will need to research this option further.

#8 GOLGO13

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:28 PM

Here is what it looked like with a 102mm F7. I found it was just fine and the scope was fairly heavy. This was the original vixen porta mount...not sure if the porta II is the same or not.

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#9 Don Taylor

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 07:31 PM

I understand the difference between the original Porta and the Porta II is that the Porta II adds a collar to allow mounting to other Vixen style tripods. The collar attaches to the head with 3 capscrews (which is how the original Porta tripod was attached). The top of the Porta II tripod is different and it attaches to the head/adapter with a single 10 mm bolt.

This is how you can install the Porta II head on something like a Celestron cg-5 tripod.

Vixen sells the adapter (too expensive at $70) which lets you convert your Porta head to a Porta II - useful only if you want to install on a bigger Vixen tripod, or something like the Celestron etc .

#10 steve-in-kville

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 10:16 AM

So if I go with the Oberwerk tripod, all I need to do is change a bolt? Or is it more involved?

#11 Don Taylor

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 03:32 PM

So if I go with the Oberwerk tripod, all I need to do is change a bolt? Or is it more involved?


I have no personal experience with the Oberwerk tripod but I do see on their website that it has a 3/8" stud. This will have to be changed to 10mm to attach the Porta II head. I don't know if any other changes are needed so hopefully someone here on CN that uses the Porta II + Oberwerk combination will comment.

#12 SteveG

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 03:40 PM

I'll be finding out in a couple of days.

#13 core

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:52 AM

fwiw ... I have the original Porta Mount, and already had on hand the required adapters:

1) Porta 3-bolt to 1/4", the first black plate in the photo
2) 1/4"-> 3/8" Manfrotto adapter, the zebra striped portion

the 3/8" stud on the oberwerk is on a removable plate, I'd suppose you need to enlarge the hole and get a 10mm bolt. The plate is a little recessed though, and the diameter of the Porta 1 base may or may not be an issue.

SteveG, looking forward to you reporting back, been looking at getting a Porta II head ...

#14 Pinbout

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:05 PM

Would this be a step up? Or should I be looking at something else?



make one, and you can actually put a geared drive with timing belts.ll :grin:

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#15 careysub

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 04:12 PM

I agree that you should just upgrade the tripod. The Hands On tripod uses your Vixen hub, and is an improvement over the stock aluminum legs. The surveyors tripod as shown above, uses its own hub, and will provide a huge leap in stability due to the tripod design. I'll be replacing my Porta II tripod with the Oberwerk - on its way as we speak.


If someone is looking for a medium duty mount, and does not own a Porta II to upgrade, how would the money be best spent?

Is there a better purchase than Porta II plus additional upgrades?






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