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Nova Hitch arrived yesterday > awesome!

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#1 swsantos

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 10:38 AM

So did the clouds of course, but its been great playing with it in my basement!

As a firm believer in fluid balanced motion along with slow motion controls for those times when nothing else will do, I decided to replace my Half Hitch with the Nova Hitch. The Half Hitch was nice but with the TV102 and 8" Edge HD I was at the HH's maximum capacity so if I ever wanted to get a larger scope I would need a more robust mount therefore the Nova Hitch.

The two mounts could share only their brand and basic design appearance they could not be more different as far as solid robust use goes. Like comparing a Toyota Prius to a Toyota Tundra they share brand name more that anything but from there they differ substantially. The Half Hitch relies of perfect balance for a light fluid touch and when the scope is balanced it operates as if its floating on air. As such eyepiece changes and while-observing cheek bumping was something one had to deal with with the Half Hitch and perhaps underlayed some of the HH's finicky reputation.

Enter the Nova Hitch and exit the finickiness. It is essentially perfect in all the ways the Half Hitch was not! It easily handles my 8" Edge and TV102 though all its paces and eyepiece changes. For example, I balanced the Edge with my mid weight eyepiece per Charles' instructions in my case a 17mm Ethos. You can remove that eyepiece and replace it with anything from a 31mm Nagler to a 6mm Ethos without rebalancing and without losing fluid manual control as well as light touch slow motion control. For giggles I but in an 11mm plossl and is was still as fluid as had been with the 17mm Ethos .. it IS that forgiving of weight change. Also while observing the system holds the OTA more robustly so you are unlikely to bump it off target.

I had mine made with encoders but did not order Sky Commander as I use Astro Devices BETI bluetooth wireless control and an Android tablet with Sky Safari to observe. That combination was magic with Half Hitch, and trying it out in the basement with the Nova it seems to work as well too albeit in a virtual sense.

My feeling is that, having a mount that is so fluid that slow motion controls are rendered unnecessary is nice, but there are truly some times when there is no substitute for slow motion controls. Investing in a mount that has no slow motion controls possible at all by design, to me, takes some potential pleasure out of it and saddles you with a mount that is missing a very useful attribute. With the Nova Hitch you have that no-slow-motion-control-needed manual control as good as can be, but in addition has actual slow motion controls when you want them. Certainly better to have them as desired for use than not to have them at all. The slow motion controls also make it possible for there to be motorized tracking if desired and indeed that feature is coming in the near future further adding to the Nova Hitch's overall ability.

To me the Nova is an obvious choice. I did not want to settle for a mount without slow motion controls and there is no reason to settle with the Nova. I plan on making a video showing some of these attributes stay tuned. It is remarkable.

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#2 rigel123

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 11:55 AM

Looks like something out of Transformers! Lovely mount!

#3 swsantos

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 12:22 PM

It is in fact a thing of engineering beauty. That it is mechanical art to be used for quiet stargazing somehow its fitting use for such a thing.

#4 Mike E.

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 04:47 AM

Its awesome indeed Steve!

I felt the same when we acquired our Half/Hitch awhile back. I believe you have to see or own one of Charles mount's in order to appreciate the quality and flawless workmanship. Personally I would have liked a bit more adjustment for friction in the brakes, as once balanced, movement is so smooth you could "almost" breathe on the mount to move it. Being an amateur Machinist, I can appreciate owning such a fine piece of engineering. :bow:

From your signature line I see you also have a Half & Mini Hitch. If you could, it would be great to see side by side photos for size, and comparison.

#5 Quintessence

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 08:34 AM

Just to clarify as background information: As Steve has aptly tried to describe from a user perspective, the Nova Hitch is a completely different mount from the older Half Hitch mounts. It has a completely different architecture for drives and braking -- which result in its own unique character. It is really a new design which only shares some conceptual aspects with the earlier mounts.

I will leave it to users to describe the characteristics of the Nova Hitch since I am not permitted to comment on such things. But I want to confirm that, indeed, the Nova Hitch is profoundly different than its predecessors and must be examined on its own merits.

Charles

#6 chboss

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 08:48 AM

Looks too complex for an Alt-Az mount.
And I wonder about transportability...

regards
Chris

#7 riverlaw

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 09:58 AM

Hi chboss, I guess it depends on what you want in a mount. I like the freedom of a alt-az mount and will use the Nova Hitch with a 102mm and later with a 140. I tend to buy things once and keep them for life, so spending a bit more options and quality of this mount makes sense to me. It looks soo nice. I am waiting for a tripod and pains me to see it being unused right now.

Yes, It is a somewhat heavy mount at more than 17 pounds. But it is a very capable mount, check out videos on the halfhitch website of the NH easily handling and 155mm and more. I am thinking half wooden box to store the mount in, with straps as handles.

#8 swsantos

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 12:10 PM

I leave it attached to my Berlebach UNI24 tripod and will carry it into the back yard as a unit when observing its not heavy even on the tripod and at 5 foot 6 inches tall it is not only an easy load for me but for certainly most anyone. I do not disassemble it but it it easily removed from the tripod and it would not be difficult to find a carrying case for it.

It looks complex compared to a simple cube but it can do so much more. Also some of its complex look are adjustments to accommodate a wide variety of scopes that once set do not need to be touched again. Slow motion controls and the ability to add tracking also adds to its complex look but it is very simple in use.

I personally cannot imagine being settling for anything lacking slow motion controls and even though I only use them for high power observing slow motion controls are an essential component of a mount in my opinion but that's just me. It one thing to be able to track at high power manually its another to be forced to do it that because your mount affords no other alternative.

#9 swsantos

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 10:27 PM

You will notice my Nova has the cam lock levers on the saddle and they make a world of quick work difference compared to turning a knob to lock the dovetail in the saddle. For all those interested in the Nova, they are well worth the small upgrade for them. Their instant lock/unlock like throwing a switch state change lessens the time to attach and remove the OTA to about a quarter the time it takes to do the same thing with knobs. Very significant in the dark, cold, humid evening, putting away at the end of the night etc. very quick positive and powerful system.

#10 nicklane1

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 08:43 PM

Steve,
Why did you go with bluetooth and android instead of WiFi and IOS for sky safari? The Sky Safari web site says that it is a little slower on Android than on IOS. Do you notice any latency?

thanks

#11 Kunama

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 04:40 AM

Very impressive looking bit of kit !

#12 wormstar

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 03:38 PM

Looks good. Mine should be here in a couple of weeks.

#13 WesC

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 04:24 PM

That thing is a freakin work of art!

#14 Chucky

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 05:47 PM

This mount looks so complicated compared to my simple looking Discmount.

#15 johnnyha

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 05:55 PM

This mount looks so complicated compared to my simple looking Discmount.

That is exactly my thought, as well as the dovetail/saddle that is incompatible with my EM200's Losmandy-style Casady saddle. I'd be tempted if starting from scratch but I am extremely happy with every aspect of my DM6 including it's stark simplicity.

#16 wormstar

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 06:39 PM

Discmounts are nice too, just different. The Nova has slow motion controls and optional electronic tracking.

#17 swsantos

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 10:42 PM

Because I would rather bring my 7" android tablet outside at night instead on a much more expensive and impossible to hold in one hand 10 inch iPad.i bought the 7" android Toshiba Thrive before there were mini iPads. The Tosbiba has a rubberized back that makes it very easy and sure to hold in one hand in the dark much easier to hold that my wife's mini iPad. That made it necessary to use Bluetooth as the Android only supported Bluetooth therefore the Bluetooth BETI instead of wifi Nexus. No there is not any latency it works great. Astro devices tells be the Bluetooth also has better battery life. I understand now that the current wifi Nexus supports Android's wifi, but I am content with the Bluetooth connection and see no reason to change.

#18 swsantos

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 10:47 PM

Slow motion controls require less stark simplicity but make the mount more capable and enjoyable in my opinion. My wife's flip phone is starkly simple. My Galaxy S3 eats it for lunch.

#19 nicklane1

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:09 AM

Because I would rather bring my 7" android tablet outside at night instead on a much more expensive and impossible to hold in one hand 10 inch iPad.i bought the 7" android Toshiba Thrive before there were mini iPads. The Tosbiba has a rubberized back that makes it very easy and sure to hold in one hand in the dark much easier to hold that my wife's mini iPad. That made it necessary to use Bluetooth as the Android only supported Bluetooth therefore the Bluetooth BETI instead of wifi Nexus. No there is not any latency it works great. Astro devices tells be the Bluetooth also has better battery life. I understand now that the current wifi Nexus supports Android's wifi, but I am content with the Bluetooth connection and see no reason to change.

Thanks for the detailed explanation. Looks like that setup works great for you. So you'd recommend an Android mini and Beti over Ipad mini and Nexus?

#20 swsantos

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 10:27 PM

I think the iPad mini is more slippery and harder to grasp in one hand than my Toshiba Thrive which is rubberized in the back for easy sure one handed grip. When I bought my BETI the Nexus at the time did not support wifi with Android but it does now. if I was buying it today maybe I would by the Nexus now that it supports Android. I would have to weight the now universal comparability of the current Nexus with both iOS and Android vs the better battery life of the BETI.






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