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Nova Hitch video review

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#1 swsantos

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 03:36 PM

First light / use over the weekend. My scope and I are very happy campers.

Written words and platitudes do not to this mount justice so here is my video review. Feel free to ask me any questions to this thread.

Not mentioned in the video: the Astro Devices BETI is used with an Android tablet and Sky Safari. The encoders are 8192 resolution. The mount has a Televue Starbeam finder attached to its included finder platform and the 8" Edge has a Feathertouch microfocuser installed. The visual back is a Baader click lock.

Nova Hitch review

Thanks for watching

#2 Seiko4169

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 03:46 PM

Great video and the mount looks superb. Seems a perfect match with the edge 8. Both incredibly modern looking.

#3 Jim7728

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 04:08 PM

Finally got to see one in action, thanks!

#4 Doug D.

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 04:30 PM

Very informative Steve - it always helps to see it move!

#5 Goodchild

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 07:02 PM

Steve, you made a complex looking mount seem easy to operate. Thanks for the video. You and Charles are to be congratulated on what appears to be a very fine mount.

#6 la200o

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:58 PM

Looks like a vast improvement on my HH MK 3. The new slow motion controls and the ability to lock the mount for eyepiece changes really stand out. Have you ever experienced slippage with the azimuth control? Even when my HH is perfectly balanced, sometimes the control will slip. I also like the new position of the control knobs.

Have fun with it!

Bill

#7 swsantos

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 10:45 PM

There are two controls on the altitude and azimuth, one that locks it push-to wise (but not slo-mo control wise) and one that you tighten or loosen to taste depending upon how freely you want to move it manually in push-to. Even if you have it completely loosened there is no slippage if the mount is balanced or even a bit unbalanced thanks to its two axis balancing (that's tool free), but if greatly unbalanced it can slip but too free and light is not desirable because then its too easy to move the scope off target while observing at least for my liking. So I have that knob set so I can go from 8mm Ethos to 31mm Nagler (with the free balance point being the 17mm Ethos) with no slippage. That amount of tension on the knob is actually minimal and does not make the push-to movement noticeably less fluid. Note that you can actually engage the cam lock (as I did while rapping on the scope in the video) so that it does not move at all manually and the slow motion controls still work freely. You can even totally remove the eyepiece and diagonal and the scope will not move manually but is still controllable easily with the slow motion controls. An absurd and extreme demonstration of the Nova's abilities I know, but one that shows off just what it is capable of doing.

#8 D.Briden

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 05:33 AM

Excellent Steve - thanks for taking the time to put together and post... Charles will be well chuffed!

Can't wait for mine to be delivered (+ tracking) 'over the pond'!

Clear skies to you...

Damian

#9 mlanglois

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 05:24 PM

Steve,

That was a great presentation of the mount's features. I'm always envious of a quality alt/az mount when time is short and lugging the eq mount outside doesn't seem worthwhile. Sadly, the Voyager I've been using doesn't really cut it any more. Maybe a Nova is in my future.

Michael

#10 astrophile

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 10:08 PM

Nice video demo Steve, thanks!

#11 WolfTracks

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 10:09 PM

That was a great review! You touched on a lot of features in a short amount of time. You don't see to many Astronomy Equipment video reviews and it was fun to watch.

#12 astrophile

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 10:20 PM

Steve, you made a complex looking mount seem easy to operate.

Truth is, the features that make the mount look complex are what make it so much simpler to operate. Spend a bit of time up front, once, getting the horizontal and vertical balance set, and you're done with complexities for good. :roflmao:

#13 MAURITS

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:19 AM

Steve, congrats with the mount!

#14 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 11:39 AM

It is vast improvement over Super HalfHitch, too :)

I am not sure it were possible but I wished that Charles had alt/az brake feature in HH/SHH. It would have made a big usability improvement for people like me to change visual back often (small eyepiece to heavy binoviewer/eyepiece turret setup).

Tammy

#15 johndgaul

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:35 PM

Tammy, have you got both the Super and the Nova? The Nova looks much stronger than the svelte Super, though I haven't seen a side by side photo.

As someone with a Super Half Hitch (and a Mini Hitch), I can appreciate the convenience of the axis "locks" for eyepiece changes. On the other hand, I like the Super for its light weight and the elegance (zippy coolness :) ) of its geared slow motion controls.

I would be tempted by a Nova if one pops up for sale some time!

#16 Quintessence

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 07:28 PM

Hi John,

You have hinted at the key conceptual difference between the Super Half Hitch and the Nova Hitch. The Super was designed as a grab 'n go mount for 130 mm refractors -- while the Nova Hitch is intended as more of a general purpose mount. A very different set of assumptions went into the design of the two mounts.

Charles

#17 okieav8r

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 10:52 PM

Beautiful mount, great presentation. I've been a fan of Charles Riddel's mounts for quite awhile. It's definitely on my wish list. Thank you Steve.

#18 M83 fan

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 08:51 PM

It looks really amazing how smoothly the Nova can handle such a large load, the slow motion knobs appear to have nearly zero resistance. While it looks more involved than some other mounts, every feature appears to add useful functionality, and still remain very user friendly.

#19 swsantos

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 08:53 PM

The cam levers for the altitude and azimuth as well as the saddle were options for me.

Frankly the cam-lever controls for the altitude and azimuth are a MUST and
bestow upon the Nova much of its awesomeness. They provide a quantum leap in capability, ease, and joy
of use. Eyepiece changes, carrying the mount around with or without the scope
attached, carrying the mount outside without it whacking you as it moves, adding
and removing stuff from the scope no matter what the weight, storing the scope
on the mount not having to worry if it gets bumped and moved... these cam levers
make that all possible and easy. Sure you could use the knobs instead but
tightening and untightening a knob is more tedious, less positive in engagement,
and highly variable. The engage/disengage nature of the levers is best.

Don't leave home without them take it from me!

They actually have two virtual positions that perform two different tasks for
me; all the way engaged for full lock and half way engaged for eyepiece changes>
the difference being so little effort is needed to engage them half way AND the
the scope stays in position during eyepiece changes. Its sooo easy! And the slow motion controls remain fully operational no matter how the cam levers are set.

The saddle locks are great too. They do not necessarily add functionality but
they make the function of inserting and removing the OTA much easier, quicker,
and more positive.

Steve

#20 t.r.

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 08:21 AM

If a picture is worth a thousand words, your video speaks volumes! Thanks for sharing! ;)

#21 Scott99

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 11:29 AM

Very nice video, thanks! However, you never took your hand off the scope when you put the 31mm Nagler in there with the lock off, so we never actually got to see the altitude brake in action (2:30ish in the video).

If I'm reading correctly, that is the major change to this mount - you can now change eyepieces without having to lock the altitude axis because there are variable friction brakes on each axis, in addition to locking clamps? If so, that would be a welcome addition. Would be interesting to see how it works with a longer refractor tube, you can see that the eyepiece is very close to the mount with this scope.


#22 swsantos

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 02:09 PM

The variable friction knobs are used to adjust the friction so that, after the scope is balanced with the medium weight eyepiece, the scope will operate in a balanced no-slippage-on-slow-motion-control manner for the rest of the eyepiece range. Yes the scope remains still in all positions with the cam lever fully off with eyepieces from 8mm Ethos to 31mm Nagler with the knob set properly after the scope is initially balanced to the mid weight point (I use the 17mm Ethos as that eyepiece). It always manually moves fluidly and easily with any eyepiece the force necessary to make this happen is very little. They are a standard part of the Nova.

The cam lever locks are used for quickly engaging and disengaging the brakes fully at once and are an optional add on (a necessary one IMHO). Note that they can be partially engaged too which is all that is needed for eyepiece changes. I used the altitude cam lever in the video several times in the video to change eyepieces and lock the altitude perhaps you did not notice all of them. They are so easy quick and effortless in use its hardly noticable.

When I was moving the scope around with the eyepieces in it manually, the altitude cam was full off. Before changing the eyepiece I half engaged the altitude cam so that the scope would not move when I removed the eyepiece. The cam lever is actually a continuum of force and with very little half engaged force easily applied without moving the scope you can make eyepiece changes without the scope moving. You can also fully lock the cam lever all the way and that's what I did before removing the diagonal and it still stayed put. Rewatch the video and note that:

I suppose I should have explicitly paused for a moment after reinserting the eyepiece after releasing the lever before moving the scope manually but I did not think of that in the moment. The light evenly balanced movement of the scope showing no inertial overshoot on changing direction was my may of demonstrating the balance with the different eyepieces.

The cam lever was full ON from the beginning of the video until 2:00 upon insertion of the 17mm. I then fully released it to move the scope. I then half engaged it at 2:11 to change to 31mm (easy half engagement keeps it still with no eyepiece in the diagonal and no inadvertent movement of the OTA from where it is pointing) and fully disengaged it again at 2:24 to move it again. I reengaged half again at 2:30 to change to 8mm disengaging it at 2:41 to move again. It was then fully locked at 2:55 to remove the diagonal, completely disengaged to move it at 3:21 then full locked at 3:29 until the end. The slow motion controls always operated under all the unlock, half lock, and full lock positions with equal ease and the tension on the cam lever is not reflected in the slow motion controls. That is truly amazing.

#23 KJL

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 02:45 PM

If I'm reading correctly, that is the major change to this mount - you can now change eyepieces without having to lock the altitude axis because there are variable friction brakes on each axis, in addition to locking clamps? If so, that would be a welcome addition. Would be interesting to see how it works with a longer refractor tube, you can see that the eyepiece is very close to the mount with this scope.


To follow-up on Steve's excellent update, the Nova Hitch's axis clutches look like the ones on my Mini Hitch (reminds me of how Canon tests new features on the Rebel line before "trickling up" to the prosumer and pro models). I can tell you that the axis clutches are really great on the Mini Hitch, and I'm sure the Nova Hitch takes their effectiveness to a whole new level.

For example, with the alt-axis clutch engaged on my Mini Hitch and the scope set slightly back of center, the Mini Hitch can hold my 90mm Raptor completely still while I change out my entire 2" diagonal + 41mm Panoptic (a >3lb combo) and replace it with a Baader T2 prism + Maxbright binoviewer. The OTA doesn't dip or otherwise move in the interim. In fact, I don't use an RACI anymore: I constantly switch between the 41mm Pan, a Leica ASPH, and a Nagler zoom as needed, and never lose the target.

At the same time, the hand-panning motion is utterly smooth at all clutch settings: at the higher tensions the scope simply gets harder to push around and to bump accidentally. It's especially nice to have if your hands are a bit unsteady or if a grabby child wants a go at my scope, for example. And as Steve reports the slow-motion controls work beautifully at all clutch tensions, other than of course at zero tension when you want the scope to have no friction at all. That's when the scope literally feels like it's balanced on a single ball bearing and you become one with the scope and the skies. Nothing like it, except maybe hand-held binoculars.

I imagine the axis cam locks would be quite a boon as they would completely eliminate the chance of the scope moving unexpectedly even when heavily jostled, or say if you want to adjust the tripod or move the entire telescope. Pretty important when you have an AP 130 GT or TEC 180 mounted ....

Thanks for the video Steve!

#24 mark8888

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 11:15 PM

I imagine the axis cam locks would be quite a boon as they would completely eliminate the chance of the scope moving unexpectedly even when heavily jostled, or say if you want to adjust the tripod or move the entire telescope. Pretty important when you have an AP 130 GT or TEC 180 mounted ....


I don't think the Nova Hitch is meant for a scope quite as big as the TEC 180..?

Thanks Steve for a great video review.

#25 riverlaw

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 08:34 AM

Do you think the 8 inch is the limit or do you think a 9.25 would work?






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