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What case(s) do you use for your AP 900?

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#1 urassner

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 01:30 PM

My new to me AP 900 mount should be arriving in a week or so. What case(s) do you use for your AP 900 to store and transport your mount? Do you use one or two cases? If one, do you dissassemble the mount into the RA and Dec component?

#2 R Botero

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 02:03 PM

Pelican 1650 works great if you want to keep both RA and DEC in the same box but it gets quite heavy (the box has rollers so you're fine). I use this one and the have another box for the counterweights and the extension counterweight bar. Otherwise a couple of 1620 would do nicely for the whole mount.
Go to the AP-GTO and AP-UG Yahoo user groups. There are plenty of pictures of examples there.
Good luck!
Roberto

#3 rpineau

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 02:18 PM

I too use a Pelican 1650 case for my AP 900GTO.
Regards, Rodolphe

#4 urassner

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 04:59 PM

Thanks Roberto and Rodolphe. I have seen some pictures of the mount in a Pelican 1650. Does your mount have the right angle polar alignment scope (RAPAS) and if so, does it fit into the case with the RAPAS in place?

#5 Phil Cowell

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 07:49 PM

Scope guard cases are sweet. Use them with mine.

#6 blueman

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 08:43 PM

I made one from a plastic trunk. I used the big cases for the last three mounts. But I found the cases were making the mounts hard for me to lift out of my motorhome basement. So the new case is VERY light but it works fine for transport but would not be good for shipping.

Best part though, the cost was $24.
Blueman

#7 rpineau

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 10:45 PM

@urassner : I don't have a RAPAS and I remove my PASILL4 every time. From what I can see of the RAPAS it should fit in the case attached to the mount.
I can take a picture of the mount in the case if it helps.
Regards, Rodolphe

#8 urassner

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 11:26 PM

Blueman: What kind of plastic trunk did you use? Rodolphe: I would love to see a picture of your mount in the case. Do you leave the saddle on?
Phil: I have heard that the Scopeguard cases do not have enough room to accommodate the polar alignment scope or a saddle. Did you use their standard AP 900 cases or did you have a custom size made?

Thanks for all your responses.

Ulrich

#9 blueman

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:43 AM

Hi,
The case came from WalMart and should be easy to find.

Yes, I do keep the saddle on when stowed. I do not keep the polar scope in place, It would not fit without hitting the case.

I do not have the saddle on in this picture, but it would be at 90° so it sets parallel to the ground. I do have it on all the time now.

I just cut foam and used foam spray on glue to attach it to the plastic. I did cover some pieces with a nice material, but it is not necessary to do that. But the material keeps the foam from being worm or torn. The two pieces fit snugly and are isolated with lots of foam.

Here is the open case.
Blueman

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#10 blueman

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:44 AM

This is the case closed.

I also mounted two wheels on the case so I can lift it on one end and roll in on concrete or a hard surface.
Blueman

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#11 R Botero

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 02:40 AM

Hi
I have the RAPAS but remove it for storage in the case. It re-attaches easily (no tools needed) and retains alignment (once adapter plate is firmly secured to mount). The polar scope goes in the same case as the mount as there's plenty of space in it (also keep saddle plate and main CW bar in it).
HTH
Roberto

#12 mgwhittle

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:16 AM

You can also make your own. It's not hard, although you will need some tools (mitre saw, circular saw, drill and to make rivets easy an air compressor and pneumatic rivet gun). It also costs less than 50% of what most companies making these cases will charge you. That's what I did and you can size them to fit your 900 in whatever configuration you want to transport it in.

Here are my cases for my complete 900GTO set up (head, pier, counteweights, accessory trays, 365 cover, ect....)

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#13 urassner

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:38 AM

Thank you Blueman. I had actually seen your pictures on AM, now that you sent these pictures. Has your case held up well? Is the plastic strong enough to support the wheels over time? I had some cheaper plastic cases break, especially in colder weather (I do take my scope out in 10 degree weather at times).
Thanks Roberto for the RAPAS info. This is very helpful, as it is not apparent from the picture and the info on the Astrophysics website.

#14 urassner

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:42 AM

Mark, those look beautiful. Do you have some pictures of the inside of your cases? How long did it take you to build those? I have all the tools, besides a rivet gun. Do you need a Router for the recessed handles, hinges etc.?

#15 mgwhittle

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 10:06 AM

The required tools would be a circular saw to cut the plywood sides, which is what I used. A table saw would make it faster and easier but is not required. Then you need a mitre saw with a carbide tipped blade to cut the aluminum stock. Do not use a cut off type wheel, that is not appropriate for aluminum. A hand drill is needed to drill out the holes for the rivets, a drill press makes it much easier, quicker and neater to predrill the holes before assembly. I bought a super cheap ($50) bench drill press since I was planning on doing multiple cases. You can pop the rivets by hand, but if you have an air compressor, buy a pneumatic rivet gun for about $50. I got mine from Amazon shipped for that price. It is the one thing I would absolutely recommend buying if you don't already own as the cases can have 100 rivets or more depending on the size. Finally, you don't need a router, but a jig saw is handy to cut the holes for the handles and locks, although not required. You can cut them out with a hand saw because they do not need to be perfectly sized holes. The hinges are pop riveted to the aluminum stock, not recessed.

Regarding construction, Reliable Hardware has a series of videos on YouTube that explains it better than I can in this post: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=tssHWplikfE

Once I figured out a work flow, I can build a case the size needed for say the RA section of the 900 in a day. The case I built for the pier, which has multiple layers and complex dividers, took me about a week.

Here is a picture of the case I made for the Dec axis of my 900. It has a section for the Dec axis with the large mounting plate attached, a divider that can hold two counterweight shafts and another divider that holds the hand controller, cables, small tools and manuals with room left over.

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#16 mgwhittle

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 10:07 AM

Here is a picture of the counterweight case that holds three 18 pound counterweights. It has a lid that is removed, not on a hinge.

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#17 mgwhittle

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 10:10 AM

Finally a picture of my case for the pier. It holds the complete pier, which includes the accessory shelves and it has a compartment below where the pier tube lays that stores a 365 cover for the entire set up (Astro Physics 175EDF plus the 900GTO).

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#18 mgwhittle

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 10:14 AM

One last thing regarding cost to build. I kept a very detailed accounting of what it cost me to build my first two cases. The larger case for the Dec axis cost me $187 total. That same case would have cost me $399 plus shipping if I had bought it from a well known builder.

I recommed buying your parts from http://www.diyroadcases.com/ . http://www.reliablehardware.com/ is another option. I used diyroadcases and was very happy with the order processing speed and customer service.

#19 blueman

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:17 PM

HI, so far so good. The case is not really thick and it has some flex but has not caused an issue so far. I have used it in winter and summer, but it is normally 30's-40's during the day when I pack up or setup.

It is not as good a the expensive cases, no way would I try to say that. But my last three cases were nice ones and they added over 20 lbs (Maybe 25-30)to the weight of the mount. That was just too much and my back was griping about it.

So I wanted something that I could lift easily and would fit in my motorhome basement compartment. This was a compromise I admit, but it works quite well.

If it only lasts 4-5 years, that is fine, but I have used it for two years and no problems.

The cost of the good cases makes this very much an affordable alternative if you are not planning on shipping the mount. If all you do is take it in and out of your car or truck, then this is fine.
Blueman

Thank you Blueman. I had actually seen your pictures on AM, now that you sent these pictures. Has your case held up well? Is the plastic strong enough to support the wheels over time? I had some cheaper plastic cases break, especially in colder weather (I do take my scope out in 10 degree weather at times).
Thanks Roberto for the RAPAS info. This is very helpful, as it is not apparent from the picture and the info on the Astrophysics website.



#20 urassner

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 06:41 PM

Mark, your cases are gorgeous. Unfortunately, at this point, I don't think I will have the time to undertake this project. I hope I will in the future. Do you know what the weight of your AP 900 cases is?
Thank you Blueman for the additional information. I saw a case at Lowes that would probably work well (Centrex Plastics, LLC 25-Gallon General Tote). It even has wheels. The handle attachment seems not the best. It supposedly is rated for up to 200 lbs. The other consideration for me at this point is the size of the case as well. I have to fit everything in the trunk of my car and the Pelican 1650 might be the best compromise between size and protection. The weight is the one big drawback though.

#21 blueman

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 07:54 PM

Hi,
No problem. I certainly understand people wanting to put the AP900 in a nice set of cases, they look great.

But for me it was all about the weight and the space. So it was necessary to compromise.

With the cost factor, I can afford to go on a lot of trips to my mountain site for the difference too. :)

I wanted to have two cases, one for each part of the mount head. But I could not find what I wanted. But I did recently see what might have worked at WalMart today when I went for something else. They had several much thicker cases there for not much money. I did not measure them to see if they would work though. But two cases usually take up more space than one and that is another thing to measure.
Blueman

Mark, your cases are gorgeous. Unfortunately, at this point, I don't think I will have the time to undertake this project. I hope I will in the future. Do you know what the weight of your AP 900 cases is?
Thank you Blueman for the additional information. I saw a case at Lowes that would probably work well (Centrex Plastics, LLC 25-Gallon General Tote). It even has wheels. The handle attachment seems not the best. It supposedly is rated for up to 200 lbs. The other consideration for me at this point is the size of the case as well. I have to fit everything in the trunk of my car and the Pelican 1650 might be the best compromise between size and protection. The weight is the one big drawback though.








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