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Slo Mo ... Go or No - Alt Az Manual operation

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#1 davebuechler

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 05:50 PM

I have only experience with an Alt Az using slow motion controls and have grown accustomed to using them, especially at high magnifications. Looking to upgrade to a smoother operating manual Alt Az mount the one I have chosen to replace my Porta II is without slo mo controls.

I would like to hear what y'all think of slo motion controls...both pro and con. Or if you don't use them, why.

#2 hottr6

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 06:10 PM

If one is afflicted with benign essential tremor (or any sort of tremor of the hands) slo-mo is mandatory.

Slo-mos permit keeping the target perfectly centered on-axis. One of the benefits of this is not having to shell-out big bucks for expensive and heavy eyepieces that attempt to correct for off-axis aberrations in 'scopes that must be nudged, and operators allow the target to drift across the FOV.

#3 davebuechler

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 06:49 PM

Thanks Hottr6 for your comments. I am wondering if it will be difficult to keep a star on axis at high powers without? My hands are pretty steady but .....

#4 Pinbout

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 07:11 PM

I've found slo-mo to be more like drawing a curve with a etch-a-sketch. Too me even at high powers if the head is smooth tracking us not a problem, even when switching eyepieces.

#5 Ouranos  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 09:11 PM

Personally, I would not want a mount without them. I use them on a CG-4, CG-5, and a Porta-Mount. I use them when searching for some objects and I use them for centering objects and I use them for keeping objects in the viewfinder.

#6 Eddgie

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 10:09 PM

I rarely use Alt-Az, but when I do, I perfer slow motion.

For me, the reason is very simple. Many Alt-Az mounts require a lot of fussing with the tension knob when you change eyepeices.

For example if you have a Televue 101 and you have a 31mm Nagler in the diagaonal and you want to change to a 5mm Nagler, you have to make sure there is enough tension to hold the scope in place when you remove the 31mm Nagler, or you get a nose dive and the dew shield of your expensive 4" refrector heads down and bounces off the leg of your tripod, which knocks the collimation off.

Not that has ever happened to me... :roflmao:

But that was my big issue with Alt-az. The really expensive ones are far more tolerant of this (Diskmount), but many of the simple mounts will have this issue.

Also, when chainging from a 31mm Nagler to a 5mm Nagler, don't be surprised if the target that was in the center of the field in the 31mm is not to be found anywhere in the field of the 5mm Nagler. If the tension is set up to allow easy movement, then even a bit of a bump with either eyepecie barrel can knock you off target.

I know people love thair simple Alt-Az, and I am not saying they are wrong to use them.

I am only telling you what limitations I had with the mounts I used (Gibralter was the worst for nose dives. Had to tighten with every eyepeiece change, Unistar was kind of funky with Gimble Lock when viewing near zenith, making it very difficult to get small positinal changes, AZ3 was a horrible joke even with slo-mo.. Like the Devil decided to build a telescope mount to torture bad astronomers).

Anyway, I have had 3 different Alt Az mounts with no slo-mo and all had these problems to some degree.

I wanted so bad to love the Gibralter. But the Gibralter, Televue 31mm Nagler, and 5mm Nagler was for me, an exercise in never ending tension adjustment in the altitude axis. If you have all Plossls, it is a beautiful mount to use. But if you have a 31mm Nagler in the mix, not so much....

#7 Adam Taylor

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 10:17 PM

... and have grown accustomed to using them ...


The same phrase can apply to hand-tracking, given some patience and practice over time. Though a quality mount is key.

#8 astrophile

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 11:18 PM

I find well-executed ones to be very helpful, in comparison to the non-equipped mounts I've used.

#9 mattz

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 01:49 AM

I guess if one is using a long tube tracking could be done by just grabbing an end. This would be akin to moving a large dob around. For something short like a C6 or C8, I would think the slo mo would be necessary, but I could be wrong.

I would not buy an Alt Az without them, but that is just me.

#10 Stelios

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 02:29 AM

I cannot imagine not wanting to use slo-mo controls. I don't care how smooth the movement is supposed to be without slo-mo, it's simply never *as* smooth. I have a Giro II without slo-mo, and a Vixen Porta II with, and I much prefer the second.

#11 Rich V.

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 03:15 PM

As has been said before, slo-mo really is a personal preference.

I actually enjoy pushing my scopes by hand, at least with my small, relatively short 3-5" refractors. The likening of slo-mo to drawing a curve (or diagonal, for that matter) on an Etch-a-sketch by Pinbout is right on for me. :D I don't like having to reach out to the mount and fiddle with knobs.

I use a simple Unistar Dlx and I just grab the scope by the diagonal's barrel and with a little practice, it moves in both axes at the same time as I track. I never go above 300x on lunar/planetary, though, with the 5".

Of course, and it should go without saying, you need to have your scope balanced correctly in two dimensions if you choose to rely on friction alone instead of slo-mo controls.

Rich

#12 davebuechler

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 04:14 PM

Thanks everyone for your replies and comments.

Of course, and it should go without saying, you need to have your scope balanced correctly in two dimensions if you choose to rely on friction alone instead of slo-mo controls.


Good advise. The replacement I have ordered for my Porta has this capability as well as some other positive attributes mentioned above. We will see how well I adapt to having no slo mo control.

#13 Adam S

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 06:30 PM

I have just purchased a Nova Hitch. I bought it to replace an excellent DM6 because of the slow motion controls. They're smooth, crazy smooth with a 5" refractor. Charles has worked with me to get it to be perfect down to 10deg Fahrenheit where a lot of equipment looses it's edge. It's a wonder of engineering, let there be no question: if done right a slow motion control altaz mount is a thing of wonder.

#14 davebuechler

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 11:52 PM

Hi Adam

Thanks and have heard great things about the Nova Hitch and in fact am going to give the new FTQ a try. I hope it fits my needs and I can find a proper balance/friction ratio so that the slo mo controls aren't necessary.

Do you find with your set up on Nova the need for slo mo control often?

#15 Adam S

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 12:53 AM

I use them because they make observing easy, interactive and... well, fun. Regardless, it looks like the Free Turn mounts will be a relative bargain in the altaz mount world. I can't imagine you'll regret the decision.

#16 Kunama

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 01:00 AM

Another vote for Slow Motion controls, although the excellent T-Rex can be used without the slow motions, there are times when they are very handy to have. I have also made an extra slewing handle for mine, rather than using the diagonal for steering.

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#17 BrianG

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 09:32 AM

Hi Dave

With past mount I preferred slow motion controls. I binoview exclusively and getting the right balance/friction is critical. It always involved devising counter weights to off set the viewers.

The two axis balancing (no more counter weights) and slow motion controls is what intrigued me about the Nova Hitch. The results are nothing short of amazing. Perfect balance, close to zero damp time. The scope/binoviewers just seem to be floating in air.

At first I was hand slewing to the target and then using the slow motion controls while observing. I've found it's actually easier to just move the binoviewers like I'm looking through my binoculars. (It's that smooth!).

Charles makes incredible mounts and I think your going to really enjoy the FTQ.

Brian

#18 davebuechler

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 10:11 AM

Hi Brian,

No doubt the Nova is in a class of it's own and I envy those who have one. If money weren't a factor this would be my first choice.

Charles is coming out with another new product late next year or early 2014 that will be a smaller Nova with slo mo control. Not sure if it is similar to the half hitch but sounds interesting.

There is nothing in the marketplace like the FTQ and I am excited to try one out. I will give a report once I have a chance to put it into action.

#19 Mark9473

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 04:52 PM

Charles is coming out with another new product late next year or early 2014

Can you clarify that please?

#20 herrointment

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 07:31 PM

Here's a LINK.

#21 davebuechler

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 08:54 PM

Thanks Herronintment. That is the FTQ and the mount that I am getting. There is a new one called the Stellar Hitch planned for late 2013 early 2014.

You can find reference to it on the Nova Hitch Yahoo Group. It will have slo motion controls and is more similar to the Nova albeit scaled down a bit.
The Stellar Hitch will be manual only and have no electronic tracking.

I would put a link here to the Yahoo Group but don't know how and would copy and paste the language from the Yahoo site, but don't know if it is allowed?



#22 Quintessence

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 09:46 PM

To clarify, the Stellar Hitch is projected for late 2014 or early 2015. It will first appear in VERY limited numbers to test the market to see if full production is warranted.

Charles

#23 davebuechler

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 10:58 PM

Thanks Charles. Sorry about that

#24 Kunama

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 03:14 AM

That FTQ is a very nice looking mount, might be just the thing for my FS60CB
What tripods can be used with it?

#25 riverlaw

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 10:25 AM

The FTQ connects to tripods that use a 3/8-16 screw. So a bunch of camera tripods and berlebach tripods offer that connection method. Also discmounts uses that set up.






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