Jump to content


Which Alt/Az Mount for Explore Scientific ed102?

  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 jakecru


    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 134
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2013

Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:18 PM

I have a ES102ed essential edition refractor telescope. The scope itself ways close to 10 lbs, but It could come closer to 15 lbs with the finder, rings/dovetail, and heavy tele vue eyepieces. For visual use I want a nice portable sturdy alt/az mount for this setup. Here are the options I was looking at.

-Vixen Porta II Porta II

-Orion VersaGo III VersaGo III

-Explore Scientific Twilight ES Twilight

-Astro Tech Voyager ATV

Which one of these would be best? Am I missing a better option in this price range? I know the ES Twilight II would probably be much better, but it is slightly out of my price range. Also I would like to have an option with a pier extension so the eyepiece will be in a more comfortable location. The ATV could have a pier extension, but it is on a wait list so that may not be a possibility.. Any Ideas?

#2 T1R2


    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1866
  • Joined: 11 Jun 2013
  • Loc: NeverWhere, 35*N

Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:29 PM

I would get the ESTW, I just like stuff to match...lol

#3 brokenwave


    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 355
  • Joined: 10 May 2011
  • Loc: Scottsdale, AZ

Posted 17 February 2014 - 07:24 PM

+1 on the ES Twilight, if you look at the Vixen Porta, get the HAL tripod for better stability.
The AT is similar to the Vixen and the Orion is similar to the ES tripod styles.

#4 jakecru


    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 134
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2013

Posted 17 February 2014 - 09:18 PM

So would the ES Twilight I be stable enough for my scope, or would the Vixen Porta II with HAL tripod be more stable? I like the price of the ES mount better, but I do not want to loose a lot of stability over the price difference.

#5 mwc11



  • -----
  • Posts: 48
  • Joined: 25 Jul 2013
  • Loc: Las Vegas, Nev.

Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:14 AM

I believe that the steel legs of the Twilight would be more rigid/dampen better than the aluminum legs of the HAL tripod. If it were me, I'd pick the Twilight over the Porta II

#6 Bill Barlow

Bill Barlow


  • *****
  • Posts: 2501
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2007
  • Loc: Overland Park KS

Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:56 AM

Another option you may want to consider are the altaz mounts and tripods that Universal Astronomics has. They are excellent and I own several of them and use them from my 4" refractor up to my C14. If you have questions, contact Larry and he will be glad to talk to you and find out what your needs are. Good luck.


#7 hottr6



  • *****
  • Posts: 2566
  • Joined: 28 Jun 2009
  • Loc: 7,500', Magdalena Mtns, NM

Posted 18 February 2014 - 02:46 PM

All the mounts you mention are of, what I call, the offset-arm design. Maybe there is more common-place term for this design.

Yes, they will all handle your 'scope, but.....
1) The CoG is offset from the center-line of the tripod. Personally, I don't like this from a security POV, or esthetics. Further, they are much more awkward to carry around.
2) The tripod legs will foul the 'scope at high elevations. Astro-Tech offers a pier (18" high???) that mitigates this problem.

This is based on my experience with a Voyager, which I still own.

Personally, I prefer alt-az's that are balanced over the tripod center-line, like this:

Posted Image

There are many manufacturers that offer this type of system, albeit at some expense, but the cheapest would be the very highly-regarded and beautiful Vixen Polaris GEM in alt-az mode. You can find them for less than $200, and with a wooden tripod to boot!

#8 pwd


    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 1
  • Joined: 14 May 2008

Posted 19 February 2014 - 07:06 PM

You might check a Free-Turn Q or X from Nova Hitch:


#9 coopman



  • *****
  • Posts: 3479
  • Joined: 23 Apr 2006
  • Loc: South Louisiana

Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:33 PM

Unistar Deluxe

#10 JonNPR


    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 330
  • Joined: 04 Mar 2013
  • Loc: Oregon

Posted 20 February 2014 - 12:56 PM

I believe the VersaGo III and the Twilight 1 are essentially the same mount. I have the a Twilight version. For comfortable refractor viewing higher up in the sky, towards zenith, height is important to me. The Oberwerks Tall wooden tripod legs have worked very well for me and attached easily to the Twilight mount head.


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics