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UA Dwarfstar

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#1 GOLGO13

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 05:49 PM

I recently picked up a Universal Astronomics Dwarfstar for my Televue 60mm and PST. So far it is really nice. I have yet to try it under the stars but it seems to be a perfect match.

For the PST I am using a binocular adapter to get the eyepiece at a normal angle.

I don't have pictures yet (need to find a place to store online pictures as I took down my website...let me know if you know of a free one).

I can reach zenith my TV60 without having to raise the center column of my tripod. I suspect that will make for a pretty stable setup.

I also picked up the eyepiece tray for the heck of it. Not needed for some people but I like it.

I'll give it a go under the stars and let you know how it comes out. I'm using this tripod which is light weight but supposedly is rated at 17.6 pounds. http://www.adorama.com/GTMT9261.html

I really like the tripod so far. I was using a manfrotto 701 head before. While that setup worked OK, I found it's still not optimal for astronomy. I can tell right away the Dwarfstar will be better for movements. We'll see how it is for vibration.

For my larger scopes I may try out the Unistar sometime. It's economical compared to the other options out right now. My FTQ works well for my C6, and is a nice lightweight setup. But I suspect the Unistar will be a better choice for my 103mm with it's longer tube. Or the C6 with binoviewers.

#2 Sarkikos

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 07:54 AM

I'm interested in how your DwarfStar will perform in the field. I've been thinking about getting one for my C90, C5 and C80ED. (I think my C6 would be pushing it.) Balancing on the DwarfStar should be better than on the 501HDV head I'm using now.

Did you get a panhandle with your DwarfStar? I don't see where that is mentioned as an option with DwarfStar on the UA site. I'd have to make sure that I could order one with a panhandle before I pull the trigger.

Mike

#3 GOLGO13

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 09:33 AM

balancing is certainly possible with the dwarfstar depending on your dovetail setup.

I did not get a handel and I'm not sure it's an option anymore. I'll check when I get home if it even has a spot for it.

I feel like it may not be necessary based on how it felt with my TV60 on it. Using the diagonal to move it was pretty smooth and easy.

#4 Sarkikos

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 03:11 PM

If the DwarfStar cannot be ordered with a handle, I'd have to go up to the next levels at UA. Moving a refractor around without a handle is not so bad. But short and squat Cats really ought to have something besides the OTA to provide good leverage and control. At least with Newts, you can attach one of those handling knobs to the rim of the OTA. But Cats, not so much.

Mike

#5 GOLGO13

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:16 PM

Got to try the Dwarfstar under the stars with my TV60. It takes a little getting used to setting up the correct tension in both axis. Once set you can get it pretty smooth.

I think the question is, is this better than the Manfrotto 701 video head? My thought right now is yes and no. I can achieve balance which the video head cannot. But using the guide handle with the video head can provide semi-smooth guiding.

The eyepiece tray is nice to have and is a nice feature.

Vibrations were well controlled even with legs extended fully on my tripod. It wasn't like no vibration but it was probably a half second to stop.

So far so good and I will need to get more time with it to get used to it.

I would say the FTQ is much nicer for movement and smoothness. I figure that's because it's balanced more. Of course the FTQ costs a bit more though.

#6 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 08:08 AM

I think the question is, is this better than the Manfrotto 701 video head? My thought right now is yes and no. I can achieve balance which the video head cannot. But using the guide handle with the video head can provide semi-smooth guiding.


Yep, I'm pretty much sold on a panhandle with these grab-n-go mounts. My 501HDV has smooth skewing with the panhandle, even at high mags. The only problem is that when I point OTAs toward zenith I have to clamp down hard on the altitude detents to keep the OTA from falling back. Then the movements are not so smooth.

I would say the FTQ is much nicer for movement and smoothness. I figure that's because it's balanced more. Of course the FTQ costs a bit more though.


Yes, quite a bit more.

Mike

#7 GOLGO13

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 09:07 AM

I believe the 501 is better than the 701 from what I have read. But the 701 does a pretty good job all things considered.

I think the UA dwarfstar will be better in some ways. We'll just have to see as I continue to try it out.

For you though I think it's not a good option with a C5 or C6.

If the mount is smooth and has a guide handle I don't think slow motion controls are needed. On my porta mount I do like the slow motion controls though.

#8 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 09:27 AM

I think the UA dwarfstar will be better in some ways. We'll just have to see as I continue to try it out.


Yep, I'll probably go with one of the other UA mounts. The UniStar, MacroStar and MicroStar have so many options. I'm researching them now, trying to make sense of all the variations. I'm loading it all into a spreadsheet so I can figure it out at a glance. Going back and forth among the descriptions on the UA website just doesn't cut it.

For you though I think it's not a good option with a C5 or C6.


Yes, I want the mount to be highly portable and light but also capable of supporting at least the C5. If it can deal with my C6 as well, that would be great.

If the mount is smooth and has a guide handle I don't think slow motion controls are needed. On my porta mount I do like the slow motion controls though.


I agree. For mounts with slo-mo's, sometimes I wish the manufacturers had left out the slo-mo's and included a panhandle, if I had to make a choice. I have the AT Voyager, similar to the Porta mount. It has slo-mo's. They work well, but are tiring over a long observing session. I wish the Voyager had come with a nice panhandle instead of or in addition to the slo-mo's.

Mike

#9 hottr6

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 12:32 PM

I agree. For mounts with slo-mo's, sometimes I wish the manufacturers had left out the slo-mo's and included a panhandle, if I had to make a choice. I have the AT Voyager, similar to the Porta mount. It has slo-mo's. They work well, but are tiring over a long observing session. I wish the Voyager had come with a nice panhandle instead of or in addition to the slo-mo's.

You should contact our own 'Manny Myles" to order a pan-handle for your Voyager.... like this:
Posted Image
I wish the handle were a little longer, however.

Personally, I am not much good with alt-az's without slo-mo, hence my love affair with the Voyager. No slo-mos are fine at low powers, but push the power high, as with a very short MCT, then slo-mos are mandatory. Tracking at 300x on my Voyager is trivial and very comfortable.

#10 GOLGO13

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 12:41 PM

I agree Hottr6 that slow motion controls are needed unless the movements are very smooth and it's a solid mount. Kind of similar to a dobsonian. A smooth moving dob can work fine at very high magnifications (we're talking 600x+).

But most of these mounts are setup with tension and not balance. That's what makes them not as smooth without slow motion controls.

Then again, I never would mind having slow motion controls. Certianly a nice feature.

#11 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 01:22 PM

You should contact our own 'Manny Myles" to order a pan-handle for your Voyager.... like this:
Posted Image
I wish the handle were a little longer, however.


Yes, that is on my short list of things to do.

Personally, I am not much good with alt-az's without slo-mo, hence my love affair with the Voyager. No slo-mos are fine at low powers, but push the power high, as with a very short MCT, then slo-mos are mandatory. Tracking at 300x on my Voyager is trivial and very comfortable.


We all have different experiences. I come from a Dob background where I had to get used to not having slo-mo's and becoming an expert at manual tracking with a knob near the sky-end of the OTA. Then I became accustomed to tracking small scopes or big binos with the panhandle on my 501HDV.

Now when I have to use slo-mo's without some kind of knob or handle to guide the scope, I miss the handle and get frustrated having to keep turning the slo-mo's. If the mount has smooth motion and a handle or knob to direct the OTA, I have no problem manually tracking at 300x, 500x whatever is appropriate.

Of course, the ideal setup would have a panhandle AND slo-mo controls.

Mike






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