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WO new Alt-Az mount

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#1 PJ Anway

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 12:05 PM

Looks like William Optics has come out with a new Altazimuth mount called the "EzTouch". It's on page 72 of the February Sky & Telescope magazine. I can't tell if the knobs in the picture are tension or slow motion controls and I can't find anything about it on their website. Does anyone know anything about it?

#2 Tom T

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 12:14 PM

PJ, they are (I believe) tension controls. The ads say that with counterweights, it will hold up to a 6" scope.

I was informed it will hold up to one 5" very well, or two 4" scopes. The tripod looks to be extremely similar to the one sold by obwererk and universal astronomics, and I've been told comes with an eyepiece tray. I don't know if the knobs are going to be silver or black, rubber coated or not, but I'm pulling for silver. They will be available to fit WO/Losmandy and Vixen plates.

The head and tripod will be sold seperately, but I'm informed that the best deal will be to purchase them together. I'm also being told that $498 is an introductory price.

The head is manufactured somewhere in europe for WO.

Largely because of the ability to mount dual scopes (and the low price), I'm planning on picking one of these up to replace my Gibralter. Hopefully, mine will ship next week.

If it performs as well as or better than the Gibralter, I'll be pleased. (If it performs anywhere near the DM6 or 4, I'd be ecastic - but I don't think that's a realistic expectation.)

Tom T.

#3 PJ Anway

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 01:01 PM


Thanks for the info Tom.

Quoting the ad, it says:
"Launch price US$498"
"Made in Switzerland"
"Holds up to 6" with standard counterweights"

Tom - knobs in pic are black :^(
..... (head-scratch) ..... what did I do with that can of spray paint?

#4 Tom T

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 01:40 PM

Yeah, but all(?) the photos that have been circulating (see the vendors section) have had the knobs in silver - so I'm still holding out hope.

You got any snow PJ? We had over a foot, on the ground but it's all gone. We had an inch or so last night, but before that we were down to grass (pretty much). Unfortunately, the skies

T

#5 PJ Anway

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 02:37 PM

About two feet on my front lawn - got an additional 5 inches overnight. No sign of ice on Gitche Gumee yet and until that happens, the "lake-effect" will be an everyday thing.

#6 tjswood

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 06:51 PM

Tom - you said you were hoping yours shipped next week - where did you purchase it?? Went out to williamsoptics.com and did not see this mount.

Tim

#7 Tom T

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 06:56 PM

Tim,

They should be available to the general public very shortly.

In my case, I had just recieved a new 105 triplet from WO for review, and William asked if I would be interested in reviewing it on the new mount. I'd been planning on purchasing one of these mounts anyway since hearing about them, so I told him yes. My last correspondance with William stated that he was going to try to arrange shipment for me this coming week. That probably means 2 weeks or so till I have it in hand.

When it shows, I'll be sure to post some initial impressions in this forum.

T

#8 tjswood

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 07:03 PM

OK. So I guess I am "general public"... and you're not! :bow: :poke:

So after you write a review for general public consumption and say all the rosy things about it, maybe you can send me a private message and tell me what you really think? ;)

#9 Tom T

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 08:35 PM

OK. So I guess I am "general public"... and you're not! :bow: :poke:

So after you write a review for general public consumption and say all the rosy things about it, maybe you can send me a private message and tell me what you really think? ;)


:lol:

It'll just duplicate whatever I say in the review. Good er bad, I'll let it rip (as usual).

There are some possible disadvantges I see to the mount right off the bat - the largest (for many people) will be the lack of encoders. Someone was saying in another thread that this particular mount is well known already in europe and WO has made arrangements to distribute it in the US. Perhaps there's already an encoder scheme available for it. Another possible area is the lack of slo-motion controls. However, if it's done right, the mount may not even need them. Then there's the performance on that tripod. I haven't used that one, but from what I understand it's pretty good.

Personally, I vasilate between wanting encoders on a small scope and not. For the past year, I've pretty much been in the - don't really care - category so it's not that big of a deal to me right now. Slo-mo controls aren't that huge of a deal to me either. In fact, I think the porta's slo mo controls are more awkward than anything else. Mebbe if I got used to em. :shrug:

Bluntly, I'm not expecting DM6 or DM4 level performance from it (I wish I could afford one of those), but I'm hoping it will be on a par (or - dare I say it - better?) with my gibralter, with the added bonus of being able to use two small scopes at the same time (for comparisions).

T

#10 tjswood

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Posted 31 December 2005 - 10:21 PM

Tom - the lack of encoders is just fine with me, I am looking for something that is purely manual, "push to"...

I have a GM8, getting a G11 and a Tak - the manual alt-az is for those grab and go times I want to bring something that does not require any power. (I know, a foreign principle today - I actually like having to *find* the target once in a while - gotta get some use out of those nice SA2000 star maps, Uranometria's, NSOGs, etc I spent all that money on! ;)).

And something that doesn't - dare I say - dance and jiggle around when I touch the focuser like my gibraltar and telepod head. In other words, it has to be *better* than the gibraltar has been with the telepod head - which has been, well, frankly in one word - terrible for planetary viewing (OK for general lower power viewing though). The tripod is OK, but the head at high powers falls flat, just not stable enough... have not tried the Gibraltar 5 head though - however I am not keen to at this point cause I was told this one was the "right" one for my 101...

Tim

#11 timmbottoni

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 05:18 PM

If it had the encoders, it would be nice, or if they were offered later on. For my viewing, either way would be nice. I spend most of my time in short viewing sessions on my deck, and with having to get up for work 5 out of 7 days, the quicker I can set up and view, and then tear down the better. Buts thats just me, so for my viewing style, I think it will be a great fit. Now, I have to find $498

#12 Amalia

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:01 PM

Hi Tom, hi all!

This mount is manufactured in Switzerland, and it is not *very*
well known in Europe - as far as I know it is only well known in
Switzerland and in Germany. Maybe in Japan, too.

The disadvantage you are writing about is effectively none,
as the motion is very smooth. It is not, as for example the Giro,
*aluminium moving on aluminium*, but it uses *teflon*.
Slow motion knobs would only make the whole construction less precise.

This mount is known as AYO (spanish: "Let's go") and there are
three versions available by now:

The AYO (= WO EZTouch)
The AYOnd for heavier loads (new)
The AYOdigi with encoders and with/without NGCmax

The knobs you are mentioning are here to tighten or loosen the
tension. As far as I remember they are black - on the older
version. I have not seen the newer ones, as they are expected
to come out in january.

There are also counterweights available - or the possibility to
have two scopes on this mount.


Why do I know all this...?

It will be my next mount! :jump:

Amalia


P.S.
The homepage of the manufacturer is out of work right now,
www.aokswiss.ch
but I have found a site of an astronomer which shows the AYO:

http://mypage.bluewi.../equipment.html

click:
Intes MK66 De Luxe
and
Coronado PST

#13 tjswood

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:13 PM

I spend most of my time in short viewing sessions on my deck, and with having to get up for work 5 out of 7 days, the quicker I can set up and view, and then tear down the better.



What, you only have to get up 5 out of 7 days for work? Must be nice, I want your job!! ;) (plus 6 yr old twins seems to work on the rest of the time remaining on the time left outside of work)

Seriously, I am the same - with all the grandiose plans of travelling to dark skies when I bought the equipment, most of my use is relegated to the backyard, brighter targets, planets and double stars as my mag 4.5 skies see to that!! (at least AZ has a lot of "clear" nights). I do "force" the issue by booking trips to dark sky sights for multiple nights to make sure there is SOME quality time - for example I have 5 days at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in June... and at least once a month I make it out to the club star parties.

So my parameters for a grab and go mount are the same - I like setting up the GM8 some of the time for the tracking and finding, but I really dont mind manually tracking; it makes me feel like a purist and like I am really doing something other than mechanically changing the EPs like a robot!

One thing to add after my last post, I took the Gibraltar out last night on Saturn with the NP101 - I really gave the tripod and head a once over in the shop yesterday before I went out. I found that the bolt / handle that attaches the Telepod head to the tripod had an anamoly in it where it left some play and did not tighten down securely. The way it was set up, the threads were catching to where it felt like the star handle was tight, but was actually a full turn off... still have a minor beef as this older style of tightening is not conducive to folks with large hands trying to turn that sucker in such a small space!! I was able to use a padded wrench and it was doable though (one MORE thing for the astro tool bag to carry around!)

After fixing that, lo and behold, last night on higher powers and Saturn, I was getting satisfactory performance out of the mount / scope combo!! It was not PERFECT - there were still some vibrations on focus, but it was 100% better than the previous experiences. Dampening times on hard tube taps and tripod jolts were 2 secs or less, which is very good. I only had the legs retracted about 25%. Thus, my negative statements about the Gibraltar are retracted!!

I still would like to check out the WO - I do like the alt / az combos where the scope hangs off to the side, it seems like it gives more freedom on higher targets. I am looking forward to Tom T's assessment, and any others that use it - especially a comparison to the TV Gibraltar (which again is not so bad after fixing the problem mine had).

#14 tjswood

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:15 PM

Amalia - thanks for that - nice to have found someone that has used it!! I am looking forward to seeing one of these!

PS - do you think it will work well with a 5" or 6" refractor? I have my eye on a TEC 140 and its about 25lbs loaded up...

Tim

#15 Amalia

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:21 PM

Tim, I don't remember the numbers, I mean the weight limits.
As soon as the AOK server will be back, I can check this for you.

Amalia

#16 tjswood

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:24 PM

Thank you - I only asked because I could not get the link you posted working either!! (they must be doing some off hours server maintenance - new years day is great for that sort of thing - nobody is SUPPOSED to be hitting it!))

Happy new year Amalia!!

Tim

#17 Amalia

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:29 PM

Thank you! :)

Happy New Year!

Amalia

#18 Tom T

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:32 PM

One thing to add after my last post, I took the Gibraltar out last night on Saturn with the NP101 - I really gave the tripod and head a once over in the shop yesterday before I went out. I found that the bolt / handle that attaches the Telepod head to the tripod had an anamoly in it where it left some play and did not tighten down securely. The way it was set up, the threads were catching to where it felt like the star handle was tight, but was actually a full turn off... still have a minor beef as this older style of tightening is not conducive to folks with large hands trying to turn that sucker in such a small space!! I was able to use a padded wrench and it was doable though (one MORE thing for the astro tool bag to carry around!)

After fixing that, lo and behold, last night on higher powers and Saturn, I was getting satisfactory performance out of the mount / scope combo!! It was not PERFECT - there were still some vibrations on focus, but it was 100% better than the previous experiences. Dampening times on hard tube taps and tripod jolts were 2 secs or less, which is very good. I only had the legs retracted about 25%. Thus, my negative statements about the Gibraltar are retracted!!


I've had relatively good performance up to 180x with 4" scopes on the gibralter. Beyond that - it's gets a little more futzy for my tastes. I *do* recommend vibration suppression pads if you want to push the higher powers - they make a significant difference.

T

#19 tjswood

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:34 PM

Amalia -

BTW, on the one link you posted, it showed and MK66 on it - it also looks like it has a Celestron tripod underneath it. Nice to see it holding the 66, I have the MN66 which is the Mak Newt (the MK's are Mak Cass) - that would be REALLY COOL if it could also hold my Mak Newt - my only option for that currently is on the GM8, which again requires power, etc. I would not mind a solution that allows me to manually mount the MN66 once in a while!

The MK66's are about 14lbs - 3lbs lighter (and probably a foot shorter than the MN). With the counter weight option, if this holds 20lbs on the wood tripod successfully, I could be a potential customer also!!

Tim

#20 Tom T

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:35 PM

Hi Tom, hi all!

This mount is manufactured in Switzerland, and it is not *very*
well known in Europe - as far as I know it is only well known in
Switzerland and in Germany. Maybe in Japan, too.

The disadvantage you are writing about is effectively none,
as the motion is very smooth. It is not, as for example the Giro,
*aluminium moving on aluminium*, but it uses *teflon*.
Slow motion knobs would only make the whole construction less precise.

This mount is known as AYO (spanish: "Let's go") and there are
three versions available by now:

The AYO (= WO EZTouch)
The AYOnd for heavier loads (new)
The AYOdigi with encoders and with/without NGCmax

The knobs you are mentioning are here to tighten or loosen the
tension. As far as I remember they are black - on the older
version. I have not seen the newer ones, as they are expected
to come out in january.

There are also counterweights available - or the possibility to
have two scopes on this mount.


Why do I know all this...?

It will be my next mount! :jump:

Amalia


P.S.
The homepage of the manufacturer is out of work right now,
www.aokswiss.ch
but I have found a site of an astronomer which shows the AYO:

http://mypage.bluewi.../equipment.html

click:
Intes MK66 De Luxe
and
Coronado PST


Hi Amalia - thank you very much for kicking in! Have you managed to use one of these?

T

#21 Amalia

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Posted 01 January 2006 - 06:52 PM

Hi Tom!

I have used a (stronger) AYO digi on a star party with a 6" refractor.
It felt as if there was no mount at all. Smooth.

I wanted to get an AYO, but they are out right now until january. :shrug:

We were told that the AYO (= WO EzTouch) should work well with
a Tak FS 102 on one side and a 11cm f-6 refractor on the other side,
as this will be my setup in future (well, quite far future, concerning
the Tak, to be clear...).

I have read several posts in the German forum, and there are no
negative posts about the AYO. It seems to be clearly superior to the Giro.

This is what I know. More when the AOK server is online again!

Amalia

#22 timmbottoni

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Posted 02 January 2006 - 09:15 PM


What, you only have to get up 5 out of 7 days for work? Must be nice, I want your job!! ;) (plus 6 yr old twins seems to work on the rest of the time remaining on the time left outside of work)

Seriously, I am the same - with all the grandiose plans of travelling to dark skies when I bought the equipment, most of my use is relegated to the backyard, brighter targets, planets and double stars as my mag 4.5 skies see to that!! (at least AZ has a lot of "clear" nights). I do "force" the issue by booking trips to dark sky sights for multiple nights to make sure there is SOME quality time - for example I have 5 days at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in June... and at least once a month I make it out to the club star parties.


You have mag 4.5 skies? Wow! That would be awesome - and in AZ, you have clear nights? Wow! I wish I had those too!

Well some day its good bye Chicago, Mag 3 skies, cold winters, cloudy skies 350 nights a year and hello AZ! And I'll bring my EXTouch with me, once I get it!

Timm

#23 Tom L

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 12:38 AM

Amalia, are there any discussions on the german forums about settle time with this mount. After reading Tim's initial remark about the Gibralter mount and then fixing his issue to get to a 2 seconds settle time brings that mount into atleast usable range. I will be wondering specifically about a TV102 and how it performs with this mount.

#24 Amalia

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 01:37 AM

Tom, I am not really experienced with this mount,
as I am waiting for mine.

But I know it uses a dovetail. If the counterpart is
already on the scope, so it should be a 2 second
mount, too. That's the way the guy at the starparty
used it.

I have never read anything about settle time. I guess
it is because there is nothing to discuss - too fast! ;)

Amalia


P.S. The homepage of AOK is online again (only in
German, but many pictures):
click "Montierungen"

www.aokswiss.ch

I have not been able to find any informations about
the weight limit on the internet site, but I will get some
informations by another way - patience, please, as
not everybody already works here today.

#25 Tom T

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 10:00 AM

Amalia, are there any discussions on the german forums about settle time with this mount. After reading Tim's initial remark about the Gibralter mount and then fixing his issue to get to a 2 seconds settle time brings that mount into atleast usable range. I will be wondering specifically about a TV102 and how it performs with this mount.


Tom, alot of it (most likely all of it) will depend heavily on the tripod.

T






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