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darylf96
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Reged: 08/28/04
Posts: 1432
Loc: Danville, California
Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount
      #1004432 - 06/17/06 11:06 PM Attachment (777 downloads)

Well, I have completed the modification of my little Astroview mount (EQ3) to a portable, convenient and super functioning Alt-AZ mount for my smaller scopes. This mount is an outstanding performer. Except for spreading the tripod legs and setting the accesory tray, which attaches with velcro, on the tripod spreaders, there is no setup. I carry and store it with counterweights in place. The slow motion controls are a real plus. The mount head turns 360 degrees. It is portable and a real pleasure to use. I like it better than those expensive alt-az mounts that have no slow motion controls. It even has a bubble level built in!
I'm checking with Orion to get the correct size soft carrying case.

Regards
Daryl

Attachment

--------------------
Intes Micro MN66 - Meade 10" SCT
Orion EON 120mm ED f7.5 Apo
Skywatcher 150mm f8 Achro
G-11, CG5A-GT Mounts
DM-6 With Sky Commander DSC
Astro-Tech AT80 Refractor f6.9 APO
Stellarvue 20x85 binos - Unimount
Kunming United Optics 7x50 binocs
Canon Rebel XT, Canon 20D, Canon 7D, Canon SXi
SBIG ST-8XE




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Roy McCoy
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Reged: 10/13/05
Posts: 1030
Loc: Glendale, AZ
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: darylf96]
      #1004472 - 06/17/06 11:48 PM

Looks great Daryl!

I like using the Alt-Az configuration myself.

Just curious, have you tried using it without the counterweights?

I don't use the weights and haven't seen a problem.

--------------------
AstroTech 106
'86 Christen triplet 6"f/8


Edited by Roy McCoy (06/17/06 11:52 PM)


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darylf96
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/28/04
Posts: 1432
Loc: Danville, California
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Roy McCoy]
      #1004581 - 06/18/06 03:22 AM

Roy:

To be honest, I just like the idea of balancing the mount. It may be psychological on my part, but there it is. The extra weight adds to the stability of the mount. So I will probably keep the weight. I am going to find a shorter bolt for the weight so that it is flush with the mount head. The one I'm using was all that I could find at Home Depot.

Regards
Daryl

--------------------
Intes Micro MN66 - Meade 10" SCT
Orion EON 120mm ED f7.5 Apo
Skywatcher 150mm f8 Achro
G-11, CG5A-GT Mounts
DM-6 With Sky Commander DSC
Astro-Tech AT80 Refractor f6.9 APO
Stellarvue 20x85 binos - Unimount
Kunming United Optics 7x50 binocs
Canon Rebel XT, Canon 20D, Canon 7D, Canon SXi
SBIG ST-8XE




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HughBoy
sage


Reged: 09/08/04
Posts: 427
Loc: Durham, NC
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: darylf96]
      #1005181 - 06/18/06 03:42 PM

I concur on the shorter bolt - I did the same when I used my EQ-2 in this config.

You *can* get away w/o a counterweight if the tripod itself is heavier, but (at least on my EQ-2) if the OTA wound up between/over two of the legs, it could get a bit tippy. If it was over a single leg, things worked out better - and I just didn't want to have to think about it (or worry that an expensive scope could wind up on the pavement).

I also concur on the nice knobs connected directly to the shafts - why futz w/ knobs on wands (even shorter ones)?

I imagine the EQ-3 is even more stable - nice setup!

--------------------
Hughboy

- Coronado PST ("Goldeneye")
- WO ZS66 SD APO ("The Pocket Rocket")
- Celestron C80ED APO ("The Sleek Black Beauty")
- Celestron C8 SB-XLT ("The Pony Keg")
-- WO binoviewers
-- Imaging: Canon DSLR, Nikon Coolpix 4500 w/Scopetronix EP, Meade LPI
> ASGT, NexStar GT/BaaderBracket, SVP, EQ-1, Bogen 3001D/410 geared-head
(and too many old POS scopes to mention...)


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darylf96
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/28/04
Posts: 1432
Loc: Danville, California
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: HughBoy]
      #1005915 - 06/19/06 01:42 AM

Thanks, Hughboy!

I am really happy with the peformance of the mount. The brass knobs are from the former focuser on my 6 inch refractor, which I replaced with a WO two speed. I had to use a Dremel tool to grind off some metal so the altitude slow-mo knob would not hit the mount head while pointed at the zenith. I like the big knobs. Easy to find without looking in the dark. This is a very sweet Alt-Az setup.

Regards
Daryl

--------------------
Intes Micro MN66 - Meade 10" SCT
Orion EON 120mm ED f7.5 Apo
Skywatcher 150mm f8 Achro
G-11, CG5A-GT Mounts
DM-6 With Sky Commander DSC
Astro-Tech AT80 Refractor f6.9 APO
Stellarvue 20x85 binos - Unimount
Kunming United Optics 7x50 binocs
Canon Rebel XT, Canon 20D, Canon 7D, Canon SXi
SBIG ST-8XE




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CollinofAlabama
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/24/03
Posts: 1809
Loc: Lubbock, Texas, USA
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: darylf96]
      #1006670 - 06/19/06 03:35 PM

Daryl,

Nice setup. I like alt-az viewing myself for many things, especially low-power, wide field targets like the Veil, Saturn-Mars-M44 and Sagittarian Star Fields.

Have you used the EQ-3M with it before? I realize with heavier scopes this won't work as well, but with your smaller ones, has this setup worked for you for high powered tracking?

BTW, the knobs sure are beautiful. Does anyone know of such knobs that can be found easily enough at some hardware store? Nice touch.

Thanks for the post,

CDS

--------------------
Coelum Serendum


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darylf96
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Reged: 08/28/04
Posts: 1432
Loc: Danville, California
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: CollinofAlabama]
      #1006766 - 06/19/06 04:20 PM

CDS:

Yes, I use this mount for planetary viewing, and the slow-motion tracking is just fine for me. This was my first use of a red dot finder, and I'm amazed at how this thing works so accurately once you practice with it a bit. I agree that the alt-az is great for scanning star fields. I just acquired a 40mm Antares FMC plossl (from UO Online, of all places) and am impressed with the views through my Astro-Tech AT80 (seen in photo with a WO dual speed focuser. The alt-az is so comfortable for such scanning. BTW, this 40mm EP is a great bargain. Nice stars right to the field stops.

Regards
Daryl

--------------------
Intes Micro MN66 - Meade 10" SCT
Orion EON 120mm ED f7.5 Apo
Skywatcher 150mm f8 Achro
G-11, CG5A-GT Mounts
DM-6 With Sky Commander DSC
Astro-Tech AT80 Refractor f6.9 APO
Stellarvue 20x85 binos - Unimount
Kunming United Optics 7x50 binocs
Canon Rebel XT, Canon 20D, Canon 7D, Canon SXi
SBIG ST-8XE




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[proxima]
member


Reged: 03/18/05
Posts: 11
Loc: Italy
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: darylf96]
      #1008683 - 06/20/06 05:58 PM

Quote:

Well, I have completed the modification of my little Astroview mount (EQ3) to a portable, convenient and super functioning Alt-AZ mount for my smaller scopes.



Hi Daryl, my EQ3-2 latitude movement can't go over ~ 65. How to reach 90 to use the mount in alt-az mode ? Thanks.

--------------------
Dobson GSO 16"
Synta Achromat 150/750 OTA
Celestron C6 SCT OTA
EQ5 mount + DK-3 motor drive + Berlebach Report 3072 tripod


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darylf96
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/28/04
Posts: 1432
Loc: Danville, California
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: [proxima]]
      #1009456 - 06/21/06 09:06 AM

Good question. My conversion of the Astroview is a permanent one. I removed both the latitude adjusting bolts altogether, then locked the mount head at 90 degrees with the large bolt that secures the head to the mount. I do not plan on using it as an EQ mount again. Of course, you can save the latitude bolts and convert it back to EQ mode, but I have no interest in doing that.

--------------------
Intes Micro MN66 - Meade 10" SCT
Orion EON 120mm ED f7.5 Apo
Skywatcher 150mm f8 Achro
G-11, CG5A-GT Mounts
DM-6 With Sky Commander DSC
Astro-Tech AT80 Refractor f6.9 APO
Stellarvue 20x85 binos - Unimount
Kunming United Optics 7x50 binocs
Canon Rebel XT, Canon 20D, Canon 7D, Canon SXi
SBIG ST-8XE




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krehmkej
member


Reged: 08/24/05
Posts: 94
Loc: Dallas, OR
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: darylf96]
      #1009988 - 06/21/06 03:25 PM

I pulled both bolts from mine. There's apparently an "hard stop" still preventing movement to the full vertical.

--------------------
-jwk-
Dallas, Oregon

Orion 100mm f6.0
Meade ETX-90
AstroTech 66mm ED f6.0


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Phil Frederick
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/19/05
Posts: 1214
Loc: Seattle, WA & La Paz MX
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: CollinofAlabama]
      #1010288 - 06/21/06 07:18 PM

Collin--

Re the knobs, Orion sells them and also check out www.focusknobs.com.

BTW, I did a similar alt-az conversion on my CG5 mount. Makes for a REALLY stable and smooth AZ mount. Very nice with the slo-mo controls. I've been using a Tak Teegul for years and like others here, really like the simplicity and straight forward operation of an AZ mount as opposed to an EQ.

Phil

--------------------
Phil

Stellarvue SV115T TMB/LZOS
Stellarvue SV102ABV Lomo
Stellarvue SV80ED2-25SV
Canon 12x36 ISII Binocs
Leupold 8x42 Binocs
SV F50 Sparrowhawks
Tak Teegul/SV Stablelock, SV M2/Stablelock,
Nagler 31T5, 22,17,12T4s, Delos 8,6,4.5, LVWs


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Jim52
sage


Reged: 01/18/04
Posts: 342
Loc: Kirkland.Illinois
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Phil Frederick]
      #1012552 - 06/23/06 10:53 AM

Daryl, Thanks for a great idea! I've been getting depressed trying to find an alt-az mount I could afford for an Antares 127 f/6.4. Good ones are way out of my budget! I think now I could buy the scope with the EQ5 mount package, & do this conversion.
Just for fun I tried it with my Sky View Pro last night & couldn't get it to 90 degrees. It got to about 67-68 & stopped. However, it looked like it would still work just fine as an alt-az. I had to screw one of the latitude adjusting bolts all the way back in to lock the head so it couldn't fall back down to zero degrees.
I'm really glad I found this thread before I went into debt for a mount, or settled for less scope on an AZ3 mount. Thanks! Jim

--------------------
Jim Sheehan SVP 8 EQ/Wilcox Rings
Orion 120 ST
Orion Starblast
Cheap 10X50's
2 reflectors,1 refractor,1 great wife!

Only 372 Herschels to go!

"Seems like just one time I'm feeling good...Thank the Lord for the nighttime" Niel Diamond


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darylf96
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/28/04
Posts: 1432
Loc: Danville, California
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: krehmkej]
      #1014103 - 06/24/06 12:37 PM

JWK:

Sorry. Lost track of this thread. The hard stop flange butts up against the plate with the two hex screws that you must remove altogether. This allows the head to point right at 90 degrees.Then to lock the head in that position, you must remove the round plastic side cover (not the one with the latitute markings, the other one) with a thin screw driver, where the bolt head is that allows you to lock the head at the 90 degree position. You can glue the plastic cover back on. Hope this is helpful.

Regards
Daryl

--------------------
Intes Micro MN66 - Meade 10" SCT
Orion EON 120mm ED f7.5 Apo
Skywatcher 150mm f8 Achro
G-11, CG5A-GT Mounts
DM-6 With Sky Commander DSC
Astro-Tech AT80 Refractor f6.9 APO
Stellarvue 20x85 binos - Unimount
Kunming United Optics 7x50 binocs
Canon Rebel XT, Canon 20D, Canon 7D, Canon SXi
SBIG ST-8XE




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darylf96
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/28/04
Posts: 1432
Loc: Danville, California
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Jim52]
      #1014112 - 06/24/06 12:52 PM

Jim:

There should be a bolt that holds the mount head to the base. It is probably behind plastic covers on each side of the mount head. If you get to that bolt, you can lock the head permanently in the 90 degree position. You may have to pry one of the plastic covers off to get to the bolt. Though your mount is different, the concept should be the same. You should be able to lock the mount head at exactly 90 degrees, lock it in position with the big bolt that holds the head to the base, and remove the latitude adjustment screws. Check it out, I'm sure there is a way to do it with your mount. I took the mount along to one of my dark sky sites last night. It was a great night and the mount was so comfortable to use that I will always take it with me, since I need cool-down time with my 10 inch SCT and 6 inch Mak-Newt and I will now have no down time in my observing sessions. Actually, I spent more time with this mount and my newly upgraded 80mm refractor than I did with the big equipment.

Regards
Daryl

--------------------
Intes Micro MN66 - Meade 10" SCT
Orion EON 120mm ED f7.5 Apo
Skywatcher 150mm f8 Achro
G-11, CG5A-GT Mounts
DM-6 With Sky Commander DSC
Astro-Tech AT80 Refractor f6.9 APO
Stellarvue 20x85 binos - Unimount
Kunming United Optics 7x50 binocs
Canon Rebel XT, Canon 20D, Canon 7D, Canon SXi
SBIG ST-8XE




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darylf96
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/28/04
Posts: 1432
Loc: Danville, California
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Roy McCoy]
      #1014149 - 06/24/06 01:22 PM

Roy:

In answer to the counterweight question, last night I drove to one of my dark sky sites. For about an hour there was just a slight breeze. Viewing Jupiter at high powers, even a slight breeze would cause problems without the weights. I find that the amount of weight I have is just about right and is necessary for stability.

Regards
Daryl

--------------------
Intes Micro MN66 - Meade 10" SCT
Orion EON 120mm ED f7.5 Apo
Skywatcher 150mm f8 Achro
G-11, CG5A-GT Mounts
DM-6 With Sky Commander DSC
Astro-Tech AT80 Refractor f6.9 APO
Stellarvue 20x85 binos - Unimount
Kunming United Optics 7x50 binocs
Canon Rebel XT, Canon 20D, Canon 7D, Canon SXi
SBIG ST-8XE




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darylf96
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/28/04
Posts: 1432
Loc: Danville, California
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: darylf96]
      #1014322 - 06/24/06 03:56 PM Attachment (253 downloads)

I found the correct size bolt for the counterweights. Hard to find 16mm bolts around here. Now the mount looks pretty spiffy.

Attachment


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Jim52
sage


Reged: 01/18/04
Posts: 342
Loc: Kirkland.Illinois
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: darylf96]
      #1015112 - 06/25/06 09:40 AM

Thanks, Daryl. I'll probably try it on the EQ5 mount when (if) I get the Antares scope. Lord willing, my quarterly bonus will be enough to buy the scope & mount in late July.
This idea sure beats the expensive alt-az mounts I'vee been looking at! Jim

--------------------
Jim Sheehan SVP 8 EQ/Wilcox Rings
Orion 120 ST
Orion Starblast
Cheap 10X50's
2 reflectors,1 refractor,1 great wife!

Only 372 Herschels to go!

"Seems like just one time I'm feeling good...Thank the Lord for the nighttime" Niel Diamond


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Dave Hederich
sage


Reged: 09/12/07
Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: darylf96]
      #1925789 - 10/21/07 11:20 AM

This is a really informative thread that deserves to remain active as there are many people who prefer altaz to EQ -- including me! Hopefully we can expand the discussion here so that everyone interested in a conversion like this one can get all their questions answered.

Obviously there are many similar EQ mounts that are candidates for being converted to altaz, and some will be easier than others. For example, I have a CG-4 mount (with C4-R refractor), which apparently differs from the EQ-3 mount shown here. When I remove the plate with the two hex screws that the hard stop flange appears to butts up against, it turns out that the hard stop flange actually butts up against part of the mount structure. So removing the plate does not eliminate the hard stop.

The only options I see to get past this point would be to either cut away part of the mount structure (which I prefer not to do) or find a bolt that could be removed to allow the hard stop flange to be lifted over the mount structure to continue on over to 90 degrees.

I'm currently using my CG-4 as an altaz by locking it in at 0 degrees, which requires no modifications. It seems to work well at 0 degrees. The scope appears to be closer to the center of the tripod than it would be at 90 degrees. This allows it to be reasonably balanced without counterweights, which makes the whole setup lighter, which helps make it more portable.

The scope is also a little higher above the top of the tripod at 0 degrees than it would be at 90 degrees. Being a little higher is an advantage with a refractor when viewing near the zenith. I'm not sure what the disadvantages might be.

So I guess a key element of the discussion here should be to ask what are the comparative advantages and disadvantages of both 0 degrees and 90 degrees. Since 0 degrees can be reached with absolutely no modifications, what is it about 90 degrees that makes it worth the effort to modify the mount to achieve this?

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular


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gnome54
member


Reged: 08/02/07
Posts: 51
Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1926139 - 10/21/07 02:19 PM

I believe that you will find that when using 90 degrees, you will find that one axis is always horizontal and one always vertical. When using 0 degrees, the rotation of the ra axis will cause the dec axis to leave the vertical plane. Hopefully, I'm clear enough.

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm Refractor


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Eddgie
Postmaster


Reged: 02/01/06
Posts: 7951
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1927989 - 10/22/07 09:08 AM

The Old Vixen Polaris is a great mount for doing Alt-Az. I wrote a review on it on Astromart. The Polaris saddle also was much closer to the center of the head.

Also, you can modify the Polaris (and CG4) to take a dovetail. This will keep the scope close to the saddle (keeping the CG in towards the azmiuth axis). This eliminates the need to use wood adapters and such. Wrote a Celestron C5 review on Astromart, and there are pictures there of the modification (too big for here).

--------------------
Celestron CGE 1400
Astro-Physics 6" f/8
Celestron EdgeHD C8
Antik AR1/Revenge Plates/Heartless Voodoos



The night sky is my mistress. She seduces me away from all other lovers.


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Dave Hederich
sage


Reged: 09/12/07
Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: gnome54]
      #1928866 - 10/22/07 03:59 PM

Quote:

I believe that you will find that when using 90 degrees, you will find that one axis is always horizontal and one always vertical. When using 0 degrees, the rotation of the ra axis will cause the dec axis to leave the vertical plane. Hopefully, I'm clear enough.




Although I've only just started using it at 0 degrees, so far it appears that one axis is always vertical and one always horizontal, the same as it would be at 90 degrees. I have not seen the problem of either axis leaving its plane. If I ever do see this problem, that will convince me to do whatever is necessary to convert to 90 degrees.

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular


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peter k
sage


Reged: 02/03/07
Posts: 323
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1929192 - 10/22/07 06:04 PM

The mount axes both stay where you put them, regardless of whether you're set at 0 deg. or 90 deg. (or any other latitude for that matter--it's why an eq mount works). However, the scope axes do behave differently. At 90 deg.(polar scope hole pointed straight up), no matter where you point the scope, scope rotation is always front-to-rear ("pitch" in aeronautical terms). If set to 0 deg. (polar scope horizontal), the scope also rotates side to side (aeronautical "roll")as you move about the sky. That is, if your focus knob axis is horizontal (i.e., focus knobs next to each other, not on top of each other) when the scope is pointed to one area of sky, there are other areas of sky where that axis will end up being vertical. This won't happen if you're set to 90 deg. It is also not an issue with altaz mmounts in general, but is with eq mounts. Doesn't matter if you have a rotatable focuser, or a newt with tube rotation rings.

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Dave Hederich
sage


Reged: 09/12/07
Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: peter k]
      #1931623 - 10/23/07 05:28 PM

I had a little extra time this afternoon to play around with my scope indoors. Previously, I had only slewed the scope a few degrees to the left or right, and didn't notice any major change when going up or down. This time I slewed it around further and further.

I get it now. I see the further you move from 0 degrees azimuth, the more the scope tilts when moving above 0 degrees altitude. So it's just as gnome54 and peter k said: 0 degrees is fine for terrestrial altaz use as long as you're pointing at the horizon. But for optimum astronomical use in altaz mode, you really need to find a way to lock it in at 90 degrees.

Now I just have to figure how to get the hard stop flange past the CG-4 mount structure's hard stop.

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular


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Dave Hederich
sage


Reged: 09/12/07
Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1978416 - 11/11/07 10:47 PM

I finally got around to disassembling my CG-4.

First I removed the scope from the mount and the mount from the tripod, and set the mount on the floor to work on.

Then I removed both the latitude adjusting bolts.

Next I removed the two hex screws and small metal plate.

Then I removed both of the round plastic side covers (including the one with the latitude markings) with a thin screw driver.

The bolt that Daryl tightened down to lock the head at the 90 degree position has a nut on the end under the plastic cover with altitude markings. When I removed this nut and bolt, I could then lift the assembly up so that the hard stop flange could be lifted over the mount structure that kept it from going over to 90 degrees on the CG-4.

Next I reinserted the bolt, tightened it firmly and then tightened the nut firmly.

Now the mount was laying over in the 90 degree position, where it hard stopped against the other side of the mount structure.

But since the hard stop flange on the other side was still a number of degrees from hitting the mount structure, rotating the scope around to that side of the azimuth resulted in the scope flopping over.

I tried to put the small metal plate back on with the two hex screws, but in the new 90 degree orientation only one of the hex screws could be screwed in. The other end of the plate was down at an angle contacting part of the mount structure. Coincidentally, it was in a perfect position to lock the hard stop flange in place, and is plenty secure with just one hex screw tightened down.

I'm not even going to bother to glue the two round plastic side covers back in place unless I decide to convert it back to equatorial use and need to use the latitude markings.

So far the scope seems balanced enough not to require the counterweights. I'd just as soon leave them off to make it easier to carry outside with my scope mounted.

I won't be sure until I use it a few times. But so far it seems like a great conversion. No permanent alterations had to be made, and it didn't cost a cent. It just requires a few tools and a little sense of adventure.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this and other threads about converting the CG / EQ mounts to altaz, as it inspired me to try something I might not otherwise have considered.

Edited by Dave Hederich (11/12/07 11:03 AM)


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demiles
sage


Reged: 11/07/06
Posts: 419
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1979345 - 11/12/07 11:08 AM

I will be purchasing a like new Orion Sky view deluxe 6 in. today and will certainly give this mod a try on the SVD mount.

--------------------
15" Obsession #1603
AstroTech AT66


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ntweather
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Reged: 10/19/07
Posts: 13
Loc: Denton, Texas
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Eddgie]
      #1980588 - 11/12/07 07:39 PM

Thanks Dave, I just converted my cg-4 to the alt/az per your instruction. Worked perfect and took about 15min. I love the mod and would only take a few minutes to convert back.

John


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Dave Hederich
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Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: ntweather]
      #1984701 - 11/14/07 01:24 PM

Glad you like it, John. I had a chance to do my first brief viewing between scattered clouds last night, and, like you, I love the mod.

The stability was so good without counterweights that I see no need for them. Operation was much smoother when set to 90 degrees rather than 0 degrees. With both clutches released, it's easy to lightly grip the OTA and move the scope anywhere you want it to go. With clutches disengaged, I found it reasonably stable for casual viewing with a 23mm EP. But for more serious viewing and higher magnification, I'd definitely lock up the clutches and use the slo-mo knobs.

I wonder how many people put up with using these mounts in eq mode simply because they don't realize how much easier they are to use in altaz mode and how simple the conversion is?

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular


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Dave Hederich
sage


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Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1985494 - 11/14/07 06:30 PM

Just had a chance to weigh my C4-R / CG-4 after altaz conversion and without the counterweights and steel bar. Would you believe only 22 pounds! What a great grab and go package.

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular


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ntweather
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Reged: 10/19/07
Posts: 13
Loc: Denton, Texas
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1986715 - 11/15/07 08:30 AM

Dave,

Can you post a picture of what yours looks like (just want to make sure).

I am also thinking about notching out the plate that the hex bolts hold in. You can then use one side for alt/az, or just flip the plate for gem mode.

john


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peter k
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Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1987140 - 11/15/07 12:24 PM

Twenty-two pounds--that's great! Dave, I assume your CG-4 is the old style with the aluminum legs, not the newer one with steel legs?

Alt-az conversion is a great idea for reducing rig weight by eliminating counterweights, but I can't see why anyone would do this and keep the counterweights. Without the weight reduction all you're doing is losing the great convenience provided by an EQ mount. My current grab and go is a Portamount. I like the lightness, compactness, and the slo-mo controls, but I miss being able to look away for a few minutes and be able to re-acquire my target simply by turning the RA slo-mo knob of my EQ mount. Even a very poorly polar-aligned EQ mount makes target re-acquisition easy compared to any alt-az mount. Sorry, couldn't resist rehashing this old issue, but it drives me nuts seeing people make it hard on themselves.

Quote:

Just had a chance to weigh my C4-R / CG-4 after altaz conversion and without the counterweights and steel bar. Would you believe only 22 pounds! What a great grab and go package.




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Dave Hederich
sage


Reged: 09/12/07
Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: peter k]
      #1987890 - 11/15/07 07:14 PM Attachment (207 downloads)

With the CG-4, the plate is not what prevents the mount from going over to 90 degrees. When you take the plate off, you'll see that on the CG-4 it's part of the mount structure that prevents it from going much past 60 degrees. So notching the plate will not help on the CG-4.

Yes, I have the aluminum legs, which I believe were standard with all C4-Rs. I believe that only the Omni XLT 102 has steel legs. But with all the tripod bolts tightened up properly and no counterweights on board, it's both light and reasonably vibration-free. I plan to continue to tweak the aluminum tripod to try to make it even steadier without adding weight.

I think that eq mounts may be easier to use once they are set up properly. But for those who don't want to be bothered with setup, altaz is easier to use. I like to move my tripod around the yard a lot, so I'd forever be reorienting the mount for proper eq use. With altaz I can move it all I want. I have no problem using both slo-mo knobs rather than just one. It's great that there are options with the CG-4 to suit whatever different people find easiest to use.

I have a sequence of four images that I hope are clear enough to illustrate this. The first one below is of the side where the plain round plastic cover used to be. This is the bolt head side.

Attachment

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular

Edited by Dave Hederich (11/15/07 07:20 PM)


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Dave Hederich
sage


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Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1987898 - 11/15/07 07:16 PM Attachment (157 downloads)

This is the side where the round plastic cover with altitude markings used to be. This is the nut side of the bolt. You can see here how the hard stop flange is now outside of the plate.

Attachment

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular

Edited by Dave Hederich (11/15/07 07:23 PM)


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Dave Hederich
sage


Reged: 09/12/07
Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1987916 - 11/15/07 07:28 PM Attachment (160 downloads)

This image shows how the plate is now at an angle with only one of the hex screws in place. It is very solid and holds the hard stop flange absolutely stationary.

Attachment

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular


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Dave Hederich
sage


Reged: 09/12/07
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Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #1987928 - 11/15/07 07:31 PM Attachment (178 downloads)

The final image is an overview of the scope from behind at 90 degrees. I really like the way the scope is almost centered over the tripod, which prevents it from being tippy in any direction as it is when it's oriented the other way and hangs out more to one side.

Attachment

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular


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Scanning4Comets
Markus


Reged: 12/26/04
Posts: 10114
Loc: Deep Space!
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Eddgie]
      #1988041 - 11/15/07 08:23 PM

Looks great what you did to that mount. Congrats on such a wonderful job !!!!

--------------------
Markus


10" F/4.7 Modified Skywatcher Reflector, 38mm Orion Q70, 22mm Vixen LVW, 14mm Denkmeier, 10mm Pentax XW, 7mm Pentax XW, 5mm Vixen LVW, 2" GSO 2x ED Barlow, 2" DGM O-III, Custom Laminated Star Charts, Uranometria 2000 Custom made maps with custom made rotating map holder, Astro Cards, Seen All Messier, Hundreds of NGC, Working on Herschel 400, Star hopper for over 30 yrs.


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Keith
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Posts: 467
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Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Scanning4Comets]
      #2009206 - 11/25/07 10:14 PM Attachment (140 downloads)

I just did mine too, was pretty easy. Once I get an adapter made to accept my saddle, I would be curious to see if it can handle a bigger scope. I am sure an 8" cat wont be a problem, but I wonder if it will handle my 8"f4. The GSO eq3 I used to own could handle it with an SVP tripod in its intended EQ configuration, but I wonder if this will work in alt az with the 2" tripod I have it on.

Keith

Attachment

Edited by Keith (11/25/07 10:20 PM)


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zjc26138
Loved By All


Reged: 02/24/05
Posts: 6961
Loc: Mingo Junction, Ohio
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Keith]
      #2010948 - 11/26/07 07:06 PM

I have a Vixen Polaris that I use in Alt-Az mode. It could not handle the weight of a 8in SCT, but perhaps the vibrations were due to the aluminum tripod?

--------------------
TMB130 SS (Currently out of service. )
Celestron Edge 8"
iEQ45m
Meade 102ED
Stellarvue 80/9D

9/11- Never Forget.


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Dave Hederich
sage


Reged: 09/12/07
Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: zjc26138]
      #2019968 - 11/30/07 08:17 PM

It's really nice to see that others are taking advantage of this simple modification and enjoying the results. There are some very compelling reasons to have an equatorial mount, and I can imagine myself one day switching mine back. But right now all I want is a simple altaz, and the slightly modified CG-4 works just fine for me at no additional cost.

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular


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donnie3
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/15/04
Posts: 2240
Loc: bartlesville oklahoma
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Eddgie]
      #2037680 - 12/08/07 04:32 PM Attachment (142 downloads)

my equat, 5 conversion. i carry it outside and set it on a concrete pier.

Attachment


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BAMBAM
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Reged: 11/08/07
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Loc: Barrie, ON
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: donnie3]
      #2088202 - 01/01/08 06:18 PM

I just did the mod, it worked great. Donnie3 I like your set up. that is grab and go.
Thanks again
Lawrence


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BAMBAM
member


Reged: 11/08/07
Posts: 60
Loc: Barrie, ON
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #2088233 - 01/01/08 06:29 PM

Quote:

This image shows how the plate is now at an angle with only one of the hex screws in place. It is very solid and holds the hard stop flange absolutely stationary.


I did same thing except I used a grinder to notch out that aluminum stop piece so I could put both screws back in. I really want clear skys I just got the scope for Christmas It's been cloudy since. ( I AM LIKE A DOG WAITING TO BE LET OUT OF THE CAR).
Lawrence


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Dave Hederich
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Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: BAMBAM]
      #2088667 - 01/01/08 09:26 PM

Lawrence, glad to hear it worked for you. I was prepared to use a grinder on mine until I found it worked fine with just one of the hex screws. I tend to be a minimalist on these projects and only take irreversible actions when absolutely required.

By the way, I agree with you that donnie3's setup is pretty special. I just don't have a good spot to plant a concrete pier for viewing all areas of the sky. I have to move my tripod around the yard to view in various directions, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to switch to the altaz setup in the first place.

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular


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BAMBAM
member


Reged: 11/08/07
Posts: 60
Loc: Barrie, ON
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #2089245 - 01/02/08 06:40 AM

I couldn't even put one screw in so I had to. Everything I read on the mod no one was planning on going back to the E/Q and neither am I but it is still easily reversible.
Lawrence


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Dave Hederich
sage


Reged: 09/12/07
Posts: 396
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: BAMBAM]
      #2090840 - 01/02/08 06:55 PM

Of course you are absolutely correct about the reversibility of being able to convert it back to EQ even with the notch in the stop piece. If I had not been able to get one of the hex screws in, I would have done exactly the same thing that you did.

--------------------
Celestron C4-R 102mm f/9.8 Achromat + GSO 2" Dielectric Diagonal
Tasco StarGuide 4 102mm f/13 Mak + NexStar 60GT Mount
Orion ST80 f/5 Achromat
Stellarvue BV3 Binoviewer + Burgess 1.9X OCA + SV23mm EPs
GSO 1.25" & Astro-Tech 2" 2X Barlows
Astro-Tech 38mm Titan, Orion 9mm & 20mm Expanse
Pentax 20x60 PCF WP II Binocular


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timlyg
newbie


Reged: 07/29/09
Posts: 2
Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: Dave Hederich]
      #3245109 - 07/29/09 03:59 PM

would converting EQ to alt/az mount such as Dave Henderich's damage the gears/wheels of the mount?

Thanks
And thanks to Dave!


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Prof M
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Posts: 388
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Re: Astroview Modified to Alt-Az Mount new [Re: timlyg]
      #3249231 - 07/31/09 05:37 PM

The conversion doesn't involve the gears or drives at all.

--------------------
Life is a non sequitur, but everything else makes sense.


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