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JadeSmith
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 07/15/08
Posts: 779
Loc: SE Michigan
Why a pier?
      #3221729 - 07/16/09 03:14 PM

Ok, so this may seem like a dumb question, but why would anyone prefer a portable pier? Most heavy duty tripods (G11, CGE etc) seem like a better idea to me. They're stable, low vibration, easy to transport and easy to level. A pier on the other hand is not as easy to set up, transport and level. It might look more "pro", but are there any practical advantages to a portable pier over a heavy duty tripod?

--------------------
SV102EDT, SV80ED, AT65EDQ
Zhumell Z10 & an AT6IN w/ATCC

Mounts: Great Polaris w/dual drives, Super Polaris (alt-az), CG5-GT

20d, SSAG, UWANs, 4000 & 3000 Smoothies, and a bunch of other goodies


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Agent M27
super member


Reged: 02/08/09
Posts: 144
Loc: Tampa ,FL
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: JadeSmith]
      #3221869 - 07/16/09 04:18 PM

Someone told me that with a pier you wouldn't have to worry about your scope clipping the tripod legs. They are also very useful for people who have long FL refractors so they do not have to lay on the ground to view through their scopes. I choose the pier route because I have an inferior mount (LXD55) and the tripod is just not stable enough. A pier shouldn't have vibration issues as a tripod would. These are just things I have been told and thought about when I was deciding pier or tripod. I hope that helps! Clear skies.

Joe

--------------------
Orion 80ED
Sirius EQ, run via EQMOD
Canon XT Rebel unmodded (350D)
Baader Hyperion 8mm-24mm Zoom
9.7mm, 26mm Plossl
Various Filters
Thinking of what to buy next....


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JadeSmith
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 07/15/08
Posts: 779
Loc: SE Michigan
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: Agent M27]
      #3221903 - 07/16/09 04:38 PM

well, couldn't the "scope clipping the tripod" be solved with an extension like THIS one?
I guess I can see it being useful when used with a LONG refractor OTA....a REALLY LONG one...

--------------------
SV102EDT, SV80ED, AT65EDQ
Zhumell Z10 & an AT6IN w/ATCC

Mounts: Great Polaris w/dual drives, Super Polaris (alt-az), CG5-GT

20d, SSAG, UWANs, 4000 & 3000 Smoothies, and a bunch of other goodies


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RAKing
Postmaster


Reged: 12/28/07
Posts: 5349
Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: JadeSmith]
      #3221973 - 07/16/09 05:23 PM

Quote:

Ok, so this may seem like a dumb question, but why would anyone prefer a portable pier? Most heavy duty tripods (G11, CGE etc) seem like a better idea to me. They're stable, low vibration, easy to transport and easy to level. A pier on the other hand is not as easy to set up, transport and level. It might look more "pro", but are there any practical advantages to a portable pier over a heavy duty tripod?




The two tripods you mention are not as easy to carry and set up as my Astro-Physics Portable Pier. The CGE is much heavier and the G11 doesn't have folding legs. Don't get me wrong, these two tripods are excellent and work very well, but the 6 inch Portable Pier is lighter, easier to handle, and carries just as much load.

My pier has been used with Atlas, Losmandy, and A-P mounts. I consider it to be very versatile and it's easy for me to haul around. It's no problem to pick it up one-handed and carry it out the door.

BTW - it doesn't cost any more than either of those tripods, either. A G-11 tripod runs about $675, my 42 inch Portable Pier is $605. I don't know if you can buy the CGE tripod separately. The downside to my pier is the fixed height, but I do have a couple extra center posts.

I'm certainly not a "pro" in this hobby. I bought mine simply because it works better for me. YMMV

Ron

--------------------
Time spent looking at the stars is added to your life
My beloved Bashful, Misty, and little Ralphie - they are my heavenly stars

AAVSO - Sustaining Member
TEC 140 ~ STF-Mirage 8" Mak ~ 8"f/6 Zambuto Newt
A-P Mach1 ~ Losmandy GM-8


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DeanS
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/12/05
Posts: 2560
Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: RAKing]
      #3221982 - 07/16/09 05:28 PM

I have the best of both, G11 tripod/pier. Legs are fixed at an angle for max rigidity but yet extendable for leveling on very rough ground. Plus it has a pier top which hold it up away from possibly hitting the legs.

I also have portable Parallax pier for my AP1200.

--------------------
AP900GTO, AP1200GTO,
Tak Epsilon 160, FS60C, SV80
12.5" F/3.8 AGO Newtonian,
C9.25, 8" LX200GPS,
18" Starmaster w/Zambuto F/4.3,
FLI ML8300,
QSI640WSG-8
ST2000XM, Lodestars
Some Uncle Al's glass hand grenades


www.doghouseastronomy.com







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JadeSmith
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 07/15/08
Posts: 779
Loc: SE Michigan
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: DeanS]
      #3222057 - 07/16/09 06:19 PM

Can you level the pier? I have never used/seen one up close, but it looks like you can't adjust the height of individual legs so it would have to be used on a flat, level surface.

--------------------
SV102EDT, SV80ED, AT65EDQ
Zhumell Z10 & an AT6IN w/ATCC

Mounts: Great Polaris w/dual drives, Super Polaris (alt-az), CG5-GT

20d, SSAG, UWANs, 4000 & 3000 Smoothies, and a bunch of other goodies


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Luigi
Postmaster


Reged: 07/03/07
Posts: 5317
Loc: MA
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: JadeSmith]
      #3222281 - 07/16/09 08:19 PM

Portable piers make no sense to me either. I had a G11 and the tripod was rock stable.

--------------------
17.5" f/5 Dob. IM-715 MCT. 120ED. Lunt 60mm Ha.
Zeiss, Leica, Fujinon, Nikon, Pentax, Bushnell bins


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RAKing
Postmaster


Reged: 12/28/07
Posts: 5349
Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: JadeSmith]
      #3222417 - 07/16/09 09:44 PM

Quote:

Can you level the pier? I have never used/seen one up close, but it looks like you can't adjust the height of individual legs so it would have to be used on a flat, level surface.




I'm not going to use it on the side of a cliff, but the pier doesn't have to be level. That's the beauty of a GEM - it doesn't care. I still shake my head when I see all these people with carpenter's levels and GEMs.

The only thing your GEM cares about is polar aligning the RA axis. "Level" doesn't matter much.

The only concern I have with level is the whole setup should not tip over when I load up the OTA and weights. So I'll look for a reasonable spot and have fun.

Ron

--------------------
Time spent looking at the stars is added to your life
My beloved Bashful, Misty, and little Ralphie - they are my heavenly stars

AAVSO - Sustaining Member
TEC 140 ~ STF-Mirage 8" Mak ~ 8"f/6 Zambuto Newt
A-P Mach1 ~ Losmandy GM-8


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DeanS
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/12/05
Posts: 2560
Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: RAKing]
      #3222524 - 07/16/09 10:56 PM

That is true Ron, and I argue this too. But having it close to level helps with drift aligning. If only using the polar scope then set it and go.

Jade, yes the legs can be extended quite a bit for leveling and various heights.

--------------------
AP900GTO, AP1200GTO,
Tak Epsilon 160, FS60C, SV80
12.5" F/3.8 AGO Newtonian,
C9.25, 8" LX200GPS,
18" Starmaster w/Zambuto F/4.3,
FLI ML8300,
QSI640WSG-8
ST2000XM, Lodestars
Some Uncle Al's glass hand grenades


www.doghouseastronomy.com







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RAKing
Postmaster


Reged: 12/28/07
Posts: 5349
Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: DeanS]
      #3222972 - 07/17/09 08:38 AM

Quote:

That is true Ron, and I argue this too. But having it close to level helps with drift aligning. If only using the polar scope then set it and go.




Yes, I use the polar scope and achieve very good tracking results that way. I am mostly a visual guy, but can get short to medium length images with just the polar scope.

In my mind, a level piece of ground is more important to the astronomer than to the tripod (or pier). I've set up on some angled patches and some rocky patches of earth. The telescope was fine - but the astronomer wasn't so happy after a while. It's uncomfortable and I keep spilling my wine.

Ron

--------------------
Time spent looking at the stars is added to your life
My beloved Bashful, Misty, and little Ralphie - they are my heavenly stars

AAVSO - Sustaining Member
TEC 140 ~ STF-Mirage 8" Mak ~ 8"f/6 Zambuto Newt
A-P Mach1 ~ Losmandy GM-8


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Jaxdialation
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/01/07
Posts: 3196
Loc: Northeast, FL
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: Luigi]
      #3224008 - 07/17/09 07:47 PM

I have an AP 1200 and can't imagine a tripod solution I would try. If I had a Paramount I'd feel the same.
I haven't seen an AP 3200 GTO on a tripod yet either.

Quote:

Portable piers make no sense to me either. I had a G11 and the tripod was rock stable.




--------------------
John

Find it: A bunch of atlases
Shoot it: 10"RCOS/AP1200/STL6303E
See it: StarStructure/Zambuto 18/4.3


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roscoe
curmudgeon


Reged: 02/04/09
Posts: 1938
Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: RAKing]
      #3224016 - 07/17/09 07:53 PM

While I use a tripod if I take my good scope on the road, I like the pier in my obs, because I can get closer to zenith without the sope hitting something.

As for the levelling thing, I used to work as a surveyor, back in optical equipment days. For land survey work, we were completely neurotic about the transit being TOTALLY level. We mostly used one-piece leg tripods because they were stiffer, and just got the head somewhere close to level and over our turning point, then used the screws on the transit to level it. I agree that, for drift alignment, pretty close is handy, but nearly all mounts come with alt-az adjustments (that I've never actually seen anybody but me use) that allow perfect polar alignment, regardless of hub position. I think those little bubble levels are silly, that they are there mostly just to make the mount look "professional".......right up there with microscopic setting circles.......and just generate extra set-up time and discouragement. http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/tongue.gif

--------------------
Some glass
Some metal
Some wood
Some photons


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Bob Griffiths
Getting Grouchy


Reged: 10/10/05
Posts: 10103
Loc: Frederick Maryland
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: Agent M27]
      #3225334 - 07/18/09 03:17 PM

Quote:

Someone told me that with a pier you wouldn't have to worry about your scope clipping the tripod legs. They are also very useful for people who have long FL refractors so they do not have to lay on the ground to view through their scopes. I choose the pier route because I have an inferior mount (LXD55) and the tripod is just not stable enough. A pier shouldn't have vibration issues as a tripod would. These are just things I have been told and thought about when I was deciding pier or tripod. I hope that helps! Clear skies.

Joe




LOL So I am not the only one who has a LXD55 mount that is not nearly stable enough even for a visual observer like me to use....at least not at the height I have to set the tripod to avoid viewing sitting on the ground...

In my case a CHEAP 150 buck Antares Portable pier
is much more stable PLUS being much easier to "push" out the door of my garage with the scope and mount attached and ready to use..then when I used the tripod...

My pier can be leveled as each of the legs have a nice large leveling screw built in...much easier to use then adjusting the legs of a tripod BUT then again my observation area is not on the side of a mountain its pretty level ... My only complaint is that the "wheels' are smaller then I would like as I can't honestly push it over the lawn...have to drag it slower then I would like

And did I mention I now have a lot more foot room around the scope and the extra knee room allows me to position my observation chair where I want it and not where a tripod leg gets in the way...

Bob G.

For me it was a "Never look back purchase" that just plain works and works better then the tripod...

--------------------
CPC1100
Nexstar 8i + GPS & Rays Brackets
Denk S1 power switch
Orion 100 mm Refractor
Meade LXD 55 ...AR-5 127 mm Refractor
Gerbring heated clothing in the winter
Exploradome Observatory S.I.E. (Smiling Irish Eyes)


39*21'03" N
77*28'12" W

The sky over my head....





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Jeff Morgan
Post Laureate


Reged: 09/28/03
Posts: 4018
Loc: Prescott, AZ
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: DeanS]
      #3225469 - 07/18/09 04:50 PM

Quote:

I have the best of both, G11 tripod/pier. Legs are fixed at an angle for max rigidity but yet extendable for leveling on very rough ground. Plus it has a pier top which hold it up away from possibly hitting the legs.

I also have portable Parallax pier for my AP1200.





Have you compared the Parallax and AP portable piers? I have a D&G 8" f/12 on order, sometime in the few months I'm going to need to buy something ....

--------------------
Jeff Morgan
Prescott, AZ
Wile E. Coyote School of Telescope Making


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DeanS
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/12/05
Posts: 2560
Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Why a pier? new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #3226024 - 07/19/09 12:10 AM

I did not really do a side by side comparison but like the ability to level with the adjustable feet. And I like not having struts that could possibly snag cables.

I have a short pier, 36" and like that the Parallax has a slightly small footprint but on a taller pier the wider AP might be better? Again never did a test.

There are so many AP piers being used I can't imagine any of these things are real issues but different strokes for different folks. Nice to have options.

--------------------
AP900GTO, AP1200GTO,
Tak Epsilon 160, FS60C, SV80
12.5" F/3.8 AGO Newtonian,
C9.25, 8" LX200GPS,
18" Starmaster w/Zambuto F/4.3,
FLI ML8300,
QSI640WSG-8
ST2000XM, Lodestars
Some Uncle Al's glass hand grenades


www.doghouseastronomy.com







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