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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
In the market for a new alt-az mount...
      #5558502 - 12/06/12 11:40 PM

For many years a Lapides modified Teegul alt-az on a beefy Bogen tripod has been my alt-az solution.



But I would now like an alt-az mount with higher capacity and easy DSC/encoder installation. Specifically I'd like an alt-az mount suitable for longish 4" refractors, my TEC 140 and SCTs up to about 9.25".

I've looked at the DM6, Half Hitch Nova, Unistar and T-Rex mounts. Then I came across the Desert Sky Astro Products mounts.

http://www.desertskyastro.com/

They sound like they'd be right in line with my requirements and preferences (I need to be able to handle either Vixen or Losmandy dovetails, want simplicity, want slo mo controls plus a pan handle, etc. Anyone used one of these?

Regards,

Jim


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chboss
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/24/08

Loc: Zurich Switzerland
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5558591 - 12/07/12 01:19 AM

Jim,

You should definitely have a look at the AOK Swiss / AYO line.
The new AYO Mark II offers full encapsuled encoders.
Using a counter weight on the opposite side of the scopes it can carry up to 12 kg's.
None of the AYO's has slow mo's but with this kind of design it is simply not necessary, maybe an optional "Guiding Handle" for even smoother movements.

Here is the complete lineup:
http://www.aokswiss.ch/d/mont/ayo/uebersicht_ayo.html

And here the new AYO Mark II:
http://www.aokswiss.ch/d/mont/ayo/ayo_mark_II/uebersicht_ayo_mark_II.html

....up to the real heavy Duty "AYO Master"

best regards
Chris

Edited by chboss (12/07/12 01:30 AM)


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SMigol
sage


Reged: 07/30/10

Loc: California, USA
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: chboss]
      #5558599 - 12/07/12 01:34 AM

Orion just released a new version of their atlas that has an Alt/Az config with goto/encoders so that you can "push to" as well.

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mattyfatz
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/27/06

Loc: Boise Idaho
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: SMigol]
      #5558617 - 12/07/12 02:00 AM

Your absolutely insane of you don't consider the Universal Astronomics Unistar. You should at least put a call in and discuss your needs. The UA mounts are as tough and reliable as battleships.. But they are as silky smooth as the Queen's Undies

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beatlejuice
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 04/05/11

Loc: Hamilton, ON,Canada
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5558642 - 12/07/12 02:54 AM

Wouldn't the loaded TEC 140 be stretching the stated 20 lb load limit of the mount for this type of scope?

Eric


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Jim7728
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/10/05

Loc: Stoop Landing Observatory, NYC
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: chboss]
      #5558716 - 12/07/12 06:48 AM

Quote:

None of the AYO's has slow mo's but with this kind of design it is simply not necessary, maybe an optional "Guiding Handle" for even smoother movements.





Agree, as far as not needing slow motion controls which requires two hands in a sometimes awkward position. One hand tracking feels more natural, to me.

For a TEC 140 and 9.25 SCT, I'd go from least expensive starting with the Unistar Deluxe Super 8 with Losmandy saddle and Encoders, AYOmaster or a DM-6 of which I just acquired and think it has the most load capacity of the three.

A Über tripod would also need to be in the mix.


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: chboss]
      #5559047 - 12/07/12 10:54 AM

Wow, thanks Chris.

Those are nice mounts! I am looking at the Master. Just $2355 with the encoders, and made in Switzerland, land of fine machinery.

Regards,

Jim


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t.r.
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5559083 - 12/07/12 11:12 AM

Personally I feel slo-mo's are a must for high power planetary viewing. I'm in the same boat currently shopping for "thee" alt/az mount that I can live with as my main mount. Being visual only, I'm considering simplifying and selling the Mach 1. My requirements are for an alt/az with DSC, slow-motions and 30 pound (130GT or C11) capacity. The way I see it, I have two options: The Nova Hitch or the DSV3. The only differences I can come up with is that, one, the DSV3 can carry both instruments at the same time. Two, the Nova centers the OTA over the az-axis which may be more stable. And three, the Nova is a *BLEEP* load (DOUBLY) more expensive. But, as an only mount, it may be worth the price of admission. As far as I'm concerned, either can be fitted with train and track motors so not a point in the Nova's favor. I just have two concerns, can I live without an equatorial mount and is the CG design of the Nova superior to the DSV3's? Perhaps like you Jim, I'm in a quandary right now on picking the right alt/az...

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: t.r.]
      #5559126 - 12/07/12 11:35 AM

So I'm not entirely sold on the need for slo-mo, to be honest. I also have a Gibraltar that I use with my TV-102, and while it's not an optimal mating (the TV-102 being too long for the standard Gibraltar's capabilities, IMO), high magnification planetary observing isn't much of an issue compared to the same scenario with the slo-mo equipped Lapides Teegul. So long as the axial movements are smooth, nudging works as well as knobing at high magnification, I think. My main interest in slo-mo is not for tracking but rather for precise placement when observing extended targets like the moon. I find slo-mo is really handy for moving between craters when using Rukl of another detailed lunar atlas, for example.

t.r., have you considered the T-Rex?

Regards,

Jim


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stephanm
member


Reged: 07/07/11

Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: t.r.]
      #5559131 - 12/07/12 11:38 AM

I too am interested in a heavier duty alt az mount. However, I need to keep the total cost, with tripod to around $1000. Hence my interest in the DSV-3. I have read good things about the other DSV mounts, but not much on this one. I revived a thread about the DSV-3 before I saw this thread with hopes of getting some info on it.

Thanks,
Stephan


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t.r.
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: stephanm]
      #5559142 - 12/07/12 11:47 AM

I did consider the T-rex when it first came out, but have since ruled it out based on price vs. the Nova, which I feel gives more for the dollar. The DSV3 is the value mount for what it delivers and is my front runner.

Stephan, for $1000, you may want to try Stellarvue. They may still have a few MG2's around that have all these features plus encoders that would get you where you want to be. It just doesn't have the carry capacity I need...


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stephanm
member


Reged: 07/07/11

Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: t.r.]
      #5559248 - 12/07/12 12:51 PM

The DSV-3 is $765 and the DSV surveyor tripod is $200, so this one is doable for me. I'm not really interested in the MG2. SV has discontinued it, mainly for QC reasons. I do like their surveyed tripod, which appears to be the same as the DSV model, but with a nice wooden tray.

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DaveJ
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/07/05

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5559278 - 12/07/12 01:11 PM

Quote:

They sound like they'd be right in line with my requirements and preferences (I need to be able to handle either Vixen or Losmandy dovetails, want simplicity, want slo mo controls plus a pan handle, etc. Anyone used one of these?




Jim, you had my curiosity up since I, too, have been interested in a quick-setup ALT/AZ mount for my TEC 140. Unfortunately, I saw this quote on their site, "The DSV-3 is recommended for refractors up to 1000f/l, 20lb in weight." I don't know about your setup, but my TEC 140 is north of 25lbs when I'm actually using it. Same with my MaxScope 90 - another OTA I wanted to use with it. Sounds a little too light weight for us.


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coopman
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/23/06

Loc: South Louisiana
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: DaveJ]
      #5559484 - 12/07/12 03:23 PM

I have some experience with the Unistar and the MG2, using a FS-102 or a 120ED OTA. With both mounts, the imbalance caused by a 2" diagonal, a fairly heavy eyepiece and the finderscope (all with a CG above that of the tube itself), tend to make the OTA rotate when it is pointed nearly vertical. The only way that I have found to negate this to push the OTA forward in the tube rings. Then, if you later to look at something that is at a lower angle, or switch to a much lighter eyepiece, you have to move the OTA backwards to keep the scope from being nose heavy and diving. I have not found any alt-az mount yet which allows me to use these refractors without having to do this "push the tube forward" and "push the tube backwards" routine. I do like the slo-mo controls on the MG2 - it has the Unistar beat in this respect. The user's movements provide the slo-mo controls with the Unistar, and if you're using 200X or more it can get sort of frustrating. I guess that this is why I don't do much planetary observing.

Edited by coopman (12/07/12 03:24 PM)


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: DaveJ]
      #5559573 - 12/07/12 04:31 PM

You may be right, Dave, but the manufacturer posted this on Astromart.

http://www.astromart.com/classifieds/details.asp?classified_id=794814

"The DSV-3 delivers:
* Proven 140mm f/7 Refractor and 11" SCT capability. The DSV-3 can carry each of these scopes by itself or both at the same time. The mount works well with Refractors, SCTs, Maks, Newtonians, etc."

And this...

"So, how does the DSV-3 perform? In the words of DSV-3 owner:
"BTW, I got a brief first session in last night. Using one tube at a time I mounted a TEC 140 and then a Tak 102. I had no problems following your manual and I had the setup balanced in minutes. The Tak, of course, did not come close to challenging this mount. The great news is that neither did the TEC 140. It's great to have an alt/az mount capable of such a load that moves when I push and stops when I stop pushing. Very smooth in all directions. No drift at horizon nor at zenith. No tension added, I kept it loose. During the brief time I observed (fed the mosquitoes) I used a Nagler Type6 9mm on the lighter end and an Ethos 21 on the heavier end. The QBS responded quickly and perfectly"

Steve E. in Louisiana"

Which leaves me to believe that the rating on the website is out of date. The C11 OTA bare is 27#, then add a finder, diagonal, etc., and you're pushing 30# pretty quickly. I also assume the TEC 140s it was tested with weren't "naked". That is, they included rings, dovetail, finder, diagonal, etc.



Regards,

Jim


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Scott99
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: New England
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5559666 - 12/07/12 05:40 PM

I've used the Teegul for a long time also, if I was going to "ramp up" I'd go with the Discmount or T-Rex.

But I've found with my larger scope I'm using higher magnifications and get frustrated without tracking, and the larger alt-az mounts are almost as much hassle as setting up an equatorial.


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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: Scott99]
      #5560034 - 12/07/12 10:02 PM

Quote:

But I've found with my larger scope I'm using higher magnifications and get frustrated without tracking, and the larger alt-az mounts are almost as much hassle as setting up an equatorial.




I wonder about this too. My Vixen GP2 is really pretty easy to setup. The only negative is that I have to point the scope in EQ mode rather than in alt/az, but then once I'm on the target I get tracking for free.

Patrick


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crazyqban
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Miami, Florida
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: Patrick]
      #5560061 - 12/07/12 10:17 PM

I pre-ordered the new Nova Hitch. You should check out their yahoo group for information or call Charles directly. I think that it is going to be an extraordinary alt-az mount.

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M44
sage
*****

Reged: 03/24/07

Loc: SoCal.
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5560231 - 12/08/12 12:29 AM Attachment (71 downloads)

When I was receiving my AP 130 GT, I was looking for a suitable alt-az mount and finally settled for AYOdigi from Beat Kohler of AYOSWISS (beat@aokswiss.ch).

AP130 GT is a beast, Beat suggested AYOdigi based on my requirements with fully loaded AP130GT. I paid under $1500 that includes encoders / Argo navis holder and shipping to USA in the middle of 2011. May be the dollar rate and new prices changed the price.

I previously used Grio II, Universal astronomics, Quarter-hitch and Tak Teegul. All of them pale in comparison when it comes to the load capacity or the smoothness of the movements of AYOdigi. It is one finely machined and solid piece of equipment. The encoders are 10,000 tic and always palced the object in view with my AP130/Docter 12.5mm 84 deg eyepiece).

It will be a perfect match to TEC 140 when matched with a tripod like Berlebach planet (which I use) or I think DM6 is equally capable to satisfy your needs when it has the extender(which I dislike).

I do NOT prefer slow motion controls especially when the mount is light weight. Every turn induces vibration (Like my Mini Half-hitch). I also dislike anything less than Losmandy D-style saddles when mounting a heavy refractor.

AYOdigi comes standard with vixen style and the other end with holes with 35mm spacing allowing to attach Takahashi clamshells or Robin casady's 8" saddle. I asked for 35mm spacing on both sides to attach Casady's dovetail saddles, you can take a look at a pic of Ayodigi with my refractors at Ayoswiss page.

Only a couple things I did not like of AYOdigi are 1) the base comes with 3/8" hole drilled within the Aluminum base. I would like to be changed with a Steel base like Half-hith mounts for repeated assemble/disassemble. The second thing is you can not completely lock an unbalanced scope (this is a negative with every alt-az mount except Half-hitch style mounts).

Now I use AYOdigi with Kokusai kohki vixen porta guide handle, without handle it is hard to pan the scope. This handle fits perfectly with 35mm spacing (as in Takahashi Teegul).
I initially opted for Super half-hitch but it was never materialized. If I have to do it again, I would first opt for AYOdigi or DM6.

The choice of Tripod and dovetail saddle attachment is as important as the mount itself .

Good luck!


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M44
sage
*****

Reged: 03/24/07

Loc: SoCal.
Re: In the market for a new alt-az mount... new [Re: crazyqban]
      #5560239 - 12/08/12 12:35 AM

Quote:

I pre-ordered the new Nova Hitch. You should check out their yahoo group for information or call Charles directly. I think that it is going to be an extraordinary alt-az mount.




A word of caution when pre-ordering. I wouldn't place an order unless the mounts are currently shipping.

When I placed an order for Super half-hitch, I had to wait 14 months and no mount in sight. There were issues with sub-contracter. Finally i had to cancel and wait for my refund. It was very frustrating experience and I will never do that mistake again when purchasing astro equipment.

Hopefully things got better now for the Nova hitch.


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