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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Mauikj
member


Reged: 06/08/08

Loc: Maui, Hawaii, USA
Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130
      #5893141 - 05/30/13 08:05 PM

Hello Everyone,

I've been trying to decide between a DM6 and a T-Rex mount for my Takahashi TOA 130. I couldn't decide between those two but was leaning towards the DM6 on a berlebach planet tripod. Then I just noticed a review for the new Nova Hitch mount. I like the design and that it will get tracking in the future. Also, I have heard that the DM6 and T-Rex have some balance issues when pointed towards the zenith, and the Nova Hitch does not. And with the weight of a TOA130 (and very front heavy with the triplet lens) I was concerned with balance. Does anyone have any thoughts or feedback about these mounts? I know they all have great reputations but as it will be a pretty big investment I want to get the one that will work best for me. I really just want it to use to scan the sky in the most effortless way possible. I am hoping for some feedback from people who own or have used one of them - unfortunately I don't think anyone near where I live (Maui- Hawaii) has one so I'll have to make a choice without ever trying one out.

Thanks in advance for any input.

KJ


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crazyqban
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Miami, Florida
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Mauikj]
      #5893228 - 05/30/13 08:50 PM Attachment (43 downloads)

I had a TOA-130F on a DM6 with a Losmandy G-11 tripod and it was a super stable and smooth setup. I really enjoyed it and miss it till this day. The G-11 tripod was mega quick and easy to setup. From the trunk of my car to set-up and ready to observe was about 2 minutes!!! I don't have any experience with a T-Rex so I cannot comment on that. Also, I have a Nova Hitch coming soon but I haven't used it yet so I can't comment on that either. I decided to go with the Nova Hitch because of the tracking feature. Once I receive it, I will be able to comment on it. I would hold off until there are some tracking Nova Hitches out and about in the field in the next month or two before making a decision. Then there should be some Nova users that are mounting a TOA-130 on it.

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Mauikj
member


Reged: 06/08/08

Loc: Maui, Hawaii, USA
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: crazyqban]
      #5893358 - 05/30/13 11:29 PM

Thanks Sergio,

Maybe I'll consider the G11. I can't wait to hear what you think of the Nova Hitch, seeing as you had a DM6 you could compare them. That is a great set up with the TOA 130 on it. Again, thanks for your feedback it is really helpful. I I just need enough restraint to wait for the Nova Hitch reviews to come in (with tracking).


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crazyqban
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Miami, Florida
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Mauikj]
      #5893416 - 05/31/13 12:01 AM

Yeah, it ain't easy but I feel that the tracking feature is a game changer.

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prichardson
member


Reged: 10/26/11

Loc: Metairie, LA
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: crazyqban]
      #5893432 - 05/31/13 12:15 AM

Series of Nova Hitch pictures and commentary here:

http://www.chesmontastro.org/node/9915


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Tamiji Homma
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: California, USA
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Mauikj]
      #5893554 - 05/31/13 02:08 AM

Hi KJ,

I use DM-6, T-REX, and Half Hitch mounts with various scopes/binoculars and tripods.

From left to right, TSA-102S/Super Half Hitch, APM 100ED f/5 binoculars on HH, and Kowa Highlander 82mm f/5.5 binoculars on HH:


TMB 130SS f/7 on HH/Losmandy HD tripod:

William Optics FLT 152 f/8 on DM-6/Losmandy FHD tripod:

Intes MN-86 f/6 on DM-6/Losmandy FHD tripod, this is my heaviest load, close to 50lb with binoviewer:


WO FLT 152 f/8 on T-REX/Berlebach Planet:


TMB 130SS f/7 on T-REX/Binoscope Tall Tripod:


Pentax 100 SDUF f/4 on T-REX/Berlebach Planet:


Here is my take on Alt/Az mount:
1. Tracking is nice for only high power.
2. Tracking is not necessary for scanning skies (wide TFOV)
3. DM-6/FHD takes most load and solid among three mounts.
4. There is very little difference between DM-6 and T-REX with 6" f/8 refractor or smaller.
5. Half Hitch is my choice if portability is priority.

I use Half Hitch most with Kowa Highlander binoculars and T-REX with Pentax 100 SDUF II/TSA-102S almost everyday.

Looking at Prichardson's APM 180 f/6 on NH, it does look very good

Tammy


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Mauikj
member


Reged: 06/08/08

Loc: Maui, Hawaii, USA
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Tamiji Homma]
      #5893615 - 05/31/13 03:16 AM

Aloha Tammy,

Wow that is quite a collection you have - beautiful set ups. Thanks for sharing and all the tips and photos. Do you think the DM6 or the T-rex have any balance problems when moving towards the zenith? It seems the Nova Hitch would have less issues, but again I've never tried them. Also, do you think the slow motion controls are useful (DM 6 doesn't have them). Again, thanks for all your very helpful advice


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crazyqban
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Miami, Florida
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: prichardson]
      #5893645 - 05/31/13 04:38 AM

Quote:

Series of Nova Hitch pictures and commentary here:

http://www.chesmontastro.org/node/9915




Thanks


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Kunama
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/22/12

Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: crazyqban]
      #5893706 - 05/31/13 06:59 AM

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the 3 options above. I went with the T-Rex fitted with the Robin Casady Saddle and Dovetail for my TSA120.
With the clutches set 'just right' it has the smoothest action and then for high mag you can use the slo-mo controls.


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Tamiji Homma
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: California, USA
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Mauikj]
      #5894318 - 05/31/13 01:36 PM

Quote:

Do you think the DM6 or the T-rex have any balance problems when moving towards the zenith? It seems the Nova Hitch would have less issues, but again I've never tried them. Also, do you think the slow motion controls are useful (DM 6 doesn't have them). Again, thanks for all your very helpful advice




Hi KJ,

I don't think DM-6/T-REX are particularly more vulnerable pointing to zenith than Half Hitch. In general, pointing zenith is a challenge, not only clearing tripod legs but also any imbalance to any direction gets amplified with visual back change (eyepieces, binoviewers, eyepiece turret, finder scope).

Here is TMB 130SS f/7 pointing zenith with binoviewer. It is my typical setup for high power planet/lunar observation. Binoviewer is about 26 inch from the ground, very low. In order to make a little more comfortable, say you increase the tripod height. Now it is difficult to see low sky. Then you would do, turning binoviewer to side so that you can reach eyepiece (2nd photo). By turning diagonal to get comfortable viewing position, it adds rotational moment to system. It sometimes becomes issue with Half Hitch since it is much more sensitive to unbalanced system. DM-6 has the best tolerance to unbalanced system when you change visual back. System stays put when you change single eyepiece from 4mm Zeiss ortho (62 grams) to heavy ES9-120 (1,290 grams). You won't miss a target by changing eyepieces.





Here is my opinion:
1. When system balance does not change often, Half Hitch mount gives the best viewing experience. After careful two axis balance, system moves as if there was no weight in system. Best system to scan Milky Way.
2. DM-6 gets most stable feel and robust, trouble free system and HEAVY.
3. T-REX performs very much like DM-6 until 6" f/8 refractor. Slow motion control is a plus.
4. Slow motion control is a nice-to-have, not a must-have. You can track planet at over 300x without slow motion control easily. You'll learn how to do it.
5. Half Hitch becomes annoying (move by small force) when you need to apply force to focus (large helical focuser)/to turn zoom eyepiece/to switch power (Denk power switch). It is too sensitive to such force.

By the way, you usually don't look at zenith all the time

Tammy


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Quintessence
Vendor


Reged: 06/03/07

Loc: Austin, Texas
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Tamiji Homma]
      #5894410 - 05/31/13 02:21 PM

Just to clarify, the Half Hitch is no longer available. The current model, the Nova Hitch, is a heavier-duty mount with a COMPLETELY different slow-motion control system having MUCH different properties. Other than both having two-axis balancing and similar overall configurations, the Half Hitch and Nova Hitch are NOT related at all.

Charles


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Mauikj
member


Reged: 06/08/08

Loc: Maui, Hawaii, USA
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Tamiji Homma]
      #5894419 - 05/31/13 02:28 PM

Aloha Tammy,

Thanks again for all the feedback (and again WOW you have some nice set ups!). And you're right I don't observe a lot at the zenith, I was more concerned with the balance issues as I move the scope towards it. Your answers are again very helpful and I think I'm leaning towards the DM6. It just seems hard for me to believe that a mount could be so smooth that I would not need tracking or slow motion controls to keep an object centered - but I guess the DM6 is that good. And I rarely go over 250 power.

And thanks Prichardson for the link to the Nova Hitch pictures, they are very nice. I would love to get to one of those star parties some day and check out all the great stuff.


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Goodchild
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/31/08

Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Mauikj]
      #5894603 - 05/31/13 04:07 PM

If choosing between DM-6 and T-Rex, the slo-mo controls on the T-Rex would make that an easy choice. I don't own either one, however, my understanding is that they both are comparable in load capabilities and my experience with slo-mo is very positive. Slo-mo vs. nudging--no comparison.

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prichardson
member


Reged: 10/26/11

Loc: Metairie, LA
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Mauikj]
      #5896088 - 06/01/13 01:48 PM

Quote:


And thanks Prichardson for the link to the Nova Hitch pictures, they are very nice. I would love to get to one of those star parties some day and check out all the great stuff.




Unfortunately, none of that equipment is mine. I just happened across while researching alt-az mounts. Good luck in your decision.

Philip


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davidmcgo
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/09/04

Loc: San Diego, CA
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Goodchild]
      #5896224 - 06/01/13 03:07 PM

Quote:

If choosing between DM-6 and T-Rex, the slo-mo controls on the T-Rex would make that an easy choice. I don't own either one, however, my understanding is that they both are comparable in load capabilities and my experience with slo-mo is very positive. Slo-mo vs. nudging--no comparison.




I don't know how comparable the TRex is for really heavy set ups. My DM6 on a Stellarvue TSL7 stand handles a 10.25" f17 Dall Kirkham which is 4.5 feet long and around 38 pounds, probably over 43 with diagonal, eyepieces, and finder. I hand track at up to 450x with that load. I'm pretty well at the limit of the tripod and use VSPs but the walnut legs, built in center column, and adjustable height makes it work for the cass, a 8" f6 Newtonian, or my 130 f 8 AP. The counterweight shaft option makes it incredibly smooth in azimuth even with the big cass, using only an 11 pound weight although it is very usable without it.

The DM6 handles any of these set ups with ease and I never feel the need for slow motions. It has become my quick setup " grunt and heave" mount.

Dave


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mark8888
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/24/10

Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: davidmcgo]
      #5896299 - 06/01/13 03:43 PM

Quote:

The DM6 handles any of these set ups with ease and I never feel the need for slow motions. It has become my quick setup " grunt and heave" mount.

Dave




Same here. I've hand tracked a TEC 140 on a DM6 at all sorts of high mags, for hours at a time, and never felt the need for slo-mo controls.


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Goodchild
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/31/08

Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: mark8888]
      #5896365 - 06/01/13 04:19 PM

Can you track w/o slo-mo? Sure. But it's much easier and more satisfying with slo-mo. IMO, the DM-6, and others, would be a much improved mount with slo-mo controls.

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Jim7728
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/10/05

Loc: Stoop Landing Observatory, NYC
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Goodchild]
      #5896448 - 06/01/13 05:11 PM

I like the simplicity of tracking with one hand on the refractor diagonal or panning handle of an alt-az mount provided that I'm using Ethos, Nagler and Delos type widefield eyepieces.

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Mauikj
member


Reged: 06/08/08

Loc: Maui, Hawaii, USA
Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Jim7728]
      #5896486 - 06/01/13 05:38 PM

All great feedback everyone. I had the Tak out last night trying to get eta carina in the short window it is visible here and the GEM mount made me crazy with the meridian flips - plus all the twisting and turning of the binoviewer as it moved about. So I'm really appreciative to everyone who gave me their feedback. I'll probably wait to see more reviews of the Nova hitch but I think the simplicity of the DM6 has most caught my eye.

Again, thanks for all the great feedback


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mark8888
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/24/10

Re: Alt-Az Mount for a Tak TOA130 new [Re: Goodchild]
      #5896843 - 06/01/13 09:49 PM

Quote:

Can you track w/o slo-mo? Sure. But it's much easier and more satisfying with slo-mo. IMO, the DM-6, and others, would be a much improved mount with slo-mo controls.




Just out of curiousity, around how much time have you spent using the DM6, and with what telescopes and magnifications?


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