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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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PJ Anway
Double-Star Observer
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Reged: 06/04/03

Loc: North Coast
Tripod Choice
      #6292922 - 01/04/14 10:42 PM Attachment (76 downloads)

Recently I changed refractors. I did it for several reasons, but mostly to have a more portable instrument.
Here are the specs of the scopes involved:
1) former – Showa SD100/1000 - 13 lbs. and about 43” long (in use)
2) present – TEC FL110/616 - 10 lbs. and about 29” long (in use) - shrinks down to about 19" for travel.
With a more portable scope, I began to look for a more portable mount/tripod combo.

I already had my Losmandy G-9 mount before receiving the Showa, but it was on a Davis and Sanford Astro 600 tripod ( the same tripod Astro-Physics used to sell for their 400 mount) It was a great combo for a Takahashi FS78 that I had at the time, but it wouldn’t provide the sturdiness I like for the longer moment arm and greater weight of the Showa. I sold the D&S tripod and purchased a Losmandy HD tripod. The Losmandy HD tripod was a trade-off; while it was much more stable than the D&S, it weighed 5X (33 lbs.) as much as the D&S (6.5 lbs). However, after set up, it worked very well and kept me satisfied for years!

Along came the TEC 110FL – both lighter and shorter (less moment arm). Now with a more portable refractor, I wanted a more portable mount/tripod. Don’t get me wrong, the Losmandy HD is a great tripod, but heavy and the legs do not fold, making setup more involved. So, the search began for a different tripod. At first I considered the somewhat new Losmandy folding HD tripod, but while aiding in setup, it did nothing for weight reduction. I also considered another D&S Astro 600, but they seem to be no longer available and I’m still not sure if it would be sturdy enough for the TEC. I also considered a wood tripod, but I never cared for the flexure or the lack of weight capacity.

I posted in this forum asking for suggestion, but didn't receive much feedback and so I did some research myself and I thought I would share.

After I searched through the telescope-mount tripods and didn’t find what I wanted (call me finicky), I began to look at the photography tripods. The research took a while, but I finally decided on a Kessler Crane tripod, called a K-Pod. Here are the specs:
Load capacity - 500 lbs.
Weight - 22 lbs.
Min height - 37"
Max height - 64"
Website: http://www.kesslercrane.com/product-p/100078.htm
It also has a unique leg-locking system that locks the legs in position using “lock-pockets” without any possibility of slippage; explained better in the video.

After it arrived, I machined an adapter for the Losmandy G-9 and put the combo together.
PROS: attractive, metal, fairly light weight, folds, locking spreader and is solid as a rock
CONS: somewhat expensive --$600 and another $130 for the logo carrying case

After, I get a chance under clear night skies, I’ll add to my assessment.


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: PJ Anway]
      #6293214 - 01/05/14 04:16 AM

That looks like a good find.. especially now that Rob Miller tripods are no longer available. It's not particularly cheap but does cost less than the Berlebach Planet, Rob Miller tripods, or the premium options from AP, Takahashi, or Bisque.

I'm not so sure it can carry a PME and CDK17 as its weight rating suggests... but if it can carry 150lb reliably for astrophotography it would be a honking good deal..

There are 100lb rated tripods from Libec which might be enough for smaller loads.

PJ, can you post a photo of the top of this tripod and how you adapted it to your G9? After some math this tripod does look like a good choice price wise for me. I need to be able to attach a 6" diameter flat plate to the hub in order to attach an ADATRI.


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

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Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6293381 - 01/05/14 09:06 AM

I guess the real question is how does it compare to the Losmandy HD.

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PJ Anway
Double-Star Observer
*****

Reged: 06/04/03

Loc: North Coast
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6293877 - 01/05/14 01:01 PM

Quote:


PJ, can you post a photo of the top of this tripod and how you adapted it to your G9? After some math this tripod does look like a good choice price wise for me. I need to be able to attach a 6" diameter flat plate to the hub in order to attach an ADATRI.


Quote:

I guess the real question is how does it compare to the Losmandy HD.




The tripod has a standard 100mm bowl and takes a 100mm ball leveler. However, I adapted in another way. I'll post a pic later.

As far as comparison to the Losmandy HD tripod, they both carry my load solidly. So, the advantages to me are: folding legs and 40% weight reduction.


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andysea
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: PJ Anway]
      #6294312 - 01/05/14 04:26 PM

That's a great looking tripod! I will bookmark it for future reference. $600 is actually a good price. My Rob Miller, if I remember well, was well over that.

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Mark9473
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Reged: 07/21/05

Loc: 51°N 4°E
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: andysea]
      #6295533 - 01/06/14 09:39 AM

PJ did you come across the Avalon T-Pod? Just curious if you decided against it for some particular reason.

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nicklane1
sage
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Reged: 03/04/08

Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: Mark9473]
      #6295835 - 01/06/14 12:19 PM

Quote:

PJ did you come across the Avalon T-Pod? Just curious if you decided against it for some particular reason.




I purchased a T-Pod. I will do a review soon


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Mark9473
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Reged: 07/21/05

Loc: 51°N 4°E
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: nicklane1]
      #6295852 - 01/06/14 12:27 PM

I'll be on the look-out for that, Nick, thanks. Could you already let me know what the width is at the top for the model you have?

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nicklane1
sage
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Reged: 03/04/08

Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: Mark9473]
      #6296115 - 01/06/14 02:25 PM

Quote:

I'll be on the look-out for that, Nick, thanks. Could you already let me know what the width is at the top for the model you have?



I have the T-Pod130. The top is 6" wide


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Mark9473
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Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: nicklane1]
      #6296262 - 01/06/14 03:31 PM

Thanks; I guess that's a bit less than my Berlebach Planet. Useful to avoid hitting the tripod legs.

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PJ Anway
Double-Star Observer
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Reged: 06/04/03

Loc: North Coast
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: Mark9473]
      #6296281 - 01/06/14 03:40 PM

Quote:

PJ did you come across the Avalon T-Pod? Just curious if you decided against it for some particular reason.




Mark,
I took a look, but the price was a little steep for me. However, I am also looking forward the review.


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Adam S
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/21/05

Loc: Gunnison, Colorado
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: PJ Anway]
      #6300490 - 01/08/14 05:30 PM

This looks like an amazing tripod for the money. I just bought a Nova Hitch which I'm using with an FS 102 and a 130mm AP. My tripod is the DM 6 tripod, works great with the 102 and is acceptable with the 130. I'd love to have folding legs as an option, a little beefier as well. Looking forward to your comparison with the Losmandy HD (a very stout tripod).

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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: Adam S]
      #6309445 - 01/13/14 12:56 AM

any update?

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PJ Anway
Double-Star Observer
*****

Reged: 06/04/03

Loc: North Coast
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6310331 - 01/13/14 01:47 PM Attachment (40 downloads)

The weather has been pretty bad for over a week now and I spend a lot of my time after work, blowing snow.
However, I did do some more daytime testing- nothing but clouds. Damping time with my setup (rap test) is less than a second, about the same as the Losmandy HD.

I'm attaching a pic of my adapter for the G-9 - nothing fancy. I machined a piece of 1-1/4” thick aluminum to the inside diameter of the Losmandy mounting plate. Drilled and tapped three 3/8” holes to match the plate. Drilled a 7/16” hole through the middle and bolted it to the tripod through the hole in the tripod top, using a large washer on the bottom and a 3/8” X 3.5” bolt.


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orlyandico
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Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: PJ Anway]
      #6311271 - 01/13/14 10:21 PM

So you didn't machine the lower part of your adapter into a ball like shape anymore? It just sits on top of the 100mm ball socket?

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PJ Anway
Double-Star Observer
*****

Reged: 06/04/03

Loc: North Coast
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6312066 - 01/14/14 11:12 AM

Quote:

So you didn't machine the lower part of your adapter into a ball like shape anymore? It just sits on top of the 100mm ball socket?




Correct. However, I did put a rubber disc on the botton of the adapter and on top of the lower washer, so that neither would mar the anodized finish of the ball socket. I do have a ball turner (radius maker) for the lathe that can handle a 100mm radius, but I didn't think it was necessary to have the radius on the bottom and I would have needed thicker aluminum stock, which I didn't have on hand.


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orlyandico
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Loc: Singapore
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: PJ Anway]
      #6359101 - 02/06/14 05:48 AM

hi PJ,
any updates on this?

I am in the process of looking for a new tripod for my Mach1. The Losmandy HD is too heavy, so my current candidate is the Berlebach Planet. But this is cheaper, lighter, and allegedly carries more.


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astrophile
sage


Reged: 06/30/13

Loc: Chaise-lounge, 18x50s in hand
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6363969 - 02/08/14 12:30 PM

PJ,

Thanks for posting about your find, it's great to know about this option...I too am a satisfied Losmandy HD user, who nonetheless daydreams about a lighter solution!

Please, what is the diameter of the hole at the bottom of the 100mm bowl?

Also, just wondering, any chance that rubber disc increases your damping time just a bit? Seems like a flexible material sandwiched between the metal-metal might degrade rigidity. Not being critical, it's an honest question.


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PJ Anway
Double-Star Observer
*****

Reged: 06/04/03

Loc: North Coast
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: astrophile]
      #6364587 - 02/08/14 06:05 PM

Quote:

Please, what is the diameter of the hole at the bottom of the 100mm bowl?

Also, just wondering, any chance that rubber disc increases your damping time just a bit? Seems like a flexible material sandwiched between the metal-metal might degrade rigidity. Not being critical, it's an honest question.




The hole at the bottom of the bowl is 40mm in diameter (1-1/2").

Not sure if the rubber discs help dampening, but I can't imagine they hurt it any.

Winter on the North Coast this year has been pretty difficult - cloudy and snowing or clear and in the single digits. So I have not been able to put any time in testing the tripod under starry skies. Hopefully we'll get a break in weather sometime soon.


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astrophile
sage


Reged: 06/30/13

Loc: Chaise-lounge, 18x50s in hand
Re: Tripod Choice new [Re: PJ Anway]
      #6364805 - 02/08/14 08:13 PM

Thanks! Sorry for the questions barrage--do you think a Losmandy MA adapter (6" diameter cylinder) would sit on top of the tripod bowl without interfering with folding/opening the legs?

Nice, nice setup by the way...that TEC 110 has me drooling...


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