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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Ira
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/22/10

Loc: Mitzpe Ramon, Israel
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: tonyt]
      #4467345 - 03/22/11 08:51 PM

Given your requirements, I would recommend the T-Rex. Never used it myself but have extensively perused the materials online. I use a Vixen PortaMount with a 4" refractor. For me, slo-mo controls are a requirement. The Vixen has very smooth and easy to use ones, the T-Rex far better still.

I can use the highest powers the seeing will support with my rig, but I have to admit it does get tedious after a while using the slo-mo manual controls. I can see much more, and more comfortably with my simple motor-driven C8. Hence, I am transitioning over to an iOptron MiniTower, hoping to maintain the ease of set-up of an alt-az mount with the convenience of motor drive (and goto).

/Ira


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NHRob
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/27/04

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: tonyt]
      #4470319 - 03/24/11 07:04 AM

Hi Tim,
I've pursued this goal before and found it only worked for me with a small apo (< 4"). I found that it was often dicey getting the whole rig out the door without the scope swinging and hitting something. Sure you can lock down the axes but, once I forgot and wacked the scope against the door frame. Nevermind that the porch door was spring loaded. I ended up having to be a contortionist to get the thing outside without dinging the scope. I've used a Gibralter, a Gyro, and Unistar mounts, as well as a Discmount "clone". The scopes I used were all sorts .. SV-105, FS-102, FC-100, Traveller, TEC-140, TV-101, TOA-130, and on.

In the end I found it was just best to do it in two trips ... mount first, then the scope. Fewer ulcers! With such a fine scope as your AP130GT, that's what I would do.

Once outside it was easier to move the whole rig, to reposition it.

That's my opinion ... given at no charge .... and worth every penny you paid for it!

: )


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t.r.
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: NHRob]
      #4470343 - 03/24/11 07:34 AM

Rob, Which of those mounts would say say was the better experience with the larger (5") scopes?

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NHRob
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/27/04

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: t.r.]
      #4472804 - 03/25/11 07:31 AM

Oh, I forgot .. I also had a Teegul mount, with my own DIY version of the Lapides mod (used baltic birch).

The DM clone was a homemade job with 5" diameter solid alum discs. The bearing surfaces were polished and moved against sheet teflon. That sucker was smooth! I used a FS-152 and TOA-130 on it and it didn't break a sweat! The structure was made from baltic birch ply and sat on a semipier. It was definitely NOT GnG!

Hard to say which was the best since I've used them at different points in time and with different scopes.

My opinions:

Gibralter: easy to use, classic good looks on the wood tripod. I found it fussy to achieve critical balance and for movements at high mag. I feel that the issue is that the bearing diameter is fairly small, relative to the moment arm of many refractors. Great for a short apo, IMO.

Gyro-II: very nice, smooth mount when friction is adjusted up. cantilevered design (which I am not wild about). A good option, IMO.
The 130GT is light enough that you prob don't need a counterweight.
Counterweights are a deal-breaker for me, to be considered a grab-n-go mount.

modified Teegul: also cantilevered but solid and I loved the slo mo controls. I think this is another great option - get a good tripod! I used it with my FS-102.

Unistar Deluxe: while this mount easily handled my scope (TEC140) I found that at high mags, there was a little bit of mechanical resonance (due no doubt to the long alum. arm ... think tuning fork!). It extended the damping a bit to maybe 1-2 seconds. Maybe I was being picky about that. It is incredibly easy to use, a friendly mount. My scope was a heavier load than yours so, you would do a lot better than I did. Use a good tripod!

I think a solid tripod is 70% of the solution. Don't skimp on that. In my experiences I did not factor in slo-mo ctrls. If that is important than I think you could get the Teegul to work, using a tripod extension head.

The HH looks intruiging and, if I had the $$ I'd think about going that way ... due to good reviews and slo-mo ctrls.

Hope this helps.


Edited by NHRob (03/25/11 12:10 PM)


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bbyrd
sage
*****

Reged: 10/08/06

Loc: north carolina
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: NHRob]
      #4472920 - 03/25/11 08:49 AM

Quote:


I've used a Gibralter, a Gyro, and Unistar mounts, as well as a Discmount "clone".





I never encountered a Discmount clone. What is it?
Thanks,
Bob


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FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: Bill Barlow]
      #4472949 - 03/25/11 09:09 AM

Quote:

I've had very good results with Universal Astronomics' Unistar altaz mounts on UA aluminum surveyor tripods.




I second the recommendation of UA's Unistar mount. The owner of UA, Larry, is extremely helpful to talk to, and is the sort of guy who won't gladly sell you something that is a poor fit for your needs, just to sell you something.


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NHRob
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/27/04

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: bbyrd]
      #4473294 - 03/25/11 12:08 PM

It was a homemade mount, for my own use.

Quote:

Quote:


I've used a Gibralter, a Gyro, and Unistar mounts, as well as a Discmount "clone".





I never encountered a Discmount clone. What is it?
Thanks,
Bob




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NHRob
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/27/04

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: NHRob]
      #4473304 - 03/25/11 12:13 PM

I would also take a close look at the DM4, the Discmount4. That appears to be a nicely sized for the AP130 GT!

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coopman
Post Laureate
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Reged: 04/23/06

Loc: South Louisiana
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: NHRob]
      #4474401 - 03/25/11 09:25 PM

I have a 127mm Antares f6.5 and a Sky-Watcher 120ED. These OTAs take turns on my Unistar Deluxe and UA heavy duty surveyor's tripod. These are enjoyable combos to use in my opinion and work very well for my purposes, but I am more of a rich field scanner and pump up the power when I run across something that I want to take a closer look at. I look at the moon a good bit, but the planets only casually. It is easy to nudge the OTA on the Unistar, but the control is all you, there are no slow motion controls or knobs to turn - that would be the one improvement that I'd love to see them make. Like was said previously, Larry at UA is a great guy and he will give you straight answers about what he believes your set-up should be. I don't recommend using the light alum. tripod because this will increase the shakes and dampening times so much that it will be annoying. When I first got my 127, I was planning to use it on my lightweight alum. tripod with the Unistar light mount. That combo was very unsuitable and I knew after the first night under the stars that I was going to have to beef up the mount and tripod if I wanted to use the scope without a lot of patience and frustration. Of course, I was exceeding the rating of the mount, so you can't blame the poor Unistar Light for it. I am now using a Unistar Deluxe and heavy duty surveyor's tripod on a Scopebuggy. This is a great set-up for me, because I can let up the garage door, grab the scopebuggy handle and pull it on out into the yard whenever I'm ready to observe. If you under-mount your 130 you will be miserable with it, especially if you want to do high mag. planetary observing. You should plan on taking the tripod & mount outside first, followed by the OTA. In my experience, refractor tubes are awkward to carry around when mounted and you don't want to bang up your scope.

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philrod
super member
*****

Reged: 07/19/04

Loc: Fallon, Nevada
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: coopman]
      #4544152 - 04/25/11 09:52 PM

I don't know how I managed to miss this interesting discussion. Probably too much tv. Anyway,I'm considering upgrading my telepod to a light weight Alt/Az for my TV85 & SV102ED. My tenative choice is the DM4 with encoders installed on a Stellarvue heavy duty surveyors tripod. If it works out, I'll probably sell the telepod & GM8 as I don't have much storage space and, as t.r. says, it's all about "grab and go simplicity".

Philrod

TV85/Telepod
SV102ED/GM8
10x50 ultraview
Various Radians Plossls & Panoptics


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Jawaid I. Abbasi
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/19/07

Loc: LEVITTOWN, PA
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: philrod]
      #4544224 - 04/25/11 10:24 PM Attachment (35 downloads)

Three mounts but now a days; oly using P-mount.
22# P-mount capacity
25# Each side Orion AZ (dual mount)
22# Capacity Slik SH-909


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Jawaid I. Abbasi
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/19/07

Loc: LEVITTOWN, PA
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: Jawaid I. Abbasi]
      #4544225 - 04/25/11 10:24 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

Another one

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Jawaid I. Abbasi
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/19/07

Loc: LEVITTOWN, PA
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: Jawaid I. Abbasi]
      #4544228 - 04/25/11 10:25 PM Attachment (29 downloads)

And another one

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NHRob
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/27/04

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: Jawaid I. Abbasi]
      #4544736 - 04/26/11 06:38 AM

So Tim,
Which way did you go??


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Waxing Gibbous
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/19/10

Loc: Victoria, Australia
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... new [Re: tonyt]
      #4545421 - 04/26/11 12:32 PM

Much as I'd love to agree with Ira, I think the T-Rex is a little hefty for a "Grab & Go"
Mine is perfect in it's semi-permenant spot, but takes a bit of shifting unless you use a buggy.

The Half/Quarter Hitches were second on my list as they appear beautifully made and have good slo-mo capability.
I by-passed them because of:
a) Price. At the time the HH would have cost me over $2500 to import!
and
b)Lots of exposed bits are not condusive to long equipment life in my bit of the world : hot & dry, cold & wet, windy, dusty, muddy, gritty. Sometimes all at once.

But in less hostile places, I think the 'Hitches would be very nice.


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MattT
sage


Reged: 04/20/06

Loc: SF Bay Area
Re: Alt/Az Experience needed... [Re: Waxing Gibbous]
      #4546435 - 04/26/11 08:55 PM

One of the best and most dedicated observers on the old shallowsky email list observes with a 6" f9 (IIRC) refractor at powers up to 300x, on a homemade alt-az mount. When that list was more active he posted many amazing sketches and observations. So, it can be done.

I've used alt-az mounts often with my various refractors going back 15 years, from 70 to 100mm. I find it gets a little tiresome to track by hand at powers above around 150x. But that's ok, since with scopes of 100mm under my sea-level atmosphere I seldom want to push the magnification any higher. Keep in mind I like to sketch, so my 150x limit is based on an observing style that requires more time away from the eyepiece than others might require.

I have tried a few mounts with geared manual slow motions and haven't found one I've liked. Without polar alignment they seem to get in the way more than anything else. For one thing, you better have both hands free: if you have a spare eyepiece, flashlight, or sketchbook in one hand, good luck trying to turn two knobs simultaneously. With a smooth, free-moving alt-az mount I can just reach up with my pencil hand and nudge the scope along much more easily.

As for brands - I have a Unistar Light that I like, but the 130mm would be too heavy for it. The same maker, Universal Astronomics, also offers larger versions that I think are well regarded.

Clear skies,


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