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92hatchattack
member


Reged: 11/09/12

Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians?
      #5713582 - 03/04/13 11:14 PM

Hello everyone. I was wondering if anyone here has had any experience with affordable tracking platforms for dobs and how they liked the particular model they have?

I was shown this website for the Atomic Equatorial Platform. http://atomicplatforms.com/ The price is very reasonable and it looks to be able to do what I need it to do, but im wondering if anyone has had any first hand experiences with this product? Or is thee a similar platform in this price range that may be a better performer or better value?

Thank you guys!

---Joe


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kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: 92hatchattack]
      #5713591 - 03/04/13 11:20 PM

I have an Atomic bought used on Amart and a Roundtable (a brand no longer made). I really like the craftsmanship on the Atomic. Mine runs forever on one 9-volt battery. I made it into the dedicated base of my Z12. This means the rockerboard attaches directly to the platform.

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nicknacknock
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 02/20/12

Loc: In a galaxy far far away...
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5713723 - 03/05/13 12:57 AM

Joe,

The platform is only sold on CN as the manufacturer does this on the side. They pop up on CN classifieds at a rate of one every month or so, so you need to keep your eye on the classifieds...

The only one I know is in Europe and it's from MF Dobson as sold by Teleskop Express:

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5419_Dobsonian-EQ-...

Deduct VAT, calculate shipping and it probably comes to the same price...


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92hatchattack
member


Reged: 11/09/12

Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: nicknacknock]
      #5713888 - 03/05/13 05:41 AM

So in other words, it may be hard to get your hands on one of these huh?

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nicknacknock
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 02/20/12

Loc: In a galaxy far far away...
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: 92hatchattack]
      #5713897 - 03/05/13 06:02 AM

Well, no! I guess you have to hit the classifieds daily until you come across one. Last one sold was Feb 25 and I see that the cycle has decreased. In a couple of weeks a new one should become available.

Just type "atomic" in the search field of classifieds and you will see what I am talking about...

CS,

Nicos


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kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: nicknacknock]
      #5714302 - 03/05/13 12:01 PM

Not hard. If you're committed, monitor here and Amart. Amart usually has one appear about every two weeks.

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JLovell
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/12/10

Loc: Georgia
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5714448 - 03/05/13 01:10 PM

I've been trying to get an Atomic for the last few months. They just pop up in the classifieds at random, and get bought VERY quickly. I've caught it within an hour of it being posted, and already there were 30-40 views. I sent a PM each time I've seen them, and was told it had already sold each time.

I looked around, and found a web site by fellow CN'er Ed Jones. http://opticaleds.site88.net/ He custom makes them starting at $400. I have one on order from him right now. Unlike Atomic, Ed has a waiting list, and takes orders. Atomic simply posts on the classifieds, and you'd better hope you get lucky.

Anyway, if you are handy and have some tools, Ed Jones has some threads in the ATM forum showing exactly how he builds them, although I'm sure he's tweaked the designs a few times since then. I've intended to build one of his designs for a long time, but haven't had the time, so I ordered one from him. One thread of his is here: http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/2418954/page...

Another I've found, but haven't had experience with is someone named Ted Lafleur, who runs a business called TL Systems. He sells a kit for making a platform that includes most of the parts needed to build one, except wood, and claims only a jigsaw and drill with sanding drum to cut the semi-circular piece. http://pw1.netcom.com/~tlsystem/cablet4.htm

Edited by JLovell (03/05/13 01:13 PM)


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JLovell
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/12/10

Loc: Georgia
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: JLovell]
      #5714513 - 03/05/13 01:38 PM

Ed Jones uses AC "timing motors" to run his platforms. They are the type of motors that drive old fashioned electric clocks. They are quite cheap, reliable, and accurate, and don't require fancy electronics like stepper motors. The speed at which they turn is directly linked to the frequency of the AC. Simple inverters that you plug in to cigarette lighters on cars, or jump boxes, can make it portable. He modifies inverters to be variable frequency for his higher end models. I asked him if he'd consider selling me one with my lower end model, and he agreed for a reasonable price. Inverters are not as stable in frequency as the AC in your wall outlets. It can fluctuate with temperature and other factors. It's still probably accurate enough for visual use, at worst very slowly drifting and not staying in view for quite the whole hour. With an adjustable inverter, you can tweak the speed of tracking a little. That helps tracking things like the moon, which moves at a different rate as the stars, too. I'm gong to be paying a total of $470, I think, for the fully built platform, the modified inverter, and shipping.

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Jeff2011
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/01/13

Loc: Sugar Land, TX
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: JLovell]
      #5714536 - 03/05/13 01:56 PM

I built my own platform because I thought it would be a fun project and it was. However, I have put into it about what Atomic sells theirs for. Ed has really good platforms too and he is a master at building them. Platforms are built for a specific latitude and can generally be used within 5 degrees of that, so if you buy one used, take that into consideration.

Here is the link to my platform pictures:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeff-guck-in-die-luft/8257785049/in/set-72157632...


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northernontario
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 07/01/09

Loc: Porcupine, Ontario Canada
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: Jeff2011]
      #5714877 - 03/05/13 04:51 PM

I have one...home made...but I've never used it.

Nudging simply becomes second nature.

And I can't figure out how to attach my wheel barrow handles to it...

jake


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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: 92hatchattack]
      #5715089 - 03/05/13 06:50 PM

I use an equatorial platform and highly recommend one. The object stays centered when doing high power viewing. Also, the image stays in the field of view when changing and switching eyepieces. I own a Tom O platform. They are expensive. Or are they? Mine is 17 years old and still works fine.

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kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: northernontario]
      #5715097 - 03/05/13 06:54 PM

GeneT, you should post pix of it and see if we could give you some ideas.

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JLovell
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/12/10

Loc: Georgia
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5715386 - 03/05/13 09:18 PM

You mean northernontario? About hooking wheelbarrow handles to it?

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92hatchattack
member


Reged: 11/09/12

Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5715414 - 03/05/13 09:34 PM

Interesting stuff. Ed's platforms look nice as well. JLovell, how to you plan to power your platform?

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JLovell
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/12/10

Loc: Georgia
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: 92hatchattack]
      #5715438 - 03/05/13 09:46 PM

I'll just plug it in at the house, and use the inverter he's sending me plugged in to the cigarette lighter socket in my car or one of those jump start boxes when I'm away from an outlet. He puts resistors on the motors to keep them from pulling very much power.

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92hatchattack
member


Reged: 11/09/12

Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: JLovell]
      #5715553 - 03/05/13 10:52 PM

Nice. I would need a jumper box. I wont really be able to observe from my apartment or anywhere near my car.

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Astrodj
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: 92hatchattack]
      #5715655 - 03/06/13 12:02 AM

I'll make a brief pitch for the Atomic Platform. I bought mine last fall. I watched for it to show up in the classifieds on CN, offered to buy it, and "got lucky" the first try.

Tim Nuebert turned out to be great to deal with and stands behind his product 100% (I have no affiliation whatsoever with Atomic Platforms, for the record, and don't know Tim personally outside of this transaction).

The motor on mine had a factory defect that became evident well after I took possession and Tim gave me a choice of sending out a new motor for me to replace if I felt comfortable with that, or, pay shipping both ways to replace the platform entirely if that was my wish. When he says "100% satisfaction guaranteed" he means it. I opted to replace the motor myself, it was very easy, and Tim stuck with me until I was completely happy with my purchase.

My platform is used with an XT10 and performs flawlessly. It is a joy to use high powers with my dob and be able to concentrate on details for more than a few seconds. The 9V battery enables "unplugged" simplicity at remote sites, and lasts for several nights. Kind of like my trusty C5+.

It serves my needs perfectly.


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92hatchattack
member


Reged: 11/09/12

Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: Astrodj]
      #5715853 - 03/06/13 05:45 AM

^^^ That sounds very nice! And the physicaly look great too. Allthough I dont really plan on purchasing a platform for a few months (Havent even ordered the scope yet) I do wish these Atomic platforms were more readily available. I'll be keeping my eye out for one but if it takes too long I may end up with an Ed Jones platform. I have yet to run across any other platforms that are affordable really without having to make one yourself.

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Astrodj
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: 92hatchattack]
      #5716026 - 03/06/13 09:21 AM

I'm sure you will be happy with any platform of good quality, several have been mentioned here. Price was an important consideration for me. I have heard good things about all the ones in this thread. Another one you may want to check out is made by a guy named George Blandin, I believe. Very good reviews from several CN'ers.

Best of luck to you!

Edited by Astrodj (03/06/13 09:24 AM)


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MikeRatcliff
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/12/04

Loc: Redlands, CA
Re: Equatorial tracking platforms for Dobsonians? new [Re: Astrodj]
      #5716412 - 03/06/13 01:35 PM

I'm happy with my Atomic Platform also. After a year the drive circuitry died, and he sent a replacement for $40. So far so good on the new one. The drive circuitry is from a Celestron product.

I would like to add wheelbarrow handles, but the platform/telescope setup is not really able to be picked up and moved all at once. There is too much danger in having the platform shift and have the telescope fall over. There would have to be more design put into it to make it easily moveable. Plus the base needs leveling and often need wooden spacers put under some corners, not easy when the weight of the telescope is on the platform. An idea for the Atomic II?

Mike


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