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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: Agatha]
      #5782363 - 04/06/13 06:29 PM

OK. Here's my most recent of Siamese additions adopted from Best Friends in Kanab, UT last summer. Elsy is one of the sweetest cats I have ever adopted. Six Siamese including this flame point.

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of anyone with a scope or mount and I don't have a Berlebach in house right now. I looked through the Berlebach catalog but they don't list the tripod spreads anywhere. However, they can be used with a chain system like a surveyor's tripod rather than a tray which would then allow for a much wider spread.



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CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: EFT]
      #5782503 - 04/06/13 07:43 PM

Thanks for those measurements Agatha and Mark.

Jeff that's a beauty of a setup you've constructed - ep tray looks great!

Slightly OT, I notice you went with the TEC finder bracket - IMO it' modern marvel for the finder, love it.

in one way I'm very out of step... no cat's, just a wonderful crazy Aussie. Though he's trained to about 50 commands in two languages, I don't let him near my astro gear.... I'm afraid he'll learn what I'm doing and always try and change my object to the dog star!?


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5782647 - 04/06/13 09:29 PM

I bought the TEC 140 used last September. It came with the finder, bracket and aluminum case. My other refractor used on this setup is a SV115T. I just bought the field flattener for the TEC 140 so it may spend more time on my AP900 mount for imaging. The Planet is solid, easy to setup, but not light. I like the rock solid weight to it. I worry less about my scope being around the public when its on the Planet. My lightweight rig for my SV115T is a DM4 on a Gitzo 5541LS carbon fiber tripod. I can pick up the scope, mount and tripod and carry it around the yard. I wouldn't leave it unattended in a stiff breeze though.

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Agatha
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/04/12

Loc: Coulee Region, Wisconsin
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5782910 - 04/06/13 11:57 PM

Jim,

Be sure to let us know what you you decide on. And pictures will be nice to see also.

Ed, your Elsy is beautiful and so fortunate to have a good home. Thanks.

Best, Linda B.


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mark8888
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/24/10

Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: Agatha]
      #5783105 - 04/07/13 04:41 AM

Both Elsy and Linda's cats look like really good cats. Gotta love astrono-cats. And astrono-dogs for that matter.


Quote:

The larger tray should not require any drilling and would widen the stance of the tripod.




Quote:

I looked through the Berlebach catalog but they don't list the tripod spreads anywhere. However, they can be used with a chain system like a surveyor's tripod rather than a tray which would then allow for a much wider spread.





Thanks for the information! When I get a chance I will contact Berlebach to see if they do sell a larger spreader to support the larger tray and will report the result here.


Quote:

Mark, don't mind at all, in fact this sort of information is desired. Beautiful bino setup 'action pic' there. Which scope is that?





OK good... it's a TEC 140.


Quote:

Actually, the TEC 180 might be just fine on it. The AP 175 is longer and significantly heavier.





Hm! I hope so. I'll have to try it. If it seems unstable, I hope widening the stance will fix the problem. The Planet is a joy to use and I hope to keep using it.


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CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: mark8888]
      #5783652 - 04/07/13 12:01 PM

Jeff, Measured from top of the lowest leg ext clamp, what is the distance to the tray clamps you used when raising the tray height?

Linda, I will post pictures when it's a done deal




.


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Daud
sage


Reged: 08/05/06

Loc: AZ, Scottsdale
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5783739 - 04/07/13 12:50 PM

Which Berlebach you would choose a notch below the Planet tripod ?
What source for purchase ? Direct ?


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CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: Daud]
      #5783780 - 04/07/13 01:09 PM

I decided to buy though Ed Thomas at Deep Space Products. A great fellow to deal with and a frequent contibuter here

[EDIT- he's also nearly a neighbor to your location]

Edited by CounterWeight (04/07/13 01:15 PM)


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: Daud]
      #5783974 - 04/07/13 02:52 PM

Quote:

Which Berlebach you would choose a notch below the Planet tripod ?
What source for purchase ? Direct ?




The UNI tripods are the next level below the PLANET and are several hundred dollars less.


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mark8888
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/24/10

Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: EFT]
      #5784010 - 04/07/13 03:08 PM

"You don't need to buy a larger tray, you can move the standard tray up a bit and drill new mounting holes"

Hm. I want to revisit this. How many cm or inches higher could one move the spreader/37cm tray from its default location on the Planet and be safe about it, so that the legs wouldn't be "too wide"? Does anyone know? I ask because something I just read in an older thread:

Quote:

Berlebach did not recommend to replace the spreader with a clip-on tray on their high capacity tripods to increase the leg angle. The logic was that for a heavily loaded tripod with a wide leg angle on a slippery surface (I requested plastic feet instead of spikes) an accident like inadvertedly kicking up the tray so that a clip releases might lead to a leg swinging out and the tripod falling over.

Logical, but I guess it could be prevented with a safety chain.

Instead they suggested that they supply a tripod with the spreader installed without the screws in place, whereby I could choose and adjust the leg angle (by varying the spreader assembly height on the legs) until I'm happy with it, and then finally lock the spreader with the screws.




( http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5011574/Main... )

... has me thinking that yes, moving the spreader tray higher may well be the safer option. Because Berlebach's comment about it does make sense. But... how much higher? A couple of inches OK?

This is a silly question but... would a drill absolutely be necessary to make the new holes for the screws, or could one actually just "screw them" into their new locations with enough pressure and a regular screwdriver? If not, what size drill bit would be necessary? Could one buy a "hand drill" to do this rather than an electrical one? I feel very silly and clueless but I guess its necessary to ask...


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: mark8888]
      #5784048 - 04/07/13 03:20 PM

Wood screws without drilling would probably work fine. But it is best to drill pilot holes to ensure that you don't split the wood.

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CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: EFT]
      #5784121 - 04/07/13 03:44 PM

Mark good question, that is why I was asking about 3pt-to-circle/radius or as your triangular measure about "what are the actual numbers". Am also curious to see in person the actual attachment mechanicals, and spreader chain stuff and etc...

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Jim7728
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/10/05

Loc: Stoop Landing Observatory, NYC
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: mark8888]
      #5784131 - 04/07/13 03:46 PM Attachment (26 downloads)

They are small screws, but would also recommend a cordless drill to make the holes so as not to split the wood or strip the screw head when screwing. A decent cordless drill can be had for <$50. Of course, use a drill bit smaller in diameter than the screw thread.

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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: EFT]
      #5784192 - 04/07/13 04:11 PM

Jim,

I moved my spreader brackets 2.75 inches higher than the original factory installed position. The bottom of the spreader brackets are 7 inches above the top of the lower leg clamp brackets. I piloted all the new holes with a very small drill bit to make the screws go precisely where I wanted them to. I filled the old holes with wood filler and used a few coats of "wipe on poly" to seal it up. You have to look very closely to tell where the old holes are.

The tripod spreader bracket is quite solid. I don't worry about it failing. The legs are held by the spreader to an angle of 62 degrees from horizontal. My cutting board tray is thinner than the wooden tray sides but wider. Make sure that you can still install the tray at the desired location before piloting new holes for the spreader brackets. The wooden tripod tray was reused as a tray for my Discmount DM4 tripod. It fits perfectly on the DM4 tripod spreaders.

I am sure that the Planet is heavier than I really need for the TEC 140. When I bought it I thought I would get something that would be as capable as the Discmount DM6. I also thought I would use also use a German Equatorial mount on it but I bought the Rob Miller Tri36M for my AP900GTO instead. This allows me to image and observe at the same time. I still have fantasies about buying a TEC 180. I will probably stay with all the refractors I currently have and use the money saved to buy a lighter ladder free large dob such as the Webster 18 inch F4. I currently haul around our clubs Obsession 20 inch F5 and am tired of using the ladder and the extra weight. I want a large dob I will feel comfortable growing old with. My astro gear philosophy is buy once and be happy with it for the rest of your life.


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CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: JMW]
      #5784756 - 04/07/13 08:53 PM

Great info Jeff, thank you!

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mark8888
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/24/10

Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5785438 - 04/08/13 08:38 AM

Ya, really great and detailed info. Jeff, thanks a lot.

Quote:

Make sure that you can still install the tray at the desired location before piloting new holes for the spreader brackets.




I'm curious... did you find that when you moved the spreader brackets 2.75 inches higher, then the tray could no longer be installed? Is that part of the reason why you changed trays, or could you have fit the default one there?


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: mark8888]
      #5786896 - 04/08/13 09:20 PM

I created my own tray because I wanted one with a lot of 2 inch eyepiece holes and immune to damage. I moved up the brackets because I didn't think that the legs were spread out far enough when in the lowest position with my 12 inch Losmandy pier extension. I only keep the legs in the shortest position when doing outreach to elementary schools. When observing with only adults I like the tripod much higher. The pier extension allows my TEC 140 to rotate clear of the tripod legs when looking at the zenith.

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mark8888
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/24/10

Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: JMW]
      #5787750 - 04/09/13 10:20 AM

Quote:

I created my own tray because I wanted one with a lot of 2 inch eyepiece holes and immune to damage. I moved up the brackets because I didn't think that the legs were spread out far enough when in the lowest position with my 12 inch Losmandy pier extension. I only keep the legs in the shortest position when doing outreach to elementary schools. When observing with only adults I like the tripod much higher. The pier extension allows my TEC 140 to rotate clear of the tripod legs when looking at the zenith.




Thanks. Lots of good ideas there!


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johndgaul
member


Reged: 05/19/11

Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5788993 - 04/09/13 07:31 PM Attachment (32 downloads)

I happy with a Planet, in natural (light ash) finish, with double clamps and spiked feet.

The top plate is drilled in two patterns for:
- Losmandy G11 (Berlebach's own Losmandy adapter is nice, though I'm thinking of selling the G11 on),
- Astro-Physics ADATRI,
- and also has a 3/8"-16 spring-loaded stud in the middle.

The spiked feet are perfect on grass. Foot rests enable the spikes to be easily pushed down into firm soil with my bodyweight. In the photo, I've put them right through the old bit of carpet I use as an observing mat. They seem fine on paving stones too (haven't found slippage a problem with the weight of mount and instrument on top, and they seem too robust to be blunted). The spikes would scratch a wooden-decked area (not ideal for observing anyway due to inherent vibrations) or if stood up indoors on a wooden floor. Here the rubber feet option might be an advantage.

The tripod seems very solid and works beautifully with a 5" f/6 refractor mounted on a Losmandy G11, Astro-Physics Mach1GTO, or a Super Half Hitch (SHH).

The wide top plate of the tripod limits the reach of the refractor to about 75 degrees altitude when using the SHH (Alt Az). Bearable, but not ideal - I want to do something about it. The equatorial mounts are not affected. This limitation could, I think, be mitigated by a riser. I'm reluctant to use a tall 8" riser, because:
- it's another voluminous thing to lug about and pack somewhere
- it would make the tripod more "tippy" with the legs at the standard angle (spreader at standard fitted height, with tray)
- it would add an extra step and time to set up - fit riser to tripod top plate, with adapter to 3/8" stud for SHH
- aesthetically... (yeah, I know, but look at the photo )

A 4" riser from the A-P ADATRI to a 3/8" stud would probably be just right. I haven't worked out the angles yet - how close to zenith this would allow. The machining genius Rob Miller used to make natty risers just like this, but he seems to have left the limelight in the last few months, hopefully temporarily. If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know!

I like the Berlebach bag - nice colours, and being canvas, breathable so dew can dry out through the fabric. I reckon I might need to replace the nylon zip at some point with something stronger, though it's been fine.

Full marks to Berlebach for customer service - Marion for dealing with my enquiries, and whoever drilled the top plate to my spec so neatly and a custom-length threaded stud.

I would highly recommend the Planet. The wood is nice and warm to the touch, has good vibration-damping qualities (anecdotally), and not least, it looks fantastic, even in the dark.

Star Party in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, UK, September 2012, before a memorable session. BBC Sky at Night TV crew on the right. Just missing a cat!


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CounterWeight
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Talk about your Planet tripod... [Re: johndgaul]
      #5789476 - 04/10/13 01:41 AM

Nice image johndgaul! that scope/mount/chair combo sure is nice looking.

I'm looking at getting the AP 8" extension (for Mach1) if I can't get someone local to make me one for less $.


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