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My experience with the Starizona Landing Pad
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I wanted to provide a review of my experience with a Starizona Landing Pad I recently purchased for my CPC 1100.
First, the good news: the product does make “finding” the center pin on the tripod easier, thus facilitating attaching the OTA to the tripod. The 3 wings of the landing pad do a good job of assisting in setting the OTA in the correct position, and I found that positioning the OTA with the landing pad installed was quicker and easier than without the landing pad.
But the not so good news: adding the landing pad potentially compromises the stability of the OTA on the tripod because the added thickness of the landing pad reduces the number of threads the 3 OEM bolts that attach the OTA to the tripod have available from 5 threads to 2 - perhaps 3, at most. This is a serious flaw, in my opinion, in the design of the landing pad, although it is not obvious how it could have been designed otherwise, other than including 3 longer bolts to replace the OEM bolts. (Which is probably the correct solution.)
See the pic below. The credit card to the left helps to see how many threads of the OEM bolts are available when the landing pad is installed on the tripod. You can see that instead of the full length of the OEM bolts - 5 threads - as available to secure the OTA, only 2-3 threads are available when using the landing pad. (That’s about half of the OEM bolt length.) 2-3 threads is not much when securing a heavy OTA like that of a CPC, particularly an 1100, and may compromise the stability of the OTA on the tripod, as half of the OEM bolt length is no longer securing the OTA when using the landing pad versus without it.
Additionally, while not a functional deficiency, Starizona is no longer etching their landing pads with "Starizona," "Landing Pad," or "Made in the USA,” although the website product page still presents the etched version. According to Starizona, the expense of doing so has become prohibitive in their pursuit to keep the cost of the landing pad at $69 (plus shipping). So, you now receive a generic-looking accessory, which in my opinion diminishes the attractiveness of this item. (See pics below comparing etched and current versions of the landing pad).
I genuinely looked forward to receiving the landing pad, as it can be difficult to find the correct placement of the CPC OTA on the tripod, particularly with the heavy 1100. But the stability concerns are not insignificant. For the $80 cost, I’d like to see Starizona include longer replacement mounting bolts to address these concerns. And if I choose to keep using the landing pad, I will likely replace the bolts myself with a trip to the hardware store.
- BinoGuy, SherwoodL, alstarjoey and 3 others like this