Which wedge is best?
Posted 24 November 2003 - 07:01 PM
Whilst I wait for my new 12" to turn up, I'm starting to think about a wedge so that I can polar align. I've heard some bad reviews of the Meade Super Wedge. Are these comments justified and if so what wedge would you recommend?
Whilst I save for a permanent set-up, I'll be using the Giant Field Tripod for the foreseable future, so I'm looking for something that is stiff, but not too heavy. Also how easy is it to locate the scope & forks on a wedge? Do they have any locating marks to ease mounting the scope/forks, especially in the dark?
Thanks for your help.
Posted 26 November 2003 - 05:21 AM
I'm not sure which wedge is best, seeing as I only started using a wedge 2 weeks ago I can't really comment on that! The wedge I have is the Meade Super Wedge (I believe!) and it seems solid enough to me. The person I bought the LX200 off used it exclusively for astrophotography, and bought that wedge specifically because it was sturdy. However, I can't really tell you whether it is better than any other wedges due to my inexperience with them.
I can tell you how easy it is to mount the scope/forks on it! The scope has 3 screws to hold it onto the wedge, and the wedge has 3 corresponding holes. One of these holes has been cut so it is rectangular and extends out to the edge of the wedge, more like a slot than a drilled hole. To mount the scope, you just need to insert one of the screws under the scope and leave it protruding, then you align this screw with the slot in the top of the wedge, slide it in and then tighten it up! I can do it blindfolded! Once this has been done, you just align the edges of the wedge with the bottom of the scope and the other two screw holes will be aligned ready for the screws.
It takes me less than a minute to do. The hardest part is lifting the scope /forks up!
Posted 26 November 2003 - 06:02 AM
I guess our weather in England over the last couple of weeks have prevented you from using the scope, but how solid does the wedge lock in the appropriate latitude? Does it rely on friction between the two halves when the bolts are tightened?
Posted 26 November 2003 - 08:37 AM
You're right about the weather, I haven't been able to use the scope much over the last two weeks. The first night was brilliant though.
The tilt plate is clamped between two side pieces. So the clamping force for the tilt plate does depend on friction of the pieces and the strength of the bolts used to clamp it together. I have heard of people being dissatisfied with this but mine seems extremely solid (and heavy in itself!). Bear in mind that my LX200 is 8" and therefore lighter than your 12".
As for the latitude locking, this is dependent on a screw mechanism, turning a knob under the wedge moves the tilt plate up and down. Again, mine is solid and doesn't move no matter how much weight I put on it. This isn't just a case of clamping and hoping it doesn't budge (thankfully!). You actually have to turn the knob (easy by hand) to alter the latitude, I can't see this being moved by excessive weight to be honest.
Hopefully somebody who has been able to use the Super Wedge and some other wedge (like the Mettler wegde) will be able to give you a better comparison.
Posted 26 November 2003 - 12:28 PM
Posted 26 November 2003 - 01:55 PM
I have the Super Wedge, it was almost impossible to align it, took 30 minutes sometimes, very frustrating.
Tha seems to be the consensus: the Meade is OK if you're going to permanently mount it but to be avoided if you're going to be travelling to every session. The Meade is just too hard to adjust - it gets wobbly when you loosen things - but once you do get it locked up it does well. The non-Meades have capitalized on this... much smoother and accurate (and thus faster) for frequent setup adjustments (but you pay for that).
Posted 26 November 2003 - 06:23 PM
What would I recommend buying. A used Meade Superwedge and then buy the mods. That way you'll end up with what you should had if you bought the wedge brand new, (A Quality Wedge).
Shame on Meade!
Posted 26 November 2003 - 07:19 PM
Why is it that everything that is sold these days has to be modified to be acceptable
[rant mode off]
Posted 27 November 2003 - 05:14 PM
Posted 27 November 2003 - 05:59 PM
Posted 28 November 2003 - 05:50 AM
I'm glad Charles, Tom et. al. were able to offer their advice as well! There's two good sites you can keep browsing for second-hand equipment in the UK,
UK Astronomy Buy and Sell:
I think Tom's rant is one that should be voiced to the manufacturers repeatedly! I find it so incredibly annoying that people pay a lot of money for equipment and then have to modify it to gain optimum performance.
I hope you find a solution to your wedge dilemma soon,