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How is your Questar mounted ?

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215 replies to this topic

#26 Brian L

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 03:58 PM

Steve.... very nicely done! Much more professional than the piece of 8" aluminum bar stock that I had cut and then "machined" using a small manual mill. How's it working for you?

#27 Steve's 50th

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 06:01 PM

It works great! I really have to thank you as your posts are what originally brought the AstroTrac wedge to my attention. And then I have to also thank Len Fulham (on the Yahoo Questar group site) for posting pictures of his mount, his had the "scalloped" mounting plate with a lip around the edges to hold the scope, which inspired mine. I like the setup a lot, I'm using a Manfrotto 475B tripod, the whole setup is light yet strong and though I haven't tried any photography with it yet, I think it will work well when I do.

#28 ehallspqr

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 02:11 AM

It works great! I really have to thank you as your posts are what originally brought the AstroTrac wedge to my attention. And then I have to also thank Len Fulham (on the Yahoo Questar group site) for posting pictures of his mount, his had the "scalloped" mounting plate with a lip around the edges to hold the scope, which inspired mine. I like the setup a lot, I'm using a Manfrotto 475B tripod, the whole setup is light yet strong and though I haven't tried any photography with it yet, I think it will work well when I do.

Steve, Brian. I read this thread awhile back and was inspired to build a similar setup for my Questar using a Manfrotto 075 heavy duty Tripod I already have and then ordering a Astro-Trac TW3100 wedge. Wondering how this setup is holding up for you and also if there is a pre made adapter plate that I could buy in leu of having one custom made?

 

I can get a Astro-Trac wedge on sale for a great price right now with free shipping. This looks like a solid way to go for someone that doesn't want to spend the coin for a Tristand or Astropier



#29 Steve's 50th

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 06:56 PM

The wedge has been working very well for me. I'm very happy with the results for the same reasons you are considering it. I never found an adapter plate ready to use, probably because of the very limited market, I only know of 3 people who are using this combination. The machinist that made my adapter for me considered making some extra plates and trying to market them but I told him I thought the demand would be very small and he decided not to. I'd recommend that you take your Q 3.5 to a local machinist who will measure the base and create the adapter for you.



#30 ColoHank

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 07:35 PM

Here's an update to my 10/20/2011 post to this thread:

I've since acquired a very robust Heavy Duty Losmandy tripod and modified my homebuilt wedge to include a micrometer latitude adjustment. The tripod has a wide stance, and the whole setup is extremely stable. I wish I could say it's light as a feather, but...

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  • IMG_2971 - Copy.JPG

Edited by ColoHank, 04 September 2014 - 07:36 PM.

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#31 ehallspqr

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 12:22 AM

The wedge has been working very well for me. I'm very happy with the results for the same reasons you are considering it. I never found an adapter plate ready to use, probably because of the very limited market, I only know of 3 people who are using this combination. The machinist that made my adapter for me considered making some extra plates and trying to market them but I told him I thought the demand would be very small and he decided not to. I'd recommend that you take your Q 3.5 to a local machinist who will measure the base and create the adapter for you.

 

Steve. Thanks for the feedback on the Astro-Trac TW3100. I just ordered one and will look around for a machinist to build an adapter plate. I think I saw the dimensions for the three 8mm mounting holes online somewhere. Then a 1/4"x20 center hole to attach the Questar and a cutout for the Powerguide 2 hookup. This will be my travel setup so I wanted it light and portable. The Manfrotto 075 video tripod folds to 34" and probably weight 10 lbs, the Astro-Trac TW3100 another couple lbs so fairly light/compact for transporting this setup.

 

ColoHank. Excellent craftsmanship on that wedge. Your Q-Star looks great atop it. I lack both the skill and tools to build something like that. I know that Losmandy Tripod, had one with a Losmandy equatorial mount and a Celestron 9.25" tube. It's a beast so this would be good heavy duty setup for Questar photography. But your not going to be taking it outside for a quick peek or transporting it too very far LOL.



#32 Steve's 50th

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 06:24 AM

One big advantage using a tripod instead of the Questar Tristand is that since the legs are adjustable I can use my setup either sitting or standing up, and of course on ground that is not even close to level. And with the built in lift of the tripod I can raise or lower the height of my Q to keep the eyepiece in the most comfortable position for viewing as I scan different areas of the sky. I've no regrets about the tripod and wedge that I'm using.



#33 cbwerner

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Posted 08 September 2014 - 10:13 AM

One big advantage using a tripod instead of the Questar Tristand is that since the legs are adjustable I can use my setup either sitting or standing up . . .

 

Same here. I took the top off my Tristand and made an adapter out of Baltic birch plywood so that I could attach it to the top of a spare tripod for an old C-5 that I had lying around. If I'm going to have an extended session where I'll want to be seated for most or all the time, I can swap it back to the Tristand in a matter of 30 seconds. But most of my observing these days is quick sessions, and this setup is such that I can grab and be gone as fast as I can walk. It's really increased my frequency of taking the scope out, even if it's only for a few minutes.

 

post-11551-14074280021628.jpg


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#34 ehallspqr

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Posted 09 September 2014 - 10:33 PM

A photo tripod with a lightweight wedge definitely has the advantage in portability and adjustability. That said the Tristand and Astropiers are just so cool and complement the Questar perfectly. I get jealous every time I see one at a Star Party event. Tried everything to get one cheaper. I have called the manufacturer FJR a few times and they don't sell directly anymore.

 

Received the Astro-Trac wedge mount from Woodland today and installed it on my Manfrotto 075 Video tripod. It's a beautifully machined piece of artwork in it's own right. Very lightweight and rigid. Should complement the Questar very nicely. Now just waiting for the machine shop to finish the adapter plate.

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  • Astro-Trac EQ mount on Manfrotto 075 tripod.jpg
  • Astro-Trac EQ mount.jpg

Edited by ehallspqr, 09 September 2014 - 10:37 PM.

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#35 cbwerner

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 08:54 AM

Received the Astro-Trac wedge mount from Woodland today and installed it on my Manfrotto 075 Video tripod. It's a beautifully machined piece of artwork in it's own right.

 

No kidding - that's a real eye-catcher!



#36 Steve's 50th

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 07:52 PM

Looks like the silver version of my outfit! I think you're going to like it a lot. Post some pics when you get your adapter plate and scope mounted.



#37 Steve's 50th

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 06:01 PM

DSCN0992-002.JPG The AstroTrac, Manfrotto Tripod, and Questar make a great combination. I don't know how much the Tristand weighs but I just put my tripod, wedge, and mounting plate on a house scale and combined weight was 12lbs. It's both sturdy and light!


Edited by Steve's 50th, 11 September 2014 - 06:02 PM.

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#38 ehallspqr

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 12:12 AM

That is a sharp looking setup. I think I like the black better and only 12lbs total is light. My Manfrotto ART 075 weighs 12 lbs alone. The Astrotrac with adapter bracket will add another 5 lbs and the whole rig will be load rated at 30lbs. More than enough for a little Questar. If I'm not mistaken the Tristand is around 33lbs and the Astropier even heavier. My goal was for the entire setup with scope mounted to be under 25lbs. That's about all these little spaghetti arms can handle these days.

 

Correction: The Tristand is 15lbs and the Astropier 29. I think I must have seen the shipping weights? They certainly look beefy


Edited by ehallspqr, 12 September 2014 - 12:35 PM.


#39 Rat8bug

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 03:49 AM

Here is my 1979 Duplex, shown with Olympus XZ-2 camera mounted for deep sky photography....

 

                                                                                                         Ciao....Barry

 

image.jpg

 


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#40 munirocks

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 03:55 AM

Although the quality of the Astrotrac looks superb, the design always looks overbalanced to me because the telescope center of mass is not centered over the tripod. Make sure you put the telescope side toward one of the tripod legs and not between them.

 

As for me, I'll use a traditional wedge that keeps the telescope center of mass over the center of the tripod. Until I can buy an astropier head, that is. My ideal setup would be to put the astropier head on a normal beefy tripod with a very wide footprint. The astropier head keeps the center of mass of the telescope centered over the head, at any altitude angle, and probably has better alt-azimuth fine adjustment controls than my current wedge. 


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#41 Steve's 50th

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 06:26 PM

I know what you mean about the center of mass with the wedge, but I experience no "tippiness" with my setup. I do use my scope on the tripod with the scope over one of the legs, but that is for my own comfort and ease of use. I've tried it both ways, with the scope between 2 legs or over 1, and it's easier for me to get up from my chair and step over the 1 leg between my own legs with either my right leg or left, than it is to get up and get both of my legs over 1 of the legs on either side of me, if that makes sense? But the mass of the scope is close enough to being centered over the scope that it is not a problem for the stability of the scope. I would guess that the base of the legs where they contact the ground are 12" or more beyond the center of the scope when observing.



#42 ehallspqr

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Posted 12 September 2014 - 07:15 PM

It's always a good idea to keep the telescope center of mass as close to the centerline of the tripod as possible. I'm making my adapter bracket a "panhandle" shape, such that the scope will be more above the centerline when mounted in the tilted back position. That said, because the little Q-3.5 only weighs 7-8 lbs I'm just not overly concerned about making everything optimized for balance. Especially with this big Video camera tripod I'm using.

 

 I like the idea of the using a Astropier head on a heavy duty photo tripod like I have. You'll have a better travel mount with more flexibility and less costs. I was looking into that very thing until I found out the Astropier head alone is something like 800 large  :confused:  At that price I might as well go all in and get the whole setup. When you see a Questar mounted on a factory pier, the whole package just has that level of panache that's hard to match with other mounts.

 

Anyone on the Q-forum have a used Tristand they want to unload for a good deal LOL.....


Edited by ehallspqr, 12 September 2014 - 10:26 PM.

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#43 Joe Ellis

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 02:21 PM

Tri-stand is awesome!

Does anyone leave the tristand covered outside, or does everyone bring it into the house after viewing?

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  • Questar_120224.JPG

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#44 cbwerner

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 10:40 PM

Into the house, or more commonly the garage in my case.

 

I don't know that it would bother me to leave it out and covered, but it's so easy to bring in that it doesn't occur to me to do otherwise.



#45 ehallspqr

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 02:44 AM

Tri-stand is awesome!

Does anyone leave the tristand covered outside, or does everyone bring it into the house after viewing?

 

I'm with CBW on this. If I had one of these Questar piers, I would have my scope mounted like your photo and proudly displayed in the house. Astro gear art. If kept outside, even covered the anodized finish and hardware could deteriorate faster overtime. Not what I want for my $1500 buck mount.



#46 Joe Ellis

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 04:15 PM

The only reason I ask is: when one has the latitude and azimuth set just right, then one could just take the scope inside.  Then next viewing bring the Q out, attach to the tri-stand, and already be aligned...theoretically...



#47 cbwerner

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 06:52 PM

Joe,

 

If you'll look back at my post #33 above, that's actually what I use most of the time. That tripod has pointy plastic thingies on the end (a technical term :)). What I've done is driven 3 shortish (4"?) pieces of 1" PVC pipe into the ground into which the plastic points fit snugly so the placement of the tripod is repeatable. So if I avoid changing the height of the tripod, or messing with the inclination or alignment of the Q's base, I get a decent alignment without having to do much, if anything, the next time out.



#48 dkw

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 12:24 AM

Questar Duplex on an iOptron MiniTower II

 

This is a great thread and got me thinking about the possibility of mounting a Questar duplex on something like the iOptron MiniTower.  Has anyone tried something like this?  It would forego the advantages of the Q's mounting and drive, but putting it on something like the iOptron might be interesting.  I am hoping to order a Duplex soon and would appreciate any thoughts on this setup.  



#49 ehallspqr

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 01:39 AM

cbwerner said:

driven 3 shortish (4"?) pieces of 1" PVC pipe into the ground into which the plastic points fit snugly so the placement of the tripod is repeatable. So if I avoid changing the height of the tripod, or messing with the inclination or alignment of the Q's base, I get a decent alignment without having to do much, if anything, the next time out.

 

I forgot about this old trick. I did something similar on the deck at my old house, attached some small alignment plates where the feet of the tripod rested on the deck. Then I could leave everything setup and next observing session just take the telescope/mount/tripod from in the house and plop it on these plates. Worked great and really saves time doing another alignment. Thanks for reminding me.

 

Finally finished my adapter bracket for my Astrotrac TW3100 wedge. Couldn't find a machine-shop in my area that wanted to make this. Not worth their time or they wanted something outrageous. Bought a 7.5" aluminum round and a chunk of 3/8"x 3" plate off ebay for $20 in materials and had a go. Tripod is a Manfrotto ART 075. My grab and go setup.

 

Questar-AstrotracmountManfrotto075tripodQuestarAstrotrachomemadeadapterplate.jpg


Edited by ehallspqr, 18 September 2014 - 02:24 PM.

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#50 munirocks

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 11:59 AM

Nice-looking aluminium adapter you've made. It goes well with the Q, and the length compensates for the Astrotrac's overbalance issues nicely.

 

I always thought that the outer flange on the Q base was 7 inches, but the aluminium round that you say is 7" looks slightly larger. Can anyone tell me the exact outer diameter of the flange on the base of the Q?

 

I've been looking for an adapter to attach my forthcoming Q to the gaping 4" hole in my Meade wedge, but haven't yet found a solution that didn't need modification. I was thinking about making my own adapter, possibly involving stacked bamboo plates of appropriate sizes to prevent scratching yet tolerate dewy conditions. Bamboo seems to tolerate repeated drenchings pretty well. (My wife has a bamboo kitchen spoon that is still going strong after 35 years. She's had it longer than she's had me.)




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