I use a standard 8-inch equatorial wedge on a very stable and robust B&L astronomical tripod. Because the wedge has a large 4-inch hole in the middle I made an adapter out of some bamboo flooring that I had, as bamboo is very resistant to water and moisture.
Note the long center bolt, which has 11 threads available (therefore 11/20ths of an inch) which I made from an endless bolt cut to length. The center hole in the base of my Q is 11.5 threads deep between the start of the threads to the point at which the bolt bottoms out. But the socket is also recessed by about 2.5 threads compared to the flat base, possibly due to the extra base thickness to accommodate the Powerguide II unit. So the socket is in fact 14 threads deep as measured from the base, with the first 2.5 “threads” being made of fresh air. I figured there is no point in meshing only two or three threads when I could spread the stress over 8 threads, so I made the bolt longer than strictly needed, but still 3 threads short of bottoming out. I also extended the bolt length in the other direction under the mount, which makes it four times faster to use - I can quickly spin the bolt into the scope and then use the wingnut to snug up the last 1/8 turn.
Also note the bolt topped by a wingnut on the the lower left on the underside of the mount. That's the fine altitude adjustment bolt - critical for good polar alignment - critical for using setting circles - critical for getting the most out of the Q.
The recessed socket in the Q base raises an important point for tripod users. I don’t think my Q would fit on any of my “standard” photographic tripods as the mounting bolts on them only have about 2.5 threads showing, which is only just enough to span the recess in the base of the Q and no more. Has anyone else noticed this issue? Even if a tripod has a longer-than-usual mounting bolt, I would not trust a mount that only meshes one or two threads. I have seen the threads on bicycle seat post clamps shear off because the bolt was too short and only meshed two threads, although a bike seat post is probably a much higher stress environment than that of a small telescope mount. Maybe this is only an issue for those Qs that have a thicker Powerguide II base unit. It’s not really an issue for me, as I’m now happy with my current mount.
Tri-stand fans, how long is your center mounting bolt?
Astro-trac fans, how long is your center mounting bolt?
Edited by munirocks, 12 January 2015 - 10:09 AM.