Parallelogram Mount for Miyauchi BJ-100iB
Posted 26 February 2004 - 03:14 AM
Please may I solicit the advice of the group.
Althought I have been casually using binocs for astronomy for years, back damage has necessitated finding more comfortable ways to observe; limbo-dancing and contortion with a GEM-mounted telescope is no longer a pain-free option :-). Consequently I have recently sold much of my telescopic stuff and acquired the "big bins". I wish I'd done it years ago -- it's like discovering astronomy all over again!
I currently have my Miyauchis (5.8kg/13lbs) on a Manfrotto 475 tripod/501 head. It is not entirely satisfactory for three main reasons:
* The travel of the centre post is inadequate to accomodate observation of low and high altitude objects without having to bend uncomfortably for the low ones.
* The 501 altitude bearing is sufficiently far from the centre of gravity of the binocs that the altitude tension has to be done up very tight to foil gravity's attempt to over-ride my choice of altitude, except over an unacceptably small range of altitudes.
* The tripod legs always seem to be positioned in such a way that sooner or later I end up straddling one and am in danger of gelding myself on a leg-clamp or inadvertently releasing said clamp with a bit of trouser and ending up being driven into the ground by the descending Miyauchi.
It seems to me that a parallelogram mount may be the answer. Of the stuff available in the UK, none is adequate, and I am looking at UA. (I don't think my woodworking skills are up to the task, and my metalworking skills are conspicuous by their absence) It appears that the Heavy-Duty, the Millennium, and the T-Mount may be viable options. I would be very grateful for any opinions/advice on any of these, or on any other options that may be open to me. I want something that has minimum vibration (or a very short damping time) and something that does not feel that it's working at the limit of its ability. If it has sufficient height range to suit me (1.78m/ 5'10") and youngsters at (e.g.) star parties, so much the better. I'm not interested in any sort of "Sky Window" type stuff.
Thanks in advance.
Posted 26 February 2004 - 06:46 AM
Those binocs are heavier than any I have to mount on a pgram. Not yet answering which is the right one for you, I can say the Unimount Light Deluxe and the Unimount Light Basic are both too light for this load. I'd put both of those at a max load of maybe 3.5-4kg.
Height should not be a problem. Even my Uni Basic on a Bogen 3211 will adjust from about 7 feet down to about 4 feet. The legs stay well out to one side. The tripod can easily be collapsed to stand next to a reclining chair and the boom will easily swing around.
Posted 26 February 2004 - 11:50 AM
Thanks for your welcome!
Also for confirming the unsuitability of the smaller UA mounts (which are about as substantial as what's available this side of the pond, TTBOMK).
Curious: Do any non-US participants have experience of importing UA kit?
Posted 27 February 2004 - 02:22 PM
Stephen, I own the millennium mount and in fact there is a photo of it with my Oberwerk 100mm Binocular Telescope (weighs 28lbs.) on this forum. Please refer to post # 54461 on 02/13/04-"Two Universal Astronomic Mounts (Attention EdZ). IMOP this mount would handle you bino's with ease and give you the viewing flexibility you want. However I would have one concern. Given your back you should be aware that the Millennium mount is very heavy and although simple to put together requires you to lift at least 25 to 30 pounds on to the tripod. It is a large and heavy-duty mount. If you want the very best and IMOP ultimate means of viewing with a large binocular I would encourage you to check out the Starchair. Here is the link: http://www.starchair.com/. Of course many of us would find the price a bit prohibitive. Note that the chair is transportable and fairly easy to assemble and move. Good luck on your quest.
Posted 27 February 2004 - 03:19 PM
Thanks -- I had seen your article on the MM when I began my quest. I guess I'm wondering if I could get away with less expensive options (my astronomy has to be self-financing, so funds need to be apportioned with care). I appreciate your comments about the weight of the mount (it also indicates that shipping from the US is going to be darned pricey!). Weight is not a problem for the back; sustained non-straightness is.
The Starchair looks like a fantastic bit of kit -- thanks for drawing my attenton to it. Currently way out of my price bracket, but I have a feeling it's one of those things that will keep nagging away. I already have images of Skychair-mounted nx150 Fujinons in a dedicated observatory. Perhaps if I sell my wife's car.... :-)
Posted 27 February 2004 - 03:52 PM
Off topic , but since you have included them in your "equipment" list , and I know how capable you are of providing very high quality reviews, I just wondered if you could find the time and inclination to post to us your opinions of your Opticron BGA PC.AG N 10 x 42s ?
Yours hopefully and respectfully,
Posted 28 February 2004 - 11:36 AM
By any chance is there an astronomy club in your area? If so, perhaps there is a member (or two or three) that would be agreeable to helping you build your own parallelogram mount. If there is not an astronomy club handy, perhaps one of the local schools has a wood shop program that would be willing to have a student do the project at cost (which would be less expensive than shipping from the US).
The construction is not that difficult but it helps to have the right tools. And, I totally agree with you about making a pmount from metal. I did it and had I to do it over again I would definitely use wood.
On the other hand, getting a commercial piece of kit like the Universal Astronomics Millennium mount eliminates construction problems, delays, and allows you to begin observing immediately (weather given). You definitely want a mount that will not collapse or put your bins in any danger of being damaged.
Just wondering if there are any used UA Millennium mounts available? Heck, if I were in the market for a new mount I would even send UA an email and ask if they had any appropriate mounts with a blemish or any special offers at a reduced price. However, having said that, some companies won't sell anything but top quality so as not to have a product on the market with blemishes.
Good luck with the search, and you definitely have the right idea about the pmount. It is the way to go.
Posted 28 February 2004 - 03:15 PM
The appeal of getting a UA mount is that I am pretty sure it will be good! I fired off an email to Larry last week -- still awaiting reply.
Posted 29 February 2004 - 02:28 AM
Posted 29 February 2004 - 10:26 AM