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CGEM Landing Pad from Starizona

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26 replies to this topic

#1 CWHughes

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 10:29 AM

If you have a CGEM mount like me and you don't have a permanent setup this new product from Starizona is really something worth considering. As you probably know the mount is prone to some pretty significant backlash when aligning the mount in azimuth during polar alignment. For me, this was super frustrating so I purchased one of Starizona's new landing pads and the difference is simply amazing. It has a very nice bearing feature that makes the final adjustments really smooth and easy. It is a little on the pricey side but I was never so eager to part with the money that would eliminate the hassle I encountered every time I set up my scope for AP!

 

Anyway, I just wanted to share my positive feedback for this device and I hope others will discover it as well!

 

Curt


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#2 rmollise

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 11:08 AM

I considered one for my NexStar 11 way back when when I bought it in 2002. The Starizona thing is a nice piece of kit...but by the time I decided to pull the trigger, I was used to mounting the scope on the tripod without it--it had become mucho easier. So I spent the money I saved at my local bar. :lol:


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#3 mclewis1

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 12:46 PM

Interesting that they called it a "Landing Pad" when it really has nothing to do with the other Starizona products of the same name used for the Alt Az mounted scopes (like the NexStar GPS).

 

It certainly is a nice looking (and presumably nicely engineered) product, but I wonder how much of a problem the azimuth adjustment is on the CGEM series mounts to warrant the $400+ fix? I know many folks who have azimuth movement problems have made things easier with just the addition of some plastic or teflon material. This doesn't fix any mechanical issues with the adjustment bolts or the post but it does make life easier for those pieces (things move easier).

 

It would also be interesting to see if the investment in creating this product can be reused to some degree for an Atlas/EQ-6 compatible product (the bigger market might mean lower prices in the future). The heavier the mount the tougher the manual adjustments can be if not engineered well (but that adds significant expense to a mount). 

 

I added a similar product to my CGE mount (Azimuth adjuster from TPI Astro Products). It wasn't as complex (nor as expensive) but it did significantly improve the azimuth adjustment (smoother,making it easier to get a good polar alignment in the field ... especially with 50+lbs of scopes on the mount). TPI has also recently started another limited run for the CGE.



#4 CWHughes

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 01:25 PM

Yes, it really isn't like the original "Landing Pad" design at all but a completely new design specifically made to help with the azimuth adjustment while polar aligning the mount. I suppose this wouldn't be any big deal at all for visual work but for AP, I really find this one of the best investments I've made in my system! It is nicely CNC machined and definitely well made (here in the USA).  A few turns of the adjustment knobs and I knew immediately that this was a big frustration reducer and now I can polar align my mount in far less time with no cursing!

 

:)

 

Here is a link if anyone cares to check it out:

 

 

http://starizona.com...ad-P3687C0.aspx

 

Curt



#5 WesC

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 03:20 PM

I just used some PTFE woodworking tape between the tripod and the mount. Problem solved.

Total cost $7
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#6 Stew57

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 09:02 PM

Used a plastic milk jug. Cost 0
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#7 james7ca

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 09:32 PM

For a nearly permanent "fix" that is rock-solid consider using some valve grinding compound  to smooth out the surfaces between the mount and the tripod head and then apply a very small amount of high-pressure grease or other lubricant between the two surfaces (after cleaning all of the value grinding compound and residue from each surface). You grind the surfaces by just mating the mount and tripod together and turning the mount back and forth (let gravity and the value grinding compound do the work). I think one potential problem with using a plastic or teflon sheet is that those can flex or bend or wear out and cause slight instabilities in the mating or tightness between the mount and the tripod. Of course, as with any technique YMMV.



#8 gmartin02

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Posted 21 December 2014 - 09:59 PM

I had the same problem, and used a similar solution to WesC & Mark - I made a 1/16" thick disk out of PTFE and the CGEM is 10x better than without the disk.

 

James - the disk is plenty thick, and the center mount head nut can be cranked down pretty tight while still maintaining smooth movement, and there are no instabilities in mating or tightness with my setup. If it ever wears out I will make another one for $5.

 

The Starizona Landing Pad does look really nice (but too pricey for me). It does look like the best solution.

 

 

I wish the Chinese mount manufacturers would come out with a "CGEM/Atlas" class mount but with better adjustments, better motors, better bearings/worms, etc. for about $3000 - you figure they could put $1500 more into the CGEM/Atlas and build a mount that would be closer to the AP Mach1 or Tak EM-200 - kind of like a junior sized EQ8.



#9 DuncanM

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Posted 22 December 2014 - 05:41 PM

My Eq-6 had similar problems. The solution was to replace the, oh so flexible, AZ adjusters with hardened steel allen headed bolts, then tighten down the tripod bolt to the max and use a good allen key to make adjustments in azimith for PA. No more backlash...total cost was about $2. I replaced the altitude adjusters with hardened steel hex head bolts, tighted down the centre pivot screws to the max, and I use a rachet to make fine adjustments in PA altitude. Another few dollars well spent....

 

http://www.sfu.ca/~dmunro/bolts.JPG

 

Why spend $400 when a $4 fix will do the job.


Edited by DuncanM, 22 December 2014 - 05:49 PM.


#10 jrbarnett

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Posted 26 December 2014 - 09:33 PM

I wish the Chinese mount manufacturers would come out with a "CGEM/Atlas" class mount but with better adjustments, better motors, better bearings/worms, etc. for about $3000 - you figure they could put $1500 more into the CGEM/Atlas and build a mount that would be closer to the AP Mach1 or Tak EM-200 - kind of like a junior sized EQ8.

Oh, you mean like this one?

 

http://www.opticstar...Cge-320x398.jpg

 

:grin:

 

- Jim



#11 mclewis1

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 12:00 PM

You really do have to wonder what the field of mid range mounts and the CGE in particular would be like if Celestron had moved the manufacturing to Asia instead of cancelling it.

 

Similar specs and lower costs would certainly have made for a very competitive product and an ongoing commitment could have lead to upgraded features.



#12 orlyandico

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 12:34 PM

but isn't the CGE Pro precisely the Asian-manufactured midrange Celestron mount?



#13 mclewis1

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Posted 27 December 2014 - 06:13 PM

I guess it depends to some degree on your definition of "mid range" but the Pro is heavier (both in weight and carrying capacity) than the original and substantially more expensive. It certainly could have been a replacement but that isn't how Celestron positioned it.

 

They moved the CGEM up (the DX model) from below and positioned the Pro above the position of the original CGE.


Edited by mclewis1, 27 December 2014 - 06:14 PM.


#14 saguaro

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Posted 14 July 2015 - 10:23 AM

I had tried the PTFE and some Teflon spray to help make the adjustment smoother. However, the issue still remained of the unpredictable motions of the mount when tightening or loosening the azimuth adjustment bolts against the metal peg on the mount. The Starizona CGEM Landing Pad, while not inexpensive, allows for precise and predictable adjustments. For me, it was a worthwhile purchase. YMMV.



#15 mattyk-usa

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Posted 14 July 2015 - 11:09 AM

This is not just about smooth operation of the Azimuth adjustment.

 

The one critical issue that the Landing Pad adresses is the amount of excess play between the mount and the tripod centers, once they are joined.  This play makes it possible to move the mount in the azimuth axis, by moving the back of the mount opposite the azimuth peg.  Being precisely centered on the tripod and having a bearing surface to rotate on, the azimuth adjustment with the Landing Pad can be made accurately with the tripod mounting bolt fully tightened (thus eliminating another source of misalignment when re-tightening).

 

If I ever take the mount off the tripod again, I'd love to see if I could sleeve the pocket on the mount side, to get that tight tolerance. I may still buy the Landing Pad.  FWIW I have found judicious application of WD-40 to work just fine for easing azimuth adjustment in the meantime.


Edited by mattyk-usa, 14 July 2015 - 11:11 AM.


#16 mikeyd4

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 02:27 AM

Hello, I recently updated me CGEM to the Complete ADM Knob Set.

Unfortunately, the Alignment Knobs Stripped Out the Original threaded holes where I make my Fine Tune Polar Alignment Adjustment.

I went back to using my Original CGEM Alignment knobs, whiched seem to fix the issue.

But now they are completely stripped out.

Would anybody have any solution to fix this major issue?

I don't know if I should drill out the holes? Or try to Tap and rethread them to maybe a slightly larger size? But then I don't know what to use for Adjustment knob?

Or maybe I should look for Female threaded couplings, So I can make a larger whole and find a way to set them. So I can go back to using the AFM, or Original CGEM Alignment knobs?

For some reason when I received the ADM Knob Set. The company Highpoint Scientific. Wouldn't help. I blame the ADM that they sold me were Defected.

But they offered zero help.

Could someone please help. I need to find a way to fix this. Otherwise my CGEM is useless.

I was thinking of finding screw Nuts that match the size of the Adjustment knob threads and maybe Glue it to my GEM?

I was also thinking of getting the Starizona Landing Pad as maybe a permanent fix.

Could really use some advice.

Thanks and Clear Skies.

Michael



#17 ram812

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 12:01 PM

Hello, I recently updated me CGEM to the Complete ADM Knob Set.

Unfortunately, the Alignment Knobs Stripped Out the Original threaded holes where I make my Fine Tune Polar Alignment Adjustment.

I went back to using my Original CGEM Alignment knobs, whiched seem to fix the issue.

But now they are completely stripped out.

Would anybody have any solution to fix this major issue?

I don't know if I should drill out the holes? Or try to Tap and rethread them to maybe a slightly larger size? But then I don't know what to use for Adjustment knob?

Or maybe I should look for Female threaded couplings, So I can make a larger whole and find a way to set them. So I can go back to using the AFM, or Original CGEM Alignment knobs?

For some reason when I received the ADM Knob Set. The company Highpoint Scientific. Wouldn't help. I blame the ADM that they sold me were Defected.

But they offered zero help.

Could someone please help. I need to find a way to fix this. Otherwise my CGEM is useless.

I was thinking of finding screw Nuts that match the size of the Adjustment knob threads and maybe Glue it to my GEM?

I was also thinking of getting the Starizona Landing Pad as maybe a permanent fix.

Could really use some advice.

Thanks and Clear Skies.

Michael

  Hello, and welcome to Cloudy Nights! I had something like this happen to another mount I had. So I took the bolt that stripped (The bolt was actually good, but the hole wasn't) down to the local auto parts store and had the guy match a Heli-Coil and permanent thread locker compound to the bolt. I came home and installed the new thread section and have had zero problems since. I use the original bolts (Mine were metric) so most every parts store carries all that. A local machine shop would. Also, follow the directions to a "T". FWIWgrin.gif Ralph


Edited by ram812, 04 January 2018 - 12:05 PM.


#18 mikeyd4

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 07:39 PM

Thank You. I am very worried about this. This is my Heavy duty GEM. So I just am confused about where exactly to bring it? I think my mechanic would think I'm crazy for bringing in something so foreign, than an automobile. I may have to either find a professional machinist, or find a way of mounting permanent, correct size Nuts to the GEM itself?
Don't know why this happened after using ADM upgrade? I should have left everything stock. My smaller Orion SkyView Pro Goto GEM never once had this issue.
You would think, for all the money spent. It would be solid everywhere?
Thanks again and Clear Skies.

#19 siriusarcher

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 10:08 PM

++++ on the Helicoil thread inserts. I've got them holding my AZEQ6 tripod together.


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#20 ram812

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 11:10 PM

  Didn't mean to hi-jack the thread but I would like to say "Thanks" to the OP for the info, and I have that link bookmarked nowgrin.gif. Starizona has some great kit for maybe a little more than some competitors, but If you're like me and break it all down when done viewing/imaging it sure as heck would make PA a smoother operation when setting up!grin.gif Ralph



#21 elinchrom

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Posted 04 January 2018 - 11:11 PM

This is how I fix my CGEM... I brought a M12 bolt from Home Depot and drill a hole in the center then tap with M8 thread.

On the CGEM body, I tap the original hole with M12 thread and use permanent Loctite to secure the bolt. 

 

38614721745_3ea272cf11_z.jpg


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#22 siriusarcher

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 12:39 AM

The CGEM and a great many other mounts have two flat metal surfaces joined by a centre bolt which serves two functions, the first to connect the mount the the tripod, and the second, to serve as a pivot point for azimuth adjustments. The problem is that the metal on metal contact between the mount and tripod has a lot of "stiction"which you must to overcome before you an get movement. This is an annoying property property of aluminum, a fairly soft metal. The Landing Pad puts a bearing in the mix making it a lot easier to turn the mount in azimuth and I'm sure really does a great job. I have found however that cheaper solutions like thin plastic gaskets, wax, or grease really do improve the performance of the azimuth bolts. I have used thin polyethylene gaskets, paraffin, and grease and they all make a difference. Its a good idea to grease the threads of the bolts so there is less chance of damage to the threads though the aluminum casting, which obviously is an issue for some as indicated in this thread. In my opinion, a thin coat of Superlube on the tripod head, on the azimuth post and on the azimuth bolt threads is a very practical and effective solution and gives you noticeably smoother adjustments. 



#23 mikeyd4

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 01:25 AM

elinchrom, that is similar to what I want to do. I wish they had a long threaded nut barrel to insert into the GEM Azimuth Alignment holes. I may try Afe Hardware store to see if they have something like that? Because Home Depot and Lowe's said to try Ace Because they have more options for this project.
Thanks again everyone. Wish me luck.
I haven't been able to use my CGEM DX since this happened.
Clear Skies

#24 mikeyd4

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 01:42 AM

My Setup.

Attached Thumbnails

  • FB_IMG_1509258048597.jpg


#25 mikeyd4

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 01:53 AM

elinchrom, did you mean you used a M12 bolt? Then drilled a M8 hole and Tapped it?

Is that what you are meaning?

If yes? What length is the M12 bolt?

And is that a plastic bushing or metal washer?




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