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First Light: ES Twilight II Mount

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#76 EuropaWill

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Posted 10 January 2016 - 10:15 PM

 

 

Starman, The azimuth movment in mine was almost binding until some type of plastic ring fell out from somewhere. This was not the plastic washer, but a knurled ring about 50mm in diameter, 5mm thick, with the cutout area of the ring 40mm in diameter. See if you can locate this ring and remove it; it might help with the movement. My refractor weighs 10 lbs. and the azimuth seems pretty smooth.

 

Oddly, my accessory tray only has holes for (3)1.25" oculars. The Twilight II only seems to weigh 23 lbs according to my scales.

 

I agree about the instructions.

 

Otherwise, I think I'll be very pleased with this mount. :)

Photo of the plastic ring:attachicon.gifDSCF0462.jpg

 

Rachal posted a picture of a “mystery” part that fell out of his Twilight II mount head.
Without this part, his mount seemed to function much better.
This caused me to examine my new Twilight II mount.
The use of a strong flashlight revealed a gap between the mount head and the plastic washer.
The gap was probably no more than a few thousands of an inch.
I removed the mount head from the azimuth shaft.
I had previously greased the plastic washer that acts as a bearing plate for the head to rotate upon.
The head was making contact only on the inner portion of the plastic washer.
An inner ring, about a quarter of an inch wide, was missing grease.
The outer portion of the washer still had grease on it, apparently undisturbed.
I examined the bottom of the mount head and found the “mystery” part at the shaft entrance. 
It is a plastic bushing, press fitted into a machined holding cup.
I could feel that the bushing was not quite fully seated. It wasn’t quite flush with the head’s base.
Maybe it was jutting out a few thousands of an inch. Bingo!
With quite a bit of force, I used my fingers to extract the bushing.
I had to go around the perimeter and slowly nudge it out. It took a while but it came out intact.
The holding cup, drilled into the mount base, was beautifully machined.
The plastic bushing had ridges on its exterior, similar to the milling ridges on a coin.
These allow the bushing to fit tightly while still being flexible enough to allow insertion.
Apparently the bushing was not quite “square” when it was pressed in.
Some of the milling was shaved off and protruded slightly above the top surface of the bushing.
I got some 3M 400 sandpaper, put it on a flat table, and proceeded to slide the bushing on it.
All of the little protruding spikes were eliminated and the bushing top was nice and flat.
I placed the mount head back on the tripod, minus the bushing.
The mount made full contact with the flat washer, no gaps visible using a flash light.
This proved that the machined bushing in the top of the mount was deep enough.
I removed the mount head, inserted the plastic bushing and reinstalled the mount head.
Everything worked fine and there were no gaps visible using the flashlight.
These damaged “milling” ridges could explain the varying reports about “break in time”.
Given enough time, these little protuberances could dig their way into the plastic washer, allowing the mount head to fully seat.
It seems a simple redesign (beveling the bottom edge of the plastic bushing) could fix this.
The top edge is already rounded, allowing for easy insertion into the holding cup.
In summary, the “mystery” piece is a plastic bushing for the bottom part of the azimuth shaft.
It is NOT a bearing plate and should not be functioning as such (as it was in my mount).
This plastic bushing is essential and should not be left off.
It provides stability for the mount head, especially if used for a single telescope with no counterweight.
If used this way, over time the topmost bearing will become hourglass shaped instead of cylindrical.
I had quite a time of it removing my bushing.
Rachal’s bushing must have been much looser.
If it was protruding out far enough, then that is why the mount head would not seat properly.
I want to thank Rachal for posting that picture.
Without it I would never have known to look.
I suspect Rachal’s plastic bushing might have been damaged during assembly at the factory.
I would recommend contacting ES regarding a replacement plastic bushing.
It’s very easy to replace. Just be careful to put it in straight and not damage that milling.
Thanks again.

 

CN to the rescue again!!  Thanks very much for this information "Uplateagain"!  Please use paragraphs next time though  :lol:

 

My Twilight II just started getting progressively worse stiffness in the Azimuth until completely binding. This thread really helped tremendously. I disassembled the head and found the bushing, removed it, felt around for any burs, didn't find any, then sprayed silicon lubricant inside of the head, and bushing housing and onto the bottom / top of the plastic washer. Carefully reassembled everything, and while its not smooth as butter, (never was) it is back to original condition which is smooth enough and no real effort needed. 

 

I think the cause of this binding is the process of lifting the mount while putting any amount of upward pressure against that axis (which is necessary when one side is heavier than the other) thereby skewing the bushing. But that's just a guess. I think I'll move the mount without any heavy scopes attached in the future so no upward pressure is applied to that axis in support of the heavier side from tipping. Thanks again for sharing this!



#77 uplateagain

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 03:10 AM

"Please use paragraphs next time though"

 

I agree!

 

I wrote it and it's not much easier to read than a hexadecimal core dump.

 

My problem is that I have a difficult time using paragraphs while simultaneously keeping it under five pages in length.

 

When I reassembled my mount without the bushing, it went together easily and rotated very smoothly in azimuth.

 

I then removed the mount head and replaced the plastic bushing, using a generous amount of Superlube on everything.

In fact I used too much Superlube.

The head went down only so far, and then it bounced back up!

The pocket of air trapped inside the vertical column in the mount head was acting like a pneumatic shock absorber, resisting downward pressure. 

 

I removed the mount head, wiped off the excess Superlube and reinstalled it on the tripod.

It took quite a bit of prolonged pressure to get it to seat all the way down.

 

The azimuth worked smoothly, but not as smoothly as it did with the bushing removed.

I suspect this was simply due to the slight amount of additional friction added by the bushing.

Presumably this friction will diminish as the bushing wears a little.

 

The flashlight test revealed no gaps at the base.

 

I would recommend checking the base on your mount with a flashlight, looking for gaps.

That pneumatic effect, from too much lubricant, is probably capable of forcing the plastic bushing back out of the mounting cup (even if just a little).

 

Maybe there's a reason ES doesn't lubricate the plastic washer and bushing!

We'll both find out.

Worst case is that I have to take it apart and remove all the Superlube.

 

Right now mine seems to be working fine.

If it gets worse, I'll tinker some more.

If not, then it's fixed!

 

By the way, it definitely works better with two scopes mounted than with one.

It's just smoother and seems to require almost no force to move.



#78 EuropaWill

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 03:49 PM

Yeah, that "hexidecimal dump" was brutal. I actually had to cut and paste it into a word doc to section it off in paragraphs to figure it out.  :lol:

 

Interesting point you make about whether or not we should have lubricated the bushing into its housing. Perhaps that section is supposed to be dry? 

 

I have mine mounted with two scopes and it doesn't rotate so freely as I have seen in some videos where it seems to be on ball bearings. Mine was never like this and always has some friction to it. It still needs effort to move it but its not binding crazy like before. 



#79 EuropaWill

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 02:58 PM

The flashlight test revealed no gaps at the base.

 

I would recommend checking the base on your mount with a flashlight, looking for gaps.

That pneumatic effect, from too much lubricant, is probably capable of forcing the plastic bushing back out of the mounting cup (even if just a little).

 

Maybe there's a reason ES doesn't lubricate the plastic washer and bushing!

We'll both find out.

Worst case is that I have to take it apart and remove all the Superlube.

 

Right now mine seems to be working fine.

If it gets worse, I'll tinker some more.

If not, then it's fixed!

 

By the way, it definitely works better with two scopes mounted than with one.

It's just smoother and seems to require almost no force to move.

I went back to the mount, and removed the bushing, and tried to remove any silicone lubricant from inside the housing and on the bushing. I also removed the lubricant from the top of the plastic washer believing it shouldn't have any either when coming into contact with the bottom of the mount head as I believe that is the pressure that should allow the washer to do its job. When reassembling the head with the bushing attached and slightly recessed into the housing, I can never get the head all the way down the central shaft and flush to the plastic washer, i'm way off by about 20mm. I think the bushing edge gets caught up on the edge of the central channel of the vertical shaft. In order for me to get it flush I have to mount the bushing directly onto the mount shaft and then lower the head onto it to get it as close to the plastic washer.

 

I still have a very very small gap, but the smoothness factor improved by at least a factor of two over last time's effort. You may want to give it a shot to see if it improves yours. It only took me 15 minutes total and was well worth it.  



#80 uplateagain

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 04:49 AM

It never would have occurred to me to mount the bushing onto the column first.

 

So simple it's brilliant! Just about totally eliminates that pneumatic effect! It also guarantees the bushing gets safely past the undercut for the azimuth locking knob.

 

I don't have any gap right now. The mount head appears to be fully seated and working smoothly.

 

If it does start giving me trouble, I will definitely mount the bushing first when reassembling everything.

 

Thanks for posting this tip. It's quite useful.


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#81 Starman81

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 12:07 PM

The parts and pieces you are talking about sound so foreign to me, as if I have a different mount altogether. I guess some pictures of all the recent mods made in recent posts would have helped.

 

Either way, I need to take another look at the mount and how the movement can be optimized. Well-balanced with two scopes, it is A-OK. I want to improve its performance with 1 scope (primarily my SW 120ED) and counterweights so that 2 scopes aren't always necessary. 



#82 Scotchman

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:27 PM

After owning mine for nearly a year its getting stiffer and stiffer horizontally. Has anyone considered that the non-metallic might be swelling? I have lubricated mine multiple times and its got a little better but a this point its not turnable with one hand while sitting. I'm beginning to think the bearing lost the OEM lubricate over the coarse of a year, then moisture from the cold nights got into it and slightly expanded the non-metallic bearing. Probably made worse because I would just bring it in and prop it in the corner without letting the moist air out. It does seem tighter at the top of the bearing. I don't have any micrometers or snap gauges at the house so I can't really confirm my hypothesis but I do know that many non-metallic materials will swell if introduced to the wrong elements. But at this point its just a wild hypothesis. If we knew the bearing material we could look up it's properties. If it is Nylon -which is not uncommon for "cost effective" low duty bearings- then my theory could be right. After 4 pages I wish ES would chime in and offer alternate bearing option, preferably a graphite impregnated PTFE or sealed needle bearings. Even if I have to pay for it, I'd be happier than fighting a stiff mount with a long refractor (turns cant be made while viewing, atm).

 

http://www.intechpow...ture-absorption

 

I think allot, sometimes to my own detriment... In this case I don't really care, after a week of silence I want them to respond and perma-solve it...



#83 EuropaWill

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 11:42 PM

Have you ensured the plastic ring bushing at the base of the head is fully seated upwards into the housing of the head? (Not the thin plastic washer at the bottom of that) If the bushing ring is even slightly angled and not square with its housing in the head then it seems prone to bind. The last few posts explain the fix. 

 

Edit: Sorry for previously using the term "Bearing", I changed it to the proper term "Bushing".  


Edited by EuropaWill, 05 February 2016 - 08:33 PM.


#84 DaveG

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 09:24 AM

My best advice for trying to get optimum movement while using one OTA is to add counterweights, and milk jug washers above and below the plastic ring/washer on the AZ assembly. What I have learned is if you apply super lube to the ring/washer, at first the movement is silky smooth. However, over time the super lube will bind (especially in cold) and will act almost like glue. 

 

I removed any lubricant from the plastic ring, and wiped clean. I cut out two rings from milk jugs, and placed one each above and below the plastic ring that comes with the mount. After doing this, the movement was a lot better and didn't suffer any binding in cold temperatures. If you are using an OTA that's heaver than 8-10 pounds, you need to add counterweights IMO. I purchased mine from ADM.


Edited by DaveG, 05 February 2016 - 09:25 AM.


#85 Scotchman

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 07:51 PM

Ok I was certain the bottom bearing wasn't the problem at first, because visually it did not appear to be tilted, even after putting a scale against it. But after removing it and sanding the heck out of the ID and OD, the mount does turn more freely. I guess I just lost patience early, I do have that tendency because I have a high expectation of anything I pay for. I might end up selling it and getting the Losmandy Altz, its much more expensive but we get what we pay for. This one is a bargain though all things considered.



#86 EuropaWill

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 08:31 PM

I didn't have to sand anything when my mount was completely binding. I just had to make sure the bushing was fully seated upwards into the mount head housing and wasn't tilted in any way. Did your bushing or bushing housing have burs keeping it from fully getting seated upwards into the head housing? I think the bushing isn't supposed to move during the mount's movement, the thin plastic washer on the bottom of the head is the component that moves as far as i know. 

 

If the bushing was supposed to move relative to the housing around it i think it would have been a proper bearing with balls facilitating movement. 



#87 Scotchman

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 09:27 PM

I saw no burs anywhere. I would assume the bottom ring is just to increase the surface area for the bottom flat bearing to ride on. More surface area means less psi on that surface. I didn't sand the depth so it should still accomplish that end. I sanded ID and OD equally, plus it still has the downward force which should help hold it, so I don't think it will spin. I looked at it again after using it last night and it didn't appear to have spun at all. On mine the bottom washer doesn't spin either, hasn't since I bought it. I'd imagine on other ppl's it probably does depending on which surface it applying more friction. I doubt it matters.

 

In retrospect having non-metallic bearings might be better than a roller/needle bearing because the non-metallic seem to dampen vibrations. Just got my first long refractor so its not something I considered much until now. If I have future issues I might contact 4B Plastics to make a set of Graphite filled PTFE bearings, which would be a nice upgrade. It would be kinda pricey, but with less than 60 lbs it would turn like it was riding on air and last longer than any of us will live. Ok that might be a slight exaggeration but we use them on a Sparkler filter sluicing system at work and they're subjected to hot 30% Caustic and allot higher mechanical force and they last for around 9 month in continuous service. So those bearings are pretty awesome for really slow speeds.

 

http://fourbplastics...s-and-bearings/

 

All in all I've been using it as is for nearly a year and it works really well as is, so I'm not bashing ES at all. They made a good mount for a bargain price. It's hard to complain about that. I just like upgrades mostly just for the new toy feel. This is the first issue I've had with it and I probably got frustrate a little faster than I should have. In this area its not that common to get a good night of viewing so missed opportunities are disappointing. Sitting outside sipping beer, smoking a stogie, and checking out the stars with my friends is a favored past time. Ok some of that might be the comparing gear factor too, but when gear is broken you cant brag about it... lol  An upgrade means new bragging rights.



#88 KerryInSpace

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 11:34 PM

Wow. After perusing this thread I may have lost interest in the Twilight II mount!  I am thinking Twlight I now! I am not mechanically inclined at all and prefer things to be as simple as possible.  :lol:


Edited by KerryInSpace, 22 March 2016 - 11:34 PM.


#89 Cometeer

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 12:20 AM

Wow. After perusing this thread I may have lost interest in the Twilight II mount!  I am thinking Twlight I now! I am not mechanically inclined at all and prefer things to be as simple as possible.  :lol:

 

Don't be discouraged. I bought one recently and it works without any issues right out of the box. The ones that are satisfied are too busy using it to share their experience.  :lol:


Edited by Cometeer, 23 March 2016 - 12:20 AM.

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#90 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 05:39 AM

I don't understand any of the issues being spoken about here. Had my twilight II for 4 years before moving to T-Rex. Used AR127, AR152, AT72ED, iOptron Mak 150 on it with no counterweights and no double scope setup and it has always been one finger push easy in both alt and az movements and never re-lubed it. As long as the scope is balanced, I don't even lock the clutches. Only when changing eyepieces that vary in weight a great amount or re-balancing do I lock it down.

 

The Astro Telescopes AR152 I use is 23 lbs for OTA alone.


Edited by Vondragonnoggin, 25 March 2016 - 05:40 AM.


#91 Xeroid

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Posted 25 March 2016 - 09:39 AM

Vondragonnoggin,

 

Yup, me too...no issues with my Twilight II mount after 2 years.

 

I use my Twilight II mount in a slightly colder (25-30 degrees F) climate and I have noticed:

- Beginning of session smooth movement with one 21 lb. refractor  no counter weights.

- After one half hour I notice some resistance in azimuth,  altitude still OK

- Add 15 lb counterweights and azimuth now feels better, easier to move with one finger.

 

So my guess is temperature does have some effect and using two scopes or one scope + counterweights seems to improves azimuth movement in a cold climate. 

 

Will try this again this summer!!



#92 Vondragonnoggin

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 08:05 AM

Yep - no real cold temps where I am at. Maybe 40° F coldest I've ever taken it out in. It's sitting around gathering dust now though. The loaner if I run into someone that needs a beefy mount to try out a scope with. T-Rex is really a huge difference in quality and movement. I use my slow-mo handles all the time with clutches locked and not caring about balance so much. Every mount works best with a balanced load, but the T-Rex has a lot of wiggle room for getting balanced and still providing great motion control.

 

The twilight II in comparison is quite a bit lighter though and still handles heavy loads, plus relatively inexpensive, so a lot to like about the Twilight II.

 

I never worried whether it could handle the weight of any of my equipment. Always performed up to the tasks.

 

Lots of mods could be done to it too if one wanted to mod it with encoders or setting circles, extra clutch, handles, etc.

 

Some would have to be fabricated of course, but out of the box it has worked good for me.



#93 Jan Owen

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 05:36 PM

I have two Twilight II mounts. I've had one for about a year, and the other for several years. My Eon 120 uses the first one most of the time, unless I have it on a GEM. And when I bought my APM 152 f/8 ED APO, for which I already had an Atlas EQ-G, I bought a second Twilight II, because I like how simple the other one made using the Eon 120.

When I first got the newer one, and put the APM 152 on it, I noticed some radial play in the azimuth bearing, and upon closer inspection, I discovered that the three set screws at both ends of the pier extension weren't fully snugged down. After tightening, the play went away, and all's been well ever since...

And when THAT happened, my worries about whether the Twilight II was stout enough to handle a 6" f/8 refractor, went away in one observing session and have never returned. I find myself using the T-2 much more often than the Atlas EQ-G...

 

Both Twilight II  mounts have been totally trouble free aside from tightening those set screws I mentioned, and have only had to do so one time...

IMG_7340aaaa.jpg


Edited by Jan Owen, 26 March 2016 - 05:43 PM.

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#94 Jan Owen

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 05:38 PM

Another image...

 

IMG_7319aaaazCN.jpg


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#95 Xeroid

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 10:50 PM

Just to add to this topic:

 

As an experiment, I added a home brew, Milk Carton (HDPE?) washer to each side of my ES Twilight II mount.  I placed the new washer between the mount and existing black delrin(?) washer. No lube used.

 

WOW WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!

 

Its 31 degrees tonight, loaded up "BigMo" my Astro-Tech 130mm with 60mm Finder on the Twilight II, added the 15 lb counterweights and zooooowwwieee! No resistance whatsoever, smooth as silk.

 

I think Imma gonna faint... :lol:


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#96 EuropaWill

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 01:14 AM

Wow. After perusing this thread I may have lost interest in the Twilight II mount!  I am thinking Twlight I now! I am not mechanically inclined at all and prefer things to be as simple as possible.  :lol:

Despite some fiddling and attempts at optimizing that it has needed from me, I can't imagine not having this mount at this point. It's been so instrumental in my evaluations of scopes and eyepieces that I rank it among the best astro purchases I've made. 


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#97 Starman81

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Posted 30 March 2016 - 10:42 PM

Just to add to this topic:

 

As an experiment, I added a home brew, Milk Carton (HDPE?) washer to each side of my ES Twilight II mount.  I placed the new washer between the mount and existing black delrin(?) washer. No lube used.

 

WOW WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!

 

Its 31 degrees tonight, loaded up "BigMo" my Astro-Tech 130mm with 60mm Finder on the Twilight II, added the 15 lb counterweights and zooooowwwieee! No resistance whatsoever, smooth as silk.

 

I think Imma gonna faint... :lol:

 

Sounds good and sounds simple, but do you have a picture? I want to foolproof this mod :)


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#98 Xeroid

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 11:34 AM

Starman81,

 

OK, attached is a photo of my experimental mod showing the white Milk Carton Washer installed on the Twilight II mount arm.  It sits behind the Black delrin(?) washer which contacts the silver locking collar. 

 

I did one side at a time & checked to make sure both sides of the shaft was at an equal distance from the hub. Upon completion I bias the silver collar lightly against the delrin washer. I did NOT use any lube.

 

For my next version, I'll try to find a better way to cut out the milk carton washer center hole cleanly.

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_0136.JPG

Edited by Xeroid, 31 March 2016 - 11:35 AM.


#99 Scotchman

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 10:16 PM

Since I did the little sanding job on mine it has been working very well.



#100 KerryInSpace

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Posted 02 April 2016 - 12:56 AM

Another image...

 

attachicon.gifIMG_7319aaaazCN.jpg

Beautiful scope!  I currently have refractor fever and anytime I see a nice one the fever rises! 


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