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New EQT-150SC Equatorial Platform

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#1 G Blandin

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 09:39 AM

Here's is the new Blandin Platforms EQT-150SC equatorial platform. The unit shown is for 38 degrees North or South latitude. It tracks for over 60 minutes before needing to be reset and runs on just 2 AAA batteries for 15+ hours of tracking.

 

Weighing in at just over 11 pounds, it is 25 inches long and 24 inches wide. The platform is very light weight and portable, made from durable anodized aluminum using high quality materials. It can be easily folded up to fit into a small camping chair bag or suitcase for travelling. Here are some pictures. EQT-150SC Picture 3.jpg


Edited by G Blandin, 02 May 2015 - 09:52 AM.

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#2 G Blandin

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 09:41 AM

EQT-150SC Picture 2.jpg The EQT-150SC with my 10" home-built dob.


Edited by G Blandin, 02 May 2015 - 09:42 AM.


#3 G Blandin

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 09:44 AM

EQT-150SC Picture 4.jpg



#4 G Blandin

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 02:38 PM

Here's the flyer for the EQT-150SC including the introductory pricing. Please contact me if you are interested in ordering.

 

Attached File  Crossbow EQT-150SC Flyer V1.pdf   395.65KB   528 downloads


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#5 G Blandin

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 02:54 PM

Here's the latest flyer for the EQT-150SC.

 

Attached File  Crossbow EQT-150SC Flyer V2.pdf   396.15KB   427 downloads

 



#6 skyward_eyes

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 08:41 AM

I have a 16" f/4.5 Truss and a 24" f/3.7 in the works. Which platform would be the best? I do a lot of outreach and would like to use the dobs more often. The tracking would really help. 



#7 SteveG

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 03:24 PM

Greg - those are the nicest platforms I've seen, and your pricing is very good. I will certainly consider purchasing in the near future.


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#8 G Blandin

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Posted 19 May 2015 - 10:34 PM

Thanks for the compliment! Hope I am able to help you in the future, should you make that decision.

 

Regarding Skyward Eye's question:

 

The 24" would probably be too heavy for the EQT-150SC. I have the EQT-200 available at this time. The EQT-200 can handle scopes up to 200 pounds. And it's still a fairly light-weight platform, around 18-19 pounds.

 

That's the platform I use for all 3 of my scopes (25", 16" and 10" home-built dobs). So at this point, that's what I would recommend.



#9 ASTERON

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 07:35 AM

Hi Greg,

 

Looks like a very elegant and lightweight platform.

 

Do you have a flier and introductory price for the  EQT-200 ?

 

If you can post them they may be relevant to my 14.5" Nightsky Dob.

 

P.S. How much is the least expensive shipping (USPS, preferably) to Israel - If the last Question is against TOS please PM me

 

Thanks



#10 GShaffer

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 12:02 PM

Hi Greg,
 
Looks like a very elegant and lightweight platform.
 
Do you have a flier and introductory price for the  EQT-200 ?
 
If you can post them they may be relevant to my 14.5" Nightsky Dob.
 
P.S. How much is the least expensive shipping (USPS, preferably) to Israel - If the last Question is against TOS please PM me
 
Thanks


The flyer you seek is attached to the last post in the this thread post # 76 I believe.......Although I don't believe you could call the prices introductory any longer since both the 100 and 200 models have been out for quite sometime......



#11 G Blandin

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 10:37 AM

Yes, you are correct. The EQT-100 and EQT-200 have been out for some time so they are not at introductory pricing. However, I think the pricing is still quite reasonable for anodized aluminum platforms. 


Edited by G Blandin, 21 May 2015 - 10:41 AM.


#12 GShaffer

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 11:17 AM

Yes, you are correct. The EQT-100 and EQT-200 have been out for some time so they are not at introductory pricing. However, I think the pricing is still quite reasonable for anodized aluminum platforms. 

 

No implication otherwise Gregg....... I am quite happy with mine and if you remember I was either #1 or #2 when they went into production. It has taken a beating and kept on ticking :) 



#13 G Blandin

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Posted 21 May 2015 - 01:27 PM

Yes, I do remember. Actually after Alvin Huey's platform, you were the first EQT-200 that I shipped. I think it's going on 3 years now. Glad you are enjoying it. 



#14 G Blandin

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Posted 05 October 2015 - 06:12 PM

Check out the new EQT-225SC, the heavy weight version of this platform for scopes weighing up to 225 pounds. Just built the first for 38 degree latitude and started a new thread with a picture.


Edited by G Blandin, 05 October 2015 - 06:12 PM.


#15 gmartin02

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 04:02 PM

I received my EQT-150SC platform on Monday, and I got it set up and used it late Monday night (before the clouds rolled in Tuesday morning).

 

Tracking was very good - I was able to track at 503x with no problems (seeing wasn't good enough to support this power, but I thought I would try it anyway).

 

For the balance of the evening, I tracked various objects at 176x (lunar limb, double/multiple stars). I don't know how close my polar alignment was (probably within a couple of degrees - I just leveled the platform and pointed it towards Polaris), and I was able to center an object in the eyepiece (Pentax XW 10mm - 24 arc minute field of view), and the object would still be in the field of view 10-15 minutes later.

 

I performed a couple of platform resets during testing, and everything worked great.

 

The platform seems really stable, is easy to use, and I didn't have any problems at all.

 

It was so nice viewing the E and F stars in the Trapezium without having to see them drift across the field and resetting the scope every few seconds (and the F star was very faint in the Full Moon washed out sky - I may not have been able to see it without using the platform). For me, having an object stationary and centered in the eyepiece allows me to get every last bit of detail from the viewing experience. It is also really nice to be able to take a break from an object for a few minutes without having to "power down" and re-acquire the target .

 

I am very happy with the platform, and look forward to using it a lot more during the next New Moon cycle (assuming the clouds cooperate).

 

More reports and pictures to follow.


Edited by gmartin02, 28 October 2015 - 04:44 PM.

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#16 Ken Cameron

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Posted 02 November 2015 - 05:11 PM

My interest is primarily deep sky visual observing. I had an equatorial mounted 8” reflector for many years.  I loved the tracking ability, but too often it was difficult and awkward to point in a specific direction in the sky. After one especially frustrating experience, I threw up my hands and decided to get a 10” Dobsonian. I’ve had that scope for more than a decade. I love the ease with which I can point it anywhere in the sky, but I sorely miss the ability to track.

 

I recently moved to a fairly dark area, Copperopolis, California, and I started to seriously consider getting a bigger scope. I wanted something I could roll out of my garage and set up in the driveway. And a key requirement was that it had to track. I ruled out the big go-to Dobsonians in part because of cost and in part because I like to star hop. I decided the first step in planning for the new scope was to research equatorial platforms, and I quickly found that they can be fairly expensive, especially the aluminum ones. In my research I came across Gregg Blandin’s page for Crossbow Platforms on the faintfuzzies.com website. I was impressed. The platforms are aluminum, well made and reasonably priced. Gregg and I exchanged numerous emails discussing the platforms and scopes. I decided I would likely get his EQT-150SC that will take scopes up to 150 lbs.

 

At that point I felt confident I would be able to track to my satisfaction, and I started searching for a used scope. I found a 16” Meade Lightbridge that had been rebuilt some years ago by Dennis Steele at dobstuff.com. I liked the Dobstuff design, which is much lighter weight and more portable than the original Lightbridge, and I bought the scope. It had been somewhat neglected, and Dennis was super helpful in solving several problems that I encountered.  I purchased an EQT-150SC platform, which Gregg completed in a timely manner and which he even personally delivered. Then I took the platform to Alan Flud at Thomason Precision Machine in Sonora, California, who built the dollie for the platform and scope.
 
I am extremely happy with this combination of scope, platform and dollie. Before I put the scope on the platform, I aligned the platform (on the dollie) north using a compass, and marked the position of the dollie in the driveway. Now I can wheel the scope out of the garage, position the dollie over the markers in the driveway, and level it in less than five minutes. Even though the platform is never precisely aligned, it has met my expectations in every way. At 100X an object will usually stay in the FOV for most if not the entire tracking time, about an hour. At 300X I commonly go away from the scope for 10 minutes or more and the object is still in the field of view when I return. I couldn’t expect more given my quick alignments.

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#17 AlienRatDog

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 10:24 AM

Would the 150 model work with an Obession 18" classic?

#18 G Blandin

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 08:24 PM

Yes, the EQT-150SC would work fine for a 18" Obsession classic as long as it's not over 150 pounds. I'm seem to remember the 20" Obsession classic weighing in at 150 pounds, but I would still weigh it to make sure. Let me know if I can help you.



#19 EdP

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 09:51 PM

I purchased an EQT-150SC to use with my 12 inch dob and am very pleased with it. It is a high quality, well designed, sturdy piece of equipment. Very light and very portable. On top of that, it's so reasonably priced. And to say that it has greatly enhanced my viewing experience is an understatement. I can center an object in the field and it will stay there. No more constant nudging and bumping to stay on an object at high magnification. My wife likes it too, now that she can actually look at something instead of just taking a quick peek.

 

If you're thinking about getting an EQ platform, seriously, this is the way to go.


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#20 G Blandin

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Posted 29 March 2016 - 01:21 PM

Thanks for the great review!



#21 gmartin02

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Posted 06 April 2016 - 05:41 PM

After concentrating on my airline portable setup for a trip to Hawaii in January, I finally got around to using my Dob again. I took my Dob with the EQT-150SC out to dark skies on February 27th for a 3 hour observing session and the platform performed flawlessly.

 

This was the first time I used the platform in dark skies ("blue" zone) instead of at home ("orange" zone), and it was a joy not to have to constantly nudge the scope to keep dim galaxy clusters centered in the eyepiece. 

 

I think the "Crossbow" EQ platforms are the best value available for a premium platform.

 

Thanks again Gregg for the great product! 



#22 G Blandin

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 11:32 AM

Glad you're enjoying your platform and thanks for the review!



#23 TG

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 05:39 PM

Hello Greg, the EQT-120 platform I bought from you 2 years back is going great and I am nothing but pleased with it. I do have a few suggestions that I think would improve it even more:

 

1. Many people like me leave their dobs assembled and wheel them out. Doing this with the platform attached can stress the "polar axis" pivot nut when the lower part of the platform hangs from the attached upper part so I use velcro straps to hold both parts together when I wheel it out. Having a mechanism to secure the lower part to the upper would simplify my life.

 

2. Consider a polar scope attachment. While the "Polaris in a box" procedure you outline in the manual works, a polar scope would make alignment much faster.

 

3. The levelers are hard to adjust if a scope is already on the platform. Having them be adjustable from the top would be nice.

 

4. While we're talking about better levelers, how about making it possible to attach wheels (again for people like me who just want to wheel the scope out)?

 

5. The motor is exposed on my model. I'm concerned about dust making it in or dew causing corrosion. I see you have covered it with a vinyl cap. Would be nice to make it available to previous owners.

 

 

Tanveer.

 



#24 BrendanF

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 08:02 PM

Gregg,

 

Tanveer mentioned a manual with a 'polaris in a box' procedure.  I don't think that existed when I got my platform (early EQT-100 or EQT-200?).  Is there a way I can get that?  Polar alignment is still challenging. 

 

Also, all of Tanveer's ideas seem like good ones.  I am not sure you can implement them, but I would be interested to see ideas for wheels, especially ones that do not raise the platform by much.

 

Brendan



#25 demiles

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 02:32 PM

I have one of Gregg's early platforms and I've added adjustable feet with 4 inches of travel. Leveling the platform on uneven ground is now simple and easy. Gregg had explained that method to me but it's been a few years. I basically just align the platform using a good compass and compensating for true north which is offset 11degrees in my general area. A lot of times this is right on the money and can keep an object in the fov at 240X for the complete run cycle. If I'm off a bit ill use the procedure below at high power. 

 

Best idea is to put in a crosshair eyepiece and align one crosshair in the RA direction by
turning off the drive and watching a star drift. egin with a star in the South. With the
drive on, see if the star drifts in dec. If it drifts up then the Platform is pointed too far
East, rotate counter clockwise. If the star drifts down then you are pointed too far West,
rotate clockwise. Ignore for the moment any drift you might see along the RA axis. Move
the Platform slightly east or west as needed to zero out the drift.
Then look at a star in the west and again align a crosshair with the RA movement. With
the drive on, if the star drifts towards the right, then the Platform axis is pointed above
the pole. If the star drifts left, then the Platform is pointed below the pole. Compensate
accordingly by tilting the Platform as needed using the Platform's adjustment screws.
 




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