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Rayox Saddle Review

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#1 Derek Wong

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 10:50 AM

The Rayox dovetail saddle (regular price $449 with adapter through Woodland Hills Telescope, with an initial discount for Cloud Nights members) is a breakthrough product that has significant advantages compared to existing systems, especially when working with heavy equipment. If this system had been available earlier, I could have avoided some potentially dangerous situations…

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#2 Derek Wong

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 11:35 AM

Since I submitted the review, Woodland Hills and Stephen Pizzo made a video that shows the workings or the saddle:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=fArr75mvNYY

 

One of them will give the discount code in the Vendor's forum.

 

Derek



#3 Headshot

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 12:32 PM

I picked up one of these saddle plates and concur with Derek's findings wholeheartedly.

 

I am a height-impaired, aging amateur who is terrified of dropping one of my OTAs as I secure it to my Losmandy G-11 mount. Since I am now retired, if I drop an OTA, there won't be a replacement. The Rayox has reduced this fear factor considerably. It is ideal for my situation.

 

One thing that Derek did not mention is what a joy it is to work with Stephen Pizzo. He is very responsive to answering questions and open to suggestions for potential improvements to the attaching hardware scheme. Stephen has put a lot of work into offering a kit that works well on a myriad of mounts, yet did not flinch when I suggested a minor, yet important (to me) tweak.

 

Bottom line: I am glad I invested my money in the Rayox Saddle Plate.

 

Headshot



#4 Herr Ointment

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 04:02 PM

I've got a box of old bicycle skewers. I use them for jigs and fixtures in the workshop and have often wondered why that cam action wasn't incorporated into a saddle.

 

The click-in feature elevates this product above what I would have expected in a cam locking saddle design.


Edited by Herr Ointment, 25 February 2017 - 04:04 PM.


#5 Derek Wong

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 10:08 PM

Hi Headshot:

 

I agree that Stephen was really easy to work with.  He has been talking about a version of the saddle that holds narrower dovetails (Vixen, and hopefully others like AP sliding bars) after this model gets going.

 

Derek



#6 checkitout

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 01:19 PM

Derek, 

One thing I don't think Stephen realizes is the ease it will be for us "aging" armature astronomers with arthritis. It is such a pain balancing my 11"  then tightening it up. then comes tear down when it is cold and the plate screws just wont budge. Embarrassing having to have someone help break the screws loose. Finally, just one click and it's out. PTL. Called Dr. "D" and ordered one for my G11 and G8.  Thanks again for a great review.



#7 Derek Wong

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 10:41 AM

Hi Checkitout:

 

You are right, the Rayox is great for anyone who has issues with undoing the dovetail at the end of the night.  I don't have arthritis and I still find it difficult to loosen the screws if I have used a large scope.

 

Derek



#8 noisejammer

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 07:14 PM

Derek, your review couldn't have come at a better time.

 

After a near miss, I decided to give the Rayox a go. My TOA (something like 60 lbs all in) is hanging on it as I type this. The finish is good and the fit is excellent. Adjustment to suit my Losmandy (I think) dovetail plate was painless. I was able to balance the tube on its axis in moments.

 

Since tolerances are tight in an over-centre cam, I will keep an eye on the saddle's grip as the year warms up.

 

A suggestion -

If it's being used on a mount with lots of trailing cables (in my case a 900GTO.) Once everything is sorted out, it may be prudent to secure the lever with a cable tie, This could prevent it getting tugged into the balance position.



#9 Jim Miller

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:19 PM

How do I contact Stephen?

Thanks,

Jim

#10 Marsie Comet

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 11:23 AM

Hi Jim. Per the telescopes.net website you can contact Stephen at: '[i]If you have any inquires on interface plates or the Rayox saddle please feel free to reach out to Stephen Pizzo

https://www.cloudyni...view=getnewpost

#11 range88

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 07:51 AM

This is the first time I saw broadcast/cine clamp idea transplant to amateur astronomy. It's long overdue. Similar clamps have existed for a long time, and widely. See Kessler, Cartoni, Oconnor, Vinten and many more. It's an industry standard.



#12 mogur

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 12:24 PM

Yes, this type of clamp has been employed on photo tripods for many years. It's not new technology, except for astronomy use, and afaic ridiculously overpriced.


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#13 SXBB

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 04:47 PM

TPO 10" Truss RC, Rayox Saddle, MyT, STT8300, FW8G-STT
TPO 10" Truss RC, Rayox Saddle, MyT
TPO 10" Truss RC, Rayox Saddle, MyT

 

If you ever experienced the trauma of seeing 3 of your most prized and delicate possessions slide off of a saddle and crash to the ground, I bet you would change your mind about what a safe and effective solution is worth.  Add up what's sitting on top of your mount and then add to that the fact that for a very long time after such an incident, you'll physically cringe at the thought of it.  I had that happen and I can tell you that as careful as I normally was, fatigue and distraction can happen.  I really love my MyT mount but the Versa-Plate is not ideal for me.  I have a Rayox saddle on top of my MyT now.  It makes it so much safer to mount my rig, I consider it a necessity.  In order to mount anything on the stock Versa-Plate saddle the came with my MyT, it needs to slide in from the front or back of the Versa-Plate rather than being able to rock it into place.  That's fine if you have a refractor using rings because you can easily insert the dovetail and rings first, secure them, and then place your refractor into the rings.  One of my current setups is a TPO 10" Truss RC with a MoonLite NiteCrawler and an STT8300 and FW8G-STT.  It has no rings and the whole outfit weighs about 50lbs.  Yes, I can break it down into components but I prefer to avoid that if possible. For me, even just the RC at 34lbs is heavy in this situation.  Lifting it up and sliding the D Plate into the Versa-Plate safely, without vibrating it and the mount to the point of affecting either collimation or polar alignment, or something even more catastrophic is tricky.  It's also really hard on my back.  With the Rayox saddle, I can much more easily and safely rock the whole rig into the saddle which then automatically engages the D plate and holds it safely.  I have it marked so I can rock it in at just the right spot so it's almost perfectly balanced but it can still be adjusted safely in Balance mode with the lever halfway to closed.  The lever that locks it down is easily closed with one hand and it securely holds everything very rigidly in place.  If the lever isn't completely closed, it's plain to see that it's not yet locked down.  When I think about doing it this way I feel the exact opposite of the cringe that I used to feel when thinking about mounting my rig.  I'm actually testing the prototype of the model that is a replacement for the Versa-Plate and I'm extremely happy with it.  I've been unable to have all three contact points engaged with my D plate on the Versa-Plate and maintain balance in the past but most of it is now engaged by the Rayox saddle and I'm confident that it is more rigidly held because of that.  The functionality is the most important thing to me but the Rayox is a beautifully engineered, CNC machined piece of gear.  The cost to machine the adapter plate and saddle out of high quality strong aluminum and anodize it must be substantial.  I own quick release mounts for my DSLRs and this is a completely different animal.  I think it's worth every penny.

 

Best,

 

Bruce

 

Yes, this type of clamp has been employed on photo tripods for many years. It's not new technology, except for astronomy use, and afaic ridiculously overpriced.

 

 



#14 Waldemar

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 12:02 PM

 

 
 

Yes, this type of clamp has been employed on photo tripods for many years. It's not new technology, except for astronomy use, and afaic ridiculously overpriced.

 

Not hindered by any knowledge about the subject, other people's work often seems simple and too expensive...

Produce a couple yourself, test them and come back with a not 'ridiculously overpriced' and at least as good product and 'walk your talk' ... 


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#15 RAYOX

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 08:50 PM

To SXBB & Waldemar,

thank you for the comments...much appreciated :-)

 

Happy New Years!!!

Stephen Pizzo



#16 pyrasanth

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:54 PM

I've recently done some field testing of the Rayox with a Celestron C14 OTA.

 

I see no advantage with a large OTA. It is nearly impossible to see where the OTA is landing into the saddle plate- might be easier with an open truss- the difficulty is visibility. The trip mechanism for the clamp is far too sensitive on my Rayox- it is possible to trip the clamp without griping the OTA rail. This is because the size of a large tube prevents you from seeing the exact position of your rail relative to the clamp. I tripped the mechanism many times before I found the sweet spot and this means you have to place the OTA back on the ground reset the trip & try again- it is really difficult to hold a 42 lb OTA in place six feet up for long. I'm sure this would be easy with a smaller diameter tube but anything above 11" OTA & you might hit this problem.

 

It is also difficult to slide the OTA to balance with a big tube on a equatorial mount as gravity forces the locked rail against one side of the clamp making the assembly really difficult to move.

 

I'm going to be removing the Rayox and going back to rings so I can see what I'm doing.

 

I will use the Rayox on a portable mount with a refractor where I feel it is more suited.

 

You will note from the video with Woodlands presenting the Rayox that only a tiny tube was selected. I would like to see the same ease of use with a very large diameter tube- I think you would get a very different impression of the product.

 

I'm not against the product in any way but I feel that the suitability needs to be carefully established before committing to a purchase.


Edited by pyrasanth, 12 January 2018 - 01:50 PM.


#17 gdd

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:29 PM

I've recently done some field testing of the Rayox with a Celestron C14 OTA.

 

I see no advantage with a large OTA. It is nearly impossible to see where the OTA is landing into the saddle plate- might be easier with an open truss- the difficulty is visibility. The trip mechanism for the clamp is far too sensitive on my Rayox- it is possible to trip the clamp without griping the OTA rail. This is because the size of a large tube prevents you from seeing the exact position of your rail relative to the clamp. I tripped the mechanism many times before I found the sweet spot and this means you have to place the OTA back on the ground reset the trip & try again- it is really difficult to hold a 42 lb OTA in place six feet up for long. I'm sure this would be easy with a smaller diameter tube but anything above 11" OTA & you might hit this problem.

 

It is also difficult to slide the OTA to balance with a big tube on a equatorial mount as gravity forces the locked rail against one side of the clamp making the assembly really difficult to move.

 

I'm going to be removing the Rayox and going back to rings so I can see what I'm doing.

 

I will use the Rayox on a portable mount with a refractor where I feel it is more suited.

 

You will note from the video with Woodlands presenting the Rayox that only a tiny tube was selected. I would like to see the same ease of use with a very large diameter tube- I think you would get a very different impression of the product.

 

I'm not against the product in any way but I feel that the suitability needs to be carefully established before committing to a purchase.

Can tilt saddle method with the counterweight bar horizontal and the OTA on a small table be used with the Ravox? Would that make it any easier?

 

Gale 



#18 RAYOX

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 06:48 PM

I'm sorry you've had trouble with the saddle and large OTA. I realize a much beefed video needs to be made. 

FWIW a great deal of my testing was done with a 230mm F7 Lunt LS230THa. It's quite heavy compared to other similar sized refractors due to the sizeable etalon and housing. It used to take two people to mount however I was able to mount it on my own using the RAYOX. 

 

If you believe the release is too sensitive that ive that is something we can quickly test and adjust.



#19 pyrasanth

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 06:41 AM

 

I've recently done some field testing of the Rayox with a Celestron C14 OTA.

 

I see no advantage with a large OTA. It is nearly impossible to see where the OTA is landing into the saddle plate- might be easier with an open truss- the difficulty is visibility. The trip mechanism for the clamp is far too sensitive on my Rayox- it is possible to trip the clamp without griping the OTA rail. This is because the size of a large tube prevents you from seeing the exact position of your rail relative to the clamp. I tripped the mechanism many times before I found the sweet spot and this means you have to place the OTA back on the ground reset the trip & try again- it is really difficult to hold a 42 lb OTA in place six feet up for long. I'm sure this would be easy with a smaller diameter tube but anything above 11" OTA & you might hit this problem.

 

It is also difficult to slide the OTA to balance with a big tube on a equatorial mount as gravity forces the locked rail against one side of the clamp making the assembly really difficult to move.

 

I'm going to be removing the Rayox and going back to rings so I can see what I'm doing.

 

I will use the Rayox on a portable mount with a refractor where I feel it is more suited.

 

You will note from the video with Woodlands presenting the Rayox that only a tiny tube was selected. I would like to see the same ease of use with a very large diameter tube- I think you would get a very different impression of the product.

 

I'm not against the product in any way but I feel that the suitability needs to be carefully established before committing to a purchase.

Can tilt saddle method with the counterweight bar horizontal and the OTA on a small table be used with the Ravox? Would that make it any easier?

 

Gale 

 

I'm planning to get a lift table so I can position the OTA on the corrector plate end the raise the entire tube to engage with the Rayox clamp. This will be far easier than having to hoist the big tube in the air to position the Rayox. 

 

I see a way forward with the existing rings for the RASA. I will mount the rings on an ADM rail and use the Rayox to grip the rail with rings attached. The RASA being a short focal length is not so critical of vibration errors so this should be a means to mount both tubes on the same mount.



#20 meademods

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 06:38 AM

I have a new scope from OPT its their house brand called TPO (Third Planet Optics) 14" F/8 truss RC Made by GSO.  

 

Its being mounted on a Meade LX850 with the original large plate that is also used for mounting the starlock 80mm F/5 OTA.

 

It was very difficult to slide the 14" into the rail system and tighten the bolts it took two people to help hold the OTA in place while I tightened the bolts, Man there has to be a better way!!!

 

So I made a change to the mount I got a set of 1.5" rosette knobs to replace all of the socket cap head bolts on the mount and the plate as well to make the mount completely tool free, So no more large hex wrench :)

 

Next attempt at mounting this large 14" was much better it only took 2 of us this time and was easier to use the rosette knobs to tighten the rails.

 

Iv added the rosette knobs to my list of upgrades for the Meade lx850 along with a few other mods that I have done to 4 of thies mounts so far to make them better and more user friendly.

 

After finding out about the Rayox plate and doing a lot of research and watching their video I decided that this is the way to go.

 

I ordered the plate from woodland hills but it was on a 6 month back order sigh ;(

after the long wait it arrived and boy what a work of art"" very sleek, light in weight and strong.

after I installed the Rayox plate I realized that the mount was now 10 LBS lighter O-boy this is even better!

 

So now loading and unloading the mount is nicer and setting up on the tripod is easier without that over sized large saddle plate and I can now mount the 14" Truss RC  by my self WoW!!

what a difference this has made and a huge improvement on balance.

 

 Originally I was using 3- 26lb and 2- 10lb weights to balance the mighty 14" and now I'm only using the 3-26lb weights So the mount is now 20 LBS lighter loaded which means the drive system has less strain on the motors and worm gears. :)

 

I will be adding a setup tutorial video on YouTube ASAP to my "meademods" channel on the new setup.

 

Stay Tuned more to come...….

 

Clear Skies

 

Meademods



#21 pyrasanth

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 01:09 PM

"Originally I was using 3- 26lb and 2- 10lb weights to balance the mighty 14" and now I'm only using the 3-26lb weights So the mount is now 20 LBS lighter loaded which means the drive system has less strain on the motors and worm gears."

 

Not true. A correctly balanced telescope has no significant strain on the worm or gears. This is only a problem if you are out of balance & then the forces can be considerably more than the weight being pushed or pulled.



#22 JayS_CT

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 11:08 AM

I too have issues from time to time with larger, heavier OTAs and dual machined saddles.  As some have mentioned gravity plays a big part in the ability to slide a Losmandy plate up and down, etc.  One suggestion I've found helpful is marking the plate on the side with the typical starting balance point... this helps in getting started.  For removing the OTA, I usually flip the Equatorial mount to a horizontal position parallel to the ground.  When I start to loosen the screws, the OTA will have a tendency to roll off into my arms.  Also, for guiding, I have a Vixen dovetail mounted to the top rings (for guidescope), which gives me an extra holding point for the scope (helps when carrying as well).  :-) 

The Rayox looks promising, and as a photographer, Quick Releases have been around for a long time, but they too can have their issues.  I'd love to see the RAYOX in action with a big 10" OTA to see if it helps!!!  Thanks for the review!




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