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The Celestron CG-2(EQ-1)

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#1 Sky Muse

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 08:01 PM

At the time I set out to get my first EQ-1 equatorial mount, and the smallest of the EQ series; small indeed...

 

https://images-na.ss...7AL._SX466_.jpg

 

...I wanted the best one I could find, among the Chinese clones, so after several days of searching online I settled upon an "AstroMaster Deluxe" CG-2(EQ-1), and that came within a kit...

 

kit2.jpg

 

The telescope that came with it was of little or no consequence at the time of purchase, although it has turned out to be worthwhile in its own right.

 

 

But this time around, I was after a telescope only(and a certain, special eyepiece), and the "Bird Jones" within the Celestron "PowerSeeker" 127EQ kit.  It came with a CG-2(EQ-1) as well, but its inclusion was also of little to no consequence, or so I had thought...

 

mount2.jpg

 

Now, that is the basic CG-2, and indeed it is, but it came with this massive counterweight, and to balance the 127mm f/8 "Bird Jones"...

 

counterweight.jpg

 

When moving the mount, either remove the counterweight or carry the mount partially by the counterweight, and when relocating it; lest the mount-head cracks in two, or in three or more pieces. 

 

That wouldn't be hard to "accomplish".

 


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#2 Sky Muse

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 08:11 PM

The mount included an eyepiece tray...

 

eyepiece tray.jpg

 

...and for your favourite 1.25" and .965" eyepieces and accessories...

 

eyepiece tray2.jpg

 

As the mount comes, it arrives with rather spindly aluminum legs, and with the mount almost vanishing within the spindly, wintry branches of the trees just beyond...

 

mount3.jpg

 

The mount can be easily transformed into an alt-azimuth mode of operation...

 

alt-az mode.jpg


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#3 Sky Muse

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 08:35 PM

In its alt-azimuth mode, the mount appears beefier, more solid...

 

alt-az mode2.jpg

 

Rust within the threaded hole of the counterweight-shaft...

 

rust.jpg

 

I do hope that that is the only instance.

 

Alas, it's 2019, and the basic model still comes equipped with this archaic, bolt-on mounting-saddle...

 

mounting saddle.jpg

 

Not too long ago, I submitted a warranty-claim with Celestron, whereby I ended up with a spare "Deluxe" CG-2 mount-head.  Are you thinking what I'm thinking...

 

basic-deluxe CG-2.jpg

 

Now, the tripod of this mount is not the sturdiest around, the legs specifically, but I have quite a few spares laying around, perhaps of wood even.  If I don't buy it anytime soon, you will eventually see this mount hyper-tuned and enhanced to its fullest potential.


Edited by Sky Muse, 14 February 2019 - 12:26 PM.


#4 Sky Muse

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 08:49 PM

Oh, I almost forgot; this is a nice touch...

 

angled foot.jpg

 

...angled tips for the legs, and to perhaps keep the legs from sinking into the ground.



#5 Earthbound1

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 08:53 AM

I've been thinking about how everyone is disapointed with the legs on the entry level mounts these days and it seems to me they just need beefing up. If I had access to a few sets of them, I could try a few combinations I have in mind. I've already "Googled" introducing closed cell foam to increase strength, and automobile manufacturers are doing it. So at the very least there's that. Just get some expanding polyurethane foam and a long enough piece of clear vinyl tubing from the hardware store or a leftover fishtank pump. Also, you could put fiberglass tent poles in them and add foam, or Hickory sticks or my current obsession...foam filled Bamboo. Maybe even foam filled pvc or pex tubing inserted and covered in foam would be good. I'd try them to figure out which was cheapest, lightest and strongest. $3-$5 a can for a definite improvement. Just the foam alone is probably the way to go. Happy skies!
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#6 Sky Muse

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 02:17 PM

You're quite right about that, and I have edited my post accordingly.

 

Each leg is comprised of three pieces.  There is that, as I have seen this online...

 

https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/

 

Although that would at least get a telescope up off the ground, therefore not all bad. 

 

Until the tripod in question arrived, this is the only aluminum tripod that I've ever known...

 

ATVI tripod legs3.jpg

 

Please don't misunderstand me, as I do intend to use this tripod on occasion.  What I like about it most is that it's very light in weight, and that's a clear advantage in grab-and-go ergonomics.  I may very well pursue the spray-foam fix, as I don't want to add extra weight, like sand.  We've had a can or two of that foam around here over the years, but I'll want to get a fresh can or two for that.

 

There is one aspect that does strike one as cause for concern: the spreader...

 

spreader anchoring2.jpg

 

But there is a way to improve it, and here...

 

spreader anchoring.jpg

 

...with either bushings or a combination of #4 stainless-steel and nylon washers.  It's good that a bolt with a lock-nut was provided there, and in making that fix all the easier.  Whilst I like the tray's provision for .965" eyepieces(charming, that is), I don't like the way it attaches to the spreader, and that can be improved, too.

 

All of the pieces comprising the spreader are of steel, and somewhat above that merely stamped, I feel.  I would, and probably will, also replace the pins with bolts and lock-nuts where the arms join the hub, and to stiffen that up a bit...

 

spreader hub.jpg

 

Yes, I will be making use of this tripod.

  


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#7 Earthbound1

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 04:52 PM

Cool. I've got a used Meade tripod with legs like the eq you have. I haven't really looked at the spreader yet, or done the legs yet(no money) but I did find an 18" perforated aluminum pizza pan that fits nicely on it! I plan on posting pics in a few more weeks of all my brokebank mods. Clear skies! Bracing for rain the next 7-10 days again here.

#8 Sky Muse

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 02:01 AM

All I've seen is predominately overcast and rain, and for a long time, hence all of this work on my telescopes and mounts.  Last night(Thursday), the temperature was delightful for this time of year, but with clouds.  The clouds were moving at a pretty fast clip however, whereby I didn't have to wait long for the Moon to appear, and Sirius, then to disappear, then re-appear yet again.  Meaningful observations can be conducted under such, but I don't have this mount loosened up and tweaked yet, and for the "Bird Jones" first light.  I can't break the telescope down and "fix" it until I give it a whirl as it had arrived.


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#9 Sky Muse

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Posted 15 February 2019 - 02:29 AM

I had gone out yesterday, and for parts for this mount.  Home Depot didn't have stainless 8-32 lock-nuts, and Lowe's was out of them.  I'll have to go to the county seat to my local hardware in that event.

 

I did pick this up...

 

gloss black.jpg

 

...a 96¢, believe it or not, rattle-can of gloss-black from Wal-Mart.  "Why?" you ask.  Because the Vixen-style saddle from the spare "AstroMaster Deluxe" CG-2 mount-head is a perfect match and replacement for the bolt-on saddle of the base "PowerSeeker" CG-2...

 

 Vixen saddle.jpg

 

The saddle will need to be just as black and shiny as the rest, although I may mask off the dovetail-bar slot portion and leave it as is.

 

The clamping-knobs for the axes from the spare are also a perfect match, save that they need to be shortened.  These painted thumbscrews that were provided for clamping the axes are history, and they look it, too...

 

old thumbscrews.jpg


Edited by Sky Muse, 15 February 2019 - 02:33 AM.

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#10 Sky Muse

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 08:25 PM

The speader is off of the legs, and ready to be stiffened.  The yokes are of plastic, and riveted on...

 

yokes.jpg

 

spreader.jpg

 

Now for those pins at the hub...


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#11 Sky Muse

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 08:55 PM

Well, that wasn't too difficult...

 

hub removal.jpg



#12 Sky Muse

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 09:53 PM

Yes, it's overcast here, and as it has been predominately for weeks if not months. 

 

What a perfect opportunity to work on the toys.

 

Stainless-steel #8 screws and lock-nuts work wonders...

 

spreader2.jpg

 

The lock-nuts enable the tension to be adjusted, and for just the right looseness, or stiffness, of motion.  I wanted to add brass washers, but there wasn't enough room.



#13 Sky Muse

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 10:50 PM

Two stainless-steel and two nylon washers were installed, each, and where the arms of the spreader join the legs...

 

spreader3.jpg

 

...no more slop, shaking and wobbling.  The #8 screws and lock-nuts are a bit oversized for the hub, but the rolled-holes of the hub and arms required them.  As it was, I had to squeeze the rolled-holes of the hub down to a smaller diameter with a pair of vise-grips, and for as snug a fit of the screws as possible.  I may, in future, install the same where the arms join the legs, but I'll see how well those metric ones work out.

 

I have both axes of the mount-head loosened to where I want them, as they were bound up upon arrival.  All that's left to do before a telescope can be attached and used in a practical manner is loosen up and adjust the RA-worm, and also ensure a true and square meshing to the RA-gear.


Edited by Sky Muse, 17 February 2019 - 06:20 PM.

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#14 Simon B

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Posted 16 February 2019 - 11:18 PM

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#15 Jaimo!

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 02:33 PM

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#16 Sky Muse

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 06:23 PM

I'll have the white-cheddar on mine, please. drool.gif   


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#17 Sky Muse

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 10:49 PM

It's 39° outside, and to drop to 31° before dawn.  There's also this, and from my front door...

 

021719.jpg

 

So, I think I'll work on this instead.  I haven't taken it all apart yet...

 

mount-head.jpg

 

This "PowerSeeker" CG-2 is not nearly as lurid and tacky as the "AstroMaster" version.  I like that.  I did make an unexpected discovery however during the interim: the blackish paint has a hammered texture...

 

hammered.jpg

 

This changes everything, as I can't paint the "AstroMaster" Vixen-style saddle that I've integrated, and with my 96¢ rattle-can of gloss-black from Wal-Mart; made in the USA., but with globally-sourced materials, whatever that means.

 

It looks like I'm going to have to splurge the next time I go out...

 

https://www.homedepo...15830/100146848



#18 Sky Muse

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 11:44 PM

The RA-axis, exploded...

 

RA-axis lock-nut.jpg

 

RA-axis washers.jpg

 

...plastic and rubber washers, and amazingly, very little grease to be found, anywhere throughout this mount-head.

 

Little opportunity for hyper-tuning there, but a bit nonetheless.  The first thing I'm going to do is remove the paint from this bearing substrate...

 

RA bearing substrate.jpg

 

...and then look online for a viable needle-thrust bearing.  Bronze washers will be crafted by my hand in any event.  I may even use PTFE here and there, I don't know yet.

 

It's nigh springtime, and time to get a move on.


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#19 Sky Muse

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 12:29 AM

There...

 

RA bearing substrate2.jpg

 

Isn't that pretty? curtsy.gif

 

 


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#20 Sky Muse

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 07:48 AM

Yesterday afternoon's outing was rather productive.  From my local hardware, sintered-bronze washers, replacements, and for the axes' lock-nuts and the RA-worm shaft...

 

bronze washers.jpg

 

I will also need to craft a few thin washers from phosphor-bronze sheet.  I also have "sumpthin'" special coming in the mail, and due on the 22nd.

 

Whilst I was there, #8 stainless-steel screws and lock-nuts to replace the 4mm for the tripod's spreader, and where the arms join the legs...

 

bolts & lock-nuts.jpg

 

I had to cut those screws down, of course.  I also squeezed the way-oversized rolled-holes of the arms to as small a diameter as possible, inserted brass sleeves within those, and then the screws through both...

 

spreader anchoring3.jpg

 

The stiffness and stability of the tripod now is ideal; couldn't be better, unless I made a new spreader, and that's not going to happen with this tripod.

 

From Home Depot, a rattle-can of hammered-black for the Vixen-style saddle...

 

hammered black2.jpg

 

hammered black.jpg

 

I don't think I'll be doing that, ohhh nooooooo.


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#21 Sky Muse

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 06:21 PM

Preparing the Vixen-style saddle from the spare "Astromaster" CG-2 mount-head, and for painting with the hammered-black...

 

The first thing I've done was having filed down those casting points...

 

Vixen saddle4.jpg

 

...as that's where a phosphor-bronze washer will come in contact.  The paint was also removed...

 

Vixen saddle2.jpg

 

Who paints bearing surfaces, honestly.

 

The area where a sintered-bronze washer will rest, along with some luscious Super Lube, was also stripped...

 

Vixen saddle3.jpg

 

I say "luscious" because the PTFE-based grease is food-safe.

 

Now, sintered-bronze is infused with oil or other, and is therefore self-lubricating, but every little bit helps. help.gif

 

I know that there are countless numbers of these EQ-1 mounts upended in this landfill and that; sad, but I think that the EQ-1 is more popular than the EQ-2(albeit the latter of a diminutive size as well), and not necessarily because countless numbers of them are included within this kit and that.

 

The EQ-1 is the ultimate grab 'n' go equatorial, and this one is going to operate like a well-oiled gyroscope.


Edited by Sky Muse, 19 February 2019 - 06:40 PM.

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#22 Sky Muse

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 11:22 PM

The saddle was sanded down with 100-grit paper, but only where it is to be painted.  It was then washed and masked off...

 

Vixen saddle5.jpg

 

Again, I will not be painting where a dovetail-bar will come in contact with the saddle.  

 

Now to fill a few holes, and paint...


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#23 Sky Muse

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 02:31 AM

The second, and final, coat has been applied.  Now to wait until the paint cures.  Glamour shots...

 

The saddle portion itself...

 

Vixen saddle9.jpg

 

Vixen saddle10.jpg

 

Why, it looks as though it had been painted and included, just like that, at the factory.


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#24 Sky Muse

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 05:22 PM

The "sumpthin'" special arrived today, and two days in advance...

 

needle-thrust bearings4.jpg   

 

...in millimeters.  They also carry inch-sizes.  I live in the eastern half of the country, but just barely, and on the verge of the western half, so it's not surprising that I received them so relatively far in advance.  Had I ordered them from the northeast, I would've acquired a few more grey hairs whilst waiting...

 

needle-thrust bearings3.jpg

 

Bronze, and perhaps a nylon spacer, will be incorporated with these, and a brass shim or two. 

 

The possibilities are now endless.  Nigh a Swiss watch it shall tick beneath the dome.


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#25 Sky Muse

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 05:18 AM

Removing paint, and old grease whilst I'm at it...

 

DEC shaft.jpg

 

...on and on and on.




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