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Avalon T-110 and iOptron Mini-Pier for iEQ45 Help

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#1 twkelley

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 01:42 PM

Just received my order for an Avalon T-Pod 110 tripod and an adapter to attach my iEQ45 Pro EQ/AZ mount.

 

First, the tripod is extraordinary. One of the finest pieces of astronomy gear I've ever owned.  The machining is impeccable and beautiful.  I will start a different thread once I've resolved my problem.

 

The Avalon iEQ45 adapter works fine for attaching the mount itself.  However, my iOptron mini-pier which I need to use so my refractor doesn't hit the legs, doesn't line up properly with the Avalon adapter.

 

Has anyone figured out how to attach an iOptron mini-pier to an Avalon tripod?

 

Is there a different mini-pier I could use?  All the Avalon mini-piers don't look like they'd work. If they had one with the same hole patterns as the tripod but extended 8", that would be fine. But I can't find one like that.

 

Need to figure out a combination of mini-pier and adapters to get the tripod to work with my mount.

 

Advice more than welcome.

 

Thanks!  TK



#2 photoracer18

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 02:23 PM

Only way it should work is if you put the iOptron adapter on the T-Pod, then the mini-pier on the adapter and then the mount on the mini-pier. If the mini pier is for your mount, the mount will attach to it. And if the mini-pier is supposed to fit your model mount it should fit the adapter that goes on the T-Pod because that adapter is supposed to make the top of the T-Pod the same as a regular iOptron pier.

I mean I have an iOptron Tri-Pier and I bought the iOptron adapter to enable it to mount the AP 400, 600E, and Mach1 mounts, because I have both an AP400 and an AP600E. And it fits perfectly.

The mini-pier should make no difference, if the adapter you bought is for the iEQ45 on the T-Pod then the mini-pier should attach. If it does not fit then its not for your mount.


Edited by photoracer18, 18 April 2019 - 02:24 PM.


#3 PiperDave

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Posted 18 April 2019 - 06:50 PM

I mounted my IEQ45Pro on an Avalon T-Pod using the Avalon Linear Extender, http://www.avalon-in...extender-linear, and the Avalon Adapter Plate for the IEQ45Pro. My ES127APO with Moonlight focuser, Hotech field flattener, ZWO OAG and ASI071MC Pro just clears the tripod leg when balanced. I operate "remotely" ------ from 3 meters away, and always stand beside the scope when doing a large slew.


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#4 twkelley

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 03:36 PM

I mounted my IEQ45Pro on an Avalon T-Pod using the Avalon Linear Extender, http://www.avalon-in...extender-linear, and the Avalon Adapter Plate for the IEQ45Pro. My ES127APO with Moonlight focuser, Hotech field flattener, ZWO OAG and ASI071MC Pro just clears the tripod leg when balanced. I operate "remotely" ------ from 3 meters away, and always stand beside the scope when doing a large slew.

This is very helpful info.  I didn't think any of Avalon's extenders would work.  Too bad I purchased the black tripod if I have to get the red extender though.  The contrast may look cool though, I hope!  Thanks!  TK


Edited by twkelley, 19 April 2019 - 03:56 PM.


#5 twkelley

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Posted 19 April 2019 - 03:50 PM

Only way it should work is if you put the iOptron adapter on the T-Pod, then the mini-pier on the adapter and then the mount on the mini-pier. If the mini pier is for your mount, the mount will attach to it. And if the mini-pier is supposed to fit your model mount it should fit the adapter that goes on the T-Pod because that adapter is supposed to make the top of the T-Pod the same as a regular iOptron pier.

I mean I have an iOptron Tri-Pier and I bought the iOptron adapter to enable it to mount the AP 400, 600E, and Mach1 mounts, because I have both an AP400 and an AP600E. And it fits perfectly.

The mini-pier should make no difference, if the adapter you bought is for the iEQ45 on the T-Pod then the mini-pier should attach. If it does not fit then its not for your mount.

Photoracer - That's what I thought should happen.  But the Avalon adapter doesn't have the same hole layout as the mini-pier/Tri-pier plates.  Even though I typically use 3 screws to attach the mini-pier, I did find that the two inserts in the adapter do line-up with two holes in the mini-pier plate, but they didn't machine the holes beneath the inserts properly so you can't use the full length screws that come with the mini-pier.  The machining is off just enough to block the holes so you can't screw them in all the way.

 

I went to the hardware store, and purchased the next size shorter screws, but they are too short.  They only hold the whole thing together with about 3 threads. Makes me very uncomfortable.  So I just ordered a non-standard size online.  Perhaps they will work well enough that I won't have to  purchase the Linear Extender.  While the Linear Extender may be the best option, I've already paid for the mini-pier, the color of the mini-pier matches the tripod, and the Linear extension is fairly expensive.  I'll certainly do it if I have to, but this may work well too.

 

Thanks!  TK



#6 twkelley

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Posted 21 April 2019 - 12:22 PM

I received the custom sized screws that appear to work fine to attach the iOptron mini-pier to an Avalon iEQ45/CEM60 adapter.  The screws I purchased are: "M8-1.25 x 35mm Socket Head Cap Screws Metric, Allen Socket Drive, Stainless Steel 304, Full Thread, Bright Finish, Machine Thread". I found them on Amazon, but I had to buy 20. I wish a local hardware store had them, but they all only carry 30mm and 40mm as standard sizes.

 

The mini-pier plate attaches securely to the Avalon adapter and tripod with the 35mm's.

 

However, the iOptron mini-pier is really a low quality piece.  The paint job is terrible. Rather than the lovely paint job that Avalon does, iOptron really cheaps-out on painting both the central column of the Tri-pier and the mini-pier plates and column. Both are already significantly chipping with minor initial use. Plus as I mentioned in a post last fall, I had to replace the knobs that attach the central column to the plate with countersink hex screws so that the column tightens sufficiently to not wobble.

 

But with two screw modifications, it's a usable piece of equipment. 

 

My new suggestion is if you're going to get an Avalon tripod for your iOptron mount, don't purchase the mini-pier, spend the extra and get the Linear extension along with the adapter.

 

TK



#7 photoracer18

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 03:46 PM

Photoracer - That's what I thought should happen.  But the Avalon adapter doesn't have the same hole layout as the mini-pier/Tri-pier plates.  Even though I typically use 3 screws to attach the mini-pier, I did find that the two inserts in the adapter do line-up with two holes in the mini-pier plate, but they didn't machine the holes beneath the inserts properly so you can't use the full length screws that come with the mini-pier.  The machining is off just enough to block the holes so you can't screw them in all the way.

 

I went to the hardware store, and purchased the next size shorter screws, but they are too short.  They only hold the whole thing together with about 3 threads. Makes me very uncomfortable.  So I just ordered a non-standard size online.  Perhaps they will work well enough that I won't have to  purchase the Linear Extender.  While the Linear Extender may be the best option, I've already paid for the mini-pier, the color of the mini-pier matches the tripod, and the Linear extension is fairly expensive.  I'll certainly do it if I have to, but this may work well too.

 

Thanks!  TK

I usually just buy longer screws, screw a nut down onto them and use a Dremel cutoff wheel to shorten the screw and reshape the end then unscrew the nut to see how well I did. If the nut comes off clean with no binding its good to go. If not screw it back on and reshape the end some more.



#8 photoracer18

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 03:48 PM

I received the custom sized screws that appear to work fine to attach the iOptron mini-pier to an Avalon iEQ45/CEM60 adapter.  The screws I purchased are: "M8-1.25 x 35mm Socket Head Cap Screws Metric, Allen Socket Drive, Stainless Steel 304, Full Thread, Bright Finish, Machine Thread". I found them on Amazon, but I had to buy 20. I wish a local hardware store had them, but they all only carry 30mm and 40mm as standard sizes.

 

The mini-pier plate attaches securely to the Avalon adapter and tripod with the 35mm's.

 

However, the iOptron mini-pier is really a low quality piece.  The paint job is terrible. Rather than the lovely paint job that Avalon does, iOptron really cheaps-out on painting both the central column of the Tri-pier and the mini-pier plates and column. Both are already significantly chipping with minor initial use. Plus as I mentioned in a post last fall, I had to replace the knobs that attach the central column to the plate with countersink hex screws so that the column tightens sufficiently to not wobble.

 

But with two screw modifications, it's a usable piece of equipment. 

 

My new suggestion is if you're going to get an Avalon tripod for your iOptron mount, don't purchase the mini-pier, spend the extra and get the Linear extension along with the adapter.

 

TK

You could always repaint the mini-pier or find a local place that can do powder coating. There is even one a few miles from me in WV.


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#9 twkelley

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 06:09 PM

You could always repaint the mini-pier or find a local place that can do powder coating. There is even one a few miles from me in WV.

 

Powder coating would be great.  Think I'll try and track someone down who'll do 1 small piece for a reasonable price.  Thanks for the idea.  TK



#10 twkelley

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 06:11 PM

I usually just buy longer screws, screw a nut down onto them and use a Dremel cutoff wheel to shorten the screw and reshape the end then unscrew the nut to see how well I did. If the nut comes off clean with no binding its good to go. If not screw it back on and reshape the end some more.

 

Not in my current skill-set but I can always learn.  I have a Dremel, but have not had much success cutting of screws and bolts in the past.  Another good idea though.  Thanks!  TK



#11 twkelley

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 06:25 PM

OK, figured out a new way to attach the mini-pier to the TPod-110 base plate.

 

There are 3 holes spaced in a triangle on the mini-pier plate which are to be used with M10 screws to attach to the tri-pier. These 3 holes will line-up with 3 holes in the Avalon base plate. You have to try all the angles to get the right orientation but it can be done. However, the screw holes for the Avalon are M8.

 

When you use M8 screws to attach the mini-pier plate, they aren't thick enough to keep the plate from shifting when screwed down. You need a spacer for the M8 screw to fit tight into the M10 hole. However I couldn't find a spacer that would fit. I tried a lot of spacers.

 

So I asked my local hardware store staff to get clever.  And she did.  She found plastic tubing on a roll, that would just barely squeeze into the M10 screw hole with a little lubricant and some effort. This fills in the space and allows the M8 screw to screw in firmly.  Brilliant. Don't need the $120 adapter now!  Couldn't be more secure.

 

Will try and figure out what the size hose is and post it if I can.

 

I appreciate everyone taking this DIY journey with me.

 

Thanks!  TK


Edited by twkelley, 26 April 2019 - 06:25 PM.


#12 twkelley

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 06:32 PM

FYI on the T-Pod 110 maximum height.  I will post this in other threads as well.

 

The advertised maximum height is listed everywhere as 43".  It is actually 41 1/4". I communicated with a couple other 110 owners and they verified that the maximum height of theirs is 41 1/4" as well.

 

One benefit for using the adapter is it provides another 1" of height getting it closer to the advertised 43".  But is that worth $120?  Up to you.

 

I'm disappointed because I wanted to match the 43" height of my Tri-pier, it was part of my selection criteria. But it turns out 41 1/4" + the 8" mini-pier seems OK.

 

TK




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