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Alt-Az Mount Question

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25 replies to this topic

#1 fcathell

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 02:09 PM

What is a decent (but reasonably priced!) alt-az mount with slo-mo controls that will handle my 12 lb Orion 150 Mak.  It will be used for visual observation only.

 

Thanks,

 

Frank


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#2 ngc7319_20

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 02:20 PM

I dont have one, but a lot of people seem to like these ES Twilight mounts:

https://explorescien...wilight-1-mount

https://www.astronom...mount-2581.html

Maybe I will get one...


Edited by ngc7319_20, 21 August 2019 - 02:25 PM.


#3 photoracer18

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 02:28 PM

ES Twilight I has a 15# weight limit.



#4 vtornado

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 02:30 PM

Hi Frank

 

I have a TW1, a member asked me if it would hold a 150mm f5 newt, the qualified answer is yes, but ...

Had a 3 second damp time at 100x, whenever the tube was touched.  Focusing, eyepiece change.

The slow motion controls moved the scope well.  If the cables are too long, they can wag, and add vibration.

I don't know if it was breezy would it settle down.

Your tube is shorter but about the same weight.

 

Extrapolate at your own risk.



#5 cst4

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 02:31 PM

The Vixen Porta would probably cut it.  Most specs say it is rated for 20 lbs but 12 lbs is about as heavy as you want to go or it gets pretty shaky at high power.  Being a short tube, your mak would probably be pretty sturdy.  Upgrading to a good set of wooden legs helped the stability of mine quite a bit.  Also looks better and increases height if that's needed, but at the cost of it being little heavier and less portable.  It has slow motion controls but I rarely use them because when the tension is loosened it's smooth enough just to push the scope around and track objects.  Above about 150x the slow motion is kind of nice though.  The ES Twilight mounts get good reviews too and the arm is movable depending on if you want the scope on the right or left hand side, which is a nice feature.  But I read more than once online that the Porta Mount is a little sturdier, which is why I got that instead.  



#6 RobLSE08

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 02:34 PM

The VIXEN PORTA II ALT-AZ MOUNT has a 20# rating and although not inexpensive at $299, it might be worth taking a look at.   

 

Oops, cst4 beat me to it, sorry.


Edited by RobLSE08, 21 August 2019 - 02:36 PM.


#7 vtornado

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 02:43 PM

Another trusted member told me  that in order of  stability for low cost alt-az it is

 

twilight 1 < vixen porta < orion versago.  

 

But ... the orion versago does not have slow motion controls.

 

I don't have the orion versago, but I do have the vixen porta and TW1.

The vixen is sturdier than the TW1, but not by leaps and bounds.

 

VT



#8 Gary Z

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 03:38 PM

What is a decent (but reasonably priced!) alt-az mount with slo-mo controls that will handle my 12 lb Orion 150 Mak.  It will be used for visual observation only.

 

Thanks,

 

Frank

Frank, I have to say, as VT eluded to, the ES Twilight I mount is fairly popular.  I found out why this past weekend!  I was able to purchase one via Astromart for $150.00.  I was Leary at first, but I put my Stellarvue Access 80 Doublet on the mount, balanced it and the slo-mo controls are very smooth.  I got jitters due to wind, not the mount!!!  I am very pleased with the mount.  You can adjust the angle of the top part of the mount so that a refractor won't bang into the base. 

 

Gary



#9 Cali

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 03:43 PM

 

The slow motion controls moved the scope well.  If the cables are too long, they can wag, and add vibration.

 

You can go with knobs to replace the cables.

 

I've loaded equipment on my 127mm Mak where its easily at 12lbs and the TW1 can handle it. There are mods you can do to the TW1. If you want zero shaking but do want slo-mo controls then you should be looking at this.

 

- Cal 



#10 fcathell

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 03:48 PM

Great!  Thanks for the fast responses.  I have been eyeing both the Vixen Porta and the ES Twilight I and just wanted confirmation. I will be using vibration pads, so that should help. I acquired one of the Meade StarNavigator alt-az mounts some time ago in a trade and it made a great lightweight, grab-and-go mount  for my 102 Mak, however, after putting a loading spring on the front so the altitude tension nut doesn't have to be jammed so tight, it actually does just fine on my 127 Mak. The legs are a bit lame, but it works just fine unless I have some wind. Will include a pic of the spring compensation mod if anyone wants it.

 

Frank



#11 fcathell

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 03:51 PM

Cal - I actually have the older version of the Skyview mount with RA drive and it works great as an EQ mount for the 150 Mak. It is a bit heavy with the counterweight. (I'm getting old and lazy too!)

 

Frank



#12 Cali

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 04:07 PM

Sure, I'd like to see the loading spring on the front of your mount so the altitude tension nut doesn't have to be jammed so tight.

 

Also, here is another mod to help strengthen the TW1. I've also hung bags of gravel from the spreader. I stay close to the ground when viewing so I've never extended the TW1 legs. 

 

- Cal



#13 cst4

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 04:15 PM

Started thinking about it and felt the need to add to my previous post.  While I do think the Porta Mount would suffice this is not actually my recommendation for a 150mm Mak, nor would be the ES Twilight.  I was just offering what I knew about a mount that might work with slow motion controls like you asked for.  However, my actual recommendation for that scope would be something more like the Stellarvue M2 mount.  For me personally, I realized I did not use the slow motion controls on my Porta much and I wanted something solid enough for an 8" cass, so I moved on to a Stellarvue M2 mount head on a Bogen 475 tripod.  Took some patience, but purchased both used for not much more than the cost of a new Porta Mount.  I like this set up a lot more than my Porta, which is why I felt the need to repost...  It's way sturdier, weighs about the same as my Porta on wooden legs, folds up smaller, quicker to set up and adjust, and I have a geared column on the Bogen that allows me to easily raise and lower everything as needed.  Needless to say I don't use my Porta any more.  And I don't miss slow motion controls... When everything is level and balanced and the tension is set right, it's easier to track with the M2 just by lightly pushing the diagonal.  Only at about 250x do I sometimes start thinking slow motion controls would be nice.


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#14 GoFish

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 04:21 PM

The Vixen Porta would probably cut it.  Most specs say it is rated for 20 lbs but 12 lbs is about as heavy as you want to go or it gets pretty shaky at high power.  Being a short tube, your mak would probably be pretty sturdy.  Upgrading to a good set of wooden legs helped the stability of mine quite a bit.  Also looks better and increases height if that's needed, but at the cost of it being little heavier and less portable.  It has slow motion controls but I rarely use them because when the tension is loosened it's smooth enough just to push the scope around and track objects.  Above about 150x the slow motion is kind of nice though.  The ES Twilight mounts get good reviews too and the arm is movable depending on if you want the scope on the right or left hand side, which is a nice feature.  But I read more than once online that the Porta Mount is a little sturdier, which is why I got that instead.  

Where did you get the wooden legs for your Porta II?



#15 cst4

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 05:00 PM

Where did you get the wooden legs for your Porta II?

Snagged a set of Al's Astro oak legs off Ebay for a decent price.  It was really just a lucky find.  I've seen other wooden tripods come through the classifieds from time to time that looked pretty good.  Not sure what all is out there being offered new but I've seen some nice stuff from Berlebach... kind of expensive though.


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#16 fcathell

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 05:24 PM

Cal - interesting but simple mod on your Twilight.  Since the refractor has a moment arm, it would appear that some of the vibration may be due to a twist flexture on the support beam. I actually get some of this due to the small tubular legs on the StarNav mount.  Eventually I would like to put wooden legs on the hub like CST4 mentioned. I attached pics of the StarNav mount with the 127 Mak on it.  I may have to put the additional pic on a separate post due to size. Note that I can actually unhook one spring when I use my 102 Mak or something lighter. Other than the non-balancing altitude design of this mount, I have been pleased with the slo-mo controls (after some backlash adjustment!) and the mount in general.

 

Frank  

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  • alt-az-1.jpg


#17 fcathell

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 05:25 PM

Here is a closeup of the loading springs.

 

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • alt-az-2.jpg

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#18 Cali

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 06:41 PM

Here is a closeup of the loading springs.

Wow! That's a really good idea.

 

- Cal



#19 fcathell

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 06:57 PM

Cal - forgot to mention that I used existing screws/nuts on the mount and only had to provide the "L" bracket (bent out a little) and a washer to attach the springs.  Springs came from Ace Hardware.

 

Frank



#20 Cali

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 07:21 PM

Cal - forgot to mention that I used existing screws/nuts on the mount and only had to provide the "L" bracket (bent out a little) and a washer to attach the springs.  Springs came from Ace Hardware.

 

Frank

It would be interesting to see how that mount handles an Orion 150 Mak.

 

- Cal



#21 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 07:47 PM

 

I love my Losmandy AZ8. Load rating somewhere north of 30 pounds. Works great right out the box. 

 

AstroDevices makes a DSC kit for it, I use mine with the Nexus 2 and SkySafari running on the iPad. Having a moving star map at your fingertips is something you won’t want to be without once you try it. 

 

IMG_1837.jpg

 

IMG_1869.jpg

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#22 GDAstrola

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 10:34 PM

The Astro-Tech Voyager 2 appears to be the same mount as the TW1 but at a slightly lower price.  I'm sure others can ad to this.

 

How was first light with your new toy?



#23 k5apl

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 08:35 AM

I can recommend the Desert Sky Astro DSV-1 mount, but it has no slow motion controls. It does move very

smoothly and I have used it with high power.  Something to consider.

 

I tried Portamount with beefed up tripod with a 100mm f9 refractor and it was very shaky.  Even tried some mods to stiffen it up to no avail.

 

A good used GIRO is a good mount for alt-az.  Best IMO is DM-6 or a DM-4.  Had a DM-6 with encoders and a 160mm F7 scope and it was Great.

 

Have fun  (I don't think you can over-mount a scope)

Wes


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#24 lsfinn

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 02:16 PM

I dont have one, but a lot of people seem to like these ES Twilight mounts:

https://explorescien...wilight-1-mount

https://www.astronom...mount-2581.html

Maybe I will get one...

 

I found the twighlight I mount not satisfactory. It may be "rated" for an 18lb load by ES, it is really unusable - too shaky and unstable - at much more than 12lbs total (scope + finder + eyepiece). That's even more the case if your scope is longish (i.e., high f ratio) so that a moderate eyepiece weight leads to a significant torque on the mount. 


Edited by lsfinn, 19 September 2019 - 02:23 PM.


#25 25585

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 02:47 PM

Vixen APZ takes to 18lbs. 




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