Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Can't decide on a budget Alt-Az

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 JP-Astro

JP-Astro

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 134
  • Joined: 05 May 2019
  • Loc: Europe 60°N

Posted 25 August 2019 - 04:07 PM

I need an Alt-Az mount with a moderate payload capacity at a budget price. It will carry a SW Startravel 120/600 short achro.

 

I've been reading mount reviews on this forum or elsewhere for 2 weeks and I came to a conclusion that majority of budget priced mounts have some serious deficiencies according to reviewers. I get a feeling that none is robust enough except for one, the simple 'no slow-motion' SW AZ-4.

 

There is just a handful of designs of mounts with slow motion controls that sell under various brand names and none of them appears to be well thought out. You perhaps know all of them just like myself although I had no personal experience with any of them yet.

After reading all the negative reviews on slow-motion variants I feel like the SW AZ-4 being the simplest mechanical design is the best way to spend my limited funds.

I've also read a number of positive reviews on Skytee-2 but it's on the heavy side for my grab-and-go needs. Also I'd prefer a narrow profile 'non-T' mount.

 

The least number of negative reviews on smaller and lighter mounts that I encountered was for Vixen Porta-II. Should it be OK for my SW ST120 in terms of payload capacity?

I haven't seen any reviews on the SW AZ-5 with slow-motion controls. It's of course very similar in design to all other mounts of this type.

 

The ones that had a noticeable number of negative reviews and associated problems were: Astro-Tech Voyager 1 and 2 (sold under various brands as well).

 

By the way, there are some good mount heads on the US market which are highly praised that don't ship to my location in Europe and I can't find any EU dealers that sell them. For instance I can't locate a local dealer for StellarVue.



#2 havasman

havasman

    Cosmos

  • ****-
  • Posts: 9715
  • Joined: 04 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Dallas, Texas

Posted 25 August 2019 - 04:30 PM

I don't think I'll ever need anything smaller than the Stellarvue M2C mount. Whether they're inside whatever the budget limits are, they seem to me to be a good bargain for the price range they occupy.


  • JP-Astro likes this

#3 Xeroid

Xeroid

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1405
  • Joined: 21 Sep 2013
  • Loc: USA

Posted 25 August 2019 - 10:07 PM

That really sad your not able to obtain the Stellarvue M2C mount within the EU, it is a very, very good Alt-Az mount. Coupled with a hardwood tripod (Ash, Maple, Cherry, etc)  its rock steady with a very smooth "push" movement.

 

So if you cannot get the M2C how about building a Berry Mount?

 

Lot's of info on the net on how to build one like this:

 

http://ejamison.net/...rdobmounts.html

 

Or if your feeling adventurous, how about a Pipe Mount?


  • JP-Astro likes this

#4 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 78392
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 25 August 2019 - 10:25 PM

The least number of negative reviews on smaller and lighter mounts that I encountered was for Vixen Porta-II. Should it be OK for my SW ST120 in terms of payload capacity?

 

 

I have a Portamount 1 with wooden legs. I think the Portamount 2 would be adequate.

 

The 120 mm F/5 weighs about 8.6 pounds bare bones. Add rings and a 2 inch diagonal, it's about 10.5 pounds. It's 25 inches long.

 

For comparison, my 4 inch is about 4 inches longer and weighs 12 pounds with a diagonal and mounting, it's heavier and longer. It's not ideal but it is usable.

 

I use my scope at high magnifications, over 300x. The limitations of the Portamount are at high magnifications.

 

The 120 mm F/5 is basically a low power, wide field scope and shorter and lighter so I think the Portamount would be fine.

 

Jon


  • JP-Astro likes this

#5 treadmarks

treadmarks

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 952
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2016
  • Loc: Boston MA

Posted 25 August 2019 - 10:55 PM

I have the VersaGo II which is the same design as the AZ-4 but with a lighter tripod. I use all of my scopes on it now, including the C8. It handles the C8 better than the Nexstar SE it came with. As for refractors, my 102/660 achro is solid on it.

 

Slow motion controls are a worthwhile consideration. I do find myself missing them sometimes. However the VersaGo has a few features that make up for it: tension locks, a panning handle, and setting circles. The tension locks and panning handle help with high power adjustments. I would point out, since you're shopping for a 120/600 achro, I doubt you'd be doing high power viewing of the type I'm doing with an 8" SCT. I don't think slow motion controls are very important for low power viewing. But setting circles could be pretty helpful with DSO.


  • JP-Astro likes this

#6 Jond105

Jond105

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 3820
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2018
  • Loc: Detroit

Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:17 AM

The AZ4 would work for your ST120. Not sure about the Porta as I’ve never owned one of those. I use the AZ4 with a Sky-Watcher 120ED. Proper balance goes a long way with AZ mounts. If Jo. Says the Porta should work, I’d take his word on that as well. 


  • JP-Astro likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics