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Deforking my 8" SCT... AGAIN!

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#1 bbqediguana

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 05:53 PM

There's a guy on YouTube who used to be the editorial director of EVO magazine named Harry Metcalfe who has a Lamborghini Countach. He constantly switches between having the huge rear wing on and off the car. 

 

I feel that way with my EQ5 mount versus my LX6/Premier fork mount with an EQ-wedge. I started out with the forks, but then rigged the scope up for the EQ5. I ran it like that for a while, then I switched back to the forks in a fit of nostalgia. It's been on the forks for about a year or two, and now I've gone back to the EQ5. The difference is I've picked up an f/7.1 70mm refractor and the adjustable bracket to hold it on the SCT. 

 

My theory is to use the refractor for low power, wide field viewing and use the SCT for high power, narrow field viewing (I've read MANY comments on CN that this is a great way to enjoy both scope's strengths). I could do that on the fork mount, but I found the EQ5 was much more steady with very little in the way of shakes (where as the forks do tend to vibrate when the weight gets amped up).

 

So, I'm back in GEM land and looking forward to this weekend where I can take the whole rig up north to a friend's cottage away from city lights. The entire rig fits into 2 bags:

  • a small canvas travel bag that holds the 2080 OTA, the dew shield (wrapped around it) and the tripod spreader
  • a slightly larger leather travel bag that holds everything else including the EQ5 head, the counter weights, the counter weight bar, my Telrad, my eyepiece case, the 70mm OTA, battery pack and hand controller for the EQ5, a red flashlight, my Jumbo Pocket Atlas and my Kendrick dew control system (straps and controller)

The only other items are a Celestron Power Tank for the Kendrick system, and the tripod with a bungee cord around the legs to keep them from flopping all over the place. I also have a tiny fold up table and a fold up camping chair. The whole pile fits easily in the back of my Fiat (with the rear seats still upright!). I'll just jam in a few other essentials like a sleeping bag and 48 beers and I'm good to go!

 

Do any of you guys flip-flop between two particular mounts? If so, what drives your change of mind?

 

Astro Gear - Ready to Go!
 

Thanks!

Rick


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#2 Joe Eiers

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 10:19 PM

I used to run forked...  but ever since the Celestron AVX mounts came out way back, I am a deforker.   I do have a GPS11 that I run forked, but it's a pain to unfork.  My C14 is WAAAAAAAY better deforked, but I miss the forked experience sometimes.  I don't know if it's nostalgia or just just plain want'n to be stupid.

I've used many a forker' over the years, and for moving around the blacktop at a start party it remains supreme (except the 14; once set up, it STAYS, period.)

   If I head out to a dark sky with my 6SE, it stays forked.  Too easy.  

   If I take out a C8, defork and bag it with the AVX.

   Same with the regular 11's, but now we're talking the CGX mounts.

  If I had my dream world where everything worked the way I wanted it, and I could pier mount...  I'd say FORK ME!  I hate GEMS.   Counterintuitive, even after a lifetime of use.   But in the real world, fork mounts have tooooooooooo many drawbacks, the least of which is that there are relatively few of them!

    Ah, well.   Off to observe with my 14 on my GEM!

     Joe


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#3 mclewis1

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 07:18 AM

Rick, Nice tripod bag wink.gif

 

Because of weight and flexibility issues (wanting to mount/use additional scopes) I deforked my NS11 GPS scope years ago. I do however miss the convenience of that lovely fork mount for visual use.


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#4 bbqediguana

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Posted 17 October 2019 - 08:23 PM

AAAAND... we're back on the forks! Wow... that was QUICK. 

 

The reason is that my youngest son is a budding astrophotographer and until now he's been snapping pics of the planets and the Moon through his 8" Dob using a smart phone. I thought about it, and I actually have TWO Meade 2080 telescopes - one that is fully assembled and the other in various pieces in storage.

 

I decided to pull out all the equipment and see if I had enough to build two scopes - I DID! So, I am keeping my 1991 Meade 2080 LX6 Premier (back on the forks, eh!) with my Sky-Watcher 70mm f/7.1 achromat as the finder (plus a Telrad!). My son gets a 1985(ish) Meade 2080 OTA on my EQ5 mount. I figure the GEM will be better for him taking pictures - I've got 3 counter weights for it total (the pic below only has 1 in use). I'm also giving him my f/6.3 focal reducer as he'll likely want it (takes the focal length of the SCT down to 1260mm which isn't much bigger than his Dob (1200). I've also got another 70mm f/10 achromat that can go on the EQ5 if he'd like to gear down and try something a little easier than the SCT. I've also got an old SBIG camera that I'm going to give him if he wants to try that out. 

 

So there you go... what was that? Less than a month. Anyway, here's a pic of the 3 scopes in question:

 

Two2080s.jpg

 

Left to right: my Meade 2080 LX6 Premier, then my son's old 8" Dob, and his new Meade 2080 on an EQ5 mount


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#5 Tom Stock

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 09:49 PM

I spent lots of time trying to stiffen up my forked scopes... an LX-90 and a Classic C8.  No matter how much I did to them, even going with a super wedge and tension cables, they would still ring for awhile and focusing was always a little bouncy.  It was always the RA bearing support flexing.

 

When I de-forked them, I found that a low end equatorial mount like a CG-5 was far more solid that the fork mounts.  Now I have my C8 mounted on a Advanced VX mount and it feels rock solid compared to the forks.

 

I miss the simplicity of the C8 fork, but the versatility and rigidness of the German mount just can't be beat.


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#6 Tom Stock

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 08:22 AM

One thing I do miss is the setting circles on the fork mount. They worked extremely well for locating targets. I have goto on the gem which is convenient but I could actually move to a target a lot faster with the setting circles.
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#7 bbqediguana

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 11:48 AM

One thing I do miss is the setting circles on the fork mount. They worked extremely well for locating targets. I have goto on the gem which is convenient but I could actually move to a target a lot faster with the setting circles.

Yes, I like the big, easy-to-read setting circles on my mount (LX6). I was just showing my son the other night how to use them. He's got them on his GEM, but they are so tiny and hard to read (EQ5).



#8 jgraham

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 12:29 PM

For me... forks for visual, GEMs for imaging. I have deforked and reforked a couple of scopes, but thanks to the used market I now have my visual scopes and my imaging scopes. I love the modern altaz forks for comfort, and I use the older pre-GoTo forks on a wedge. Since these were designed for manual operation I also find them to be very comfortable to use for most of the sky. For those regions where it's a bit tough I either hit's early or wait a bit. Either way, the Sky is a very Big Place with lots to see.

Having options is good. :)
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#9 bbqediguana

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 01:17 PM

For me... forks for visual, GEMs for imaging. I have deforked and reforked a couple of scopes, but thanks to the used market I now have my visual scopes and my imaging scopes. I love the modern altaz forks for comfort, and I use the older pre-GoTo forks on a wedge. Since these were designed for manual operation I also find them to be very comfortable to use for most of the sky. For those regions where it's a bit tough I either hit's early or wait a bit. Either way, the Sky is a very Big Place with lots to see.

Having options is good. smile.gif

I agree - when I was figuring out which 8" SCT to give my son, I gave him the one with the GEM as his primary interest is solar system photography (likely to branch out into all sorts of astrophotography) and my interest is purely visual, so I was happy to go back to my forks.



#10 TerryD23

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 08:07 PM

AAAAND... we're back on the forks! Wow... that was QUICK. 

 

The reason is that my youngest son is a budding astrophotographer and until now he's been snapping pics of the planets and the Moon through his 8" Dob using a smart phone. I thought about it, and I actually have TWO Meade 2080 telescopes - one that is fully assembled and the other in various pieces in storage.

 

I decided to pull out all the equipment and see if I had enough to build two scopes - I DID! So, I am keeping my 1991 Meade 2080 LX6 Premier (back on the forks, eh!) with my Sky-Watcher 70mm f/7.1 achromat as the finder (plus a Telrad!). My son gets a 1985(ish) Meade 2080 OTA on my EQ5 mount. I figure the GEM will be better for him taking pictures - I've got 3 counter weights for it total (the pic below only has 1 in use). I'm also giving him my f/6.3 focal reducer as he'll likely want it (takes the focal length of the SCT down to 1260mm which isn't much bigger than his Dob (1200). I've also got another 70mm f/10 achromat that can go on the EQ5 if he'd like to gear down and try something a little easier than the SCT. I've also got an old SBIG camera that I'm going to give him if he wants to try that out. 

 

So there you go... what was that? Less than a month. Anyway, here's a pic of the 3 scopes in question:

 

Two2080s.jpg

 

Left to right: my Meade 2080 LX6 Premier, then my son's old 8" Dob, and his new Meade 2080 on an EQ5 mount

Do you see a noticeable visual improvement with the 6.3 focal reducer?



#11 bbqediguana

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 10:24 AM

Do you see a noticeable visual improvement with the 6.3 focal reducer?

Hi Terry,

 

Yes, I do! It helps tidy up the outer 2/3's of my field of view by making the stars out there more in-focus than without it. Obviously it reduces the magnification, so that also helps present a cleaner look especially when the seeing is bad.

 

I really only do use it with my 24mm wide angle eyepiece to get the biggest actual field of view (1.2°). Without the reducer, I can see the field curvature of my SCT - the stars in the middle are nicely focused while the outer stars aren't. If I focus on the outer stars, the middle stars become blurry. With the reducer, everything looks to be in focus at the same time - likely my 50 year old eyes still have some decent accommodation for that type of thing. As I get older, I'll likely notice a discrepancy even with the reducer.

 

Cheers!

 

Rick


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#12 Bataleon

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 04:31 PM

I just deforked my CPC 800 and couldn't be happier. a80466ba4481b6aafa03e6cf731daa4e.jpg

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#13 bbqediguana

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 05:01 PM

I just deforked my CPC 800 and couldn't be happier. a80466ba4481b6aafa03e6cf731daa4e.jpg

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Is there no counter weight for that mount? How does that work?



#14 Bataleon

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 05:02 PM

Is there no counter weight for that mount? How does that work?

There is. I don't leave them on inside because they make carrying more difficult lol

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#15 seasparky89

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Posted 26 October 2019 - 08:31 PM

I deformed my LX-200 8” ACF, and now the OTA sits on either a Sirius or an Atlas Mount, depending what I want to do on a particular night. For me, the main reason to defork was the weight of the OTA/fork mount. The fork-mounted OTA was very solid, with no vibrations at all. Too bad they don’t make an easily-detachable OTA/fork mount system. That would go a long way to satisfy many users who have issues with weight, etc. it could even give the users a choice of which mount to use on a given night.

Stan
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#16 ReneF

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 08:46 PM

About 40 years ago I bought a Celestron SCT 8" old style orange tube with fork mount, equatorial wedge and tripod.  I should post about this in the hobby killer thread as after taking it out a few times, freezing half to death, and seeing very little, it has been out in my garage somewhere. Now 40 years or so later my bucket list got around to astronomy again, and this time I found out I bought the wrong stuff back then, bigger is not necessarily better, and started the hobby up again this time with a SkyWatcher AZ-AGi and my mirrorless cameras and lenses, and all I can say is "what a difference a few decades can make!"  GoTo, WiFi (so I can sit inside or in my car) no longer trying to use 35mm film and dry ice, etc.   Now I am hooked, and expanding and adding to my gear that is now what I had hoped for 40 years ago.  So with my Micro Four Thirds lens systems, I have everything from 7mm fisheye, an assortment of wide angle, up to a 400mm telephoto, which is equivalent to 800mm full frame.  Then I did get the Sky-Watcher Skymax 102 packaged with the AZ-AGi mount which extends reach to about 1200mm.  Now my attention is drawn to the old C8 in my garage, which is about 2400mm, and what should I do with that?

 

So far I have discovered that by "deforking" my old 1980s C8, and adding a dovetail, and buying a heavy duty GoTo mount, I could put the C8 back to service, assuming when I find it (after I dig my way through the garage to the ladder that gets me into the attic) it is still functional.

 

So in front of me I see a couple options.  For one, I see interest here in these forums with vintage telescopes, so I hesitate to defork something that would better finish its life off as a prized classic.  Before I find it, and go to work on it, I need to know if collectors and restorers would have interest in this untouched?  Or, if not, has optical technology over the last 40 years made such advances that the C8 glass that old would not be up to the task of viewing or astrophotography demands these days.  In that case, I would just leave the C8 wherever it lies in the attic and shop for a newer next step to my AZ-AGi.  My kids can figure out what to do with it when I kick the bucket and they have to figure out what to do with all the past hobbies I have left behind.

 

The viewpoints of those who have deforked before is a good starting point in my investigation on what to do?  I feel like the old lady who cut back the weeds in her back yard to find an old car and trying to figure out if it is a classic Porsche or a Nash Rambler that has been discovered.  


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#17 bbqediguana

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 09:30 AM

About 40 years ago I bought a Celestron SCT 8" old style orange tube with fork mount, equatorial wedge and tripod.  I should post about this in the hobby killer thread as after taking it out a few times, freezing half to death, and seeing very little, it has been out in my garage somewhere. Now 40 years or so later my bucket list got around to astronomy again, and this time I found out I bought the wrong stuff back then, bigger is not necessarily better, and started the hobby up again this time with a SkyWatcher AZ-AGi and my mirrorless cameras and lenses, and all I can say is "what a difference a few decades can make!"  GoTo, WiFi (so I can sit inside or in my car) no longer trying to use 35mm film and dry ice, etc.   Now I am hooked, and expanding and adding to my gear that is now what I had hoped for 40 years ago.  So with my Micro Four Thirds lens systems, I have everything from 7mm fisheye, an assortment of wide angle, up to a 400mm telephoto, which is equivalent to 800mm full frame.  Then I did get the Sky-Watcher Skymax 102 packaged with the AZ-AGi mount which extends reach to about 1200mm.  Now my attention is drawn to the old C8 in my garage, which is about 2400mm, and what should I do with that?

 

So far I have discovered that by "deforking" my old 1980s C8, and adding a dovetail, and buying a heavy duty GoTo mount, I could put the C8 back to service, assuming when I find it (after I dig my way through the garage to the ladder that gets me into the attic) it is still functional.

 

So in front of me I see a couple options.  For one, I see interest here in these forums with vintage telescopes, so I hesitate to defork something that would better finish its life off as a prized classic.  Before I find it, and go to work on it, I need to know if collectors and restorers would have interest in this untouched?  Or, if not, has optical technology over the last 40 years made such advances that the C8 glass that old would not be up to the task of viewing or astrophotography demands these days.  In that case, I would just leave the C8 wherever it lies in the attic and shop for a newer next step to my AZ-AGi.  My kids can figure out what to do with it when I kick the bucket and they have to figure out what to do with all the past hobbies I have left behind.

 

The viewpoints of those who have deforked before is a good starting point in my investigation on what to do?  I feel like the old lady who cut back the weeds in her back yard to find an old car and trying to figure out if it is a classic Porsche or a Nash Rambler that has been discovered.  

The nice thing about deforking is that it is by no means permanent. You could always set aside the forks, base and wedge and then put the OTA back on down the road. As for a 40-year old C8 - I would think it would be a fine performer assuming the mirrors and corrector are still in good shape. You could get a lot of enjoyment from that original purchase.
 



#18 TerryD23

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 11:25 AM

I bought my Ultima 9.25 SCT about 30 years ago. It still performs like a champ! 



#19 NMBob

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 12:24 PM

I bought the C8 that I bought in '79, sold in '95, back a couple of years ago. All of the parts and electronics still in perfect condition. I ended up getting a C8 Edge for GEM'ing. Just couldn't de-fork it. What a whimp. :) I'm in the same boat as you...after being out of it all from '95 to 2015, yeah, what a difference a couple of decades makes!



#20 ReneF

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 01:46 PM

Thanks for all the great insight.  I am going to grab the Skywatcher EQ6 R mount for the C8 now because there is a $250 holiday sale on it right now.  With a 44lb payload, it should handle the deforked C8.  There is a hard case that came with the C8 to store the fork, and also a way to ship it to someone who wants it for nostalgia sake. Once I digest all this gear and get it working, the EQ6 R can be useful for other applications, perhaps a RASA.  I am so motivated I am going out to my garage and starting to dig my way to the ladder that gets me up to the garage attic storage. It takes a LOT of motivation for someone my age to take on a task like that, but at this point I am all in. There is no turning back. I kissed my wife and grandkids goodby for as long as it takes to come back from the garage.


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#21 Bataleon

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 01:48 PM

Thanks for all the great insight. I am going to grab the Skywatcher EQ6 R mount for the C8 now because there is a $250 holiday sale on it right now. With a 44lb payload, it should handle the deforked C8. There is a hard case that came with the C8 to store the fork, and also a way to ship it to someone who wants it for nostalgia sake. Once I digest all this gear and get it working, the EQ6 R can be useful for other applications, perhaps a RASA. I am so motivated I am going out to my garage and starting to dig my way to the ladder that gets me up to the garage attic storage. It takes a LOT of motivation for someone my age to take on a task like that, but at this point I am all in. There is no turning back. I kissed my wife and grandkids goodby for as long as it takes to come back from the garage.

I think you'll be pleased. That's what I put my C8 on with the eventual plan to slap a 925 or 11 on it. I had some frustrations at first because it was my first GEM but once you understand what you're doing it's an amazing mount.

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#22 MGAR

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 02:20 PM

I hear you! I de-forked my LX5 OTA onto an LX90 mount for digital photography 2 years ago. I absolutely hate this setup, the scope has turned into an big overgrown wart of a setup that's not worth setting up for single night viewing let alone a couple day outing. The go-to is useless and very noisy, I've found myself just doing a polar align and use setting circles for visual targets. For the LX5 mount had a push-to that I found it very accurate and much more pleasing than using this go-to setup. 

 

I'm going to try one more season with this mount for digital and then de-fork back to the LX5 mount for good. Take the LX90 mount/wedge and digital crap to Good Will.

 

Gary 

 

lx5_lx90.jpg


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#23 Don W

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 02:28 PM

The C-8  has a focal length of 2000mm. Not a problem for planets and the moon since those only require very short exposures. But for extended length deep sky imaging, it will present a problem. You can get around that a bit with a 6.3X focal reducer, but you will still need a very sturdy mount that has accurate tracking.



#24 ReneF

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 10:31 PM

Found the C8 in my garage attic, said hello.  Looks in good shape to me.  De-forking was easy, four screws.  Cleaned up and looks new.  Any suggestions on where to get a dovetail?  Or one that will fit this old orange model. Serial number is 807658.  Order going in for EQ6-R tomorrow, so I am told it will dual-fit 45mm (Vixen-style) or 75mm (Losmandy-style) dovetail saddle. Not sure what screw pattern is needed or if I need to get rings. Any suggestions would be well received.


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#25 telesonic

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Posted Yesterday, 03:48 AM

I've went back and forth between forked / de-forked route with mine the last few years, and as of now I prefer the 8" SCT on an EQ head - mainly because the eq mount can hold a variety of scopes, while the fork will only work with the C8. My older Celestar basic version with the wedgepod was wobbly, and I re-forked it with a Powerstar fork which was a great upgrade, then also an Ultima tripod and wedge. Sure it was sturdy, but it was a big pain in the back to drag it out in the yard for observing.

 

 Later I bought a classic Vixen SP GEM head and de-forked the OTA and added a V-rail and DSC's to it. Played with that for awhile, and it was a good solid setup. Here is a pic of the 8" SCT / SP  mount on the Ultima tripod. I got along fine with the DSC's, and this year I upgraded to planting a pier in the garden and bought an older CG-5. 

 

Here's a few pics of the old SP on my modified ultima tripod, then on the pier. 

For my observing style, I'm fine with the GEM..  I just don't foresee using the old forks anymore, but as always YMMV.

If you do decide to de-fork, I'd highly recommend ADM - it's good quality stuff.

 

Cheers,

T

 

C8 SCT Work In Progress
 
C8 pier test

 

 

 


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