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Alternatives to SkyGuider Wedge?

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#1 khousen

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 04:54 PM

I've been trying out a new iOptron SkyGuider Pro, after owning a SkyTracker Pro for a couple years.  I'm finding the wedge to be a weak point in the system, mostly while polar aligning.  So, I'm looking into alternatives to the SkyGuider wedge.  It looks like there are at least 4 alternatives, in order of increasing cost:

 

 1. The Skywatcher Star Adventurer wedge ($55 USD).  From what I've read, this is marginally better than the SG wedge.

 2. William Optics wedge ($188).  Sounds like it gives a more smooth and solid adjustment than the SG.

 3. A 3-axis geared head like the Benro GD3WH ($185) or the Manfrotto 410 ($270)

 4. The AstroTrac TW3100 wedge ($350)

 

I'd appreciate hearing any comments from people who have tried any of these alternatives and how they compare to the SG wedge.  I'm teetering toward a geared head, but I've heard both good (very easy to tweak the polar alignment) and bad (not as stiff as a regular wedge).  

 

For now at least, I won't be shooting longer than 200mm.  The weight of my gear (SkyGuider+dec bracket+counterweight+Canon 5DIII+70-200mm F/2.8L lens) is 5.4kg (11.9 lb).  I'm wondering if I'll be pushing the weight limit of the geared heads mentioned above (e.g. 11 lb for the 410).  So maybe the WO wedge?  

 

Comments & insights appreciated!



#2 rml63

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 05:52 PM

I feel your paint with the OEM wedge, I have tried to find a williams optics wedge but no in stock close to me at this time.  I thought I would try and pan and tilt head I had , bad idea it was worse than the original wedge.

 

I am waiting on the WO option, I might try and shoot tonight with the original wedge but it is so frustrating.

 

Mike



#3 khousen

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 08:20 PM

I feel your paint with the OEM wedge, I have tried to find a williams optics wedge but no in stock close to me at this time.  I thought I would try and pan and tilt head I had , bad idea it was worse than the original wedge.

 

I am waiting on the WO option, I might try and shoot tonight with the original wedge but it is so frustrating.

 

Mike

Yeh, the especially frustrating part is that it seems to lose alignment if I fiddle with the camera too much.  Then its back to square 1.  Would you consider your pan & tilt reasonably heavy-duty?



#4 tkottary

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 08:23 PM

William optics wedge is by far the best among skywatcher or star adventurer.

#5 NGC 2419

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 11:18 PM

One thing I've started doing with the Ioptron wedge azimuth adjustment is to not mess with the locks.

I keep them just loose enough that I can still turn the azimuth screws and have the base rotate while still having a good bit of friction. Once the azimuth is set, I just snug the opposite screw up to the post.

I do something similar with the altitude where I loosen the lock and set the altitude a little low, then tighten the lock just enough that I can still turn the adjustment screw and creep up to the proper polar alignment.

Once it's aligned, I don't touch any of the locks and it seems to stay put just fine.

At the focal lengths that the Skyguider Pro is good for, I don't think it would matter if it shifted a small amount anyway.

Clear skies!

Edited by NGC 2419, 03 November 2019 - 11:29 PM.


#6 khousen

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Posted 03 November 2019 - 11:19 PM

William optics wedge is by far the best among skywatcher or star adventurer.

Does it have the issue of moving when you lock down the screws either in az or alt?



#7 tkottary

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 02:02 AM

Nope they don't . I have tried a lot of wedges for my SA & Az-GTi   . WO  & Astrotrac wedge's  are by far the best among   these. They are expensive but absolutely no slopiness. 



#8 rml63

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Posted 04 November 2019 - 07:04 AM

Yeh, the especially frustrating part is that it seems to lose alignment if I fiddle with the camera too much.  Then its back to square 1.  Would you consider your pan & tilt reasonably heavy-duty?

The pan and tilt head had the capacity for the mount.  The problem was thumb and finger knobs used to tighten it down in the alt/az position.  I could never get enough leverage to get them tight enough so they would no slip.  At least the original base has larger knobs that have more grip and are easier to tighten.

 

I agree with the other fellow in that with the type of imaging possible with the SGP, near perfect polar alignment is probably not required.  However, my other issue with the original wedge is it feels “CHEAP” which is something that will turn me off any product.   

 

If I was doing it over again I would buy the Astrotrac , the pain of high price fades away with the ease of use of any quality product.

 

Mike




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