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How Do You Balance Your Small Refractor for Heavy Eyepieces?

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#51 Sarkikos

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 11:11 AM

Is this the Tele Vue Balance Aid that I linked to in post #4?  It's hard to tell from your pics exactly where it is and what is going on.  I thought the Balance Aid was a bar that could be attached to the rings, or maybe the dovetail, and that had weights to balance the telescope.  I don't see that in your pics.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 05 November 2019 - 11:12 AM.


#52 ngc6352

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 11:23 AM

I bought these locally at Fred Meyer (Kroger).  They are likely available from Amazon.

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#53 gwlee

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 12:55 PM

What mount do you have the 8" dovetail on?  I'm working with a MicroStar.

 

Mike

Mike,

 

In the photo, the AT72ED2 is on a UA DwarfStar mount, and it’s balanced for my 27 Panoptic. The 8” dovetail has more length than required to balance my largest EP, A 35 Panoptic. This 8” dovetail balances equally well on my DM4 with DM’s vixen to Losmandy adapter installed in the DM4 saddle. 

 

if you ever want to mount a small scope on your DM6, check out DM’s “2x7” dovetail. It’s a hybrid design that combines the physical size and weight of vixen rail, but the edges are beveled at the same angle as standard Losmandy D plates. I am using this dovetail to mount a 92mm f6.7 on my DM4, and it vey works well. Haven’t tried tried using this dovetail with the AT72ED2 yet. 
 

Gary


Edited by gwlee, 05 November 2019 - 12:59 PM.

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#54 Sarkikos

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 01:47 PM

How about a wrist pouch?  I didn't even know these existed until I Googled it.  https://www.google.c...Q4dUDCAc&uact=5

 

You could put a piece of iron or lead shot in the pouch.  You could vary the weight as needed.   But the wrist pouch needs to be wide enough to fit around the OTA.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 05 November 2019 - 01:50 PM.


#55 gwlee

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 04:41 PM

How about a wrist pouch?  I didn't even know these existed until I Googled it.  https://www.google.c...Q4dUDCAc&uact=5

 

You could put a piece of iron or lead shot in the pouch.  You could vary the weight as needed.   But the wrist pouch needs to be wide enough to fit around the OTA.

 

Mike

I would only add dead weight to a scope to balance it as a last resort, especially a grab-and-go scope. 



#56 Spikey131

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 04:50 PM

Balance Aid is just a bar that moves the OTA forward.  In the photo below, the Balance Aid is attached to the mounting ring of the scope and a Vixen bar is attached to it.  You can slide the gearbox of the focuser forward between the tube and the Vixen bar if needed to achieve balance.

 

 

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#57 Redbetter

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 06:48 PM

Not what you want to hear, but it sounds like the Microstar head is just not up to the task.  The 1/4-20 counterweights look interesting. 

 

I am not a big fan of the alt-az friction style mounts;  I prefer having slow motion controls.  Still, I use the AT60 w/ 2" diagonal and 41Pan or 31T5 on the Twilight Nano.  The Nano has more trouble at high power particularly due to lack of slow motion controls (although it works) and handles the 2" stuff too. It helps that with the 2" diagonal the heavy eyepieces are pulled in closer to the pivot point.  I was able to drop down to the 4" Losmandy dovetail for it.

 

The AT72EDII's bulkier/longer focuser has been a concern for me, and one of the reasons I don't have one.  The rings end up far forward limiting options with the dovetail.  The setup with the Vixen dovetail is effectively single position on this scope from what I see, so I would replace that with the slotted 7" AT dovetail.



#58 allen g

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 07:14 PM

For anyone interested.  I have my tele vue NP-101 on a DiscMount (DM-4).  I can go from a 2.5 to 31 Nagler without any balancing.  


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#59 gwlee

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 07:15 PM

Not what you want to hear, but it sounds like the Microstar head is just not up to the task.  The 1/4-20 counterweights look interesting. 

 

I have used both the UA DwarfStar and the UA MicroStar with the AT72ED/ED2. I found both worked well with these scopes, so returned the MicroStar and kept the DwarfStar because it’s the lighter of the two.

 

Probably all Mike needs is a longer dovetail for the MicroStar and it will balance fine with 2 inch accessories, but he will probably need to rotate the focuser a few degrees to get it to clear the longer dovetail. I am using an 8” dovetail with mine that is more than enough dovetail to easily balance with my 35 Panoptic. 

 

When I called Larry at UA to order a my second MicroStar, Larry recommended the newer DwarfStar for this scope instead. I expressed doubt that the DwarfStar was up to the task, so Larry shipped both to me and said, “keep the one you like best and return the other.”


Edited by gwlee, 05 November 2019 - 07:31 PM.

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#60 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 07:51 PM

Maybe this isn't exactly what you are looking for but it is two axis balanced small scope with heavy eyepiece on Gimbal mount :)

 

Scope: SV-50A

Eyepiece: ES9-120 + Televue 4x Powermate

Mount: RRS Gimbal mount

 

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large.jpg

 

Tammy


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#61 Sarkikos

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 09:10 PM

Not what you want to hear, but it sounds like the Microstar head is just not up to the task.  The 1/4-20 counterweights look interesting. 

 

I am not a big fan of the alt-az friction style mounts;  I prefer having slow motion controls.  Still, I use the AT60 w/ 2" diagonal and 41Pan or 31T5 on the Twilight Nano.  The Nano has more trouble at high power particularly due to lack of slow motion controls (although it works) and handles the 2" stuff too. It helps that with the 2" diagonal the heavy eyepieces are pulled in closer to the pivot point.  I was able to drop down to the 4" Losmandy dovetail for it.

 

The AT72EDII's bulkier/longer focuser has been a concern for me, and one of the reasons I don't have one.  The rings end up far forward limiting options with the dovetail.  The setup with the Vixen dovetail is effectively single position on this scope from what I see, so I would replace that with the slotted 7" AT dovetail.

Most - virtually all? - heads that are light and small enough for truly minimalist grab-n-go are not up to the task.  This is a prime reason I favor zoom eyepieces for grab-n-go.  There is no imbalance if you don't switch eyepieces, or don't remove the eyepiece at all.

 

But if you want more variety and flexibility during an observing session, you risk imbalance when switching eyepieces, especially if there is a wide difference in weights among the eyepieces.  

 

I've had experience with slo-mo controls.  I never liked them, for reasons I've given elsewhere.  I prefer a panhandle.  Unfortunately the optional panhandle for the MicroStar gets in the way of the AT72EDII.  I could mount the panhandle pointing toward the sky, but that would be a ridiculous position for it.  So I just leave the panhandle off.  

 

I replaced the diagonal with a slotted 7" AT diagonal.  It doesn't solve the imbalance problem for heavy eyepieces.  What it needs is a counterweight toward the sky-end of the telescope, either wrapped around the OTA or attached to the end of the dovetail.  A counterweight on the dovetail seems a neater solution to me. 

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 05 November 2019 - 09:13 PM.


#62 Sarkikos

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 09:15 PM

Maybe this isn't exactly what you are looking for but it is two axis balanced small scope with heavy eyepiece on Gimbal mount smile.gif

 

Scope: SV-50A

Eyepiece: ES9-120 + Televue 4x Powermate

Mount: RRS Gimbal mount

 

large.jpg

 

large.jpg

 

large.jpg

 

Tammy

 

I've seen some gimbal mounts, but they would not allow the telescope to point near zenith.  It looks like this one does, at least for a small refractor.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 05 November 2019 - 09:17 PM.


#63 Sarkikos

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 09:26 PM

For anyone interested.  I have my tele vue NP-101 on a DiscMount (DM-4).  I can go from a 2.5 to 31 Nagler without any balancing.  

 

I mount my NP-101is on a DM6.  I opted for the DM6 instead of the DM4 so I could also mount some of my larger and heavier scopes.  In my opinion, the DM6 on extension is too heavy for grab-n-go, and is overkill for a small scope like the AT72EDII.  

 

I've had the DM4 in the back of my mind.  But I'm not sure if a DM4 would be light enough for my purposes.  Also, I'm reluctant to shell out $800.  

 

I think I'll try to improve what I have now.

 

How 


Edited by Sarkikos, 05 November 2019 - 09:27 PM.


#64 Lookitup

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Posted 05 November 2019 - 11:52 PM

Was surprised how well the SV M1V works, considering its weight and low cost. Haven't used my DM4 for a while, just because I like the lower weight. For balancing with binoviewer and pretty heavy power-switch setup, I use a dovetail which allows to mount the rings for any distance. Here's a pic with a Tak DF. 

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#65 csrlice12

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 12:28 AM

Would it be possible to drill and tap a hole in the front of the dovetail and screw something similar to a center post or small counterweight post to it?



#66 beanerds

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 05:09 AM

Very carefully ! . LOL .

 

Long Perng 60mm triplet and Celestron Axiom 31mm LX .

 

Beanerds.

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#67 Wildetelescope

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 06:16 AM

Yes, this is an old and well-known story for observers with small scopes.

 

I have several small refractors for grab-n-go.  I mount them on a MicroStar Deluxe head on Vanguard Auctus Plus 324AT.  When I put a heavy eyepiece in the diagonal, the setup is out-of-balance and the telescope OTA tends to fall back, even when the altitude knob is clamped down hard.   The dovetail cannot be pushed far enough forward to compensate for the imbalance.

 

I don't want to replace the MicroStar and tripod with a more heavy-duty setup.  I have those options already, but I don't want to increase the size and weight for grab-n-go.  I'm looking for ways to improve the balance of the setup I already have.

 

Mike

I just keep the focuser parallel to the dovetail.  Then I can slide things as far forward as needed to balance with my AZ8.  Should work with your unistar.  

 

Jmd



#68 Sarkikos

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 09:54 AM

Would it be possible to drill and tap a hole in the front of the dovetail and screw something similar to a center post or small counterweight post to it?

I don't drill and tap … at least I haven't yet.  But I don't need to in this case, since the AT 7" dovetail has a 1/4-20 threaded hole at the end and a 6.9mm hole right behind it.  That's why I was looking for small weights with 1/4-20 posts.  It looks like there are some out there, mostly used in photography.  I think this would be a quick and easy solution to the problem.

 

Mike


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#69 25585

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 10:10 AM

You have ignored the best solution.,ankle weights.,they worked perfect on my Omni 102 f/6.5.,and you can choose your favorite color.,cheers.,

I use man size ones for Dob solid tube balancing, they have removable bar weights in pockets. Scuba belts & weights also work well. Best though is an inverted bar on top of the tube rings with a sled + weight, such as ADM make.


Edited by 25585, 06 November 2019 - 10:11 AM.


#70 Sarkikos

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 10:18 AM

Was surprised how well the SV M1V works, considering its weight and low cost. Haven't used my DM4 for a while, just because I like the lower weight. For balancing with binoviewer and pretty heavy power-switch setup, I use a dovetail which allows to mount the rings for any distance. Here's a pic with a Tak DF. 

 

You have a greater free range of adjustment with the dovetail on that mount and with that telescope than I have with my setup.

 

Mike



#71 Sarkikos

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Posted 06 November 2019 - 10:22 AM

I use man size ones for Dob solid tube balancing, they have removable bar weights in pockets. Scuba belts & weights also work well. Best though is an inverted bar on top of the tube rings with a sled + weight, such as ADM make.

 

Is this the ADM counterweight attachment you're talking about?  That weight would be overkill for my small refractors.

 

https://www.admacces...3-threaded-rod/

 

Mike



#72 houndsbourgh

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 02:21 PM

Spotted this thread a little late. Here is a low tech cheap and ugly counter weight. Old trick but very effective. Bolt can be any thread you need. Weight can be whatever you want. Just a big stack of fender washers with a nut and you are in business. Mine is mounted to a ultra cheap tripod adapter. I have also seen these mounted directly to the dovetail bar with a T-nut and spacer.

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Edited by houndsbourgh, 09 November 2019 - 02:39 PM.

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#73 Lookitup

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 11:21 AM

Spotted this thread a little late. Here is a low tech cheap and ugly counter weight. Old trick but very effective. Bolt can be any thread you need. Weight can be whatever you want. Just a big stack of fender washers with a nut and you are in business. Mine is mounted to a ultra cheap tripod adapter. I have also seen these mounted directly to the dovetail bar with a T-nut and spacer.

Thanks for the tip. Works great even with heavier EP's like Vixen SSW's.

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#74 Sarkikos

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:33 AM

Spotted this thread a little late. Here is a low tech cheap and ugly counter weight. Old trick but very effective. Bolt can be any thread you need. Weight can be whatever you want. Just a big stack of fender washers with a nut and you are in business. Mine is mounted to a ultra cheap tripod adapter. I have also seen these mounted directly to the dovetail bar with a T-nut and spacer.

An advantage to off-the-shelf weights with a 1/4-20 bolt built-in is that they can be easily attached or removed as needed in the field.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 12 November 2019 - 08:52 AM.

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#75 Sarkikos

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:54 AM

Spotted this thread a little late. Here is a low tech cheap and ugly counter weight. Old trick but very effective. Bolt can be any thread you need. Weight can be whatever you want. Just a big stack of fender washers with a nut and you are in business. Mine is mounted to a ultra cheap tripod adapter. I have also seen these mounted directly to the dovetail bar with a T-nut and spacer.

How much does the bolt and stack of washers weigh?

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 12 November 2019 - 08:59 AM.



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