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Best classic mounts

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#1 Bonco2

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 04:31 PM

What is the first classic mount that you were totally satisfied with? I loved my RV6 but the mount while functional  was a pain with slop in the drive and was rather crude. My 10 inch custom deluxe Cave was a beautiful dream that I miss so much, but it too was shaky and left much to be desired. I feel it was under mounted for the weight of the OTA.

For me the first classic mount that was totally satisfactory was the fork mounted C8. No slop, great tracking and good slomo controls. It was a perfect match for the OTA. So that's my vote.

 

Later around 1989 I purchased a Vixen Super Polaris mount. For a small scope this  has been a perfect and  a very capable astro photo mount for my Genesis. I love this mount and have zero complaints about it.

Some I might think will agree  their classic Unitron mounts might be the first they were truly happy with and I would like to hear from them. For me I didn't own a Unitron  until about 10 years ago. I find the model 128 and 142 to be perfectly matched to the OTA and while not the first they are among the best I've owned.

Bill.


Edited by Bonco2, 19 March 2020 - 04:41 PM.

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#2 Bomber Bob

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 04:43 PM

My 1978 Tasco (Towa 339) / EQ-3 motorized mount.  Well-suited to the 80mm F15 refractor, decent mechanical tracking.  A Mizar-made Bushnell Banner replaced it, and I liked the improvements -- Quartz controller, polar finder scope, & battery pack.

 

Since I've been on CN, the Vixen Polaris, Meade StarFinder, Tak EM-1, & Mizar AR-1 / SP EQs.

 

APM ED 152 S076 (Meade SF Restore).jpg

 

Love this restored 1980s Meade StarFinder on 5' pedestal + accessory tray.  Considering its age, it's a Wire-free Wonder, too.  All the gearing & battery pack are inside the housing.  And, it's remarkably quiet -- glad it has the red LED to show when it's running.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 19 March 2020 - 09:56 PM.

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#3 Russell Smith

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 04:49 PM

The instrument and its weight as well as length,accessories, etc all add up for me.

"If it dont wiggle it makes me giggle ".


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#4 Chuck Hards

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 05:03 PM

Cave 1-1/2" shaft mount, purchased for my home made 8" f/7 OTA circa 1974.  The drive was good enough for high-power planetary tracking, and I ordered it with the tangent-arm Dec slow-motion.  It replaced a Jaegers 1" mount that was good, just a tad too small for the 8" scope.  


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#5 starman876

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 05:31 PM

Unitron 140 mount.  Great mount and can handle a ton of weight.  


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#6 bobhen

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 05:57 PM

Without question the Losmandy blue metallic GM-100. Bought one from Scott back in 1989 and that thing would easily hold a truck (or a C-14, same thing).

 

Beautifully machined, smooth motions, slip clutch, modern looking and a solid basic mount. My old GM-100 had no problem holding my long, AP 152mm F9 triplet.

 

The GM-100 made the Cave, Meade and Unitron mounts look like antiques.

 

Bob


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#7 CHASLX200

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 05:59 PM

Edmund 1.5" mount. The Unitron mounts, SP mount and other Vixen mounts of that time for starters.


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#8 Terra Nova

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 06:27 PM

I’ve had my Edmund medium duty (5/8” shafts) GEM since 1966, and rebuilt it a couple of years ago, placing it on a tall pedestal. I keep it on the covered porch of my deck and use it all the time, so I guess you could say it’s a favorite. So is a heavier duty (1” shafts) Jaegers mount that I recently rebuilt. Both now have Vixen saddles.

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#9 ccwemyss

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 06:30 PM

Of the ones I've tried:

 

For equatorial, Unitron 142 and 128 are both a pleasure, especially early ones. Even without a drive, you can manually track, keeping one hand on the RA knob and slowly turning it, without having it vibrate. The tripods, although not adjustable, are a good balance of portability and rigidness. 

 

For alt-az, the Unitron 140 and 114 have the similarly sturdy tripod, and smooth motions, although they are limited in range, and have to be reset periodically for long sessions. The Shrine-Manon 60mm style alt-az are also good, although the tripods are a bit wobbly when fully extended.

 

Chip W. 


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#10 Esso2112

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 06:36 PM

I am very happy with my Unitron mounts - 152, 142, and the 114. 
 

Also, the Nippon Kogaku ball mount for the 50mm. Easily, the smoothest and sturdiest push mount I’ve ever used. 
 

The Goto Kogaku alt-az Mount from my Hy-score 451 is no slouch, either. 


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#11 PawPaw

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 07:12 PM

Edmund extra heavy duty 1.5 mount.....owned since 1975.

 

I do like my new to me Unitron 1950's 150 altazimuth yoke  mount.....very solid.

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Edited by PawPaw, 20 March 2020 - 07:16 AM.

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#12 clamchip

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 07:54 PM

 Edmund Scientific 'Extra Heavy Duty' is the most superb mounting I've ever owned.

Introduced around 1962, 1-1/2 inch shafts, cast iron housings, the pier is standard 4" NPT so you can add or

subtract sections of pipe for refractor or reflector.

Shown here with a Edmund 5 inch f/15 refractor and a extra piece of pipe.

Star-Liner 2 inch shaft that came with my 12-1/2 inch is very nice. Smooth and precise, excellent drive, I like

it very much.

The photo is with a Cave-Astrola 8 inch f/7.

Robert

 

post-50896-0-09084200-1545870196.jpg

IMG_8680.jpg


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#13 Brent Campbell

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 08:24 PM

 Edmund Scientific 'Extra Heavy Duty' is the most superb mounting I've ever owned.

Introduced around 1962, 1-1/2 inch shafts, cast iron housings, the pier is standard 4" NPT so you can add or

subtract sections of pipe for refractor or reflector.

Shown here with a Edmund 5 inch f/15 refractor and a extra piece of pipe.

Star-Liner 2 inch shaft that came with my 12-1/2 inch is very nice. Smooth and precise, excellent drive, I like

it very much.

The photo is with a Cave-Astrola 8 inch f/7.

Robert

 

attachicon.gifpost-50896-0-09084200-1545870196.jpg

attachicon.gifIMG_8680.jpg

Im the guy that sold you that star liner or more exactly the pieces to it.  Glad you got the scope together.  It really needed a home like yours.  Its good to see.


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#14 clamchip

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 08:34 PM

Im the guy that sold you that star liner or more exactly the pieces to it.  Glad you got the scope together.  It really needed a home like yours.  Its good to see.

Hi Brent,

The optical tube is still in pieces and I never did open the box from Steve Swayze with the refigured

primary.

I did assemble the mount for 'sky trials' and it passes with a A+

Robert

 

IMG_8286.jpg


Edited by clamchip, 19 March 2020 - 08:38 PM.

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#15 Littlegreenman

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 09:30 PM

Vixen GP-DX. With a lighted setting circle! Followed but Vixen Great Polaris. I found I liked the GP over the Super Polaris. The motions were just smoother.

I've never had any large heavy scopes needing something with a 2" shaft.


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#16 Bomber Bob

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Posted 19 March 2020 - 09:49 PM

I am very happy with my Unitron mounts - 152, 142, and the 114. 
 

Also, the Nippon Kogaku ball mount for the 50mm. Easily, the smoothest and sturdiest push mount I’ve ever used. 
 

The Goto Kogaku alt-az Mount from my Hy-score 451 is no slouch, either. 

How could I forget that Goto 106 EQ that I briefly owned?  Built for their 3" refractor, yet it carried my Edmund 4" F15 or Dakin 4" F10 with ease.

 

Goto 106 EQ & Unitron 142 Tripod S01 (Edmund 4).jpg


Edited by Bomber Bob, 20 March 2020 - 09:39 AM.

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#17 Jeff B1

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 05:29 AM

My 6” f/4 scope from the 1970’s on several classical equatorial mounts:   1. Edmunds Scientific 85-108 with wooden tripod.   2.  Parks heavy duty with a Mathis 10” polar drive, and. 3. “Chicago Mount,” by Al Novak with Mathis 8.40” polar drive.

 

6inF4.jpg


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#18 L. Regira

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 09:20 AM

My original Cave mount(1979) with 1.5 inch shafts was very wobbly and a few years ago I got an older (about from 1968) 2.5 inch mount. It is rock solid even with a heavier tube from the original (I extended it about a foot) as well as 30 pounds of weights added to the front of the mount (to balance it). These two pictures are of the same telescope on the same pier. I am no longer scared to touch the tube because of vibrations. I viewed Venus a few days ago and the big mount tracked beautifully keeping Venus in the eyepiece for 30 minutes at a time.

Lawrence

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#19 tim53

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 10:38 AM

My favorite small classic mount, a Tak EM-1 from 1985:

post-6788-14074130241284_thumb.jpg

 

My next favorite small mount, my 1986 Super Polaris with iOptron Gotonova kit added.  Here with a Televue NP101is mounted on it (that I've since sold).  I think the TV 102 Rennaissance will sit right fine on this mount:  

 

post-6788-14072952787359_thumb.jpg

 

My favorite Big mount, the Cave 2 1/2" Observatory mount.  Here, unmolested example with 12.5" f/7 Newt OTA, all original from 1974:  

 

post-6788-14074320446732_thumb.jpg

 

My most practical big mount is my early 90's Tak EM-500.  Though perhaps technically not a classic yet, it's descended from one.  For a time, I had adapted a SiTech servo goto kit to it (took a couple hours, was really simple and reversible).  It holds anything I could think of to put on it, at least until I become so fortunate as to afford a really big scope.  Here, with my 10" f/6 homebuilt (with primary made at Delmarva ~2010):

 

post-6788-14073816558076_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

My favorite mount in the whole wide world, the Porter Springfield mount.  This is my own creation from 1981:

 

post-6788-14073029255405_thumb.jpg


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#20 clamchip

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 10:50 AM

Another excellent mount I had a lot of good times with is this Optic-Craft model 2.

It came with my D&G 6 inch. I built a drive for it and used all shapes and sizes of

telescopes on it.

The shafts are actually about 2-1/2". And notice the ball thrust bearings which

makes it silky smooth with the heaviest loads.

I copied Edmund's clutch with a single adjuster, worked great.

When I sold the D&G the mount went with it, big mistake. Big mistake selling the D&G too.

Robert

 

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#21 steve t

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 11:47 AM

The Babbitt bearing mount per Allyn Thompson's book "Making Your Own Telescope" is my favorite. I like the push-to tracking on a single axissmile.gif

 

Now days, I find that the simpler my setup, the more I enjoy my time observing. It's hard to describe, just seem more peaceful and relaxing.

 

Steve T.   

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#22 Brent Campbell

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 11:59 AM

Hi Brent,

The optical tube is still in pieces and I never did open the box from Steve Swayze with the refigured

primary.

I did assemble the mount for 'sky trials' and it passes with a A+

Robert

 

attachicon.gifIMG_8286.jpg

Im glad your caring for it.  When the day was done I couldn’t give that scope the attention it needed.  The primary was tested by Carl zambuto and found to be a 2 wave spherical mirror with a turned down edge.  He recommended that I send it to Steve swayze who refigured the primary over several months. I have no idea if that was the original mirror but the mirror was a huge piece of Pyrex.    It should be a wonderful performer when it’s done.


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#23 Bonco2

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 03:35 PM

Viewing this thread has made me more aware of the quality of the Edmund equatorial mounts. I've never seen one in person. The catalog pictures of them made them look tiny and unsubstantial. Evidently not so.
Bill
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#24 ccwemyss

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 04:38 PM

I should also have mentioned that the Pentax 85/100 mount is very smooth and stable. But with a built-in clamshell, it is also very specific to the particular OTA. One of the things I love is the way the setting circles adjust. The RA allows moving the hour ring and the vernier ring, and it is driven (even with the manual slow motion), so it's very usable. The polar alignment peepsight, with the adjustment for the Polaris RA, is also very easy to use and accurate. 

 

One thing I would like to change is to replace the spreader tray with one that allows adjustment of the leg angle to compensate for sloped ground. 

 

Chip W. 


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#25 photoracer18

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Posted 20 March 2020 - 04:57 PM

Up until yesterday I would have said my Schaefer AT-9. Rock solid modified Porter design that can carry 100+ lbs of scope. From the 80's I think, maybe earlier, but not sure. Better than my custom Meade DS-16 with the 11.3" Byers drive, and way better than my unrestored Cave 1962 Observatory pier model (1.5'/2" axis model). But now its this mount also from the 90's is my new baby:

AP900QMD-1024.gif

 

The Astro-Physics AP900QMD. Not as much capacity as the AT-9 but lighter and easier to deal with. I am preparing an old school pedestal for it composed of a set of restored Parks pedestal legs with lockable wheels and levelers, a 6"x48"x1/4" alloy pipe, some re-purposed CGEM pier adapter parts, and an AP pier top plate adapter. At this stage I only need my drill press and some hardware. Might drill the top of my SkyShed pier for the AP adapter also in case I decide to mount it out back permanently. Now I own all the QMD models except the AP1200QMD. One was listed only a few days ago but shipping from CA would have been frightening. That is my 12" Casady plate holder on it now. Need more weights however, although I could put one of my AP400/600 counterweight shafts on it as I have a total of 30# of weights for one of those.


Edited by photoracer18, 20 March 2020 - 05:02 PM.

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