Hi all, with the Covid19 confinement, I had some time to look for solutions to improve the lightweight and cheap Skywatcher's small equatorial wedge I use with a Star Adventurer Mini. Some also use it with their Star Adventurer or alternative portable mounts.
The main weakness of this wedge is the altitude locking lever. There is quite a big gap between the altitude worm support and the flancs of the mount. When you lock the altitude lever, the Polaris moves sideways in the finder... and the polar alignment is quite difficult to adjust.
I wrote a tutorial here, but it is in french. I will try to extract the main ideas below so that you will be able to improve the accuracy of this wedge. I tried to reduced the images to the minimum for the sake of your bandwidth.
Step 1 : unscrew completely the altitude lever :
Step 2 : extract the axis screw and don't loose the small washer :
Step 3 : remove the altitude insert. There are two plastic washers. Just find some plastic sheet slightly thicker than those washers and cut a replacement washer from it, thick enough so that the gap is completely filled. Insert your new washer(s) and pieces back in place. It has to be quite difficult to put the washer, be patient ! If it is too easy, the gap is not filled enough. On my wedge, the washers were 0.50 and 0.25 mm thick (you may find other thicknesses), and I replaced the 0.25 mm one by a 0.60 mm cut from a plastic book cover.
Now, on my Skywatcher equatorial wedge, the Polaris star doesn't swing sideway anymore when I tighten the altitude lever. Note that there is no need to overtighten this lever. Be gentle and it will last long !
Note : Be also very carefull with this small screw on the altitude knurled screw, it can unscrew by itself and if you loose it in the grass at night, you can go back home ! Use some thread lock to secure it :
Edited by Fred76, 31 March 2020 - 08:31 AM.