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How do you mount your classics?

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#1 Terra Nova

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 10:47 AM

How do you mount your classics? I myself, prefer a mix of modern and classic options for mounts, a mix of equatorial and alt-azimuth options, and also a mix of driven, geared or otherwise slow-motion enabled, as well as simple non-geared push-to, glide and sweep friction-clutched mounts. Just like I've been going through my telescopes, moving out and trading up and generally thinning the herd down to my dozen keepers, I've been doing the same with my mounts. Over the past year a number of mounts have gone bye-bye and I have acquired some new ones. This is what I now have and plan on keeping for the foreseeable future.


  1. Meade LX85 go-to (my newest) on 1.75" stainless steel tripod
  2. Meade LX70 (GP-grade)  with dual drives on 1.75" stainless steel tripod
  3. Celestron Omni (P-grade) single RA drive on 1.75" stainless steel tripod
  4. Jaegers Heavy Duty 1" steel shaft re-built mount on heavy duty surveyors tripod
  5. Edmund  Medium Duty 5/8" steel shaft re-built mount on 3’ pier
  6. Zeiss T1 mount matching Zeiss wood tripod



  1. TeleVue Gibralter on heavy-weight TV ashwood tripod
  2. TeleVue Panoramic on light-weight TV ashwood tripod
  3. Vixen Paramount II on Vixen HAL130 aluminum tripod
  4. Universal Astronomics Dwarfstar mount on Orion Paragon XHD tripod
  5. Unitron model 114 vintage mount and folding wooden tripod



  1. Celestron Wedge with custom Questar adapter mounting plate UA steel reinforced wooden surveyors tripod (I also have a lightweight wooden tripod with a flat hub, machined to fit the Questar's fork mount base for when I want to use the Q as an alt-az grab and go.
  2. Stellarvue M1V with a binocular side-saddle on Benro TMA47AXL Extra Long Series 4 Mach3 tripod for my classic 20x80 binoculars

Only two of my mounts, the Zeiss and the Unitron 114 alt-az are matched with their original OTA and are used solely with those OTAs (although my 60mm Unitron can also be mounted on my other mounts as it fits in my Takahashi FC60 clamshell perfectly). Besides the Unitron and Zeiss mounts, all other GEMs (including the re-built Jaegers and Edmund mounts) have been outfitted with Vixen-type clamping jaws, (even my two TeleVue alt-az mounts). This makes for maximum usability and adaptability. Another important factor in being able to use a mount (particularly with a variety of OTAs) is to have an assortment of counterweights including some light-weight ones. Finally, all but my Zeiss have (either standard or as an option) been fitted with Vixen rails. Just as it's nice to have a choice in what particular telescope you are going to use for a particular session at home or away, it's nice to be able to choose from a variety of mounts. Modern mounts, especially go-to mounts offer a particularly attractive option for the urban observer who has to contend with light pollution. Moreover, the three contemporary Chinese mounts that I have (I've been using the Celestron Omni CG-4 for ten years) are smooth and stable, rugged and reliable mounts. The Meade LX70 is every bit as good as my former Vixen GP mount and it's on a much more stable tripod. I think the Omni CG-4 is actually a much better mount that the Vixen Polaris I used to have. In fact, I had them both at the same time and chose to keep the CG-4 and sell the Polaris. It really is that good! The mount is built around the old Polaris design but has undergone a number of improvements. As a trouble free, grab-and-go/travel GEM, it's still my favorite. With regard to modern alt-az options, I've been using my Vixen Porta II now for ten years with no complaints. It has replaced my former Vixen Custom-D and I like it much better. 

So how do you mount your classics?

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#2 starman876


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Posted 01 May 2020 - 10:57 AM

Normally I do it from the left side. When I mount from the right side the horse takes off before I get into the saddle.

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#3 gene 4181

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 11:24 AM

    Thank you for  the pictures ...    dark blue  sky  at dusk   ,  older (home ) architecture   and   the  telescopes  . 

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#4 MikeMiller


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Posted 01 May 2020 - 11:35 AM

I don't have any classics but I have been wanting to get some kind of f/10 refractor. But I am not much into the idea of "classic mounts", however my FTXv.2 has a very "industrial" look to it and can handle a variety of scopes. I thought something like a Unitron would look and work nice on it.

Edited by MikeMiller, 01 May 2020 - 11:56 AM.

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#5 markb



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Posted 01 May 2020 - 11:36 AM

I sold off all my classic EQ mounts (CG3-CG5 equivalents), in part because they were inadequate for long and/or heavy refractors. I have more recently sold my Jaegers 6" f8, and now have Jaegers 5" f5 and similar 6", a C8 and due-to-be-gifted Meade 8, a once upon a time terrible Tesco 60mm serendipitously up graded to a Carton lens and excellent GSOstyle focuser, and GPS11. Yep, I like my scopes on the big side.


I use them on a Sergio Bonilla zero friction alt-az, a Williams EzTouch, a early Nexstar 8 converted to vixen clamp, a Nexstar GPS11 base converted to vixen clamp,and an intact GPS11. The GPS11 bases go on the factory tripod modified with Starizona Landing Pads and wood or aluminum replacement spreader plates, and the tripods go on a Manfrotto 114 dolly much of the time. Those puppies are getting heavier as I age. The zero friction Alt Az mounts go onto a CST Berger surveyors tripod or a James Greigar pedestal tube. I have a Baader Nexstar plate with Landing Pad allow me to pop the Nexstar 8 unit onto the pier. The Porta2 'true' weight rating let me explore the feasibility of alt-az mounts, but was sold after the assymetrical loading caused annoying binding. They are great for 4" or smaller shorter tubes.


The Jaegers, all home builts, are very happy, the Tasco/Carton as well. As as the sandcast rear cell C8.


Id love an early heavy grade EQ if 1- I find a bag of cash and 2- I have a permanent pier in a dark area (possible after I head West).


As we an our scopes age, I guess we, like the car collectors, have to start to think of my early 80s C8 and 2000 GPS11 as starting to qualify.

Edited by markb, 01 May 2020 - 11:38 AM.

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#6 photiost



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Posted 01 May 2020 - 12:04 PM

Most of my classics have their own mounts which are always fun to use but  for extended observing periods I prefer the modern motor driven mounts.


For the smaller instruments the Celestron Omni CG4 with the drive it is always a pleasure to use.


The larger instruments ride well on the Orion Skyview Pro clone and the Vixen Super Polaris with dual axis drives.


Have tried the EQ6 Pro on occasion (overkill) but it's used mostly for it's goto capabilities.  


My spare Unitron 114 is probably my most used mount - there is always a 60mm mounted on it - and its the perfect setup for those quick views from the back yard. 

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#7 Garyth64


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Posted 01 May 2020 - 01:37 PM

These are my main mounts:


CG5, dual controls

Edmund 1" shafts (heavy duty?), CD and dec adj

Starfinder 1" shafts, CD and dec adj

Tasco 7TE-5 mount, CD and dec adj


Homemade with 1-1/2" pillow blocks, CD and dec tangent arm.


For many outreach events, I would take my 5" Apogee on the CG5 mount.  The dual controls really helped if I wasn't aligned properly.  It carries the 5" very well.  Lately, I've been putting one of my 3" refractors on this mount.  It's a great combination.

The Edmund mount works very well with my 3" refractors, and it has attended some outreach programs too.

The Starfinder I'm setting up now for the 5" Apogee.  That's going to be a great set-up.

Since I was able to get a CD on the Tasco 7TE-5 mount, it has turned into my best grab and go scopes.  At outreaches, I usually take two scopes for the public to view thru.  My 60mm's get a lot of oohs and aahs, and now with the CD, I won't have to constantly make adjustments.

The CGEMII carries my 130 APO.  It has become my primary scope to use at outreach events.  I have to see if I can get both the 130, and the 5" in the vehicle. 

My homemade mount used to carry my 10" f/7 newt.  I sold the 10", and now the mount holds my 6" f/10.


I've just about eliminated all my alt-azimuth mounts.

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#8 KentTolley


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Posted 01 May 2020 - 03:21 PM

1963 Cave Astrola Deluxe mount with Sealmaster bearings in RA housing.  No needle bearings in Dec housing.  Brass Magnusson setting circles.  This is Cave's penultimate mount.


(mouse image for full size)

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Edited by KentTolley, 01 May 2020 - 03:22 PM.

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#9 KentTolley


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Posted 01 May 2020 - 03:30 PM

Two years later in 1965 this is Caves ultimate mount with bearings in both axes.  This one has clock, brass Magnusson setting circles, and 360 degree declination slow motion control.  

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#10 Bomber Bob

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 04:00 PM

Great Topic Terra -- for new Forum members as well as us experienced (notice I didn't say old!) folks.


My shrinking numbers break out to 2 EQ x 2 AZ @ 2 Regularly Used x 2 Primarily Displays in the house, and 6 EQ x 1 AZ in the shed -- all of which are regularly used...


Indoors:  Goto HS 452 EQ & Hy-Score 457 AZ are used with their scopes, while the Mogey AZ & Sears 6336 EQ are mainly displays now (and both look great, IMO).


Outdoors:  2 x Meade StarFinder EQs on pedestals (5 ft & 3 ft), 2 Mizar EQs on tripods (Super Polaris on tall wood & AR-1 on aluminum ShortPod), 1 MASSIVE Tinsley EQ on a pedestal, 1 lone Takahashi EM-1S and 1 lone Orion VersaGo -- both on vintage wood surveyor tripods.


Egad!  Way too much math for an historian.  I have 11 vintage mounts total, and all but 2 are used regularly.  Much simpler!  I have no brand new mounts, and will never buy a go-to mount.  There!  I feel so much better.


Despite all those numbers, I'd still like to get one more mount -- a hefty AZ that can carry 2 scopes at once.  It would make side-by-side comparisons so much easier.


For the new CSNs (Classic Scope Nutz), this is The Tinsley (still in restoration):


Tinsley - Progress Check S01 (Assembled).jpg Tinsley - Progress Check S02 (Assembled).jpg


I got the 6" F20 Cassegrain first, and the 220# EQ mount + pedestal years later.  No firm date on the age of either, as Tinsley didn't change styles often, but there were 2 motors on the mount from ~ 1944.  My restore thread is here:  https://www.cloudyni...egrain-restore/

Edited by Bomber Bob, 01 May 2020 - 09:56 PM.

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#11 Terra Nova

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Posted 01 May 2020 - 04:36 PM

"Much simpler!  I have no brand new mounts, and will never buy a go-to mount.  There!  I feel so much better."





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#12 Astrolite


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Posted 01 May 2020 - 07:12 PM

I find some of the original vintage mounts to be aesthetically pleasing if not exactly pleasing to use.





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#13 Astrolite


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Posted 01 May 2020 - 07:18 PM

Some better than others for actual use.




And some much better! I especially like the smooth operation of the Polaris in equatorial and Alt-Az mode.







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#14 Astrolite


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Posted 01 May 2020 - 07:24 PM

But when I really want to get down to business I just love the AZ EQ-5 as my only driven mount and GOTO is just icing on the cake.




But especially in Alt Az mode!



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#15 telesonic


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Posted 01 May 2020 - 10:26 PM

I've got two mounting setups that I use - and they actually interchange quite well between each other. The first setup is a Vixen Super Polaris tripod hub, on the longer refractor length wood legs. That is my quick look / light duty grab and go one. 


Setup number two, is my pipe pier. This is for when I plan on leaving the EQ mount head or scope on for awhile.


For EQ heads, I've got the classic Vixen Super Polaris - and also a CG-5 ASGT (yep... Go-To, I thought I wouldn't... but I did.) wink.gif

And the cool thing, I can use either the SP on the wood legs, or pier... and the CG-5 fits the SP hub perfectly too. Which I guess is handy if I want to venture further than my yard, which isn't likely right now. grin.gif


Since all of my scopes have some flavor of dovetail bar, my SP has an ADM Vixen Saddle.... the CG-5 has a dual Losmandy / Vixen also from ADM. For the scopes themselves, the refractors have tube rings / Vixen bars. I have one ring and bar system for the C-4.5 newt / C-5. The Comet Catcher project has it's own rings and bar. The C8 has a Losmandy width piece, again.... from ADM. At first I had a V one there, but upgraded awhile back..... just haven't put it through the real shakedown yet. 


While I've probably got as much, or maybe more - invested in the actual hardware and accessories than the mounts themselves, it's a pretty good modular system that gives many options depending on scope / weather / work schedule... and what-not. 







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#16 AstroKerr



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Posted 01 May 2020 - 10:44 PM

When they first come in - on their mounts to get a feel. After that, rings and tails and they ride contemp mounts in Vix clamps.  

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#17 bjkaras


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Posted 02 May 2020 - 01:20 AM

I have two EQ mounts: a Parks 1.5” Superior dual axis drive for my 10” newt, and a Meade 1” 826 mount on a tall pedestal that I use for my 6” refractor. The Parks mount is basically a clone of the old Astrola mount, and came with the 10” direct from Parks. I got the Meade mount on Astromart, to use for my refractor OTA. I replaced the 8x50 finder that came with the 10” with a Lumicon Superfinder, and got an Orion ST80 to use as a finder for the refractor.

#18 aa6ww



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Posted 02 May 2020 - 03:12 AM

Late in 2019 I threw in the towel and bought a excellent Celestron AVX GoTo mount with full Starsense. I was stunned at how bullseye accurate it is, consistently.

After some nice machine work, I can now mount my Towa 80mm F/15 on an acceptably tall Losmandy G11 tripod with a 12 inch tall, 6 inch diameter pier. The conclusion was a very nice marriage of classic 80mm F/15 to Modern Technology with perfect results.

Now I can find objects I could never fine in my mediocre back yard skies. Star splitting is stunning with this very smart system, now that I can use the double star SAO database on the hand controller to find double stars. The refractor is excellent for observing and splitting doubles.

I'm looking forward to back yard observing with this set up.


Stay safe everyone.




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Edited by aa6ww, 02 May 2020 - 03:13 AM.

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#19 Tourneciel


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Posted 02 May 2020 - 04:30 AM

My own equipment is very simple:


- Tripod is Orion Paragon-Plus XHD

- AZ is with the Vixen fine adjustment unit

- EQ is with the Vixen mini-SP motorized in RA (the counter weight is not put here)




Vixen Halley Orion Paragon Tripod.jpg

Vixen fine ad unit.jpeg


For the Towa 80/800, just the tripod + the telescope on its own EQ:


towa on tripod.jpg

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#20 combatdad



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Posted 02 May 2020 - 07:50 AM

I use both my 5 inch and 4 inch Unitron's on a Losmandy G-11 (5 inch shown in photo).  The 5 inch is very stable using a 24" Losmandy plate.  Note: I have added a 12" pier extension since that photo was taken.



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#21 walter a

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Posted 02 May 2020 - 09:20 AM

I sometimes mount one on my cat so I have goto and tracking.

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Edited by walter a, 02 May 2020 - 09:24 AM.

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#22 Terra Nova

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Posted 02 May 2020 - 11:15 AM

I sometimes mount one on my cat so I have goto and tracking.

That's fine as long as the cat agrees! :lol:

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#23 ccwemyss



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Posted 02 May 2020 - 12:22 PM

Pretty much all of my classics, most of which are the loaners, ride their original mounts. I have two Jaegers 80mm OTAs that are set up with rings and bolts that enable them to go onto the Unitron 140 mount, when it isn't out on loan.


The observatory scopes are side-by-side on a G11, which is right at its max load (but I only use it for visual). I'm not crazy about it because it takes so long to build a good model, and most nights I'd rather just observe. It also seems like every time I finally break down and build a good one, the hard-to-find and finicky to replace backup battery dies shortly after. Compared to the CGEM with Starsense that I use for outreach, it is much less convenient, and not as accurate. Sometimes I think about looking for a classic Byers type drive with good setting circles to replace it. I think that this season I'm going to try pointing the G11 using the circles, and see how I like it as a non-goto mount. 


I really like the Pentax 85 and Unitron 142 mounts, but both of them are set up with integral clamshells that are sized for their OTAs. If I could find a drive motor for the 85, I would work on making a set of adapter sleeves for the smaller OTAs, and have a cats meow setup with a single, multi-use mount. 


Chip W. 

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#24 icomet



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Posted 02 May 2020 - 01:56 PM

I have 3 that I use:


CG-5 Adv. GT

1981 DS-16 Meade

1950's  Cave Astrola 2" dec shaft /tangent arm

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#25 LDW47


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Posted 02 May 2020 - 04:24 PM

My small ones on two ball head tripods, my 90mm on an ES Nano and the rest on a couple of Porta II’s !  Clear supported skiys !

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