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TS-Optics Fork Mount for large Binoculars - Stiff/Sticking Vertical Axis

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#1 Pingster

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 07:49 AM

Just received the mount TS-Optics Fork Mount for large Binoculars.
 

https://www.teleskop...Telescopes.html

 

Mounted 100mm APM Bincoulcars to them. Fully released the two side locks... Horizontal movement is fine. Very crude mechanism. The Vertical Axis is so stiff and constantly binds. Ive fully unlocked the side locks and moved the mount about to "break it in". Its horrible. Is this how the product is or has it been over tightened at factory? In its current state its hopeless and not fit for purpose. Impossible to track or align up with targets without over shooting constantly.

 

Also you cant lift the setup up using the mouth as a "shoulder brace" because it pop out of the horizontal bearing. Almost resulting in a smashed bino! Absolutely terrible design.


Edited by Pingster, 03 August 2020 - 07:51 AM.


#2 drt3d

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 08:26 AM

Interesting... A couple of weeks ago I bought the Orion U-Mount, which looks very similar:

https://optcorp.com/...5-orion-u-mount

 

I could not decide between that and the APM mount:

https://skygazeoptic...-big-binoculars

 

They both look similar and reviews seem to indicate that there not very different. I decided to get the Orion because it was on sale for $429, vs. $650 for the APM mount, quite a difference.

 

Previously, I was using this APM mount for my APM 70mm binoculars:

https://skygazeoptic...m-apo-binocular

(there is a similar version for the 100mm APM binoculars)

 

What I noticed with both mounts is what you are describing: The rotation around the vertical axis (azimuth) is smooth in both mounts, but the rotation around the horizontal axis (altitude) is not smooth. This is true in both mounts. I was wondering if the APM mount is better. Maybe it is the way the mounts are designed. Like you say, I have both locks fully unlocked and I still cannot get a smooth movement. It is not as bad as you describe, but not as smooth as I would have liked it to be. It is OK at lower magnifications but if you are working at higher magnifications, it can be a problem.

 

Regarding lifting it up the mount to move, yes, I have the same issue with the Orion mounts. I have to be careful not to pop the thing out of its base. My 70mm APM binoculars are not as heavy as your 100mm so moving the whole thing is not a big issue. But to be safe, I would remove the binoculars first before moving the tripod. Removing the binoculars is not too complicated or time consuming with these mounts.

 

The bottom line is that the mount that you bought sounds typical and looks like the Orion and APM U-mount. Similar issues. 

 

I wonder if someone can tell us if the more expensive APM mount is better than the Orion U-mount or your TS-Optic mount.

 

George



#3 Glass Man

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 09:57 AM

I had the same issue with the Orion U-mount I had purchased when they first came out. I tried the motions right out of the box, I couldn’t get the altitude axis to budge at all, azimuth was fine. I then mounted it on my UNI-18 tripod with no OTA/BT installed yet. Still wouldn’t budge and would have tipped over if I wasn’t prepared for that scenario. Back in the box it went for a refund as they where out of stock to do an exchange.

 

I was really disappointed too as the product video makes it look nice and smooth with their BT-100 mounted on it. I ended up buying a Manfrotto N12 fluid video head which worked really well, just no way of adding encoders that I know of.

 

Best and CS, Karl



#4 oldmanrick

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 11:32 AM

FWIW, I have the APM fork mount for my 150 APM BT.  Works fine with the 150.  It is essentially an enlarged version of what you are describing.  The vertical motion is actually smoother and locks down better than the horizontal.  I believe a nylon or delrin bearing is used for both movements.

 

I don't know why the Orion or TS Optics versions would be so stiff.

 

I believe I recall reading that at least some of the APM fork mounts for large binoculars, (to fit the 100 BT), have ball bearings.  This may be just the model set up for encoders.  Ball bearings should give a smoother action, but would probably raise the cost.

 

Rick



#5 Pinac

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 11:49 AM

Some years ago, I bought the Omegon fork mount

 

https://www.omegon.e...glaeser/p,33131

 

and it exhibits a very acceptable vertical rotation, but rotation around the horizontal axis is annoyingly stiff.

 

I then bought the Vixen fork mount

 

https://www.vixenopt...unt-p/38062.htm

 

which was considerably more expensive, also heavier than the Omegon, but rotates very smoothly both vertically and horizontally, so it has become my mount of choice for anything larger than 20x80.

My conclusion from that experience was that „you get what you pay for“, true for both bincolars and mounts.

 

Pinac


Edited by Pinac, 03 August 2020 - 11:49 AM.

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#6 drt3d

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 01:03 PM

My conclusion from that experience was that „you get what you pay for“, true for both bincolars and mounts.

 

 

Yes but the Orion U-mount and the Vixen mount appear to be both around the same price, $500.

 

And the TS-Optics mount not far behind at $414. So, they are all in the same price range.

 

George



#7 Rich V.

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 01:37 PM

I'm curious what kind of bearings and clutch/friction surfaces do these overly stiff fork mounts use?  Anyone taken one of these apart to see what's going on in there?  It's not using rocket science.

 

I'd think ball bearings or even bronze Oilite bushings and a variable tension Teflon clutch disk would do the job.   shrug.gif

 

Rich



#8 Pingster

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 01:41 PM

Thank you all for your helpful replies. Its unbelievable that products of this price range designed for "Astronomy" can be so badly convinced. The reason the product stuck out as being particularly poor is because i own a HELIOS QUANTUM 7.4 100mm Bins, the fork they come with is smooth in both axis. Only problem being the single side lock in certain positions is too weak lock it.

 

So thank you all, ive made the decision to send is back to them and insist i should not be forced to lose the shipping as they have falsely advertised a badly design product.

 

Last time i purchased a "Bino Viewer Friendly" APO from them, which was not bino friendly at all. They edited the details of the listing after they resized their mistake and charged me for the return shipping. 

 

Hopefully they will accept blame for this order and not make me have to suffer for an badly designed product.



#9 drt3d

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 01:41 PM

Like Rick said above, the Orion U-mount (and others, I suspect) use some kind of white nylon bearing.

 

The problem is that the declination is stiff, even fully unlocked. 

 

George



#10 Rich V.

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Posted 03 August 2020 - 02:17 PM

The Teflon (or other low friction polymer) "sandwich" type friction assy can be very smooth, if that's what they're using on these.  I don't see why properly polished friction surfaces couldn't go from zero friction to clamped with a range anywhere in between.  Anyone who's used a Discmount or UA Unistar can attest that there's a full range of friction available with that type of design.

 

Perhaps it was cheaper just to leave those surfaces poorly finished in hopes that the user would "break them in" through continued use and they would eventually loosen up as the surfaces polished themselves.   tongue2.gif

 

I know the APM fork doesn't seem have this problem.

 

Rich


Edited by Rich V., 04 August 2020 - 10:12 AM.


#11 Pingster

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 05:06 AM

Does anyone one have experience of how these may be adjusted. Im tempted to peel the felt off the two insides and see if theres a tension allen key adjustment.... Teleskop service are taking their sweet time replying to me.


Edited by Pingster, 04 August 2020 - 05:31 AM.


#12 drt3d

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 11:18 AM

Does anyone one have experience of how these may be adjusted. Im tempted to peel the felt off the two insides and see if theres a tension allen key adjustment.... Teleskop service are taking their sweet time replying to me.

Be brave and be the first one to experiment. :)

Regarding the comment that Rich made: "I know the APM fork doesn't seem have this problem."

How do you know? I mentioned that I could not decide between the Orion U-mount and the APM mount but reviews here seem to indicate no difference in use. I would like to hear from someone how has tried both the Orion U-mount and the APM fork mount. I suspect that they behave the same way.  I would test it myself, but I don't want to pay $650 to know the answer.

 

I mentioned previously that I also own the APM Center mount for my 70mm APM binoculars. It has exactly the same "characteristic" (I am not calling it a problem any more), the vertical movement is stiff and it is actually worse than the Orion U-mount. I am not sure why these mounts have to work this way but they seem to just do.

 

George



#13 oldmanrick

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 12:02 PM

Obviously, the APM center mount is entirely different than the fork mount.  I have not used the smaller fork mount, but the construction and bearings appear to be very similar to the APM "Big Fork Mount" made for their latest 150mm BT.  

 

It appears that APM makes two models of their "Large Fork Mount" for the 100mm BT's.  The less expensive one seems to have the Delrin sleeve bearings similar to my "big" fork mount.  The other comes with digital encoders,  and their web page states that it has a ball bearing for the horizontal movement.  Don't know about the vertical movement bearings.

 

My "Big Fork Mount" works very well with the 150 BT.  The only weakness I have noticed is that the horizontal movement does not lock down tight enough to always prevent movement when tightening eyepieces in the focusers, or moving the instrument on its dolly over uneven ground.

 

Reading many reports about the APM "Large Fork Mount" for 100mm BT's, here on CN, I believe it works very similarly to the one I have for the 150 BT.

 

Rick



#14 Rich V.

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 01:09 PM

Be brave and be the first one to experiment. smile.gif

Regarding the comment that Rich made: "I know the APM fork doesn't seem have this problem."

How do you know? 

There have been many threads/posts about the APM fork over the years and I don't recall complaints about the altitude axis being too tight or sticky.  I know because I've used CN member Mr. Bill's APM 100mm binos on his APM fork and the movements are smooth; Pingster's complaints about the TS fork don't seem to jive with that.

 

Rich



#15 drt3d

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 01:23 PM

There have been many threads/posts about the APM fork over the years and I don't recall complaints about the altitude axis being too tight or sticky.  I know because I've used CN member Mr. Bill's APM 100mm binos on his APM fork and the movements are smooth; Pingster's complaints about the TS fork don't seem to jive with that.

 

Rich

 

I don't know about the TS-Optiks fork mount but I have not seen any complains about the Orion U-mount and I now own one and I know it is stiff.

 

I am not sure how the Orion-U mount compares to the APM so I would like someone who has tried both to chime in and confirm (or not) my suspicion that they are similar.

 

George



#16 Mr. Bill

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 01:50 PM

It may be hard to find someone who has both so maybe someone has had experience using both at a star party.....:question:

 

Owning the APM fork, I can say that both motions are silky smooth with no startup stiction or overshoot with the 100s mounted.


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#17 drt3d

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 03:17 PM

It may be hard to find someone who has both so maybe someone has had experience using both at a star party.....question.gif

 

Owning the APM fork, I can say that both motions are silky smooth with no startup stiction or overshoot with the 100s mounted.

 

Hi Mr. Bill, question:

 

If you fully release the side knobs that lock the up and down movement, do the binoculars "fall down" due to gravity or stay in place because of some friction?

 

In my Orion-U mount, my 70mm APM binoculars do not move. So, I always have the side knobs fully unlocked because there is no real reason to lock them. I need a slight push to move the binoculars up or down. I do not mind this. The movement is smooth. But I would expect that with the slide breaks fully unlocked, there would be no or very little friction. Yet, there is friction that prevents the binoculars from freely moving. I wonder how the APM mount behaves?

 

This is the case for my APM 70mm. Not sure how the extra weight of the 100mm (or larger) would work.

 

George



#18 Pingster

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 03:54 PM

Hi Mr. Bill, question:

 

If you fully release the side knobs that lock the up and down movement, do the binoculars "fall down" due to gravity or stay in place because of some friction?

 

In my Orion-U mount, my 70mm APM binoculars do not move. So, I always have the side knobs fully unlocked because there is no real reason to lock them. I need a slight push to move the binoculars up or down. I do not mind this. The movement is smooth. But I would expect that with the slide breaks fully unlocked, there would be no or very little friction. Yet, there is friction that prevents the binoculars from freely moving. I wonder how the APM mount behaves?

 

This is the case for my APM 70mm. Not sure how the extra weight of the 100mm (or larger) would work.

 

George

With the locks fully unleased the bins dont drop by gravity. Movement in vert axis is really stiff and sticky. Teleskop express replied to me saying that "its the way they are designed" and i could try removing all the grease and try a lighter lub but the warranty would be void.

 

So basically its a rubbish design. 


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#19 Mr. Bill

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 05:00 PM

APM altitude adjustment is done with thumbscrews.....when fully loosened, the friction is free but not binding; just moves without any feeling of binding or looseness.

 

There is no azimuth adjustment but moves without binding.....



#20 Pingster

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 06:21 PM

APM altitude adjustment is done with thumbscrews.....when fully loosened, the friction is free but not binding; just moves without any feeling of binding or looseness.

 

There is no azimuth adjustment but moves without binding.....

Hi Bill thanks for letting me and others know. The APM is very expensive, but looks like i have to bite the bullet as other solutions clearly are not fit for the job.


Edited by Pingster, 05 August 2020 - 06:42 AM.


#21 oldmanrick

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 06:35 PM

George,  you should not need any tension on the side, (vertical motion) knobs for the binocular to stay in place.

 

If you fully release the side knobs, unlocking the up and down movement when the binocular is level, and the binocular "falls" in either direction, it means that the binocular is not balanced properly in the mount.  It either needs to be moved fore or aft in the mount so that it is balanced fore and aft, or it needs to be lowered in the mount so that the CG of the binocular is at the axis of the vertical movement.  If the latter, it may be difficult to adjust, as most fork mounts, sadly, do not have provision for this vertical adjustment.  You might be able to find a thinner clamp, or mounting plate, or you might need a larger, (vertically) fork mount, or smaller/lighter binocular.

 

Rick


Edited by oldmanrick, 04 August 2020 - 06:40 PM.

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#22 drt3d

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 06:37 PM

Here is a picture of my Orion-U mount with the APM 70mm binoculars looking straight up with the side locks fully loosened.

 

If there was no friction, or very little friction, the binoculars would not be balanced like that. But they are held by friction, even though the side locks are fully released.

 

When I move the mount, the movement is smooth. But at the instant the mount starts moving by overcoming the friction, it jumps a bit, even though the movement is smooth. This is the nature of the friction mount.

 

This is a beautifully designed mount and I think this amount of friction is by design. It is just a bit too much for me. I wish there was a way to reduce it, but it does not seem to be possible or easy.

 

Mount2b.jpg



#23 drt3d

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 07:17 PM

George,  you should not need any tension on the side, (vertical motion) knobs for the binocular to stay in place.

 

If you fully release the side knobs, unlocking the up and down movement when the binocular is level, and the binocular "falls" in either direction, it means that the binocular is not balanced properly in the mount.  It either needs to be moved fore or aft in the mount so that it is balanced fore and aft, or it needs to be lowered in the mount so that the CG of the binocular is at the axis of the vertical movement.  If the latter, it may be difficult to adjust, as most fork mounts, sadly, do not have provision for this vertical adjustment.  You might be able to find a thinner clamp, or mounting plate, or you might need a larger, (vertically) fork mount, or smaller/lighter binocular.

 

Rick

Hi Rick,

 

OK, thanks! I am starting to understand how this works.

 

It is hard for me to tell if the binoculars are balanced, or how balanced they are, with all this friction. 

 

George



#24 Mr. Bill

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 09:06 PM

Certainly looks like a well made mount....I'd take the altitude axis apart and examine the bearing surfaces.

 

Maybe machine marks are the problem; a bit of polishing with extra fine carbide paper would solve the problem.


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#25 Pingster

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 06:48 AM

Update, Teleskop Express are going to refund me without charging for postage. Thats a positive.

 

I would not recommend this or any similar looking mount for star gazing or even territorial use. The binding friction i just not how a well designed mount should behave.

 

The APM mount seems to be the solution and from users feedback it does seem to be free moving in both axis unless locked. 

 

Thanks for the replies everyone and hope this thread helps others in similar situation. waytogo.gif




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