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Equatorial Wedges for AZ-GTi

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#1 alex180500

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 06:53 AM

I'm going to post link for almost any equatorial wedge / latitude base I could find available online, send any link you have and if you have any of these wedges or know any other one, send your feedback about your experience in the comments! waytogo.gif

 

 

High End Wedges (100€ +)

 

 

William Optics Wedge

This is probably the best, sturdiest one you can get with amazing build quality, you can find reviews and many people use it here, probably the best you can buy but also the most expensive.
There are 2 versions, a High latitude one 32-59° and a Low altitude one 7-34°, but if you travel you can make one work for either one with little adjustments as shown by this video by Peter Zelinka (also awesome review):
Video review
Comes without a dovetail bar though.
 
Agena astro High latitude
William Optics low latitude
William Optics high latitude
First light optics
Astroshop.eu low latitude
Astroshop.eu high latitude
 

Astroshop/Hercules Stronghold Tangent
 
I've seen nobody talk about this online, so feedback is much appreciated, seem sturdy and with a good build, a bit on the chunky side though.
It's on the Astroshop aliexpress shop, also called Hercules, it doesn't ship to every country.
Built in Dovetail bar with 3/8" screw.

Aliexpress
 
 
TS-Optics ATC Wedge

Another one I've never seen here, seem all metallic with good build quality, also on the small size.
Comes with an adapter with a 3/8" screw.
 
Teleskop-Express
Amazon UK
 
 

AstroTrac Pier Edge

 

Super expensive option, light, high payload and full stainless steel construction, maybe the best of the best.

Built in plate with 3/8" screw.

 

Optcorp

first light optics

 

 

Budget Wedges (50€ - 100€)
 
 
365Astronomy Mini Wedge
 
Seems very much like the TS-Optics one, but it's cheaper, might be a good buy for UK users.
Please somebody test it out and tell here! flowerred.gif
Plate with 3/8" is built in.
 
365astronomy
 
 
Astroshop/Hercules Wedge
 
Another aliexpress wedge, seems similar to the iOptron/Omegon one and it's almost the same price too.
It comes with the dovetail bar with 1/4" screw.
 
Aliexpress
 
 
Astroshop/Hercules latitude base with polar scope hole
 
Yet another aliexpress wedge, this one has a dovetail bar with a 1/4" screw and an adapter for polar scopes or polar master.
You can also buy the custom dovetail separately and it's not that expensive.
 
Aliexpress
 
 
Skywatcher equatorial wedge
 
By far the most used one here and on youtube, people seem fine with this mount although the knob can get in the way (you can fix this pretty easly with a screw or grub screw).
It's also pretty tall so people have experienced a little bit jiggle while adjusting, but after it's locked down it works perfectly.
It also comes with a dovetail bar with 3/8" screw and a stopping screw to prevent anything from falling.
 
Astroshop.eu
rothervalleyoptics
B&H photos
first light optics
365astronomy
 
 
iOptron wedge
 
Many prefer this over the Skywatcher one because of the shorter, thicker fork, so it should be more stable while adjusting over the Skywatcher wedge.
Also no knob in the way of the mount and at the same price.
Doesn't come with a dovetail bar at all, so keep that in mind.

astroshop.eu

teleskop express.de
iOptron website
 
 
Omegon wedge
 
Seem identical to the iOptron one and comes with a dovetail bar with a 55mm dovetail 1/4" screw (you would need a 1/4" to 3/8" adapter).

Omegon website
astroshop.eu


Edited by alex180500, 05 August 2020 - 04:14 AM.

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#2 Hesiod

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 09:34 AM

I have the TS Optics (which is made by TeleOptik, the same who craft the Giro mounts).

It is small, reasonably light but somewhat rough if compared to the Astrotrac's excellent wedge (another worth option, BTW, even if must figure in a quick release plate too).

It does not have a built-in plate but comes with an "adapter" (the round plate on the top) through which passes a 3/8" screw; if want to link trackers with 1/8" hole I suggest to keep using the 3/8" screw and add an adapter

gallery_215679_8115_998766.jpg

 

In my experience it is fine for loads up to 5-6kg; if plan to go heavier, the Astrotrac is IMHO a better purchase.

 

By the way, high-quality geared heads are worth options, albeit much more expensive


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#3 Cometeer

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 05:58 PM

I’ve used the TS Optics ATC wedge and William Optics wedge. The WO one is excellent; very stable, smooth, and solid. The TS wedge, on the other hand, is not something I’d recommend. It is very difficult to make precise altitude adjustments and you need a tool (hex key) to attach something to the 3/8” bolt.
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#4 castorpolu11

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 10:51 PM

Can you link to an example of the kind of dovetail bar needed to make the AZGTi to the WO base? I have a dovetail bar but I don't seem to be able to make it work. It seems like it would have to be very short and also have a 3/8" mounting hole. What am I missing? Thank you in advance for putting me out of my frustration! 



#5 Cometeer

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 11:51 PM

Can you link to an example of the kind of dovetail bar needed to make the AZGTi to the WO base? I have a dovetail bar but I don't seem to be able to make it work. It seems like it would have to be very short and also have a 3/8" mounting hole. What am I missing? Thank you in advance for putting me out of my frustration! 

I purchased the one that comes with the SW wedge from Skywatcher. I couldn’t find any dovetails that can accept a 3/8” stud. 



#6 castorpolu11

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 02:14 AM

I purchased the one that comes with the SW wedge from Skywatcher. I couldn’t find any dovetails that can accept a 3/8” stud. 

That makes sense. Any chance you would link to what you purchased? How does it work?



#7 alex180500

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 10:36 AM

a standard dovetail with a 1/4" screw and then getting a 1/4" to 3/8" adapter should do the trick.



#8 Vladi

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Posted 11 October 2020 - 09:00 AM

I own Sky-Watcher polar wedge which you have on the list and wanted to upgrade to something with a better and easier adjustment. I think it is mostly used becomes and comes with Star Adventurer and is very in expensive.

 

I used the Sky-Watcher polar wedge with the Adventurer Mini. With the AZ GTI, I currently use the Benro GD3WH Geared Head. It provides by far a better adjustment than Sky-Watcher polar wedge , but it is relatively bulky and has an additional tilt axis (left-right tilt) which is not used for astro. You still need to check if it is set right each time to be sure. The advantage of GD3WH is that you can use it for regular photography as well.

 

Inspired by reviews, I bought and later returned William Optics Wedge.  It did not have a much better adjustment than the Benro GD3WH Geared Head or even Sky-Watcher. It is definitely better made in terms of materials and that might justify its very high price. 

 

Yesterday, I got the Bresser Micro Motion Head MH-100, which is around 80 Euro in Germany. It looks very well made and clever designed, but it is also relatively tiny compared to all others I saw. I have to test it yet, how well it works for my setup based on AZ GTI which is around 5kg without tripod. 

 

The "Astroshop/Hercules Stronghold Tangent" is also on my "watch list". It looks very solid on the pictures, but I did not see it elsewhere on the Internet yet. This is a kind of suspicious... 

 

The best thing I saw so far are the wedges integrated in Losmandy EQ mounts. I think Losmandy should offer them separately.

 

Generally, I'm surprised that most manufacturers do not pay sufficient attention this part of the equipment. When I started with astrophotography, twiddling with the wedge during the polar alignment and the need for star alignment (which is now eliminated for me with ASIAIR) were the largest frustration factors. I think, making a polar wedge with soft and precise adjustments will find a large market.


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#9 Vladi

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Posted 11 October 2020 - 09:09 AM

BTW, I think, Astrotrack has redesigned their TW-3100 wedge for their new AstroTrac 360 mount. The new one has the same name but is in silver. I'm not sure if it got better in mechanics, but getting it for more than 300£ requires a lot of good arguments...



#10 Vladi

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Posted 14 October 2020 - 02:14 PM

So... I'm returning Bresser Micro Motion Head MH-100 as well. It is has actually a good gear and adjustments are going good, but it is overloaded with AZ GTI with a 3,5kg gear on it. I ordered this one now: https://www.aliexpre...2822479423.html I will post a short review later. So far the Benro GD3WH Geared Head is the best one I saw


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#11 B0bbyWhite

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Posted 15 December 2020 - 05:44 AM

So... I'm returning Bresser Micro Motion Head MH-100 as well. It is has actually a good gear and adjustments are going good, but it is overloaded with AZ GTI with a 3,5kg gear on it. I ordered this one now: https://www.aliexpre...2822479423.html I will post a short review later. So far the Benro GD3WH Geared Head is the best one I saw

 

It'll be great if you review that wedge. I also look at this side and hesitate to make order.



#12 DevilJack

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Posted 30 December 2020 - 12:09 PM

I use the William Optics wedge. Works Great! Very easy to use. I have 3 Rigs with identical AZ GTI, WO wedge, Asiair Pro, EAF, but different focal length lenses and cameras.  Works well for me...



#13 pmuller

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 07:19 AM

I use the William Optics wedge. Works Great! Very easy to use. I have 3 Rigs with identical AZ GTI, WO wedge, Asiair Pro, EAF, but different focal length lenses and cameras.  Works well for me...

The WO wedge will not work on lower latitudes as it goes only up to 60 degrees and for the AZ-GTI on EQ mode one has to used it "inverted". I am in 25.76 degrees N latitude (South Florida).

 



 

Attached Thumbnails

  • SKywatcher vs WO Wedge.jpg


#14 tkottary

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 02:14 PM

That is not true. You can convert the high latitude wo wedge to low latitude (7-34).  When  inverted for your latitude should go above 60.


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#15 speedster

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 06:15 PM

I've been traveling the that mount and the Sky-Watcher for a few years.  It's not fussy and it easily does what it is supposed to do.  If I had it to do over, I'd still use this wedge.


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#16 pmuller

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 09:57 PM

That is not true. You can convert the high latitude wo wedge to low latitude (7-34).  When  inverted for your latitude should go above 60.

Would you be kind to show me how?

 

Here is the issue I am having, to use the AZ-GTI on EQ mode one has to use the wedge indirectly, for my 25N latitude, my skywatcher wedge has to be around 65 degrees. The WO goes only up to 60, in fact not even 60 as the knob gets in the way, see attached pics. I know a person who lives in Sweden and is going to work in Cambodia and has had the exact same issue, please show us what we are making wrong here.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_4333.jpg
  • IMG_4332.jpg
  • IMG_4338.jpg
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 9.54.23 PM.jpg

Edited by pmuller, 26 January 2021 - 09:58 PM.


#17 orlyandico

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 12:22 AM

I think the Fornax FMW-200 can also be used, it’s quite beefy but also quite pricey.

#18 boxcorner

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 11:53 AM

So... I'm returning Bresser Micro Motion Head MH-100 as well. It is has actually a good gear and adjustments are going good, but it is overloaded with AZ GTI with a 3,5kg gear on it. I ordered this one now: https://www.aliexpre...2822479423.html I will post a short review later. So far the Benro GD3WH Geared Head is the best one I saw

Apparently that one is no longer available, but I found this one which looks similar https://www.aliexpre...#3468#15609#230

the sole difference seems to be what is mounted on the top plate. This one has a vixen-clamp mounted on the top plate. This wedge looks well designed, as it has two roller bearings, which should make adjustment nice and smooth.

 

I am considering using this wedge instead of the much more expensive Fornax FMW 200 wedge. So, I look forward to reading your comments later, when you have received yours. Thanks.



#19 orlyandico

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 03:58 PM

I have that exact cheap AliExpress wedge and the Fornax. Granted I'm not using an AZ-GTi (rather I'm using a small homemade mount of similar size) but the AliExpress wedge is too wobbly with an 80mm Lomo triplet on top (about 8-9 lb). The problem of the AliExpress wedge is that (in spite of being optimistically named "Stronghold") it's not strong - the entire upper portion is held by one vertical piece of metal that's clamped in place with one bolt. And notice how thin the matching vertical piece of metal on the base is?

 

The Fornax wedge has no such problems. I am looking forward to using my Mewlon 210 on my ATM mount and the Fornax wedge.


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#20 Vladi

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 06:51 PM

I was posting some replies in the past on this thread mentioning that I'm getting other wedges to give them a try. Someone asked to write a review. I did not yet, since I was busy with something else. I though I should at least post some impressions before a "real review" will be pending for longer.

 

Just to note: this thread is about wedges for the Sky Watcher AZ-GTI mount. And this is the reason why I found it sometime ago. I got AZ-GTI back in April 2020, and as you know, it does not come with a wedge, since it is originally not made for the equatorial mode. I still had and have the Sky-Watcher Adventurer Mini, came with the Sky-Watcher Wedge. I'm using AZ-GTI with a DRL-based setup, total weight is around 3.5kg. I saw that it is a bit too much for the Sky-Watcher Wedge. Additionally, the process of polar alignment was one of the annoying aspects for me as a beginner some years ago and still is now. I refuse to find any fun in this process, and I'm surprised that manufactures do not pay appropriate attention to this.

 

Before, I list my impressions about the wedges, which I used, some thought about the Fornax FMW-200 wedge. I saw this wedge on Internet before. As someone mentioned on this thread, I also cannot make myself pay for a wedge more than for the mount itself. This is just not fair, and a waste of money and time. For the total price of both, you can get some other mounts with better performance, although, maybe, not that portable as AZ-GTI. The same applies to the AstroTrac TW3100 wedge.

 

So...

 

Sky-Watcher Wedge.

 

It is a good value for money in general. If you got one with a version of Sky-Watcher Adventurer, maybe, it is a better use of time to just use the wedge. It is still heavy going while adjusting including a considerable backlash. Additionally, some folks at Sky-Watcher decided to use torx screws to fix the latitude plane. I replaced them with thumb screws for 2 bucks each. There is similar wedges from other makers which are also equipped with thumb screws. As said, the Sky-Watcher wedge was OK-ish, I just wanted to see if there is anything better.

 

Benro GD3WH Geared Head.

 

Mechanically, it has the best adjustment gear, from my perspective. It costs around double of the Sky-Watcher wedge and similar ones, but get as much more value. The gear is great, light going, with almost no backlash. There are two disadvantages. It has a third adjustment plane, which is not need in astrophotography. I observed that it drifts from the last position by some "majic" ;-) and I so always needed to control this. Overall, this wedge is also bit too bulky and does not fit to AZ-GTI as the most portable EQ mount. I added another, better bubble leveler. If you are regular photographer in addition to astrophotography, this mount would be your better choice, since you will get a decent tripod head too. Any other wedge has no use in regular photography.

 

Bresser Micro Motion Head MH-100.

 

It is mechanically the best made wedge in all aspects. It is just not made for anything large and heavier than a larger guide scope. You can almost see as it bends when loaded.

 

William Optics Wedge.

 

I ordered it, just because there is so much talk about this wedge on the Internet. I thought, masses cannot be wrong. Well, maybe they cannot, and I still miss something. The wedge is very well made, no doubt. For some reasons, it is almost as heavy going as the Sky-Watcher wedge. I was really surprised... It has much less backlash. William Optics apparently put a lot of attention to use a lot of CNC aluminum. Maybe, this sells better, but I have my doubts if this improves anything in the product category we have here. I wish, they would spend more effort for better adjustment mechanics. On tops, William Optics has this very weird selection of two versions - high and low. As can be seen on YouTube, they are actually 99.9% identical, despite labeling and a slightly different assembly. You can actually get one and convert it to another version when you travel far away. I did not do the whole math, but I suspect, it would be possible to make one version which is working for a wider range of latitudes.

 

"Stronghold Tangent Assembly set-Carrying Capacity 10kg" wedge form Aliexpress

 

I managed to get one, whereas it seems to be out of stock now. I ordered it after I decided to return the William Optics wedge as a "protest". IMHO, this wedge is the best choice for around 100 bucks, if you are not happy with Sky-Watcher and Benro is too expensive (130) for you. This wedge has softer and better adjustment gear than the Sky-Watcher wedge, but not as good as the one in the Benro GD3WH Geared Head. It is light and portable. Even though, it is not perfect, this wedge is the one I currently use most and will keep. It misses a bubble leveler. I just bought one (the second one already) with 5 degree precision. Well, yes, it costs time to find and get one, but it is still better than cheep levelers installed on most tripos and on all wedges mentioned here. Almost all used screws can be much shorter. This just takes space. I think, the maker just used ones which are sold separately and used in another parts. Two screws (3/8" and 1/4") are provided to fix gear on the surface of the wedge. I wish, there will be unified with standard photo screws sizes. They is made of aluminum and the 3/8" has a shank (the part btw the head and the thread) which is too long to be compatible with photo screws. I'm not sure aluminum is a good material for these screws.

 

So, in total, I returned the William Optics and the Bresser wedges, and kept others. I currently use the "Stronghold" wedge most. I might switch back to Benro. The AZ-GTI mount has a lot of fans. It has shown, it can be used in the equatorial mode very well, including good guiding performance and despite the buggy 3.26 firmware. It is still a great product. I hope the market will be large enough, and someone will become commercially interested in making a good wedge for reasonable money - max 150 USD/Euro. I do not think, thick CNC aluminum matters in a wedge used with a mount of max 5kg payload capacity. Instead, stable and light-going adjustment gear, small size and a good bubble leveler do matter more.

 

--

Vladimir


Edited by Vladi, 29 January 2021 - 06:52 PM.

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#21 kel123

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Posted 19 February 2021 - 08:27 AM

I was posting some replies in the past on this thread mentioning that I'm getting other wedges to give them a try. Someone asked to write a review. I did not yet, since I was busy with something else. I though I should at least post some impressions before a "real review" will be pending for longer.

Just to note: this thread is about wedges for the Sky Watcher AZ-GTI mount. And this is the reason why I found it sometime ago. I got AZ-GTI back in April 2020, and as you know, it does not come with a wedge, since it is originally not made for the equatorial mode. I still had and have the Sky-Watcher Adventurer Mini, came with the Sky-Watcher Wedge. I'm using AZ-GTI with a DRL-based setup, total weight is around 3.5kg. I saw that it is a bit too much for the Sky-Watcher Wedge. Additionally, the process of polar alignment was one of the annoying aspects for me as a beginner some years ago and still is now. I refuse to find any fun in this process, and I'm surprised that manufactures do not pay appropriate attention to this.

Before, I list my impressions about the wedges, which I used, some thought about the Fornax FMW-200 wedge. I saw this wedge on Internet before. As someone mentioned on this thread, I also cannot make myself pay for a wedge more than for the mount itself. This is just not fair, and a waste of money and time. For the total price of both, you can get some other mounts with better performance, although, maybe, not that portable as AZ-GTI. The same applies to the AstroTrac TW3100 wedge.

So...

Sky-Watcher Wedge.

It is a good value for money in general. If you got one with a version of Sky-Watcher Adventurer, maybe, it is a better use of time to just use the wedge. It is still heavy going while adjusting including a considerable backlash. Additionally, some folks at Sky-Watcher decided to use torx screws to fix the latitude plane. I replaced them with thumb screws for 2 bucks each. There is similar wedges from other makers which are also equipped with thumb screws. As said, the Sky-Watcher wedge was OK-ish, I just wanted to see if there is anything better.

Benro GD3WH Geared Head.

Mechanically, it has the best adjustment gear, from my perspective. It costs around double of the Sky-Watcher wedge and similar ones, but get as much more value. The gear is great, light going, with almost no backlash. There are two disadvantages. It has a third adjustment plane, which is not need in astrophotography. I observed that it drifts from the last position by some "majic" ;-) and I so always needed to control this. Overall, this wedge is also bit too bulky and does not fit to AZ-GTI as the most portable EQ mount. I added another, better bubble leveler. If you are regular photographer in addition to astrophotography, this mount would be your better choice, since you will get a decent tripod head too. Any other wedge has no use in regular photography.

Bresser Micro Motion Head MH-100.

It is mechanically the best made wedge in all aspects. It is just not made for anything large and heavier than a larger guide scope. You can almost see as it bends when loaded.

William Optics Wedge.

I ordered it, just because there is so much talk about this wedge on the Internet. I thought, masses cannot be wrong. Well, maybe they cannot, and I still miss something. The wedge is very well made, no doubt. For some reasons, it is almost as heavy going as the Sky-Watcher wedge. I was really surprised... It has much less backlash. William Optics apparently put a lot of attention to use a lot of CNC aluminum. Maybe, this sells better, but I have my doubts if this improves anything in the product category we have here. I wish, they would spend more effort for better adjustment mechanics. On tops, William Optics has this very weird selection of two versions - high and low. As can be seen on YouTube, they are actually 99.9% identical, despite labeling and a slightly different assembly. You can actually get one and convert it to another version when you travel far away. I did not do the whole math, but I suspect, it would be possible to make one version which is working for a wider range of latitudes.

"Stronghold Tangent Assembly set-Carrying Capacity 10kg" wedge form Aliexpress

I managed to get one, whereas it seems to be out of stock now. I ordered it after I decided to return the William Optics wedge as a "protest". IMHO, this wedge is the best choice for around 100 bucks, if you are not happy with Sky-Watcher and Benro is too expensive (130) for you. This wedge has softer and better adjustment gear than the Sky-Watcher wedge, but not as good as the one in the Benro GD3WH Geared Head. It is light and portable. Even though, it is not perfect, this wedge is the one I currently use most and will keep. It misses a bubble leveler. I just bought one (the second one already) with 5 degree precision. Well, yes, it costs time to find and get one, but it is still better than cheep levelers installed on most tripos and on all wedges mentioned here. Almost all used screws can be much shorter. This just takes space. I think, the maker just used ones which are sold separately and used in another parts. Two screws (3/8" and 1/4") are provided to fix gear on the surface of the wedge. I wish, there will be unified with standard photo screws sizes. They is made of aluminum and the 3/8" has a shank (the part btw the head and the thread) which is too long to be compatible with photo screws. I'm not sure aluminum is a good material for these screws.

So, in total, I returned the William Optics and the Bresser wedges, and kept others. I currently use the "Stronghold" wedge most. I might switch back to Benro. The AZ-GTI mount has a lot of fans. It has shown, it can be used in the equatorial mode very well, including good guiding performance and despite the buggy 3.26 firmware. It is still a great product. I hope the market will be large enough, and someone will become commercially interested in making a good wedge for reasonable money - max 150 USD/Euro. I do not think, thick CNC aluminum matters in a wedge used with a mount of max 5kg payload capacity. Instead, stable and light-going adjustment gear, small size and a good bubble leveler do matter more.

--
Vladimir



Do you think the stronghold assembly can be used for AzGti at 5 degrees latitude? Does it allow it to be inverted that far without part of the assembly becoming an obstruction. I am having that problem with the skywatcher wedge?

When you are at a latitude as low as that, polaris cannot be seen and the wedge becomes even much more important as you make adjustments "blindly" with drift alignment method.

#22 Vladi

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 11:43 AM

I just made a small test and some pictures. I guess this would work, whereas I think you need to remove the extra wedge. I tried to tilt as far as possible down along the latitude.

 

Tilted:

 

2021-02-19 16-03-01.jpg

 

My usual position:

 

2021-02-19 16-01-02.jpg


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#23 kel123

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 11:59 AM

I just made a small test and some pictures. I guess this would work, whereas I think you need to remove the extra wedge. I tried to tilt as far as possible down along the latitude.

Tilted:

2021-02-19 16-03-01.jpg

My usual position:

2021-02-19 16-01-02.jpg


What extra wedge should be removed? Perhaps you can help me also try it out to go down to as low as 2-5 degrees. Thanks.

#24 Vladi

Vladi

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 06:08 PM

Ah, sorry! I was mistaken! A removal of the wedge will not help you! I see... You should get the Benro GD3WH Geared Head then. I mentioned it in my prev post. This one can be tilted to 90 degrees and so making a camera on AZ GTI look horizontally. This is what you need, I guess. Right?



#25 Cometeer

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 06:52 PM

What extra wedge should be removed? Perhaps you can help me also try it out to go down to as low as 2-5 degrees. Thanks.

I bet that little angled adapter between the az-gti and wedge can be removed and replaced with a simple L bracket. That would allow going down to 0 deg. 




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