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My experience with the Starizona Landing Pad

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#1 emgeesea

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 12:21 PM

I wanted to provide a review of my experience with a Starizona Landing Pad I recently purchased for my CPC 1100.

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#2 markb

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 12:48 PM

I also find my Landing Pads to be invaluable. I use glow in the dark tape to make centering and oval location on the bottom of the base even easier.

 

I may be wrong, but it is my understanding that longer bolts were provided in the past, at least with the GPS11 version.

 

Given the weight of the mount and OTA, as well as the depth of the threads in these large bolts,, I doubt longer threads are absolutely essential but I fully agree that the longer threads are preferable. Just using one or two turns to tighten would give the willies too.

 

You would have to contact them to make sure, but I believe Bob's Nextstar tripod knobs for, at least, the GPS says 11 version were long enough to work with the landing pad. But it does add $35.

 

For GPS11 users, the CPC version fits fine on my particular version tripod if the GPS is out of stock for an extended period.

 

I apologize for any errors on this information, I'm going from memory from five or six years ago.


Edited by markb, 29 August 2020 - 01:04 PM.

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#3 emgeesea

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 01:47 PM

Thanks for the post. I just purchased my landing pad directly from Starizona, and no new bolts were included. I contacted Dean at Starizona about this concern, and he insists that the 2-3 threads that are now securing the OTA to the tripod are sufficient. But I'm not so sure. That's not much purchase considering the heavy weight of the CPC 1100 OTA. And I believe these bolts are just low grade steel, so not particularly strong.

 

I'm not an expert by any means, but when a setup is reduced from 5-6 bolt threads as the OEM spec to 2-3, I have concerns. I would assume the Celestron engineers who designed the OEM assembly would likely concur. ;)

 

I'll see what Bob's Knobs has to offer, thanks.

 

Clear skies!


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#4 markb

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 01:53 PM

Sorry to add on a clarification, but you will pick up one or two more threads since the base ovals drop into the LP oval cuts, below the lower edge of the credit card. Perhaps count full turns from contact to tight to see what the actual number of threads is.

 

Nonetheless, I am on board with your concerns.


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#5 emgeesea

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 02:10 PM

You actually do not pick up that much due to the base cuts. Those cost are quite shallow, as I'm sure you know - about 1/4 of the depth of the landing pad itself - so at most lend to 1 additional thread, certainly not 2.

 

I will get an accurate count of the bolt turns with and without the landing pad, and will post that shortly.


Edited by emgeesea, 29 August 2020 - 02:50 PM.

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#6 emgeesea

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 02:49 PM

Ok, I tested this:

 

1. without landing pad: OEM spring-loaded mounting bolts take 5.5 full turns to secure the OTA to the tripod

 

2. with landing pad: OEM spring-loaded mounting bolts take 2.8 full turns to secure the OTA to the tripod

 

So, with the landing pad installed the purchase of the OEM bolts is about half of that without the landing pad.

 

The pic below shows the relative depth of the OEM base cut versus the depth of the landing pad.

 

A fun exercise, thanks!

 

landing Pad

 


Edited by emgeesea, 29 August 2020 - 02:54 PM.

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#7 poolemarkw

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 06:49 PM

I made my own landing pad for $12 out of white cutting board material from Walmart.  It attaches to the top of the tripod legs with velcro and provides the visual reference to get the pin centered every time.  It was cut using a table-top jig saw.

 

4_Installed_small.JPG
3_Velcro_small.JPG
5_Ready_small.JPG

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#8 MessyA

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 09:55 AM

I am keenly interested in this topic as I have been suggesting to Starizona (I live just several miles from them) to make an LP for the Evolution 8.One big obstacle that I see is that the supplied EVO tripod has no holes for attaching anything to the base- the only holes are the ones for the bolts that secure the mount.

 

I have considered some home-made solutions myself but have yet to come up with one that is consistent, accurate, and attachable.I don't see how the white surround of your home-made LP helps center the mount. The Starizona LP physically prevents the mount from hitting the tripod off center, whereas with yours (if I'm interpreting your photo correctly), you still have to visually center it as there is nothing to prevent it being off center. Am I correct?

 

As far as the length of the bolts, I'm sure a hardware store will have the required length and thread to resolve the length issue, but I doubt you will find the "knob" on one end for hand tightening.


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#9 poolemarkw

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 10:12 AM

The white cutting board is exactly the same diameter as the base of the CPC, so it works perfectly to align the hole with the pin.   I just visually align the base over the white ring and it never misses.  The bottom of the CPC has a tapered opening to the hole, so you don't have to be perfect.  If you're close at all it just goes right in.  


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#10 markb

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 10:44 AM

I have and use two LPs.

 

The real value of the LP is helping to line up the mounting bolt holes of the tripod and mount, utilizing the 3 oval cut outs, not really the centering.

 

Spin and drop down for easy bolt alignment. The oval cutouts are at the wing location.

 

The arms help with centering, but are not absolute, since the arms and base cannot be permitted to interfere, so clearance is needed. Also, the center pin fit is loose enough that the bolts can still be off radially even if rotation is correct, without the LP.

 

Poolemarkw's circular plastic (or wood) adapter that extends just past the base will make centering easy, similar to the LP, and I had suggested something similar for the Evo tripod in another thread (too lazy to draw or make an example though).

 

I would suggest anyone with an Evo or other recent Nexstar mount that has the ovals already cast in think about making one.

 

The reference provided by the plastic/wood adapter can be both visual and tactile.

 

Adding notches or protrusions to the circle, as well as matching RTV bumps and glow tape to the base would help with bolt location matching too. Even with the LP I use glow tape to simplify aligment.

 

The wings and oval cutouts in the Landing Pad are a superb aid to mounting the big Nexstar, minimizing juggling of the 68 pound GPS11 beast, while trying to match a threaded hole, a through hole and install a lockdown bolt (no captive bolt). Center in the 3 wings, find pin, spin to drop the ovals into the oval cuts, done.

 

Heck, I use one on my N8 as well. Aggravation factor drops from 8 to 1 out of 10. On the GPS11 it goes from 11 to 2 out of 10. My N8 is being modded to have threaded holes in the N11 location. What WERE they thinking using two locations.

 

Landing Pads are worth their weight in gold on the Nexstar flat top tripods (no cast in locating ovals, no triangular top to indicate bolt hole location).


Edited by markb, 30 August 2020 - 10:51 AM.

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#11 ALman

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 09:38 PM

I'm fascinated that this is a problem. I have a 9.25. Never really noticed the centring being an issue. Is the 1100 that much harder to centre? I guess it is a bit bigger. Is there much of a market for this?


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#12 MessyA

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 10:17 PM

 I can't imagine a 9.25, heavier than my 8" being easy unless the tripod is that different...


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#13 Howard Fink

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 12:33 PM

I have a Starizona landing pad for a Meade 10" LX200 which is no longer made, and I find it essential.  There are three tabs with threads for knobs, so the central threaded rod is not involved in securing the telescope.  I used a similar method to attach a 12" fork to a 10" tripod.

landing
Pad
 
Two layers of 1/2" baltic birch for each piece.  All circle cuts on a CNC router.  The six bolts for the tripod are symmetrically placed, but the piece for the fork has three holes in an isoceles triangle, which I found out the hard way.  Threaded inserts on the tripod piece and allen bolts on the fork piece secure the connection.

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#14 ALman

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 05:09 PM

SCT's fixed to their fork mounts do tend to be a bit clumsy. Any help you can get is useful. I guess there is a tool for every problem. ;-)


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#15 Bean614

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 06:59 PM

I purchased my 2 most recent Landing Pads about 1.5 years ago, for a NexStar11 GPS and a CPC9.25.  Both came with a set of Longer Bolts.


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#16 emgeesea

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 07:57 PM

I purchased my 2 most recent Landing Pads about 1.5 years ago, for a NexStar11 GPS and a CPC9.25.  Both came with a set of Longer Bolts.

Did you buy them directly from Starizona?
Thanks,


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#17 Bean614

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 08:00 PM

Yes.


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#18 emgeesea

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Posted 31 August 2020 - 08:08 PM

Yes.

Very interesting, thanks. 


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#19 kc6zut

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 12:59 PM

I've had one for over 15 years for my old Nexstar 11. It works great for me.


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#20 Neptune

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 08:52 AM

As far as the number of threads being inserted into the 'nut', being an ex Mechanical Designer, I was taught that 3 threads were all that was required for maximum fastening to take place in a mechanical threaded faster. Regardless of the size, just 3 threads.

 

I do agree the attachment of my C-11 EDGE Deluxe CPC is a real nightmare. Sometimes you get lucky other times you are left with a lot of fiddling in order to get it lined up.  That scope does not get any lighter the longer you hold it.


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#21 poolemarkw

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 09:30 AM

Just to clarify, with my white cutting board solution I just eyeball the bottom of the mount to get it closely aligned with the plastic ring and it goes on the pin every time.   Once it's on the pin, then I just rotate the mount either direction until it falls down into the thumbscrew locations and then tighten the thumbscrews.  


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#22 MessyA

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 03:04 PM

Creating a Landing Pad for the EVO has one huge obstacle- where would you attach it? The only holes the supplied tripod has are the 3 mount bolt holes. There is nowhere to screw on a Landing Pad or anything to the top of the tripod.. Using the the white surround that Poolemarkw created, but going further (and more precise) it should be like a shallow bowl  but tapered, so that the mount gets centered as you lower it.( And not completely round either, as the tripod incorporates a bulge at one side that contains the bubble level.) 

This would work but unfortunately it may be beyond my ability to create.



#23 emgeesea

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 06:19 PM

As far as the number of threads being inserted into the 'nut', being an ex Mechanical Designer, I was taught that 3 threads were all that was required for maximum fastening to take place in a mechanical threaded faster. Regardless of the size, just 3 threads.

 

I do agree the attachment of my C-11 EDGE Deluxe CPC is a real nightmare. Sometimes you get lucky other times you are left with a lot of fiddling in order to get it lined up.  That scope does not get any lighter the longer you hold it.

Thanks, Neptune. It's good to have a mechanical designer's (engineer?) perspective!

 

I guess the 2.8 full turns of the bolts that I'm getting with the landing pad installed is close enough to 3 threads then. In any event, I've let this one go - don't sweat the small stuff, right?

 

I do think the landing pad makes alignment easier. The 3 wings "cradle" the mount so that placing it on the pin is much faster than without the pad. I added some stick-back felt to the wings to protect the mount, and am happy with it. I agree with you that holding up that heavy CPC 1100 Deluxe for too long is not fun!

 

Clear skies,

Marc


Edited by emgeesea, 02 September 2020 - 06:19 PM.

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#24 markb

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 07:19 PM

I like the felt idea. They had 30 mm long x 10mm wide x 5 mm thick (all approximate) precut stick-on felt furniture pads at Wallymart, IIRC, last year.

 

For me, not to protect the mount but to simplify centering on the big beast.

 

They should work well, but my main scope is still 2500 miles away, so I can't try it myself yet.


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#25 jkevn

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Posted 06 September 2020 - 06:22 PM

I have a Celestron CPC 11"". Since the tripod bolts are steel, and they are screwed into aluminum threads in a cast aluminum base, I put a very small amount of grease on the threads to prevent galling. This actually happened to one bolt when I tightened the bolts on a Celestron 11" Scope I had in the past. If a bolt begins to bind before you are actually tightening it down, stop immediately and wiggle the scope's base a little to get better hole centering.

 

Ideally the scope base would be steel, or cast aluminum with steel Helicoil inserts, for the bolts to screw in to, but I can't imagine Celestron ever doing this because it would increase the price.

 

Theoretically, 3 threads are OK, but it makes me nervous too.

 

Kevin 

 

 


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