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Is the eq platform as wonderful as the Dobsonian mount?

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#51 jessebear

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 12:00 AM

I would love to see your design if you're willing to share anything. I recently got a 3D printer and am thinking about doing the same thing. I'm an electrical engineer and am good with the electronics part of it if you want to collaborate.

 

I'd be happy to share the design files once I've gotten it assembled and can make sure it all fits well. I only just finished printing the last parts yesterday and I plan to cut the aluminum this weekend. I think I have a somewhat decent plan for the electronics sorted, but we'll see how that works out once I'm able to do some testing.



#52 Bomber Bob

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Posted 18 December 2020 - 04:51 PM

Is the eq platform as wonderful as the Dobsonian mount?

 

In The Back Yard

 

My EQs rule for medium & high-power observing for ALL scope types.  My 6" F8 & 8" F6 Newts share this restored 1980s Meade StarFinder on a short pedestal:

 

Meade SF - Pedestal Restores S08 (Short).jpg

 

It's lighter than most Dob-style AZ mounts (with drives), and has a cordless RA drive with internal battery pack, so no wires.  For my 6", I can put a single 10# counterweight on the mount, and tote it complete from the shed.  The 8" Newt has to have a 20# c/w, so I tote out the mount, add the c/w, then the scope -- just 1 extra step.

 

However, my ultra-light 1970s Edmund 6" F4 Newt RFT rides well on this 1980s Mizar AR-1 EQ + ShortPod:

 

ATM 150 F4 Newt Restore S04 (30 RAF on AR-1 RS).jpg

 

Not only can I tote the complete kit, I can sit comfortably & observe at just about every position.  No need for an AZ option with this rig.

 

In The Field

 

I don't get many chances to drive out to the country.  Right now, except for Stubby (my 6" Newt RFT), my refractors are my primary field scopes.  But, with my official retirement approaching, I'm exploring portable options for my Newtonians.  

 

- Meade StarFinder on a Losmandy CP-100 + adjustable tripod:

 

APM ED 152 S041 - Meade SF & Losmandy CP-100.jpg

 

The CP-100 came with those LONG tubular steel legs.  I'm gonna try & cannibalize a Meade 8" SCT tripod, and fit those to the pillar.  With that platform, my 8" Newt can go mobile without too much fuss.

 

- DSV or similar heavy-duty AZ mount on a hefty surveyor tripod.  I already have a vintage Italian-made Filotecnica surveyor tripod & hub that can carry massive loads.  Adapting a DSV to it is pretty straightforward.

 

IOW:  My plans do not include a traditional fiberboard / wood DOB-style AZ.  I favor adjustable-height tripods, especially in the remote areas I use to get dark skies.



#53 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 20 December 2020 - 05:49 PM

 

It's lighter than most Dob-style AZ mounts (with drives), and has a cordless RA drive with internal battery pack, so no wires.  For my 6", I can put a single 10# counterweight on the mount, and tote it complete from the shed.  The 8" Newt has to have a 20# c/w, so I tote out the mount, add the c/w, then the scope -- just 1 extra step.

 

This thread is about EQ platforms. Gems are heavy.. My EQ platform is rated for scopes up to 18 inches and weighs less than 30 lbs.. 

 

And tube rotation is not an issue..

 

Jon



#54 Bomber Bob

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Posted 20 December 2020 - 06:28 PM

OP asked:  Are equatorial platforms the next step past the Dobsonian mount?

 

IMO, and others, not necessarily.  GEMs don't have to be the massive dinosaurs with casters; and, IME, are a better solution for deep-sky imaging.

 

FYI:  The go-to DOB platform on that Orion XT12G was heavier than 30 pounds; and took a lot more effort to set up / take down than my current StarFinder GEMs.



#55 stargazer193857

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Posted 20 December 2020 - 08:17 PM


...

FYI: The go-to DOB platform on that Orion XT12G was heavier than 30 pounds; and took a lot more effort to set up / take down than my current StarFinder GEMs.



That's go-to. Completely different from an eq platform. I would never want one.

#56 stargazer193857

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Posted 20 December 2020 - 08:20 PM

Is the eq platform as wonderful as the Dobsonian mount?

In The Back Yard

My EQs rule for medium & high-power observing for ALL scope types. My 6" F8 & 8" F6 Newts share this restored 1980s Meade StarFinder on a short pedestal:

Meade SF - Pedestal Restores S08 (Short).jpg

It's lighter than most Dob-style AZ mounts (with drives), and has a cordless RA drive with internal battery pack, so no wires. For my 6", I can put a single 10# counterweight on the mount, and tote it complete from the shed. The 8" Newt has to have a 20# c/w, so I tote out the mount, add the c/w, then the scope -- just 1 extra step.

However, my ultra-light 1970s Edmund 6" F4 Newt RFT rides well on this 1980s Mizar AR-1 EQ + ShortPod:

ATM 150 F4 Newt Restore S04 (30 RAF on AR-1 RS).jpg

Not only can I tote the complete kit, I can sit comfortably & observe at just about every position. No need for an AZ option with this rig.

In The Field

I don't get many chances to drive out to the country. Right now, except for Stubby (my 6" Newt RFT), my refractors are my primary field scopes. But, with my official retirement approaching, I'm exploring portable options for my Newtonians.

- Meade StarFinder on a Losmandy CP-100 + adjustable tripod:

APM ED 152 S041 - Meade SF & Losmandy CP-100.jpg

The CP-100 came with those LONG tubular steel legs. I'm gonna try & cannibalize a Meade 8" SCT tripod, and fit those to the pillar. With that platform, my 8" Newt can go mobile without too much fuss.

- DSV or similar heavy-duty AZ mount on a hefty surveyor tripod. I already have a vintage Italian-made Filotecnica surveyor tripod & hub that can carry massive loads. Adapting a DSV to it is pretty straightforward.

IOW: My plans do not include a traditional fiberboard / wood DOB-style AZ. I favor adjustable-height tripods, especially in the remote areas I use to get dark skies.


The tracking motor is a necessary counterweight in my experience. Without it, the latitude axis gives loose under the weight of the OTA and counterweight.

#57 Bomber Bob

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Posted 20 December 2020 - 09:16 PM

That's go-to. Completely different from an eq platform. I would never want one.

My point was:  DOB bases aren't always as light as Jon posted.  And, IME, trying to tote one can be a pain -- literally -- depending on their design, with or without motors.

 

Others on this thread have owned / used Equatorial Platforms, I haven't.  So I defer to their opinions.  There are alternative AZ mount designs to the standard DOB base that I would consider for Newts 8" & smaller.  I approach these questions as, "What would I tell a new amateur astronomer?"  Experienced hobbyists generally have already found the scope types & mounts that work best for them; CN visitors / new members shopping around may not be aware of all these alternatives -- that's why I post about them.  More points to consider before buying...

 

Even if I had a 20" Newtonian, I wouldn't use it in my back yard, which is why I broke my post into sections.  I also wouldn't attempt hauling a 20" out to the country.  That's why I'll never own a Newt that large.  If an EQ Platform is a good way to deal with tracking for Large DOBs, have at it.

 

But for owners of 10" & smaller DOBs, is the platform a better solution than a DOB with dual-axis motors?



#58 Bomber Bob

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Posted 20 December 2020 - 09:26 PM

The tracking motor is a necessary counterweight in my experience. Without it, the latitude axis gives loose under the weight of the OTA and counterweight.

None of the Edmund, Goto, Jaegers, Meade, Mizar, Takahashi, or Vixen EQs that I've owned needed weight on the back end of the polar axis to counterbalance the front end, even those that used only a single bolt to adjust & lock the latitude hub.



#59 JMW

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Posted 22 December 2020 - 07:01 PM

I use a 10 inch f/4 newtonian in my backyard observatory. Works great for my EAA setup with a ASI2600MC-Pro. 

 

Our club has an equatorial platform for the 20 inch Obsession. It becomes a two person job to put the scope on the platform. The tracking is nice but the eyepiece position goes even higher up the ladder. 

 

The platform is great for solo observers if they have a scope small enough to place on the platform without help.

 

I have a 14.5 inch f/4.3 Webster dob with Zambuto mirror. It came with ServoCAT and it is helpful for high magnification viewing or outreach with the tracking. ServoCAT doesn't increase the difficulty of setup or raise the eyepiece height. I think it is the better solution once you get into the 16+ inch scopes.



#60 jeff heck

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 01:40 PM

Thinking about getting one of these again. Does the motor used with the tracking platform induce any vibration seen at the eyepiece?



#61 astrophile

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 03:39 PM

Does the motor used with the tracking platform induce any vibration seen at the eyepiece?

Not to my eye, with the platforms I've used (a Tom O. wood and an aluminum one).


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#62 tommm

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Posted 24 December 2020 - 11:35 AM

Looks like a well made platform for a very good price.


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#63 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 December 2020 - 04:20 AM

Looks like a well made platform for a very good price.

It is a bit odd, local pickup only in San Diego (32.8 degrees) but it's designed for 39 degrees.. 

 

Looks very nice.

 

Jon



#64 jessebear

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Posted 25 December 2020 - 09:52 AM

It is a bit odd, local pickup only in San Diego (32.8 degrees) but it's designed for 39 degrees.. 

 

Looks very nice.

 

Jon

 

Makes me wish I was taking a trip to San Diego soon. I'm having fun building my EQ platform but this looks much nicer. 39.09 degrees standing on my lawn..


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#65 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 December 2020 - 10:16 AM

Makes me wish I was taking a trip to San Diego soon. I'm having fun building my EQ platform but this looks much nicer. 39.09 degrees standing on my lawn..

 

 

 

I think the biggest difficulty with Equatorial platforms is availability.  If you could just go out and buy one for $450, they'd be very popular.

 

Jon


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#66 davidmcgo

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Posted 25 December 2020 - 10:26 AM

The Atomic platforms are really solid designs and pretty foolproof.  The leveling feet allow different latitudes so I think he just picks a mid latitude for North America for the shaping of the wood and then adjusts the level for your latitude.

 

I was lucky to get one for my 15” Obsession from him a few years back and for pulling out the last bit of detail, tracking really helps.  Especially on really stead nights.  My most telling example was seeing about 6 more faint stars shining through the bright wedge in M42 with tracking that disappeared without it.

 

Dave


Edited by davidmcgo, 25 December 2020 - 10:28 AM.

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