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Now that you’re downsizing your scopes, are you downsizing your mounts as well?

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#1 Terra Nova

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 10:52 AM

I’ve made a concerted effort over the past few years to trade up (quality) my scopes while downsizing (quantity) their total numbers, moving on several for each one added. I’m now down to an even dozen that I feel are keepers, and that total includes two of my own ATMs, while all the others are Japanese and American made classics or soon-to-be classics. I’ve also been downsizing (quantity) my mount/tripod collection so that I have a smaller number, in a range of sizes still quite capable of doing the job. I’m now down to four equatorial mounts that serve me well, and with an assortment of different counterweights, can handle any of my scopes. These include two modern mounts and two classics that I have rebuilt. They are:

 

  1. Celestron Omni CG-4 with a single-axis (R.A.) drive on a 1.75” stainless steel tripod
  2. Meade LX-70 (CG-5 class) with dual-axis drives on a 2” stainless steel tripod
  3. Edmund medium duty (5/8” shafts) push-to mount on a 3’ pedestal.
  4. Jaegers heavy duty (1” shafts) push-to mount on a tall wooden surveyors tripod

I’m quite happy with this grouping of GEMs. They are all reliable, sturdy, useful, old-school equatorial mounts that will handle the scopes in my collection quite well. No go-to for me.


Edited by Terra Nova, 15 March 2021 - 11:07 AM.

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#2 pyrasanth

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 11:01 AM

Unless there is a show stopping compelling reason to down size a mount I'm never going to do that. In the world of mounts big and solid is better than weak and flimsy especially if it tracks well- it will track great with a big OTA and even better with a smaller OTA- all things being equal.


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#3 Terra Nova

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 11:05 AM

Unless there is a show stopping compelling reason to down size a mount I'm never going to do that. In the world of mounts big and solid is better than weak and flimsy especially if it tracks well- it will track great with a big OTA and even better with a smaller OTA- all things being equal.

LOL. I’m talking about downsizing the number of mounts not putting too small a mount under too big a telescope. At highest count, used to have around ten GEMs, i have gone down by three or four since last summer.


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#4 John Rogers

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 11:08 AM

The ability and flexibility of attaching a Vixen style rail to an OTA and use a single mount is becoming appealing to me.  I don't have a heavy duty Vixen-style mount, but I am considering getting one. 


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#5 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 11:10 AM

Great Minds think alike!  I've shifted to having a few multi-scope mounts stored in the shed:

 

- 2 x Meade StarFinder EQs (Tall / Short Pedestals / Losmandy CP-100 Short Tripod)

- 2 x Mizar EQs (Tall Wood / Short Metal Tripods)

- VersaGo 2 on Wood Tripod

- Meade 884 on Metal Tripod (carries my Questar & my Kenko KDS AZ mount)

- Meade 390 AZ on Metal Tripod (may not stay)

 

I'm down to just 4 mounts indoors, for particular scopes on display:

 

- Hy-Score 457

- Mogey 3

- Sears 6336

- Tinsley 6


Edited by Bomber Bob, 15 March 2021 - 11:12 AM.

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#6 Terra Nova

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 11:27 AM

I’ve similarly scaled back on my alt-az mounts, and am down to a single mount for my Questar.


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#7 starman876

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 11:35 AM

I do have a few too many equatorial mounts.  Thanks for reminding me waytogo.gif


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#8 pdxmoon

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 11:58 AM

Terra, since I now have such small refractors, nothing over the one 4" I have, I have the mounts I've always had:

 

Vixen Polaris (Used, when it's used, in alt az. Currently apart and stored. I just am not ready to sell it yet. I really should...)

Porta II, a pair of them. These get the most use. They hold the TAK, the TV 85, even the Tasco that has the converted 1.25 arrangement. It even holds the SW 100 in a pinch.

Orion astronomy tripod. Holds the AT60ED.

 

The Unitrons have their own mounts, and the Celestron MAK 127 has the motorized mount, which I love for tracking the moon.

 

So, I'm already pretty lean.


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#9 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 01:14 PM

Thanks Good topic and thanks for leading the way  on downsizing........

 I am happy to learn from you folks how to do that for when I get to that point .. a bit later on and I am not thinking it will be easy.  Meanwhile  I still try to follow the one comes in one goes out  program which makes downsizing later easier

 I parted with 3 telescopes  in the last two weeks   and added  one   arguably  a really good quality one the older FC 76  Planning to probably give a way a 60mm classic...

.

 Mounts:  I need help man. I have not been good at pairing down mounts. In addition to original classic mounts that are all coupled to original classics ....  I bought the Meade lx70 as well, all other mounts are used  like the Gibraltar with Jimi  (yeah I know JMI),The Tak EM 10, a G8 I got 1.5 years ago and starting setting  up this week. I have the Heavy Duty Unistar alt Az. In the last four weeks I bought the big Unitron 150 mount with custom tall legs and the AP 600qmd. Heck I almost forgot I have the late 50's Unitron 142 for my 140 I got from you Terra. I have a small Unitron spotter mount on a tripod i need to sell...  oh yeah I have a CG5 somewhere I cant find   and twilight ....


Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 15 March 2021 - 04:55 PM.

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#10 Garyth64

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 06:46 PM

I actually don't have a mount for every scope, and not every mount has a tripod.  So I do a lot of inter-mixing of scopes, mounts, and tripods.

 

It's almost funny, it seems like the last few scopes I've purchased, they were missing their tripods.

 

  What do they do with them? (make lamps? lol.gif )


Edited by Garyth64, 15 March 2021 - 06:46 PM.

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#11 dgreyson

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Posted 15 March 2021 - 07:52 PM

Nah, my scope collection is pretty static. I have scopes and mounts I use, so no reason to thin out my collection.
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#12 Stew44

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 07:16 AM

My primary observing scopes (Meade 127ED and Brandon 94) ride on long time owned G-9 (Losmandy G8 from Celestron) with Losmandy G-11 legs and encoders, and a CG-4 with RA drive.    Works for me.   Everything else is a part of a Classic kit and would go when a scope is passed on to a new owner.


Edited by Stew44, 16 March 2021 - 07:22 AM.

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#13 steve t

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 08:33 AM

I've down sized to three mounts:

- Old ATM Babbitt bearing mount from 1973 that currently has a 4" Newtonian riding on it.

- Polaris Mount with an unfinished 60 x 1000mm refractor.

- Losmandy G-8 that has my ATM 6" Newt.

I still have way to many bits and pieces, squirreled away, that need to be clear out.

Steve T


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#14 oldmanastro

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 09:37 AM

All the refractor classics here are in their original equatorial or altazimuth mounts. For the Questar and ETX90 I use either the Meade 884 mount or the Celestron Wedgepod with an adapter. The RV-6 rides on its original mount which is crude but tracks very well. The Orion Astroview serves as the ride for some of the classics. I do need a sturdier equatorial in the near future but no more than that.


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#15 Terra Nova

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 12:04 PM

The only classic refractor that I have anymore that comes with and still has its original mount is my Unitron model 114. I have a separate set of hinged rings and Vixen-style rail for that scope as well so I can use the OTA on other mounts, most commonly my Celestron Omni CG-4 GEM, and my Vixen Porta II alt-az. Nonetheless, I will always keep the original clamshell, and the mount and tripod which go in their own Unitron cabinet. Other than that, I see a lot of utility in having fewer mounts and that accommodate several different scopes. It really saves on space. My plan down the road is move to a smaller place closer to my daughter and grandson, and before that, to let my rebuilt vintage Edmund 5/8” GEM and its pedestal go along with the Jaegers 1” shaft GEM and its surveyors tripod. The Omni CG-4 and the Meade LX70 CG-5 and their stainless steel tripods can easily handle all the scopes I have with the selection of different interchange counterweights that I have that work on them both. Two GEMs and a scaled back handful of alt-az mounts is my goal.


Edited by Terra Nova, 16 March 2021 - 12:08 PM.

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#16 rcwolpert

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 01:41 PM

I’ve long ago sold my Losmandy GM8, a bunch of Meade equatorials, several Vixens, etc. Now, the only mount I have besides the originals for the refractors, is the Meade LX85 and it performs beautifully for me with any of my 3 remaining scopes and is all I really need. I also have 2 beautiful tripods (Manfrotto and Oberwerk) and a less expensive Vanguard, but these are used for my binoculars.


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#17 AstroKerr

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Posted 16 March 2021 - 02:47 PM

I actually don't have a mount for every scope, and not every mount has a tripod.  So I do a lot of inter-mixing of scopes, mounts, and tripods.

 

It's almost funny, it seems like the last few scopes I've purchased, they were missing their tripods.

 

  What do they do with them? (make lamps? lol.gif )

ate my own post it seems... round 2

 

I've made some Observing Tables from newer Alu tripods - those shaky ones, but never classics. MDF Table top w/ flush blindnut on top, 2nd disc, notched for legs @ 120° below - where original tray / spreader was, fat washer, fat knob below that, 0.5" / 12mm allthread down the center, cinch. Tight, stable, portable, cut-outs where you like.

 

Bestie Classics keep their mounts / tripods if they arrive with them or I otherwise have them. Sybs 'disappears' Bestie sets to LTS for safekeeping. Besties waiting a mount/tripod or OTA go to local storage / shop.

 

Non-Bestie - think "not RAO, CoC, etc, & not Unitron & up" OTAs get generally racked or shelved, their rings or cradles purloined & non-destructively mated to dovetails. Really functional mounts (not so common) get non-destructive adapter plates & Vixen Clamps. All other mounts / tripods get wrapped, stacked on shelves, or packed in boxes/tubs/crates - I have not sold nor thrown away a single one yet - always hope.

 

What we use frequently, now:

 

IForgetMount
 
x 2 - 1st was mount only. Got the second as mount & tripod, don't remember what they were supposed to belong to. Matched legs for 1st from 2nd. They're both buttery, smooth, tight, stable.
  • CG-4 x 2 (3rd, spare, in local storage/shop) Reliable.
  • Sirius
  • iExos100
  • LX65
  • Meade 395 w/ adapter plate and vixen clamp - it has an identical sibling, sibling is no match
  • Meade 1 arm x 2 - tracking - very useful side-by side comparisons on specific targets, light
  • Celes 1 arm x 2 - same as Meade above
I seldom setup only one scope or mount, unless it's a rush night due to weather; I have my tasks & Sybs hers. Even if only one of us is out there, if you're going to do visual, try grab some images or vice versa. 
 
When we're done fuddling, testing, learning and are finally doing serious viewing & imaging at the homesite, where the seeing and no LP warrants the end game stuff, mounts should downsize to:
  • 1 60~100lb EQ - someone is looking at 12" imaging 'stuff' - !?what the devil?! - this would go on a railed trolley cart, like the big Dobs & the 1948. I hope this could be covered by a G-11, but I don't want to hear "I need a bigger mount, Dear..." a week after I set it up. And yes, she would do... If she finds happiness with her 130 APO, a ~40lb EQ or Hybrid should do.
  • 1 or 2 40lb Hybrids or 1 40lb, 1 30lb - these are real base coverers - EQ / AltAz / Visual / Imaging
  • 1 or 2 CG-4 - just reliable, dependable goodness
  • 1 or both of the 'unknowns' - classic & very pleasurable to use
  • 1 LX65-class  2 scope grab-n-go, for quick "over the ridge" jaunts

That list could be trimmed to just the Hybrid(s), CG4(s) and Unknown(s) and I'd still smile, because the Besties will come visit from LTS as well - but will I be less clumsy then?


Edited by AstroKerr, 16 March 2021 - 07:18 PM.

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#18 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 03:08 AM

Due to several serioius, new health conditions, I decided seriously to change to something something completely different. It was going to have to meet the following criteria: smaller, lighter, much of it would have to fit into a small and easy to carry carrying case. All of the accessories (eyepieces, barlows, diagonal, finder, telrad, counter weight system, hand-controller, Light shield, full-aperture solar filter) should fit into a medium-sized light-weight carrying case), the tripod should fold-up and also be easy to carry and in my case, the equatorial wedge should also be connected onto the top of the tripod and be part of the easy to carry system.

 

Since I am used to med-sized Dobsonians and other large scopes this was going to be completly different and have to fit into my new lifestyle. Then a Celestron C5+ came to my attention. Soon, I had aquired it. So, the OTA with single fork arm. equatorial mount along with wedge and tripod (basically a complete package deal) was mine. So, the entire scope set up weighed in at being half-of-weight of my entire Skywatcher 10-inch collapsible tube scope.

 

So to answer your question, yes, if you are going to downsize your scope you should downsize everything or else what is the point of downsizing.

 

Clear skies!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#19 GreyDay

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 05:37 AM

The only classic refractor that I have anymore that comes with and still has its original mount is my Unitron model 114. I have a separate set of hinged rings and Vixen-style rail for that scope as well so I can use the OTA on other mounts, most commonly my Celestron Omni CG-4 GEM, and my Vixen Porta II alt-az.

Much the same for me, most of my classics ride in rings and dovetail combo's. i rarely use the original mounts except on the telementor 2 and the Asahi pentax which both have useable mounts. The rest are mounted on a SkyTee 2 on a CG5 tripod, or for tracking i have a Tal2 EQ on a pier. My refractors are only 40-100mm objectives so nice and light which makes them easy to mount, my largest scope is an 8" newt that usually goes on the Tal mount. I may  upgrade one day, maybe a CG4 or equivalent but motor drive only, can't be bothered with goto, takes the fun out of finding stuff .


Edited by GreyDay, 17 March 2021 - 05:38 AM.

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#20 grif 678

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Posted 17 March 2021 - 06:52 PM

I have down sized mainly to a small 90 ETX. And I am using the small unitron 114 altaz mount, the best small mount that I know of, and some very light weight wooden legs. Even though the unitron mount is strong and smooth, it is so light and easy to use. That is about the only thing I use now, it stays assembled, takes up no room, and I can carry it out with one hand, and be viewing in a minute. I have several nice vintage refractors that I will be selling soon, excellent all of them, but at my age, just have no desire to bother with them any more. Bending over to see through a finder and eyepiece is for the younger generation, especially if you have back problems.


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#21 Terra Nova

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 10:15 AM

My downsizing with a push towards more utility continues with another mount packed up and going out the door Monday. I’m now down to three German Equatorial Mounts. They are:

 

  1. Celestron Omni CG-4 with a single-axis (R.A.) drive on a 1.75” stainless steel tripod.
  2. Meade LX-70 (CG-5 class) with dual-axis drives on a 2” stainless steel tripod.
  3. Jaegers heavy duty (1” shafts) push-to mount on a 3’ pedestal.

I still have five alt-azimuth mounts:

  1. TeleVue Panoramic Mount on light-weight TV Ashwood tripod.
  2. TeleVue Gibralter Mount on heavy-weight TV Gibralter tripod.
  3. Super-duty Orion U-mount on heavy Universal Astronomics steel-reinforced wooden surveyors tripod.
  4. Vixen Porta II and light-weight aluminum Vixen tripod.
  5. Unitron 114 and wooden Unitron tripod, mone dedicated mount (part of a kit).

I almost forgot, i have a classic C-8 Celestron wedge on a wooden tripod for my Questar.


Edited by Terra Nova, 03 April 2021 - 10:20 AM.

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#22 starman876

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 12:21 PM

so many scopes and mounts to go.  I wish I had a shipping department.  However, for now I am the shipping department.  It is so much more fun buying and then opening up the box and playing with a new scope.  


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#23 sdedalus83

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 12:53 PM

I’m going the other direction, building up a couple of good mount setups. The AD encoders, Nexus II, and Sky Safari I installed last week seem to be working really well on my GM8. I also really like the LW tripod and 12” extension as a modular, packable, and rapidly deployed and broken down platform. I just picked up a Unistar Deluxe on another Losmandy LW tripod as something lighter and quicker to set up. It has encoders and a Sky Commander which might get replaced with a Nexus DSC.

 

I need to sort through all of my projects and sell off what’s not going to get used. I might keep the better of my two Meade GEMs and I’d like to get a smallish Takahashi like an EM-1, 2, or 11 as a living room grab and go.


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#24 GreyDay

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Posted 03 April 2021 - 04:48 PM

My downsizing with a push towards more utility continues with another mount packed up and going out the door Monday


I still have five alt-azimuth mounts:

 

4.Vixen Porta II and light-weight aluminum Vixen tripod.

This is the one astro item i regret selling, i sold my Porta II when i got my SkyTee II as it was only getting occasional use. Around 3 years ago i was taking some astrogear on holiday and the SkyTee on the CG5 was a pain to pack in the car. If only i'd kept the Porta... So this week I bought a Porta Mini (not "mobile") so it's still down"size"ing just in size not number :)


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#25 photoracer18

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 02:49 PM

With something like 20 each of mounts and scopes I am sort of the poster boy for this. I am not so much a collector as an accumulator. Downsizing does not mean downgrading unless there is some advantage like lighter weight. I recently passed my AP600E QMD to someone else and added a Tak EM-2 to my collection. Even though It only has an RA drive I am liking it more than my Super Polaris mounts as it is a stronger design. I do plan on shipping out all but maybe 1 or 2 go-to mounts as I don't use them much. At this point my 2 favored ones are the Losmandy G11 G1 and the Orion Sky Seeker IV. Going to keep the AP900QMD and the AP400QMD also. Not sure about the Schaefer AT-9 even though I love the mount. It could probably carry all my scopes in one load if I could mount them all (except the 16" Dob).

Not sure about my manual Alt-Az mounts:

Stellarvue M2D

UA Unistar Light Deluxe

Borg AZM-100 (has motors just for centering objects not tracking)

Might keep one of them.


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