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altazimuth mount question

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#1 donald41

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 05:42 PM

i have had so much bad luck with this type mount in the past for around $300. they just did not work right, too much play in the movements working on them until i was blue in the face. i would like to purchase one that i can say " this is a great mount" I'm looking at the stellarvue M2C mount, it dont have slow motion controls but if it works well without them i would be happy. anyone here with experience using this mount i would appreciate some feed back about it. i just don't wont to be disappointed again. thanks, don 



#2 Kutno

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 06:12 PM

It moves smoothly.  It is stable with the 2" diameter stainless steel tripod legs.  It must be balanced properly.  It does take a little practice to set tension properly on the two axes.  It also does take a little practice to gently move the scope to keep a target in sight at very high powers.  The extension column and handle are helpful.     


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#3 Kutno

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 06:38 PM

donald41,

 

Please note:  The above was written after having very limited experience with the M002C system.  So far, it works for me.



#4 Virtus

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Posted 22 April 2021 - 10:29 PM

I recently purchased an M2C and was initially worried about the lack of slow motion controls but it works like a dream. I find it so much more intuitive and easy to use.

You've got to make sure your scope is balanced and it takes very little adjustment to fine tune the tension, first few sessions I kept overdoing it. I highly recommend the handle, it allows much more control with altitude adjustments. The mount is solid I can keep a grip on the handle or diagonal with zero movement.

#5 donald41

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 05:58 AM

virtus, thanks for that info, very helpful in making up my mind about purchasing this mount. don


Edited by donald41, 23 April 2021 - 05:59 AM.


#6 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 06:41 AM

I recently purchased an M2C and was initially worried about the lack of slow motion controls but it works like a dream. I find it so much more intuitive and easy to use.

You've got to make sure your scope is balanced and it takes very little adjustment to fine tune the tension, first few sessions I kept overdoing it. I highly recommend the handle, it allows much more control with altitude adjustments. The mount is solid I can keep a grip on the handle or diagonal with zero movement.

 

How does it handle swapping heavy eyepieces like the 31 mm Nagler? And balance issues?

 

How well can you track at 300x?

 

These are the reasons I prefer mounts with slow motion controls. I can use heavy eyepieces without balance issues and still track at high magnifications. 

 

Jon


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#7 luxo II

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 07:21 AM

If you want to use both monster eyepieces and 300X the M2C is not for you; you need an AZEQ6.

 

And yes I also have an M2C - on a Berlebach UNI8 which is my travel rig - with MK66 6" mak on top.


Edited by luxo II, 23 April 2021 - 07:28 AM.


#8 clearwaterdave

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 08:06 AM

I had the same feelings about the mounts some of my scopes came with.,I went with pipes and couldn't be happier.,.It may not be pretty but it's as sturdy and steady as a mount can be.,And the movements are smooth yet they hold still for ep changes and no shakes focusing.,Good luck with your choice.,

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#9 Virtus

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 08:36 AM

How does it handle swapping heavy eyepieces like the 31 mm Nagler? And balance issues?

 

How well can you track at 300x?

 

These are the reasons I prefer mounts with slow motion controls. I can use heavy eyepieces without balance issues and still track at high magnifications. 

 

Jon

 

I don't have anything as heavy as the 31 Nagler but I have not had any balance issues switching between a Baader Mk IV zoom, APM 24, and Arcturus binoviewers which is ~10-28oz range. I just lock down the altitude tension when switching.

 

I haven't gone above about 230x but I've been super impressed with ease of tracking and never wished I had slow motion controls. When you get the tension dialed in right it just glides; at the higher magnifications I use the handle to control altitude and the diagonal for azimuth movements. I tracked a satellite over a huge swath of sky the other night no problem; granted it was at closer to 60x but it was moving a lot faster than anything else you'd normally be tracking.


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#10 Kutno

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 08:43 AM

How does it handle swapping heavy eyepieces like the 31 mm Nagler? And balance issues?

 

How well can you track at 300x?

 

These are the reasons I prefer mounts with slow motion controls. I can use heavy eyepieces without balance issues and still track at high magnifications. 

 

Jon

 

Have nothing as heavy as the 31mm Nagler in the stable; however, even when changing an eyepiece in the three-quarters of a pound to one pound range, the sensitivity of the mount is such that you have to maintain a tube's balance by tightening the tension enough to prevent the weight of the objective of a refractor from making the tube fall forward.  For me, as I write this, the selling points of this mount system are the smoothness of its movement on both axes at very high power, using a scope as big as an SW 120 ED; the ability of the mount to carry a load as big as said refractor; the ability to extend the mount system's 2" diameter tripod legs out to a height that permits one to comfortably sit in a chair to view a target approaching the zenith while using said refractor; the stability of the mount while using said refractor; and the relatively reasonable price of the mount system in comparison to its competitors.

 

Would slow motion controls help?  Certainly; but you do get used to moving the tube smoothly, with practice.  When blessed with an outstanding sky not that long ago, the SW was taken to 375x on the Moon and the tube nicely responded to my touch when I moved it to keep the target in sight.    


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#11 Brollen

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 12:59 PM

I had an M2C for a while a few years back. The main issue I encountered was higher weight in combination with a longer moment arm. As you load that mount with a heavy long tube (ie, refractor), the balance issues, eyepiece swapping issues, etc., definitely come into play. Not so much with shorter SCTs, especially, C6s or C8s, that worked much better in this regard.

 

The other problem I encountered when trying to reduce the issues with longer tube scopes was excessive stiction created by tightening the clutches, making smooth movement difficult. Again, this was my experience ... I played with it quite a bit and could never quite reach a satisfactory clutch setup with longer heavier scopes. I have wondered if it was the unit I had and have been tempted to retry a newer version as the price is still very attractive...

 

But like Jon, I prefer geared alt az mounts when possible ... that said, I do love my ES Twilight II.

 

Clear skies!


Edited by Brollen, 23 April 2021 - 01:01 PM.


#12 teashea

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Posted 23 April 2021 - 09:17 PM

How does it handle swapping heavy eyepieces like the 31 mm Nagler? And balance issues?

 

How well can you track at 300x?

 

These are the reasons I prefer mounts with slow motion controls. I can use heavy eyepieces without balance issues and still track at high magnifications. 

 

Jon

I very much agree with Jon.  Slow motion controls are quite useful.  The Vixen Porta II mount has them and they are very smooth and precise.  They are the big black knobs shown here.

 

2.jpg

 

FS-60Q.jpg


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#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 April 2021 - 08:07 AM

If you want to use both monster eyepieces and 300X the M2C is not for you; you need an AZEQ6.

 

And yes I also have an M2C - on a Berlebach UNI8 which is my travel rig - with MK66 6" mak on top.

 

I have the obsolete StellarVue MG-2 which is a single sided version that seems to be based on the Sky Tee mount design.  It has slow motion controls.  I use it with my Orion Eon 120mm F/7.5 at magnifications up to 360x on a regular basis and 520x every so often. 

 

Eon in backyard.jpg

 

I like slow motion controls with refractors because they let me center the view at high magnifications and track without jiggle or overshoot.  With my Dobs, it's different.  The Dob makes for a nice lever and everything is stiffer, tracking is smooth at high magnifications. 

 

Jon



#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 April 2021 - 08:16 AM

I very much agree with Jon.  Slow motion controls are quite useful.  The Vixen Porta II mount has them and they are very smooth and precise.  They are the big black knobs shown here.

 

 

:waytogo:

 

I also prefer the short knobs similar to yours.  My arms are long enough that reach is not a problem and they're more rigid.  The brass shafts on my Portamount eventually failed from traveling too many miles in the back of my pickup.. The cut where the flat meets the full diameter section is a weak point and eventually 3 of the 4 broke off.  I had a machinist friend make a pair of knobs that actually attached to the full diameter section. 

 

Not the best photo of the knob but it is visible right in the center of the view:

 

Megrez Portamount 41mm Panoptic.jpg
 
Jon

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#15 GOLGO13

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Posted 24 April 2021 - 09:00 AM

How does it handle swapping heavy eyepieces like the 31 mm Nagler? And balance issues?

 

How well can you track at 300x?

 

These are the reasons I prefer mounts with slow motion controls. I can use heavy eyepieces without balance issues and still track at high magnifications. 

 

Jon

If using eyepieces with a large difference between weights and using an alt/az mount, it's best to get the Televue Equalizer. Luckily my heaviest eyepiece is pretty reasonable. A decloaked Meade SWA 34mm 68 degree. With the Equalizer I don't have to adjust balance when I put in a light eyepiece.

 

https://agenaastro.c...r-bec-0005.html

 

Tracking is possible without slow motion controls if the scope is balanced and the quality of the Alt/az mount is good. Slow motion controls can be nice though. Especially on the lower end alt/az mounts. The Vixen Porta Mount is pretty decent. I've had one for 15 years, but recently had to re-grease and fabricate washers to get it going again.



#16 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 24 April 2021 - 11:38 AM

If using eyepieces with a large difference between weights and using an alt/az mount, it's best to get the Televue Equalizer. Luckily my heaviest eyepiece is pretty reasonable. A decloaked Meade SWA 34mm 68 degree. With the Equalizer I don't have to adjust balance when I put in a light eyepiece.

 

https://agenaastro.c...r-bec-0005.html

 

Tracking is possible without slow motion controls if the scope is balanced and the quality of the Alt/az mount is good. Slow motion controls can be nice though. Especially on the lower end alt/az mounts. The Vixen Porta Mount is pretty decent. I've had one for 15 years, but recently had to re-grease and fabricate washers to get it going again.

 

I've never used the equalizer but it seems like there will always be a moment when the scope is out of balance when you are inserting it.  

 

I just setup my mounts so they are slightly nose heavy but with enough friction to hold them in place, without an eyepiece.  If the heaviest eyepieces is 2 lbs, that would mean about 1 pound nose heavy.  Doing this, the scope is always in balance and it never takes more than 1 lb force to track it.

 

But I like the slow motion controls simply for dialing in the view at high magnifications. 

 

Jon



#17 GOLGO13

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Posted 25 April 2021 - 05:15 PM

The best alt ax mount I used was the Halfhitch ones. The FTX was really good when balanced. When switching eyepieces you just lock the clutch. Those were so balanced you could track at any power.

However, for me it was annoying when switching telescopes because you have to redo the balance. So I switched to the larger Unistar. Not as good but still pretty good.

Sure the Vixen Porta mount is nice for smaller scopes, but the unistar can support very large scopes with ease. But yes, switching between heavy eyepieces takes a bit of finesse. But the equalizer keeps things balanced when it’s back in the diagonal.

Not many options for larger scopes that are reasonably priced.

#18 GOLGO13

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Posted 25 April 2021 - 07:25 PM

I should point out a major reason why I don't have a 31mm nagler or the like is the weight. Those eyepieces are just too heavy for small scopes. My 34mm 68 decloaked is just right and provides a nice view also.

 

Even in my 10 inch dob those heavy eyepieces are annoying. And I do use balancing techniques on that scope and it's enough with lighter eyepieces and whatever add ons I choose to use that night.

 

Never have been a fan of heavy eyepieces. However, yes, they are nice for views through them.



#19 k5apl

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 09:14 PM

I like Alt-Az mounts and have owned a few of them over the years: Giro2, Universal Astronomics, Vixen Porta, Ioptron, Desert Sky DSV-1, DiscMounts DM6, DM4, Super Polaris, Celestron, and probably more that I have forgottten.  The above posts talk a lot about eyepiece balancing.  IMO the DM4 and DM6 are my best options for

my refractors.  Eyepiece balance is not critical, and they can be equipped with encoders and computer for DSCs.

Not inexpensive, but I really got tired of having to balance my scope when anything was changed  and then having to find the object again.  And I ended up seeing more and searching less.  YMMV.


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#20 jimandlaura26

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 10:46 PM

Strictly visual with 6" refractors. Hoping one day to move up to a 7"apo. though. 61 and trying to stay physically fit as long as I can.

Best regards, Richard

 


I like Alt-Az mounts and have owned a few of them over the years: Giro2, Universal Astronomics, Vixen Porta, Ioptron, Desert Sky DSV-1, DiscMounts DM6, DM4, Super Polaris, Celestron, and probably more that I have forgottten.  The above posts talk a lot about eyepiece balancing.  IMO the DM4 and DM6 are my best options for

my refractors.  Eyepiece balance is not critical, and they can be equipped with encoders and computer for DSCs.

Not inexpensive, but I really got tired of having to balance my scope when anything was changed  and then having to find the object again.  And I ended up seeing more and searching less.  YMMV.

Second the vote for Discmounts. Have owned either a DM-6 or DM-4 on a solid mount for last 17 years. They have a 6” or 4” bearings (respectively), which provides a GREAT deal of stability regardless of eyepiece swap out.

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Edited by jimandlaura26, 02 May 2021 - 10:50 PM.

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#21 castorpolu11

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Posted 02 May 2021 - 11:57 PM

I have and enjoy the M2C. My only two very small grips are that the mount itself is heavy and the handle disrupts viewing at zenith. The weight is a product of the build quality I think as it's quite robust. I agree with Virtus that once you get some practice mastering the movement of the mount it's very nice to use even without the slomo controls. It does take a few nights to get the hang of it. 

 

If you're considering a small Alt Az mount and thinking of something in the vixen family I would highly recommend you consider a scopetech mount zero instead. I've owned a porta II and the zero has it beat in stability, usability, and ease of use. I put some ADM slomo knobs on mine, mounted it on a solid tripod, and it's a terrific light alt az solution. I saw someone was selling a couple of nice used ones on CN recently. Might still be one for sale! 




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