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High quality Alt Az mounts

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#101 25585

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Posted 30 October 2021 - 12:02 PM

Mount is here!! M2C, center column, Nexus encoders and computer (with wifi), Berlebach Uni 18 tripod with spreader and rubber feet.

 

It's really nice. The mount is smooth and adjustable. No, it's not an FTX as far as smoothness (nothing really can be since the FTX has 2 axis balancing). But it's still pretty good. It's pretty similar to the Unistar mount. It's a mount that requires balance as most alt/az mounts do. So using a TeleVue Equalizer is a must in my opinion. Unless all of your eyepieces weight the same. If you want a mount where changing eyepieces the mount stays still, you'll need to get another mount. What I do is I hold the diagonal, and replace the Pan 35 with the TV equalizer and whatever other eyepiece. This works very well, but you could lose an object. If you have encoders, that's no big deal to find the object again. But if your are a star hopper looking at small objects, this could be a consideration. People above mentioned the DM6 would allow you to change eyepieces and not worry as much about this balancing. Most alt/az mounts I've used required some sort of balancing tricks. 

 

Comparing this to the Unistar, there are some differences. I can get to zenith with the Unistar a little bit easier without it hitting the legs. The M2C with the center column can also, but not in all directions. Some spots it will hit zenith. With the Unistar you can lock either Axis much tighter than the M2C can. That's not usually an issue, but it can come in handy sometimes. Especially with larger scopes. The M2C has a smoother locking mechanism though with more range of motion for finding the correct tension. I think if I had to guess from previous experience, the Unistar maybe a little bit smoother getting going with movement. The initial movement of the object. But I didn't have any trouble with either one moving the scope even at high power. Again, not as smooth as an FTX, but still quite smooth. I don't have my FTX anymore, but the one I had didn't have encoders anyways. There is one pretty big benefit to the M2C over the Unistar...as you can see in the pictures, I have plenty of room for my observing chair on the front porch. The planets are visible on my front porch as is the summer Milky Way objects. With the Unistar, I'm forced to have the chair to the side of the eyepiece. But with the M2C I've got a lot of room and that's a big benefit.

 

Since I added the Losmandy Primalucelab dovetail, the entire TSA-120 fully outfitted is probably about 20-21 pounds. The Primalucelab products so far have been outstanding. They do of course cost an arm and leg, but I consider them worth what they are charging. Especially when mounting such a large and expensive scope. I have safety screws on both sides. It's important with these Losmandy/Vixen combo saddles to ensure everything is correct before letting go of the scope. The saddle that came with this mount seems of high quality and should be very nice. I may or may not replace it with a Primalucelab one I have coming. One of them will be heading over to the Unistar.

 

On concrete the settling time with a wrap test (not exactly one you experience during observing) is about 1 second to 1.25 second. With vibration pads it was .75 to 1 second. This is what I was hoping for/expecting from the mount with the TSA-120. This should mean my 103s will have no vibration with a wrap test. With a more realistic test, the vibration was pretty close to zero (using the fine focuser). Certainly enough that finding correct focus was quite easy. And that's what is important to me.

 

I didn't align the scope, but I did test the encoders and they are very nice. The computer seems very good and should make for some nice observing sessions. I may try out the wifi option also. That could be fun to try. Usually my computer is close to the scope and I use Stellarium to find objects to look at. So I may as well try this out at some point. 

 

So this is exactly what I was looking for. While the tripod maybe overkill, it's still not too heavy to carry up and down the stairs. I expect the Nexus will be great. Someone looking for near zero vibration with a 20+ pound scope that's long would probably want to go up a level in mount. But honestly, using the fine focuser at high magnification it wasn't far off from no vibration. 

 

 

Pictures:

 

waytogo.gif

 

If you get a Primaluce saddle, go for the Maxi triple lock one.



#102 tgreene

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Posted 30 October 2021 - 12:51 PM

Here is W Master by Supermount.  It is simple, no encoder, relatively light weight (about 3.1Kg) that supports 6" f/8 well.

 

Here is photos with 5" f/9.2.

 

large.jpg

 

Smooth even pointing to zenith.

 

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closeup:

large.jpg

 

Tammy

 

That is a beautiful mount and setup!

 

I am looking for a lightweight manual alt-az setup for my 155 mm f/7 refractor (23 lb OTA) and would like to know more about your Supermount system.

 

Are you using a Supermount carbon tripod also, and which one?
Did your order these directly from Supermount, and were there any delivery delays or other problems?

 

Thanks in advance for any info.


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#103 Tamiji Homma

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Posted 30 October 2021 - 01:26 PM

That is a beautiful mount and setup!

 

I am looking for a lightweight manual alt-az setup for my 155 mm f/7 refractor (23 lb OTA) and would like to know more about your Supermount system.

 

Are you using a Supermount carbon tripod also, and which one?
Did your order these directly from Supermount, and were there any delivery delays or other problems?

 

Thanks in advance for any info.

 

AP 155 f/7 will be very good match with W Master mount. 

I have used LZOS 152 f/8 (34 lb OTA, 45 lb with binoviewer) on it.

 

It had good stability.  The tripod is Supermount's CYG54RDL with 300mm sliding pier.  

I also have CYG54G with geared center column for TEC140 binoscope (about 50 lb).

 

Yes, I ordered them directly.  In-stock item was very fast delivery, 3-4 days by DHL from Korea to CA.

The last item had custom part so it took a few weeks or so.

 

The carbon tripod is short (compact) so you would need taller (right) pier or additional extension pier if necessary.

 

Tammy


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#104 25585

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 02:31 PM

I really like the Berlebach tripods as well but I have to say that with my T-Rex mount, with the TMB/LZOS 130 F/9.2 on board, the GMT-128 (same as the EQ6) steel tubed tripod is a little better at controlling and dampening vibration than the Berlebach UNI 28 is. A result that rather surprised me to be honest but there was no doubting the results when the two tripods were compared on a few occasions.

 

I wonder if the GMT-128 tripod works particularly well with the T-Rex mount because the latter was designed with that specific tripod in mind ?

 

attachicon.giflzos130trexbb.JPG

 

attachicon.giflzostrex01.JPG

My EQ6 is a beast with its double mini pier risers and AZ100 on top, not grab & go.

 

Any Berlebach I get will be a Planet, better to overestimate load methinks. But a Nexus next. 


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#105 John Huntley

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 05:22 PM

My EQ6 is a beast with its double mini pier risers and AZ100 on top, not grab & go.

 

Any Berlebach I get will be a Planet, better to overestimate load methinks. But a Nexus next. 

I can pickup the T-Rex / GMT-128 combo and carry it around quite easily. With the 130mm F/9.2 TMB/LZOS on board I can still pick up and move the whole setup short and level distances around my garden.

 

I have one of the mini piers for the GMT-128 but generally I don't find that I need it.

 

I'm really very pleased with this setup - the best overall refractor outfit that I've owned / used by some distance smile.gif

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#106 rhaskins

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 05:40 PM

Your a weight lifter, right? I would be treated for the hernia.

 

Rick



#107 Echolight

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 05:42 PM

In the long run, I’d like to find a scaled up version of the 475B that’s suitable for 92mm scope, so glad you mentioned the 117B.

 

I have been temporarily using an older, 12.5#, imported Oberwerk Tall wooden tripod and DM4 mount with my 92mm refractor. It has a fixed fixed, plastic spreader that doesn’t allow spreading the legs wide enough when the tripod height is low.

 

The 12# TR3 is manufactured by Oberwerk and has an adjustable metal spreader that should address this problem, and allow me to give my older Oberwerk to a friend to use with her new 80mm scope. 

That’s the 3058, isn’t it? AKA Manfrotto 161MK2B.



#108 GOLGO13

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Posted 01 November 2021 - 08:29 PM

Possible the mount could be more stable than I indicated (which was pretty good). I noticed loose screws on where it connects to the tripod. All tight now.
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#109 D_talley

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 05:11 PM

Here is a shot of my MC2 mount with encoders on a Oberwerks mount. I bought the Oberwerk mount years ago during a blem sale and now have a reason to use it. Fits well with the MC2, no movements, very steady and at f/10 using a Celestron C8 only a 1.5 second vibration. I will test the setup for a few days to get the full measure of the mount. The mount came with an eyepiece tray that also accommodates two wine glasses on the long nights chasing stars.

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  • M2c-Mount.jpg
  • M2C-tray.jpg

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#110 GOLGO13

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Posted 02 November 2021 - 06:52 PM

I like the wine glasses idea. 



#111 Echolight

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 03:21 PM

Wudda ya need glasses for tongue2.gif



#112 sunrag

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 03:36 PM

Wudda ya need glasses for tongue2.gif

Probably let you see more double stars afterwards?


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#113 JoshH

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 04:58 PM

Here is a shot of my MC2 mount with encoders on a Oberwerks mount. I bought the Oberwerk mount years ago during a blem sale and now have a reason to use it. Fits well with the MC2, no movements, very steady and at f/10 using a Celestron C8 only a 1.5 second vibration. I will test the setup for a few days to get the full measure of the mount. The mount came with an eyepiece tray that also accommodates two wine glasses on the long nights chasing stars.

 

I love a good dry red but I have a hard enough time staying awake late at night as it is! 



#114 teashea

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Posted 03 November 2021 - 06:45 PM

No such thing as over mounted, only under mounted.

Amen


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#115 gwlee

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 07:18 PM

That’s the 3058, isn’t it? AKA Manfrotto 161MK2B.

Could be. Oberwerk sells the Manfrotto 161MK2B Tripood. Their website rates it for about 46#, so it would probably work fine for my 92mm refractor. Its weight is about 18# though, so scope, mount, and tripod with 2-inch accessories would weigh over 35#. I am at 28-29# with the Oberwerk TR3 now. 
 



#116 gwlee

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 07:38 PM

Tripod showed up today...but not the mount/accessories (tomorrow).

 

It's extremely robust! A Berlebach Uni 18 with a 121 pound capacity. Probably overkill, but since I'm planning on using the TSA 120 on this, it may just be the right setup.

 

I do love Berlebach products. I should probably pickup a Report sometime for my smaller mounts.

I thought you had ordered a TR3 for your TSA 120?

 

I received a TR3 for my DM4 and 92mm f6,7 refractor yesterday, so I can give my older Oberwerk wooden tripod to the friend who’s going to get the M2C that I have been evaluating for a few weeks. Put the DM4/92mm on the TR3 this morning. The TR3 seems to be an improvement. Looking forward to testing it this evening if it’s clear. 



#117 D_talley

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 09:38 PM

Tonight I had a chance to take the mount out and align the Nexus DSC with the M2C encoders.  A hour later I was still trying to do the basic two star alignment.  Very frustrating and cold. Encoder steps are 311296,check.  Do the Altitude reference. No problem. Next go to first alignment star and the Nexus is showing me the second alignment star prompt.  So it fails.  After a hour of it skipping past the first alignment star I realize the problem.  I have a little hand shake from the chemo therapy that I have been on. So I must be hitting the Ok button too hard which skips to the second alignment star prompt.  I was finally able to get one alignment to be ok before I quit.  I also connected an iPad to the wifi and could see the cross hair move on the star field but not in the correct direction.  ALT was ok but AZ always moved in the opposite direction of the scope.  Changing the +- sign did not make a difference from what I could see.  I wonder if I have to reboot the Nexus every time I change the setting?  At the moment I have the ALT set to + and the AZ set to -. 

 

I will start a separate thread but wanted to know if there was a quick fix for the above listed problem.



#118 GOLGO13

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 10:59 PM

Tonight I had a chance to take the mount out and align the Nexus DSC with the M2C encoders.  A hour later I was still trying to do the basic two star alignment.  Very frustrating and cold. Encoder steps are 311296,check.  Do the Altitude reference. No problem. Next go to first alignment star and the Nexus is showing me the second alignment star prompt.  So it fails.  After a hour of it skipping past the first alignment star I realize the problem.  I have a little hand shake from the chemo therapy that I have been on. So I must be hitting the Ok button too hard which skips to the second alignment star prompt.  I was finally able to get one alignment to be ok before I quit.  I also connected an iPad to the wifi and could see the cross hair move on the star field but not in the correct direction.  ALT was ok but AZ always moved in the opposite direction of the scope.  Changing the +- sign did not make a difference from what I could see.  I wonder if I have to reboot the Nexus every time I change the setting?  At the moment I have the ALT set to + and the AZ set to -. 

 

I will start a separate thread but wanted to know if there was a quick fix for the above listed problem.

Please do follow up on this. I have the exactly same hardware. I was able to do alignment, but it wasn't super accurate (but not bad). But I don't think it was as good as my Intelliscope which is a much cheaper DSC.

 

What I found through research, but not tried yet, is the following.

 

The key is getting your saddle exactly 90 degress vertical to the M2C for it's initial starting position before going to the 2 stars. My Intelliscope is the exact same way.

 

Then pick stars that are pretty high up in the sky but not close to each other. Use a high power eyepiece when centering.

 

More to come as I try this out as well. The first night things were good enough, but it wasn't as accurate as it should be. However, I didn't follow the steps I listed above. That initial position is probably the key one.



#119 GOLGO13

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Posted 04 November 2021 - 11:13 PM

I thought you had ordered a TR3 for your TSA 120?

 

I received a TR3 for my DM4 and 92mm f6,7 refractor yesterday, so I can give my older Oberwerk wooden tripod to the friend who’s going to get the M2C that I have been evaluating for a few weeks. Put the DM4/92mm on the TR3 this morning. The TR3 seems to be an improvement. Looking forward to testing it this evening if it’s clear. 

I ordered the M2C and all the accessories (including the Berlebach tripod) as a package. 

 

I have an old Oberwerk tall tripod (probably like the TR3) I use with my Unistar. 

 

One thing I really like about the Berlebach Uni 18 is it's much lower to the ground to start with than my old Oberwerk. The Oberwerk combined with the Unistar doesn't play well with some OTAs because the whole setup is a bit tall even with the legs not extended at all. So with my 6 inch F4 newt, it's not a good viewing position. It's fine with long refractors though.

 

Both tripods are very good especially if using them with refractors.

 

So far I'm very happy with the M2C. Having encoders again is a big plus for me in light pollution. The M2C handles the TSA-120 fairly well. I got everything at a low price, so I can't complain. Now, if I wanted something more stable there are many options discussed here. But so far I was having no problems with focusing at high power. I don't even think I had everything tight so I will test again. But even so my vibration times were under a second. The whole setup is pretty light despite the heavy tripod.

 

I did some maintenance which seemed to help the movement (will check with a scope mounted). There is a bearing that has little rollers on them. I cleaned those a lubricated them. 

 

I had an FTX mount in the past and that would have been ideal probably. Unless someone wants a mount where changing eyepieces doesn't cause the mount to move. Then the DM-6 would be better. But the FTX is such a smooth mount you can literally move the scope effortlessly with your pinky. But it relies on balance a good amount. Great mounts though. My only issue with the FTX mounts is they are not as nice when you use them for multiple telescopes. Better for a single scope situation. Because changing the 2 axis balancing takes some tools/effort. 

 

The M2C and the Unistar are pretty similar in smoothness and use. Both do a decent job for vibration even with heavy scopes.

 

However, there are many options in this thread that could be very interesting. Unfortunately these can get pretty expensive. So I feel lucky I was able to get a nice used package at a good price. I had already really stretched myself with the TSA-120 and other items. But I sold a lot of items from another hobby that helped offset things.


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#120 D_talley

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Posted 05 November 2021 - 10:14 PM

I was able to get out and try to get my mount to behave. Everything fell into place and I was able to align the mount on the first try and move around the sky looking a various objects.  However the alignment was not accurate and I would have to sync on known object to get Skysafari  to agree with what I was pointing at.  Not happy with that and hope to refine the pointing alignment on a later outing. In some cases the object was just outside my field of view and other times dead on.  I guess I need to practice a little more with the hardware and use a high power eyepiece to align. 


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