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Unitron's are strong

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#1 Bonco2

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Posted 30 November 2021 - 07:55 PM

Came home after a walk. There was my Untron 128 crashed flat on my tile floor. Evidently the tripod legs slipped despite me  having them securely tightened. First thought was it was destroyed because it was a hard crash on a hard floor. But I noticed all three legs spread out so the Mount and OTA didn't get damaged by crashing onto the tiles. In other words it crashed flat. If one leg would have held up certainly the OTA would have been severely  damaged. 

Later I took it outside and found  even the finder was still aligned. No loose baffels , the Unihex was fine too.  Views of Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter were fantastic....So I dodged a big bullet and happy to report, she survived with no injuries. I'll always park it now with the tripod spreader installed.

Bill 


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#2 CHASLX200

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Posted 30 November 2021 - 08:17 PM

I got carpet for that 3" you got so it will be safe with me.


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#3 clamchip

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Posted 30 November 2021 - 08:44 PM

Very lucky.

I'd go celebrate and have clam and chips:

https://www.ivars.com/our-story

 

Robert


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#4 TOMDEY

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Posted 30 November 2021 - 09:11 PM

No spreader?! Well... in that sense... it was just a matter of time. This picture relates >>>    Tom

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#5 deSitter

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 02:17 AM

It's sort of funny to think of it saying "Oh dang it all, I've been standing here for 50 years and I'm gonna take a nap now." It probably just gently lowered itself to the ground like a giraffe :) I thought those Unitrons had chain stays!

 

-drl


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#6 grif 678

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 12:40 PM

I do not see how it could have done that by itself, with the legs all spreading out at the same time. It seems that it may have had some help. I could see maybe one leg spreading out, and the scope falling over to one side, but what you described seems strange at the least?


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#7 Terra Nova

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 03:18 PM

I do not see how it could have done that by itself, with the legs all spreading out at the same time. It seems that it may have had some help. I could see maybe one leg spreading out, and the scope falling over to one side, but what you described seems strange at the least?

Bill said it was on a tile floor. I can see it happening on a hard, slick, surface. I’m glad it all survived the fall. 


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#8 Bonco2

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 03:24 PM

It is strange, the wife was in another room and heard a loud crash. so it didn't just slide down. Yes, guilty for not using the spreader but I've not used it for many years. The top nut tightens to where it takes a strong push to move the legs in or out.Can't do that my my 3 inch Unitron, so I've installed chains.  

My only guess is  the large temperature change that day may have changed the friction of the upper clamp. Regardless it won't happen again because I've install the spreader. It's inconvenient tho so will likely install chains. Much easier to get out a doorway with chains. Just very happy nothing got damaged.

Bill


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#9 TOMDEY

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 03:38 PM

Test your improved tripod this winter right in the middle of a big pond. Just make sure the ice is thick... and that your boots have cleats...    Tom

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  • 77 ice boots cleated.jpg

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#10 Kasmos

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 03:52 PM

Strong? I think you just got a lucky warning.


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#11 Bonco2

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 03:56 PM

Tom,

Here in Florida we don't have Ice and boots with cleats for ice can't be found. I'm sure installing chains will solve all the issues.

 

Bill


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#12 oldmanastro

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 06:05 PM

It is strange, the wife was in another room and heard a loud crash. so it didn't just slide down. Yes, guilty for not using the spreader but I've not used it for many years. The top nut tightens to where it takes a strong push to move the legs in or out.Can't do that my my 3 inch Unitron, so I've installed chains.  

My only guess is  the large temperature change that day may have changed the friction of the upper clamp. Regardless it won't happen again because I've install the spreader. It's inconvenient tho so will likely install chains. Much easier to get out a doorway with chains. Just very happy nothing got damaged.

Bill

That was really scary and lucky at the same time. I have never seen a Unitron except in photos. It's interesting that I never noticed that their tripods have no chains. A while ago I was working on my Sears 2535 AO 76mm and had the accessory tray just hanging on one holder. The tripod suddenly spread out on the tile floor. Only the chain avoided a disaster. It's a good idea to install them. Now, why did Unitron didn't include chains?


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#13 rweisberg

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 06:10 PM

This is a fear I have had, so I have the spreader bar installed AND a chain for my Unitron Alt/Az holding my Sears 90mm.

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Edited by rweisberg, 01 December 2021 - 06:11 PM.

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#14 Bonco2

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 06:21 PM

Guido,

 Good questions. My experience is only with  the 75mm and 60 mm Unitron equitorials. The 60 mm has a tripod spreader that locked into each leg. It works  but a bit inconvenient. To take it outside you have to remove it to get thru doors. The 75mm had a wooden tray that locked to the legs. It's even more difficult to install and uninstall, thus I put on a chain on it. I think Unitron was trying to make the spreader to be a utility tray  feature to hold eyepieces. But for me I'd rather have a chain and no tray. So easy to collapse the legs going thru door ways and prevents the legs to collapse in any situation. Also once in the yard I like closing in the tripod legs to make the mount taller. Don't like tripod spreaders on these two telescopes.

Bill


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#15 rogue river art

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 08:40 PM

Very lucky. I would love to have a vintage Unitron. Because of the cost I built my own 4" refractor and GEM and tripod.. It's just what I wanted but it's very big and heavy. About three years ago I was standing  at the business end of the scope when the spreader turnbuckle on that leg broke and the whole thing fell into my arms and chest. Down to the cement I went with the full weight of the mount and scope. Not even a scratch except to my chest and arms. I was beat up pretty good. The complete set up is just a few pounds shy of 200#. I too was very lucky and have beefed up the spreader and added chains.


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#16 Kasmos

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 08:46 PM

That was really scary and lucky at the same time. I have never seen a Unitron except in photos. It's interesting that I never noticed that their tripods have no chains. A while ago I was working on my Sears 2535 AO 76mm and had the accessory tray just hanging on one holder. The tripod suddenly spread out on the tile floor. Only the chain avoided a disaster. It's a good idea to install them. Now, why did Unitron didn't include chains?

The 114 and 128 originally didn't come with anything then they added the spreader bars in about 1956. They attach and detach really easy without having screws or wingnuts to turn so I don't see them as a incovenience at all. The later models have a small EP holder in the center or a round tray which I think is nice.


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#17 ccwemyss

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Posted 01 December 2021 - 09:18 PM

My early 142 doesn't have a spreader either.

 

Chip W. 


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#18 Bonco2

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 06:47 PM

The 114 and 128 originally didn't come with anything then they added the spreader bars in about 1956. They attach and detach really easy without having screws or wingnuts to turn so I don't see them as a incovenience at all. The later models have a small EP holder in the center or a round tray which I think is nice.

Kasmos, Thanks for that info.  The spreader has it's function and WILL prevent any collapse. The tray on the model 142 is more of an issue than the 60mm models. For me it truly was inconvenient and I did not trust it. For my 60 mm I use it as a grab and go.  I like grabbing it and going without any fuss. But let's just concern the model 114 and 128. I want people to consider when set up in the yard or a surface where the legs will not collapse it may be advisable to pull the legs in to raise the mount. These telescopes were perfectly tall for kids, not so much for aging adults that have difficulty getting under the finder. The Unitron legs are more sturdy than most and they will still remains steady even if closed in especially if spiked into grass. That's why I prefer chains over spreaders. In any case the Unitrons were a robust build and had better mounts and tripods than most in that time period.

Clears Skies, Bill


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#19 Terra Nova

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Posted 02 December 2021 - 07:36 PM

Kasmos, Thanks for that info.  The spreader has it's function and WILL prevent any collapse. The tray on the model 142 is more of an issue than the 60mm models. For me it truly was inconvenient and I did not trust it. For my 60 mm I use it as a grab and go.  I like grabbing it and going without any fuss. But let's just concern the model 114 and 128. I want people to consider when set up in the yard or a surface where the legs will not collapse it may be advisable to pull the legs in to raise the mount. These telescopes were perfectly tall for kids, not so much for aging adults that have difficulty getting under the finder. The Unitron legs are more sturdy than most and they will still remains steady even if closed in especially if spiked into grass. That's why I prefer chains over spreaders. In any case the Unitrons were a robust build and had better mounts and tripods than most in that time period.

Clears Skies, Bill

I loved the look of the wooden tray on my 142 tripod but I could never trust it as those spring clips that hold it in place would pop open at random. The 142 mount is quite heavy and the load puts a lot of tension on the legs making them want to spread out. I put a chain spreader on the legs under the tray after a couple of near mishaps.


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#20 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 03 December 2021 - 08:20 AM

yes    love the extra  safety chain Terra put on this late 50's U  142 mount.  It works well and looks good.........Starman 876 noted at the time I put it together and proudly posted a pic  that I actually put the wooden tray on upside down  

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  • Unitronmount142pic7IMG_7486.jpg
  • Unitron142trayandchainIMG_7496 (1).jpg

Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 03 December 2021 - 08:46 AM.

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#21 TOMDEY

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Posted 03 December 2021 - 09:45 AM

Someone should run this same test on other makes and models of telescopes, under controlled conditions, and then present statistics on the damage.

 

>surface preparation - greased concrete floor

>legs fully-extended

>spreader, chains... all removed

>starting angle(s) to vertical 30o; wing nuts neglectfully-loose

>an on-axis sky-hook wire supports the load

>technicians wearing Teflon-soled booties and Hepa face-masks, nothing else

>high-speed cameras going; wire is severed

>data handed off to Tom Dey for forensic analysis

>dumpster and hearse arrive to clean up the mess

>Tom awarded the Nobel Prize for his Documentary --- "The Rise and Fall of Telescopes and Technicians"    Tom


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#22 Kasmos

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Posted 03 December 2021 - 02:39 PM

I always wondered why many Sears had both a tray and a chain. It seemed redundant/unnecessary to me. As previously posted, I suppose it's good insurance before you attach the tray. I always thought it was really just for looks/traditon. Also, both the Penncrest and Crescent have hooks on the lower leg brackets but neither came with chains and I don't believe they ever did. I attributed it to the uniform production of different models. For example, the Crescent is a Towa AT2 and they came outfitted many ways. Some even had  the tray held by a chain.


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#23 Bonco2

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Posted 03 December 2021 - 03:14 PM

Terra,

I too had problems with the 142 tray clips.  Almost took a dive. The next day I installed chains. No worries after that.

 

Bill


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#24 lunardave

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Posted 03 December 2021 - 04:45 PM

Never had chains never had this happen.

 

Yet.

 

But excessive OT has put a damper on observing.

 

At least for the next 4 years.

 

Then it's ON!



#25 oldmanastro

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Posted 03 December 2021 - 10:28 PM

I always wondered why many Sears had both a tray and a chain. It seemed redundant/unnecessary to me. As previously posted, I suppose it's good insurance before you attach the tray. I always thought it was really just for looks/traditon. Also, both the Penncrest and Crescent have hooks on the lower leg brackets but neither came with chains and I don't believe they ever did. I attributed it to the uniform production of different models. For example, the Crescent is a Towa AT2 and they came outfitted many ways. Some even had  the tray held by a chain.

The accessory trays in the Sears refractors, both Towa and AO, provide a very secure holding platform for the tripod legs. My guess is that the chains were placed there to prevent accidents during assembly or disassembly of the telescopes. Anyway they always provide some peace of mind. The original chains are very nice. The ones in my 76mm 2535 were lost a very long time ago during the period where the telescope was off my hands. When I got it back, I added a new chain but different from the original. Has anyone found out if the original type of chain is still available?


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