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What classic mounts are worth stalking?

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#1 TheWatcher

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 10:16 PM

I have a 60mm project scope that started life as an internal zoom Tasco. It still has rides on the original terrestrial altaz mount which is not so good for astronomy. Which begs the question of what replace it with. It may ride shotgun with my ETX90 on a Twilight ii as a finder/RFT. But I also want a more portable setup. A Mizar tripod that crossed the classifieds here recently got me wondering what classic mounts out there might be worth seeking out. I am primarily targrting altaz but an equatorial that doesn't add too much weight or play would be acceptable.

#2 TwitchyMcJoe

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 10:21 PM

I'm pretty sure anything in the Vixen Polaris family would be a great choice for an equatorial.

Also, you can use the Polaris as an Alt AZ in the right configuration. You get two mounts in one.

EDIT: I'm not biased or anything. I have just fallen in love with my Polaris after spending years with crappy EQ1s, computerized AltAz mounts that break, and the fork on my Dad's C8 growing up.

Edited by TwitchyMcJoe, 12 January 2022 - 10:31 PM.

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#3 mdowns

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 10:41 PM

This is a picture of my polaris head set in alt/az,riding on an aluminum tripod and carrying a 90mm f5.5 rft.Works fine for this size scope while set in alt/az and is very lightweight.I also used the same mount head to carry a ST120 though with a heavier tripod.

 

IMG_0040.JPG


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#4 Bomber Bob

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 11:01 PM

For a 60mm frac, an Orion VersaGo would be more than adequate as an alt/az.  For EQs:  Lowest price, a Towa EQ-3 (Japan-made, not the Taiwan Clones) -- the original mount for the Model 339 80mm F15.  Nice wood tripod, sturdy when tightened & adjusted.  Easy to motorize the RA axis.  Rather than the Polaris, I'd spent a bit more to get a Super Polaris.  Smoother & stouter than the Polaris, and easier to motorize should you decide to add that capability.

 

I got rid of my 3 x Polaris EQs, and went with the Mizar AR-1 & SP.  Great mounts!  But... finding drives and/or spare parts is hard.  The Vixens are much more common.  The Kenko KES & NES EQs are also excellent, but they're even rarer than the Mizars.

 

You want to keep the solution as light as possible -- I get that.  But, it's better (especially for high-power viewing) to over-mount a scope than vice versa...

 

Good Grief!  My MEDs must've really kicked-in.  Can't believe I forgot my Best & Most Favorite alt/az mount for medium & high-power observing -- a 1980s Mizar FM-AZ:

 

Mizar FM-PH Delivery S01 - GT-80S (RS FL).jpg

 

As you can see, it'll carry a hefty stubby frac -- my Mizar GT-80S F7.  Mount has enclosed 360* gearing on both axes.  Once you get the knack of its stair-step, it's almost like a good EQ.

 

 


Edited by Bomber Bob, 12 January 2022 - 11:22 PM.

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#5 Kasmos

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 11:05 PM

What I presume is a cutdown 60mm telescope probably doesn't require too much from a mount. The two Cassic Alt-Az mounts I'd recommend would be either from a Manon/Mayflower 814 or a Unitron 114. The Manon/Mayflower is probably harder to find on it's own and the Unitron is more stable, useful, and adaptible for somewhat larger scopes should you choose to go that way. I believe many have used short tube 80mms on them.

 

Mayflower-806-Moon-Flash.jpg

Here's my cutdown vari-power 60mm on a Mayflower mount.

The mount is more than adequate for it and although usually cheaper than a 114, harder to find on it's own.


Edited by Kasmos, 12 January 2022 - 11:13 PM.

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#6 weis14

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 11:11 PM

They are not quite classics yet, but any mount made by Charles Riddel or his company Half Hitch is destined to become a classic.  They don't change hands too often though and some of the bigger versions like the FTX can go for a significant amount.  I've owned two FTXs and currently own a Half Hitch Mk II from roughly 2007.  It is a fantastic mount.


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#7 telesonic

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 12:39 AM

Two that I know and own: Both old school classics that work well... and still work in my kit.

 

Vixen Polaris (to be retired)

Vixen Super Polaris - best one I own,

 

Can't go wrong with either of them, I think.

 

T~


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#8 CHASLX200

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 06:52 AM

1980's NJP-160. I would kill for one.



#9 Defenderslideguitar

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 09:04 AM

Vixen Great Polaris     GP   GP2  GPDX

 

Unitron  140   142      150    152    really any old Unitron mount 


Edited by Defenderslideguitar, 13 January 2022 - 09:19 AM.

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#10 sdedalus83

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 09:31 AM

The ubiquitous Japanese equatorial mount for the better 60mm scopes, where the altitude pivot is central and the RA axis can swing through all the way vertical as in a Vixen Polaris also makes for a nice lightweight alt-az with slow mo controls.


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#11 clamchip

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 11:23 AM

My favorite 60mm mount is this Carton.

Robert

 

post-50896-14073078473637_thumb.jpg


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#12 clamchip

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 11:51 AM

I found some better pictures.

Top is the Swift Aerolite, same thing only labeled Swift.

I sold it and missed it so much when another became available I bought it

and it's labeled C.O.C. (Carton Optical Co.)

Robert

 

post-50896-0-65622900-1585421581.jpg

post-50896-0-74987400-1585421735.jpg


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#13 Dartguy

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 12:02 PM

If I were looking for one for my C8, I would try to find a Criterion Golden Pyramid.  They are beautiful.


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#14 Exnihilo

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 01:40 PM

I can't believe I now own 3 SP, and 1 GP.  They all just sort of fell into my lap over the last year or so.  I picked up the 2nd SP as a backup when I decided I was going to take them all apart and re-lube/rebuild, and didn't wan to risk losing my original SP (i.e. I would work over the "worst" one first, and if it had issues, I would possibly use it as a spare parts source).  But then, I ended up getting a 3rd SP, and it was in the best condition of all.

 

I guess that means I really like the SP mounts.


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#15 Bomber Bob

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 02:33 PM

I found some better pictures.

Top is the Swift Aerolite, same thing only labeled Swift.

I sold it and missed it so much when another became available I bought it

and it's labeled C.O.C. (Carton Optical Co.)

Robert

 

attachicon.gifpost-50896-0-65622900-1585421581.jpg

attachicon.gifpost-50896-0-74987400-1585421735.jpg

Nice! Robert

 

Believe it or not, the Carton Square Axes is one old Japanese EQ that I haven't tried (yet), but it gets a lot of positive press.


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#16 icomet

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 02:58 PM

Cave Astrola "prototype" 2" chrome Dec shaft observatory grade transportable mount.

 

This particular one replaced another observatory scope in 1955 at  UM Duluth.

 

Motor box turned to allow increase in Latitude adjustment. Original c-wt is currently retired, but

has been restored to match the mount.

 

Those rotating rings were of "prototype" design. Only utilized 3 adjustment tension screws. Has since

been upgraded to the 4 screw adjustment type.

 

Clear Skies.

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  • Cave prototype.jpg

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#17 AstroKerr

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 04:43 PM

That Cave is going to be perfect for a 'more portable' 60mm setup primarily targeting AltAz or EQ if it doesn't add too much weight. waytogo.gif


Edited by AstroKerr, 13 January 2022 - 04:45 PM.

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#18 deSitter

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 04:54 PM

I have a 60mm project scope that started life as an internal zoom Tasco. It still has rides on the original terrestrial altaz mount which is not so good for astronomy. Which begs the question of what replace it with. It may ride shotgun with my ETX90 on a Twilight ii as a finder/RFT. But I also want a more portable setup. A Mizar tripod that crossed the classifieds here recently got me wondering what classic mounts out there might be worth seeking out. I am primarily targrting altaz but an equatorial that doesn't add too much weight or play would be acceptable.

Those scopes use objectives at f/7 or so (60/400mm) - the long tube is a consequence of the image-erecting lens train. I converted 3 such scopes to super-finders/side scopes with excellent results. You have to saw into the tube and install a new focuser in the sawed-off part.

 

-drl


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#19 deSitter

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 05:04 PM

The ubiquitous Japanese equatorial mount for the better 60mm scopes, where the altitude pivot is central and the RA axis can swing through all the way vertical as in a Vixen Polaris also makes for a nice lightweight alt-az with slow mo controls.

Yes - my Monolux 4380 has such a mount, where the RA axis can swing entirely into the latitude pivot. This one, a post from Terra. I am the 2nd owner of mine. It's from 1963 or so. The hardware on that scope is fantastic. Optics too.

 

https://www.cloudyni...4380/?p=6807813

 

-drl


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#20 photiost

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 05:23 PM

For a small 60mm telescope one of my favorites is the Celestron Omni CG4 mount with dual axis drives.

 

Solid and smooth, it easily handles all my smaller instruments including the Celestron/Vixen C80 (f/11)  

 

... there is nothing like observing the Moon and Planets with a telescope that tracks !!


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#21 icomet

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 06:09 PM

That Cave is going to be perfect for a 'more portable' 60mm setup primarily targeting AltAz or EQ if it doesn't add too much weight. 

It also serves as a mount for my Model 291 Towa/Meade refractor.   grin.gif 

 

Clear Skies.

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  • Cave Astrola 1sm.jpg

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#22 grif 678

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 06:50 PM

For small 60mm scopes, and if you want something lightweight and easy to use altaz mounts, the unitron 114 and the shrine manon altaz can not be beat. That is if you want classic mounts, I love mine,  The unitron will last another 50 years if taken care of, and the shrine manon will last a long time also.

There are some newer ones that will suffice, the Vixen Porta for example, but it is not a classic like the unitron.



#23 Kasmos

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 07:06 PM

I found some better pictures.

Top is the Swift Aerolite, same thing only labeled Swift.

I sold it and missed it so much when another became available I bought it

and it's labeled C.O.C. (Carton Optical Co.)

Robert

 

attachicon.gifpost-50896-0-65622900-1585421581.jpg

attachicon.gifpost-50896-0-74987400-1585421735.jpg

Robert I have a Swift Aerolite just like that but the metal legs make it completely unusable.

At least15 seconds to settle after the slightest touch.

You didn't have those issues?



#24 AstroKerr

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 08:01 PM

It also serves as a mount for my Model 291 Towa/Meade refractor.   grin.gif 

 

Clear Skies.

just needs a carry strap, then waytogo.gif



#25 clamchip

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 09:12 PM

Robert I have a Swift Aerolite just like that but the metal legs make it completely unusable.

At least15 seconds to settle after the slightest touch.

You didn't have those issues?

No I didn't. I did spend most of the time with the Aerolite optical tube mounted on it which

is very light and I almost always used the flex control rods when observing.

I really liked the aluminum legs with their twist locks, and extremely light and portable.

 

Robert




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