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Have I set up my mounts backward?

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21 replies to this topic

#1 Michael Covington

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 04:00 PM

OK, let me preface this by saying it's not a beginner's question.  I'm not having any trouble using my two GEMs.  I've used many different telescope mounts over my 50+ years in the hobby.  But...

When I got a GEM 8 years ago, the first GEM in some years, I put it on the tripod so that one leg would point away from the pole (due south) and the other two are roughly northeast and northwest.   Since then I've set up other GEMs the same way, without thinking about it.

 

I've just noticed that (judging from the pictures in the ads) most people do the opposite -- their mounts have one leg pointing toward the pole (north) and the other two roughly southeast and southwest.  

 

And then I remembered that back in the 1980s, I built a couple of tripods that way, for SCTs on wedges... 

 

Which is better?  If I have one leg pointing north, maybe I have more room when I stand northeast or northwest of the telescope to observe through it.  Should I go outside and turn both of my mounts around on their tripods?

Which way is yours set up?

 


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#2 Tom M

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 04:05 PM

I point the one leg to the pole as that helps prevent the mount from tipping over when the counterweights are in place but the OTA isn't.


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#3 Cometeer

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 04:07 PM

Depends on your mount and latitude. If your setup is north heavy, then leg pointing north. If south heavy, then leg pointing south. Doesn’t matter what others do as long as you follow this logic. Minimizes the chance of your tripod tipping over. 
 

An exception would be for those near the equator and risk their cw shaft hitting the north facing leg. 


Edited by Cometeer, 14 May 2022 - 04:08 PM.

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#4 John Miele

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 04:17 PM

I always have one leg pointing North. Just seemed more stable that way but don't really know for sure if it makes a difference.


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#5 AtlantaAstro

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 04:18 PM

I have my leg facing north. It helps with polar alignment when my tripod is short. When it’s the other way around it’s hard for me to squat in front low to see through the polar scope. When the two legs are in the back it’s way easier. Plus the weight from the counterweights at home position is heaviest there.


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#6 Michael Covington

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 04:21 PM

I think I'm outnumbered enough that I'm going to go turn my mounts around!


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#7 ram812

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 05:12 PM

My CGEM is loaded to 40lbs. and has a "Stop bolt" in the north face that once the altitude adjustment is set, I turn it so it works as designed, to prevent the mount from tipping forward either during use or during setup/take down. It tells you in the manual how to use this feature so with great confidence I load/unload my XT10 and counterweights without having to worry about tipping😯. So I position 2 legs to the north, one south, so that "Middle leg" isn't a trip hazard when negotiating in the dark. But alas, we all do things differently for different reasons😁!

CS, RAM

I had to change latitude to altitude...I'm half asleep already☺😯

Edited by ram812, 14 May 2022 - 08:25 PM.

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#8 Sketcher

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 05:17 PM

The tripod for the EQ head for my 5-inch refractor has an "N" (I'm thinking it probably doesn't stand for "South"smile.gif ) atop one of the legs.  So that mount is set up with one leg on the North side.

 

The tripod and EQ mount for my 6-inch refractor (basically a clone of the 5-incher's mount) has no "N" or "S" on anything; but I use it the same way I use the 5-inch.  If I recall correctly, there's a short post under the EQ head, by one tripod leg for fine adjustments to the EQ mount head's azimuth alignment.  The head's azimuth adjustment screws are on the north side of the EQ head.  So . . . one leg points North -- again.

 

But I also have a smaller EQ tripod and mount for my ST-80.  This one gets set up with one leg pointed South.  If I recall correctly, I once tried going with one leg pointed North; but encountered complications when it came to collapsing the tripod and fitting the mount/tripod combination in its case.  So I went back to one South leg for that one.

 

For my personal comfort while observing, I prefer having one North leg; but that preference might mostly be due to what I've become accustomed to with the mounts for my larger refractors.

 

Whatever works for a person is the right way! smile.gif


Edited by Sketcher, 14 May 2022 - 05:19 PM.

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#9 lphilpot

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 05:54 PM

FWIW, my old LXD75's tripod cap was keyed so that to get the mount facing north, one leg faced north.


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#10 F.Meiresonne

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 06:34 PM

My Berlebach has a leg pointing north. The sadle plate has even a mark from the factory pointing north...

 

And i put my smaller 2" tripod for my IEQ30 pro the same way....


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#11 terrypaula

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 06:50 PM

I believe it's either by necessity or preference.  But I have 2 mounts one points north the other points south.  They perform the same either way for me.


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#12 whwang

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 07:23 PM

For most gem mounts, the center of mass of mount+scope+counterweights falls north to the tripod center. In such cases, it makes more sense pointing one leg north.
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#13 c131frdave

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 07:32 PM

I don't think the bolts line up unless the leg is pointing north on my mount.  I know the Takahashi mount I owned had a big lug sticking up that forced you to have the leg pointing north because it had a high capacity.  You usually install the counterweights before you attach the telescope, so the leg was there (I assume) to keep it from tipping over with 40 pounds of counterweight and no scope.  That's my theory, not a fact, but was what I always assumed.


Edited by c131frdave, 14 May 2022 - 07:34 PM.

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#14 ram812

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 08:27 PM

Yep, the Celestron align post under the mount head can be put "One leg forward or one leg back"... square dance anyone😁? Not aware of a north mark, though.

RAM

Edited by ram812, 14 May 2022 - 08:28 PM.


#15 bobharmony

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 10:16 PM

When I first started doing AP with the ASGT I had an issue with the OTA striking that north leg when imaging something (M57, maybe) just south of the zenith as it crossed the meridian.  Before I went out again I moved the azimuth adjustment post to the other side of the tripod head and have been setting up with one leg pointing South ever since.

 

I take care each time out to install the OTA immediately after the counterweights go on, and when I break down I reverse the order for disassembly.  Once both pieces are on the mount it is very stable so I have never changed back.  Now I do automated flips and don't have to work to avoid tripod strikes, but have not bothered to switch back to a leg pointing North.

 

Bob



#16 ChrisWhite

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Posted 14 May 2022 - 10:30 PM

I setup so that one leg is pointing towards the pole... although I could probably go 50 years doing the same thing and not know why.  I dont know why I set it up this way....

 

EDIT-  No wait, I do.  Its from when I used to do wildlife photography. I always set up my tripod so I could stand in between two legs instead of straddling one.


Edited by ChrisWhite, 14 May 2022 - 10:31 PM.


#17 Michael Covington

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 08:19 AM

I setup so that one leg is pointing towards the pole... although I could probably go 50 years doing the same thing and not know why.  I dont know why I set it up this way....

 

EDIT-  No wait, I do.  Its from when I used to do wildlife photography. I always set up my tripod so I could stand in between two legs instead of straddling one.

Except that when looking through the telescope, you're usually observing things away from the pole, so standing on the pole side of the tripod.

In that situation you have only one leg to dodge instead of two, and I think that's better.



#18 ChrisWhite

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 09:04 AM

Except that when looking through the telescope, you're usually observing things away from the pole, so standing on the pole side of the tripod.

In that situation you have only one leg to dodge instead of two, and I think that's better.

I wouldn't know!  I don't own a diagonal!  flowerred.gif



#19 arbit

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 08:59 PM

Single leg North seems to be the default for higher latitudes.

In low latitudes like mine, both CEM and GEM have to be single leg south, else the CW hits the leg.

Mechanically, both work, and there doesn't seem to be any difference for imaging at least. Novodea if one is more comfortable for visual. I suppose it would depend on the coordinates being observed plus the specific geometry of the scope / mount.

Sent from my SM-S908E using Tapatalk
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#20 Michael Covington

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Posted 15 May 2022 - 09:12 PM

What is your latitude?   There is no information about your location in your profile.



#21 arbit

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Posted 16 May 2022 - 01:01 AM

What is your latitude?   There is no information about your location in your profile.

12 North.



#22 Mike Spooner

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Posted 16 May 2022 - 10:21 AM

Except that when looking through the telescope, you're usually observing things away from the pole, so standing on the pole side of the tripod.

In that situation you have only one leg to dodge instead of two, and I think that's better.

Michael,

 

With my latitude and interests in planetary observing I have the tripod or portable pier with one leg pointed north as the the other legs or turnbuckles could interfere with the bottom of my Newtonian tubes during high altitude tracking if oriented differently. But it also means that tracking deep sky objects closer to the pole can have interference but that’s basically one priority I have concerning one type of observing. A little glow tape or some LEDs can help locate trip hazards but it is certainly advisable to avoid panic moves in the dark. 

I'm currently trying to determine the best spot on my property to build a permanent pier address the interference issues.

 

Mike Spooner




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