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Mount / Tripod for Takahashi TSA-120

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#1 HizerKite

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 03:30 PM

Hi all

 

as per the title, I'm looking for a mounting and tripod that will easilly support a Takahashi TSA-120

 

I don't need tracking or anything elaborate as the scope is going to be used for visits to my local obvservatory nights and as a 'grab and go'.

 

The scope I'm buying comes with a Takahashi clamshell holder but I'm not sure what fitment it has.

 

It's not a heavy scope (around 7 KG) I believe.

 

Appreciate any help as always

 

Richard



#2 weis14

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 03:43 PM

A high end scope like that deserves what I think is the best alt-az mount currently available, the Rowan AZ100. 

 

The AZ100 can easily handle the TSA-120 (I use mine with a CFF160) and probably won't need counterweights if you get a substantial tripod.  The machining and quality are top notch and the mount has slow motion controls as well as a clutch allowing seamless transitions from push-to to slow motion controls for tracking.  It can also be fitted with factory encoders if you want and a tracking/goto option is in development.  

 

I put my AZ100 on a Berlebach Planet, but a T-Pod or other high end tripod would also work.  

 

A few other options exist, like the DiscMounts DM-6.  Having owned both a DM-6 and an AZ100, the AZ100 is superior in almost every way, except that it is a bit heavier.  You could also look for a Half Hitch FTX on the used market (probably my favorite mount of all time for a 120-140mm scope) but they have been out of production for a while and don't come up for sale very often.   


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#3 HizerKite

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 04:26 PM

A high end scope like that deserves what I think is the best alt-az mount currently available, the Rowan AZ100. 

 

The AZ100 can easily handle the TSA-120 (I use mine with a CFF160) and probably won't need counterweights if you get a substantial tripod.  The machining and quality are top notch and the mount has slow motion controls as well as a clutch allowing seamless transitions from push-to to slow motion controls for tracking.  It can also be fitted with factory encoders if you want and a tracking/goto option is in development.  

 

I put my AZ100 on a Berlebach Planet, but a T-Pod or other high end tripod would also work.  

 

A few other options exist, like the DiscMounts DM-6.  Having owned both a DM-6 and an AZ100, the AZ100 is superior in almost every way, except that it is a bit heavier.  You could also look for a Half Hitch FTX on the used market (probably my favorite mount of all time for a 120-140mm scope) but they have been out of production for a while and don't come up for sale very often.   

Hi Ryan and many thanks for the reply.  I'm really looking for a cheap and cheerful option (just a manual mount) as the scope will just be for occasional use at my local observatory and for 'grab and go' use.  My main scope and mount are much too heavy (over 92 kg) to move to other locations so am looking for an easier option.

 

Regards

Richard


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#4 25585

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 04:32 PM

A high end scope like that deserves what I think is the best alt-az mount currently available, the Rowan AZ100. 

 

The AZ100 can easily handle the TSA-120 (I use mine with a CFF160) and probably won't need counterweights if you get a substantial tripod.  The machining and quality are top notch and the mount has slow motion controls as well as a clutch allowing seamless transitions from push-to to slow motion controls for tracking.  It can also be fitted with factory encoders if you want and a tracking/goto option is in development.  

 

I put my AZ100 on a Berlebach Planet, but a T-Pod or other high end tripod would also work.  

 

A few other options exist, like the DiscMounts DM-6.  Having owned both a DM-6 and an AZ100, the AZ100 is superior in almost every way, except that it is a bit heavier.  You could also look for a Half Hitch FTX on the used market (probably my favorite mount of all time for a 120-140mm scope) but they have been out of production for a while and don't come up for sale very often.   

waytogo.gif I bought an AZ100 for my 120, Planet tripod too now, no more wobbles. 


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#5 astrophile

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 05:20 PM

Richard: What do you mean by “easily support”? Is it, “not in danger of mount breaking or tripod collapsing under this scope” or is it “solid and steady viewing, even while focusing”? If simply the former, you have some “cheap and cheerful” options, I’d name the Stellarvue M2 on a wood surveyor’s tripod among them. If closer to the latter, you’ve outsized and outclassed the “cheap” mounting spec with this telescope. “Solid and cheerful” would be an aforementioned secondhand FTX on something like an Avalon TPod 110. You might be able to get away with a DM4… the DM6 is a wonderful mount but a boat anchor weight-wise and overkill for the TSA…IMHO
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#6 Heywood

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 06:31 PM

Hi all

 

as per the title, I'm looking for a mounting and tripod that will easilly support a Takahashi TSA-120

 

I don't need tracking or anything elaborate as the scope is going to be used for visits to my local obvservatory nights and as a 'grab and go'.

 

The scope I'm buying comes with a Takahashi clamshell holder but I'm not sure what fitment it has.

 

It's not a heavy scope (around 7 KG) I believe.

 

Appreciate any help as always

 

Richard

 

I would get a Losmandy GM8.


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#7 betacygni

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 06:45 PM

As mentioned above the AZ100 is ideal (and where I’m at with my TSA-120 now), but an option more in line with what you’re after would be the Stellarvue M2C. However, it’s going to need a sturdy tripod. Ideally a planet or t-pod 110/130, though you might be able to get away with the stock steel tripod, might be iffy though. The head itself can handle the tak for sure, just be prepared to throw some money at a good tripod. I wouldn’t do any lighter weight mount than the Stellarvue.
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#8 weis14

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 07:52 PM

I had a M2C for a while and I think it might work if you get the balance just right, but I never would have mounted my AP130GTX on it, which isn't that much bigger than a TSA120 appears to be (the 130GTX actually has a shorter focal length).  It would probably be adequate for low to medium powers, but I doubt it would work well at high power due to vibration.  Changing eyepieces with that much weight up front would also be a challenge, no matter how much tension you put on the altitude axis.  I'd have similar concerns about using a DM-4, it too is going to be at its limit with the TSA, but its design means it might handle eyepiece changes better.

 

Since the TSA can take high magnification with ease, I'd want a sturdy mount with slow-motion controls or very smooth movements.  Hence the recommendation for the AZ100 or used FTX, probably on a T-Pod or similar to minimize weight.  I'm sure there other mounts out there too, but I'm sticking to ones I've actually used.  

 

Like others have said, I think the cheaper class of mounts aren't going to be an option if you want to maximize utility with this scope.  The M2C and other mounts like it were designed for smaller instruments, even if their specs indicate that they can theoretically hold the TSA.


Edited by weis14, 28 June 2022 - 07:55 PM.

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#9 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 09:36 PM

I have a TSA-120 and have both the AZ100 and the M2C mounts, both equipped with encoders and sharing the same Nexus DSC. I will highly recommend using the AZ100 with the Tak if your budget allows it (below is my visual setup that I posted before in similar threads; the tripod is a Berlebach Planet, the single clamp is enough) for several reasons:

  • slow-motion controls:
    • I would not want to move the scope minutely, at high-power, without it. The moon looks amazing at high power through the Tak and using the slow-motion controls to track it is automatic and painless.
    • The same when aligning. The controls allow me to position the star precisely in the center of the reticle eyepiece.
  • M2C has clutches only. AZ100 has:
    • clutches
    • friction damping adjusters to add "additional friction to the slow-motion controls only to aid a smoother movement with large or long telescopes" (quote from the manual).
    • an altitude lock, necessary when changing eyepieces. 
  • higher build quality. With the M2C, increasing the friction of the altitude clutch may shift the position slightly. The AZ100 stays unmoved when I operate any of the knobs.
  • option to install a second telescope in parallel (fancy a Mewlon? :-)
  • note that there is no need for a counterweight with a stable tripod. The AZ100 doesn't need it and as long as the tripod is solid, it's bliss. 

The above is not a critique of M2C, I'm happy with it, particularly at its price point and I use it with my 80mm refractor, but rather a reflection of different prices and build quality. One of the best advices I read somewhere regarding expensive equipment is to divide the price by the years of usage. 

 

I came to see the combination of Planet + AZ100 + Tak as an almost grab-and-go. The setup takes so little time (a few minutes) that it's immaterial compared to a session. For me, this is a more useful definition than the literal grab-and-go. Locking the AZ100 on the tripod is a single knob so affixing it to the tripod is done in, say, 30 seconds. It doesn't matter that I don't carry the mount on the tripod.

 

Hope this helps,

Razvan

t.jpg


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#10 Phil Cowell

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Posted 28 June 2022 - 09:49 PM

OP states he doesn’t need tracking.

I would get a Losmandy GM8.



#11 HizerKite

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 12:51 AM

Many thanks for all the replies. You've all gone to a lot of trouble and I really appreciate your time.

I was hoping for a very simple and basic option.

The scope and mount is going to get bashed around a bit as will be putting in my car so not looking to spend much.

I'm buying the actual scope used and for a very good price so won't be a massive investment.

One of the members of the astronomy club I'll be using the scope at has a Televue on a very cheap vixen mount with no tracking and fully manual.

I believe he paid around £50 (gbp) for it used and am hoping to get something similar.

Regards
Richard
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#12 pejorde

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 02:19 AM

Here you go:

 

FS-102_Berry_mnt2.jpg

 

Some assembly required...

 

(Based on Richard Berry's design.)

 

Per Erik



#13 Highburymark

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 04:07 AM

I use a cheapish Skytee 2 as my manual mount - handles the TSA-120 beautifully, with slo-mo controls. It’s on a Gitzo 5-series carbon fibre camera tripod, which has a payload of 40kg, very light and strong. 



#14 HizerKite

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 04:20 AM

I use a cheapish Skytee 2 as my manual mount - handles the TSA-120 beautifully, with slo-mo controls. It’s on a Gitzo 5-series carbon fibre camera tripod, which has a payload of 40kg, very light and strong. 

I'm now looking at a Rowan AZ75, although not quite a cheap option, it looks to be the best value I'm going to get.  I also have a Gitzo GT5541 tripod which I think can take 25KG so should work well :)


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#15 25585

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 05:46 AM

As mentioned above the AZ100 is ideal (and where I’m at with my TSA-120 now), but an option more in line with what you’re after would be the Stellarvue M2C. However, it’s going to need a sturdy tripod. Ideally a planet or t-pod 110/130, though you might be able to get away with the stock steel tripod, might be iffy though. The head itself can handle the tak for sure, just be prepared to throw some money at a good tripod. I wouldn’t do any lighter weight mount than the Stellarvue.

An EQ6 tripod for an AZ100 would be fine, I'm using one when outside is too muddy to risk messing the Planet.

 

To the OP, a TSA-120 is a high quality top shelf telescope, a work of craftsmanship. It is light for a triplet, but is not your mass-produced ED doublet and so needs to have respect for mount & hardware & tripod strength and quality choice. I have a very good 120 ED doublet, a keeper, but having a TSA as well I felt required warranted upgrading mount and tripod to be safe.    


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#16 Heywood

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 07:34 AM

OP states he doesn’t need tracking.

He may not need it, but he may later want it, especially if he uses high magnification.  The GM8 mount is well-made, easy to use, and light-weight.  And not too expensive.



#17 sabir

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 02:37 PM

I have my TSA-120 mounted on a DM4 and a UNI28 Tripod.

 

The combination works extremely well with good settling times even at 200X. I also face no balancing issues while changing eyepieces and my eyepieces range from heavy Ethos to tiny orthos. 

 

Hope this helps smile.gif

 

Sabir


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#18 JeremySh

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 02:46 PM

An EQ6 tripod for an AZ100 would be fine, I'm using one when outside is too muddy to risk messing the Planet.

 

 

A damp cloth on the tripod will see you right, Richard. You’ve invested in a fine tripod: now enjoy it and don’t fret so much.


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#19 ichdien

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 05:51 PM

This?  http://www.aokswiss....gi/ayodigi.html

 

I use its smaller brother on a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod for a 92mm refractor.  Works quite well.  Simple, well-designed, reasonably priced,



#20 Phil Cowell

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 06:36 PM

Then using that logic he might as well get an Astro-Physics Mach 2 mount and go right to premium. That wouldn’t meet the OP’s requirements either.

 

He may not need it, but he may later want it, especially if he uses high magnification.  The GM8 mount is well-made, easy to use, and light-weight.  And not too expensive.


Edited by Phil Cowell, 29 June 2022 - 06:46 PM.


#21 HizerKite

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 09:35 PM

Many thanks to everyone for all the replies (so many of you have helped)

Really appreciated
Regards
Richard
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#22 Orion68

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Posted 30 June 2022 - 06:00 PM

I use the Losmandy AZ8, which works fine. It helps to have a counterweight or another scope for the best balance.

 

The only issue for me is the TSA-120 is front heavy. When pointed at the zenith, I'm reaching up as far as I can to use the slow-motion controls and still keep my eye on the eyepiece. The Rowan with slow motion cables looks like a better option.

 

Good luck.


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#23 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 30 June 2022 - 06:26 PM

Oh, that's easy to fix: a 2" diagonal and a wide field Televue eyepiece will balance the scope in no time wink.gif

 

The only issue for me is the TSA-120 is front heavy.

 



#24 Phil Cowell

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Posted 30 June 2022 - 06:44 PM

The Rowen AZ100 is well up to the job. The DM6 is an outstanding mount. Both would hit your requirements listed. 


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#25 25585

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Posted 01 July 2022 - 01:14 PM

Oh, that's easy to fix: a 2" diagonal and a wide field Televue eyepiece will balance the scope in no time wink.gif

My ES92s no problem.




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