I've had two test nights with my new-to-me EQ platform.
I think it's a winner for me. Even with a rough polar alignment, it keeps Saturn in the 330x 0.23 degree fov for several minutes. I'm still learning how to optimize my setup, but the platform is ridiculously easy to use. You simply point it the right way, turn it on, and forget about it for an hour. Tom has been fantastic by providing me with an owners manual and some general advise. He doesn't have to do this for someone who bought a 15+ year old product, but he does.
It was almost unnerving at first to not push the telescope as I'm observing an object. I didn't know what to do with my arm! I have quickly gotten comfortable though. You simply forget about maintaining the fov, and you can really focus on the fine details. Changing eyepieces or filters is a breeze when you know the fov isn't going anywhere.
I was worried about the extra eyepiece height, but it's actually made the 15" easier to use in some regards. I was already on a stool near the zenith, but my legs were bent slightly. On the platform, the entire sky is done standing, and I never have to bend. The eyepiece height isn't that much taller either.
I think the platform will be used most nights with the 15". I can't wait for a proper DSO hunt in the coming weeks. Under a bright moon and milky skies, the Saturn Nebula was incredible with the platform. I can't wait to put a bright galaxy in the fov and really study it, free from the distractions of pushing. On a short night with the 8", I can probably skip the platform.
This platform seems like a real game changer, and I say this as someone who doesn't mind manual tracking.
Edited by Alex Swartzinski, 03 October 2023 - 01:33 PM.