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Thinking of changing mounts

EQ Refractor Visual
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#1 create133

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Posted 07 December 2023 - 01:09 PM

Hello. For sometime now I have the ST102. It's kinda a limited scope, but since I live in an apartment and rarely have opportunities to observe it's enough for me. The thing that bothers me is the stock AZ3 mount. It's definitely sturdy enough and easy to set up, but I don't find it comfortable. Pointing telescope closer to zenith with it is a pain in a certain area. The question I have is, are there more "comfortable" mounts on  a low budget (up to 300 euros)? Is it worth investing in one for such an inexpensive scope? Perhaps there are mounts that extend higher than 1,5m? All the best!



#2 Freezout

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Posted 07 December 2023 - 02:11 PM

I cannot give advice on a particular mount as I don’t have experience with refractors. It seems that a side mounted model would be the best.

What I can say is that it’s not ridiculous to mount a « beginner » telescope on a more expensive mount. The mount is crucial in observing. It might be the best upgrade to do. And even if one day you change the optics, the mount stays available.
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#3 jcj380

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Posted 07 December 2023 - 02:22 PM

SkyWatcher AZ5 or maybe a Sightron?

 

If eyepiece height is a problem, you could try a tripod that has a geared center elevator column.



#4 HansD

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Posted 07 December 2023 - 03:04 PM

One of the things that made using a refractor more comfortable for me was an adjustable chair. You can Google a DIY chair sometimes called a Denver Chair. I bought a Berlebach NIX II Observer’s Chair several years ago at OPT while they still had a showroom and before they closed for about $250. It goes down to about 6” and so it makes sitting underneath a refractor much more comfortable.
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#5 sevenofnine

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Posted 07 December 2023 - 06:43 PM

+1 on Hans' suggestion. If you don't have a good adjustable astronomy chair, it makes a huge difference. borg.gif



#6 Freezout

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Posted 08 December 2023 - 03:30 AM

A good chair is a necessity according to me, but it won't correct the deficiency of the mount. Considering today's offer in the market, the AZ3 should be limited for terrestrial use, it cannot observe at zenith. I don't have the AZ5 but I would buy something like that if I would have a small refractor to mount.



#7 dmclouse

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Posted 08 December 2023 - 06:47 PM

Get a good adjustable astronomy chair



#8 Spectrum222

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Posted 08 December 2023 - 07:19 PM

The AZ5 is a superb mount - works well with many scopes, I use quite a few of my refractors on mine:

 

This is my ST120 on the head on a Manfrotto 028 (geared column) doing daytime Jupiter observing...

 

SW120f5_daytimeJup.jpg

 

Runs like a dream - the head also has full gearing on alt-az so you can position nicely. IMO, it is one of the better light weight yet strudy AA mounts. 

 

Darren


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#9 Spectrum222

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 01:05 AM

Oh! In case anyone is wondering what that square box is off the rings, that is a digital inclinometer I modified to run on a picatinny rail system for daytime planet finding. Works awesome! smile.gif

 

Also note the use of aluminum knobs in lieu of the dangly or short stock ones. I like these better as they are secure, and run well on this mount. 

 

Darren


Edited by Spectrum222, 10 December 2023 - 01:06 AM.

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#10 jcj380

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Posted 10 December 2023 - 07:33 PM

The AZ5 is a superb mount - works well with many scopes, I use quite a few of my refractors on mine:

 

This is my ST120 on the head on a Manfrotto 028 (geared column) doing daytime Jupiter observing...

 

Runs like a dream - the head also has full gearing on alt-az so you can position nicely. IMO, it is one of the better light weight yet strudy AA mounts. 

 

Darren

waytogo.gif   Looks like my ST102 on my AZ5 / Obie tripod.  I taped a metal plate to the OTA for the Wixey gauge though.



#11 create133

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Posted 11 December 2023 - 01:37 PM

How about an EQ3-2 mount with steel legs? It's a bit more expensive, but if it's a good investment maybe it's worth it. I also saw that you can add a guide motor. Maybe anyone has experience with them? 



#12 Freezout

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Posted 11 December 2023 - 02:18 PM

How about an EQ3-2 mount with steel legs? It's a bit more expensive, but if it's a good investment maybe it's worth it. I also saw that you can add a guide motor. Maybe anyone has experience with them? 

EQ3 and AZ5 have the same load capacity according to manufacturers. To have steel legs is very relevant, tripod are often the overlooked element of the mount ! 

 

EQ helps you to keep easily the target in the center of the eyepiece. Once aligned you have to turn only one knob instead of 2 to keep the target in the field of view. And you can indeed motorize this, so that you don't even need to turn the knob. I have a motor for my EQ mount since very recently and it's very comfortable, but interesting only to observe

- at high power 

- and/or with several people coming after each other at the eyepiece

Disadvantage of EQ is that you need more time to install: align the mount with north pole, put the counterweight bar.


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#13 create133

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Posted 11 December 2023 - 03:15 PM

EQ3 and AZ5 have the same load capacity according to manufacturers. To have steel legs is very relevant, tripod are often the overlooked element of the mount ! 

 

EQ helps you to keep easily the target in the center of the eyepiece. Once aligned you have to turn only one knob instead of 2 to keep the target in the field of view. And you can indeed motorize this, so that you don't even need to turn the knob. I have a motor for my EQ mount since very recently and it's very comfortable, but interesting only to observe

- at high power 

- and/or with several people coming after each other at the eyepiece

Disadvantage of EQ is that you need more time to install: align the mount with north pole, put the counterweight bar.

I heard that the alignment doesn't take too long once you get used to it.



#14 Freezout

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Posted 11 December 2023 - 03:32 PM

I heard that the alignment doesn't take too long once you get used to it.

Indeed it’s quite fast but it’s still one more step, and you might end up sitting on the ground to polar align if you want it to be perfectly done. Also, the counterweight adds some kg to the setup.
Nothing terrible in fact, just less spontaneous than altaz. None of it should impede you from upgrading.

Edited by Freezout, 11 December 2023 - 03:32 PM.


#15 create133

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 03:49 AM

Indeed it’s quite fast but it’s still one more step, and you might end up sitting on the ground to polar align if you want it to be perfectly done. Also, the counterweight adds some kg to the setup.
Nothing terrible in fact, just less spontaneous than altaz. None of it should impede you from upgrading.

I see, thanks!



#16 Spectrum222

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Posted 12 December 2023 - 07:09 PM

I find that the simplicity of a good alt-az is hard to beat when needing a quick setup to grab some quality views when sky-time is sometimes at a premium...

 

Not having to even worry about where Polaris is tends to be great, one can even tuck away to block ambient light - and don't forget DAYTIME: I can setup and be viewing the Sun, Moon, or daylight planets very quickly without any alignment worries. The gearing on the head also makes star-hopping a dream to do. 

 

Darren


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#17 richardr

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Posted 13 December 2023 - 05:04 PM

I would suggest the good chair or get rid of it and get a 6" f8 dobsonian.  The 6" dob is apparently perfect for sitting. You can also try the 8" f6 but, it will be heavier. 




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