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  1. Stub Mandrel

    Tripod Tweak

    From the album: My Gear

    Simple modification to NEQ3 tripod to reduce flex
  2. Needed a tripod so have gone for the sturdy horizon 8115 ,takes my 20x80 binos a treat extends a good length no stooping required , has a quick release plate so can leave set up to the binos will get another plate for my camera,legs are lock and twist type, overall quality look good for price coming in at £80
  3. Hey everyone, I'm new to visual astronomy and I have an Astromaster 130EQ by Celestron. I have a problem with my tripod. It is the standard stainless steel tripod which comes with the telescope. I am having issues with leveling it as it bends as soon as the weight of the counterweights, mount and optic tube is put. Please help me.
  4. Hi, I've tried to research this, but really struggled because of the amount of choice available in that area. We're looking for a really good tripod to use for imaging with a Canon 5D mark iv, Skywatcher Adventurer and a series of DSLR lenses from 12mm to 200mm focal length. We might be tempted going for a heavier scope later on depending on the success we get with our current equipment, so it's worth bearing that in mind regarding upgradability. We are going to travel to Abisko by plane and we are going to carry the kit around while trekking (hence the Adventurer rather than a full size mount), so weight is important but we're not necessarily looking for the lightest tripod: something around 10kg or more would definitely be too heavy, but something around 3kg would still be acceptable, although lighter is better. However stability is really the most important feature we're looking for. Subjectively, I'm quite keen on a spread stopper because I think it would make the structure more sturdy, but if a tripod is renowned for being stiff and sturdy without a spread stopper, then that's probably good enough. I'm also quite keen on being able to fit a levelling bowl such as Manfrotto 500BALL 100mm Bowl with Knob in order to be able to use a large round spirit level for easier and more accurate levelling, as I want the polar alignment to be as good as possible in order to attempt imaging with lenses of 200mm and maybe a little bit more. Because of this and in order to minimise flex, I would prefer a tripod that can house a levelling bowl directly instead of a standard tripod with a central column to which a levelling head would have to be attached. The logic I have there is that I think it makes sense to minimise the number elements and connections as they introduce flex. Budget wise, we're not made of money but we'll get what we need to get: we don't want the tripod to be the weakest link. While we're at it, advice on a good tripod head (between the Adventurer and camera, e.g. for time lapses) would also be appreciated. I've read that a geared head was probably the best option there (again, we favour stability over anything else). Thanks in advance
  5. Hi, i just bought a skywatcher mak 127, when arrived i only realise i bought the OTA without mount. so i ordered az gti mount, because of covid 19 lockdown in my country they can only deliver after the lockdown period. my question is can i use mak 127 on a camera tripod temporarily? i had this https://www.samurai-...samurai-pro-888. it show can support 5kg max.
  6. Is there a tripod extension tube that works on the SW EQ5/HEQ5 tripod and is shorter than 40cm/16" (the length of the stock SW tube)?
  7. Well folks i ordered this on Monday Evening after reading on the forum about someone ordering a pistol grip for their tripod and it arrived today https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00CF1LS94/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I am well chuffed with it very stable if a tad on heavy side but that will help keep it rigid so old tripod will get put away in cupboard , given away or charity shop So all i need now is Steve Tonkins Binocular Astronomy book to arrive and the clouds to go away and i am all set lol
  8. Hi All After much research, primarily on this site and The Binocular Sky, I got hold of the above binoculars. I spent ages writing a review specifically for this site of what I found, as a thanks for all the advice I had received. By the power of idiocy I then managed to post it on Cloudy Nights instead (I had both open in my browser). Too much Christmas port I guess Anyway, too late to take it down as some have already replied and I guess I shouldn't post the same thing on two sites so here is a link to my review on completely the wrong site No offence at all to Cloudy Nights but I wrote it with the Stargazers Lounge audience in mind and it may make less sense on a US site. Comparison of Pentax SP 50 WP 10x50 and Nikon Action EX 10x50 CF
  9. Hi everyone, I've been looking for a grab and go mount. This will ideally be for both observing at home (when I can't be bothered aligning an EQ Goto) as well as for holidays in the UK (Cornwall mostly), where we'll be driving but boot space will be limited due to other luggage. This means I am not constrained to airline weight limits, but I do need to keep the size down. My ED80/Manfrotto/Redsnapper is a perfect air travel set, but obviously who wouldn't take a bit more aperture than 80mm for visual where possible. I decided that this means on an Alt-Az with no Go-to. Besides, I miss star-hopping. I put serious thought into getting a shorter scope for travelling to go with a smaller mount (e.g. ST102 & AZ3, or ST120 & AZ4), but ideally this new mount would be for use with my existing scopes - ES ED80 (F6, 4.5kg), ES ED127 (F7.5, 8.5kg), C9.25, 11kg (weights include accessories). After several evenings research and consulting Oracle Stu (aka Big Sumerian), I've decided to go a different route from buying a new scope and mount - stick with the existing scopes and buy a more portable mount. In conclusion I've ordered the Ercole Giro mount. This can carry two OTAs side by side, up to 15kgs each (or 18kgs, depending on which website you read)! Alternatively it can mount an OTA of up to 10Kgs without a second scope or counterweight. Miraculously, the mount is less than 4kgs and is not as bulky as an EQ, particularly as it is a fairly flat shape in comparison. This means I can mount the ED80 as a 4 degree finderscope/widefield scope alongside the ED127 (this pair is as much as I can pack for holiday - if I am lucky), or at home I can mount the ED127 alongside the C9.25 which will give me a combination of fields as wide as 2.22 degrees on the ED127 with magnifications as high as x600 (yes I know that's unusable - mostly ;)) on the C9.25. In each case the pair of scopes counterbalance each other removing any need for counterweights. The ED80 or even the ED127 could each be mounted solo without a counterweight. A question for anyone that owns an Ercole: what is the diameter of the base? I am planning on using it on the tripod from my AVX mount (2" steel tubular legs). I do know that the thread size matches - 3/8" on both units. This tripod has a wide base but there is a hole in the middle which is 60mm wide. Will it sit astride this? I know people have mounted the Ercole on a CG5 tripod without issue, but I'm not at all sure that the AVX tripod is identical. Any help appreciated!
  10. Thought this might be of interest made binocular tripod modification to use my25x100 celestrons. The original tripod was redundent so added £30 of steel and bits and it works well. Bit of refining but may be later!
  11. Hi there, I'm looking for an extension tube to put on top of my Tripod. It's an AVX Tripod, but I won't be using it with an AVX head; it'll be used with a Giro Ercole mount. Both the Tripod and the Ercole Mount have 3/8" threads on the connector. I know it's difficult to get an extension to which the AVX mount itself will fit, because it requires a North peg in a different location from the usual Skywatcher types, but that's not an issue here as I'm attaching a Giro mount, which as far as I can tell does not require a North peg, but tell me if I'm wrong. All I really need is an extension which will physically fit on the AVX Tripod, not the AVX mount. Any ideas?
  12. I'm looking at upgrading my manfrotto tripod to something far sturdier and taller. I'm 6f3" so ideally having a tall tripod makes life easier as long as it doesn't get blown about by the wind. I've heard the eq6 is a good shout but perhaps a little on the short side, but or the manfrotto 055 potentially still wobbly, or vixen porta ii. I'd like to spend less than £60, but is that realistic? What do you use or recommend? Thanks Leon
  13. Hey guys. Looking for advise from any one who has a horizon 8115 heavy duty tripod. It's fantastic for my 15 x 70 Helios apollo, I'm seriously looking to get the 28 x 110s but as they are very expensive I don't really want to be spending more cash on another tripod. Would they be ok to hold the bigger bins. Cheers and TIA
  14. Hey, I've been looking for a mount for my 8 inch skywatcher reflector for a while now and can't decide what mount to buy. The requirements i am looking for are the following: Goto system or synscan 10+ kg weight capacity Tripod My budget is around £500. I was wondering if anyone could suggest some good mounts or point me into the right direction. My goal is to get better at astrophotography, my previous mount was a dobson mount ( which came with the scope ) but does not have any features to track objects which doesn't help when doing astrophotography. Tnanks
  15. I have used my Star Adventurer for a while now and is very satisfaid with it. But it could be improved and I have installed an angled viewfinder to the polar telescope, rebuilt the wedge, etc. But there is also the tripod, the one I have now is stable but very big, nothing that I could take with me when traveling. All photagraphy tripods I have looked at that is maximum 0.5 meter long folded look a bit weak or are very expensive. Now I have bought an used Manfrotto model 144, very stable but too long folded. This weekend I cut off the legs to make it shorter. I don't need very high tripod now when using the angled viewfinder. Here is my tripod project: http://www.astrofriend.eu/astronomy/projects/project-star-adventurer-tripod/01-project-star-adventurer-tripod.html /Lars
  16. Hello guys, Which tripod would you recommend for a Mesu 200? I'm considering the two below options: Losmandy folding HD tripod or Altair Starbase I'm looking for maximum stability for my mobile setup, and of course it doesn't harm if it is quick to set up and looks great. Also the Berlebach Planet comes to mind, but I prefer a metal tripod. Clear skies, Heine Wieben
  17. I saw a suggestion somewhere (possibly in SGL) to attach lights to your tripod legs (dark-adaption-friendly ones, of course). The idea being to avoid accidental collisions, especially at star parties or outreach events. We experience this quite regularly at home too, so I decided it was worth pursuing (and also, as users of go-to functionality, I’m getting tired of repeating alignment operations throughout the evening). The very simple idea was a (removable) clip for each leg, each with an LED. I briefly considered a self-contained battery to power each, but decided that charging them was too much hassle (and I also doubted finding LEDs that would operate at such low voltage). Instead, they would be fed from the USB port on the power supply I previously rigged up. I thought the LEDs would be more noticeable if flashing, and found these. My SkyWatcher 150i tripod has 1.25” upper legs and 1” lower. Since collisions are most likely with the lower legs, it was that diameter I worked with. I looked for plastic pipe clips of this size (the most common ones are 15mm and 22mm used for plumbing) and found these. They have a hole for a fixing screw that can be used to hold an LED, and they have a hinged collar for holding the tube, which preserves a gap that allows electrical connections to pass. The screw hole in the clip was wide enough to admit the LED body but not the rim. To allow the LED to protrude from the clip I drilled out the holes a little wider, and about 2/3 of the distance through the clip. The LED could then be pushed through until the rim engaged, and the terminal leads were bent into a succession of right angles to guide them to the top of the clip. I found some twin speaker wire in my junk box, and soldered lengths to each LED’s terminals. The clips have a channel along the edge to allow them to be ganged together. I opened them out with a needle file so that the speaker wire was a tight fit when pressed in – this was for strain relief. I covered over the soldered joints with some scrap plastic strip, screwed into the clip, and pushed some Araldite into the hole and around the exposed metal, to prevent shorting: These LEDs seem to work on 5.1V without needing a series resistor, so I twisted the positive and negative ends of the three speaker cables to run directly in parallel. I cannibalised a USB cable for its male socket, and soldered it (with a bit of its flex) to the speaker wires. The USB wires were quite flimsy, so I reinforceded the joint by gluing, sliding over some bits of thin plastic tubing and wrapping with duct tape. The clips are a very tight fit onto the tripod legs; with hindsight I’d try to find some slightly larger. I’d planned on adding and removing them as needed, but decided to leave them permanently attached: Total cost: £8.39
  18. hi all, thought I'd share a wide field of mine captured on Saturday night (13 Oct) It's another Cassiopeia widefield - is it me or are there loads of us imaging this constellation recently? Shot with my Sony Alpha 200, Sigma 28-70mm F2.8 lens @ 50mm wide open, ISO 800. IIRC it's total of 65 x 20 second lights, 60x 20sec darks and 20x 1/4000sec bias all stacked with DSS and post-processed in PhotoShop CS4. Solved by Astrometry with the following details: (RA, Dec) center:(19.3779150171, 61.1835725999) degrees (RA, Dec) center (H:M:S, D:M:S):(01:17:30.700, +61:11:0.861) Orientation:158.33 deg E of N Pixel scale:44.52 arcsec/pixel Parity:Reverse ("Left-handed") Field size :25.33 x 16.30 degrees Your field contains: The star Caph (bCas) The star Schedar (aCas) The star γCas The star Ruchbah (δCas) The star Navi (εCas) The star ηCas The star ζCas The star ηPer The star κCas The star θCas NGC 129 NGC 281 NGC 869 / Double cluster NGC 884 / Double cluster NGC 896 IC 1795 IC 1805 NGC 1027 IC 1848 Here's the annotated version: and the un-annotated version for the purists: If you think there's more data to pull out, or would like to have a go, I have the raw TIFF file saved from DSS uploaded to my DropBox and can post a link if you want to have a go with it.
  19. Hi, I was wondering if anyone could gave any advice on a good tripod for some bins? I am getting 15x70 or 20x80 bins and need a decent tripod, one that is quite tall so i dont have to bend to much when looking up into the sky. Thanks in advance.
  20. Hi all, after the long wait and many questions needed answering, my new scope from flo should be arriving tomorrow . However there is one thing I am concerned about and that’s the tripod for the az pronto . I haven’t seen any reviews on this mount apart from the first impressions thread on here that one of the mods posted. The max weight stated on FLO for this is 3.8kg which isn’t a lot at all. And I don’t know how much the 130ps weighs as I can’t seem to find a weight for it and I’m sure with the finder scope and eyepieces on top I’m probably near the limit or over it. Do you think I should get a better tripod for this mount ? And if you do what would you recommend I would like to keep the tripod light weight still like the one it comes with but obviously with a bit more payload capacity as I’m worried the vibrations maybe too much. Many Thanks Edit: the actual payload capacity is 3kg and the overal weight with scope is 6.8kg..
  21. ...is neat but can take some improvements. Here's how: Safety first! So, to prevent breakage I limit the bottom knob's range, or someone unaware of its lacking design can tighten it too hard, and break the plastic clamp. Nearly happened when a friend turned that knob real hard, thinking he was making the mount more stable for photo, but the clamp couldn't split thanks to the washers that stop the knob before it causes damage. An undersize O-ring keeps the washers in place in case you remove the knob, they won't get lost. Next fault in design, there's a 2mm gap on each side of the spreaders. I fill it with washers and/or O-rings. Two washers are tricky to insert, better superglue them together to form a single thick one. Next large play and ungainly fit: the central aluminum stud plays between the others: Filing the plastic inserts to bring the outside tubes close to the central one: And the result: The three tubes now clamp together over their whole length, better stability, better looks, and improved feel. These tripods are too lightweight even for my 80mm achro; to make the complete scope assembly heavier with a lower center of mass, filling the tubes with aquarium (clean) gravel is an easy and invisible solution: Some fill it with cement, which is even heavier because it leaves no empty space between the stones but I prefer reversible mods. Inside the clamp there is a rib that's supposed to guide or support the central tube but it doesn't even touch it, so I remove it with a file (masking tape protects the aluminum): Instead ot the useless rib I stick two felt pads that press hard against the tube, making its motion silent and way more controlled. Since it is now much heavier, sliding free and bumping against the clamp would cause noise and maybe damage. Note the piece of sponge that clogs the bottom of the hollow tube. Not indispensible with large gravel but it's needed when I use smaller grain sand. The steel ashtray has dangerous corners that a lens could hit, so I take segments of a junk guitar cable (degrades the tone), and pile them up between clamps so the top one is at at a convenient height and easy to split open: Like so, then I remove the cable's core: The ashtray itself is like a gong (steel is quite resonant), putting accessories on it always makes a nasty clunky sound that irritates me, and would annoy neighbors if the scope was in a backyard. So I put felt pads at the underside, around the screw holes, plus a large neoprene cushion in the middle. Besides making the thing look like a cool famous UFO, this dampens the noise that made me cringe every time. Finally, I slide the split guitar cable over the ashtray's edges, and add a sheet of the white material architects use to build models. I often moved my scopes around with accessories rolling aroung in the ashtray, simply because I forgot they were there for they are black on black. This happened even in the daytime during solar watching. However black on white is noticed even with the corner of the eye, no risk of that absent-mindedness again. The foamy white sheet holds thanks to a little strip of double-side tape, and helps dampen those irritating clunker noises in the still of the night. The difference in visual contrast is obvious, but even more so at night. I'll replace the foam with tougher vinyl when I come across a leftover piece, in the meantime it does a good enough job. There you have it, several mods even an astro gearhead might not notice, except the white ashtray, but they do give a better feel, a better look, and even a better sound to the setup. The joints between cable rubber are just acceptable, I'll rectify them later, but what matters now is a danger of scratching lenses is done away with. Hope you'll pick up a few ideas that can be useful to you.
  22. I'd like to stand my mount tripod on the lawn so I can image a different part of the of sky... currently it stands on the patio. Any ideas how I can form a stable base for the tripod? I was thinking of digging three holes and putting a brick in each or some cement. I would prefer a less intrusive solution... perhaps something like a spike with a flat head. Maybe there's some kind of camping/gardening thingy that would do the job? I should add the lawn is not flat but slightly sloping.
  23. Can anyone advise me if it's possible to remove the AZ4 mount from the steel legged tripod and replace it with an EQ5 mount that I could later add motors to or is it simpler and easier just to buy the EQ5 straight away. I am trying to get a tracking mount for my Mak 150 but may want to upgrade again in the future for a11 inch SCT. Thanks for reading
  24. Hi all: I've been pondering this for a while, but never been able to come up with anything suitable (or not wanted to take the risk on things that might end up not being). I'm looking for a tripod on which to mount either binoculars or an ST80 - so it needs to be reasonably robust and capable of going high enough for binocular observing. But I also need something that can fit in airport hand luggage. So something about the folded length of the tripod that comes with the Celestron travel scope, but reasonably solid, preferably even when extended to about 170cm or so. I'm not an expert on photo tripods and have spent some time looking. I'm starting to expect that it's probably not possible to build a tripod to those specifications. Anyone have any experience / suggestions? Thanks, Billy.
  25. I wanted to be able to level my 130p and I want to be able to sit down to observe. So I butchered a tripod for a EQ2 mount ( bought for £20 from Astroboot) and added a plywood circle to form a table for the 130p. I now have a small robust table which can be leveled like a tripod. While I was at it I also added nut inserts to the bottom of the plywood board and some speaker spikes I had in my "dont throw anything away" box. M6 bolts would also fit. The board can be used as a leveling table separate to the tripod . Many thanks to Happy-kat for the setting circle patterns which I will be adding to the top board of the 130p.
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