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Skywatcher ALT-AZ Celestron SLT Tripod heads


Tyr
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I'm just wondering if the Celestron ALT AZ GOTO mount head would sit on the supertrak tripod that Skywatcher make.

I've got a Celestron 127 SLT Mak and was thinking about picking up a supertrak tripod and trying to attach some heavier legs to it having read.

http://stargazerslounge.com/diy-astronomer/144743-skywatcher-synscan-az-mount-new-tripod.html

The little arrangement of teeth holes (if best described that way) appears the same from the pictures I can see but I was just wondering if anyone had tried it.

The idea being I fancy a sturdier tripod than the one which came with the scope but would rather experiment on drilling holes in a spare as it were than the working one I have at the moment.

Tyr

Edited by Tyr
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Well I found a supatrack tripod head on Astroboot for £10 and some tripod legs for £14 to go with it, so thought I'd give it a try. However they seem to have sent me a whole tripod including head and spreader ;) instead of just the legs, it looks quiet sturdy.

So first off I'm going to see if I can attach the ALT AZ goto mount to the complete tripod, since the head appears to be of a heavier construction than the supatrak head, if that doesn't go then I'll see about replacing the tripod head with the supatrack one.

I'll let you know how I get on and if the supatrack tripod head fits the celestron mount looking at it they appear very similar.

Tyr

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Ok I've had a chance to unpack and compare some things.

The Supatrak head bought from Astroboot appears identical (appart from colouring) to the Celestron one (see side by side, the orange one is the original celestron head). Also the mount sits in the spare head perfectly (top left pic).

Doesn't look like its going to be an easy job bolting the mount to the head which came attached to the mystery tripod though, so I think that idea is out. The base of the mount is just the wrong size to balance nicely (bottom right pic).

The legs are quite light, lighter than the steel ones which came with the SLT's tripod but they are much chunkier (see bottom left pic with original tripod in the background).

I did buy a cheap accessory tray as well, so I think I'm going to try and make a new spreader for the tripod legs as the attached one is very shakey. I think a trip to wickes at some point is in order to aquire the remaining bits.

Not sure when I'll get it finished but when I do I'll post another picture.

Tyr

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Edited by Tyr
Grammar
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Well it looks to me as if that's workable. The new tripod is going to be much more stable than the Celestron one. I'll probably hang fire and see how you get on for the meantime but if this works out then I'm definitely going to have a go. Thanks for the photos and I look forward to hearing how you get on.

Rich

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If it helps you any the single screw fitting on the goto mount is a standard camera/tripod thread. I've mounted my Celestron goto on a home made concrete bucket/waste pipe pier which you can see in a couple of images here http://stargazerslounge.com/diy-observatories/135600-shed-conversion-obs.html Not really any more stable than the tripod but a lot less floor space inside the shed.

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Hi Tyr

When I modded my tripod I used the original accessory tray as the spreader for the new legs - although this worked I'm pretty sure that it's not quite wide enough.

My plan is to make a new accessory tray from ply and ensure that the legs are spread further out.

Even as it is it's much sturdier than the original legs.

Clear skies

Paul

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Thanks for the tip on the thread Steep, I like the pier you've got there ;)

DoctorD, the accessory tray I got actually fits the original mount, its basically the same but with some extra EP holders, but yes the incomplete spreader thats on the new legs is much wider than the one on the stock tripod, so I'm not sure I'll be using it.

I think a larger tray that attaches almost directly to the legs will give more rigidity since it braces between the legs as well as to the middle of the tripod if that makes any sense, I was thinking of wood too.

Look forward to seeing where you go with your mount from here and thanks for the inspiration

Tyr

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Well I've had a go at drilling out the holes on the mount head to fit the 8mm bolts and at making the accessory try / brace.

My plan had been to make a triangular tray out of ply however I ran into a snag when I discovered wickes only sold pieces of ply the size of a door (not going to fit in my car and much more than I needed).

So I decided to make a wooden brace for the legs, instead and use the accessory tray I aquired from Astroboot. I'm using the tray as a brace above the spreader arms and another bit of wood underneath.

I think I may still add extra wooded braces in a triangular shape around the tray since I have wood left over (the sticking out bit is intentional), but I want to see how it works with the goto before I cut up the rest of the wood up.

Pros

It seems to be pretty solid and was good fun to make, however I'm glad I got a spare tripod head rather than modding the one I got with the scope (I still have the complete original tripod, which is more portable).

Cons

On the down side it's not so portable due to the larger non folding spreader and setup time will be longer than the supplied tripod. However my plans are to keep the DIY one at home and take the otherone out and about if I need to. Also I've not yet got anything to hold the handset.

Pictures

Top left is the SW head on the tripod with the old spreader (I found the missing bit).

Top right, I added a few extra washers to the tripod as with the new head it gripped the top of the legs too tightly meaning I couldnt extend / shorten them without loosening the head wing nuts (maybe a mistake will see).

Bottom left and right show the completed tripod with and without scope, in the left one I've extended the legs and leveled it with a spirit level (the bubble level is way off). Also showing that my lounge needs a good tidy.

I'll let you know how it performs although tonight is looking cloudy :)

Total cost so far £35 ish

Head £10 Astroboot

Legs (donor tripod) £14 Astroboot

Plastic tray £3 Astroboot

Wood £5 (not used it all) Wickes*

Washers £3ish (again lots spare still) Wickes*

Bolts and nuts came from the flimisy plastic spreader which was attached to the donor tripod.

*other sources of DIY materials available

Tyr

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Hi Tyr

I decided not to fit the washers between the head and the legs - I think this is much more rigid. I do have to slacken off the bolts before extending the legs.

I think some PTFE sheet might be better and spread the load evenly - just got to find a source.

I agree that it's not quite as easy to use as the original, however the increase in rigidity is worth it in my opinion.

I wonder if you could fabricate a better brace from hinges - I can see a trip to B&Q coming on - mind you that might lead to some house hold DIY :)

Clear skies

Paul

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Well I had a chance to try this out last night and it's pleasingly less shakey than the supplied tripod, which I think used to shake the image while tracking to a much greater degree.

Unfortunately Saturn had sunk into the LP on the horizon before I got out, which would have been a better point of reference I think.

I need to sort out something to hold the handset, probably some sticky back velcro on the legs / back of the handset will do it.

Tyr

ps DoctorD

I had a quick search for PTFE sheet as I had no idea what it was :) and found this PTFE Sheet it seems relatively inexpensive

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  • 5 years later...

Hi, thanks for the heads up on obtaining a tripod mounting platform from Astroboot. Took some finding and now £12 + £1.50 postage 5 years later - not bad! I intend to use this to mount a Celestron Nexstar 102 SLT GT onto a Wild Heerbrugg theodolite tripod. Will let you know how it goes...

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