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Any one hered of a Vixen mini mount tracker


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Hello garethmob,

I recently bought one of these from Linton (the one who is active in this forum), and it seems to be quite a decent mount. It has the standard 144-tooth-gear, so you can use the standard vixen drives and motors to make it track.

While there is a slow-motion knob in RA, there is no such thing in DEC.

I didn't use it to make pictures yet, as my photo tripod turned out to be not strong enough, now I've to save to find a suiting tripod before actually using it.

You can find them on the used market for different prices. On the german board astronomie.de, I saw them selling used for 140 Euro, but there is also a german dealer out there who wants 300 euro for a used mount of this type...

if you have any specific questions, le me know, maybe I can help you.

Raphael

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now it has a normal tripod hole (photographic tripod) can any one advise me on which to get i'll be placing my canon + lens up to 200mm and seperatly my megrez with canon too

i was thinking of that £99 manfrotto jessops have in stock would this work?

Well you have a ball-head on one side, and a rotatable 1/4-inch screw on the other side. I'd suggest you get a dovetail-clamp that has a central 1/4-inch thread (e.g. this one: Schwalbenschwanzsystem Vixen, Celestron Typ V bei Baader Planetarium, Zubehoer - Sektion 03 - or probably also this one: http://www.geoptik.com/en/scheda-prodotto/mechanical-accessories/144/30a072/217/30a072.html ), and attach it to the rotatable 1/4-inch thread. Then you can attach your Refractor as on any GP-mount.

As for the ballhead supplied with the mount, I doubt that it will hold a 200mm-lens well.... so you might want to replace it. For a small 50mm lens, it will work just fine.

I guess the tripod is the most critical part, and the one you mentioned will probably lead to vibrations that don't damp well: it has a maximum load of 3.5kg (thats the weight just of your mount), has a central column and 3 extensions.

I'd suggest to go for one w/o central column, just one extension and a load capacity of at least 10 kg (!). If you can affort a wooden tripod or find a used one, go for it, as they will damp oscillations much better.

Hope that helped!

Raphael

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Thanks guys. I was hoping this would be easier :) lol. How about this. It's designed for the newest photo guider

http://www.firstlightoptics.com/clearance/vixen-hal-130-75141.html

And same price too :p. Would that be enough?

Just a random question. Stupid one really. Does the mount auto guide?

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That would be more than enough. I use the HAL130 with my GPDX and C9.25 for visual with out problem.

You may need an adapter to fit the photoguider on this tripod. If I remembered correctly, the photoguider has a 1/4" or 3/8" fitting, while this HAL130 uses a GP60 fitting with M10 bolt.

I don't think the Vixen photoguider can be autoguided without modification, because it was sold before autoguider was invented.

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Dear garethmob,

the tripod should be stable, but: the Photo-guider itself is made for a *fixed* polar height (more or less 55°, so for a latitude of 35°). You will thus need to incline the mount a bit further, and I guess more than can be done by extending one tripod-leg more than the other.

So unfortunatelly, you don't just need a tripod, but also a suiting head.

But there meight eben be a cheaper but yet stable solution for you:

I found the picture below on the net (so I didn't take it, and its not my mount).

The owner uses a AZ-3 mount and a selfmade adapter to hold the photo-guider, this way you have a smooth way to incline it to the necessary polar height.

I don't know about the tripod of the mount... but you should be able to find a mount like this easily used for less than 50 pounds.

Autoguiding: Depends on the controller you got with the mount. Guiding in RA should be possible (modifying the controller is no big deal) , but as there is no way to attach a motor in DEC, I think its not worth it.

Vixen%20Photoguider%20type1.jpg

Edited by erraph
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...I just realized that in my last post I said something confusing. So I'll say it again, this time right.

The mount is made for a certain fixed polar height of about 35° (the angle made by of the z-shaped base of the mount and the horizontal is 55°, describing the intended height of the celestial equator). To use it in northern Europe, you'll have to incline the base another 20°, to reach a latitude of about 55°.

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thanks guys and thanks erraph for finding that photo i might go on the search for one

one problem iv got it came this morning, plugged it all it i placed it on my cheapy photo tripod to test and it seems the middle bar of the RA to motor (where cogs are) is bent and not turning it started eating the outer case ;) iv emailed the seller lets see whats going to happen ;)

Edited by garethmob
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Here's the pics. Iv noticed something important. The cog with the metal(silver) on it dosent have a raised part. It's the normal flat cog there so there's no where for it to grip the thread

It seems the bar from the black plastic knob to this side is bent so it goes up n down when rotating

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There is a thumbscrew that fixes the brass-bar to the shaft of the mount (I'm talking of the brass-bar in the top of the picture I posted). Loosen this thumbscrew with an Allen wrench and remove the brass-bar. Then check if its really bended -- maybe it just wasn't well attached and got in a wired position during transport.

If the brass-bar is not bended itself, put it back on the shaft of the mount, and chose the distance so that the loose brass cogwheel sits without pressure on the cogwheel attached to the motor.

When putting back on the silver clutch, by tightening the knurled-head screw you automatically lock the cogwheel to the shaft, thereby establishing the link between motor and mount. As there is some play in the motor, you should - even with tightened clutch - be able to move the cogwheels by some degrees back- and forth. If you can't do that, you have to adjust the position of the motor, as it sits too tight.

I hope that was more or less clear... if this doesn't work out, and the brass-bar is really bended, you'll be able to replace it as its the same thats being used for the modern GP-mounts.

Raphael

Edited by erraph
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There is a thumbscrew that fixes the brass-bar to the shaft of the mount (I'm talking of the brass-bar in the top of the picture I posted). Loosen this thumbscrew with an Allen wrench and remove the brass-bar. Then check if its really bended -- maybe it just wasn't well attached and got in a wired position during transport.

If the brass-bar is not bended itself, put it back on the shaft of the mount, and chose the distance so that the loose brass cogwheel sits without pressure on the cogwheel attached to the motor.

When putting back on the silver clutch, by tightening the knurled-head screw you automatically lock the cogwheel to the shaft, thereby establishing the link between motor and mount. As there is some play in the motor, you should - even with tightened clutch - be able to move the cogwheels by some degrees back- and forth. If you can't do that, you have to adjust the position of the motor, as it sits too tight.

I hope that was more or less clear... if this doesn't work out, and the brass-bar is really bended, you'll be able to replace it as its the same thats being used for the modern GP-mounts.

Raphael

To quote a famous man

He's dead jim:(

Any ideas where I can get vixen spare parts from? Would the gp really fit? Althrough looking at the gp it's actually identical to it???? Lol

Is it worth going through the hassle is the mount worth it or should I ask for my money back?

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I think it will be best to ask for your money back if the worm is damaged and it was not in the item description.

Getting a spare worm could be more expensive than finding another photoguider. The original Vixen polaris have been discontinued for decades, so there is a good chance Vixen UK will not have any spares.

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The mount is really nice and they are not that easy to find.

Well, I'd do it like this: ask the seller to get you a new worm gear.

I think this one should be just fine:

Worm gear with shaft for EQ-5 and similar mounts

If he is willing to pay for it, I'd keep the mount and do the repair (shouldn't be too hard -- still, I think the link gets you the right worm gear, but you should hear other opinions too).

If he is not willing to pay for the replacement gear, get your money back.

I saw the mount sell for prices ranging from 120 GBP to 290 GBP (!!) -- but given the age and the fact that there are other small mounts that can be used for astrophotography as well, I think a fair price would be between 150 and max. 200 GBP for a well working mount in good condition.

Still, if he is paying for the replacement, its a very transportable mount that you'd definitely enjoy.

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I payed 200 for it. It was on astro buy n sell for ages at 250 then eBay I was only bidder I guess I'll put it to the seller and see. It does seem really nice mount. Better than the polaria out now I think it can hold 2 cameras so if I can get it fixed I ocould adapt for auto guiding. My only other options are the astrotrac, gp2, polaria, fornax or heq5 ;)

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autoguiding will just work in RA with the Vixen photo guider, there is no adapter to make it work in DEC.

Really? 190 Pounds for a new GP2 head? In Germany and Italy they charge you more than 400 Euro for this one!

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Oh yes, the polar scopes. Always forget that. However, if you uses a DSLR, you can perform drift alignment to polar align without a polarscope.

GP2 £190

First Light Optics - Vixen GP2 GEM Mount

The polar scope is expensive £140

Motors can be taken from EQ5 £75.

The motor for the SP has a different interface to the GP, so it won't fit. The Vixen D3M dual axis motors are very expensive, in fact the same price as the EQ5 GOTO upgrade.

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Well, if you want a mount you can easily take on a journey and want to make wide-field-pictures, I'd stick with the photoguider -- as long as the seller repairs it / pays the spare parts needed!

If you want higher-magnification, autoguided pictures, then use the chance to give back the photoguider and start over with a GP -- or a cheaper Chinese alternative.

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