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Highburymark

Lightweight alt az mount for Tak FC-100?

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I've just ordered a Takahashi FC-100DC - this is the super-light version at 2.8kg. As I have back problems, no car, and live in the middle of London (I know, I know, but stamp collecting just doesn't grab me), the Tak will be a great travel companion. So the whole (alt az) package has to be very portable. I'm trying to work out if my existing mount will be sufficient to support it. I have a Manfrotto photo tripod (a 190go - which can apparently take a payload up to 7kg), and a mini giro (which is designed to take a 3kg scope - although I have a counterweight which should boost that to 4-5kg). Will that be sufficient, or should I be looking at something beefier for this light but long 4" refractor? It's a set up that happily carries my 80mm, 3kg Equinox, so am hoping it will be fine for the new scope.

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47 minutes ago, Highburymark said:

I've just ordered a Takahashi FC-100DC - this is the super-light version at 2.8kg. As I have back problems, no car, and live in the middle of London (I know, I know, but stamp collecting just doesn't grab me), the Tak will be a great travel companion. So the whole (alt az) package has to be very portable. I'm trying to work out if my existing mount will be sufficient to support it. I have a Manfrotto photo tripod (a 190go - which can apparently take a payload up to 7kg), and a mini giro (which is designed to take a 3kg scope - although I have a counterweight which should boost that to 4-5kg). Will that be sufficient, or should I be looking at something beefier for this light but long 4" refractor? It's a set up that happily carries my 80mm, 3kg Equinox, so am hoping it will be fine for the new scope.

I doubt the manfrotto will be beefy enough to handle the Tak at high power, but it might be ok for low power sweeping. I'd suggest an AZ4 with aluminium tripod as the minimum sized mount as it is solid enough for high power viewing and light enough to carry the whole set-up, mout and scope, with one arm. Though it doesn't have slow motion controls I've successfully used mine to observe the planet's at X296, so it's reasonably smooth and has a rapid damping time, so virtually vibration free. It's an almost ideal simple mount for the FC100DC. A GP mount makes for a rock solid alternative!

Mike

 

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I would say best thing is to try the Tac on the mounts you have, but maybe consider Vixen porta mount

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With a counterweight, I'm pretty sure the Mini Giro will be up to the job, although it can be a little tricky getting the tension just right. I have a Giro-WR which allows better control, and you might also consider the mini Ercole which only weighs 2kg.

I agree with Mike that the tripod makes for a lot of the stability. I have a Gitzo GT5542LS which is pretty stable, but still not up to a 2" stainless EQ6 job, but is obviously much easier to carry around.

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Congratulations on the Tak :) All good advice above - Ali AZ4, Porta II (owned both), Mini Ercole looks good too.

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Congratulations in new scope :smile:  Tried mine on a vixen porta on Thursday (first light actually as it only arrived Wednesday :smile: ).  With the standard Ali legs at lowest setting and with no eyepiece tray there was quite a lot of vibration.  It was easy to carry the scope and the mount together though :smile: (and I'm only little ).  It is rock solid on a giro ii on heq5 legs - but I wouldn't risk carrying it set up.

Lovely, lovely scope :icon_biggrin: looking forward to using it more!

Helen

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Mark, congratulations on your order :)

I have not managed 1st light yet but will be using my Vixen Porta 2 with an ADM saddle, the ADM makes a huge difference and remains essential.  I will let you know how it behaves on that as and when I can. 

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Congrats to Helen and Mark on their Taks :smile:

My FC-100DL is a bit longer (F/9) and the tube weight is 3.8kg so while I suspect that the AZ-4 with steel legs would be fine the aluminum legged version would not. The challenge is that these scopes do so well at high magnifications that you are going to use them at 200x plus more often than you would think !

My F/9 is very solid on the Giro II with the hardwood tripod (Oberwerk type) without a counterweight or with just a 1.5kg weight at the end of the CW bar to make things really smooth.

A Mini-Giro might do for the F/7.4 tube or maybe even this newish product from Telescope Services ?:

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p9115_TS-Optics-Altazimuth-Travel-Mount-for-astro-and-photo-tripods---support-up-to-6-kg.html

Or the Berlebach Castor mount perhaps ?:

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p7605_Berlebach-Castor-Alt-Az-mount.html

 

Edited by John
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I use my tak 7.4 on the AZ4 Steel Legged version, very sturdy mount for a 4 inch frac and easy to use...no complaints here..apart from the 12 weeks of cloud and mist that came with  my tak...

congratulations on the new taks..

Keith

Edited by boyfromlincs
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Hmmm an ADM saddle on the vixen porta, hadn't thought about that.  I'll see if I can relocate one from another mount/side-by-side bar - although I'm not raising my hopes as hole spacing always  seems to be an issue when I try this sort of thing!!

I usually leave all my tripods at lowest setting for stability and use a stool, but my two brief outings so far have shown that this isn't practical with a longer focal length refractor (well without knee pads!!!).  So I need to think about height/stability.  Going to test my (old)  TV gibraltar with it too - not lightweight, but very stable, and has encoders.  Thanks for the links for travel options - my husband has a nice gitzo tripod, so options which use that would save some room/weight :wink:

I'll do a proper initial impressions review later...

Helen

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On 11/28/2016 at 11:53, Helen said:

Hmmm an ADM saddle on the vixen porta, hadn't thought about that.  I'll see if I can relocate one from another mount/side-by-side bar - although I'm not raising my hopes as hole spacing always  seems to be an issue when I try this sort of thing!!

Helen

Helen, 

Its the AYO & SkyTee II (VSAD-TAK8) version of the ADM saddle that matches.  

classifieds-211822-0-84115900-1445129591_med.jpg

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+1 for the Ercole Mini. Mine easily carries a fully-loaded TV85 atop an Induro tripod without a counterweight. It is indestructible and an immersive joy to use.

tmp_15958-DSC_0180724812746.JPG

Even my dewband addiction is a non-issue for this setup.  :happy11:

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On 4 December 2016 at 08:12, iPeace said:

+1 for the Ercole Mini. Mine easily carries a fully-loaded TV85 atop an Induro tripod without a counterweight. It is indestructible and an immersive joy to use.

tmp_15958-DSC_0180724812746.JPG

Even my dewband addiction is a non-issue for this setup.  :happy11:

ipeace - I think the Ercole mini is the way to go for me - but I remember you originally found it a bit difficult to use - has it become any more intuitive?

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2 hours ago, Highburymark said:

ipeace - I think the Ercole mini is the way to go for me - but I remember you originally found it a bit difficult to use - has it become any more intuitive?

Excellent point - and at the time, it required a considerable adjustment on my part. I will explain.

Up until I acquired the Ercole Mini, the only mounts I had used were alt-az with slow motion control. I was used to the mount keeping the scope frozen in position until I turned one of the knobs to adjust alt or az. As such, I was a bit of a spoiled newbie (still am) - never had to think about balancing a scope, just stuck it on and away I went. Switching eyepieces was a mindless operation - the scope wasn't going anywhere while I groped around in a pile of Ethos in the dark. It worked fine, and I still own one of those mounts which still works as well as it ever did, but the implementation of the worm-gear mechanism - at the attractive price for which these mounts sell - did leave some stability to be desired. Had I realized at the time that I wasn't properly balancing the scope, well, that may have helped things a bit, but there we are.

I longed for an Ercole. Owners raved about it, the build quality seemed solid enough to use it to demolish buildings, and it was just plain beautiful. I got mine, then I hit the learning curve which I had innocently ducked around until then.

I learned fast that balancing a scope is essential, and that I wasn't making it any easier for myself by using hand-grenade sized eyepieces such as the Panzerfaust / Terminagler and the 21 Ethos - when you switch to shorter focal lengths, the balance changes significantly. Even without changing eyepieces, if you change altitude it may also require a bit of re-balancing.

At the foot of this learning curve, it seemed to me that I would have to just keep the Ercole's clutches tightened, only loosening them to move to a new target and only slightly loosening them for tracking at high power. After a relatively short while, though, I learned to spend a few seconds getting the scope balanced, how to adjust the tension of the clutches to keep motion smooth and steady, and to anticipate the shift in balance brought on by switching eyepieces (tighten the clutch before removing eyepiece from diagonal), etc.

Now I have the hang of it, well...there's no going back. :happy11:

You, of course, are also grossly spoiled  :tongue2:  with your new scope, but you already own a Mini Giro and you know about how this type of mount works; I expect you will have no surprises.

Noteworthy is that since I have also acquired a full-sized Ercole, I appreciate the smoothness of the Ercole Mini even more; it seems that the Mini benefits from its' own lack of weight when panning around.

I'm available for any more specific questions you may have. Will watch this space with interest. :happy11:

Edited by iPeace
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With my Giro II I find I need to re-balance occasionally although I tend to be using a 1.25" set of eyepieces with my fracs, reserving the big guns for the 12" dob. My fracs all have dovetail bars at least 8" long so it's a relatively easy job to loosen the dovetail clamp and slide the scope forwards or backwards a bit if needed.

 

Edited by John
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11 hours ago, iPeace said:

Excellent point - and at the time, it required a considerable adjustment on my part. I will explain.

Up until I acquired the Ercole Mini, the only mounts I had used were alt-az with slow motion control. I was used to the mount keeping the scope frozen in position until I turned one of the knobs to adjust alt or az. As such, I was a bit of a spoiled newbie (still am) - never had to think about balancing a scope, just stuck it on and away I went. Switching eyepieces was a mindless operation - the scope wasn't going anywhere while I groped around in a pile of Ethos in the dark. It worked fine, and I still own one of those mounts which still works as well as it ever did, but the implementation of the worm-gear mechanism - at the attractive price for which these mounts sell - did leave some stability to be desired. Had I realized at the time that I wasn't properly balancing the scope, well, that may have helped things a bit, but there we are.

I longed for an Ercole. Owners raved about it, the build quality seemed solid enough to use it to demolish buildings, and it was just plain beautiful. I got mine, then I hit the learning curve which I had innocently ducked around until then.

I learned fast that balancing a scope is essential, and that I wasn't making it any easier for myself by using hand-grenade sized eyepieces such as the Panzerfaust / Terminagler and the 21 Ethos - when you switch to shorter focal lengths, the balance changes significantly. Even without changing eyepieces, if you change altitude it may also require a bit of re-balancing.

At the foot of this learning curve, it seemed to me that I would have to just keep the Ercole's clutches tightened, only loosening them to move to a new target and only slightly loosening them for tracking at high power. After a relatively short while, though, I learned to spend a few seconds getting the scope balanced, how to adjust the tension of the clutches to keep motion smooth and steady, and to anticipate the shift in balance brought on by switching eyepieces (tighten the clutch before removing eyepiece from diagonal), etc.

Now I have the hang of it, well...there's no going back. :happy11:

You, of course, are also grossly spoiled  :tongue2:  with your new scope, but you already own a Mini Giro and you know about how this type of mount works; I expect you will have no surprises.

Noteworthy is that since I have also acquired a full-sized Ercole, I appreciate the smoothness of the Ercole Mini even more; it seems that the Mini benefits from its' own lack of weight when panning around.

I'm available for any more specific questions you may have. Will watch this space with interest. :happy11:

Thanks for your excellent reply. I'm even more grossly spoilt now because I've just bought a Gitzo tripod for the scope - £550 (!!) off the rrp on the Gitzo website - amazing deal. But you've confirmed for me that the Ercole mini is the right mount. I'm getting rid of all electronics for future stargazing (will be selling my Celestron Evolution tripod and go to mount via SGL in a day or two, but keeping the C8 ota). Like you described, the change to a more manual/non-slo-mo set up does make one reassess balance and weight - I'm also considering whether to get rid of my 3 Delos eps and buy some Delites - less than half the weight. But my one Ethos - the 13mm - is going nowhere

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Stu mentioned he uses the Gitzo GT5542LSwhich is good but not quite 2" steel legs good. I use it's cousin the GT5542TS (more compact for travel) with my Tak 76 to great effect. However, I have been reluctant to push it too much with one of 4" class LZOS triplets which weigh 7kg or more with accessories.

 

I also own the Gitzo GT 5532S which is the most stable Gitzo carbon fibre tripod there is. Weighs only 2.8kg but rated to carry 40kg. I have found it a very stable platform above 200x. You can read my review of it here.

http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/2014/05/15/gitzo-systematic-series-5-gt5532s-carbon-fibre-tripod-review/

 

Big downside is price but if you buy a Ferrari (your Tak) you don't want it to perform suboptimally by putting a 1 litre engine in it (your mount). It does only stand just like over 130cm fully extended so depending on mount you use the EP can be a bit low at the zenith but the extreme portability makes it a winner for me.

 

Here it is easily carrying over 20kg including the Ercole (which is a great choice by the way).

 

IMG_3196.JPG

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1 hour ago, DirkSteele said:

Stu mentioned he uses the Gitzo GT5542LSwhich is good but not quite 2" steel legs good. I use it's cousin the GT5542TS (more compact for travel) with my Tak 76 to great effect. However, I have been reluctant to push it too much with one of 4" class LZOS triplets which weigh 7kg or more with accessories.

 

I also own the Gitzo GT 5532S which is the most stable Gitzo carbon fibre tripod there is. Weighs only 2.8kg but rated to carry 40kg. I have found it a very stable platform above 200x. You can read my review of it here.

http://alpha-lyrae.co.uk/2014/05/15/gitzo-systematic-series-5-gt5532s-carbon-fibre-tripod-review/

 

Big downside is price but if you buy a Ferrari (your Tak) you don't want it to perform suboptimally by putting a 1 litre engine in it (your mount). It does only stand just like over 130cm fully extended so depending on mount you use the EP can be a bit low at the zenith but the extreme portability makes it a winner for me.

 

Here it is easily carrying over 20kg including the Ercole (which is a great choice by the way).

 

IMG_3196.JPG

Matthew - It was your very interesting reports that got me interested in Gitzos in the first place. I ended up going for a 4 Series Systemic with a payload of 25kg for the FC-100DC - I don't think I'll ever experience the skies you've enjoyed on your journeys - but it was fun hearing about them. 

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