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PESKYWAABBIT

Keeping heavy setup from sinking into the boggy garden grassland

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Hey guys,

Pretty new to the forums, so hello everyone!

I have been using a Vixen Super Polaris EQ mount with a Vixen 80m refractor for many, many years. During this period I was not caring too much about polar alignment at all, but instead just to whip it out and have a look around.

Recently I have purchased myself a SkyWatcher 200 P reflector with a HEQ5 SynScan mount which together is extremely heavy in a bid to start learning some astrophotography as in East Anglia light pollution isn't too common. My garden does have 'some' solid ground but this is not in an ideal location and so I will most definitely have to use my gardens boggy grass. I am worried due to the weight and the boggy grass, my scope will slowly sink down whilst taking shots.

Do any of you guys have any proven solutions or mods that you have come up with in a similar situation to eradicate your set up sinking on loose ground? Just curious if this has been dealt with before in a smart manor.

Cheers!

Edited by PESKYWAABBIT

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I used  to use terracotta plant pot saucers - one under each tripod leg. Non-slip, frost proof, cheap, effective.

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You need to spread the load over a larger area, and if imaging then it needs to be as stable as you can practically get it. If you can sink 3 concrete flags into the lawn (say, 18" square min) they will eventually sink/stabilise over time and will provide a good stable base. Ideally of course you would install a permanent pier - handy even if you don't leave your mount attached to it all the time.

There are other options - you could make a Y-shaped platform out of steel angle or heavy timber and stand the tripod on that. Or you could dig out an 18" square sod of grass, then sink the hole 8"-10" and place the flag in the bottom. Do this for each tripod foot, cement a brick on end to the middle (in the right place!) then back fill the hole and replace the grass sod. You'll hardly notice they are there without looking, and if you get the height right the mower will just run over the top.

ChrisH

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Thanks guys, both brilliant ideas!

I will have to give the terracotta plant pot saucers a try first as I have some lying around in my garage. I'll have to coat them in a gold foil to make them resemble the feet of the Lunar Lander too! Haha!

If these don't suit then I reckon I could build a more stable and larger tripod stand as ChrisH suggests.

I'll let you know how I get on, however the night sky does not seem to be promising this week at all :(

- Pesky

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I have a similar problem when I attend star parties. I solved it by getting an 18" long X 1.5" X 6" bit of wood and cutting it into 3 pieces. I then drill a hole in the centre of each that was large enough to accept the pointed foot of the tripod. I just place one under each leg and polar align, sorted. Total cost, not very much, it was an off cut of wood. You could varnish it if you wanted

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You could dig a hole, insert a steel pier and fill the hole with concrete. I left a GM8 and a G11 outside for years, including their electronics, without any harm. I covered the mounts with a waterproof canvas garden chair cover. They never got wet! You could possibly lay some decking around the pier to give yourself a firm footing.

Mike

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As the others have said - spread the load out on a wider solid surface. Like a wooden-board, plant saucers, anything at hand.

Dave

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A cheap, simple option would be a visit to the local camping store and purchase a few of the pads that go under the legs of  caravans (I'm sure you can tell I'm keen on using the technical terminology :grin:)

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Lots of great ideas!

I have some bricks with holes in them I take when away from home. I set them do0wn, then set up and level the tripod. When done for the night, the equipment goes into my enclosed truck bed but I leave the bricks set.

Paver stones could suffice as well. Just drill (or have drilled) a detent in them for the tripods toes.

I like the pot saucers idea. I think I would take an extra for breakage....

COMMON%20BRICK%203HOLES%20thumb.jpg

Edited by SonnyE

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Similar to using pot saucers I had a few ceramic tiles left from a kitchen refurb. Use them glazed size down so your tripod sits on the rough reverse. Seems to work for me.

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As  noted above all you need to do is spread the load.  A fair solution might be a large pallet esp. if you topped it with a sheet of outdoor/marine grade plyboard or chipboard and got it sitting fairly level to begin with.   There would probably be sufficient space for the telescope tripod and you!  Possibly seated on a chair with a flask of hot coffee?

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49 minutes ago, JOC said:

As  noted above all you need to do is spread the load.  A fair solution might be a large pallet esp. if you topped it with a sheet of outdoor/marine grade plyboard or chipboard and got it sitting fairly level to begin with.   There would probably be sufficient space for the telescope tripod and you!  Possibly seated on a chair with a flask of hot coffee?

For the tripod yes, however. if you are planning on imaging, don't stand/sit on the same pallet or you'll be wondering why your images are getting ruined due to the vibrations.

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Further to this issue, I have found that when I have my mount setup at a star party I need to have it secured in case the wind gets up. I use a scope cover in the event of inclement weather. This turns my scope in to a reasonably sized "sail". I once had the misfortune of my mount and scope being blown over by the gusty Scottish winds. To solve this I purchased one the screws that are normally used for securing a tether for a dog and a turn buckle. Once I have my mount on the wooden blocks, to spread the load, and roughly polar aligned,  I drive the screw into the ground, attach the turn buckle to the top of the screw and tie the other end of the turn buckle to the bottom of the mount. Then tighten the turn buckle to pull the mount down. This ensures that the mount will not blow over

http://www.toolstation.com/shop/p30160?mkwid=s3Z3fpJI3_dm&pcrid=142502840529&pkw=&pmt=&product=30160&gclid=CMuAj42z9tACFeqT7QodkaQOiQ

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00E8NH12K/ref=mp_s_a_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1481811924&sr=8-12&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=ground+screw+anchor

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Further thought brought to mind that one should never use Mum's China saucers either.

Or if you do, don't get caught at it. :lol:

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On 13-12-2016 at 00:30, mikeDnight said:

You could dig a hole, insert a steel pier and fill the hole with concrete. I left a GM8 and a G11 outside for years, including their electronics, without any harm. I covered the mounts with a waterproof canvas garden chair cover. They never got wet! You could possibly lay some decking around the pier to give yourself a firm footing.

Mike

Could use 20 or 25 cm diameter PVC drainage pipe as well. Use some rebar to get a good connection between first and second layer of concrete and overall stiffness. 
Some threaded ends of stainless steel in the toplayer in the right configuration for your mount or a mounting plate and voila... a permanent pier...

If you use telegizmos 365/24/7 telescope cover with skishoe warmers in it, nothing will happen to your expensive equipment.

An extra would be to include a PVC conduit pipe in the pier so you can have electricity and usb or ethernet leads go down  and to the house without tripping over them.

downside: it will be there forever...

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