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Alt-Az mount recommendations needed


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I recently bought an EQ5 Synscan mount. While that's great for AP and for when I have the time to set up, all the kit I need with that mount takes up most of the boot of my car -- so it's hardly "grab-'n-go"! Hence I'm looking for an inexpensive AZ mount to use at club practical nights etc. and also to mount a second OTA to have two scopes available when we take friends out stargazing. Skywatcher's AZ3 seemed just the job, but I need a mount that can accept a vixen-type dovetail and the AZ3 (FLO product link) just has two holes to which you attach tube rings. To use that AZ3, I'd need to also buy a Camera adaptor plate (FLO product link) and a dovetail clamp (FLO product link). Those extras would add some flex into the system and also take the total cost up from £99 to £152!

Can anyone recommend a reasonably cheap, rigid AZ mount that accepts vixen-type dovetails out of the box?

TIA, Geoff

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I know that I'm resurrecting an old thread here, but I bought an Alt-Az mount (guided by some sage advice from the panel) and thought I'd report back with first impressions. I am now the proud owner o

Hello and welcome to SGL The AZ4 is a cracking mount. I have a equinox 120ed apo ,this scope is no light weight and a good size. But the AZ 4 I find handles the size and weight of my scope with n

Whether the AZ3 is suitable will depend on the telescope(s) you intend to use it with. Also the AZ4 mount has a dovetail mount as standard so no need to purchase various adapters. The AZ4 also uses th

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Thanks for the response. Current OTAs are an Orion ShortTube 80 (80/400) and a Bresser 70/700 Junior, so nothing heavy or 'high-powered'. To be honest, the head of the AZ mount that came with the Bresser is reasonable, but the tripod on which it sits is flimsy. I've used an AZ3 with the Skywatcher 80/400 I bought my son for Christmas, and IMO it's up to the job that I need it for (e.g. we used an EOS 60D on a T-ring and adapter in the focuser of the SW 80/400 and got some reasonable lunar shots).

Searching through FLO's site also brought up a cheap Celestron mount, which already has a camera adaptor plate, but I'm concerned that it might not be as rigid as the SW AZ3.

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Hello and welcome to SGL

The AZ4 is a cracking mount. I have a equinox 120ed apo ,this scope is no light weight and a good size. But the AZ 4 I find handles the size and weight of my scope with no problems at all. I find the secret is making sure the scope is already at a neutral balancing point when connected and then works great on the AZ principal. The AZ4 on a 2" stainless steel tripod would be a great mount IMO . And if you want to save some cash then they do come up second hand.

I hope the above helps☺

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Thanks to all for the replies. Most seem to suggest the AZ4, but I have a couple of reservations about that mount: It doesn't have slow-motion controls and I suspect that, while it'll be fine with my Bresser, it won't work with my ST80. The issue with my ST80 is that it's the "Terrestrial" model, with a dovetail screwed to the bottom of the OTA. Thus with any mount where the dovetail shoe is vertical rather than horizontal, the finder ends up under the 'scope and is difficult to use (almost impossible at high altitude angles). The same issue exists with the Vixen Porta II AFAICT.

@Cornelius Varley: The Celestron mount I spotted was the one with the 10lb payload. Each of my OTAs are under that configured for visual observation. I was hoping that someone has one of those mounts and could comment as, like you, I suspect it could be a little too light for stability.

Thanks again to all.

Edited by Geoff_L
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GSO makes a very serviceable alt-az mount with slo-mo. Often re-branded, it has a decent payload rating and good slo-mo for the money. I still have mine.

:happy11:

tmp_17166-DSC_0002-564615758.JPG

NOTE: you can have the mount arm on EITHER side of the tube - might this alleviate your finder problem?

Edited by iPeace
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Thanks again to all for the recommendations. That GSO looks reasonable and I suspect it's the same as the Deluxe Alt-Az mount from Orion Optics, which they sell for £255. To be honest, that's a bit more than I wanted to spend, but being able to have the dovetail shoe on the left-hand side of the OTA would get around the finder issue.

FWIW, I was impressed with the AZ3 that came bundled with the Skywatcher 80/400 AZ3 package we bought our son for Christmas (link is to OzScopes product page). However, the number of recommendations for AZ4-style mounts has me thinking that I'd be better off waiting a while and spending the extra £100 or so on the GSO in a month or two.

Thanks again to all.

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2 minutes ago, Geoff_L said:

Thanks again to all for the recommendations. That GSO looks reasonable and I suspect it's the same as the Deluxe Alt-Az mount from Orion Optics, which they sell for £255. To be honest, that's a bit more than I wanted to spend, but being able to have the dovetail shoe on the left-hand side of the OTA would get around the finder issue.

FWIW, I was impressed with the AZ3 that came bundled with the Skywatcher 80/400 AZ3 package we bought our son for Christmas (link is to OzScopes product page). However, the number of recommendations for AZ4-style mounts has me thinking that I'd be better off waiting a while and spending the extra £100 or so on the GSO in a month or two.

Thanks again to all.

You can be sure it's the same mount. It has carried my TV85 admirably and should serve you well.

:happy11:

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1 hour ago, Geoff_L said:

Thanks again to all for the recommendations. That GSO looks reasonable and I suspect it's the same as the Deluxe Alt-Az mount from Orion Optics, which they sell for £255. To be honest, that's a bit more than I wanted to spend, but being able to have the dovetail shoe on the left-hand side of the OTA would get around the finder issue.

FWIW, I was impressed with the AZ3 that came bundled with the Skywatcher 80/400 AZ3 package we bought our son for Christmas (link is to OzScopes product page). However, the number of recommendations for AZ4-style mounts has me thinking that I'd be better off waiting a while and spending the extra £100 or so on the GSO in a month or two.

Thanks again to all.

Remember Orion Optics quote their prices before VAT (why???), so add 20% ☹️   There are a few other suppliers though http://www.365astronomy.com/Tripods/ and they sell head only which may go on your az3 tripod (worth checking)

Helen

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8 hours ago, Helen said:

Remember Orion Optics quote their prices before VAT (why???), so add 20% ☹️   There are a few other suppliers though http://www.365astronomy.com/Tripods/ and they sell head only which may go on your az3 tripod (worth checking)

Helen

Thanks for that -- I hadn't noticed Orion Optic's prices were ex VAT. Thankfully, there is another supplier available - albeit German (the same mount is €294 from Teleskop-Express, which is approx £250 including VAT at today's exchange rate).

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43 minutes ago, Geoff_L said:

Thanks for that -- I hadn't noticed Orion Optic's prices were ex VAT. Thankfully, there is another supplier available - albeit German (the same mount is €294 from Teleskop-Express, which is approx £250 including VAT at today's exchange rate).

I've bought many things from Teleskop Express and not had any problems so don't worry about it, if the price makes sense including delivery that is.

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On 02/22/2017 at 07:07, Geoff_L said:

Thanks for that -- I hadn't noticed Orion Optic's prices were ex VAT. Thankfully, there is another supplier available - albeit German (the same mount is €294 from Teleskop-Express, which is approx £250 including VAT at today's exchange rate).

Please note that the supplied tripod doesn't do full justice to the mount head. With some DIY you could get the tripod a bit more sturdy, however, the mount head really shines if you do something like this:

tmp_2940-DSC_0383817640787.JPG

tmp_2940-DSC_0384382721679.JPG

The mount head takes the same size central bolt as an EQ5 (or photo tripod, for that matter). Here you can also see that you can mount the arm at a Porta-like angle to make observing straight overhead more comfortable.

So if you can indeed source the mount head only, you can do much worse.

:happy11:

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On 21/02/2017 at 06:17, Geoff_L said:

Thanks to all for the replies. Most seem to suggest the AZ4, but I have a couple of reservations about that mount: It doesn't have slow-motion controls and I suspect that, while it'll be fine with my Bresser, it won't work with my ST80. The issue with my ST80 is that it's the "Terrestrial" model, with a dovetail screwed to the bottom of the OTA. Thus with any mount where the dovetail shoe is vertical rather than horizontal, the finder ends up under the 'scope and is difficult to use (almost impossible at high altitude angles).

You can get a right angle bracket thingy like this:https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/skywatcher-l-bracket-dovetail.html

Usefull for binoculars, cameras, and telescopes with fixed mount/finder positions. I've got something like that for my porta ii, I think mine was celestron branded and has a wider horizontal bar.

edit: Might have actually been an Orion one. Looks a lot like this one: https://www.telescopehouse.com/orion-dovetail-l-bracket.html

Edited by Andy Mitchell
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8 hours ago, happy-kat said:

Astroboot had an eq5 tripod base could see if your bresser head could be made to attach as an idea.

I just looked at my EQ5 tripod and Bresser mount and suspect that could work -- the Bresser head isn't too bad, it's the tripod that's wobbly. I'd need to make or obtain something to fit in the recess at the top of the EQ5 tripod into which the spreader attachment rod would screw, and somehow attach that to the base of the Bresser head.

That said, I've had another thought -- it would be nice if I could take my ST80 with me next time I ventured over to Australia. TS sell their own branded Altazimuth mount with Fine Adjustment and Quick Release. Judging by the delivery charges being less than for the GSO, I suspect it's lighter and hence easier to travel with, but what does the panel think?

Thanks, Geoff.

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Btw, can you not turn the focuser section of the ST80-T? You unscrew 3 screws and you can turn the focuser section 120 or 240 degrees. Instead of fitting an L-bracket. Won't this solve the issue with the finder being upside down when using vertical dovetail holder?

Just a suggestion, I have 0 practical experience with ST80-T, I have the ST80 with rings.

Screenshot_1.jpg

 

Edited by kilix
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I will add a link later to a great photo tripod stable solution that works for ST80 and heritage 130p OTA and with travel potential. I can't add links from my tablet it crashes chrome so will be later on.

Link to post with tripod and weight and review and what used and picture.

link here

 

Edited by happy-kat
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My ST80 is the T version, I took the finder off with such a wide FOV don't find I miss it. You could mount a RDF where you feel you need one, cheap to buy I've several I picked up from astroboot. Probably get away with using external Velcro pad to attach.

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