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Dave1    92

Hello everyone,

So I have a good idea of what new telescope I am going to purchase, narrowed it down to three. My Berlebach Uni 28 tripod is on its way. So I need a mount.

I have narrowed it down to three mounts. Altair Sabre v2, AOKSwiss AYO II or possibly AOK Digi II if the scope requires it, and Skywatcher SkyTee 2.

What I really like about AOKSwiss mounts is not only do they give recommended maximum load capacity, but they also give recommended maximum length for a mount. 

I know the SkyTee is popular, and I find less information about the other mounts.

So what are all your experiences of these mounts? What telescope are you using them with?

Dave

 

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Paul73    2,365

I use an f7 ED120 and f100 102mm on a SkyTee 2 atop of a Berlebach Uni 24C. Works a treat (needs counter weights for high viewing). The slow mo controls are very smooth. This is a significant chunk of metal and does look a tad / feel a bit agricultural compared to some on the list. But it works well and it isn't crazy expensive. It is worth factoring in a saddle upgrade from the standard SW versions (I use ADM for the bigger scope).

I have no plans to upgrade, but portability isn't a key factor for me.

Paul

PS. I've read about a few users needing to fetle things to get rid of some backlash. Haven't encountered this personally.

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John    16,311

I've owned a number of heavy duty alt-az mounts for use with refractors up to 6" F/12

- Altair Sabre II

- Tele Optic Giro II and Ercole

- Bray Tablet (very rare)

- Ambermille Giro-type alt-azimuth (way out of production now and rather rare as well)

- Skytee II with ADM dovetail clamp upgrades (my current one)

They were all pretty good but the Skytee II has, a little to my surprise, proved the best at holding what is currently my largest, longest refractor steady while observing. I thought the Ercole would beat the Skytee II on this but, having tried them side by side, it didn't quite match the Skytee II for vibration control.

For info, my largest scope is a 130mm triplet refractor of F/9.2 focal ratio, OTA weight 9.5 kg and overall tube length of 1.32 metres.

My heaviest duty tripod is the Berlebach Uni 28 and I use 5kg of counter weight on the opposide arm of the Skytee II (as I did with the other mounts I've tried).

I ought to add that while the Skytee II is the best that I have used so far, it is not perfect with the above scope so I am still interested in other heavy duty alt-az options including the Ayo II or even the AYOMaster II, the APM Maxload, the Losmandy AZ-8 and the KK T-Rex if one of these rare beasts became available.

I also have an HEQ5 (non-GOTO) equatorial mount which provides a good, driven, mount for the 130 F/9.2. It's a little more stable than the Skytee II and the big plus is that the drives reduce the amount you need to touch the scope and it's touching the scope (ie: to adjust focus) that sets up vibration of course.

My nest largest refeactor is the Skywatcher ED120 F/7.5 which is a bit lighter and a lot shorter than the 130 F/9.2 and the ED120 sits very solidly (really good !) on the Skytee II with no counterweight needed and on the slightly lighter Oberwerk hardwood tripod.

Hope that helps - the search for a really solid heavy duty alt-az mount for long refractors seems to have occupied my mind for the past 3 years or so and I've spent a fair amount of time and £'s trying the various options out :rolleyes2:

I've picured some of the setups that I've used below. The 1st pic are my 4 current refractors so you can see the size differences:

 

 

 

4refractors.JPG

amillemount.jpg

ed120giro.jpg

lzos130berlercole.JPG

sw6f801.jpg

ar6stee.jpg

vix102solar.JPG

tmb130ed12003.JPG

tmb130bbst01.JPG

tmb130sabre03.JPG

Edited by John
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John    16,311

Just found a pic of the Istar 6" F/12 on the Bray Tablet mount / Owls Nest / Meade Giant Field tripod combo. This was the heaviest duty alt-az setup that I've used. Around 90-100 lbs in total weight !

 

istarbray.jpg

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Dave1    92

Thanks for all the information John. And all the photos that really helps. The three telescope are Skylight AR101.15, but with out the TeleVue glass. Richard has some Japanese glass from around ten years ago built to Vixen spec, but does not know the exact manufacturer. He used the glass to assess the AR101.15 design. I'm uncertain about the glass situation.

And of course the Skywatcher Equinox 120ED pro, and Altair Wave 125 EDF F7.8. 

Your Istar 6" F12 looks wonderful. I suspect the views were brilliant through it. The views through your 130mm triplet F9.2 must be very good! Don't think I'd put that down!

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Paul73    2,365
4 hours ago, Dave1 said:

 The views through your 130mm triplet F9.2 must be very good! Don't think I'd put that down!

Not sure that I'd be able to pick it up in the first place! 😀

Sorry couldn't help myself. Think that John may be the oracle of AZ mounts! I'm surprised that the SkyTee did so well, given the exotic company.

Paul

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John    16,311
46 minutes ago, Paul73 said:

....I'm surprised that the SkyTee did so well, given the exotic company.

Paul

So was I Paul. I thought the very fine engineering of the Ercole would give it the edge but severall sessions comparing the two with my big refractor on board proved me otherwise. There was not a lot between the two but the resistance to vibration and the dampening of any vibrations that were set up were both better with the Skytee II even though it can't compete on fit and finish.

Perhaps I should not have been quite so surprised though, Neil English used a Skytee II to hold his 5" F/12 Istar and a number of other pretty hefty refractors.

I'm still hoping to find an even better HD alt-az mount someday but I suspect that quite a few more £'s will be needed !

 

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Dave1    92
1 hour ago, Paul73 said:

Not sure that I'd be able to pick it up in the first place! 😀

Sorry couldn't help myself. Think that John may be the oracle of AZ mounts! I'm surprised that the SkyTee did so well, given the exotic company.

Paul

:icon_biggrin:, yes it certainly seems so, I was surprised too. 

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John    16,311
57 minutes ago, kerrylewis said:

John- What is that blue Skywatcher scope? 

Hi Kerry,

It's a Skywatcher 150mm F/8 achromat. In the EU and Canada Skywatcher used a darker tone of blue for a few years and it was not a metallic tone as the paler blue used here was. This particular scope was matched with a Chromacor CA / SA corrector which pushed it's performance close to ED doublet levels.

 

Edited by John

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kerrylewis    1,329

Thanks John 

I didn't want to go off topic but I don't remember seeing one quite like that before  

Kerry 

 

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JG777    346

I have both the Altair Sabre 2 and and AOK AYOII. The Sabre is a very well engineered piece of kit and the Altair vixen saddles are reassuringly good quality. I used a 100 ED F9 refractor on it which barely seemed to trouble it and no counterweights were required. Occasionally I mounted my C9.25 on it as well using either the refractor or counterweights on the other side and again it worked well with little or no sticktion. The key of course is balance and once this is achieved the Sabre works incredibly well. The refractor on the longer bar completely cleared the legs of the UNI 18 tripod. 

The AYO II is a recent purchase for me and I have also since sold the refractor and replaced my mid fleet scope for a VX6. This mounted on the AYO just falls slightly short of balance fully loaded with an eyepiece however the AYO does not bat an eyelid. Super smooth in both axis and the fine control on the tightening knobs is a little more refined than the Sabre although not a huge deal in it and note I have not yet tested the AYO in cold conditions. I would not mount the C9.25 on it as I am not sure the standard clamp is beefy enough. 

Advantages of the Sabre would be the longer bar clearance which may factor in. My AYO is extended somewhat by the fitted encoders so negates that by the increased height, so consider this if you opt for the standard version. I don't know what scope you have but one other thing to note is that when I added the central spreader to my Berlebach the angle of the legs is reduced so this could help clearance for longer scopes. With the AYO it can be mounted on an M10 tripod of a 3/8 so no need for adapters. 

In summary both are very fine mounts, I don't think you would be disappointed with either, my instinct is the AYO will edge it as the better mount  I but I won't know for sure until properly tested. Also an unconfirmed rumour there may be an encoder kit on the horizon for the Sabre but as I say just a rumour!  Sorry no experience of a Skytee but plenty here who have used them and John above has provided excellent info on them. I did consider one but varying reports, Skywatcher QC inconsistencies and the weak clamps put me off. 

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Dave1    92

Thanks for the reply JG777, the mount will be used on top of a Berlebach Uni28 bipod, I have planned to get spread stopped for the tripod. The scopes that are going to be used with it are long focal length refractors. Both being about 1500mm long. 

It is a tough condition the Skywatcher SkyTee 2 has its followers and gets very good praise, but also complaints of backlash problems, which is also putting me off, so if I go the SkyTee 2 route, that will be the first thing I check for, and if there is any then I guess I will return it.

I am leaning more toward the AOK mounts. I would order without encoders, I'd probably order with the Takahashi size saddle which can take 3" Losmandy dovetails. With a weight bar and even possibly one of there panning handles. All depends on what dovetail my new to me telescope has I'm collecting today.

Dave 

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John    16,311

Backlash is an issue with the slow motions on the Skytee II I have to admit. I've adjusted mine out as far as possible but it's still there a little. Because I know it's there I can allow for it if I'm using the slow motions but I can see that it might annoy. It's not a dealbreaker for me because I mostly use the scope with me doing the nudging, like a dobsonian and like that backlash does not affect things.

Mounts like the Sabre, the Giro and the Ercole don't have backlash because they don't have slow motion controls, worm gears etc.

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