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Prador

AZ-GTi - how far can you push it?

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Once I've sold some non-astro gear I will be looking for a budget Alt-Az for my 80ED. I'm looking for something that's quick and easy to set up when I can't be bothered to drag out my NEQ6.

Problem is, once I placed the 80ED, diagonal, EP and finder on some kitchen scales it totalled 5.7kg! The scope is a first generation AA Starwave where, I believe, the 80mm lens cell was installed in a slightly shortened 100ED tube. It's certainly quite chunky and a 3" focuser doesn't help.

Essentially I'm asking if anybody has any experience of how far you can risk going past the 5kg limit. I really would like the Wifi and Go-To functionality but not at the expense of a bust mount/clamp failing/falling over etc. I can lighten things marginally by using a lightweight RDF instead of the standard 9x50 SW finder but still only gets me to 5.3kg. The only viable in budget alternative is a Porta II but obviously lacks the toys.

Thank you for any feedback 😀

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I use an FC100 with tube rings and binoviewers on my AZGTi. I'm sure it is over the limit although I haven't weighed it and it works fine.

There is a threaded hole in the axis of the mount which it believe takes an EQ1 counterweight bar. If you are worried about balance you could buy one of these plus a weight. I have one and will take a picture this weekend.

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Hi

Before bying my fc100dc I used the mount several times with a SV90btv + baader 2” prism + nagler 20, about 5.5 k in total with no issues at all. The gotos were smooth and acurate. The biggest problem you can find It is that It won’t be stable enough when you push magnification. I usually set the mount on the tripod of my eq6-r. With this combination you can go (a bit) over the 5 kilos limit. 

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I put 5kg on mine and it was ok. Stock tripod is an issue though. The issue with these is that it's kind of a lottery. I had 3 to-date ( don't ask lol ). This latest one I have looks to be the best of them all. It handles Newt 5kg ota without hesitation - like it's nothing for it. Like I said the tripod is an issue. The first one I had was struggling with Vixen A80M which is a lot lighter. So, yeah....kind of a lottery in my experience.

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1 minute ago, heliumstar said:

Stock tripod is an issue though.

That's very true, I use mine on a Gitzo which works very well, but any decent tripod will make a difference.

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16 minutes ago, Stu said:

There is a threaded hole in the axis of the mount which it believe takes an EQ1 counterweight bar

It does indeed take an EQ1 c/w bar, or an M12 threaded bar.

There's also a thread(!) on Cloudy Nights where someone has used an M8-threaded Star Adventurer c/w bar with an M8-M12 converter.

The advantages of using existing c/w bars is that hopefully you also have the correctly-sized counterweights 🙂 
 

Ady

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I wonder if the payload limit is increased when the az-gti is run in eq mode with the new firmware?

I would assume/guess the balance would be better, but don't know if this would make a difference to what weight it could handle...

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Many thanks indeed for your practical experience using this little mount. I didn't even know the AZ could be used with a SA wedge! More stuff added to the wish list.

 

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Any more updates on this at all ? Looking to put an  SW80ED (am sure that will be fine) or a SW100ED on an AZ-GTi mount. 

Cheers

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6 hours ago, rhw1967 said:

Any more updates on this at all ? Looking to put an  SW80ED (am sure that will be fine) or a SW100ED on an AZ-GTi mount. 

Cheers

What sort of eyepieces will you use, and will you upgrade the tripod? An 80ED will be no problem, but a 100ED at f9 with heavy 2" eyepieces or a binoviewer on the original tripod might be a little too wobbly.

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I've used a 100ED in its stock form with a 2" diagonal and 1.25" eyepieces on the AZGti without too much of an issue, but I found that adding a Moonlite focuser took it over the edge.

I've now got a counterweight bar but need to find some counterweights with the correct sized bore as mine are all too big. 

This was set up on a skywatcher EQ5 steel tripod though as the stock tripod was rather too flimsy for my liking with the 100ED attached. 

Ade

Edited by AdeKing
Added extra info.
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1 hour ago, Stu said:

What sort of eyepieces will you use, and will you upgrade the tripod? An 80ED will be no problem, but a 100ED at f9 with heavy 2" eyepieces or a binoviewer on the original tripod might be a little too wobbly.

Yes the tripod would be upgraded to the stainless steel one and a 16" pillar. EPs I commonly use are the Baader Zoom, ES 5mm and 2" 32mm. Don't use a binoviewer as I cannot see out if my right eye.

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24 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

I've used a 100ED in its stock form with a 2" diagonal and 1.25" eyepieces on the AZGti without too much of an issue, but I found that adding a Moonlite focuser took it over the edge.

I've now got a counterweight bar but need to find some counterweights with the correct sized bore as mine are all too big. 

This was set up on a skywatcher EQ5 steel tripod though as the stock tripod was rather too flimsy for my liking with the 100ED attached. 

Ade

Yes I use the SW ss tripod with my SkyTee so would use that along with a 16" extension pillar. So possibly would be ok.

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1 hour ago, rhw1967 said:

Yes I use the SW ss tripod with my SkyTee so would use that along with a 16" extension pillar. So possibly would be ok.

That is a nice stable combo which I use too, it wasn't so much the stability but more the fact that the mount started making a slight clicking noise when tracking, that I guessed was due to payload imbalance, which was absent with lighter scopes. 

I'm not sure of my total payload, but the Moonlite CR2 must add almost a kilo as its a solid lump. 

As I said, with the stock focuser all was fine. 

Ade

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My AZ GTi is mounted on the spare tripod I have from the AZ EQ6 GT.  I use my ED80 in this configuration. I was observing (the Moon) on Monday night with 10 visitors, some in the obsy some on the lawn with the AZ GTi.  I managed to trip and fall over the tripod leg.  I came off worst and the ED80 didn't budge.  I agree, its all about the tripod!

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4 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

 

That is a nice stable combo which I use too, it wasn't so much the stability but more the fact that the mount started making a slight clicking noise when tracking, that I guessed was due to payload imbalance, which was absent with lighter scopes. 

I'm not sure of my total payload, but the Moonlite CR2 must add almost a kilo as its a solid lump. 

As I said, with the stock focuser all was fine. 

Ade

Cheers for the info bud. I wouldn't be upgrading the focuser anyway I don't think, as I have an upgraded one on my larger APO, so sounds like all would be good.

Thanks

Richard

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5 minutes ago, Owmuchonomy said:

My AZ GTi is mounted on the spare tripod I have from the AZ EQ6 GT.  I use my ED80 in this configuration. I was observing (the Moon) on Monday night with 10 visitors, some in the obsy some on the lawn with the AZ GTi.  I managed to trip and fall over the tripod leg.  I came off worst and the ED80 didn't budge.  I agree, its all about the tripod!

Hope you are ok and no damage to the leg Chris (Your leg I mean, not the tripod ! :)

The stainless steel tripod with the 16" pillar that I have is super stable, so am sure there will be no worries.

Cheers

Richard

 

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3 hours ago, rhw1967 said:

Yes the tripod would be upgraded to the stainless steel one and a 16" pillar. EPs I commonly use are the Baader Zoom, ES 5mm and 2" 32mm. Don't use a binoviewer as I cannot see out if my right eye.

That should work very well I think.

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@AdeKing I bought the CW bar and weight from Astroboot. Have yet to try it out but it fits fine, from an EQ1 I think......

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1 minute ago, Stu said:

That should work very well I think.

Great, thanks for the help and advice .

Cheers

Richard

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5 hours ago, Stu said:

@AdeKing I bought the CW bar and weight from Astroboot. Have yet to try it out but it fits fine, from an EQ1 I think......

Thanks Stu, 

I have managed to source a bar, its just the weights I need because as soon as you add weights the Astroboot shipping charge skyrockets.

I have the standard EQ3/5 weights but the bore is too large. 

Not to worried at the moment as am having fun with a mini ercole and finding things manually. 

Thanks for the heads up though. 

Ade

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