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Relpet

Skywatcher AZ-GTI tripod replacement

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The moon was showing quite brightly at about 11.30 last night and I wanted to try out a 5x PowerMate 1.25” I had bought recently but hadn’t had a chance to use.  I’d previously removed the diagonal from my TS Photoline APO to blow away some dust so for expediency connected my Canon 500D to the PowerMate, connected that to an 80mm extension tube and than slid that into the ‘scope’s open end.  That made a heck of a leverage on a pretty short dovetail but it seemed stable.

Only when I tried actually to do something did I discover how flimsy the “kit” tripod is for the SW AZ-GTI mount.  It is the most frequent criticism by reviewers and users and sensible people seem to bypass the tripod and just buy the mount.  I didn’t get where I am today by taking good advice so should not have been surprised when the least touch to any part of the ‘scope or camera started the entire ensemble trembling like a reed in the wind.  Alter the ISO, wait two seconds for the trembling to stop.  Adjust the focuser, can’t see for the trembling.  Wait for it to stop to see if you’ve got it right. Try again, and again, and again.  A combined process of adjusting focus, ISO and shutter speed that should take seconds was taking minutes.  Without the diagonal I’m having to squat on a garden chair with my head about three feet off the ground and frost forming on the summer house roof.  Amazing to believe you can have such fun in old age but, frankly, I’d rather not do it again.

So, replace the diagonal – then what?  What’s the best, reasonably-priced, alternative to the SW tripod in the experience of satisfied users, please?  Many thanks.

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1 hour ago, Relpet said:

What’s the best, reasonably-priced, alternative to the SW tripod in the experience of satisfied users, please?

I use an EQ5 metal tube tripod and a Berlebach adapter. These tripods can be picked up quite cheaply s/hand.  It's a huge improvement of the standard AZ GTi tripod

Or you can use a AW tripod like this.

Then there are the lovely wooden Berlebach tipods.....

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On 14/04/2019 at 14:14, JeremyS said:

I use an EQ5 metal tube tripod and a Berlebach adapter. These tripods can be picked up quite cheaply s/hand.  It's a huge improvement of the standard AZ GTi tripod

Or you can use a AW tripod like this.

Then there are the lovely wooden Berlebach tipods.....

Just for your information and anyone else who might be looking for a solution I discussed this with Zoltan at 365Astronomy.  He suggested an Astrotrac tripod:

Astrotrac AT1 Aluminium Tripod

which he would modify to take the 3/8 threaded bolt and supply a flat mounting plate included in the list price of £76.  I lent heavily on a sample and it felt rock solid so I ordered one which I collected today.  To compare like with like I connected the Canon 500D with TeleVue 5x PowerMate to the 80mm extension tube to exert maximum leverage as before.  Barely a tremor as I adjusted focus and camera settings on tonight's moon.  At £30 less than the price of the SW and lighter in weight (aluminium rather than steel) my problem seems to be solved.  Thanks again for your response.

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17 hours ago, Miguel1983 said:

i bought this one for use with my AZ5 and AZ GTI, quite happy with it.

That seems to be the most popular upgrade, Miguel.  I just wish I'd bought that one in the first place instead of the highly-criticised tripod that SW sell with the mount as standard.  As it is I am happy with the AstroTrac I bought from 365Astronomy (see earlier post).

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On 23/04/2019 at 05:13, Miguel1983 said:

 

 

On 23/04/2019 at 22:59, Relpet said:

i bought this one for use with my AZ5 and AZ GTI, quite happy with it.

Just ordered mine ... i too am dismayed at the flimsy nsture of the SW tripod... hsving said that i am attaching  a sw 130pds with counter weight and wedge to the mount so its not surprising that its on the top heavy side . Also the original tripod is still good for cameras , i kind of like iit ... but of course with the extension pillar thst came with the mount it makes everything that little bit more unstable . Actually it brings up another question ... when using the steel tripod is there a risk of the scope  catching on the tripod ? At least the extension pillar allowed my 130pds to clear the tripod .

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I too use an eq5 tripod and an adaptor.

Extremely solid.

😁

20190914_193233.jpg

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unlocking the both axis helped reduce vibrations for me. But the tension spring has it's limits and this is easily reached when the axis is locked down.

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