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parallaxerr

Anyone ever mounted a 200p/pds on an AZ4?

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Posted (edited)

I know, I know, bear with me on this one....

Earlier this year I downsized to one scope, a 4" ED refractor which I have mounted on an AZ4. I have been thoroughly impressed with the combination over the last few months viewing Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon. I can tell there's a lot more planetary potential in the scope when they eventually rise above the murk.

The mount is performing flawlessly. I have it semi-permanently set up under a cover in the garden with a ground anchor set in the grass attached to a ratchet strap pulling down on the tripod spreader. The whole affair is rock steady and vibration is a non-issue with the frac which weighs in at circa 5kg with accessories...

20190802_211136.thumb.jpg.75f93aba144c5452196571b7f173f26d.jpg


However, with the return of a little astronomical darkness in the early hours, I recently tried a bit of DSO hunting. It comes as no surprise that I've been left a little underwhelmed having been used to viewing DSO's with my old frac, a SW ST120. Unfortunately I can't agree with the common conception that better optics make up for a lack of aperture, the ST120 went much deeper than the 4" ED apparently can, no question in my mind.

So, I have recently been searching for a used Skywatcher ST150 refractor. A fellow SGL'er tells me that for low power, he found the AZ4/ST150 combo OK. Now he was using the aluminium tripod and pier extension, I'd wager my arrangement is much sturdier. The ST150 does not look out of place on the AZ4 by any means....

110023-1538329091.thumb.jpg.741eb93bb5f8bdd683ddc590349118a8.jpg


But, there are few used ST150's available and prices are high so I got thinking about a reflector. Now, I'm completely new to Newts and don't relish the prospect of collimation, though I accept the common advice that it's no big deal. I certainly had no problems collimating an SCT in the past, which daunted me at first. The thing is, I read that due to central obstruction, a newt is often comparable only to a larger refractor, leading me to think bigger than 150mm/6in....next stop 200mm/8in.

I've seen a C8 (203mm) on an AZ4 in this thread

and that didn't look too bad either, zenith was not quite achievable, but I rarely observe above about 70° anyway. This isn't an option though, prices are higher than the frac. I must also add that a dob is out of the question due to the layout of my garden which consists of many tiers, steps and sloping lawns, which a tripod can obviously be adjusted to deal with. I have no aspirations to go down the big mount route again, it killed the hobby for me when my mount became a burden to set up, AZ4 it is.

So, all I want is a light bucket that will sit on an AZ4, simples right?

Anyone tried a 200p on one, even better, anyone got any pics of said combo? No amount of image searching yields a result, probably for good reason!!

I'm quietly confident that this could work bearing in mind it will be solely for low power use and given that the mount is currently so stable, we're talking just under double the OTA weight. The issue I ponder is one of physical compatibility. What do you think?

I'm now sat down in my holiday home, beer in hand awaiting your thoughts. Go easy won't ya!?!?!

Cheers, Jon

Edited by parallaxerr
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I have used a C8 on an AZ4 and it was fine rigidity wise. I've found the AZ4 to be quite robust. 

I'm very interested in your comments to about the ST120, I've long been researching a 4" Apo as an upgrade to replace my ST120 (and my ST80 and 127mm Mak all with one scope to simplify my kit down) but it would be noticeably  less aperture as you mention.

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I tried our 200PDS on the AZ4.....haha wouldn't recommend it. But a C8 on the other hand.....no worries. Our AZ4 is kitted out with the CG5 2" steel legs but it was too much i think. A Skytee 2 would be a better bet for the 200P. What about the 150PDS on the AZ4?  So much smaller and lighter than the 200P, views are not a great deal inferior. And the AZ4 loves it. AZ4 also loves our C6S tube a lot! Match made in heaven.

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I agree Paz, the AZ4 is a solid performer, I wish I'd discovered it earlier to be honest. Also wish I still had my ST120 for DSO but the 4" ED is far more capable on planets and I dare say doubles etc.

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I'd tried my old blue 200p on my AZ4 just a few days ago. It definitely felt like a no unfortunately, I didn't even bother to nip up the holder. Too bad, was going to put the 130pds on the eq5 and use the 200p for sky surfing with the alt az...

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Posted (edited)

If I were to drop to 150mm aperture @russ, I think I'd just hang out for the frac at the right price given that I love the refractor presentation. What was the big no no with the 200pds, physical size, weight, vibration? Did you attempt any observing with it on the AZ4?

Edited by parallaxerr

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2 minutes ago, Ships and Stars said:

It definitely felt like a no unfortunately

It what way may I ask? 

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2 minutes ago, parallaxerr said:

If I were to drop to 150mm aperture @russ, I think I'd just hang out for the frac given that I love the refractor presentation. What was the big no no with the 200pds, physical size, weight, vibration? Did you attempt any observing with it on the AZ4?

It was a bit of everything. Physical size (too long), too much weight on that bearing. I tried some low power on Jupiter but it wouldn't settle down. I fully understand you wanting the 150 frac, they just give a purer star image that a newt cannot match. My Startravel 150 was sadly a technicolor dreamcoat of false colour. Tried the Baader Semi-Apo filter to calm things down but it didn't work. The ST80 and ST102 had CA but nothing like the 150. That said it was years ago and before the black diamond models came out. The old sky blue Skywatcher.

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Just now, russ said:

It was a bit of everything. Physical size (too long), too much weight on that bearing. I tried some low power on Jupiter but it wouldn't settle down. I fully understand you wanting the 150 frac, they just give a purer star image that a newt cannot match. My Startravel 150 was sadly a technicolor dreamcoat of false colour. Tried the Baader Semi-Apo filter to calm things down but it didn't work. The ST80 and ST102 had CA but nothing like the 150. That said it was years ago and before the black diamond models came out. The old sky blue Skywatcher.

Thanks Russ, makes sense, that's a lot of weight on the alt axis. I found the CA bearable on my ST120 and a non-issue on DSO, which is what this scope will be used for exclusively. Need to find one cheap somewhere, I just missed out on a Phenix 150mm F5 frac on UKABS the other day for £90!!!!! Gutted.

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43 minutes ago, parallaxerr said:

So, I have recently been searching for a used Skywatcher ST150 refractor.

Have you seen this? 

Ade. 

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

Have you seen this? 

Ade. 

Yes I have thanks Ade and I've been in touch. I think I'll hold out for something a little cheaper, I've seen them go for closer to £200 but there are no others on the market at the moment that I can find. This particular one plus postage is getting expensive imo, they're down to £479 new now.

Edited by parallaxerr
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Heaviest and longest scope that I've tried on my AZ-4 was an Intes MN61 mak-newtonian. That is a 152mm F/6 scope which weighed around 10kg. The AZ-4 did a pretty good job on that but, oddly, it does not seem to cope with my ED120 F/7.5 refractor well other than for low to medium power viewing.

If the 200mm newt was an Orion Optics one then the AZ-4 would do better - OOUK scopes are lighter and a touch slimmer than the chinese equivalents.

 

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15 minutes ago, parallaxerr said:

It what way may I ask? 

I don't think it would have held any altitude, just too much weight and too far away from the centre of the mount. Plus I only had a few mm of space between the tube/tube clamps and the top of the azmiuth adjuster on top of the tripod. I had briefly looked online, and think the answer across the board was a no. It's really quite a bit larger and heavier than my 130pds. I was quite surprised when I bought the 200p.

130vs200p.jpg

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1 minute ago, John said:

Heaviest and longest scope that I've tried on my AZ-4 was an Intes MN61 mak-newtonian. That is a 152mm F/6 scope which weighed around 10kg. The AZ-4 did a pretty good job on that but, oddly, it does not seem to cope with my ED120 F/7.5 refractor well other than for low to medium power viewing.

If the 200mm newt was an Orion Optics one then the AZ-4 would do better - OOUK scopes are lighter and a touch slimmer than the chinese equivalents.

 

I noticed that about the OOUK scopes John, then I noticed the prices 🙁

Never mind, I thought it was a long shot and I'd rather a frac anyway. I wonder if the AZ4 would cope with one of the 152mm f5.9 variants? Probably not, I think they're closer to 11kg!

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2 minutes ago, Ships and Stars said:

I don't think it would have held any altitude, just too much weight and too far away from the centre of the mount. Plus I only had a few mm of space between the tube/tube clamps and the top of the azmiuth adjuster on top of the tripod. I had briefly looked online, and think the answer across the board was a no. It's really quite a bit larger and heavier than my 130pds. I was quite surprised when I bought the 200p.

130vs200p.jpg

Wow, that's just the sort of picture that's needed, really illustrates the size difference. I can imagine it now having seen plenty of 130/150p on AZ4 pics, thanks.

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Jon, at one point I had an AZ4 with a 150p that worked well.

However I did feel this was the limit for the mount.

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Posted (edited)

Funny how opinions vary, a user on CN said this was "useable" at low power. AR152 on AZ4....

post-213993-0-63179800-1428031987.jpg.9ce1e8be30627d9cdde3011897e17cca.jpg

Edited by parallaxerr

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3 minutes ago, parallaxerr said:

Wow, that's just the sort of picture that's needed, really illustrates the size difference. I can imagine it now having seen plenty of 130/150p on AZ4 pics, thanks.

Yep! I met the seller of the 200p in a car park for collection, and when I lifted it out of the boot I thought, oh right, this is like three 130s, haha. My AZ4 plans sort of faded a bit, but I bought the 200p in good nick with an EQ5 mount, motors etc for £250, so not to bad I suppose. Good optics with it, already had one crack at it. 

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1 minute ago, Alan White said:

Jon, at one point I had an AZ4 with a 150p that worked well.

However I did feel this was the limit for the mount.

Hi Alan, yes I came across your comments in my searches......and realised you went back to a frac 😂

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1 minute ago, parallaxerr said:

Funny how opinions vary, a user on CN said this was "useable" at low power. AR152 on AZ4....

post-213993-0-63179800-1428031987.jpg.9ce1e8be30627d9cdde3011897e17cca.jpg

I didn't realise the 150/152s were that size! Bazooka territory!

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1 minute ago, parallaxerr said:

Hi Alan, yes I came across your comments in my searches......and realised you went back to a frac 😂

I did, then another Newtonian and now a refractor, sct and 10” dob.

Out of the lot the dob is easiest to sit at and use even though it is biggest of the lot.

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I see quite a few reports from folks that are happy with an ED120 on an AZ-4 mount. Personally I didn't find it a satisfactory pairing but I guess different people have a different take on what is OK for them.

I feel that a Skytee II is right at it's limit with a 6 inch F/8 refractor on board (it's a much more robust mount than an AZ-4) but some people have used much larger and heavier scopes than that on one. Look at these pics from an Astronomy Now review of a 200mm F/5.9 refractor for example:

image.png.1339c17fbb93e89e155034163d6367e5.png

image.png.c8b8bd6968949338ffcd90c91bb50720.png

 

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27 minutes ago, John said:

I see quite a few reports from folks that are happy with an ED120 on an AZ-4 mount. Personally I didn't find it a satisfactory pairing but I guess different people have a different take on what is OK for them.

I feel that a Skytee II is right at it's limit with a 6 inch F/8 refractor on board (it's a much more robust mount than an AZ-4) but some people have used much larger and heavier scopes than that on one. Look at these pics from an Astronomy Now review of a 200mm F/5.9 refractor for example:

image.png.1339c17fbb93e89e155034163d6367e5.png

image.png.c8b8bd6968949338ffcd90c91bb50720.png

 

I guess the ability to counterbalance helps in this example John, something that's not an option with the AZ4. A lack of counter weights is actually one of the reasons I like the AZ4, though it does limit the mount to a degree.

I can cope with a little bit of under-mounting when observing low power but it's horrible when ramping up the mag.

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Posted (edited)

Well blow me. A significant Skywatcher price hike just landed and they're even more expensive now, £537 for an ST150 at FLO. Too rich for me 😥

Edited by parallaxerr
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