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John

Show off your Alt-Azimuth mounts

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2 hours ago, GavStar said:

.78C202B9-BE99-44E7-817E-D46F379C607F.thumb.jpeg.b9d65517ee7860d509534648acf497f2.jpeg
 

 

No compromise there haha. Incredible. Like this very much!

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My GIAZ (Giant az-alt) & Fotomate VT2900 tripod. Fitted a Baader dovetail clamp so I can use for both my bins & quick setup of a scope.

DC821937-F4AA-494B-8CF7-C86A74A5ACA0.jpeg

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We have two, a Half / Hitch Mk-2 with Sky Commander which is the preferred mount for our Intes-Micro M-500, and a versatile Zeiss equatorial T-Mount which quickly adjusts to Alt-Azimuth configuration.

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Edited by L8-Nite
spell ckeck
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Here’s my take on a very heavy duty alt az mount. 

EDEA7556-4AA2-48EF-9EAD-70E5F34F195C.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Space Hopper said:

Here are mine :

I'm one of the few UK owners of an American made Discmounts DM-6, purchased new in 2014.  Many feel its one of the best manual Alt-az mounts there is (I'm biased)

Towards the end of 2018 i purchased a new TTS-160 Panther mount from 'Track the Stars'.   With a slightly red face, i must confess to hardly ever having used  it.......thats partly due to my preference of my DM-6 for easy manual alt-az.

The other part is that i need to 'fall in love' with the Panther. And i'm afraid i haven't. I actually dislike it, and have thought about selling it.

15076489825_8c1b15d8d2_c.jpg           27213758369_d9600d0fc0_c.jpg27213758359_108b68009e_c.jpg

 

Interesting comments regarding the Panther - what don’t you like about it?

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I looked at the Panther but something about it put me off. Glad I waited for the AZ100.

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34 minutes ago, Odd Thomas said:

Here’s my take on a very heavy duty alt az mount. 

EDEA7556-4AA2-48EF-9EAD-70E5F34F195C.jpeg

I do hope that is a red light candle,
otherwise you might ruin your dark adaption 🤣

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John, what a fabulous subject, I wish I'd thought of it!  I'll keep coming back to this one, I only use altaz mounts, love them - I don't use equatorials now and haven't done so for ages.  I think I've found a mount no-one has mentioned yet, the Manfrotto 393 mount.  It's main purposed is for large telephoto lenses, but it works extremely well for smaller scopes, I've used it with refractors up to 102mm Maks up to 127mm,  a 5 inch SC -  plus  various solar and spotting scopes.  It will also take any small reflector if they are not too long - the gap between the forks is a little over 6 1/2 inches.  The forks locking knobs work extremely well and it comes with it's own dovetail system - easily attached straight to Skywatcher dovetails - which means balancing it is very easy.  It can be used on any photo tripod or something more substantial.

I've also included a pic of my AZ4 on a really tall, light-weight and robust surveyors tripod with my 120ED on board. The tripod was a massive bargain at £10 from a trader at last years Kelling star party.

As well as the Manfrotto and AZ4, I have an AZ5 and an Ercole for use  in my observatory.  I've used or owned quite a few other altaz mounts too over the years.

Thanks again for posting John.

 

 

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Edited by paulastro
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@paulastro interesting that you use an Ercole in your observatory.
Is this on a pier?

Edited by Alan White
typos of course

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Hi Alan.  I have the Ercole on a a half pier on top of one of the old Orion Optics, very substantial, field tripods.  The observatory walls are rather tall (a converted garage) and having it on a tripod enables me move it around to enable me to reach a little lower in altitude and still clear the walls. 

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I still have this mini-Dob (gathering dust, I will donate it to the outreach group of the Astronomical Institute

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I also built an alt-az mount for solar work, which handled the APM 80 mm with ease,

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and could even manage the C8

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My p-mount is of course also an alt-az, and also a DIY item

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The only "proper" alt-az mount I bought is the little mini-giro

IMAG1020.thumb.jpg.a44e14570baa681703cf1a49a3e087c2.jpg

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59 minutes ago, Odd Thomas said:

Here’s my take on a very heavy duty alt az mount. 

EDEA7556-4AA2-48EF-9EAD-70E5F34F195C.jpeg

You've even got an integrated candle holder! 

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Your alt azimuth creations look very effective Michael :icon_biggrin:

Wood is a really good material for mounts and tripods I reckon. I often wonder what sort of scale and cost of commercial equatorial mount I would need to hold my F/5.3 12 inch dob steady when using 300x or more ?. And yet a well designed and made plywood mount does the job really well for a fraction of the weight and price.

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Portable and sturdy and quite flexible with an L bracket fitted.

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Also have an Az3 which I find fine to use, and if I get a star adaventurer or simile intend to use it as the wedge.

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Wondering if I should start a “ Dobs I have Owned “ thread?  🤔

Edited by johninderby

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1 hour ago, GavStar said:

Interesting comments regarding the Panther - what don’t you like about it?

@GavStar    Ok...........

The handset. I can't get to grips with it. I struggle with the alignment procedure every time. I've done 2 star alignments and slewed to an object and its been nowhere near it.

You have to be careful with the cables which can easily get caught. And the main power lead is all too easy to accidentally catch and pull out.

Its unbelievably heavy. I'm glad i go to the gym ! 

The counterweights are hazardous to fingers ! The edges of the tightening wheels are razor sharp (as well as the bars) , and i've cut myself on them several times. Its a gloves on job now for me when i handle them.

Other than that.....😀

The reality is, i'm not very savvy with things like this, and just need someone who knows the mount show me the ropes.

Neils has just started an online user group, so hopefully i can get to grips with it. I must persevere, as it's stopping me doing any sort of imaging.

Then theres the fact then when i actually do get a clear night when i'm not at work, its all too easy just to grab the DM-6 and be observing in no time at all. That i can use, and i have no problem at all using the DSC Nexus, unlike the Panther.

 

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43 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Wondering if I should start a “ Dobs I have Owned “ thread?  🤔

Well, there is a "gap in the market" there :icon_biggrin:

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5 hours ago, John said:

 

6. Bray Tablet Mount

braymeadeistar6.jpg.215b861d0b3440c6f0eaab3c46424a7a.jpg

 

John : it great to see one of these rare Bray mounts.

I remember about 15 years ago looking at Alt-az mount options and being very keen on a Bray Tablet mount but they sadly went out of production before i'd even started saving for one.

In fact it was this sort of design that led me to the DM-6, although it was another 5 years before i started the ball rolling on that one !

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The Bray is an interesting heavy duty mount made in low numbers by a British company. I knew that it had serious carrying capacity and could move larger scopes smoothly due to the mount using large bearing surfaces. The Istar 150mm F/12 achromat was a challenge for practically any mount though, more due to it's length rather than it's weight.

The tripod in that picture is the Meade Giant Field tripod with 3 inch steel tube legs - the scope rather dwarfs it and the mount though.

Here is a Bray Tablet carrying a C14 (not mine):

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Here is a closer view of the mount head:

image.png.69e75ea8b7f61c9ae68149c9a4ac3c32.png

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23 minutes ago, John said:

Well, there is a "gap in the market" there :icon_biggrin:

Sorted 😁

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Wow, there are a lot of serious  set ups out there!

Here's mine...

Dob (I hope the eq platform is not breaking the rules)...

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Neewer tripod plus TS Optics alt az head...20191201_215954_HDR.thumb.jpg.f6f3b67e707b560840ee9f7aba5284ce.jpg

Porta 220171226_151357_HDR.thumb.jpg.fdbf6326430561e602f381faa885a06d.jpg

AZ2...

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AZ4...

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AZ3...

20160813_230541.thumb.jpg.7e1bc5b2acd6145ecfc103fef3507057.jpg

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Speaking of breaking the rules does an Synscan Skytee II mount count? 🤔

One of my old projects.

00324F4C-8960-4D47-B87D-979010594778.jpeg

Edited by johninderby
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Great stuff Paz :icon_biggrin:

I'll let you off the eq platform - I used to have one just the same as yours that I used with my 12 inch dob :smiley:

@johninderby : it's an alt-az mount, just accessorised a bit !

 

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Below are some of the AZ mounts I've owned over the years.

This first one wasn't very good when looking skyward. It was made by a local firm, along with the F10 achromat mounted on it, called Cosmotron. The tripod was made from mahogany and the focuse was all brass. It cost me £99 in 1982ish.

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Here is the only photo I have of my home made binocular tripod and Altaz fork. It was copied from a design in sky&telescope and carried my 12X60mm binoculars. The pivot on the altitude axis was set at my temple position, so that as I moved my head, my eyes remained in line with the arc made by the eyepieces. It was an excellent bino mount.

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The Hercules Helix mount below was a superb true altazimuth fork which was seriously solid. It had an 8" separation and could easily carry a heavy top end 6" F8 refractor. It was as smooth as butter. Sorry I let it go, as they are nolonger made. 

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The common or garden AZ4. This one has had a little internal clean up and a cosmetic make over. It is mounted on a very solid and very tall old Vixen tripod. Despite it being a cheap mount, it handles my 100mm Tak very well and allows me to use very high powers despite having no slow motion controls.

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My AZ5  (little squealer), as when i got it from RVO it sqealed like a stuck pig. RVO couldnt have cared less, so I dismantled it to find there was no grease on any of the parts that needed it. After greasing the necessary parts the mount worked fine. Not as good as an AZ4 by a long way!

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A close up look at the amazing Hercules Helix mount head.

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An AZ3 carrying a Sky 90 - just! 

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Edited by mikeDnight
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