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Show off your Alt-Azimuth mounts


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7 hours ago, John said:

Very nice Paul :thumbright:

Does the Vixen GP do that ?

Thanks John.  Stu is quite right on this point.  You have to mod the GP, while an SP just involves moving the axis over so it is set at zero degrees latitude.

I once took a GP up to Peter Drew at one time to do the same mod for me.  I have a feeling it needed the use of a hacksaw, but I'm not certain.  I'm sure he will remember if you pm him.

Edited by paulastro
Missed a bit out.
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My two homemade alt/az mounts        

With the exciting new Rowan AZ100 alt-azimuth mount finding its way to new owners hands now I thought it timely to start a thread to showcase the variety of alt-azimuth mounts that are in use for astr

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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7 hours ago, DirkSteele said:

That is great.  Where did you source the 16" pillar from?

I've had it for a few years.  If I remember correctly it was from Widescreen who had them made by someone.  I'm sure I've seen similar available elsewhere from a couple of dealers.  I'd be surprised if they aren't available from someone.  You could put a post on SGL asking  if anyone knows a supplier.

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A Certain Comet caused me to "un-mothball" my *modded* AZ3! 🥳
A useful ultra-portable mount... Fits into a (posh) Gitzo Tripod Bag too.

AZ3-2.JPG.52396c97fa54a207c11bd54d4f443fda.JPG

A frustrating mount (for many?)! But the tendency to fall backwards
was foiled by addition of springs. (Counterwights didn't work for me).

Took a while time to find extension springs of right length/tension...
Wanna buy a (budget)  "job lot" several hundred etension springs? 😛

The springs give a satisfying "springy" sound! Make sure the springs
are firmly attached... "You'll have someone's eye out with that" etc. 🤣

Edited by Macavity
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  • 1 month later...

Such a brilliant topic! Inspiration for any one looking for or wondering about what's out there.

I join late but have a few to add to this great list. First up are Desert Sky DSM and DS2b - made by Raoul with all CNC aluminium and SS fixings. Ball bearings and an assembly that can be stripped, adjusted cleaned and lubricated forever. The dollar and VAT needs to be kinder but prices are low for this quality. The 2b features separate clamps and friction controls and a smart eyepiece balance on the side or 2 scopes with collimation. Sadly sold that one but the DSVM has done 3 trips to NZ in hand luggage. The wand is my addition.

 

P8020491.JPG

XT100349.JPG

XT100368.JPG

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42 minutes ago, Stephenstargazer said:

Such a brilliant topic! Inspiration for any one looking for or wondering about what's out there.

I join late but have a few to add to this great list. First up are Desert Sky DSM and DS2b - made by Raoul with all CNC aluminium and SS fixings. Ball bearings and an assembly that can be stripped, adjusted cleaned and lubricated forever. The dollar and VAT needs to be kinder but prices are low for this quality. The 2b features separate clamps and friction controls and a smart eyepiece balance on the side or 2 scopes with collimation. Sadly sold that one but the DSVM has done 3 trips to NZ in hand luggage. The wand is my addition.

 

P8020491.JPG

XT100349.JPG

XT100368.JPG

Lovely mounts and lovely scopes as well. Don't see many DSV mounts over here.

Lumicon diagonal as well - another rather unusual item !

 

 

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Following on my first AZ was a Vixen Porta, gave good service but the slowmotions needed adjustment often. Later a Vixen APZ - if you think buttery and smooth this is just that. Needs counterbalance and  rather big for capacity of 6/7 kg.  I prefer the mount configured as that rare thing a manual Equatorial. Could not find an APZ photo so stuck in the AP ( best star hopper any way).

A David Lukehurst 14" compact dobsonian was lovely to push around the sky but eventually I grew tired of assembly and colllimation for each outing. Still it is the one that showed me many 'new' Messier objects.

Next fancies are a Scopetech Zero for the Questar and possibly a Rowan AZ100 for the Tak - but such decisions need long consideration. I notice no mention of iOptron AZ Pro but perhaps this post attracts a different style.spacer.pngspacer.pngspacer.png

There is also an AZGti but hardly worth mention, it works but lacks soul.

XT101437.JPG

XT100863.JPG

Edited by Stephenstargazer
omission
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Well spotted John! I never regretted personal import of the the DSV mounts. The Lumicon diagonal was an early purchase from RVO and so solidly made that it will be kept forever - just 2 cnc pieces, absolutely rigid. The cost repaid many times over.

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Hi @Stephenstargazer and welcome to SGL. :hello2: That is an impressive collection.

A word of caution about the dovetail on the WO. I had one like it snap on me a few years ago when it was attached to my ETX105 and it hit the ground. I think the cold weakened it when the temperature dropped to minus something Celsius and damaged the rear ABS plastic cell and two of the three mounting points. The rest of the OTA, meniscus cell and mirrors were undamaged and found a local engineering workshop to undertake and make a replacement backplate, (as shown below), once I had drawn up a rough sketch/plan of it.

small_IMG_0385.JPG..jpg.96b510aeac1ce230208486066271a09d.jpgPIC011.JPG.d44aaf7659477cb4cf6a80da07ee9215.JPGPIC012.JPG.3b3b2b4aaf9826a35f9fd23345ee7b76.JPG

The Jubillee/hose rings are securing the dovetail bar to the OTA as I cannot find/obtain suitable dovetail/tube rings.
There are CNC ones, but they cost £'00s/$'00's + shipping.

Edited by Philip R
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I don’t bother with a counterweight with my AZ100 unless using an OTA over 10kg where the stability of the tripod becomes a factor.

Using a counterweight or not doesn’t seem to affect the smoothness of the mount. 

4A3159ED-8822-4C38-BCD3-85726F6AB047.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Stephenstargazer said:

Omo, does the AZ 100 need counterbalancing with such a moderate load? I am looking for portable solutuons and carrying a cb is just dead weight!

Not exactly sure to be honest i just always put one on, I would go with what @johninderby suggests, he has tons more experience than me 👍

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16 minutes ago, Stephenstargazer said:

Thanks for welcome! Actually a lapsed member and several of those scopes and mounts have new homes. 

Current stable is Questar Fieldscope(ex MoD 1983), Vixen VC200L on SXD2, Tak FC100DF (latest). 

A very nice armoury indeed 🙂

 

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  • 5 months later...

Unless i go down the AZ100 route, here's another and maybe final update.

I've just recently sourced a very nice, almost new Berlebach Planet tripod at a bargain price.

Despite it having the wrong top plate : an HEQ5 i couldn't let it pass, as everything else was ideal,

ie the leg spreader, tray and double clamps.

 

An online order to Berlebach in Germany for a replacement 'DM6' top plate, and a set of 3 'rubber feet'  arrived in only 2 days.

I did make some enquiries on another forum about the fact i'd not paid any German VAT, as we are out of the EU

and the general consensus was that i'd be charged import tax and VAT / handing fees.

Although its only a relatively small amount, the taxman has yet to catch up with me.

I'm sure he will ; its one of the two certain things in life after all......🥴

 

The Planet is a thing of beauty, and its the tripod i should really have invested in before now.

I have an existing UNI 18, and while its ok, its really the bare minimum of what is required when using a 10kg scope set up.

The Planet is a much sturdier and more stable tripod and should suffice me till the end.

 

So i now have 3 tripod options, and 3 alt-az mounts.

I'd thought about selling the UNI but will probably keep it for the time being.

 

If anyone has a need for a HEQ5 top plate for a Planet tripod, give me a shout.

 

IMG_2438IMG_2439

 

The 3 amigo's below :

 

Left my lightweight grab+go Discmount DM4 on my Gitzo photo tripod.

This is ideal for quick sessions with my little 4" refractor and the mount + tripod is an easy one handed carry out.

 

Centre is my main workhorse Discmount DM6 on existing BB Uni 18.

The 'push to' Nexus DSC is super and a delight to use.

 

One the right is the heavyweight option : my TTS-160 Panther motorised alt-az on the new planet with my main 5.5" scope.

Thanks for looking.

IMG_2442

 

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Panther on Planet looks very capable. Can you compare using Panther and Nexus DSC as both are push to?

Do I recall that UK VAT is waived on items form EU below £140, or am I dreaming ???

Nearly right ! The Gov says:

VAT

VAT is charged on all goods (except for gifts worth £39 or less) sent from:

  • outside the UK to Great Britain
  • outside the UK and the EU to Northern Ireland

VAT is not charged on goods that are gifts worth £39 or less.

You pay VAT when you buy the goods or to the delivery company before you receive them. If you have to pay VAT to the delivery company, it’s charged on the total package value, including:

  • the value of the goods
  • postage, packaging and insurance
  • any duty you owe

VAT is charged at the VAT rate that applies to your goods.

Goods worth £135 or less in total

If you bought the goods yourself and they are not excise goods, the seller will have included VAT in the total you paid.

You will need to pay VAT to the delivery company if the goods are:

  • gifts sent to you by someone else and worth more than £39
  • excise goods

Goods worth more than £135 in total

You will have to pay VAT to the delivery company either before the goods are delivered or when you collect them.

Edited by Stephenstargazer
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Lots of nice mounts. I'm 90% happy with the AZ5. The only issue I have is the pants saddle. I've not seen a replacement ADM style one if anyone can point me in the right direction...

2050348725_IMG_20210222_2114509013.thumb.jpg.2183ffed4dd4392927bccc6aec88a426.jpg

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On 06/08/2020 at 07:31, Macavity said:

A Certain Comet caused me to "un-mothball" my *modded* AZ3! 🥳
A useful ultra-portable mount... Fits into a (posh) Gitzo Tripod Bag too.

AZ3-2.JPG.52396c97fa54a207c11bd54d4f443fda.JPG

A frustrating mount (for many?)! But the tendency to fall backwards
was foiled by addition of springs. (Counterwights didn't work for me).

Took a while time to find extension springs of right length/tension...
Wanna buy a (budget)  "job lot" several hundred etension springs? 😛

The springs give a satisfying "springy" sound! Make sure the springs
are firmly attached... "You'll have someone's eye out with that" etc. 🤣

That is ingenious! I went the counterweight route and it's worked perfectly for me, but your spring setup takes less space and will be less heavy! I tested mine yesterday with my 77mm f1000 achro and it feels and looks promising too!
 

 

 

membersmods-AZ3mountmod-6.jpg

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@Stephenstargazer thanks for the breakdown of charges. I'm sure the taxman is homing in.....🤫

My order was €202 (including shipping) and i had the German vat refunded on checkout so paid €173

I'm surprised the goods were not withheld until i'd paid the extra duties.

Every time i've ordered from the US i've had to do this and then was able to pick up my goods. Its a straightforward

enough process, but does slow everything down and usually adds about a week on to the wait.

 

 

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