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New Alt/Az mount.


surfindogg
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1 hour ago, johninderby said:

Hopefully it’s a one off and not a common problem. 🙏🏼

That's what I'm hoping too... It was working so well this afternoon and was carrying no different a load this evening. I was very conscious of the warning on that quick start guide (as shown) and certainly didn't notice any tilt of the saddle plate!

I suggest anybody who has this mount, take particular care and beware of any sign of stiffness in altitude 😬

I've advised @FLO and will proceed with their advice... Having seen and been impressed with it's performance earlier today, I'm not giving up on it yet 🤞

IMG_3313.jpg

Edited by HollyHound
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6 hours ago, heliumstar said:

This was on my buy list until I saw it's only 80cm or so in height fully extended.

I received the mount as well but it's sitting in a box for now. Full day of meetings today and feel like squeezed towel so not sure if unpacking today. Yours looks very good though :D

Oh wow, that’s not very tall at all... will cross that of the list then!

Hopefully you’ll have better luck with yours... take care with the altitude axis 🤞

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17 minutes ago, HollyHound said:

Oh wow, that’s not very tall at all... will cross that of the list then!

Hopefully you’ll have better luck with yours... take care with the altitude axis 🤞

Thanks for pointing this out. I have to admit I had no intent of reading the manual :🙄

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Ok, the replacement ScopeTech Zero arrived today (thanks as always to @FLO).

Weather is too wet and breezy for any outdoors testing, but I've set it up indoors in the same configuration as before (StellaMira, Uni 28). This time I was ultra careful about ensuring that both the altitude and azimuth knobs were at least finger tight before mounting, adjusting or unmounted the scope (I'm just being careful about that warning above now!).

I'm happy to report that after a few hours of testing, the mount is still very smooth in operation and no repeat (🤞) of that stickiness which led to complete seizure in altitude. Some points of note:

  • I see no advantage in slackening off either the altitude or azimuth knobs too far, keeping the just tight enough to grip (so not loose), allows free smooth motion in both axis and still allows slow motion controls to operate.
  • The scope must be well balanced otherwise the altitude control will only operate easily in one direction, without over-tightening (which is not recommended in the manual or desirable). This makes sense, as more force must be required in one direction if not balanced. Once balanced, the scope moves easily in altitude up or down, both freely and with the slow motion controls.
  • As @Stu pointed out in another review about this mount (see below), the azimuth slow motion control seems a little stiffer to operate than the altitude, nothing bad just a bit stiffer. However, both axis are easily freely moved by hand.
  • Again as pointed out by @Stu, when operating the mount "left handed", the azimuth slow motion cable will foul the OTA when approaching 75/80 degrees, even with the arm back to around 50 degrees. Setting the mount back to "right handed", then the control placement is better and the OTA can be moved up to the zenith (assuming it clears the tripod, which it actually does on my UNI 28, even without the extension!). My only reason to operate "left handed" would be because my C5 finder is an awkward position (below the OTA) when used "right handed". This problem also occurs on the AZ5 (and there isn't even an option on this mount). I will likely use this mount for the StellaMira mostly, so will keep "right handed" for now.
  • Stability and wobble (aka the "tap" test) are as already reported 😃

I'll continue to use it on the Uni 28 for now, but will need to look out for a lighter weight tripod. I'm aware this may impact stability, so will re-test then.

Subject to some time under the stars (weather!), my opinion of this mount remains the same... it is very smooth, very sturdy and perfect as a grab and go mount, with the one proviso that it is quite expensive 👍

Another excellent review can be found here:

 

Edited by HollyHound
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I forgot I started this thread!

Good to see FLO thought they were worth supplying and some great reviews/feedback.

Now we just need Serge to make encoders for it and I am sold. [My light pollution is getting so bad we are thinking of moving!]

My usual question - how sensitive is the Zero to eyepiece changes?

Edited by surfindogg
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17 minutes ago, JeremyS said:

Good question - and often a killer!

How is your Vamo in that regard?

With the beefier teflon washers I added now bedded in, it works well. I don't have the specific weights but I can go from an ES 24mm 68º to a UO 7mm ortho without it dropping, That is with the mount tightened up somewhat but I can still move it with one finger. 

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17 minutes ago, surfindogg said:

With the beefier teflon washers I added now bedded in, it works well. I don't have the specific weights but I can go from an ES 24mm 68º to a UO 7mm ortho without it dropping, That is with the mount tightened up somewhat but I can still move it with one finger. 

Thanks @surfindogg. Which scope was that?

Edited by JeremyS
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19 hours ago, surfindogg said:

I forgot I started this thread!

Good to see FLO thought they were worth supplying and some great reviews/feedback.

My usual question - how sensitive is the Zero to eyepiece changes?

I will give this a try when I can. Heaviest I have is a PanaView 38, which should work.

Given that it does need the scope well balanced for slow motion controls to work up and down, I suspect there will be a some effect.

Edited by HollyHound
Updated incorrect max eyepiece weight
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56 minutes ago, surfindogg said:

Now we just need Serge to make encoders for it and I am sold. [My light pollution is getting so bad we are thinking of moving!]

There are plenty of pre-drilled and tapped holes all over the mount of various sizes, so I imagine it will take something bolted on at some point 🤔🤞

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Ok, I've done a little indoors test, using the StellaMira 80mm f1/10 (OTA length 800mm) with WO 2" diagonal... all movement is relative to the objective end (as would be seen through the eyepiece).

Initially with a TeleVue DeLite 13mm inserted, starting by slightly loosening the altitude clutch, adjusted the scope until it feels well balanced, then tightened the clutch just enough so that it can move up and down with the slow motion controls and also moved freely and smoothly by hand. I then started switching eyepieces:

  • Meade 16mm Plossl (lighter) - Scope position unaffected - Free movement unaffected - Slow motion controls unaffected.
  • TeleVue Panoptic 24mm (heavier) - Scope position unaffected - Free movement unaffected - Slow motion movement downwards was affected very slightly (as if fighting the heaver weight at the eyepiece end), tightening the clutch a tiny amount and back to normal.
  • OVL PanaView 32mm (even heavier) - Scope position started to rise - Free movement unaffected - Slow motion movement downwards was affected, but tightening the clutch a bit more arrested the motion and allowed slow motion controls.
  • OVL PanaView 38mm (heaviest) - Scope position started to rise rapidly - Free movement ok, but more difficult to move downwards - Slow motion movement downwards was not possible and the clutch would have to be over-tightened (in my opinion, and noting the warning in the manual) in order to prevent un-commanded movement. Adjusting the scope forward slightly in the clamp, restored balance and all was fine again.

When balanced, the scope remains very smooth and controllable at all times, with just the lightest of finger touches, in both altitude and azimuth.

Conclusion... within normal usage limits there is no need to re-adjust the balance of the scope, but switching between very heavy and normal/light eyepieces, does require a slight re-balance of the scope (or I guess some sort of counterweight ?).

Presumably this kind of behaviour is fairly typical for this class of mount ?

Hope this helps

Gary

Edited by HollyHound
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Balance seems pretty important to the smooth operation of many alt-azimuth mounts. Of the ones I've owned (in that class of mount) the Skytee II and Vixen Porta I have been the least affected whereas the "T" style ones such as the Giro II and Ercole are more sensitive and benefit from counterweighting across the alt axis to get smooth motion.

 

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25 minutes ago, John said:

Balance seems pretty important to the smooth operation of many alt-azimuth mounts. Of the ones I've owned (in that class of mount) the Skytee II and Vixen Porta I have been the least affected whereas the "T" style ones such as the Giro II and Ercole are more sensitive and benefit from counterweighting across the alt axis to get smooth motion.

 

Agree, I’ve found the SkyTee II seems to be pretty unaffected by any change in eyepiece (certainly any of mine). I do usually free move the scope and then lock the clutches before using slow motion controls. Same with the AZ5.

Worst ever (in my brief experience) was the AZ3... if you set the altitude lock nut too tight, you couldn’t move it at all, but then slightly looser and it would get to 60 degrees and just keep going!! I think it’s best suited to terrestrial observing, perhaps watching ships or birds 🤔

 

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2 hours ago, HollyHound said:

Ok, I've done a little indoors test, using the StellaMira 80mm f1/10 (OTA length 800mm) with WO 2" diagonal... all movement is relative to the objective end (as would be seen through the eyepiece).

Initially with a TeleVue DeLite 13mm inserted, starting by slightly loosening the altitude clutch, adjusted the scope until it feels well balanced, then tightened the clutch just enough so that it can move up and down with the slow motion controls and also smoothed freely and smoothly by hand. I then started switching eyepieces:

  • Meade 16mm Plossl (lighter) - Scope position unaffected - Free movement unaffected - Slow motion controls unaffected.
  • TeleVue Panoptic 24mm (heavier) - Scope position unaffected - Free movement unaffected - Slow motion movement downwards was affected very slightly (as if fighting the heaver weight at the eyepiece end), tightening the clutch a tiny amount and back to normal.
  • OVL PanaView 32mm (even heavier) - Scope position started to rise - Free movement unaffected - Slow motion movement downwards was affected, but tightening the clutch a bit more arrested the motion and allowed slow motion controls.
  • OVL PanaView 38mm (heaviest) - Scope position started to rise rapidly - Free movement ok, but more difficult to move downwards - Slow motion movement downwards was not possible and the clutch would have to be over-tightened (in my opinion, and noting the warning in the manual) in order to prevent un-commanded movement. Adjusting the scope forward slightly in the clamp, restored balance and all was fine again.

When balanced, the scope remains very smooth and controllable at all times, with just the lightest of finger touches, in both altitude and azimuth.

Conclusion... within normal usage limits there is no need to re-adjust the balance of the scope, but switching between very heavy and normal/light eyepieces, does require a slight re-balance of the scope (or I guess some sort of counterweight ?).

Presumably this kind of behaviour is fairly typical for this class of mount ?

Hope this helps

Gary

Thank you Gary, that is excellent information. 
I think this is quite typical of this type of mount. 

I was considering a DM4 but cost put me off. I had talked to a local precision engineering company about prototyping a  mount design that had the advantages of the DM design with slo mo controls but it was beyond what I could afford.

 

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Opened the package today to get ready for tonight. Looks like it'll be clear for a few hours. The mount looks great. Smaller than Vamo and quicker to disassemble for travel. So far so good. Very easy to balance and smooth in operation. We'll see how it handles 120x tonight.

IMG_2052.jpeg.d6776da394c332a74c5314ee3cf6f0b4.jpeg

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4 hours ago, heliumstar said:

Opened the package today to get ready for tonight. Looks like it'll be clear for a few hours. The mount looks great. Smaller than Vamo and quicker to disassemble for travel. So far so good. Very easy to balance and smooth in operation. We'll see how it handles 120x tonight.

Looking good. Best of luck for tonight, I'm going to try an hour or so myself 🤞

Interesting to hear your views on the mount too, when you can...

Edited by HollyHound
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1 hour ago, heliumstar said:

Opened the package today to get ready for tonight. Looks like it'll be clear for a few hours. The mount looks great. Smaller than Vamo and quicker to disassemble for travel. So far so good. Very easy to balance and smooth in operation. We'll see how it handles 120x tonight.

IMG_2052.jpeg.d6776da394c332a74c5314ee3cf6f0b4.jpeg

I'm really interested to hear how you find the mount - good luck with clear skies.

By the way, that is a fine looking lens. Some might say good enough to lick!  🙂

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, JeremyS said:

I'm really interested to hear how you find the mount - good luck with clear skies.

By the way, that is a fine looking lens. Some might say good enough to lick!  🙂

 

Freshly cleaned just for the photo. It's completely invisible :D

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1 minute ago, heliumstar said:

Unfortunately wind was playing up last night so couldn't properly test it. Looking clear today and hopefully a little calmer so wish me luck :)

Me too, wind and too much cloud. Hopefully better tonight... good luck 🤞

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