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Getting Used to Alt-az Mount


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Since I acquired my Universal Astronomics mount I have had a few night (three) to get used to using a push to Alt-az as I have never used one before. At first I was a bit concerned trying to imagine me following a double at high power while physically moving the scope on both axis simultaneously, in my mind it seemed impossible yet many do it or I would not have purchased one. 
 

Now, after a few nights I am getting on quite well and am liking push to alt-az, it seems one of the tricks is getting the friction knobs just right, a bit too tight and any force applied causes a sudden jerk to break the static friction, not enough friction and the mount moves too easily when focusing. Looking up near zenith will take some more practice as it is a pain in the neck, literally. What I do find very convenient about a smooth push to alt-az is that I can move the scope without having to reach for the slow motion controls on my Vixen GP as they are not those long floppy slow mo knobs (can’t stand those things) I was able to move the scope with my hands as I cupped my hands around the eyepiece. 
 

So far it has been quite pleasant learning how to get in with this mount, I’m sure that as time goes by I will become more adept at using it, I look forward to any advice other push to alt-az users can dispense.

Clear skies!

Edited by Sunshine
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Good stuff, glad you are getting to grips with the mount. I have used totally manual AltAz mounts for years and find them delightfully simple to use. Yes, there is some work to do balancing the scope properly and adjusting clutches, but for quick grab and go use they are great. There is an attraction about not having to turn two different controls to track an object.

More recently I have been using mounts with Slo Mo controls and have been enjoying these too. Unlike you I actually like the long floppy control handles, and dislike having to reach up to the mount to turn those little stubby knobs. But life would be boring if we all liked the same thing!

So, I think you are doing just fine, just get your balance and clutch tension right and you are away.

Could you post a picture of the mount? I’m not familiar with the model.

Thanks!

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, Stu said:

Good stuff, glad you are getting to grips with the mount. I have used totally manual AltAz mounts for years and find them delightfully simple to use. Yes, there is some work to do balancing the scope properly and adjusting clutches, but for quick grab and go use they are great. There is an attraction about not having to turn two different controls to track an object.

More recently I have been using mounts with Slo Mo controls and have been enjoying these too. Unlike you I actually like the long floppy control handles, and dislike having to reach up to the mount to turn those little stubby knobs. But life would be boring if we all liked the same thing!

So, I think you are doing just fine, just get your balance and clutch tension right and you are away.

Could you post a picture of the mount? I’m not familiar with the model.

Thanks!

Hello Stu!

From what I was told the mount was made by a one man company no longer in business, Universal Astronomics in the U.S. which made a few models of which mine is the largest, the Doublestar Tandem. 

This model of which only 40 were made can accommodate dual scopes with a combined weight of 70lbs, 40 on right and 30 on left, the saddle on the left can be precisely aligned with the right so both scopes are on target at the eyepiece. My scope does not require such a mount but I bought with anticipation of larger refractor in the future, and I do like rare things 🤣

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Edited by Sunshine
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Looks great, very intriguing looking mount, I think I have seen a picture of one before but never in the flesh. Being able to align the two scopes is a great feature. Enjoy it 👍

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2 minutes ago, Stu said:

Looks great, very intriguing looking mount, I think I have seen a picture of one before but never in the flesh. Being able to align the two scopes is a great feature. Enjoy it 👍

Thanks! I do recal one or two members here on SGL saying they have/had other smaller mounts by same maker and they  really enjoyed them, I think this is begging for a 130mm refractor, my 102 at 12lbs is like a bird on an elephants back 😂 just one more excuse to buy another refractor, but a good one at that!.

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16 minutes ago, Sunshine said:

Thanks! I do recal one or two members here on SGL saying they have/had other smaller mounts by same maker and they  really enjoyed them, I think this is begging for a 130mm refractor, my 102 at 12lbs is like a bird on an elephants back 😂 just one more excuse to buy another refractor, but a good one at that!.

That’d be a TOA 130, then 😊

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Not sure I can offer any advice that has not already been given (balance and clutches) but I moved from slow motion to manual and had similar concerns about ease of tracking at high power. I must say I'm not sure I would ever go back to slow motions now! High power accuracy is no problem and low power star hopping is a joy! I use a Giro Ercole. The only thing I still get wrong occasionally, even after 6 months of use, is trying to twist the scope round (in azimuth) rather than the push pull it requires.

Malcolm

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6 hours ago, MalcolmM said:

The only thing I still get wrong occasionally, even after 6 months of use, is trying to twist the scope round (in azimuth) rather than the push pull it requires.

Please explain what you mean by this, it sounds like something I need to know, also. 😀

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Hmmmm I'll try :)

Because the scope is attached to the Giro about 6 or 7 inches from the centerline I cannot grab the diagonal say and twist it left and right (which you could do if it were attached on the centerline).

Instead, to turn the scope to the left, I have to pull the scope back (if it is on the left hand side of the mount), if you see what I mean?

On looking at the picture of your mount again, your scope will be much closer to the centerline and so you may not have this problem (and it's not a problem, it's just I find I'm trying to turn the scope left rather than pulling it left!)

And now I'll shut up having probably confused you even further!

Malcolm

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1 hour ago, MalcolmM said:

Hmmmm I'll try :)

Because the scope is attached to the Giro about 6 or 7 inches from the centerline I cannot grab the diagonal say and twist it left and right (which you could do if it were attached on the centerline).

Instead, to turn the scope to the left, I have to pull the scope back (if it is on the left hand side of the mount), if you see what I mean?

On looking at the picture of your mount again, your scope will be much closer to the centerline and so you may not have this problem (and it's not a problem, it's just I find I'm trying to turn the scope left rather than pulling it left!)

And now I'll shut up having probably confused you even further!

Malcolm

IMG_20220311_132542939.thumb.jpg.70aa2b267f809f9ff3af65f6d09325c1.jpg

No lol, I completely understand what you mean, the further the scope is from the pivot point the more it seems like a push (on right to point left) or pull (on left side to point left) it’s clear as a London day now 😂

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