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I've been looking at these and they seem like a viable tracking option for the dob.

the problem is that they only seem to be made in the USA and with the current exchange rate plus shipping and import duty, the price is a bit on the expensive side.

Does anyone know of a UK manufacturer of equatorial platforms (Arthur ???)

There are any amount of plans available on Google for them but I don't have the equipment or skills to make one myself.

Given the number of dobs in the UK there must be a market for these things. All we need is an entrepreneur to start producing them :icon_salut:

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The Roundtable platform is a great piece of work but the dollar/ pound exchange rate was a lot kinder back when I got mine.

If I was looking at one today for a 8" -12" Dob for visual use I'd also consider selling my original scope and putting the money towards a tracking Dob from Skywatcher,.

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Altair Astro have also been adverstising that Geo Dob equatorial platform for quite a while in the magazines but with no price attached and I can't seen to find it on their website.

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I was lucky too and bought my Roundtable Platform when the exchange rate was about $1.60 to €1. Also got exceptionally lucky with Irish customs. Two packages arrived that day. A small package with a moonlite focuser which got hit for customs and this huge heavy box with the legit and higher invoice value got through without being hit with the 25% duty and Irish VAT. That put a big smile back on my face after the disappointment of being caught on the moonlite earlier that morning :icon_salut:

I went for the 28" heavy duty RTP as opposed to the smaller and much lighter 25" that would have been perfectly adequate for my Orion XT12i dob. Good thing I did too. My much heavier and larger 16" Lightbridge fits the RTP too.

I'll use the ALT AZ tracking of the JMI TNT fitted to the scope for visual and outreach work and will now use the Platform for non field rotating planetary imaging where eyepiece height is not an issue. The beauty of having both is that I don't have to do an uber accurate polar alignment of the platform with a drift align. The platform does the actual tracking but without a drift align when imaging at 10000mm+ focal length, the planet drifts quite quickly to the edge of the FOV. I would have to nudge the scope to re-centre. One false move and I'd lose the planet and at that focal length I wouldn't get it back in time before the capture window would run out. So another capture would be wasted. With the TNT I can nudge the scope electronically without risk off overshoot or backlash.

The platform will also be great if I get into Astrovideo astronomy with the likes of the Stellacam or Mallincam. Again the ability to nudge the scope with the TNT will be great.

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Well it seems that there are no Uk manufacturers for these things.

Given the amount of dob owners in the UK and Europe, I would have thought that there would be a market niche there for any enterprising maker. It would appear not.

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Well it seems that there are no Uk manufacturers for these things.

Given the amount of dob owners in the UK and Europe, I would have thought that there would be a market niche there for any enterprising maker. It would appear not.

When I purchased my 14 in orion uk dob I mentioned to them that I was also buying a roundtable platform. I also mentioned that if they built such things then they would make a "killing" financialy.

Their response was very lukewarm, they seemed not to understand how a scope could stay on it without it slipping off.:icon_salut:

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That would be because the platforms' workings are a mystery to most. The concept of having one made for 55 degrees would make you think that a dob would fall off because of the angle involved, when in fact it's only a small portion and they only track for an hour or so without having to be reset.

I've done a lot of reading on these and I've never seen a report of a scope falling off a table.

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The Geoptik platform is available from Telescope Service in Germany at 780 Euros. It's the same one that has been sold by Altair Astro.

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p2700_Geoptik-Dobson-Plattform---Nachfuehrung-fuer-Dobsons-bis-60kg.html

Look pretty decent, although the product details are only in German so you'll have to do a translation.

John

Edited by johninderby
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Altair Astro do sell equatorial platforms (or did) I viewed one at Astrofest in February and they were very nicely made and machined out of aluminium. The price tag was around the £700 mark though. What with the credit crunch and all that, I have had a bit of spare time at work so I have started to make one.

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Carol, thanks for those links which I read with interest, unfortunately, although the component parts aren't expensive (most quote under 200$) The plans look complicated and I don't think I have the engineering skills, or tools to make one.

John, that looks nice, but £700 ??? Thats really expensive, may as well invest in a Stellar cat system.

Phil, Nice to see that you're building one of these. I'd be interested to see how it turns out.

Bill

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:) Daylight robbery

I already have the Argo Navis John, so a Stellar cat would be an option, however, when browsing the net, I came across this site.

Equatorial Platforms in Kits.<BR> EzCBP Cylindrical Bearing Equatorial platform kit.<BR> EzDSC Digital Setting Circles kit for Palm OS, Laptop and Pocket PC.<BR> Encoders, right ascension, declination, dual axis controller, computer control, astropho

Everything you need except the wood and a pre built control box for about £200, and it uses an adjustable North bearing so it can be altered to whatever latitude you're observing from.

I think I may just invest in one of these.

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Yes, the platform kit is the most cost effective alternative. As to the StellarCAT, with the pound rising against the dollar so much this week it's looking better for anyone contemplating buying one.

John

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Zog, I don't know if things have changed but TL Systems didn't used to have the best of reputations. I'm talking 6 or 7 years ago here so maybe they've got their act together but I just thought I'd mention it.

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  • 1 month later...

I did ask that in the email, but on Cloudy Nights someone has one working at 50 degrees so the 5 degree difference for my latitude at 55 degrees shouldn't make a lot of difference.

Hmmm Gaz, it doesn't get a good write up does it ? Maybe I'll save for a Round table..............or (fingers crossed) one of Arthurs :)

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<fx=heavy breathing and other signs of being tired and Broken out>

I'm working almost flat out here with all the new stuff needing designing and prototyping! Have to get the ones that make money done first I am afraid. Would be real nice to get something - even if only a mock up - for Kelling though.

</fx>

Arthur

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Maybe. But be prepared for maybe not as well! I have today been talking to some people that might be able to do some machining for me since I am a bit "under" things at the moment. You never know...

Arthur

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