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My Mods for Astronomy & Gear  



My modest old LX200 EMC 10" and cheap Sky Travel 80mm

 

LX200 & SkyTravel 80mm  

 

 

 

MODS

 

Basic Specifications of EQ6 Tripod foldable Base with swivel and lockable wheels

Folded Folded Folded Folded


- 200mm HEAVY DUTY Industrial Castors all three with swivel and lockable ~ £. 27.00 for the 3

- 3x 'classic' 3"x2" carcassing timber cut to fit my tripod - remnants from my shop refitting! [MSelectrical.uk] = FREE

- 2x square 'good' timber boards - I made a triangle out of them - from very old bed-side cabinets = FREE

- 6 aluminium plates from 'scrap' metal I had = FREE

- Nuts and Bolts I had to purchase as mine where 8mm shorter and some washers - ~ £. 5

- 6 chip-wood screws - just to hold the aluminium plates in place

- Now, I only have to add a handle to carry it - it is not light, but not too heavy at about 12Kg, not too much to lift for 'most' adult people – in my case it is only for 5-10 m distance

- It is foldable, therefore takes little space and although it does take about 1.5/1.6m diameter of space [when fully opened], it takes about the same space the tripod takes anyway!
It does not change much to me as base should not bump on anything, but actually helping me to move it even further towards North side to make out lower Southern sky objects.

Many times I was 'visually' watching Venus using binoculars, etc. knowing I could NOT use the telescope - imagine the frustration.
Now I 'hope' I can overcome at least 50% of the problems - we will see.

If not, I can always re-use the bits.

I like to build when I have the time and this was only one of those 'as-I-go-along-just-with-a-sketch' type of project and I only made one mistake - the bolts where 8mm too short and only because I then remembered to add a couple of nylon washers to help with the friction between pieces of timber!


All in all, nothing special but 'for me' it is:

a. better than the 20cm tube they sell for £. 50

b. since I need to move it at certain times, the above adds weight, a £. 50 weight - joke!

c. I can move it easily like a Movie Cameraman [I used to be a Cameraman on a small private TV network in Italy for a short time - a long time ago - base similarly made in aluminium

 

This was done for many reasons:

1. I am in a very tight backyard where the largest width towards south is just over 2m and height of wall about 3m and I have Venus disappearing behind next door's roof [!] just when it is 'detectable' at naked eye.

Now I have my tripod 28cm higher - it does not seem a lot, but on the South Side it should give me about 30-45 minutes to see or image Venus or whatever happens at that point in sky - Moon-Venus, Moon-Venus-Jupiter occultation - whatever.

2. It also should help with my 'neck' when observing high in the sky, etc. - I also have a fig tree on the same side I put my tripod - just to help things!

3. being movable, I can use it when I do know I am going to 'move' the telescope around more than once to do various observations that cannot be done from one place - polar alignment is only 2 minutes and I do not have to 'pull it' over the backyard's floor or lift it

4. being lockable obviously will mime the tripod stability 99%, because this base is better at 100% - if you bump on it, it is more likely to only shake and 'stay' in position, rather than 'slide' over the floor - although not always important, as even if you are off-polar alignment it does not matter most of the time - also I can lock the South wheel and turn the whole thing to get as near as possible towards Polaris before I polar-align it, very easily

5. my wife will be happier not hearing me getting 'angry' with the 'impossibility or awkwardness' of my usual observations

6. also the 28cm more height [again] will help me when following the Moon and the Sun [also  Jupiter, Orion, etc.] from a fixed position and overtake the garage back corner wall without the need to move telescope - especially when I use the [cheap] Skyliner 250PX and gather more light too, being F4.7

7. the advantages are enormous, let's see if I am happy with it when I start to use it

If it works fine and the weight starts to get to 'too much', I will make it in aluminium - it should reduce its  weight by 25%, as 'wheels' are the main weight - but on the positive side, they give 'more' stability!


One day I 'will' move house and find one with a larger garden and build a Shed-observatory - just buying a standard 2m x 3m shed and modify it, like many do - especially reinforce it internally, etc.

It is the less expensive way to do it and you do it the way 'you' want it too and if I cannot get a decent garden [because I am poor!], then I will have to find a house with a back yard and back yard 'garage' and will keep using this base - even easier and no shed!

But who knows, I might be able to afford a Dome!

 



UPDATE May 2016 [well it was made probably in November 2015 !]

 

I have finally updated it and replaced the beams with Aluminium Rectangular tubes and lost almost 2Kg in weight = lighter!

 

I also drilled holes to fit the EQ6 Tripod legs tips and I might add 3x metal corners in case I trip on the Tripod and a leg jumps out - never happened as it is heavy - especially with scopes on it!

Here it is - version 2

 
Folded NEW

 

UPDATE 29 May 2017

Today has been a MOD day, since weather is blueaargh!

Just decided to reduce height of EQ6 original Tripod by 20cm, therefore reducing the circular area the tripod legs use [at the end] by 16cm smaller circle - a lot!

Therefore I had to modify my Tripod Spikes V2 [shorten them by 16cm] becoming now V3 and it has become FAR more stable -yeah!

Next, I will be buying an EQ6 8" extension tube to recoup the 20cm lost by shortening tripod legs and also gain far more space under the EQ6 for my long refractor.

By the way, ~ £. 55 + p/p is a lot for a cast cheap metal extension tube!

Pros

1. no reduction in height
2. more space for refractor - i.e. it will now NOT risk to hit the tripod when pointing high
3. more stable - i.e. less vibrations [even with the 20cm extension should still be better]
4. the whole lot is shaped like the EQ6 [cheap] expensive pillar ~ £. 205 + p/p which uses silly small weak wheels, but mine is far stronger and heavier = heavy wheels ~28cm high!
5. cost of improvement only the ~£. 55 + p/p - instead of ~£. 260 + p/p - CHEAP & BETTER than the one for sale!
6. the fact I now have a circle 16cm smaller allows me more movement inside tiny shed [there, just to protect mount - it is just a box!] and I can now leave my 3x weights on the mount with EQ6 weights lever pushed in - to avoid possible bending = less session preparation work.
7. being in a narrow yard, I now have 16cm more space to gain towards South view - possibly 2-4 degrees [important to me as I miss a lot - having the garage corner obliterating central part of South in the lower area.

I probably normally lose 10-12 degrees


Cons
None found yet !

 

Tripod Movable Foldable Spikes!

 

 

 New mod for HTC mobile phone

Just an old HTC case with a plastic 32mm cylinder glued on it for quick imaging when needed - usually a bad observing/imaging night!

HTC case with a plastic 32mm cylinder glued on it

 

 

 

Here is just a hole I made onto the Polar Scope cover - so I do not need to remove it

 

EQ6 Polar Scope Cap hole

 

 

Variation on well known Latitude mod for EQ6 - 22 March 2017 - I waited 13-14 years to do it!

 



I wanted to fix it for many years - since 2004, then someone did it a few years ago and I applied it with some variations [original link is at the end].

I managed to modify my old [first model] EQ6 and 'hopefully' managed to get rid of the
Latitude Syndrome - i.e. probably the only BIG error in the engineering on this mount -
because they did NOT think about there are people ALSO living in the North Hemisphere !

It was clearly engineered for under 45° latitude.



But I did a few changes I liked more:

1. used Allen blind head stainless steel bolts - so they become part of the block when
tightened in

2. Tapped thread within the EQ6 holes - not sure if it was done in the early modification

3. also added locking nuts and as mentioned in the old thread, I added the Metallic Epoxy

under the block and between new and old block



It seems adjusting smoothly, but I will need to test it next time I am out - to be 'absolutely'
sure.

But I am fairly certain it will be fine as - if you understand mechanisms and forces - by
increasing the gap between bolts - almost trebled, the weight of the telescopes and mount
should be far less pushing on the lower bolt.

In fact I can already adjust it pretty easily, but until it is tested while using it, I do not know if
I will also need to shorten more the lower bolt.

Better than spend over £. 250 for the Latitude wedge!

Next - when I can - I will fit the belt kit and probably get about 10% more stability - i.e. 105
longer exposures and far less noise.

I am getting there.

Once again, I wish I had a wider backyard to build a Shed-Observatory.



Here are some images:

 

Latitude Syndrome Mod

Locking Nuts, Bolts and home-made aluminium block with bolt-head blinds
Latitude Syndrome Mod

Preparing surface by filing excess corner of old block to give new block a more adjacent adherence = strength
Latitude Syndrome Mod

Testing block after drilled holes and threaded them to screw in bolts
Latitude Syndrome Mod

Same as above - view from left side
EQ6 Latitude Syndrome - Internal Locking Nut

View of one internal locking nut - left side
Latitude Syndrome Mod

Put Metallic Epoxy mix and fit block with blots and locking nuts
Latitude Syndrome Mod

Made another Metallic Epoxy mix to fill gap between old block to new block to make one block
Latitude Syndrome Mod

Same as before - right view
Latitude Syndrome Mod

Same as before - top left view
Latitude Syndrome Mod

Cleaned from old grease and applied fresh and 'better' Lube
Latitude Syndrome Mod

Also applied lube internally on the base and saw altitude bolt shorter by about 25-30mm - that distance will depend on how much you elongated the distance old to new block + which type and size of altitude bolt you use
Latitude Syndrome Mod

Finally remounted all and glued covers back as originally fit by factory

 

 

 

Latitude Syndrome Mod




This is the original stargazers lounge mod:
https://stargazerslounge.com/topic/187034-eq6-latitude-lug-modification-or-how-to-avoid-bent-bolts/


 

Home made Dew Shield for LX200

Made of thick [~10mm] sticky foam sheet ~ 50cm x 100cm.

I used Gaffa Tape [I know, I hate it too!], but being in cold condition most of the time, it is actually fine - you could use staples on to.

I prefer it than the ready made expensive ones.

It does the job. it is a bit longer, it is light, it does not blow off easily, it is easy to fit - just pull it on.

Also front of LX200 is perfectly dry all the time.


Home made Dew Shield for LX200


 

 

 

 

Notes
 
None