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New Lightweight 'Grab/Go' Setup


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Bino-viewer

I've been putting together a new setup : something that will get me outside observing in only a few minutes.

 

My main manual alt-az mount : a 2014 US made DM-6 has and continues to serve me well. Its used exclusively with my wooden Berlebach tripod and large 140mm triplet refractor,

and works very well. It has encoders and a DSC computer.

 

Its naturally pretty heavy and certainly not what i'd call easy grab and go.

But when i visit a dark site its the mount that always comes with me.

 

But back at home in Bortle class 7 Skys i often wish i'd got something lighter and easier to set up, and at 53 this year and feeling it, i've decided to give myself an alternative, lighter, easier

setup that will allow me to observe with the minimum of fuss.

 

At the end of 2019 i purchased a new, smaller refractor in the 4" aperture class to use along side my 5.5" TEC.

I wanted it to be quite 'fast' and therefore not too long a focal length, which ensures a short, manageable tube that is easily portable.

I want to image more in the future, and decided a faster scope with a 600mm FL would be a nice alternative to my 1 metre TEC.

I enjoy bird watching and nature watching and wish to pursue this more as i head towards retirement, so this new setup will be used terrestrially during the day, as well as for night time astro.

 

I thought i'd use my existing 'photography' tripod as it wasn't getting much regular use.

Its good quality, and very lightweight.

 

And last Saturday, i finally received notification my new mount had arrived from Florida USA.

Its the 'baby brother version' of my DM-6. Yes, DiscMounts also do a smaller version and is designated the DM-4.

Its identical in what it does, and uses 4" friction discs instead of the 6" discs on the bigger mount.

 

Some photos from todays 'sun bothering' session....

 

My photo tripod. It has 3 sections, all carbon fibre, and will extend from 68 - 145cm.

Made by Gitzo, its ultra lightweight at 2.7 kg but very strong and rigid with a 40kg payload capacity, and has good dampening abilities if bumped.

It has large rubber feet, but also floor spikes for when i require it to be anchored when observing on grass.

 

49754140453_d45362ff8f_b.jpg

 

Here's the new mount : a DiscMounts DM-4. I must be the only person in the UK with both a DM-6 and a DM-4

Its pretty bare bones when you break it down. Just a simple to use alt-az.

I opted for the extender to give me tripod clearance when i'm viewing high up, 

and a handle for easy alt-az panning. The saddle is Discmounts own Losmandy style saddle.

There are no encoders in this mount. At some point in the future though, i may fit them, but probably not.

 

49754668186_041815a879_b.jpg

 

49755007452_0155860ec0_b.jpg

 

49754138473_f1d6194afc_b.jpg

 

The mount with extension weighs 4kg.

Coupled with the tripod it comes to less than 7kg, which can easily be transported and carried in one hand.

This is about a third the weight of my DM-6 Berlebach !!

 

Heres the complete setup with scope attached.

The scope is a 4" class triplet apo, made by APM in Germany and is 650mm focal length, aperture 105mm at F/6.2

The optics were why i purchased this scope and are made by LZOS from Lytkarino, Russia.

The scope itself is not actually a standard off the shelf scope.

Its merely the optic which comes in a heavily built lens cell and is delivered Russian style in a thick wooden box with a certified optical certificate.

This is delivered to APM (or whoever) and they then build the rest of the scope to the customers specifications.

To cut costs i opted for an aluminium tube, which is significantly cheaper than other alternatives, and also a standard APM 2.5" focuser.

If i'm being honest i wish i'd opted for a Feathertouch, but the APM focuser is ok for now.

The scope came in a standard Skywatcher style case, with tube rings, a Losmandy rail, and a carry handle.

I will at some point try and put together some sort of a review, but its had several outings under the stars and has not disappointed.

Today, once clouds had curtailed my sun bothering session, i turned the scope onto a large oak tree in the nearby park about 50 or 60 metres away

and enjoyed a spot of bird watching. They were only crows and pigeons but they were beautifully presented.

Hopefully i can get some good photos of them and of other birds as well. There were Buzzards around, but they were happy in the sky rather than in any trees.

 

Thanks for reading.....🙂

 

49754138148_6c8f34e4a2_b.jpg

 

49755005907_a2f13d4eab_b.jpg

 

49754137663_3b82f1dcfb_b.jpg

 

49755297477_8119428305_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bino-viewer
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I've been putting together a new setup : something that will get me outside observing in only a few minutes.   My main manual alt-az mount : a 2014 US made DM-6 has and continues to serve me

Looks like it was made out of Bakelite, but it works.   http://www.rigelsys.com/quikfinder.html     Maybe a bit of parallax, and not too hot in twilight or daylight (too

The 2019 model WO 132 has a carrying handle with a dovetail shoe on it.  A slightly small shoe, but effective and parks the finderscope away from the mount. The WO handle is available from FLO (h

9 hours ago, Nightspore said:

Looks great. Isn't the OTA about 7kg? 

Thats pretty much on the money, but thats including rings, rail and handle.

In fact, the telescope is heavier than the mount / tripod combo, and convention wisdom

probably states it should be the other way round.

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I have another issue......

I need to sort out a finder solution...

 

On the bigger DM-6 i mount the finder (Baader red dot) on the mounts altitude axis as there's room.

But on this smaller DM-4, there is no space for one.

 

There is a finder shoe on the the scopes focuser but with a big binoviewer in the way behind it, a finder scope

will be pretty much inaccessible. 

 

So, i could fit a right angled finder, but they are often a bit bulky, certainly for a small refractor.

 

Is there such a thing as a right angled red dot finder ? Maybe not ??

 

Another option is to go back to mono viewing.

Not really what i want to do, although i'm thinking of getting a 2" star diagonal (i don't have one) as i could

really use the extra out / front focus they give you. I've run out of focus out travel with some combinations 

as the focuser only has a fairly limited travel.

 

You'll notice on the first two scope pictures above, i was actually in mono mode using the Herschel wedge on the sun.

Why no bino you ask....?? Well, i've actually managed to lose the HW to T2 adapter i had for it....🤭

I've no idea where it has gone........🤐 I am a numpty.

The big wedge gives me plenty of extra out focus, so much so i can then use my 2" Powermate and still focus.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bino-viewer said:

Thats pretty much on the money, but thats including rings, rail and handle.

In fact, the telescope is heavier than the mount / tripod combo, and convention wisdom

probably states it should be the other way round.

Perhaps best not to take it out in the wind lol. I looked at some triplets before I bought the Starwave. I was prepared to spend the money but it was the weight that eventually put me off.

 

aWb7M5sl.jpg

 

For me, grab and go means I can take everything (except mount/tripod) out in a bag and carry it down the garden. When I say everything I mean: the BHZ, 27mm Panoptic, APM Amici, reflex finder, filters and Luminos Barlow. 

 

m5xfT86l.jpg

 

I take the mount/tripod down first.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bino-viewer said:

I have another issue......

I need to sort out a finder solution...

 

On the bigger DM-6 i mount the finder (Baader red dot) on the mounts altitude axis as there's room.

But on this smaller DM-4, there is no space for one.

 

There is a finder shoe on the the scopes focuser but with a big binoviewer in the way behind it, a finder scope

will be pretty much inaccessible. 

 

So, i could fit a right angled finder, but they are often a bit bulky, certainly for a small refractor.

 

Is there such a thing as a right angled red dot finder ? Maybe not ??

 

Another option is to go back to mono viewing.

Not really what i want to do, although i'm thinking of getting a 2" star diagonal (i don't have one) as i could

really use the extra out / front focus they give you. I've run out of focus out travel with some combinations 

as the focuser only has a fairly limited travel.

 

You'll notice on the first two scope pictures above, i was actually in mono mode using the Herschel wedge on the sun.

Why no bino you ask....?? Well, i've actually managed to lose the HW to T2 adapter i had for it....🤭

I've no idea where it has gone........🤐 I am a numpty.

The big wedge gives me plenty of extra out focus, so much so i can then use my 2" Powermate and still focus.

 

 

 

Looks like it was made out of Bakelite, but it works.

 

http://www.rigelsys.com/quikfinder.html

 

BDC1oCul.jpg

 

Maybe a bit of parallax, and not too hot in twilight or daylight (too dim).

Edited by Nightspore
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11 hours ago, Bino-viewer said:

I have another issue......

I need to sort out a finder solution...

On the bigger DM-6 i mount the finder (Baader red dot) on the mounts altitude axis as there's room.

But on this smaller DM-4, there is no space for one.

There is a finder shoe on the the scopes focuser but with a big binoviewer in the way behind it, a finder scope

will be pretty much inaccessible. 

So, i could fit a right angled finder, but they are often a bit bulky, certainly for a small refractor.

Is there such a thing as a right angled red dot finder ? Maybe not ??

The 2019 model WO 132 has a carrying handle with a dovetail shoe on it.  A slightly small shoe, but effective and parks the finderscope away from the mount.

The WO handle is available from FLO (https://www.firstlightoptics.com/dovetails-saddles-clamps/william-optics-120mm-saddle-handle-bar.html).

large.s_bigbin_twin2.PNG.09cc31fc6ffb337125ac7065159b3e94.PNG

It's still on the opposite side to the Losmandy rail, so maybe not suitable for an equatorial mount, but it works OK for us Alt-Az folk.

large.s_bigbin_twin1.PNG.62132df65a6922eb699bdc5f5d4c6d5a.PNG

And I was impressed by the performance of the 2x4" bigbins compared to the 5" refractor.  Not as good, but every target I found with the scope was visible with the bins.

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