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Thread: iOptron tripod stability tweak

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    Default iOptron tripod stability tweak



    Now that ive had a through chance to use my iOptron mount ive found one weak area with the tripod, one that most all tripods suffer from & that is no support at the bottom of the legs when they are extended. Good news is its easily fixable!
    The Cube Pro has small 1" tube legs plenty strong & ridgid when unextended but when extended the legs want to swing out making the tripod wobbly especially when using a OTA over just a few lbs.

    The high end mounts like the CGE Pro etc have a bottom leg brace but most low & mid level mounts do not, tho its a relativly easy fix.
    On my particular mount I added rings & chain that went from underneath ea. adjuster knob at the lower leg to the center directly under the mount, same setup as the CGE Pro except its hand made from rings & chain verses plastic that is part of the tripod assembly etc..
    This way when tensioned the outer rings cannot move upwards, the stablility is as solid as if the mount was sitting with the lower legs un extended & the rings just fall off when you disassemble the mount to transport.
    I bought all the keyrings at my local locksmith for $3 & the solid brass chain at Ace Hardware for $6 & it took me about a 1/2 hr to assemble. Figuring out the length of the chains is the hard part id say but Ace sells it only by the foot so I just bought 3' & adjusted the chain to 9.5".
    The chrome SS keyrings parts are" 3-2" rings, 1-1.5" center ring, 6-3/4" rings & 3' of brass chain. None of this will rust & tho lightweight is extremely strong.
    You want to be sure the eyepiece holder plastic tray is up tight against the mount & that the legs are unextended while doing this so that you know the legs are against the tray solidly.
    I was really impressed how much more solid the mount is now especially since my OTA is heavier then the usual scope that comes on the Cube Pro, now im sure I can handle an 8" ota easily............sigh................im pretty sure what that means in my future.
    This isn't a new setup just a remake for a particular mount but can be exactly adapted to any type mount if you want to convert a flimbsy open 3 leg mount into a HD style setup like the big boys have for just a few dollars & some tinkering.
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    Last edited by astronut; 12-22-2011 at 02:09 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Default

    Thanks for posting. That ought to work for other tripods as well.
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    Default

    That's brilliant! All this time I've been setting up, and pulling outward on the tripod legs while tightening the spreader, it takes forever to get most of the play out. Just when you think it's tight, you can pull on the legs and get a few more turns on the tightener. Your idea is going to end the tightening routine for me. Off to the hardware store...thanks again. Hmnn..wonder if the Comet Hunter will be stable enough on the Cube Pro? It's only about 18# with the camera attached..hmmnn. lol.

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    Default

    Thanks! I just bought a Cube Pro.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Wisham View Post
    Thanks! I just bought a Cube Pro.
    You're welcome....lots of things you can do with a Cube Pro..I just installed a set of ceramic RA bearings. Not because I coud, because the std bearings were junk. Found out the hard way imaging. In a set of 20 images, 4-6 would have excessive star trails, which I thought was just my poor Polar Align. Then I had a eureka moment..the trails were random..2 in the first 5 images, then perfect until the 10th or 11th, then a couple more, etc. I said to myself, self, how can it be the polar alignment? They would all be bad?

    I took the mount base apart and just felt the bottom bearing with my fingertip...ouch...felt like a Chinese ratchet wrench. Just enough of a bump/hiccup to drive the encoders crazy. So I replaced the RA bearings with Ceramic/Stainless, Abec 3 (tighter tolerance) and they are smooth like butter. Now for some clear nights so I can see how much difference they make.

    Clear skies and enjoy the mount, it's a great go-to alt/az, and pretty respectable in EQ mode on a wedge.

    Paul
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    Paul,
    Where did you buy your new RA BBs? Was it easy to extract & install the set?
    Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by astronut View Post
    Paul,
    Where did you buy your new RA BBs? Was it easy to extract & install the set?
    Dave
    Hi Dave,

    The bearings for the Cube Pro are OD: 26mm ID: 17mm Thickness: 5 mm.

    I got mine from: Ceramic,Miniature Ball Bearings: Search

    Another source is: Boca Bearing Company :: Ceramic Bearing Specialists

    They are pretty easy to replace. I had no idea how secure they were pressed into the housing, so I went to my nearest Harbor Freight and bought a small bearing puller and a set of mini bearing drivers.

    Turns out, they are only lightly pressed in, you can probably do it with wooden dowels to drive them out and tap them in..lol. The top RA bearing I actually lined up and pressed in with my thumb. The bottom RA bearing required a couple of taps with the driver. Tightening the bolt holding the lower and upper mount sections together finishes seating the bearings nicely.

    The difference in the bearings is amazing from stock to the ceramic/SS Abec 3's I purchased. Of course, for visual observation, the std bearings are fine, you're not going to notice any issues. But for AP, the std bearings were driving the encoders crazy and resulting in random trailing in my images.

    Hope the info helps you, all the best

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    Thanks Paul,
    Yea, for now its just visual but I may upgrade them if I notice any strange jumping etc..in the eyepiece during a long session.
    Ive read that the BBs aren't the best on several sites and is part of the tune up on them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astronut View Post
    Thanks Paul,
    Yea, for now its just visual but I may upgrade them if I notice any strange jumping etc..in the eyepiece during a long session.
    Ive read that the BBs aren't the best on several sites and is part of the tune up on them.
    Dave
    Btw..just so you know..the bearing replacement did the trick...!
    I just checked 60 images...no intermitant trails..nothing but nice round stars. I'm happy.

    Keep looking up,

    Paul
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    Default Re: iOptron tripod stability tweak

    Thanks, Astronut.
    I just purchased a iOptron MT Pro this past weekend and just joined the forum. I have always added a eyepiece tray to my previous mounts (for stability and convenience) and I was wondering how I was going to do it with the iOptron . Problem solved! Thanks again!

 

 
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