Saturday, 26 May 2012

EQ platforms for dobsonians?

Taken with a webcam on a 12" dob (not by me though!)

I use a Skywatcher Skyliner 12" manual dob which I love. For me it gives enough light grasp without compromising on portability (I'II add some more info and pics later).
I've found that using a dob manually is a doddle, just position the object on the right side of the field of view and watch it slowly drift across, so why bother with an EQ platform at all?
When i bought it the main reason was to aid sketching but after using it a few times it's something I will use for general observing sessions, I'm hooked!

I've only done an accurate polar alignment once with it but that time the object stayed centred in the EP for 45 minutes and in the FoV for a full hour.
Although I haven't sketched with it yet I can imagine this being sheer luxury after being used to dropping blending stumps and pencils every time I nudge the dob in the past.

It does raise the height of the EP about 4 inches though. Again not a problem for me as I use an adjustable ironing chair to observe so I just set the chair to the correct height that I feel comfortable.

It uses small 9v batteries so no lugging around any big power packs.

The only downside to it is that it is something else to load into your car when going to a dark site.
I have a 5 door Astra so my 12" OTA lies on the back seat, base in the boot and the platform will go on the front seat.
With all that plus bag of EP's etc you aren't going to walk too far from your car.

There are two ways of owning a EQ platform. Buy one already made like I did or make your own.
I've added some links below for a starting point but have a good Google and I'm sure you'll find a ton of other info.
The big difference between buying and a DIY platform is price. Mine cost £450 but a home made one costs as little as £80-100!!!
Just depends on if you have the tools, time and patience to make one yourself I guess, I didnt and took the easy option.

But for the price of one Ethos EP and the amount of enjoyment it will give to me it was money well spent.

My scope and EQ platform in my garden. Really not an ideal place to have it set up on decking but until I get to change things it will have to do.

This is where I bought my platform from and can thoroughly recommend. Lots of info on the site which answered a lot of my questions before I bought.
A couple links to get you started if you want to make one yourself.
The Budget Astronomer
SGL thread

A couple of videos (not mine showing what a platform can do both taken with a webcam on a 12" Orion dob).
I will add pictures of my platform and dob as soon as I get the chance. :)

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