Never Drop a Telescope Again!

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longtech
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Never Drop a Telescope Again!

Post by longtech » Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:36 am

I've only been serious about astronomy for a couple of years and one of the first things to dawn on me was how easy it is to lose control of the OTA when mounting or dismounting the OTA to the GEM...even when balancing, the potential for accidentally dropping the OTA is pretty high. My background is in professional cinema and broadcast where I would mount and dismount a fully loaded camera package often weighing 30, 40lbs and sometimes more...several times a day for weeks on end...many times we were in extreme environments and often in a hurry. Never once did I ever come close to dropping a camera/lens setup...but within the first year of serious amateur astronomy, twice I nearly dropped the OTA when I thought it was seated in the saddle and I proceeded to tighten down the thumb-screws.

The reason I never even had a close call with a camera is because of the interface...while similar to a saddle, its more sophisticated...it automatically locks in the payload while providing feedback that the package is secure.

I really started thinking about the difference when I learned that the service departments at companies like Meade and Celestron had a consistent repair backlog...which sounded really weird since the OTA is pretty simple with few moving parts...and generally used in reasonable environments...and most owners baby their OTA...so why are there so many OTAs in need of repair.

So I started asking why the backlog...what could possibly go wrong???
Got the same answer over and over...nearly ever repair is from the OTA being dropped during setup or breakdown or when balancing

...anyway...I decided to work on a solution to reduce the risk of accidentally dropping my precious OTAs and this is what I've come up with: Its an auto-locking saddle that grabs the balance plate only when its seated in the saddle...it has various features to prevent accidental release while making the process of balancing easier and safer.

Please follow the link to see a quick video of it working
Thx for looking :-)

http://vid1111.photobucket.com/albums/h ... 895A72.mp4

http://s1111.photobucket.com/user/longt ... A.mp4.html
Attachments
RAYOX-SADDLE-LG-04.jpg

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rxdeath
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Re: Never Drop a Telescope Again!

Post by rxdeath » Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:37 am

i seriously was just searching this topic because i had a close call with my c11edge tonite. nothing bad, but it is so difficult to be sure, i've been using a stepladder to give leverage, but this would be awesome. same with the 152 today, its just so awkward i need something to let me know it is mated before i let go and start locking down, and that if i have it a little tweaked whe ni start loosening its not going to hit hte ground.

bravo, i'd love to try one

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Montana
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Re: Never Drop a Telescope Again!

Post by Montana » Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:57 am

I'm not sure, what locks into what?
Alexandra

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_Zakalwe
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Re: Never Drop a Telescope Again!

Post by _Zakalwe » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:04 am

I agree that the standard Losmandy saddle is a less than optimal solution, especially as there are many slight variations on the market. Some dovetails seem to be gripped less than perfectly in some saddles. There are also many reports of OTAs slipping, which i personally think may be attributable to the saddle or dovetails contracting slightly in the cold.

There is a clamping system made in the UK which also address this problem- the Atlas Clamp:
http://www.peak2valleyinstruments.co.uk ... 75728.html

The one that you have shown also looks excellent....
https://telescopes.net/store/rayox-larg ... lates.html

The only issue that i can see with these is that you cannot slide the OTA in the saddle to alter balance. To achieve this you would have to move the OTA in the rings.

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longtech
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Re: Never Drop a Telescope Again!

Post by longtech » Thu Jun 02, 2016 2:56 pm

I apologize that my videos are so crude...I was in a rush...
But you can definitely slide the balance plate in the saddle...I tried to show this in the wide-shot video

I'll upload another video and a couple more pics

To answer the question; what locks into what? It's very much like a conventional saddle however the saddle closes automatically when the balance plate hits the bottom of saddle.
At this point the balance plate captured so it cannot come back out if you let go for example.
But the balance plat can slide back and forth for balancing...but it cannot slide all the way out.
When you're satisfied just push the lever all the to the right to lock it

If you need to rebalance just pull the lever until the red safety catch (on top of blue lever) stops the lever...at this point it's in the "SAFE-BALANCE" position.

To remove the OTA you have to slide the red safety catch to pull the lever all the way over to the open position.

...but a picture is worth a thousand words...right? ;-)
Stand by...

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longtech
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Re: Never Drop a Telescope Again! (NEW VIDEO ADDED)

Post by longtech » Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:05 pm

Please check out this video...should be much clearer
IMG_0489.MOV
(1.28 MiB) Downloaded 678 times
Attachments
Saddle-12.jpg
Saddle-11.jpg
Saddle-14.jpg

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_Zakalwe
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Re: Never Drop a Telescope Again!

Post by _Zakalwe » Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:24 am

Thanks for clarifying this (and for the PM)...it looks like an interesting solution.

So what stops the dovetail from sliding out of the clamp? A bolt in the end of the dovetail?

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