Last updated: 11 February 2006
Subject: Improve the Meade Advanced Field Tripod #887! Sent: Wednesday, February 8, 2006 15:39:18 From: Ken Toliver (email@example.com) As reflected by the many opinions of your site contributors, the Meade #887 Advanced Field Tripod is far superior to the #883 originally paired by Meade with the ETX125. I purchased mine at the same time that I made my initial ETX purchase and have always been happy with its performance. The only complaints that I had were: 1) The leg bolts did not always stay tight and were somewhat prone to loosening after folding the legs in and out for transportation. 2) There is a small amount of flexure in the tripod due to way that the legs are mated to the frame (again, the bolts). I don't like the thought that the tripod may shift slightly from just bumping it in the dark, potentially toasting my precise polar alignment. Both of these problems result from the same factor; Meade quality control is poor. More appropriately, the connecting bolts used are very cheap. As shown in the photo, you can see that the legs are connected to the frame via what appears to be a bolt with a round head. This is not the case, the bolt turns out to actually be a threaded piece of 1/4-20 steel with no head; the head was a cheap nut with a small rounded cap glued to it! As you can imagine, instead of the whole bolt turning out when disassembling, the nut comes off and you are left using vice-grips to turn out the threaded piece. Not fun. I went to the local hardware and bought the following: (6) Stainless 1 1/4" by 1/4-20 Allen bolts (needs a 3/16" Allen wrench) (6) Nylon 1/4" flat washers (these are very thin, probably around 1/32") (6) Stainless 1/4-20 plastic bushing lock-nuts (12) Stainless " flat washers The photo shows my parts on the left and the Meade parts on the right. Once you take the legs off, just reassemble them per the photo. The nylon washers go between the metal to metal surfaces and really tighten things up, so you have to have a little patience. Tighten everything securely. This is what the assembly looks like from the factory. Note that I have already fixed the lower two legs in this photo. This is the finished product. I can attest that this removes virtually all play from the tripod and makes it even steadier than before. The nuts do not come loose. Finally, a photo of the complete tripod and equatorial wedge. Clear skies to all! Ken Toliver Scottsdale, Arizona
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