Last updated: 14 November 2008
Sent:	Thursday, November 13, 2008 16:39:49
From:	Mike Pilgrim (mpilgrim@bellsouth.net)
Being relatively new to astronomy and my Meade ETX-125AT with the 884
Tripod, I recently learned an expensive lesson the hard way.  I'm
talking about accidental loosening of the friction knob on the
declination rod, an ugly sounding "clunk" as the tilt base crashed to
zero degrees, and the consequential $250 repair bill at Meade for a
replacement of the AZ gear train box due to several missing or chipped
teeth in the gear train.

As of this week, I have created a very cost-effective prevention against
a repeat occurrence of that failure, while at the same time providing a
means to minutely adjust the elevation of the scope while setting up in
Polar mode orientation.  As illustrated in the following picture, my
device consists of a threaded rod, a couple of hex nuts, two copper tube
sleeves, wing nuts and washers.  Installation involves removal of the
standard declination rod (held by a single set screw), and insertion of
my homemade device (secured by that same set screw).  Once in place, the
tilt angle of the scope mounting plate is totally under control of the
two wing nuts, and after minute adjustment to acquire true north in the
Polar set up mode, tightening of the wing nuts assures no accidental
collapse of the mounting plate, thus no painful repair bill at Meade.

I'll gladly reply to any email inquiries regarding parts list and
assembly tips.  And for those not willing to test your engineering
metal, I'll figure out a very reasonable price quote to construct and
ship the device to you.

Now that I've overcome the fear of another expensive tripod failure, and
have created the necessary Polar alignment capability, I'm eager for the
next cloudless night, and an opportunity to delve again into my
astrophotography learning curve.

Mike Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Florida


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