Last updated: 30 September 2003

ETX TRIPOD MOD - stops the legs from slipping

From: wgats@gunnison.com (Wayne Gatschet)

I haven't had my ETX-125 out all winter, but decided to get in shape for this spring. First step to mount the scope on the meade tripod, and do some in house alignment, training, etc. to get everything ready to go. I adjusted the tripod legs tightened them down as tight as I could get them and proceeded to fumble around to get the adapter plate between the scope and the tripod head, and the thumb screws in place. To my surprise the whole thing started collapsing toward the floor as one of the legs started to slip. fortunately I was still holding on to the scope or disaster would have occurred.

I decided it was time to fix the problems with the tripod.

1.) I mounted the adapter plate as described by Clay Sherrod in "#883 Tripod Mod."........ Excellent idea, saves a lot of time and is much safer too. But a word of caution, I was very surprised at how soft the aluminum used in the tripod was, taped very easy, but the aluminum is so soft the threads can easily be stripped, addition of nuts on the bolts is a must, but be very careful not to over tighten or you will pull the bolt through the aluminum taped threads stripping them.

2.) Matt Curtis's "Meade Tripod Mod."......... was must. I didn't have any galvanized metal, used 1/8" aluminun (galvanized or stainless would be better than the aluminum I used). But the alum. can easily be replaced by drilling out the pop rivets and replacing with a new piece.

Even after making the above mod and tightening down the legs as tight as they would go it didn't take a whole lot of weight on the tripod head for one of the legs to start slipping. After removing the lower legs and carefully examining the the leg clamping mechanizim I discovered the reason why the legs slip. On the inside of the two upper legs I noticed what looked like thin felt pads about 3/4" by 1". I assume these are to prevent the lower legs from being scratched as they slide between the two upper legs. These pads are very slick and thus allow the lower leg to slip even when the legs are tightened very tightly.

SOLUTION: I smeared a thin film of 100% silicon sealant on all six felt pads. (two on each upper leg pair) And allowed the silicon to fully cure before installing the lower legs. RESULTS, well I tightened the legs, (not nearly as tight as before), and I stood on a chair and pressed down on the tripod head, it held all of my 210 lbs without the legs slipping (a test I do NOT recommended, the tripod could be damaged). The legs don't slid quite as easily when the clamps are loosened, but are still easy enough to adjust. To me that just adds a little safety factor when adusting the legs with the scope mounted. Additional Options: Instead of silicon, you could use thin film of "rubber" cement (available at most craft, office supply, & hardware stores.), a very thin piece of rubber (an old auto inner tube?, piece of a party balloon?), even a very thin leather could be glued above, below, beside, or in place of the felt pad. The idea here is to provided enough friction to prevent the legs from slipping and still allow them to be adjusted. All Meade would have to do is replace the felt with some kind of rubber and the problem of slipping legs, would be solved.

Hope someone finds something useful in this idea.

Keep Looking Up............ Wayne

Subject:	Easy repair for the Meade Tripod
Sent:	Wednesday, August 22, 2001 22:22:45
From:	dr.east@usa.net (D. Ray East)
Notice how when you have a couple of years on the Meade tripod they
begin to slip and you have run out of thread on the clamp handle. Visit
your favorite fishing store and buy three split shot that are just small
enough to fit in where you have removed the tightening screw. Then as
you tighten it takes up the old slack. But what happens when you have
run out of that room as well. to remove the split shot use a 3inch
drywall screw turned in gently to the piece of lead split shot. No of
course you dont have to use lead shot. I use that as a generic terms.
Most of those split shot used other non toxic metals.

Subject:	883 tripod
Sent:	Saturday, September 27, 2003 10:55:28
From:	pbpm45@yahoo.com (paul perlmutter)
It's been a long time since I've sent in any suggestions. Most recently
the one of the legs start to slip on my #883 meade tripod. I checked
your site and saw that Meade ahd a fix. I called the they say if they
still had any they would send me the repair kit, but that was almost a
month ago. I then check out all of the fixes for it on you website and
thought I try the simplest of all. I place electrical tape along the
entire lenth of the slipping leg and it doesn't slip at all. The tape
seems tp fill in the new space created do to useage and is holding
against all my weight. Quick and cheap fix.

Thaks for listening. Paul Perlmutter

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