Other tripod and wedge hints

It is important to tighten all the screws that hold a tripod and mount together; complex tripod heads have numerous bolts that can accidentally be left loose. In particular, make sure the central bolt that holds the LX90 or LX200 base to the tripod in altazimuth mode is good and tight.

Figure 3.7. A homemade template makes it much easier to center the LX200 on its tripod. This one is plywood, but cardboard would work just as well.

Do not overtighten the handscrews on tripod legs; you can easily apply enough force to crush the steel tubing. But do make sure they are secure. There are reports of one production run of Celestron heavy-duty tripods that were prone to collapse because a felt pad inside the leg would suddenly let go. The manufacturer has corrected the problem, but similar things can happen to other tripods; it pays to be alert.

The base of the Meade LX200 is hard to center on the tripod in altazimuth mode; you have to align a central bolt with a hole, both of which are hidden from view. A simple solution is to make a wooden or cardboard template that matches the base of the telescope and has a hole in the same position (Figure 3.7). Put the template on the tripod, then put the telescope on the template. A commercial device of this type, which also includes an accessory shelf, is the Scope Saver (Beigle/Bryant Engineering, P.O. Box 5247, Pine Mountain Club, California 93222, U.S.A., http://www.scopesaver.com).

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