Thursday, September 24, 2009

Telescope levelers (part II)

In the previous post I spoke about the new telescope levelers from in terms of fit / finish. This post will cover the installation of the levelers on the Celestron HD Tripod.

Ok, so I unwrapped the Telescope levelers and took down my telescope to start the install process. The Celestron HD Tripod is a pretty stable device overall, pretty solid and heavy. Here is what I did to install the levelers:
1) Removed my telescope from the tripod
2) Removed the telescope wedge from the tripod (to make the tripod easier to maneuver)

Now here is where the decision point comes in... in order to install the levelers, you need to first remove the existing tripod extension legs... there are two ways to do this (that I am aware of) one of the options is easier than the other, but in some ways perhaps not optimal.

Methods of removal:
a) Unscrew each tripod leg from the tripod 'head' and extension leg will come (fall) out of the top of the upper leg.
b) Release clamp on extension leg and pull briskly until the internal guide pops off, leaving a part inside the tripod upper leg.

Method (a) is more difficult and time consuming but it is the method I chose. Why did I choose that method? Great question!
I opted for method (a) as it offers me an easy way to get back to 'stock configuration' in case I ever decide to sell my CPC and HD Tripod. Method (b) leaves parts inside the tripod, which *may* lower the selling price of the unit.

Ok, so method (a) it is:
1) remove the locknuts and bolts from the tripod head, releasing the legs from the head
2) there are some small screws that hold the upper leg tube assembly to the tube head connector (get a piece of tape and put the screws on the tape to ensure they don't get lost)
3) tap off the tube head connector with a rubber mallet (it is wedged in pretty good)
4) tap off the 'ground spike' at the bottom of the lower extension tube, the rubber mallet is good here too.
5) Once the head connector and 'ground spike' is removed, you can release the lower extension leg clamp and invert the tripod upper tube, the lower extension leg should fall right out of the tube.

So now the old lower extension leg is out of the tripod, next comes the easy part. Take the new leveler and insert it into the bottom of the upper tube, closing the clamp to restrict the movement of the leveler. Place the tube head connector on the upper leg tube, insert the screws that connect these parts. Next replace the head tube connector and head connection, using the head screw and bolt to secure the connection.

Super simple! You have now successfully installed the new levelers!

Next post will cover the acquisition of perfect level and differences in time to acquire level with the new equipment.

Until then, happy photon hunting!

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