AP1100 carrying to dark site - SUV mount?


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

I have been looking at various cases people have built, planning what to do, but I had a thought and curious if it's a sane one.

I am not hauling this through airports or checking baggage.  It will ride in my SUV, then go from the back about 10' to a tripod when I get to a dark site, then back.  It's a 90 minute drive and no off-roading (i.e. reasonably smooth ride).  There's no need to protect the mount from anything but the ride itself.

What if I bought a pier adapter, one of the flat ones, and just screwed it to the floor in the back of the SUV.  Then to move the mount it comes off the tripod, and onto this SUV mount.  Pop in 3 or so screws.   No OTA or counterweights of course.  

No case, no foam it just sits there. It seems easier than getting one or two very large cases and custom cutting foam.

Is normal driving acceleration, e.g. curves, bumps, etc. any risk to it?   Or do I need a setup where the gears can be disengaged?

Inspired a bit by similar bike racks, where you just clip the bike's front forks to a bracket on the floor of a car and it stands up for the ride.  

Sane?  Risky? 


Dean Jacobsen
 

If you want to go “basic”, then the shipping boxes work great and hold up well.  I transported my AP900 around in the two shipping boxes in the back of my pickup or the trunk of my car for 8 or 9 years.  The boxes and foam still looked good when the mount was sold to the new owner.  I use a Pelican Air for my Mach2 now.
--
Dean Jacobsen
Astrobin Image Gallery - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/


W Hilmo
 

I use a simple, plastic tub.

I wrap the declination part in a towel and lay it on the bottom of the tub.  I set the RA section to zero degrees latitude.  It also gets wrapped in a towel and laid on the floor of the tub.  I have the two halves oriented so that they are space efficient.  I wrap the top plate in a cut down piece of packing blanket, sized appropriately.  I do the same with the CP4.  Both of these lay on top of the two halves of the mount and I close the tub.

For the counterweights and shaft, I remove the thumbscrews and inserts and put them into a ziplock bag (this prevents them from getting broken in transit).  I wrap each counterweight in a piece of packing blanket, and they all go in a different tub.  I often travel with multiple mounts, so there can be a fair number of counterweights.  I never try to move or lift the tub when loaded.  The reason for the tub is so that it can sit on the floor of my cargo trailer and keep the counterweights protected and contained.

I use the Astro-Physics portable pier.  The cylindrical section gets wrapped in a Harbor Freight packing blanket.  I either strap it to the side of the cargo trailer, or lie it on the floor, depending on what else I am packing.  The pier legs and turnbuckles are wrapped in a towel.  I put down one leg first, and do one wrap.  Then I lay down another leg and do one more wrap, and so on.  The last thing that I wrap are the turnbuckles.  This gives me a compact part that can be tucked into many different places.

The biggest pain is the part to which the pier legs attach.  That's just an odd shape.  I pack it a bit differently each time, depending on the rest of the load.

It sounds complicated, but that's because I am trying to be descriptive.  It's all quite compact and can easily fit in the trunk of most cars.

On 9/11/21 9:17 AM, ap@... wrote:
I have been looking at various cases people have built, planning what to do, but I had a thought and curious if it's a sane one.

I am not hauling this through airports or checking baggage.  It will ride in my SUV, then go from the back about 10' to a tripod when I get to a dark site, then back.  It's a 90 minute drive and no off-roading (i.e. reasonably smooth ride).  There's no need to protect the mount from anything but the ride itself.

What if I bought a pier adapter, one of the flat ones, and just screwed it to the floor in the back of the SUV.  Then to move the mount it comes off the tripod, and onto this SUV mount.  Pop in 3 or so screws.   No OTA or counterweights of course.  

No case, no foam it just sits there. It seems easier than getting one or two very large cases and custom cutting foam.

Is normal driving acceleration, e.g. curves, bumps, etc. any risk to it?   Or do I need a setup where the gears can be disengaged?

Inspired a bit by similar bike racks, where you just clip the bike's front forks to a bracket on the floor of a car and it stands up for the ride.  

Sane?  Risky? 


Dean Jacobsen
 

On Sat, Sep 11, 2021 at 09:17 AM, ap@... wrote:
Sane?  Risky?
I’m not sure I would want that mount tumbling around in the cabin of my vehicle in the event of an accident.  A rollover accident could be quite interesting if the 1100 were to break free.  🤕
 
--
Dean Jacobsen
Astrobin Image Gallery - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Dean Jacobsen wrote:

 

  • I’m not sure I would want that mount tumbling around in the cabin of my vehicle in the event of an accident.  A rollover accident could be quite interesting if the 1100 were to break free.  🤕

 

Ok, fair enough, though to be honest in a serious accident a plastic case or shipping container may not be much good either.


And honestly in such an event I really will not be that worried about the mount.

 

Let’s assume that there’s no auto accident involved.  Is regular driving and bumps and turns that are normal an issue with the gears engaged, or do they need to be disengaged and lying down?

 

Linwood

 


Thomas Giannaccini
 

There is a YouTube video where a user recommends 3 Rigid 22” Progear Toolboxes. 1 for Dec, 1 for RA, 1 for miscellaneous. Looked like a really nice setup.

On Sat, Sep 11, 2021 at 10:27 AM Dean Jacobsen <deanjacobsen@...> wrote:
If you want to go “basic”, then the shipping boxes work great and hold up well.  I transported my AP900 around in the two shipping boxes in the back of my pickup or the trunk of my car for 8 or 9 years.  The boxes and foam still looked good when the mount was sold to the new owner.  I use a Pelican Air for my Mach2 now.
--
Dean Jacobsen
Astrobin Image Gallery - https://www.astrobin.com/users/deanjacobsen/


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Thomas Giannaccini wrote:

 

  • There is a YouTube video where a user recommends 3 Rigid 22” Progear Toolboxes. 1 for Dec, 1 for RA, 1 for miscellaneous. Looked like a really nice setup.

 

Thanks.  I’ve spent hours in this group and also forums and youtube and seen many such setups.  I was just trying to avoid the whole “put it inside something” step.  And disassembly.  It’s not that those solutions look bad (they look especially good if you were shifting between vehicles, staying in hotels, etc.)  It’s that I was looking for a cheat that was still safe for the mount.

 

Linwood

 

 


jimwc@...
 

Home depot and Lowes have plastic "tool boxes" with wheels that work well, I have also used a large Ice chest, just cut the original packing foam to fit 
at my age wheels are nice. the adapter sounds intriguing but I would be afraid of vibration with meshed gears, maybe with a thick rubber pad under the adapter.
Original packing is the best. AP packed it the way they did for a reason.
Jim

 


J. Belden
 

I just put my mount on my front seat and buckled it in, seriously I did. Also, did the same for C14, no issues. Though, now I have an AP1600 so thats a bit too heavy for either seat. So I have been using the factory boxes in my truck bed but only went to one star party this year.

Joe


Donald Rudny
 

I use the attached Husky container from Home Depot to carry my 1100.  I don’t need to separate the halves and I just use the foam pieces that it was shipped with to cushion it.  CW shaft removed.  I carry it in the bed of my F150 and push it to the bulkhead.  I have a backflip tonneau cover that protects it and all my other equipment from rain.  It has wheels and a handle, if you need to move it, it is portable.  The handle is retractable.  I wouldn’t use this to ship anywhere, but it works great for local trips with your vehicle.  It’s nice for home storage, too.  

On your idea to bolt it to the floor, I would be concerned about the connection to the floor of your SUV.  You could get some high loading during braking.  Got to figured 1g with a heavy mount and fairly high CG.  The accident thing is another big concern.

Don


Don Rudny
Pepeekeo, HI 96783-0106


On Sep 11, 2021, at 6:18 AM, ap@... wrote:

I have been looking at various cases people have built, planning what to do, but I had a thought and curious if it's a sane one.

I am not hauling this through airports or checking baggage.  It will ride in my SUV, then go from the back about 10' to a tripod when I get to a dark site, then back.  It's a 90 minute drive and no off-roading (i.e. reasonably smooth ride).  There's no need to protect the mount from anything but the ride itself.

What if I bought a pier adapter, one of the flat ones, and just screwed it to the floor in the back of the SUV.  Then to move the mount it comes off the tripod, and onto this SUV mount.  Pop in 3 or so screws.   No OTA or counterweights of course.  

No case, no foam it just sits there. It seems easier than getting one or two very large cases and custom cutting foam.

Is normal driving acceleration, e.g. curves, bumps, etc. any risk to it?   Or do I need a setup where the gears can be disengaged?

Inspired a bit by similar bike racks, where you just clip the bike's front forks to a bracket on the floor of a car and it stands up for the ride.  

Sane?  Risky? 


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Jimwc wrote:

 

  • Original packing is the best. AP packed it the way they did for a reason.

My failing memory is showing here but… when AP packs them, are the gears disengaged, or left engaged?

 

I have no memory of needing to engage them, I think they shipped it engaged, but am not sure.

 

I do have the original packing, but wanted to save it from wear and tear in case I ever need to return it.

 

Seriously – to all those showing me case solutions – I get it, seen most of them posted elsewhere.  I’m not against it and may end up with one of those.  I was just looking for evaluation of this possibility.

 

Donald Rudny wrote;

 

  • On your idea to bolt it to the floor, I would be concerned about the connection to the floor of your SUV.  

 

That looks pretty manageable.  I have a compartment under the floor, so there’s a removable panel.  I had a bike mount there before so am familiar with it.  There’s plenty of room to put a backing board to distribute the load as well.  I’m really not worried about that aspect (well, again, absent an accident, but all bets are off for any packaging in an accident).

 

It’s vibration that concerns me, since in that position you cannot disengage the gears, at least without it flopping around.

 

J. Belden wrote:

 

  • I just put my mount on my front seat and buckled it in, seriously I did.  Also, did the same for C14, no issues.  Though, now I have an AP1600 so thats a bit too heavy for either seat.  So I have been using the factory boxes in my truck bed but only went to one star party this year.

 

I’ve thought of that also.  With my CEM70 on the Berlebach, I actually just had a big pile of moving blankets, lots of padding, and disconnected the gears and locked the RA axis (with a pin) and laid the tripod + mount down on the pads.   It worked great.  The AP1100 is too heavy for that (plus some other structural reasons).   But I’m looking for something similarly easy, and just have no (other) use for a case.  It’s just something else big and awkward I need to find room to store.  When not in use, the mount lives on the tripod, it won’t be put in a case.

 


Thomas Giannaccini
 

I’m assuming transporting the entire mount/pier setup fully assembled on a dolly strapped into an enclosed trailer is not an option?



On Sat, Sep 11, 2021 at 11:39 AM ap@... <ap@...> wrote:

Jimwc wrote:

 

  • Original packing is the best. AP packed it the way they did for a reason.

My failing memory is showing here but… when AP packs them, are the gears disengaged, or left engaged?

 

I have no memory of needing to engage them, I think they shipped it engaged, but am not sure.

 

I do have the original packing, but wanted to save it from wear and tear in case I ever need to return it.

 

Seriously – to all those showing me case solutions – I get it, seen most of them posted elsewhere.  I’m not against it and may end up with one of those.  I was just looking for evaluation of this possibility.

 

Donald Rudny wrote;

 

  • On your idea to bolt it to the floor, I would be concerned about the connection to the floor of your SUV.  

 

That looks pretty manageable.  I have a compartment under the floor, so there’s a removable panel.  I had a bike mount there before so am familiar with it.  There’s plenty of room to put a backing board to distribute the load as well.  I’m really not worried about that aspect (well, again, absent an accident, but all bets are off for any packaging in an accident).

 

It’s vibration that concerns me, since in that position you cannot disengage the gears, at least without it flopping around.

 

J. Belden wrote:

 

  • I just put my mount on my front seat and buckled it in, seriously I did.  Also, did the same for C14, no issues.  Though, now I have an AP1600 so thats a bit too heavy for either seat.  So I have been using the factory boxes in my truck bed but only went to one star party this year.

 

I’ve thought of that also.  With my CEM70 on the Berlebach, I actually just had a big pile of moving blankets, lots of padding, and disconnected the gears and locked the RA axis (with a pin) and laid the tripod + mount down on the pads.   It worked great.  The AP1100 is too heavy for that (plus some other structural reasons).   But I’m looking for something similarly easy, and just have no (other) use for a case.  It’s just something else big and awkward I need to find room to store.  When not in use, the mount lives on the tripod, it won’t be put in a case.

 


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Thomas Giannaccini wrote:

 

  • I’m assuming transporting the entire mount/pier setup fully assembled on a dolly strapped into an enclosed trailer is not an option?

 

While it has a certain simplicity appeal (heck I wouldn’t even have to remove it at the dark site), buying a trailer, finding a place to store a trailer (I live in an HOA community where they are not allowed) is not really in the cards.

 

I also would think that just the height of the tripod would cause any back and forth motion to be terribly exaggerated unless there was some serious dampening.  Most utility trailers are hardly a smooth ride.

 

The real solution is a pellet gun to take out the nearby street lights, and keep observing from my back yard.  But I’m told that remotely imaging from jail might not be permitted.  😊

 


Thomas Giannaccini
 

Storage facilities often rent space in their secured lot to store a trailer. Sometimes getting 24hr access costs a little extra, I think that is a point of negotiation. I think it just depends on what matters to you most. Used trailers aren’t really that expensive. I agree that storage is the main issue. My mount/tripod is on a dolly with pneumatic wheels. Just something to consider. What is your time and the reduction of stress worth?

On Sat, Sep 11, 2021 at 11:57 AM ap@... <ap@...> wrote:

Thomas Giannaccini wrote:

 

  • I’m assuming transporting the entire mount/pier setup fully assembled on a dolly strapped into an enclosed trailer is not an option?

 

While it has a certain simplicity appeal (heck I wouldn’t even have to remove it at the dark site), buying a trailer, finding a place to store a trailer (I live in an HOA community where they are not allowed) is not really in the cards.

 

I also would think that just the height of the tripod would cause any back and forth motion to be terribly exaggerated unless there was some serious dampening.  Most utility trailers are hardly a smooth ride.

 

The real solution is a pellet gun to take out the nearby street lights, and keep observing from my back yard.  But I’m told that remotely imaging from jail might not be permitted.  😊

 


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Thomas Giannaccini wrote:

 

  • Storage facilities often rent space in their secured lot to store a trailer. Sometimes getting 24hr access costs a little extra, I think that is a point of negotiation. I think it just depends on what matters to you most. Used trailers aren’t really that expensive. I agree that storage is the main issue. My mount/tripod is on a dolly with pneumatic wheels. Just something to consider. What is your time and the reduction of stress worth?

 

Sorry, lived on a small farm for decades, and used more types of trailers than I can even remember, as well as later kayak and jet skies and boats.

 

I am just not going to put a delicate piece of equipment on one.  Don’t care if I had one and could store it, it’s just not going to happen.

 


Arvind
 

I used those semi-transparent and extremely lightweight container store box to ensure the smaller items don't get thrown around in case I need to swerve at high speeds. The mount itself mostly stayed on the blanket & yoga mats on my SUV.




On Sat, Sep 11, 2021 at 11:18 AM ap@... <ap@...> wrote:

Thomas Giannaccini wrote:

 

  • Storage facilities often rent space in their secured lot to store a trailer. Sometimes getting 24hr access costs a little extra, I think that is a point of negotiation. I think it just depends on what matters to you most. Used trailers aren’t really that expensive. I agree that storage is the main issue. My mount/tripod is on a dolly with pneumatic wheels. Just something to consider. What is your time and the reduction of stress worth?

 

Sorry, lived on a small farm for decades, and used more types of trailers than I can even remember, as well as later kayak and jet skies and boats.

 

I am just not going to put a delicate piece of equipment on one.  Don’t care if I had one and could store it, it’s just not going to happen.

 


Jeffc
 

Fwiw…. For the 1100 I use a lowes “commander” tub and cover with a piece of foam inside (not cut - just some spare memory foam I had).   I also put it on a furniture moving dolly (four casters) at home for moving it from the driveway to the garage for storage and elsewhere.  I can put an OTA box on top and move two things at once!

I put the 1100 in the tub “assembled” but without the Dec plate and saddle.   This simplifies storage and setup.  

On Sep 11, 2021, at 2:42 PM, Arvind <base16@...> wrote:


I used those semi-transparent and extremely lightweight container store box to ensure the smaller items don't get thrown around in case I need to swerve at high speeds. The mount itself mostly stayed on the blanket & yoga mats on my SUV.




On Sat, Sep 11, 2021 at 11:18 AM ap@... <ap@...> wrote:

Thomas Giannaccini wrote:

 

  • Storage facilities often rent space in their secured lot to store a trailer. Sometimes getting 24hr access costs a little extra, I think that is a point of negotiation. I think it just depends on what matters to you most. Used trailers aren’t really that expensive. I agree that storage is the main issue. My mount/tripod is on a dolly with pneumatic wheels. Just something to consider. What is your time and the reduction of stress worth?

 

Sorry, lived on a small farm for decades, and used more types of trailers than I can even remember, as well as later kayak and jet skies and boats.

 

I am just not going to put a delicate piece of equipment on one.  Don’t care if I had one and could store it, it’s just not going to happen.

 


Roland Christen
 

You can transport our mounts with the gears engaged. Some mounts have very small thin gear teeth that can be damaged if the axis receives a blow. They also don't have real clutches, so being rigidly fixed, there is nothing that gives when the axis receives a blow. So those mounts need to have gears disengaged during transport.
In our case, all our mounts have real clutches and the gear teeth are robust. If you want, you can slightly loosen the clutches when transporting the mount. just snug them enough so the axes don't flop around when you pick them up.

Roland

-----Original Message-----
From: ap@... <ap@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Sat, Sep 11, 2021 12:39 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100 carrying to dark site - SUV mount?

Jimwc wrote:
 
  • Original packing is the best. AP packed it the way they did for a reason.

My failing memory is showing here but… when AP packs them, are the gears disengaged, or left engaged?
 
I have no memory of needing to engage them, I think they shipped it engaged, but am not sure.
 
I do have the original packing, but wanted to save it from wear and tear in case I ever need to return it.
 
Seriously – to all those showing me case solutions – I get it, seen most of them posted elsewhere.  I’m not against it and may end up with one of those.  I was just looking for evaluation of this possibility.
 
Donald Rudny wrote;
 
  • On your idea to bolt it to the floor, I would be concerned about the connection to the floor of your SUV.  
 
That looks pretty manageable.  I have a compartment under the floor, so there’s a removable panel.  I had a bike mount there before so am familiar with it.  There’s plenty of room to put a backing board to distribute the load as well.  I’m really not worried about that aspect (well, again, absent an accident, but all bets are off for any packaging in an accident).
 
It’s vibration that concerns me, since in that position you cannot disengage the gears, at least without it flopping around.
 
J. Belden wrote:
 
  • I just put my mount on my front seat and buckled it in, seriously I did.  Also, did the same for C14, no issues.  Though, now I have an AP1600 so thats a bit too heavy for either seat.  So I have been using the factory boxes in my truck bed but only went to one star party this year.
 
I’ve thought of that also.  With my CEM70 on the Berlebach, I actually just had a big pile of moving blankets, lots of padding, and disconnected the gears and locked the RA axis (with a pin) and laid the tripod + mount down on the pads.   It worked great.  The AP1100 is too heavy for that (plus some other structural reasons).   But I’m looking for something similarly easy, and just have no (other) use for a case.  It’s just something else big and awkward I need to find room to store.  When not in use, the mount lives on the tripod, it won’t be put in a case.
 

--
Roland Christen
Astro-Physics


ap@CaptivePhotons.com
 

Perfect, Roland, thank you.

 

And I’ve got the clutches lightly finger tight.  I get no slippage in use (at least none evident in the model or in tracking), but the one time I had it run away and had a pier crash (long story testing move-axis) it just slipped nicely and did no harm to the gear that got caught between the saddle and pier.   It’s a nice feature.

 

 

From: chris1011@... <chris1011@...>
Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2021 5:02 PM
To: ap@...; main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100 carrying to dark site - SUV mount?

 

You can transport our mounts with the gears engaged. Some mounts have very small thin gear teeth that can be damaged if the axis receives a blow. They also don't have real clutches, so being rigidly fixed, there is nothing that gives when the axis receives a blow. So those mounts need to have gears disengaged during transport.

In our case, all our mounts have real clutches and the gear teeth are robust. If you want, you can slightly loosen the clutches when transporting the mount. just snug them enough so the axes don't flop around when you pick them up.

 

Roland

 

-----Original Message-----
From: ap@... <ap@...>
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io>
Sent: Sat, Sep 11, 2021 12:39 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] AP1100 carrying to dark site - SUV mount?

Jimwc wrote:

 

  • Original packing is the best. AP packed it the way they did for a reason.

My failing memory is showing here but… when AP packs them, are the gears disengaged, or left engaged?

 

I have no memory of needing to engage them, I think they shipped it engaged, but am not sure.

 

I do have the original packing, but wanted to save it from wear and tear in case I ever need to return it.

 

Seriously – to all those showing me case solutions – I get it, seen most of them posted elsewhere.  I’m not against it and may end up with one of those.  I was just looking for evaluation of this possibility.

 

Donald Rudny wrote;

 

  • On your idea to bolt it to the floor, I would be concerned about the connection to the floor of your SUV.  

 

That looks pretty manageable.  I have a compartment under the floor, so there’s a removable panel.  I had a bike mount there before so am familiar with it.  There’s plenty of room to put a backing board to distribute the load as well.  I’m really not worried about that aspect (well, again, absent an accident, but all bets are off for any packaging in an accident).

 

It’s vibration that concerns me, since in that position you cannot disengage the gears, at least without it flopping around.

 

J. Belden wrote:

 

  • I just put my mount on my front seat and buckled it in, seriously I did.  Also, did the same for C14, no issues.  Though, now I have an AP1600 so thats a bit too heavy for either seat.  So I have been using the factory boxes in my truck bed but only went to one star party this year.

 

I’ve thought of that also.  With my CEM70 on the Berlebach, I actually just had a big pile of moving blankets, lots of padding, and disconnected the gears and locked the RA axis (with a pin) and laid the tripod + mount down on the pads.   It worked great.  The AP1100 is too heavy for that (plus some other structural reasons).   But I’m looking for something similarly easy, and just have no (other) use for a case.  It’s just something else big and awkward I need to find room to store.  When not in use, the mount lives on the tripod, it won’t be put in a case.

 


Christopher M
 

I've seen larger AP mounts permanently mounted in trailers such as this that have survived well:  https://www.cloudynights.com/gallery/image/30771-coulter-1425f-5-newtonian-reflector-telescope-mobile/
As others have mentioned I would be more worried about emergency braking issues and the screws tearing out unless you use grade screws/bolts and drive them into the vehicle frame members.  I would suggest mounting the FSA onto a piece of sturdy plywood so you can slide it in and out a bit easier, and then use either the back seats as the emergency stop aka "headache rack" or the SUV's tie down points, or both.
Keep safe.
C