I’ve had my DM6 for a bit over 5 months now and I wanted to give you a follow up, and thank you again The mount continues to exceed my expectations. It handles the heavy Tak TOA 130 effortlessly. It is so sensibly perfect, there is nothing in the design I could think I would want to change. I have had so many great nights with it now I just leave it set up all the time. I can get it outside quickly - (the Berlebach and mount head in one trip, and the Tak in the next trip. Drop in the saddle - ready to go) Then I just get lost in the sky - the mount just disappears. I have yet to really use the sky commander (I did test it and it worked fine) as I find I can usually just push to objects and star hop so easily I don’t really need it. I’m still just having so much fun wandering around the sky. I have bought a lot of gear in my life and your mount is certainly one of the best purchases I have ever made. Thanks again for sharing this great product - you have enriched my love of observing so much.
If you ever visit Maui, I’ll take you to some awesome skys (and only 20.7 degrees north) - great view of the south!
Had a lot of fun the last two nights with my telescope (np127is) and the DM-6. For the first night I used the Sky Commander's Favorites feature and programmed my planned observations so when I was outside it was very efficient - one click was all it took to go from target to target. That is a very nice feature for those who want to plan ahead.
Thanks to the DM-6 I have been able to easily see things I never thought possible in my sodium light polluted front yard... even M57, the Ring Nebula (without filters). It is just so easy to take out and set up that you go out and do it. As they say, the best equipment is the one that gets used, not the stuff that sits in the closet. If it was too complicated I don't think I would be reaching out and trying these things that I thought would be out of reach for my equipment under these severe light pollution conditions.
Thanks again, Ed.
July, 25, 2011
I just got back from the Twin Lakes Star Party in Western Kentucky. I spent two of the best nights of the year under really dark skies and the seeing was fabulous. I carried my SV115T and DM-4. My rig was probably the smallest on the field of about 125 amateurs. Most folks brought dobs ranging to about 25" and there were a couple of larger refractors up to about 8".
All that to say, I probably had the longest lines of folks wanting to see my rig. Word got out about the guy with the DM-4 mount and there was just a lot of curiosity about it. Folks were very surprised at how stable such a small alt az mount could be. My poor scope had to endure about 50 rap tests in one evening! It was actually kind of funny. I was asked by several how quickly vibrations stabilized and I would say under a second. One guy told me, "everyone says that, but in my experience, one second means 3-4 seconds". I think he must have given my scope a dozen taps, having a hard time believing that with the DM-4 under a second means "under a second."
I bet I had 20 comments on how impressive the DSC setup is on this mount. Practically everyone commented on how smooth the mount is and could not believe how the mount stays in place between eyepiece changes. Many came around during the day and ogled over the beauty of the mount and tripod.
It's neat to own such a splendid piece of hardware. BTW--I even got rave reviews over my Discmounts T-shirt.
Thanks, Randy R.
Tasco? Ouch ouch! Touché.
The Pier extension finally arrived yesterday (clearing customs is slow), in time to take it to a public outreach session last night. Beautifully made, looks great, and it makes the sky about 99% available. (There is still one tiny area where the handle strikes the locking clamps on the Uni-24 tripod, but it can be moved around. )
At our sidewalk astronomy session last night, my DM-mounted SV105 was easily the most stable of the scopes present and gave excellent results. I've now had the DM6/Uni24/SV105 session out for a dozen or so short driveway sessions and 3 public star parties, and I can honestly say I think I have my favorite mount. I'll still use my equatorials on occasion - especially my pier-mounted one for imaging - but most of my available observing time is in short pieces, and the DM6 is perfect for this. And at public outreach star parties, it makes swinging around the sky to give tours of major objects so easy that it's hard to believe.
Thanks for producing such a wonderful product. You can be sure I'll be bragging about it and raving about it for many years to come. Some photos of the final system will follow, for your bragging wall, next time I have a chance.
This is from my recent post on CloudyNights:
So, my DiscMounts DM-6 arrived on Wednesday, but had to travel for the Holiday and just got home last night. It was still in the box so I went out with the TV101 and -------. Had a great evening with pretty good seeing looking at some wonderful lunar features. A bit too much moon for anything DSO though....
Today, I got my DM-6 all balanced, and ready to rock with the AP130. So I hauled the G11 tripod with DM-6 attached out onto the patio as it was perfectly clear. Went back inside to get my other gear and now it's cloudy and windy! Unbelievable! I will wait it out a few minutes but it's not looking good....
This mount is really the smoothest, most elegant design I have ever seen. I gotta say, light years ahead of my ---------. And I really like my ----------! I ordered the Sky Commander option, and it's all ready to go. Simple, quick and convenient. Of course there will be a learning curve with the Sky Commander, but it looks to be fairly straightforward.
Okay, just got a few minuets of clear skies. I did the simple 2-star alignment, and used the Sky Commander to search for some Messier DSOs. Great accuracy, smooth movement in both axes, and it does as advertised, will hold position when changing from a large eyepiece to a light one. I used a Meade 14mm Ultrawide (a heavy eyepiece), a 27mm Panoptic, and even the 31mm Nagler does not cause problems. When moving the mount to the location of the desired object, the mount is simply awesome! Smooth, low resistance, no herky-jerky stuff like I have seen in other mounts, just beautiful. And, it's cold out tonight. One problem, at low temps the Sky Commander needs an external 12volt source to keep the display working properly, I did notice the display slowing down a bit. There is a heater inside the unit that operates when connected to an external 12volt source. This appears to be necessary when temps are around 35 degrees or less.
But, the mount and Sky Commander are simply incredible. I was a bit worried about the operation of the Sky Commander but there is essentially no learning curve, it's completely intuitive after just a couple of minutes. Very good accuracy, every object was in the field of the 27mm Panoptic so they were readily located. I am pleased, but the clouds rolled in again so I packed it up and hauled it in for this night.
I did buy the extender and I am glad I did! I was observing NGC7789 earlier and it was very near the zenith. No problems at all. This is a wonderful setup. I did not mention the stability.....on that G11 it's a rock. No jiggles when focusing at moderate magnifications, everything remains centered when changing eyepieces. I can't say enough about it. My only regret is that I did not have several hours to spend with it tonight. Observing the moon at moderate magnification is simply a pleasure. Compared to my ---------...well there is no comparison.
I bet you are glad I gave you a long rest from all my concerns with my DM-6. You are a smart man, you said in time, things would become second nature to me. I just over worried about the balance and friction adjustments, I thought I was going to hurt something... It works great, my problem is still learning the sky, after having had many go-to scopes, and no Alt. / Az. mounts before. In my neighborhood, the light pollution is terrible, and the horizons, or lack of in most directions, does not help. I do go to our club site which has better conditions, but I find myself taking way to long to find a object. But I still LOVE my Tak. TOA130mm refractor and your DM-6. Set up is quicker, than my G-11 Gemini Goto, with the counterweights, polar alignment,5 star align. etc. In time I will find deep space M- objects a little faster. Where I love the DM-6 right now is for Jupiter and the moon. I can get outside and before you know it, I'm having fun..
Saw Jupiter last week with the Clear Sky Clock, saying "excellent seeing ".-this almost never happens in Rochester NY. It was great, I had never seen it so clear. Believe it or not, I spent from 11:00pm to 2:00am just studying all the features over and over. The eye (Great Red Storm ) was so sharp. I just wished the night would go on and on... At the best I could push about 320mag, later I had to drop to about 180 to get the same sharpness...
Hope you and your wife are fine, and thanks for putting up with me during the birth of my mount. Tom Kohler :<)
I received the mount and tripod last Friday. They survived the shipping without a scratch and I assembled everything Friday night. The instructions were good and everything went together without incident. Also, the tripod stain is great and my wife even commented on how good it looked. I used the DM-6 and tripod tonight and I can honestly say that I forgot they were even there. The DM-6 was so easy to set up and use it takes itself out of the equation. Also, Vic's TP-6 plate was a perfect fit for the Tilt-In saddle. The saddle is a great design and it's really convenient and easy to set the plate into the saddle and tighten it in, definitely a great design.
Unquestionably a great product and thanks for answering my many questions and being great to work with.
-Eddie W. (Sept 30, 2008)
The Northern California fires finally are subsiding and there were relatively clear skies this past weekend. I had the first, and wonderful, evening with your DiscMount 6 on the AP Eagle 6 holding the AP 130.
The mount was superb!
I did solve the initial mounting balance issue by having one dovetail position for mounting-scope-without-any-diagonal-or-bino; one for scope-diagonal-mono-eyepiece; and a third for scope-bino-finder-two-eyepieces. It was always smooth and insensitive to eye pieces changes. Within 30 minutes I forgot all about the mount and just observed.
I also forgot about the “missing” slow motion controls. The scope moved so smoothly I could continue to observe while moving the scope. I have never done that before with an alt/az.
And I tried the Sky Commander. It worked like a charm and became intuitive within an hour. The Sky Commander / encoders really showed the precision and orthogonality of your mount. After a two star alignment, objects were in the field of an 8mm eyepiece every time. (That just can’t happen without perfect mount construction and stability.)
You have created a gem, Tom!
I received the extender and tilt in saddle plate today. I have them installed on the tripod with the DM 4. Wow, each of these modifications makes a substantial upgrade in the function of the mount.
The NP 101 clears the mount at zenith and the new plate makes it a lot easier to bring the scope on and off the mount.
Fit and finish are great and I really like the design of the extender with the open columns rather than a solid tube. It also leaves the scope at a much more comfortable height for observing both seated and standing. Now, if only it would stop snowing!
Anyway, kudos again on your great product which I really appreciate having!
Thanks again, Don (pix in the customer gallery)
I just had to e-mail to tell you how much I'm enjoying the DM-4 with Sky Commander. I can't believe how easy it is to find deep sky objects!! The DM-4 is great with my TV-85 (which I've finally decided is the perfect scope for me as I use it so much more than previous heavier & more aperture scopes!) and the Sky Commander is a big extra find! If you remember, I bought the mount used from Chris over Astromart. I probably would have bought the "tall" mount if I had bought new but I can always buy the extension if I decide on a slightly taller mount (I'm 6' 2"). I just wanted to let you know that your mount (and work) is appreciated as it makes tracking so easy and observing so enjoyable.
Many thanks for creating and building a fine instrument for observing. I have seen many attempts of making altitude-azimuth viewing easy, but your design is just plain FUN! No shifting, moving, and rebalancing with every change in eyepiece or added loads, just movements as silky smooth in both axis. I have become quickly spoiled on the excellence in engineering, quality craftsmanship, and furniture grade wood. It’s a no-brainer to factor this as a cost well worth every penny. You can see my photo to confirm.
Thanks to you it is so easy to set up my W.O. Fluorostar that now I use it much more than ever. The DM6 is the PERFECT mount.
In the last days I could EASILY track Saturn at 250x and the moon at 342X. WOW!!!!
I post you some pictures for your website and I thank you again.
Valter from Italy
(Please see pictures in the Customer Gallery)
Wanted you to know that I did a Star Show for 20 Cub Scouts last Monday night. I was at a large church in the center of town, with almost a full Moon too. Your mount saved my bacon because I could quickly go to "bright" DS objects and keep them interested. We saw star clusters, the Andromeda Galaxy, and pretty doubles before looking at the Moon. It would have been so much more difficult to find those objects without the DSCs, and their accuracy with your mount.
Just wanted to drop you a note to say that I am very happy with the mount. You did a beautiful job with both design and execution.
I know you are using your TEC 140 (that's what I have) on a G-11 mount. I had it on a lighter mount at first (Gm8 clone) and didn't like the damping time, but I did find that even though it was under-mounted, some of the vibration was attributable to the scope rings. I added some 8" wood shims in the little valley between the dovetail and the scope itself, and noticed an improvement. Thought I'd pass this along for what it is worth.
After I switched to the Meade Giant Field Tripod (very similar to G11) the damping time while focusing was sub one second. This means a lot to me, so I thank you.
BTW, I read earlier posts asking you to relocate the DSC box since it was not visible when seated. I found this to be a non issue when I turned the DSC mounting plate around so that it the vertical part faces me, and I think this is perfect.
I finally got the scope and tripod out last night. The Midwest in June is tough for astronomy. The sun doesn't set till 9:30 and it's not really dark till 1000. If it's not hazy then it's a thunderstorm. Viewing is much better at other times. So yesterday despite a light haze and crescent moon was the closest I thought I was going to get since the DM-4 was delivered. I didn't figure on seeing much other than putting the setup through its paces. Wow!!! I'm impressed. Absolutely rock stable. I always had it on the back burner to upgrade my mount but had been waiting to convince myself just what to get. In the meantime I was getting used to the image jumping around at high power. No more. I was able to get out my highest power lens a 3mm Radian and get absolutely beautiful views of Jupiter at 200x something that was neigh impossible on my prior mount. I was also able to use my binoviewers and rack them all the way in and out without rebalancing, one of my main goals. I did have to tighten the tension just a tad from the monocular setting and do some minor rebalancing on going from mono to binoviewing as expected. I spent so much time just looking as the Jupiter bands were the best I'd ever seen with the TV85 that I didn't even bother to try out the SkyTour computer and encoders.
The DM-4/A-P Traveler combination is everything I hoped it would be. The mount, attached to a Bogen 3058 tripod, results in a rock-steady platform. Seeing conditions during the test were excellent, but transparency was poor. A significant haze engulfed and surrounded Jupiter. Nevertheless, I was determined to see how well the DM-4 performed, so I pushed the magnification beyond reasonable levels. I wanted to see just how steady the mount would hold the telescope and also to gauge how much vibration I'd encounter during routine use.
I used a 5x Powermate and a 9 mm Nagler e.p., which yielded 338 x magnification (82 x per inch) and a f.o.v. of approximately 14 arc minutes. The major Jovian zones and cloud belts were clearly visible, but structural details (even at reasonable magnification) were limited by the poor transparency. However, the DM-4 performed marvelously. It was extremely easy to keep Jupiter well within the f.o.v. simply by pushing slightly on the telescope. The ease of that task surpassed that of using my Sky-90 on a XXXX mount. In fact, it was easier simply pushing the DM-4 than it was using the fine adjustment knobs on the XXXx Alt-Az mount.
Vibrations after moving or focusing the telescope were so minimal, and dampened so rapidly (one second or less), that I had to concentrate to be aware that there were any vibrations at all. There were no anti-vibration pads used with the tripod. - So, am I a happy customer? You betcha!
Had everything set up the first day the DM-4 arrived but too a little time to get busy on the pics. Here they are. have had the mount and scope out for a couple of nights and I love it!
It's simple yet elegant engineering. It tracks wonderfully with no backlash. It's relatively portable (forgot that the alt and az would move when pick up the whole setup - fortunately no damage to anything). I've got a new grip that seems to work well. And my wife likes its design and finish.
I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for the very best in AltAz mounts.
My Tripod and XP-4 arrived today and I've just finished setting it up here in my office. It is overcast, of course, so I won't have a chance to play with it under an actual sky tonight.
Nevertheless, there is just one little problem that I can see so far...... you don't actually expect me to take this beautiful piece of furniture out into my yard where dirt, grass and bugs could possibly get on it ??
After seeing the DM-6 I expected the tripod to be nice but .... Wow!!
Thanks for picking out a great set of legs for me - they look fabulous in the red mahogany stain. From the accessory tray to the machined tripod base, it really is a marvel of form and function. I've heard a lot of people balk at the total costs involved for a DM6 (hey, me included a couple years ago when I first checked out your mounts) but after struggling with "toy" mounts since then, I am delighted to have what I'm now sure actually is the world's best Alt/Az. It is a real joy to use (up to now I've been using it on my Berlebach Uni-24, which I think will work well with the DM-6 for my heavier artillery in future).
Initially, I wasn't sure I needed your tripod and while it may not be right for the heavier OTAs I'm thinking about down the road, I sure am glad I went for it in the end. I can't wait to show this baby off to my friends. For now I've got my puny WO 80 Megrez TMB triplet on the DM6 with my Solarview 50 piggyback but hoping to have the TEC 140 sometime next year.
I couldn't wait to tell you I got it (great packaging, BTW) and that I am pleased as punch !!
I'll send some pics of my DM-6 "solar set-up" for the gallery when I have a chance to take them this weekend (weather permitting and assuming I can bring myself to putting it outside). I'm also looking forward to putting the SkyCommander through its paces - looks simple enough and a perfect complement to the mount. Thanks for all your great advice and suggestions these past many weeks.
All the best,
My TV-140 (optical tube only) weighs 14 lbs. With the dew shield, mirror star diagonal, 2-inch to 1 1/4-inch adapter, and 7-mm Nagler eyepiece, it weighs 17 lbs. I successfully used the DiscMount with my TV-140 at an observing event that our club ran for a local grammar school. There were at least a hundred kids and four or five telescopes set up. With so many spectators, I wouldn't have had the time to rebalance when changing eyepieces without losing "customers."
I demonstrated to one guy from our club that it maintained position when I substituted a 17-mm Nagler Type 4 eyepiece (26 oz.) for the 7-mm Nagler eyepiece (6.8 oz.) with adapter (3.6 oz. ). It was balanced for the lighter arrangement and the vertical friction-adjusting nut could have been much tighter. He was impressed. So was I.
This is Jeff Morgan's comments on his new DM-6 mount/Ash Wood Tripod and his Takahashi FS 102 4" f8 refractor. See pictures of it in our Gallery.
I had my second session with the DM-6 last Friday and wanted to let you know that I am immensely pleased with this product. Compared to my Losmandy GM8, the DM-6 wins on all counts. The set-up process from opening the trunk to taking the lens covers off the refractor takes around 6 minutes. The longest part is unscrewing the six hand knobs for the leg braces! Compared to the GM8 there are no sharp edges to handle in the cold, no tripod leveling, no polar aligning, and no cords to run. The assembled mount is about 15 pounds lighter. More importantly at the end of the night when one is tired and the hands numb from cold, the takedown process is just as fast with no tools required. For anyone lucky enough to have good viewing from their home, leaving the DM-6 fully assembled to carry to the yard or porch would be feasible.
My first target Friday was NGC 7790. While it would have been a short star hop from Beta Cass, I decided to use the Sky Commander. Right on target! I spent the next half hour viewing clusters in the vicinity from 34x to 328x. The mount stays on target while changing eyepieces. Even when using that famous brand with the "wonderful" safety undercuts that always snag on the diagonal. Moving in alt-az is clearly easier than equatorially, and there are no clamps to worry about. On the first night out my girlfriend, who had never used a telescope before, had no trouble finding bright objects and tracking. I also see this mount would be very friendly to binoviewers.
I have been very happy with this combination. With the dovetail bar directly attached to the telescope tube, the connection is very solid and, even with the firm tug required by the Zeiss helical focuser, vibration introduced is minimal. In this configuration with my Coronado 90mm filter and binoviewer, I would say the mount is carrying 28 pounds. Interestingly, the A/P 155 edfs which is about the same weight shows a little more vibration - probably due to the introduction of tube rings. The A/P portable pier is a great platform for the mount - the A/P wood tripod is very good too with the added convenience of height adjustment.
I've posted the picture to the Zeiss forum on Astromart. I am happy to be getting more use of the APQ on this compact and quick to set-up mounting.
From Alan in Buffalo, NY; Re: His new DM-6 atop his APQ130