Owners Feedback

 
Below is some of the feedback we have recieved from delighted owners of the Watch House Equatorial Platforms, and our Nexus based object location system .
 
 
 
Steve - 14 inch f 5.0 David Lukehurst custom built truss Dobsonian @52.8deg North , UK standard EQ Platform
 
- General
The platform is really solidly made and finished sensibly. I am an engineer and it looks built to last a lifetime (actually overengineered). The manual is exemplary. I liked the  foot adjustment of 1/4" per degree of latitude - perhaps a  nod to yankee origins, even if Poncet was French......More to the point it is written clearly, informatively and in good English. Total cloud tonight so no play possible. However the ground board of my Dob sits like a leach on the non-slip paint.
 
- First Light
- My best target was the Orion nebula.
Just below celestial equator, bright enough and not too much magnification needed.
Put it in view, watched the drift and then put on the motor.
Lovely ! This was a different experience with a dob so I had a good long look.
Got out the viewing stool and got comfy !
Carried on looking for detail in the nebula and even swapped filters and eypiece without losing target.
This with a field of view down to 23' !
 
- Summary
- Easy to take out and set up very, very quickly
Makes a huge difference to the pleasure of using a big telescope
Visual use achieved with practically no drift, catch the better seeing, rest and return to eyepiece
Llining in a finder is a doddle, change eyepieces/filters in no hurry
Higher magnification useable, eg planets become serious targets,
Smaller f/l eyepiece = smaller exit pupil = more comfort, less astigmatism
No need to stick with big fields of view, which will suit binoviewer
Cheaper than another widefield eyepiece
No wires, no 12V battery, no tripod leg to kick after 30minute equatorial set up
Easy to carry in when you finish

 



Aaron - Orion Optics (UK) 12inch f5.3 Dobsonian @  56.5Deg North, UK standard EQ Platform
 
Found it relatively easy to setup.
Tracking out the box was perfect for the moon - stayed centred for the half hour I was observing.
There was some slight drift with Jupiter & stars, but obviously would have to change the speed slightly for each of these objects. 
Was a pleasant change not to have to keep on nudging the DOB every 30 seconds when observing craters at high power.
I may invest in a higher powered eyepiece now.
All in all a good purchase
 
 
 
Richard - Skywatcher  12 inch f4.5 Dobsonian @ 51.4 deg North, UK standard EQ Platform
 

First chance to try the platform out early this morning at 0015 - 0100UT. Too late to go to a site for deep-sky, but Jupiter held the centre of the field for a good half-hour plus and I was able to observe the shadow of Io just past the central meridian. What a delight!

It was a delight to view Jupiter at x160 without having to bring it back to the centre of view. Although the seeing was not very good (about III) I was able to discern more detail that I had ever done before.

 


 

Bernie - 16 inch Orion UK Dobsonian @ 51deg North UK standard EQ Platform

We got everything level and set everything up located the Moon and Saturn in my 16in Dob.

Switched it on and it tracks perfectly when we got the speed right.

I must say it is a breath of fresh air to not need to keep moving it all the time.

The platform is extremely good, I think it is the answer to all my problems, I am very impressed by the versatility it offers and it is very simple to use.

I have now used my 6in Newt on the platform too and it is brilliant, no more twiddling knobs .

Had a great time last night, I love the platform,  video of Saturn never before possible with my Dob, and a pic I took with my cannon G9 both OK.

 
 
 
 

David – 20 inch David Lukehurst classic Dobsonian  @ 47 Deg North , Austria Custom XL EQ Platform, built for 45Deg 

.... nice clear skies and just before the moon went up.  I set everything up, this time the ramp worked well, I put a thin rubber mat beneath it to stop it skiding away when the weight of the dob hit it - seems to work well ( BIG scope wheeled onto the platform in one piece using ramps !) .

I started to find the correct motor speed with 250x mag ( up until now I used mainly 150x, more than this I loose sharpness ). I found it quite quickly, then wacked it up to 500x for a fine tune.  I had regulas centered in a 9" FOV and it stayed dead center for 5 minutes, I think I can be happy with this result.

Well, then I just had to test it.  First saturn at 250x, better than I have ever seen it at this mag.  Then M81 and M82, again 250x, also super, then I tried M13 and went up to 333x, was still looking good.

 I split epsilon lyr1 even at 333x.  By know, going to bed didn't seem very high on the priority list ! 

So, as a summary, all now seems to be working fine.  After a few teething problems, the results really do seem astounding.  I really never bothered going over 150x before as the image is so poor, but with the platform, it does appear that with moderate seeing I can push up to 333x.

In particular, it will be great when I  have guests, I can set things up and not have to be constantly moving the telescope about.

 

Chris - 14" Orion Optics  (UK)  Dobsonian  @ 57 Deg North standard EQ Platform
 

 

 It's a great bit of kit, looking like it's engineered to last a lifetime. I took your tip from

 the excellent instructions and fitted a small cable tie to the speed control, which makes

 adjustment a lot easier.

 I've found it best to align it with the compass, then offset several degrees to the right

(East) towards true North ( magnetic compass deviation correction) .
It will keep a subject in the field of view for quite a while , which is a great help in trying to split close doubles for instance.

It's a real treat to view something at high magnification without it flying out of sight in a few seconds.

 A couple of months back , I  managed to split the primary component of Epsilon Equuleus - at that time it had a separation of 0.43 arc-seconds and is closing up. I used the crazy magnification of

 750x and definitely saw 2 separate stars during moments of steadier seeing.

 Pi2 Ursa Minor was no problem on a previous night - that's 0.7 arc-seconds and gave

 a textbook appearance of 2 tiny Airy discs with a faint figure 8 diffraction ring around

 the pair. That was at 500x, although the split was visible at less magnification than

 that. Must have been lucky with the seeing on that night.

 

 Thank you again for a really great product which does  what it says on the tin!
 

Broder - 8" Dobsonian @ 54.7 Deg North, Germany standard EQ Platform
 
 ... yesterday the EQ-Platform arrived here and due to the superb packing everything worked out fine.

 I can say now after testing the platform yesterday evening on Jupiter is that it is a very nice piece of work, almost noiseless, precise in tracking (esp. close to meridian) and very stable .
 

Christian - 10 " GSO dobsonian @ 48 deg North, Austria standard EQ Platform

The Platform is very cool. Attached you will find some Images of my first test this night. Next I’ll try some Mars and Saturn Images. I will send you pictures as soon I have good one.

I’m very happy with this platform.

 

 
Richard 12 " UK Orion Dob, Nexus & a standard EQ Platform   
 
I am relatively new to astronomy and purchased my scope and Equatorial Platform about a year ago. After much research I went for an Orion Optics UK 10"  on their Dobsonian mount. I wanted something that I could store easily in the house and move outside easily when required. The EQ Platform also fell into the ease of setup category and provides a stable view of objects in the eyepiece. It does what it says on the tin as they say. I had purchased a planisphere and star atlas, but despite learning the night sky quite well, I tended to spend more time searching for objects than looking at them. No doubt this was partly due to the light polluted skies of Billericay in Essex where I live (although I am quite a distance from street
Iights so it could be worse). A Telrad finder helped, but I was still not happy. Then I read about Astro Device's Nexus and decided to purchase one together with the fittings from Equatorial Platforms UK. This has been a revelation. I connect my iPad wirelessly to the Nexus device that is attached to my mount. Then after aligning my scope in the Sky Safari plus App a curser on the large screen shows me where the scope is pointing. As I move the scope I can see it moving on the screen, it's marvellous. Finding objects has become a breeze and has made the evening that much more enjoyable. What's more the platform is tracking, so once I've found them I can continue to view them without constantly nudging the scope to keep them in the field of view. A not so obvious advantage is the reasonable certainty that you're looking in the right place in the sky for a particular object. So if you can't see it, its not because you're looking in the wrong place but probably because its too faint to see. This is particularly useful for people new to astronomy who are not really sure what to expect when they view an object in the eyepiece. I was amazed the other evening when I searched for Uranus half way through a tracking run and found it straight away. I was using a 10mm eyepiece & barlow lens giving me a magnification of 240 at the time, and I'd been too lazy to change it for something less powerful before I searched. Sky Safari have recently added a function to their App that displays objects in an observing list as little circles on the screen, this has made it even easier to hop from object to object using the Nexus. 

In order to ensure good finding accuracy when using the EQ platform it is important to accurately point it North. If you don't need to use the platform you simply change the mount mode in Sky Safari. The system is powered by a small 12v battery so wires do not get in the way during the night.

In addition, the after sales help and advice from both Astro Devices & Equatorial Platforms UK has been exceptional. So overall I've found it to be a wonderful flexible setup and I'd recommend it to any Dobsonian owner.
 
 

And finally, here is a verbatim Forum Post from the Society for Popular  Astronomy site :
 
 

 “Barry,
I think you are referring to a platform from The Watch House.
I have had one for a year and it does indeed easily handle my 14" truss Dobsonian.
It is very well made, extremely robust and will be accurately adjusted to your exact latitude, but can be re-adjusted to other European locations. You will need a hard level surface to use it on.
I found the company very good to deal with and you can get SPA discount!

Once the speed is set carefully it will track well. It tracks up to an hour (15 degrees) before you reset the platform Eastwards -however tracking accuracy depends on the alignment. You may need to nudge the scope after 5-10 minutes. The good news is that even a rough compass alignment provides for easy observation of planets at high magnification without wide angle eyepieces. It goes for ages on a little PP3 9v battery that people are always chucking out from smoke alarms! There is no balancing. It is quick to deploy and get going.
You should look at all the videos/pictures on their site and realise the weight and size of a platform and how to reset occasionally. It can be stored vertically anywhere dry and carried outside in 2 bits. It would be quite big to pop in a car boot but so is your telescope !
I love the ease of use and think it makes a good dob brilliant for VISUAL observing. You just push around the sky and wherever you stop stays in view while you observe (preferably seated of course). It will last forever and suit any reasonable size dob you choose in future. No wires, power packs and computers - deep joy ! “

You can read the thread here :

 
 


 
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