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Meade #884 deluxe field tripod
 
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The Meade #883 #884 wedge tripods does not work well in
Polar alignment with Meade ETX-90EC and ETX-125EC.
I built my own tripod

Polar Alignment is the star alignment method I use the most. I used to use a Meade #883 tripod for my Meade ETX-90EC. Meade #883 tripod has a poorly designed leg clamps. Polar alignemt is very easy on the meade #883 tripod. The Meade #883 tripod has all the micro adjustment for Polar Alignment. If not for the leg clamp, it is perfect for the Meade ETX-90EC or smaller telescopes. After I bought my Meade ETX-125EC, I found the Meade #883 Tripod is too small for the Meade ETX-125EC telescope. At 18lb, the leg clamps would slip and the tripod could collapse. I soon sold the Meade #883 tripod.

Polar Alignment is not possible with a Meade #884 tripod! Well, I did not know that. When the Meade #884 deluxe field tripod came out and I bought one. I returned the Meade #884 deluxe field tripod to the store where I bought it in less than a week. Since I do 80% of my observations in the Polar alignment position, the Meade deluxe field #884 tripod will not work at all. There is no precision micro adjustment on the Meade #884 deluxe field tripod at all. It can be use only in the ALT/AZ position. Polar alignment is important to me but It is impossible to perform a Polar alignment with the Meade #884 deluxe field tripod.

My tripod is custom made from a surveyor's tripod, a Celestron tripod, and a Meade Equatorial tripod head and a custom leveling platform.

The surveyor's tripod is a very sturdy, strong and yet inexpensive. It stand about 4 feet to over 6 feet tall. I bought it from Home Depot for about $60.00.

The azimuth movement of the Polar mount head is from my old Celestron tripod. The Altitude adjustment part is from a Meade Equatorial mount. I cut, grind these two parts together. The azimuth movement allow precision micro adjustment of horizontal turn of the telescope without moving the tripod legs. The Altitude adjustment allow precision micro adjustment of altitude.

I designed the leveling platform. The leveling platform allows me to level the telescope by just turning two machine screws. One to level left to right, the other to level front to back. I never have to bend down to change the length of the leg.

The leveling platforum consists of two aluminum plate. The bottom plate is attached to the top of the tripod with three machine screws. The top plate is fitted with three joint bearing. The joint bearings allow the bearing axis to swing up to 15 degrees to the side. Each of the machine screw is fixed to the bearing with a wingnut and a hexnut. The machine screw can turn freely with the turn of the wingnut. The bottom plate is taped with 1/4" 20 thread. I can turn the wingnut on top plate to raise or lower the top plate. I I would place a bubble level for leveling left to right, another one for front to back. It would take me seconds to level the top of the platform by turning the wingnuts standing upright.

Polar alignment is easy with my custom tripod.

 Polar alignment postion. The Meade #883 #884 Deluxe field Tripod does not work well with ETX-125EC.
This tripod assembly allows precision micro adjustment of Altitude, azimuth and leveling. The Meade ETX-90EC weights about 9 lb. The tripod is perfect for the Meade ETX-90EC. The Meade ETX-125EC weights 18 lb cause quit a bit of vibration but still very useable.
Polar alignment require micro adjustment
Polar alignment requires a leveled platform
The plate on the top is for the telescope. The top and bottom plate is connected with three machine screws.
The bubble levels helps to achieve accurate Polar alignment
The bubble levels for accurate Polar alignment

All I need to do is turn one of the the top wingnut to level left to right. I usually fix the left and only adjust the right wingnut. The bottom wingnut is to lock the machine screw in postion.

For leveling front to back all I need is to adjust the wingnut near the "North" leg of the tripod.
Polar Alignment require micro azimuth adjustment
 
The wormdrive azimuth movement. Polar Alignment requires micro azimuth adjustment.
 
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