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My astronomy project:
Star Adventurer, new tripod modification


  1. New tripod
  2. Modify the tripod to be more compact
  3. Different setups
  4. Removing of the outer legs
  5. Replacing the center column

I take no responsibility or liability for what are written here, you use the information on your own risk!

5: Replacing the center column

It's not dark enough during the summer to do some astrophotographing, but this weekend I did some flight spotting and using the 300 mm telephoto lens. Good opportunity to do some test of the tripod. I noticed that the center column of the tripod was useless, too flimsy. Have to replace it with something other.

Manfrotto 144 tripod to Star Adventurer

My plan is to replace the center column, mounting plate and lock bolt by the bolt at top right. At the same time as I get it more stable I save some weight.

Manfrotto 144 tripod to Star Adventurer

The removed parts weight 301 gram.

Manfrotto 144 tripod to Star Adventurer

The bolt that replace them weight 173 gram. I saved 127 gram, not much but together with other it summed up to substantial weight savings.

Manfrotto 144 tripod to Star Adventurer

The wedge is too weak and I will give a ball head a try if it can replace the wedge.

Manfrotto 144 tripod to Star Adventurer

This new ball head have 3/8" thread at both ends. Then I don't need the mounting plate that's mounted on the Star Adventurer at bottom. The new ball head weights 533 gram. But I don't need the mounting plate anymore so I save a couple of grams.

Manfrotto 144 tripod to Star Adventurer

Overview of the new setup, the new ball head replace the old Star Adventurer wedge and no need of the center column.

Manfrotto 144 tripod to Star Adventurer

The tripod with attached Star Adventurer, 3.25 kg.

Item Weight Comment
Tripod 1.6 kg Including the new bolt
Star Adventurer head 1.63 kg The wedge replaced with ball head
Balance weight with holder 1.7 kg Gives better control of the DEC position
Camera Canon 6D with 300 mm lens 2.15 kg  
Total 7.1 kg  

One big drawback, I don't have any fine adjustments of the polar adjustment anymore. But it's much more stable now. Next thing to deal width, can I replace the camera holder with something stable without the balance weight ? With a more lower profile it will be a bit more stable and maybe I can save 1 kg or more. Just have to find something to replaced it with.

After some test with the camera and the 300 mm lens I was to my dissipiontment aware of that this will not work. The shaft of the ball head is to weak.

Manfrotto 144 tripod to Star Adventurer

Install the original wedge once again. Now when it's direct mounted to the tripod and not the column it much better. And with steel shims maybe I get enough stability from this. See this page bottom.

Manfrotto 144 tripod to Star Adventurer

I don't like the counter balance extra weight. If I mount the DEC control on a distance of 80 mm I can have the camera in center of RA shaft and then don't need any counter balance. Maybe one solution.

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