ADM CGE Tripod Knob Set
The ADM Tripod Knobs
This photo shows the ADM Knobs on the Celestron CGE Mount
The ADM Azimuth Adjustment Knob
This is the Replacement Azimuth Adjustment Knob for the CGE Mount
Every once in a while, I get the opportunity to test a product that seems, at first glance, to be simple and extravagant. When I first saw the Celestron CGE Tripod Mount Knob Set from ADM (Anthony Davoli Machining), I thought they were nice, appeared to be well made, and a frill for CGE owners that wanted to stand out at their club, or at the latest star party.
Recently, I decided to purchase a Celestron CGE mount to give me a mount capable of astrophotography, as well as a GoTo mount with some weight capacity for some of my larger OTA's and Camera systems. I liked the CGE mount fine, but setup was often made more difficult by the 6 hex key mounting bolts that connected the electronics mounting pier to the tripod on the bottom of the pier, and the EQ Head assembly on the top of the pier. I used a nice T-Handled hexkey wrench to assist in the setup, but it was still a bit slow and cumbersome with the bolts and the hexkey wrench, especially in the dark.
It was at NEAF 2007 that I stopped by the ADM booth and managed to talk to Anthony about his many products, including the CGE Tripod Knob Set. After talking shop for a while, I ended up walking away from the ADM booth with several of Anthony's products, which I would review for this website.
The Quality Observations
I took a little time to look closely at these knobs. The machining on this product is incredible. The coarse knurling of the knobs is first rate, and extremely non-slip. These knobs will qrip into your hand as hard as you care to let them. A gentle touch is all that is needed to maintain a firm hold on the knobs. The bolts are rolled on the ends to make inserting the bolts into the mount threads easy and accurate. I never felt that I might be putting the knob in improperly. Starting the knob into the mount, as well as tightening always felt secure. I opted for the Celestron Orange Anodizing on my knob set, and it has a really nice finish and color.
The Review Plan
I decided how I would review this product. Since this item would be of interest of observers that set up the CGE mount at various location, as opposed to CGE owners with their mount in an observatory, I grabbed my trusty Digital Stopwatch and prepared to time the setup with the hexkey bolts and the Tripod Knobs. Since the tripod would be the same for both the knob and bolt setup, I timed that setup only once, and left the tripod set up for the rest of the testing.
For the record, It took me 1 minute and 45 seconds to unstrap, open the tripod, locate and set the spreaders, and tighten the tripod. That would be a baseline to be added to both the setup times. It took me 1 minute and 15 seconds to teardown the tripod and strap it closed.
For the rest of the CGE setup, the time includes the time to set the electronics pier onto the tripod, time needed to set and tightened either the hexkey bolts or the ADM Tripod Knobs, mount the EQ head assembly on the electronics pier, and then set and tighten the hexkey bolts or Tripod Knobs to the EQ head assembly. Mounting the counterweight bar would also be the same for either setup, so I did not time that part of the setup.
The ADM Tripod Knob
These knobs are very well made, and the anodizing is first-rate. A beautiful and efficient addition to any Celestron CGE mount.
The ADM CGE Tripod Knob Set
In this image, you can see all 8 of the ADM CGE Tripod Knobs, the 6 Tripod Mounting Knobs, and the 2 replacement CGE Azimuth Knobs. It is a stunning look.
I set up the mount first using the T-handled hexkey wrench and the hexkey bolts. I set up the mount as fast as I could, while being careful not to do anything that would unduly delay the setup, such as dropping the bolts into the grass, then having to search for them. I managed to set up the mount onto the tripod in 6 minutes and 35 seconds, using the bolts and hexkey T-handled wrench. I thought that was a pretty good time, as the setup went smoothly, with no unnecessary delays. I figured that the knobs, probably, would only cut that time by a marginal number. I timed the teardown as well, with the time ending as soon as all the items were on the ground, next to the tripod. Teardown with the hexkey bolts took 5 minutes and 45 seconds, 50 seconds less than the setup. I attributed that to having to locate the bolts into the holes and get them started before using the Hexkey wrench to screw them in and tighten them down.
Next was the ADM Tripod Knob setup. I picked up the pier, positioned it and then used both hands to start in a knob in each hand. I then placed the EQ head on the pier and, again was able to use two hands to set 2 knobs. I then grabbed the last 2 knobs and set them in place and tightened. I quickly checked all the knobs for tightness, then stopped the stopwatch. I couldn't believe what I had just done. I had set up the Celestron CGE mount with the ADM Knobs in 1 minute and 15 seconds. The ADM knob set had allowed me to shave 5 minutes and 20 seconds off of the setup time for the CGE mount. I was stunned, as well as elated, as I knew that my ability to set up my CGE mount had just gotten, dramatically, better. I was very pleased with this result. Now, how long would the teardown take?
I started by unscrewing two of the EQ head knobs, then the last EQ head knob, and the tripod knob directly below it. I removed the EQ head assembly and placed it next to the tripod, then unscrewed the last two tripod knobs, removed the electronics pier, set it down, then stopped the stopwatch. That took all of 45 seconds. Amazing. These knobs made a HUGE difference in my ability to set up the CGE mount, and to disassemble it, quickly, and safely. This is one on the biggest "real winner" products I have ever reviewed.
|Setup with Celestron HexKey Bolts||Total Time Setup with Celestron HexKey Bolts / Tripod||Setup with ADM Celestron CGE Tripod Knobs||Total Time Setup with ADM Celestron CGE Tripod Knobs / Tripod|
|6 Minutes - 35 Seconds||8 Minutes - 20 Seconds||1 Minute - 15 Seconds||3 Minutes|
|Teardown with Celestron HexKey Bolts||Total Time Teardown with Celestron HexKey Bolts / Tripod||Teardown with ADM Celestron CGE Tripod Knobs||Total Time Teardown with ADM Celestron CGE Tripod Knobs / Tripod|
|5 Minutes - 45 Seconds||7 Minutes||45 Seconds||2 Minutes|
|Time Differential in setup of the CGE Mount||Time Differential in teardown of the CGE Mount|
|Advantage - ADM Tripod Knobs - 5 Minutes and 20 Seconds||Advantage - ADM Tripod Knobs - 5 Minutes|
The overall impression
This product is a Winner...Winner...Winner. I have never been so impressed with a product that could make such an enormous impact in my ability to setup up for a night of observing. I do quite a bit of outreach, and setting up multiple telescopes is something that I do all too often, so the fact that the ADM CGE Tripod Knob Set has taken over 10 minutes off the setup and teardown time of one of my mounts is a real benefit to me. I can now set up my CGE mount, as well as one of my truss dobs in the same amount of time it used to take me to set up just the CGE mount. That is HUGE!!! in my book. If you have a Celestron CGE mount, the price of this knob set is small, compared to the benefits of the time saved when setting up and tearing down your mount.
This product is available from ADM (Anthony Davoli Machining)