ADM Mini Dovetail Ring Set

The ADM Mini Dovetail Ring Set

This photo shows the ADM Mini Dovetail and Ring system holding an Orion ED80 on a Meade 8 Inch LX200 SCT OTA.

The ADM Mini Dovetail Ring Set

This is the other side of the mounted mini dovetail ring setup.

Background Information

As an astrophotographer, I rely of the ability to mount a guide telescope on my large OTA's. This can be a bit of a problem, because many of the systems that I have bought in the past were either ineffective and flimsy, making secure control of the guide scope impossible, or overbuilt, as to the point of creating unnecessary balance problems. While at NEAF 2007, I received the opportunity to test the ADM Mini Dovetail system from ADM (Anthony Davoli Machining).

I was provided with a mini dovetail bar for my Meade 8" SCT OTA, as well as a set of 125mm rings to mount my Orion ED80 scope.

Quality Is Evident

The Dovetail bar was complete, and mounted to my OTA with no problems. The mounting holes were drilled accurately, with proper positioning, and relief to make adding the bar to the OTA a snap. The Dovetail bar is black anodized, and well finished. The bar also has a distinctive, bold ADM printed on the bar, on both sides. The printed end of the bar goes toward the front of the OTA.

ADM Mini Dovetail Set in Operation

I mounted the Orion ED80 guide scope into the rings. The soft, delrin tips of the aluminum adjusting screws gripped the OTA firmly and securely. The Adjusting Screws are 3/8" in diameter, making access to adjustments a snap. I never doubted if I had an adjuster in hand, as I have with other ring sets with small, adjusting screws. Once the scope was mounted in the rings, and on my 8" SCT, I started out by pushing and pulling on the ED80 scope. The OTA did not budge, and was very secure in the rings. I added power to the CGE mount, and started moving the mount to put the setup through the paces. I extended the mount in every conceivable direction, and the system held secure. I added a Canon DSLR to the OTA, rebalanced, and went through it again. No change, and the ring set held the guide scope OTA safe and secure. For several evenings, I had the chance to test this ring set, and it passed with flying colors. I found it very easy to make adjustments to the position of the scope in the rings. Moving the guide scope to pick up a guide star was a simple process. Loosening the adjustment screws on the front ring allowed me to reposition the guide scope without any worry of the rear ring losing contact with the OTA and risking damage to the ED80. The adjustment screws moved smoothly. I never had a binding problem with the adjustment screws. That is a problem I have had with several other ring sets. I think the size of these adjusters, as well as the quality machine work, could be why these adjusters work so well.

The ADM Ring

These knobs are very well made, as well as easy to hold. The adjusting knobs held the OTA secure

The ADM Mini Dovetail Bar with logo

The footprint on the surface of the main telescope with this ring set is minimal. When loosened, the rings slid smoothly along the bar. When tightened, the rings did not move.

The Results

This Mini Dovetail Ring Set does the job, and does it well. It is well made, well finished, and very reasonable in price. However, the thing that most amazed me about this system is how lightweight it is compared to any other setups that I have used. As many astrophotographers know, when you start adding cameras, mounting systems, counterweight, etc. to your setup, it does not take long to stress your mount. Anything that I can do to reduce the overall weight on my mount is money well spent. The total weight of the rings and the mini dovetail bar of this ring set is less than just the dovetail bar of my previous setup. Add the rings of my previous setup, and the weight is probably about half. On top of that, I fell a bit more secure with this ADM set on my scope than I did with my previous system (which will be going up for sale).

ADM is a small company with some really great products. Anthony Davoli, owner and machinist, has obviously been listening to other amateur astronomers, and thinking through their problems. As a result, he has been coming up with solutions that are "on the money", as well as within the budgets of most amateurs.

The ADM Ring - Left Side View

These view shows the ring locking knob. It is easy to reach, since it stands off from the bottom of the ring with a spacer.

The ADM Ring - Right Side View

This view of the right side of the ring shows the minimal amount of mass in this setup. It reduces weight, but gives up nothing in strength or reliability.

The overall impression

If you have a need for a ring set to mount on your OTA, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this manufacturer. ADM makes excellent products. Their quality is "Top Notch" and their prices are reasonable. I plan on using this system, and will most likely get some of their other products as well. I have full confidence in ADM products.

This product is available from ADM (Anthony Davoli Machining)

Mike Overacker