AP155EDF on Custom made Homeyer Cradle/Rings

On Saturday June 7th 2003, I made a drive to Nashville, TN and picked up an Astro Physics 155 EDFS. While I was patiently waiting for the arrival of a custom made cradle from Andy Homeyer, I ran across a deal and converted the EDFS to an EDF by buying the 4" focuser and field flattener. The cradle arrived on Tuesday July 15th and I started the assembly on Saturday morning July 19th. The following are some pictures of the process. The cradle is a nice piece of engineering as it was designed to allow me to also use the main plate and mount my AP 180 EDT with the same compliment of scopes.

Click on any thumbnail picture for the larger version
This is the new cradle Andy Homeyer designed. My AP155 EDF takes the middle rings, my AP127 EDT goes in the rings on the right, and my Vixen 102 Flourite goes on the left.
The rings for the AP127 are machined to be aligned with the AP155 rings. The Vixen rings are fully adjustable. The cradle bolts to the ParamountME Versa-Plate in the same way as the C14 cradle. It is also designed to fit my AP1200GTO, so I can use it on either mount.
Here, you can see the slots that allow for enough adjustment to easily balance all the weight. The AP155 EDF is the first scope to be installed.
The 4" focuser is smooth as silk, and you know it can carry anything you can hang back there without any flexure. The DEC plate is positioned to allow mounting the next scope.
The AP127 EDT f/8 is now mounted. A 4" and a 2.7" focuser.
The AP127 being an f/8 is just a little bit longer the AP155 which is a f/7. The Vixen 102 has now been mounted and its rings adjusted to securely hold it in place.
All three scope are mounted and the ParamountME is in its parked position. Andy's design for the Vixen has a split ring on the tube that rides inside the outer fixed ring and as you tighten down, the split ring tightens around the tube. This design make it rock solid.
Here you see my temporary fix for balance. An old ankle weight helps add weight to the Vixen side as it doesn't weigh as much as the AP127. To offset the 4" flattener, I added a counterweight bar to the front. This also made a very convenient place to mount the Kendrick Dew heaters. This keeps them away from the focusers and cameras, as they are noisy. A couple of ferrite chokes tames them right down.
After searching the web for "Telescope Counterweights", one good hit was ScopeStuff. Jim Henson was very helpful and the order arrived quickly. A 24" slider bar and 7 lbs of counterweights made the balance perfect.
The placement of the slider bar kept the weights in line with the balance plane. The Vixen 102 + counterweights now completely offsets the weight of the AP127.
I run separate power through the mount just for the dew heaters. I made a power distribution box (that's it on the left) and this powers the two controllers. I added a small piece of aluminum bar stock to the back to support the water tubes and the ST-237A cable. This eliminates any pressure on the camera from these connections.
Just about complete. I need to find a second hand ST-8XE to put on the back of the AP127. Almost ready for first light. Is that thunder I hear ?? What else, the new equipment curse is alive and well. I hope everyone else is enjoying their clear skies !!!!!
I added my RoboFocus to the AP127,while the Optec TCF-S controls focus on the AP155. Now I have complete control of both scopes. Focusing is now fun again. The extra serial cable I ran through the mount comes in handy here, as both the TCF-S and the Robofocus are controlled remotely from inside the house.