Orion VX12 Base Plate

Now it has been a while since I upgraded my mount to the Skywatcher EQ8, One of the main reasons was so I could use my Orion Optics 12″ VX12 Newtonian for imaging. So with the mount all ready for use, it was time to set my Orion Optics VX12 Newtonian onto it in preparation for deep sky imaging. One of the things I needed to do was to mount a guide scope. After considering the various options, I decided to order the Orion 350mm Base Plate so it could be used to fit my Skywatcher ED80 as my guide scope.

There are two reasons for me to get the Base Plate:

  1. To stabilise the tube rings on both sides of the telescope so it is as steady as possible.
  2. To give a stable platform where I can mount my guide scope and its tube rings.

Now I ordered the base plate from Orion Optics about over 2 weeks ago and it took that long for the base plate to arrive. It comes with two end blocks which have a curved edge to fit perfectly onto the round tube rings of my VX12.

Orion 350mm Base Plate with the end blocks for mounting onto the VX12 tube rings
Orion 350mm Base Plate with the end blocks for mounting onto the VX12 tube rings
End blocks which mount onto the tube rings shown here
Shown with the End blocks up (curved to fit the tube rings

Now one of the things Orion also charged me for was a guide scope plate which comes with a single row of holes. Unfortunately there are no instructions with this guide scope plate, and the accompanying screws do not have any lock nuts to secure it to the base plate – hence  I haven’t a clue how to use it. I will need to contact Orion Optics for some advice on this. In the meantime, I have mounted the ED80 tube rings directly to the base plate.

Orion Guide scope plate with the accompanying screws and metal O rings
Orion Guide scope plate with the accompanying screws and metal O rings

With the base plate secured to the two holes on the top of both the tube rings, now there is an extra bit of stability to the tube ring setup, and my guide scope is nicely secured on there – so there should not be any differential flexure. But I suppose the proof will be in the imaging results, for which I will need to wait for clear skies.

Base plate mounted on the top of the tube rings, together with my ED80
Base plate mounted on the top of the tube rings, together with my ED80
Close-up of the ED80 mounted on the base plate
Close-up of the ED80 mounted on the base plate

So my obsy imaging setup should be ready to go, as soon as I re-collimate the scope, get the focus right for both guide and imaging scopes, recheck the polar alignment and away we go.

Boon