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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Zhumell Azimuth Axis Improvements

The newer Zhumell Dobsonian models come with a roller bearing setup for the azimuth axis. This roller bearing setup is comprised of the top and bottom sections of a lazy susan, with two bearing plates and the bearing retainer between them. Although this gives an incredibly smooth azimuth motion, some people, including myself, find this too smooth. Sometimes just a slight breeze can blow the telescope off target; a real pain at high magnification. This mod is a two-fold mod, however. While I had the base apart, I also replaced the problematic center bolt. The center bolt is held on by a nylon lock-nut, but it doesn't seem to lock very well. This is how I fixed both.

This picture shows the disassembled turntable base. To add a little friction, and stiffen up the azimuth axis, I added four 2" long pieces of Velcro to the bottom half of the turntable. The Velcro was not tall enough to touch the top half of the turntable when assembled, so I simply stuck two pieces on top of each other, a sort of Velcro sandwich.

This picture shows both the old center pin setup and the new parts, which I bought at Lowe's. The bolt in the old setup would frequently come loose after a night of observing, and when I went to pick up the base, the two halves would come apart, sending the bearing plates flying. Make sure to take the old setup with you so you can get the right size pins!

Insert the new pin just like the old bolt, with the stock washers installed in the same manner. Then simply put the retainer pin through and you're done! No more loose nuts!

Here you can see, from the bottom, the new retaining pin. Putting the pin on the bottom is nice, because from the top, all you can see is a round silver button where the bolt used to be.

Clear skies!


worldwidestew said...

This is a really nice mod. Thanks for the idea. I noticed the other day that my setup was coming loose, so this will help.


Anonymous said...

I just bought the 12" Lazy Susan today for my Zhumell 10" Dob. I just screwed it to the bottom and not the top because I found the weight of the top base with the scope on it gave it enough weight. I also used your idea about the tension spring method. Its so much easier to get the springs on and off. Thank you for the tips! Your site is awesome. Rob B. San Francisco, Ca.

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