The development and history of the EZ Binoc Mount

Pipe mounts are so old that they’re new.  The original inspiration for this kit was a fellow amateur astronomer who’d built George Leonberger's’s Texas Slim binocular mount (featured in the August 2001 issue of Sky & Telescope).  Although the Texas Slim had a number of problems and limitations the basic pipe-mount approach worked pretty well.  With the refinements incorporated in the EZ Binoc Mount, the pipe-mount approach works very well indeed.  Back in the early 60s when I first started this hobby, telescope pipe mounts were the rule rather than the exception.  And some of the techniques outlined in this kit date to that earlier time.

My personal scope collection has evolved into two LX200GPS units - a 14" and 12".  But their 20 to 30 minute setup precludes grab-and-go for a quick 2 minute peek at the heavens.

Before climbing into bed at night, I will frequently step out into the back yard to see if it’s clear.  And it it is, I'll view the sky for just a minute or two, welcoming the latest stars that have climbed above the eastern horizon.  The go-to scopes are great for viewing, but there's nothing like binoculars for grabbing a quick look at the larger brighter objects. 

For Christmas 2003 Santa brought me a pair of 15 X 70 Oberwerks.  Although I owned some first class 7X50s, the Obies were what turned me on to bino star gazing.  The optics could be better, but for only $150 I love 'em.  They're pretty marginal without a mount.  And mounts are expensive.  In the summer of 2004 a member of one of my astro clubs (ASSNE) was playing with an old mount concept that worked wonderfully well but had some serious limitations.  And at the same time, several low cost 20-something X 100mm binocs came on the market.  Putting 2 and 2 together can you see where this is leading?

In September 2004 I started work on a binocular mount.  My objectives included:

1. It should easily handle a full range of binoculars including those Giants weighing 10 or 15 pounds.

2. It should accommodate conventional horizontal mounting through the binocular hinge, and it should also accommodate the vertical mounting post approach found in the Giant Binocs.

3. It should have a full 5 axis configuration to facilitate viewing at the zenith while reclining on a lounge chair.

4. It should be completely weatherproof, so that it can be left outside over in the corner of the yard.  (That way I don’t have time consuming viewing preparation).

5. It should be heavy enough to be extremely stable and not knocked over at a crowded public viewing event.  But it should be light enough to readily move around the yard or transport elsewhere.

6. Secure mounting of a pair of binocs to the mount shall take no longer than 5 or 10 seconds.  I frequently don't dress for the weather when I step outside for a quick peek, and I can only take below freezing weather for a minute or two before I'm driven back inside.  I require an instant setup and takedown. 

7.  It shall be usable by tall men and short children – sitting or standing.

8. It shall be transportable in just about any vehicle.

9. The mechanisms shall be simple and virtually indestructible.  The traditional parallelogram approach was considered and discarded as unnecessarily complex.

10. To minimize product cost and shipping cost, it shall be sold in kit form – as are many of our scope upgrade products.

11.  It shall not be outperformed by any mount on the market that costs less than $500.

12.  It should sell for peanuts.  Or at least for well under $100.

Christmas 2004 arrived, and a beautiful pair of 22 X 100 Antares giant binocs appeared under the tree.  Fortunately by this time I'd already fabricated a couple of prototypes.  By the time the the kit was released  binocular mount had been evolving for over 6 months and had been through at least 4 major designs. 

I hope that you will agree that this mount is exceptional.

Regards,

Pete Peterson 

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