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Mounting a Hand Controller on Your Tripod
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If you are using a Celestron NexStar scope, you�ve probably noticed that during an observing session there isn�t a good place to rest the Hand Controller (HC). You really don�t want to keep it stored in the fork arm while you�re observing, and because its connecting cable emerges from the rear of the HC you can�t really lay it down anywhere.  Some folks have suggested that you can Velcro it to the NexStar emblem on the fork base, but that doesn�t work particularly well for two reasons: a) it can be knocked off if you have a long train of of accessories mounted on the rear cell and you�ve given the scope a command that causes it to swing the rear cell to the fork base, and b) in cold weather, when you pull the HC away from the Velcro on the emblem it can actually pull the emblem off of the scope base.

After a lot of experimenting I�ve found a way to mount the HC on the scope�s tripod legs during an observing session. It�s shown in the photo on the left and explained below.

Hardware stores sell Velcro in strips with a good (�Industrial Strength�) stick-on adhesive, and also Velcro "Cinch-Straps". Get three of the Velcro "Cinch -Straps", and mount them on each of your tripod legs, above your EP holder tray (or the spreader if you're not using an EP tray). Wrap them around the tripod leg with the "loop" surface facing outward, which means that you'll need to turn the end of each strap around to get it to hold the strap on the tripod leg. The strap may be a bit loose but it won't fall down below the spreader or EP tray - don't worry about the fact that the strap may be a bit loose.

Then, fasten a long, narrow piece of the Velcro hook strip with the stick-on adhesive, to the back of the HC. You want this strip to be narrow (no more than 1/2" wide). The reason is that the HC doesn't weigh much so you don't need a lot of Velcro-to-Velcro adhesion to get it to stick to the Velcro strap on the tripod leg, and if you make it too wide it just means that you've condemned yourself to a lot more effort to pull the HC off of the tripod leg.  In the photo above, you can see one of the "Cinch-Straps" wrapped around the tripod leg, and a long, narrow piece of the �hook� strip mounted to the rear of the HC (laying on it�s front, to the left of the tripod leg in the photo - black-on-black isn�t easy to photograph <grin>).

The photo on the right shows the HC stuck to the tripod leg.  This is a convenient place to stick it while you�re viewing an object, and you can easily pull it off of the tripod leg to enter a new GoTo object. 

In the photo on the right, you can also see a beige and gray cable connected to the end of the HC�s coiled cable. The NexStar HC is easier to use (in the concept I�m discussing here, or just in general) when its cable is a little longer.  David Carter made me a 12"-long extension cable and then he added it to his inventory, at  I recommend that you purchase that extension cable (for US$7.00) - it adds just enough length to make using the HC more convenient, whether you adopt the above mounting concept or not.

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