The ATLAS CLAMP system – designed and built in England
THE SUPERIOR TELESCOPE MOUNTING SYSTEM
For years the standard technique for attaching a telescope or other equipment to a mount has involved a dovetail system, generally known by the names of Vixen or Losmandy.
The Vixen dovetail was introduced in the 1970s and was a great improvement in terms of speed and simplicity over the traditional nut and bolt system used for over 100 years previously. It has been supplemented in recent years by the larger Losmandy type, suitable for larger and heavier tube assemblies.
Whilst the dovetail design allows a relatively quick method of attaching the telescope to the mount head, and a degree of sliding balance adjustment by virtue of using over-sized dovetail bars, this fastening method involves a friction grip between 4 mating surfaces, these being brought into contact by two screws or a single spring loaded screw. The security of this method of attachment requires a considerable amount of force to secure the clamping action onto the dovetail bar. This inevitably leads to damage of the bar or occasionally insufficient grip if the screws are not adequately tightened – many observers have experienced problems with unsecure attachment of their expensive equipment, and uncertainty that the dovetail is seated correctly and safely.
The new Atlas Clamp system, a joint development between Astroparts and Peak 2 Valley Instruments, overcomes these problems by offering a secure location of two machined plates which do not need any force to keep the plates locked together, although a small locking screw – which is not subject to load - is provided for peace of mind.
Experience shows that the use of the new system is foolproof, even under dark and cold conditions – there is no need to exert any force on locking screws, as necessary with the conventional dovetail system. And once located, the plates cannot become disengaged. Thus, there is no chance of expensive equipment slipping and disturbing balance, or worse still, falling to the ground.
2 stage action to secure clamp Yes No
Force needed to secure clamp Yes No
Risk of slipping in use Yes No
Limited designs /payloads Yes No
Absolute peace of mind NO! YES!
Take a look at this recent post from SGL:
Titled “Darn it – Scope fell !!!!!!” Posted 28th December 2014
“I heard one of the worst sounds I've heard for a long time tonight - the sound of my lovely Vixen ED102SS refractor falling off the mount, dropping 5 feet onto our concrete patio.
I thought the dovetail clamp was tight but .... it wasn't. Turned my back to select a different eyepiece then heard that dreadful clatter and thud.
I'm back in now assessing the damage which, in all fairness, could be a lot worse. The end of the dew shield has some nasty paint damage / chips but is still the right shape, the objective looks untouched. The scope appears to have landed on the TV 32mm Plossl which was in the diagonal. The Plossl has a mashed rubber eye cup and a big dink on the metal rim around the eye lens. Optics seem OK though. The focuser has also taken a bash and I think the pinion shaft is slightly bent and the focuser is tightening up at spots in it's travel. The RDF took a small scrape too.
I've probably got off rather lightly all things considered. Shakes you up though.”
Should have gone for an ATLAS CLAMP..... for ultimate security!
The ATLAS CLAMP, designed and made in England, is available in 3 standard sizes with dedicated replacement pucks for all popular mounts
Adapts to tube rings or SCT/Mak fixed dovetail bar
Bespoke ATLAS CLAMP applications for large aperture
and observatory class installations
The first version of Atlas Clamp will be launched at Astrofest 2015 exhibition. It is suitable for telescopes up to 25 kilos or more, and will easily support 12inch reflectors or SCTs and 8 inch refractors. Observers will be able to use a mix of female and male clamps to suit their range of mounts and equipment options.
Alternative versions will shortly be available, suitable for lightweight OTAs and cameras, as well as a version for attaching guidescopes or other equipment to a main telescope tube. Larger versions will be available for more massive observatory class installations, and custom-made versions may also be produced for specific applications.
A replacement compatible Atlas puck is available for popular mounts from SkyWatcher, Celestron, iOptron and others although it is possible – but less advisable – to attach the Atlas Clamp to a conventional dovetail bar. This enables the user to swap mounts quickly and easily whilst ensuring the dovetail is secure under non-load conditions and maintaining the speedy attachment of equipment via the Atlas Clamp.
A variety of tube rings or saddle plates may be attached to the upper male Atlas Clamp plate by means of optional fittings.
Basic launch/Astrofest 2015 pricing:
Female (mount) plate: £145
Male (equipment) plate : £125
Package price for above items : £255
(Dedicated puck and additional equipment mounting fittings – various options, see range at the show)