Platforms have been around for a long time. They do offer tracking. With this tracking comes the ability to do astrophotography without the need for field rotation. Dobsonians can do photography but would require a field derotator. Although it is our plan to introduce field rotation support, it will not be done until an actual mechanical field rotator comes available.

In order to help you in your buying decision we have the following information. We have listed items of comparison and how each solution, a platform and the ServoCAT handle the issue. Be aware this information is either actual detail (specifications) or comments from platform and previous platform owners.

Are you looking for a means of doing photography? Is your dobsonian scope smaller than 12”? If the answer to either of these questions is yes than a single axis platform is more than likely the best solution for your tracking needs.

If on the other hand you are not interested in long term photography and your scope is 12” or larger especially if your scope is 16” or more than the Servo Powered ServoCAT may well be the better featured AND most cost effective means of obtaining tracking AND GOTO.

One additional assumption is made in this comparison: That you either have or will soon or in the future be adding Digital Setting cicles to your telescope for use with the telescope. If you will NEVER add a DSC - the platform or for that matter the DOBDriver are excellant choices!

Comparison of a Platform to the ServoCAT

Physical Differences:
Weight
This is the EXTRA weight you have to carry from your house to your vehicle, your vehicle to the site, and back again.
ServoCAT: adds a total of around 5 lbs. This added weight is ATTACHED to your scope so as you move it - the CAT goes with it.
Platform: The smallest platform appears to be around 25 lbs (scopes up to around 16”) and as much or more than 50 lbs for larger scopes. That may not seem like much until you have to carry it back to the car and the house - at 3AM when you are tired! And will this added weight mean you end up making a decision NOT to bring it “this time”...? Planning on a short session out - just a couple hours? “Hmmmm... nah - I’ll leave the Platform at home this time”....BUT by doing this you have totally negated the reason why you spent the money for it in the first place! Tracking! WHY NOT HAVE TRACKING ALL THE TIME - EVERYWHERE? With little additional weight to contend with?

Height
This is not JUST the added height alone. Although this will be a factor for some - i.e. force you INTO a ladder or step stool when you did not need one previously. Rather there is the other often more compelling
issue of HOW DO YOU GET THE SCOPE UP THERE!? Some use ramps - more “stuff” to carry - more weight - more space in your vehicle - more space in your house (whats the spouse think of that?). Oh... the ServoCAT adds NO additional height.

Balance
One common complaint is the issue of balance - having to put weights here there and - where? Not trivial - it is high on the list of problems mentioned in previous and current platform owners. (i.e. a REAL problem in their minds!). The ServoCAT reduces balance problems! Yes - REDUCES them! Want to change from that 4.7mm eyepiece to a 35 Pan!? No problem! No weights to add - no balancing to worry about!

Space
Yeah - space - in your home (storage) and in your vehicle (transport). Platforms are not small. Take this into consideration when thinking about a purchase. The ServoCAT adds 2.25” to one side of the Alt of the scope for the ALT gearbox.

Considering a Platform? (continued)

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