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Mounting Hardware

Mounting Hardware

Dovetails, plates, and rings - oh, my!  Dovetail and saddle plates are an essential part of your mount, since they keep your telescope securely in place with rings.  A dovetail plate is a finely machined connection that attaches to the telescope body or rings and slide into the mount saddle.  Because not all telescopes are created equally, a dovetail must be specifically manufactured for a particular model.  If you are attaching to a pair of rings, you will want to look for a universal plate.  Dovetails are available in two widths, which you'll typically match to the saddle that came with your mount.  Sometimes you need to or want to replace the saddle that came with your mount. 

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A saddle plate is a dovetail's mate, and it allows that dovetail to slide into place while holding it securely with a pressure bar and screw system.  If you have a variety of mounts, telescopes and dovetail plates already keep your eye out for combination saddles that will work with a wider selection of brands.  Rings are an entirely different entity and come in three basic types: guide rings, clamshell rings, and dual, or split, rings. 

Guide rings are solid rings sold in pairs that are larger than your telescope.  They hold the telescope in place with silicon tipped set screws.  The purpose of a set of guide rings is to allow you fine adjustment to ensure that one telescope is perfectly parallel to another.  Clamshell rings are wide rings with a hinged side making for an easy exit for telescopes.  Usually suited to shorter optical tubes, you will receive one ring.  Dual or split rings are thin and meant to be used in pairs.  Hinged like clamshells, they work very well with large or long optical tubes.

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