Add a Panhandle to Your Explore Scientific Twilight I Mount
Updated: Jan 31, 2021
I've used an Explore Scientific Twilight I mount as my grab and go telescope mount for a couple of years now and love using the mount. However, when I use the mount with my Celestron C6 telescope, a compact SCT, it can be hard to smoothly pan the telescope around the night sky. So, I decided to upgrade the mount with a handle I purchased from Agena Astro. (you can pick one up here: https://agenaastro.com/kokusai-kohki-guide-handle-vixen-porta-ii-mount.html)
I would have upgraded the mount earlier, but at a $70 price tag, this particular handle is not cheap when compared to the price of the telescope mount (Explore Scientific Twilight 1 Mount: https://amzn.to/2VGBE2f). However, the handle is well built and a nice addition to the mount.
The mount handle includes two screws for use in attaching it to a Vixen Porta Mount or an ES Twilight I mount. The Twilight I mount includes the Allen wrench needed for removing the dovetail saddle, and so no additional purchases are necessary to install the handle. The installation process is simple. First, remove the two screws holding the dovetail saddle in place on the mount, and remove the saddle. Next, you need to decide how you want to mount the handle. If you mount the handle in-line with the slow motion control knob and extension, they will interfere with each other. So, in my case I installed the handle at a 45 degree angle to the slow motion control. The Twilight I mount has mounting holes at 45 degree increments on the outside of the mount, and the screws included with the guide handle fit those outside holes, allowing you to mount the handle in any configuration that works best for you. Note that the screws will not work with the four larger interior holes. Don't try to attach the handle and saddle with the original screws or your saddle won't be securely attached to the mount since the screws are too short.
Once you get everything lined up and the two new mounting screws installed, you are ready to go. The padded handle is nice to use in cold weather, and it makes panning around the night sky much more enjoyable since it allows for smoother movements with less vibration. It is an expensive add-on, but if you use the mount with an SCT, I recommend it. With a longer refractor, you can probably just get by moving the scope itself around and save the $70.
You can watch the video below for more details on the installation.