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Anyone who owns a reasonably sized telescope with an EQ3 mount and tripod (also known as NEQ3) has probably noticed that it is quite wobbly. There are a number of suggestions for reducing this wobble on the web, but what is the root cause of this problem so we can solve it properly?

Vigorous twisting of the tripod head soon shows that the main problem is how the central part of each leg is only clamped right at the bottom of the outer legs. Some users over-tighten these bottom clamps in a vain attempt to firm things up, so you will see reports of various repairs for broken clamps, such as using a jubilee clip. The real solution is to add some form of clamping for the upper end of the inner legs.

I found the most effective solution was to use short pieces of stainless steel M6 and wingnuts, but this does mean drilling the tripod which could affect manufacturer guarantees and resale value - so do it at your own risk! These simple clamps pull the two outer legs together and very firmly clamp the top of the inner legs. I only use the tripod at one height, but if you use it at different heights you may need to add extra sets of holes lower down.

A second simple modification that greatly helped was epoxying the plastic  lugs at the top of the outer legs into the tubes, as they are only fixed on one side which means they flex easily. Other, less effective, steps I took were filling the inner legs with sand and putting extra weights on the accessory tray, but everything helps!

Improving an EQ3 NEQ3 tripod

The extra clamping fitted to an EQ3 tripod