Friday, February 13, 2015

iPhone 6 on Carson Universal Telescope Adapter

universal iphone telescope adapter mount
iPhone 6 on Carson Universal adapter mounted onto Meade 285 refracting telescope.

It came! The Carson Universal adapter is a clever optical adapter that lets you mount almost any smartphone onto almost any optics. The iPhone 6 is a big phone, will it work? Let's see... first things first, let's savor the unboxing experience...

dog and brown packagecarson universal package front


carson universal package front

carson universal package back

carson universal unboxing
The inner white box reminds me of an Apple product

carson universal unboxing

carson carrying case
carson carrying casecarson carrying case


The case is very nice quality, and the clip on the side is handy. The adapter fits snug and has a custom foam cutout to store it securely. When I first opened the carrying case clam shell, the first thing I noticed was that the adapter was cold to the touch. The back plate is hard and sturdy, I can't tell if it's metal or not - which is weird - but it's very light yet sturdy.

carson lens spacertutorial reminder

It comes with a lens spacer in case you have optics that need to have the camera back a little further. I have an eyepiece that has a larger light cone because I can look through it without removing my glasses, so this seems perfect. There is a little piece of tape reminding you to look at the tutorial videos before you mess with it, so let's look at one now...


Ok, this is all fine and well - but how well does an iPhone 6 fit into this adapter? Let's take a look. The case on my phone is a clunky Ballistic brand case. For convenience, I first tried my phone in the Carson Universal with the case on. It technically fits, but the corners on my case are irregular shapes, not a clean square case, so it makes it more of a hassle. I think I'll just take my case off and give it a better fit.

iphone 6 volume buttons

iphone headphone jackiphone telescope adapter mount

The buttons are all un-obscured when the phone is in the adapter. Whew! Best of all, the headphone jack is exposed so I can use a volume button shutter remote.

iphone telescope adapter mountcarson universal back


iphone 6 camera and telescope mount
Hi there! The iPhone 6 camera lines up through the adapter, even though the camera for the iPhone 6 is waaaay up in the top corner of the phone. 

Now, the iPhone 6 is a huge phone - it's both long and kinda heavy, and both of these variables play into an important issue with any adapter. I'm talking about the tendency for the clamps to slip and the phone to slowly pivot out of alignment. This adapter does it better than others I've seen, but the design of the phone makes it as hard as it possibly can be to keep it aligned.

carson universal grip
A nice firm grip is important, and these 4 rubbery nubs are very tacky and grip onto the sides of the eyepiece. 
perfect alignment iphone to telescope
The Carson Universal adapter does an amazing job hanging on and keeping the camera centered over the eyepiece. But it can't stop gravity, so if you move it around too much it will eventually droop. No big deal!

iphone adapter droop on eyepiece

If you have the telescope near horizontal or 45 degrees, and then move it around too much, the weight of the phone can overcome the coefficient of friction between the nubs and the eyepiece - which causes the adapter to droop. Let me tell you, this adapter is so much better than trying to wrap paper around the eyepiece to hold things on.

It's less of an issue the closer to vertical you are, because the moment arm is smaller. That's the perpendicular distance between the force vector and the axis. In this case the force vector is pointing straight down (gravity) and the axis is the attachment point. The length of the phone doesn't change, and the weight of the phone doesn't change, so moving further away from horizontal decreases the torque at the moment arm.

torque of iphone adapter around eyepiece

carson universal adapter with iphone

Ok, thanks for checking out my unboxing post that got WAY OUT OF HAND and way too long! Next up, I just need a clear night to test this bad boy out. Check it out on Amazon.

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