Meade #883 Deluxe Field Tripod Modifications
The Meade Deluxe Field Tripod (#883) has a number of weaknesses:
Problem. The Meade #883 Deluxe Field Tripod is actually quite light - the legs are only made from thin tubular aluminium.

Solution. Fill the hollow legs with something. I dismantled my tripod, taped up one end of every leg tube, and then filled them with a dry mix of sand and cement. I then added some water and left them for 24hrs before putting the     
The original ideas for these modifications came from Mike Weasners’ Mighty ETX Site.

Visit Mikes sites for even more more ETX tips and information:- http://www.weasner.com/etx/menu.html
#883 Autostar Holder Mod
Problem. When observing you frequently have to put down the Autostar controller, but where? There is no handy place that is easy to find in the dark and does not get in the way.

Solution. Fix some of the furry-side velcro to the rear of the Autostar, and fit some of the hook-side velcro to one or more of the tripod legs, approximately 30cm down from the tripod head.
Problem. The tripod head and ETX90 base are not completely flush and there can be a slight rocking movement.

Solution. Fix some of the furry-side velcro to the base of the ETX90, at the point where the ETX90 base meet the edge of the tripod head. Notice how the strips of furry-side velcro are fitted close to the edges of the battery compartment cover.
ETX Base Mod
Problem. Due to the single point leg clamp arrangement, there is still a fair bit of movement even when clamped tight.

Solution. Use velcro straps (I got mine from a local DIY store) as additional clamps around each leg at the top of the lower leg section (assuming you are not using the tripod at maximum height).
#883 Leg Stabiliser Mod
Problem. The leg clamps actually damage and distort the hollow legs as the clamping pressure increases - I suspect they would eventually fail completely because the legs become increasingly deformed after each use.

Solution. Fix something a bit more robust to to the legs where the clamp screws down. I fitted a 50mm x 10mm galvanised mending plate to each leg. These were attached by epoxy resin and some small countersunk nuts and bolts. I believe it also helps if the hollow legs have been filled with something solid behind the clamp point.
#883 Leg Clamp Mod
Ian Neill, 2005, re-edited 15/10/06.