#21  
Old 13-01-2016, 10:07 AM
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rustigsmed (Russell)
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Personally I'd get two eq8s
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  #22  
Old 13-01-2016, 03:11 PM
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Atmos (Colin)
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Originally Posted by codemonkey View Post
Whoa! I considered mine unusably bad when I was getting 15-20 steps to clear it. When I got mine down to 4-5 then I could guide in both directions without it affecting the guiding too badly. Of course it's commonly recommended that you only guide in one direction, but I was never completely happy with that since the drift would change over time and there was always the odd anomaly that needed correcting.

I always found guiding in RA was much better closer to the pole than the equator. I read somewhere it's due to periodic error having less of an impact closer to the poles, though I don't understand the mechanics of that. I'd get around 0.5 close to the pole, but more like 0.6-0.8 close to the equator.
At least I can fix what I've done without having to remove anything, just loosen 4 bolts and play with two others When all of the binding went away I figured that it would be fine with a very small amount of wobble in the DEC, I mean tiny! I guess not

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Personally I'd get two eq8s
One for the refractor and the other to hold my Nikon D700 and 50mm lens haha
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  #23  
Old 13-01-2016, 05:53 PM
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PRejto (Peter)
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Colin,

My vote would be for a Bisque mount. Is the MX+ too much? Down the road you might appreciate the payload ability and even if you stay lighter you are even better off being much further from the max. I think you already are quite familiar with TSX and all it offers so the SB product does make sense.

It's just my opinion and maybe wrong since I've never used a direct drive mount, but I think claims of unguided ease are not exactly accurate. True, you don't need to worry about PEC, but consider what Protrack does that direct drive cannot. It cannot correct for predictable atmospheric refraction or flex changes in the optical system. Maybe I don't understand how direct drive systems integrate with software to compensate for these errors, but it may be worth questioning before assuming you can go unguided without some struggle.

Good luck with your choice!

Peter
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  #24  
Old 13-01-2016, 06:33 PM
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Atmos (Colin)
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Originally Posted by PRejto View Post
Colin,

My vote would be for a Bisque mount. Is the MX+ too much? Down the road you might appreciate the payload ability and even if you stay lighter you are even better off being much further from the max. I think you already are quite familiar with TSX and all it offers so the SB product does make sense.

It's just my opinion and maybe wrong since I've never used a direct drive mount, but I think claims of unguided ease are not exactly accurate. True, you don't need to worry about PEC, but consider what Protrack does that direct drive cannot. It cannot correct for predictable atmospheric refraction or flex changes in the optical system. Maybe I don't understand how direct drive systems integrate with software to compensate for these errors, but it may be worth questioning before assuming you can go unguided without some struggle.

Good luck with your choice!

Peter
I hadn't really considered it as I figured the MyT would be more than enough Always something else to consider.
What the ASA mounts have is absolute encoders and a software package (not in the same league as TSX) that allows it to do the same thing as ProTrack. Moreover, it also has the ability to do a "run" and simulate its track across the sky. Follow its predicted path for several hours and plate solve 20 images along that path so that it can more accurately track that particular object.

I have had these described as less as a German Equatorial Mount and more as a complex robotic arm
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  #25  
Old 13-01-2016, 09:15 PM
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alocky (Andrew lockwood)
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Must admit that now I've had a chance to examine closely an ASA DDM85, I can say that the standard of engineering is exquisite, and that a G11 looks like a toy next to one.
Can't comment on the performance though.
Cheers,
Andrew.
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  #26  
Old 18-01-2016, 04:32 PM
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Shiraz (Ray)
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Hi Colin. The only reasons to consider buying an EQ8 are that they work very well and don't cost anywhere near as much as other high capacity mounts.

However:
- you will probably not get to "love" the mount - grudging respect maybe, but there is nothing endearing about them
- there is no major pride of ownership - the EQ8 has no bling, polish, exotic name or shiny red anodising, just solid high precision components hidden under a mixed bag of mainly black finishes, a screen print SW logo and a bit of surface rust
- expect to deal with backlash - mine needs to be run with an unbalanced load to produce round stars (this also means that it cannot be fully automated)
- expect to get a hernia if you use it as a mobile mount - these things are big and heavy
- the low res incremental encoders are useless for imaging - but it does have homing index points for automatic reset of the ring counters though
- from my experience, Skywatcher is completely uninterested in their existing customers and local support looks to be very limited - a "you bought it, your problem" type of approach, so you will be relying on other users for advice on how to tune and maintain the mount and probably on a European vendor for any bits that you might need.

Having said all that, I do not regret getting an EQ8. I recently looked at upgrading, but couldn't really see any way that a more expensive mount would give better results. Mine has genuine 7 arcsec p-p PE, runs all night without supervision under EQMOD/SGpro, doesn't notice a 20+kg load and guides within the seeing (in an ROR obs) in "sea breezes" up to 25kts.

all the best with your choice

Last edited by Shiraz; 19-01-2016 at 10:19 AM.
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  #27  
Old 19-01-2016, 08:48 AM
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I have owned a few commercial mounts in the last 12 or 13 years. I have had an EQ6, CGE, Takahashi EM400, Paramount ME and Paramount MX. The later two I still own and operate robotically each clear night.

The first 3 were good mounts but the first two required some work to get them working well. The EM400 was probably the best mount of every mount I have owned. It had very good PE, it was lovely to operate including the altitude and azimuth adjustments but it did not have a home position sensor. Beautiful mount but without a home it was useless to my needs as it could not be used robotically.

The Software bisques mounts have had their own issues. My ME I bought second hand and there were some issues with a worm that had been incorrectly replaced but that was all sorted years ago. I had to replace the optical encoder cable and sensors when one cable got damaged only a year or so back; an easy enough fix with the vast room inside the mount. I have a dicky cable off the RA motor (which needs replacing) but have managed to stabilise that to prevent it from producing a mount RA alarm; its not a flaw of the mount but an ongoing issue and something to think about if you buy a second hand mount. Essentially the mount is near bullet proof and has done thousands of hours of work since I have owned it. They are easy to service and work on. If you can get a good second hand ME, it will be worth your while. I trust this mount now to do its job.

The MX has had its own little issues with a worm being out of spec. It took some time to get this sorted with SB because they wanted all sorts of evidence. SB were replacing a lot of worms at the time and I gather this would have had some bearing on how they handled things. Their customer service for southern hemisphere people leaves a bit wanting generally. In the end they sent out the worm gear and I have replaced it. Not as simple a task as working on the ME but it has worked. The mount carries a fair bit of weight now and produces very good results. A nice little mount. Generally not bullet proof but very near to it. The through the mount cabling ports and tunnels are rubbish on the MX in my opinion. The ME design was correct and changing the diameters and clearances was a mistake. Overall though the mount is a good performer.

I was not impressed with how SB listens to southern hemisphere people (I am not the only person who has experienced this either). The PE software within the SkyX is rubbish, but the SkyX is generally pretty good and operates the mounts well.

I would recommend SB mounts generally. I have used them for thousands of hours with and without robotic work. They rarely break down even with the hours I have put them through and expect to put them through. I don't know if any of the other mounts listed could do the same, maybe the ASA one but I don't have any experience with those. I would think by now the MX is fully mature in production and fault free. I don't know anything about the MyT but am sure some of the lessons of the past are being put into practice. For my choice I would go with the MyT, but think you should get an MX to allow for later expansion.
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  #28  
Old 19-01-2016, 11:29 AM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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Originally Posted by codemonkey View Post
Whoa! I considered mine unusably bad when I was getting 15-20 steps to clear it. When I got mine down to 4-5 then I could guide in both directions without it affecting the guiding too badly.
When PHD goes bonkers like that with my EQ6, I close it down and fire it up again (PHD). Usually clears the problem. Appreciate this is OT and anecdotal.
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  #29  
Old 19-01-2016, 11:35 AM
glend (Glen)
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Originally Posted by Camelopardalis View Post
When PHD goes bonkers like that with my EQ6, I close it down and fire it up again (PHD). Usually clears the problem. Appreciate this is OT and anecdotal.
Might be worth trying Metaguide, I prefer it to PHD2.
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  #30  
Old 19-01-2016, 12:13 PM
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codemonkey (Lee)
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Originally Posted by Camelopardalis View Post
When PHD goes bonkers like that with my EQ6, I close it down and fire it up again (PHD). Usually clears the problem. Appreciate this is OT and anecdotal.
Cheers mate. Mine was definitely a mechanical error rather than a software one. It was ongoing for an extended period of time, weeks at least, probably months. I stopped guiding in both directions for some time until I tweaked the mount and got it back to an acceptable level.
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  #31  
Old 19-01-2016, 12:23 PM
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Camelopardalis (Dunk)
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Might be worth trying Metaguide, I prefer it to PHD2.
Yeah I really should get around to that maybe one Moon-afflicted night?

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Originally Posted by codemonkey View Post
Cheers mate. Mine was definitely a mechanical error rather than a software one. It was ongoing for an extended period of time, weeks at least, probably months. I stopped guiding in both directions for some time until I tweaked the mount and got it back to an acceptable level.
Eek! Not good. Looking forward to hearing about the new mount
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  #32  
Old 21-01-2016, 12:32 PM
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Just wondering why there's no love for Astrophysics here? I got watch someone setting up their AP1200 recently and it looked incredible. Nothing cheap about them though.
Cheers,
Cam
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  #33  
Old 23-01-2016, 08:52 AM
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Atmos (Colin)
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Thanks for the input everyone. There is a new DDM60 coming out in the coming months, would like to compare that against the 10 Micron GM1000 when it comes out. Both capability and price wise, not a lot has been announced with the new ASA mount yet.

For the time being I am thinking I will upgrade to a SX Trius-694 and AO-LF unit as a cheaper way of getting the most out of the EQ6, which other than small mechanical oscillations that cannot be guided out, actually performs quite well.
I have been wanting to move to the 694 sensor anyway, I have found myself doing narrowband more so than broadband, the KAF-8300 just has a high read noise in comparison which makes it impossible to get even close to sky limited.

The AO unit will be able to "guide out" all those tiny EQ6 mechanical errors and should make it a lot easier to get nice round stars I'll revisit a new mount later on this year

Quote:
Originally Posted by LightningNZ View Post
Just wondering why there's no love for Astrophysics here? I got watch someone setting up their AP1200 recently and it looked incredible. Nothing cheap about them though.
Cheers,
Cam
I had considered the Mach 1, it has virtually the same specs as the MyT with a lower capacity and a higher price tag... And it doesn't have the same full integration into TheSkyX Optcorp currently have a really nice discount on the AP1100 GTO which is tempting.
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  #34  
Old 23-01-2016, 12:10 PM
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Nice one Colin, looking forward to hearing how you get on with the 694 + AO
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  #35  
Old 25-01-2016, 09:35 AM
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Logieberra (Logan)
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.... I had considered the Mach 1, it has virtually the same specs as the MyT with a lower capacity and a higher price tag... And it doesn't have the same full integration into TheSkyX Optcorp currently have a really nice discount on the AP1100 GTO which is tempting.
Hi Atmos. Might I suggest that you revisit your assumptions with the AP

I have not see the MyT up close, but they look small and wonderfully portable. Same with the Mach1, but the motors on those are real beefy (in a good way!) From memory, the same motors as used on the 900/1100GTO mounts. That matters. AP are also VERY conservative with their load capacities... Don't write off the Mach1.

Also, re AP mount software integration in TSX, it is highly integrated. Who suggested otherwise? You can use the native TSX AP driver (even works on Mac) or the tried and tested ASCOM driver from AP. Either way - I'd hazard a guess that approx. 95% of SkyX functionality (well, the things that matter anyway) are available to AP guys. Image link. Protrack etc. To date, the functions I have not been able to use are the Polar Align wizzards. I'm sure they are wonderful, but I personally use Pempro. I also don't know if TSX PEC is available, but I won't go there (I'm a former MX owner). Again, I use Pempro for PEC.

I do love SB mounts, and will buy from them again, but the reliability of APs really is something special. I'm hoping Greg Bradley will weigh in here - as a long time Bisque user, now 1600GTO guy.
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  #36  
Old 25-01-2016, 09:38 AM
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Somnium (Aidan)
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Originally Posted by Logieberra View Post
I have not see the MyT up close, but they look small and wonderfully portable. Same with the Mach1, but the motors on those are real beefy (in a good way!) From memory, the same motors as used on the 900/1100GTO mounts.
i believe this is the case for the MyT as well. it runs the same motors as the PMX and PME.
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  #37  
Old 25-01-2016, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Somnium View Post
i believe this is the case for the MyT as well. it runs the same motors as the PMX and PME.
Nice. Glad to hear they're now doing that. AP have been doing it for years (e.g. motors on 1200/1600 same as 3600). I understand that the motors on the original MX (non-plus) were lacking. Even so, it was still a darn good mount.
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  #38  
Old 25-01-2016, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Logieberra View Post
Nice. Glad to hear they're now doing that. AP have been doing it for years (e.g. motors on 1200/1600 same as 3600). I understand that the motors on the original MX (non-plus) were lacking. Even so, it was still a darn good mount.
I imagine that it brings production costs down
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  #39  
Old 05-02-2016, 04:16 PM
ADRIAN
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I have used Paramount ME and Astrophysics GTO
1200 mounts. Both are great high accuracy low periodic
Error but high price. If you want cheap expect
To have issues (backlash PE etc)
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