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Old 18-08-2018, 01:03 PM
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RD400C (Garth)
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A Good Problem to Have

I have a good problem, and I would welcome, experience, tips, opinions and feedback to assist me in resolving this issue

I am about to make my last major purchase of my astronomy equipment, a good quality mount to last me many years

The requirements are,
1. Portable, able to be set up by one person in the field
2. Be able to carry my 250mm reflector or my 130mm refractor + camera
3. Future proof to allow for upgrades of new technology / elements
4. If possible allow for unguided astrophotography

I have narrowed it down to 5 possibilities, and I have found it is not possible to compare ‘apples with apples’ as each of my selections are different in elements of their design

Takahashi EM-400
Very ‘old school’ and heavy, no absolute encoders, but all my gear is TAK

ASA DDM85 Standard
Only direct drive scope in the list, I cannot find many reviews, has the wow factor

10Micon GM1000 HPS
Has absolute encoders; capacity is not the same as ASA or AP, probably more like the AP Mach1GTO

AP 1100GT-AE
Has AE, and many other features, is it too much for my gear, probably more like the 10Micron GM2000 Ultra Portable

Paramount MYT
Not sure on the AE status of this scope, very popular, but unlike the ASA and AP doesn’t break apart

The dealers have been great in letting me know a rough order of measure cost, as the penalty of being in Australia is the exchange rate


Thanks for getting this far into a long post
Any feedback welcome
Cheers
Garth
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  #2  
Old 18-08-2018, 01:36 PM
glend (Glen)
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With your equipment list there are many possible mounts that could do the job nicely, with modern technology, and at a reasonable price. Why those four? As fine as they are. S9mething like a CGX would handle that gear with no problem, but it is a bit heavy.
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Old 18-08-2018, 02:42 PM
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peter_4059 (Peter)
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The CGX is not in the same league as any of those mounts. The ring gears are way too small.
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Old 18-08-2018, 04:35 PM
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Slawomir (Suavi)
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Hi Garth,

It is a nice dilemma to have for sure!

In terms of portability, Mach1, MYT and GM1000 are the lightest and all three can handle 130mm refractor or 250mm RC for imaging, but unguided could possibly be only done with GM1000. I got Mach1 because I wanted portability and reliability and have not looked back.

If I had the money though and wanted to get the best possible data with a 250mm reflector, I would get 1100 GT with encoders or DDM85. While heavier than the other three mounts, you could mount both 250mm reflector and 130mm refractor at once if you wanted to. I also believe that a quality mount with a greater capacity is going to consistently guide more accurately in a range of conditions than a quality mount with a lesser capacity.

From what I understand, unguided imaging apart from a superb mount require a mechanically very sturdy telescope as well, and such telescopes are not cheap neither.
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Old 19-08-2018, 03:32 PM
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RD400C (Garth)
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Thanks for the feed back thus far
I am going for quality equipment that will push me and my knowledge but hopefully allow for satisfactory results and a pleasant experience
Not sure if there are any ASA Direct Drive mount owners out there, or even some 10micron owners, if there are it would be great to hear of their ownership and usage

Thanks again
Garth
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Old 24-08-2018, 11:28 AM
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RD400C (Garth)
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I'm feeling a bit frustrated as who would have thought politics can have an influence on what mount I may end up being able to afford
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Old 24-08-2018, 12:25 PM
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sil (Steve)
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so you want the one made of solid gold? so when the pollies muck everything up you can at least melt it for scrap

hell of a problem to have and i'm qualified to point you in the right direction.
I have a CGEM DX but since my stroke I'm not able to assemble etc so i'm stuck with using a smaller setups.

So advice one: since this is your last buy hows your health? if something happens do you want to be able to continue using the setup?

Second, I would search youtube for those tripods, anything at all, and just see how they appear to be to use and live with for other owners, see for yourself if anything is going to make things difficult for your needs etc. Also take note on the search results, if there are thousand of videos on repairing one particul tripod it may be worth checking if they are prone to a certain fault or if it was only on an earlier model? Hard to future proof though, theres little that really changes, once you have gps and a computer connection theres nothing i can think of that a tripod might need expect robot legs to walk itself to a dark site likewise when looking at youtube videos see if any of the owners talk about a particular feature on theirs or addon that has made a big improvement. basically binge watch and take notes and look for good and bad points for you. you might be built like Arnie and picking up a fully equiped setup easy one handed to put in your humvee but you might be a gangly mr bean so you have to decide if any of the options are likely to be good for you to live with and use for years to come. make sure to consider servicing, will it need period servicing and are there videos to help you know what to expect, are there hypertune kits and are they necessary for these options?

Also be patient with the decision, sleep on it once made before ordering, be certain you're happy, be certain you know what downsides to expect and are fine with those. if you can do that you should always be happy with the buy. Dont think "i should have saved a bit more and got something else" it'll gnaw at your mind. Still you have to be practical and draw the line in the budget and stick to it. good luck mate.
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Old 24-08-2018, 12:37 PM
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Colin (Atmos) has an ASA, so await his input.

I have used an EM400, and whilst "old school", it'll track precisely all night with a 1 star alignment.

I have read issues with the MyT, so may have to research that one.

Not read much on the 10Micron.

Enjoy having the ability to buy gear that doesn't require "hypertunes" or major upgrades etc.
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Old 24-08-2018, 01:39 PM
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Out of those the AP would be my choice as it has more capacity than the MyT and very little can go wrong with it and its very easily serviced compared to the others . A lot to be said for its simplicity as it is designed to be serviceable even in the field.
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Old 25-08-2018, 05:25 PM
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RD400C (Garth)
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Thanks for some wise words and council from sil.
We are fortunate to have such members. I am also fortunate that my health is okay, I try to reduce the risk factors, by swimming 3 times a week and being a non drinker. Not for everyone, but it works for me. However you never know, a retinal tear early this week, shows that the situation can change quickly as I think it has for sil, and I wish you well on your continued recovery.

I am a patient person and will not rush into something that I have to live with for many years. The points made are very sound and are in my thinking. I am doing lots of reading and watching of clips etc etc.

Also thanks Lewis I appreciate the feedback especially re the EM-400, and I hope that Colin (Atmos) has the time to provide some insight into owning an ASA mount.

Marke (Mark) is thinking the same as I am that the AP appears to be the standard to which others are judged, but as it is not really an Apples to Apples comparison I think I may have to factor in pricing a 10micron GM2000 UP to even up the evaluation, not that I need the capacity.

Budget is the elephant in the room for most of us. Value for money is subjective at the end of the day, and makes the selection a personal one

Thanks again. And I will be reading lots of IIS forum threads on the same topic

Cheers
Garth
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Old 26-08-2018, 08:08 AM
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Someone has to say it.
Just from your requirement list, I would say that the CEM60EC does what you want straight out of the box. I would probably put it on an Avalon T-pod as a better, more portable solution.
It doesn't have absolute encoders which aren't in your list but you do mention in your comparisons. Are you wanting to use it as a push-to ?

Steve.
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Old 29-08-2018, 09:13 PM
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RD400C (Garth)
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Thanks Steve
All input is welcomed, and iOptron is an option I had not considered, they do make one mount with encoders on both axes. I am hoping to use the mount for unguided astrophotography.
Cheers
Garth
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Old 30-08-2018, 06:50 AM
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The 'EC' suffix is the one with an encoder on the RA axis. The CEM120EC2 has one on Dec too but that doesn't help for unguided imaging and it's not a portable mount.
I use my CEM25EC for unguided imaging. I've tested it with 2000mm and don't see any RA movement. However, the encoders only eliminate the RA periodic error and that only serves to highlight the next greatest error source which manifests as polar alignment error. That might be due to the initial setup (Polemaster is 30 arc-sec/pixel) or it might be due to external issues like a tripod leg settling into the soil. That level of error shows over 10 minutes @ 2000mm and would be negated by guiding.

I have no complaints and enjoy the simplicity but I'm under no illusion that a portable unguided setup will be the equivalent of a guided system.

The common expectation seems to be that they should be the same and when they aren't, it's considered a failure of the mount and that's just unrealistic.

Steve.
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Old 31-08-2018, 07:49 AM
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Thanks again Steve for your insight.
Garth
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:48 PM
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Quite a lot of people are using the MYT unguided. Your success depends on having a very rigid OTA and focuser. But, in saying that this would be true of any OTA on any mount. The Software Bisque platform of TheSkyX integrated with a Paramount can provide a superb experience. It is a complete package that includes camera control, plate solving, T-Point, etc. Yes, it is complicated at first and takes a while to master...more so if there is an underlying mechanical issue to confuse matters. Yes, there have been a few issues with some mounts (such as my original MX!) but I have been entirely satisfied with my MEII. What does this have to do with the MYT? Well, they are all basically the same design just scaled up or down. A few people can make noise about this company which you need to carefully consider. However, take a look at how many remote observatories are 90% Paramount equipped. There is a reason. I'm not disparaging of any other mount; I don't think any can offer such a complete package.



Peter
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Old 03-09-2018, 08:30 PM
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RD400C (Garth)
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Thanks for responding Peter
Your insights into the subject are very much appreciated and the points you make on the completeness of any package offered is an important consideration
Your observation on the remote observatories is noted and warrants further consideration and investigation

Thanks Again
Garth
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