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Old 05-07-2019, 08:27 PM
Martin Pugh
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10Micron - GM2000HPS Monolith Mount - Brief Review

10Micron GM2000HPS Monolith - Brief Review

Hello everyone.
Thought I would put up a brief (unsolicited) review of the 10Micron GM2000HPS Monolith mount now operating in my observatory.

Since 2004 I have exclusively owned Bisque Paramounts i.e MKS3000, MKS4000, MKS5000 x 2 and PMX. I know them well.
It was not so long ago that someone asked if I had a 10Micron mount and while I responded 'no', the blunt truth was that I did not even know who they were. Yet this Italian company has been operating for 50 years. How embarrassing.

Then I was invited to be the key international speaker at CEDIC earlier this year and this was the first time I got to meet and interact with the staff of Baader Planetarium. Many of you use their filters and accessories no doubt. On display there was a 10Micron mount, not to mention the Celestron RASA 36 (review on that badass telescope coming soon).

I spoke at length about the mount (and telescope) with an extremely knowledgeable and affable gentleman by the name of Michael Risch of Team Baader and he did a great job of convincing me that I needed to add one of each to my inventory.

Moving 4 weeks forward, I have been setting both the mount and telescope to work so here are the highlights of the mount:
1. GM1000/2000 is shipped in a strong cardboard box with internal shaped foam. GM3000 and 4000 will come in a wooden crate. It was shipped by UPS who do not deliver to the regions, so was handed over to StarTrack. Avoid at all costs if you can. They delivered late, and right before that denied all knowledge of even having the box. The box was not in good condition at all, so I was thankful for the solid internal packaging.
2. Build quality is excellent (but see 'negatives' below). The price difference between the 2000 and the 3000 is not that much, yet the payload capability of the 3000 is a major upgrade.
3. Mount can be remotely booted either via a relay or WOL. It can be controlled by ethernet or serial and has built-in WiFi.
4. Has an excellent, fully featured handset with a virtual handset for desktop use.
5. Polar alignment (PA) can be achieved very easily and all through the handset if you are out in the field (note: there is an 'ultra-portable' version of the GM2000 that comes in 2 parts). PA begins with a 3 star alignment (best achieved using 'video' e.g Live View in a DSLR) and the handset at the telescope. After that, you execute the Polar Align procedure and the mount will slew to a star and miss it. Your job is then to recenter that star. That's it, polar aligned. That might be good enough for observing but for astrophotography, you go on to 'Refine Stars' where you can add up to a maximum of 100 stars. Typically though, 15 additional stars is enough for unguided astrophotography (depending on your focal length and exposure duration of course).
6. Pointing - its just excellent. Even with a 300 point TPOINT model on a Bisque Paramount ME II, pointing is always a little off (easily fixed with a platesolve) but with this mount it is spot on. The mount can also track 30degrees through the meridian, but of course this is user definable.
7. On-axis encoders are standard and the mount performs (by default) 'dual tracking' on both axes.
8. Unguided performance - check this image out.

http://www.mrpugh55.cba-sierras.com/NGC_6188.zip

This a 10 minute unguided image at 3m focal length. Pointing model comprised of 60 stars. This mount just works. Even if your PA is slightly out, the mount can compensate. I know of a 20" CDK operating on a GM4000 mount that can perform unguided for 20 minute exposures.
9. Mount can slew up to 20degs a second. I use the default of 7degs a second and it is smooth and above all, silent.
10. Mount can hook into your weather system and pass updated refraction detail to the mount to improve tracking. It can do this continuously or whilst it is slewing. It can also hook into your dome control software.
11. The mount has a built in 'balancing' tool where it will measure the amount of imbalance in RA/Dec so you can fix that. It can also store a number of pointing models so you can recall them. For example, you might switch out OTAs or add a piggy-backed DSLR. If you have modelled that system, you can recall it so your pointing and tracking is good right off the bat.
12. Baader Planetarium sell a multitude of accessories for these mounts to suit any user requirement.
13. 10Micron have been around for years, so there is a mine of information and experienced users on the 10Micron forum plus third party software for model building.

Observations:
1. When you first fire up the mount, you might think that there is something seriously wrong with the motors, but the 'weird' sounds are the encoders operating and this is normal.


and here are the only negatives I have observed from an installation perspective:
1. No latitude scale or built in bubble level.
2. There are 4 knobs that secure the mount to the base plate. There is a nylon washer between the knob and the base plate. These knobs are to be loosened when you make a physical mount adjustment during polar alignment. However, when you tighten them the star moves by approx 12 arcmins by my calculations, so you have to compensate for this and work out a routine of which knob to tighten first and so on and perhaps offset the star to begin with.

Summary:
A well built and extremely capable mount. Built in mount control parameters are extensive and polar alignment is a breeze. With the RASA and its 36cm f2.2 optics, I do not forsee the requirement for guided exposures even when I switch over to narrowband imaging.

Happy to take specific questions:

regards
Martin Pugh
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:14 AM
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Slawomir (Suavi)
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Thank you for sharing your initial impressions with the mount Martin. Sounds like an excellent alternative to more popular and better known mounts out there.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:19 PM
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gregbradley
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How do they compare pricewise to Bisque?

Greg.
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:32 PM
Martin Pugh
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For an equivalent mount I compared the MEII (with OAE) with the GM3000

Both have similar payload capacities:
The MEII is $21000USD and is quite an inclusive package e.g versa plate plus a couple of large counterweights, software etc

The GM3000 is $18,600USD and comes with the counterweight shaft, no weights, no saddle plate.

But that of course is the US price off the Bisque website v the 10Micron price in Euros off their website.

Hence, it could be wildly different by the time you import it through an Australian dealer.

Martin
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