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Our Review of the iOptron SmartStar-E

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#1 gordianknot

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 03:48 AM

Because we may have more to add, we're posting this on a private web site. Questions, comments, etc are welcome.

View the review here: http://www.stevensta...ioptron_review/

#2 Dylan Gladstone

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 09:31 AM

Thanks for the warning! ;)

#3 Talstarone

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 10:03 AM

Thanks for the review.It was well written and gave me answers to all of my questions.

#4 Beaker

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 10:53 AM

Nice Work!!

A number of us have been looking for something like this.

Gary

#5 dvb

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 11:18 AM

An extremely fair review.

#6 Chuck Gulker

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 12:19 PM

Part (if not all) of the GoTo inaccuracy might have been due to the saddle plate/rings/tube not being orthogonal to the azimuth axis. I have a DM4 DiscMount and I needed to do some shimming under my tube rings to square things up. If you go into the DiscMount web site, you can see some procedures for how to do this. It's very possible the Cube might be accurate afterall, but for it to show it's true potential, both axis have to be at right angles to one another. Just thought I would through this out. I actually bought a Cube, but haven't had a chance to try it yet with my new Orion ST 80 or my TMB 80ss.

#7 mattyfatz

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 12:28 PM

Great job on the review.
I am very interested in this product and I hope some other companies come out with a similar one. Especially with the Vixen Mount.

#8 LateViewer

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 01:49 PM

Well done. Thanks.
Al

#9 john D

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 03:23 PM

thanks for the review gordianknot! compared to the Meade DS-2000 mount which one would you say is better? :) if you know! :cool:

#10 gordianknot

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 09:16 PM

Unfortunately, I don't know much about the Meade DS-2000 and have never used it. I think the thing that sets the SmartStar-E apart from many other cheap motorized goto systems is it support of the Vixen style dovetail which means that in theory, it can be used with nice apos. Provided that our mount isn't just a bad egg, I don't think many people will be putting nice scopes on them because they are so unstable; but in concept at least it's a good idea.

I do find it odd that Alt-Az goto mounts aren't more common. I have a database that has about 50 computerized equatorial mounts. Other than the iOptron, the only stand alone goto Alt-Az mount I know of is the Vixen Skypod. Granted GEMs are necessary for imaging, but for the visual observer, it's less clear that the GEM has any real advantages.

#11 john D

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 11:02 PM

ok thanks gordianknot! :cool: I'm trying to decide between these two right now.

#12 SteveC

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 10:46 AM

Excellent review!!

Shortly after I bought the Vixen Skypod, these iOptron mounts became available costing far less (story of my life) and appearing more portable. Thank you for ending any doubts and "what ifs".

#13 mattyfatz

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 01:20 PM

Do you think Celestron will offer the NextStar mount seprately now to compete?

#14 gripweed44

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:30 PM

Can you move the mount manually?

#15 gordianknot

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:44 PM

Yes, but you need to unscrew the bolt that holds the mount to the tripod a little bit to move it in azimuth and then tighten it to lock it down again. You can move it on the altitude axis by just loosening the lock knob.

I definitely wouldn't buy it as a manual mount. There are much nicer manual Alt-Az mounts that can be had for the same amount of money.

#16 KWB

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 04:38 AM

I also find the paucity of goto Alt/az mounts on the market very disappointing. Not everyone is into imaging and I believe more of these on the market at a reasonable price could satisfy a first time scope user looking for a lighter weight setup.






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