Jump to content


Photo

Tak EM200 / 400 mounts...

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 CounterWeight

CounterWeight

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8160
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Palo alto, CA.

Posted 25 February 2009 - 10:17 AM

Hi,

I am thinking longer term my next mount may be a Tak? Am curious as to how they autoguide, track, align routines and etc... I see in the specs the EM400 has an 'autoguiding SBIG compatable mini-din-PS2 conx' whereas the Em200TII has a variety of possibilities. I don't know anyone with one of these mounts.

I've also read here that some folks have had a bit of trouble with the 'geek' side of doing business with the Tak mounts, and manuals in English. Both state they are ASCOM compatable which is fine for me. Also I see they have a sort of pocket PC for in the field...

On the plus side I think their tracking accuracy, noise level, and typical Tak build quality recommend them as an option.

If you've used one of these mounts, I'd love to hear your experience good and bad. Thanks :)

#2 jrcrilly

jrcrilly

    Refractor wienie no more

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 33793
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2003
  • Loc: NE Ohio

Posted 25 February 2009 - 10:28 AM

I see in the specs the EM400 has an 'autoguiding SBIG compatable mini-din-PS2 conx' whereas the Em200TII has a variety of possibilities.


All of the Temma mounts appear to use the same mini-Din autoguide connector. The ports are electrically compatible with all the other ST-4 style ports. The mounts are supplied with a cable to go from that port to an SBIG camera, but an adaptor is available from Shoestring for just a few bucks that will permit any guider to be used with its supplied cable.

The Temma-equipped Taks slew slowly compared to many modern mounts and that takes a little getting used to - but when they stop they are pointed just where you expect. Any Pocket PC or palm device can be used to provide full goto capability using available software ($40-$100).

#3 skyler

skyler

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1688
  • Joined: 16 Aug 2006
  • Loc: TGPNW

Posted 25 February 2009 - 03:11 PM

Hi Counterweight -

I use both an EM10 with Temma II Jr (motors upgraded to EM11 specs at TNR) and an EM200 with TemmaII. I can run these both at 24Vdc or 12Vdc but the higher voltage provides faster slewing and that is the setting I normally use.

My EM10 Temma II Jr with new motors will slew at 250X siderial (@ 24Vdc) so it is slow in the slewing department. My EM200 with the Temma II Goto will slew at 700X when I run 24Vdc. It is about as fast an Atlas mount so it does not pose much of a wait when in a rush to move to the next object. Course I can run it at 12 Vdc and it will slew at 300X and is a bit slow like my EM10 setup.

The EM400 with the Temma II at 24Vdc will run at 500X so it is a tad slower. I have not seen one slew so I can't tell you first hand how it looks. Course with 12Vdc, it will run the same as my EM10/EM11 with the Temma II jr Goto operating at 24Vdc.

You can figure that whatever the stock Atlas can do for loading, the stock EM200 can do as well. The Atlas was a clone of the EM200 design so it is fitting that they have similar load capabilities. I went from owning a few Atlas' to the EM200 just because I wanted the fabulous polar alignment scope system with smoother tracking and mechanical adjustments.

I use a Dell Axim X30 624MHz unit to run The Sky Pocket Edition and it is just fantastic. I can run it via Blue Tooth as I originally did but now I am using it connected with a tethered serial port since I had some connection issues when the temps got well under 25 deg F. I have also used The Sky6 Pro using my laptop and it is very very robust and has features that the Pocket version could use. BTW, I have heard excellent things about Astromist but have not tried it yet.

I also use the autoguider port adapter from Shoestring mentioned by John and it has not missed a beat. I just connect the RJ12 jack from the QHY5 directly to it and it
works every time.

I use this PDA system for both the EM10 and EM200 and just switch back and forth depending on which mount I am using. I use the 200 for heavier imaging loads up to 40lBs and I use the EM10 for smaller refractor widefield imaging loads up to 27lbs.

If you are going to be loading your mount consistently above 35 pounds, then the EM400 or NJP would be your best choice. I think about the 400 but I just feel like I am at my limit for equipment with the 200. OTOH, if I ever get setup with an observatory or permanent location, it would be a no brainer.

Hope that gives you a bit of an idea.


S

#4 Jaxdialation

Jaxdialation

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3197
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2007
  • Loc: Northeast, FL

Posted 25 February 2009 - 05:19 PM

You won't have any trouble connecting either mount to your computer or auto guider. No worries there, just an adapter perhaps.

The ASCOM compatibility is through a special driver available on the ASCOM site. This driver gets mixed reviews, but affords some missing functionality - in particular the ability to PARK the mount. TheSky's built in support is great, but excludes this.

The manuals are a bit hairy but in trade the mounts are "stupid easy" to use. Polar Alignment is incredibly easy.
If you haven't used a Tak PAS before you will fall in love with it. This unfortunately is where the docs are weak, and in one case just plain wrong. But the Yahoo group has the answers you need.

Load capacity stated by Tak for either mount is very conservative. Feel free to go right to the limit. I initially bought a 200 then sold it and upgraded to the 400. The 400 can bite you in the rear, once you have all that capacity you will feel the urge to use it :)

Unlike some mounts they have no PEC correction capability. Others might have another opinion, but this has caused me zero headaches.

They are both engineering marvels and seemingly indestructible. Resale is quite easy as well. there is a reason for that, they are great mounts.

If your finances will cover it, I would get the 400 and live worry-free about upgrading (for a while).

I also have an AP1200, which I got only for more capacity. Pound for pound the Tak will hold its own against any mount out there. ParaMount, AP and Tak are the top of the heap.

Hi,

I am thinking longer term my next mount may be a Tak? Am curious as to how they autoguide, track, align routines and etc... I see in the specs the EM400 has an 'autoguiding SBIG compatable mini-din-PS2 conx' whereas the Em200TII has a variety of possibilities. I don't know anyone with one of these mounts.

I've also read here that some folks have had a bit of trouble with the 'geek' side of doing business with the Tak mounts, and manuals in English. Both state they are ASCOM compatable which is fine for me. Also I see they have a sort of pocket PC for in the field...

On the plus side I think their tracking accuracy, noise level, and typical Tak build quality recommend them as an option.

If you've used one of these mounts, I'd love to hear your experience good and bad. Thanks :)



#5 donsinger1

donsinger1

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 307
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2007

Posted 25 February 2009 - 10:39 PM

Jim:

I have an EM11 with Temma II Jr and use a 24 volt power supply (which costs the same as the 12v...got me why anyone would purchase the 12v). A Tak is definately a step up - autoguiding with PHD through my mini-borg is excellent; gotos using Astromist on a Palm or TheSky Pocket Edition on a handheld, or TheSky6 on a laptop, work real well. You will not be disappointed. I now fuss much less about my mount and spend time concentrating on the imaging.

Don

#6 skyler

skyler

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1688
  • Joined: 16 Aug 2006
  • Loc: TGPNW

Posted 26 February 2009 - 10:59 AM

John:

Which polar alignment system does the EM400 use? Silmilar to EM10/11 or NJP/EM200 ?

Don:

If you have used both Astromist and TSPE, which is easier to do a find, goto and sync? I feel like there are extra steps in TSPE that are not as convenient but there are no issues with using the full version with a laptop. I would not say I am an expert on TSPE so just wanted to get your take.


S

#7 EricCCD

EricCCD

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2103
  • Joined: 14 Apr 2004

Posted 26 February 2009 - 11:11 AM

Skyler, I believe the EM400's polar scope is similar to (but more accurate than, because of higher magnification) the EM200.

Counterweight, I'll echo what others have said about Tak mounts. The just get out of the way so you can focus on your imaging/viewing tasks. They have the best polar alignment scopes I've ever worked with (not that I've worked with anyone elses'). The manual does suck, but the only part that you'll need some help with is the initial setting up (aligning this leveling bubble to match your offset from your time zone's central longitude - got that? :D) Once you've figured out and made that offset, if you don't relocate or travel with the mount too much, you'll be set.

HTH,
Eric

PS - my mount's an EM200 Temma

#8 Jaxdialation

Jaxdialation

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3197
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2007
  • Loc: Northeast, FL

Posted 26 February 2009 - 12:39 PM

Skyler, I'm not familiar with the EM10/11 or NJP.
But there is almost no difference between the 200 and 400.
I'd say Eric is correct that the 400 is an upgrade from the 200, but my 200 was a few years old when I got it.

#9 donsinger1

donsinger1

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 307
  • Joined: 28 Oct 2007

Posted 26 February 2009 - 08:00 PM

Also, be aware, that for the Software to work, be it Astomist, TSPE either handheld or laptop, you setup needs to be as well polar aligned as you can get it, otherwise you cannot hit the broadside of a barn.

Astromist works more like a traditional Celestron or Meade goto, in offering a two star alignment routine that is a bit less fussy. However, the instructions for Astromist are mediocre, so if you plan to use it, join the group and ask for instructions. I have a monograph a friend down under did for me to help with Astromist, and it is invaluable.

But, again, even given it's downsides, my mount is not much of an issue anymore....I can concentrate on focusing, composition, etc..

Don

#10 CounterWeight

CounterWeight

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8160
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Palo alto, CA.

Posted 27 February 2009 - 07:12 PM

Thanks as always everyone. Very interesting about the software and alignment. I've only used meades and Celestrons in the past and they are really pretty easy on the brain.

So the Tak does NOT have an alignment other than the polar align scope?

Am I correct that if I want to use planetarium software, I need it to have it's own cal / pointing model? "In th advertising" it just says it will "work" with other planetarium programs... but that seems like quite a disconnect when I think that or rather wonder 'whose the boss' when it comes to sky alignment vs. mount alignment.

If I sound a bit confused - it's just normal. I'll re-read these a few times and try to figure it out. TemmaII vs, USIII, and really nowhere is it called goto. So it's not a goto mount? but can be made to goto? Lots of brawn but not much brain? :confused:

#11 Dennis_Oz

Dennis_Oz

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 335
  • Joined: 20 Aug 2006
  • Loc: Brisbane, Australia

Posted 27 February 2009 - 07:33 PM

I think the following summary is correct – but feel free to correct me if I am wrong:

The USD mounts track, but do not GoTo.
The Temma II mounts track and also GoTo.
The USD mounts can be converted to Temma II via a Tak supplied upgrade kit = expensive!

I have an EM200 Temma II and have used:
Pegasus (the Tak supplied SW).

The Sky 6 Pro
Starry Night Pro Plus 6
SkyTools2 & 3 Pro (with Real Time add-non)

The Sky Pocket Edition (PDA)
Astromist (PDA)

Some of the planetarium programs require Chuck Farnada’s ASCOM Temma driver.

Cheers

Dennis

#12 jrcrilly

jrcrilly

    Refractor wienie no more

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 33793
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2003
  • Loc: NE Ohio

Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:37 PM

Am I correct that if I want to use planetarium software, I need it to have it's own cal / pointing model?


No. It's an EQ mount so the initial, mechanical axis alignment is presumed. All that remains is to "synch" the planetarium software to a known star. From that point the Temma controller can comply with the planetarium's slew commands by moving known distances in RA and DEC. Of course, if your polar alignment is poor then the incorrect presumption will lead to less-than-ideal pointing precision - just as with nearly any other goto EQ mount. That's where the uniquely precise Tak polar alignment scope comes in.

#13 CounterWeight

CounterWeight

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8160
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Palo alto, CA.

Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:45 PM

The Tak polar scopes are living legends, and folks have nothing but not just good but great things to say about them. I haven't seen or heard anything to the contrary. This is unusual in a country where complaints and criticism are among the major domestic products.

Now to re-arriange the equipment yet again to make the purchase and see for myself. Thanks everyone :)

#14 Jaxdialation

Jaxdialation

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3197
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2007
  • Loc: Northeast, FL

Posted 28 February 2009 - 01:35 AM

I felt the same way before I bought my 200, I thought everyone had drank some kind of Tak Koolaid :)

You won't regret purchasing a Tak mount.

#15 tim53

tim53

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 9264
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Highland Park, CA

Posted 28 February 2009 - 11:57 AM

I wanted one Tak mount for easy astrophotography, and I somehow wound up with three!

Initially, I bought an NJP, but the guy also had a low mileage EM-10 for a good price, so I bought that too. The EM-10's a temma 2 jr, but the NJP is an older Temma PC. Both work fine and can be run with all the same software by switching the cables around.

Last summer, I bought an old EM-500 off Astromart for a fabulous price. Non-goto, but with shaft encoders. I was going to upgrade it to Temma 2, but when I finally got the actual quote from TN, it was more than twice the original estimate, so I put a Sidereal Technology goto kit in it instead (for about $800). Now (once I get some home projects done), I'll have PEC and other cool things as well, though I can't imagine needing PEC with a 3" PE

I use EquinoX 6, TheSky 6, and Voyager 4.5 to run my Tak mounts. These work very well.

Sometimes I just get lazy and use the Pegasus software that came with the mounts, though. Even in a dark sky, this has proved more than adequate for DSO hopping for me. Good, solid fallback.

-Tim.

#16 Bees

Bees

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 107
  • Joined: 28 Dec 2007
  • Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada

Posted 28 February 2009 - 12:56 PM

I purchased a Temma-II EM-200 a few months ago. It is the first go-to mount I have ever owned in my life and the first one I've ever used.

I read the manual, put it together, aligned the polar scope, connected it to my pc and I have so far gotten it to work with Starry Night Pro Plus 6, Maxim DL, and The Sky software. I should say I did all the above by myself without any help from anyone else.

The plus side is that if you have ANY questions you can ask us, or Art C. who works for TN (I've seen him on these forums), or the yahoo Tak group. There are people with a very wide array of expertise on these mounts and would love to help a fellow Tak owner out.

Good luck!






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics