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Who makes a good GEM mount with good service?

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#1 Wildthing

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 05:41 PM

First let me state that Im not refering to $3000 mounts.

After reading the mounts forum it seems there are more complaints about Celestrons repairs service than good reports. So what brand of GEM mount is reliable with excellent repair service when needed? I currently own a CG5-GT that works well and so far I have had no problems...

#2 JAT Observatory

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 05:51 PM

First let me state that Im not refering to $3000 mounts.


So what price mounts are you refering too.

#3 JerryWise

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 07:09 PM

I'd have to recommend AstroPhysics, Mountain, Takahashi and Paramount. All have excellent reputations and service. And for certain they are not $3,000 mounts.

#4 DeanS

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 07:32 PM

First let me state that Im not refering to $3000 mounts.

After reading the mounts forum it seems there are more complaints about Celestrons repairs service than good reports. So what brand of GEM mount is reliable with excellent repair service when needed? I currently own a CG5-GT that works well and so far I have had no problems...


Your answers will be few and far between.

To offer the better quality products and service in our hobby is expensive. Just not enough demand for the higher quality stuff to drive the prices down I suppose.

However there are some decent mounts out there near your price range, Losmandy comes to mind, so does Vixen. However your mileage may vary with service experiences.

Good luck in your search.

#5 Jaxdialation

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 07:32 PM

I'm with Jerry. When you say NOT $3,000 you haven't narrowed the field much.

#6 waassaabee

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 08:14 PM

You've already got the best bang for the buck, I've got one too. But it finally broke. Now I may get a CGEM.

I know some folks that have owned Celestron for years and never had to even call Customer Service. Even Ferrari has occasional problems, call a few astro shops and get recommendations too. Forums can be misleading at times. Folks whose stuff is working are outside using it, those with problems are inside on the computer seeking answers or venting. I know when all of my gear is playing well together I'm either imaging, processing images, or posting images.

:penny: :penny:

#7 TheMenace

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 03:28 AM

I'm thinking Orion has about the best customer service around.
Another member cracked their atlas housing,and Orion tore one down and sent him a new one,albeit for around $100.
The fact that the parts were shipped quickly with minimum down time is a huge plus.

Most dealers most likely would have you ship the mount back and wait for a repair.
Buying a new mount,I may just go for the CGEM for it's updated features,as I seldom have received bad gear or needed any service myself.

:whistle:

#8 rmollise

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 06:47 AM

First let me state that Im not refering to $3000 mounts.

After reading the mounts forum it seems there are more complaints about Celestrons repairs service than good reports. So what brand of GEM mount is reliable with excellent repair service when needed? I currently own a CG5-GT that works well and so far I have had no problems...


You hear a lot of this and a lot of that...but...I've been dealing with Celestron for over 30 years now and they have always taken care of me when all has been said and done. If you are happy with the CG5 (and I am with mine)...well...don't worry, be happy. :lol:

Want more better gooder but not 3k's worth? Look at the Atlas or the CGEM or the Sirius (HEQ5)...

#9 Alph

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 12:47 PM

Folks whose stuff is working are outside using it, those with problems are inside on the computer seeking answers or venting. I know when all of my gear is playing well together I'm either imaging, processing images, or posting images.


Hmm. May I ask why are you here around all the time, when you don't have any problems.

#10 Kolenka

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 02:51 PM

Folks whose stuff is working are outside using it, those with problems are inside on the computer seeking answers or venting. I know when all of my gear is playing well together I'm either imaging, processing images, or posting images.


Hmm. May I ask why are you here around all the time, when you don't have any problems.


Good point that it may not always be the best argument to say something like: "People only gush when they have problems."

Although perhaps he posts so much, because like me, if you are outside imaging, and within range of your home wifi network, you wind up passing the time a bit while the software does its thing in the background.

#11 waassaabee

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 03:15 PM

Folks whose stuff is working are outside using it, those with problems are inside on the computer seeking answers or venting. I know when all of my gear is playing well together I'm either imaging, processing images, or posting images.


Hmm. May I ask why are you here around all the time, when you don't have any problems.


Check the sig... my mount is in the shop and I am searching for a replacement... would that be considered a problem? :(

#12 Al Canarelli

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 03:19 PM

You either want a mount well above $3,000 or you want a mount well below $3,000. Based on your post, it's hard to determine exactly what you're looking for so I'm going to assume that you want something well under $3,000 and that it must have more beef than the CG5 mount you already own. This is quite easy as there are not many mounts that fall into those parameters...

You have the Orion Atlas EQG GOTO version ($1,499 plus shipping) or the Atlas EGQ none GOTO ($1199)

Celestron CGEM at $1,399 (exactly the same as the Orion EQG GOTO but with a different paint job, logo and maybe different software.

Everything else available (in my opinion) is too close to the specifications and load limits of the CG5 you already own.

#13 Trebor777

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 05:44 PM

I'm thinking Orion has about the best customer service around.
Another member cracked their atlas housing,and Orion tore one down and sent him a new one,albeit for around $100.
The fact that the parts were shipped quickly with minimum down time is a huge plus.

Most dealers most likely would have you ship the mount back and wait for a repair.
Buying a new mount,I may just go for the CGEM for it's updated features,as I seldom have received bad gear or needed any service myself.

:whistle:


That was me with the cracked Atlas mounting base. Orion had the new mounting base to me within 5 days - but that's because I live in CT and they're in Cali. They did ship out the replacement part the same day I called. It would have been free cause it was within a year of purchse and the issue was a defect - it's because I've modded the Atlas = no more warranty. And no, my Mods weren't the reason the base cracked.

They charged me $30 for the part, $50 for labor, because they literally had to take apart a mount and $12 for shipping. $92 total

They wanted me to send the mount to them for repairs but I was having none of that. I sent them a pic of what cracked and told them since there's no warranty, I'm doing the work. Saved me time and shipping costs.

But I purchased another Atlas also. IMO, it's the best bang for the buck when it comes to mounts. A hypertuned Atlas with new high quaility bearings can compete with $3000 mounts. (I didn't say "beat", I said "compete" with)

#14 Charlie Hein

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 07:01 PM

Folks whose stuff is working are outside using it, those with problems are inside on the computer seeking answers or venting. I know when all of my gear is playing well together I'm either imaging, processing images, or posting images.


Hmm. May I ask why are you here around all the time, when you don't have any problems.


:4

#15 jrbarnett

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:26 AM

Celestron's repair services have been top rate in my book. In fact, I'd rate Orion and Celestron as the BEST at addressing customer concerns.

Case in point. Several years ago I bought a CG5-GT as an inexpensive GOTO mount for travel. When I unpacked the mount in my study, butter-fingers me dropped it on the floor. The RA housing cracked, but the mount worked well. I called Celestron, explained that I had broken the housing and asked if I could purchase another one. Instead, they sent new RA and DEC housings gratis. They did something nice that they were not actually obligated to do at all.

My suspicion is that the complaints about Celestron's repair service may involve difficulty in diagnosing the problem, not any recalcitrance on Celestron's part. Mine was easy. I knew exactly what I needed and communicated it clearly. At the other end of the spectrum, I'm sure they get lots of folks with vague complaints that could be cause by *anything*. For example, I see many folks complaining about run-away slews. Five out of ten times, this is not a problem with the mount, but rather a problem with the power supply or power connection. If such a person sends the mount back to Celestron, it's going to test PERFECT and Celestron will send it back. Of course, with a weak power supply or bad power cable, the user is going to complain "It's still not fixed!" That's not Celestron's fault.

The more precise you can be about the issues you experience and the surrounding circumstances, the better customer support you'll get from anyone.

Regards,

Jim

#16 jaynes

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 02:39 PM

IMO, it's the best bang for the buck when it comes to mounts. A hypertuned Atlas with new high quaility bearings can compete with $3000 mounts. (I didn't say "beat", I said "compete" with)


Can you be more specific about where the Atlas should be "hypertuned"? Should it be hypertuned by a company such as Telescope Stability Systems, or by following some specific set of instructions or what?

Thanks

#17 mclewis1

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 03:52 PM

Can you be more specific about where the Atlas should be "hypertuned"? Should it be hypertuned by a company such as Telescope Stability Systems, or by following some specific set of instructions or what?


http://www.stonyhill...ry.com/eq-6.htm

#18 Trebor777

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:29 PM

IMO, it's the best bang for the buck when it comes to mounts. A hypertuned Atlas with new high quaility bearings can compete with $3000 mounts. (I didn't say "beat", I said "compete" with)


Can you be more specific about where the Atlas should be "hypertuned"? Should it be hypertuned by a company such as Telescope Stability Systems, or by following some specific set of instructions or what?

Thanks


Well, TSS is MIA right now, so they can't do it.

I think if you know how to unscrew a bolt you can hypertune an Atlas. You just have to get your hand on the Atlas EQ-G Hypertune DVD or look for instructions on the web. But you'll also have to purchase the new bearings & lube.

2 sites with instructions on "how to"

Beevo
&
Stonyhill

You can get the bearings from HERE

You can get Super Lube (or the lube of your choice) from a local hardware or auto store.

ADM Losmandy Saddles are great and a must IMO.

And upgrading the CW shaft. TSS has a great one, but it's hard to get one from them now. I checked with Criterion for a new CW shaft and they want $150 for it. WAYYYY too much, so I found a Speedy Metals and ordered a 18" long, 1" diameter piece of stainless steel for $50 and I'm having a local machine shop thread it for me.

Basically a Hypertuned Atlas means, new Losmandy saddle, new bigger & longer counterweight shaft, new bearings (regreased) and doing the azimuth/altitude mod to it. Some would add a tripod that's more stable.

I'm thinking about offering an Atlas Hypertune service myself soon. I just have to get a few more things lined up.

#19 rmollise

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:52 PM

IMO, it's the best bang for the buck when it comes to mounts. A hypertuned Atlas with new high quaility bearings can compete with $3000 mounts. (I didn't say "beat", I said "compete" with)


Can you be more specific about where the Atlas should be "hypertuned"? Should it be hypertuned by a company such as Telescope Stability Systems, or by following some specific set of instructions or what?

Thanks


Most Atlas mounts work fine, including for imaging, without being hypertuned by anybody. Unless you are looking to maximize _unguided_ imaging time, my advice is "leave it alone."


#20 Trebor777

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 05:19 PM

IMO, it's the best bang for the buck when it comes to mounts. A hypertuned Atlas with new high quaility bearings can compete with $3000 mounts. (I didn't say "beat", I said "compete" with)


Can you be more specific about where the Atlas should be "hypertuned"? Should it be hypertuned by a company such as Telescope Stability Systems, or by following some specific set of instructions or what?

Thanks


Most Atlas mounts work fine, including for imaging, without being hypertuned by anybody. Unless you are looking to maximize _unguided_ imaging time, my advice is "leave it alone."


True.

But I'd also note that Bobby from Stonyhill dropped his Atlas's PE from an average of 17 arc seconds peak to peak down to 6. Pretty damn good.

And like I said the Hypertune is to spend an extra $400 (on top of the $1500 sale price of the Atlas) to make a $2000 mount compete with a $3000. It also increases the load (lbs) you can mount on the Atlas, for those like me who are pushing 50lbs of equipment.

But it does perform GREAT out of the box. The Hypertune is for people who just want more out of the mount. Me, I also just like taking things apart and putting them back together. And I'm one of those weird people that actually like setting up and breaking down my equipment.

#21 tonyb

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 12:15 PM

Wrt TSS - I can't get any email response from them and their PayPal processing is stopped.

Anyone have a TSS Hypertune DVD for the Atlas and also the Sirius they want to sell me?

Tony.

#22 Eddgie

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 10:18 PM

I sometimes attempt to buy parts from Celestron and I find them to be horribly slow to answer email. Typically, I have to wait between a week and 10 days to get even an intial response.

Once I GET that response (Usually I ask what the part discriptoin is and how much it will cost and that information is provided) and I mail a check, the part usually shows up in about 10 days.

Not lightening fast, but so far I have not had any real issue getting the things I need.

Losmandy is a great alternative. The G11 is well made, rock solid, and they are pretty responsive if you need a part. To be fair, it has been years since I owned a Losmandy mount, but they were excellent to deal with back then.

#23 rmollise

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 09:46 AM

I sometimes attempt to buy parts from Celestron and I find them to be horribly slow to answer email. Typically, I have to wait between a week and 10 days to get even an intial response.


That's the way it is with them, and has been for a while. Meade too. I did a test a while back, axeually...

http://uncle-rods.bl...ets-ticket.html

Bottom line? If you want a quick(er) response, use the ol' telephone. I prefer email, too, but that is the way it is. ;)

#24 groz

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 02:22 PM

You have the Orion Atlas EQG GOTO version ($1,499 plus shipping) or the Atlas EGQ none GOTO ($1199)

Celestron CGEM at $1,399 (exactly the same as the Orion EQG GOTO but with a different paint job, logo and maybe different software.



Online photos of the CGEM look nothing like my EQ6-Pro, which _is_ exactly the same mount as the orion atlas except for paint.






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