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The "new" MI250

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#1 David Pavlich

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 01:11 PM

I pulled a good one last night...I popped one of the wires loose from the power supply. Not thinking, I stuck the wire back on without shutting everything off first and received a "CMOS restet" message. :shocked:

So I called Larry this morning and got it fixed. For those that have Gemini and have this happen, here's the drill:

Open up the Gemini and remove the battery and leave it out for 10 to 15 minutes.
Put everything back in place. If you use a GPS, don't plug it in yet.
Set the mount to "home" postion; CW down, Dec pointed north.
Turn on the mount. Go to Mount Parameters and reset the defaults then turn off the mount.
If you have a GPS plug it back in and let it acquire. With Gemini, you turn on the power supply, but DO NOT turn on mount if it's a Star GPS. Once it acquires, the LED will flash appx. every 2 seconds.
Now turn on Gemini and go back to Mount Parameters.
Now set everything according to your manual. Mine defaults to a Titan and the California coordinates of Losmandy.
I then did a mock star alignment and everything seems back to normal. I'll have to wait until the weather improves later this week to be sure.

HOWEVER, this is not the real reason for the post. If you've ever owned or thought about owning an MI250, you need to go to Larry's webpage. The new mounts will be powdercoated white instead of green. Larry's now offering a SS CW shaft and CWs that are drilled and tapped. The biggie is that he has redesigned the base that gives it an 85lb load capacity. Move over, EM400! Truth be known, I think Larry really underwhelms the rated capacity, but be that as it may, this mount is really making leaps.

And for you 250 afficionados, you'll notice the addition of a brass tag with degree marks and a new locking system on the base. Personally, I like the old one better than a knob simply because it is easy to tighten.

Although it's not mentioned in the upgrades, at least I don't think it is, he's come up with a new worm that is smoother than before. I was on the tail end of the last run of mounts and was fortunate to get the new worm assembly.

Anyway, it sure is a nice mount and now even better. And the customer service? Anyone will tell you that Larry is top shelf. Buy a new one, and as long as you own it, it's warranteed. Good form, indeed!

David

#2 skybsd

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 01:46 PM

Thanks for the post, David!

I'm definitely one of those saving up my precious pennies for one of these.

Regards,

skybsd

#3 Alph

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 01:48 PM

How does it compare to the CGE? Why did you prefer the MI-250 over the AP900?

#4 JerryWise

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:07 PM

Great report David. I've been all over his website. Wish I had done homework on these before I went to some other mounts. (I am happy with that big white one though.)

#5 Joel

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 02:29 PM

I've been eyeing MI-250's for a year now and that looks like the mount for me. Maybe this year, maybe next. I think the new ones look great in white but they have some nice upgrades. I've heard great stuff about Larry too, it doesn't sound like he needs an upgrade.

As far as the AP900 vs the MI-250 goes (and I've never owned either) but from a buyer's prospective it's a $1000 more for about the same, maybe less now, carrying capacity. If I were going to go for an AP in my observatory the 1200 would be a no brainer for about a $1000 or so more than the 900 and twice the capacity. Another thing that pretty much sealed the deal for me with the MI-250 is I can use my 8" pier where I think the AP's need 10" and that's another grand by the time it's on my doorstep.

#6 Frankv

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 03:00 PM

How does it compare to the CGE? Why did you prefer the MI-250 over the AP900?


I don’t own either myself, but if you go to the PemPro website, the MI250 sure seems to hold its own.

Regards,

#7 Alph

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 03:19 PM

As far as the AP900 vs the MI-250 goes (and I've never owned either) but from a buyer's prospective it's a $1000 more for about the same



The problem is that the AP mounts hold their value. You can sell them for the same price if not higher in a couple of years.

#8 skybsd

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 03:27 PM

Hi,

The problem is that the AP mounts hold their value. You can sell them for the same price if not higher in a couple of years.


What's the wait-time for an AP mount these days?

Regards,

skybsd

#9 Joel

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 04:06 PM

As far as the AP900 vs the MI-250 goes (and I've never owned either) but from a buyer's prospective it's a $1000 more for about the same



The problem is that the AP mounts hold their value. You can sell them for the same price if not higher in a couple of years.


You wouldn't sell it to me! Any used mount will be older and that much closer to needing maintenance. I don't understand the whole AP as an investment model and can't say I really want to. I buy equipment to use for hopefully years not a year. No offense intended, I understand what you say I just think buyers could make better use of their money.

#10 David Pavlich

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 04:23 PM

How does it compare to the CGE? Why did you prefer the MI-250 over the AP900?


I have a real soft spot for the CGE...great mount at its price, but comparing the 2 is night and day. The 250 is 3-5 arcseconds uncorrected out of the box. As I said, I think Larry underrates the carrying capacity, but this mount will handle a LOT more weight comfortably, especially imaging, than a CGE.

Why not the 900? The capacity is the same, BUT...it's $1200 more and that's before you start adding all of the goodies needed to allow you to mount it on a pier and mount a scope on it. And unless you're using it for outreach or traveling it alot, it make no sense to get a 900 when a 1200 is only $1000 more.

I thought about the EM400, but it's another $1000 and you need to hook it up to a source for goto operation. Gemini is a terrific program and yes, you can run it from other software, but you don't need to.

Besides, ever since I started using a GEM, I've always wanted an MI250. I had one, but because I didn't have an observatory, I ended up selling it. Of course, now I have an obs, so I got a new one.

Edit: The capacity with the new base is now about 15lbs. more. When I bought mine it was 70lbs. So that puts it in a different light when comparing to the 900 today.

David

#11 David Pavlich

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 04:28 PM

Great report David. I've been all over his website. Wish I had done homework on these before I went to some other mounts. (I am happy with that big white one though.)


No, Jerry, you have the right mount. Had my astrobank account been more flush, I would have gotten that white thing, too. Just seeing the Pempro readouts make it almost scary. Nah, you picked the right one.

David

#12 Alph

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 04:40 PM

I don't understand the whole AP as an investment model


The resale value is important. What if I decide in a couple of years to move up to Paramount ME? Case in point. I purchased a CGE for $3000. Its resale value is about $2000. If the CGE were the APGE then a brand new one would cost $4000 today and I could sell it for $3000.

#13 DeanS

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 05:07 PM

I like the looks of his new improvements.

#14 Phil Cowell

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 05:29 PM

The resale value is important. What if I decide in a couple of years to move up to Paramount ME? Case in point. I purchased a CGE for $3000. Its resale value is about $2000. If the CGE were the APGE then a brand new one would cost $4000 today and I could sell it for $3000.


You lose $1K on either but the CGE has the lowest initial outlay hhhmmmmmmmmmm. The extra $1K you didn't pay for the AP could be sitting earning interest.
And if you had invested the money (not in the market) you'd be earning interest until you buy your ME. You'd shorten your lead time to get the ME over buying another mount in the interim and save money in the process, no $1K loss and the interest on that $1K that wasn't outlaid would make your ME arrive quicker.

Yup your using alien logic to me. You don't work in derivatives do you?

Phil

#15 Telescopeman54

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 08:51 AM

As far as the AP900 vs the MI-250 goes (and I've never owned either) but from a buyer's prospective it's a $1000 more for about the same



The problem is that the AP mounts hold their value. You can sell them for the same price if not higher in a couple of years.


You wouldn't sell it to me! Any used mount will be older and that much closer to needing maintenance. I don't understand the whole AP as an investment model and can't say I really want to. I buy equipment to use for hopefully years not a year. No offense intended, I understand what you say I just think buyers could make better use of their money.


I am completely with Joel on this one. AP makes fantastic equipment, but, it is a personal investment, not a financial one. I do not see AP as something that should have developed the equivalent of a cult following! Investing in antiques and collectibles is one thing and makes sense. Paying more for current production items, though, UNLESS something has been done to increase the value accordingly, is just silly!

Anyway, the MI-250 is a very solid and more affordable mount. No one will be at a loss by purchasing one.

CS

Steve

#16 jouster

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 02:01 PM

I agree that the "investment" model is flawed, but then again, I don't think people use it in the same way they play the markets. I think that a factor when buying astro equipment is resale value - even if it's a minor factor. There's no doubt that AP stuff holds its value better than many others, so there's no reason not to take it into account.

#17 Bowmoreman

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 05:24 PM

As far as the AP900 vs the MI-250 goes (and I've never owned either) but from a buyer's prospective it's a $1000 more for about the same



The problem is that the AP mounts hold their value. You can sell them for the same price if not higher in a couple of years.


You wouldn't sell it to me! Any used mount will be older and that much closer to needing maintenance. I don't understand the whole AP as an investment model and can't say I really want to. I buy equipment to use for hopefully years not a year. No offense intended, I understand what you say I just think buyers could make better use of their money.


I am completely with Joel on this one. AP makes fantastic equipment, but, it is a personal investment, not a financial one. I do not see AP as something that should have developed the equivalent of a cult following! Investing in antiques and collectibles is one thing and makes sense. Paying more for current production items, though, UNLESS something has been done to increase the value accordingly, is just silly!

Anyway, the MI-250 is a very solid and more affordable mount. No one will be at a loss by purchasing one.

CS

Steve


Ummm... Phil... last I checked, the interest you can get on $1000 for a year now is somewhere SOUTH of $10... and that's if you're willing to LOCK it in for a year!

Just sayin...

clear enough skies

#18 Phil Cowell

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 05:58 PM

Ummm... Phil... last I checked, the interest you can get on $1000 for a year now is somewhere SOUTH of $10... and that's if you're willing to LOCK it in for a year!

Just sayin...

clear enough skies


I did say not in the market and your interest compare to the ponzi scheme I'm in is terrible ;-).
The point was to show how ludicrus the original statement was when the total loss was the same for both. Spend $4K lose $1K or spend $3K lose $1K neither is better, $1K is lost either way. Also looking at the used market anticipating the amount you can make off a mount in the current economy is a big gamble.
Save up and buy new it's at least a known entity.

Phil

#19 Alph

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 09:37 PM

The point was to show how ludicrus the original statement was when the total loss was the same for both



You have missed the point. There is nothing ludicrous about buying something for $X and selling it for exact same $X or more 2 - 3 years later . Just check out this AM transaction. The guy bought the AP1200 in 2004 for $7500 and sold it last year for $11500. I wonder what will be the value of a CGE Pro after 5 years.

#20 JerryWise

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 10:42 PM

Is the point not an MI-250?

#21 Strgazr27

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 11:51 PM

Than you have this guy Here who is most likely losing a few bucks or This guy who likely isn't making any money on the deal. I'm also pretty sure a brand new AP 1200 GTO was a bit more than $7400 when new even in 2004.

What is noticeable is the drop in resale of AP 900's and 1200's now that production has been improved. A few years ago they were a much better investment than they are now. Still a good investment, but I wouldn't build my retirement on one.

As for the CGE Pro, I'm curious how you can make a decision before the mount is been out long enough to tell. One last note. I bought a CGE brand new in 2007. I paid $3100 for it. I sold it over 1 yr later for $2900. What's wrong with that?

Now back to the MI-250 ;)

#22 Bowmoreman

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 07:27 AM

Back OT...

After researching the link David Provided; I'm now starting to re-think what I will do when I get the call from Daleen on the 900 (or even the Mach1GTO)...

My "next" mount could be:

CGEPro ($5K)
Mach1GTO ($6K+?)
AP900 ($8.5K+all the other stuff you need with AP), or
MI250 ($7.5K)...

In evaluating quality, price, features and capacity... I'm starting to think that the MI250 is looking better all the time...

Pro's on the CGE Pro are that I fully understand the SW and controls, and its a lot of capacity for the money; con's probably not as good tracking, PE, etc. as the others...

pro's for the Mach1GTO are that its very clean, high quality AP Mount. Cons are price and price/capacity

pro's for the AP900 are same as Mach1GTO, but more capacity. Con's are price and (compared with the MI250) price/capacity...

Thinking about it this way, the MI250 is moving "up" on my consideration list...

I'll be interested in your experiences with it David, especially since you have strong CGE experience.

As far as the "value" of buying used; I bought my CGE a year ago for $2100... I would guess I wouldn't be losing much selling it even now in today's market...

I think anyone who buys any astro gear as a "investment" is missing the entire point. Just as - ultimately - most who thought of their HOUSES as an investment are now "burned"...

Astro gear is just that - Astro Gear. THAT is it's purpose.
Just as a house (or car) is just that. A house, or car...

clear enough skies

#23 David Pavlich

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 09:39 AM

the difference between the CGE and the MI250 is night and day. And with Larry's improvements, it ups the capacity, but the price remains the same.

Performance? 3-5 arcseconds out of the box, uncorrected. Get the CGE supercharged and use PEC and you'll get it down to 8-10 arcseconds. Very good for the price, but it will never be a 250.

Price difference? Is it worth the difference? Is it worth the difference between a Stratus and a Panoptic? If you want maximum performance, yes, it's worth it.

My experience tells me that I should've never sold the first 250 I had. But I didn't know I'd have an observatory. The 250 can be moved around, but it's not fun, especially if you use the MI pier. IT"S BIG!

So....unless I have a long lost uncle somewhere and I can buy a Chronos, this mount has found a long time home.

I do have a request, however. I'm going to claim OP domain :grin: and ask that we take the investment part of the thread to Off Topic. And now, back to your regular programming.

David

#24 Bowmoreman

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 10:04 AM

How much is involved with an MI250 to mount it (permanently) to a pier that is currently holding a CGE? Does Larry (or someone else) make an adapter plate...

right now I'm using a Dan's Pier Plates adapter between my Pier and the CGE, works great... would the MI250 plate just bolt directly to my existing pier, or is there yet another adapter plate required?

Curious, because I'm pretty sure that I'm going to "come up" on the AP GTO and 900 lists (again) this spring, and they are either not as much mount, or a lot more money than the MI250, and you also need so much OTHER stuff with the AP mounts...

Question #2: How hard is it to transition to Gemini from Celestron (useability, etc.)? I do have the CGE interface, alignment process, etc. all "burned" into my fingers so to speak!

I really like the looks of that MI250... a LOT

clear enough skies

#25 Joel

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 10:40 AM

I'm sold on the MI-250 as well David and I'll echo Dave's questions on mounting, etc. I have a 8 1/4" astropier and I think it will fit right onto it. I think it comes with it's own mounting plate. That is another selling point for me, it's plug and play for my pier. Sound right?






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