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What EQ head fit's my needs?

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#1 Biff

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 12:33 PM

I'm probably going to see a lot of new faces over on this side of the fence, I'm a dob/newt guy and mostly am in the DIY/Optics section. It's fair to say I'm more of a builder than observer.

I want to pick up a EQ head for a grab'n'go setup - just the head as I'll build my own tripod. I want something that I can just plunk down, do a crude polar alignment and go. Sure tracking may not be perfect but I'm sure it will be much better than a manual alt/az ;-). Also it will be nice for showing stuff to others (neighbours/kids) with out having to bump the scope for them every minute or so. I have no plans for astro-photography.

Plans are for a 130mm f/5 newt I have and I also have plans to make a scope aroung a 80mm f/8 Jaegers objective I have. At any rate probably the only scopes that will be placed on this mount will be smaller scopes that don't weight too much. I do have a 170mm ~f/4.5 mirror that I'm working on that may find it's way onto it too.

I like to find things myself so I have no need for GOTO. I don't know if these mounts have clutches in them or not to be able to move the scope by hand. Ideally I'd like to be able to slew the scope manually and when I let go it's traking, so obviously a tracking motor is a requisite. Having a hand paddle to fine tune R.A. and DEC when 'hunting' for something would be gravy but not really required provided the clutches are smooth.

I'm not sure if a mount like this even exists as this is completely unfamiliar territory for me. At present I don't know what I'm looking at $$$ wise so I'm apprehensive to state a budget figure but I'm not looking to spend a bundle.

Sorry for the newbish/somewhat open ended question.

#2 AntarcticDave

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 03:37 PM

Hi Ryan,

My old mount for my C102 refractor was a CG-4. Horrible tripod (small aluminum legs) but once you got rid of the gummy Chinese grease in the head, that portion worked fairly well. I think it'd support your scopes. A used one would be fairly cheap, and there was an optional motor drive (runs on 4 D-cells) with a hand paddle (actually, you could get a single or a dual-axis drive).


#3 waassaabee

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:42 PM

Used CG5's are always availabe, and you don't gotta use the goto, but if your showing the neighbors a handful of targets it makes life simple. For you... you could release the clutches and swing it anywhere you want, tighten em up and yer tracking.

#4 Biff

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 07:27 PM

The CG-5GT doesn't seem too bad. It'd be nice if I could find one used but even the new price isn't that bad, I'll have to see if I can just buy the head.

#5 muni

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 01:13 AM

Ryan,
I'm not sure if other vendors sell just the mount head, but this one does:

http://www.meridiant....com/mounts.htm

The EQ5 might just fit your need.

Cheers,
Joel

#6 MacRoberts

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 02:58 AM

Hi, Ryan-

I like to find things myself so I have no need for GOTO. I don't know if these mounts have clutches in them or not to be able to move the scope by hand. Ideally I'd like to be able to slew the scope manually and when I let go it's traking, so obviously a tracking motor is a requisite. Having a hand paddle to fine tune R.A. and DEC when 'hunting' for something would be gravy but not really required provided the clutches are smooth.



Your requirement for smooth clutch action immediately brings the Losmandy GM-8 or G-11 to mind. Both are built to effortlessly permit exactly the kind of use you desire: push-to, then release and stand back as the mount tracks from there.

The couple that runs a star-gazing operation that circuits the major hotels on the big island of Hawaii uses a Losmandy G-11 in the manner you seek. It was cool watching them swing the mount around to just about the right RA/DEC and then letting go. The mount began tracking instantly. No clutch problems. A few moments of using the hand-paddle and finder put the target dead center in the FOV.

Both mounts can be purchased without tripod, and without go-to. You will end up with the base mount and the digital drive system which uses steppers. Both have excellent engraved setting circles if that interests you, and it sounds like it might. The GM-8 is rated for 30 lbs capacity and the G-11 double that. The G-8 shows up with some regularity in the classifieds here and on that other site.

These are pricier than Synta & clones, but could fit your needs very, very well.

Hope this helps.

#7 Luigi

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 06:26 AM

You can certainly built your own tripod, but the tripod on the CG5ASGT is quite good. I haven't yet used go-to on mine. I just use the clutches to point in the general direction of the object and then use slewing to zero in. OPT has them for $530.

You can get one of these nicely padded cases that'll fit the tripod and mount for $25

#8 Biff

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:57 AM

MacRoberts, those losmandy's seem to be exactly what I'm after but unfortunately are outside of what I'm looking to spend right now... but maybe someday.

Luigi, the 'building my own tripod' was more to save some $$$ as I'm more than likely going to have to get the mount shipped to me and shipping rates to Canada have gone through the roof over the last year or so. But I have enough stuff to build so I just might bite the bullet and buy the tripod too. I found a place up here that has them for $800 but that's Canadian Pesos and once I factor in shipping etc. it's probably a wash with getting the one from OPT. I think I'll watch the classifieds and see what turns up.

I didn't figure I'd get everything I wanted for what I'm willing to spend but so far the CG-5GT seems to be the best fit since it's not too much more than a EQ5 once I outfit it with motors and a HC and seems to be a lot nicer. I see some are advertised as a CG-5GT and some as CG5-ASGT, as far as I gather the AS is something to help with polar alignment and is just a firmware upgrade over the CG-5GT, is that correct?

#9 Luigi

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 12:40 PM

Sorry, I often forget to consider someones country of domicile. I'm not sure what exactly the AS update includes, but later CG5s (possibly starting with the AS version)have 2" tripod legs instead of 1.75. FYI, the HEQ 5 uses 1.75 and the HEQ6 uses 2". This is a significant improvement in stability.

#10 waassaabee

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 01:30 PM

I see some are advertised as a CG-5GT and some as CG5-ASGT, as far as I gather the AS is something to help with polar alignment and is just a firmware upgrade over the CG-5GT, is that correct?

To the best of my knowledge if it is a Goto series CG5, It is a CG5-ASGT (Advance Series Go To). The CG5-GT is merely a shortcut meaning the same.
Hand controllers of version 4.xx and higher are flash firmware upgradeable, a must in my book. So if you are looking for used, make sure the HC is of the new variety. The latest firmware revision is 4.16 which included Celestrons new AllStar alignment procedure that enables Polar alignment with practically any star in the sky. The GoTo's after this alignment are scary good.






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