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Ideal mount for NP127is and (later) a C14?

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#1 DrGolds

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 04:48 PM

I've been trying to assemble a list of components for my new imaging system. Because of light pollution and seeing conditions at my location (Silicon Valley), I think I want to stick with wide-field imaging. Thus my selection of the NP127is. Also, for a camera, I'd stick with my modified 40D for the time being, in an effort to keep costs lower.

What would be the ideal mount for the NP127is? Later, I hope to get a C14 for DSO imaging so I'd want a mount stable enough for imaging with the C14 as well. I was considering the CGE Pro, but since I can't set up a permanent pier where I am (no good site), I think it's probably too large for me to set-up regularly... The 75 lb head is somewhat daunting. The $5000 price-point (at least that's what I can find on-line) makes it quite desirable, though, compared to the other options.

For even wider-field shots, I was planning on piggy-backing my modified 40D with various lenses on top of the NP127is.

Looking at the various choices in this class, the CGE might be an option, but I've read that it's rather difficult to set-up compared to the newer CGEM and CGE Pro, so I was going to pass on the CGE.

Thanks for any suggestions,

-Jeff

#2 mclewis1

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 07:56 PM

Looking at the various choices in this class, the CGE might be an option, but I've read that it's rather difficult to set-up compared to the newer CGEM and CGE Pro, so I was going to pass on the CGE. -Jeff

Jeff, Not sure what you've read but software wise the CGE uses identical firmware as the CGEM and CGE Pro so the procedures are exactly the same and take the same amount of time. Hardware wise I'm not aware of any issues that seriously affect setup time. Alt and Az adjustments for polar alignment are not quite as slick as on the two newer mounts but it's not a big deal to use an allen wrench (or ratchet) vs. their big knobs.

I can have my CGE wheeled into place, mount leveled and roughly polar aligned, scopes mounted and balanced, finder scope adjusted, two star alignment with 4 calibrations stars all in about 15 minutes.

For visual the CGEM would be fine for your TV127, but for imaging I'd consider the CGE. For visual with the C14 you could get away with the CGE as well, but if you want to image with that big scope I think you're going to have to consider mounts in the CGEPro category.

#3 DrBuck

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 07:57 PM

I just changed from an LX 200 to a Tak FS 152 and put it on a CGE mount in my observatory. However, the first night I had it, I set it up in the driveway and I didn't have any problems at all. It tracks very well and the go to is amazing. After not using it for 2 weeks, I used the "last alignment" feature and it dead centered Saturn on the first try. I would seriously recommend the CGE. I don't think the CGEM is heavy enough for the C-14. The CGE pro is a little much for a portable unit IMHO

#4 DrGolds

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:35 PM

My big problem is I can't use a scopebuggy or similar device to wheel out a big mount. My driveway and garage just don't have enough access for me to get the scope behind the house and I'd rather not leave a bunch of astro equipment in the front yard, if ya know what I mean :)

I'll take another look at the CGE. I think what I was remembering was the "difficulty" of setting up the polar alignment since you have to use a wrench. Since it's so much cheaper, it's probably the way to go.

On the other hand, maybe I could put a shed in the backyard for storing a CGE Pro on a scopebuggy... :grin:

Thanks for the replies!

-Jeff

#5 DrBuck

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 08:43 PM

Since mine is in an observatory and already polar aligned, I don't have that problem. But if I had to set it up on a regular basis, I would purchase a Socket that has an allen wrench built into it and use a longer ratchet handle. That should make the PA procedure easier.

#6 gsmblue

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 10:54 PM

If you are looking at the CGE, have you considered the Losmandy G11? (the CGE is a clone of the G11). For the scopes you are looking at you do not want to go for a much smaller mount.

I share you issue of the silicon Valley glow, I am hoping a summer of camping will be the cure!

Also, if portability is an issue, why not look at the NP101is and a CGEM or G-8 with Gemini? You will be surprised how much easier this will be to haul around.

#7 DrGolds

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 12:30 AM

Belmont! We're practically neighbors :) (Redwood City here.)

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll check out the G11, I don't know much about it.

I really just need backyard portability... our 5 week old twins won't let us far from the house for a while yet! :) I'm just trying to figure out a solid set-up that will last a good long time. Eventually, I plan to set up a pier or observatory, but probably not until we do some remodeling.

Good luck with your summer camping plans!

-Jeff

#8 gsmblue

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 10:45 AM

Redwood city! Excellent! If you need a hand with anything let me know :)

I am not sure how much of a hurry you are in for getting a mount/OTA, but I have a CGEM on order at scopecity in SFO, I think it will be 2-4 weeks before it come in. But if you want to wait and see try that mount you are more then welcome. I have a TV Genesis SDF (precursor to the NP) so you can get an idea of the size capabilities of that set up. But if you are just wheeling in/out of the garage then you probably are not concerned about fitting it in the trunk of the car!

I have a G-11 mount back in the UK so I will be able to tell you the differences pretty quickly... I think getting hold of a G-11 over here is pretty easy. I have not used the Gemini goto but I hear good things about it. There are plenty of threads on the Losmandy G-11 on these forums so have a look around.

Congrats on the twins!

#9 DrGolds

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 12:43 PM

Redwood city! Excellent! If you need a hand with anything let me know :)

I am not sure how much of a hurry you are in for getting a mount/OTA, but I have a CGEM on order at scopecity in SFO, I think it will be 2-4 weeks before it come in. But if you want to wait and see try that mount you are more then welcome. I have a TV Genesis SDF (precursor to the NP) so you can get an idea of the size capabilities of that set up. But if you are just wheeling in/out of the garage then you probably are not concerned about fitting it in the trunk of the car!

Yeah someday I want to go to a dark site. I was at Yosemite about 10 years ago and was amazed and what you could see just with your eyes.

I am not in too much of a rush right now. I really don't have time for astronomy at the moment, but want to get prepared for when I do have some free time. Also, I need to sell my LX200 first!

I have a G-11 mount back in the UK so I will be able to tell you the differences pretty quickly... I think getting hold of a G-11 over here is pretty easy. I have not used the Gemini goto but I hear good things about it. There are plenty of threads on the Losmandy G-11 on these forums so have a look around.

I did some quick reading on the Losmandy site. Is the max slew rate of the G-11 really only 16x sidereal? Seems like it would take a long time to do a big slew.

Congrats on the twins!

Thanks :)

-Jeff

#10 gsmblue

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 02:28 PM

The figure you quote is for the non-goto system.

You would be looking for the G-11 with Gemini. Gemini is the goto system for Losmandy. The GM8 can manage 10deg/S, I would expect the G-11 to be a bit slower then this, should be in the manual somewhere.

I am pretty new to the Bay area (I am British don't you know!), so I have not found a place to go observing yet, although CSM has an awesome planetarium and there is a society that meet monthly there and hold star parties etc.... I am planning on making the next one, if you are interested I can pm you some details...

#11 rmollise

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:32 PM

What would be the ideal mount for the NP127is? Later, I hope to get a C14 for DSO imaging so I'd want a mount stable enough for imaging with the C14 as well. I was considering the CGE Pro, but since I can't set up a permanent pier where I am (no good site), I think it's probably too large for me to set-up regularly... The 75 lb head is somewhat daunting. The $5000 price-point (at least that's what I can find on-line) makes it quite desirable, though, compared to the other options.

For even wider-field shots, I was planning on piggy-backing my modified 40D with various lenses on top of the NP127is.

Looking at the various choices in this class, the CGE might be an option, but I've read that it's rather difficult to set-up compared to the newer CGEM and CGE Pro, so I was going to pass on the CGE.

Thanks for any suggestions,

-Jeff


With the C14 in the mix it goes like this:

Ideal: AP1200

Very good indeed: AP900, CGE Pro, Losmandy Titan

Bearable (for visual use or shorter exposures): G11, CGE.

#12 DrGolds

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 05:53 PM

Thanks for the input, Rod.

Does the CGE Pro head break down into anything smaller than 75 lbs? I noticed that the Titan head break down into two pieces of 37.5 lbs, which is a lot more tolerable than a single 75 lb head.

-Jeff

#13 Dan G

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 06:53 PM

Jeff -

If later, for the C14, is a few years you might consider a Tak EM-200. The polar alignment scope is great and allows you to be well aligned within minutes. It's lightweight -easier to set up often means more frequently used - and carries 35 lbs of gear for imaging with no problem. Used ones can be had for <$4k.

Dan in NY

#14 Strgazr27

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:24 PM

Jeff,

Yes it does but they are not quite as light as the Losmandy. The side cradles that the mount pivots on in Alt and AZ can be left bolted to the electronics pier. You loosen the upper two lock knobs and remove the lower two. You can than lift the mount section up and out of the lower cradle setup. Hope that is a clear description.

#15 Alex Ranous

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:56 PM

A MI-250 can handle the C14 pretty well. Like the AP mounts, it breaks down into two pieces, the heaviest being 38 lb. Larry has updated it recently, and is now rated for 85 lbs imaging.

I'm in the same boat as you as I'm starting with wide field first before moving onto deep sky. I'm currently using a NP-101is on a MI-250. I'd be happy to have you come over for a look. As I'm in Redwood City also, that shouldn't be too tough.

#16 DrGolds

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 10:55 PM

Thanks for the info, Dan and Bobby. More things to think about! :)

-Jeff

#17 DrGolds

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 10:57 PM

A MI-250 can handle the C14 pretty well. Like the AP mounts, it breaks down into two pieces, the heaviest being 38 lb. Larry has updated it recently, and is now rated for 85 lbs imaging.

I'm in the same boat as you as I'm starting with wide field first before moving onto deep sky. I'm currently using a NP-101is on a MI-250. I'd be happy to have you come over for a look. As I'm in Redwood City also, that shouldn't be too tough.

Awesome, thanks for the data, Alex! I'd done some research on the MI-250, but didn't know much about it.

-Jeff

#18 rmollise

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 09:02 AM

Thanks for the input, Rod.

Does the CGE Pro head break down into anything smaller than 75 lbs? I noticed that the Titan head break down into two pieces of 37.5 lbs, which is a lot more tolerable than a single 75 lb head.

-Jeff


Yep...I'd have to check and see what the minimum weight is...but yeah, lighter than 75.

#19 Timber

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 10:47 PM

My vote inorder to mount everything on one mount at the same time, C-14, NP 127, camera's and all the rest;

For GoTo, AP 3600 ElCapitan

For Non GoTo, Beyers Series II

Both in the same weight carrying and quality league and both indestructable

Richard

#20 DrGolds

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 11:02 PM

My vote inorder to mount everything on one mount at the same time, C-14, NP 127, camera's and all the rest;

For GoTo, AP 3600 ElCapitan

For Non GoTo, Beyers Series II

Both in the same weight carrying and quality league and both indestructable

The AP is certainly a beautiful mount, but I think that's a bit out of my budget at the moment... Maybe if we do some "home improvement" and I build an observatory :grin: What else are HELOC loans good for??

By the way, with the amount of light pollution here, I think GoTo is a must-have. Star hopping, while educational, would be quite frustrating I think. I can't even make out the Little Dipper visually, aside from Polaris :/

Rod,

Good to know about the CGE Pro. It's a pretty tempting solution.

Thanks all!

-Jeff

#21 Timber

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 11:14 PM

For the Non GoTo it's just a matter of setting the setting circles, just like a goto except manual not computer driven, don't have to star-hop.

Richard

#22 Bowmoreman

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 11:30 PM



What would be the ideal mount for the NP127is? Later, I hope to get a C14 for DSO imaging so I'd want a mount stable enough for imaging with the C14 as well. I was considering the CGE Pro, but since I can't set up a permanent pier where I am (no good site), I think it's probably too large for me to set-up regularly... The 75 lb head is somewhat daunting. The $5000 price-point (at least that's what I can find on-line) makes it quite desirable, though, compared to the other options.

For even wider-field shots, I was planning on piggy-backing my modified 40D with various lenses on top of the NP127is.

Looking at the various choices in this class, the CGE might be an option, but I've read that it's rather difficult to set-up compared to the newer CGEM and CGE Pro, so I was going to pass on the CGE.

Thanks for any suggestions,

-Jeff


With the C14 in the mix it goes like this:

Ideal: AP1200

Very good indeed: AP900, CGE Pro, Losmandy Titan

Bearable (for visual use or shorter exposures): G11, CGE.


I'd suggest not forgetting about the Mountain Instruments MI-250... basically the equal of the AP900 in terms of capacity, quality of build, tracking ability, etc... and it breaks down into some fairly reasonable component parts (each about 30-35 pounds)... I'd rate it as slightly easier to setup/tear-down than my CGE was...

Frankly, if you're considering mounting BOTH a C14 and a NP127, I think you're pretty much limited to (in price order):

Paramount, AP1200, AP900, MI-250 or Losmandy Titan, and then CGE Pro... I just don't think a G11, or CGE can handle that much for AP... visual, yes, AP doubtful (unless maybe on a permanent pier in an observatory), but that's not OP's use case...

The new generation MI-250 at the current sale price of $7250 is quite attractive (versus an AP900 anyways)... and it's 85# capacity is quite robust...

clear enough skies

#23 DrGolds

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 12:35 AM

The new generation MI-250 at the current sale price of $7250 is quite attractive (versus an AP900 anyways)... and it's 85# capacity is quite robust...

$7250 for the MI-250 doesn't include a tripod or pier though, right? That's one thing in favor of the Titan which is at a similar price point.

-Jeff

#24 Dean

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 08:55 AM

Ideal: AP1200

Very good indeed: AP900, CGE Pro, Losmandy Titan


Because he has to setup & tear down each night,I would put an EM400 near or at the top of the list. It breaks down into 3 pieces, the heaviest being 45 lbs and the polar scope will have him polar aligned in two minutes.

#25 ratdog11

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 11:02 AM

Dean,
You are spot on with everything. Set-up, breakdown, polar aligning, and overall use is second to none in my opinion. If anyone owns any of the TAK EM series mounts you more than likely will agree, that you will not regret purchasing any one of these fine mounts. Just the polar scope alone was enough to sell me on the EM 200. Talk about a time saver! I also have the NP127is and I swear this mount was made for this scope. But in my case, I'm not concerned with riding a c14 on it either, even though I have a C11 which I use for visual most of the time. I also have a CGE and used it for AP with the 127is until I bought the EM200. The CGE a capable mount but nowhere in the class of a TAK. The EM400 can't be beat for your needs. It's pricey but you won't ever need to get another mount. Plus you own a $7000 scope so why chince on a cheaper mount? Just do it, go for it and purchase a Tak EM mount. You won't regret it. Just trying to help you spend your money .
Greg ;)






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