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G11 vs CGE

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#1 w orchid

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 07:26 PM

If you were two choose only one of these goto mounts, which one will you pick? The mount will be used for imaging with a 4 or 5 inch refractor, will be transported to dark sites, and using multiple cameras.

#2 kbastro

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 08:17 PM

G11 hands down with the gemini goto

better gears, better tripod and a proven performer

#3 GShaffer

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 10:26 PM

I am going to concur with kbastro......Dont own either one but I do have a G8 and have played with both a CGE and a G11.....G11 wins.

#4 tidroplane

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 12:48 AM

I havn`t used the CGE, but I do own a G-11 and couldn`t be more satesfied, very well built and rock solid.

#5 Trebor777

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 12:51 AM

I'm gonna say the CGE - because no one else has :grin:...and I just got one 2 weeks ago.

#6 greekoh

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 08:04 AM

Hey Randy and any CGE owner.

How is the tracking when auto guiding and have you had to tweak anything out of the box regarding Pec?
My understanding is the mount wont track past the Meridian with recalibrating and if so is this a pain.

I’m considering a CGE and or G11 for imaging

Thanks
Troy

#7 Charlie Hein

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 08:55 AM

It almost doesn't matter what GEM you use - there is a risk of running into the pier or having the mount actually crash into itself when running past the meridian with the scope in certain positions. The two mounts deal with this in different ways. The CGE has a hard mechanical stop to prevent this. The G-11 has software limits that you can set to avoid crashes.

My G-11 tracks very well and autoguides very nicely. Here is an example image at just about 1 arcsecond resolution per pixel on the G-11...

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#8 David Pavlich

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 09:38 AM

i'm a CGE fan with one caveat...before first light, you need to install the very inexpensive Marty cables. Once these are installed, the CGE becomes a very nice mount.

David

#9 Bowmoreman

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 09:53 AM

My CGE worked fabulously (and now Randy has it!) but strongly concur on the cable "upgrade" (their wicked inexpensive, and if they were marketed by an astronomy outfit, no doubt would be 10X the price - but STILL worth it!)...

One observation that will ultimately come up, so I'll broach it:

The "fear" of learning the supposedly complex Gemini system.

Well, I just converted 2 weeks ago from CGE to MI-250, which meant learning Gemini coming from NextStar.

Short version: a total non-event, and now I PREFER Gemini
Longer version: I had one "mishap" which was really more of a "RTFM Fool!" moment. I entered my Civil Time, instead of UTC during the cold startup... after all, every other GoTo system uses CIVIL time! :lol:

Once past that... I now find Gemini to be hugely intuitive, dead-easy to use WITHOUT LOOKING at the HC!!!

And, most importantly, more powerful and accurate. Now, the caveat on "more accurate" is that I also have a new and bigger/better mount... so that comment may be PART the mount...

But, I believe the ability to continually build an ever bigger pointing model has something to do with it as well.

So, don't let the "fear of Gemini" be the reason to choose between two very fine mounts: the CGE and the G11...

Final caveat: I have NO experience with the G11, only a noob's experiences with Gemini on an MI-250.

Clear enough skies

#10 mclewis1

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 11:14 AM

G11 hands down with the gemini goto better gears, better tripod and a proven performer

Better tripod - yup but how much better (it's certainly heavier but I've never seen any difference in dampening times) and at what cost? ... the G11 is over $500 more than the CGE.
Better gears - in some ways yes (finer teeth) but some of the differences between the gears actually induces a minor issue (the way the G11 worm is mounted causes the 76s error), there are however some nice worm upgrades for the G11 (again more $). In the end the average PE from both late model CGEs and G11s appears to be very similar. The bigger issue is the smoothness of the PE curve. With a fairly smooth PE, applied PPEC and a properly setup autoguider you'd be hard pressed to see any difference in your images between the mounts.
Proven performer - both are very well proven, and very well respected. There are equally great images taken with either mount. The problem is comparing them since there are waaay too many other variables in the images (scope, flexure, polar alignment, atmospheric conditions, processing tricks, etc.).

Pointing accuracy, ease of polar alignment, setup time, and carrying capacity are all similar. The CGE sw is easier to upgrade (firmware download vs. a new PROM). From here you can go back and forth on many minor differences, but IMHO they tend to all fall into the category of just getting used to a different ways of doing something.

Personally I'd take the $500 difference and use the money for some other equipment.

#11 antilles72

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 12:32 PM

Hey Mark, how well does the CGE handle the C11? Do you use it for AP and Visual?

#12 Trebor777

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 01:26 PM

Hey Mark, how well does the CGE handle the C11? Do you use it for AP and Visual?


Don't know how much the C11 weighs, but I've thrown a 50# setup SN10, TMB92SS & goodies) on the CGE and it slews it around like it's a feather. As long as it's balanced correctly I haven't had an issue.

I also like the CGE's alignment set-up. 2 star align - polar alignment - 2 star align - 4 calibration stars works great. GoTo's are spot on. I like the polar alignment routine - especially since you don't need a polar alignment scope. It's a lot easier then with my Atlas.

I also got a great deal on the CGE with a bunch of upgrades the previos owner did - cables, ADM knobs, pier adapter, AMD side-by-side adapter (Thanx Dave). You can pick up a used CGE for around $2000-$2300 depending on the seller/condition.

But, I'm sure the G-11 is a good step up. How much of a step up is probably a personal preference. CGE is also rated at 65#'s, while the G-11 is at 60#'s.

Also, I'm pretty sure there's a wait list for the G-11's - (astronomics has them in stock though, so I'm probably wrong) and I was thinking that the CGE would be more available.

But the G-11 is probably "better" than the CGE, but they're both great performers.

#13 RogerLaureys

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 01:33 PM

Hi,
I have both mounts but I prefer the CGE. It's far more user friendly then the G11.
Best regards,
Roger

#14 jrbarnett

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 02:12 PM

I'm in the exact same boat. I find myself needing a 60+ pound capacity mount, and the G-11 Gemini and CGE are the front runners. Mine won't be used for imaging, though I am leaning toward an image intensifying eyepiece, but will travel quite a bit. Gemini firmware takes some practice. I already know Nexstar's commands. CGE is less expensive, but lacks analog setting circles. Neither is really optimal for a C-14 OTA, which is likely the largest portable OTA I would be mounting ever. The G-11 is easy to tinker with and has tons of parts available for it. The CGE *may* be on the way out or otherwise due for a major overhaul/redesign shortly. I don't like the orange on the CGE but like its chunky robotic look. I don't like the standard G-11 tripod. Gemini requires many more alignment stars, but may be more accurate, but since I'm not imaging I really don't care. CGEs need new cables out of the box. G-11 Geminis (at least early ones) burned out motors with some frquency - care and feeding regarding gear mesh and the like are mandatory.

It's such a close call for me. I'm really interested in the responses thus far. Maybe I should bite the bullet and get an A-P 900 that doesn't really have any drawbacks for my intended use (other than almost 3x the cost!).

Regards,

Jim

#15 jrbarnett

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 02:15 PM

Aren't the gears on the G-11 aluminum and the gears on the CGE bronze? If so, bronze ought to be better and more durable.

Regards,

Jim

#16 Bowmoreman

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 02:16 PM

I already knew NextStar after over a year's solid use... but made the transition to Gemini in one night... yeah, it's complexity is over-hyped in my direct experience (and I definitely WAS worried about it!)

that said, if you're purely Visual, I think either will work fine...

Frankly, nothing about either of these screams "portable" to me, but then I'm a fast falling apart 50 year old! :lol:

And I think either WOULD handle a C14 for visual... but again, I'm not so sure C14's meet MY personal definition of portable... YMMV

clear enough skies

#17 mclewis1

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 02:23 PM

Hey Mark, how well does the CGE handle the C11? Do you use it for AP and Visual?

Royston, The C11 at 27lbs (+ ~5 for "accessories") is a breeze for the CGE. The issue is that loooong 2800+mm focal length. An F6.3 reducer is a necessity and I usually use my refractor at 650-800mm a lot more often when imaging. I really like to get the overall weight down when I'm imaging so I've even gone away from an 80mm refractor with rings as a guide scope and am now using a converted 50mm finderscope (with a 2x barlow lens so it's running at around 400mm).

I use the C11 with the 115mm refractor side by side for visual work all the time ... that setup is well over 50lbs and the CGE handles it (when properly balanced) just fine.

Here is a picture of the sub 3lb autoguider on the C11/CGE combo.

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#18 antilles72

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 02:25 PM

Thanks Randy. I would like to get a mid level GEM in the next year and these are on the short list. I would add a 8-11" SC or a 6" refractor scope to the 80ED . Can't make up my mind yet, but there is time. The C11 is at 28lbs and with an ED80 on top, plus other accessories, I am sure the total weight will be around 50lbs.

#19 antilles72

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 02:31 PM

Thanks Mark. Seems like that is a good way to go for imaging, weight wise. This is exactly the info I am looking for . Good to know there is a mount under 3k that can fit my needs (my wife would say wants).

#20 David Pavlich

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 03:42 PM

The CGE or G11 will handle the C14 easily for visual and that's from experience. I believe Dwight, one of our imagers, was using a 14" Meade/Hyperstar on a G11. The Meade is in the neighborhood of 65-70lbs. :shocked: Dwight did some nice imaging with it. Granted, it's Hyperstar equipped, but it does say something for the G11. I imaged with about 70lbs on my CGE, so it can be done. However, my CGE was on a permanent pier and that also makes a difference.

David

#21 blueman

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 03:46 PM

I also went through this and I bought the G-11 Gemini.

I have a few reasons, but one of them is user friendly as far as maintenance is concerned. You can get the parts and replace them yourself when it is out of warranty. You can buy aftermarket upgrades for it for the worm and motors as well as gearboxes to improve the already great PE.

With the CGE, you have to send it in for just about anything. It does not track past Meridian and my G-11 will do about 2 hours past Meridian which to me is important.

Yes, there is the 76 sec error which is totally overstated and for most is not a problem. But if you want you can add the OVision worm and block and have performance that is as good as many mount costing 2-3x more. My mount (with the OVision) has 4.5" PE peak to peak uncorrected and is not a problem to guide out. Others are reporting as low a 3" peak to peak with the OVision.

The G-11 has been around a long time and parts are available that will fit any of them. This is important over time as you will likely own the mount for many years.

The tripod is like a pier it is so solid. The adjustments for Polar Alignment are simple to use and reach. It has a good Polar Scope available as well as great Polar Align Correction or Assistance routines in the Gemini to refine the Polar Alignment in just a few minutes.

Plus it is all CNC machined aluminum with no cast parts. It has stood the test of time and is a great mount.
Blueman

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#22 kbastro

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 04:53 PM

[quote name="blueman"]I also went through this and I bought the G-11 Gemini.


Good choice Blueman I have used my g11 since 1994 when it was know as the cg11 built for celestron by losmandy and couldn't be happier.
The mount has performed extremely well and the only thing I did to it was order the gemini upgrade about 4 years ago!

kbastro

#23 jrbarnett

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 04:55 PM

I do like the looks of it too, Floyd. A very nice looking mount. Isn't it hard to level the standard tripod though?

Regards,

Jim

#24 blueman

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 07:11 PM

Hi JR,
Not really, you can loosen the clamp and due to the angle of the leg it will hold until you grab it and pull it in or out. I do not find it had to level compared to any other tripod I have used. It is very solid and sits nicely in gravel, sand or even grass. You can get some nice boots for the leg ends too, if you like that sort of thing.
I just really like everything about the G-11. Sure, it is not perfect, but what mount really is unless you spend $10,000+!

My PE before the OVision was about 10" peak to peak, more or less. But I bought the OVision Worm and Block and the MClennan gearboxes because I wanted to make it work the best it could possibly work. The cost was about $600 for the mods, but add that to the $3200 of the mount and you have $3800 in a mount with PE that is under 5" peak to peak with nice smooth tracking. It was not really necessary, but to get the same performance I would have had to buy an AP900, which would have cost me $9,500-10,500 for the complete setup. So I figure I am in it pretty cheap really.

I get good results with a nice quiet mount with great Go-To and tacking as well as good looks and reasonable weight. It will handle 60 lbs no problem and will track an object for 6+ hours without a Meridian flip, depending on its position of course.
It is easy to work on and maintain, with quick removal of motors or gearboxes with minimum tools. The whole thing can be disassembled for cleaning and lubing in a short time without special tools too.
This is a PHD guiding graph before the mods.
Blueman

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#25 greekoh

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 08:26 PM

Blueman
Wow thats pretty good tracking before the mods.
Where do you buy the upgrades from?

EVen though the Gemini is a little more I like the flexibility to upgrade.
Also I need a solution that is rock solid if I need to setup outside my observatory a few hundred yards from the house.

My FOV is limited in the southern sky
Troy






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