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Looking for more info about iOptron Mini Tower...

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#1 Dominique

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:37 AM

Hello!

I'm in the process to buy a computerized alt-az mount. I saw the review about the Mini Tower from iOptron. But I would like to read more about it from other users. Does it worth its cost? Is it as friendly to use as it is reported to be?
I'm looking for a mount that will be easy and fast to set up. I also want to be able to control it with a computer (it has a USB port?) To say the truth, the possibility to install two instruments is very attracting because I want to use it for educational purposes.
Any comments? Do you like it? Don't like it? How is the aiming precision? How is the tracking? Do you have any other suggestion?

All replies will be appreciated!

:help:

Dominique

#2 GShaffer

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 11:43 AM

I bought used for $550.....very pleased with it, light, accurate, easy to use. Though I will say I probably wouldnt buy one new at the current prices. Does have usb and can be controlled using a computer. Thumbs up!

#3 deepskytraveler

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 01:37 PM

I've had my MiniTower for 10 months and continue to be pleased and thrilled with it. It is light-enough to be grab & go yet it is able to support some hefty size scopes. Leveling the mount is somewhat of a challenge, alignment is easy and go-to accuracy is excellent if you've leveled well. Using my 90mm refractor and the MiniTower I get out observing significantly more than I ever use to when I only observed with a dob. The MT makes it easy to setup and observe in my heavily light polluted skies at home.

The major downside with the MiniTower from my perspective is its very poor double star catalog and the inability to upload objects from a computer into the user-defined catalog in the 8401 handcontroller.

Mark

#4 Dominique

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 03:29 PM

Hello again and many thanks for the answers!

Mark, the fact that no object can be uploaded is not an issue for me because I want to control it with a computer that will contain the catalogs... Well, I understand it from the point of view of someone who wants to use it stand alone in the field.

I have two more questions?

1) Does it need to be perfectly leveled to be used? If so, how long does it take to perform the leveling typically?

2) Does someone know about the Mini-Tower Pro iOptron advertises on its site but with the mention "coming soon"?

Regards,

Dominique

#5 GShaffer

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 04:13 PM

No it doesnt have to be perfectly leveled but the closer you get it the more accurate it will be in the initial lineup phase. Personally I have had no trouble with leveling though.

No info on the "Pro"

#6 Wes James

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 04:45 PM

Dominique-
There is a Yahoo user group for the iOptron products here... I would highly recommend joining it. Trapezium Telescopes has a strong presence on there; Steve is the only dealer who personally checks out/tunes up each mount prior to shipping out- and also offers a unique Tinkman roller bearing upgrade to the scope that further improves the mount. I have one on order from him, he's working on a batch right now that mine will ship from. With his unique services, I would not consider ordering from anywhere else. He's also a great source on the forum of answers to technical issues. I'm looking forward to receiving mine. He regularly uses his with a Burgess 127/8 refractor on it- a pretty good sized scope- which is one of the scopes I plan on using with mine.
Good luck if you decide to get one, they have a pretty strong following. I'd say the weakest link of the mounts is the tripods, which aren't real heavy-duty... I plan on replacing mine when I get it with something a little sturdier.

#7 johnpd

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 12:41 AM

I initially had some issues leveling the IOptron MT. The bubble level drove me crazy. I now use a small T-level to help me get level. Also the original level adjustment knobs were difficult to use. The newer "star" leveling knobs are much better. It is a great mount.

#8 asteroid7

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:26 AM

Yes, ignore the bubble, easier to use a regular level.
Make sure you tighten the ALT KNOB. This is a weak feature of the mount, especially if you use heavier eyepieces and a Powermate.
Do use SYNC. Gets better gotos.
My GPS still does not work. I tried the vairous "cures"
But you do not need the GPS. Just enter time and date, etc,
manually.

Rich

#9 Telescopeman54

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:39 AM

Dominique:

The mount works best when as level as possible. Not all of the levels in the earlier mounts were perfectly set. The SYNC command helps to resolve that issue.

GShaffer: YOU got a BARGAIN! Enjoy it!

Wes: Thank you very much. You are most kind. We try very hard to make certain that EVERY MT owner is happy with their purchase.

John: The new knobs are easier to turn. However, some of us miss the locking collars.

Rich: You have a warranty! Use it! Contact me directly if you need help. There is no reason why your GPS should not be working.

CS

Steve

#10 EdTheEdge

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 10:46 AM

I'd say the weakest link of the mounts is the tripods, which aren't real heavy-duty... I plan on replacing mine when I get it with something a little sturdier.


How difficult is it to change out the tripods on these?

#11 Telescopeman54

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 11:47 AM

You would need to make up some kind of adapter because the leveling screws hold the mount up to allow access to the azimuth clutch.

Steve

#12 Dominique

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:24 PM

Thanks a lot, everybody!

For the tripod, I'll probably use another one because I would prefer a pier. I understand that I'll have to build an adaptor but it is not too difficult for me.

For the level, well, I'll use my carpenter level... just a little surprised to see how those low technology gadget are neglected on some rather high-tech devices... (joking!)

For the GPS, of course I can enter the co-ordinates by hand. But I'll test it before the end of the warranty period. I assume a significant fraction of the price is for the GPS, I'll use it.

Thanks again... still looking for more info about the Mini Tower Pro.

Dominique






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