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CGE vs other contenders to replace CG5

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#1 SeattleStarGazer

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 06:38 PM

I have a CG-5 and have been pretty happy with it for a 4 inch refractor, but now that I have a larger scope (5" refractor) and am mounting a camera and other accessories, it just isn't sturdy enough or accurate enough. I know the CGEs are discontinued but there may be some avaialable. I saw one at last week's Oregon Star Party. I love the pier it has and the large altitude and azimuth adjustment knobs, as well as the solid feel. I'm also familiar with the software, for good or ill, I know it. I want to have accurate go-to function, reasonable tracking (I will add a guidescope), ease of use (hardware and software), and reliability. I want something that is just more solid than the CG-5. Looking at $2500-3000, but would be willing to spend less. Such as if the CGEM were reasonably competitive. I've heard Losmandys are good mechanically but the software is limited. The Vixen looks good, but I'm again not sure that the software is good. I know there are a lo of opinions already posted here, but haven't seen much on the CGE. Looking for feedback!

#2 mclewis1

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 07:12 PM

The CGE does indeed operate like a CG-5 so you'd immediately feel right at home. It is a big mount though ... it's up around 100lbs before you add scopes and counterweights so you really have to be ready for the weight. Either that or buy a Scopebuggy or the like and keep it on wheels.

The CGE doesn't have a altitude or azimuth adjustment knobs ... it has allen/hex head bolts that you turn with an allen wrench. Perhaps you were looking at either a CGEPro or a CGEM? The CGE also differs from a CG-5 in that it has position switches for a positive home position. These position switches also act as limit switches preventing the CGE from slewing much past the meridian. The CG-5 and CGEM have software limits and give you the ability to go past the meridian a bit before you have to flip when your imaging.

A CGE would carry a 5" refractor beautifully and be a great platform to load up for imaging. You could however also use a CGEM, it doesn't have quite as much capacity but is even more like your CG-5.

So, if you really have no problem with the weight of the CGE and have the budget go for the CGE. If you rely on carrying your scope a lot to setup and take down, and wheels are not an option then seriously look at the CGEM.

#3 Nebhunter

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:14 AM

There are always rumours floating around, and the Gemini software for the Losmandy G11 is one of them. Gemini is very powerful. It is criptic - like the old DOS version - with sub menus, and will do everything to match other software. It's just different.

If you do astro photography - simply set the Meridian Flip factor to 80 instead of the default 90 setting. If you Go To an object well before the meridian - the mount will flip so you can image without this problem before hand. Easy to set and change.

The CGE is a capable mount as well. Take advantage of knowing the software already - and maybe look for a good used one. There is nothing like having a big solid mount to grow into.

#4 Chris Rowland

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:35 AM

The CGEM could be a good alternative. More mass capacity than the CG5, not as heavy as the CGE, familiar control.

Celestron seem to have decided to continue supplying the CGE. It fits neatly between the CGEM and CGE Pro in both capacity and price so it makes sense for them to do so.

Chris

#5 starbob1

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 09:47 AM

I have the CGE in my observatory.For me it is to big a mount for field work'but many do this.I'am just lazy.The Mount has work great.Easy to use and goto are dead on and my guiding with PHD has been perfect.Only negatives are it is a big mount for lugging around and it does not track past the meridian.But it is the best mount for the money out their.It does alot right.

#6 AlanT

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 10:16 AM

I'll parrot what Starbob1 said. I have a CGE and it does a lot of things right, but being portable isn't one of them. I've become a wimp... Last week the club had a star party scheduled and my CG-5 was on the fritz. So I reluctantly took my CGE off the pier, packed up all the gear and headed out. When I got back, unpacked, and re set up on the pier, I was worn out. With the last bit of strength, I picked up the phone and ordered a new more portable mount :) . (scheduled to arrive today).

al

#7 SeattleStarGazer

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 11:48 AM

Thanks! You're right, it was the CGEM that had the nice alt and az adjustment knobs. The weight thing is "weighing" on me; I'm "of an age" where I'm not as able to horse big heavy things around any more. Plus the CGEM isn't supposedly discontinued. Plus the savings of about $1500 would be nice. Just didn't want to get into a mount and then decide I needed to upgrade 2 years later like with the CG-5!

#8 SeattleStarGazer

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 11:50 AM

Thanks Al,

The weight difference between the CGE and the CGEM is a big deal, as I am a little wimpy myself. Would you mind sharing what portable mount you are ordering?

#9 AlanT

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:17 PM

Thanks Al,

The weight difference between the CGE and the CGEM is a big deal, as I am a little wimpy myself. Would you mind sharing what portable mount you are ordering?


I'd been mulling it over for a while... looking to find an upgrade to the CG-5 that would be suitable for star parties and such, imaging & visual. The excursion with the CGE was just the tipping point for me.

I ordered a Losmandy GM-8 (w/Gemini). Its size and weight (listed at 36 lbs total for head & tripod) is substantially less than the CGE (over 80 lbs) or CGEM (about 60 lbs). Note however that either the CGE or CGEM (or the G-11) have substantially larger carrying capacities so I'll definitely be limited in the field.

al

#10 AntarcticDave

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 01:45 PM

I have a 6" refractor mounted on my CGEM and have been quite happy with it for visual use. I can't speak to imaging with it, at least not yet.

#11 CounterWeight

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:02 PM

Just want to add that the CGE is great for visual with, has a terrible time doing AP with my larger triplet refractor. Just my own experience. YMMV.

#12 ROTAG

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 06:58 PM

I upgraded from a cg5 to a cgem. It looks good,may be good mechanically but the goto is unusable,cant even do a two star aligment Its going back.
ROTAG.australia

#13 SeattleStarGazer

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 11:37 PM

Ouch! Really sorry to hear that. I hope your problem gets resolved to your satisfaction! Is it possible there is a bug with operation in the Southern hemisphere?

#14 Chris Rowland

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:47 AM

Is it possible there is a bug with operation in the Southern hemisphere?

There was, it's been fixed.

Chris

#15 FoxTrot

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 04:02 AM

Hi SeattleSG, Fox here (!) well I'm pretty much in the same boat as you are, having upgraded to 5-inch class now. The LXD75 is usable, but I know sooner or later I will need a slightly beefier GEM. I'm wondering if Celestron/Synta will upgrade the CG5 to an HEQ5Pro type (ie. a notch below CGEM class), of if the HEQ5Pro itself will soon undergo another iteration. The CGEM and CGE both seem a tad too big wrt portability. My ideal mount would be HEQ5Pro with the Nexstar HC. The only other option seems the Vixen SXW, but I'm not swayed by Starbook.

#16 Luigi

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 09:17 AM

If you're reasonable at star hopping, a non-Gemini G11 is a great way to go. The tripod is rock solid under just about any load. I had one for 10+ years before selling it to upgrade to a CG5ASGT...perhaps not an upgrade in raw performance but certainly an upgrade in portability, and I'm quite satisfied with the way works with my ~16lb OTAs. I still starhop though.

#17 Mick Hyde

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 09:21 AM

I bought a CGE a couple of months back, as an upgrade to a AS-GT. I have a C9.25 and Takahashi Sky-90 mounted on it.
Works a treat. It is quite a bit chunkier than the AS-GT, a major step up.

New Mount.
C9.25 and Sky-90
In situ
In situ 2

#18 donsinger1

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 10:10 AM

I upgraded from a cg5 to a cgem. It looks good,may be good mechanically but the goto is unusable,cant even do a two star aligment Its going back.
ROTAG.australia


Weird. I have a CGEM which has worked very well out of the box. Gotos are spot on (in the field of my 2/3" CCD chip) and I have done 5 minute guided exposures with no problem (my guiding duration is limited by my L Pollution...I am sure the CGEM could continue to truck on).

Funny you are looking at moving up from a CG% as I am looking to buy a CG5 for travel (keep CGEM on pier).

Don

#19 SeattleStarGazer

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:07 PM

I did star-hop exclusively when I had an alt-az "Push-to" mount, but found it fiendishly difficult with a GEM. Lack of hand-eye coordination between trying to do up-down-left-right moves using DEC and RA!






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