Jump to content


Photo

Vixen Atlux vs Celestron CGE Pro

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
14 replies to this topic

#1 DaemonGPF

DaemonGPF

    Redonkulous

  • *****
  • Posts: 8201
  • Joined: 22 Mar 2008

Posted 03 February 2010 - 10:09 PM

Since the CGE seems to be on the endangered list now, I've been reconsidering the next step up in mounts. A mount line that just never occured to me as a consideration was the Vixen mounts. I know very little about them other than the specs on the web.

Basing it solely off of what I've read from the Vixen and Celestron sites, I wanted to do a quick comparison and seek some additional feedback for the things I am likely overlooking.

Vixen Atlux
$5000
PE non-corrected +/- 8"
PEC +/- 2"
Capacity 75 lbs
Weight 66 lbs ???

Celestron CGE Pro
$5000
PE non-corrected +/- 9"
PEC +/- 4"
Capacity 90 lbs
Weight 154 lbs

All of this is assuming using the PEC out of the box, and no modifications or external software.

Obvious difference is hand controller vs Starbook.

If all of the info off of the "Cereal Boxes" is correct, it seems like an Atlux is a bit more portable with better accuracy at the expense of 15 lbs capacity, but at the same price. Is this a correct assessment?

Next question, anyone use an Atlux or other Vixen mounts and what's your take on this?

#2 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20633
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006

Posted 04 February 2010 - 12:32 AM

Careful with Vixen "capacity" ratings in the US. Some quote them inclusive of counterweights (meaning actual OTA capacity is MUCH lower) and some quote them exclusive of counterweights. IMO the Vixen Japan site is the only reliable place to find Vixen mount load rating data.

According to Vixen Japan, the Atlux has a 48# capacity, exclusive of counterweights. These mounts aren't remotely in the same capacity class as a result.

Regards,

Jim

#3 ericsolo

ericsolo

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 71
  • Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posted 04 February 2010 - 02:04 AM

Josh
I can't comment on the Celestron mount, but I do own a New Atlux/Starbook. The Atlux has now been replaced with a Losmandy G11/Gemini, which I find far better (for far less money).

You should compare all of the capabilities of both mounts before deciding, such as polar alignment routines, GoTo alignment modelling, tracking rates and object catalogues. If you are planning to use PEC, be aware that the Starbook cannot save PEC data from one session to another. Nor can it be uploaded from third party applications such as PemPro. You have to retrain the mount each time it is powered up. It also can't save the alignment model, so you have to do a minimum 4 star alignment each time.

The Starbook is annoyingly bright, and dimming it renders it difficult to read.

I was never able to achieve satisfactory Goto accuracy or autoguiding either.

On the positive side, it is a very compact mount, and the mechanical altitude/azimuth controls are quite precise.

Regarding the weight capacity, I was advised by Vixen Optics that it is 75 lbs including counterweights for photographic use.

Eric

#4 adamsp123

adamsp123

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 807
  • Joined: 20 Nov 2008

Posted 04 February 2010 - 04:14 AM

I own both an Atlux and Sphinx mount and I really like them, as the previous post says the starbooks, which BTW I find so easy to use are bright, this is due to the LCD technology, I use a piece of dark neutral density plastic filter on mine.
Regarding the gotos, I intially was not impressed with the Atlux until I re-read the instructions now I can get deadly accurate gotos.
You must align to one side of the meridian, I use 2 stars more than 10 degrees apart, align on each and repeat (BTW starbook can have 14 align points) by which time I find it is normally spot on. After a meridian flip just repeat, I can now have gotos sorted in a very quick time.
I don't use PEC as I autoguide and when guiding the Backlash control must be turned off, I find both the Atlux and Sphinx guide just fine, any woes I have are to do with differential flexture, cable drag, etc etc.
The polarscopes are good.

#5 DaemonGPF

DaemonGPF

    Redonkulous

  • *****
  • Posts: 8201
  • Joined: 22 Mar 2008

Posted 04 February 2010 - 07:51 AM

That's interesting, I didn't think about the counterweights being inclusive of that total load capacity rating. Very good to know. Also didn't know the PEC didn't stick. All of that being said, very different mounts comparing the CGE and Atlux. Eric, I've been looking at the Losmandy details for a while. It does look like you can work the PEC down on the G11 from about 9" to 2" which I would consider astounding for the price. How is the interface? I've never used a Losmandy mount. I've used Meade and Celestron mounts exclusively for the last several years. I find the Celestron HCs to be very intuitive, Meade not so much.

I should point out my aim is for imaging almost exclusively. PEC and Capacity are important to me, but so are other features that I haven't mentioned on here. I do appreciate Go To since it make for a good time saver. I've mostly driven my last few mounts from my laptop almost exclusively. How is the G11 in that respect?

#6 scope dog

scope dog

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1501
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2004

Posted 04 February 2010 - 08:33 AM

Max load Atlux 50, G11 60, CGE 65, I think. I personally think that all can handle much more. The limitation is I believe is the tripod as most ratings should be based on the weakest setup. That one bolt or what insurance says is the deciding factor.
I have compare both Atlux CI700H Both are compared. The CGE and CI700 use the same shaft and bearing setup. I am not impressed. As you can see I have done extensive modification to the CI700H too perform accurate GOTO's.
I have tested my CI700H with 120lbs load and 65lbs counter.
Though the mount had no problems, my concern was the tripod.
The Atlux is a marvel in machining, it is truly excellent mount of design amd material. The starbook was a PIA but since and finally the latest update the goto's are excellent. As far as backlash the Atlux is tight, real tight, if the mount was sloppy this couldn't happen, or using a aluminum worm issues will occur. If anyone uses a tripod and beyond 50lbs or what the MFG reccomends a lot of things can go wrong and a soild pier is highly suggested.

#7 mclewis1

mclewis1

    Thread Killer

  • ****-
  • Posts: 11071
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2006

Posted 04 February 2010 - 08:45 AM

How is the interface? I've never used a Losmandy mount. I've used Meade and Celestron mounts exclusively for the last several years. I find the Celestron HCs to be very intuitive, Meade not so much.

Josh,

Night and day comparison. First remember that Losmandy mounts are just that, the basic mount. To get goto you add a Gemini system to the mount. They are usually sold together as a complete package. The Gemini is a very functional system with a very basic interface. It has a minimal number of buttons and a heavier emphasis on sub menus. The analogy often used when comparing Gemini to Celestron HC is a DOS command line to a graphical interface. Both will get the job done but you use different steps to do so.

Given your strong emphasis on imaging, and if your equipment payload is under 40lbs I'd suggest a G11/Gemini and look into a couple of physical upgrades (gear box and Ovision worm). You'll be under $4000 and should have a smooth low PE. I wouldn't pay too much attention to the actual PE numbers, what you really want are smooth errors that are easy to autoguide out.

If you need to handle substantially more than 40lbs go with the CGEPro and spend a little time tuning the mount.

#8 ericsolo

ericsolo

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 71
  • Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posted 04 February 2010 - 12:50 PM

The Gemini/laptop interface is quite good. You can connect with any of the common planetarium applications such as Carts du Ciel using ASCOM or the TheSky6/The SkyX through the proprietary Bisque driver. TheSkyX has a very nice interface to Gemini (you can access the Gemini settings and modelling parameters, as well as control the scope). There is also a new ASCOM driver that allows you to input data to Gemini through a computer interface, as well as control the mount using a Gamepad (which I haven't tried yet).

The Gemini itself is very "DOS like" as others have said and is a throw back in terms of ergonomics and design. I don't really like it, but it works well, which is more important.

Further to the comments above about GoTo accuracy, I have followed all of the Vixen Optics' advice regarding four star alignments, with little success. GoTo accuracy is important to me because I remote control the mount (being somewhat cold here in the winter, I prefer to stay inside). With the Losmandy, all I need to do is "Warm Restart" the mount and the GoTo's are spot on.

Regarding "tweaking" the G11, I have an OVision worm that is not installed yet, as I want to collect stats on the basic mount to see if the Ovision makes an improvement. However even the stock Losmandy

Finally, the G11 tripod is very robust for AP, the Vixen tripod not so much. You would likely want to mount an Atlux on a pier.

Eric

#9 scope dog

scope dog

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1501
  • Joined: 26 Jul 2004

Posted 04 February 2010 - 04:20 PM

Josh,
Interesting fact is mounts sometimes need updates. Vixen Starbook is able to be updates by a free download by Vixen.
Also consider that also they offer a 5 year warranty.
I was looking at http://www.docgoerlich.de/Gemini.html appears to me any update requires a chip replacement, unless you can burn them yourself. But since you will be buying new it should be fine.
Regardless both systems are nice. I did consider going with the gemini some time back for my CI700 but I didn't like how the motors hang out with the encoder cables or the now dated PC-RS232. The CI700 has these long knobs and I bent one. Going through that I decided to use and refit a skysensor 2k to the mount. There the motors are nicely tucked away where I can't bump or bend when placing in a case. Here Antonio refitted a SSK to the G11, nice job, but then again the motors stick out.
The SS2K offers dead on goto's a little slow when cold, due to the power brick V drop.
When I decided to remotely use my CI700H mount, issues with controller distance occured because of voltage drop and was slower. I went with the Atlux, since the driver board is located inside the base of the mount power was not a problem, and running the controller 30' away works well too, computer to starbook is a cat5 connection and I think that can be 100'.
As of now I have no issues with the Starbook it seems to meet my needs, it is unique with display and goto function. If I develope issues with the starbook later I will just retro the gemini or something to the atlux if needed.

#10 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20633
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006

Posted 04 February 2010 - 10:33 PM

Josh:

If you have $5k to $6k burning a hole in your pocket, want a mount for primarily imaging, and don't NEED 90#-ish capacity, I would instead go with either an Astro-Physics Mach 1 GTO or a Takahashi EM-200 Temma II. Both have between 40# and 50# capacity (conservative) and either will track better than the two mounts you list. Likewise both will hold their value better to boot.

Cheers,

Jim

#11 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20633
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006

Posted 04 February 2010 - 10:37 PM

While I am not a big fan of Losmandy mounts or Gemini, it's only fair to point out that replacing a Gemini EPROM is much simpler than updating hand controller firmware. Swapping the EPROM takes about fifteen seconds including removal of covers, and a new EPROM costs all of $20. I see little point in flashing your own.

Cheers,

Jim

#12 DaemonGPF

DaemonGPF

    Redonkulous

  • *****
  • Posts: 8201
  • Joined: 22 Mar 2008

Posted 05 February 2010 - 08:46 AM

Thanks guys this is a lot of info to consider.

Jim, I considered a Tak EM200 Temma II jr for a while, but I've been doing a lot of reading about them and was shocked at all of the little annoyances several owners seem to agree on. There's a few reviews out there mentioning several of the same things. No PEC, prior generation electronics, and other quirks. I know they are solid mounts, much more portable than say a CGE Pro, But I think at this point in time I'd consider an AP mount over a Tak. It just seems like Tak needs to overhaul their EM mounts. Maybe that's just my impression from limited practical exposure, but I read enough to sway me from considering it right now. Maybe a used one at a good price would be worthwhile to me.

Jim (scope dog), that's good to know about the CAT 5 connection. You can go 100m or 328ft before suffering degradation. I'm hoping to move this year and will at that point begin looking at a more permanent setup (dome most likely). I do intend to remotely operate a majority of the time.

Mark, Eric, As far as "DOS-like" goes, we're talking manual interface with the HC at that point right? This would be negated using something like Starry Night or The Sky as far as slewing and target finding right? I'm guessing my only HC concerns in that respect would be around tuning and tweaking the mount settings?

#13 ericsolo

ericsolo

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 71
  • Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posted 05 February 2010 - 11:48 AM

Josh, yes the "DOS like" comment refer to the Hand Controller. There have been recent discussions on this forum about the longevity of the Gemini Electronics. Search for "Gemini!Parts Available", within the last week. As you will see, it is a heated discussion.

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

There is a new Gemini driver available from the ASCOM site, and you could download it and see for yourself. Tuning and tweaking can be done through this interface. TheSky6 and TheSkyX have interfaces to both the Starbook and Gemini. TheSkyX is more sophisticated, but not as much as the ASCOM interface. The Sky products can slew and synchronize the scope.

I remote control my G11 through wireless Remote Desktop. However, I found that with the StarBook plugged into the remote computer, wireless remote desktop is not possible. I think the solution may be a wireless switch in the observatory.

Eric

#14 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20633
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006

Posted 05 February 2010 - 12:07 PM

Josh:

I would probably agree on the Tak EM-200 comments. Tak does seem to be gradually updating their mounting offerings; nuking the NJP and filling its gap with the new EM-400. I note, however, that the Atlas, Synta EQ6 and CGEM seem to be "designer impostors" based roughly on the EM-200 formula (take a very close look at each EQ head, and you'll see what I mean). :grin: When you avoid the pitfalls of last-gen electricals and the like (which I think are the exception, not the rule), you will have a mount that tracks better out of the box than the other mounts you're considering and definitely better than its "pretenders". I too have avoided Takahashi mounts due to the quirks. My next mount will also likely be an A-P.

Cheers,

Jim

Cheers,

Jim

#15 DaemonGPF

DaemonGPF

    Redonkulous

  • *****
  • Posts: 8201
  • Joined: 22 Mar 2008

Posted 05 February 2010 - 04:42 PM

Josh, yes the "DOS like" comment refer to the Hand Controller. There have been recent discussions on this forum about the longevity of the Gemini Electronics. Search for "Gemini!Parts Available", within the last week. As you will see, it is a heated discussion.

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

There is a new Gemini driver available from the ASCOM site, and you could download it and see for yourself. Tuning and tweaking can be done through this interface. TheSky6 and TheSkyX have interfaces to both the Starbook and Gemini. TheSkyX is more sophisticated, but not as much as the ASCOM interface. The Sky products can slew and synchronize the scope.

I remote control my G11 through wireless Remote Desktop. However, I found that with the StarBook plugged into the remote computer, wireless remote desktop is not possible. I think the solution may be a wireless switch in the observatory.

Eric


WOW... Glad this thread is labled Atlux/CGE Pro and not Losmandy Gemini lol. Might end up with that arguement bleeding in to here otherwise.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics