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What are the chances of updated Losmandy mounts?

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#1 pogobbler

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 01:59 AM

Though, due to lack of finances, I'm not currently in the market for a new eq mount, barring a win in the lottery, if I am in the future, I'd definitely consider mounts from Losmandy, as well as other manufacturers. It seems to me, though, that the Losmandy G8 and G11, though both very good mounts, are due to a bit of an update in regards to the integration of the goto electronics into the mount as a whole. Though they seem to work well, they still come across as very much an add-on. I realize not everyone wants go-to capabilities and that the amateur astronomy market is not a large one, but it seems in this day and age, having a well integrated go-to system needn't necessarily add too much to the cost of a mount and people could use it or not as they wish. Or make the mount go-to ready with the addition of a hand control housing the go-to computer itself, as Meade used to do with some models. Other manufacturers seem to have gone the route of better integration and I'm sure Losmandy will eventually, but when is that likely?

#2 blueman

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 02:50 AM

I would doubt that it would be anytime soon. The Gemini will probably be updated sometime in the future, but I have not heard anything for sure.
The Gemini add on is fairly expensive, but it does require replacing the motors as well as the electronic box. So, the cost is for cables, motors and gearboxes plus the computer.
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#3 Phil Cowell

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 05:37 AM

There are other controller options for the Losmandy mounts. SiTech make one you can purchase as an update to the non-go-to mount. The SiTech controller is also used on the Planewave mounts. The mounts are well made and there are options for goto controllers.

#4 jrcrilly

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 08:16 AM

Other manufacturers seem to have gone the route of better integration and I'm sure Losmandy will eventually, but when is that likely?


Some other manufacturers have the capability of designing and producing (or having produced for them) such dedicated, integrated systems. Losmandy doesn't have those capabilities. The Gemini system is, as you decribe, an addon that is purchased from an outside source by Losmandy and several other mount manufacturers. A higher degree of integration with any of those mounts is highly unlikely under that business model.

#5 mish

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 09:10 AM

Losmandy's mounts are mechanically excellent, and have well-defined points of attachment for drive electronics, so the necessary interface between mount mechanics and drive electronics works for the two drive systems sold by Losmandy, as well as for third-party systems.

Beyond that, I would suggest that the term "better integration" is a misnomer. The level of systems integration required in any technology depends on its function, and beyond that technology-dependent point, integration is not necessarily a virtue. For example, a boombox is a highly-integrated audio system, where my home theater's audio system is integrated only via its wire and optical interfaces. Does that decoupling of audio system components not represent a "better" approach?

Losmandy's approach to systems integration has permitted them to concentrate on what they are very, very good at, and it has permitted customers to buy high-quality mount technology that (for but one example) doesn't have to be shipped somewhere far away when one component fails.

That apparent lack of integration is not a bug: it's a feature.

#6 Booji

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 11:31 AM

I think with the modularity of the G11 platform and how components can be added, the design has the possibility of becoming the "AR-15" of mounts where other manufacturers can build G11 components, its happening already, with GOTO add-ons and dovetail plates. If Losmandy ever gives up the G11, I can see it continuing as a design being supported by others.

#7 gnowellsct

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 10:32 PM

I agree, the more G11s that are out there, the more decades the entire fleet will last. There are a number of available updates (aftermarket and from Losmandy) and if you think of the "base price" as $3800 including an Ovision for the RA it's still a steal.

I bought mine for $1800 (no go-to) and could probably sell it for that or more (it has Ovision and other mods). Basically I have had the use of this mount for free, were I to sell (but I would be nuts to sell it).

Anyhow, I haven't seen any other systems in comparable load categories, with or without go-to, that made me want to change. Not yet anyhow.

regards
greg n

#8 blueman

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 11:09 PM

The G-11 had held its value well and they are not exactly for sale all the time, you have to keep on your toes to get one.
I bought mine by being quick on the trigger when a fellow wanted to sell it and wanted a local sale. I met him 100 miles from home, half way, to pick it up. It only had been run for 3 hours. It also had lots of accessories including a hard case with wheels. jump:
I think that there will be a NEW Gemini in the future, I keep hearing rumors and catching posts. Plus, there are a lot of them out there, so there is a market for upgrades.
Blueman

#9 George N

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 01:50 PM

..... It seems to me, though, that the Losmandy G8 and G11, though both very good mounts, are due to a bit of an update in regards to the integration of the goto electronics into the mount as a whole. .....


I believe that Meade has a patent on integrated and distributed control electronics for telescope mounts, plus the look & feel of their control software. Celestron has to pay Meade some undisclosed amount for each mount they sell as part of a law suite settlement. Why would Losmandy want to get involved in that?

#10 Phil Cowell

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 07:35 PM

I thought Meade lost that one but won the level north case. That was why Celestron went to sky align. Uncle Rod can clarify that.

#11 jrcrilly

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 07:40 PM

I thought Meade lost that one but won the level north case. That was why Celestron went to sky align. Uncle Rod can clarify that.


The case they won was for the combination of distributed processing AND "North and Level". That's why Celestron can still use distributed processing with their non-N&L models.

It's irrelevant in an EQ-only mount so no GEM manufacturers need to worry about it.

#12 Phil Cowell

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Posted 10 February 2010 - 07:48 PM

Thanks for the clarification. I remember the North and level issue with my NX11GPS. A hand controller upgrade removed the North and level portion some time back in the days before sky align.

#13 chupacabra

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:20 PM

That apparent lack of integration is not a bug: it's a feature.


Is having separate audio components a feature when you are taking the family for a picnic and want some music? I'll take a "boom box", even with its disadvantages, for that purpose.

People's needs (and preferences) vary. I don't have an observatory and probably won't for another 2 years or more. Even when I set up in the backyard, it's like a remote setup. For me, a better integrated system has a lot of appeal.

So far, Gemini and the look-like-add-on motors have kept me away from a G11. I would definitely be interested in a new GoTo package, whether it's the next Gemini or something completely different. I suspect a new Gemini will mean an updated computer with the same type/level of integration. So maybe it wouldn't sway me in that direction, but I'd sure reassess the G11 option.

#14 blueman

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 01:18 AM

How would you suggest that motors and gearboxes be added to the G-11, if not like they are now, so that they do not look like add ons?
Blueman

#15 chupacabra

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 11:08 AM

How would you suggest that motors and gearboxes be added to the G-11, if not like they are now, so that they do not look like add ons?
Blueman


There may not be a better way to mount them without a total redesign. It's just an opinion anyway, but as someone who always has to lug my gear around, the way the motors are mounted looks too fragile for me. I suppose I'd want to see a more substantial cover that firmly bolted to the mount and that could bear the weight of the mount and handle small impacts. Perhaps the motor could bolt to a stout motor box and the box bolts to the mount chassis? I would guess the chassis wasn't designed to accommodate a motor box so a retrofit probably isn't possible.

Losmandy mounts are a bit like Harley-Davidsons. In the case of a Harley, everyone likes to snap pictures of the side with the exhaust pipes and air cleaner. The other side isn't unattractive, it's just a bit boring. When I was just getting interested in Astrophotography and had only done some preliminary internet browsing about equatorial mounts, I thought Losmandy mounts looked like a tight package. Do a Google Images search and an overwhelming majority of the pictures show the "good" side. Most of us take some pride in our gear, so I don't think that's a coincidence.

The first time I saw a GM8, G11, and Titan on the same field, I was a bit surprised. Overall they are great looking mounts. The non-motor side shows a tight, well designed and well made piece of machinery. But on the other side, those motors stick out like a sore thumb. I asked the Titan owner if they were at all fragile and he indicated that he had broken one and installing/removing the motors was now part of the setup/teardown process. I'm not generally clumsy, but moving heavy gear around when tired . . . eventually I'd ding one of those motors and possibly do some damage.

The Astro-Physics mounts also have "bolt-on" motors and the concept does have some appeal to me. It certainly would be easier to replace a motor on an AP or Losmandy than it would be in my Atlas (and likely a Takahashi as well). I like that if I had an RA motor failure in the field, I could swap motors and avoid a wasted night. But the Losmandy motors just seem too exposed.

It's just an opinion and it's based on my priorities and my particular needs. If I had an observatory, this issue wouldn't bother me a bit. I'm not in any way trying to slam Losmandy mounts or start a peeing match. Lately the mount forum has gotten more testy than the eyepiece and refractor forums it seems. The Borg with their "superior" direct drive technology are trying to assimilate everyone. Resistance is futile ;-)

Actually, that whole debate does relate to this issue a bit. I'm an engineer so heck yeah, I love technology. But not every application and operating environment are appropriate for every technology or packaging of that technology. In the case of a mount for field setup, better integrated or better protected motors is a tangible benefit. The Losmandy mounts seem like the best compromise between cost and quality (by a large margin in my opinion), and so I may one day go with a Losmandy mount despite my concerns. But those concerns are still going to be there.

#16 rsbfoto

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 11:44 AM

Hi,

:grin:

Somewhere I heard an engineer saying this ...

Make it as good as necessary and not as good as possible

:jump:

I am an Engineer too ...

#17 blueman

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 01:36 PM

Yeah, the motors are exposed. This is good and bad I guess. It allows you to remove a motor and replace it in about 2 minutes. I guess that is one of the reasons for this. The motors stay cooler exposed as well.

I know that there are some that have the motors inside of the housing, which is also good a bad. You have a bit of work to replace them and they do not get to cool as well as an exposed motor.

I have hit a motor before, with no damage thank goodness, but I just take a lot of care to not hit them.

Blueman

#18 Mike C

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 03:41 PM

I felt that the G-11 motors looked exposed too, and so ordered the metal motor housings along with the mount last July.

The mount arrived in November but I'm still waiting for the housings! I hope I don't bang a motor against the door frame, why moving the mount outside, before I get a chance to fit them.

Regards.

#19 BlueGrass

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 09:58 PM

"The Borg with their "superior" direct drive technology are trying to assimilate everyone. Resistance is futile ;-) "

:rofl2: :rofl2: :rofl2: :rofl2:

Even after we're all assimilated, there will be "diehard' enclaves of 8/11 users hiding out in the mountains out West... able to self repair their mounts while the modern direct drive folks have to just dump 'em in the landfill and buy new.... :grin:

#20 Phil Cowell

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 10:16 PM

"The Borg with their "superior" direct drive technology are trying to assimilate everyone. Resistance is futile ;-) "

:rofl2: :rofl2: :rofl2: :rofl2:

Even after we're all assimilated, there will be "diehard' enclaves of 8/11 users hiding out in the mountains out West... able to self repair their mounts while the modern direct drive folks have to just dump 'em in the landfill and buy new.... :grin:


Yup they'll be sitting around the peat fire telling stories of how good things were before the industrial revolution. :roflmao:

#21 mish

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 09:43 AM

I'm not generally clumsy, but moving heavy gear around when tired . . . eventually I'd ding one of those motors and possibly do some damage


Anyone clumsy enough to break a G11 motor carrying it to or from the tripod probably shouldn't be pursuing this hobby, because they'll have to carry a heavy OTA as well, and that's where the clumsiness would really cost them. A G11 is infinitely safer to haul around than a C11, so anybody likely to bust loose a motor on a G11 is much more likely to break a collector plate or destroy a brittle and expensive objective lens. This really isn't a hobby for the clumsy, and this really isn't a problem for the G11.

#22 chupacabra

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 11:18 AM

Anyone clumsy enough to break a G11 motor carrying it to or from the tripod probably shouldn't be pursuing this hobby, because they'll have to carry a heavy OTA as well, and that's where the clumsiness would really cost them. A G11 is infinitely safer to haul around than a C11, so anybody likely to bust loose a motor on a G11 is much more likely to break a collector plate or destroy a brittle and expensive objective lens. This really isn't a hobby for the clumsy, and this really isn't a problem for the G11.


So I guess the two people I've seen with rubber bands holding their motors in place need to have their astronomy cards revoked. Too clumsy = not allowed to play? Accidents happen. I appreciate your input that this is a non-issue, but just because I have other fragile gear to worry about doesn't mean I want more.

Again, so much depends on each person's needs, preferences, and time constraints. I can see this being a non-issue for a lot of people. It's an issue for me.

#23 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 11:22 AM

Posted Image

:grin:

#24 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 11:31 AM

"Beyond that, I would suggest that the term "better integration" is a misnomer."

Nah, it fits pretty well. Lack of integration = the "guts on the outside". Integration = "guts on the inside". Things like internal cable routing, for example, represent a higher degree of integration between mount mechanical bits and the electronic drive bits. Losmandy is like the way Vixen used to be - guts on the outside. Many mount makers (Takahashi, A-P, Celestron, Vixen, etc.) have moved toward cleaner, more highly integrated mounts. Losmandy has not.

The question is...is it better to have the guts on the outside where you can access them easily or on the inside where they are out of the way? The answer to that may depend on the observer and his or her usage.

As for the mechanical excellence of Losmandy mounts, I would say there are some weak areas. The need to periodically adjust the worms for backlash, for example, is just plain poor design. A better mechanical design would let you set backlash and forget it until you wanted to change it. IMO whether Losmandy needs electronic integration updates or not, a little mechanical redesign work would help as well.

Regards,

Jim

#25 mish

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 11:49 AM

Again, so much depends on each person's needs, preferences, and time constraints. I can see this being a non-issue for a lot of people. It's an issue for me.


You are always free to choose whatever "issues" you prefer. You've expressed concern about a mounting scheme that has proven to be robust and reliable. As others have pointed out already, that same "issue" also permits easy field repairs, simple drive system upgrades, and it virtually eliminates the need to ship the mount someplace far away if repairs are required.

I guess that one person's issues are another person's features.






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