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Recommended Mount for $1500+

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#1 hfjacinto

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 09:45 AM

I will have $1500 to spend in a couple of months and want to upgrade my mount, I will sell the Celestron ASGT mount and will keep the LXD75 as a my grab and go. So in the price range the 2 contenders are 1) Atlas from Orion 2) CGEM from Celestron.

I have some concerns about the Celestron mount as my ASGT went back to Celestron once. It also sounds worse than a can opener, so a little quieter would be a plus.

The most I would mount it would be a 9.25 and the 80MM Eon piggy back.

Eventually I will get a 120MM+ Refractor also. I would like the mount to be able to take 2-3 minute exposures with an autoguider. So which do you recommend? Or do I really need a G11?

#2 RTLR 12

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 10:41 AM

Helder,

I have had my CGEM fo about 6 months now and I'm really happy with it. It is sooooo much better than a CG-5. More acurate, quieter,and a pleasure to use after using a CG-5. I'm hard of hearing (60% loss) and from a few feet away I can not hear the mount and more importantly neither can my neighbors.I have had from 15# to 35# on this mount with no problems at all. I have also taken 90 to 120sec exposures unguided. I have seen the threads with all kinds of problems reported, but haven't seen any myself. Having Celestron experience has definately been an asset.

Stan

#3 Jason B

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 10:43 AM

I use a CGEM with an 8" RC and have been taking up to 5 minute exposures "out of the box" with a Starshoot Autoguider and a 60mm F5 guidescope. This is without drift alignment just using the Polar Alignment routine after a 2 star alignment plus 2 calibration stars. This is the 1st week I have been able to use the mount since getting home with it from NEAF so I am sure I will be able to get better than this once I get everything how I want it. I have a CG5-ASGT as well and the CGEM is much quieter than it is. The Atlas is quieter than the CGEM but, IMHO, the Nexstar software is much better than the Synscan. I love the polor alignment routine with the Nexstar system!

In reality, I don't think you can go wrong with either one so just pick the one with the features you like.

#4 Skylook123

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 11:20 AM

I've had my Atlas for over four years now, and I've loved it but I have to agree with Jason. I really wish Synscan could get into the 21st century on polar alignment. I do a half dozen public outreaches a month, anywhere withing a 60 mile radius, so the polar setup is a chore every time out. Behaviorwise though, my Atlas has been bulletproof, including the satellite tracking ability using EQMOD.

#5 bbbri

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:10 PM

The CGEM and Atlas are both sturdy mounts derived from the same platform. The CGEM hand controller software is supposed to be better. I find the CGEM alignment routines easy to follow, as long as I know the locations of the alignment stars. If you perform the CGEMs polar alignment routine with the hand controller, 2 to 3 minute guided exposures will be attainable.

#6 hfjacinto

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:27 PM

I already know how to use the Celestron hand controller, but the reliability of Celestron is the bigger issue. I think both mounts are capable.

#7 JakeJ

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 12:55 PM

I have never used a CGEM, but I owned an Atlas EQ-G for many years and it was one of the most reliable, bulletproof mounts I have ever owned. Stable, quiet, extremely accurate goto, and easy to setup quickly.

I used my Atlas for astrophotography with excellent results - very stable and very little PE. The mount also played very well with my autoguider - I used it for 40min exposures routinely with no problems.

#8 David Pavlich

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Posted 10 May 2010 - 03:38 PM

I know that the CGEM had some teething problems, but they seem to have been worked out. Out of the box, you'll get about the same performance, however, the firmware of the CGEM is much better. But if you plan to run the mount with a laptop, the difference is negated by the fact that you can run the Atlas with EQMOD.

Either way you go, you should be quite happy.

David

#9 kevc

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 01:05 AM

Its 2 AM and I just finished a session with my CGEM. I have an Explore Scientific ED127 and a Expl Sci ED80 mounted on top of one another for imaging and guiding. That is a total weight of about 30# without rings, guide mount hardware or cameras. Pushing 35#'s I'd guess all told. I am getting 7.5 minute guided subs using the hand control polar align function alone. No drift align. My imaging has improved greatly due to the CGEM. Dealing with Celestron can be a pain if you have a problem, but the CGEM worked for me right out of the box. Had it now for about six weeeks, very happy.

#10 JakeJ

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 01:47 AM

Out of the box, you'll get about the same performance, however, the firmware of the CGEM is much better.


I'm curious what you believe makes the CGEM firmware better?

#11 guyroch

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 07:10 AM

For me EQMOD makes the decision very easy. Sure the CGEM has better firmware features such as polar alignment, but EQMOD makes up for it 1000x and it does much more. I went through the same delima 4 months ago and decided to go for the SkyWatcher NEQ6 (Orion Atlas twin) and I've never looked back since. In the end it's a matter of opinion and preferences, both the CGEM and ALTAS are comparable in price, precision, and weight capacity.

Look at this thread, about 2/3 down the conversation; look for John J's comparison on the mechanics of both mounts.

#12 JakeJ

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 12:14 PM

Look at this thread, about 2/3 down the conversation; look for John J's comparison on the mechanics of both months.


Thanks for that link - that is a great read!

The thing that would worry me about the CGEM is the "no response" error that so many users report over and over. This seems to be a real problem.

#13 BKBrown

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 04:25 PM

I recommend the Atlas without hesitation. It is extremely reliable with a long track record, can use the terrific EQMOD system for control, has a broad range of accessories to tweak it to ones taste, and is very quiet. Oh yeah, did I mention its tremendous reliability? The C11 below riding on my newly modified Atlas belongs to a friend of mine who's CGEM has been in California since mid-March, the third CGEM sent back by someone I know. You can have the Celestron software, thank you very much, I'll stick with the Atlas.
Clear Skies, BrianB :brick:

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#14 JakeJ

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 05:04 PM

Brian -

That looks awesome on the Losmandy tripod. I would prefer that rig over a G11 anyday (I used to own a G11).

#15 hfjacinto

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 05:18 PM

I am kind of going for the Atlas also, the issue I had with the Celestron mount left a bad taste.

So in around 3 months I will sell my ASGT.

#16 kohudson

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 05:34 PM

Brian,

That does look awesome on the Losmandy tripod! Were there any issues attaching the Atlas to the Losmandy tripod? Also, do you know if there are any issues using a Sirius with a Losmandy tripod?

Thanks!

#17 David Pavlich

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 05:55 PM

For me EQMOD makes the decision very easy. Sure the CGEM has better firmware features such as polar alignment, but EQMOD makes up for it 1000x and it does much more. I went through the same delima 4 months ago and decided to go for the SkyWatcher NEQ6 (Orion Atlas twin) and I've never looked back since. In the end it's a matter of opinion and preferences, both the CGEM and ALTAS are comparable in price, precision, and weight capacity.

Look at this thread, about 2/3 down the conversation; look for John J's comparison on the mechanics of both months.


Like i said, if you put EQMOD in the mix, it negates the CGEM's firmware advantage.

David

#18 David Pavlich

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 05:57 PM

Out of the box, you'll get about the same performance, however, the firmware of the CGEM is much better.


I'm curious what you believe makes the CGEM firmware better?


Two reasons for me...the star alignment routine is better and the polar align routine which the Atlas firmware doesn't have. Well, at least when I had an Atlas, it didn't have a PA routine.

David

#19 mewmartigan

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:29 PM

I have heard good things about the CGEM polar alignment routine.
While the Atlas hand controller doesn't have a polar alignment routine (last I checked), EQMOD does have a quick/easy/accurate polar alignment routine.

There have been quite a few threads on CGEM vs. Atlas and there is never a clear winner....or should I say a clear loser, they both seem to be winners!

#20 BKBrown

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:29 PM

Thanks guys, I can’t wait to get this rig into action…right now it’s pouring down rain of course!

Jake, that’s high praise in my book since I was thinking about picking up a G-11 before I did this now…not so much.

Hfjacinto, I don’t think you would regret owning an Atlas –they are accurate, tough as nails, and easy to customize.

Ken, the adapter I used is from Optical Supports and is about the easiest thing you can imagine installing. As for the Sirius, I have no idea if you could use this same adapter you would have to check with Curt and company at Optical Supports; I intend to track down a Sirius and put it on the 2” Atlas tripod with the big stabilizer tray (you can see it in my comparison picture above) as my mobile AP mount.

Thanks again folks, I’ll keep you posted on how this works out. Anyone out there who wants to join in the discussion or who has a question please feel free to jump in here.

Clear Skies, BrianB :choochoo:on board the Atlas train...

#21 kohudson

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:35 PM

Ken, the adapter I used is from Optical Supports and is about the easiest thing you can imagine installing. As for the Sirius, I have no idea if you could use this same adapter you would have to check with Curt and company at Optical Supports; I intend to track down a Sirius and put it on the 2” Atlas tripod with the big stabilizer tray (you can see it in my comparison picture above) as my mobile AP mount.


Thank you for the follow up. To tell you the truth, I hadn't noticed the Atlas tripod in the background of your picture. Wow - what a difference in size between those two tripods! I can see why you want the Atlas mount for your mobile mount! :)

Thanks,

#22 JakeJ

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:46 PM

While the Atlas hand controller doesn't have a polar alignment routine (last I checked), EQMOD does have a quick/easy/accurate polar alignment routine.


Honestly I don't understand all this fuss about the polar alignment routine on the CGEM. It is simply an "iterative alignment". You can do an iterative aligment on virtually any goto mount, including the Atlas - it is a very simple procedure.

#23 jrcrilly

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:54 PM

[quote name="David Pavlich"]I'm curious what you believe makes the CGEM firmware better? [/quote]

[quote]Two reasons for me...the star alignment routine is better and the polar align routine which the Atlas firmware doesn't have. Well, at least when I had an Atlas, it didn't have a PA routine.

David [/quote][/quote]

I agree with those, but the limitation into which I constantly ran when using an EQ-G was the tiny database. The Celestron star and object catalogs are much, much larger and much, much better organized.

The need for these things depends a lot on the application. In my observatory I use a Takahashi mount which is operated much like an EQMod-equipped Atlas - strictly PC controlled and no reliance on internal firmware. So long as the PC is in control, I don't care what features any internal controller may or may not have so an EQ-G would be as good as a CGEM there. In the field, however, I'm not willing to power up a PC just to operate a telescope mount - so the internal controller matters to me. I don't have a CGEM, but I do use a CGE with the same controller and it does everything I want, unlike the EQ-G that did not.

#24 jrcrilly

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 06:56 PM

Honestly I don't understand all this fuss about the polar alignment routine on the CGEM. It is simply an "iterative alignment". You can do an iterative aligment on virtually any goto mount, including the Atlas - it is a very simple procedure.


You don't appear to be familiar with Celestron's polar alignment feature. It is unique.

#25 JakeJ

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 08:42 PM


I agree with those, but the limitation into which I constantly ran when using an EQ-G was the tiny database. The Celestron star and object catalogs are much, much larger and much, much better organized.


When the Synscan controller first came out, it had a 13k object database, so I suppose that used to be true. However, the most current software update puts the database at 42,900 objects. Celestron lists the Nexstar controller as having a >40K database, so the number of items in the catalogs are pretty similar.

The Synscan is well-organized by the following catalogs:
Named Star
Solar System
IC Catalog
NGC Catalog
Messier Catalog
Caldwell Catalog
Double Star
Variable Star
User Defined
SAO

Simply scroll to the desired catalog and punch in the object - I don't know how it could be better organized.






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