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Positive thoughts about the CGEM

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#1 abrock5

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 12:08 PM

I've got to admit that reading recent threads here has got me nervous about my CGEM. It has not seen first light yet, but it seems to be in working order as it tracks around the ceiling in my home office. I'm nervous because it is the centerpiece of my ap setup, and the reviews here have been less than favorable for the most part. As soon as the new Orion 80mm triplet gets sent off of backorder, I will be taking it out to the field. I usually research things thoroughly, and thought the cgem would be a good choice due to it's polar alignment routine...i thought it would speed things up for drift aligning. Now I'm starting to wish I bought an atlas. Somebody PLEASE tell me i haven't made a huge mistake!

#2 gnowellsct

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 01:07 PM

What happens on the less expensive mounts esp. product lines from China is that you get increasingly in a gamble over quality control. This gamble never goes away completely (even my AP mount needed to make a couple trips back to the factory). But it is more of a gamble in the lower priced lines.

$1400 isn't exactly cheap, one might say, but it is around the lowest cost you can charge to get something as complicated as a go-to mount to work. And it is cheap compared to rival designs.

We don't have the stats but I'd guess that 60 or 70% of CGEMs work very well and another 10 to 20% work kinda OK and then 10% are real headaches.

So it might work out fine for you. I'm not sure the Atlas will do anything more or less for you by way of qc/qa than the CGEM and in fact I think Orion and Celestron have the same parent company.

With any mount make sure you read the instructions carefully and run it under "easy conditions" -- first in the garage, then under the moon, to get yourself trained to it.

One of the things you can do is check Astromart on the used prices of these mounts. That often tells you a lot about what people think of them. (but it also tells you a lot about the state of the economy)

regards
Greg N

#3 Hoosier

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 01:25 PM

"polar alignment routine...i thought it would speed things up for drift aligning" and it will. You know "inexpensive" and "astrophotography" are to never be used in the same sentence. If you fired it up and moved the DEC and RA motors around maybe did a mock two star alignment, you are in pretty good shape. Most errors or flaws have been prone to the HC and motor response. For most people(assumption), Astronomy and Astrophotography can be an expensive hobby. I can financially support my AP set up ...HOWEVER I can't buy it twice. Good news is many dealers are backing their customers with this mount. I was critical in my review because I'm critical with AP, you sort of have to be. AP will make the user push the mechanics of his or her equipment and find flaws before a once a month visual observer will.

If you have a solid unit , which sounds like you are almost in the clear (watch out for Murphy)since you tested aspects of it already, you did just fine. Your choice was a logical choice, however you can't control craftsmanship of a company and thats the dice you have roll.

80MM refractor will offer a wide variety of targets, short focal length to allow "newbie" learning curve, and make one fine grab and go scope for non AP nights. I think you will like the results with this rig once you learn what's expected to obtain them and processing the data.

Clear Skies

#4 BlueGrass

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 01:37 PM

As Greg stated, I too think there are more satisfied owners than owners of problem mounts. Without conducting a survey of ALL CGEM owners, there is simply no way to get an accurate picture of the overall quality and reliability of these mounts.

What one owner considers acceptable performance and reliability may not be what another owner is expecting... i.e. visual only versus AP. There are many factors that have to be considered.

There are a few reports surfacing of late where the CGEM is having stiction / binding problems in either the DEC or RA axis. And of course, the hand controller failures / cabling problem.

As has been said repeatedly here (CN) and elsewhere, the next step up above the CGEM / Atlas, will initially cost at least 3x as much just for a basic mount. You'll have to add possibly a tripod, more counter weights, maybe a dove tail, power supply, polar scope, etc, to get a complete package.

The truth is, if you're after a high quality, well engineered mount that will typically provide years of trouble free service (no mechanical / electronic failures), then you'll have to spend the money. That's not to say that AP, TAK, Losmandy mounts don't require service or periodic adjustment, but the level of expectation of performance is MUCH higher. These companies know this and manufacture their products accordingly.

If your CGEM works for your needs, then that's all that matters. Keep in mind that for years, many Atlas / Meade / Celestron owners have purchased this class of mount, upgraded / tuned them and are happy with the result.

#5 rmollise

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 04:31 PM

$1400 isn't exactly cheap, one might say, but it is around the lowest cost you can charge to get something as complicated as a go-to mount to work. And it is cheap compared to rival designs.


You do not have to spend 1400 to get a go-to mount that works reliably...the CG5 is proof of that. ;)

Orion and Celestron do not have the same parent company. The mounts are made by the company who owns Celestron, Synta, but Orion is owned by the same folks who do the Space.com website and the Starry Night program. The Atlas is considerably freer of QA issues at this point. That may be changing now, but for now is still the case.

#6 DLB242

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 07:10 PM

I've got to admit that reading recent threads here has got me nervous about my CGEM. It has not seen first light yet, but it seems to be in working order as it tracks around the ceiling in my home office. I'm nervous because it is the centerpiece of my ap setup, and the reviews here have been less than favorable for the most part. As soon as the new Orion 80mm triplet gets sent off of backorder, I will be taking it out to the field. I usually research things thoroughly, and thought the cgem would be a good choice due to it's polar alignment routine...i thought it would speed things up for drift aligning. Now I'm starting to wish I bought an atlas. Somebody PLEASE tell me i haven't made a huge mistake!


Customers with problems or a gripe are more likely to be vocal than satisfied customers. I have had my CGEM for about 2 months and the mount works great most likely yours will work great also. :penny: :penny:

#7 hfjacinto

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 07:14 PM

I think you made a good choice, it was the same one I made. I got a defective mount but hope the second one is good.

#8 abrock5

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 07:51 PM

Ok, I'm feeing a little better about my purchase now. Of course, now it looks like my imaging scope will be permanently backordered. Oh well, there's always something I guess. I'm just looking forward to first light to make sure there are no hidden bugs. Thanks for all the input.

#9 Binary Star

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 09:29 PM

I've only had my CGEM for a couple of months as well, and I haven't had anything but good results so far. I was using an LXD55 before that, so this is a big step up for me.

#10 gnowellsct

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 09:34 PM

$1400 isn't exactly cheap, one might say, but it is around the lowest cost you can charge to get something as complicated as a go-to mount to work. And it is cheap compared to rival designs.


You do not have to spend 1400 to get a go-to mount that works reliably...the CG5 is proof of that. ;)

Orion and Celestron do not have the same parent company. The mounts are made by the company who owns Celestron, Synta, but Orion is owned by the same folks who do the Space.com website and the Starry Night program. The Atlas is considerably freer of QA issues at this point. That may be changing now, but for now is still the case.


I was thinking of the price to carrying capacity. My believe is the ASGT is designed for lighter loads.

Incidentally a Losmandy G11 does not cost 3x the price (that would be $4200).

Truth is I'd prefer a contempo stepper Losmandy with no go-to instead of a "go-to with issues."

But I realize I am in a small minority.

regards
Greg N

#11 BlueGrass

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 10:17 PM

"Incidentally a Losmandy G11 does not cost 3x the price (that would be $4200). " ... and a used G11 can be found cheaper than the discounted list from the vendors.

Greg, you're right about the G11, it is closer to 2x the cost... but add in all things you'd need / maybe want (power supply, counter weights, polar scope etc) and the cost does rise.

Not to say you don't buy extras for the Atlas / CGEM, but my point was the CGEM's price is a main factor why folks buy the mount instead of spending the 2x / 3x / 4x+ needed to step up to the next level. :grin:

#12 Adam E

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 10:37 PM

I just sent my CGEM off for Hypertuning today because I (like George) am experiencing unresolvable (by me) sticking in the declination axis.

Although I'll be spending about $500 between shipping and service to get my year old CGEM back to fully functioning order, I honestly can't bash the mount too much.

I'm a little frustrated right now, and I'm feeling a little let down by the mount, but from talking to knowledeable people, the problem I'm having with my CGEM also happens to Atlas / EQ6 mounts. As I understand things, it's not a CGEM or Celestron thing, it's the fact that the mount is mass produced with much sloppier tolerances than say a G11 or Astro-Physics mount.

In all honesty, I believe this falls in to the realm of you get what you pay for. I know I'm posting this in the thread about positives about the CGEM, and I don't mean to be negative. My CGEM has gotten me into photography, and has produced many nice images. I'm sure it will continue to support my AP adventures for the near future. Do I look to upgrade to a G11 or such in the future? Yes. Do I sometimes wonder if I would have been better off just shelling out the money for a better mount in the beginning? Yes. Will my CGEM keep me happy in the interim? I believe it will.

#13 BlueGrass

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 11:32 PM

Yes, back on topic. There are many positives about the CGEM that make it a good choice, the HC software being one of them. For many folks today, the Atlas / CGEM is the mount of choice for carrying the OTA and imaging train required for beginning long FL DSO AP. If you're unsuccessful or tire of the endless complexities, then you're not out too much money, considering what you CAN spend on this hobby ... :bigshock:
:rofl2:

#14 rmollise

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 07:06 AM


I was thinking of the price to carrying capacity. My believe is the ASGT is designed for lighter loads.


regards
Greg N


OK, fair enough, but that was not what you said, Greg. ;)

Most of the CGEMs and Atlases do not have issues. Oh, the CGEM still has more problems than it should...but so did the good, old, reliable CG5 when it came out. I HOPE This Too Shall Pass. :lol:

#15 nemo129

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 05:21 PM

Ok, I'm feeing a little better about my purchase now. Of course, now it looks like my imaging scope will be permanently backordered. Oh well, there's always something I guess. I'm just looking forward to first light to make sure there are no hidden bugs. Thanks for all the input.

I have had my CGEM for 8 months now an I have had no mechanical problems. I do mostly AP with a tad of visual. The only issue was a pooly crimped cable on the hand controller, which Celestron replaced promptly (14 days from calling to report the issue until I had a new one in my hands).
(Apology for going off topic a bit)If you are still waiting for your Orion 80mm triplet, maybe you should get one of those $299 AT6RC's from Astronomics! Sure they are back-ordered now, but Fred said they would have plenty within a month. It would be a nice compliment scope to the 80mm and both could use the same Field Flattener! Just an idea! :grin:

#16 abrock5

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 03:17 PM

Hey Kirk, thanks for the reply. Going off topic, the refractor is supposed to ship on the 6th, so we will see. If not then, I may look into another scope. I have been looking into ff for the 80mm assuming it does come. Any ideas? I was thinking th AT 2" ff, but wasn't sure if that would work. Sorry to go off topic.

#17 nemo129

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 06:06 PM

abrock,
The scope you are getting is an f/6, so the ATFF will work very well (it is advertised for f/6 to f/7). It works great in my AT80LE which is an f/6 as well. I have taken many a picture with it and have been happy with its performance. Now I will get to see how it does in a 6" RC!

#18 Adam E

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 06:22 PM

I have used the AT-FF on my ED80sf (f7.5) and AT-106 (f6.5) and the flattener works wonderfully with both. You may need to play around with the spacing a bit to find your sweet spot.

#19 nemo129

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 06:39 PM

Adam,
Thanks for the reminder. First I bought a 2" tube extender which could barely come to focus with the FF, then I picked up a 1" EP extender for 2" barrel EPs from Scopstuff which threads into the barrel of the FF same effect without the compression rings and stuff!(Note: If going the extender tube route instead of the EP extender - there are 1" and 2",the ScopeStuff extenders have brass compression rings which the Orion's do not have at the same price point). That works much better, now I can get perfect focus the FF in place. To stay on topic...this is all riding on my CGEM, which is great as an AP mount for 20lbs and less, over that YMMV.






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