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Newbie w/ 11" Edge HD and CGEM - need Mount advice

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#26 MadMan

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:40 AM

Thanks Peter, my 2" Baader kwic lock visual back threads onto the C11" just fine given that you can leave the first section on the scope and 2" threads are provided rather than having to use the 3.25". So I might be able to get away with a multi-scope AOG. Very good to know that they take calls and can help at Hutech.

Your setup looks great. I notice you are direct guiding with the lodestar. Given that I am using the NextRemote software and a Logitech wingman for remote wireless slewing, I run a virtual USB port setup with the lodestar. I am betting that doesn't help things either as it relates to guiding with PHD.

#27 CounterWeight

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:51 AM

Welcome to CN and my compliments on your images - very nice. :) I began to study astronomy at college in the mid 70's and I'm always amazed that folks in their backyards can now get images that far surpass those in my textbooks from 35 years ago! And it's a bit intoxicating once done... who would look at those images and say there is a problem? Not me! But I went down this road 2 years to 1 year ago and realize that there is a lot behind getting a good image that no-one can see. Heck I gave up trying with my pre-edge HD C11` and went with lensed scopes.

Great posts about reducing load by changing guiding (I disagree about 'always diff flexure' being a problem) but be aware the other guiding options can also have some learning curve and issues to iron out. Agree too that anything will work relatively better on a fixed concrete reinforced or metal pier. I've been observing for many years, and started trying to do imaging in late 08/early 09, so am no expert. Visual is about the scope mostly (sure the mount matters too but scope more), imaging is about the mount (and here sure the scope matters ,too but not as much). Just as ratio of imporatce in critical paramer. I also received a diploma in 'C' anguish. I also use a piggyback guidescope and like the counterweight example on the Casssidy site. Top markes for his gear as well.

My pessimistic answer for imaging is "No", there isn't. Some better than other, but overall still no.

Though an A-P mount is easily double the investment of many other mounts, it is a fraction to 'near zero' the hassle and problems. In my experience 'near zero' if not zero... I used the C mount, Logitec/NexRemote and Ascom etc with The Sky and thought fantastic too, but I'm sure there's a way to do that with an A-P mount if desired.

You are fortunate in a way not to be using a long triplet refractor as I am - the weight on mine is much farther from center on one axis and closer in on the other. But it's still weight. And though it only in the low/mid 30 lb class it crushed the marginal performance of a CGE to completely unacceptable. A bitter and costly lesson. Where I live the imaging opportunities are 'infrequent' and wasting one or two or three was a huge percentage of the overall... an example - misssing Orion objects completely one year due to mount 'issues'.

Sorry my response so wordy. I'm not a paid rep of anyone, only hope to save anyone the anguish I went through. Imaging gets $$ quick. Buying things more than once just makes it even more $$. The difference between my Mach-1 rated 45lbs imaging? and my CGE rated ~??60?? lbs for 'something undefined but fits the marketing dept.' was and is DAY AND NIGHT. Absolutly no crossover grey area. I am not a snob and no 'money to burn' on this. As a function of what I consider "VALUE" for the $$ spent... the A-P Mach-1 is actually IMO quite a bargain. An expensive bargain yes, but you do actually get what you pay for. And you still get it the next year... and... it's why you don't see constant threads about needing to fix, upgrade, hypertune, modify, power issues, [place whatever here]... and all the rest. So my take... the best 'fix' is to bite the bullet (if the $ makes need) and buy the right tool for the job to begin with.

#28 MadMan

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 01:53 AM

Well, now that I have thought this through in my rather dense way, I have ruled OAG out for the moment as I have a Hyperstar coming this week for the C11" Edge HD.

That means I am looking at a finderscope/guidescope option like the Kwiq. But even that doesn't fit the bill because I have the Lodestar camera and I need a compression fit.

I also would like to move the finder/guidescope/Lodestar as a unit between AP platforms (they being both the C11" with Hyperstar and the new ED127 I have coming).

The perfect situation would be to modify what will be one excess Explore Scientific 50 mm finderscope to take a 1.25" compression adapter, put it on a set of small rings with a Vixen sized clamp underneath. Then it could ride on EITHER the long dovetail I have now on the 11" SCT or be moved to a short Vixen dovetail I will install on the handle of the ED127.

I have two ES illuminated 50 finders and one excess Celestron 50 finder - so one is excess with the preference being whichever the heck is easiest to make this work.

Suggestions welcome and thanks again to everybody for treating dumb newbie questions with such sincere help.

Mike

#29 bardo

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 02:51 AM

sounds like a good plan. its what i am doing now in fact. i use the ADM vixen rings and it makes it easy to swap between the two as the clamps come apart in two pieces instead of just slipping off the end of the dovetail.

#30 Falcon-

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 04:20 AM

That means I am looking at a finderscope/guidescope option like the Kwiq. But even that doesn't fit the bill because I have the Lodestar camera and I need a compression fit.


If you are talking about the same sort of "compression" that is found in standard 1.25" eyepiece holder then I believe that *IS* what the KWIQ-S Optical Package has. :)

Unlike the KWIQ-Guider that is designed for the QHY5/SSAG the KWIQ-S package is specifically intended for a provide-your-own-guide-cam setup.

#31 MadMan

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 09:57 AM

If that is the case, I am good! I spoke to Brian at Kwiq yesterday and must have misunderstood. Will clear it up and just order one if I have to.

Mike

#32 MadMan

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 12:47 PM

Bardo,

How did you actually end up making or buying your finder/guidescope conversion for use with your guidecam? Does it have a compression ring setup?

BTW, your website rules.

#33 Bowmoreman

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 01:22 PM

Hi Mike, here's another thought on the Mount front, which may meet many of your criteria:

1) I also would highly recommend a mount like AP900, Losmandy Titan and/or Takahashi EM400 - if you're going NEW; these are probably your best 3 bets for the scopes you have, etc...

2) Another approach - perhaps while you AWAIT that AP900 (or other) new - as there is likely to be quite a wait...

Try and find a used Celestron CGE, of fairly recent (post 2006 or so) vintage...

I had excellent luck with my Side by Side setup of Refractor and C11 on it, with exposures with good guiding/tracking up to 10-15 minutes.

It would even use the same remote software you've come to know/love.

It'd run you around $2000 - $2200 depending. It is a much more capable mount than the CGEM. Couple of foibles (you'll want to replace the stock motor cables with flexible ones from VIP - the so-called "Marty's Cables" modification - do a google on it!)...

Then, when your "dream mount" arrives, just sell it used for probably little (maybe no) actual "loss"

Other mount to consider used to do the same thing might be a Losmandy G11; it could handle you in SBS mode.

One comment on your SBS setup (from ADM), I believe you mentioned you had the "V" (Vixen) variant. Sell that, and replace it with the Losmandy "D" variant; a C11 will strain a V dovetail/bar setup... (again, from personal experience).

Finally, another alternative; when you get (and start using) your Hyperstar, you MAY find that because your exposures will be SO short, that the CGEM actually is "more than good enough" (at that focal length - 560mm, and the 30-90 second exposures you're doing)...

So, unless/until you want/need to shoot at 2800mm f/l, you might not need to do anything.

On guiding: I have had fantastic luck using an SBIG STV, which I got used almost 3 years ago (for $1100, they're now quite a bit less). I use the SBIG eFinder (basically a 100mm, f/40 "lens") directly on the camera, and then mount the camera UNDER the C11 into the same plate. This has the benefit of being VERY lightweight, and highly precise, plus the inertial moment helps to OFFSET the other weight ABOVE the DEC plane...

(I know you have the Lodestar already, but, just a thought...)

final thoughts, in addition to used AP900/Tak EM400/Losmandy Tital, consider other used mounts that are no longer made new to be your "life" mount:

Takahashi NJP
Mountain Instruments MI-250

Each of which is extremely well made, and capable of eating your load for lunch for quality AP.

Good to have you here on CN!

#34 bardo

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 01:33 PM

thanks!

I dont use a finder as of right now. i just meant that i setup my guidesystem the same as you plan to do...with the clamps and rings on a vixen rail to swap between scopes.

#35 MadMan

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 02:22 PM

Thanks Bardo. I get it.

Bowmoreman: Very appreciated, thoughtful analysis. Only a couple of questions on this:

- Do you know what the all in weight of the CGE setup it? My goal is to have something transportable in my SUV to various events I attend in areas of dark sky and be able to setup alone. I had no idea you could buy the Celestron CGE mount used in the $2K area. Isn't that a $5K product? If so, unfortunate statement for that line but great idea.

- I had the "D" SBS bar but because I never anticipated using the 11" and any refractor with CGEM in an SBS, I swapped it for the V center section. I assumes the CGEM would hold the ED127 and an ED80 in an SBS on that 'Vixen' setup. Think that will flex too much as well?

Thanks again,

Mike

#36 Bowmoreman

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 05:59 PM

To your questions:

CGE had no single part more than about 30-35# as I recall... I found it easy to assemble, and disassemble... total weight IIRC is around 100 pounds spread across the "parts"...

CGE New was a $3000 mount. It is NOT in the class of the $5K and up mounts, but certainly out-carries anything below it's class (including the CGEM which unfortunately "killed it").

If you can find a used one, it is a great bargain right now; a far more capable mount than the Atlas, or CGEM. Jury's out on G11 versus CGE IMHO...

I think an ED127 and 80mm scope would be ok SBS on V-setup, but I know a C11 and 80mm was NOT (from direct experience).

Again, hope this is helpful!

#37 WayneJ

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 06:23 PM

I had no idea you could buy the Celestron CGE mount used in the $2K area. Isn't that a $5K product? If so, unfortunate statement for that line but great idea.


You're thinking of the CGE Pro. That mount is part of Celestron's current product line and sells for $5k.

It's somewhat portable. It's very easy to break-down and assemble quickly, provided you don't mind that a number of pieces are in the 40 lb range... and that you don't mind the sheer size. The CGE Pro is a rather beastly large mount compared to the CGEM-class of mounts.

Regards,

Wayne

#38 MadMan

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 06:47 PM

I am sorry, I confused it with the CGE Pro. I have only been in the hobby for a couple of months.

Thanks for the warm and fuzzy on the 127/80 VSBS.

#39 freestar8n

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:23 AM

Your images show you are at the very high end in terms of getting good results quickly with humble equipment. I don't know your full thinking on where you want to go now, but I would add to what some people have said - you are already getting good results and you could improve them and reduce the mount load by switching to OAG. I know you want to use hyperstar - but if your mount is polar aligned and you use PEC, you may be able to do acceptably with unguided short exposures, throwing away a few bad subs in each session. Or you could use oag now and short, light guidescope later for hyperstar.

Of course - a bigger and better mount is always good - but you are starting at a pretty high level, and even if you did get a better mount, you would probably want OAG to get best results at long focal length.

Frank

#40 MadMan

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:25 PM

Thanks freestar8n. I am going to hold off on the mount and lighten my load by putting my Lodestar guidecam into a set of Kwiq optics. I will put that on the 11" and take everything else off and use it for Hyperstar.

Holding off on OAG as well for now because can't use it with Hyperstar where the camera is up front.

I am also going to try non-Hyperstar imaging with the new ED127 I just got today with the same, mobile light finder/guide scope at f7.5. That scope is probably 10 lbs lighter than the C11". When the flattener/reducer is available from Explore Scientific for this scope (next week I hope), I will try and shorten the focal length.

Then, if between BOTH of those now lighted setups on CGEM don't cut it, on to new mount research and I will use this mount for visual with whatever setup is not being used for AP while the freezing hours tick away as the Canon goes 'ka-klick' all night long :)

Hopefully, it's a plan and I have this thread and you guys to thank for helping me at least come up with an intermediate concept to a new mount and also for introducing me to AOG/Guidecam and Adaptive Optics concepts - which I never knew existed.

Mike

#41 Tiny

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 10:10 PM

If you do end up going forward with the new mount path the Titan would probably be your best bang for buck mount at the moment and unlike some others [AstroPhysics] it should be readily available once the Gemini update is finalized. Also costs a few thousand less compared to Tak and AP.

#42 gdd

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 12:45 AM

The Titan head breaks into 2 equally heavy (about 35 pound) halves making it more portable than the CGE-Pro which breaks into a 55 pound piece and a 20 pound piece.

Gale

#43 MadMan

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 02:39 AM

Sounds like the one to look at. From what I saw tonight briefly, the CGEM is behaving quite well with a lightened load. So far.

Just can't put the Celestron scope on it plus a dew shield and a camera or it tracks poorly. It liked an ED127 SBS with an ED80 guiding.






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