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GOTO equatorial mount that also acts as NON-goto?

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19 replies to this topic

#1 Ken Kobayashi

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:13 PM

I'm just curious, which GOTO systems have a default mode where they act like a non-GOTO mount? That is, if you turn on the power and don't do any setup, it'll track at sidereal rate.

Most nights I just want to lug the telescope setup to the driveway, point the RA axis roughly towards the north, turn on the power, point the telescope manually at a planet (or sun) and do some casual viewing. The problem is, the two GOTO mounts I've owned (Celestron AS-GT and one of the Orion mounts) don't let me do that. They just sit perfectly still until I do a star alignment.

#2 wormstar



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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:17 PM

My Takahashi NJP does just that, when the mount is powered up with no computer or alignment it just tracks at sidereal rate.(in fact it can't be stopped! without turning the motors off)

#3 MawkHawk


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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:23 PM

The LXD75 and LXD55 do that. You can level, align to north, when you reach the star alignment the tracking motor starts. You can move the scope manually then or with the Autostart arrow keys. I do this all the time.

#4 MikeCatfin


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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:29 PM

Losmandy mounts can do this also.

#5 Benach



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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:34 PM

I know that the most avid Dutch variable star observer threw the handbox of his LX200 mount away as soon as he received his 16" LX200. He is quicker than the GOTO system and is able to do up to 100 observations per hour with only a viewfinder! (dunno if this is what you meant but ok)

#6 ichdien


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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:46 PM


#7 lambermo


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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:03 PM

Both my Meade LX200-classic and my Celestron CGE do this.

#8 TonyF


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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:16 PM

Both my Meade LX200-classic and my Celestron CGE do this.

I havent tried it on the CGE.. Is that at turn on before star-align?

#9 Dixie


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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:26 PM

On the CGE just press Quick Align instead of two star/one star align.

#10 chollman


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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:33 PM

My CGEM mount can do that with just 2 or 3 button pushes on the hand control. I use it when I am doing planetary or moon or just scanning. Charlie

#11 MikeBOKC


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Posted 20 January 2011 - 04:34 PM

On the night of ther lunar eclipse I did a quick align only with my CG-5 mount with the C6R on board and manually slewed to the moon. Three hours later I still had perfectly centered tracking with zero hand control input.

#12 hudson_yak


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Posted 21 January 2011 - 12:55 PM

just 2 or 3 button pushes on the hand control.

Yes, the SynScan controller (what Orion scopes use) provides that capability as well, though it's probably more than just a few button presses to get to the right option in the menus. It would be nice if they just started up running like that but doing the button presses is not too much extra hassle, really.


#13 Skylook123



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Posted 21 January 2011 - 06:39 PM

The Atlas also has a tracking rate that starts as off, but can be selected with a couple of button pushes, or automatically starts at sidereal after star alignment. Without an alignment, you can jump to Tracking and set the rate to any of the available rates.

#14 pennyandchris


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Posted 22 January 2011 - 02:51 AM

The LXD 75 and Syn Scan mounts both have the option of a simple controller that can be plugged in to work like a non-go to mount.

#15 Eddgie



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Posted 22 January 2011 - 01:37 PM

If you think you might do some decent percentage of your viewing with your mount only as a tracking mount, a good alternative might be to look for something like a GM8 with Sky Commander.

The beauty of this kind of mount is that it can run for hours and hours off of a very small battery pack. Since the motor is only ticking away, and you aren't powering a computer and doing a lot of slewing, you only need 100 milliamps or so of power to tick the stepper motor over. pack made from 1200ma AAA batteries will run the mount all night!

If you do want to locate objects, you can turn on the Sky Comander and knock off a quick alignment.

The Sky Commander system allows you to move the mount manually at any time an works independently of the RA motor, and you don't loose your pointing (the way you do if you unlock the axis of most Go-to Mounts and move the tube manually). Push to mode can actually be much faster than Go-to, and it is essentially silent. Even the best Go-To mounts make some noise when slewing.

I owned a GM8 with Sky Commander and sometimes I miss it. They are lovely little mounts with decent carry capacity.
My biggest complaint was that there was a lot of clutter with the way the Digital Setting Circles were added to the mount.

Still, it is a really beautiful mount, and if you want the option of running for many hours off of a compact battery pack, but also haveing the ability to turn on the DSCs and Push To, it is a great option.

I also had a Ci-700 with DSCs. I regret selling that one too. For my 6" APO, I often spend time just cruising around, Dob Style, but the CI-700 could always keep up with the pistion. With the Meade LXD 750, I have to slew. It is a fast mount though, but now I am locked into a big battery or power adapters and AC power or something.

Sometimes, simple is better. I wish I still had those two mounts. I like my CG5 ASGT, and I like my Meade LXD-650, but the GM8 and the Ci-700 have their merits too.


#16 Phil Cowell

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 03:08 PM

Still have a CI-700 with Sky Commander. Almost the perfect mix, good capacity, very accurate and the built in heater is a good thing here in the upstate NY tundra.
Have couple Argo's (one on a Dob another on a WO EZ Touch) that work well too.

#17 Eddgie



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Posted 22 January 2011 - 04:43 PM

Yes, the Ci-700 with DSCs was one of my favorite mounts. The one I had was equiped with the Celeston DSC computer, but I had a Sky COmmander on the GM8.. The Sky Commander was light years better than the Celestron DSC.

I stupidly sold the mount to buy an Atlas Go-To after all the initial talk about the Atlas being a competitor to the G11. I was way disappointed by its stability. I badly missed the C1-700 then.

When I got the big 6" f/8 Astro Physics refractor, I was looking for another Ci-700 but the LXD-750 came along. Would trade my Meade LXD 750 for one in a second.

I have to say though that he Meade LXD-750 is a more stable mount and I actually LIKE the handset function. It was surprisnly good software considering it was one of the first Go-To mounts on the market.

But back to the OPs point, I LIKED the push-to. It ran from a small battery all night, and was quiet, and I could push to faster than I could Go-to.

If anyone out there has a Ci-700 with DSCs and wants to trade for a LXD-750, let me know! LOL.




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Posted 22 January 2011 - 09:41 PM

On my Celestron AS-GT mount, I can select the “Quick-Align” and point the mount roughly towards the North, then I can select and automatically slew to the bright sky objects, such as the moon or Jupiter, and thereafter the mount can keep on tracking quite well.

C8+CG5 GT, TSA102+HEQ5 PRO, MK67+Voyager, NexStar 6SE, C5+Mizar K, WO ZS80FD+Kenko NES, Megrez 72FD+Kenko KDS, Mini Borg 50, PST

#19 Asimov



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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:11 PM

Realistically speaking, you couldn't really add the old CGE mount to this list. It still has to go through a routine in it's 'brain' (including 'quick align') As an example, you cannot bypass the electronics to just power it up & it starts tracking. Without some sort of alignment taking place, it won't track.

#20 avarakin


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Posted 23 January 2011 - 01:24 AM

With LXD75 if you press Mode 3 times upon startup, it just starts tracking.

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