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Thinking about moving up to a G11 w/Gemini

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#1 JadeSmith

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 09:19 AM

I want to throw my CGEM off a bridge!! It works just fine (usually) when I use it visually, but it suffers from runaway slews and the dreaded "NO RESPONSE" error after it's all set up for AP. So frustrating!! :bangbangbang: :bawling:
It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens enough to take the fun out of AP.
It's already been to sent back to Celestron for the same problem and they "fixed" it, but now it's out of warranty.

I'm thinking about just getting a Losmandy G11 and saying good riddance to Celestron mounts altogether. But I have a few concerns since I have never used a Losmandy.

What's the learning curve like on the Gemini GOTO system? The Celestron GOTO routine is very easy, and I have gotten good AP results with my SSAG without having to drift align. I would have to sell my POD to finance the G11 so I want to make sure that I could get the G11 set-up and aligned in a reasonable amount of time since I won't be able to leave it set-up like I have been with the CGEM in the POD.

I'm open to other options for GOTO GEM mounts (non-Celestron) in the $2,000-$3,000 used range. I would prefer to not buy new and have a payload greater than that of an Atlas/EQ6/CGEM.

Thanks for your thoughts.

#2 waassaabee

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 09:47 AM

I solved the No Response errors by going to a wireless hand controller (Logitech Wingman $30).

I've never used a G11, but hear nothing but positives about them. I don't think the learning curve would be that drastic, but I have no experience with them. The beauty of the G11 and all Losmandy is they are user friendly when it comes to adjustments and upgrades.

#3 JadeSmith

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 09:54 AM

Thanks Gary-
I looked up a Logitech Wingman and it looks like a video game controller. How do set that up to work?

#4 waassaabee

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 10:28 AM

The Logitech wreless receiver plugs into the laptop, and using NexRemote on your laptop, just select the wireless device as the Logitech and away your go! My hand controller is collecting dust, I don't even plug it in anymore.

#5 ZRX-Steve

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 11:48 AM

Jade:

I started with a CGEM and then moved to a G11. I wanted to get a mount that I could do up to 112 seconds of unguided exposures which is the limit of my Mallincam. The G11 has fit that bill very well. I really do like my mount.

With that being said, the CGEM all-star polar alignment was a dream compared to my G11. My current setup involves, polar alignment with a polar scope. Set the mount to it's 'Magic Counterweight down', align on first star (way off), align on second star (way off but a bit closer), ... align on the 6th or so star, and then do a Polar Axis Correction which is similar to a CGEM All-Star align.

The PAC correction has you align on a star close to the Meridian and Celestial Equator, select the PAC routine which moves the mount where it thinks it should be if it's accurately aligned, and then use the DEC and ALT knobs to move the star to center. Very much like the All-Star align, but not as elegant. After that I restart the mount and re-do the alignment model and then try another PAC. If it's not pretty close, I'll repeat until it is.

The good news is that when it's aligned it tracks unbelievably well with a really large load. The bad news is that I was spoiled by the All Star Polar Alignment and other features on Celestron, so the Losmandy Lvl4 version doesn't measure up in those respects. All of the issues would be non-issues if I had an observatory. It will be one of my future purchases.

All-in-all I love the mount performance. The new versions are coming with Gemini II which may solve some of these issues. I haven't heard yet. On the other hand, it may have teething pains too.

If I were you, I'd keep the CGEM And the POD and try to work through the issues as long as the mount has your required carrying capacity. The utility of having an observatory is huge. You'll find yourself not using the mount more and more due to setup time. Also, there are lots of folks getting great shots with a CGEM, so it's achievable if you can get through your mounts issues.

#6 David Pavlich

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 12:35 PM

The G11 is a large step above the CGEM. Yes, the Celestron firmware is very nice, but if you're comparing a G11 and a CGEM and decide that the CGEM is a better mount because of the firmware, you've made a mistake.

The G11 is easy to work on and has much more carrying capacity. Learning Gemini takes a couple of nights of working through the menus, but once you've done it, it's second nature. Gemini II is still being refined, but will be a substantial improvement over Gemini 1.

If it's in your budget, I'd look for a used G11. It will be easily upgradeable to Gemini II if you wish to. I use Gemini on my MI250 and it works just fine.

David

#7 skybsd

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 12:36 PM

That's some excellent advice, there :waytogo:

Regards,

skysbd

#8 dawziecat

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 12:56 PM

I decided against the CGEM because of what I read here.

I have had a new G-11 with Gemini II a month or so now. Be aware that the software for Gemini II is far from fully capable at the moment. Really only a rough, one star alignment is possible. My GOTOs usually, but not always, place the object within my lowest power EP which has a TFOV of very near 1ยบ. Not exactly great. There are still some bugs that result in an occasional GOTO going so wrong as to have the OTA pointing well into the earth too. :(
You will not get any software manual for GII at the moment, just the most rudimentary "quick start" guide imaginable.

A more refined version of the software and a manual are being worked on. How close they are to release seems a trade secret between the software developer, the technical writer and Losmondy management.

#9 Phil Cowell

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 02:08 PM

Good advice from David.
I would get the Gemini 2 and bypass the original Gemini completely. It is obsolete now as are some critical parts for it.
Moving directly to the Gemini 2 could save cost in the future if you plan to keep the mount. I would also suggest waiting and not paying to be a beta tester until the final release is available.

#10 Gargoyle

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 02:31 PM

I currently have both (CGEM and Gemini L4 MI-250). Addressing the learning curve between the both is difficult to compare as I came from a Meade-Autostar environment. I can tell you that for me the Gemini Goto System presented a very short learning curve. I was functional the first night, and by the third was comfortable with its use and controlling functionality. Gemini is a well laid out logical system. Very intuitive and easy to pick up.

The CGEM presented more of a challenge to me because the handset (although keyed differently) was similar to Meade's Autostar (and Autostar II) in shape. Due to this, by habit I kept pressing keys like it was an Autostar controller (and still do).

You really should not have any problem going to a Gemini L4 from a use standpoint. I cannot speak to the Gemini II, but you should consider it if you can.

Jerry

#11 David Pavlich

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 03:08 PM

Good advice from David.
I would get the Gemini 2 and bypass the original Gemini completely. It is obsolete now as are some critical parts for it.
Moving directly to the Gemini 2 could save cost in the future if you plan to keep the mount. I would also suggest waiting and not paying to be a beta tester until the final release is available.


What Phil said. Lord knows Phil and I have gone back and forth about Gemini :grin: but as much as I'd like to get my MI250 on the new firmware, I'm going to wait for the press release that says beta is over and the real thing is up and functioning before making the purchase.

As an alternative, there's a project currently in place with Sitech that will be a replacement for Gemini. However, there's a lot that has to go on to get it to work properly. Here is the Yahoo User Group link.

David

#12 JadeSmith

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 07:21 PM

I like the ~idea~ of going to a wireless set-up, but I'm not understanding how that would solve the problem. It looks like the wireless receiver either the Nexremote or the Orion Starseek both plug into the same input jack that the hand controller plug into. If the problem is in the jack, how does this solve the "No Response" issue? When my mount freaks out, the HC is just sitting in the holder anyways....it's not like the problem arises as I'm holding the HC or moving the cable around.

#13 jmiele

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 10:39 PM

I've been playing with a sky-fi unit. Works really well. Joe

#14 waassaabee

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 09:40 AM

I like the ~idea~ of going to a wireless set-up, but I'm not understanding how that would solve the problem. It looks like the wireless receiver either the Nexremote or the Orion Starseek both plug into the same input jack that the hand controller plug into. If the problem is in the jack, how does this solve the "No Response" issue? When my mount freaks out, the HC is just sitting in the holder anyways....it's not like the problem arises as I'm holding the HC or moving the cable around.

Maybe hand control communication issues? I just know when I eliminated the H/C, the errors went away.

#15 JadeSmith

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 10:24 AM

I ordered the Scopestuff Cable
and hopefully that help. For $20, it seems like a prudent 1st step.

#16 waassaabee

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 11:29 AM

Have you opened the hand controller or mount to confirm all connectors are properly seated? I've also read about some sloppy crimp jobs on the connectors.

#17 JadeSmith

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Posted 29 March 2011 - 01:02 PM

I have not opened either. I'm not really sure what I would even be looking for if I did...I'm not really an electronics kind of guy.

#18 Startraffic

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 01:39 PM

Jade,

I've been on an upward move from my original Western Auto 2 1/2" cardboard "scope" :bawling: from the 60's, through a Meade DS-114, :( to a Vixen GP & 8" R200SS :grin:, to a LXD55 & 10"SNT :confused:. I now have a G11 non-Goto(used), that was upgraded with polar scope, digital setting circles, Sky Commander 4, Clutch grips, & Bob's Knobs. :jump: Great mount, Push & track is a mind twisting concept that I found difficult to grasp until I used it, then liked but didn't love it. I had gotten spoiled by Autostar & disappointed by the mounts' less than expected AP capacity. I found my used G11 & while it weighs a ton, 30# for the head, 25# for the HD tripod, 32# for the CW & shaft, plus the OTA & imaging gear makes for a full hand truck load. :help: Not really a portable setup, more of a transportable, or better an observatory. I debated, hemmed & hawed, & read more Goto system specs than I want to remember, I even compared buying a new G11-G2 & selling off my G11. :question: For me, upgrading my G11 to Gemini2 made the most sense for both $$$ & maintenance standpoints. The Gemini-1 did have some motor burnout issues, (partly due to balance issues, partly due to load issues), and (my pet peeve) static electricity failures. Losmandy has done a lot of remedial work on both of these issues. (Better motors, better electronics manufacturing, optional Maxon motors, etc.) :bow: However, even a bare bones G11 that is well balanced, polar aligned (I use the "drift method" but my tripod hasn't moved in months.), can track (IMO) better than anything in it's $$$ range. :tonofbricks: You're still looking at $2k for the mount, adding Gemini-2 adds $1500-$2500 depending on the options you toss in. (Polar scope, One piece worm block, Maxon motors, Heavy duty or folding tripod, extra CW, etc. it all adds up.....fast.) My upgrade is Gemini-2, Maxon motors, a single One high precision piece worm block, & GPS "should" come to ~$2300+shipping. That said, I can put all but one of my OTA's on it (a 14.5"f8 folded Newt that weighs 110# :shocked:) & it will (hopefully) Goto & track like I what it to. It is an AP setup. Next thing & have to get is at least one other camera. The DSI-C is ok but.....

StarT :cool:

#19 skybsd

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 01:53 PM

Hello,

For me, upgrading my G11 to Gemini2 made the most sense for both $$$ & maintenance standpoints. The Gemini-1 did have some motor burnout issues, (partly due to balance issues, partly due to load issues), and (my pet peeve) static electricity failures. Losmandy has done a lot of remedial work on both of these issues. (Better motors, better electronics manufacturing, optional Maxon motors, etc.) :bow:



"Better motors" ??? :question:

To that point, the issues that cause G11 motor burnout on a Gemini will also cause burnout on a Gemini-II. Also, lest anyone misses something, Maxon motors do also burn out when subjected to similar conditions.

Regards,

skybsd

#20 JadeSmith

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 02:45 PM

The new cable has arrived (along with a few days of rain) so we'll see if that solves the no response issue. Does anybody know if the bad crimping job on the connections is usually on the HC side or the mount side? I looked at both and I don't see anything that looks weird...

#21 Phil Cowell

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 04:18 PM

If you have a crimp tool, you might want to tighten down the connector on the HC. Most times that's all it takes. If you don't have one take the controller to your local electronics store and ask if they can put the connector in a crimper and tighen down on it for you. 30 seconds and hopefully problem solved.

#22 nemo129

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 04:49 PM

The new cable has arrived (along with a few days of rain) so we'll see if that solves the no response issue. Does anybody know if the bad crimping job on the connections is usually on the HC side or the mount side? I looked at both and I don't see anything that looks weird...

On mine it was on the RJ style connector on the end of the HC cable. You really could not tell by looking at it, but in the course of operating the mount with the cord being so short you tend to tug on it a bit and that would cause my mount to either completely reset (like I powered it off and on) or I would get the No Response 16 or 17 errors. A new HC from Celestron cured the problem.






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