Jump to content


Photo

Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900?

  • Please log in to reply
200 replies to this topic

#1 saadabbasi

saadabbasi

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1135
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2009
  • Loc: 29N

Posted 29 April 2012 - 06:32 AM

I have been considering a high end mount for some time now. Initially, I was quite set on the AP900 but the more I read about the Paramount MX, the more I like it. The fact that a computer is required is not an issue for me because I have to use one for my CCD camera anyway.

Other than that, are there any pitfalls I should be concerned about? The fact that AP900 breaks into two parts is really good but the MX isn't very heavy and so I think it shouldn't be a problem.

I also like the homing ability and it seems it makes setting up every night easier as well because all you have to do is start the mount, home it, point it a bright star and you're go. Do I understand this correctly?

How easy is polar alignment with the MX? How long does it typically take? Does the SkyX have some sort of polar alignment routine?

I also REALLY like fact that the MX can have wires running through the mount - no more cable snags! On paper, it seems that the MX is a better buy. But then again, the AP900 is a proven performer. However, from reading some previous threads it seems that the MX is no slouch. It even includes counterweights, a saddle and a lot of software.

How does Software Bisque's support compare to that of AP?

My long-term requirements are to able to use a scope like DSI RC14 which weights about 78 lbs. or a TOA-150. Currently, I'll mount a AT RC8 / FSQ-85EDX.

What do you folks think? Should I go for the MX?

#2 frolinmod

frolinmod

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1891
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2010
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 29 April 2012 - 06:23 PM

I'd recommend also posting your question over on the IceInSpace Equipment Forum where you'll find more Paramount MX owners.

....the MX isn't very heavy and so I think it shouldn't be a problem.

To me the MX is comparatively light. I can carry it an indefinite distance without trouble. Mind you I'm comparing the weight to the ME which is much heavier.

....all you have to do is start the mount, home it, point it a bright star and you're go. Do I understand this correctly?

I you haven't torn down the mount and OTA since the last time you used it then you just turn the mount on and let it home itself. You don't need to sync it on a star or anything else. However, if you've torn the mount down, then you're going to have to at the very least rough polar align, sync on a star and refine polar alignment again.

How easy is polar alignment with the MX?

It's very easy, particularly if you use a camera to do automated calibration.

Does TheSkyX have some sort of polar alignment routine?

Yes, see TheSkyX->Telescope->Tpoint Add On->Polar Alignment for the polar alignment report.

I recommend you download and read the Paramount MX User Guide.

How does Software Bisque's support compare to that of AP?

I think Software Bisque support is excellent. They do their support via their support web forum.

#3 DeanS

DeanS

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3306
  • Joined: 12 Jul 2005
  • Loc: Central Kentucky

Posted 29 April 2012 - 09:03 PM

I think you should look for a larger mount if you are planning on the DSI 14" as this will load up either of these mounts.

The new AP1600 sure looks sweet :) And you can buy it as a base unit, and add the encoders later on if you want.

#4 saadabbasi

saadabbasi

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1135
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2009
  • Loc: 29N

Posted 29 April 2012 - 11:25 PM

I'd recommend also posting your question over on the IceInSpace Equipment Forum where you'll find more Paramount MX owners.


Thanks, will do.


....all you have to do is start the mount, home it, point it a bright star and you're go. Do I understand this correctly?

I you haven't torn down the mount and OTA since the last time you used it then you just turn the mount on and let it home itself. You don't need to sync it on a star or anything else. However, if you've torn the mount down, then you're going to have to at the very least rough polar align, sync on a star and refine polar alignment again.

Ah, I see. However, assuming that the polar alignment is perfect, does one need to sync on multiple stars or just one star more than enough? Will subsequent GoTo's be accurate enough (enough to put the star in the CCD, on either side of the meridian?) if I've synced on just one star?

Do I need to sync separately for both sides of the meridian?

It's very easy, particularly if you use a camera to do automated calibration.

By automated calibration do you mean plate-solving? Then yes - with my G11 mount, I can make quite an accurate model in very little time because I started syncing on plate-solves and not the bright stars.

So I already have Maxim and Pinpoint configured but I guess TheSkyX will use it's own utility. However, i really hope I'm not locked into using CCDSoft. I really prefer MaximDL.

I think you should look for a larger mount if you are planning on the DSI 14" as this will load up either of these mounts.

The new AP1600 sure looks sweet And you can buy it as a base unit, and add the encoders later on if you want.


The AP1600 is more mount than I can manage right now. The RA section alone is heaver than the MX, I believe. It's also much larger. I think I'll just my requirement to a DSI 10" or a CDK 12.5". Are there any other, lighter, telescopes in the 12" to 14" range which are corrected?

#5 David Pavlich

David Pavlich

    Transmographied

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 27758
  • Joined: 18 May 2005
  • Loc: Mandeville, LA USA

Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:43 AM

Hey Saad...maybe wait to see how the optics are on the new LX800 OTAs. It's pretty attractive with the native f8 and the dedicated f5 reducer. The 12" version weighs in at 57lbs naked and would be great on something like an MX. However, I don't know if Meade is offering the OTA as stand alone. :question:

David

#6 saadabbasi

saadabbasi

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1135
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2009
  • Loc: 29N

Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:48 AM

David, yes, I'm not buying an OTA anytime soon. But do you think Meade's optical quality would be as good as a Planeview CDK or something similar?

#7 frolinmod

frolinmod

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1891
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2010
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:45 AM

The questions concerning the Paramount MX that you have asked are answered by reading the Paramount MX User Guide. Please click on the link, download it and read it. It's a fairly good manual and well worth reading. You can also post questions and get answers on the Software Bisque support website.

Yes you can use MaximDL. There's an X2 to MaximDL plug-in for TheSkyX available that allows you to have TheSkyX go through MaximDL for camera control. The only time you'd actually need to control the camera from within TheSkyX for anything (having it go through Maxim for camera control) is when doing Tpoint automated calibration. For all other purposes you'd want to just go straight to Maxim as usual for all your camera control needs.

Note that there is also an ASCOM driver to permit you to control the mount via ASCOM compliant applications. The ASCOM driver communicates back and forth with TheSkyX and TheSkyX does the actual mount control. See the ascom-standards.org website for many ASCOM related drivers and plug-ins for TheSkyX.

Are there any other, lighter, telescopes in the 12" to 14" range which are corrected?

I own an EdgeHD 14 which is inexpensive compared to those others you mentioned. I have it mounted on a Paramount ME. I'm looking forward to trying out the Celestron reducer which is supposedly on its way to me right now <knock wood>. I'd like a CDK17 or a CDK20, just can't justify the cost.

#8 saadabbasi

saadabbasi

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1135
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2009
  • Loc: 29N

Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:03 PM

frolinmod, do you reckon the MX will handle the C14HD well?

I'm really excited about the Paramount MX. The integration between the hardware and software is really beyond any other mounts that I've read about. I can't wait to order mine around September/October.

#9 frolinmod

frolinmod

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1891
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2010
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:29 PM

frolinmod, do you reckon the MX will handle the C14HD well?

Yes.

#10 David Pavlich

David Pavlich

    Transmographied

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 27758
  • Joined: 18 May 2005
  • Loc: Mandeville, LA USA

Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:26 PM

David, yes, I'm not buying an OTA anytime soon. But do you think Meade's optical quality would be as good as a Planeview CDK or something similar?


Will it be the equivalent of the CDK? Probably not, but will it be quite good? I guess what many of us are holding out hope for is that it's the match of the old RX400 optics. The scopes were a mechanical Rube Goldberg, but the optics were terrific! If the new new Meades match that performance, Meade will have a lot of imagers knocking down the doors.

David

#11 gnowellsct

gnowellsct

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6831
  • Joined: 24 Jun 2009

Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:27 PM

There's a Korean company that was at NEAF turning out some very beautiful stuff you might want to throw them into the consideration mix.

Myself I have an AP900 (QMD) and I think one could do a lot worse. I use with a C14+4" refractor and it is one of the joys of my astronomy life.

Greg N

p.s. I ain't a talkin' about no Ioptron. The company is called Morning Calm and this is seriously good stuff at very competitive prices. These guys will handle any technical question you throw at them and their English is excellent. www.astrodreamtech.com

#12 frolinmod

frolinmod

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1891
  • Joined: 06 Aug 2010
  • Loc: Southern California

Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:33 PM

If the new new Meades match that performance, Meade will have a lot of imagers knocking down the doors.

Speaking of which, does anyone know if Meade will sell just the new OTAs separately?

I've heard (from a post over on IceInSpace) that the AP900 is also now being discontinued to eventually be replaced with something much better, no more will be produced and that if you want one, you need to buy one from current stock, real quick. Quite a shakeup in the product line, eh?

#13 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5630
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:32 AM

The entry level morning calm is about $5500. If its comparable to the Mach1 then i think i'd rather go for the Mach1. On the other hand, Ap900 payload for Mach1 price would be a winner. I dont expect it though, Korea isnt a cheap place to manufacture stuff anymore.

#14 elbee

elbee

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 702
  • Joined: 02 May 2009
  • Loc: Arizona

Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:02 PM

I've heard (from a post over on IceInSpace) that the AP900 is also now being discontinued to eventually be replaced with something much better, no more will be produced and that if you want one, you need to buy one from current stock, real quick.


the AP1200 has been replaced by the AP1600. the AP900 is still in production and available.

#15 Alph

Alph

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1767
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Melmac

Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:09 PM

the AP900 is still in production and available.


When the last production runs out they are gone for good. As I correctly predicted, the AP900 is dead. A-P had no choice but to admit.

#16 bobhen

bobhen

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 693
  • Joined: 25 Jun 2005

Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:35 PM

The 900 is not “really dead”. It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity. AP will still be producing 4 high-end mounts: the M1, the enhanced 900 (whatever they call it), the 1600, and the 3600.

There won’t be a hole in the line up.

AP stated they felt the Mach 1 and the 900 were a little too close in capability - which probably says a lot about the Mach 1.

AP says they are taking things that they learned from Mach 1 development and are applying those enhancements to the 900 and 1200, as those mounts have been around for some time.

Bob

#17 Alph

Alph

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1767
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Melmac

Posted 01 May 2012 - 01:50 PM

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.


Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master. I see a troubling trend with AP mounts, heavier, bigger and more expensive. They are out of touch.

#18 blueman

blueman

    Photon Catcher

  • *****
  • Posts: 5429
  • Joined: 20 Jul 2007
  • Loc: California

Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:39 PM

Hi Alph,
I think rather than seeing it your way, I see that AP is trying to balance the models a bit more, making a steady progression in capacity as you go up the line.
Agreed, the cost is going up as is the weight, I would like to see the AP-900 staying close to the original weight, so it is portable and small. But updating it is a good thing. Making them so that the wires is internal and the beefing up seems to be the main changes, we will have to wait and see what the AP-900 is like.

The cost of everything is going up of course and I think that AP is effected as well by this. So, the cost of manufacture is increasing. Yes, it would be nice to see prices go down, but that is not about to happen.
The prices have never been cheap for AP gear, I guess that will continue. :)
Blueman

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.


Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master. I see a troubling trend with AP mounts, heavier, bigger and more expensive. They are out of touch.



#19 D. Perry

D. Perry

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 171
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2007
  • Loc: Southern California, USA

Posted 01 May 2012 - 02:45 PM

A-P makes everything from the Mach1GTO to the AP3600, covering just about every weight capacity and doing it with high quality products and great support.

They don't compete with Meade, iOptron, or any of the more mass-produced stuff. They aim for quality in everything they make.

So... How are they out of touch?

Compared to the 1200, the 1600 has increased weight capacity, relocated and self-tensioning motors, and through-the-mount cabling... Features that refine their current offering and support remote operation even further. The improvements and new features are clear.

#20 Alph

Alph

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1767
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2006
  • Loc: Melmac

Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:01 PM

If the weight capacity of the Mach1 is underrated wrt the AP900 what is the true/actual capacity of both mounts?

#21 Christopher Erickson

Christopher Erickson

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2252
  • Joined: 08 May 2006
  • Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii

Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:07 PM

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.


Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master. I see a troubling trend with AP mounts, heavier, bigger and more expensive. They are out of touch.


I have to add that my favorite mounts for "small" robotic observatories (all things being relative) are all from Astro-Physics. Their customer support, open communication protocols and responsiveness to special needs and applications are unmatched by anyone else in the industry.

#22 Peter in Reno

Peter in Reno

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6068
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2008
  • Loc: Reno, NV

Posted 01 May 2012 - 03:12 PM

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.


Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master. I see a troubling trend with AP mounts, heavier, bigger and more expensive. They are out of touch.


I am not quite understanding your point. I had Atlas and Celestron mounts and they were nowhere even close to my current AP Mach1 mount. Mach1 is much lighter and has much higher carrying imaging capacity than both Atlas and Celestron. I was fed up with poor tracking and high PE of mass produced mounts so I took the risk of spending more on A-P Mach1 and I am glad I did because it has never let me down.

I think A-P has one of the best business model in the telescope market. It makes sense what they are doing right now. They may cost more than others and why do they charge more? Because they can and know what the market is willing to pay for. They have been around for a very long time and not even close to bankruptcy like Meade did. Also, people are willing to spend extra for high quality, reliability and service support. Meade, Celesron, and Atlas don't even come close to what A-P offers.

IMO, you seem to have a grudge against A-P. I have never read one single positive comment from you about A-P and I don't think I have read others' negative comments about A-P. And finally, have you ever own an A-P product?

Peter

#23 Joe Bergeron

Joe Bergeron

    Vendor - Space Art

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 1632
  • Joined: 10 Nov 2003
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:37 PM

Their customer support, open communication protocols and responsiveness to special needs and applications are unmatched by anyone else in the industry.


You see, they are out of touch! They don't follow industry norms!

#24 Bowmoreman

Bowmoreman

    Clear enough skies

  • *****
  • Posts: 9162
  • Joined: 11 Sep 2006
  • Loc: Bolton, MA

Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:58 PM

:funny: :funny: :funny:

Let's keep it on track

That said, I agree, and I don't even own one...

#25 Calypte

Calypte

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1160
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2007
  • Loc: Anza, California

Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:39 PM

How would capacity be determined? Some manufacturers seem to think a load just short of utter collapse is the "capacity." A-P is more conservative. The mount should be able to do useful work. But it still depends upon the scope (long? short? heavy weights at the ends?) and ambient conditions. Losmandy claims 60 lbs capacity for the G11 vs A-P's 45 lbs for the Mach1GTO. I own both. I've never loaded either to claimed capacity, but having loaded each mount with the exact same gear, I can definitely say that my Mach1GTO is steadier than my G11 under all tested circumstances.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics