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Would like opinion - Losmandy or iOptron?

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#1 Katz

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 06:08 PM

Don't go nuts with this topic; read the whole thing before the knee starts jerking...

I left the astronomy community in 2003 when I sold my CG9.25 on it's very-much-improved-by-me GM-8 mount. Not new to this.

Recently I was, with the kind help of someone here on the CN users group, able to electrically repair and set up a 2004 12" Meade LX200 GPS. It is a very nice scope, and being an ME, I took the time to go through it completely top to bottom except the optics. The optics needed nothing, so they received nothing. Ain't broke, don't narf with it, right?

So, tripod, wedge, scope out to the backyard to give my 5-year-old daughter her first lesson on the night skies. Already having a spine full of titanium, I misstepped while carrying the LX200 (no, I did NOT drop it), and burst the L3/L4 disk in my back, as well as damaging the two disks above it. I'm being told now nothing heavier than 50 lbs or less the rest of my life, and may need surgery again just because of this incident.

So, next week my 12" LX200 GPS will go on the market.

Now, what I'd like to do is to initially run a 70mm fast refractor on a GEM, with the ability to pair it with a 102 or 105mm side-by-side later. I already have a Stellarvue SV70ED refractor that I was going to use for wide-field CCD photography.

Was considering the v2 version of the iOptron 1EQ-45, but because this mount will be used for astrophotography as well as visual work and possibly carrying two refractors plus autoguider, ST2000, and CFW-9, would like to know, based on my situation:

iEQ-45 v2
OR
Used Losmandy G-8 with Gemini 1 or 2,
OR
Used Losmandy G-11 with Gemini 1 or 2?

I can carry these items. I cannot carry 80 lbs of 12" LX200 any longer.

Opinions?

BTW, I've been trying to gain access to the Yahoo! Groups iEQ-45 Imaging group for 3-4 days, and no response. What's it take, a secret handshake and a Druidic ritual?

Thanks.

Kev

#2 orlyandico

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:27 PM

iEQ45 mount head is 25lb. G11 is 36lb. GM8 is 21 lb.

I'd go for the iEQ45 - it's "supposedly" 45 lb rated so should be good for imaging to 25 - 30 lb. The GM8 is only 30 lb rated so after de-rating for AP you're at maybe 20 lb. The iEQ45 is cheaper too.

If money's no object, the 30 lb Mach1 GTO is the best bet, as it would probably be enough mount for all your current and future needs, without breaking your back. It would break my bank though.. :tonofbricks:

#3 Katz

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 10:33 PM

Thanks for your input. There's some things about all of the selections I have here.

iEQ45:
- The iOptron has been reported to be having issues with communications to various ASCOM-related apps.
- The DEC and RA axis issues - stiffness/slip
- Possibly (as reported by one poster) some goto issues

Losmandy:
The GM-8 really is going to be undersized for what I want to do, so let's remove that option.

- The G-11 with Gemini II is a stout mount, and very compliant, and rock stable, but if anything like my GM-8 was, a beast to set up with polar alignment quickly in the field

What I did think about was how the iEQ45 would perform on top of Losmandy's big field tripod instead of that tripod that it comes with. I had the G-11 tripod on my GM-8, and it made light-years of difference in stability.

And yes, the Mach 1 is as much out of my league as you report it to be out of yours from a financial aspect. :imawake:

Please, I'd like to discuss this more.

Kev

#4 orlyandico

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 11:24 PM

the revised iEQ45 "M" has a new clutch mechanism so it can freewheel now (no need for the software assisted balance routine - I assume).
Link.

there's not really much else out there. The CGEM and Atlas (I have a CGEM) weigh too much, mount head alone you'd be dangerously close to your back limit.

how about a Vixen SXD? it's really lightweight. Carries a bit more than the GM8 but nowhere close to the iEQ45 or G11. problem is the declination guiding issue, so you'd need to buy a NexSXD board and Celestron controller (another $300 - $400). you can get an SXD used around $1500 - $1600. it's a Vixen!

specs (from Japan, and not the inflated 50 lb spec from Vixen NA) - http://www.vixen.co....t/spec/sxd.html

weight is 8.8 kg (19 lb) and capacity is 15 kg (33 lb). I'd say it could do 20 - 25 lb for imaging.

Similar - iEQ30, 30 lb payload (overall probably can carry less than the Vixen SXD or GM8 for imaging) but only weighs 15 lb. Cheaper, too.

#5 mgwhittle

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 11:39 PM

the revised iEQ45 "M" has a new clutch mechanism so it can freewheel now (no need for the software assisted balance routine - I assume).


Actually, I have the new clutch on my ieq45 but never use it, the software routine is just that quick and precise.

#6 mgwhittle

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 11:53 PM

Thanks for your input. There's some things about all of the selections I have here.

iEQ45:
- The iOptron has been reported to be having issues with communications to various ASCOM-related apps.
- The DEC and RA axis issues - stiffness/slip
- Possibly (as reported by one poster) some goto issues

Losmandy:
The GM-8 really is going to be undersized for what I want to do, so let's remove that option.

- The G-11 with Gemini II is a stout mount, and very compliant, and rock stable, but if anything like my GM-8 was, a beast to set up with polar alignment quickly in the field

What I did think about was how the iEQ45 would perform on top of Losmandy's big field tripod instead of that tripod that it comes with. I had the G-11 tripod on my GM-8, and it made light-years of difference in stability.

And yes, the Mach 1 is as much out of my league as you report it to be out of yours from a financial aspect. :imawake:

Please, I'd like to discuss this more.

Kev



I've owned a GM-8 non Gemini and now have a ieq45. I like my iOptron quite a bit but I will tell you that the Losmandy is much better with machining, quality of materials and finishing.

As far as your questions above, I can only tell you that the newer iEQ45s are just fine when it comes to movements, locking and stiffness. As far as the goto issues, yep, some have had complete failures (mine is excellent in this regard) but iOptron has reportedly worked with those affected and so far, accepted mounts for refunds from those who were not satisfied with the performance. I don't do astrophotography so I can't give an opinion about that or ASCOM related communications.

You are going to have to have a custom plate machined to put that iOptron onto a Losmandy tripod, although, I wouldn't mind doing that too. The iOptron tripod is okay but not as sturdy as I'd like, although quite adequate for the wieght you are suggesting. To me the weakest link to carrying the full rated load on the iOptron is the tripod. If you figure out how to adapt a Losmandy HD tripod for use with the iOptron, let us know. On a side note there have been some who report that the optional iOptron pier is more substantial than the field tripod.

#7 Bart

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:59 AM

The G11 can be disassembled to a large degree with each piece weighing well below your weight limit. It's also robust compared to the other choices. By the time the Optron is old and worn and ready for the dust bin, the G11 is just getting broken in. For me the G11 would be the choice.

#8 hottr6

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 09:57 AM

I have no experience with the iEQ-45, but I am experienced with Losmandy (without Gemini) for visual use. My experience with Chinese-made mounts is that they use inferior-quality alloy (they refuse to specify exactly what alloy is used) and to make matters worse, the alloy is cast. :flame: Chinese mounts are not heirloom items and have not benefited from the Chinese aerospace program.

Losmandy use billet 6061-T6 aluminum in their mounts, and the difference in quality compared with Chinese mounts can be seen from a distance of 50'. There really is no comparison. Losmandy GEMs are made in the USA (:usa:) in the one shop with minimal outsourcing. If you need an individual component, call them and the part will be on your doorstep 3 days later. Try that with any Chinese-made mount. Like my Byers, you will see Losmandy GEMs being routinely used in 30-40 years time.

And FWIW, Walmart sells the iEQ-45 :bigshock:
http://www.walmart.c...Clutch/17445119

I have no experience with either iOptron or Losmandy GoTos, so have no comments.

#9 Katz

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:33 AM

I have no experience with the iEQ-45, but I am experienced with Losmandy (without Gemini) for visual use. My experience with Chinese-made mounts is that they use inferior-quality alloy (they refuse to specify exactly what alloy is used) and to make matters worse, the alloy is cast. :flame: Chinese mounts are not heirloom items and have not benefited from the Chinese aerospace program.

Losmandy use billet 6061-T6 aluminum in their mounts, and the difference in quality compared with Chinese mounts can be seen from a distance of 50'. There really is no comparison. Losmandy GEMs are made in the USA (:usa:) in the one shop with minimal outsourcing. If you need an individual component, call them and the part will be on your doorstep 3 days later. Try that with any Chinese-made mount. Like my Byers, you will see Losmandy GEMs being routinely used in 30-40 years time.

And FWIW, Walmart sells the iEQ-45 :bigshock:
http://www.walmart.c...Clutch/17445119

I have no experience with either iOptron or Losmandy GoTos, so have no comments.


I know the quality of Losmandy, as I did have a G-8 mount, so I agree with you regarding their quality.

The alloy used by most of the world for items like we are discussing are low-pressure-cast aluminum alloys. Magnesium is generally frowned upon because of its propensity for corrosion. Zinc-based "pot metals" have little to no structural stability for our applications.

Thanks.

Kevin

#10 Midnight Dan

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:51 AM

What I did think about was how the iEQ45 would perform on top of Losmandy's big field tripod instead of that tripod that it comes with. I had the G-11 tripod on my GM-8, and it made light-years of difference in stability.


The iEQ45 can also be purchased on a portable pier. Not sure what the weight is, but Losmand's big field tripod has to weigh a "couple-two-tree" pounds.

There's no argument that the iEQ45 will not be at the quality level of the Losmandy. But it is a modern design including easy to use firmware and convenience factors like a built in handset heater, GPS, and an excellent Polar scope that makes alignment accurate and easy.

Which brings up another issue. With your back problems, are you going to be able to manage the position you need to get into for a polar scope on any mount?

-Dan

#11 Phil Cowell

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 12:27 PM

With your back problems go with the iOptron.

#12 end

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 01:03 PM

With your back problems go with a back yard observatory of some kind: nothing to haul out ever again and no constraints on what mount / system to buy. You could even keep your existing system.

Of course a dome or slide off observatory might not be possible for a wide variety of reasons, but if it is this seems like the obvious choice.

#13 Midnight Dan

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 01:06 PM

With your back problems go with a back yard observatory of some kind


+1 :waytogo:

-Dan

#14 MPT

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 02:01 PM

With your back problems go with the iOptro.


I love my Losmandy, but have to agree with this as well. Its a big lump of a mount to haul around.

#15 Hilmi

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:04 PM

I would recommend the Losmandy under one condition.... You have to be one of those "we don't need not stinking manuals" people.

Also, Frimware Release candidate 8 is in my personal opinion 97% cooked, but not 100%. Depends on how you use it, you might never run across the 3% that's broken, but I know I have. I like the Gemini II, but I do feel obliged to warn anybody who asks for my advice that it is almost done, but not there yet.

Again, hope you'r not into manuals.

(Coming from the sort of guy who would read the manual of their new car from cover to cover)

#16 Bart

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Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:30 PM

Yeah, it would be nice to have a software manual.

#17 Katz

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 12:44 AM

Which brings up another issue. With your back problems, are you going to be able to manage the position you need to get into for a polar scope on any mount?

-Dan


I think so. Good point.

#18 Granville Leong

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 07:17 PM

I'm one of the two guys that reported major problems with the iEQ45. If you decide to go with iOptron, I highly suggest that you check out telescope.com. They have excellent customer service. Return is as good as amzon.com if not better. They pay for return shipment and I received my refund two days after UPS picked up the mount. Telescopes.com is an online dealer, so they don't handle technical issues.

After wresting with iEq45 for six weeks, my conclusion is that the mount is a good mount mechanically, but its electronics is a hit and miss thing.

Good luck in whatever you choose.

Granville

#19 Katz

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 08:27 PM

Hi, Granville, thanks for your response. I can't seem to find any dimensions on the mount itself; physically, how large is it really?

And I'll definitely take your advice into consideration.

Thanks.

Kevin

#20 Nebhunter

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 09:17 PM

Well, I have a G11. But you already know the drill having the G8. It takes some work and knowledge, but a solid mount and you can't go wrong with one. Can you set up the outfit onto a cart to not have to lift anything?

But there is a wonderful mount that exceeds these for portability, and the best and fastest polar scope period. Tak EM200. These mounts are not mentioned much here, and there is a good one listed on Amart.

Talk to any Tak mount user, and they don't look back. They are keepers. FWIW.

#21 Renae Gage

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 09:58 PM

Well, I have a G11. But you already know the drill having the G8. It takes some work and knowledge, but a solid mount and you can't go wrong with one. Can you set up the outfit onto a cart to not have to lift anything?

But there is a wonderful mount that exceeds these for portability, and the best and fastest polar scope period. Tak EM200. These mounts are not mentioned much here, and there is a good one listed on Amart.

Talk to any Tak mount user, and they don't look back. They are keepers. FWIW.


Beat me to it. EM-200 Temma II's have gone for as low as $4000 including tripods. For me, it was the only mount that seemed to sit in the broad gap between the G11 and the Mach 1. I'm quite happy with it, and it is less to carry than a G11. You don't even have to be on level ground. Still, I'd echo the input above about a fixed observatory if possible. You will never be able to lift more than you can today, and eventually it will be less. Scope Buggy or similar would be an alternative.

#22 vdb

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 11:35 PM

I own both ...
Use the IEQ45 most of the time, due to portability and fast setup time with very accurate polarscope. It really puzzles me Losmandy did not change to a fixed polarscope with hour markings ...
Already mentioned the Aloy used on the IEQ45 is junk compared to the Losmandy I have already 2 RA threads broke ... you need to set them loose when you pickup the mount or otherwise you push out the screws ...

#23 Midnight Dan

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 08:58 AM

... I have already 2 RA threads broke ... you need to set them loose when you pickup the mount or otherwise you push out the screws ...


Huh? Are you talking about the iEQ45 mount? What are "RA threads"? Do you mean the 4 locking bolts around the RA axis? I don't understand how lifting the mount can push them out. Can you explain a bit more here?

-Dan

#24 MRNUTTY

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:39 AM

Hi Kevin, I have the iOptron iEQ45 with clutch mod, a MiniTower II, the Pro Tripod, and the Portable Pier. I also have major back problem too, so I know exactly what you're looking for in that regard. The first mount I got was a CGEM-DX which was way out of my weight limits. The a CG5 that while light I just couldn't cozy up to. When I went for round three of mount selections I put the weight issue as the highest priority. So, I selected iOptron because they had the components I wanted in light enough version it wouldn't be a strain. Each of these parts are 25lbs or less, iEQ45 head with CW extension if you have it, Pier, Pro tripod with MiniPier, CW's @ 11lbs each. It's a great set of accessories too. I can mix and match the MTII, iEQ45, Pier, and MT Pro Tripod with or without MiniPier. The Pier is really nice, it's very sturdy and tons of clearance for people, wires and refractors. Only thing is I have to use shims to level it on my deck which isn't flat level enough to manage with the leveling feet. I should look into longed feet I guess. Also, it's very portable, the whole thing folds up and stows inside the Pier itself. The current Pier ships with bolt patterns for the MT, iEQ45 and iEQ30. I tried to stay to subjects nobody has mentioned yet. Also, they have great customer service, they have bent over backwards to help me put together the set of products that works best for me. If you have any special concerns, by all means contact them and see what they can do for you.

#25 gog52

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 04:16 PM

Hi Dan,
As you know my cube has a problem. Remember the clutch at the science museum. I think I'd like to get a IEQ30. I'm using my FS102 and Binos. It should handle that. I can't see the combo even approaching 20lbs. I think you would buy your IEQ45 again, wouldn't you?

Roger Whitfield BAA






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