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Portable Astro photography mount

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#1 Hilmi

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 02:54 PM

I'm considering getting a portable AP mount for my TV60is. I would like something with Go to capability. I don't mind using pulse guide so the lack of an ST4 port is a non issue for me. While I can't afford an Astro-physics mount, I still do expect to get something that works. I don't want any of the drama that comes with certain mounts such as the LX80.

Also, this is a mount for 60mm scope with an STT-8300. I'm expecting a total load of around 5 to 6 KG. At 360mm focal length, I don't think perfection in tracking accuracy is a big requirement.

I have not set a budget, but basically I want
1) Portable
2) Reliable and minimal amounts of glitches and bugs to work around
3) Good enough for a 360mm focal length imaging (5 - 6 KG load)
4) New, not second hand (unless it's an attractively priced Astro-Physics mount, I wouldn't mind second hand)
5) Inexpensive, to within a reasonable extent. I don't believe imaging at 360mm justifies paying for an overly expensive mount.
6) Due to shipping restrictions from the manufacturers, I would rather avoid, Orion, Celestron and Meade. I do have a way to work around this, but I would rather get a product from a manufacturer who actually wants to sell to me, not one who I have to cheat just to be able to buy the product from them.

Any suggestions?

#2 Hilmi

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 03:07 PM

I forgot to mention, I dont want to mess around with custom connectors and soldering irons just so that I can control the mount from my computer. I want it to interface with my entire software suite. The idea is that after I polar align, I can set up CCDAutopilot to do all my imaging, I can then walk away and let it do it's thing while I have a BBQ a safe distance away.

#3 Phil Sherman

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 06:51 PM

Look at an Orion Sirius or HEQ5 class mount. Both are controllable using EQMOD (free) and and planetarium program that interfaces with an ASCOM mount. The hand controller can be used as an RS-232 to TTL voltage adapter (V3 hand controllers) or you can purchase/build the adapter. CdC (free download) is a good planetarium program for running these mounts. If you get to the point where you want to guide, a separate guidescope, camera and PhD will interface using pulse guide. A webcam may even be usable as a guide camera. A webcam can also be used for planetary imaging.

Phil

#4 gdd

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 06:57 PM

Hi Hilmi,

I read a while back of a person who G-11 with Gemini and wanted a GM-8. (Or maybe it was the other way around). He special ordered the GM-8 to be Gemini ready with the DC motors but no computer. He used the same Gemini computer on both mounts. This way you can use the same software you are already familiar with and save about $1000.

Gale

#5 Hilmi

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 09:58 AM

Gale,

If the G8 tripod is anything like the G11 tripod, I would really not classify it as portable. The Folding HD tripod is a beast to handle.

Phil,

Thanks for the recomendation, but as I had stated earlier, Orion, Celestron and Meade don't want to sell to us in the middle east. Celestron has a local distributor who does not sell mounts only and is approximately 2 to 3 times the price, Orion does not have a local dealer, but would still refuse to sell to me outside the US and Meade has a regional dealer who does not stock any products and is not interested in selling. Therefore these 3 manufacturers are of the list except as a last resort.

#6 Brian L

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 10:19 AM

I have both the GM-8 (with a LW tripod) and the G-11 with the heavy tripod. The LW GM-8 tripod is very sturdy, folds compactly, and is quite portable. Even the G-11 tripod is fairly portable when disassembled.

A GM-8 gemini would fit your bill nicely, but I don't know about Losmandy selling to the middle east. Ioptron IEQ30, Vixen sphinx SXW or GPD2 are decent, relatively inexpensive small mounts.

There is also the Takahashi EM-11 Temma 2, but I don't think is qualifies as inexpensive.

#7 Phil Sherman

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 11:28 AM

Phil,

Thanks for the recomendation, but as I had stated earlier, Orion, Celestron and Meade don't want to sell to us in the middle east. Celestron has a local distributor who does not sell mounts only and is approximately 2 to 3 times the price, Orion does not have a local dealer, but would still refuse to sell to me outside the US and Meade has a regional dealer who does not stock any products and is not interested in selling. Therefore these 3 manufacturers are of the list except as a last resort.


The Sirius is Orion's branded HEQ5. The HEQ5 should be available through European dealers. Canadian or Far East dealers may also be able to sell to you.

Phil

#8 Hilmi

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 12:56 PM

Brian,

I own a G11 Losmandy has no issues selling abroad as they have no greedy local dealers to protect.

Ill look into the GM8 with motors and no Gemini controller.

#9 Mantis707

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 03:01 PM

ioptron 45 maybe?

#10 CounterWeight

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:23 AM

that's what i was thinking just reading this thread - does iOptron have a presence nearby or will sell to your location? - I really like the 45. Still the honeymoon with it but no complaints here and that is great!

#11 Hilmi

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 03:34 AM

Will start researching reviews online. :)

#12 brianb11213

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 04:14 AM

that's what i was thinking just reading this thread - does iOptron have a presence nearby or will sell to your location? - I really like the 45. Still the honeymoon with it but no complaints here and that is great!

Yes but the OP wants to support a 6kg load and that's very light for an iEQ45. The iEQ30 might be a better bet if it has to be carried any significant distance.

Sure, I know you can't ever overmount a scope (especially when used for imaging) but the iEQ45 - though lighter than other mounts in the same load class - isn't exactly featherweight. It's actually about the same weight as an HEQ5 / Sirius but seems bigger somehow.

#13 Hilmi

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 07:34 AM

IEQ30 looks very reasonably priced, Can't seem to dig up any reviews of it though.

#14 Brian L

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:36 PM

Losmandy GM-8 is tried and true, larger user base, plenty of reviews, can be field upgraded to Gemini for goto capability, lots of third party accessories, decent load capacity, well made. Expensive compared to Chinese made clones (HEQ, Sirius, etc), but quality of construction is superior.

I have no experience with Kson mounts, but maybe worth a look?

#15 Hilmi

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:18 PM

Somehow Kson sounds like a rude word in a foreign language. The name puts me off.

#16 Midnight Dan

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:21 PM

IEQ30 looks very reasonably priced, Can't seem to dig up any reviews of it though.


It's pretty new so not a lot of owners yet. But it's the same design as the iEQ45 which has been out for a couple of years and has many happy owners. Search here in the Mounts forum and you should find a couple of threads about it.

-Dan

#17 donnie3

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 11:03 AM

these ioptron mounts are the first gems ive seen with built in gps. other features are very interesting to. if this mount is fairly reliable ( not a lot of BUGS!) sounds like the gem of the future or the future is now mount. sure would like to here from owners of the mount. thanks, don

#18 orlyandico

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:25 PM

Hilmi, I think a Vixen Sphinx SXW (similar load capacity to a GM8) but with the NexSXW controller board, would be a decent alternative.

#19 psandelle

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:40 PM

I have the iEQ30 with a 6" "Baby" PowerNewt on it (and QHY CCD and Borg Guide scope) - that's a 433mm focal length, and it works very well on the 30. I have the pier that comes extra (I like light, but I also like sturdy), but I think for your rig, the tripod would be just fine. Very good tracking at my focal length.

Paul






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