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Astro-Physics Mach1GTO vs 10Micron GM1000HPS

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#1 jjongmans

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 09:51 AM

I'm looking for a new mount to replace my EQ6. I already did a lot of research and narrowed my scope to the Astro-Physics Mach1GTO and 10Micron GM1000HPS.

Currently I use a 10" newtonian with a focal length of 1357mm and a weight of 16kg. I'll use this telescope for imaging on the new mount. I'll replace this telescope in the near future with a 10" carbon RC with a focal length of 2000mm and a weight of 15kg.
I'm automating my setup, so a good interface with a PC is required (Maxim DL, CCD Commander, MaxPoint, etc).

The pro's and con's of the mounts

Astro-Physics
+ Proven quality
+ Good remote control - ascom driver
- Backlash
- Periodic Error

10Micron
+ High res encoder RA
- Italian electronics
- Ascom driver available?
- No reviews so far?

Who can advise me in this decision?

#2 Alph

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 10:40 AM

You will not get much feedback on the 10micron GM1000HPS from this side of the pond. The mount is not available in the US. It looks like a great mount to me though. It is much more technologically advanced than the Mach1

#3 Calypte

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:08 PM

Astro-Physics
- Backlash
- Periodic Error

What backlash? What periodic error?

#4 blueman

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:24 PM

With the AP mount you can get it serviced and buy parts for a VERY long time. If you need help, you can call and talk to someone and get help immediately. There is a new great driver for the AP mounts that allows you to do just about anything from a computer. The AP mounts work with any software for automation.

Is this true with the 10Micron, I have no idea. :confused:
Blueman

#5 jjongmans

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 12:56 PM

I like AP very much, but it uses an old-fashioned drive. Nowadays you can choose between friction drive, direct drive, high res encoders, etc. all for better tracking accuracy. The specs say maximum 7arcsec PE, that can be less with newer drives, even make guiding unnecessary.
On the other hand it's a well developed mount and does his job very good.

#6 Calypte

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 01:52 PM

Alpine Astronomical, located in Idaho, is advertising the 10Micron mounts.

#7 jmiele

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 08:51 AM

Even if available in the states, it's hard to beat A-P service. If I wanted a high end mount in the US it would always be a Bisque Paramount or A-P. Both have technical and customer service that is excellent and are based in the US.

The 10 Micron mounts are also excellent. But for the same reason I wouldn't get and ASA mount, I wouldn't get a 10 Micron. Something having to go back for service is a 3 month "costly" affair.

Joe

#8 WadeH237

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 09:45 AM

I like AP very much, but it uses an old-fashioned drive. Nowadays you can choose between friction drive, direct drive, high res encoders, etc. all for better tracking accuracy. The specs say maximum 7arcsec PE, that can be less with newer drives, even make guiding unnecessary.
On the other hand it's a well developed mount and does his job very good.


What's wrong with old fashioned, if it gets the job done?

Also, the 7 second PE you reference is the maximum acceptable mechanical error. Most users's I've seen are reporting much lower. And with PEC running, it is much lower still. From the reports that I've seen, using the Mach1 with PEC enabled and APCC driving the mount, long unguided exposures are quite feasible.

I had a similar conversation the other day regarding a friend who's interested in an ASA mount. A few of us have chosen AP for our mount upgrades, and a part of me thinks that he wants to be different.

At the end of the day, there are a number of mounts that just work. I'm familiar with AP and Paramount and, less so, ASA and 10Micron (but everything I've heard suggests that they are very fine instruments). Yes, there are differences between them, but it seems like they all perform so well that these differences don't matter in a practical way.

To me, it almost comes down to geography. If you are in the United States, I would look first to AP and Paramount. In Europe, I would probably look at ASA and 10Micron. From both a service standpoint, and various economic factors, it just makes sense to me to buy "locally" if possible.

#9 Jared

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 10:12 AM

If I were in Europe, I'd probably go with the 10Micron. The availability of service and support would be the overriding factor for me. Any of the high end mounts is quite capable of meeting the requirements of long exposure astrophotography that is not limited by tracking accuracy (within the capacity of the mount).

As to some of your listed pro's and con's for each...

- Backlash: I wouldn't worry about it. It isn't relevant in RA (since the motors never reverse direction in tracking), and in declination you simply make sure you adjust only in one direction (whichever is required by imperfections in your polar alignment). It is more a theoretical minus than a practical one
- Periodic Error: If you are planning on doing long, unguided exposures and will be able to leave your mount and scope permanently setup, then this is a legitimate advantage for the 10Micron mount. If, however, this is a portable system or you plan on running an autoguider, this is a total non-issue. The amount of PA in an A-P mount is low enough that, with an autoguider, there is virtually no image degradation from periodic error. Seeing totally overwhelms PA even at a good site. Your autoguider will easily be able to correct for a 2 arcsecond PTV periodic error (typical after PEMPro). For a permanent site, the lack of periodic error in the 10Micron seems cool and may well allow unguided imaging. Personally, I like having an autoguider in place--I'm even making the jump to AO.
- Italian Electronics: Don't know what the track record is on the 10Micron electronics. The mounts have a good reputation, but they haven't been out in the field as long as the A-P mounts, but this wouldn't be a deciding factor for me if I were in your shoes. Even the A-P mounts fail sometimes, and getting support easily is more critical, in my opinion. I have had one cable break (internal wire) and a hand controller go bad on my Mach1 GTO. You just need a responsive, supportive company standing behind the product. If 10Micron stands behind the product you should be good to go.
-Ascom driver: This could matter since you want to control the mount remotely. Check with 10Micron.
- No reviews so far: I think this is just because of limited distribution outside of Europe. The American market still dominates amateur astronomy. Call 10Micron and ask for some customer references, then follow-up with the customers. I bet they have actual owners you could talk to.

As I said at the beginning, assuming you live in Europe I would get the 10Micron.

#10 jmiele

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 10:35 AM

No doubt the PE issue has become over hyped. Smooth PE of any level is easily guided out. The newer A-P (1600) and Bisque mounts however, AIM for a lower PE and auto drive correction. So longer unguided subs are now possible...well, soon anyway. :) To me, this is a great advantage however puts these - Bisque ME/MX (ProTrack) and A-P (1600 abs encoder) mounts, in a separate class.

That aside, I agree location would most likely be a motivator to me. But note, a remotely located user with a Bisque Paramount ME in the mountains of a foreign (to me) country can expect a part to be shipped and a call with Dan or Steve Bisque to walk them through a repair if required. :) Oh, and if they have pointing issues they can expect Patrick Wallace to personally review their data and assist by engaging in the Bisque forums.

You can't put a price on that.

Best,

Joe

#11 BlueGrass

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 08:40 PM

Well, apparently Bisque did put a price on that ... sorry Joe, just couldn't resist ... :-)

#12 jmiele

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Posted 29 August 2012 - 09:21 PM

LOL, indeed they did. As I've said before, I respect the mounts as much as the optics in this hobby. I'd love to have a 10micron to fiddle with. I also seriously considered an ASA. My concern with ASA was the problems they had with their software and the fact that you were married to it. Not sure how much has changed since I last looked.

Joe

#13 jjongmans

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 02:42 PM

I made up my mind, it's going to be the ASA DDM60PRO, with direct drive and high res encoders.

#14 jmiele

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 03:35 PM

I would join the ASA Yahoo forum and see were they are at with the software these day. That aside, they look like a nice piece of kit. That's an expensive mount.

Joe

#15 jjongmans

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 05:01 PM

Thanks Joe, I will certainly do that.

#16 Alph

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 05:35 PM

Thanks Joe, I will certainly do that.

Maybe you shouldn't. Ignorance is bliss. I read there about quite a few nasty problems with ASA mounts.

#17 Starhawk

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 05:49 PM

You unpack the Mach1 GTO, put it together, and use it. They saw it work within spec and loaded a three rotation PEC correction before it shipped, so just follow the manual and it will literally do everything stated on the first night.

That's why you get a Mach1.

-Rich

#18 jjongmans

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 06:23 PM

Maybe you shouldn't. Ignorance is bliss. I read there about quite a few nasty problems with ASA mounts.


Most issues are related to 'not understanding' the mount. It's a direct drive mount and it's a different concept compared with 'conventional' drives. It's has to be tuned to your specific setup. People who are able to control this mount can have unguided frames of 30 minutes at a focal length of 2500mm, because of the sky and tracking models, high res encoder feedback and correcting movement 100 times per second. I'm skeptical about this, but I believe it can work beter than a conventional AP.

#19 Alph

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:09 PM

Most issues are related to 'not understanding' the mount.


Hmm? Have you already read all posts in that forum :question:
Just on the front page, there are complaints about tracking issues which the manufacturer is unable to resolve.

#20 jjongmans

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:32 PM

Yes, I read most of them :)

Most remaining 'tracking' issues are because of mirror shifts or flex in the focuser. Nothing to do with the mount, but not helping unguided imaging either. The MLPT feature in the software should be able to fix that. But like I said; I'm skeptical and do not have the illusion to take unguided images at 2000mm. But I do believe that the remaining error is very small an could be guided out with very few corrections.

EDIT: Also some knowledge about PID controllers is needed and it's very easy to get an unstable (oscillating) loop.

#21 Starhawk

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 07:53 PM

I've read quite a bit about this, and I've dialed in PID controllers. That isn't a trivial task. The fact you have to reoptimizes an ASA mount any time the configuration changes should not be trivialized.

With an AP, you balance and go.

-Rich

#22 Peter in Reno

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Posted 31 August 2012 - 08:41 PM

Are you planning for portable or permanent setup? If portable, Mach1GTO would be better because of a very quick setup and polar alignment as compared to ASA mount. For permenant setup, ASA may be a good choice since the mount is made in Europe and you live in Europe.

Peter

#23 Jared

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 08:57 AM

Peter has got a really good point. The potential advantages of a direct drive mount with high res encoders--primarily unguided long exposures--will only be realized in a permanent setup. Will you have a permanent site?

#24 jjongmans

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 12:02 PM

Yes, it will be a permanent setup.

Spoke to my local dealer today. Still some issues with the ASA. And I was right about unguided imaging at a focal length of 2000mm; I can be done, but it will be a pain in the @#%^. So it's advisable to use a guider with the ASA. So if I'm going to use a guider, why spend so much money on a mount when a 10Micron is performing at the same level with an autoguider... So back to the drawingboard :)

#25 Starhawk

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 01:46 PM

Or you can get the AP and be in business in short order.

You know the old saying about a bird in and being worth two in the bush. In this case, I'd be surprised if it ever crossed your mind to look back.

-Rich






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