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Paramount ME Discontinued!!

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#1 JAT Observatory

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:14 PM

Software Bisque has discontinued production of the Paramount ME. It will be replaced with the Paramount ME II .


+Same footprint as the ME, so it’ll pop right on an existing pier or tripod.
+Weighs a little more… 85 lb/39 kg.
+Carries a lot more… 240 lb/109 kg.
+Why, of course it tracks past the meridian, just like an MX, up to three hours!
+Larger counterweights (30 lb/14 kg) and counterweight shaft. (Optionally, you can still use the old counterweight shaft and counterweights.)
+Includes the MKS 5000 control system electronics like the MX.
+Higher-capacity internal bearings, much larger servo motors, increased torque and all that good stuff.
+Ample room for through the mount cabling; there’s no need to remove the telescope or take anything apart to do so.
+Same configuration of through the mount power and two (2) USB ports on the Versa-Plate’s Instrument Panel.
+Simple switch to engage/disengage worms when balancing the payload.
+Introductory price…. (drum roll please)…. $12,750.00

I wonder if they will take an old PME as a trade in.

#2 DeanS

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:28 PM

No high res encoder option??

#3 JAT Observatory

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:44 PM

I wouldn't think so at an intro price of $12,7K. That's 2K less than what the PME was selling for!

#4 mattw

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:51 PM

How interesting. Although I don't follow these things
closely, I noticed a lot of used PME's going on sale
on Amart the last few months. Now I know why.

#5 JAT Observatory

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:01 PM

I also have to say I liked the boxy design of the PME better.

#6 frolinmod

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:37 PM

Yes, there is a high res encoder option, but its availability is a few months later ("mid 2013").

#7 DeanS

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:43 PM

Yes, there is a high res encoder option, but its availability is a few months later ("mid 2013").


I figured that had to be coming, or what would be the point? ;)

#8 jmiele

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:18 PM

My 1600 with encoders arrives shortly. I look forward to comparing with the MEII. While the AP1600 hardware looks great, we still need to see where the software can take it. Bisque has done a great job with that hardware to software marriage, can AP? We will see.

Lets remember the most of the best Astro Photography being done today is done without the Absolute encoders. Bisque software guides many of those mounts. While the encoders show promise, the software MUST be sophisticated enough to exploit them.

I'm exited to see....

Best, Joe

#9 CounterWeight

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 11:29 PM

Thanks for this news Markus, I'm still hedging on my next 'more cowbell' mount. For imaging it's very difficult not to consider the 'mini-me' solution, now what will it be called?

#10 wormstar

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 09:42 AM

I would think that would drive the price of used MEs down. They have been going for around 10k$ for a while now,I would rather pay the extra $2700 for the II.
Although not many people can afford to use up 240# payload( an array of 4 C14s with CCDs would be cool :) )

#11 retina boy

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 09:34 PM

This really ups the ante in the mount department! With the bisque reputation in the remote operation department, its excellent software and now the capacity to hold a 24" scope, the power of moderately priced research grade observatories just went up.

At these prices, I think my ME just lost another 2-3K in value. Not that I am going to sell it. It is still and will remain a fine mount.

#12 KDizzle

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 12:16 AM

I just bought an ME a few months back. My biggest complaint is the "track past meridian" issue, followed by ancient port cabling (9/25 pin... really?) But when I look at this new mount I don't feel shafted at all; not even considering it. However, if I just bought an Ascension 200 I'd be really bummin on the price difference! It's like half the price and featurewise nearly the same...


On the contrary, when the STXL series came out even though I've only had my STL for a little while, there were enough feature improvements I got pretty excited. That's somewhere on the wishlist for sure.

#13 frolinmod

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 01:47 AM

I'll be "fork-lift" upgrading to the ME II, so my two year old ME will be going on the market. It's in very good shape, but I suspect I'll end up taking a big hit anyway. Bummer. Excellent value for the buyer though.

#14 Nezar H

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 03:08 PM

Really really Great news , saved by the belll ! I was going to place the order for Old MKS 4000 ME for my New CDK20".

I still remember How bad I felt after knowing there was new AP1600GTO3 just after 3 months of having my brand new AP1200GTO3 (still a great Mount).

I am going to Deposit $5,000 for the new Paramount ME II(non-refundable deposit)!

When I compare the Main different keys between the AP1200 and the AP1600 it's not that much, at least in my opinion.

But If we compare the Me And The Me2 the upgrade is worth :

http://www.bisque.co...amountMEII.aspx

For mobile\field use 200 watt is too much (IMO) but I understand why :bow:

#15 Chris Purves

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 05:35 AM

I love my current ME - incredible mount - but I will be upgrading for a couple of reasons.

1. The encoders.
2. Imaging 3 hrs past meridian
3. MKS 5000 using usb rather than serial
4. Large diameter cable conduits - no mount disassembly required this time round

Don't like

1. needing new counterweights
2. having to redo my observatory which is wired/setup perfectly. Will take many hours to get it back to current state.
3. spending more money :)

#16 KietTran

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:29 AM

My 1600 with encoders arrives shortly. I look forward to comparing with the MEII. While the AP1600 hardware looks great, we still need to see where the software can take it. Bisque has done a great job with that hardware to software marriage, can AP? We will see.

Lets remember the most of the best Astro Photography being done today is done without the Absolute encoders. Bisque software guides many of those mounts. While the encoders show promise, the software MUST be sophisticated enough to exploit them.

Best, Joe


Both of these mounts are out of my price range but can you tell me the software differences? The ME comes with TheSky, CCDSoft, TPoint, but I thought you can purchase those for use with any mount? AP1600 comes with a good ASCOM driver but ME does not. I think someone wrote the ME needs a plugin. That does not sound like good hardware/software marriage. Where is the extra "software marriage" and why does that matter?

Kiet

#17 Alph

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:49 AM

When I compare the Main different keys between the AP1200 and the AP1600 it's not that much, at least in my opinion.


You must be in self-denial. Both mounts received quite similar upgrades/enhancements.

Looks like good times for smart buyers.

#18 Chris Purves

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:51 AM

Simply put you cannot use a paramount (either one) without the SKY. This can be version 6 or X. My paramount came with 6 but they upgraded me to X for free when it became available. There is an ascom driver for the ME series but it works via the Sky software to control the mount.

IMHO there is no better permanent mount for the 'amateur'. If you look around the world at robotic amateur observatories I would hazard a guess that 90% plus use this mount (these things are everywhere).

Of course the AP mounts are excellent too (not trying to start a flame war here) and they don't need a pc like the ME's making them more easily portable.

To give an idea of how well this all works try and get to see a fully automated T-point run in the SkyX. Single button click in a single app will perform goto / photograph / analyze / model on hundreds of stars to get an accurate pointing model. I did this in central London and it still worked perfectly.

Most people who have this mount love it.

Chris

#19 Alph

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 11:55 AM

To give an idea of how well this all works try and get to see a fully automated T-point run in the SkyX. Single button click in a single app will perform goto / photograph / analyze / model on hundreds of stars to get an accurate pointing model. I did this in central London and it still worked perfectly.


You can accomplish the same with MaxPoint, MaximDL, and any ASCOM driven mount.

#20 frolinmod

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 12:30 PM

The ME II can optionally use the same counterweight shaft and counterweights as the ME.

The optional encoders are likely to be priced at about the same price as AP is pricing them. IMO, the only reason SB have come out with the ME II at a LOWER price is competition from AP. Without that competition, the price would have undoubtedly been higher rather than lower.

EDIT: Okay moderators, it was rather obviously lighthearted humor, but not essential to my point, so no biggy. :-)

#21 Ray Gralak

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 01:11 PM

Kiet,

Tightly integrated software and hardware has advantages and disadvantages. Astro-Physics mounts were designed to be compatible with Astronomy applications through its ASCOM driver. You are not restricted to any one planetarium program so you can mostly pick and choose the applications you want to use, include Software Bisque applications.

That said, Astro-Physics is finalizing its own pointing correction and tracking rate correction software (in fact I wrote it! :)). This software already works with the first generation of encoder technology in AP's 3600GTO mounts as well as any other Astro-Physics mount with the current controller, which I think has shipped with mounts for at least the last 5 years. This means that all mounts with this controller will soon have the potential to point and track more precisely. If you can't afford a new AP1600 mount you can always buy a used mount and use this software.

BTW, AP is upping the game with a second generation encoder implementation in the AP1600. The encoders will be fully compatible and transparent to any ASCOM client application out there. Pointing correction and Tracking rate correction will work with them and, like some alternatives mentioned, you can do one-click automated pointing correction runs.

-Ray Gralak

#22 Chris Purves

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 01:44 PM

All I can say Ray is please hurry up with V. 3 (of Pempro) :)

I would also agree with one of the posters that having 2 great mount companies fight it out can only be a good thing!

Now if only Takahashi would join in and get their prices down! The EM-11 I just ordered is priced at the criminal end of the spectrum.

I think I am right in saying that the larger AP mounts have homing ? Absolutely vital for remote operation IMHO.

Chris

#23 Alph

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 02:35 PM

I think I am right in saying that the larger AP mounts have homing ?


No, unless you buy absolute encoders. It is beyond my comprehension why A-P decided not to provide homing sensors. A $3000 or so declination encoder on the AP1600 does not improve guiding or tracking in declination. It's sole purpose is to provide homing or pointing recovery capabilities

#24 Chris Purves

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 02:52 PM

Eek - no proper homing. For those of you that don't know when you turn on an ME it must 'home' to a mechanical fixed point so the mount always knows exactly where the telescope is pointing at - this completely avoids the possibility of a crash. As long as your computer clock is accurate you never need to 'sync' again (in theory).

This allows me to be up and imaging in a couple of minutes after the pc has booted up. Super simple.

Chris

#25 Alph

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:00 PM

Super simple.


People sing prayers about Software Bisque software on-line. However, when you talk to them off-line, a different picture emerges. What's supposed to be their biggest strength, looks to me increasingly as their weakness. There isn't a mount worth the money yet, maybe one day. They all have laughable shortcomings.






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