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What would you do? (Mount Options)

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#1 jrbarnett

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 01:03 PM

Okay, I'm about to bite the bullet on an Astro-Physics mount.

I am bouncing back and forth between the Mach 1 GTO and the AP 900. Each has pros and cons for me. The Mach 1 is small and light, with decent capacity for its mass, and would be the better traveler. The AP 900 has a higher payload capacity and analog setting circles (I'm a big fan of accurate engraved setting circles). But it's heavier and bulkier, not to mention more costly.

I understand that in addition to the basic mount bundle, I'll need to add a saddle, counterweights, potentially a pier adapter and some form of pier or tripod. Costwise, I'm flexible. That is, the extra cost of the AP 900 is not a deterrent. However, the extra bulk and mass isn't so desirable and the extra capacity isn't needed *at present*.

I'm 100% visual only - no imaging, and none planned - and my reason for looking to move to an AP mount from my less costly mounts (CG5-GT, CGE and Atlas) are (a) reliability at (very) remote sites in the field and (B) high payload capacity per unit of mount mass.

The biggest payload initially will be a TEC 140 or perhaps a C9.25 or C11. I can see it needing to carry a 160mm refractor at some point, and have seen an APM/LZOS 152/1200 on a Mach 1 and felt that it was pushing what I would feel comfortable with as the mount limits.

One thought I had was this - get a used 900 or 1200 QMD for home use/higher payload needs, and the Mach 1 for travel. Of course, getting just one mount would be simpler. :thinking:

Whacha think?

Also, if anyone is using a Pelican case for either a Mach 1 or AP 900, let me know which one and how you like it.

Regards,

Jim

#2 crow

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 01:23 PM

I'd be interested in this topic also, nothing much to add apart from I seem to be having the same issues. I recently sold a cgem dx as the damn thing was just too heavy but I actually thought it was a pretty impressive mount.

The Mach 1 is pretty light IMO 30 pounds with saddle etc, I was thinking of the berlebach planet tripod which is in the mid twenties weight wise. That to me is a high class portable set up. The 900 is on the heavy side of that. The easier to manage, the more its going to be used.

I'm visual only the only thing that has stopped me from going for the Mach 1 is I can see me getting a C14 at some point and I'm chewing on wether that would be a good (acceptable) combo, I'd mix and match with a TSA120 (still deciding) and C11.

#3 RAKing

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 01:52 PM

Jim,

If you don't need the additional payload capacity right now, why don't you just get the Mach1 and give it a go.

I haven't put a 152 triplet on mine, but I have used a TOA 130 on it and it worked fine. My C-11 was no sweat and my TEC 140 worked like a charm. A friend of mine has a TEC 160FL on his - very nice! :cool:

I use a Robin Casady saddle on mine and it sits on an Eagle tripod/pier. I leave the Eagle set at 32 inches and simply plop the 8 inch extension on it when I swap between my cats and refractors.

Anyway - if you decide you need more later, the Mach1 should be easy to swap for a 900 sometime down the road.

Counterpoint -- another friend of mine has an A-P 900 and uses a beautiful TMB 152 on it. He manages the transport/weight issues by splitting the RA and Dec assemblies. On the A-P mounts, this is a simple job and a lot of people overlook this feature. I can even do it on the Mach1 in a minute or two if necessary.

Cheers,

Ron

#4 dawziecat

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 02:56 PM

Seems to me the 900 may be EASIER to transport. It was MEANT to be taken apart . . . no Allen keys needed to detach the dec axis.
Mach1 can be taken apart, sure, but not as readily as the 900.

If price is of no concern, I'd prefer a 900.

#5 MPT

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 03:09 PM

I would go w/ RAKing's advice. Im sure the Mach1 will meet all of your needs. If you decide that an "upgrade" is needed at some point, you can either sell it (the mach1's dont last long in the classifieds), or buy a used 900 and keep both like you mentioned.

#6 jrbarnett

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 06:09 PM

Follow-up question:

How demanding are the A-P mounts in the polar alignment department for purely visual use?

I'm used to sighting Polaris through the bore hole being "good enough" in other GOTO EQ mounts. Can I get away with that with an A-P mount?

Thanks!

- Jim

#7 skybsd

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 06:12 PM

Okay, I'm about to bite the bullet on an Astro-Physics mount.

I am bouncing back and forth between the Mach 1 GTO and the AP 900. Each has pros and cons for me. The Mach 1 is small and light, with decent capacity for its mass, and would be the better traveler. The AP 900 has a higher payload capacity and analog setting circles (I'm a big fan of accurate engraved setting circles). But it's heavier and bulkier, not to mention more costly.

I understand that in addition to the basic mount bundle, I'll need to add a saddle, counterweights, potentially a pier adapter and some form of pier or tripod. Costwise, I'm flexible. That is, the extra cost of the AP 900 is not a deterrent. However, the extra bulk and mass isn't so desirable and the extra capacity isn't needed *at present*.

I'm 100% visual only - no imaging, and none planned - and my reason for looking to move to an AP mount from my less costly mounts (CG5-GT, CGE and Atlas) are (a) reliability at (very) remote sites in the field and (B) high payload capacity per unit of mount mass.

The biggest payload initially will be a TEC 140 or perhaps a C9.25 or C11. I can see it needing to carry a 160mm refractor at some point, and have seen an APM/LZOS 152/1200 on a Mach 1 and felt that it was pushing what I would feel comfortable with as the mount limits.

One thought I had was this - get a used 900 or 1200 QMD for home use/higher payload needs, and the Mach 1 for travel. Of course, getting just one mount would be simpler. :thinking:

Whacha think?

Also, if anyone is using a Pelican case for either a Mach 1 or AP 900, let me know which one and how you like it.

Regards,

Jim


Hi Jim,
As with most things in life each has its pros and cons..,

The Mach-1 GTO will definitely serve you well with your current line up of scopes for sure, but your future aperture needs will require a more considered look at the tripod options., when looking at the moment arm overhead that comes with larger refractors. In this regard, I've read lots of positive things about AP's Eagle tripod, but I can personally vouch for Rob Miller's tripods here. Rob's tripods can not only be ordered with some customizations, but their native height adjustability features to me leaves them unmatched in performance.

There are out-of-the-box Rob Miller tripods for the Mach-1 GTO as well as all other AP mounts - you merely have to specify the mount you intend to use when ordering the tripod.

On the other hand, whilst superb, the AP900-GTO is simply overkill - not only for your current line up, but even the future apertures you mentioned here.., Don't read that the wrong way, I own one and its made such a huge difference to the productivity in my visual observing that I can't imagine how I got anything done with my previous mounts.., It really is true, the mount "fades into the background" and allows you to focus on getting through your objectives for any given session.

The Mach-1 GTO won't disappoint here either.

So for someone like me who is solely in the visual observing space. you can't go wrong with the Mach-1 GTO - based on your stated current and future requirements.

As for transport cases, I know that Luke here on CN uses (at least he used to) a Peli-1640 for his AP900. As I take my mount abroad regularly, I opted for ScopeGuard cases myself, but lately I'm seriously considering Thermodyne cases to replace these.

Hope that helps..,

Regards,

skybsd

#8 David Pavlich

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 07:32 PM

Mach 1. Unless you're going to get something like a TOA150 for a visual scope, oh my back, the Mach 1 is your mount.

David

#9 BlueGrass

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 09:18 PM

IMHO, the Mach1 is simply the best mount in its class that you can buy. Mine is mated to an Eagle and an 8" pier extension. It sets up quickly and is extremely stable. The Mach1 and Eagle seem to literally blend together.
Jim, the only 'problem' you might have is the lack of a pointing model in the GTO firmware. For imaging, it's not needed. For visual it would be a big plus.

#10 skybsd

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 09:29 PM

IMHO, the Mach1 is simply the best mount in its class that you can buy. Mine is mated to an Eagle and an 8" pier extension. It sets up quickly and is extremely stable. The Mach1 and Eagle seem to literally blend together.
Jim, the only 'problem' you might have is the lack of a pointing model in the GTO firmware. For imaging, it's not needed. For visual it would be a big plus.


Why is a pointing model such a big deal for visual observing? :confused: I don't find myself lacking in any way with my AP900-GTO-CP3 as far as locating targets across the sky, regardless of my observing location..,

Regards..,

skybsd

#11 RAKing

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 07:24 AM

Follow-up question:

How demanding are the A-P mounts in the polar alignment department for purely visual use?

I'm used to sighting Polaris through the bore hole being "good enough" in other GOTO EQ mounts. Can I get away with that with an A-P mount?

Thanks!

- Jim


Short answer: YES. The Mach1 is no more demanding than that. I use a polar scope simply because I have always used a polar scope, but it's not really needed. Center Polaris as best you can and enjoy. :)

I am also puzzled about the "pointing model" issue. I am strictly visual now and have never felt the need for a pointing model.

If I move to a new quadrant of the sky, I will typically "Recalibrate" on my first object (a very simple three-button-push) and I am good to go for a while.

I am a double star/variable star observer, so I have to punch in the RA-Dec coordinates for most of my targets. The A-P hand paddle is the easiest unit - BY FAR - to use for this task. To get to the coordinate screen, you simply push '7' on the hand paddle and punch in your numbers. No scrolling through any menus to get there. Roland had people like me in mind when he developed this. :)

Once you have used an A-P mount, you will be spoiled for anything else. :cool:

Cheers,

Ron

#12 Cotts

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 07:41 AM

Follow-up question:

How demanding are the A-P mounts in the polar alignment department for purely visual use?

I'm used to sighting Polaris through the bore hole being "good enough" in other GOTO EQ mounts. Can I get away with that with an A-P mount?

Thanks!

- Jim


Hi, Jim. My new Mach 1 supports a 6" f/8 triplet APO with no effort for visual.

As for polar alignment, you don't have to "get away with anything". There is a 5-minute or less routine that puts you dead on in full daylight.
You do have to have a level and know where your local north is....

Dave

#13 rmollise

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:03 AM

I think an AP is a fine piece of gear. I also think that I wouldn't choose one if I were a visual observer. I'd get a nice Losmandy G11 with Gemini II and not worry about modeling and such like as that. But that is just me. For visual use, an AP will be fine with a halfway decent polar alignment at wide-field/low power. Do NOT expect it to hit every single target dead center from horizon to horizon, especially with the SCTs, though, like mounts with more sophisticated alignment routines will.

#14 jmiele

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:11 AM

Jim, I've mounted the AP160 and TOA150 on the Mach1GTO for photography with stunning results. While the 900 is a super mount, there's something about the Mach1 strength to weight ratio that is alluring. Given your regular trips to the dusty trail, and your defined requirements, I'd go Mach1. Take some of the money your saving and put your name on the list for one of the AP right angle polar scopes that are coming alone shortly. :)

Best, Joe

#15 jmiele

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:21 AM

One note: Uncle Rod's point IS valid. Even with the upcoming firmware, modeling from the hand control is NOT possible with an AP mount. Super pointing is more than possible, but does require a decent polar alignment and an orthogonally mounted instrument. Not looking to start a frenzy here, but as I've posted before...my CG-5 with it's built in polar (basically modeling) routine, points dead on after 2 +3 or 4 star aligning it.

All that said the AP can point as good and way more stable. With the upcoming right angle polar scope I've no doubt solid pointing will be a couple minutes from dropping the AP on the ground. I still think you need to get the AP. :)

Best, Joe

#16 jrbarnett

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:39 PM

I've had Losmandy mounts. Not a fan, though a non-Gemini G-11 would be a tolerable home-use mount. I'd not like traveling with it though, and hate having to continually adjust the worm gear mesh to control backlash.

Regards,

Jim

#17 blueman

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 12:01 AM

Hi Jim,
I used a G-11, GM-8, MI-250 and now the AP-900. No doubt the AP-900 is the best of the lot.
If you want more capacity, I would go the AP-900. If you want light weight the the Mach-1 is a good choice. Of course the Mach-1 is not that much lighter than the AP-900. 22 lbs is not trivial though, if you need lightweight. Though some of this is the counter weight shaft, only 15 lbs difference on the mounts themselves.
Both mounts are great and will serve you well.
Blueman

#18 rmollise

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:42 AM

I've had Losmandy mounts. Not a fan, though a non-Gemini G-11 would be a tolerable home-use mount. I'd not like traveling with it though, and hate having to continually adjust the worm gear mesh to control backlash.

Regards,

Jim


You should try to get a chance to try a Gemini II. Might change your mind.

As for "adjusting," you probably never would need to do a thing as a visual user. Hell, most imaging folks rarely have to mess with their mounts. It is a hell of a mount for a hell of a price, but, again, that is just me. If you are settled on an AP, good on you. As long as you realize the go-to performance with an SCT, especially, will be less than...uh..."stellar." :lol:

#19 crow

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:49 AM

That has put me out of the Mach 1 game, a 7 grand mount + Tripod that basically can only do what the cgem that I just got rid of that came with my C11 can do....

I guess it has far better tracking for AP, not my game at the moment, if it was, given my parents live in Europe I'd now look at the 10 Micron 1000hps.

#20 dawziecat

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 03:22 PM


A visual observer has to "continually adjust the worm gear mesh" of a G11?

I don't get it. I've had my G11 Gemini II for 18 months or so now. Used virtually every single clear night for imaging. I am having some difficulties that I think might, just might be remedied by adjusting the gear mesh. So, I've done it, adjusted the mesh once.

Can't say as I can see a need for a visual observer to ever do so . . . let along do so "continually" unless something is seriously amiss.

Hate the G11 for whatever reason. Hate Gemini II for whatever reason. But to declare a need to "continually" mess with the gear mesh, and for visual use, is very at odds with my own G11.

#21 FaronD

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 05:52 PM

I've had Losmandy mounts. Not a fan, though a non-Gemini G-11 would be a tolerable home-use mount. I'd not like traveling with it though, and hate having to continually adjust the worm gear mesh to control backlash.

Regards,

Jim


You should try to get a chance to try a Gemini II. Might change your mind.

As for "adjusting," you probably never would need to do a thing as a visual user. Hell, most imaging folks rarely have to mess with their mounts. It is a hell of a mount for a hell of a price, but, again, that is just me. If you are settled on an AP, good on you. As long as you realize the go-to performance with an SCT, especially, will be less than...uh..."stellar." :lol:


Hi Rod, I'm contemplating a similar setup as Jim however, my choice will be primarily for imaging. You caught my attention stating that the AP mounts will have "less than stellar" go-to performance. Would you care to elaborate on this please? Eventually I may purchase a C14 for visual use.

Thank
Faron

#22 Dan G

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:55 PM

Maybe it just me but I have no issue finding objects with my Mach1 and C11. Took them out in the field in June. Quick polar align and had objects in my eyepiece both nights without fail. To be fair my CGEM does this too but the AP mounts really do fade into the background during use.

Dan in NY

#23 jrbarnett

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:16 PM

It's actually having a mount that does NOT do what many CGEM's do that attracts me to the A-P mounts. :lol:

CGEM DX Clicking Sound, Antibacklash Set Above 30:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

CGEM tracking issues:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

Really Stumped!:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

CGEM Response 17 Fix - DEC connection reseated:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

CGEM help:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

CGEM RA runaway advice:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

CGEM DX dec balance issue:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

CGEM Not Tracking:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

CGEM RA motor making loud jolty noises -emergency:

http://www.cloudynig...5/o/all/fpart/1

Etc., etc.

I could find you many similar posts for my Atlas, CG5 and CGE. As stated in my original post, I want rock solid reliability in harsh environments. If I am going to drive 10-20 hours to a dark sky site for a week of off-the-grid observing, the last thing I want to do when I get back is post something like one of the posts linked above.

What can I say; quality costs. :shrug:

Regards,

Jim

#24 jrbarnett

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:26 PM

I detest backlash. Designs that do not resist backlash creeping into the system are deficient, IMO. It's pretty simple. When I push a slow-mo button to center an object, I like the mount to move when I press the button, not seconds later. The Losmandy mounts I've had have all needed backlash removed every couple of months. These are mounts that have been around for decades without major modification. They really should have addressed this issue long ago. I've never used Gemini II. Gemini I was enough to cure me of any interest in that particular firmware family. Notice that I did not state "Gemini II".

As a consequence, I'm not a fan. Is my negative opinion of these mounts based on the backlash issue and dislike for clunky, kludgy, inelegant Gemini I any less valid than your generalized "Losma-love"?

Somehow, I don't think so. :thinking:

- Jim

#25 Raginar

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 03:42 AM

Sounds like you've determined you need a high quality mount! When is your AP arriving?






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