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Astro-physics 1600 or SB ME2 for C14 Edge HD?

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#1 Aquarist

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 08:11 PM

I am planning on a Celestron Edge 1400 HD for our backyard observatory. However I am conflicted whether to go with a software Bisque ME2 or the new Astro-physics 1600 (the follow on to the AP 1200) as a mount. Any thoughts? Both are roughly the same price.

#2 Keith Howlett

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:02 PM

I'm sure they are both fine mounts.

I opted for an AP (1200) mount as I preferred being able to use the mount without a computer.

Cheers,

Keith

#3 korborh

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 10:08 PM

Astro-physics 1600.
More flexiblility - handpaddle or software. Has clutches (or just keep them tight). Better and more honest company to deal wrt support. Price is lower I think than MEII.
I have gotten incredible level of support from AP.
Check out the AP and SB Yahoo groups to help make a decision.

#4 frolinmod

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:56 PM

Please do not look to yahoo groups for official support with Paramount mounts. The yahoo groups "ccdsoftv5", "paramount" and "SoftBisqUser" are not very active today, but were at one time. These days all the action is on the official support site and usage of the yahoo groups has fallen off as a consequence.

The official Software Bisque support forums are at www.bisque.com. They're very active and dynamic.

I've owned Paramount mounts going on almost 14 years now and been very happy with them. I started out with a C-14 on a Paramount GT-1100S and currently have an EdgeHD 14 on a Paramount ME. The Bisques have been extremely friendly, knowledgeable and helpful at every juncture. I'm just one mount owner with one mount and yet they have bent over backwards to make me happy. Early next year I will be moving my EdgeHD 14 to a new Paramount ME II.

#5 Aquarist

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 04:42 AM

I plan to use SkyX in either case, so having a computer in my backyard observatory is a given. Since this will be a permanent installation, portability is also not an issue. I have been reading the support blog on www.bisque.com so I know they are actively supporting their products. Thanks for the help and any additional comments will be welcomed.

#6 Renae Gage

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 08:50 AM

Ferrari or Porsche? If both of these mounts are with your grasp, you really can't make a mistake. Look at the feature list and buy the one that most closely aligns with your observing style.

#7 WadeH237

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 09:31 AM

I went with the AP1600 for my C14. I'm expecting it to be delivered in December.

-Wade

#8 Aquarist

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 11:09 AM

I went with the AP1600 for my C14. I'm expecting it to be delivered in December.

-Wade


Assuming you had a similar decision, can I ask why you went with the AP?

Thanks and warmest regards,
Steve

#9 jmiele

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 11:14 AM

Ferrari or Porsche? If both of these mounts are with your grasp, you really can't make a mistake. Look at the feature list and buy the one that most closely aligns with your observing style.


I agree Eric. Especially given AP's new AP1600 offering. We just need to see how well it works in practice. The ME's and the MX's MKS5000 hardware have been in the field now and are proven performers. While AP's are also proven performers, the 1600 with absolute encoders are still not "at large". But I have every hope that they will perform as promised.

I'd also like to second Fro's comment... Don't look for support in the yahoo groups for bisque hardware and software. Use the dedicated bisque forums.

Best, Joe

#10 OneDaveT

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 09:18 PM

If you decide all else equal, being in Illinois, you may be within driving distance of AP's headquarters (Rockford) to visit and get any issues taken care of that might arise.

#11 Ray Gralak

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 09:38 PM

Ferrari or Porsche? If both of these mounts are with your grasp, you really can't make a mistake. Look at the feature list and buy the one that most closely aligns with your observing style.


I agree Eric. Especially given AP's new AP1600 offering. We just need to see how well it works in practice. The ME's and the MX's MKS5000 hardware have been in the field now and are proven performers. While AP's are also proven performers, the 1600 with absolute encoders are still not "at large". But I

Hey Joe... I'm not sure what you're talking about there? AP already has had its first generation encoder solution out in the field in the 3600 for a couple years. AP has also completed it's second generation of encoder systems with the 1600. Roland has been posting shots taken with the encoders in action with APCC providing tracking rate correction to account for flexure, refraction, etc.

I don't believe I have heard even a sign of a working Bisque prototype yet much less know how well it will work in practice. Meanwhile AP's second gen encoder solution is already working. The safe bet for a working encoder solution is AP's because they have already done two of them.

-Ray

#12 Mr_T

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 05:40 AM

I dont think you can go wrong with either mount
I use the Paramount Me and Mx in my permanent obs and find they work well for an automated obs

Les

#13 dobsoscope

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 02:39 PM

Did you consider the Losmandy Titan mount? Costs half as much and the Gemini 2 firmware is as good as it can get.

#14 WadeH237

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 05:19 PM

I went with the AP1600 for my C14. I'm expecting it to be delivered in December.

-Wade


Assuming you had a similar decision, can I ask why you went with the AP?

Thanks and warmest regards,
Steve


Before I give my reasons, I would like to say that there is no wrong choice here. Both Astro-Physics and Software Bisque deliver a solution that will exceed the needs to just about anyone. Both products are high quality, and both offer top notch support. I ended up going with my personal preference between them.

The first reason is that I don't want to be tied to any particular software stack. While I do use TheSkyX in my workflow, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. I find it to be maddenly unintuitive at times. I would not be excited about having to depend on it for every use of the mount.

I also like the idea of being able to use the hand controller with no computer. I live in the Seattle area, which is not known for its clear skies. Most of my use is at remote dark sky events, where I typically set up for about a week or so at a time. When I do this, I have both an imaging setup and a visual setup. For the imaging setup (which will be the AP1600), I never even plug in the hand controller for my CGE. But for the visual setup, I use the hand controller exclusively. I am expecting to upgrade the visual mount at some point down the line. The Mach1 is a natural candidate for that. As a visual mount, I will use the hand controller. I'll also be able to use it as an imaging mount for smaller OTAs and it will use an identical software stack to the AP1600.

Finally, a big factor for me is that I know about a dozen people using AP mounts. I see them with their equipment a few times a year at dark sky events. I do know a couple of Paramount users, but they don't travel with their mounts. Both manufacturers have robust online user communities, but I have a real-world community as well for the AP mounts.

I'll add one other observation.

It's been my opinion for a while now that the AP mounts are better for portability and that the Bisque mounts are better for remote operation. AP has been working to address the remote, unattended market with the AP1600. At the top end, you can get absolute encoders so that it's impossible for the mount to "get lost". A few days ago, Roland at AP announced on the user's group, that the AP1600 also has an option for simple home and limit switches. This addresses the same problem for a lot less cost than the encoders.

The other area where AP is making improvements is on the software side. Along with Ray Gralak, they have been working on new controller software that will introduce an all sky pointing model, variable rate tracking, etc. This will bring the AP mount some of the features that Paramount/TheSky have had for a while (and the AP solution does not depend on any particular planetarium software).

I can tell you that as a CGE user for the last 9 years, I am really looking forward to the upgrade. My AP1600 is scheduled for a December delivery, which will make it a very merry Christmas.

Thanks,
-Wade

#15 skybsd

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 06:43 PM

I went with the AP1600 for my C14. I'm expecting it to be delivered in December.

-Wade


Assuming you had a similar decision, can I ask why you went with the AP?

Thanks and warmest regards,
Steve


Before I give my reasons, I would like to say that there is no wrong choice here. Both Astro-Physics and Software Bisque deliver a solution that will exceed the needs to just about anyone. Both products are high quality, and both offer top notch support. I ended up going with my personal preference between them.

The first reason is that I don't want to be tied to any particular software stack. While I do use TheSkyX in my workflow, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. I find it to be maddenly unintuitive at times. I would not be excited about having to depend on it for every use of the mount.

I also like the idea of being able to use the hand controller with no computer. I live in the Seattle area, which is not known for its clear skies. Most of my use is at remote dark sky events, where I typically set up for about a week or so at a time. When I do this, I have both an imaging setup and a visual setup. For the imaging setup (which will be the AP1600), I never even plug in the hand controller for my CGE. But for the visual setup, I use the hand controller exclusively. I am expecting to upgrade the visual mount at some point down the line. The Mach1 is a natural candidate for that. As a visual mount, I will use the hand controller. I'll also be able to use it as an imaging mount for smaller OTAs and it will use an identical software stack to the AP1600.

Finally, a big factor for me is that I know about a dozen people using AP mounts. I see them with their equipment a few times a year at dark sky events. I do know a couple of Paramount users, but they don't travel with their mounts. Both manufacturers have robust online user communities, but I have a real-world community as well for the AP mounts.

I'll add one other observation.

It's been my opinion for a while now that the AP mounts are better for portability and that the Bisque mounts are better for remote operation. AP has been working to address the remote, unattended market with the AP1600. At the top end, you can get absolute encoders so that it's impossible for the mount to "get lost". A few days ago, Roland at AP announced on the user's group, that the AP1600 also has an option for simple home and limit switches. This addresses the same problem for a lot less cost than the encoders.

The other area where AP is making improvements is on the software side. Along with Ray Gralak, they have been working on new controller software that will introduce an all sky pointing model, variable rate tracking, etc. This will bring the AP mount some of the features that Paramount/TheSky have had for a while (and the AP solution does not depend on any particular planetarium software).

I can tell you that as a CGE user for the last 9 years, I am really looking forward to the upgrade. My AP1600 is scheduled for a December delivery, which will make it a very merry Christmas.

Thanks,
-Wade

+1 :waytogo:

Regards..,

skybsd






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