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Very small mount

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#1 orlyandico

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 06:06 AM

I'm looking at getting a very small mount so that I can take wide field photos. The Teegul Sky Patrol is too rich for my blood. Ditto for the TOAST-Pro.

I had a Vixen Polaris before, it was built really well but I think still a bit too large for my needs.

So.. will an EQ-2 / CG-3 mount be worthwhile? does it have a full worm on the declination? (just for giggles I might want to make it GoTo capable, since I already have the motors and I have the GoTo controller).

#2 rmollise

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 06:49 AM

If all you want to do is take widefield pictures, have a look at the new Vixen Polarie.

#3 orlyandico

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 06:54 AM

A bit embarrassing, but my knowledge of the night sky is limited to the few brightest constellations and M objects. I'd have a pretty hard time finding my way around without GoTo.

Hence I want something that can be GoTo-ized, but smaller than a CG-5.

#4 gdd

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 08:18 AM

The Vixen GP2 is the smallest GOTO mount I have found. It weighs 9.4 pounds and has a capacity of 20 pounds. OPT has it. I think that is smaller than a CG-5.

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#5 MikeBOKC

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 08:23 AM

You might investigate the new Smart EQ from ioptron -- full go to for about $400, light and portable, but with a correspondingly light maximum load of about 9-10 pounds.

#6 rmollise

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 08:24 AM

A bit embarrassing, but my knowledge of the night sky is limited to the few brightest constellations and M objects. I'd have a pretty hard time finding my way around without GoTo.

Hence I want something that can be GoTo-ized, but smaller than a CG-5.


I would look at the new, small iOptron mount, then...but...

Do you really need go-to for widefield imaging? It is pretty much "point in the general direction." ;)

#7 orlyandico

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 08:32 AM

I want to go as long as 300mm..

#8 gdd

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 10:23 AM

You want to image at 300mm without GOTO?

I take a picture at 50mm which is pretty sure to find the object. Then adjust the mount until I get a picture with the object centered. Then move up to the 300mm.

Gale

#9 Patrick

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 10:06 PM

I want to go as long as 300mm..



At 300mm you will want a half way decent mount with fairly good PE numbers. The EQ2 could probably hold the weight of a 300mm lens, but I suspect it would not be accurate enough for exposures longer than 30-60 seconds without auto guiding. Were you planning on autoguiding? I don't believe an EQ2 mount can be autoguided. You might take a look at the Celestron CG-4 mount, but again, it doesn't have goto or can't be autoguided.

The Vixen GP2 is probably still your best bet, but it's on the expensive side when you throw in a goto setup for it. That mount has relatively good PE numbers and with the HAL130 tripod it's quite portable, more so than a CG5 which has a pretty hefty tripod.

Your only other option would be an Astrotrac setup.

Patrick

#10 orlyandico

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:00 PM

I have a Littlefoot Elegance Photo GoTo controller. It's ridiculously expensive if bolted to one of these very small mounts, but I already have it for my AP QMD mount, and I have extra motors, so the cost of adding GoTo and autoguiding to just about any mount is just the cost of my time.

I had a Great Polaris and a Polaris, these are still not my idea of "very small mount" - I'm looking for something that can be placed in carryon luggage along with a 300mm lens or a 70mm ED refractor.

Those Mizar GEM's from Japan kind of fit my bill. Just darn hard to find..

#11 core

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 12:19 AM

A couple of random comments:

* Polarie, I believe there's custom adapters out of HK/JP that allow for higher loading, but I'd wager putting an 70ED with imaging equipment may be unrealistic. Probably more in the ballpark of a dSLR with a 180mm ED. My experience with the Polarie is with lenses in the 85mm range.

* Astrotrac will definitely fit the bill nicely, but it is in the price bracket of the Teegul (once you add up all the parts) - and it's manual. I recently acquired the complete travel system, it has some quirks but handles my FS-60C (@300mm) setup easily, and tracks beautifully unguided.

* Kenko Skymemo-RS in the same price bracket, no experience with it although from the limited reviews I'd like to give it a try (longer tracking than Astrotrac, much better polar scope).

* As for goto, another wild idea is to pack along a small goto mount like the ioptron cube, slew it to target and switch on a laser pointer mounted on it - then move your manual tracking mount to where the GLP is pointed.

* The other Vixen product other than GP2 Photo Guider - Sphinx SXW with the NexSXD control board replacement - Check-in luggage for sure, but don't discount it - I believe that it can be 5lb or more lighter than a CG-5 setup due to the reduced amount of counterweight required.

* How about scouting around for an older Tak Space Boy or P2Z?

* ... go with the Toast-Pro - and give us a nice little review :grin:

#12 orlyandico

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 12:47 AM

I put my old Polaris in check-in a couple times. Not very pleasant, and eats up one's baggage allowance. The original TOAST is actually more interesting than the TOAST Pro, because it had a larger worm wheel and much lower periodic error (Tak EM200 class). No GoTo, ever. :D

P2Z and Space Boy both have tangent arm declination, so no GoTo, ever. There's actually a Teegul Sky Patrol II on the other site for a pretty reasonable price, but my problem is the lack of a declination worm gear. I want that GoTo as I'm positively incompetent at finding all but the brightest stuff.

And having an alt-az GoTo for pointing isn't good for the baggage allowance, either.

#13 Patrick

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 06:12 AM

I'm not sure, but I don't think what you want exists. It sounds like you want a full goto mount that can fit in carry on luggage, be capable of carry a 300mm lens, and track accurately enough not to require autoguiding...and cost the same as an EQ3.

I think you will have to compromise somewhere. :smirk:

Patrick

#14 orlyandico

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 06:20 AM

I can compromise on the cost of the EQ3. :)

And the GoTo.

As I mentioned, I will be using my Littlefoot GoTo controller (because I like the interface and I don't want to learn two different interfaces). So all I want is something which can be carried-on - or at least, won't bust more than 50% of check-in baggage allowance - has full 360-degree rotation in declination, and is of good quality.

#15 Geo.

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 10:29 AM

A lot of amateur development has been done on the Meade DS2000 mount. These go for around $100. The tripod is junk, but some stiff wood legs will bring it around. I put some short Vixen Polaris fixed height legs on one and it's quite stable.

Google "milapse".

#16 orlyandico

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:11 AM

George, am not sure if the DS2000 can track in EQ mode. Last time I tried EQ mode on my ETX60 (similar mechanics) it failed miserably. Probably only works for high latitudes, not when the fork is almost lying on its side..

#17 EFT

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 12:53 PM

I'm not sure if I would bother with anything much smaller than the CG-4. It is fairly small, inexpensive and can be motorized. You might even be able to find a Synscan goto system for it (I tuned one up that had one added to it). The CG-4 is actually not a bad little mount when it comes down to it. The big problem with any GEM mount is that you will need to haul a counterwieght along with you.

#18 Patrick

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:08 PM

If I'm reading This CN Thread correctly, the Little Foot only works with stepper motors. That could be a limiting factor, particularly on small mounts using DC motors. I'm not an electrical person so I can't say with any certainty it won't work, but I'd look into it.

Patrick

#19 orlyandico

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 01:07 AM

I'm pretty handy with the Littlefoot. I converted my stepper AP600QMD to GoTo with it.

Actually I'm kicking myself for not grabbing the $450 Tak EM-2 that was for sale on the other site on 22 September. That would've been perfect..






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