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Mount musings - ASA DDM60, Mesu, ... ?

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#1 NickK-UK

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:16 AM


In the planning and permission phase at the moment but.. I'm looking at replacing the EQ6.

Requirements:
  • 1 person move - if split that's ok
  • mobile - mobile 'luggable' (short distance) use and future pier use, with a 12V 100Ah battery..
  • Encoders.
  • Light-medium - take the Pentax+gear and maybe another at a later date (possibly an RC)
  • cosmetically approachable or I'll hear about it for the rest of my married life..
  • attachable to a mac
  • Good UK/European support

My favourite, in the ideal sense, would the ASA DD60. However I know plenty of people have Mesu and 10Micron.

Thoughts?

#2 jjongmans

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 07:14 AM

I upgraded my EQ6 recently. Besides the DDM60, 1000HPS and Mesu, I also looked at Paramount and Astro-Physics. I finally went for the DDM60 PRO. Very accurate and no guiding needed, software is becoming better and better.

The Mesu is a very good mechanical mount, but software support could be better, it uses a Servocat controller with the Argo Navis. There is an ascom driver, but it's very basic (the servocat is intended for Dobsonian platform, not GEMs) en needs more development.

The GM1000HPS is a very new mount, that's why I was skeptical about it.

The Paramount and AP are more conventional mounts without encoders and PE, but high quality.

Support for a Mac always will be difficult. That's why I use a win laptop to control my equipment.

#3 Waldemar

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 02:54 PM

All your wishes are breathing ASA DDM60Pro...
You will both be more than happy with it.
The new software AutoSlew 5.1.1.1 is unbeatable!
I would buy a Win7 i5 laptop with it, though.
She can always do the processing on the Mac :grin:

Not such a tough decission..

#4 BPO

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 06:20 PM

The new software AutoSlew 5.1.1.1 is unbeatable!


Yep. The 'Beta' days of AutoSlew are long gone. And I'm told Dr. Keller has just released v5.1.1.2 as of this morning.

#5 vpcirc

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:00 AM

I had an ASA 60, never again. The concept is great, but the UI is terriable. The software has a lot of catching up to do.

#6 BPO

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 03:17 AM

I had an ASA 60, never again. The concept is great, but the UI is terriable. The software has a lot of catching up to do.


When was that? The last few iterations of AutoSlew have been outstanding. Early versions did tend to feel somewhat experimental, but those days are now long gone.

#7 vdb

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 03:30 AM

Mesu is a top mount, I have one and it is top performing never lost a sub,
no complicated software to use ...
I saw them on a meeting lat month where they showed the mount with a new controller which makes the setup also usable from a remote site, Sidereal Technology is what they offer next to the servo cat/argo navis combo ...

#8 vpcirc

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 07:32 AM

I sold the mount 8 months ago

#9 jjongmans

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:31 AM

I hear a lot of good things about AutoSlew nowadays, version 5.1.1.1 is working great for a lot of people. I think ASA has a bad reputation, but since the encoder upgrade of the DDM60 and the continuous improvements of AutoSlew it's becoming better again.
The Mesu with the Sidereal controller is also great.

#10 BPO

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 04:50 PM

ASA's responsiveness and support via email is often criticised, especially if the language is anything other than German, so they probably have some work to do on that score. I have heard many times though that their support via telephone is excellent, albeit somewhat tortuous if you're not a native German speaker.

The initial versions of AutoSlew were also rather unpolished and caused some problems for users, but those have been iron-ed out and the app is now very good, and getting better all the time.

The hardware has certainly never or only very rarely been a source of criticism.

The MESU mounts and others have a stellar reputation, particularly when it comes to support, so ASA probably do need to look at that aspect of their business.

#11 Waldemar

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:36 PM

ASA's responsiveness and support via email is often criticised, especially if the language is anything other than German, so they probably have some work to do on that score. I have heard many times though that their support via telephone is excellent, albeit somewhat tortuous if you're not a native German speaker.

The MESU mounts and others have a stellar reputation, particularly when it comes to support, so ASA probably do need to look at that aspect of their business.


I've been in contact with ASA representatives quite often lately, because I had my DDM60Pro upgraded with fixed encoders, and I communicated with them via e-mail in German as wel as in English with not a single problem or misunderstanding...
I can only say that I am happy with my mount, the software and the support as well.
In short: I am a very happy camper !!
CS Waldemar

#12 NickK-UK

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 04:56 AM

Thanks folks for the feedback - especially the progress made on the DDM60's software/issues.

@vdb - the mesu is a good mount and it's interesting to hear they're bringing some remote capabilities to it. I use the EQ6 the garden with a dual 10 meter USB run into the warm.

Finances there but next up sweet talking the french redhead..

#13 Per Frejvall

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:06 AM

I have the GM2000HPS... Great mount - I'm about to write a review on it. The build quality is exceptional and I run it unguided for half and hour at FL around the meter mark.

Mine is the UP-version - Ultra Portable. Depending on your body build, that term may or may not have meaning ;)

It splits into the base with Ra and Dec. I have the dedicated flight cases for them. The tripod, "Centaur", is really sturdy but very heavy. I would think it is steadier than a pier, actually.

The only down-side has been the ASCOM support. It relies on the LX200 or AP ASCOM drivers available previously and they simply do not work well. The solution for was to write my own ASCOM driver, which I gave to Baader Planetarium. 10Micron has a beta out for an ASCOM driver, but having written a good one myself I haven't bothered with it. Mine supports everything including pulse guiding, on-the-fly conversion between JNow( which the mount uses) and J2000 (which CCD Autopilot wants to use) and syncs that can be chosen as single point model adjusters or sync model refine points.

In contrast to other modern mounts, the 10Micron HPS series keeps the pointing and tracking model in-mount. This means that you get perfect two-axis tracking even when your controlling software bites the bullit and goes south.

The hand control sports the best functionality I have ever seen. Easy to use and full of good features. This mount you can definitely use without a computer.

Now, building a model (and the mount supports 25 points) can be a tideus task. I solved that by writing a model builder that I may release as donorware. Having Pinpoint and MaximDL as backend, this software builds a complete model from scratch in about 10 to 15 minutes with no user intervention.

As for robotic use, well, there is nothing like it! Having absolute encoders you can do what you want with it, power on or power off, and it will always know where it is.

In summary, a great mount and I love it! In fact, I am re-locating it to a remote site and getting a GM1000HPS as well to take its place on my balcony pier!

Stay tuned for a proper review.

All the best,

Per

p.s. If a 10Micron mount user wants the ASCOM driver - let me know.

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#14 BPO

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:29 AM

Spectacular!

#15 crow

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:20 PM

Hi Per, great mount. I have the 1000hps on order and my parents will be taking delivery in Europe. It will then hopefully find its way to me in Canada....eventually :jump:

I'd be interested in a review of yours once you get it.

How is the slew speed on the 10 microns, pretty fast? Do the electronics seperate from the mount? Def be interested in your Ascom driver, once I have the mount.

#16 Alph

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:12 PM

Hi Per, great mount. I have the 1000hps on order and my parents will be taking delivery in Europe. It will then hopefully find its way to me in Canada....eventually :jump:

I'd be interested in a review of yours once you get it.

How is the slew speed on the 10 microns, pretty fast? Do the electronics seperate from the mount? Def be interested in your Ascom driver, once I have the mount.

So you have ordered a mount without seeing the user's manual. Thanks for taking one for the team. You are brave, young man.

#17 crow

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:13 PM

Actually no, I think my old man gets thats honour.... :smirk:

I doubt it will make it to BC I have a feeling he will elect to keep it, which given the price may be the best outcome especially since I've just ordered a TEC140.

#18 NickK-UK

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:14 AM

Hi Per,
Interesting, the 1000 HP retails for 7.140,00 EUR or 5744.23 sterling at todays conversion rates (incl 19% tax.. although UK is 20% VAT). The ASA DDM60 is ~6275.21 and the pro version is 7000.00 sterling. Both examples are without tripod.

I am slightly concerned that a pointing model needs additional software to make it a quick setup (required for mobile setups).

I take your point about controlling software failing.

I take it the HPS can be broken in two?
How is the mount in dealing with meridian flips and slight differences in balance?

Nick

#19 Per Frejvall

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 09:03 AM

Yes, the GM2000HPS can be broken into two if you get the UP (Ultra Portable) version. The standard is monolithic.

As for models and software dependancy... I started by just aligning on three stars then adjusted the polar axis. Re-did the three stars and added two or three more as refinements. That gave me around 15 minutes of unguided subs at FL 1470mm.

The software I have written is, of course, external to the mount and runs on a PC with Windows. If you want to take a 10M mount out in the field you will do very well with no computer and a three to five star alignment, even for serious astro photography.

There is a balancing routine in the hand controller software that gets you extremely well balanced in a few minutes. I have, on occasion, skipped that and made a manual balance adjustment to no great precision at all and the mount works fine anyway.

Meridian flips are absolutely fantastic! I have done them at 20 degrees/sec and the thing points right at the target all by itself. Currently, this is all handled by CCD Autopilot for me so I do not really take it into account any more.

Last night I shot the last subs for the image below, luminance at 20 minutes unguided and with my EdgeHD 925 with 0.62 Lepus compressor. I had to ditch two of the 20-minute ones due to wind, but apart from that all went fine with nice round stars.

/per

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