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Travel GOTO mount w/AP capability

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#1 scubaanddreams

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 02:43 PM

I have an idea on this but either want other suggestions or someone that can confirm this capability.

Requirement, smallest GOTO mount available for AstroPhotography. ASTROTRAC excluded.

I am thinking about getting an Nexstar 5SE but mounting a 65mm type refractor to it and then use it tabletop with some sort of miniature wedge.

Any suggestions?

#2 Astronewb

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 03:53 PM

There's only one mount I can think of that meets your rquirements for smallest/lightest.

The iOptron SmartEQ PRO...available November...metal gears vs nylon, polar scope included, and...autoguiding port.
It's mentioned in this month's issue of Astronomy Technology Today and confirmed by iOptron in my dealings with them.

This is what my config will look like: http://www.flickr.co...011/8106526206/

Hope the info helps,

Paul

#3 Starhawk

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 06:00 PM

No on the NexStar mount- doesn't have DSO class tracking. The AP and GOTO capabilities are in conflict at small size. The iOptron eq30 is very small and light, and appears to have AP potential in the size range you are interested in.

-Rich

#4 Midnight Dan

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 07:59 PM

I own the 5SE and the 8SE and Rich is correct. The SE mount is adequate for for basic astrophotography such as webcam on planets and moon, or very short exposure (20 seconds or less) for a few of the brightest DSOs. I love the SE mounts for visual use, but the spur gears and lots of backlash make this a platform that is not really suited for serious AP.

If your really want a mount for astrophotography, you need an equatorial mount with worm gears designed for AP. The iOptron iEQ30 is a good choice.

-Dan

#5 andysea

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:45 PM

Can anyone point me to some photos taken using the SmartEQ? It looks like a great portable mount but I haven't seen any results yet.
Thanks

Andy

#6 Peds

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:51 AM

I have to say I've got my eye on the iEQ30 myself.

P.

#7 *skyguy*

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 10:04 AM

Can anyone point me to some photos taken using the SmartEQ? It looks like a great portable mount but I haven't seen any results yet.
Thanks

Andy


I just purchased an Ioptron Smarteq mount several weeks ago and I'm very impressed with its innovative and well executed design. The goto's are very accurate and the biggest surprise of all ... backlash in the gear train is extremely well controlled. I also own small goto mounts by both Celestron and Meade and the gear backlash in those mounts is horrendous! Here's some excellent deep-sky images (taken by previous poster ... Paul (Astronewb)) using the Smarteq mount:

http://flickrhivemin.../smarteq/Recent

#8 Raginar

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 10:41 AM

Thanks for sharing Skyguy.

#9 AlexDJ30

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:02 PM

One question, does this smarteq mount can be connected to external battery like powertanks? because all the it mentions it uses alkaline batteries but in the the photos i cant see and power connector to use powertanks or batteries.

Could this small mount let say put a VCM110 and some small refractor (50 mm like new stellarvue one) and do AP or with this combo it should be pushing the mount?

#10 andysea

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:15 PM

Thank you so much!
I might pick up one. Given the price point one really can't go wrong!

#11 *skyguy*

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 06:08 PM

One question, does this smarteq mount can be connected to external battery like powertanks?

Could this small mount let say put a VCM110 and some small refractor (50 mm like new stellarvue one) and do AP or with this combo it should be pushing the mount?


The Smarteq uses uses the same external power supply plug that I use on my Celestron Nexstar SLT mount.

I have a 5.5" (140mm) Celestron Comet Catcher (8lbs. w/rings and dovetail) on my Smarteq and it handles this weight quite well. I can use the supplied 2 lbs. weight plus a homemade 1/2 lb. weight to balance the scope. The lighter weight Vixen VCM110 (4.6 lbs.) with an attached 50mm scope should be a great combination with this mount.

#12 johnnyha

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 07:46 PM

The Tak mounts are worth mentioning, an EM10 would be a good choice and they have extremely accurate tracking out of the box.

#13 andysea

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 10:48 PM

No doubt that the Tak would provide excellent tracking. My NJP is no exception. However they require an external device for Goto capability, either a laptop or an Iphone or an Ipad. I guess there is also the advanced hand controller but I am not familiar with it.
The current EM-11 is also 10 times the cost of the Smarteq. I don't know what the EM-10 would go for.
I would like to know tho if the Smarteq can be autoguided. That would make or break the deal for me.

#14 AlexDJ30

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 12:07 AM

skyguy but what i thinking is that combination (VCM 110 and stellarvuew 50mm apo) could do DSO AP without let say problems?? or should be more light , how would you rate the smartqe weight for ap and how much for visual (I supouse visual its 8 lbs)?

#15 Raginar

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:46 AM

You can't get much lighter than 11 lbs. By the time you throw a scope, camera, guider rig on there, you'll be around 8-10# easily.

#16 *skyguy*

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 09:44 AM

You can't get much lighter than 11 lbs. By the time you throw a scope, camera, guider rig on there, you'll be around 8-10# easily.


Very true. It's usually a good idea to keep the total AP equipment weight at half the manufacturer's recommended maximum weight capacity ... meaning about 5.5 pounds for the Smarteq. This would make it more suited for imaging with a DSLR attached to a camera lens or a small telescope. However, using a somewhat larger scope with a lightweight AP camera like the Meade DSI, it should be possible to set up an AP system around 6 pounds. Of course with a larger scope you would need an autoguider and iOptron hasn't released the autoguider version of the Smarteq, yet. So, a lot of this is just guess work until someone tries out the new mount and determines what it's true weight capacity is for autoguided imaging.

#17 andysea

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 01:00 PM

That's a good rule of thumb. However it does not apply to all manufacturers. Some actually publish the rated payload intended for imaging.
I'm sure that for Ioptron the 50% rule would be a safe assumption.
Does anyone know if the Smarteq can be autoguided with pulse guide by hooking up the hand controller to a PC with a serial cable?

#18 csrlice12

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 02:03 PM

I'm not certain about the VMC110 for AP though, it's a slow f9.4 (1035mm) scope. You'd want something faster, or some kind of focal reducer for AP (but that might really show coma). For GrabnGo viewing though, a good scope.

#19 andysea

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 06:44 PM

Very good point. F9.4 is extremely slow.
Also to get perfect stars at over 1000mm you will need a much much higher grade mount I think. I also think that an OAG would save a lot of frustration fighting differential flexure.






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