Mesu 200 First Impressions
Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:02 AM
I must start by saying that I have no connexion whatsoever with the Mesu company ant that my comments on this mount are entirely my own.
I ordered a Mesu 200 along with the pedestal early part of July and the mount was delivered early October. I was informed by the manufacturer that the lead time was a little bit longer due to the holiday period.
I then got an email from Mesu asking me for my latitude and longitude so that the Argo Navis could be programmed for me. This I thought was excellent. And when the mount arrived all I had to do was plug it in.
The mount arrived on a bright and sunny morning. A purpose made box containing the mount and one pallet with the pedestal strapped on it.
I mount box was fasten with 4 screws and inside the mount embedded in a polystyrene base with the Argo Navis and Servocat all well protected. No apparent damage on the box either.
The pedestal is enormous and well justifies the asking price. Unfortunately the transporter damaged one of the adjustable feet on the pedestal. The problem was remedied immediately by Lucas Mesu who sent me a new foot by return of post.
On opening the box and getting the mount out it immediately gave a feeling of being extremely well constructed and robust. The mount smelled of quality. The welding is clean and precise, the paint work very smooth, the chrome coloured bits spotless. Once all unpacked I assembled everything which was very easy as a small manual is supplied to show where all cables should connect and a small washer has been added to the RA cables to ensure a correct connection. In fact it was so simple that I doubted myself. I am used to a G11 with a Gemini goto and the Argos Navis / servocat had me in a bit of a panic as it was all new to me.
The mount is a joy to hold and look at. The mount looks smaller than I anticipated but it is still a hefty bit of kit bearing in mind that it can carry up to 100 kg .The finish is superb and the movement is so smooth! I think I am in love. Everything is precise without being extra bulky.
Mesu supplies also a bracket for a polar finder used on the G11. This works great and it is very easily attached to the mount.
Then came the question of powering up the setup. Every document I read pointed to the use of a 12 volt battery but as the mount was going to be housed in an observatory (or as my nephew calls it “the lavatory”) I wanted to use a power supply of 13.6 volt. Both Argo Navis and Servotcat responded very quickly and confirmed that it was acceptable to use this power supply. The manuals did in fact mention it but in my rush I didn’t read the manuals correctly.
I powered the mount and everything worked. Oh Deep joy I didn’t mess anything up. Getting to grips with Argo Navis and Servocat took a little bit of time but Lucas Mesu was always there to answer any questions I had and didn’t even query the stupid ones.
I was panicking a little bit with the auto guiding as I had to use an ST4 cable instead of the serial guiding I was used to. I worried for nothing as it is as simple as before if not easier. Help on setting the hardware and the software was available from all the manufacturers and from the Yahoo groups.
In all, everything was very easy to setup and I and so far totally happy with my purchase and now I can get a 2 minutes exposure without star trail at 1.8m focal length. I need to refine the polar alignment as at present it is only aligned with the polar scope.
The start-up alignment is also very straight forward but a little bit more complicated than with other goto system. Point the scope manually on a known star situated in the East and confirm on Argo Navis, centre the star on the chip and confirm once more. You are ready to use the goto. I think a laser pointer will be better than a straight finder as sometime it is difficult to identify the correct star in the field of view. After this procedure was carried out the next object was slap bang in the middle of the chip. I was very impressed by the accuracy of the goto. Going as far west as possible the object was not on the chip but was on a 25mm eye piece. By using the a star close in the west, centring it and pressing sync button on the Servocat the object was again bang in the middle of the chip. I must stress that I have not yet done a drift align with the mount so the small error is probably due to a poor polar alignment.
Argo Navis and Servocat work together seamlessly and connection the planetarium and the camera were very simple. I didn’t get it right the first time but the suppliers were always there to answer my queries. I must stress that from the whole process I never experience such a super after sale support from all 3 suppliers. The user manuals are supplied with the mount on 3 DVD’s but I must say that it was daunting trying to read as much as possible before firing up the mount. My only wish would be for a very small manual for people like me.
In conclusion the mount surpasses my expectation and when I compare it to my G11 fitted with the Ovision worm I would say that the Mesu mount is 100% better at tracking. This is my first experience of the mount so I cannot predict what it will be like in the future but if the manufacturing is anything to go by it will be good for many years to come.
Thank you for looking.
Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:13 AM
Posted 04 November 2012 - 08:54 PM