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Another "which mount" thread...

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#1 Jim langley

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:32 AM

I have looked around at mounts, and am trying to decide which mount I will end up with, (at least this year...).

After a CPC, Atlas, Vixen, (non goto), and NextStar, I have finally learned that the best equipment is the equipment that you use the most. I have also learned from the NexStar, that portability is a big plus for me, thus I am selling my year old CPC 1100 setup to fund a new versatile setup for viewing and photography.

Here is what I am looking for and could us some suggestions:

1. Portability, (mount should weigh no more than 21-22lbs)
2. Ease of operation of the GoTo and solid tracking
3. Steady up to a minimal 25-30 pound load
4. Ability to interface with computer programs for imaging and tracking
5. Less than $1500

What has made the NextStar so attractive to me is it's light weight, but its just not steady enough for what I want. What made the Atlas attractive to me was its ability to interface with just about everything, but the weight is too much.

Suggestions...?

#2 Mkofski

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:46 AM

Jim,

An IEQ45 seems to meet all your requirements.

#3 orlyandico

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:09 AM

I just had an opportunity to look at two iEQ45's in the flesh. Yes they are light! I can lift the entire mount head quite easily even outstretched arms (and I'm the proverbial 100-pound weakling, albeit now overweight).

It looks cute as well - like a not-so-good copy of an AP900 at 1/2 scale. The three clutches, the ribbed polar fork... somebody at iOptron has been busy..

#4 Midnight Dan

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:48 AM

Let's see, light weight, rock solid, easy to use and set up, and less than $1500. Yes, we'd all love one of those! :lol:

The 8SE is, as you say, lightweight and easy to use, but not solid.
The CPC mount is easy to use and solid, but not lightweight.
Pretty much any GEM mount is more complicated to use and setup, but will be more solid.

Unfortunately, you just can't have everything.

The iEQ45 is probably the closest, if you don't mind the extra complication and setup time of a GEM mount. It is certainly lightweight for it's capacity (not including the counterweights), although not nearly as light as an SE. You don't say what scope you want to put on it, but for visual it should be ok for either your 8" or 11" SCT. If you want to do astrophotography, it should work well with the 8" SCT, but the 11" is a bit much.

-Dan

#5 andysea

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 12:05 PM

+1 for the IEQ45. I have a friend who owns one and it works great....and yes I also was surprised by how light it was.


Andy

#6 mega256

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 01:34 PM

I just got a IEQ45 and have had EQ6s b4..The EQ6 or CGEM is very heavy,,,

I like my IEQ45 very much and will have to say it is the fastest and easyest EQ mount for setup I have ever used.

The 25 lb head is easy to move,also tracking and gotos were
very good.So in the under $2k mount group,I belive it to be the one that fits your needs.Upto a 30 lb load should be fine for ap.Because of the electronic load balance setup you might even get more for short focal ap.

#7 Jim langley

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 11:56 AM

I worked my way to the IEQ45 mount in my research. A local dealer has a used one for sale and I will be running over to see it/lift it. The scope I have is a Celestron 8" SCT that came with the 8SE mount that I have. I might go as large as a 9.25 in the future, so I would like the mount to be able to handle that scope as well, plus some imaging hardware. I have a Canon T2i that I will use to get into AP.

#8 Jim langley

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:08 PM

Thanks everyone for the information. Seems like we are all in agreement. I am going to offer my CPC 1100 setup to the local shop to sell and check out the IEQ45 that he has for sale.

Any possible issues in getting an older version of the mount, (HW or SW), say 1+ years old. This one is a demo unit, so I am not sure how long it has been in the store.

#9 mega256

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:41 PM

The Older mounts may not have the newer clutch option and
use a 8406 hand controller...Not a problem at all,But the
newer clutch option is about a +$100 option.The newer mounts also come with a 8407 hand controller.Nothing wrong
with the older mounts at all..but should be priced a little less.You can go to the ioptron web site for current prices on both,,There might be ayear end sale now.

#10 Mkofski

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:58 PM

There is a model with an updated clutch. Does the demo unit have standard clutches?

#11 orlyandico

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 03:38 PM

I don't see what's the benefit of the newer clutch version.

Only the DEC clutch has been revised and it looks like the regular clutch on CG-5, Vixen, etc. type mounts (lever clutch).

The RA clutches are still the same old 3 rosette knob bolts.

I don't see why the lever-type clutch would be considered "superior" to the 3 knobs - after all Astro-Physics uses the 3 knobs on all their current mounts.

#12 mega256

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 04:06 PM

Because its not a AP mount! and about 1/6 the price..
It was done at the request of the users..No its not needed
but just easyer to use.But neather is the GPS,its just nice to have!

#13 Midnight Dan

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 04:31 PM

It isn't so much the clutch itself, as the redesigned dec axis with ball bearings as well as the new clutch.

The old one did not have bearings in the axis, which made it difficult to balance the scope in the dec direction. The more you loaded it up, the less freely it would turn.

iOptron did address this issue in the old mounts with an automated electronic balancing routine. This was an update to the firmware. It drives the motors one way, then the other, and compares the torque needed in each direction. Then it displays a graphic on the handset that tells you which way to move the scope and how much (roughly).

I have the old mount and feel that the electronic balancing works "adequately", although it occasionally fails and when it does it's off by a fair amount. I would prefer the new bearings and clutch, but I don't find it to be all that big a deal. There's no upgrade path from the old mount to the new clutch model and it's certainly not worth the hassle of selling this one to buy the newer model.

-Dan

#14 mega256

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:15 PM

Thanks Dan didnt know that.I do use the clutch to do
a rough balance and then fine tune with the electronic.Seams to work well.Also the latest firmware uograde of a few days ago has a multi star alignment software.But not sure yet what it does,but more that 2or 3 stars can be used.This may or not be a big deal..8407 controller update.

#15 Jim langley

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 09:15 PM

There is a model with an updated clutch. Does the demo unit have standard clutches?


I will ask them the day after Christmas when they open. I found out the updated model has a C at the end of the model number.

#16 Jim langley

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 08:31 AM

Thank you everyone for the information supplied. I went ahead and pulled the trigger on a new IEQ45 that was listed on Amazon for $1599, which included the iOptron hard shell case. I am pretty excited about this, and will be mounting a C8 on it for starters.

Now, to sell my CPC1000 equipment, to get back some money.

#17 orlyandico

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 10:49 AM

oh ok. having bearings in the DEC is a big deal - and that's the bigger improvement rather than the lever clutch. IMHO the 3-knob dec clutch would have been better had they been retained.

#18 Jim langley

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 05:56 PM

The mount arrives at the end of the week.

I'm excited.

#19 Erik30

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:40 PM

I bought the iEQ45 a couple months ago and love it. I think you will be very happy with this mount.

#20 andysea

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 11:55 PM

Wow congratulations! It's always nice getting new toys.

#21 Jim langley

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 08:16 AM

Thanks guys. I am now trying to decide which SCT to put on it. There is not a ton of difference for casual viewing between my C8 and C11. Ths CPC goto was always better, but now this will not be the case as I will be using the iOptron mount.

C11, or C8? If the iOptron is light enough, for grab and go, I will keep the C8 and sell my CPC 11 to fund other equipment.

#22 Midnight Dan

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:28 AM

Hi Jim:

Congrats on the purchase of the iEQ45! I think you'll love it. BUT ... I wouldn't classify it as a grab and go.

I leave my 8SE set up fully assembled on the tripod. I can easily pick the whole thing up and take it outside, plop it down and be ready to go. Aside, from the cool-down time, I would call that a "kinda" grab and go.

The iEQ45 is very lightweight for its carrying capacity. Much lighter than an Atlas or CGEM. The mount head itself is only 25 pounds so it's very easy to handle. But the tripod is much more substantial than the 8SE, so it weighs more as well. And of course there's the counterweights.

When the whole thing is set up with the scope on it, I can lift it but not easily. I wouldn't want to try and carry it anywhere and would definitely not call it a grab and go. Like any GEM in this load capacity range, you'll probably want to carry it outside in pieces and assemble it by setting up the tripod first, putting the mount head on it, attaching the counterweights, and attaching the scope.

As for the C8 vs. the C11, I'm surprised that you say there isn't much difference between the two for casual visual use. If that's really true, then by all means the C8 will be a lot easier to handle so I'd go with it. Plus, I don't think you can easily de-fork the 11" SCT from the CPC mount to put it on the iEQ45.

-Dan

#23 Jim langley

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:48 AM

Thanks Dan. Maybe I should clarify myself when I am comparing the C8 and C11. The difference in light gathering capabilities may not be worth double the weight. I have been thinking this over a lot and for what I am doing, (picking up the mount with a C8 on it, and moving it 10 feet outside my garage, the IEQ45 with the C8 on it seems to be the way to go. I got the ioptron case with the mount, and I have a RC wing bag that will do nicely for carrying the legs. The counter weight will be the battery setup that they have. Any other traveling with the setup will be broken down into three parts, head, (in case), Legs and battery, (in carry bag), and Scope, (in case).

As far as grab and go, I have been doing the same thing with the CPC1100 and I know that the CPC mount with the 11" telescope weighs a bit more than the new setup.

Thanks for the good points.

#24 Jim langley

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 08:02 PM

Just to let everyone know, the IEQ45 came this week and I am setting it up in the garage. I charged the counterweight battery, and will report back on my opinion in setting it up.

I just setup the tripod and mount and it was very easy to do. I wanted to do this so that I could carry the mount with the battery power counterweight to the other side of the garage. Pretty light, yet more than robust enough for my C8.

The NextStar mount is in the background, and the battery is mounted on the counterweight shaft.

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