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Evolution of the Vixen Polaris GEM?

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#26 hottr6

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:28 AM

Could someone list the differences..they are not readily apparent.

And which one is the more desirable...and why?

Visually, there are many differences. Summarizing:
The Super Polaris (SP) has a greater payload than the Polaris.
The Polaris works extremely well in alt-az mode. The SP is not as well balanced in alt-az mode.
The SP is a lot heavier, is a marginal grab-n-go.
Both axes can be driven on the SP, only RA on Polaris.
I would think that tracking precision is the same for both.
The SP is a lot more expensive (both mounts are available only on the used market).
The SP has been cloned many times. There is only one Polaris.
Later SP clones have ball- and thrust-bearings on the RA axis for even greater payloads, the original SP and Polaris use plain bearings.

Desirability is a user-determined value. I have both (actually a CG5-clone) and use the Polaris far more often because of it's portability. YMMV.
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#27 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 08:28 AM

Thank you for the pictures.

Could someone list the differences..they are not readily apparent.

And which one is the more desirable...and why?


The Super Polaris is a somewhat larger, more robust mount so it's better suited for larger telescopes. The Polaris is something of a rarity in that it is a small high quality mount, totally enclosed gears etc.

The Polaris can be used as an ALT-AZ mount without modification. The polar scope will need to be removed and then the altitude axis used for polar alignment is pointed at the zenith and all is done. I don't have a photo of a the Polaris in the ALT-AZ mode but I do have a photo of the similar vintage Mizar which is the other small, high quality mount.

Jon

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#28 orion61

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:00 AM

I still have mine from the mid 80's it came with a C8 on it, the C8 is long gone still have the mount!
Old and beat up as it is, it still keeps ticking,
Tore it apart the other day and tightened the Axis up, and re-lubed it, just like new now. except all the battle scars.
Here she is next to my 127 Mak, the short pier is homemade
and works great, that is a 5" Celestron Acro Prototype Refractor mounted on it.
One of about 30 made, purchased from Gary Hand in the early 90's before they decided on the 6" for production.
Size perspective I am 6' tall and come up to the finder eyepiece standing.

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#29 droid

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 09:31 AM

Ive always though the Orion astroview was a clone of the polaris???

#30 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:42 AM

Ive always though the Orion astroview was a clone of the polaris???


Not to my mind. The Polaris mount is like the Mizar, the body is straight with no offset. The astroview and the cg4 are like the larger mounts, the RA axis is offset from the pivot.

Jon

#31 Zamboni

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

The CG4 is a polaris clone in almost all respects except for the offset from the pivot.

#32 Space_Girl1234

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:49 AM

Thanks for the further information.

Are the motors, polar scope, tripods interchangable between the two mounts?

Are spare parts available from the manufacturer?

What are the payload weights for the different mounts?

What are the best "clones" of the Polaris/Super Polaris that are readily available today?

Any links to the manuals for both mounts so I can do my own research so I don't ask so many questions here?

Thank you for answering my questions.

#33 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:03 AM

The CG4 is a polaris clone in almost all respects except for the offset from the pivot.


I have both the EQ-3 and the Polaris. There are significant differences, the most obvious is the offset from the pivot and all the ramifications that follow. Given that fundamental difference, are you saying that the parts are interchangeable or exactly how is a clone? The Mizar looks much more like the Polaris that the EQ-3/CG-4 does.

Jon

#34 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:03 AM

The CG4 is a polaris clone in almost all respects except for the offset from the pivot.


I have both the EQ-3 and the Polaris. There are significant differences, the most obvious is the offset from the pivot and all the ramifications that follow. Given that fundamental difference, are you saying that the parts are interchangeable or exactly how is it a clone? The Mizar, though obviously not a clone, looks much more like the Polaris that the EQ-3/CG-4 does.

Jon

#35 Masvingo

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:59 PM

There's a copy of the Super Polaris 'scope and mount manual on Robert Provin's excellent site. which has a few pages dealing with the mount.

James

#36 Glen A W

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:32 PM

My mother bought me one in 1991 with a C4.5. The Newt is long gone, but the Polaris now carried a SkyWatcher 100ED.

The mount is my favourite, ever. The clock drive still works after all these years. I have a polar finder and even the illuminator for it, which is a pen lite mounted on top of the mount shining into the polar axis hole. I even have a Dec. motor from JMI.

I have never really put this mount away in the past two decades. The Chinese mounts just have not equalled it, in my opinion.

GW

#37 Glen A W

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:36 PM

By the way, I had the Chinese mount which came with a CH102HD more than fifteen years ago. I believe it was a CG4. Although the Polaris drive fit right on, the gear ratio was not the same, so it did not work right. I ditched the Chinese mount long ago - very shaky!

The Vixen Polaris polar scope does fit a CG5 which I have now. GW

#38 Bonco

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:47 PM

A little off topic but my Super Polaris declination drive is not functioning. I'm not sure if its a problem with the drive or the hand controller. Any suggestions on how to trouble shoot the problem? Love my SP.
Thanks Bill

#39 Geo.

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:31 PM

The hole in the Polaris weight shaft is to insert a pin to assist in removal from the mount.

"Are the motors, polar scope, tripods interchangable between the two mounts?"

No, but you can move the tripod legs from one hub to another. The hubs are different.

"Are spare parts available from the manufacturer?"

No, but I have a couple partial mounts I use to provide parts. Pretty sure Don Rothman has some too. Major part replacements are worm gears that have been bent and broken saddles.

"What are the payload weights for the different mounts?
IMO, 15# max for the Polaris. 22# for the SP."

"What are the best "clones" of the Polaris/Super Polaris that are readily available today?"

Polaris: EQ3-2, CG-4, Orion AstroView. All these mounts seem to come from Synta.

The SP was succeeded by the Great Polaris, which is still sold as the GP-2. I like the earlier GPs better as I think the quality was higher. The GP-2 on a good tripod (HAL130) runs $600 new and comes pretty much stripped. All up $1900. (Case is $495!) Used, with a polarscope and setting circles, $300-400. GP-E or GP-2 will run you a bit more.

The GP clones include, but may not be limited to: the CG-5, EQ-4 and EQ-5, Orion Superview Pro, Jinghua/Bosma EM-8, Meade LXD55 and 75, iOptron GEM. The Synta (CG-5) and the Jinghua/Bosma EM-8 have been sold under various brands. Sell for $100 up used $250 or so if you can find one without drives. The CG-5 goto (ASCG-5GT) has been discontinued and is selling at $600. It has a good reputation. Celestron sells some spares. I'd rate it as the best clone of the GP. The LXD75 would be second. It has also been discontinued and old stock is all you'll find. Meade doesn't sell spares and has its hands full with its current products. So it's not clear how long they'll provide any support for the LXD-75.

The SP can be used in the Al/Az position without modification also.

#40 kauzuak

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:59 PM

There is a lot of potentially confusing info here for beginners looking for info about the differences between the Vixen SP and Polaris mounts. Just look at turk123's image. Nuf said ... But of course I can't stop there, the SP and polaris could be considered the fathers of the CG5 and others, but actually the vixen GP series is where the CG5, and and later LXD55/75 were cloned. I consider all other clones (EQ-3, CG4, etc) to be a different breed. The clone that resembles the SP the closest in spirit and execution, is the Orion SkyView (ie has decent sized setting circles). FYI, Orion61, your pic is of a GP not an SP. Not at bad thing, just newer (~>1991). : )

#41 hottr6

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:39 AM

Terrific post, George. Lots of good info.

#42 photiost

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 11:45 PM

My first SCT - the Celestron SPC8 - came with the Super Polaris and also a Polar scope and a pre-Ultima 30mm plossl as standard equipment. :jump:

Best Buy - I have since mounted all my refractors on that Super Polaris mount.

Cant say enough good things about this mount ! :bow:

..

#43 John Carruthers

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 06:19 AM

the vixen mounts I've worked on include the Polaris, the Super Polaris, the GP (Great Polaris) and the GP DX which had the greatest payload capacity.
The ball races in the GP/DX make it a bit heavier.
The later GP-E and GP D2 are still available here and there.
All the SP onwards will take Synscan or GOTO Nova drive sets, the Vixen MT1 and 2 motors are getting rarer, as are the controllers.
The Skysensor 2000 (SS2K) was fitted to some top end packages, nice but getting a bit long in the tooth now, some eproms are still available but also getting rare.
Some people have fitted Meade motors/controllers successfully.
Here's my SP with a Synscan drive set.

some files;
https://dl.dropbox.c...12/GPMounts.pdf

https://dl.dropbox.c...12/Exploded.jpg

https://dl.dropbox.c...01_Specs_Fir...

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#44 roy26

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Posted 03 February 2013 - 02:02 PM

Hi, I have the same problem. At first I thought I had burnt out the DEC drive and asked around for help. I got some good pointers and switched leads RA to DEC and found that the control unit DEC element wasn't working. I got a reply from Mike West of optcorp.com re the drive, which I had asked about, and they could provide one $179. I have contacted him re the control unit (DMD-3) and hope to have a result soon. I am still waiting for Vixen to come back with my new query, but if stuck I would be grateful for any help in either replacing or having the controller repaired. I am not electrically technically gifted , so a home repair is out of the question.
It was really great to read all the enthusiastic posts re the old SP. Being a relative newcomer I thought, when I bought the C8 and mount (first scope and grow into it), that it would do me until I had progressed enough to get something better. Seems like it would be better to hold on to the kit and use it to its fullest potential. I attached a quick pic of my outfit. I currently have to drag it out of the garage when I want to use it but have now got a steel mount to fit on a proposed concrete pier when I find the best spot in the garden.

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#45 skycamper

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:08 AM

These mounts are getting scarce cause I keep buying them! Heres my collection, SP-C6, GP-DX with SV105T and auto star, GP with SV110ED with boxendorfer controller with MT-1 motors, there a Meade 6600 on mizar mount as well.

Skysensor with MT-2s as well.

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#46 skycamper

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:11 AM

Oopps SP mount not in this photo.

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#47 skycamper

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:12 AM

My wife hates telescopes. My one year old wants to take them apart! She would let him too!

#48 hottr6

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:16 AM

Continuing with the evolution of the Vixen Polaris, I note that Tasco sold a made-in-China replica of the Polaris. I'll post pictures this weekend.

Quick summary: The Chinese clone is pretty good. Finish is not as good as the Japanese Polaris, and the Chinese did skimp in a few areas, but it is smooth and operates just like a Polaris. A blindfolded operator would not be able to discern a difference in routine handling. News at 11.....

#49 terraclarke

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:38 AM

That's a lovely collection SkyCamper. I find the ATM one on the far left (on the non Vixen alt-az) most interesting. Tell us a little about it and its mount in a separate thread if you don't mind :)

#50 hpw

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:55 AM

The Skysensor 2000 (SS2K) was fitted to some top end packages, nice but getting a bit long in the tooth now, some eproms are still available but also getting rare.


Old, but a VERY well working system. I love to use the SP + SS2K-PC in altaz mode. This is my second SP. I bought my first one in 1989.

Peter

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