Jump to content


Photo

Losmandy Encoders

  • Please log in to reply
37 replies to this topic

#1 berlinstar

berlinstar

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 177
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Berlin Center, OH

Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:57 PM

Does anyone know if Losmandy still offers an encoder kit for their G11 mount? If available, I'm thinking of going digital setting circles instead of a Gemini II retrofit kit. Would go with the Sky Commander box.

#2 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5649
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:24 PM

No, it's long been discontinued.. you can find one used if you want long enough. JMI also makes an encoder kit but it's not as pretty as the Losmandy one.

#3 Mike W

Mike W

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 302
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2006
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:05 PM

You also have to make sure your shafts have the groove in them. (For the Losmandy encoders) Easy to tell just unscrew clutch knob and if it's there you'll see it. :gramps:

#4 berlinstar

berlinstar

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 177
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Berlin Center, OH

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:33 PM

Just took a looksee at the shafts. No keyway or flat machined into the shafts, but, wouldn't be hard to add (have a small mill). Guess I should look into the hardware from JMI, although I still like the sky commander

#5 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5649
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:54 PM

You can get just the encoders from JMI and use a 3rd party DSC like the Sky Commander or Argo Navis.

#6 berlinstar

berlinstar

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 177
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Berlin Center, OH

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:58 PM

That's what I was hoping. JMI DOES sell the hardware kit yet then? Guessing gears and bracket to hold the encoder in-place?

#7 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5649
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 27 January 2013 - 11:13 PM

i looked through their page and they have no specific illustration for the G11. but in the text it is mentioned. they do mention that the shafts have to have the flat.

i would guess call them and see.

#8 berlinstar

berlinstar

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 177
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Berlin Center, OH

Posted 28 January 2013 - 12:46 PM

Ive got an email in to JMI and SkyEngineering to see what my options are. I wouldnt mind a Gemini II, but this option would be half what the G2 kit costs, provided I dont have to reinvent the wheel by too much.

#9 berlinstar

berlinstar

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 177
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Berlin Center, OH

Posted 28 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

Well... Astronomics just got back with me explaining that a G2 retro-fit is available to ship. Placed the order (didn't want to screw around anymore). Lots to learn now.

#10 10gauge

10gauge

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 225
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2010
  • Loc: Boston

Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:06 PM

Good question. To outfit an alt-az mount, is it as simple as placing encoders and a Sky commander on the rotating axes?

#11 berlinstar

berlinstar

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 177
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Berlin Center, OH

Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

JMI emailed back and they do indeed have an encoder kit. Shafts need machiened. I dont know how much would have to be milled off, but my guess is not very much.

Cant wait to get hold of the G2 though. Looking forward to the extra power over the steppers (12" LX200 OTA) let alone GOTO

#12 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5649
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

well what's the price of the G2 upgrade kit? i think it's over $1500...

#13 berlinstar

berlinstar

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 177
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Berlin Center, OH

Posted 28 January 2013 - 07:46 PM

Yep... Went from ~$700 for DSC's to +$1500 for the G2. Should last me long time though and the quality of the mount is definately worth the money.

#14 Startraffic

Startraffic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 792
  • Joined: 12 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.174802

Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:23 PM

berlinstar,
Just for giggles & grins get Losmandy a call. I had an email from him before Christmas about the encoders on my HGM-200 & the G2. During this email he mentioned that they were looking at reintroducing them. Another person poking him might help get that done. The G2 is "supposed" to have the external encoders as an optional feature, but Rene' hasn't had time to write the code for this, yet. Now it's on the back burner, but still in the plans.
Wen I got mine they were ~$350 for the set.

Clear Dark Skies
John
39.138274 -77.168898

#15 Mike W

Mike W

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 302
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2006
  • Loc: Upstate NY

Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:36 PM

We should set up a mass e-mail to Losmandy to re-introduce them. I know I would buy the kit for my G-8 and mill the shafts myself.

berlinstar,
Just for giggles & grins get Losmandy a call. I had an email from him before Christmas about the encoders on my HGM-200 & the G2. During this email he mentioned that they were looking at reintroducing them. Another person poking him might help get that done. The G2 is "supposed" to have the external encoders as an optional feature, but Rene' hasn't had time to write the code for this, yet. Now it's on the back burner, but still in the plans.
Wen I got mine they were ~$350 for the set.

Clear Dark Skies
John
39.138274 -77.168898



#16 Billydee

Billydee

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 687
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Winter Haven, FL

Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:01 PM

Mike and John,

Rene' is going through major legal problems at the current time and is not up to taking on any additional Gemini developement. He will probably have this problem for at least a year. That means that there is no one to design the firmware or the software. The Alpha and Beta testing takes about one additional year. Look for encoders in about 3 years. I think Losmandy was not making much money on the older system and the amount they make on the new Gemini II will not make them very interested in bringing back the old system. The market for what you want is very small.

Here is a note on encoders for a Questar 7. This encoder is no longer made but it lists info on the person that designed and made them. It also says that he is doing them for the Questar 3.5. He may want to look at a Losmandy set if you can talk him into it.

"RARE FIND!!! Encoder Kit (Q70) with needed hardware/brackets/Cables/instructions for your Questar 7" Scope! This kit plus your separately purchased new/used Computer & needed Software(The sky etc) will bring your $12,000 Scope into the Digital Age and Enhance it's Value. You are buying ONLY the Encoders & hardware in Kit. This appears by eye to be New/Unused. Encoder brackets have NO fastener marks/small hardware bag unopened. Has original Box/instructions. Will NOT fit the 3 & 1/2" Scope. Call Jim's Mobile (303-233-5353) for their compatible Computer Models etc. Now they only accommodate the 3 & 1/2" scope. Search internet for used Computers and Software. The Chrome is "beautiful." If you miss this, you may be kicking yourself next week!
Price is Firm-don't expect a reduction later!!! Personal Inspections can be arranged. Will be boxed/shipped well packed in same condition. Has both encoders/brackets,needed belts, instructions, cables & small parts bag."

Luck, Bill

#17 Startraffic

Startraffic

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 792
  • Joined: 12 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.174802

Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:14 AM

Bill,
I was & am aware of Rene' problems, understand them & I'm quite willing to wait for the encoder development. He is the best developer Gemini has ever had, bar none, period.
I had an email from Scott on Jan 4 of this year that they would be looking into making the encoders again. I hope he does, there is still a market and they are an alternative method of control or the way that I've used them, a method of pointing recovery. I think their biggest drawback is that they are so bulletproof. You buy them once & you never need to fix, repair, or adjust them again, ever. If they would wear out then he could sell more of them. :confused: :grin:
I recently (about 4-5 months ago) got an older HGM-200 that came with Gemini-1. I moved the G2 from my G11 over to the HGM & it fit & both have worked flawlessly. The G11 encoders hooked into the G1. They work like a champ. The HGM has encoders built in & I'm trying to find out want the pinouts are so I can temporarily hook them up to my old Sky Commander-4 for pointing recovery during outreach the way that I could with the G11. If I'm not doing outreach I don't NEED it, but I want it. I think, but I'm not sure, that the encoders on the HGM are actually a higher resolution than those in the G2 motors. This would give me a tighter, more accurate pointing model. I don't know. I did change the encoders on the G11 from the 4k to 10k, & they worked very well with the Sky Commander, and work well with G1 so nothing was "lost" by the retro fit back to the G1.

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898

#18 Billydee

Billydee

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 687
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Winter Haven, FL

Posted 30 January 2013 - 02:23 PM

I know that there are a number of people that want encoders to find a reference point but the cost to develop the hardware, firmware and software is very high. You must get this cost back in months and not years. They are making a fair profit on the Gemini II system so there is no point in pushing the encoders because on a dollar scale it does not really work.

That is why I provided an outside person that can probably come up with a system that will work with current encoders and software. You might give him a call, I'm told he is very good. If he was willing to make a system for Questar 7s, then he will be able to work on this project (I'm guessing he probably made less than 15 copies for the Q-7).

"Call Jim's Mobile (303-233-5353) for their compatible Computer Models etc."

Luck, Bill

#19 pfile

pfile

    Gemini

  • -----
  • Posts: 3168
  • Joined: 14 Jun 2009

Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:36 PM

given losmandy's sales model, i wonder if making the software open source (or at least publishing the hardware specs for the G2) would be a good idea.

unless they think someone would try to undercut them with cheap gemini-2 compatible hardware, this is one way to avoid the bottleneck of a single guy as the sole software developer.

#20 jrcrilly

jrcrilly

    Refractor wienie no more

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 33891
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2003
  • Loc: NE Ohio

Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:48 PM

unless they think someone would try to undercut them with cheap gemini-2 compatible hardware, this is one way to avoid the bottleneck of a single guy as the sole software developer.


Cheap Gemini-2 compatible hardware would be a great benefit to Losmandy. Their reliance on a single, small, foreign source for controllers has always seemed to me to be a major disadvantage. It caused a substantial period of unavailability only recently. The only other substantial producer who relied on that source ended up dropping mounts entirely rather than trying to ramp up production again when controllers became available.

#21 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5649
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:53 PM

An option for non-Gemini users is the German Littlefoot stepper controller.

It also supports encoders. Cost about $800 (plus motors). I have one on my AP600 GoTo conversion. I know folks in Europe are using it with G11's.

http://orlygoingthir...-go-to-conve...

The Littlefoot is actually a cheaper GoTo conversion for non-GoTo G11's than buying a Gemini 2. The developer (Rajiva) is fairly active and there is an active (mostly German) forum. My GoTo conversion cost about $100 more for the motors (surplus) - same motors used in the Tak NJP Temma.

The big drawback is the primitive GoTo alignment model (single star, just like the AP GTO and Tak Temma).

#22 berlinstar

berlinstar

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 177
  • Joined: 28 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Berlin Center, OH

Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:56 PM

Yep... I had one on back order with Astronomics back 2011 for about 4 months. Finally cancelled. Hope to have this one by next week.

Are the boards made in Japan?

#23 orlyandico

orlyandico

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5649
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2009
  • Loc: Singapore

Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:56 PM

Ah - and there (ought to be) another option for servo mounts.. the AP GTO CP3 and hand controller.

I am fairly sure that AP doesn't manufacture them in-house. So the big mystery.. who makes the things? I know that some companies such as Planewave use the AP motor controller and handset, so OEM'ing them for non-AP mounts is possible.

AP does want $2000 for the motor controller and handset, so even pricier than the Gemini 2.

#24 Billydee

Billydee

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 687
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Winter Haven, FL

Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:21 PM

John C. & pfile,

Losmandy does not make the Gemini II and it does not own the software, firmware or the actual Gemini electronics design. Rene' owns the software and he has not released it when it was requested in the past. I think the hardware is make by a German company and Losmandy just sells it. Losmandy makes the mount and adds outsourced electronics and software. The same can be said for the motors and gearboxes.

Losmandy mounts are a secondary production line to the major product the company makes which is equipment for the movie industry. We are lucky they make a product that the ASTRO users can enjoy. Their method allows a $3500 mount that really should sell for about $7000.

Luck, Bill

#25 jrcrilly

jrcrilly

    Refractor wienie no more

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 33891
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2003
  • Loc: NE Ohio

Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:48 PM

John C. & pfile,

Losmandy does not make the Gemini II and it does not own the software, firmware or the actual Gemini electronics design.


Yes, that was my point. I've always felt that locating an alternate controller source would help Losmandy.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics