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T-Rex or Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G?

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#1 BKBrown

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:14 PM

I am coming down to the wire on deciding which Alt-Az mount I will end up buying and am looking for some advice. I really like the look of the T-Rex and it appears plenty capable of handling the OTAs I have in mind (TEC 140 and C925) and holding them steady. The main drawback for me is the lack of tracking capability for when I want to use high magnifications. While the slo-mo cables look more than adequate, I am increasingly having trouble with my hands - possibly early signs of arthritis; so I don't know if I could twist the knobs all night...and I don't want to nudge. If something like the JMI Track-and-Train were available for the T-Rex this decision would be a no brainer for me. And then the Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G arrived! 44lb payload capacity, GoTo and tracking, and convertible to a GEM if I want to...it looks like a really good alternative. Either mount would ride on one of my Losmandy HD tripods with an adapter from Optical Supports and should be rock steady. I currently own two EQ-6Ps and know they can handle the OTAs quite nicely, I imagine the new model would do the same, particularly on the HD tripod. The price difference between these two mounts is negligible and I would be willing to spend some bucks motorizing the T-Rex if an option presented itself. So what do you think about the two contenders - the good, the bad, and the ugly? My interest is visual observing with whichever mount I get, it just needs to handle my scopes, have no more than 1-2 second settle down times, and be easy on my hands. Thanks!

Clear Skies,
Brian :question:

#2 rmollise

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:54 AM

If you need/want go-to and tracking, the choice would seem obvious... ;)

#3 Darren Bly

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:06 PM

One of these things is not like the other..... :jump:

#4 Goodchild

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:19 PM

Although it would be nice to see more tracking alt-az mounts on the market. If you're a visual observer, it's hard to beat alt-az mounts for their simplicity, and tracking would be icing on the cake. The few that I am aware of are not my cup of tea as they seem to be too light duty or unreliable.

#5 Lane

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:21 PM

I have the Orion Sirius and the CGEM mounts and I bought a T-Rex a couple of months ago. The T-Rex is so easy to setup and carry around that I very seldom use the other mounts anymore. The T-Rex stays attached to the tripod and completely fits in a single bag along with the spreader and the Sky Commander. Even with everything in the bag it is relatively light weight. I can even carry the T-Rex in its bag and my C11 in its bag at the same time to my observing site without any real effort. Setup time is only a couple of minutes and then I am observing, which is a lot faster than the setup time for my other mounts. Don't even need vibration pads because there is no vibration. I highly recommend this mount.

The slow motion is silky smooth and you can turn the knobs with two fingers, but if you must have motors just hang on a while and they should be available.

I already had the JMI motors and controller on my Voyager mount so I decided to remove and test them on the T-Rex just by holding them in place and they work perfectly. So now I need to create the mounting plates, which are obviously different from the Voyager. I talked to JMI and they said they could create the mounting plates for me but I would have to send them my mount and that isn't happening. So instead I am creating the mounting plates myself and when I am done I am going to send one of them to JMI so they can create them for other people. Other than the correct mounting plate the coupler that goes between the motor shaft and the mount shaft will need to be slightly different from the voyager since the shaft on the T-Rex and the shaft on the Voyager are different sizes. I will be talking with them again shortly about getting the right coupler for the T-Rex.

#6 jrbarnett

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:33 PM

Have you had a look at the Desert Sky Astro DSV-3?

Regards,

Jim

#7 BKBrown

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:06 PM

If you need/want go-to and tracking, the choice would seem obvious... ;)


The options are limited Unk :grin: But the T-Rex at least has push-to and just looks soooo nice...

Clear Skies,
Brian

#8 BKBrown

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:09 PM

Thanks Darren and Royce...decisions,decisions, decisions :crazyeyes:

Clear Skies,
Brian

#9 BKBrown

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:11 PM

Thanks Lane, I will give this some serious consideration.

Clear Skies,
Brian

#10 Terrance

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:57 PM

Is the Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G even available for actual order yet? I thought it was still aways down the road.

#11 BKBrown

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:07 PM

Have you had a look at the Desert Sky Astro DSV-3?

Regards,

Jim


Hi Jim,

I had not considered this mount until you mentioned it. Curious, I went to their web site and found...a really nice piece of kit! Can I assume this is the one you picked up? The specs look good, have you had your TEC140 on board yet? My biggest concern would be the slo-motion controls - I would want to install longer ones since I doubt I could easily reach the knobs from behind my TEC. Definitely a mount worth considering, especially for the price :grin:

Clear Skies,
Brian

#12 Lane

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:53 AM

Here is a pic of the TRex with the AT 152 on board.

Attached Files



#13 Lane

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:15 AM

With the T-Rex you get two sets of slo-mo handles, the solid aluminum ones that stick out 6 inches and then the 22" flex cables that you see in the previous picture.

You also get the handle in the picture to move the scope around so you don't have to push on the telescope. Unfortunately the handle is grey not black. It does have a black foam grip at the end.

ADM dual saddle plate is standard.

The AT152 with rings, 2" diagonal, and the 31mm Nagler is about 28 lbs and the mount has no trouble with this. Vibration pads are not needed at all.

#14 NorthBoundTrain

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:02 AM

Is the Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G even available for actual order yet? I thought it was still aways down the road.


Expected Ship Date: 02/16/2013

#15 jrbarnett

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:27 PM

Yep. I looked at the Half Hitch, T-Rex and DM-4/DM-6 options, and ended up ordering both a DSV-1 (quick look) and DSV-3 with encoders (higher capacity camping mount). I was able to buy both of those mounts, with multiple options, for less than what a DM-6 or T-Rex would have cost me. I'm a few weeks out from delivery (they are built to order), so I won't know how good or bad the mounts are until then, but as you said, when I looked at the website I was impressed with the design details; particularly the type and placement of the bearings.

My intended use is for bi-annual dark sky trips where dependency on large batteries carries with it a host of related problems (i.e., the need for solar recharging gear, and the space commanded by a big battery to name two). Ideally it will be able to carry the TEC 140 and/or a C9/C9.25/Mewlon 210.

I'll provide a thorough evaluation once I've received the mounts.

Regards,

Jim

#16 BKBrown

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 04:18 PM

Thanks Jim, I'll look forward to your review :grin:

Clear Skies,
Brian

#17 Goodchild

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:19 PM

Yesterday I purchased a Celestron CG-4 mount that a gentleman had replaced with a new DSV-3 mount. That DSV-3 is a thing of beauty and looks very solid. Much bigger than it looks in the pics. Very well machined and much thought given to detail. I'm afraid that I am going to have to purchase one down the road. The only flaw that I detected was that the bubble level is on top of the mount and therefore very difficult to read. And I wasn't able to test the mount, just look at it. But I really liked what I saw.

#18 t.r.

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 02:51 PM

Lane, great looking setup, but it looks like balance/tipping point could be an issue there. Is that the case? T-Rex'x are on sale right now 5% off for those who didn't know.

#19 Lane

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 08:28 PM

Lane, great looking setup, but it looks like balance/tipping point could be an issue there. Is that the case? T-Rex'x are on sale right now 5% off for those who didn't know.


No problems at all. It is very stable even when turned so most of the OTA weight is positioned between the tripod legs.

My C11 and the AT 152 both work perfectly on this mount. To bad they did not make an optional counterweight bar for the other side, it could have easily been done and then you could put a C14 on this mount. It is built like a tank so I am sure it could handle the weight, but the balance would definitely be off. Anyway it achieves my goal of a totally quiet mount with slo-mo controls that can carry my biggest scopes and still have a very fast setup/takedown time. Being able to just fold it up and put in the carrying bag is a huge time saver.

I think the only bad thing I would say about this mount is that it cost to much.

#20 Ira

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 01:17 PM

I have had a T-Rex for about a year now. Very stable and capable mount. Given all of the outreach I do I mostly use an iOptron MiniTower Pro. The tracking and goto convenience are hard to beat when you're using a scope with total novices. Most people can't operate the slo-mo controls, or are too timid to try. Unfortunately, the MT Pro won't carry a very large load. I use a C8 on the primary side and an 80mm refractor on the secondary side. But it holds those well. I don't know if iOptron still sells the MT series still.

/Ira

#21 BKBrown

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:34 AM

Is the Orion Atlas Pro AZ/EQ-G even available for actual order yet? I thought it was still aways down the road.


Expected Ship Date: 02/16/2013


FYI...now amended on the Orion web site to 05/02/2013 :4 So what's with these guys, are we about to relive the Meade mount fiasco again? My attention has just focused down on the T-Rex with an honest hard look at the the DSV-3 as an alternative. I am inclining toward the T-Rex due to some recent experiments on motor control done by a fellow CNer...I really like the idea of a powered option. That with Sky Commander would pretty much fulfill my basic requirements.

Clear Skies,
Brian

#22 10gauge

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:10 PM

Hello Brian! People who already own the Skywatcher version of the EQ-6 Pro AZ seem so preoccupied with the GEM mode that they aren't posting anything useful for us in the alt-az mode. I wish I knew better how the Pro AZ feels in alt-az mode compared to the top dedicated mounts? I agree, Orion has pushed the date up 3 times. I won't be surprised if they push it up further. I knew they would be overwhelmed with the pre-orders, especially with the promising initial reports within the past month.

I've gone full circle with GEM and Alt-Az mounts during the past year while I was waiting for my TEC 140 to be built - Atlas, G11, EQ-6 AZ, IEQ45, DM-6, T-Rex, Unistar Deluxe, DSV-3, Orion AZ, Nova Hitch, ES, M150, etc.
Assessing all the pros and cons, and based on smoothness, weight capacity, slow motion, quick slew, push to, encoder adaptation, durability, I came to the conclusion that the T-Rex would be the ideal mount for a TEC 140 and an eventual C11. In your case, since you already have an Atlas GEM, a T-Rex would be ideal.

#23 Lane

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:46 PM

In regard to the T-Rex motors:

I talked with JMI and they don't feel that enough people will buy the T-Rex to make it worth their while to create a specific motor solution for it.

You can still buy the train-n-track and you can order it with the correct motor shaft connectors for the T-Rex, but you will have to get a little sheet of aluminum from a hardware store to make your own mounting brackets. They are really simple to make, just a pair of sheet metal cutters (tin snips) and a power drill is all you need. Maybe some black paint to make it look good. I am going to paint mine with black hammer textured paint.

I already have the JMI motors and I ordered the motor shaft connectors last Thursday. Just waiting for those to arrive to put the whole thing together.

Those little motor shaft connectors cost me $12.50 each. Seemed a bit pricey to me.

#24 Lane

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:53 PM

You can probably motorize the DSV-3 as well. We need to get someone to shoot a detail shot of the shaft area for both AZ and ALT to see where a motor mount plate could be attached. On the T-Rex there are 4 bolts that hold the slo-mo worm gear cover in place, I plan to attach the motor mounting plate to two of those bolts.

#25 Ira

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:09 PM

Why not ask Barry, who makes the T-Rex, if he will make the mount for the JMI motors? He would have more interest in having that option available than JMI.

/Ira






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