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AP 900 or AP 1600? Please Help Me Decide

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#1 CarolG

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 06:52 PM

I have bee saving up for my dream mount and finally have enough to get an AP 900 or 1600. I have been reading the thread about Software Bisque's MX mount and the discount now being offered on it. After much thought and reading and comparing mounts, I have decided I want to get an Astro-Physics mount,but I can't decide which to get. I have some issues that I will describe below. Please forgive the length of this post. I have only seen pictures of both mounts, so I have no reference as to the size of either one.

But first, let me describe my setup. I plan to defork my Nexstar 11 and use it. The weight of it and the various other equipment mounted on it would be about 57 lbs. Both mounts could handle that. I would like to someday get a C14 Edge, so the maximum weight of it and accessories would be around 77 lbs. This comes to the upper limit of the 900's recommended payload, although I have read that some people have put as much as 100 lbs on a 900. Of course, the 1600 could easily handle the C14.

Now comes the problem with my pier. I have a Pier Tech 2 pier with a lift capacity of 215 lbs. An AP 900, C11, accessories, and counterweights comes in at around 156 lbs. The PT2 can handle that. A 900, C14, accessories, and counterweights comes in at about 192 lbs. I'm still ok there. Now, the AP 1600, C14, accessories, and counterweights weigh 216 lbs. That's the max lift capacity of the PT2, but the 1600 with the C14 and everything else weigh 252 lbs, over the capacity of the PT2.

Here's my dilemma. I could go ahead and get the 1600 and use it, and if I ever get the C14, then I could deal with the pier issue. But, would getting a 1600 really be a wise choice? Would a 1600 be too big for my observatory. I have an 8' Exploradome on a 10'x10' building, but the realistic inside space is more like 8'x8'. Since I don't know how big a 1600 really is, would it overpower the small space I have? The only reason I'm considering a 1600 is because this will most likely be my last mount purchase, and I would like to allow room to grow, or at least the option to. Also, since this will be a permanent setup, portability is not really an issue.

I see advantages and disadvantages to both mounts, but I can't decide which way to go. Please help me!!

#2 mgwhittle

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 07:46 PM

The 1600 should not be a problem in your observatory space. AP has very detailed dimensions on their web site if you want to check the space needed. The 1600 is perfect for a permanent set up like you are describing and as you mentioned, it will be the last mount you will probably ever need and grow in equipment. The only reason I would recommend the 900 over the 1600 is if portability is required (and if the 900 could handle the load) and this is not the case for your requirements.

#3 CarolG

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:16 PM

Thanks, Mark. I've looked at the AP 1600 dimensions on AP's web site, and it looks like it will work. It will be a little tight, but since I'm not much of a visual observer any more, I don't really need a lot of walk around space. Does anyone know if there any photos of a 900 next to a 1600 so I could get an idea of difference in sizes of both?

#4 zawijava

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:32 PM

Carol,

Have you thought of trying to find a very recent, like new, preowned AP1200? There have been a few recently on AstroMart. In your case the 1200 may meet ALL your requirements. -Tim

Thanks, Mark. I've looked at the AP 1600 dimensions on AP's web site, and it looks like it will work. It will be a little tight, but since I'm not much of a visual observer any more, I don't really need a lot of walk around space. Does anyone know if there any photos of a 900 next to a 1600 so I could get an idea of difference in sizes of both?



#5 Peter in Reno

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:37 PM

AP1600 has a cool through the mount cabling. Never have to worry about cables getting caught. This is especially useful for remote operation.

Peter

#6 WadeH237

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:39 PM

Hi Carol,

You are in almost exactly the position I was in, back in October 2011. At the time, I was on the fence between the 900 and the 1200. I'd spoken to a number of AP owners, and most of them said that the 900 would carry the C14 well...but that the 1200 would be better. I spoke to the folks at AP and they said the same thing.

So I put myself on the notification list for the 1200. A few months after that, AP notified me that the 1200 was discontinued and that they would be putting me on the 1600 list. This triggered a whole new round of thinking about the 900 - especially, since the delay would put my past the 2012 star party season. Ultimately, I figured that, since this was my dream mount, I would just wait and get the 1600.

Boy am I glad that I waited. I've got the 1600 set up in my basement right now, waiting for decent enough weather to get a couple of clear nights. This thing is a work of art (of course, so is the 900). It's more than just a bigger brother to the 900. It has an improved design for the azimuth adjuster. It's got well thought out through the mount cabling (I didn't know how important that was until I set up my imaging rig on it. The cables just get out of the way).

It seems that your major concern is with the size of the mount relative to your observatory. This won't be a problem at all. It is much bigger than a 900, but it's mainly just bulkier. The space needed is still dominated by where the scope and counterweights swing around, and I don't think it takes much more space in that regard.

I am mainly going to use it as a transportable mount. Where I live, we get pretty much a handful of decent imaging nights a year. To get some time under the stars, I do at least 3 dark sky star parties over the summer and fall. Two of the events are on public land, where I can set up for 9 or 10 nights at a time. The others are 4 nights each. This gets me 20 or so decent nights a year, which is more than I get at home. When I set up, I use a Kendrick observing tent. I had to get the shortest AP field pier (32" tall) to clear the roof when closed, but there is still room for the mount to move inside.

I hope that this is helpful,
-Wade

#7 CarolG

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:42 PM

Zawijava, I have thought of that. In fact, I originally wanted the 1200, but I didn't have the money before they went out of production.

Peter, yes I saw that about the through the mount cabling, and with my present tangled mess of cables, that feature is very appealing.

#8 WadeH237

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:44 PM

Oh, and by the way, I don't have a picture of the 1600 next to the 900, but here is a picture of my 1600 next to my CGE. The AP900 is between the two in size.

-Wade

Posted Image

#9 CarolG

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 08:46 PM

Thanks, Wade. Your info is most helpful. In fact, I followed your thread when you got your mount and pier. It is a truly gorgeous mount, and I was drooling when I saw your pictures. Hope you can get that beauty out under some dark skies soon!!

#10 JMW

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:10 PM

C14 would be fine for visual on the AP 900, but closer to the edge if you are imaging with it. I currently have a C11 EdgeHD with a SV155T refractor piggy backed on my AP900. This is at the maximum capacity for the mount.

#11 CarolG

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 11:16 PM

Jeff, I was thinking the same thing, but just wasn't sure if the 900 could handle the C14+accessories. Of course, with the 1600, if I did ever get the C14, that combination would more than max out my Pier Tech 2's lift capacity, and that would mean another expense to replace the pier.

#12 wolfman_4_ever

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:09 AM

Hi Carol. Your Pier-Tech 2 is actually a Linak DL2 Moving Column. Each column is rated at 562lb. 211 max load is an advertising ploy for you to buy the 3 version.. Notice how a pier-tech 3 is rated at 1100lbs but its only two pier tech 2's in a side by side?

The older pier-tech 3's single columns were Linak LP2's.

This topic was discussed back and 08 .. Here is a link:

http://www.cloudynig...?Number=2648796

Linak DL2 compared to a Pier-Tech 2

I have both a Pier-Tech 2 and single Pier-Tech 3. Your pier-tech 2 will handle the load with the mount you choose without issue..

#13 gillmj24

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:14 AM

Wow good to know on the pier. You can also get a sorbathane plate for less than $700 (and an observatory for less than 10k, but I digress....)

The 1200 is tight in my 8' dome and POD walls. With your 10' building I think you will be OK.

#14 Starhawk

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:53 AM

I'd suggest the AP 1600 because of a different reason- it can use the high resolution encoders to give super accurate tracking. It's a bit of a big deal to get such a mount, so you may want to have a custom pier welded up for it.

The encoders can be installed after the fact, but if you get it with them, you would really have a future-proof setup.

It is a large mount, but not ridiculously so. The main thing you would be buying is the ability to carry anything you're likely to buy.

For reference, my deforked Nexstar 11 is going on a Mach 1 GTO at the moment- well lit skies are a problem at my place, so I need portability.

-Rich

#15 CarolG

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 01:02 PM

Thanks, Dave, for the PT2/Linak DL2 info and links. It sure does look like the PT2 and the DL2 are one and the same and with 562lbs lift capacity, that is more than enough to handle my setup. Looks like I'm good to go with my pier.

Rich, I saw the AP encoder info on their website, but adding another $7000 (for both encoders) is more than I can afford right now. However, knowing that there is that option on the 1600 is another plus for that mount.

#16 Starhawk

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:37 PM

Carol,

The AP1600 is completely encoder-compatible without them installed (e.g. they are just a bolt-in retrofit for future use). The mount is fully operational with none, one (for RA), or both installed. The AP command suite software will do a full mount model automatically, though, and even with a Mach 1 GTO that alone is showing non-guided tracking in the .3 arsecond class.

So, you could get an AP1600 slick (no encoders) and use your onboard camera to feed AP command suite data to build a mount model and get good results. Some point in the future, if/ when it is feasible or still sounds like a useful upgrade, encoders can be added.

I did ask about smaller mounts getting encoders (like maybe an AP 1000 repacing the AP 900, or Mach 2 BOSS replacing the Mach 1 GTO :-D), and the AP 1600 is just big enough for them to fit. Something has to give before that capability shows up in the smaller mounts.

-Rich

#17 CarolG

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:21 PM

Rich, you say an AP 1000 or Mach 2 BOSS? I guess I've been in the "dark" too long. I didn't know there were some changes on the horizon. Do you know anything about these 2 new mounts from AP?

#18 Starhawk

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 04:35 PM

I made up both of them as hypothetical names for follow-on mounts. The smiley was because I thought they were amusing.

-Rich

#19 CarolG

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 05:49 PM

I guess I really have been in the "dark" way too long!!

#20 BrendanF

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:12 PM

My guess is that the next mount out from A-P will be an updated 900 where they flow the design updates (like the cable routing) from the 1600 (and Mach 1) into the 900 size. If the encoders won't fit, then that won't be an option. What they will call it and when it would actually go on sale are completely unknown, of course.

For the OP, if you can afford an AP mount you won't be disappointed. The upgrade in capacity from 900 to 1600 is much greater that the price differential. When I got mine, I chose the 1200 for that reason. For an observatory, the 1600 would be a dream, last ever mount needed for a large number of possible telescopes.

#21 gillmj24

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:43 AM

It has been said on AP's yahoo group forums that the 900 is soon going the way of the 1200. In fact they might have ended their last 900 production run already and are selling their last mounts from stock, but don't quote me on that. They might keep the 900 in production until the officially start taking orders for the "1000" that is coming.

Nobody has said anything about the Mach 1 being phased out yet. Traveling Mach 2 lowers your drag coefficient considerably however the sonic boom is much stronger than at Mach 1. The Mach 1 is loud enough, I hope they don't take it up to mach 2 yet.

#22 WadeH237

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:39 AM

It was either Marj or Roland that said they would be not making any more 900s. They are definitely out of production.

Their home page still says that they have 900s in stock. These would be from the last production run.

They've also said that they are working on the replacement mount, but have not given any details.

#23 Starhawk

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 02:13 PM

I was thinking he was naming the small stuff after muscle cars. So, after the Mach 1 GTO, one would have the BOSS, followed by the Cobra.

They were showing the AP command suite running on a Mach 1 at ASAE, which suggests to me they plan on making them for a while yet.

The larger ones are far less exciting, apparenetly.

-Rich

#24 orlyandico

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 05:00 PM

methinks the mach1 outsells the higher end mounts by a large margin. it's more mount than many people would need..






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