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Advice Requested -- What type mount to get

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#1 tclehman1969

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 12:39 AM

Good evening all!

I have currently a Super C8 Plus stil in its original fork. I want to get into astro photography pretty extensively and the current mount just seems to have a bit of a jiggle that I think is in part due to its mount. Even a very slight breeze can ge the scope bouncing noticeable in an eyiece and in photos that would be devastating. So, I am looking at taking the plunge to a German equatorial mount, but there are a lot of manufacturers out there and I have questions, too. So, here we go!

Equipment I have is a C8 with a 8x50 finder. For photography I often go piggyback with wide field lenses up to my Celestron Onyx 80mm mounted in rings. The camera I use is a DSLR. Max equipment load from this I would guess would be about 30 lbs. so a mount that can support at least 30 lbs would be good.

I don't observe from a fixed location, so portability is a requirement. I like to get my current scope up to the mountains whenever possible, and it can be a bit bulky, but doable.

Auto guiding options. I know Orion has a system, but looks like it requires a laptop to drive it. Is there an option that is standalone? In other words, "talks" to the mount directly? I saw the Celestron guider which does this, but does it work with mounts from other manufacturers?

My initial uneducated instincts tell me either the Orion Atlas EQ-G or the Celestron CGEM could be the way to go. But, from what I have read so far, the Orion mount wins for the drive, but Celestron wins for guiding.

Anybody have any thoughts on this?

Thanks!

#2 Mike X.

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:35 AM

Hello tclehman,
I don't know about guiding and CGEM.I mean if it actually wins or not over Atlas.
most probably the two mounts are virtually equivalent.
I guess till Celestron comes out with a fix for the cogging issue reported by many users on the CGEM..the Orion option, at least psycologically is the safest one.

#3 orlyandico

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:23 AM

the Atlas also doesn't have the 8/3 gearbox harmonic of the CGEM.

#4 RogerRZ

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:43 AM

the Atlas also doesn't have the 8/3 gearbox harmonic of the CGEM.


It also works very well with eqmod, if you don't mind being tethered to a PC...

#5 tclehman1969

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:49 AM

Forgive me, 8/3 harmonics?

#6 tclehman1969

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:56 AM

I read about EQMod, but when out in the field, I don't want to be tethered to a laptop. Looks like Celestron has a guider that runs without a laptop, curious if there are others that can, too. And if there are, what mounts will they work on?

#7 Mkofski

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:01 AM

If portability is a requirement you May want to look at the ioptron's iEQ45 or maybe the 30.

#8 jrcrilly

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:03 AM

Looks like Celestron has a guider that runs without a laptop, curious if there are others that can, too. And if there are, what mounts will they work on?


There are others currently available (SBIG SG-4 is an example), and quite a few available only second hand (Meade 201XT, 208XT, 216XT, SBIG ST-4, STV). All are compatible with any mount having an autoguide port. That includes most available mounts.

#9 orlyandico

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:06 AM

the celestron nexguide can't do subpixel guiding though. you need an SBIG SG-4, Lacerta MGEN, or similar.

the 8/3 harmonic is an irrational (8/3 = 2.66666667) periodic error that can't be removed by periodic error correction.

#10 jrcrilly

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:11 AM

the celestron nexguide can't do subpixel guiding though. you need an SBIG SG-4, Lacerta MGEN, or similar.


That's an important issue if guiding with a separate guidescope of short focal length. It's not, if using an off-axis guider. Personally, I wouldn't consider imaging through an SCT without an OAG for many reasons.

#11 orlyandico

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:22 AM

John, i know someone with a nexguide and OAG. the sensitivity of the chip is poor, it has trouble getting guide stars. with a CGEM or EQ6 class mount it might not be possible to use 4+ second guide exposures.

#12 Ed Wiley

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:49 AM

Losmandy G11 works well for me. Transportable, stable, good tracking.
Ed

#13 jrcrilly

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:11 AM

John, i know someone with a nexguide and OAG. the sensitivity of the chip is poor, it has trouble getting guide stars.


That would be a real problem with an OAG!

#14 Wmacky

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:33 AM

My advice?

For astrophotography, I would recommend the Atlas EQ6. If your looking for better, and have more funds, the next mount you should consider is the AP Mach One. That's a big jump, but my current thinking eliminates all Mid range mounts as viable options. Anything more expensive than the EQ6 is to much risk unless getting AP quality.

Therefore -

Start with a EQ-6

Then

Start saving for a Mach One!

#15 orlyandico

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:22 AM

+1 ^

I could have saved a lot of cash if I had followed the above advice.

There is a bit of upgrading you can do to an EQ6 - buy an Aeroquest worm for it, or if you are feeling flush, buy a matched Aeroquest worm and ring gear for the RA. Still under $500 additional.

#16 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:33 AM

Why does your ota weigh so much?

I'd go cheap. Get a focal reducer for you OTA. Get a orion mini autoguider package (doesn't weigh much at all) and get the Celestron advanced VX mount.

#17 Lane

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:50 PM

Here is what a Hypertuned Atlas can do.

#18 shams42

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:06 PM

Good advice but I would also add the Takahashi EM-200 or NJP if you can find either of those used. They are equal to the Mach 1 in quality, with the EM-200 having less capacity and the NJP having substantially more.

So yeah, I totally agree that your options are:

1) Atlas

or

2) Mach 1 / EM-200 / NJP

#19 Raginar

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:16 PM

+1 G11.

#20 andysea

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:24 PM

I can't say bad things about my NJP, however it seems that Takahashi mounts are a little outdated when compared to what the more modern mounts can do. Of course there is something to be said about the simplicity and top notch craftsmanship of Takahashi products.

#21 orlyandico

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:42 PM

-1 EM200

Used NJPs come very close to the price of used EM200's and frankly a new EM200 is a bad deal at close to the price of a Mach1, no GoTo from the handset, and no PEC.

The NJP doesn't really need PEC due to the sub-5" (often sub-3") periodic error. But the EM200 is only guaranteed to +- 7" I believe (so 15" p-p).

#22 tclehman1969

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:23 PM

Out of curiosity, what is involved in hyper tuning a mount?

Seems like I'm leaning toward the Atlas mount based on comments here and other things I've seen online. So much to think about, particularly as it pertains to the guiding system.

#23 FaronD

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 12:07 AM


Yes there is room for upgrading the EQ6, especially with the tripod. I added a TPI spreader and battery tray to mine and it made the setup rock solid.

Faron


+1 ^

I could have saved a lot of cash if I had followed the above advice.

There is a bit of upgrading you can do to an EQ6 - buy an Aeroquest worm for it, or if you are feeling flush, buy a matched Aeroquest worm and ring gear for the RA. Still under $500 additional.



#24 FaronD

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 12:21 AM

Out of curiosity, what is involved in hyper tuning a mount?


You don't necessarily have to hypertune the EQ6. My first one needed it, my second one was excellent out of the box. However, I did adjust the gears twice a year for the temp extremes. I did the same with my Mach 1 this winter, the procedure is quite simple and speedy with that mount. I'm sure many owners of the EQ6 don't make any adjustments at all and are quite happy with it.

Faron



#25 neilson

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 03:22 PM

Hi,
Go with the EQ-6, Their pretty good right out of the box. Unless you want to spend big bucks then get the Mach-1.

Neilson






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