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Which Alt/Az Mount for EdgeHD 8" ?

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#1 Patrick

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:53 AM

I need some help deciding on a grab and go mount for my EdgeHD 8".

The contenders as of right now are:

* DiscMount DM6 with Sky Commander
* Celestron Nexstar 6SE/8SE
* Desert Sky DSV-3
* Stellarvue M150 Isostatic

I do like goto and I like tracking so that puts the Nexstar 8SE mount high on the list (and the price is right too). However, my scope has the wider CGEM dovetail bar on it, so I'd have to downsize the bar or upsize the receiver on the 8SE (I prefer the larger dovetail). Another negative is that I like my scope mounted higher, rather than lower, and the tripod on these units are fairly short. I suppose I could mount it on something else. The last negative is that the 8SE mount does not lend itself to casual starhopping.

The DM6 is very nice, but expensive (#1 or 2 on the list). The Sky Commander plus ease of pointing make this mount very attractive, plus I like the high mounting of the scope so I don't have to twist my neck so much to look through the Telrad. It's a much better star hopping mount than the 8SE, but it doesn't have tracking. With the EdgeHD, perhaps that's not as important? How is the DM6 for manual tracking?

The M150 is also a contender and similar to the DM6 but not quite as expensive. I don't see encoders available for this one. The DSV-3 is at the bottom of the list unless I can get encoders on it (don't see that on the website).

Any thoughts on the choices? Anything else that should be on the list?

Thanks!

Patrick

#2 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 11:47 AM

Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 GT SynScan ?

#3 Patrick

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 01:17 PM

Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 GT SynScan ?




...not grab and go... :(

#4 pjensen

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 02:25 PM

I need some help deciding on a grab and go mount for my EdgeHD 8".


That is exactly what I am looking for also. Some nights I just want to take the Edge 8" out for a quick look - and not deal with a polar alignment, and a goto setup.

Here is one tripod/mount that looks it might work:

Tele Vue mount

A skytour could be added later if needed.

The mount weight capacity is 15 pounds. The Edge 8" OTA is 14 pounds and the eyepiece would add another pound or two - so it might be overloaded slightly.

Comments?

Paul

#5 HowardK

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 02:33 PM

Put the 8" on the new skywatcher az eq6 in altaz mode...put a little refractor on the other saddle for wide field views...put the tripod in a JMI wheeley and push her out to use.

Takes 1 minute to 2 star align
Magnificient

#6 Patrick

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 02:44 PM

Put the 8" on the new skywatcher az eq6 in altaz mode..



I'm sure it's wonderful, but it's NOT grab and go, IMHO... ;)

I just got a quote from Disc Mount...$2400, cough, hack, choke... :crazy: That's making the other options look pretty good.

Patrick

#7 Pinbout

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 02:47 PM

The DSV-3 is at the bottom of the list unless I can get encoders on it (don't see that on the website).



call him, he'll make it a push-to. its pretty easy to track at high mags by hand.

just get some beefy wood legs, berlebach planet. :grin:

#8 skullpin

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 03:58 PM

DiscMounts are fantastic. I believe a DM-4 would be quite adequate for an 8" SCT, though nothing larger. I use mine with a 12lb refractor and have used a 20lb refractor with it in the past. Expensive, though no regrets.

Keith

#9 Lane

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:39 PM

I would not try to use a C8 on a push-to mount that does not have slow motion controls. Don't care how smooth it is, at high power it is still a pain. Most people using the DM6 are using a refractor with a much wider view than a C8. You have leverage with the refractor to make the movement smooth. With a short C8 you have no leverage at all.

The AT Voyager will handle a C8 easily as long as you don't extend the tripod legs. Another option is to replace the tripod. The push-to operation on the AT Voyager is not even close to being smooth, so you are going to want to push to a spot and then use the slow motion knobs to find and track the object. That works very well with the C8. You can also buy a JMI Train-n-Track for the Voyager for even easier slow motion movement.

The Voyager is very light weight, but because of the shape it is kind of big for what it is. It takes up more room in my car than the TRex mount. If you don't mind spending your kid's college money the TRex is actually the ultimate grab-n-go. It does ever thing the DM6 does but includes smooth slow motion. Comes with a padded bag that holds the fully assembled mount/tripod. You just pull it out of the bag, plug in the Sky Commander, attach your scope, and your ready to go.

#10 gaz-in

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:23 PM

Unistar Deluxe with encoders and Argo Navis...I have one on a Meade 8 ACF and it is wonderful. You just forget the mount Is there and it feels like the scope is floating in air...IMHO a great mount!

#11 Patrick

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:32 PM

I would not try to use a C8 on a push-to mount that does not have slow motion controls. Don't care how smooth it is, at high power it is still a pain. Most people using the DM6 are using a refractor with a much wider view than a C8. You have leverage with the refractor to make the movement smooth. With a short C8 you have no leverage at all.



Hi Lane,

I appreciate your perspective. In my way of thinking, that's one more plus in the Celestron's 6/8SE mount's favor. It has tracking, goto, precise slow motion control and etc. And it's an inexpensive solution. I'd just need to carry my little 12v battery...no problem.

The AT Voyager will handle a C8 easily as long as you don't extend the tripod legs.



I had my C6 SCT mounted on an AT Voyager, and I didn't really care for it. I think your explanation above was a big part of it, even with the C6. So, a C8 would be even worse.

I did like the tripod legs of the Voyager, though. They are very similar to the Vixen HAL 130 legs...very sturdy, but lightweight. If I got the 6/8SE mount, I was thinking about getting a HAL 130 leg set to put it on. That would a nice compact setup. :smirk:

Patrick

#12 Patrick

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:34 PM

Unistar Deluxe with encoders and Argo Navis...I have one on a Meade 8 ACF and it is wonderful. You just forget the mount Is there and it feels like the scope is floating in air...IMHO a great mount!



I'll have to give them another look. How important is good balance on the Unistar?

Patrick

#13 Mark9473

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:04 AM

I would not try to use a C8 on a push-to mount that does not have slow motion controls. Don't care how smooth it is, at high power it is still a pain. Most people using the DM6 are using a refractor with a much wider view than a C8. You have leverage with the refractor to make the movement smooth. With a short C8 you have no leverage at all.

I use my DM6 with a Mewlon 210 (or is it the other way around ;) ) - no regrets whatsoever. The leverage problem is easily solved by a handle bar if you want to.

#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:59 AM

Patrick:

I do think that with a C-8, slow-motion controls are a necessity if your choose to go with a manual mount. Short scopes like a C-8 do not provide much of a mechanical lever for tracking so high power viewing is more difficult.

The one mount I have used that seems like it might work for you is the StellarVUe MG-2. It has geared slow motion controls and considerably more stable and robust than the Voyager/Portamount class mounts and yet it's only about 2 or 3 pounds heavier than the Portamounts. I tried it with an 8inch F/5 Newtonian and it handled the weight reasonably well but ergonomically, I had to reach around the tube to get to the slow-motion controls and that was awkward, it wouldn't be a problem with your 8 inch Edge.

Unfortunately, they are no longer made... you would have to find one used.

Jon

#15 EFT

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 09:48 AM

That is exactly what I am looking for also. Some nights I just want to take the Edge 8" out for a quick look - and not deal with a polar alignment, and a goto setup.

Here is one tripod/mount that looks it might work:

Tele Vue mount

A skytour could be added later if needed.

The mount weight capacity is 15 pounds. The Edge 8" OTA is 14 pounds and the eyepiece would add another pound or two - so it might be overloaded slightly.

Comments?

Paul


A C8 size OTA will not fit between the arms of any of the Televue mounts. Those mounts are meant for refractors.

#16 pjensen

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 12:13 PM


A C8 size OTA will not fit between the arms of any of the Televue mounts. Those mounts are meant for refractors.


Thanks for the response. After I posted I looked at that and wondered if the OTA would fit in there. Apparently not. :(

#17 pjensen

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:25 PM

Ok try again - here is another mount/tripod:

Vixen Star Guy Alt Az Pro Mount

It weighs 18 pounds and can carry 20 pounds. It has two long flex slow motion controls. No encoder though.

Or it comes on a wood tripod for $100 more:

Vixen StarGuy Porta II Alt-Az Mount w/Wood Tripod

Has anyone used either of these with a C8?

Paul

#18 Midnight Dan

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:55 PM

Hi Patrick:

The DSV-3 is indeed available with encoders. You should check out this current thread regarding the DSV-3, which also has info on the DSV-1.

http://tinyurl.com/c4atkl7

One of the contributors to the thread shows a picture of his C8 on a DSV-1. If you really want minimal for grab and go, that would do it. However, no object locator.

The DSV-3 page on the Desert Sky site, shows encoders for Sky Commander as an option. You have to purchase the Sky Commander DSC separately, but the mount comes with the bracket for that.

The price is $1235 if you add up the mount, surveyor's tripod, encoders, and Losmandy dovetail seat. Add another $300 (I think?) for the Sky Commander and it's $1535. Not cheap, but better than the $2400 you were looking at for the Disc Mount.

-Dan

#19 Fred1

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:55 PM

Some day the Nova Hitch Mount might be my Alt/Az mount to replace my LX/80 and Voyager mounts... but not for some time, yet. Basic mount is $1700+ but trick it out to the nines and your into $3k. I've had occasion to use a Half-Hitch in it's basic mode and I was sold. Smooth as melting butter to use, holds balance beautifully. Once I had my hands on it I knew I had to put it on my short list to have one. It's an enigmatic feat of engineering. :bow:

ps: If you access the above link, scroll down a bit to see the Nova Hitch description.

#20 skullpin

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:41 PM

I have used a Desert Sky DSV-2 with slo-mo controls and I currently have a DiscMount DM4. Either mount can easily track at 200+ powers. I often had 250x on Jupiter last month with my DM4 and it was easy to precisely nudge along.

I did sell my DSV-2 to raise funds for the DiscMount, and I am quite happy with it. Very simple to use. Super stable (I can actually keep my hand on the fine focus knob of my scope without shake). I can change eyepieces without losing my target. For star hoping and simply enjoying the sky, it is unbeatable. In my experience slo-mo controls are over rated. Even with a short tubed long fl cat, I would take the DiscMount over a DSV, AstroTech, Teegul, et al.

To me, the real issue regarding tracking, is the complete lack of. Sure, I can quite easily chase jupiter at 250x with my DM4 mounted refractor. Did it provide a comfortable experience? No. Did my old slo-mo enabled DSV-2 provide a more comfortable experience? No, it was equally uncomfortable. What I mean: it is not so much fun watching a planet or star zip across the eyepiece. No amount of smoothness or manual control will replace the user experience of a tracked mount.

That said, I am getting an equatorial mount for tracking and attempting astrophotography. Time will tell whether my DiscMount falls into disuse. :)

Keith

#21 Patrick

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:45 PM

Some day the Nova Hitch Mount might be my Alt/Az mount to replace my LX/80 and Voyager mounts... but not for some time, yet. Basic mount is $1700+ but trick it out to the nines and your into $3k. I've had occasion to use a Half-Hitch in it's basic mode and I was sold. Smooth as melting butter to use, holds balance beautifully. Once I had my hands on it I knew I had to put it on my short list to have one. It's an enigmatic feat of engineering.



Man, there are a lot of parts in that sucker...yeah? As a designer myself, I can somewhat grasp the amount of work that went into that design. There are a lot of complicated parts interacting there.

I don't think I can afford that puppy either. :smirk:

Patrick

#22 Patrick

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 05:51 PM

To me, the real issue regarding tracking, is the complete lack of. Sure, I can quite easily chase jupiter at 250x with my DM4 mounted refractor. Did it provide a comfortable experience? No. Did my old slo-mo enabled DSV-2 provide a more comfortable experience? No, it was equally uncomfortable. What I mean: it is not so much fun watching a planet or star zip across the eyepiece. No amount of smoothness or manual control will replace the user experience of a tracked mount.



Yep, I agree. I have a Vixen GP2 mount that will support it just fine in the field. :smirk: But I'm not that crazy about polar aligning (guess I'm getting too lazy...), but no big deal. I've been wanting to add a TV 31 Nagler to my eyepiece collection. Maybe I should just live with the GP2 and get the Nag? Maybe I can add encoders to the GP2?

Patrick

#23 Midnight Dan

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 06:31 AM

No amount of smoothness or manual control will replace the user experience of a tracked mount.

Yep, I agree.


In your original post, you said you were looking for "grab and go". Grab and go is all about tradeoffs. If you want everything (stability, tracking, goto, 8"SCT-capable) it won't be grab and go. But if you're willing to accept some tradeoffs, the 6/8 SE does make a great pseudo-grab-and-go setup.

I say "pseudo" because with an 8" SCT, there's always the cooldown time and the requirement for power. But, I leave my 8SE completely set up on its tripod in the house, and at 33 pounds complete I can pick the whole thing up, take it outside, plop it on the ground, and I'm ready to go. Yes the mount is not the most stable, but that's the tradeoff for grab and go. I find that a set of anti-vibration pads go a long way towards making it useable at high mags and have observed planets at 400x without acceptable stability.

For power, I use a small NiMH battery pack that is velcroed onto the base. This eliminates the need for a dangling power cable and large jump starter power supply. The battery only adds 2 pounds to the weight of the setup and lasts for about 5 hours powering the scope and a couple of dew heaters.

And I agree - smooth manual tracking can't compete with a powered tracking mount. My true grab-and-go setup is the DSV-1 and a 90mm William Optigs Megrez. It is very smooth using the panhandle, but this setup is about lower powers and wider views. I do use it for planetary glimpses, but only up to around 100-150x.

While an 8" SCT can be a "kinda" manual alt/az grab and go, its long focal length puts it into more of a tracking-mount kind of scope and the SE mount, even with its tradeoffs, is about as close to grab and go as you'll get in that category.

-Dan

#24 Patrick

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 12:57 PM

Hi guys!

Thanks for all the comments and discussion! It was very helpful.

I just pulled the trigger on a T-REX from Deep Sky Products. It has pretty much everything I think I'll need. Since I already have a Vixen HAL 130 tripod I won't need to buy a tripod. The slow motion controls were the deciding factor over the other similar mounts. I'm going with Sky Commander after leaning towards NEXUS and iPad/Sky Safari, mainly because of the brightness of the iPad plus short battery life. The Sky Commander should be pretty bullet proof. I'll still use my iPad, just not to drive the mount.

Since my EdgeHD and HAL 130 tripod are white, I ordered the white T-Rex. I think it should be a pretty sharp looking mount (that's the most important thing, since it will sit in the living room 6 months out of the year, given our current weather pattern. :foreheadslap: ) It also has the capacity to carry both my C8HD and 6" Comet Hunter Mak Newt (plus more..! ).

Now, if we can just get some clear skies! :grin:

Thanks again!

Patrick

#25 Lane

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 03:07 PM

Congratulations.

I hope the HAL tripod will fit in the carrying case attached to the mount, that case is really nice for traveling.

Did you get the Sky Commander?






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