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Used AP900 or New Mach1 or New AP1100?

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#1 hytham

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:36 PM

Originally I had my mind set on either the Paramount MX or the AP 900, but as my research progressed I decided to eliminate the MX and replace it with the Mach1. The reason for the replacement is that I wanted a mount which was light weight, and can be broken down into easy to carry components. The Mach1's light weight, small form factor, excellent PEC and decent weight load... etc. are very appealing.

So, fellow CNers. There is a used AP900 for $7750 for the mount only (no extras at all) on astromart right this moment, and there was - what I perceived as - an overpriced older Mach1 (6 years old) for $5600 (new they are $6300).

The fact that the AP1100 is coming out and with its introductory price of $8900, the $7750 seems a bit too steep. I figure at these price points, should I waste my time with the used market and buy new or am I being a little too anal about my expectation for the used market?

I should also mention that I plan on carrying my FSQ and in the future a slightly larger refractor (130mm) or an SCT (200mm or 230mm).

Thank you.

#2 Calypte

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 11:10 PM

The Mach1 will easily carry those scopes. I've used a 2001-vintage 10-inch Meade on mine. The scope itself has been iffy for imaging (not as sharp as I'd like), but the mount scarcely notices it. HOWEVER, the 900 has higher capacity, and for the same ballpark price, I'd probably be looking at the 900. What if you later decide to get a bigger scope? The 1100 is next generation, but the absolute encoders you'll need to take advantage of its true capabilities will cost lots more (I can't find the price for a.e. for this mount). Plus you'll need additional adapters, counterweights, etc., that likely aren't included in that $8800 (it's $8800 on the A-P website right now). Figure another $800-$1000 to make it usable, not counting the absolute encoders.

#3 orlyandico

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 11:28 PM

There's a $6500 AP900. But its a CP2.

I am not sure if I would go for an AP900 (have a Mach1).

On the plus side.. the 900 will carry any conceivable scope I want, even a 12.5" RC (which I don't have).

On the minus side.. it's heavier.

Practically speaking the Mach1 will carry any load I can think of using within the next 3-5 years. So it's probably the better choice for me.

#4 Calypte

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 12:16 AM

It's a tough call. I have the Mach1GTO (as I already said). I came from a G11 in search of better tracking. I also wanted the mount to be reasonably transportable, with no parts heavier than what I wanted to lift at the age of (then) 65, and I didn't anticipate getting scope heavier than the 10-inch Meade that I mentioned, noting that I usually use smaller scopes on the mount. However, if I'd known three years ago that by now I'd have an observatory in a dark-sky site, enabling the use of larger scopes, then I would have bought the 900, or maybe even the 1200. If I were buying now, and if I still had the same money available (!), I'd look seriously at the 1100. In other words, the Mach1 was in some respects short of what I really wanted. All that having been said, the Mach1 has done everything I've asked of it. Before I had the observatory, I schlepped the Mach1 around to school star parties, and I was always the first to snag Jupiter or Saturn, because I didn't need to see stars to get started.

#5 Tom and Beth

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 12:54 AM

The MACH1 would likely carry the scopes you have listed.

As for the prices...considering customer support is a phone call away even on 20 year old mounts, you might be over estimating depreciation. You could do a search to determine average used mount value.

#6 orlyandico

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 12:55 AM

the Mach1 has the worst bang-for-buck of all the AP mounts. :D

but then you have to weigh *cough cough* the weight vs your capability to carry it/

#7 JMW

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:19 AM

I would just wait and watch the market. Do a search for the AP900 and 1200 for the last couple of years. There is certainly more used coming on the market as people upgrade to the 1100 or 1600. These are often sold without extras because the extras will work just fine on the new mounts. I bought an AP900GTO last February. I have no regrets on the timing. It does what I want to do and breaks down to a package that is easy to handle. I have imaged at the 100% rated load without any issues.

I am considering buying a used 1200 to leave on my home pier and just use the 900 in the field. I probably won't do it for a few more years because I am saving for a large dob right now. I would share the extras like weights between the scopes. The mounts hold their value pretty well because the aftermarket support is great. You can upgrade the scope over time to keep it current.

The new features are nice (capacity, through mount wiring, absolute encoders) but they don't make the old mounts obsolete.

#8 etsleds

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 01:52 AM

I use an AP900 CP2 for visual and starting AP and I think for many it'd be a nice deal as-is.

You'd have to think through whether you really need the CP3 and the declination axis upgrades, while the heavy duty azimuth adjuster and tall fork don't affect the feel or operation of the mount after setup. I passed on all these, the currently advertised on has the fork and az adjuster.

#9 hytham

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:02 AM

I had no idea how well they could hold their value. That was a bit of a shock to me.

I saw the 900 CP2 for that price and he provides everything but the pier and quite honestly that's no big deal. The CP2 can be upgraded to CP3 for $1000. What would be a good pier? The Rob Miller tripods sound fantastic, but he's out of touch apparently and I'm impatient.

At 10 - 12 years of age, what kind of maintenance would one expect? What kind of life could one theoretically get on the worm gear assuming it has not undergone a great deal of stress due to overloading?

I am in very good physical shape and have no issue carrying heavy loads and neither does my lady (we're both young and weight train 5 times a week), I just prefer to keep my weight training in the gym and not while I'm out under the stars. :)

#10 orlyandico

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 02:52 AM

I have a circa 1996-97 AP600. Older generation. The periodic error is incredibly smooth and about 8" p-p (although it degrades to 15" - 20" if loaded west-heavy).

The only potential issue with an older AP900 is the declination upgrade. My AP600 does not guide well in declination (it has substantial stiction). This should not be an issue if your polar alignment is really really good that you don't need to do declination guiding.

That's the reason I went with a Mach1 instead of an old (and cheap! sub $4K) AP900QMD - the declination axis. Old 900GTO's would have the same declination axis as the QMD.

Although I suspect the 900's declination is an improvement over the 600's. The 900 axis upgrade was to ensure the axis performs well even when upside-down (i.e. delay meridian flip - when the counterweight is above the scope).

#11 dawziecat

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:47 AM

An individual decision for sure. My signature says it for me.

The encoders? Way too expensive. I don't see them as essential at all.

#12 Paul G

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 06:42 AM

I have the Mach1 and a 900. The Mach1 will easily handle your current and planned future scopes, no need for the extra weight of the 900.

#13 andysea

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 06:52 AM

I have a Mach1 and it easily carries my FSQ106EDX and TOA130 with zero issues.
When I got the Mach1 I was also considering the AP900 but I'm very happy that I went with the former mostly because of its weight.
Since I use an 8300 based camera 1000mm is essentially the longest FL that I can/want to use I saw no point getting a mount with a higher payload.
I also own an NJP which is getting zero use since I acquired the Mach1 at the end of last year.
When it's time to pack things up and head off to a dark site, the light weight equipment is always the winner. My Mach1/Rob Miller tripod is an amazingly light combo that is hard to beat.
My suggestion is to buy new and go for the Mach1 unless you are planning to use a much heavier instrument in the future.
I also must add that I used to own a 10"RC with steel tube and the Mach1 easily carried that scope too. I sold it because it was a bad match for my QSI583.

Andy

#14 Starhawk

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 09:18 AM

The Mach 1 will carry everything you have mentioned. The big thing here is it is really portable.

AP gear holds up indefinitely and therefore depreciates slowly, if at all. And the comments about customer service are true. They'll always answer, and they don't gouge on the little piece parts.

-Rich

#15 orlyandico

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:09 AM

i was able to buy new transfer gears for my AP600 because i ruined the old ones... they also still have stock of the old 8000 QMD controller, and will repair damaged 9000 QMD controllers. We're talking about 1990s gear here..

#16 Footbag

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:33 AM

If it's a portable setup, go Mach 1. If it's not a deal on a 900 would be very tempting. If you "need" absolute encoders then 1100.

A Mach 1 will carry all of your equipment, but a 900 will make you want bigger equipment. Do you want to want bigger equipment?

#17 Calypte

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 11:34 AM

The short of it is, the Mach1 will do the job with the scopes you have. The question is, having spent all that money, do you want to spend a bit more now for future possibilities? We all have the place where we stop and say, "No more!" Adam brings up a good point: a bigger mount continues the spiral to a yet bigger scope. Who wants to put a puny scope on a huge mount?

#18 chicot

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:10 PM

I agree. The AP1100 has such smooth and low PE that it should be seeing limited at more or less any focal length you'd likely want to image at. That's assuming it's guided of course but I don't really see that it's worth splashing out the cash for the absolute encoders just to do unguided imaging.

#19 Tom and Beth

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:23 PM

I had no idea how well they could hold their value. That was a bit of a shock to me.

I saw the 900 CP2 for that price and he provides everything but the pier and quite honestly that's no big deal. The CP2 can be upgraded to CP3 for $1000. What would be a good pier? The Rob Miller tripods sound fantastic, but he's out of touch apparently and I'm impatient.

At 10 - 12 years of age, what kind of maintenance would one expect? What kind of life could one theoretically get on the worm gear assuming it has not undergone a great deal of stress due to overloading?

I am in very good physical shape and have no issue carrying heavy loads and neither does my lady (we're both young and weight train 5 times a week), I just prefer to keep my weight training in the gym and not while I'm out under the stars. :)


One of my mounts is an Ap1200DA (circa early 90s). "Maintenance" consists of periodic dusting and a very light oiling between the two halves every couple of years (a light oiling just helps to keep the two pieces easy to separate if bolted together for years on end). It doesn't track as well as my newer 1200, due to the improved components over the years. Conservatively I put 1K hours/yr on the mounts. I had a switch replaced in the DA handpad, but then never used it as I went with the QMD version. Only other issue I had with the DA was the grub screw loosening on the RA side. Simple fix with an allen wrench. As mentioned, tech support is a phone call, Email or their user group on yahoo.

Ap has a few mounts at the South Pole. They don't like to do periodic maintenance :lol:

#20 hytham

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:57 PM

Fantastic feedback folks and you've helped me go in the direction I was leaning towards - Mach1.

This setup will be entirely portable as the lady and I do quite a bit of camping at the surrounding state parks with plans to head further South West this summer. So light weight portability is key.

As stated I do not want to exceed a 9.25". Having had the 11" EdgeHD and as great as it was, it's just too much for me to lug around for imaging while I'm camping.

Now I need to find a proper pier. Thoughts on that? I'm keeping my eyes out for a used Rob Miller "light" version. Any other recommendations?

Thanks again for everything.

#21 JMW

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:49 PM

A Mach 1 will work well on a use G11 tripod AP sells the adapter to put between the mount and the tripod.

#22 andysea

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 06:35 PM

Fantastic feedback folks and you've helped me go in the direction I was leaning towards - Mach1.

This setup will be entirely portable as the lady and I do quite a bit of camping at the surrounding state parks with plans to head further South West this summer. So light weight portability is key.

As stated I do not want to exceed a 9.25". Having had the 11" EdgeHD and as great as it was, it's just too much for me to lug around for imaging while I'm camping.

Now I need to find a proper pier. Thoughts on that? I'm keeping my eyes out for a used Rob Miller "light" version. Any other recommendations?

Thanks again for everything.


I would try contacting Rob. His light tripod weighs about 9lb. and carries more than 200 I think.

#23 JMW

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 06:47 PM

Someone on the Yahoe AP group is selling a Rob Miller tripod.

#24 orlyandico

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:28 PM

Last I heard Rob cannot be contacted....

#25 hytham

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:31 PM

JMW, do you have a link that you can post or PM regarding the ad?

I had a look and couldn't find anything ... even had Google attack it with no luck (probably using the wrong key words).

Thank you!






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