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New medium Capacity Mount - Options

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:01 AM

I am in the market for a medium capacity mount for my new scope. Scope will be a 130 APO F7 and weight around 22lbs. Would be used for AP and some visual. I have no issues with buying new or used. Would like to stay under $2k max. Any recommendations. My options are below.

1. CGE Mount used - I like the capacity for the $$ ($1800), don't like not having any kind of warranty and how long will replacement parts be available? - pound/pound seems like a great deal
2. IEQ45 - Would get the pier option and maybe even the new AZ version - new so has warranty - 45lb capacity - $1600-1900
3. Atlas - Always seems to get good reviews - 40lb capacity - has the EQmod - can get pier extension $1500
4. G11 - 65lb capacity - my favorite, but most expensive (out of budget)- even used they are $2500 with Gemini 2. Tripod looks like a pain to carry/travel
5. CGEM/DX - 40/50 capacity - CGEM has issues and is similar to the Atlas. DX has the tripod and upgraded voltage for the motors

Am I missing any? The best deal seems to be the CGE or the IEQ45. Would be nice to have additional capacity with the CGE. Is the CGE worth the money? All mounts seem to have issues (mass produced versions) and I don't want to waste that kind of money and not be able to have it fixed. Recommendations....

By the way - I currently have a VX mount with 90 APO for AP and visual. This would be my second setup to view while imaging, but want the option to image with it as well. This will be the last mount I buy for a long time. No more room to store it and CFO is getting annoyed. Thank you for your opinions

#2 MartinTreadgold


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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:03 AM

Celestron Advanced VX mount oh wait you already have one..., I really like my AVX mount its been brilliant so far.. buy a 2nd one?

otherwise EQ6 mount maybe?



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Posted 06 May 2013 - 11:45 AM

I am going to try using the VX for visual. Already bought the CW's to balance it. For AP though the VX will not work due to the 50% rule (will attempt but expecting it to not work). This is why I need the second mount. Wish I could get a Mach 1, but not in the budget. I feel blessed to even afford what I have. I have become numb to how ridiculously expensive this hobby is, but I can't see spending over $5k for a mount. Maybe in a few years if I get a nice raise, but for now I have spent way more than I planned. Having a second setup seems insane, but I got aperture fever :-)

I should note I plan to get one more scope eventually (6 months). Most likely it will be an edge C11.

#4 orlyandico


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Posted 06 May 2013 - 12:04 PM

wait for a CGEM VX then (if such a thing will exist). it will be new, will not have the cursed 8/3 motor gear harmonic, it will have the same interface as your AVX.

#5 rmollise



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Posted 06 May 2013 - 02:28 PM

wait for a CGEM VX then (if such a thing will exist). it will be new, will not have the cursed 8/3 motor gear harmonic, it will have the same interface as your AVX.

I've heard this will not happen now. The latest beta of the MC firmware has fixed the so-called "cogging" problem so plans have been scrapped to change the motors.

OP: Given your requirements, either the Atlas or CGEM will suit you fine. Both have their strengths. The CGEM HC is still more advanced, but the SynScan is catching up now. The Atlas has EQMOD, but the CGEM has NexRemote. Either should suit you fine. ;)

#6 Bill W.

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:08 PM

I'd vote for the Atlas. I used one from May 2008 till December 2012. I had about 35 lbs of imaging gear on it. The Atlas never missed a beat. Obviously with 35 lbs on it balance was critical to get consistent results. I very rarely had any bad subs. I also hear since my 2008 version their tracking has improved some which is great. I used it at 320 to 2000mm. Mostly 800mm focal length. Used CGE can be hit or miss with problems. The only reason I bought a new mount was I want to eventually get a bigger scope for AP and the CGE Pro's were on sale.


#7 neilson


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Posted 07 May 2013 - 10:34 AM

I tried out a CGEM DX for 3 months and it worked pretty good then I got a G-11 gemini 2 expecting even better results. It required some tinkering then the mount was great but the Gemini 2 was not to my liking. I didnt like having to build an East and West model each night and its goto's weren't near as good as Nexstar. Balance is critical on this mount. After 3 months I got rid of it intending to go back to the CGEM DX.
But some people here on CN who's opinion I respect recommended that I get a CGE. So I bought a used CGE and upgraded to the newest firmware. Mine was almost like new. I noticed they come up in this condition often. This is the best mount I have ever owned. The goto's are dead on and the tracking is excellent. I image almost every night. I set it up and take it down each night. This mount is not light. Its very heavy duty. I can even image when the wind is blowing. The CGEM DX was like that too. All three of these mounts are good choices but I would recommend the CGE. Its the best mount I have ever owned for imaging.

#8 Midnight Dan

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 10:56 AM

I love my iEQ45. Lightweight and easy to use, but carries a big load.

One of the nice things about the iEQ45s is that iOptron seems to be continually upgrading and evolving it. Most of the other manufacturers tend to put out a mount and leave it alone until the next major model change comes along. The iEQ45 has only been out a fe years but already has upgraded bearings, optional hi-resultion encoders, a new version of the handset, a brand new high-prcision worm, and an alt/az conversion kit. I've also found their tech support to be VERY responsive and knowledgeable, unlike my experiences with Celestron.

Plus the iEQ45 has a lot of nice convenience features like the built-in GPS and handset heater for winter use. The dark-field illuminated polar scope along with the graphic display on the handset (or iPhone app) makes polar alignment surprisingly quick and easy.


#9 jrbarnett


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Posted 07 May 2013 - 11:02 AM

The CGE mount has some well-documented reliability issues affecting primarily the cable socket connections. In a warmer climate, this is less of an issue, but you will definitely want to switch the stiff stock Cat 5 cables for softer, more flexible replacements to alleviate stress on the sockets and their junction with the PCB housed inside the electronics pier.

A gentleman in Canada named Gary Bennett sells socket replacement kits that allow you to completely replace the sockets and offending board with a more solid design. The kits aren't cheap but do address the number one reason CGEs go out of commission.

The other chronic issue with these mounts relates to the tripod spreader. The cheapo plastic clamping rings that attach the spreader to each leg have a tendency to creep up the legs. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but really is. If a spreader clamp creeps up far enough, the mount will collapse, falling over to that side, and the usual result is that the castings that attach the top of each leg to the top plate of the tripod will crack, ending the useful life of the tripod, assuming the mount head survives. The fix for this ill is simple; just wrap gaffer's tape around each leg above the clamps, and check the clamps periodically for tightness.

Taped legs on my CGE:

Posted Image

The black gaffer's tape is matte, by design, and does not look out of place or "cheap" on the tripod. You won't be able to "have it fixed" if you get a CGE. You will need to be able to "fix it yourself". That's the way of out-of-production gear often. If you're squeamish about tinkering, you probably should opt for current release mount with full warranty.

In that case, I'd recommend the new Atlas EQ Pro AZ. Lots of positive comments about that mount have been filtering in. It seems to have sidestepped the reliability issues that have plagues the CGEM since that mount's debut.

I suggest using the Search feature to read up on each of these mounts here in the forums. IOptron has had a fair share of teething pains. Gemini II has been pretty spotty for Losmandy thus far. The CGEM too has had its share of ongoing issues. You will find, I think, that the Orion mounts (and Sky-Watcher/Synta equivalents) have the fewest chronic issues, though none of the mounts in this class are "model citizens" in the reliability department.

Also, Ed Thomas at EFT may offer service on some or all of the mounts you've listed. I know Ed likes the CGEM more than I do, but then he has a business of tinkering with mounts and I don't. But still if you're worried about long term service, Ed might be your go-to guy with mount problems post warranty. I'd suggest PM'ing him but ignoring anything good he has to say about the CGEM :grin:.

- Jim

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