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Choosing Between 3 Mount Options for AP

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#1 mikeyL


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Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:35 AM

So I have been doing AP on and off for a couple years by borrowing time on others' mounts when available. Now I finally have some money (about $2000 or so) to spend on my own mount. I will be starting out still shooting very wide field with camera lenses mostly (typically at 300mm), maybe quickly moving up to a small 6" class reflector. But I would like to be able to get a mout that can handle something as large as an Edge 9.25 w/ a Hyperstar at the top end of my required weight range in the future possibly. I absolutely want a GOTO mount.

I have done a lot of checking into both the iOptron iEQ45 and the Orion Atlas as I have friends that have each of those mounts. I have also imaged on a friend's Paramount ME and so I know how a top end mount behaves and I realize nothing in the realm of 2k will be able to approach that kind of performance. But I also need something that I can take to darker skies as my visibility at my house is severely limiting (can't even see Polaris...) I did have an Astrotrac of my own for a while but found the polar alignment and the searching for targets in the sky to be too frustrating and time consuming. Additionally I have a chance at buying a used G11/Gemini I mount at about the $2200 price point, with shipping added on to that (shipped from East Coast to CO - not going to be cheap...) Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to do anything with a G11 yet.

So which of these 3 choices would seem to be the best, assuming that the used G11 is not some kind of a lemon but is instead a representative example of a typical G11 (whatever that means...) Is a used Gemini I/G11 worth $2200 if it is in 'normal' condition? or since I cannot inspect the G11 in person should I just stick to the other 2 possible choices?

Any advice, experiences, or insights would be appreciated. Whatever I buy I cannot afford to be replacing it anytime soon as it has taken a few years to get to the point to be able to buy something of my own.


#2 orlyandico


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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:57 AM

The ZEQ25 looks fantastic, if astronewb's experience is typical. That is, assuming you won't put more than 10-15 lb on it. How about a used CGE?

#3 tomcody



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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:30 AM

G11 is a first class mount that will be around for years ( meaning parts are available to keep it running) , but having said that, the Gemini I controller may not have parts available for long? I would check that out as Upgrading to a Gemini II could cost you some money$$, But it may run for years without needing any costly repairs.
If you want new? the IEQ45 should do what you want and be light enough to travel with.
For me the big question is how fixable are these mounts? can you get parts and service on them as they age? or will they become obsolete boat anchors when the manufacturer decides to orphan them?
Longevity (meaning parts and service) is an issue that is not talked about much but with the cost and shipping weight (to send it in for repair) it should be a top concern as far as I am concerned. I sold off my Tak EM200 after talking to the distributer concerning obtaining spare drive parts for my mount ( I am a retired electronic/robotic tech so I can fix anything I can get parts for), and am planning to replace it with a G11 just so I can get parts. Just my two cents YMMV.

#4 RAKing


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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:06 AM

I would go with the G11. It's still a world class mount with plenty of support and parts available from Losmandy. I enjoyed using my old Atlas for a while, but it's simply not in the Losmandy class.

I would not worry too much about the Gemini I. Even though it feels like you have to click a lot of buttons to get anywhere, it is very accurate and I think there will still be plenty of support for a few years.

If the button clicking bothers you, then you can easily plug in a SkyWire/SkyFi and drive the mount using Sky Safari on your iPod or iPad. That is the route I have taken with my little GM-8 and it works great. :)



#5 Joe C

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:24 AM

I can also vouch for the G11. I had one for a few years and it performed very well. You can always at a later date upgrade the worm gear and or block to an OPWB from Losmandy or an Ovision gear and block. As mentioned, replacement parts are readily available from Losmandy for these mounts and should you have an electronics issue, Scott is great to work with on repairs and the cost to do so is very reasonable.

Also, when I sold mine, I shipped the mount head, tripod, a large case, a 21, 11 and 7 lb weight and polar scope from North Carolina to East Texas for about $150 insured via Fedex. What I found is that when shipping a single package, there is a delivery fee along with a transport fee. When you add more boxes, the only one that increases is the transport fee making overall shipping less costly.

#6 Raginar



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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:56 AM

I would go with a G11 too. Never hurts to have a mechanically sound mount.

#7 mikeyL


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Posted 16 May 2013 - 11:00 AM

Wow - thanks for all the great feedback. I guess there is a strong vote for the G11. I know it can be a great mount, I'm just a little hesitant buying sight unseen from someone I don't know. I am an electrical engineer, so I feel quite comfortable with a soldering iron in my hand, but as far as doing mechanical dis-assembly and repair not so much. So if the mount needed a new worm installed or some other complicated mechanical tear-down then I would be less inclined to go that route.

As far as the G11 is concerned are there date ranges of mounts to either look for or stay away from? I think the mount for sale is not coming from the original owner but I might be able to find out when the mount was made.


#8 rmollise



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Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:22 PM

The G11 _can_ be a great mount, and the build quality is a step up from the Atlas. That said, it's performance isn't always better and can sometimes actually be worse. I think a G11 is a pretty safe bet, but it depends on the individual mount. IOW, spending more for a Losmandy will not necessarily make imaging easier or better...

#9 vdb


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Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:38 PM

I pick the IEQ45 over the G11 anytime of the day ...
- Polarscope IEQ, more accurate, ones collimate it stays collimated (I had 2 Losmandy's G8 and G11 and they never held their collimation very long + they are less accurate especially if you cannot see the 3the star in LP zones ...)
- HC, wel the iOptron is a joy to use, Gemini didn't click with me.

But it has to be said mechanical build quality is far superior on the Losmandy, in the end I sold both of them and I'm using an avalon wright now. If the ZEQ25 becomes in a "45" weight category I will go back to iOptron. Portability, fast setup due to accurate polarscope and GPS with excellent guided images make this price/performance my number one choice.

#10 Panotaker


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Posted 17 May 2013 - 12:52 PM

If you are going to get a used G11, do a search on the owners email address over on the yahoo group to see if he has had any problems in the past.

#11 neilson


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Posted 17 May 2013 - 08:30 PM

I had a new G-11 G2 this year and It took a bit of tinkering to get the G-11 to perform good. But it finally did except they're picky about balance. The Gemini 2 had problems and I got tired of building East and West models every night. You should check out the Gemini 2 yahoo group.
After some great advice from guys here on Cloudy Nights I bought a barely used CGE. Its been the best mount I have ever owned for imaging. I updated the firmware and the NexStar system gives me dead on goto's and the mount has great tracking. I mostly use a 9.25 edge HD with 80mm Orion short tube as a guide scope and cameras. You can still buy parts for it on the Celestron website.


#12 dhaval


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Posted 18 May 2013 - 06:32 PM

I just let go of the G11. While there are things to like about it, I wasn't particularly impressed by the polar alignment routine. I had the Atlas mount and it was much better to polar align the Atlas using the clock method, which is the same method that is used on the Tak and iOptron iEQx mounts. If you are seriously planning on buying the G11, I would much rather you consider a used Tak EM200. You will spend about the same on both the mounts and you will get a much better mount for the money.

Hope the above helps.


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