Choosing Between 3 Mount Options for AP
Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:35 AM
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.
Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:57 AM
Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:30 AM
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.
Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:06 AM
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.
Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:24 AM
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.
Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:56 AM
Posted 16 May 2013 - 11:00 AM
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.
Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:22 PM
Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:38 PM
- 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.
Posted 17 May 2013 - 12:52 PM
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.
Posted 18 May 2013 - 06:32 PM
Hope the above helps.