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Opinion time - Choose between Tak EM200 & Mach1

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#1 dhaval

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 05:03 PM

I am looking for a mount to do AP with. I will have about 25lbs on top of the mount. I love the Tak for the easy PA routine. What I don't like about the Tak is the need to have a laptop to control it. Yes, I could get the controller, and still be well under what a Mach1 would cost (I plan on buying used). Mach1, I like the way it is built - looks like a tank for what I plan on doing, but I am worried about spending a ton of time trying to PA and almost double the price of a used Tak EM200.

Advice needed.

Thanks,
Dhaval

#2 Tim C

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 06:26 PM

If buying used, my opinion is that you should get the Tak EM200. They can be had for a more reasonable price used vs. a Mach 1 last time I was looking. If buying new, I'd by the Mach 1 because the $$ difference will be smaller and the Mach 1 is a step up in terms of PE. For AP, you'll need a computer anyway so lack of a hand controller is not a big deal. I used to own an EM200 and it was so easy to set up with the outstanding polar scope that I was dialed, focused and ready to take pictures before it was really dark enough. That was soooo nice to be set up and shooting that quickly. Really nice mount and don't recall one bad sub over a couple of years of use at 730mm FL. If you want to shoot at long focal lengths then Mach 1 will probably be a little better.

#3 andysea

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 07:35 PM

I really like the polar scope on my NJP. However I hear that the RAPAS could potentially be as accurate as the Tak.
I spoke with two owners who are very happy with it. I just installed it on my Mach 1 but haven't used it yet so I can't vouch and/or compare with the Tak.
Just something to consider tho.

#4 Alterf

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 07:49 PM

Hi, folks,

Control the Tak mount with an ipod and Sky Safari. There is no need for a laptop. I control my Tak mount with a Samsung tablet and a bluetooth connection when I'm not imaging.

Val

#5 dhaval

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 08:07 PM

I will have about 25-27lbs on the mount - will that be a problem for imaging for EM200? I believe I should be OK with Mach1 with that kind of load.

Andy, I saw the RAPAS and at $390+$80 (adapter), it's rather expensive. I think that puts even a used Mach1 at more than $7K - wow! That being said, I think the Mach1 is a one time buy, once you buy it, there is no looking back. I am not so sure about EM200 though, I am sure I will want to come back to the Mach1 at a later date, especially if I do upgrade the scope to something in the 130mm range.

Thanks,
Dhaval

#6 andysea

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 08:39 PM

I agree the Rapas is pretty pricey. To be honest I found the Losmandy polar scope to be more than adequate to quickly polar align. It always put me close enough to do guided imaging and have accurate gotos. I never spent more than 5 minutes on my polar alignment.
Regarding goto on the Tak, I always used a laptop with mine, mostly because I wanted to use all the settings in the Temma ascom driver by Chuck Faranda. I don't think that Sky Safari has the same ability. I am thinking about setting limits, turning the mount off at a certain time, setting the autoguide speed and so on... However I have never used Sky Safari for goto's so my understanding might be wrong.

Andy

#7 orlyandico

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 09:18 PM

A used Mach1 can be had for $5500. How much would a used EM200 be? $3500 probably.

Given that the Mach1 carries more load, has PEC, better handset, etc. I'd go with the Mach1.

Oh wait.. that's what I did.

Seriously, the Mach1 has worm wheels the same diameter as those on the NJP. So it can potentially carry far more than the EM200, in spite of the - on paper - almost identical payload.

#8 psu_13

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 09:31 PM

I had this conundrum last year and ended up with the Mach 1. Even assuming that the mechanics of the mounts were equivalent, here is why:

1. The EM-200 documentation is a xeroxed pile of 15 pages of badly translated text. I know GEMs are not the most complex thing in the word, but jeez. The Mach-1 documentation is three or four well written manuals, plus another one for the ASCOM driver.

2. The "meridian delay" feature, which allows the mount to track through the meridian without flipping is super useful if you are imaging. You can generally track from 2 hours east to 2 hours west of the meridian without flipping the mount if you plan things right. It's hard to understate how handy this is.

3. The hand controller allows for use without a computer, if you want.

4. If you do use a computer, the the ASCOM driver is great.

5. The new polar scope is probably as easy as the Tak. Even without the polar scope, the "quick drift" alignment is more time consuming than just looking through a polar scope, but once you learn it it's pretty easy to do. I could set up in my back yard in about 15min on average including putting the mount together.

I use my mount mostly for imaging, but it works just as well for casual or serious visual work. I get occasional compliments for my recent pictures, but I mostly give the credit to the mount. It makes my life easier in so many ways it's hard to list them all.

#9 andysea

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 10:11 PM

You touched on a very good topic. Takahashi manuals are not very good. You should see the one that came with my NJP....a 7K mount 8 years ago! LOL
Same thing is for all my Tak scopes.
They do however perform very well.

One thing to consider if that if one ever needed service or parts, the AP would be much much easier to service.


Andy

#10 orlyandico

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 10:33 PM

A Mach1 with the S chip and the new APCC software should be able to go longer without guiding.

But then again unless you buy used there are no more Mach1's to be had till 2014.

That said you can save big bucks on counterweights by using Meade LX80 counterweights..

#11 andysea

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 10:57 PM

That's true Orly! Did I tell you that?? LX80 cw's work perfectly on the Mach1!!

#12 vdb

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 01:25 AM

If it's for AP stay away from the EM200 ... DEC guiding is hit or mis ... and if you end up in the mis camp it's a pain to figure out why.
I never owned a Mach 1, but I know some owners and they are all very positive.

#13 Starhawk

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:04 AM

Universes collides...and have the darnedest compatible parts!

-Rich

That's true Orly! Did I tell you that?? LX80 cw's work perfectly on the Mach1!!



#14 Starhawk

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 03:07 AM

More seriously, does the LX-80 have bronze inserts like an AP weight, or is it going to put marks all over the CW shaft?

-Rich

#15 andysea

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:54 AM

They don't have the bronze bushings. However they have SS pins that I replaced with Bronze ones. So far zero marring on the CW shaft. Ironically I dropped the shaft one night and slightly damaged the thread (which I was able to fix) but I ordered a spare just in case.....they are pretty cheap actually. Now that I know exactly which scopes I am going to use for years to come I will get the AP weights.

#16 orlyandico

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:29 AM

Andy clued me into the LX80 counterweights... after I'd ordered more 9# weights from AP at 3X the cost.

Note that the LX80 counterweights are only compatible with the Mach1 "thin" shaft - also for the AP400 and AP600 - and not with the optional "thick" shaft that is compatible with the CW shaft on the 900/1200, 1100/1600 mounts.

Like I said I was also faced with this quandary (EM200 vs Mach1). Had some exchanges with Jerry Lodriguss who is using an EM200. He found it to be overloaded with a C11, but Roland assures that a Mach1 will carry a C11 with ease.

Someone else on this forum claims a Mach1 can carry 100 lb for visual..

Overall, if you can tolerate the extra cost, the Mach1 is a much safer choice than an EM200. You are guaranteed great performance, I am not sure that is completely certain with an EM200 (a number of declination backlash adjustment threads on UncensoredTakGroup).

#17 dhaval

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 02:59 PM

Thanks all. I am seriously considering the Mach1. I am hoping I can add the RAPAS and get the same Tak functionality around PA. I might also seriously consider the Pempro software.

Dhaval

#18 rmollise

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 05:22 PM

Well, yeah, you need a computer to make the Tak go-to its go-tos...BUT...you will have one with you if you are imaging, anyhow.

#19 Dwight J

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 07:46 PM

I would get the Mach 1. I would have had it been available when I bought my EM 200. That said, my Tak mount has performed flawlessly but I wish it had PEC.

#20 dhaval

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:02 PM

Uncle Rod - I agree, I will have a laptop during imaging - but I am limited to the number of ports on the computer. Of course, there are solutions for that, but that will only mean I will keep adding more accessories, which I would hate.
"DwightJ" - there seem to be two schools of thought with the Tak not having PEC - some say you just don't need it! Of course, never having used one, I can't tell, but I am hoping that is true!!

That being said, I am still leaning towards a Mach1.

Thanks,
Dhaval

#21 orlyandico

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:25 PM

The EM200 is +/- 5" rated. Having no PEC is going to kill you if you try to go longer than say 10 minutes unguided.

The Mach1 is +/- 3.5" rated, and a good PEMPro run will drop that to sub-1" peak-to-peak (I got 0.42" p-p on mine).

No comparison, if you ask me. I also left some tips on your wanted thread.






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