Another Mach1 vs...thread - but please read! ;-)
Posted 10 June 2013 - 11:50 AM
I have read with interest several threads in this forum about mount upgrade options, how the AP Mach1 mount stacks against other mounts but still need some feedback on three particular mounts from, hopefully, users of each.
I’m upgrading from a NEQ6 Pro (new generation EQ6/Sirius in the US) and I’ve narrowed my selection to two mounts with a possible third candidate on the basis of specifications, user feedback and pricing:
• AP Mach1
• 10Micron 1000HPS
• And...Mesu 200
My current - visual and planetary/solar imaging – set-up consists of a 6” f/7.5 refractor plus binoviewers and eyepieces that comes to around 38lbs in weight. Sometimes I mount in tandem a 12lb (total with rings) 3” f/16 refractor for high resolution solar imaging or double star observing. So my total maximum weight at the moment is in the 50lbs region. This is a visual set-up or not very demanding planetary/solar imaging rig.
I did CCD imaging before with a huge/heavy Alter D6 mount some 10 years ago and know that the most important part of an imaging set-up is the mount. I may want to get back into imaging at some point but my current equipment has to be portable as I don’t have a permanent observatory. I don’t travel to dark sites often but mostly observe from my back garden but I still have to carry the mount and scopes out every observing night.
Given the above, the Mesu 200 is only really attractive because is cheaper than the AP Mach 1 or 10Micron (here in the UK at least) and has a very large carrying capacity that I may eventually end up using. Otherwise, from “looks” to “integration” of hardware and software and most importantly portability, the other two seem to be clear winners.
Now, as for the AP Mach1, my only concern is carrying capacity given my above requirements and possibility of taking up CCD imaging in the future. Otherwise, if I buy the Mach1, I know I will be getting a top notch product with fantastic technical support and proven track record. I have discussed carrying capacity with George Whitney at AP and he reckons I should be ok – so the AP is my first real option. Its other downside here in the UK is its cost (unless I can find a good deal in the US that compensates for importing costs).
The 10Micron is, appropriately for an Italian mount, the “incognito” here. The encoder story is very attractive for the price (you’d be surprised to learn that in Europe/UK both the AP and 10Micron are priced at around the same level). My main issue with it is whether it can be used by a visual observer like me without the need for a PC by its side. I ask this because, as far as I understand, it doesn’t even come with a polar scope and has to have a pointing model built every time it’s set up (assuming change of location or movement of tripod) unless permanently mounted. Are there any visual only/part-time users of this mount that would like to chime in?
Your views are all greatly appreciated!
Thanks for looking.
Posted 10 June 2013 - 01:48 PM
My understanding is that besides sheer instrument weight, the moment arm of your scope is also an important factor to consider. Given the same weight a long refractor will tax the mount way more than a stubby SCT type scope.
I know it's not one of your options but have you considered a used AP900? Those seem to come up pretty frequently and some for a very good price. It will give you the same tracking performance as the Mach1 but with more carrying capacity.
Posted 10 June 2013 - 03:14 PM
Posted 10 June 2013 - 04:07 PM
I don't have experience with the other two mounts. The AP controller's "Already aligned" behavior is neat- especially since it make setup much easier. If you get the polar finder, it can make field setup pretty quick.
What is the 6" f/7.5 you'll be mounting?
Posted 10 June 2013 - 04:29 PM
Thanks for your input. The plan, if I go for the Mach1, would be to purchase one of the new RAPAS.
My 6" is an Astro-Physics 1992 Starfire EDF. AP reckon it should sit comfortably on the Mach1. Roland Christen has an addendum to the Mach1 page on AP's website where he tested an AP155 on it for CCD imaging and it can be done.
Posted 10 June 2013 - 04:56 PM
I’ve been using a Mach 1 with my 6-inch F7 AP155 refractor for the past 4 years with no problem. I’m sure the additional 12 pound second scope would not cause an issue for visual observations.
I set up my tripod then add the mount head then add the counterweights and connect the power. All components are very manageable.
I use the mount for visual, video imaging, and high power lunar planetary with the refractor or a C11. 3 minute unguided images at 1600mm FL are very smooth with round stars. High power planetary viewing is smooth with no mount induced vibrations.
For the utmost in stability, you should consider the Losmandy G11 tripod or one of the tripods from AP.
I used a G11 for 12 years and the Mach 1 is a better mount BUT you will pay for that quality and tracking accuracy. If you are just a visual observer, a G11 mount should handle your needs and cost thousands less. If you are going to be doing any imaging at all, you will not regret getting a Mach 1.
Posted 10 June 2013 - 05:37 PM
For my Mach1 I chose the Rob Miller light tripod. It only weights 9lb. and it seems to be extremely stable. It's very similar to the Paramount tripod but the leveling feet are a little different.
Posted 11 June 2013 - 01:07 AM
Bob, even my Atlas/NEQ6 Pro is good for the current (visual) job but I would like the possibility of doing some more serious imaging in the future (with one scope only - not tandem- as I prefer OAG).
Andy, yes, the Rob Miller tripods are extremely light and stable but it is almost impossible to get hold of Rob Miller or his tripods!
Posted 11 June 2013 - 02:10 AM
Posted 11 June 2013 - 09:46 AM
Posted 11 June 2013 - 10:16 AM
I'm reading all your input with interest - many thanks!
Posted 11 June 2013 - 10:33 AM
Posted 11 June 2013 - 05:29 PM
I did not know that! No wonder it works great with my TOA130.
For what it's worth, the Mach1 was designed to image with the AP160.
Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:30 PM
I'm all for 10Micron with two of them in my tool-box. The alignment will be done in a few minutes, with or without PC, and you will get good tracking even if the polar alignment is off some.
Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:54 PM
I thought I had it all decided for a Mach1 but the HPS has got me thinking..!
Thank you all for your comments - I may end up flipping a coin!
Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:08 PM
I image with the Mach1 and an AP155. No issues. I have also used my Tak CCA-250 on the Mach1.
Good luck with the decision. Sounds like both are excellent choices.
Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:39 AM
For US maybe not, but Europe, no question the mesu is hard to beat at price point (weight capacity) it sells.
We have been imaging for over a year taking 30 minute subs, hardly lost a sub (we occasionally loose one due to telescope shift)