NJP Takahashi Mount used or go new
Posted 09 July 2013 - 10:14 PM
I have a potential used NJP available for sale to me, he is the second owner and is asking $5500 for it, my concerns are is that its probably well used and the polar scope will be soon out of date and this cant be upgraded. I guess you can still do drift alignment.. just wondering if you think this is a good deal hard to find out what they sold for new or even used not much info around.
Posted 09 July 2013 - 10:32 PM
You might sign up for the UncensoredTakGroup Yahoo Group. Last year about this time TNR informed us there that the polar scope reticle could be replaced, though the mount would have to be sent to TNR and the polar scope removed and sent to Japan. That sounds like a pain, but it's not a surprising Tak move. I think it's great that Tak will service such an old mount. A-P and Tak service old mounts. You might call Art Ciampi at TNR if you are worried about it. The folks at TNR are pretty helpful, too, if you want to try things yourself.
The polar scope is half the beauty of the mount. I bought Tak mounts in part because I could polar align in 2 minutes and move on to imaging. But that requires the polar scope to be "engineered" into the mount, so Tak prefers to have the engineer do it.
The NJP is a wonderful mount.
Posted 09 July 2013 - 10:56 PM
Posted 10 July 2013 - 12:15 AM
You can't buy a new NJP, it was replaced by the EM400. The used one that went on eBay the other day for $3.5k was a mind boggling deal. They are usually $7k+ used.
Needless to say if EM400s are going for $3.5k to $4k then an NJP for $5.5k is really a bad deal. But there are people asking silly money for NJPs. They don't sell.
Frankly I wouldn't buy a new Tak. The bang for buck isn't there and the depreciation kills you. If going new I'd go AP.
To illustrate: the EM400 costs about the same as the AP1100 and Paramount MX. But it carries less payload, has no PEC, and has a primitive hand controller that doesn't do GoTo. Of course neither does the PMX. But you get a lot of observatory automation capability.
Posted 10 July 2013 - 07:53 AM
However I think the latest NJP's that were shipped had the updated polar scope. I think they were called JPZ. In essence it was an NJP with the EM-400 base.I Saw those go for +/-5K used.
Posted 10 July 2013 - 07:57 AM
Posted 10 July 2013 - 08:11 AM
It would be nice to find a EM400 in the 3.5k -4K price range..
It would, but don't hold your breath. The recent ebay sale was an anomaly. There's one now on Astromart auction that's up to $5200 with 9 days to go. You'll sometimes see an older, much-used NJP/Temma2 for $4000 or so, though. A nice, clean NJP/Temma2 will bring more. A USD model will bring less.
Posted 10 July 2013 - 09:33 AM
From astromart (note that astromart prices can be haggled a bit, in my experience) -
ad #816095 $3600 April 1, 2013
ad #815156 $3500 March 23, 2013
ad #810309 $5200 February 9, 2013 (sold by john ^)
ad #801824 $5000 November 26, 2012 (JP-Z)
Takahashi mounts don't hold their value very well because IMO they are overpriced. $6200 for an EM200 when a Mach1 is $6350 and has
1) a hand controller that can do GoTo! (the novelty!) (oh and can tolerate submersion)
2) Periodic Error Correction
3) lighter (32lb vs 34lb)
4) carries more weight (45lb vs 35lb)
Don't get me started on the 25lb capacity EM-11 which costs $4.3k!!!
This is the reason a used EM-200 goes for under $4k while a used Mach1 goes for $5.5k.
However... the expense of Tak mounts new (which is partially due to the strong yen, BTW) means buying used is attractive. The NJP Temma2 is probably the best payload-for-the-buck premium mount you can get, with a 70lb payload. An AP900 would not go less than $7K.
BTW - the guy asking $5.5k - it would be reasonable if (1) the NJP is fairly pristine and comes with a bunch of weights, BT Tech or Casady saddle, etc.; and (2) it comes with the Tak wood or metal tripod.
Posted 10 July 2013 - 12:02 PM
Posted 10 July 2013 - 01:22 PM
Posted 10 July 2013 - 02:26 PM
Posted 10 July 2013 - 07:29 PM
Do you have the Tak polar alignment utility? If not, PM me and I will send you a link or the files themselves.
I've run the polar alignment utility forward 17 years and it gives just as accurate a reading on the polar alignment reticle grid as it gives today. After 2030 or so, it starts to get away from the lines a bit, but by then I'll have polar aligned enough that I am betting it will be readable and usable through at least 2040. :-)
I have to agree with Vagus. I'm sorry to hear Tak is not replacing the reticles any more (and I know folks have been concerned about it), but I'm not too sorry.
Posted 10 July 2013 - 07:49 PM
If you can afford it, I would go for a new mount.
Posted 10 July 2013 - 09:49 PM
Posted 10 July 2013 - 09:58 PM
Posted 10 July 2013 - 10:56 PM
My point was to go AP rather than Tak if buying new... not to buy a lesser mount. The RAPAS is reputedly just as good as the Tak polar scope (unlike the unlamented PASILL4).
I was not actually referring to your post and just saying to invest in quality. Personally, I would favor a Takahashi mount over and Astrophysics mount.
Posted 11 July 2013 - 12:09 AM
Posted 11 July 2013 - 12:53 AM
Posted 11 July 2013 - 01:13 AM
I'm on the lookout for the nicest small mount for portable use. And AP doesn't make anything smaller than the Mach1. I heard that Roland said it made no sense to make something smaller than the Mach1 because the cost wouldn't be much lower.
I think that's why the EM-11 costs so much ($4300) given its 25lb rating, compared to the EM200 ($6200 and 35lb) and Mach1 ($6350 and 45lb).
Now to throw out another curve ball - there is an AP400QMD languishing on the classifieds for $1350. That is a 20-25lb rated mount (so comparable to a P2Z or EM-10/11). Not GoTo though. And... based on my experience with my AP600QMD, it may disappoint (it would almost certainly be not up to Mach1 level).
My AP600QMD guides very well in RA (the RMS figures are in the same range as my Mach1) but in DEC it is very problematic due to stiction. Am not sure if the AP400 - which I believe is a newer design, it looks like a mini-Mach1 - still uses the sleeve bearing in DEC that the AP600 uses.
Posted 11 July 2013 - 10:47 AM
Posted 11 July 2013 - 10:55 AM
Posted 11 July 2013 - 12:06 PM
I don't know what the current version of Tak align shows. However the one that I have exactly matches the polarscope reticle in my NJP. All I do is level the bubble level (Which has to be calibrated correctly, that is a one time operation) and then put polaris where Tak align shows it. That's all. It's a 2 minute process and you are aligned for imaging.
Even in the event that the reticle looked slightly different all you care about is the hour angle of polaris. Once you get that from Tak align you are good to go.
The tak reticles AFAIK are all the same concept. The bubble level on the RA axis makes it so that you don't have to level the tripod.
All this talk about the NJP makes me want to take mine out of storage:)
Posted 11 July 2013 - 05:40 PM
Ah.. well I really can't see what Tak provides that AP does not... and AP is cheaper. Better support. Lower depreciation. US company. The only downside is that some of their mounts have a waiting list. I believe no more Mach1's till 2014.
I prefer Japanese designs over US. And that is the problem, AP mounts need support and Takahashi mounts do not. As far as depreciation, these are not financial instruments--I would recommend stocks if you want to invest. Which makes it rather a moot point as the mount will last a lifetime and I really don't care what I would get for it in an estate sale, if you claim about depreciation is even true.
Posted 11 July 2013 - 09:33 PM
Tim - regarding wear and tear - the NJP is a truly ancient design, its original incarnation came out in 1979. That said, they don't really wear out. There are some cases where the bearings need replacement due to corrosion but that's not terribly common.
See this post on UncensoredTakGroup from April 2012 - http://tech.groups.y...p/message/58831
"Well, I bit the bullet and sent the mount, all 50 lbs of it, to TNR. Art called me a few days later and informed me they had found the trouble. The mounting block bearings on the RA had rust spots. The mount should be coming back soon, I trust in tip- top shape."
So much for "Tak mounts not needing support." I really suggest you join UncensoredTakGroup and search for all the potential issues on the NJP. I'm quoting from an email sent to me by Bill Dean, it would answer some of your concerns.
I've always been a big fan of the NJP mount. The half dozen or so I've had experience with were work horse instruments but I don't think anyone I know has kept one around. Everyone seems to have moved on to a PME, A-P 1200, or ASA mount. Hard to say what age brings but I suspect nothing terrible in the case of the NJP as they aren't exactly known for slewing around wildly all night.
I doubt there would be an issue with gears just turning away while tracking. The issues with wear typically present themselves after a good deal of high speed sewing with a heavy load or more often after getting banged around in transport and setup and teardown. Given the usage, I'd think it would be a pretty safe bet.
For $5500 I would really suggest go find a used Mach1 (you really have no choice because you can't buy a new Mach1 till 2014). You can get a Mach1 with a saddle, weights, and ADATRI for around $5500. You'd still need a tripod, so the cost would be slightly more than the NJP. Do note that the Mach1 came out in 2007.. so even a used one will not be that old.
The Mach1 may not carry as much as the NJP on paper, but it is a much more modern mount. I don't know if this is valuable to you - but you cannot command GoTo slews from the Tak handpad (it is a simple directional handpad), you need a PC or tablet to do that.
Note that the NJP is 70lb rated, the Mach1 is 45lb rated. However there's a guy here who claims a Mach1 can carry 100lb for visual. And the Mach1 has worm wheels that are the same size as those on the NJP.
I am not very sure of the Tak ratings because Jerry Lodriguss says the EM-200 is overloaded with a C11 - the EM-200 is 35lb rated, the C11 weighs 27lb, so.... it seems Tak weight ratings aren't as reliable as AP's.
Note that I am not claiming the Mach1 has a comparable weight rating to the NJP - I do not think so. What I am claiming is that they aren't as far apart as the on-paper ratings suggest. That said I'd never put more than 40lb on my Mach1.
On the other hand, if you can bargain the NJP seller down to $4.5K range, that's an extra $1000 over a used Mach1, and in that case the NJP would be worthwhile. The Tak wood and metal tripods are 250lb rated, so whatever tripod that is, isn't worth very much. I would not pay more than $4.5K considering that they can sell for $4K.