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Time for a mount upgrade (3 to 4 months)

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#1 Hilmi

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:12 AM

I have come to the conclusion that I have enough frustrations in my life and would like to remove imaging mount from that list. So I am upgrading within the next few months ( just enough time to put aside some money). My prime use for the mount is imaging. I rarely ever look through the eye-piece. Last time I did that was maybe 6 months ago. Also my club has a 20" obsession so if I really wanted to do visual I could always use that.

So here are my priorities.
1) Price (yes, even buyers of premium mounts don't have bottomless wallets).
2) Imaging capability
3) I hate cable snags and messy wirring, with my current set up this is inevitable and I would like to do away with that.
4) Ease of field set up
5) Repeatable performance when permanently mounted on Pier. I would like to walk upstairs and roll of the roof of my observatory, power on the equipment and come back downstairs and operate it from the comfort of my TV room. I hate it when I have to go back upstairs to physically tweak something just because I hadn't use the mount for 2 weeks.
6) A company that is easy to deal with for support when living outside the US and Europe

The competitors are
1) Paramount MX
2) Mach 1 GTO
3) ????


PLEASE DO NOT SUGGEST MEADE, CELESTRON OR ORION, FIRST OF ALL THEY ARE NOT IN THE CLASS I AM LOOKING AT AND SECOND, THEY DONT SELL TO COUNTRIES WHERE THEY DONT HAVE A DEALERSHIP. IF THEY DONT WANT TO SELL TO ME, I DONT WANT TO BUY FROM THEM.

#2 saadabbasi

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:21 AM

Any particular reason why you didn't put the AP1100 on that list?

#3 Hilmi

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:31 AM

Don't know, but how does it stack up price wise once you add all the missing bits?

#4 GiiGii

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:56 AM

Avalon M-UNO
10µ GM1000
ASA DDM85

#5 orlyandico

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:06 AM

Used AP900. There's one on the mart for 5500 now. Same seller is also selling a Mach1 for 4500 and 1200 for 6500.

#6 Wouter D'hoye

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:23 AM

Hi,

PM MX is definately something that fits your bill. I'm quite happy with mine. What equipment are you going to put on that mount? How much weight?

Other options that come to mind:
ASA DDM65 (DDM85 is a lot more expensive)
10µ GM1000HPS
AP1100 (or ap900 but that still has external cables)

Kind regards,

Wouter.

#7 orlyandico

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:37 AM

Do note that if you're buying AP new, there aren't any Mach1's available till sometime in 2014.

Still if its a fixed installation PMX looks good for the price and the payload.

#8 R Botero

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:35 AM

Used AP900. There's one on the mart for 5500 now. Same seller is also selling a Mach1 for 4500 and 1200 for 6500.


+1 :cool:

I second that option. Unless you want a brand new mount the AP900/1200s are going relatively cheap in the used market. I went down that route a month or so ago after agonising over a new mount. AP mounts have proven technology and mine has certainly not disappointed (PE 3.7" ptp raw - corrected to <1" with a few rounds of PEMPro).

Roberto

#9 Hilmi

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:00 AM

Payload is currently rather modest coming in at bellow 15 Kg, but I believe in room to grow. I am for example contemplating getting a rotator in the future as well as a second camera for tandem imaging. I'm thinking of aiming at a price point around the $11,000 total including shipping to the middle east. I figure that's the most I can spend after selling all the stuff I don't need.

#10 tomcody

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 11:44 AM

Hilmi,
I beleive it is between a AP 1100 or Paramount MX ( with an AP Mach 1 as a low end choice, no room to grow).
So , if it were me, I would base the decision on support, I would call each company and discuss support to your location with them. I know AP is very good at phone support, I am not sure about Bisque Bros? last time I had a problem with a software licence not renewing, it took three months and multiple e-mails to get anything done, even then it wasn't right.
Rex

#11 blueman

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 11:52 AM

I Think that the AP1100 or the MX would be great mounts. I have not seen the AP1100 in person but I have seen the MX, it was very nice.

The MX is a nicely made mount by not that light and it is one piece as I recall. Plus it is not a stand alone Go-To in case that is important to you. Alignment is time consuming if you set up each time, but not terrible.

The AP900 used is an excellent choice too if you can find one in your area. It is always nice to pick up a mount rather than ship it if you can. You get to see it and all before you buy. But shipping is not a deal breaker.

The Mach 1 is a great mount but it is small. I think you need more than that in case you decide to upgrade other things in the future.
Blueman

#12 WesC

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:33 PM

I agree AP1100 or MX, Mach 1 is too small and low capacity.
I'm on the list for the AP1100 myself, its lighter, can be disassembled and transported easier and can run without a PC.

#13 Hilmi

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:45 PM

Living so far from where most second hand sellers live its a risky proposal buying used. I have been hearing some issues with regards to slow paramount support. That's a shame considering their mount offers a very neatly integrated imaging solution. It even provides power to the camera from the saddle. I hate cable clutter. AP 1100 on the other hand would cost me as much as a second car once I add all needed accessories but they do have legendary reliability.

#14 jrbarnett

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:55 PM

Hilmi:

I would keep and eye out for a nice used AP900 GTO. Many folks with them are upgrading to the replacement, the AP1100, and the price on used AP900s is coming down as a result.

I recently bought an old AP900 QMD (pre-GOTO) and seeing the softening of the used AP900 GTO prices am already considering selling it and replacing it with an AP900 GTO.

Regards,

Jim

#15 orlyandico

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 06:52 PM

Hilmi,

I'm in Singapore and bought a 2nd hand Mach1. I'm even farther than Oman. So I wouldn't worry too much about support for 2nd-hand mounts.

AP will still sell you parts so long as you provide the serial number of the mount and controller.

I'd really go with a used 900GTO. The one on a-mart cost as much as the Mach1 I bought! (I feel a bit miffed, but not that miffed, because the 900 is more mount than I currently need - or will need in the mid-term future, and weight is a consideration because I don't have a permanent setup).

#16 WadeH237

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:02 PM

I'm very happy withg my AP, so my first thought is to recommend the Mach1, AP900 or AP1100, based on budget and how much you plan to have it carry.

Since you are outside the US, have you also considered 10micron or ASA?

In any case, I second the suggestion that you call each company and ask about how support works for your area.

-Wade

#17 Hilmi

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 03:34 AM

Orlyandico,

I saw that add, thing is I still haven't pulled together the cash. Second thing is he specifically says he will not sell outside the USA.

I'll look at the 10micron and ASA mounts, thing is there is limited exposure to about these mounts on the internet compared to the American products. You get a few reviews here and there but not enough to form a solid opinion.

#18 orlyandico

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 03:57 AM

There might be a company that allows you to ship to a US address, then they will forward to your country.

Such companies certainly existed in my home country (Philippines) and they also exist where I currently live.. that's how I get around all the "CONUS only" ads.

#19 R Botero

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 07:32 AM

Try MyUS.com. I'm using them and find them very reliable. I have no connection with the company or interest in them. Just know of a few users (amateur astronomers) that use them here in the UK.
Roberto

#20 Hilmi

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 04:54 AM

10 micron 1000 HPS looking good on the information I found so far.

#21 orlyandico

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 04:59 AM

Hilmi, yes, it has dual absolute encoders. US price is greater than the Mach1, it has the same payload, and weighs more. But for you, being in Oman, you don't pay 19% MwST - same as US - and the shipping should be less. So it is probably cheaper than a Mach1 for you.

#22 Hilmi

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 11:43 AM

The encoders were a major attraction. It seems this is where the future of imaging mounts is headed. I also read that it handles changes in payload very well. Such changes do not corrupt the sky model. This is good since my camera is heavy enough to cause a shift in balance as I focus. I know this shouldn't count, but it looks pretty too.

#23 dawziecat

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:31 PM

Hi Hilmi:

Seems to me you have have fought the good fight with your G11. I am unsure if I will ever really know why I had so much trouble with mine and I remain unsure too that it was really the mount's fault. I am pretty sure it was NOT the fault of Gemini 2. I came to love Gemini 2!

I just this past week sent my 50% deposit off to A-P for the 1100. I can taste it's getting close now! :)

There were moments over the past several months when I regretted not getting a Mach 1. I could have had one off-the-shelf from A-P as late as late this March. I decided against it as I wanted the extra reassurance of the increased capacity of the 1100.

Then I dumped my AT8 (never used!) in favour of an AT10.
Then a 60lb 6" refractor and STL camera.

The 1100's capacity allowed me to do this. The Mach 1, debatably perhaps, would have been marginal.

It's been a long wait. I've lost an entire summer season and still have some waiting to do. But I'm glad I forwent the Mach 1 in favour of the 1100. The option of the encoders remains open too but they are so fiercely expensive, I doubt I will ever upgrade to them.

Good luck with whatever choice you make.

#24 Hilmi

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 02:04 PM

You see after so much struggle I came to the conclusion there is nothing wrong with the G11 other than the fact that it isn't well suited for the focal length I work at. Basically it will do very long focal lengths if you are mechanically inclined and have the time to tune it. But for out of the box performance I would never recommend it for higher than 1000 mm. As long as you stick to those focal lengths. It's a beauty to work with.

I had to make a choice. Dump the scope or dump the mount. I picked the mount since I like longer focal lengths.

#25 Per Frejvall

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:19 AM

I'd say a GM2000HPS is a strong candidate if you want some payload capacity...

/er






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