Jump to content


Photo

What's a good tracking mount for a TeleVue NP-127?

  • Please log in to reply
23 replies to this topic

#1 jamesastro

jamesastro

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 48
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2012
  • Loc: California

Posted 13 October 2013 - 09:58 PM

Hey Folks,

I currently own the following equipment:
• TeleVue NP-127 refractor
• DiscMount DM-6 mount and tripod
• BinoVue
• Lots of Ethos eyepieces

I absolutely love this setup. It's simple, portable, and great for star parties. However, I'm thinking about buying a tracking mount for star parties where I don't wish to be moving the telescope manually all the time. I might even be interested in some simple astrophotography.

What would you recommend for my setup? Here is my criteria:
• Easy to use
• High quality
•Suitable for star parties and basic astrophotography

For now let's ignore price, and just focus on the priorities above. What do you think? What would you get?

Thanks so much,

James

#2 snommisbor

snommisbor

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2009
  • Loc: Cedar Park, TX

Posted 13 October 2013 - 11:15 PM

I had a CGEM for 3 years and it was easy to use until I got my TAK EM200. It is a great mount for AP but whenever I want to do just visual it is pretty easy to set up. Just do a quick polar align then sync to a star. I use the sky safari with sky fi so I can run my mount with my ipad wirelessly. It is a clean simple setup . It will work with most mounts but what I like about the TAK compared to the CGEM is I dont have to do the 2 star align and the add a Calib star. Just point to a star sync and I am done. Of course the TAK is a little pricier than the CGEM but it is a lifetime type mount for me.

#3 tomcody

tomcody

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1756
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2008
  • Loc: Titusville, Florida

Posted 14 October 2013 - 02:45 PM

I suggest you look at a Losmandy GM-8, either with digital drive or Gemini II computer system. Why? it will balance with two 7 lb weights ( maybe even one). It is equiped with clutches so if you want to push it around, just adjust the clutches to move and push away, when you let go, it will just track from there. If you get a Gemini II model, you can also run it as goto if you tighten the clutches.
The tripod has an added bonus, if you get a Losmandy to G11 tripod adapter plate fron DiskMount, and either the Diskmount 8" extension or the Losmandy 12" extension, you will have a lightweight tripod suitable for the DM6.
Rex

#4 jamesastro

jamesastro

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 48
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2012
  • Loc: California

Posted 15 October 2013 - 01:44 AM

Thanks for the replies.

The Tak EM200 sounds great because of its high quality, and its easy polar alignment.

The Losmandy GM-8 sounds great because of its lower price, lower weight, push-to capability, and compatibility with the DiscMount.

Hmm, two excellent choices. I hate it when that happens.

:)

#5 Scott Rose

Scott Rose

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 727
  • Joined: 20 Apr 2008
  • Loc: beachwood ohio

Posted 15 October 2013 - 06:55 AM

I have my NP12is mounted on a Tak EM200M. I use sky safari with it. Works flawlessly. Tak Polar Alignment is straightforward, quick, and easy. Mount is extremely quiet.

#6 tomcody

tomcody

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1756
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2008
  • Loc: Titusville, Florida

Posted 15 October 2013 - 09:17 AM

Some pros and cons about the EM200 (as a former owner)
Pros:
Solid steady mount.
Good for short focus AP up to maybe 1500mm fl, but not for automated or remote operation.
good polar scope (fast and easy to use if you learn the tricks)
cons:
quick depreciation mine went from about $7K new to $4K in about three years.
No pec, if there is any wear in the gears? no way to correct it.
dumb controller, no pec, no parking , no modeling, very basic.
NO factory software support, depends on 3d party drivers like chuck's free ascom driver to work , or programs like Sky Safari, The Sky, Starry Nights etc to work with a computer.
heavy mount head (mine weighted over 41 lb with a saddle installed.
Made like a Faberge egg, covered in green paint that chips easy and no place to lift it (no handles) need to place it on something soft to avoid cosmetic damage.
For the price (new) of a EM200, you can get a Astro Physics Mach 1, a much better made mount with excellent software, hardware, support and re-sale value.

I am so happy, that I sold my EM200 and bought a Losmandy GM-8.
GM-8 pros and cons:
pros:
light weight head is about 21 lb
light weight solid tripod about 15lb
all surfaces are anodized, no chipping paint all the time.
counter weights are $50 not $200 like the EM200
Almost all parts available by shopping cart on line.
clutches are great to use as push around scope.
mount is about half (maybe 1/3d ) the price as EM200.
cons:
none.

Note, some would ask why I even bought a EM200?
Well the first time I tried to buy a mount, I waited five years on an AP waiting list for a mount they finally discontinued and never was offered for sale to me.
The second time (this time for an AP Mach 1) the waiting list was 18months to two years and I did not want to wait that long, and at that time the Losmandy gemni was in the I series and had some software issues, so I got a Tak mount as availability was "off the shelve" ship today. IMO, I should have waited!

#7 Skunky

Skunky

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 357
  • Joined: 16 Sep 2013

Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:46 AM

 

#8 NukenGeek

NukenGeek

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 110
  • Joined: 28 Dec 2006
  • Loc: Richland, WA

Posted 16 October 2013 - 01:03 AM

I've had very good results with a Vixen SXD mount modified with a NexSXD board. The Vixen is very good quality mechanically, and the NexSXD mod brings out its full performance potential. It's also relatively portable.

#9 Starhawk

Starhawk

    Space Ranger

  • *****
  • Posts: 5558
  • Joined: 16 Sep 2008
  • Loc: Tucson, Arizona

Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:00 AM

I've been using a CGEM in this role with the similar AP 130 EDFGT. It's like it was made for that scope. Extremely easy to use, accurate GOTO, surprisingly good tracking, runs all night off a 7 ah battery, and it has rock solid stability. It's my star party mount because it goes and does the job without complaint. The 2 star align + 4 cal star pointing model will have it accurately go to objects to fit in a 266x field of view.

It's really hard to beat for the price, and has a deep user base so parts, expertise, and help are available. From what I understand people are getting better results after Hypertuning, so there is upgrade potential as well.

-Rich

#10 Mapleton

Mapleton

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 525
  • Joined: 06 Dec 2009
  • Loc: United States

Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:20 AM

CGEM is a great mount. I was getting 10 min unguided exposures with my TV 102 a few nights ago.

#11 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20374
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:31 AM

No imaging - CG5-GT if you can still get one on clearance, or a VX.

Primarily visual with some imaging - Orion Atlas EQ-G.

Lifetime tracking mount for imaging or visual - A-P Mach 1 GTO.

Regards,

Jim

#12 dragonslayer1

dragonslayer1

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1025
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2012
  • Loc: SLC, UT

Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:47 AM

"CGEM is a great mount. I was getting 10 min unguided exposures with my TV 102 a few nights ago."
Really? and stars were round? thats phenominal, Kasey

#13 Mapleton

Mapleton

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 525
  • Joined: 06 Dec 2009
  • Loc: United States

Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:45 AM

"CGEM is a great mount. I was getting 10 min unguided exposures with my TV 102 a few nights ago."
Really? and stars were round? thats phenominal, Kasey


I had to go through an extensive alignment process but it was possible. The image wasnt 100 percent pinpoint but it was very close and close enough to consider r it a keeper. I'll post a photo later tonight to show you how close it was.

#14 dragonslayer1

dragonslayer1

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1025
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2012
  • Loc: SLC, UT

Posted 16 October 2013 - 12:22 PM

Thats awesome, I use a video cam and was looking to get 2 min unguided or there about, thank you.,
Kasey

#15 jamesastro

jamesastro

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 48
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2012
  • Loc: California

Posted 20 October 2013 - 06:25 PM

Wow this has been some helpful information.

Tomcody, thanks for comparing the Losmandy GM-8 vs the Tak EM200. Now I'm definitely leaning towards the Losmandy.

#16 jamesastro

jamesastro

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 48
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2012
  • Loc: California

Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:51 AM

Does anyone know if the Losmandy GM-8 can be used with SkyFi and an iPad?

#17 jamesastro

jamesastro

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 48
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2012
  • Loc: California

Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:59 AM

One more question: Do you think it would be faster to setup the Losmandy GM-8, or the Tak EM-200?

I get the impression that the EM-200 will win that contest, because of it's fast polar alignment.

#18 tomcody

tomcody

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1756
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2008
  • Loc: Titusville, Florida

Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:30 AM

Does anyone know if the Losmandy GM-8 can be used with SkyFi and an iPad?

If you look on the SkyFi website under supported mounts you will see the Gemini II listed ( it is sort of listed on the same line as some other mounts).
Rex

#19 tomcody

tomcody

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1756
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2008
  • Loc: Titusville, Florida

Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:32 AM

One more question: Do you think it would be faster to setup the Losmandy GM-8, or the Tak EM-200?

I get the impression that the EM-200 will win that contest, because of it's fast polar alignment.

Actually I think the new polar finder scope on the Losmandy is just as quick, maybe faster as you don't need to consult an app (as Polefinder in windows) to see all the offset settings on the polar scope that the EM200 has.
Rex

#20 snommisbor

snommisbor

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2009
  • Loc: Cedar Park, TX

Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:42 AM

Why do you need an app to polar align. It is real easy to do, just rotate so the correct date and time line up and make sure your level with the bubble level on the back and then just move the mount. Quick and easy. Then slew to a star and sync in Sky Safari and you are viewing.

#21 jamesastro

jamesastro

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 48
  • Joined: 17 Mar 2012
  • Loc: California

Posted 22 October 2013 - 02:12 AM

Assume for the moment that I'll go with the Tak EM-200.

Which Tak tripod would you recommend?

Model SE-M (medium)
Model SE-L (large)
Model SE-LL (even larger)

I'm 6'3" so my gut instinct tells me that the SE-LL would be good. However, I really don't know how high it will put the eyepiece. Do you have any idea how high the eyepiece might be for my NP-127 in the highest possible position (without pointing below the horizon obviously)?

#22 rgsalinger

rgsalinger

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 264
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2007
  • Loc: Carlsbad Ca

Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:25 AM

I've been using an iOptron iEQ45 for the past 18 months with my TV-127 with very good results. It's extremely fast to set up for a GEM, very lightweight and is just good enough to give me 5/10 minute subs when I take pictures with reasonably round stars. I bought it not for the price point but for the portability and automated setup - polar alignment and automatic balancing particularly. I'm surprised that no one else has suggested this mount so if I'm misreading the thread, apologies.
Rgrds-Ross

#23 snommisbor

snommisbor

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 931
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2009
  • Loc: Cedar Park, TX

Posted 22 October 2013 - 10:36 AM

Assume for the moment that I'll go with the Tak EM-200.

Which Tak tripod would you recommend?

Model SE-M (medium)
Model SE-L (large)
Model SE-LL (even larger)

I'm 6'3" so my gut instinct tells me that the SE-LL would be good. However, I really don't know how high it will put the eyepiece. Do you have any idea how high the eyepiece might be for my NP-127 in the highest possible position (without pointing below the horizon obviously)?


I'm 6'4" and I have the Large. It works great, most objects the eyepiece is below you and you can bend over not too far, but having the observing chair makes a huge difference, even if it is at Zenith I can view comfortably. And that is with a TEC 140 I think the 127 is shorter. But when I am viewing lower I can still view standing up and if it happens to be a little high I just rotate the whole focuser. But for me that is not very often.

#24 tomcody

tomcody

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1756
  • Joined: 06 Jul 2008
  • Loc: Titusville, Florida

Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:11 AM

The Takahashi America site:
web page
has all the tripod dimensions listed (the base of Dec axis dimension is about centerline of the scope when level, depending on your latitude ?).
There is also an adjustable metal tripod available.
Rex






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics