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Are we in a mount revolution?

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#1 mmalik

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 06:47 AM

We seem to be in a mount revolution or is it just me that thinks that way? All of a sudden there is some flurry of activity on the mount horizon with new mounts either already out or coming soon. Choices seem to be growing day by day. Let’s get the discussion started; table below is just a primer (corrections welcome!).


What does this revolution mean for old contenders and new players? I feel mount playing field is going to get leveled at a different level, i.e., more affordable level I mean than anticipated which is a good thing.


Let’s keep the discussion focused on mounts accessible to large majority of astronomers instead of getting into the hypotheticals of tens of $K figure mounts.


Then there are other ramifications; in the modern era of ever evolving mounts, does it even make sense to make one time/lifelong investment in a mount? Is a new norm to invest in something that will get you by for few years and then put yourself in a new one every few years or so.


Mount technology is evolving, from metallurgy & mechanics to electronics (encoders getting cheaper/affordable); do old rules even apply to such decision making? Who knows the best you buy today will be obsolete in a year or so at the pace things are moving? Are mounts becoming more expendable? Are we to adopt more of a PC model where every so often, whether you like it or not, you are bound to upgrade or ye be left in the dust.


What does this mean for already struggling ones like Meade with inventories like LX850; did they miss the boat? What does this mean for previously successful ones like Astro-phisics, are they to worry? What does this mean for new comers; will they be big boys on the block?


Then there are international ramifications, US, Italian, Chinese, etc. Who will win in the end, the price and the quality battle?


Last but not least, is astrophotography driving all this; it has to be. Photo astronomy future looks bright!


Note: I have kept the list limited to not blow it out of proportion; we can grow it as we go. Let me know if I have missed any significant NEW ones?

IMPORTANT: Tripod/pier weights are not included. Focus on ‘Weight of Head’; total weight is just my way of simply adding everything up with the exception of tripod/base to get an idea of the mass.

Posted Image
 

#2 rkayakr

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 09:47 AM

New mounts by Avalon:
M-zero - $4800
Linear Fast Reverse - $5910
M-Uno Fast Reverse - $7100

Of these I think that the Linear Fast Reverse is the most interesting.
 

#3 EFT

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 09:58 AM

Astrophotography is largely the driving force. However, remote imaging is a very important separate factor in that regard. But in the end, the availability of new technology and lower prices for existing technology have a lot to do with the products that are becoming available. From a business prospective, the rule is innovate or die.
 

#4 WadeH237

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:44 AM

We are in a wonderful time for all parts of amateur astronomy. The options available for telescopes and cameras is changing just as fast as it is for mounts.

In looking at your list in this context, I would say that the interesting mounts are the ZEQ25, CEM60 and the GM1000HPS. They each bring something to the table that wasn't there before.

The AVX is essentially an incremental update to the CG5. The Mach1 is a conventional GEM, extremely well executed. The HDX110 is very similar (if not related to) the CGE Pro.

I would add to your list the EQ6 Pro and the LX-850. I would have also suggested the LX80, except that it's been discontinued. If it had lived up to expectations, it would have been a game changer in its market segment.

Yup. It's a great time to be an amateur astronomer.
 

#5 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:54 AM

We seem to be in a mount revolution or is it just me that thinks that way? All of a sudden there is some flurry of activity on the mount horizon with new mounts either already out or coming soon. Choices seem to be growing day by day. Let’s get the discussion started; table below is just a primer (corrections welcome!).


What does this revolution mean for old contenders and new players? I feel mount playing field is going to get leveled at a different level, i.e., more affordable level I mean than anticipated which is a good thing.


Let’s keep the discussion focused on mounts accessible to large majority of astronomers instead of getting into the hypotheticals of tens of $K figure mounts.


Then there are other ramifications; in the modern era of ever evolving mounts, does it even make sense to make one time/lifelong investments in mounts? Is a new norm to invest in something that will get you by for few years and then put yourself in a new one every few years or so.


Mount technology is evolving, from metallurgy to electronics (encoders getting cheaper/affordable); do old rules even apply to such decision making? Who knows the best you buy today will be obsolete in a year or so at the pace things are moving? Are mounts becoming more expendable? Are we to adopt more of a PC model where every so often, whether you like it or not, you are bound to upgrade or ye be left in the dust.


What does this mean for already struggling ones like Meade with inventories like LX850; did they miss the boat? What does this mean for previously successful ones like Astro-phisics, are they to worry? What does this mean for new comers; will they be big boys on the block?


Then there are international ramifications, US, Italian, Chinese, etc. Who will win in the end, the price and the quality battle?


Last but not least, is astrophotography driving all this; it has to be. Photo astronomy future looks bright!


Note: I have kept the list limited to not blow it out of proportion; we can grow it as we go. Let me know if I have missed any significant NEW ones?

IMPORTANT: Tripod/pier weights are not included. Focus on ‘Weight of Head’; total weight is just my way of simply adding everything up with the exception of tripod/base to get an idea of the mass.


Curious how the LX850 is not on your table, yet it is selling well and it is an extremely capable mount. I highly doubt Meade has missed the boat at this end of the mount universe. And those people who are not considering the LX850? Too bad, you are missing out on a great, well built mount.

Also curious even the CGEPro is not in the table.

Astrophotography is certainly driving things, though it is not for everyone and there are many added costs and a learning curve in the process. Of course one should not ignore the video astronomy revolution which I think is very real and does not require the sophistication of the Mach1GTO, GM1000HPS, or even the LX850 or CGEPro.

I think the bigger change is things are moving away rapidly, it seems, from fork mount telescopes to GEMS. One of the driving forces is many good optics/OTAs are easily outliving their old fork based electronic mounts and need a new home. In comes the GEM. Right now my LX200 (22 years old) is doing very well, but I can see the day it would die and then I would need a new mount for my 10" SCT with excellent optics.
 

#6 Per Frejvall

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:08 AM

Yes we are.

As Ed puts it: "Innovate or die". I strongly believe that. Just having great mechanics and nicely machined parts is simply not enough any more. Technologies that I find interesting are:

Belt drive
Not new, but definitely maturing rapidly. The Avalons are belt drive. Bisque, 10Micron and many others now have belt-driven first stage reducers.

Friction drive
The Gemini GF-53 didn't really hit us. The Mesu 200 has to a larger extent. I don't know what else is out there but the technology is interesting. Does it wear down? Is this a technology that will be warranted when direct drive becomes more available?

Encoders
Definitely a must in a modern mount. PE is virtually lost as is lots of minor imperfections in the drive train. With modeling unguided imaging may result. They better off if they are designed in from the beginning, not bolted on. If properly implemented, they remove all need for homing and the mount can never get lost.

Direct drive
It will be a few years before this matures into easily handled products, but I think it will eventually get into all mounts. It is simply the way to go. The Skyvision mounts look interesting.

Simplicity and integration
Today's early versions of advanced encoder technology, sky modeling and direct drive motors mostly looks like bolt-ons to me. The right direction must be integration and simplicity in handling. The Starlock system is a good effort (not that I know for sure it works, but still). That is the kind of integration that will win in the end, just as long as it doesn't prove too wrapped up to be functional.

Standards
ASCOM is a great initiative! Just think of how it would be without it. In the same manner, I would like to see more standardized solutions for mount communication, modeling and control. Imagine if all sky models were in the same format and you could the software package that you like to analyse your mount's performance, regardless of brand.

Slightly more than two cents, but still...

Why don't you add Mesu to the list and put "Absolute, 12Mticks" on the GM1000HPS.

/per
 

#7 orlyandico

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:39 AM

ASA has both direct drive and encoders.

And it's not on this list??

Arguably ASA has the most revolutionary technologies in a single mount.
 

#8 MikeML

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:20 PM


And those people who are not considering the LX850? Too bad, you are missing out on a great, well built mount.


Maybe it is. Honestly, I haven't seen anything that impressive from a LX850 yet. Still waiting.
 

#9 mmalik

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:34 PM

ASA has both direct drive and encoders.

And it's not on this list??

Arguably ASA has the most revolutionary technologies in a single mount.


I am finding mostly direct drive ones; do you have link for encoded ones? Boy they are pricey; only one under $10K seems ASA DDM60 Direct Drive and that's even WITHOUT CW shaft; is that right? Who sells mounts without shafts; at least mainstream trends are different. Is OPT the main source for these in the US? Regards
 

#10 Adam S

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:35 PM

I think Charles Riddel is doing amazing things in the visual arena with the Hitch series. As you noted, using physics, geometry and metallurgy to make simple yet sophisticated altaz mounts that will set new standards.
 

#11 mmalik

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 02:36 PM

Of these I think that the Linear Fast Reverse is the most interesting.


Will look into it. New for me; didn't know much about 'em. Regards
 

#12 GIR

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:25 PM

ASA has both direct drive and encoders.

And it's not on this list??

Arguably ASA has the most revolutionary technologies in a single mount.


It's so fanny that Per happen to "forget" ASA from his innovations list. He mentions even Skyvision but not ASA :grin:
ASA is by far the most innovative mount manufacturer at the moment. But it just happens to be a direct competitor to 10Micron ;)

ASA mounts
 

#13 hungerford

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:29 PM

The Mesu 200 is a direct drive mount and the tracking is superb.
It is manufactured in Holland so it could be a expensive to import but it is a great mount and the manufacturer always answers his phone or emails very promptly.
Vince
 

#14 GIR

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:34 PM

Direct drive
It will be a few years before this matures into easily handled products...
/per


Give us a break Per, you're starting to be way too bias with your 10Micron campaign. :smirk:
 

#15 GIR

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:36 PM

The Mesu 200 is a direct drive mount and the tracking is superb.
It is manufactured in Holland so it could be a expensive to import but it is a great mount and the manufacturer always answers his phone or emails very promptly.
Vince


Mesu is a friction drive mount ...but a very nice mount anyway.
 

#16 GIR

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:55 PM

only one under $10K seems ASA DDM60 Direct Drive and that's even WITHOUT CW shaft; is that right? Who sells mounts without shafts;


Never seen ASA mounts been sold without the CW shaft

ASA DDM60 delivery
 

#17 mmalik

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:55 PM

Why don't you add Mesu to the list


Lot of good info; most new for me. Would you have link for relevant Mesu EQ mount/specs. Regards
 

#18 GIR

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:58 PM

Why don't you add Mesu to the list


Lot of good info; most new for me. Would you have link for relevant Mesu EQ mount/specs. Regards


Mesu 200
 

#19 Per Frejvall

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:05 PM

ASA has both direct drive and encoders.

And it's not on this list??

Arguably ASA has the most revolutionary technologies in a single mount.


Agreed, ASA needs to be on the list.

As for having both encoders and direct drive; can you find a mount that has direct drive and no encoders? ;)

/per
 

#20 Per Frejvall

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:11 PM

GIR, I think you have to cool down a bit. I didn't forget the ASA mount per se as everyone knows that they are "the" direct drive mount company right now. I didn't mention EQ8 either, in its own right a modern low price blow to the market.

I mentioned Skyvision because I think most people haven't heard of it. Simple as that. And it shouldn't go on the list because it is way too expensive.

So, please stop bashing now.

/p
 

#21 GIR

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:11 PM

As for having both encoders and direct drive; can you find a mount that has direct drive and no encoders? ;)

/per


Why on earth would you want something like that ? All ASA mounts have both direct drive and very high resolution encoders (way better than 10Micron ;)) + absolutely fantastic software. It's a combination very difficult to beat.
 

#22 GIR

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:15 PM

GIR, I think you have to cool down a bit. I didn't forget the ASA mount per se as everyone knows that they are "the" direct drive mount company right now. I didn't mention EQ8 either, in its own right a modern low price blow to the market.

I mentioned Skyvision because I think most people haven't heard of it. Simple as that. And it shouldn't go on the list because it is way too expensive.

So, please stop bashing now.

/p


Per, I think it should be you to cool down a bit ;)...and there is no bashing on anything just trying to put things straight.
 

#23 mmalik

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:17 PM

Also curious even the CGEPro is not in the table.


No big secret, just a startup list. GEPro isn't on the list just like iEQ30/45 aren't; focus being NEWer technologies (AVX being on the list). May get added to the list in due time; and folks are free to add/make their own lists, open and free discussion. Will chime in on LX850, it has a class of its own. Regards
 

#24 Per Frejvall

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:18 PM

Yes, that was my whole point: you cannot make a direct drive mount without encoders on the shafts.

And yes, I know that ASA's Renishaws are 67 Mticks encoders and 10Micron uses encoders with only 12 Mticks, but this thread was not about that, nor does it make the one mount five times better.

/p
 

#25 Per Frejvall

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:21 PM

Just read my post again and realize that it doesn't campaign for anything.
 






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