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Are we in a mount revolution?

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#51 mmalik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:23 AM

The only things that can really bring down the costs are mass production (not going to happen with premium equipment), new manufacturing techniques, cheaper materials (which is certainly not the current trend especially when you look at aluminum), and cheaper components (less expensive drive systems, encoders and other off-the-shelf components).


I feel that things that bring down the costs are already starting to happen; yes they may not be premium but that's how innovation happens, cheap and simple. My point being today's premium will NOT remain premium if things progressed the way they seem to be progressing with today’s so called 'non-premium' mounts. Non-premium production is what's driving the revolution, not the premium. Premium just can’t afford to try innovation in quick repetitive cycles the way non-premium can. And yes, premium eventually will benefit from non-premium experimentation and research.


Non-premium production is which lends itself to trying new things in quick production cycles and same goes for the buyers of non-premium products who make those products expendable.


To use a recent example of one of one of your customers who started off with $5K budget but ended up with or will end up with around $30K by the time all is said and done with premium purchase. Now that purchase is not expendable. Hypothetically speaking, had he spent what he originally planned he wouldn't think twice making his next purchase in few years for the next big thing. Such expendability is what drives a revolution and innovation in my opinion on both ends, manufacturing and consumption. Regards
 

#52 mmalik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:32 AM

...use whatcha got and don't worry too much about whatcha ain't got! :smirk:


I ain't got much (equipment I mean); would like to experiment with innovation (non-premium) without ending up having nothing left. :grin:
 

#53 Per Frejvall

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:37 AM

Direct drive is the mount inevitability. It's too spendy now, but will be THE way to produce a very good mount. Once the cost comes down out of the stratosphere, mounts in the CGE Pro/LX850/Losmandy Titan class will become extinct and before that, AP, Bisque, etc will have to abandon the worm gear for high torque motors and absolute encoders.

Replacing mounts like the Atlas won't happen anytime soon as I doubt that direct drive will be that inexpensive, but eventually, it'll happen.

It is an exciting time!

David


I think you are 100 percent correct. But it will take time and the prices need to come down.

/per
 

#54 mmalik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:38 AM

At this time the only innovative low end mounts are coming from iOptron.


Tend to agree; premium producers could learn from the trend before innovation surpasses them, in sales volume and quality. Regards
 

#55 mmalik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 02:44 AM

In a listing of innovative mounts, neither the AVX or Mach1 belong.


May be not innovation, but they belong to the revolution, especially AVX. Regards
 

#56 mmalik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 03:01 AM

What new technology does the AVX bring?


May be not new the technology per se, but surely creative and revolutionary. A welcome participant of the revolution. Regards
 

#57 mmalik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 03:08 AM

The Atlas AZ EQ-G which, unlike its Meade predecessor, actually does work quite well in either GEM or Alt-Az configuration


I see there Atlas 'Pro' AZ/EQ-G ($1,999.99); is that the same you mention? When was this released? Looks new release. Regards
 

#58 mmalik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 03:17 AM

It seems to me that we have $1,500 and under, $1,500-$4,000 and then the premium category... In each group there are deciding factors, such as total load, PEC/precision and of course functionality... in each price range there are going to be close calls among users who champion a particular company or style over another... But for those of us who are stepping up in our equipment and eyeing the next higher category it can become confusing why one particular mount for $3,999 or another for $5,000 is better or worse...


Later part of your statement is what I have been struggling with as well; putting mounts in such categories may not convey the right message or may not be as meaningful, and may even be contrary to the message—innovation doesn't have to be so called 'premium' or come at a premium price. Regards
 

#59 mmalik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 03:22 AM

Really the only revolutionary thing I see is direct drive.


Orlando, for those of us new to direct drive, can you explain in technical terms what that is? Regards
 

#60 orlyandico

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 03:31 AM

Here's the paper on the 18" CalPoly direct-drive (which uses SiTech by the way)

http://adsabs.harvar...SASS...27..123G

Very briefly, a direct drive mount is a mount which has no geartrain. Each axis is a massive motor that is directly driven. No geartrain equals no periodic error whatsoever, and very high slewing speed.

But you need precise motor control, because the motor is running at 1 revolution per day when tracking, and you need to maintain speed extremely accurately.

Hence you need to have relative or absolute encoders on both axes, to provide positional feedback.
 

#61 mmalik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 04:33 AM

PPS, for the spreadsheet, the LX850 PEC is currently PPEC


Gday Andrew, will update soon. Regards
 

#62 BPO

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 07:24 AM

Ed makes a very good point. Worm driven German EQ mounts have been around for 200 years. By that standard only ASA has anything revolutionary. Everybody else is using 200 year old technology.

It's very difficult to revolutionize the mount industry simply because volumes are too small to amortize development costs. Look at the AP1200. This design is almost 20 years old and still crushes the majority of conventional mounts in performance. It's 200 year old technology taken to almost as perfect as possible.

things like the ZEQ25 are only minor refinements to be honest.

Encoders have been around since the 1970s. Autoguiding as well.

Really the only revolutionary thing I see is direct drive. Dr Keller must be some sort of evil genius :grin:

Although lets not forget the CalPoly SiTech driven telescope is also direct drive.


Don't forget Astelco's extraordinary NTM-500.

NTM-500 review here on CN.

Certainly not for everybody (yet), but you may be surprised at just how many are in use by some seriously dedicated amateurs (and quite a few professionals).
 

#63 BKBrown

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 07:28 AM

The Atlas AZ EQ-G which, unlike its Meade predecessor, actually does work quite well in either GEM or Alt-Az configuration


I see there Atlas 'Pro' AZ/EQ-G ($1,999.99); is that the same you mention? When was this released? Looks new release. Regards


That would be the one (as seen in my picture above, sitting on a Losmandy HD tripod)...

Clear Skies,
Brian
 

#64 rkayakr

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 08:22 AM

Ed makes a very good point. Worm driven German EQ mounts have been around for 200 years. By that standard only ASA has anything revolutionary. Everybody else is using 200 year old technology.


Avalon mounts have belt drive with no worm.
 

#65 WadeH237

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:35 AM

What new technology does the AVX bring?


May be not new the technology per se, but surely creative and revolutionary. A welcome participant of the revolution. Regards


I still don't get it. Try as I might, I cannot think of a single creative or revolutionary feature on the AVX.

If you take a CG5 and improve the bearings, make the packaging of the motors more efficient and fix the PEC so that it can store the data (instead of requiring a reprogram on each session), you get an AVX. Oh, and I think that they put new motors on it.

These changes are very welcome and really improve the mount. Part of its appeal is that it takes one of the most reliable and ubiquitous low end mounts out there and makes incremental improvements across the board with proven technology - the very definition of evolutionary...not creative or revolutionary.
 

#66 EFT

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:39 AM

What new technology does the AVX bring?


May be not new the technology per se, but surely creative and revolutionary. A welcome participant of the revolution. Regards


I still don't get it. Try as I might, I cannot think of a single creative or revolutionary feature on the AVX.

If you take a CG5 and improve the bearings, make the packaging of the motors more efficient and fix the PEC so that it can store the data (instead of requiring a reprogram on each session), you get an AVX. Oh, and I think that they put new motors on it.

These changes are very welcome and really improve the mount. Part of its appeal is that it takes one of the most reliable and ubiquitous low end mounts out there and makes incremental improvements across the board with proven technology - the very definition of evolutionary...not creative or revolutionary.


The bearings are unchanged but you are correct about the rest.
 

#67 jrcrilly

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:45 AM

What new technology does the AVX bring?


May be not new the technology per se, but surely creative and revolutionary. A welcome participant of the revolution. Regards


I still don't get it.


Me, too. Yet another clone of an 80's Vixen mount is hardly revilutionary.
 

#68 WesC

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 05:17 PM

I don't think anything mentioned in this thread is truly revolutionary... even a different drive method, if its still a German equatorial mount, doing the same things a GEM does is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Even if it is a big improvement in the way it works.

The question "Is X revolutionary or evolutionary?" is the played out, over-hyped discussion of the decade. I really wish sometimes that folks would go back to school and learn the definition of these two words.

Like the venerable Inigo Montoya once said, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

;)
 

#69 Per Frejvall

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 05:52 PM

Don't get hung up on GEM vs Alt/Az. Direct drive is revolutionary because of basic principles, as is modern belt drive, as is the use of absolute encoders for augmentation, as is friction drive, as is harmonic drive.

Not necessarily because they are in fact new technologies; rather because they are modern and (hopefully) cost-effective implementations of technology, bringing it to us amateurs.

Evolutionary or revolutionary? Well, those are just different degrees of the same thing. Who decides when evolutionary trips over to revolutionary. Heck, it's just an "R" ;)

/per

/per
 

#70 mmalik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 05:57 PM

We are getting too much caught up in revolutionary/evolutionary business. The whole idea is that lot of new choices are becoming available and quite a few at more affordable prices, unlike ever before. Some of ‘em may just be creative new designs (e.g., ZEQ) and some may just be more affordable to the masses with improved performance (e.g., AVX), if not new technology. Let’s focus our efforts more on the substance of what's being discussed than trying to define terms and getting bogged down. I think most folks “get” the concept and the exciting (mount) times we are in. Regards
 

#71 Stew57

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 06:05 PM

Speaking of evolutionary/revolutionary, what ever happened to the Explore Scientific mount displayed a few years back? It sure looked nice but I bet it didn't come in at the target price.
 

#72 gdd

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 06:12 PM

Here's the paper on the 18" CalPoly direct-drive (which uses SiTech by the way)

http://adsabs.harvar...SASS...27..123G

Very briefly, a direct drive mount is a mount which has no geartrain. Each axis is a massive motor that is directly driven. No geartrain equals no periodic error whatsoever, and very high slewing speed.

But you need precise motor control, because the motor is running at 1 revolution per day when tracking, and you need to maintain speed extremely accurately.

Hence you need to have relative or absolute encoders on both axes, to provide positional feedback.



The direct drive motors may be revolutionary regards allowing for more instanteous response to feedback from the encoders, but I don't see them as essential. The short periodic errors associated with the worm are gone, but the daily periodic error similar to that associated with the worm wheel remains. The daily error I am sure can be (and probably is) removed by software calibrating against a standard. I think the revolution is that the encoders can be thought of as bolt on precision that does not depend the resources of just the small amateur astomomy industry. If multiple industries require increasingly precise encoders, the size of the combined markets may allow for declining costs and increasing performance like we have seen in digital cameras and computers.

Gale
 

#73 jrbarnett

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 11:13 PM

I think that it's also worth noting that capacity is the manufacturer's claimed capacity. There is no standard rating method for measuring mount capacity. I can promise you that a Mach 1 has a much higher payload capacity than a G-11 or CGE, each of which are rated by their manufacturer as having 60# of capacity, whereas the Mach 1 claims only 45# capacity.

Regards,

Jim
 

#74 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 12:54 AM

I think that it's also worth noting that capacity is the manufacturer's claimed capacity. There is no standard rating method for measuring mount capacity. I can promise you that a Mach 1 has a much higher payload capacity than a G-11 or CGE, each of which are rated by their manufacturer as having 60# of capacity, whereas the Mach 1 claims only 45# capacity.

Regards,

Jim


One thing to add on the mount capacity, the LX850 is rated for 90 lbs, and it looks like that holds very easily for visual and astrophotography. I am running over 80 lbs with no problems at all. I am back home in New Mexico and will be loading up the LX850 tomorrow. I looks like I will have at least 7 days of good weather, heh heh heh...
 

#75 blueman

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 02:43 AM

All I need is a mount that works well all the time and is able to work with any software I have. Make it easy to work on too and it is a real winner.
That is why I vote for the AP mount, all the above is true.
Blueman
 






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