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#1 oo_void

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 03:13 PM

Getting this out of the way, I had almost all my gear stolen from my car a couple of weeks back. Thankfully, my home owners insurance will cover most of the replacement costs so I'm in the unique position of being able to start over from scratch. I'm set on the scope, another ES127 CF with a Moonlite, and will probably go the same route with eyepieces, but choice of a new mount is the biggest open decision.

I figure I have $5k tops for the mount. I do both AP and visual at remote sites so add portability to the requirements list. I used to have a CGEM and loved the software, so no debate on the Atlas vs. CGEM front. I also liked StarSense (yes, worked fine for me), so the low end option would probably be a new CGEM DX.

Next on the list would be a Losmandy G11, but what little I've seen of Gemini II in action worries me a bit. Always dreamed of a G11, but not sure I'd be a fan of the software now that I can really consider purchasing one.

Last on the list would probably be an EQ8 / HDX110, but I start to worry about portability. Orion doesn't have them at their shop yet so no chance to evaluate size first hand.

Any thoughts?

#2 Starhawk

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 03:20 PM

What's the EQ-8 class mount for if you have a CGEM?

BTW, under what circumstances did you car get broken into? That would be hard.

-Rich

#3 Mkofski

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 03:43 PM

I assume you are in a hurry for a new mount. If I were in your place now, I'd buy the used iOptron iEQ 45 in the classifieds for $1,000 and wait a month or 2 and get one of the new CEM60s for under $3,000. The CEM60 is more portable than any you listed and I'm impressed with iOptron's support. In the end you'd have a backup mount or have the iEQ45 to sell... yes, no StarSense.

Mike

#4 oo_void

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 03:51 PM

I'm a little leery of iOptron due to issues the Southern Skies guys had in trying to get iOptron mounts to work with Sky Safari. Don't know if that's the case now though, but long term support is still a concern. I've got a nice drawer full of what was once top of the line computer audio gear that now has no driver support.

#5 oo_void

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 03:56 PM

My dream mount would be an upgraded CGE with encoders that Celestron announces for immediate availability at NEAF this year, but alas ...

#6 dkb

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 04:30 PM

I'm a little leery of iOptron due to issues the Southern Skies guys had in trying to get iOptron mounts to work with Sky Safari. Don't know if that's the case now though, but long term support is still a concern. I've got a nice drawer full of what was once top of the line computer audio gear that now has no driver support.

I'm with Mike on this. The CEM60 is the way to go. Much lighter and higher quality the the CGEM. I have a CGEM now and plan to sell it to get the CEM60.

The SkyFi is listed as compatible with iOptron mounts.

#7 Mkofski

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 05:37 PM

Not aware of any problems now with SkyFi and iOptron mounts. It took a while to get it working with the, then new, zEQ25 but I'm not having any problems now.

I contacted iOptron support to ask for details on the protocol for the z25 because I wanted to help get Equinox Pro working with the z25. It took them only a few hours to provide the document.

Mike

#8 oo_void

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 07:56 PM

Alright, I'll add the CEM60 to the consideration list. Just concerned about investing with a newer vendor. I don't want to start a mount bashing thread, there have been way too many about every vendor imaginable (though those CEM60 slew stops sound nasty ;) ).

#9 Mkofski

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Posted 22 March 2014 - 08:19 PM

Alright, I'll add the CEM60 to the consideration list. Just concerned about investing with a newer vendor. I don't want to start a mount bashing thread, though those CEM60 slews sound nasty ;).


John,

The one mount I saw that had a very nasty slew sound is, like all the CEM60s out there now, on a preproduction unit. It's just being beta tested now. The noise isn't typical even in the beta test units.

IOptron isn't an old company but they have been at it a few years and seem to be both innovative and responsive to feedback from their users.

Good luck with whichever option you go with.

Mike

#10 dr.who

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 12:48 AM

You could also look for a used AP Mach1GTO on AM…

#11 oo_void

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 12:26 PM

You could also look for a used AP Mach1GTO on AM…


That would be my dream mount, but Mach 1's on the used market seem to be few and far between.

#12 Starhawk

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 03:08 PM

I'd look at this as a chance to totally rethink the observing equipment and try some new things. I'm not sure why Mkofski is so hard over on pushing the CEM60- there really isn't much of a record to go on yet, and I can't imagine you want to get into experimental gear you would likely end up replacing after that loss.

The Mach 1 GTO is an interesting suggestion since that would be a lifetime mount. My experience with the Chinese mounts isn't really leaving me hungering for more. They can be acceptable, sort of. They just haven't broken into awesome. The Losmandy Gemini ii saga was drawn out like you say, but I would point out new versions of that seem to have died out except for retelling of past events, and the hardware was always pretty solid.

-Rich

#13 Whichwayisnorth

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 03:41 PM

The Astrotech AT130, CEM60 (non-EC version) would be a great combo.

#14 bseltzer

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:47 PM

That would be my dream mount, but Mach 1's on the used market seem to be few and far between.


They seem to run in spurts. There was a veritable glut of them on AM just a month ago. I would not dismiss the option out of hand.

#15 snommisbor

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 08:53 PM

A TAK EM 200 would be a nice mount as well. What I went to after selling the CGEM and I knew I had moved up to a new level in mounts. The precision of even the safety nut on the counterweight bar was just smooth as silk.

#16 Raginar

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 10:47 PM

Yup, skip the expensive chinese mounts. There is a great deal on an Mi-250 right now. A Mach1 or even a G11 is a good investment. The American-made products hold the test of time... that way you don't have to buy another one or be disappointed when a manufacturer lets you down.

#17 oo_void

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 11:42 AM

After researching all weekend, I'm leaning towards the G11. I've seen all the horror stories from Himli and such but it looks like those cases can be attributed to what people think was a bad batch in late 2012. My real concern is durability with the G11. Packing up it the dark, am I going to break one if the motor housings? Durability was not an issue with the CGEM.

#18 Starhawk

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 12:32 PM

Do you tend to break things, or do they tend to last indefinitely in your care? Not all users are alike in that regard.

-Rich

#19 GolfSierra

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 12:37 PM

With a G11 be careful with the RA axis when packing it away for the night. The head is unbalanced and can swing quickly on axis and contact the base if the clutch is too loose. Just tighten the clutch knobs to prevent rotation when moving it on and off your tripod. I cracked a stepper board on a motor once but it was no big deal to replace, Losmandy has always had parts available for any version of a G11. The goto version is no different just don't be in a hurry between in and out of the storage case.

#20 Starhawk

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 12:42 PM

That's something nice about what AP did- those heads don't move by accident.

-Rich

#21 oo_void

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Posted 24 March 2014 - 04:45 PM

@GolfSierra, tightening the clutches before packing into the case was standard practice for me with the CGEM.

@StarHawk, if I could find a used Mach 1 for no more than $5500 I'd do it in a heartbeat. I'm very careful with my stuff though. I had just repainted my counterweight and touched up one small "marring" mark on the CGEM with flat-black before it was taken.

#22 urbanMark

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 01:19 AM

I can vouch for the G11 - I've had one for a long time now, and upgraded to G2 when that came out. Even with all the G2 development woes it was still a great mount - and now those appear to be behind us it is a serious contender at a bargain price compared to the other mounts in its class. I keep mine in a pelican case and find it as portable as can be expected.

Unlike the Asian made mounts, the G-11 is not treated by the manufacture like a piece of "consumer" electronics. Losmandy, like AP and other high end suppliers, treats their mounts like professional class equipment. That means they will sell you parts (vs insisting you send the entire thing back to them) and they support the product for as long as it is possible. With the G-11 that means the physical mount will be supported as long as the company is in existence. Electronics are always a different story as silicon components eventually become unavailable (hence the change from G1 to G2).

Sorry to hear about your loss. So that others might avoid such a fate, what can you tell us about the incident? I'm always paranoid about leaving gear in my vehicle and try to avoid it whenever possible.

#23 orlyandico

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 04:07 AM

There are TWO AP900s for 5500 right now on astromart. One is a CP1 and the other is a CP2. Or if you want a Mach1 put out a want ad. You can get one for 5500 but that won't have a tripod.

And a Tak NJP complete with tripod for 4800. Used premium mounts don't depreciate. So...

I know there's a big CEM60 fan club out there.but the things aren't even out of beta. And as a China product the resale will be guaranteed horrible if they don't meet your expectations.

#24 Starhawk

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 11:07 AM

The AP 900s are a real deal at that price. You would be able to use them indefinitely, and they even play nice with sky safari.

The Tak is another good suggestion. Those things hold value for a reason.

Likewise, the ioptron is being suggested in the blind based on ad copy. If you get one of the non-Chinese mounts mentioned here, once you use it, you'll ask yourself why you'd want to use anything less.

-Rich

#25 oo_void

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 11:36 AM

Well, I just couldn't wait ... Haven't gotten out with it though due to the curse. We're getting a good week of rain out here for the first time this year.

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