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Wes James
Postmaster


Reged: 04/12/06
Posts: 5477
Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8
      #1155133 - 09/19/06 12:29 PM

Have been studying EQ mounts... trying to plan my purchase carefully. I had been under the impression that the Losmandy mounts were kind of at the top of the heap in the "reasonable" price range of that category/size mounts... particularly quality-wise as far as the machine work, fit-&-finish/feel. Yes, the $$$'s add up quick when you have to consider adding the polar alignment scope, etc. etc... then someone suggested I consider the Orion Atlas mount. Now this man (a dealer) gave me some bad advice on a different issue... so was a bit skeptical, but seems like there could be some wisdom to his advice from what I've been trying to research. The main issue is quality that I'm looking for input on- How is the quality level (gears, machining, lack of plastic, etc. in the new Orion Atlas mounts as opposed to the GM-8? Anyone care to offer some input? Yes- I also realize for less than the price of the non-GoTo GM-8, I could have GoTo in the Atlas. Thanks for any inputs you all might have.

--------------------
Wes
Atlantic Beach, FL

Bino’s- Tak's, Fuji's, Nikon's, Canon IS and Garrett 20x110 Signature's,
Some telescopes from Carton & Zeiss 60mm's up through a couple of 8” reflectors… Orion 3.6" O/A- and a wonderful 4.25" Delmarva Schiefspiegler!
Some good friends, made here on C/N.
Oh- several cats and a wonderful wife!
Anyone want a cat???? :-O

"When your work speaks for itself- Don't Interrupt" -Gamble Rogers


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rsbfoto
sage


Reged: 06/10/06
Posts: 436
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Wes James]
      #1155178 - 09/19/06 12:44 PM

Hi Wes,

What will you put on top of the mount ?

--------------------
regards Rainer


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Wes James
Postmaster


Reged: 04/12/06
Posts: 5477
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: rsbfoto]
      #1155225 - 09/19/06 01:16 PM

I have a Intes Micro Alter 7" Mak-Cass, also a Meade 102ED that will probably be going on it... they will probably be the main two. A couple of other smaller refractors- 80mm Vixen, 85mm Stellarvue- possibly an Orion 120ST if I don't sell it prior...

--------------------
Wes
Atlantic Beach, FL

Bino’s- Tak's, Fuji's, Nikon's, Canon IS and Garrett 20x110 Signature's,
Some telescopes from Carton & Zeiss 60mm's up through a couple of 8” reflectors… Orion 3.6" O/A- and a wonderful 4.25" Delmarva Schiefspiegler!
Some good friends, made here on C/N.
Oh- several cats and a wonderful wife!
Anyone want a cat???? :-O

"When your work speaks for itself- Don't Interrupt" -Gamble Rogers


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Wes James
Postmaster


Reged: 04/12/06
Posts: 5477
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Wes James]
      #1155233 - 09/19/06 01:19 PM

Also, just to answer one more question before it's asked, I have no photography plans at this time.
Wes


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mplkn1
sage


Reged: 08/28/05
Posts: 393
Loc: Centrally Inaccessible, PA
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Wes James]
      #1155374 - 09/19/06 02:40 PM

I'm no mount guru, but it seems to me that either would be more than ample for the scopes you've named.

I use a SkyView Pro to hold up an 8" SCT. I don't extend the legs, prefering to view seated. Properly balanced, stability and load capacity with this setup have been non-issues (like you, I speak of visual use).

I often look at the Atlas and Losmandy mounts, musing about an 11" SCT. Then I look at the weight of the assembled rig. Then I decide things are really pretty good right now...

Best wishes!

--------------------
Michael -

"I am obliged to confess that I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University."
William F. Buckley, 1963.

Orion (Celestron) 8" SCT on SkyView Pro, Telrad.
Garrett Optical Gemini 25x100 WP IF,
Bogen 3051 tripod w/ 3063 head.
Oberwerk 10x60 Mariner.
Palm Planetarium.
Stellarium on a Motion Computing tablet PC.


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Wes James
Postmaster


Reged: 04/12/06
Posts: 5477
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: mplkn1]
      #1155506 - 09/19/06 03:51 PM

Oh, I realize that either mount would meet my needs- my question was as to the relative quailty of the two, the Orion Atlas in particular. Spending that much, I want to know that it's a really high quality mount as far as fit/finish/machine work quality.
Wes


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Fabio Papa
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/01/05
Posts: 1734
Loc: Piacenza, Italy
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Wes James]
      #1156407 - 09/20/06 03:19 AM

I bet the Orion mounts are not up to the Losmandy ones. Having said that, the price is also different. Mind that the worst quality still enables many to take astrophoto with the Atlas, so visual use is more than adequate.

For me, you can go with the Atlas.

--------------------
Fabio Papa
Celestron C8 F/10
Vixen ED81SWT F/7.7
Orion Atlas EQ-G
Gruppo Astrofili di Piacenza


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Wes James
Postmaster


Reged: 04/12/06
Posts: 5477
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Fabio Papa]
      #1156506 - 09/20/06 06:41 AM

Thanks for the comments, Fabio-
I see you have an Atlas... how do you like yours?
Wes


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DCS
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/03/05
Posts: 1614
Loc: Cypress, Texas
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Fabio Papa]
      #1156518 - 09/20/06 06:55 AM

You will be amazed with the construction of the Losmandy.

Everything is machined / anodized - even "incidental" parts like the spreaders for the tripod legs (or the tripod legs themselves for that matter). I can't think of anything on it that is cast or extruded. Maybe the bolts holding it together?

The counterweight shaft is enormous and weighs a good 5 lbs (guessing) in itself.

The RA/Dec indications laser engraved, big, and easy to read.

The alt-az adjustment knobs when polar aligning are the easiest and most precise I've encountered. On both axis - one knob controls both directions. The alt axis that has to foist the weight of the mount when adjusted is large and feels good in your hand.

I actually enjoy polar aligning this thing (DO get the polar alignment scope, btw).

It's a wonderful refrain from all the "cost reduced" stuff.

-Pete


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Fabio Papa
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/01/05
Posts: 1734
Loc: Piacenza, Italy
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: DCS]
      #1156718 - 09/20/06 10:19 AM

To really evaluate my Atlas I have to wait still a couple of weeks for my rings to arrive. I had a problem with the old setup wich introduced some guiding issues.

Apart from that, though, I must say I can't really complain about the mount. When used visually it's just superb.

Tell me if you want more details!

--------------------
Fabio Papa
Celestron C8 F/10
Vixen ED81SWT F/7.7
Orion Atlas EQ-G
Gruppo Astrofili di Piacenza


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan


Reged: 02/28/06
Posts: 15373
Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Wes James]
      #1157104 - 09/20/06 02:06 PM

Hiya Wes. I have a GM-8 (non-Gemini) and am actually considering selling it and a Celestron AS-GT to get an Atlas EQ-G (GOTO). While the GM-8 is indeed better made and better finished than the Atlas, it lacks carrying capacity and tends to develop excessive backlash periodically which is easy enough to correct (by adjusting the worm mounting blocks so that the worm meshes a bit more closely to the gears), but the correction is temporary needing to be redone with moderate use every 10-12 months or so. My GM-8 is at the limit for satisfactory visual use with either the 127ED or D&G 5" refractors. I do not believe that the 30# capacity is realistic with longer OTAs like refractors, though with more compact OTAs it's probably closer to realistic.

I saw an Atlas EQ-G in action a few weeks ago at a neighbor's house and was impressed with how quiet the motors were while slewing and how smooth and backlash free the axial movements were, and also how easily it tossed around a 32# payload (10" newtonian OTA with accessories).

An Atlas EQ-G would for me obviate the need for both the GM-8 and the AS-GT and let me consolidate equipment and free up much-needed garage space. It ain't pretty to my eye (that dinky diameter counterweight shaft looks silly as does the hemispheric polar scope cover), but it would be efficent for my needs. I'm puzzling over how to attach it to a 4" diameter Antares pier as an alternative to the tripod when using very long tube refractors.

Regards,

Jim

--------------------
“I observe vicariously, through myself. When I purchase a new telescope, it's value increases. At star parties, attendees line up to observe me. My observing philosophy: Find out what it is that your telescope doesn't do well, then don't do those things. At historic observatories I am allowed to touch the equipment. My legend precedes me the way the Big Bang precedes everything else.”

- The Most Interesting Astronomer in the Universe


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Wes James
Postmaster


Reged: 04/12/06
Posts: 5477
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #1157211 - 09/20/06 02:57 PM

Thanks, Jim- and all you other folks as well- for the excellent feedbacks on both mounts. Have gotten some specific and very good comments, and I appreciate them. Any more comments are still welcome! Still weighing things over in my mind, but I think cost value will eventually win, with that being the Orion Atlas. I don't think I'm such a heavy user that I'll ever wear either one out!
Wes


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #1159744 - 09/22/06 12:07 AM

Greets, me brothers...
I have a GM8 mount which was purchased used. The mount had little use, but shortly after I started using it, I noticed a strange phenomena...tightening the RA clutch made stars in the center of the field move to the bottom. Hmmm. I noticed that if the RA clutch was loose, I could push/pull on the counterweight bar and see the RA axis shift up and down. Not good.
I disassembled and the bearings (needle bearings on the main RA shaft) looked good, well lubricated. The shaft itself had no marks, and the anodizing was unblemished.
I measured the diameter of the RA shaft and found it was 1.244", or about .006" smaller than the 1.250" stated diameter of the needle bearings. Six thousandths of an inch doesn't sound like much, but for a needle bearing, it's huge. Typically, bearing manufacturers use .0005" (one-half-thousandth of an inch).
I believe the unit was shipped as I measured it, not worn out, since the diameter of the shaft was uniform all along its length, not worn where the bearings contact it.
I have since found a few other folks with weird errors in tracking--folks who have diddled with their worm gear backlash only to have it change unexpectedly for no apparent reason. I'd bet (though I can't be certain) that these problems are related to the .006 end play I'm getting in the RA shaft bearings. I know that end play WILL affect worm gear backlash, since the RA gear can move up and down on the worm as the RA shaft flops around in the bearings.
I've ordered some 303 stainless shaft material and will soon be having a new shaft made with .0005" clearance in the hope this will resolve the RA wiggle I'm seeing.
If you're seeing weird errors in RA that you can't figure out (like non-periodic errors of large magnitude) then try measuring your RA shaft diameter and see if it's not a tad too loose. Love to hear if you find this is the case.
Regards,
Robert English
San Francisco Amateur Astronomers


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Wes James
Postmaster


Reged: 04/12/06
Posts: 5477
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: ]
      #1160496 - 09/22/06 12:47 PM

Robert-
Have you considered contacting Losmandy & reporting your findings? I would think he would be interested in what you discovered. Even if you purchased used, it's still a design or manufacturing problem, and if he is as good as they say his mounts & other products are, he should care- should be interested.
Sure do miss San Francisco- was born there, grew up in Palo Alto... havent been back there since 1969! Another way to say it-- when I left there- the term Silicon Valley didn't exist!

--------------------
Wes
Atlantic Beach, FL

Bino’s- Tak's, Fuji's, Nikon's, Canon IS and Garrett 20x110 Signature's,
Some telescopes from Carton & Zeiss 60mm's up through a couple of 8” reflectors… Orion 3.6" O/A- and a wonderful 4.25" Delmarva Schiefspiegler!
Some good friends, made here on C/N.
Oh- several cats and a wonderful wife!
Anyone want a cat???? :-O

"When your work speaks for itself- Don't Interrupt" -Gamble Rogers


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Wes James]
      #1161441 - 09/23/06 02:30 AM

Hi Wes--
I haven't contacted Scott, but I think I will try to send an email with the detials. I have no gripe with the product, as I have owned a G-11 (not used for astrophotography, however) and found it a most worthy mount.
I miss the San Francisco of 1969, too. It isn't the same bay area anymore. The city looks more like Manhattan every day. Nothing like 40 years of development to show what "progress" can bring. ;-)


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Eddy
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/30/04
Posts: 1355
Loc: Aix-en-Provence, France
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: ]
      #1161462 - 09/23/06 03:48 AM

Hi all,
To come back to the subject, I am a member of the Yahoo CGE, Losmandy and EQ6 groups because I am in the same boat as Wes. I cannot make up my which mount I should buy to upgrade my CG5.

A couple of days ago, somebody at the Losmandy group asked if people that own a Losmandy mount would choose it again after the experience they had with their mount.
Of course there were owners who said yes, others no. You find that in every forum. But one major thing that surprised me was that most of the people that were satisfied with their mount had to dismantle their mount, clean everything, re-grease and re-adjust the worms.
Aren’t these the same issues people are telling about the EQ6

But if I see all the problems people are having with a $3,000 mount - in Europe, at the current exchange rate, they cost more around $5,000 - I guess I am going to buy an EQ6. At the EQ6, you also need to clean the mount and re-grease and re-adjust everything, but it will only cost me half the money. I am not willing to spend the amount of a CGE/GM11 and still having problems like they mention and which are about the same for a mount like an EQ6.

Don't get me wrong, these mounts (Losmandy/CGE) are probably better manufactured than an EQ6, but they still have the same issues and than, for me, it is not worth spending that much.

The money I saved by choosing the EQ6 can be put aside and will be the start to save for an EM-200.

Just my opinion though,

--------------------
Cheers,

Eddy
C8 XLT, W.O. ZS80-FD 10th anniv. ed. with MoonLite D/S focuser, Tak TSA102N with FeatherTouch
Tak EM-200 Temma II, Vixen PortaMount
SXV-H9, SXV guider
SBIG CFW-10 SA filter wheel, Astromik Type2 LRGB and Astronomik 6nm H-α, 13nm SII, 13nm OIII
Taurus Mini Tracker OAG
http://www.astrophotogallery.org/showgallery.php?cat=580


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rsbfoto
sage


Reged: 06/10/06
Posts: 436
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Eddy]
      #1162133 - 09/23/06 05:02 PM

Quote:

Of course there were owners who said yes, others no. You find that in every forum. But one major thing that surprised me was that most of the people that were satisfied with their mount had to dismantle their mount, clean everything, re-grease and re-adjust the worms.





Hi Eddy,

That statement is very generalized and I would say it is not applicable to all mounts.

I started in October 2003 with Astronomy and got the G11 and had no idea what a GEM mount is.

So before trying any mechanical adventures the first thing I did was leaving it as it came out of the box and play with it for the next 6 months. After knowing how all played together then I began to check things like backlash and made my first attempts with adjusting it. Of course I failed miserably and it took me some time to get it where it was before. So more time in studying such a beast until I felt comfortable and started againd and voilá I got some better results as before.

I am a member in the Losmandy group and people who have not yet owned one and are in the process of getting one do already have backlash problems with the mount and they still do not have it at home.

That is eating the eggs before they are laid

In that cases I always recommend,

1st get the mount
2nd look at it
3rd play with it a while and then leave it alone for some time and then when you feel comfortable put a hand on it and adjust whatever you feel you have to adjust.

--------------------
regards Rainer


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Mike28
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/21/03
Posts: 3069
Loc: Morris County,NJ
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Wes James]
      #1162183 - 09/23/06 05:53 PM

Hi Wes:
All said and done you are a visual viewer like myself and others who are looking for a affordable mount. I know of the Losmandy and others fine mounts but went with the Atlas EQ-G out of cost and reputation based on the majority of Atlas owners. I opted for the EQ-G for my TAK and havent regretted it. I am currently using the TOA 130 on it and it is a match made in heaven! The only thing now is to upgrade the hc to version 3.0. for the price, it's a steal compared to the good but more expensive mounts. If you got the cash, go for Losmandy. If it's savings then the Atlas is the way to go. It will still do the job.

--------------------
Mike

'The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.” Albert Einstein

NS11GPS/Sky align
Orion SkyQuest XX14g GoTo Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope
Celestron 80ED
TV Pronto
Coronado Ha PST





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Wes James
Postmaster


Reged: 04/12/06
Posts: 5477
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Mike28]
      #1162223 - 09/23/06 06:27 PM

... and Orion seems to have outstanding customer service going for it as well....
Wes


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lawrie
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 01/31/06
Posts: 2083
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Re: Orion Atlas vs. Losmandy GM-8 new [Re: Wes James]
      #1162261 - 09/23/06 07:08 PM

They sure do.

--------------------
Clear Skies
Lawrie

9.25 Edge/Hyperstar
NP 101is
WO 80fd
G-11/Atlas
ST 8300




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