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Al Canarelli
Post Laureate


Reged: 12/06/07
Posts: 3339
Loc: Central New Jersey
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: Wes James]
      #3023631 - 04/04/09 11:11 AM

They should be thankful .. his efforts help get working iOptron products in customers hands. If not, there would be more "stinkers" out there, with all the ensuing negative karma that would go with it, and damaged reputation.

Rob
============================================================
Steve Forbes offers this service not only to his clients but also to Ioptron, who is 100% behind Steve's efforts, I am told. So actually, he is helping Ioptron iron out the wrinkles BEFORE the product reaches the consumer. Also, and this is VERY IMPORTANT, if you should have a warranty problem with any Mini Tower sold by Trapezium during the regular warranty period, (2 years) you would send it back to Trapezium (not Ioptron) for repair/correction. This point is not only unusual, it's also very nice.

By the way, I originally wanted a CubePro but I was quickly advised against this...and I listened. Then after reading the latest review, I thought to give up on Ioptron all together...until I heard about Trapezium and Steve Forbes. I've decided now to buy a Mini Tower and I will buy it from Trapezium at NEAF in a few weeks.


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brooster
super member


Reged: 04/24/07
Posts: 130
Loc: East Tennessee
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: Al Canarelli]
      #3023878 - 04/04/09 01:22 PM

The pics in the review show the mount on a wooden deck. I would not think that a wooden deck would be that stable.

--------------------
Bruce

The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament sheweth his handywork.


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pearlstar
Banned - Duplicate Account


Reged: 12/09/08
Posts: 8
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: Al Canarelli]
      #3023929 - 04/04/09 01:54 PM

I would like to add on IOptron’s customer service and tech support with my personal experience. As I mentioned, I am a newbie and had a lot of communications with their tech support by email in the past months. Every time I got almost instant response and help no matter in the weekends or evenings. I have experiences with many companies in different industries about support or service, IOptron is among the best. John did not receive a call back as the technician promised; I really want to hear from IOptron what is going on, and is it the same company I put a lot of trust and hope on?

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jim_m
sage


Reged: 10/25/08
Posts: 396
Loc: Virginia, USA
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: pearlstar]
      #3024063 - 04/04/09 03:30 PM

Hi,
Sorry, but can not resist "putting my $0.02 worth in.
I was an early purchaser of the MiniTower for the simple reason that I was getting too old to drag the "heavy stuff around.Needed somethig light and stable, MiniTower fit the bill nicely.
When I first got it, I had problems with "cord wrap" and a little "jerkyness". Ioptron said I should update the Firmware. That took care of both problems.The other problem I had was the tripod, a real joke.It might be O K on flat and even bases, but in grass or uneven surfaces, it did not cut it.I bought a light weight contractors tripod and did a little re-work so the MiniTower could be mounted and retain its function.
It is a great mount, but plan to re-mount it if you will use it on an uneven surface area.It is about as much "bang for the buck" you are going to find.
I also noticed the deck, wonder how much "jerkyness" was movement?
Jim


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Luigi
Postmaster


Reged: 07/03/07
Posts: 5317
Loc: MA
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: pearlstar]
      #3024064 - 04/04/09 03:30 PM

>>> It seems the majority of positive comments are by owners of the mount, and the majority of negative comments ...<<<

Simple. If you chose to buy something you believe you had good judgement and sing it praises. If you chose not to buy it you also believe you had good judgement and are happy to expound on all its flaws.

--------------------
17.5" f/5 Dob. IM-715 MCT. 120ED. Lunt 60mm Ha.
Zeiss, Leica, Fujinon, Nikon, Pentax, Bushnell bins


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Al Canarelli
Post Laureate


Reged: 12/06/07
Posts: 3339
Loc: Central New Jersey
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: Luigi]
      #3024127 - 04/04/09 04:26 PM

Simple. If you chose to buy something you believe you had good judgement and sing it praises. If you chose not to buy it you also believe you had good judgement and are happy to expound on all its flaws.
============================================================
I would agree with you on your basic point, but there are a bunch of owners in this very thread (not to mention the author of the review) who are owners of this mount and had problems. Personally, I'm very happy for having read this thread and that review, as both have modified my buying intention of this mount. I'm still going to buy an Ioptron but it will be a Mini Tower and I'm not buying it from any old dealer who gives me the best price.


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dpastern
super member


Reged: 01/01/09
Posts: 132
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: Peter King]
      #3024353 - 04/04/09 06:51 PM

Well, as I've said elsewhere, I'm not one for giving $$$ to manufacturer's with poor QA. Sure, some might be good, and you might get a good one and be happy with it, but what about those who get duds?

GPS issues? If they know about it, then the problem *should* be damn well fixed BEFORE it leaves the factory - no excuses.

Resellers shouldn't have to be stripping down the mount etc etc to solve issues either. That tells me that the mounts are leaving the factory in not such a good shape, and it also invalidates the warranty I might add.

Dave


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Pedestal
Post Laureate


Reged: 03/11/06
Posts: 4374
Loc: Smoggy Bottom, Baytown,Texas
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: dpastern]
      #3024427 - 04/04/09 07:35 PM

Some general comments and questions. As far as I know, the only other GOTO mount in this price class is an ASGT. Which does not have internal GPS, it should be noted. However, it is a proven product, backed by a known warrenty setup. I guess my first question would be, why choose the Ioptron over an ASGT? Is it lighter/smaller? Advantages of one over the other? It does have a good "look" to it, but thats just my opinion.
Also, I would like to note that I purchased one of the early "Cubes" in their introductory promo sale. I did have to send the first unit back, (sorry, don't remember now what the problem was) But Ioptron sent the replacement unit BEFORE I sent the old unit back. That's difficult to fault. I bought the mount for my B-in-L, to use with a WO 66mm Petzval. It has turned out to be an ideal combo. There definetly was a hand controller learning curve, where I was probably more hinderance than help, being more familar with Celestron/Meade GOTO units.
Hubert

--------------------

Hubert
---------------------------------
www.smoggybottom.org





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Al Canarelli
Post Laureate


Reged: 12/06/07
Posts: 3339
Loc: Central New Jersey
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: Pedestal]
      #3024753 - 04/04/09 11:11 PM

Some general comments and questions. As far as I know, the only other GOTO mount in this price class is an ASGT. Which does not have internal GPS, it should be noted. However, it is a proven product, backed by a known warrenty setup. I guess my first question would be, why choose the Ioptron over an ASGT? Is it lighter/smaller? Advantages of one over the other? It does have a good "look" to it, but thats just my opinion.
============================================================
Actually the ASGT is not really in the same price class of the Mini Mount. At a retail price between $550 and $600, it is clearly in a lower price class, maybe the price of a CubePro rather than a Mini Mount. While the ASGT does not have an internal GPS, it does have several features which the Mini Mount does not have...

*More payload capacity
*2" tubular legs offering enhanced stability
*Equatorial mount
*Extreme reliability

I already own a Celestron ASGT and believe it's a wonderful mount for the money. Probably one of the best buys in astronomy. In spite of this, I intend to buy a Mini Tower. My reason for buying is simply light weight and compact design, nothing else. Once the wrinkles are ironed out of this mount, it will be hard to beat.


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Jimyw123
Banned - Duplicate Account


Reged: 09/23/08
Posts: 8
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: brooster]
      #3024777 - 04/04/09 11:28 PM

Quote:

The pics in the review show the mount on a wooden deck. I would not think that a wooden deck would be that stable.




I also had the same question when saw the mount was set on a wooden deck. I did set mine on deck for normal observation, and a couple of times went to 200X power. I recall no jerkiness in normal use, but at 200X my CCD display on my laptop did move sometimes. I don't know what magnitude of jerkiness John experienced; it is worth to test on a driveway or a hard isolated slab.

Another thing I would like to share is about the "to park position." John mentioned “I pushed “to park position,” and waited for the motors to engage as the manual said they would. Nothing happened. So, I manually aligned the scope in a vertical position, using a level to ensure precision, pushed "to park position" again, and shut the power off.” Actually I would not expect the motor move if the first thing was “to park position” when power on. The initial (default) position when power on is park position no matter whether it actually is. If after slew and then to park position, I bet the motor would move.


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Astrobuddy
Banned - Duplicate Account


Reged: 09/24/08
Posts: 19
Loc: Montreal, Canada
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: Jimyw123]
      #3025546 - 04/05/09 12:06 PM

Quote:

Another thing I would like to share is about the "to park position." John mentioned “I pushed “to park position,” and waited for the motors to engage as the manual said they would. Nothing happened. So, I manually aligned the scope in a vertical position, using a level to ensure precision, pushed "to park position" again, and shut the power off.” Actually I would not expect the motor move if the first thing was “to park position” when power on. The initial (default) position when power on is park position no matter whether it actually is. If after slew and then to park position, I bet the motor would move.




Yes,the initial position is park position when turn on the unit. I always park the mount before power off. Whenever I start a new session, the mount will right be at work. Otherwise, the OTA might point to the ground when slewed to the sky.


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watcher
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/21/07
Posts: 2046
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: Astrobuddy]
      #3026455 - 04/05/09 07:46 PM

I know iOptron has at least 1 moron working in their assembly department. My GOTONOVA RA motor is attatched with 3 screws. 2 out of 3 of the screw holes were stripped, and the gear placed on the unit like there was nothing wrong. I've done that type of assembly work before. There's no way whoever assembled my unit didn't know that he or she messed up.

Joe

--------------------
Joe

(quote)"That does it! Next Big Bang, someone has got to rethink this gettin' old business!" Joe Daugert
--------------------------------------------------



>>>>>>>>>>>> ISTAR Scope Club <<<<<<<<<<<<





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NotThePainter
sage


Reged: 06/02/07
Posts: 391
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: watcher]
      #3026798 - 04/05/09 11:22 PM

Re: ASGT vs Mini Tower

I own both of them. I've barely used my MT because it is so new to me, but I've had my ASGT for quite a long time. I did something today that my ASGT could never do. I set it up, rough guessing where South was (North for the ASGT obviously), slewed to the Sun. Then manually slewed to the Sun, then sync'd on the Sun.

Then we slewed to Capella and it was in the FOV about 2/3rds of a degree from center. The ASGT can't dream of doing that. Don't get me wrong, I love my ASGT, but the MT is a fine piece of equipment at least with regards to initial GoTos. I know that after 2 alignment stars and 2 calibration stars that the ASGT will be dead nuts on. But frankly, the MT impresses me out of the box. More to come late when I actually finally get to USE it!

Oh, the MT did one more thing next that the ASGT couldn't do. My 15 year old daughter and I packed everything up and carried it all to the basement ... in one trip! I had the C8, MT case and solar filter, she had the tripod in its box, the eyepiece case and the C8 accessory case.

Paul

--------------------
60mm Swift Refractor
6 inch Edmund Scientific Reflector
8 inch Celestron SCT
Criterion RV-8 Dynascope
Celestron ASGT mount
Canon 15x50is


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan


Reged: 02/28/06
Posts: 15373
Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: NotThePainter]
      #3027500 - 04/06/09 11:15 AM

How does the iOptron MT stack up to the Vixen Skypod?

The latter comes with a 5-year warranty, but I've read that Starbook is a work-in-progress.

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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sam32
super member


Reged: 07/26/06
Posts: 125
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: Dr Benway]
      #3028025 - 04/06/09 03:33 PM

John,

I also have a MT but haven't yet tried to use it for AP. With respect to field rotation, doesn't it matter where you are pointing in the sky ? I mean if your target is closer to the NCP, wouldn't you be able to shoot for somewhat longer than 56 seconds ?

Thanks,

Sam


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J_D_Metzger
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 05/13/04
Posts: 1848
Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: sam32]
      #3028207 - 04/06/09 04:50 PM

iOptron has posted a statement in response to the review on the iOptron Yahoo Group:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ioptron/message/3286

--------------------
Clear skies,
J.D.


The Stellar Cellar Observatory


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Dr Benway
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/27/08
Posts: 540
Loc: Abilene, TX
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: sam32]
      #3028301 - 04/06/09 05:38 PM

Sam,

You are probably right about being near NCP. I noticed that I can't shoot 56 seconds at Zenith. I have a slight circular star track pattern. I have found halfway between horizon and zenith works well. I might be able to push beyond 56 on a subject like M81 M82. Steve has finished the prototype stage on the wedge project and it will be manufactured by ADM in the near future. All I really need is 2 minutes unguided, so I think the wedge will work fine for me.

John

--------------------
Astro-Tech AT8RC
Astro-Tech AT65EDQ
Explore Scientific ED127
Takahashi NJP
Takahashi EM-10
iOptron IEQ45 Modified
QHY8PRO OSC
QHY9M
QHY9C
QHY22
SBIG STF-8300M
Modded Canon XT

http://www.jwbozeman.com


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hudson_yak
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/15/07
Posts: 1548
Loc: Hyde Park, NY, USA
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: sam32]
      #3028315 - 04/06/09 05:42 PM

Quote:

I also have a MT but haven't yet tried to use it for AP. With respect to field rotation, doesn't it matter where you are pointing in the sky ? I mean if your target is closer to the NCP, wouldn't you be able to shoot for somewhat longer than 56 seconds ?





Don't want to sidetrack this thread too much, but I was interested in the answer to this and found this good web page. It's complicated but the short answer is the least rotation happens when pointing straight East or West and the lower altitude the better.

Mike

--------------------
Tele Vue-85 + Quarter Hitch + Berlebach UNI 24
Meade 12" LightBridge
Orion ED100 + Losmandy GM-8
Orion SVP
Meade 8" LX10


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Dan Duriscoe
newbie


Reged: 10/25/07
Posts: 3
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling new [Re: J_D_Metzger]
      #3028394 - 04/06/09 06:22 PM

Purchased the Mini Tower in November for our program. My first evaluation was somewhat lukewarm, and favor the Nexstar series. Yesterday I was prompted to re-visit the Mini Tower, so I took it completely apart. What I found surprised me, thought folks on this thread might be interested:

The tapered roller bearing design for BOTH axes is so simple and elegant it is amazing no other manufacturer has come up with this before now (this is 1940s technology). This is a bomb-proof way to carry weight and have smooth motion in both axes for many years to come.

The worm and worm gear design for both axes is pretty good. Both worm gears are manually clutched which is great--however adjusting these "clamping screws" is not trivial, especially the altitude clamp. It desparately needs more leverage and a locking device for those who want to use the mount manually (without the motors or GOTO features), which is something this mount could really excel at.

The nylon gear and motor blocks (which also carry the bronze worms) seem very under-designed and prone to wear. The fact that there is a company advertizing "tune-ups" for this mount speak to the fact that it does and will require "tune-ups" in the future, primarily because of this motor and gearbox design, I believe.

The gearboxes are mated to the worm gears with an ingenious spring design which takes up any play between the worm and worm gear. The nylon block is allowed to pivot and "float", with the spring forcing the worm against the worm gear. Metal stops at each side of the block (which are adjustable, and will probably need to be adjusted after some wear occurs) prevent backlash from left to right motion of the whole block. The nylon bearings for the worm shaft itself, however, seem under-designed and will probably wear with time.

The software has some very nice features, but also is in a growning pain stage. If this company survives, and responds to comments from its users, this is bound to improve with time. Communication with the Mini Tower via the iOptron ASCOM driver I have found frustrating. The Astro-Physics driver seems to work better in some cases. I hope a more complete set of commands will eventually become available. Also, I find the claim of 1 arc minute pointing accuracy, even when painstakingly aligned, some what overly optimistic. 5 arc minutes is more reasonable, but still VERY good for a portable mass produced mount.

The noise and jerkiness of the drive is a real issue. If you are annoyed by squealing and purring noises that seem to be random while observing, this is not the mount for you. If you observe at very high magnifications often, a German Equatorial is probably a better choice anyway.

In summary, the smoothness and durability of the tapered roller bearing design, with adjustable bearing preload available to the user, and the ability to take it apart, clean it, and re-grease it when necessary, all this in a very small and realtively lightweight space, is this mount's most endearing feature. It resembles a high quality surveyor's theodolite in this regard. However, the drives, software, and computer interface have some room for improvement. Also, if the clutches could be locked in a "semi-slip" position and stay there, this mount would rival the smoothest Dobsonian design for an untracked "just push it around and look" mount, and would provide an ideal platform for two small RFTs or a pair of big binoculars.

--------------------
National Park Service Night Sky Program


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Wes James
Postmaster


Reged: 04/12/06
Posts: 5477
Re: Ioptron Mini tower _ New Review is Unsettling [Re: Dan Duriscoe]
      #3029359 - 04/07/09 08:30 AM

I read iOptron's reply on the Yahoo forum... and I myself wrote them a letter yesterday- and received a very similar reply. At least the company is responsive. I hope they take these criticism's to heart and correct problems as they are noted. Their responsiveness certainly is better than some of the major players, and that I find heartening. I'd rather deal with a company like that- where they are at least interested in their customers- and responsive- rather than a company who totally ignores problems like this- and their customers complaints.
Wes


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