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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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John Kapp
newbie


Reged: 05/27/10

Loc: Hamilton, On. Canada
CGEM
      #4327175 - 01/20/11 11:31 AM

Just need some opinions of CGEM users in the 60+ age. Do you find the mount set up and weight manageable for somone in my early 60's age group. How long is set up time? I'm thinking of purchasing one for 9.25 OTA

Thanks for any info
John


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bookworm14
sage


Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Georgia
Re: CGEM new [Re: John Kapp]
      #4327193 - 01/20/11 11:38 AM

I can't comment on a CGEM because I don't have one. What I do have is a 64 pound Celestron CPC 1100, fork mounted. I am 65 and this this is just about at the limit of my physical ability to deal with. I have to take it off the tripod in my storage building, set it on the ground outside, get the tripod, pick up (this is the hard part) the OTA and base assembly, and get it into the centering pin. And then reverse the process to get it all back into the shed. I only get it out when there looks to be at least 2 good days of viewing forecasted.
bookworm14


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RTLR 12
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 12/04/08

Loc: The Great Pacific NorthWest
Re: CGEM new [Re: bookworm14]
      #4327418 - 01/20/11 01:12 PM

John,

I'll be 62 next month and I have had my CGEM for over a year now. I have set it up at home and in the field at least 50+ times. When I first got the mount I was concerned as to just how heavy it was. (40+lbs.) I was use to using my CG-5 which can be carried around in one hand. I was wondering that as time goes on, will I be able to handle this mount? Well, now that I have had some fair amount of practice, I don't think I'll have a problem for a long time. I can assemble the mount in about 10 minutes. Other than the weight difference it sets up the same as my CG-5. No harder, no easier. The OTA I use are lighter than your 9.25, (I use a C8 and an SV115T) but I can 'one hand' them. Just as a side note; I have never had any trouble with this mount at all. It balances well, tracks well, it's accurate and I think it's whisper quite. I really have enjoyed using it.

Stan


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Mt Fagan
member


Reged: 01/11/09

Loc: Vail, AZ
Re: CGEM new [Re: RTLR 12]
      #4327534 - 01/20/11 02:05 PM

I'm 68 and didn't think that setting my CGEM up was any problem. However, I only did it once to put it onto the pier in my observatory. With the pier, plus an extension, I had to lift the CGEM much higher than you will have to mount it on a tripod in the field. My back survived the experience just fine.

Bill


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chollman
sage
*****

Reged: 04/24/08

Re: CGEM new [Re: Mt Fagan]
      #4327586 - 01/20/11 02:28 PM

I consider it a bit of a workout to set up. Definitely not a grab and go mount but still manageable. You would need a CGEM or Atlas to mount a 9.25 anyway, so go for it and just get some help if it is a problem. Have fun! Charlie

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Fred1
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/19/07

Loc: Somewhere in the Orion Spur
Re: CGEM new [Re: chollman]
      #4327775 - 01/20/11 03:49 PM

I'm 60. The trick is picking it up in one clean lift in a way that I can tip it easily onto the tripod. Lock the dec and RA before lifting, it's much easier.

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Jwemes
super member


Reged: 02/26/10

Loc: Wickenburg, AZ
Re: CGEM new [Re: John Kapp]
      #4327868 - 01/20/11 04:32 PM

Another 60+ geezer here. Like Fred mentioned, snug down the RA and Dec. handles just a little bit more when you make the lift. That will keep the mount from rotating around those axes while you're setting the mount on the tripod. There are a thousand other little tips to use, like adjusting the azimuth screws out BEFORE putting the mount on the tripod, and using a piece of HDPE between the mount and the tripod hub to allow smooth azimuth adjustments.

Curiously, I found that the CGEM head at 41# was almost as heavy as my NJP head at 51#....lifting the NJP head is great training for the CGEM, but a set of weights is cheaper!


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CapnRon
super member


Reged: 03/03/09

Loc: NC
Re: CGEM new [Re: Jwemes]
      #4328592 - 01/20/11 09:36 PM Attachment (37 downloads)

Hi,
I just turned 64 and recently purchased the CGEM with the 9.25 SCT. I have not had any trouble setting it up and breaking it down, each takes about 15 minutes with laying out all the other accesories. I have only done it a dozen times or so, but each time gets quicker. I store the mount in a large plastic tool box, with wheels, so I can roll it from the shed to the patio for setup. I store it in the box in the oder of assembly, legs on top, etc. the mount is held in the bottom in the original foam packing. I did cut open the foam to make it easier to lift out and put back. I agree in tightening the screws before lifting, you don't want a twisting mount when you lift it.

Edited by CapnRon (01/20/11 09:43 PM)


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CapnRon
super member


Reged: 03/03/09

Loc: NC
Re: CGEM 9.25 Continued new [Re: CapnRon]
      #4328617 - 01/20/11 09:53 PM Attachment (33 downloads)

I store the scope in an old soft sided suitcase and I also kept the end foam packing to hold it stable in the bag. I carry it out to the setup site in the bag, it is secure and easy to handle. Lifting the 9.25 is no problem, the mount handles that clamp the scope to the mount are not the most ergonomical in design. I usually loosen them enough so I don't have to slide the scope up into the track, I can just lay the scope on the track and start tightening down. This way I also don't have to take out the screws at the end of the scope that keep it from sliding off the mount if the track is too loose.

I set the tripod up, getting it level ( I use a torpedo level since the bubble level for the CGEM is on the mount itself, so I level the tripod top as it is easier to adjust the legs without the mount on it). I aim it north, or close enough that I will be able to make the necessary adjustments once the mount is in place using the mount polar alignment screws (loosening these as suggested earlier is the right idea).

Doing it in steps means not having to lift anything that is too heavy. Some people keep the tripod and mount on a set of wheels, this would certainly make life easier if you have a place to store it that way.

I love the scope and so far my mount has worked very well. I have not tried AP with it yet, but I left it on tracking while looking at Jupiter and it stayed right on target for a half hour or more.

cheers and good seeing


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John Kapp
newbie


Reged: 05/27/10

Loc: Hamilton, On. Canada
Re: CGEM 9.25 Continued new [Re: CapnRon]
      #4328671 - 01/20/11 10:24 PM

Thanks to everyone who responded. It seems weight is not a problem if you use technique

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mistyridge
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/28/05

Loc: Loomis, CA
Re: CGEM 9.25 Continued new [Re: John Kapp]
      #4329029 - 01/21/11 02:42 AM

I have a CGEM with a C11 mounted on it. At the age of 69 I can lift the 40+lb head up onto the tripod which is set on wheelybars. The hard part is lifting the 30lb C11 up on the saddle, as the C11 does not have a lot of places to hold onto it. I usually leave the entire rig set up in my garage.

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John Kapp
newbie


Reged: 05/27/10

Loc: Hamilton, On. Canada
Re: CGEM 9.25 Continued new [Re: mistyridge]
      #4329442 - 01/21/11 10:48 AM

Thank goodness the C9.25 only weighs 20 lb.

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Skylook123
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: CGEM 9.25 Continued new [Re: John Kapp]
      #4330477 - 01/21/11 06:50 PM

I have a 35 pound Meade 10" SCT and a similar weighed Atlas mount head, plus tripod and 30 pounds of balance weights. I'm in my mid-60s and other than setting up this one or my 18" I'm a total couch potato. I use the Atlas and 10" OTA about five or six times each month around town for outreaches, and don't have much trouble. Just set the tripod so you aren't lifting the scope too high, or the mount head too low, to control the weight. More important on take-down, when you are tired and it doesn't take much off balance torque to cause problems, even with only forty pounds.

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Lane
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/19/07

Loc: Frisco, Texas
Re: CGEM 9.25 Continued new [Re: Skylook123]
      #4331264 - 01/22/11 03:35 AM

I am not 60 yet but I have a bad back which is why I got rid of my fork mount and went to the CGEM. But that head does weigh just slightly over 39 lbs. I find it hard to get that mount out or put it back into the trunk of my car, but once I get it held close to my body it is not a problem and also not a problem putting it on the tripod either. I think the mount head would be much easier to deal with if it was being removed or put back into an SUV instead of a car trunk. Its having to reach out and lift away from my body that causes my problems. The OTA is not a problem at all for me, my carbon fiber C11 is only 27lbs, which is fairly easy to put on the mount. I use a tip-in approach to mount the OTA by opening the saddle wider than the dovetail. Trying to slide it into the saddle is definitely much harder to do.

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nemo129
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: WMass
Re: CGEM 9.25 Continued new [Re: Lane]
      #4331668 - 01/22/11 10:35 AM

Lane,
I carry my CGEM head in a Pelican 1600 case (yes a bit pricey ), and carry a portable table that can hold about 50lbs. while being only a bit shaky. This allows me to have the mount head at about waist height for taking it out for mounting and dismounting to put it back in the case. Once in the case, I use the handle. I have found this much easier on my back. I can get it to the car upright then use the handle to gently lay it down.


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Phil Wheeler
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/31/05

Loc: 3 miles WNW of Celestron
Re: CGEM new [Re: John Kapp]
      #4349857 - 01/30/11 01:04 AM

Quote:

Just need some opinions of CGEM users in the 60+ age. Do you find the mount set up and weight manageable for somone in my early 60's age group. How long is set up time? I'm thinking of purchasing one for 9.25 OTA




I can relate. I'm 74 and at 155 lbs on the small side. I had a fork-mounted Nexstar8GPS with the fork+OTA as configured right around 50 lbs. Used it up to about five years ago, then found it was just not being used. The problem is that an OTA in a dual fork is not a friendly configuration for the weight challenged

A GEM with dismountable OTA makes much more sense, since the heaviest single element is probably the OTA (unless you have a really robust mount).

After some thought I recently acquired a Nexstar 8SE, a single-arm fork configuration with the OTA mounted via a Vixen-type dovetail. It breaks down into three reasonably sized compontents: Tripod, Drive and OTA. At home I leave the tripod and drive assembled and just add the OTA when I get ready to observe.

My main interest is visual. But if I get the AP bug beyond the planets and moon I can mount the same OTA on a CG-5/AGST or, with an adapter for the dovetail, on some other mount.


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WalleyeRed
super member


Reged: 10/11/09

Loc: Central Ohio
Re: CGEM new [Re: Jwemes]
      #4350347 - 01/30/11 11:17 AM

Quote:

and using a piece of HDPE between the mount and the tripod hub to allow smooth azimuth adjustments.



From someone who can't tell the difference between LDPE, HDPE, or any other plastic for that matter...what did you use for this?

Thanks!


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Jwemes
super member


Reged: 02/26/10

Loc: Wickenburg, AZ
Re: CGEM new [Re: WalleyeRed]
      #4350901 - 01/30/11 03:15 PM

Hi Walleye,
ScopeStuff (a CN vendor) carries 1/16" sheet polyethylene. With the CGEM tripod set up and the azimuth peg removed, one can trace a pattern for a 'donut' which can function as a slipsheet. If one makes the hole for the azimuth peg square, the plastic doesn't tend to rotate off center. In my case, I used a band saw to cut the outside circle, a hole saw to cut the inside circle, and a HS drill bit and a rasp to rough out the azimuth peg hole.

It takes less than an hour, and if the finished piece isn't the prettiest thing you ever made, remember, once the mount head is on top, you can't see it.


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WalleyeRed
super member


Reged: 10/11/09

Loc: Central Ohio
Re: CGEM new [Re: Jwemes]
      #4351362 - 01/30/11 06:40 PM

Thanks for the tip. I will keep that one in mind.

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nemo129
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: WMass
Re: CGEM new [Re: WalleyeRed]
      #4352388 - 01/31/11 08:29 AM

...or, you could just take an empty 1 gallon plastic milk jug, cut a flat side off and trim it to the size you need to make the donut for the top of the tripod. It functions very well as a slipsheet, costs you nothing, and you recycled!

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