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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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rfic1
sage
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Reged: 10/25/05

Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Markls]
      #4329367 - 01/21/11 10:01 AM

Hi Mark,
The G-11 is undersized for the Apomax. I think one would be disappointed using that mount with a ApoMax.


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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts *DELETED* new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4329375 - 01/21/11 10:04 AM

Post deleted by dawziecat

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gillmj24
Post Laureate
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Reged: 12/06/05

Loc: PA
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: dawziecat]
      #4329405 - 01/21/11 10:28 AM

AP has increased mount production quite a lot the last few years. In the past year they've done a run of Mach 1, 900, & 1200 with a 3600 run thrown in for good measure. The Years of waiting for a mount are over and you could have a used one in a few weeks if you ask for one. There's always someone upgrading downsizing or just going in a new direction. They just finished a 900 run recently and the next batch of new 1200's will ship in the next couple months.

Wait times for refractors are still years but don't let that discourage you from getting a mount from them.


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CounterWeight
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/05/08

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gillmj24]
      #4329591 - 01/21/11 11:53 AM

Hard to imagine anyone not recommending the 900 !!

I love my Mach1 GTO but it's not magical. For reference it holds my TEC APO 160ED (with piggybacked Onyx80edf and all imaging gear)just fine even in winds [yes even for long exposure imaging] on my re-inforced concrete pier. Anything I say may sound a bit fanatical, but A-P mounts are IMO a relative bargain if you 'need' all or even most they are capable of. Sure it's an expensive bargain, but I'm not wealthy enough to buy these things (mounts) more than once, and no desire to go broke saving money (which sort of happened).

Thats my image of the CGE/Mach1 comparison Tim posted above - and my experience with the Mach1 is still under a year - but it has 'blown the doors off' the other mount pictured on every metric. A-P customer service / after sale support same thing comparatively. There really is no comparison. (this with same scopes and requirements)

The mount (Mach1) looks pretty 'tiny' relatively speaking under my TEC and that would only be more so under the scope you are using, smaller aperture but longer OTA. If my understanding is correct the 900 is a more physically massive mount using the same motors / control as the Mach1. (folks will correct that if needs be) Perhaps what the folks on the phone were saying is that you'll be 'on the edge' of what they like to recommend, and additional mass of the 900 will be a certainty for rock solid stability.

If you see the Mach1 as a possible choice - as Joseph mentioned look or place a 'wanted' add and maybe patience will reward. After trying for yourself you'll know the answer and if you need to go up to the 900 there'll be no doubts.

Good luck in your efforts.


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M13 Observer
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/09/06

Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gillmj24]
      #4329624 - 01/21/11 12:05 PM

Quote:

AP has increased mount production quite a lot the last few years. In the past year they've done a run of Mach 1, 900, & 1200 with a 3600 run thrown in for good measure. The Years of waiting for a mount are over and you could have a used one in a few weeks if you ask for one. There's always someone upgrading downsizing or just going in a new direction. They just finished a 900 run recently and the next batch of new 1200's will ship in the next couple months.

Wait times for refractors are still years but don't let that discourage you from getting a mount from them.




I think that this is a bit optimistic but is said with the correct intentions. The used market for AP1200 and Mach1GTO is still quite restricted. There seem to be a few more AP900 mounts popping up lately though as people either downsize to the Mach1 or upsize to the 1200. As well, with new buyers, the price difference between the 900 and 1200 is not that great and buyers continually decide more on how much they are getting of something for a dollar amount rather than fitting what they are getting to their actual needs. I can tell you from experience that a 1200 is NOT really a portable mount. I consider it luggable at best with the heaviest portion when disassembled weighing in at around 50 pounds. That's not bad you say - until you put it in a box or other rigid or semi-rigid container with sufficient padding to protect it, etc. All of a sudden it is an awkward 60 pounds and you start to think that maybe I should have gone for the 900 after all! Now, the 900 mount is quite portable indeed. Even before disassembly, the 900 mount weighs in at nearly the same amount as the largest disassembled section of the 1200 - and it comes apart into two quite small lightweight chunks.

The Mach1GTO doesn't really come apart. It does, but it doesn't unless you want to be fiddling around with some long bolts, hex keys, etc. A set of hex keys and a multi-bit screwdriver are highly recommended to have on hand if you are going remote but to have to rely on them to take apart and put together a mount I wouldn't recommend. Now, the Mach1GTO is quite light as is and quite strong for it's size. It will certainly be adequate to hold up the mount and work with if there is absolutely no breeze, but the scope you are mounting on it is long and long scopes have big moment arms in the wind. The Mach1 definitely won't be the best mount in that case. AP suggests up to a 45 pound load but has limitations based up the length of the OTA. It only makes sense. With that long focal length, it is past any design limits of a small mount. I use a 36 pound 7 inch instrument on my Mach1 from time to time and it is definitely at the limits of what the mount can handle. AP has suggested the AP900 and I would heartily concur. It is probably the best you can get in this application. If you want something quite a bit less portable then the AP1200 will do admirably as well.

Since I am an AP bigot I would also suggest that you have a look at the new baby Paramount. I know the capacity is there but I don't know whether it disassembles and therefor can truly be called portable, and I think it requires an external computer to control and use it. A G-11 is too lightweight, the Mach1GTO is far more substantial and if isn't enough then the G-11 is of no use to you in this application. A Titan is a maybe but what is the status of the Gemini system and/or its replacement, and is the Titan a truly portable mount as well? I have heard stories of a definitely love - hate relationship with the Titan as well over the years.

Now I know a lot of what I said above relates to portability and since you are thinking about a Pier Tech pier you are thinking a non-portable setup. At the same time you haven't said whether the pier stays put, or the pier and the mount stays put, or the pier mount and telescope stay put in one place. If you are planning on assembling and disassembling most nights then you had best be considering portability as well.

You might also want to consider a new tripod manufacturer. His name is Rob Miller of Catamount Systems. Very reasonably priced, made in America, high quality goods. I hope he decides to get more involved with CN as well but he is really just getting started in this latest venture. I am not associated in any manner. Just a really happy customer.


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Ad Astra
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 05/12/10

Loc: Riverside Co., California
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Markls]
      #4329693 - 01/21/11 12:34 PM

Hello Markls,
Yes, I have looked at a G11, I've also looked at the HGM Titan. A titan mount on a Pier-tech pier runs in at 9K ready to rock, 40" scope mounting height, 60" max pier height for observing. Compare either of these to an AP-900 at $8500 for the EQ head alone and there is a clear 40-50% increase in price to go to an AP-900...
For me, this might be the difference between a bit less than ideal instead of 'not at all'.

Swap that Titan out for a Mach1 and it is only $500 cheaper - insignificant at this price point. The general feeling I get from reading forums and reviews is that the Mach1 has superior tracking, lower error, but lower carrying capacity / ability to deal with a long refractor.

The Titan would grant stability, but maybe not quite as smooth. I think since I use only short exposure photography, the Titan with more capacity / stability might be a better choice.

I have a good Canon camera, and I've used it successfully with this scope on a CGEM doing lunar photography. I've also been using the scope on a weak-sauce, overloaded mount for so long, that either of these is going to be a HUGE step up. That said, I'd like to do this just once!

Dan


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Ad Astra
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 05/12/10

Loc: Riverside Co., California
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: rfic1]
      #4329704 - 01/21/11 12:38 PM

Hello Rfic1!

Nice to meet another Apomax user! Most people hear about mine and say "Huh?" Until they put their eye to the eyepiece, then there is just the dull clunking sound of the jaw hitting the ground, sometimes followed by the clacking of dentures rolling in the desert sand.
My Apomax is dark metal-flake green with the trademark red knobs it looks really sharp!

Have you done anything with your focuser? That is the real weak point of these scopes, in my view. Single speed and rather coarse.

Dan


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rfic1
sage
*****

Reged: 10/25/05

Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4329726 - 01/21/11 12:48 PM

Ad Astra,
I agree the 4" focuser is massive but fails in performance compared to the modern day feathertouch focusers. I have used the Wolenski 1.25" helical adapters to achieve critical focus but find I rarely need such a fine focus adjustment.


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Ad Astra
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 05/12/10

Loc: Riverside Co., California
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: M13 Observer]
      #4329733 - 01/21/11 12:50 PM

Quote:

Now I know a lot of what I said above relates to portability and since you are thinking about a Pier Tech pier you are thinking a non-portable setup. At the same time you haven't said whether the pier stays put, or the pier and the mount stays put, or the pier mount and telescope stay put in one place. If you are planning on assembling and disassembling most nights then you had best be considering portability as well.

You might also want to consider a new tripod manufacturer. His name is Rob Miller of Catamount Systems. Very reasonably priced, made in America, high quality goods. I hope he decides to get more involved with CN as well but he is really just getting started in this latest venture. I am not associated in any manner. Just a really happy customer.




Hi M13Observer!
Thanks for the 'hands-on' report. I know AP customers tend to be fans, and that only real quality and service builds those relationships.

Portablility IS an issue. I have a friend with an AP-900 and a big 160mm f/6 refractor. It is lovely, and yes, reasonably portable. The two-piece design is very nice.

Although I'm looking at a Pier-Tech, the one i'm looking at is the portable/adjustable, the Tri-Pier 2. Look at the link and you will see the guy setting up a nice scope at a low level, then raising it up. Vast improvement over trying to climb a ladder with a 6-ft long scope in your arms IMHO.

Thanks for your help!

Dan


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Ad Astra
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 05/12/10

Loc: Riverside Co., California
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: rfic1]
      #4329743 - 01/21/11 12:56 PM

Rfic1,
Orion now sells something like this (1.25" helical adapter/focuser), looked very nice, but I already have an occasional problem with getting enough forward travel on the focuser as it is. I cannot get the camera to come to focus if I use a filter wheel, for instance. Don't know if that is a flaw in my unit (tube a few mm too long???), but Fred is out of business and I hardly want to try shortening and redrilling the tube myself and risk messing up the optical performance!

I'm sure the helical would do for all my visual work, anyway. It is also a much cheaper solution than a new dual speed focuser - and getting it adapted for the Apomax. I've already looked at that - ouch!

I'll look into the Wolinski, though. Thanks!

Dan

Edited by Ad Astra (01/21/11 12:58 PM)


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M13 Observer
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/09/06

Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4329767 - 01/21/11 01:09 PM

Quote:


Hi M13Observer!
Thanks for the 'hands-on' report. I know AP customers tend to be fans, and that only real quality and service builds those relationships.

Portablility IS an issue. I have a friend with an AP-900 and a big 160mm f/6 refractor. It is lovely, and yes, reasonably portable. The two-piece design is very nice.

Although I'm looking at a Pier-Tech, the one i'm looking at is the portable/adjustable, the Tri-Pier 2. Look at the link and you will see the guy setting up a nice scope at a low level, then raising it up. Vast improvement over trying to climb a ladder with a 6-ft long scope in your arms IMHO.

Thanks for your help!

Dan




Dan,

This is entirely a personal observation, but I wouldn't call anything that Pier-Tech makes "portable". Not without a hoist for me at any rate. Note that there is absolutely NO mention of how much that 'tripod' weighs on the web page. Their only comment is that there is a really nice dolly to move it around on. I can tell you that the AP1200 will be positively flyweight in comparison.

Edited by M13 Observer (01/21/11 01:20 PM)


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gdd
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: N Seattle suburb, WA
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: M13 Observer]
      #4329835 - 01/21/11 01:43 PM

Hi M13,

The Tri-Pier 2 weighs 70 pounds according to their FAQ.
It even has a "Carry Handle".

Correction: The Pier-Tech 2 weighs 70 pounds, that is the permanent adjustable pier. You will need to send and inquiry to the manufacturer for the weight of the Tri-Pier2.

The Tri-Pier 2 weighs about 75 pounds according to this site: http://www.imagingtheheavens.co.uk/page22.htm



Gale

Edited by gdd (01/22/11 01:18 AM)


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gillmj24
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 12/06/05

Loc: PA
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gdd]
      #4329913 - 01/21/11 02:15 PM

I just posted about my Pier Tech 2, and I am thinking of getting their pier-caddy to make it portable. Widener University Observatory near me has four Meade 12" LX200GPS scopes on PT2's with caddies for their public outreach program. The lifter runs on AC power but doesn't use too much wattage that you can't run a good battery with an inverter for field use.

But generally they are meant to be bolted to concrete which you're right isn't anything I would call portable. It is 70 pounds or so but as I like to say ANYTHING is/can be made "PORTABLE" given enough "AMBITION"


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RAKing
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/28/07

Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4329926 - 01/21/11 02:21 PM

I have been very happy with my Mach1 the past couple of years. I had to wait 18 months, but it was worth it in the end. The capacity listed is imaging capacity - for visual the mount can easily carry more. Roland told me at NEAF that a C14 would be easy and we have seen 60 - 65 pound loads in the field.

The problem you will face with your scope is the inertial load and that will tax the gears, especially in windy conditions.

I was more concerned with what you planned to bolt the mount to (I use and love my A-P Portable Piers) - but after seeing that Pier Tech, I think you will be in good shape.

Personally - if you haven't stripped the gears out of your CGEM yet, then a Mach 1 should be okay.

My .02,

Ron


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Ad Astra
professor emeritus
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Reged: 05/12/10

Loc: Riverside Co., California
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gillmj24]
      #4329940 - 01/21/11 02:27 PM

The only difference between a 70 lb tripod/pier and a 50 lb EQ mount is that you never have to lift the pier and bolt it on to something 5-feet off the ground!

If I wrestle my 70 lb pier onto the ground, the rest of it should be stable and a snap. I'm still willing to consider a different solution - but lifting the big, long refractor on a ladder in the dark is scary!

I have nightmares about dropping my Apomax - an absolutely irreplaceable instrument! My wife has nightmares about me crashing to the ground trying to save the scope! Bottom line: The pier will be 'portable' for 5-7 years, then go to a permanent mount.

Option 2: get a lighter, fixed height tripod and convert to a pier-tech later when I put in an observatory. But that still leaves the ladder problem.

Either way, I've found setting up a refractor this long isn't really a 1-man operation anyway.


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Max Lattanzi
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/27/07

Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4331450 - 01/22/11 08:13 AM

Hi Don,

Let's see if, on the base of my experience, I can be of help.

I do not own a Mach1, although I have been handling it for a while. But I do own and use an AP900 and AP1200 and a Titan HGM. Lately, I have been extensively using the AP900 and Titan side by side with two refractors -- 180 f/9 and 200 f/9. The former is basically matching your APOMax dimensions and payload (although the dia. is bigger). The latter is substantially beyond that (you do feel the difference when you mount them *alone*). So, I guess my experience could be of help.

In short, AP advice on the Mach1 is a valid one. And I'll show you why. Let me simply jump the Mach1 and tell you about the AP900.

The AP900 is a very high precision mount, with very high (and tight) tolerances, smooth motors, little weight for what it does, easy to set apart and put together, etc etc etc... I could go on the whole page listing the pros of this beautiful mount. The cons are... just one: price. You do pay for all the precision work that AP puts there. So, precision is there. Now payload. Let's say that the 180 f/9 (bare OTA 40 lbs) sits beautifully there. For long exposure I would use the AP1200, but for visual and planetary, the AP900 is its mount. You slam -- not 'touch', I mean slam-test -- the focuser at 600x and in 2 secs is basically stopped. In three secs it seems you never touched it. 600x. And, when you use it, very easily you go up in weight of 10-15 if not 20 lbs. Plus counterweights, if course.

Now, I know of people that put and use a 50 lbs 200 f/9 (bare OTA; then with extras you are at 70-80lbs in a breeze; plus CWs, of course) on the AP900... I did not. And the mount was just there. It would have hold it? Certainly yes. With the same slam-test? I really don't think so. But it would have still be usable. Certainly not rock solid. Certainly not my taste. I don't know how you observe, but very often I observe planets at 600x (and rarely go below 500x, maybe 475x when seeing is not there). Often I go beyond 600x. And this for long hours. Under these conditions I want NOT to feel the telescope and NOT to feel the mount. Scope has to be perfect and precisely deliver just an open window view. Mount has to *disappear*. Planet at 600x steady in the middle of the view field with no vibrations for two-three hours. That's it. This is my mileage. Yours obviously I don't know.

With this mileage in mind, the pudding is that I did not feel like using the 200 f/9 + AP900 combination. The two mounts and two OTAs where there and I was free to do what I wanted. The 200 f/9 with its guidescope immediately sat on top of the Titan. You may wish to know that, despite the load (I had 84 lbs of counterweight, so go figure) and despite the non-perfect mesh both in RA and Decl (...the day after I did open up, re-greased and re-meshed the worms and gears...) the slam-test on the Titan was *almost* the same. Maybe a fraction more (say 3.5-4 sec for full quietness).

So, where is my point? Vis--vis the AP900, the Titan is certainly not as precise and refined -- mind you, it is a *very beautiful piece of machinery*; just a different kind of beauty -- but it does carry payload better. I *do not* like the Gemini interface which is cumbersome and primitive (to say the least) vis--vis the AP; but with a bit more patience (read: often you ned to press three or four or five buttons to do something that would need one or two presses with the AP), it does the job just right. The Titan does not have the careful carving and very clever ribbed structure of the APs: it's just a beautiful assembly of nicely machined pieces. So it *does* weight. Indeed, the Titan's weight is flirting with the AP1200 (75 lbs vs 81) and, for that weight you *do not* get the same payload of the AP1200. BUT it does carry more than the AP900 and -- I guess this is the part you like the most -- as you know it costs as much as the Mach1. Of course you are not paying the clever engineering and precise assembly of AP. And you are not paying for an almost-service-less mount.

IF this is fine with you, I guess you may have your answer.

BUT, be aware and be ready to put your hands into the mount from time to time -- something that, again, you would possibly never do on an AP900 or 1200. On the Titan you'll *definitely* need to adjust the mesh and re-grease the worms and gears from time to time, but in the end it's fun to do it. Again, the Titan is a beautiful piece of machinery that is built to be taken apart and appreciated. When you open it up you understand that the guy 'wanted' you to take it apart and made the work easy for you [Note: Trust me, this is *not* the case with AP. There they clearly *don't want* you to mess things up...]

Bottom line: given that the AP900 is a *wonderful* mount, with an exceptional payload for its weight and mass, with a great precision and feeling, and *very cleverly* build... IF your budget is around 6,000 USD (being the Mach at 5,950$ and the Titan at 5,995$), the answer is easy. Be aware that, apart form the AP pier, a Meade Giant Field Tripod will work perfectly and also look beautiful (if this is a concern). We are talking a few hundred bucks.

Further -- and to also clarify things visually -- possibly you do not have the actual feeling of *how much* the Titan is beefier than a G-11 and of a Mach1. Since you appreciate a comparison, beside the CGE-Mach1 already shown, I may post hereunder some side-by-side images that I guess will speak by themselves.

Dan, owning myself a series of long-focus refractors, I have been there. And I hope that what I have been able to sort out on my own skin can be of help for you.

Cheers,

-- Max


PS/Sadly your beautiful ApoMax is possibly the sole long-focus apo lacking in Refractorland...


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Max Lattanzi
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/27/07

Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331452 - 01/22/11 08:15 AM Attachment (253 downloads)

A classic side-by-side, AP1200, AP900, Mach1...

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Max Lattanzi
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/27/07

Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331453 - 01/22/11 08:17 AM Attachment (187 downloads)

A Takahashi EM-200 (physical size is similar to the CGE, the AP600 and the G-11) side by side the Mach1...

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Max Lattanzi
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/27/07

Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331456 - 01/22/11 08:18 AM Attachment (158 downloads)

Same side-by-side, front view... will be helpful later on...

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Max Lattanzi
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/27/07

Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331461 - 01/22/11 08:22 AM Attachment (188 downloads)

Now the Mach1 with a G11...

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