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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Ad Astra
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Loc: Riverside Co., California
Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts
      #4327606 - 01/20/11 02:37 PM

Hi Folks!

I'm looking for some advice, and I'm not sure I'm getting the best from some of the manufacturer's reps I've been chatting with on email. So, once again, I'm turning to my friends on CN to help with a little unbiased (and real-world) advice!

I have an Apomax 133mm f/12 refractor -- and it has been a relationship for over 10 years now! The views are spectacular, and I've never seen this scope's equal on planetary and lunar work. The problem is that this beast is BIG!! 1600mm f/l, about 20 Kg (42 lbs) and almost 190 cm (75 inches) from dew shield to eyepiece. It's a monster!

I do mostly visual work, but I'd love to do some astrophotography - I have the scope and a good camera, my problem has always been the mount! Currently the scope is mounted on a Celestron CGEM mount - very unsatisfactory! It tracks ok for visual work (unless it is very windy), but the motors strain when slewing anywhere above the slowest speed, and the clutches just can't hold my long green scope steady at all.

I've looked at, and rejected, many mounts, and I have my eye on just two - if there is a 3rd (or a 4th!!!) I haven't considered, please clue me in!
One is the CGE-Pro mount from Celestron. At about 5K including tripod, it is has plenty of payload capacity, and as this thing was designed for a 20" CDK, I figure it will hold my refractor. Downside? Very heavy lift to get the 25 Kg EQ head to the top of the tripod, and the mount is only marginally tall enough - at zenith, the eyepiece is less than 60 cm (24 inches) from the ground and very uncomfortable!

The second mount I'm looking at is the Mach1 GTO from Astro-Physics - just under 6K w/o any pier or tripod. Slightly lower payload (still well capable of handling the weight of my scope), and much better reviewed performance for photographic work. Downside? After purchasing a 60" pier or tripod for the Mach1, adapter plates, counterweights, etc. (all extra) I'm now approaching (if not over) $9K. Heck, for 10K, I can get an CGE-14-HD with all the trimmings!

Additionally, when I contacted A-P, the advice the tech gave is that the Mach1 won't hold a scope of my size steady - even for visual work!! I have to think that if the (by comparison) lowly CGEM will do the work, then a Mach1 certainly should. A-P tech claims that: "The scope is heavy and long, so it will not be stable on the Mach1 size mount. The long tube length requires a larger gearwheel in the two axes in order to hold the scope rigidly enough even for visual. It is a matter of torque transferred to the gearteeth." (My emphasis!)

So what is the 'real world' situation? I'm sure that Roland's standards of "acceptable tracking and steadyness" are quite a bit different from mine - could the Mach1 do the job? The A-P folks frankly recommended an A-P 900 GTO mount - nice, but Santa and the Easter Bunny just laughed at me. With a base price of about 9K (before tripod, adapter plates, counterweights, etc.) and waaaaay out of my reach!

Any help from the Peanut Gallery or the FWIW Bureau would be greatly appreciated!

Dan


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adamsp123
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Reged: 11/20/08

Loc: welshpool mid wales UK
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4327651 - 01/20/11 02:59 PM

Are you wanting to image the planets/lunar or DSOs, if it the latter I think you will get frustrated using that scope at F12, you would need incredibly long subs and a very big and expensive mount to be able (maybe) to do that.
Just as an example a 4 min sub with my F5.3 would mean you need a 20 min sub for the equivalent light capture of a DSO on the camera chip, now that is a big ask of any mount, even guided, with that size scope.


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Ad Astra
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: adamsp123]
      #4327665 - 01/20/11 03:07 PM

Not really a scope for DSO's at all. The aperture is a little small and the f/l is incredibly long for that.

Most of the photographic work I've done has been on Luna (successful!) and Mars (meh!). Photographic work is really secondary for me - visual work is primary.

Dan


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4327688 - 01/20/11 03:13 PM

Quote:

One is the CGE-Pro mount from Celestron. At about 5K including tripod, it is has plenty of payload capacity, and as this thing was designed for a 20" CDK,




Although the mount originally proposed for the 20" CDK was designated CGE Pro, the model currently using that designation bears little or no resemblance.


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t.r.
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4327700 - 01/20/11 03:19 PM Attachment (198 downloads)

I think you would be just fine on a Mach 1 for visual and planetary imaging. For DSO imaging, okay maybe pushing it on a windy night. No reason it won't work for visual on the right tripod/pier. See here the size comparison to a CGE...

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Ad Astra
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #4327744 - 01/20/11 03:37 PM

Quote:

Although the mount originally proposed for the 20" CDK was designated CGE Pro, the model currently using that designation bears little or no resemblance.




Very sad... but I will take your word for it. Some others have said the same.

There seems to be a BIG gap between the $1,000 - $1,500 mounts and the 6K & up pricetag / performance of the next level.

Thanks!

Dan



Edited by Ad Astra (01/20/11 03:38 PM)


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Ad Astra
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Loc: Riverside Co., California
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: t.r.]
      #4327765 - 01/20/11 03:45 PM

Hi T.R!

Thanks, your photo with the two side-by-side is a great help! I may wish to take up a large DSO reflector someday, but the big refractor is plenty for now.

I've never actually done an astrophoto with an exposure of more than a couple of minutes duration! I can't see doing long exposures with this refractor - entirely wrong instrument for that!

Plus if I stick with a Mach1, I might be able to afford a Pier-Tech-2 adjustable pier to put underneath it... nice not to have to lift all that glass onto a 60" high platform! That combo would still keep the total at about $9K - I can swing that if my bonus comes in!

Dan


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DeanS
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: t.r.]
      #4327772 - 01/20/11 03:48 PM

I moved up from a Mach1 to the AP900 when I bought my TOA-150. I was told it would work but I just felt the 900 would give me a little better stability.

Have yet to mount the TOA on it yet though I use my 1200 for imaging with it, and planned on using the 900 for visual use in the field.

I would highly recommend the AP900, for just a little more you get almost twice the payload. These mounts are something you will likely keep for life. And there is no comparison between an AP mount and a Celestron.

Good luck


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drksky
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: DeanS]
      #4327912 - 01/20/11 04:51 PM

Uh, the 900 base price is about 3K more than a Mach-1. Not sure I would call that a little bit.

A Mach-1 with accessories you might get away with 7.5-8K. For a 900, you're talking 10K+ for the mount, pier, plates, CWs, etc.


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DeanS
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: drksky]
      #4328056 - 01/20/11 05:53 PM

Accessories for both will be about the same so that is a wash.

Yes it is more $$$ than just a little, but it has nearly twice the capacity. I have not looked at the cost lately. However if he is concerned about it then this might be a better option. Better too much mount than not enough.

Personally I would put the extra money into the mount before a expensive pier. That could be added later if really needed.


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zawijava
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4328087 - 01/20/11 06:07 PM

I have not owned or used a Mach 1 but have owned/used both the 900 and 1200 AP's. I had my 6" f/15 D&G [about 30 lbs total] on the 900 and I feel comfortable saying it carried it very well. But if I rapped on the tube or if the wind was blowing I would have to wait for the image to settle down....definitely not "rock solid". My point being that I don't believe the Mach 1 would be up to the task of carrying your tube. The AP Tech is giving you some good advise

Tim


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gnowellsct
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4328809 - 01/20/11 11:29 PM

Why not get a used AP900 and save $2k

greg N


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gdd
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Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: N Seattle suburb, WA
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #4328884 - 01/21/11 12:09 AM

How about a Titan? This info from the Losmandy site:

Quote:

Photographic instrument weight capacity 100 lbs.
Equatorial Head weight 75 lbs. Breaks down into R.A. 37.5 lbs. & DEC. 37.5 lbs




Or, check out this thread for a large refractor mount:

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/4278079/page/5/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1


Gale

Edited by gdd (01/21/11 12:30 AM)


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Ad Astra
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Loc: Riverside Co., California
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: DeanS]
      #4329036 - 01/21/11 02:51 AM

Quote:

I moved up from a Mach1 to the AP900 when I bought my TOA-150. I was told it would work but I just felt the 900 would give me a little better stability.

I would highly recommend the AP900, for just a little more you get almost twice the payload. These mounts are something you will likely keep for life. And there is no comparison between an AP mount and a Celestron.

Good luck




Hi DeanS,

It's nice to hear from someone who has used both!
Yes, ideally, I would very much like to get an AP-900, but the difference is almost $3,000 - about 50% more than the Mach1. That is a very significant amount for me, hence the agonized comparisons!

Re: the pier, a Pier-Tech portable pier is about $2,800, any other folding triod, portable pier is at least 2K-$2,400. Pier-Tech represents being able to put the heavy scope on the mount at waist level, and still be able to get it up off the ground. Alas, 55-60" piers and tripods are not cheap. When I started researching this stuff, the prices took my breath away!

If I have an extra $500-800 to spend, I'm thinking the pier-tech might be better, and much cheaper than swapping up to an AP-900. Unless the Mach1 just won't do the job, and then it isn't in the running. I just haven't satisfied myself on that point yet!

Thanks for your help!

Dan

Edited by Ad Astra (01/21/11 02:58 AM)


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Ad Astra
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: zawijava]
      #4329042 - 01/21/11 03:05 AM

Quote:

I have not owned or used a Mach 1 but have owned/used both the 900 and 1200 AP's. I had my 6" f/15 D&G [about 30 lbs total] on the 900 and I feel comfortable saying it carried it very well. But if I rapped on the tube or if the wind was blowing I would have to wait for the image to settle down....definitely not "rock solid". My point being that I don't believe the Mach 1 would be up to the task of carrying your tube. The AP Tech is giving you some good advise
Tim




Thanks, Tim!
I really like the AP-900, but that leaves me with only one affordable option - the plain AP portable pier. The thing that makes me hesitate is my long tube needs a 60" tall mount, and putting a mount and tube up that high is difficult and dangerous for me and the equipment.

That said, I think an AP-900/basic pier combo still costs $2,500 more than a Mach1/Pier-Tech adjustable pier combo.

Maybe I should look into a Losmandy Titan?

Thanks for the help!

Dan


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Ad Astra
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Loc: Riverside Co., California
Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #4329044 - 01/21/11 03:13 AM

Quote:

Why not get a used AP900 and save $2k

greg N




Do you happen to know where one could get ahold of such an item? A PM would be highly appreciated!

From everything I've been able to determine, they are never produced in great numbers, acquiring one is akin to a grail quest - cherished heirlooms which are passed on to close family members and such. Tales of used AP mounts and scopes are like unicorns and chupacabra -- you hear a lot about them, but you never actually seem to see one for yourself!

Dan


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Paul G
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4329193 - 01/21/11 07:50 AM

There's a photo with the Mach1 and the 900 GTO side by side on the AP GTO users group.



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gillmj24
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Paul G]
      #4329250 - 01/21/11 08:28 AM

Simple.

Place a wanted ad here in shop and swap or on Astromart.

If you are new to Astromart (also referred to as "AM" in various forums including here) then it will cost you $12. You'll save more than that on your first purchase though, I'd bet.


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rfic1
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Reged: 10/25/05

Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gillmj24]
      #4329319 - 01/21/11 09:25 AM

My ApoMax rides on a older AP800 mount and is a nice match. If you are looking for Goto capability I would rec a used Tak NJP. You would need to get the long legs in view of the length of the ApoMax. I second your opinion on the views with this scope. I think it is the finest 5" for lunar,planetary and double star work.

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Markls
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Paul G]
      #4329350 - 01/21/11 09:44 AM

Have you considered a Losmandy G-11. Installing the one piece Ovision block gives very good, not excellent tracking. That package will cost only $4k new, including the HD tripod. You have to be willing to tweak the mount to get great tracking. If you are not a mechanical person, you might want to look at a different mount. The AP class mounts work perfect, right out of the box.

Have you looked at the new Paramount MX? This is a brand new mount and it looks to be in the class of the AP900. They will start shipping them out soon.

You appear to be looking at all the angles. So, if I were you, I would also go onto AstroMart. Pay the $12 entrance fee. Check out all the mounts they have listed. There have listings for all the AP and Losmandy mounts. Every mount I have purchased there (along with my Mach one) has been well taken care of. Some of these mounts come with a custom case and a lot of necessary accessories. A used AP900 over there, with all the accessories, would cost you about $8k.

After the mount, the accessories for imaging are what REALLY ADD UP $2k - $4k (or more) for Camera(s), guidescope, hardware, connectors, dew heater/straps, battery(s), filter wheel/filters (if you go with a mono camera), software, computer, etc.

There is a very steep learning curve to imaging. It takes a lot of time and patience to grow up this hobby. Half the fun is all the learning/sharing with everyone here on the forums. The other half is when all things work right and the images come out looking like you want them to. That gives you bragging rights!

I hope you find everything you want (need?) and have a good time doing it!



Mark


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rfic1
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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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
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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
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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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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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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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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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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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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331452 - 01/22/11 08:15 AM Attachment (246 downloads)

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

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331453 - 01/22/11 08:17 AM Attachment (181 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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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331456 - 01/22/11 08:18 AM Attachment (154 downloads)

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

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331461 - 01/22/11 08:22 AM Attachment (183 downloads)

Now the Mach1 with a G11...

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331464 - 01/22/11 08:24 AM Attachment (158 downloads)

Again Mach1 and G11 front view... ready for the difference...?!

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331465 - 01/22/11 08:25 AM Attachment (169 downloads)

Now, THIS is the size difference between the Titan and the G11... I guess it speaks by itself...

Hope this was helpful,

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331513 - 01/22/11 09:06 AM

Max - Awesome job on the side by sides ...drool.

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4331520 - 01/22/11 09:12 AM

Max: I am not the OP but one trying to decide on a replacement mount for my C11. Thanks for the useful info in your post and the revealing images. Still no doubt in my mind the AP900 is the prettiest and the best of the mounts I am considering but I had never seen side-by-side images of the contenders such as you posted.

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gdd
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: dawziecat]
      #4331545 - 01/22/11 09:31 AM

Hi Max, great sid by sides!

Could you do one more? The Titan between the AP1200 and AP900?

Thanks,

Gale


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gdd]
      #4331592 - 01/22/11 10:00 AM

Quote:

Could you do one more? The Titan between the AP1200 and AP900?



Yes Gale, and will do better than that: side by side of AP1200, AP900, AP600, Titan and JP-Z.

But you have to be patient a bit -- I am in town and, given the pouring rain, I am not planning to be back at the obs before one or two weeks... when there will do as you suggest.

-- Max

PS/ I'll check in my files but I rarely take pix of something that is not "classics" and "revamped"... so I'm not sure I have those ready. But never say never...


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dothead
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4332137 - 01/22/11 01:39 PM

Max, do you think a Tak JP-Z (=NJP) will be sufficient for the APOMAX ?
How does the JP-Z compare in beefiness to the AP 900 ?

Regards,

Ralph


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: dothead]
      #4332206 - 01/22/11 02:10 PM

Good lord Max, you have more value in your mounts than I do in my house.

I'm in the wrong hobby.


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gdd
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: drksky]
      #4332211 - 01/22/11 02:13 PM

I nominate this thread for "Best Threads in Mounts" because of the side by side photos.

Gale


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gdd]
      #4332430 - 01/22/11 03:51 PM

Hello Max!

You are indeed the gentleman I wanted to talk to - the fellow with experience with long refractors!

From what you suggest, the Losmandy Titan or the 900 would be the ideal mount for me. Visually, I expect that the Mach1 would do just as well, but photographically, perhaps not.

I must admit that I was very surprised (and a bit aghast!) at your description of the 'slap-test' for mount stability! That is SO FAR beyond the level of stability that I have now, it seems literally like science fiction. On the CGEM mount, I can observe (if the wind is low), but no one can come near the mount. I'm used to shouting at people, "Look, don't TOUCH!!!"

May I ask how high your pier or tripod is for your 180mm f/9 refractor? (before you put the EQ head or scope on it, of course!) I've used the CGEM at its maximum height (about 1.2m), and the eyepiece of the refractor is still very low when the scope is at Zenith - perhaps just 20 cm off the ground. Too low for comfort!

Thanks so much for your pictures, they have been a great help! One of the problems when looking at such things is that German mounts are rather like fractal objects - they look the same at any size - and without something to compare them to, it becomes very difficult to visualize my scope on a particular mount and compare to my CGEM experience.

I visited your refractorland site, too. Very nice! Your views from Italy look wonderful, rather more picturesque than the low desert that I live it!

Cheers!

Dan


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gdd]
      #4332905 - 01/22/11 08:20 PM

Quote:

I nominate this thread for "Best Threads in Mounts" because of the side by side photos.

Gale




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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: dothead]
      #4333631 - 01/23/11 05:19 AM

Quote:

Max, do you think a Tak JP-Z (=NJP) will be sufficient for the APOMAX ?



Good morning Ralph,

Definitely Yes...!
This is actually where I am moving the AP152 f/12 Superplanetary after years of trusty service on top of the AP600/AP900.

Mind you though that the 152 Superplanetary is a light construction. I have no scale data with me but my arms know for sure that it is way lighter than, say, a 40lbs 180 f/9. Still it is some 10" longer... OTA w/dewshield is well beyond 2 meters... So I'd say its torque is roughly equivalent to the 5.2" 1600mm 40lbs APOMax OTA.


Quote:

How does the JP-Z compare in beefiness to the AP 900 ?



It's tough to talk about beefiness re the JP-Z which I personally find one of the most elegant mounts ever built...

It's as big as the AP900 and weights equally. BUT it does not come apart. So when you move it you are dealing with a chunk of brass, steel and aluminum that is heavier than the RA axis of the AP1200...!

JP-Z (NJP), again, has the same size of the AP900 but looks thinner and way more elegant. Although they are twenty years apart, they belong to two different centuries. The NJP/JP-Z is a piece of fine machinery conceived in the 70s and relying on the finest (also hand-made) mechanics available with no concern whatsoever for cost (and weight) reduction... I guess thirty years of uninterrupted production may tell something... OTOH, while being among the best mount on the planet, the AP900 speaks out loud "I am a modern computerized mount"... so their charm is quite different...

You could put the JP-Z/NJP with its pedestal into your living room beside some Art sculptures and it would not look inappropriate... So, yes heavy, but beefy definitely not...

Cheers,

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: drksky]
      #4333633 - 01/23/11 05:23 AM

Quote:

Good lord Max, you have more value in your mounts than I do in my house.
I'm in the wrong hobby.



Hi Tony,

They're not necessarily all mine... and I guess you're definitely in the right one...

Cheers,
--Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4333653 - 01/23/11 05:50 AM Attachment (105 downloads)

Quote:

From what you suggest, the Losmandy Titan or the 900 would be the ideal mount for me. Visually, I expect that the Mach1 would do just as well, but photographically, perhaps not.



Hi Dan,

Visually would do. Not just as well, but it would definitely do.

If photographically is planetary video, would do as well. Small galaxies at f/12 or f/9 w/reducer, *maybe* if you build around a tent (or you have an obs) and not even a butterfly passes by... otherwise just forget it.

I have found some pix of the Superplanetary on the AP600 (hereunder) which is a bit lighter than the Mach1 -- it actually weights the same, but wheels are 4" instead of 6" so the torque is of course more difficult do get absorbed by the mount. It does work with the Baader/Zeiss and a bit better with the Giant Field Tripod, but it's everything but rock solid. Life's too short to wait for shaking scopes to settle down...


Quote:

I must admit that I was very surprised (and a bit aghast!) at your description of the 'slap-test' for mount stability! That is SO FAR beyond the level of stability that I have now, it seems literally like science fiction. On the CGEM mount, I can observe (if the wind is low), but no one can come near the mount. I'm used to shouting at people, "Look, don't TOUCH!!!"




Very many years ago, someone told me: "you just cannot over-mount a telescope".
I came to discover that this is one of the very few true things in Astronomy.


Quote:

May I ask how high your pier or tripod is for your 180mm f/9 refractor? (before you put the EQ head or scope on it, of coe!) I've used the CGEM at its maximum height (about 1.2m), and the eyepiece of the refractor is still very low when the scope is at Zenith - perhaps just 20 cm off the ground. Too low for comfort!




Ah, pier as much as you want. I use the 62" AP but I am having custom builded taller ones.
Tripod as low as possible. The Giant Field Tripod stays at about 42".

In am not much of a Zenith observer but, say, if I have to do M57 and I am with just the tripod, I just pull up the scope (when almost vertical the weight is distributed differently) and maybe add some rear weights. And that's it. Oh, well, yes sometimes I do sit very low... I had my time in Japan and don't mind at all being on the ground... also have some spare stools for tea ceremony and things like that...


Quote:

Thanks so much for your pictures, they have been a great help! One of the problems when looking at such things is that German mounts are rather like fractal objects - they look the same at any size - and without something to compare them to, it becomes very difficult to visualize my scope on a particular mount and compare to my CGEM experience.




Right. And, on top of that, companies and dealers are very good in putting forth lot of bla bla but never give you a plain side by side... so, if you don't experience by yourself you're lost in the midst of incomparable data... a bit like with mobile phone companies...


Quote:

I visited your refractorland site, too. Very nice! Your views from Italy look wonderful, rather more picturesque than the low desert that I live it!




It's just the distance -- I find your desert way more picturesque than our surroundings, trust me !

Cheers!

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4333656 - 01/23/11 05:54 AM Attachment (122 downloads)

Perspective is different, but here you see it on the Giant Field Tripod.
Original Zeiss/Baader for comparison. Mind you, when stuck into the ground the Zeiss/Baader is ***steady***. The Giant is better, but not by much. OTOH is way more heavy and cumbersome. A bit overkill for the AP600 and more appropriate, as already suggested, for AP900/Titan.


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gdd]
      #4333684 - 01/23/11 06:54 AM Attachment (142 downloads)

Quote:

Hi Max, great sid by sides!

Could you do one more? The Titan between the AP1200 and AP900?



Gale, Dan,

I did find a couple of shots that, although not side by side, might be of help. These are the setups I mentioned before. AP900 with 180 f/9 and Titan with 200 f/9. Tripod is the same.

To put things in perspective, in one case is a 8" dia. OTA, FL 1600mm of 35 lbs (bare OTA); in the other the dimensions are 9.2" FL 1800 and 50 lbs (bare OTA). As you may see, the ratio between the OTA and the mount is roughly the same. Also the shot of the Titan is taken from a bit more distance. You may also note that the tripod looks thinner under the Titan.

This is the best I can do at the moment.
Hope this helps,

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4333685 - 01/23/11 06:56 AM Attachment (128 downloads)

This is the Titan... just look at the CWs... 21lbs each...

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Scott99
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4333945 - 01/23/11 10:35 AM

IMO there isn't much need to go beyond AP's advice, it was spot-on.

If you're on a limited budget the Mach1 is not a good choice at all. For a 42 pound long-tube refractor you need a seriously beefy mount. The torque exerted by the OTA will be much higher than a 30 pound 160mm f/8 refractor.

The Mach1 is very stable but it's a compromise product for portability and light weight. It costs top-dollar because of its sophistication for tracking & imaging. For the apomax you need a mount that focuses on brawn - I'd be looking for something like a used MI-250 which has massive parts and is equivalent to the AP 900 in capacity but much cheaper. Or better yet an older AP 900QMD, but those have become scarce.

As you start to look at the cost of a huge, quality GEM mount you start to realize why most of us get short-tube 5-inch apos. The cost of mounting a heavy long-tube is prohibitive & you end paying as much as you would for an f/8 on a smaller mount.


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Scott99]
      #4335629 - 01/23/11 10:22 PM

Quote:

IMO there isn't much need to go beyond AP's advice, it was spot-on.

If you're on a limited budget the Mach1 is not a good choice at all.... As you start to look at the cost of a huge, quality GEM mount you start to realize why most of us get short-tube 5-inch apos. The cost of mounting a heavy long-tube is prohibitive & you end paying as much as you would for an f/8 on a smaller mount.




Scott99,
Yes, it's true. But I had a chance to buy the last ApoMax from the manufacturer - would you have passed it up and said,
"Nah... F/12 is TOO long! Way to expensive to mount properly!"... and then passed it by?

Or would you have looked at the beautiful optics, the monstrous brass focus knobs and green metal-flake paint and say to yourself:
"I can so mount this scope! It calls to me! We will do wonderful things together in the dark for years to come!!!!!"

Yeah, it was like that for me, too.
I took one look at the ApoMax, and I was sunk. I bought it, and I've been on the proverbial 'grail quest' to mount the dratted thing ever since.

The photos Max sent were perfect! I'm sure the Titan would be wonderful - not at all really portable, but wonderful all the same. I'd need help to move, set up, and take down the thing -- it would handle my scope, alright!

The AP900 looks like a wonderful solution, just down to can I afford it. All this depends on mythical bonus - announced in June. I have until then to dither about.

Dan


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4335682 - 01/23/11 10:46 PM

I'll link to a couple of photos here, so folks can see my scope. This is the ApoMax on a CGEM mount and 2.5" Celestron field tripod (came with C-11). ApoMax makes CGEM look spindly - strangely, it looks well in proportion for the C11. The ceiling in my living room is 10-ft, and yes, the galoot under the Stetson is your's truly.

Here is a typical Rural areathat we observe from. This is in the Hemet / San Jacinto area of Riverside County, California. Elevation here appx. 1100 ft (350 m). Rocky scrub, clear skies, lots of critters in the night. ie: Don't go out alone, bring the big dog with you, put the food away, stay near the car or the scope and don't wander off. Above all, in rattlesnake country, don't put your feet or hands where your eyes haven't already been!

The third is my front patio & observing deck. We have a very nice view of the N/E quadrant of the sky up to the zenith. The compass mosaic is accurately laser-aligned to within 0.2 degrees. I did the alignment, but I had to convince the installer that it was what I wanted, because the compass "didn't line up with the tile!"

There you go, Max! You and everyone else can see my under-mounted rig!

Dan


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4335832 - 01/24/11 12:23 AM

Quote:

Hello Max!

I must admit that I was very surprised (and a bit aghast!) at your description of the 'slap-test' for mount stability! That is SO FAR beyond the level of stability that I have now, it seems literally like science fiction. On the CGEM mount, I can observe (if the wind is low), but no one can come near the mount. I'm used to shouting at people, "Look, don't TOUCH!!!"
Dan




The slap test is a bit idiosyncratic, a better test is a weight hung from the rear of the OTA and swung (to provide a constant level of force for comparison) pendulum style.

A long fl refractor on an AP900 *might* do a lot better vibration wise if one custom machined a LONG dovetail to provide better stability fore and aft.

Someone here posted on the C11--look there's nothing wrong with an AP900 I love mine, but I also have my G11. And a G11 is certainly plenty of mount for a C11.

I have used lots of mounts which always vibrated when you touch the focuser. My various rigs always passed that test.

C14+G11: passes test, also OK in moderate winds, not OK when you add 4" refractor
C11+G11: passes test, very good in moderate winds, room to add a refractor
G11+9.25: maybe be used in hurricanes
G11+10 inch f/6 Newt: Surprised me, pretty stable, seems to be more stable than larger aperture dobs (probably because the support is "right in the middle" in a T shape rather than cantilevered from the base). I have decided that I will be using the 10" Newt on my G11 instead of my AP900QMD which I find surprising to say but it seems to be where I'm headed. Suffice to say that I don't like using mounts that are "delicate" when you touch the focus and which can't stand up to 10mph winds with their OTAs.

Incidentally Super Polaris is great with c8 or 4" refractor.

All my mounts are stepper versions, no go-to.

Greg N


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #4395068 - 02/18/11 02:22 PM Attachment (160 downloads)

Hi Gale and all,

As per your request.
This is what I can do at the moment: AP900, Titan and AP1200.
Others are being used -- Titan will in a few minutes.
Bottle of red wine for size comparison.
Hope this helps,

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4395095 - 02/18/11 02:38 PM Attachment (166 downloads)

Side view...

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4395102 - 02/18/11 02:45 PM

Wow I didn't realize that the 1200 was so much bigger.

I thought my 900 was hefty... now I have mount envy


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: jmasin]
      #4395256 - 02/18/11 03:59 PM

Wow, I didn't realize I could drool that much...and it's not the wine!

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: nemo129]
      #4397250 - 02/19/11 03:12 PM

Thanks Max! That photo is a big help. Looks like the Titan and the AP-900 are about the same size - for some reason, I had thought the Titan was a lot larger than that!

Dan


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4398620 - 02/20/11 04:56 AM

Hi Dan,

Glad it helped.

Mind you: the Titan IS larger and, moreover, although not as precise, is definitely more robust. The AP900 is a light mount in comparison. It weighs almost half and, to set it up is just one trip. You can literally walk with the RA in the right and Dec in the left w/o problems. This is totally out of the question with the Titan, which is about the same mass of the AP1200 and does require that first you carry the RA with both hands and again the same with Dec (the axes weight alike).

If it can be of help, I definitely feel more comfortable in charging heavy scopes on the Titan than on the AP900. It remains that the AP900 can work with a very tight mesh while the worm wheels/gears coupling of the Titan needs to be looser. And you find yourself adjusting it more frequently.

Cheers,

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4398652 - 02/20/11 05:34 AM

Hello Max,

Quote:

Mind you: the Titan IS larger and, moreover, although not as precise, is definitely more robust.




Can you explain a bit more about your describing the Titan as "more robust" (than the AP900GTO), please?

Thanks for the comparative photos, they're fantastic as illustrative reference for curious minds

Regards,

skybsd


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: skybsd]
      #4399120 - 02/20/11 11:37 AM

Hi there !

Well, it's actually something you "feel".

If you look at the specs on paper -- shafts and wheels -- the two mounts look indeed comparable. In both cases the AP900 has a slightly bigger shaft and wheel in RA (2.2" and 7.2" vs 2" and 6.75"), and slightly smaller in Dec (1.75" and 6" vs again 2" and 6.75"). This is nothing really significant.

OTOH, the masses are significantly different: 54 lbs vs 75 (and this difference is especially significant in Dec, i.e 17 lbs vs 37.5). Again, the AP900 is really a no-brainer portable mount, while both with the Titan and the AP1200 you have to be careful with your back.

In any event, assuming that both mounts have an hypothetical similar recommended payload (AP and Losmandy give different figures, 70 vs 100 lbs, but we all know how conservative Roland is...), I feel it more appropriate putting a 150lbs 2mt-long refractor (including cws and accs.) on a mount whose mass is 45% bigger than the other. Consider that in the Titan case the mass is just half -- and in the 900 only *one-third* -- the *moving long-arm* weight being supported.

Further, during one single evening, going to different objects, shifting observer, going straight through or using a diagonal, I find myself flipping scope easily five, six, seven, many times. This is usually done not using slewing but literally pushing the instrument to the other side of the meridian and flipping it. It's a very swift exercise and usually in 5 secs people can exchange their place at the eyepiece. This kind of flipping is dynamically demanding on the mount with a long instrument and really gives you the wrist of it. You do feel that, even if the pier is the same, the heavier mount reacts much better. In the same way dampens better any vibration...

Trivially, get two guys, one heavier than the other. Both of them lift the same when on the gym board. You would still call the heavier "more robust", btw. Now if they both have to lift something steady, no pbl. But if they have to hold it, spin it around and then stop, even though their strength on the gym board is similar, the heavier guy -- the more robust -- will stand the momentum drag much better than the other. And imagine that here the weight being considered is twice or three times their own weight...!

In any event, roughly, on similar pier, I find the AP900 dampens a 180 f/9 as efficiently as the Titan dampens a 200 f/9. If you do the maths you'll see that the ratio between the two OTAs is about 1:1.45. And that happens to be exactly the ratio between the two masses of the mounts.

Hope it makes sense

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4399258 - 02/20/11 12:34 PM

Hi Max,
Good to hear from you..,

Yes - I think I see where you're coming from..,

But tell me something - do you believe that an uninformed person (that is, someone completely unaware of the specification sheets for both mounts) would discern (note that explicitly did not use the word "detect") a difference?

See I'm wondering if it might the case that one's own knowing the build and performance specifications combined with having prior experience of both mounts would have a bearing on one's assessment of this sense of robustness..,

I'm just curious..,

Thanks, Max!

Regards,

skybsd


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4400727 - 02/21/11 01:01 AM

Max,

The NJP, and its successor the EM-400, I believe are rated slightly higher in load capacity than the AP900. Would you say the NJP is better at handling a long refractor than the 900? Also, do you know the size of the worm wheel used in the NJP?


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Larry Geary]
      #4401775 - 02/21/11 02:51 PM

BTW, there is a used Losmandy Titan on AMart for $5000.

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: skybsd]
      #4402227 - 02/21/11 06:27 PM

Quote:

do you believe that an uninformed person (that is, someone completely unaware of the specification sheets for both mounts) would discern (note that explicitly did not use the word "detect") a difference?

See I'm wondering if it might the case that one's own knowing the build and performance specifications combined with having prior experience of both mounts would have a bearing on one's assessment of this sense of robustness.




Well, you know, I think a while ago on this same thread I did talk of my own feeling facing the possibility of putting the 8" on the 900. That was a matter of pudding. I did not consider the sheets to make a decision. I had both mounts before me and was holding the 8" while the 7" was still inside. I had just set the two mounts. 900 is a breeze. Titan you have to move carefully. I really did not feel like the heavy ota I was holding was going to be properly managed by the 900. Again, maybe I am too careful and possibly the 900 would do. But I really don't think just as well. I had the same damping time with the 7" on the 900 and the 8" on the Titan. The 7" is a breeze vis--vis the 8". The only possible test to confirm is to mount them crossed. But that will have to wait a couple of weeks. Still, again, lifting the 7" is nothing in comparison with the 8" which requires attention while taking it out of its case and breathing out when you lift it up. Not to mention when you put it into the rings. Mounting the 7" you do it while whistling. It's really difficult to believe that the 900 would dampen with the same effectiveness... but shall let you know in due time.

Cheers,

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Larry Geary]
      #4402237 - 02/21/11 06:29 PM

Quote:

The NJP, and its successor the EM-400, I believe are rated slightly higher in load capacity than the AP900. Would you say the NJP is better at handling a long refractor than the 900? Also, do you know the size of the worm wheel used in the NJP?




Hi Larry,

I am not sure the NJP is rated higher than the 900 actually, nor I think it would be a better mount at handling a long refractor. Rather, I think they're quite similar with maybe an edge going to the 900.

But this edge is very slight, more than what a superficial analysis of the wheels dia. would suggest. If you don't mind, I may address this tomorrow morning. It's late at night here and I am returning from a trip...

Cheers,

-- Max


PS/ NJP 160 wheels were 146 and 86 mm. The specs of the last version (JP-Z) report 6" and 4". I have not opened them so cannot tell for sure. In any event, this is only part of the story. Devil's in the details. Tomorrow...


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4405965 - 02/23/11 12:44 PM

Hi Larry,

So, as said, my best data are those of the original NJP-160. For the JP-Z are mentioned RA-6" and DEC-4" but I don't know whether this is marketing or what. Right now I can't but I may end up opening the JP-Z and tell you for sure. But, since motors are interchangeable, I suspect that the wheels are the very same.

In any case, the JP-Z does carry heavy loads with accuracy despite its relatively small wheels.

When I had a bit less white in my hair, I used to get all excited by looking at specs of wheels showing high number of teeth, but one day I ran into a guy who was into mount building and who taught me a bit more and showed me where to look for sturdiness and precision. Proper materials, proper number of teeth (read, for heavy loads, better bronze wheel with fewer larger well-executed teeth, than alu wheel with thinner teeth...), and then precision, precision, precision. He showed me how he could make, for instance, a mount with a smaller bronze wheel behaving better than a bigger alu wheel having an improper number of teeth, and even more if the mechanical coupling with the worm gear was not accurate.

The NJP is perfectly engineered and has a dia/teeth ratio similar to those of the AP900 and Titan. Already 30 years ago, when finely tuned, was able to deliver about 2" of periodic error relying solely on the accuracy of the mechanics... something that very many modern mounts cannot achieve today even using PEC.

Again, I would give a slight edge to the AP900, still there is someone in this community who uses a NJP with on top a 7" f/9 refractor and another smaller refractor piggy-packed... so, you see, it's not made of jelly either...

What makes the NJP special is its ageless beauty, and its conception with all the mechanics being visible and accessible. You can fine-tune any small mechanical coupling if needed. Move the mount manually if you wish. Add a Crouzet, a stepper, a servo, a computerized GoTo system... even a weight-driven clock... the mount will always respond. This is a unique feature that makes it to my eye a perfect modern match to a classic long focus...

I could go on but I guess you see my point.

Cheers,

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481820 - 03/29/11 10:41 AM Attachment (98 downloads)

Hi All,

Returning after a couple of days at the obs after a few weeks away.
OF COURSE it was fine when I arrived and left, but pouring rain for almost 48h while I was there... SGRUNT...!

Anyhow, since I was there and blocked for anything else, I did some cleaning and tuning. And this thread came to my mind. I seem to recall that there was a request for further side by side of mounts. So here you go with two of them on my working table. Sorry for the bad lights and for the messy background. It was not intended as a photo set. The Titan, which is deep black, suffers a bit for one cannot fully grasp its size. But I guess it's better than nothing...

So, first the JP-Z with the AP900. Classic elegance vis--vis perfect function !

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481830 - 03/29/11 10:43 AM Attachment (95 downloads)

Side view... one can tell that JP-Z is taller...!

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481833 - 03/29/11 10:44 AM Attachment (77 downloads)

Facing each other...

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481842 - 03/29/11 10:47 AM Attachment (87 downloads)

And now the B-side: it looks like Robocop having a walk hand in hand with a Supermodel...

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481851 - 03/29/11 10:50 AM Attachment (92 downloads)

And now the Supermodel and the Sumo Wrestler...

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481861 - 03/29/11 10:55 AM Attachment (115 downloads)

Side view

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481868 - 03/29/11 10:57 AM Attachment (94 downloads)

Facing

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481873 - 03/29/11 10:59 AM Attachment (112 downloads)

And now is the Sumo Wrestler who's having a walk with the Supermodel

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481877 - 03/29/11 11:00 AM Attachment (81 downloads)

Last round : Robocop vs Sumo Wrestler !

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481885 - 03/29/11 11:02 AM Attachment (75 downloads)

I realized only afterwards that in the previous pix the AP900 was a bit too much in the front. So proportions are not quite right... the side view shows them better.

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481889 - 03/29/11 11:04 AM Attachment (67 downloads)

Again facing each other...

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481894 - 03/29/11 11:05 AM Attachment (79 downloads)

And finally having a friendly walk...

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4481917 - 03/29/11 11:11 AM

OK Guys, that's all. It was a bit physical but I hope it will be of help. At least I did something useful out of that rain...!

Again, the bad light (just plain little flash) does not do full justice to the "titanic" presence of the Losmandy, which is significantly heavier than the other two. When I had both the Titan and the JP-Z side by side, the poor table did not sound happy at all...!

Cheers,

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4483073 - 03/29/11 07:17 PM

Max,
Thanks for doing that weight lifting for us and taking the great pictures. I love looking at those mounts!


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: nemo129]
      #4490716 - 04/02/11 04:34 AM

Hi Kirk,

My pleasure and glad it's helpful.

Indeed this has been one of the last occasions to check these mounts side by side: by June they're supposed to be sent to different observing locations some 800km apart...

-- Max


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Max Lattanzi]
      #4492514 - 04/03/11 12:34 AM

Why not wait for the Skywatcher EQ8?
That will handle it easily if all the claims are true.

see here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Mg6WLerTKZg#at=18


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: alpal]
      #4493103 - 04/03/11 10:12 AM

Because it isn't proven?

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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #4495103 - 04/04/11 05:31 AM

Quote:

Because it isn't proven?




The EQ7 or EQ8 is not proven until someone buys one
& gives an honest review.


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4498281 - 04/05/11 02:21 PM

I'm looking at a Mach1 or an AP900 to replace my EM200. Is the Mach1 mount larger that the Celestron CGE and does it have a greater carrying capacity than the CGE photographically?
Mike


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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Mlehere]
      #4498329 - 04/05/11 02:43 PM

Quote:

I'm looking at a Mach1 or an AP900 to replace my EM200. Is the Mach1 mount larger that the Celestron CGE and does it have a greater carrying capacity than the CGE photographically?
Mike




Mike-

Not sure about a CGE to Mach 1 size comparison but the Mach 1 is about the same size as my former G11 but is slightly lighter. Years ago I had an EM200 and the Mach 1 has a greater load/photographic capacity than either a G11 or EM200. The Mach 1 uses the same motors as the AP900 and 1200 mounts. And of course, has superb tracking capability.

My Mach 1 holds my C11 and AP155 with no problem so it will hold your TEC 140 as well.

Bob


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gillmj24
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Mlehere]
      #4498343 - 04/05/11 02:50 PM

The CGE may have higher listed capability, but the Mach1 will have much less periodic error out of the box. Also the CGE is no longer in production, the AP mounts are.

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Peter in Reno
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gillmj24]
      #4498421 - 04/05/11 03:33 PM Attachment (102 downloads)

I found this picture of CGE and Mach1 side by side.

Peter


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #4498431 - 04/05/11 03:36 PM Attachment (72 downloads)

Also G11 and Mach1 side by side.

Peter


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drksky
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #4498466 - 04/05/11 03:50 PM

I'm still completely surprised by how the Mach-1 dwarfs the CGE.

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Peter in Reno
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: drksky]
      #4498480 - 04/05/11 04:00 PM

... and Mach-1 (28.5 lbs) is lighter than CGE (42 lbs).

Peter


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drksky
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #4498497 - 04/05/11 04:06 PM

Is the weight different cast vs. machined, or is the size different merely perception?

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BlueGrass
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: drksky]
      #4498511 - 04/05/11 04:12 PM

For a 'low end' AP mount, it doesn't leave much to be desired for its rated use and then some.

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Peter in Reno
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: drksky]
      #4498515 - 04/05/11 04:13 PM

I believe machined aluminum is stronger and don't require as much metal as cast. I also believe machined aluminum is more expensive to process than cast.

Peter


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drksky
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #4498595 - 04/05/11 04:54 PM

Oh yeah...anyone with a small furnace and some sand can cast metal. Precision milling and lathing can cost a fortune in equipment alone.

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gillmj24
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: drksky]
      #4498647 - 04/05/11 05:22 PM

Not low end!!! Just not huge, for portability's sake!!

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BlueGrass
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Re: Mach1 GTO vs. A-P 900 mounts new [Re: gillmj24]
      #4498740 - 04/05/11 06:03 PM

Tongue-in-cheek Joe .... These photos and comparisons really give a perspective that many of us have not had the opportunity to see in person. Very interesting.

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