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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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WayneJ
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/20/09

Loc: West Chester, PA
Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: HowardK]
      #4338918 - 01/25/11 10:39 AM

Reading through these forums over the past few months, people must get the impression that the CGE Pro is plagued with problems. I hope anyone who reads this thread gets to the end and notes that there only appears to be a very few mounts that cannot be fixed to the owner's satisfaction (based on my reading here and on the CGE Pro Yahoo group). Those owners are just rather vocal and (legitimately, imho) unhappy with Celestron's support. Although it's possible that Lleege's mount could be fixed by properly reseating and aligning the gear, without knowing his level of expertise in mount repair, it's just as likely that he actually has a defective unit and Celestron needs to pony-up and replace it, rather than make him PROVE that it's defective.

Btw.. here's a "first light" test of my modded T1i (astrodon filter), Astro-Tech AT111APO, and recently fixed-up CGE Pro... Of 34 seven-minute subs, I only threw out one due to bad tracking when my cat tried to play with the cables. The only defect I could find was a slight misalignment of the sensor in my camera, so I opened it up last night (after this image data was capture) and found that one of the three spring-loaded supports for the CMOS sensors was slightly out of position, causing the stars to have a very slight "triangular" appearance. Obviously, a field flattener is needed with this scope (as I was told before I bought it).. and that is already on a Fedex truck scheduled for delivery tomorrow.

It's not the prettiest picture of M33, but I'm happy with the performance of the gear. When I said "first light", I meant it -- the camera was modded last week, the scope was new two weeks ago, and I repaired the slop in the mount whenever I started this thread, so this data was captured during the very first imaging session.



Fyi, the total weight of the imaging rig was 34 lbs (scope, guide scope, cameras, plates, adapters).... 54 if you count the big, fat cat that slept curled up on the accessory tray during most of the evening). Perhaps the most impressive part is that said cat failed to ruin more frames while getting on and off the accessory tray (he has to make frequent patrols of the neighborhood for stray, tasty critters... not unlike many of the denizens of these fora, I'd guess.)

Regards,

Wayne


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Ad Astra
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 05/12/10

Loc: Riverside Co., California
Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: WayneJ]
      #4339198 - 01/25/11 12:59 PM

Hi Wayne,
Your posts give me some confidence in the CGE Pro. I'd all but given up the idea of using a Pro mount for my long refractor (133 mm, f/12). It isn't very heavy, perhaps 40 lbs for the OTA, but it is over 6 ft long!

Most of the people I've talked to have told me that a CGE-Pro wouldn't hold my long scope without a lot of play and poor tracking - what would you think?

BTW, I currently use it on a CGEM, but it is way undermounted! The play and tracking is terrible, barely acceptable for visual work, completely unacceptable for photographic work.

Dan


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WayneJ
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/20/09

Loc: West Chester, PA
Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: Ad Astra]
      #4339441 - 01/25/11 02:47 PM Attachment (45 downloads)

That's a hard scope to mount, Dan, but the CGE Pro will certainly have no problem at all with it for visual use. For long-exposure work, I can't really say for sure but here's what I have to offer for comparison...

Below is center crop of a single 10 minute exposure of M74 through a C14 at its native focal length of F/11 (f=3910mm) with an unmodded DSLR (reduce to 25% of original for posting). The total weight of the rig on the mount at the time was 59 lbs. This was done prior to when I fixed the "play" in the declination axis and was guided via a 50mm guidescope.

At this focal length, the differential flexure of the guide scope and collimation of the imaging scope become critical. I think the C14 was pretty well collimated. This picture was taken during the same session at f=8850mm (using a planetary camera), so I think the collimation was pretty good (so was the seeing).

Given that the weight of your refractor will be at the ends of the long tube and not centered over the mounting plate like with the C14, it's hard to predict, but the weight of the tube is probably fairly substantial relative to the weight of the objective, so the 70-100lb class of mounts should work pretty well.

My only advice is to try the scopes out on a few mounts and see what meets your needs. I used to own a Losmandy titan and (flame me if you must, purists) it doesn't hold a candle to the CGE Pro. It's more expensive, has the same weight capacity, and was far FAR more mechanically unreliable. I'll take the CGE Pro over that anytime (especially thanks to the Celestron software and alignment routine).

On the upside for the Titan, I used to run a 16" f/5 newt on it with no problem. That tube was 7 ft+ long, but most of the weight was in the rear cells, so it's another vague comparison. But things have changed since the day when the G8's and G11's were "king" -- back then, there was no internet that allowed that people with problems to shout-over everyone else... and to the contrary, there were no real mechanism for people to learn just how many problems those mounts had because they only really spoke to others at the occasional star parties. The dealers (gasp!) were rarely reliable sources of information and (to their credit) really didn't have many options to recommend.

Last thing... with a 130mm F/12 scope, what is your objective? It's going to have a very narrow, dim field for DSO imaging. If it's for planetary visual use, it will be great.. but for planetary imaging it's a pretty small scope. I'd hate to recommend a mount that won't meet your needs or suggest you spend a fortune for features you don't need.

I'm not sure how much that helps, but I hope there's something in all that that sends you in a more clear direction

Regards,

Wayne


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HowardK
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 10/20/10

Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: WayneJ]
      #4339748 - 01/25/11 04:39 PM

Wayne...I feel this picture is impressive....................please tell me........after you fixed the play in the dec axis what improvement would there be if you took the same image as above?............in other words.........does the play in the dec axis interfere with the way the mount behaves?...I hope not because I can't do anything about my play!!

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WayneJ
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/20/09

Loc: West Chester, PA
Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: HowardK]
      #4340200 - 01/25/11 08:25 PM

Hi Howard,

The problem I was having with the declination play resulted in erratic tracking -- it worked well if I slightly overbalanced the mount and aggressively tracked in declination. It was very, very sensitive, though. Considering it was guiding at anywhere from 2500 to 4000 mm (sometimes I used the F/6.3 reducer).

Given the types of targets that work well with a C14, long exposures weren't really a problem for me since the skyfog would saturate the chip after 8-10 minutes (with an LP filter in an orange/red zone). You can't really go after extended objects with a C14 anyway.. and planetaries, small galaxies and globs work well with lots of short of exposures, rather than a few very long ones. Also, with the air and satellite traffic here, you lose a lot of frames to streaks... keeping them short helps

Here's a link to 60 x 3 minute exposures of M27 -- a better example of how well it worked at times and on targets more appropriate to the scope...

http://exosky.net/exosky/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/M27-finallrg.jpg

So, to answer your question, I don't think that fixing the play made the mount track "better"... but it certainly feels more "solid".

Wayne


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HowardK
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 10/20/10

Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: WayneJ]
      #4340881 - 01/26/11 06:54 AM

Wayne
stars look round to me in the M27 image.this was also before the DEC play was removed right?...........

It would make the mount feel more solid if there was no play yes... but I am not convinced that it affects the performance of the mount in any way with the play being there.....after all I have to physically rock the front of my OTA to get the play to show up (maybe 2mm of rocking motion evident)

sure would be great though if it just took the tightening of those 2 nuts to eradicate it,......but does not work for me...or for others who have a similar problem


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WayneJ
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/20/09

Loc: West Chester, PA
Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: HowardK]
      #4341365 - 01/26/11 12:07 PM

Howard -- Yes, the M27 was taken before the declination play was fixed. I imaged with the C14 on the CGE Pro through a variety of cameras for nearly a year before I fixed the play last week. More examples are on the site linked in my sig. My primary focus is planetary work, though.

Since the encoder that tracks the position of the declination axis registers movement due to play just as it would due to the movement of the gears, it doesn't seem as though the issue affects GOTO performance or polar alignment. Long focal length tracking near the meridian at high declinations would probably be somewhat iffy though.

Wayne


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HowardK
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 10/20/10

Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: WayneJ]
      #4341951 - 01/26/11 03:47 PM

Thank you Wayne for chatting.......I am going to live with my Dec slop!

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LLEEGE
True Blue
*****

Reged: 03/03/05

Loc: Cloud-chester,NY
Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: HowardK]
      #4342019 - 01/26/11 04:18 PM

Not me. It is not normal.

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HowardK
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 10/20/10

Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #4342276 - 01/26/11 06:06 PM

Please do tell us lleege if you manage to fix your DEC slop.....if i can I will gladly follow any tios you provide....I agree it is not normal

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HowardK
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 10/20/10

Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #4387413 - 02/15/11 06:55 AM

LLLEEGE several months have passed since we last heard from you.....please tell me....did you ever fix the DEC slop......is the problem that the worm just won't mesh tight with the worm gear?......i have the exact same problem and cannot cure it

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LLEEGE
True Blue
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Reged: 03/03/05

Loc: Cloud-chester,NY
Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: HowardK]
      #4387473 - 02/15/11 07:53 AM

Jury is still out. The weather here in the NE is pretty poor from October to March. I get 3-4 nights in that span. The mount came back from C and I have had it out once. There is still some DEC play. When the skies clear, I'll give it a run through @2000mm to see how it does.

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HowardK
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 10/20/10

Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #4387669 - 02/15/11 09:45 AM

Ok...lleege....i'll be looking for what you have to say


Clear skies soon to you


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LLEEGE
True Blue
*****

Reged: 03/03/05

Loc: Cloud-chester,NY
Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: HowardK]
      #4388834 - 02/15/11 07:26 PM Attachment (47 downloads)

Here are the results from some tests the other night. The Pec runs showed me a -1/+14 which is within the +/-9 spec. I wouldn;t call those numbers "high end" but the curve was smooth and guided out well. I did have to set the DEC aggressiveness pretty high in PHD,(200%)otherwise the mount would just drift off the chart. (I didn't critically align the mount, just a PA routine) The image was taken at ~630mm with a 4" refractor and was guided with a mini-borg 50. 20 x 5min subs with a Canon DSLR. (modded) The stars look good and I didn't lose any subs. Next time I'll push it to 2000mm with the AT10RC. This is where the true results will show. The image is uncalibrated so don't laugh.

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HowardK
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 10/20/10

Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #4389684 - 02/16/11 07:13 AM

so this image is fine .............this with the DEC slop...doesn't seem to do much harm then?

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LLEEGE
True Blue
*****

Reged: 03/03/05

Loc: Cloud-chester,NY
Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: HowardK]
      #4390271 - 02/16/11 12:29 PM

Once I get good stars at a higher FL and a heavier load, I'll be happy. Just need to wait for the weather to cooperate.

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HowardK
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 10/20/10

Re: CGE Pro Declination "Play" Fixed new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #4390509 - 02/16/11 02:19 PM

I understand

Please keep us informed


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