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BlueGrass
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle
      #4426450 - 03/04/11 06:17 PM

As some of you know, I've been looking to move up to an AP Mach1 for some time. Well, I purchased one today with the Eagle pier from a local AA. It's a 2010 vintage mount and is basically cherry. Everything was included in the deal, saddle; polar scope; counter weights, eyepiece trays; original documentation; factory shipping boxes; many things were still in the original bubble-wrap, unopened. etc. It's almost as if it was just shipped to me. Amazing. Needless to say, my astro funds are spent for the foreseeable future but I can live with that.

Pictures to follow a bit later this evening, but I have to say, what everyone says about the engineering, quality and superb fit and finish is simply true. I've used my CG5 and CGEM for the past two years and making the jump to a Mach1 feels like a paradigm shift in how I perceive my equipment. It's that profound.

Up front, I apologize to all the folks in Northern Utah for the next few weeks of clouds and storms. Hopefully, they'll abate soon. With Spring coming and the chance to finally get out and do some serious imaging, I wanted to be ready. I guess I am. Based on my initial setup and mock alignment tests, it's working as it should. Only actual sky time will answer any tracking questions or if I need to do any above-factory PEC training. Based on what I've read, I don't think it will be necessary. So ... for want of a better term, an AP mount purchase does look to be a lifetime investment. I don't think you'll be seeing this one in the classifieds again, unless it's an estate sale ...


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drksky
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Reged: 09/01/09

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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426476 - 03/04/11 06:30 PM

I was eying that Mach-1 very closely when it popped up on AM. Good buy.

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BlueGrass
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Reged: 07/25/09

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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4426507 - 03/04/11 06:50 PM

Sorry Tony. As soon as I saw it was a local sale, I didn't waste any time in contacting Mark and working out the details. Everything just fell into place. It was one of those, "If you don't buy it now, you'll regret it later.." moments... The Eagle being included really pushed me over the top (edge?) ...

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nemo129
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Reged: 01/03/10

Loc: WMass
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426520 - 03/04/11 06:58 PM

Congratulations George on the excellent mount! ...Of course now there will be no excuse not to produce Hubble-like astrophotos!

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drksky
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: nemo129]
      #4426685 - 03/04/11 08:20 PM

No need to apologize. If I'd been able to, I'd have bought it. The plain truth, though, is that it was way out of my price range. Maybe I'll be a little better off when they start the new production run this spring. I'm on the list.

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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4426763 - 03/04/11 08:53 PM Attachment (102 downloads)

Kirk, yes the list of 'excuses' just got much shorter ... first images attached. Hopefully they don't look to washed out and hope the background isn't too busy ...

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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426770 - 03/04/11 08:57 PM Attachment (89 downloads)

2

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BlueGrass
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426779 - 03/04/11 09:02 PM Attachment (79 downloads)

3

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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426785 - 03/04/11 09:05 PM Attachment (84 downloads)

4

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Don Allen
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 07/07/05

Loc: Charleston, SC
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426786 - 03/04/11 09:05 PM

Beautiful set up.

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drksky
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Reged: 09/01/09

Loc: Bloomington, IL
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426788 - 03/04/11 09:05 PM

That pier is pretty %#^$%$@ cool. The pics on the AP web site don't do it justice.

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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426793 - 03/04/11 09:06 PM Attachment (77 downloads)

5

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Paul G
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Reged: 05/08/03

Loc: Freedonia
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426796 - 03/04/11 09:07 PM

It looks like a Martian lander on that Eagle pier. Sweet!

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drksky
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Reged: 09/01/09

Loc: Bloomington, IL
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: Paul G]
      #4426801 - 03/04/11 09:08 PM

Ok, ok...you can stop torturing us

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BlueGrass
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Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426814 - 03/04/11 09:13 PM

Tony, the Eagle is impressive. Like I indicated a few posts above, that's really what made this package special. Although a Mach1 by itself is enough... riding this pier does it justice. The whole setup is a perfect blend of form, function and elegance...

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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426858 - 03/04/11 09:30 PM

Aw Tony, I'm a pretty unassuming fellow, but she is a beaut...

Thanks Don, Gus ... it DOES look like a lander doesn't it? I'm sure that's why AP came up with the name ... Over in the AP-UG files area, there's a pic of one setup with a 155EDF. Wow.


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4426933 - 03/04/11 10:05 PM

That's a dandy!!

David


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nemo129
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Loc: WMass
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #4426974 - 03/04/11 10:22 PM

Yes, "WOW!" will do it I think!

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Rossmon
sage
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Reged: 07/09/10

Loc: Marin County, CA
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: nemo129]
      #4427066 - 03/04/11 11:09 PM

That is one awesome looking mount. Congratulations!

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AstroGabe
sage


Reged: 01/10/10

Loc: SE Wisconsin
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: Rossmon]
      #4427082 - 03/04/11 11:24 PM

That's a killer setup. Congrats! Looking forward to your shots with this mount.

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j.w.white
sage


Reged: 07/18/09

Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: AstroGabe]
      #4427309 - 03/05/11 04:38 AM

That's VERY nice George! Having it all in one package like that has to be pretty satisfying. Like Tony, I'm on the Spring list for notification - any dithering between the Mach1 and G11-G2 might have just gone away though (at least until I look into my wallet when the moment of truth arrives!).

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drksky
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Reged: 09/01/09

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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: j.w.white]
      #4427459 - 03/05/11 08:33 AM

My only fear is that I'll be able to afford the mount head, but nothing else.

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Adam E
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 06/29/09

Loc: Edgewood, NM
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4427606 - 03/05/11 10:20 AM

Congrats George! I can't wait to see your results once your skies clear, and I'm really looking forward to hearing your impressions with the mount in use. Kind of like reading a Ferrari test report in a car mag; we all probably know what it's going to say, but we still like to read it and dream...

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LLEEGE
True Blue
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Reged: 03/03/05

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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4427651 - 03/05/11 10:40 AM

Quote:

My only fear is that I'll be able to afford the mount head, but nothing else.


The Mach1 will sit nicely on a Meade, Losmandy or Celestron tripod. I've used my 1200 on a Meade GFT with not issues.

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Paul G
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Reged: 05/08/03

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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #4427679 - 03/05/11 10:53 AM

Quote:

Quote:

My only fear is that I'll be able to afford the mount head, but nothing else.


The Mach1 will sit nicely on a Meade, Losmandy or Celestron tripod. I've used my 1200 on a Meade GFT with not issues.




I have mine on a wood tripod. Eagle would be nice but I'm not sure even with the extension it is high enough for a visual guy like me.


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mewmartigan
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/02/08

Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4427773 - 03/05/11 11:38 AM

Quote:

My only fear is that I'll be able to afford the mount head, but nothing else.




Might still be worth it to get the mount and let it sit for a few months while you collect the other stuff. Pass on the mount and it will be another year wait....

I plan on getting one if my name comes up and I am torn between the AP portable pier, the Rob Miller tripods on Astromart or the Eagle. I would love the Eagle but its more than twice the cost of the other options.


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t.r.
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Reged: 02/14/08

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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: mewmartigan]
      #4427799 - 03/05/11 11:53 AM

Paul, I'm 6'2" tall and my Mach1/Eagle/8" Extension places the C11 and 130GT at just the right height for both sitting observation at the zenith and standing up to about 70 degrees elevation.

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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4427834 - 03/05/11 12:07 PM

John, except for another counterweight or two I'll need for balancing my C8 setup or my 106LE and 65Q setup, everything was there. It came with a 10 and 5lb weight and that is enough to balance the setup (106LE, 8300C, 9x50 guider) pictured above. That's my basic AP setup I was using last summer. But with a significantly more stable and accurate platform now, I really want to get back to imaging with my C8 @ F10 since galaxy season is here. I know, it doesn't have RC class performance, but you can get some decent images.

Tony, when I was putting together my cost breakdown last month for what a basic Mach1 package with portable pier would cost, it came to just around $7k. A bit higher if you go the Losmandy tripod / adapter route. That figure was for the basement configuration with 15lbs of CWs. If you can find a pier / tripod, counterweights etc. in the classifieds, you can bring that figure down a few hundred.

Honestly, I hadn't planned on buying a setup like this, especially at the AP list prices. I just couldn't justify it to myself, given my current level of knowledge and imaging skills. Even up to yesterday morning, I was waffling. But that changed when Mark and I unloaded his van and began to set it up for basic power up and slew tests. The first thing that crossed my mind as we assembled it was this was designed for serious use. This is not meant as a slam against CGEM / Atlas class mounts as they're designed and manufactured to meet a certain price point. Many folks use them and they work fine... but there is a huge difference you feel immediately when you physically assemble, adjust and operate this mount.

There a few things in which you have to change your way of thinking. The balancing, clutches, and alignment are the first that go. The Mach1 axis are a bit stiff and you'll probably never achieve a perfect balance. It doesn't matter though since it can handle a slight imbalance without problems. The RA / DEC clutches are adjusted with a 3 point adjustment system. You have to adjust all three points as you tighten or loosen them for balancing or when pushing the OTA during the start-up polar / 2 star alignments. Since I haven't had any sky time yet, I can't report much more since I'm still learning the operation of the handset. One thing to keep in mind, these mounts were designed foremost for AP.


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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: Adam E]
      #4427921 - 03/05/11 12:46 PM

Adam,
Hopefully next week will be first light. Wednesday's forecast to be 'mostly clear' and I'll see if I can get Thursday off since I'll probably be out to the wee hours if the weather holds. Just have to spend the weekend, re-doing my gear and case configurations. It'll have to ride in a lowly foam filled tote until I can afford a nice Pelican .... It is portable, thank goodness.

I'm glad to see other Mach1 owners post their experiences and suggestions, for those looking to get a Mach1 from this year's production run. I'm emailing AP this week and releasing my slot on the notification list when I ask them to transfer ownership. 1+ for those on the list...


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t.r.
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Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4428051 - 03/05/11 01:48 PM

...That will be 2+, as I did the same and bought used just before you did. I too am waiting for "first" light. I'm coming from an ASGT and CGEM for visual only. I'll take you up on the invitation and post some pics and comments as well...no need to start a new thread. The Mach 1 rocks

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BlueGrass
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: t.r.]
      #4428228 - 03/05/11 03:15 PM

Tim,
Congrats to you! Your experience mirrors mine ... moving up from a CGx world. Pictures are a must, but have to say they don't do these setups justice. If I can find the space, I'm going to try and setup both the Mach1 and CGEM side by side so folks can get a true perspective.... and the last thing they literally do is 'rock' as in back and forth ...

but I agree ...


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SPACEMAN
sage


Reged: 01/30/05

Loc: grömme,Belgium
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: AstroGabe]
      #4428597 - 03/05/11 06:13 PM

very nice! i hope you have a lot of pleasure!

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RAKing
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/28/07

Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4428955 - 03/05/11 09:07 PM Attachment (33 downloads)

Quote:

So ... for want of a better term, an AP mount purchase does look to be a lifetime investment. I don't think you'll be seeing this one in the classifieds again, unless it's an estate sale ...




I agree completely. I waited almost two years for mine and had to take a deep breath at the expense when my name finally came up on the list. But the results have been worth every single penny I spent. Mine is definitely a "lifetime" investment and I'm sure yours will be, too.

FWIW, the Eagle + Extension works quite well with my CR-150 for visual astronomy.

Cheers,

Ron


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t.r.
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Loc: Upstate NY
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: RAKing]
      #4429566 - 03/06/11 06:46 AM

That set-up looks regal together Ron, all in black!

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nofxrx
Vendor (HyperCams & Mods)
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Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Palm Bay,Florida
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: t.r.]
      #4429970 - 03/06/11 12:03 PM

Hey George!!!!
Awesome looking setup!! Cant wait to see some first light images!!


I may be joining the AP group soon myself..thought it would be with a 1200, but may "settle" for the Mach1...especially since I only hbave a perm. pier, and never intend to own anything larger than a TEC140 or 8-10"RC..

Congrats on the awesome mount!!

Cheers!


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gillmj24
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Reged: 12/06/05

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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: nofxrx]
      #4430164 - 03/06/11 01:44 PM

The mach1 is a featherweight if you have to move it around. Lighter than G11 or CGE but more capable.

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RAKing
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Reged: 12/28/07

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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: t.r.]
      #4430785 - 03/06/11 07:09 PM

Quote:

That set-up looks regal together Ron, all in black!




Thanks, Tim.

Too bad my SV80S piggyback scope is white.

Cheers,

Ron


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Paul G
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: t.r.]
      #4430802 - 03/06/11 07:17 PM Attachment (33 downloads)

Quote:

Paul, I'm 6'2" tall and my Mach1/Eagle/8" Extension places the C11 and 130GT at just the right height for both sitting observation at the zenith and standing up to about 70 degrees elevation.




Same height so it should work for me, too. Thanks. Here's mine on the wood tripod:


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Daniel Mounsey
Vendor (Woodland Hills)
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Reged: 06/12/02

Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4430960 - 03/06/11 08:28 PM

Congrats. It does sound like a coffee grinder though. I was really surprised to hear that.

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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #4431283 - 03/06/11 11:17 PM

Hello Brent, Thanks. Good luck and hope you find the mount you're looking for. For me, I've been looking at a Mach1 for a long time ... perfect fit for my needs.

Dan, yes at full slew speed the Mach1 is noisy, but you can adjust that down to slower speeds. Frankly, if that's the only 'knock' I find in using the Mach1, I won't mind a bit. For the most part, I don't think it'll be slewing around much ...


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4431287 - 03/06/11 11:19 PM

Well that doesn't suck, does it?

- Jim


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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #4431428 - 03/07/11 12:56 AM

Jim,

No sir, it doesn't... The precision and craftsmanship of AP equipment has to be seen in person to really be appreciated. Now if the weather would just cooperate ....


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Paul G
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Reged: 05/08/03

Loc: Freedonia
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #4431616 - 03/07/11 06:04 AM

Quote:

Congrats. It does sound like a coffee grinder though. I was really surprised to hear that.




I guess it sounds a bit like my $2000 coffee grinder, only much quieter. That's the sweet sound of the big Swiss servo motors, music to my ears. The Mach1GTO has oversized motors, same size as AP uses in the 900 and 1200 mounts. Dropping the slew speed one notch makes them very much quieter. One nice thing about using big servos on the Mach1 is that it is very insensitive to balance. One can be way out of balance and it doesn't mind at all.


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EdTheEdge
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 04/10/09

Loc: Lomita, CA
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: Paul G]
      #4432262 - 03/07/11 01:05 PM

Wow beautiful.... just plain beautiful!

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Duncan Kitchin
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/16/04

Loc: Beaverton, OR, USA
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4435503 - 03/08/11 05:33 PM

Quote:

No need to apologize. If I'd been able to, I'd have bought it. The plain truth, though, is that it was way out of my price range. Maybe I'll be a little better off when they start the new production run this spring. I'm on the list.




somewhat OT, but do you have any insights as to what the wait time is for these? I'm also on the list, but only since late last year...

Regards & Clear Skies
Duncan


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drksky
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/01/09

Loc: Bloomington, IL
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: Duncan Kitchin]
      #4435643 - 03/08/11 06:29 PM

You probably missed just the tail end of last year's production run. Going by an email I received from AP about a month ago, the Mach-1's are next up on the machines for delivery in late May and after. Nobody has received availability notices yet as far as I know.

I've only been on the list since early February, so you're at least in front of me.


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Duncan Kitchin
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/16/04

Loc: Beaverton, OR, USA
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4436310 - 03/08/11 10:47 PM

Quote:

You probably missed just the tail end of last year's production run. Going by an email I received from AP about a month ago, the Mach-1's are next up on the machines for delivery in late May and after. Nobody has received availability notices yet as far as I know.

I've only been on the list since early February, so you're at least in front of me.





thanks for the info - guess we'll just have to see what transpires...

Regards & Clear Skies
Duncan


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mewmartigan
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/02/08

Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: Duncan Kitchin]
      #4436889 - 03/09/11 08:21 AM

I've been on the list since last October and I am hoping to get into this production run. Last production run I believe they fullfilled the entire waiting list and then still had some for sale "off the shelf" so I hope everyone on the list gets in on this run.

My info agrees with Tony C, AP posted in their yahoo group that the Mach 1's are next for delivery in late spring/early summer.


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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: mewmartigan]
      #4437590 - 03/09/11 02:05 PM

It depends on when the notification email arrives and whether someone opts out. Even if you're not notified by AP, and you're intent on getting one, follow up with AP and check their website / UG and the vendors. Keep your ears to the ground ... occasionally one will pop-up due to last minute problems, etc.

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drksky
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4437861 - 03/09/11 04:07 PM

I looked through last year's notifications on the AP availability page:
They started notifications in December, completed notifications in February after which they stated that there were still some available. The sold out update didn't come until the middle of May, so there appears to be a little wiggle room. Unless, of course, demand is greater than they expected.

I really, really want one, and it's going to be a very difficult decision and that stinks.


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nemo129
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4438202 - 03/09/11 06:45 PM

So, to quote the most recent owner of a Mach 1 that I know of:

"making the jump to a Mach1 feels like a paradigm shift in how I perceive my equipment. It's that profound."

and

"It was one of those, "If you don't buy it now, you'll regret it later.." moments..."

If you really want the mount and you are not going to lose your house or something more valuable...your wife..I don't know if you are married so forgive any presumption, buy the mount!! It is very obvious that you really really want one and have given a good deal of thought to it. Anyway, life it far to short not to enjoy good things that are within your reach. Just my .02!


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drksky
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: nemo129]
      #4438221 - 03/09/11 06:51 PM

Just trying to be a responsible adult, and that is fighting with my inner-child

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nemo129
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4438237 - 03/09/11 06:59 PM

One more quote and I am done ...I am not sure if you are a Dr. Who fan or not...but the character once said: "There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
BTW ...I just bought a G11, granted no where near the investment you are looking at, but for me it was a leap!

Now back to our regularly scheduled thread of "ooooing" and "ahhhhing" over George's new mount!


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mewmartigan
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/02/08

Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4438447 - 03/09/11 08:24 PM

Quote:

Just trying to be a responsible adult, and that is fighting with my inner-child




My responsible adult won this battle for years.....but the wife's blessing gave my inner child the boost in needed


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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: mewmartigan]
      #4438716 - 03/09/11 10:35 PM

Kirk,
You gave me a good chuckle, after a long day of commuting and fixing all those sad little computers we depend so much on ....

Mounts of this class (and much higher) are an investment. Not just in a money sense, since they do retain most of their value, but an investment in the hobby. For my goals and desires, I don't see myself out growing the Mach1. Maybe, someday, perhaps but that's so far in the future I can't even think that far ahead. I'm thinking the next 5 years, 10 years of use. This is a mount that I really won't tax anytime soon with my imaging plans. 4 - 5" APO? No problem. 8" SCT / RC? No problem. I'm sure others will chime in with their larger setups and performance info.
So, for everyone on the list, or thinking about getting on the list, all I can say is you have to make the decision. Don't let others sway your thinking. I've yet to have mine outside, hopefully this weekend.... this crummy weather can't last all Spring and Summer .. right? .... RIGHT?


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drksky
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4438731 - 03/09/11 10:44 PM

Quote:

this crummy weather can't last all Spring and Summer .. right? .... RIGHT




I'm starting to wonder. It's a good thing I don't have a mount right now or I'd REALLY be depressed.


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Duncan Kitchin
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Reged: 12/16/04

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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: drksky]
      #4443492 - 03/11/11 11:46 PM

Much the same thing here... I've only just got my Atlas back together - the one clear night of the year a week or so ago and the motor control board finally gave up the ghost (it's been making a funny noise for a while. I'm generally concerned when solid-state electronics makes noises). Orion came through very quickly and I got a replacement board...

Now, of course, the weather is back to type for this time of year in the NW.

Maybe I'll be in line to get a new mount by the time the clouds clear in, like, July?



Regards & Clear Skies
Duncan


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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: Duncan Kitchin]
      #4443603 - 03/12/11 01:16 AM

Hopefully not that long .... Don't think I could take sitting in the house until July....

Frankly, at this point in time, I'm ready for a road trip. We're getting the camper out of storage at month's end and once it's serviced, I'll be looking at the southern deserts for relief, if that's possible ... if only for one or two blissful nights ...


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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4448210 - 03/14/11 01:49 AM

I've done some extensive testing and setup configurations. One item that I really like is the ASCOM driver and it's setup / monitoring features. I'm using Cartes du Ciel 3. The ASCOM driver reported a few COM errors using the lower RS232 port but none with the upper port.

There were two 10.7 x 1.87 CW shafts included in the boxes as well as the standard 14.5 x 1.12 shaft. The CWs are for the shorter shaft. The 10.7 shafts can be joined to give a 20" CW bar and allows me to mount any combination of gear I have. I can't seem to find the actual weight of this shaft but I'm estimating about 5 to 7lbs.

Although it looks a bit much with that length of CW shaft (20") and they don't completely mate together, anyone done something similar? This all goes back to the CW closer / CW farther away discussions that pop up here every few months. My original intent was to get another 10lb CW and use a single shaft but I'm thinking that a shaft extension would do just as well and be alot cheaper. Any thoughts on the CW distance question for these mounts? Based on what I've setup so far, this mount just doesn't seem to care ...


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RAKing
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4449695 - 03/14/11 05:02 PM

The short shaft (M1053-A) weighs 7.7 pounds and was designed to stow inside the RA housing for travel.

I have the longer 1.87" shaft (M9404-A) and use it with two 14.5 pound Casady counterweights for my heavier scopes. My personal preference is to use the standard Mach1 shaft with a few 9 pound A-P weights and a couple Casady weights. I don't have a permanent setup so the thinner CW shaft is much easier to grab and carry with my arthritic hands.

To answer your other question - I don't think the mount cares. It's so robust and smooth, I have accidentally set it up way off balance and the mount never whined or complained.

Cheers,

Ron


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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: RAKing]
      #4450062 - 03/14/11 08:10 PM

Ron,
That's what I'm finding out about the Mach1. It seems to be very underrated for its class, the 40lb limit listed by AP being conservative. Given that I'll probably order the 1.87 extension so that it mates with the short shaft properly and another 10lb CW, that should balance my current OTA AP setups nicely. If the standard short shafts would join properly, there would be no need for the extension but there is about a 1/4" gap.


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RAKing
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4451501 - 03/15/11 01:05 PM

I wondered what was wrong. The M12675 shaft extension should mate perfectly with the short shaft.

The 45 pound capacity is given for imaging loads. I've seen much greater visual loads on this mount.

If your sig line is representative of your imaging gear, you will be very happy with the Mach1. I use a C8 with an SV80S riding piggyback and the mount doesn't even break a sweat. When I come home from NEAF, I expect to have an 8 inch R-C in the trunk.

Cheers,

Ron


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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: RAKing]
      #4451587 - 03/15/11 01:48 PM

Ron,

The short shaft threaded end is what keeps them from joining without the small gap. I'll probably sell the second shaft to help fund more weights.

Yes, an 8" RC is what my next imaging scope will be too. The AT8RC is a perfect package, just have been waiting a bit in case the price drops after NEAF. And of course, there have been 'other' expenses ... ROFL ....

Finally, had first light last night for 4 hours ... I'll post more later this evening with some Phd graphs .... It's been said, but needs to be said again... This is an impressive mount.


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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4452846 - 03/16/11 12:48 AM Attachment (44 downloads)

Mach1 first light –

Well, I’ve had the mount for almost two weeks now and finally had a chance to get it outside last night. The skies began to clear around 6pm but it looked like more clouds were coming in from the West. I thought: Right, there goes the CSC forecast….

After a brief nap and reading email, I checked the sky again around 8:30. Wow! Clear as a bell. I was tired after working all day but just couldn’t pass up this chance. If the forecast held, I should have at least 4 hours of cloud-free skies.

Looking over all the gear I wanted to setup and use, I decided to setup on the deck instead of in the yard. It had rained during the day and the grass was wet and cold. I’ve always had problems aligning and using my CGx mounts on my deck because of vibration and the deck boards flexing but really didn’t want to spend the evening in the mushy cold yard …

I was leery of how difficult setup and alignment would be, with the added instability caused by the deck. Just do it, I said … you have to get this puppy outside. You can’t let it sit in the den for another 2 weeks and then decide to do the initial setup away from home at a dark site with maybe something left behind ……

First off, let me say that the Mach1 and Eagle are easy to carry compared to my CGEM and its stock tripod. The Eagle is heavier than the CGEM tripod but is still easy to transport because of its design. The legs are held in-place by the center braces and don't flop around or bang into each other. The real advantage is the mount head itself. The CGEM head is heavier than the Mach1, probably due to it being rough cast instead of machined. It has always been a pain to pickup and carry. The Mach1 is lighter and stiffer in the axis so even if the clutches are loose, it doesn’t flop around in your arms ... :-)

I thought over the various ways given in the GTO manual for polar alignment or trying to use the Losmandy polar scope that came with the mount, but decided to try the first method listed in the manual. This involves sighting Polaris through the DEC bore hole and then using a sequence of slews and star alignments to adjust the mount's AZM and ALT settings to incrementally reduce the PA error. One very important point about this method. There is no initial GOTO slew to the first star that most of you who've used the Celestron firmware are familiar with. Instead, you manually move the OTA to the first alignment star and then the mount slews to where it calculates Polaris should be. This means that it's critical that you identify and know what star your using for the initial calibration slew to Polaris.

From a suburban sky, this is not a problem, but from a dark sky site where there are thousands and thousands of stars you can't see at home, it will be harder. So, for the initial alignment star, pick one that you can easily identify. I used Aldebaran. With this method, you can pick and choose what stars you want, until the mount begins to put Polaris in the cross-hairs of your reticule. On my first slew, the star was just slightly off center. I was amazed. I used another 3 stars just to check and refine the alignment and the final slew put Polaris dead in the center.

The next test I wanted to perform was guiding using PhD and my 9x50 SSAG setup. This was an important test since it's the lightest guide setup. All my ring assemblies and the C8 have a Vixen dovetail mounted on top to use this guider or to carry the AT65Q. If the 9x50 and PhD worked well, that means I could use it as the guider and piggyback it atop the AT65Q that would ride the AT106 or C8. The 65 and 106 or C8 could then be used strictly for imaging and not have to exchange roles to guide. Some mount their 9x50 in a finder bracket. I prefer to simply use a V clamp and rail that keeps it firmly inline with the imaging train. No flexure. I reset PhD to its default settings, picked a star in the west and began calibration. PhD ran through 15 steps W, E and then 15 steps N, S. Locked onto the star and that was it. Coming from the trials and tribulations of having to watch PhD during guiding with my CGEM, I sat there for some time. Here's a sample of the guiding:

Edited by BlueGrass (03/16/11 12:55 AM)


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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4452850 - 03/16/11 12:51 AM Attachment (46 downloads)

So for its first night out, the mount has met my expectations. Given AP's reputation, I expected nothing less. To be honest, it has exceeded my expectations in every respect. This is the guiding graph an hour and 30 minutes later. All tracking was done to the west since my house blocks the eastern sky. I don't think there will be much if any change in its performance tracking east. Balance is not that critical with this mount so having to balance heavy east may not even be a factor. My first dark site trip will answer my remaining questions. Until then, I'll have to content myself with lunar or cluster images since DSO imaging in the valley is disappointing.

I have yet to use the copy of PemPro I purchased to download and save the factory corrections for future use or to refine the mount's performance. At this point, given the guider setup I used, I don't see much point unless the performance changes over time.

I won't have any clear weather for the next few weeks to make a dark site trip worthwhile but by then I should have everything configured, balance settings made and the various equipment boxes and bags redone. The mount fits perfectly in the Pelican I used for the CGEM so that saves me that cost of a new case. Last weekend, I packed my CG5 and CGEM back into their factory boxes and stacked them in the basement. At some point, they'll be sold to help pay for the Mach1. I don't think they'll see much use from me, from this point on.

Edited by BlueGrass (03/16/11 01:09 AM)


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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4452888 - 03/16/11 01:27 AM

Oh and to expand on the problems of imaging off the deck. This mount and tripod handle and dampen vibrations very well, much better than the CGEM. I had learned to walk on the deck much like Kwai Chang Caine on rice paper, hoping to keep the vibrations to a minimum while moving back and forth during focusing or when changing the angle of the CCD. The Eagle, with its weight, low center of gravity and wide leg splay make this much less necessary. I used to have to wait for 3 or 4 loops during focusing for the vibrations to settle. Now, they're almost negligible.

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mewmartigan
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Reged: 07/02/08

Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #4453358 - 03/16/11 10:38 AM

After reading this I really can't wait until those notifications go out for the new round of Mach1s.

I am also glad to hear you had a good experience on your deck. This is where I will do my first few imaging runs to familiarize myself before I travel somewhere.


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RAKing
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: mewmartigan]
      #4453610 - 03/16/11 12:26 PM

I guess I should mention that I also set up my stuff on the back deck.

My deck is very sturdy, but I still walk carefully when the camera shutter is open.

BTW - nice graphs. I have never bothered to check mine, but I can start up the mount, sync it up, go eat dinner, and come back to find the selected star right next to the crosshairs. That is good enough for me.

Cheers,

Ron


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BlueGrass
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Re: What can I say - A Mach1 and Eagle new [Re: RAKing]
      #4454828 - 03/16/11 11:01 PM

Ron,

I saw your deck in your excellent picture above and was wondering how it performed. This pier does seem to be a very stable platform. I don't think you'll find a better solution for a Mach1 unless of course you use a permanent pier, but that means no portability.

As for the graphs, next night out I'm going to try and capture the mount's unguided performance with the basic alignment procedure I used above. Obviously, it's not as accurate as a drift alignment, but if I can plot its uncorrected performance, this should give me a baseline on which to build. I think PhD can do this, just turn on Manual guiding and let it plot the uncorrected movements? I've never done this before and don't know if it'll work. If someone else has used PhD this way, please chime in ...

I don't think the weather will improve enough over the next few weeks to try and use PemPro to do any PEC testing or training. I'd want very good to excellent skies before attempting it. There appears to be a periodic bump in the RA graph above that PemPro should be able to smooth out. Just have to wait patiently for the weather to clear ...


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