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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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jmiele
Patron Saint?
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Reged: 12/04/10

Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: skybsd]
      #4461627 - 03/20/11 11:06 AM

Sounds to me like it will operate in the same manner as the ME. If it was changing, they'd be sure to make it clear. Also, the fact that TheSkyXPro is still required kinda says it all. Still, it looks like a nice setup... Joe

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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #4461640 - 03/20/11 11:12 AM

Quote:

48V is a very strange power requirement. If the power supply breaks, it costs a whopping $125 to replace.



It's a standardized power supply that is available from many other suppliers for far lower cost. You can even get IP67 (waterproof) versions for less as well.


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #4461756 - 03/20/11 12:03 PM

Quote:

After the mount and scope is setup and ready, for an experienced Paramount mount user, what would be a typical time to take from polar alignment to star alignments/pointing model to start of imaging and autoguiding?



I have the ME, so I can only tell you about my experience with the ME. It should be about the same for the MX.

As you said, I assume you're talking about field use here because in an observatory setting it takes zero time once it's been done once. And of course in an observatory you want to spend lots of time on that initial polar alignment and modeling to get it as perfect as possible. In that environment you might spend the first whole night on just futzing around with that and nothing else.

In the field where you're repeatedly setting up and tearing down your site, how long it takes depends on what method you use, how well you want to be polar aligned and how good a pointing model you want to have.

Here is what I do in the field. I only have to do this the first night out so long as I leave the mount set up. On subsequent nights I then just have to connect to the mount, let it home itself and go.

1. Point the mount North, adjust the altitude knob to my latitude, turn the power on, connect to the mount.
2. Home the mount.
(Note that the latest version of TheSkyX has an "all sky image link" feature that lets you skip steps #3 through #6 and go directly to step #7 right off the bat.)
3. Use the computer to select and slew to a star near the Meridian (on the West side of the Meridian) near 0 DEC. It won't be centered.
4. Manually adjust the altitude and azimuth to center the star. Repeat #3 and #4 a few times.
5. Sync on the star and map it as the first t-point point.
6. Slew to a few more nearby stars (on the West side of the Meridian) using the hand paddle, center them using the hand paddle and map them. Once that's done the mount is close enough for plate solves to work.
7. Fire up a short automated t-point mapping run of 15-20 points.
8. After the sort mapping run, adjust altitude and azimuth as instructed by t-point.
9. Clear the t-point points, slew to a star, center it, sync on it, map it and repeat #7 and #8 until I'm happy with the polar alignment. About half an hour to 45-minutes has elapsed by the time I'm happy.
10. Fire up a large automated t-point run of maybe 120-180 points and go look through other people's scopes while it runs by itself. When complete I have better than 10-arc-second RMS all sky pointing.
11. Turn on ProTrack to get improved tracking that benefits from the pointing model.

I left out miscellaneous incidental stuff like focusing the camera. I use CCDsoft. My camera is a QSI-583wsg. During t-point mapping runs I have TheSkyX take 5-second exposures with a clear filter. If you don't use CCDsoft, then make sure TheSkyX supports your camera!


Edited by frolinmod (03/22/11 03:20 AM)


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Peter in Reno
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/15/08

Loc: Reno, NV
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: frolinmod]
      #4461990 - 03/20/11 01:44 PM

Thanks for the detailed information. I will worry about focusing later. My camera is SXVR-M25C and it's a great OSC camera. I can't find anywhere from SkyX web site about camera requirement. I looked up CCDSoft and it does not support my camera but I can't find support for your QSI camera either.

Currently I use Nebulosity and PHD. They work great with my camera and Lodestar autoguider. I should be able to start with what I have in addition to the software package supplied by MX mount. I will worry later about automation like Meridian flipping, plate solving, etc and Nebulosity/PHD will not support it. I will probably have to get Maxim DL, Pinpoint (plate solving) and CCDAutoPilot (manager).

Thanks again for the writeup.

Peter


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frolinmod
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Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #4462120 - 03/20/11 02:28 PM

Quote:

My camera is SXVR-M25C and it's a great OSC camera. I can't find anywhere from SkyX web site about camera requirement. I looked up CCDSoft and it does not support my camera but I can't find support for your QSI camera either.



Starlight Xpress have a CCDsoft plug-in for their cameras (including the loadstar). I don't have an OSC camera myself, so I don't know how well they work with CCDsoft. Note well that the loadstar doesn't have square pixels and that CCDsoft/TheSkyX's plate solve functions require square pixels. So using the loadstar for automated t-point mapping runs might be problematic (I've not tried it). Fortunately, the M25C does have square pixels. That's one nice camera too.

I use the QSI supplied CCDsoft plug-in. I use the Camera Add On in TheSkyX. Then within the Camera Add On I select "use CCDsoft's camera" as the camera. QSI will soon release an X2 camera interface for direct support of QSI cameras in TheSkyX's Camera Add On eliminating the need to use CCDsoft. That'll be nifty.

If you're going to be purchasing a Paramount and using TheSkyX, then it would be good if you would pester your camera manufacturer to produce an X2 interface for their camera so that it will work directly with TheSkyX's Camera Add On, making your life that much easier. The Bisque's appear to be happy to work with anyone who wants to write an X2 interface.


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Mike Clemens
Frozen to Eyepiece
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Reged: 11/26/05

Loc: Alaska, USA
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: frolinmod]
      #4462157 - 03/20/11 02:46 PM

"Old style" RS232
versus
USB

Means "Works Every Time, Always"
versus
WHY WONT my COMPUTER LOAD THESE DRIVERS


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Peter in Reno
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/15/08

Loc: Reno, NV
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Mike Clemens]
      #4462224 - 03/20/11 03:23 PM

Lodestar is for autoguiding, not for imaging. Why would an autoguider be used for plate solving?

I'll ask Starlight if they are working on X2 camera interface. That would be nice if it would work with SkyX.

Thanks for the valuable information.

Peter


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JAT Observatory
NOT a Wimp
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Reged: 02/20/05

Loc: In the Primordial Soup
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Mike Clemens]
      #4462364 - 03/20/11 04:27 PM

Quote:

"Old style" RS232
versus
USB

Means "Works Every Time, Always"
versus
WHY WONT my COMPUTER LOAD THESE DRIVERS




I agree. I'll take RS-232 over USB any day.


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morten
super member


Reged: 07/22/08

Loc: Denmark
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: JAT Observatory]
      #4462558 - 03/20/11 06:03 PM

Can the MX be taken apart in RA and DEC parts that are managable weight wise - the head weighs 23kgs. The Ap900 splits in two nicely managable parts

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skybsd
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/01/08

Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: morten]
      #4462573 - 03/20/11 06:10 PM

Hello,
No - the SB Paramount MX product page describes the mount assembly as "Unibody mount design weighs 50 lbs (23 kgs)"

Regards,

skybsd


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JAT Observatory
NOT a Wimp
*****

Reged: 02/20/05

Loc: In the Primordial Soup
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: morten]
      #4462576 - 03/20/11 06:10 PM

No it can't be taken apart.

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Alph
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: morten]
      #4462608 - 03/20/11 06:26 PM

Quote:


Can the MX be taken apart in RA and DEC parts that are managable weight wise - the head weighs 23kgs.




If you canít lift 50 lbs then you probably need a walking stick . Thatís the whole beauty of this mount. It was designed for portability Ė no need take it apart. It weighs 50 lbs and it can carry up to 90 lbs of payload!!!


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Peter in Reno
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/15/08

Loc: Reno, NV
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Alph]
      #4462671 - 03/20/11 06:59 PM

I am wondering whether the advertised 90lbs payload applies to visual use or imaging?

Astro-Physics advertised payload is for imaging and it's higher for visual use but it not advertised for visual use.

I also really like AP900 mount. It's a difficult decision.

Peter


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Alph
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #4462746 - 03/20/11 07:49 PM

Quote:

It's a difficult decision.



It is easy for me. The tripod is pricey but it can rotate the mount head 360 degrees around the azimuth. There is a cheaper version ($500 or so ) of this tripod made by another vendor. You can find his ads on Astromart. The cables are routed internally. The Paramount MX has high precision laser based homing switches. It also has the superior control software, probably the best there is. It can be remotely operated. The only problem I have is if it is worth spending $10,000 on a mount. This is just a hobby after all and the stars donít have to be perfectly round.


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jog
sage
*****

Reged: 10/26/06

Loc: nj
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Alph]
      #4462774 - 03/20/11 07:56 PM

Quote:

This is just a hobby after all and the stars donít have to be perfectly round.




I agree.


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Alph]
      #4462795 - 03/20/11 08:07 PM

Quote:

This is just a hobby after all and the stars donít have to be perfectly round.



Oh my gosh, all this time I thought stars were points. Now that I know they're actually little arcs, I can go back to using an alt-azimuth mount with spindly little fork arms.


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morten
super member


Reged: 07/22/08

Loc: Denmark
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Alph]
      #4463510 - 03/21/11 05:42 AM

Quote:

If you canít lift 50 lbs then you probably need a walking stick




I don't need a stick, 50lbs is IMHO not portable.
On of the things with my AP900 that really impressed me was
the true portability of that mount.
If you want to lug 50lbs around why not get the AP1200 where the RA part weighs exactly that, and which has a vastly larger carrying capacity.


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: morten]
      #4463862 - 03/21/11 11:05 AM

The advertised Paramount MX payload is for imaging. Software Bisque does not over estimate the carrying capacity of their mounts.

Last fall I had an opportunity to lift the Paramount MX mount and carry it around a bit. As your proverbial 90lb weakling, I had no trouble carrying the mount. It was delightfully compact, light and easy to carry.


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Scott99
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: New England
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: morten]
      #4463867 - 03/21/11 11:07 AM

Quote:

Quote:

If you canít lift 50 lbs then you probably need a walking stick




I don't need a stick, 50lbs is IMHO not portable.
On of the things with my AP900 that really impressed me was
the true portability of that mount.
If you want to lug 50lbs around why not get the AP1200 where the RA part weighs exactly that, and which has a vastly larger carrying capacity.




have not been able to lift over 25 pounds since I was 14 years old, congenital spine defect

this new mount looks awesome to me, it looks like the 900 might be a little more versatile but the Paramount looks extremely refined & I'm sure it's going to be perfect for a lot of imagers


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Scott99
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Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: New England
Re: Paramount MX vs Astro-Physics AP900 new [Re: Alph]
      #4463876 - 03/21/11 11:11 AM

Quote:

If you canít lift 50 lbs then you probably need a walking stick .




actually I'm not laughing out loud. I've had a congential spine defect since age 14 that means I can't lift over 25 pounds.

Fortunately AP looks out for people like me and all their mounts split to give you the lightest possible weight.

To me the Paramount looks extremely refined but the AP 900 is more versatile.


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