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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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clchildress
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Reged: 04/22/10

Loc: NW Georgia, USA
Atlas EQ-G
      #4503059 - 04/07/11 03:03 PM

I'm looking/thinking about purchasing an Atlas EQ-G for the purpose of imaging. Can anyone direct me to some good, objective reviews? I checked the reviews section here on CN and didn't turn up anything. Thanks in advance!

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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
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Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: clchildress]
      #4503073 - 04/07/11 03:16 PM

The Atlas and CGEM are comparable mounts, both have been compared and both are really good. The Atlas works great and is the mount many imagers use. It really is a good mount, there isn't much you can't say about it, its dependable, works wells, tracks well and can handle a heavy load (around 35lbs). I recommend it and I own a CGEM.

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clchildress
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 04/22/10

Loc: NW Georgia, USA
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #4503082 - 04/07/11 03:22 PM

Well you just about can't get a more glowing opinion than that.

I discovered one "gently used" on astromart that has been hypertuned and listed for what I consider a steal, and although I hate to spend it I do have the money.

...this hobby is burning a hole in my wallet faster than hot embers, lol.


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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
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Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: clchildress]
      #4503104 - 04/07/11 03:31 PM

Well you are starting AP. I use to just have 1 scope. Just wait, start looking at cooled CCD's, filter wheels, narrow band pass filters, imaging apos, guide scopes and the hours needed to get an image, but its all worth it.



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Skylook123
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #4503266 - 04/07/11 04:56 PM

I only use mine for public outreach sessions, and for that use I can say it's been bullet proof for me for over six years. That's packing and moving it four to ten times a month, setting up in a different location each time, plus the occasional three day weekends and 8 nights at the Grand Canyon Star Party each year. I've used the awesome freeware package EQMOD for satellite tracking, and it is quite adept at nailing the International Space Station and many other passing bodies for me. I've also done some lunar video that's been very pleasing using an Orion solar system imager.

EQMOD/EQASCOM will make this mount sing opera. Awesome, as I said. And the Synta family (EQ6, Atlas EQ-G, HEQ5, EQ6 Pro, NEQ6, etc.) are really blessed with this tool. For imaging uses, the quality control has improved markedly over the years. Before I bought mine, there was awful grease we called Synta Glue, and much inferior materials and workmanship on the internal bearings and worms. But the last few years, things seem to have improved. The delivered mounts still suffer from overtighening the shafts, and sloppy alignment an inferior material on the worm bearing supports, leading to higher than desired periodic error, but those are really cheap and easy fixes. These haven't affected my visual use, though, with a pretty heavy SCT.


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clchildress
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 04/22/10

Loc: NW Georgia, USA
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #4503773 - 04/07/11 09:03 PM

Quote:

Well you are starting AP. I use to just have 1 scope. Just wait, start looking at cooled CCD's, filter wheels, narrow band pass filters, imaging apos, guide scopes and the hours needed to get an image, but its all worth it.




Sigh...too true, too true. But, the wonderful thing about this hobby is you can build up to a complete package, rather than having to shell out all the money at once. I believe this applies to AP, though perhaps not as much as visual. I agree though that with time and passion some folks around here get into the "I could have bought a Mercedes instead" range.


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clchildress
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 04/22/10

Loc: NW Georgia, USA
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: Skylook123]
      #4503787 - 04/07/11 09:11 PM

Quote:

I only use mine for public outreach sessions, and for that use I can say it's been bullet proof for me for over six years. That's packing and moving it four to ten times a month, setting up in a different location each time, plus the occasional three day weekends and 8 nights at the Grand Canyon Star Party each year.




That's good information, Skylook. What do you use to pack and transport the mount/tripod in?

Quote:

I've used the awesome freeware package EQMOD for satellite tracking, and it is quite adept at nailing the International Space Station and many other passing bodies for me. I've also done some lunar video that's been very pleasing using an Orion solar system imager.

EQMOD/EQASCOM will make this mount sing opera. Awesome, as I said. And the Synta family (EQ6, Atlas EQ-G, HEQ5, EQ6 Pro, NEQ6, etc.) are really blessed with this tool.




I will *have* to try that out. I'm sure I'll enjoy tracking "space junk," as I already search for it regularly naked-eye and enjoy the occasional flying toaster as it crosses my visual path.

Quote:

For imaging uses, the quality control has improved markedly over the years. Before I bought mine, there was awful grease we called Synta Glue, and much inferior materials and workmanship on the internal bearings and worms. But the last few years, things seem to have improved. The delivered mounts still suffer from overtighening the shafts, and sloppy alignment an inferior material on the worm bearing supports, leading to higher than desired periodic error, but those are really cheap and easy fixes. These haven't affected my visual use, though, with a pretty heavy SCT.




That's good to know. On that note, I noticed quite a number of people getting their Atlas mounts "hypertuned" by Deep Space Products. This seems to be a wonderful set of upgrades, including the replacement of lower-quality bearings with high quality ceramic ones. I wonder how much of an improvement this upgrade makes? Any opinions on that?

Thank you so much everyone for your continued patience and advice. I'm going to get some books and do some reading, but real-world advice from you folks is priceless.

Edited by clchildress (04/07/11 09:23 PM)


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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
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Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: clchildress]
      #4503790 - 04/07/11 09:13 PM

Hyper/Performance tuning helps, but most mounts work well without it. You really need to try it.

For example I wouldn't tune my CGEM, but I would consider tuning my LXD75 as it needs more.


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shams42
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Reged: 01/05/09

Loc: Kingsport, TN
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #4504067 - 04/07/11 11:53 PM

I have an older Atlas with about 40" of periodic error (peak to peak). It works fine for me imaging at 800mm, but I doubt that autoguiding could completely tame those swings at longer focal lengths.

The Atlas mount has continually improved over time; it may be worth buying a new one (or at least a new used one, if that makes sense). The newer ones seem to have better PE characteristics than the old ones, in the 15-25" range. The smaller the PE, the less work your guider has to do.

Please understand that I'm not insinuating anything about the mount you're looking at, I don't know anything about it or how old it is. I got my Atlas used from a club member for a very good price knowing everything I needed to know about it and I have no regrets. It's been SO much better than my LXD75.

Once I build my observatory, I plan to move up to a high-end mount. Until then, the Atlas is doing everything I need it to do. Just know that the newer ones are typically better than the older ones.

Also, as far as I know, the newer Atlas and CGEM mounts are almost equivalent in terms of mechanical characteristics, PE, etc. The Atlas uses stepper motors; the CGEM servos. Functionally it makes no difference other than that the Atlas may be a little quieter. The main advantages of the Atlas is that it is very reliable and that it can be controlled using the EQMOD suite, which is excellent. (I don't even have a hand controller for my mount, I use EQMOD exclusively). The advantages of the CGEM are that is has better software, including the excellent All-Star Polar Alignment technique. It also has the capability of accepting permanent PEC. The Atlas can also use PEC, and with EQMOD, PEC is well-integrated with autoguiding (so they don't fight), but the Atlas worm gear is not indexed so its quite easy for the PEC curve to become unsynchronized. The CGEM accepts Losmandy dovetails, so you'd need to replace the dovetail that will accompany your SN6 to use it with the CGEM, but this is a worthy upgrade anyway that will minimize flexure and provide a very rigid and secure attachment.

Whew! That's a lot to digest. I do think you will be well-served to consider the Atlas / CGEM caliber mounts rather than the CG5 / LXD75. The lesser mounts will probably be able to handle the weight of your imaging setup, but they tend to have substantially more PE and, more importantly, a certain "roughness" or stickiness in the tracking that can be hard to guide out.


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shams42
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Reged: 01/05/09

Loc: Kingsport, TN
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: clchildress]
      #4504081 - 04/08/11 12:03 AM

Quote:


That's good to know. On that note, I noticed quite a number of people getting their Atlas mounts "hypertuned" by Deep Space Products. This seems to be a wonderful set of upgrades, including the replacement of lower-quality bearings with high quality ceramic ones. I wonder how much of an improvement this upgrade makes? Any opinions on that?





I've never owned a hypertuned mount, but I have corresponded with Ed at Deep Space Products. Hypertuning itself will not reduce a mount's periodic error, which is a consequence of the mechanical properties of the worm gear. However, Hypertuning can help to "smooth" out the high-frequency error in a mount's tracking. It will make the axes glide smoothly so that the load can be precisely balanced. Good balancing will also help to smooth out the tracking. Low PE is great, but even more important is that the mount has smooth tracking over short timescales. The long-period PE error can be guided out quite easily as long as they are smooth.

It is as much this smoothness, as the overall quality improvement and the ability to handle more weight, that leads me to recommend the Atlas / CGEM over the lesser mounts for AP.


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BubbyD
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/22/10

Loc: Troy, Ohio
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: shams42]
      #4504951 - 04/08/11 12:31 PM

I had one several years ago and it worked very well with shoter focal lengths. I started having problems, and went with a Tak mount, when I started imaging with a scope of 1800mm. For me, there was just too much PE to get good pinpoint stars. But with a short refractor or fast newt, they you get a huge bang for your buck. To fix my problem, I had to buy a mount that cost 5X as much as the Atlas..

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shams42
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Reged: 01/05/09

Loc: Kingsport, TN
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: BubbyD]
      #4505857 - 04/08/11 09:11 PM

One fellow club members gets good results with a C9.25 with f/6.3 reducer with good results. That's a focal length of nearly 1500mm. I don't think my Atlas could pull that off.

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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
*****

Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: shams42]
      #4505944 - 04/08/11 10:23 PM Attachment (43 downloads)

This was done with my CGEM and the 9.25 and NO focal reducer.

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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
*****

Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #4505945 - 04/08/11 10:24 PM Attachment (48 downloads)

M57 also 9.25 and no reducer 2300MM Focal Length

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hfjacinto
I think he's got it!
*****

Reged: 01/12/09

Loc: Land of clouds and LP
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #4505952 - 04/08/11 10:26 PM Attachment (50 downloads)

And m76 (taken in Union, NJ)

Edited by hfjacinto (04/08/11 10:27 PM)


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bluedandelion
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/17/07

Loc: Hazy Hollow, Western WA
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: hfjacinto]
      #4506242 - 04/09/11 02:17 AM

The Atlas and c9.25 is a combination that has worked well for me. See the link below for M92 at F/10.

http://picasaweb.google.com/ajynrynn/AstrophotosTwo#slideshow/5367840791090491154

Ajay


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
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Reged: 12/04/10

Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: bluedandelion]
      #4506504 - 04/09/11 08:59 AM

Ajay,
You have done some awesome work there. I would not have thought they were DSLR if you had not listed it. Very nice stuff.. I found the C9.25 to be an excellent performer in the past.

hfjacinto,
Your pics as well are impressive. I enjoy seeing things in a open starfield sometimes as well. Evenryone is allways in a hurry to zoom in. Sometimes it's nice to see these object just hanging in space. Joe


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Goodchild
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/31/08

Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: jmiele]
      #4506638 - 04/09/11 10:06 AM

Quote:

hfjacinto,
Your pics as well are impressive. I enjoy seeing things in a open starfield sometimes as well. Evenryone is allways in a hurry to zoom in. Sometimes it's nice to see these object just hanging in space. Joe




Ditto


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bluedandelion
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 08/17/07

Loc: Hazy Hollow, Western WA
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: jmiele]
      #4506919 - 04/09/11 12:20 PM

Quote:

Ajay,
You have done some awesome work there. I would not have thought they were DSLR if you had not listed it. Very nice stuff.. I found the C9.25 to be an excellent performer in the past.

hfjacinto,
Your pics as well are impressive. I enjoy seeing things in a open starfield sometimes as well. Evenryone is allways in a hurry to zoom in. Sometimes it's nice to see these object just hanging in space. Joe




Thank you. There are many other great examples in the DSLR forum by a number of other CN members. This season (as soon as the sky clears up ) I plan to image at F/6.3 after having figured out the correct spacing between the FR and the DSLR. I should be able to zoom out now

Ajay


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Krish Mandal
sage
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Reged: 09/02/09

Loc: Forest Hills, NY
Re: Atlas EQ-G new [Re: bluedandelion]
      #4507982 - 04/09/11 10:04 PM

Helder, your blacks are getting darker, I noticed. I don't want to hijaak this thread, but good job.

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