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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Christopher Erickson
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/08/06

Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5200427 - 05/01/12 04:07 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.



Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master. I see a troubling trend with AP mounts, heavier, bigger and more expensive. They are out of touch.




I have to add that my favorite mounts for "small" robotic observatories (all things being relative) are all from Astro-Physics. Their customer support, open communication protocols and responsiveness to special needs and applications are unmatched by anyone else in the industry.


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Peter in Reno
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/15/08

Loc: Reno, NV
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5200436 - 05/01/12 04:12 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.



Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master. I see a troubling trend with AP mounts, heavier, bigger and more expensive. They are out of touch.




I am not quite understanding your point. I had Atlas and Celestron mounts and they were nowhere even close to my current AP Mach1 mount. Mach1 is much lighter and has much higher carrying imaging capacity than both Atlas and Celestron. I was fed up with poor tracking and high PE of mass produced mounts so I took the risk of spending more on A-P Mach1 and I am glad I did because it has never let me down.

I think A-P has one of the best business model in the telescope market. It makes sense what they are doing right now. They may cost more than others and why do they charge more? Because they can and know what the market is willing to pay for. They have been around for a very long time and not even close to bankruptcy like Meade did. Also, people are willing to spend extra for high quality, reliability and service support. Meade, Celesron, and Atlas don't even come close to what A-P offers.

IMO, you seem to have a grudge against A-P. I have never read one single positive comment from you about A-P and I don't think I have read others' negative comments about A-P. And finally, have you ever own an A-P product?

Peter


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Joe Bergeron
Vendor - Space Art


Reged: 11/10/03

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5200649 - 05/01/12 06:37 PM

Quote:

Their customer support, open communication protocols and responsiveness to special needs and applications are unmatched by anyone else in the industry.




You see, they are out of touch! They don't follow industry norms!


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Bowmoreman
Clear enough skies
*****

Reged: 09/11/06

Loc: Bolton, MA
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5200675 - 05/01/12 06:58 PM



Let's keep it on track

That said, I agree, and I don't even own one...


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5200744 - 05/01/12 07:39 PM

How would capacity be determined? Some manufacturers seem to think a load just short of utter collapse is the "capacity." A-P is more conservative. The mount should be able to do useful work. But it still depends upon the scope (long? short? heavy weights at the ends?) and ambient conditions. Losmandy claims 60 lbs capacity for the G11 vs A-P's 45 lbs for the Mach1GTO. I own both. I've never loaded either to claimed capacity, but having loaded each mount with the exact same gear, I can definitely say that my Mach1GTO is steadier than my G11 under all tested circumstances.

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gnowellsct
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/24/09

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5200860 - 05/01/12 08:53 PM

Quote:

The entry level morning calm is about $5500. If its comparable to the Mach1 then i think i'd rather go for the Mach1. On the other hand, Ap900 payload for Mach1 price would be a winner. I dont expect it though, Korea isnt a cheap place to manufacture stuff anymore.




Were I in the market I'd give Morning Calm a call...


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #5201185 - 05/02/12 01:44 AM

Actually I have to disagree with all the negative comments about AP mounts.

After several China mounts, I now have a 15+ year old AP600 QMD. AP still supports this mount. I emailed them and although I did not buy the mount from them, they were very helpful, would sell me replacement motors/gearboxes (for a 15-year old mount!!) and would even repair the hand controller if ever that becomes necessary.

Where can you find service like that?

And I believe AP pricing is very reasonable for what they offer.

Check out the Morning Calm GE200. 20kg payload (30kg if close to the pivot), 4500 EUR / 5500 USD. That is Mach1 price for pretty much Mach1 payload. No word on the performance.. does anybody own this thing?

The CGE Pro is $5K. Anybody check the price of the Vixen AXD? I can't imagine who would pay $11K for that thing.. Tak mounts? overpriced IMHO.

The Gemini mounts from Europe are built in Hungary where the labor is less expensive. It's still a 5000 EUR mount.

So if you want something better than a China mount, you're looking at $5K minimum. And guess what.. that's almost Mach1 level (for me, given my 3rd-world economic sensibilities, $5K and $6.5K are pretty much the same - a large chunk of change).

Also considering the base 1600GTO is not significantly more than a 1200GTO, I really don't see the justification for the hating.


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Christopher Erickson
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/08/06

Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5201276 - 05/02/12 05:50 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Their customer support, open communication protocols and responsiveness to special needs and applications are unmatched by anyone else in the industry.




You see, they are out of touch! They don't follow industry norms!




LOL!

Thank goodness they don't!

Marj and Roland are great people who are very accessible, really care about the quality of their products and the satisfaction of their customers. They will repair your mount or scope, or sell you parts if you want to try it yourself. They will give you nearly-unlimited time on the phone if you need it.

If Software Bisque, Losmandy, Meade and Celestron were one tenth the company that Astro-Physics is, they would still be ten times better than they are now.

Yes, their stuff costs more and there are the long waiting lists, but it's worth it. The lists for mounts are getting shorter all of the time. I just wish the same were true for their refractors!


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Awesomelenny
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/02/04

Loc: Long: 81.42 W Lat: 41.21 N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5201427 - 05/02/12 09:06 AM

I 2nd Christopher's statement regaring Astro-Physics. The customer service is unbelievable! My AP1200 is leaps better than anything else I owned. I owned several brands and won't ever turn back now!

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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Awesomelenny]
      #5201433 - 05/02/12 09:11 AM

Thanks for derailing my thread, Alph.

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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5201456 - 05/02/12 09:33 AM

Sorry, Saad.

I hope to be in your position soon. :-)

The MX is certainly a good buy and the Bisque automation is very mature, Chris E. says he does a lot of work on remote observatories using AP mounts, but the ones I've paid to use (e.g. GRAS) all use ME's. So personally if remote operation was very important, the Bisque mounts seem to be currently better supported.

Note that the 1600GTO has absolute encoder option, which provides many of the same benefits as the limit switches on the ME/MX. But the 900 does not have limit switches, although according to AP you can power it down "anytime" and it will remember its axis positions. Some people say the 900 can get "lost" after power down, while the ME/MX don't have this problem due to the limit switches.

Personally, I'd go AP again when I get the chance, because the ME/MX are slaves to a computer while at least with the AP's you have the option of going computer-less.


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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5201508 - 05/02/12 10:07 AM

Thanks, orlyandico.

Before the AP1600GTO was announced, I was ready to jump on an AP900. After the AP1600GTO, I've been slightly reluctant because it's fairly obvious it will be updated sooner or later.

Considering that, I just feel I should get the most bang for my buck that I can. If I purchase the AP900 now I miss out on (potentially) through-the-mount cabling, an increase in payload, an option to have absolute encoders etc.

I feel these are significant improvements, especially if the "new" AP900 retains the current size.

The problem now becomes how long do I wait?. There's no info when the 'upgraded' AP900 will be produced. I have to wait till the end of the year to get enough cash. If however, the new AP900 still isn't announced, I'll probably have to go with PMX.

The PMX, as the AP900 stands, offers more payload, through-the-mount cabling, and it comes with a lot of extras (software, 2 x counterweights, saddle) - with no decrease in precision as compared to AP900 (at least that's what I perceive. I don't know if that is actually true, but considering the rave reviews of the PMX and the PME, it seems Bisque knows what they're doing).

I know that a computer is required all the time, but I need to have a computer 99% of the time anyway because of my CCD camera.

So, now, only one concerns remains - will Software Bisque still support this mount 10-15 years down the line?

Edited by saadabbasi (05/02/12 10:08 AM)


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Peter in Reno
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/15/08

Loc: Reno, NV
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5201526 - 05/02/12 10:17 AM

Hi Saad,

While I think both A-P and ME/MX are great mounts, I would pick A-P mainly for best of both worlds: using hand controller and/or computer. There are some nights when I don't feel like imaging and want to use the scope for visual use, the hand controller is handy to have and you don't have to add computers and messy cables.

I took a close look at MX web site and I have a small concern. It uses belt driven gears. If the belt is made out of rubber, then PEC may have to be re-recorded frequently because if the belt begins to stretch or change especially when the temperature drops significantly during the same imaging night, then current PEC may no longer be valid.

Good luck and let us know your decision.

Peter


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5201532 - 05/02/12 10:21 AM

I doubt the belts would stretch much.. those are probably timing-grade belts which are used for high-precision applications.

As for support 15 years down the road.. well you should ask the users of the older Paramounts such as those running the MKS3000 or the even older stepper drives.

Somehow I feel AP has a better record here...


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Bowmoreman
Clear enough skies
*****

Reged: 09/11/06

Loc: Bolton, MA
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5201536 - 05/02/12 10:23 AM

Saad, I would say they are quite likely to be able to support you 10-15 years down the road.. Here's why:

Their business model isn't *only* hardware, it includes a not insignificant standalone software business. Software tends to be a more profitably sustainable business model than hardware, and so, they are potentially more likely to financially weather an economic "storm" (all else being equal).

The fact they make top-tier/quality mounts doesn't hurt either... The "carriage trade" will *always* be around, it's a question of the size of that market... If there were only two mount makers left, I'd have to bet on AP and Bisque...

(says the guy with the wonderful, but unfortunately now unsupportable, MI-250)...

All that said, at these levels, mounts are pretty much indesructable... as long as the electronics work, that is!

Either the PMX or the AP900 updated will be my next mount. IF there is a "next mount"...

Edited by Bowmoreman (05/02/12 10:24 AM)


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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5201538 - 05/02/12 10:25 AM

Quote:


I took a close look at MX web site and I have a small concern. It uses belt driven gears. If the belt is made out of rubber, then PEC may have to be re-recorded frequently because if the belt begins to stretch or change especially when the temperature drops significantly during the same imaging night, then current PEC may no longer be valid.

Good luck and let us know your decision.

Peter




Interesting point about the belts. Does anyone here know if the PME has belts? If so, then the PMX probably has the same ones and they're probably really well made.

EDIT: I wanted to mention that's its actually impossible to actually make the "wrong" choice here. Both AP and Bisque make state of the art mounts, I know I'm going to be happy with either of them - however, I just feel I should maximize the features I can get for the price.

Quote:

Saad, I would say they are quite likely to be able to support you 10-15 years down the road.. Here's why:

Their business model isn't *only* hardware, it includes a not insignificant standalone software business. Software tends to be a more profitably sustainable business model than hardware, and so, they are potentially more likely to financially weather an economic "storm" (all else being equal).

The fact they make top-tier/quality mounts doesn't hurt either... The "carriage trade" will *always* be around, it's a question of the size of that market... If there were only two mount makers left, I'd have to bet on AP and Bisque...

(says the guy with the wonderful, but unfortunately now unsupportable, MI-250)...

All that said, at these levels, mounts are pretty much indesructable... as long as the electronics work, that is!

Either the PMX or the AP900 updated will be my next mount. IF there is a "next mount"...




Thanks! That was very insightful.

Edited by saadabbasi (05/02/12 10:29 AM)


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5201552 - 05/02/12 10:34 AM

If you look at used pricing, neither of these mounts really depreciate.

Heck even a used AP600GTO is still over $4K. Perilously close to the $6.3K (new) Mach1 which weighs less and carries more.

Generally when resale prices hold up THAT well, you know you've got a keeper.


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5201553 - 05/02/12 10:35 AM

Quote:

when the temperature drops significantly during the same imaging night, then current PEC may no longer be valid.



The Paramount GT-1100S and Paramount ME also use tensioned timing belts. The potential problem you describe does not exist.


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Peter in Reno
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/15/08

Loc: Reno, NV
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5201563 - 05/02/12 10:41 AM

Quote:

Quote:

when the temperature drops significantly during the same imaging night, then current PEC may no longer be valid.



The Paramount GT-1100S and Paramount ME also use tensioned timing belts. The potential problem you describe does not exist.




That's good to know.

Thanks,
Peter


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5201573 - 05/02/12 10:48 AM

Quote:

As for support 15 years down the road.. well you should ask the users of the older Paramounts such as those running the MKS3000 or the even older stepper drives.



I recently sold a 12 year old Paramount GT-1100S with MKS-3000 electronics. That mount is still supported, and at the time I sold it was still going strong and still working like the day I first received it. I had lost the original software media and license keys. Software Bisque sent the new owner a complete suite of new software media and licenses (which were the same as for the ME) on my behalf. Good support. Good mount. The ME and MX are better.


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