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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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freestar8n
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/12/07

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? new [Re: Tori]
      #5351648 - 08/04/12 12:32 PM

Hi-

I took a look at how my dec. cable behaves and it really has no interest in getting snagged in there - but I can imagine that it depends a lot on how the "kinks" and bends in the cable are embedded. If it were twisted just the wrong way it might tend to go in there - but I think in most cases it wouldn't - which isn't to say it doesn't really want to in your case.

The cable motion only depends on RA because Dec. motion doesn't move the cable connection near the OTA. So just by going through the extremes of RA motion you can see the full range of what the cable wants to do. It seems like you could do something like attach a stiff wire to the cable itself or near the OTA connection so that it stays more clear of the "catch" near the eq. head.

I also tried loosening all clutch knobs and then gently tightening one of them, and the motion was pretty well locked. It's probably good to tighten them uniformly, but it doesn't take much torque to have them engaged. They are simple bolts with nylon tips so they could all be replaced, or just the one with a problem, if you have in mind a different handle shape that would work better. You could also shorten the handle on the problematic one, or all of them, with a hack saw and file the end smooth.

Frank


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mikeinca
member


Reged: 10/05/11

Loc: North Bay Area, CA
Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? new [Re: Tori]
      #5351937 - 08/04/12 04:11 PM

Quote:

My altitude adjustment is set up correctly now and has been for a while. It works great when it's set up correctly. I was just mentioning that it was hard before I made that adjustment because someone else said it was hard to turn for them too. Even if he's south of 40 degrees he might benefit from the northern configuration.

If I were not using the clutch knobs continually I probably would replace them with an allen bolt. But I add and remove equipment several times a night.




Your point about the extension and angle of the latitude adjusting bolt made sense so I tried relocating the latitude plate to the northern config. At my latitude (a shade under 39 deg) however, this leaves just the nub of the bolt poking through the plate and the plate sides are very close to the mount. The range of adjustment is better in the southern position although the angle of the bolt is more acute. It seems that anyone with a latitude right around the 40 deg crossover point is going to have an issue with ease of adjustment using the latitude knob.

My previous experience was with my C8 where the equatorial wedge is easily adjusted with a latitude bolt, but there is obviously a lot less weight involved. I guess with the CGE Pro and C14, lifting the mount past your latitude and then backing it off with gravity helping the effort is the way to go. Better yet is having the thing mounted on a pier where you can set it and forget it.


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freestar8n
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Reged: 10/12/07

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? new [Re: mikeinca]
      #5351961 - 08/04/12 04:44 PM

I'm at just over 41 degrees and there are about three threads showing, plus the nub - and it's good here. I agree it might not leave much headroom as you get to around 40 or below, at which point you need to switch over. I know that when I got the mount I set it up in the default mode and it was very problematic until I realized I needed to switch it around. So I was mainly concerned there might be people out there cranking on it who are actually in the wrong mode.

Frank


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gnowellsct
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/24/09

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? new [Re: mikeinca]
      #5352428 - 08/04/12 11:05 PM

Quote:


My previous experience was with my C8 where the equatorial wedge is easily adjusted with a latitude bolt, but there is obviously a lot less weight involved.




IMO it's the design and execution of the adjustment hardware, not the weight. I've had the same rig on an AP900, a G11, and a Titan and all three are easier to adjust in altitude than the CGE Pros I have seen at shows. The threads are too coarse, maybe some lubrication would help; and jamming that altitude hand screw down on the RA housing, well, there has to be a better way. regards Greg N


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Tori
sage


Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? new [Re: mikeinca]
      #5352685 - 08/05/12 06:42 AM

Quote:

Your point about the extension and angle of the latitude adjusting bolt made sense so I tried relocating the latitude plate to the northern config. At my latitude (a shade under 39 deg) however, this leaves just the nub of the bolt poking through the plate and the plate sides are very close to the mount. The range of adjustment is better in the southern position although the angle of the bolt is more acute. It seems that anyone with a latitude right around the 40 deg crossover point is going to have an issue with ease of adjustment using the latitude knob.




That's really unfortunate because it's sooo much easier to adjust when the angle is less - I can adjust 75 pounds of gear with just two fingers when it's set in the northern setting, but I'm at a bit over 42 degrees.

Quote:

My previous experience was with my C8 where the equatorial wedge is easily adjusted with a latitude bolt, but there is obviously a lot less weight involved. I guess with the CGE Pro and C14, lifting the mount past your latitude and then backing it off with gravity helping the effort is the way to go. Better yet is having the thing mounted on a pier where you can set it and forget it.




My mama taught me to finish slews with up and right and focus by lifting the mirror. It seems natural (but not necessarily correct?) that it would be better to finish adjusting altitude against gravity. I suppose if the angle is too acute with a heavy weight that may not be practical but if it can be done it feels like it should be....


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #5352797 - 08/05/12 09:51 AM

This is very helpful. It sounds like that for folks who did not have a DOA unit or a unit with major systems (motors, control boards, etc.) that failed, the biggest gripes are ergonomic ones.

Celestron has has a distressing tendency to either stubbornly ignore design flaws or to throw the baby out with the bath water. For example, when they introduced the CPC line, they did a couple of very silly things. First, they placed the power-in socket on the rotating portion of the fork mount, leading to persistent cord wrap issues. The prior iteration of the system, the Nexstar GPS, and the single fork Nexstar SE mounts both have the power-in socket on the non-moving portion of the fork base. Second, they put a glaringly bright red LED on the power switch which is directly below and to the right of where the user's line of vision natural goes when observing. Why a bright light in the line of sight on a device made to be used under conditions where darkness is key? Better still, why any light at all? The user knows if the unit has power because the hand controller illuminates anyway when the unit is switched on.

Despite having many, many years in which to address these items with a product refresh, Celestron hasn't bothered. More recently when they debuted the CPC deluxe units featuring the Edge HD OTAs and some improved motors, did they take the opportunity to clean up these design flaws? Of course not. It's very frustrating and to me signals a company run by accountants rather than engineers.

On the other hand, it could be worse. The CGE was a great idea. A mid-capacity (G-11 class) mount with modern GOTO firnware and electronics, made in the USA. I can understand Celestron moving the design or at least the concept to China for cheaper manufacturing, but to abandon the class entirely (a 65# mount is far more convenient and useful to more people than a 90# mount) and then try an backfill it later by slapping a light duty EQ head on an extra heavy duty tripod (from the Pro) is unfortunate. However, like the CPC mount, the CGE too suffered some design buffoonery. The biggie is the use of stiff RA and Dec cat 5 cables plugged into fragile soldered sockets that attach to control boards. Inevitably (even with softer Marty cables) the flexure of these sockets during ordinary use will break the joints and render the mount non-functional. It would have been a fix (altering the socket design) that cost pennies per unit over the production life of the CGE line, and yet the big C was missing in action on the engineering front. They then cancelled an otherwise very good (class leading, in fact) mount.

Even automakers who are notoriously cost sensitive (especially American ones!) refresh models to address design snafus between major redesigns. Why not Celestron? JUst because the other guy (Losmandy) innovates at a glacial pace, doesn't mean that investing in continuous product improvement wouldn't benefit you.

With that said, I hope Celestron mends its penny-wise and pound-foolish ways and refreshes the Pro to address the design (not QC) issues flagged in this thread.

- Jim


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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5353562 - 08/05/12 05:48 PM

*post deleted*

It's not worth it..

This message will self destruct...



Edited by wolfman_4_ever (08/05/12 06:02 PM)


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mikeinca
member


Reged: 10/05/11

Loc: North Bay Area, CA
Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: Tori]
      #5353740 - 08/05/12 08:17 PM

Quote:


My mama taught me to finish slews with up and right and focus by lifting the mirror. It seems natural (but not necessarily correct?) that it would be better to finish adjusting altitude against gravity. I suppose if the angle is too acute with a heavy weight that may not be practical but if it can be done it feels like it should be....




Your mama and the CGE Pro owners manual are in agreement about making the final adjustment against gravity. Unfortunately, it's just about impossible to do it that way at my latitude. When I was trying to make the adjustment for the first time per the manual's instructions I kept wishing for the Celestron engineer who designed the mount to be present so I could turn to him/her and say, "Here, sucker, you try turning this bolt to make a fine adjustment as described".


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gnowellsct
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/24/09

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: mikeinca]
      #5353858 - 08/05/12 09:50 PM

I'm surprised no one is jumping in on behalf of the cge pro. I posted a negative impression after seeing it at NEAF when it first came out and got an earful from its supporters. gn

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: gnowellsct]
      #5353865 - 08/05/12 09:53 PM

Greg, that's because in the intervening months they actually purchased one and found out that you were right.

- Jim


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mikeinca
member


Reged: 10/05/11

Loc: North Bay Area, CA
Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5353924 - 08/05/12 10:42 PM

Don't get me wrong. I'm very pleased with the performance of the mount so far. It's easy to align, is very stable and the GOTO features work well. The altitude adjustment is the only thing I've had an issue with to date, and that's not somethng I'm having to fiddle with all the time.

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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: mikeinca]
      #5353945 - 08/05/12 10:57 PM

Talking with celestron, the altitude bolt knob has holes in the side to stick a bar or alan wrench in there for leverage..

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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5353949 - 08/05/12 10:59 PM



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gnowellsct
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Reged: 06/24/09

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5353978 - 08/05/12 11:23 PM

Quote:

Greg, that's because in the intervening months they actually purchased one and found out that you were right.

- Jim




Well in the interests of amateur astronomy I'd rather be wrong. It's a big chunk of change. But honestly when the thing was on display I asked if I could adjust the altitude and I d-mned near broke my wrist trying. And if you use those holes to stick something in there for leverage I'd warrant that the knob would break under the strain.

While doing this I couldn't help but notice that the whole thing was bobbing up and down considerably. Now, at NEAF the floor of the gym is some kind of synthetic and it has some give. So I said that's it. But I went over and repeated the experiment on some kinda mount that someone had on a G11 HD tripod and no bounce, no wobble.

The mount struck me as too high and for what reason I don't know. But even the side mounting technique that I promote in my video might be hard on this mount because you'd have to get that adjoining stool up to the level at which the dec bar is horizontal to the ground.

I can't speak to the guiding and tracking accuracy but my concern is that if these other things are wrong then what issues might there be on that function. So all in all, it reminded me of the first generation of CG5s from China: It looked OK, but even though a Vixen clone, well, a Vixen clone it most certainly was not. "Shining without, but rotten at the core."

I mean look I'm not an expert on GEMs but I have used a wide variety of them and I know what I likes and what I doesn't. The impression I got from this mount was that it had been designed by someone who had no idea of what is involved in operating a serious optical instrument.

You know, smart people make mistakes. The altitude adjustment on the AP 900 and 1200 is a design mistake, which Roland fixed in the Mach 1. And ya know, it looks like a G11. Because that is one of many things Scott got right. So, he got it right, so let's do it that way. No more strained wrists. But the altitude adjustment on those two AP mounts is nonetheless do-able, and if you take the precaution of leveling every time you set up, your altitude will be so close that the adjustment process is easy (with the g11 it is so easy you don't need to level). So anyhow the mistake in the 900 and 1200 design is a mistake but not a huge mistake. If you think about what you're doing, you devise a work around. Level the mount. No brute force needed. And they even brought out a replacement fork that was reasonably cheap and helped by giving more hand room.

It is possible that the altitude design on the CGE pro would work comfortably *if* the machining of the threads was spec'd the way those functions are spec'd on a G11 or AP scope. But it's not. It's a coarse thread, very un-smooth metal so on top of the fundamental lack of available torque you are fighting the machining and the spec on the metal and it becomes an active obstacle to setting up.

Now, there were reports ten years ago about a c11/g11 that flipped at TSP in one of their dust devils. Even a very solid mount can flip, particularly since in any tripod design force exerted from an extended leg against the gap between the two opposite legs makes the system vulnerable. I guess a circular moving wind would be particularly likely to push against this vulnerable direction.

But I'm surprised we haven't heard of a CGE Pro that has flipped. The tripod leg straddle is pretty narrow and the mount being too high, I don't think it would be hard to flip in moderate winds. But so far no one has mentioned that so maybe my assessment is unfounded.

To my eye it looks like a German equatorial that was designed to be sold to people who don't have much experience with German equatorials. But it isn't really an entry level price and I'm not sure that it qualifies as "the low end of the high end." (where I put the G11)

The CI700 and CGE mounts before the pro were pretty good, I think. But I still think that the high point of Celestron's career in mounts was when they had Vixen mounts for the smaller apertures and G11s for the larger. For whatever business reasons, relationships were terminated with both.

Given the importance that a smooth reliable mount has for making astronomy into an enjoyable experience I hope that most users have gotten value out of their CGE Pros. I don't know whether my strong negative impression is sheer prejudice or the instincts of an experienced user. It would certainly be good for astronomy generally if a really smooth GEM were available from Celestron or Meade. In the meantime the used market is making the CGE Pro available for about $3500 and maybe that's about right. People get the $5k mount and decide to sell it and so for $1500 net have learned that it takes more than $5k to get a good new mount. A couple of the ads I just read on astromart mentioned sending the mount back for repairs and now anxious to sell. Unusual ad copy.

The used market sometimes sends interesting signals. For example that a used 9.25 goes for about 50% more than a used M10. Or the fairly steep discounts on Celestron mounts (even the CI700, which at $750 used is pretty danged cheap).

Make of it what we will, I guess.

Greg N


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Eric Gage
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 12/13/05

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: gnowellsct]
      #5354235 - 08/06/12 03:42 AM

The more I read about Celestron mounts, the more happy I am that I sprung for a Takahashi.

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freestar8n
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/12/07

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: Tori]
      #5354250 - 08/06/12 04:16 AM

Quote:

My mama taught me to finish slews with up and right and focus by lifting the mirror. It seems natural (but not necessarily correct?) that it would be better to finish adjusting altitude against gravity.




This is because the mirror doesn't weight a lot and somewhat floats on the baffle tube when you focus with gravity rather than against it. This means it may continue moving a bit after adjustment. The up/right is specifically because it matches the final direction of goto's. If goto's ended down/left, you would do that instead.

The big difference with latitude adjustment is that the load is very heavy and responds promptly to adjustments that let it fall with gravity. And when you get it right you tighten the side bolts that lock it in place. So I don't think there is much benefit in pushing against gravity.

For my mount just above 41 degrees, with a c11 and imaging load, the adjustment is fine. Examples of guiding are on the MetaGuide page at around 2" fwhm in long exposures.

I agree the mount is on the tall side, but I guess that is for long refractors. The cables and connections are a big win over the cge, as is the ability to track past the meridian. I don't mind the knobs as long as they don't catch cables - and for me they don't and allow tool-less operation.

Frank


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5354381 - 08/06/12 08:16 AM

Quote:

Greg, that's because in the intervening months they actually purchased one and found out that you were right.

- Jim




Or not.

I know you were kidding (I reckon) but...

I am the owner of the CGE PRO Yahoogroup, and I have the straight poop on this GEM. For the record, while I own the group, I do not own the mount, since its size scares me a bit and I cannot observe from home at this time. Its price, compatively modest though it is, scares me too. Maybe someday. I have used several examples of it, and certainly have talked to more than a few owners.

In the beginning the mount had a few warts. Not bad, and certainly not like the early CGEMs, but a few. Celestron has continued to work on it and it is now a good performer. Which is not to say annoyances don't remain, mainly the placement of knobs, etc.

It is certainly more than competitive with its closest competitor, the Losmandy Titan. The Titan, if you'll recall, had a bumpy early period as well. The CGE Pro does have one thing the Titan and similar sized mounts don't: the excellent NexStar software.

NOW...we'll see how it stacks up to its forthcoming sister mount, the Synta EQ-8...


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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: freestar8n]
      #5354386 - 08/06/12 08:28 AM

Quote:


This is because the mirror doesn't weight a lot and somewhat floats on the baffle tube when you focus with gravity rather than against it. This means it may continue moving a bit after adjustment.




Well sorta. The main reason to focus "uphill" is to make sure you don't leave the mirror in an off balance condition. Not so much to prevent focus drift, but flop, when the mirror is left in an off-balance condition, the OTA changes attitude, and the mirror moves to a balanced condition on the baffle tube. Main cause of focus drift in my experience? Too much or the wrong kind of lube on the baffle.



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rmollise
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: Eric Gage]
      #5354389 - 08/06/12 08:30 AM

Quote:

The more I read about Celestron mounts, the more happy I am that I sprung for a Takahashi.




Don't believe everything you read on the cotton picking Internets.

If nothing else, the mucho more expensive Tak mounts can't hold a candle to the much better software/HCs of the very cheapest Celestrons.


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freestar8n
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/12/07

Re: CGE Pro: Anyone have a good one? [Re: rmollise]
      #5354486 - 08/06/12 09:30 AM

Quote:

Well sorta. The main reason to focus "uphill" is to make sure you don't leave the mirror in an off balance condition.




What you describe as "off balance" is exactly what I meant by "it floats" - and hence, to use your word, it can "flop" - which I described as - "continue moving."

Anyway - I agree. I guess you thought I was describing a strictly up/down motion of the mirror after focusing - but I would just say it is left somewhat loose on the baffle and can tilt and slide a bit when focused with gravity instead of against it.

Either way - a cge-pro with a heavy load is a lot different from a baffle focuser and I don't see it moving much after locking down the bolts. It might be a little more secure with the altitude bolt very snug up against it - but even adjusting with gravity it will be pressing down pretty hard due to its weight.

My main concern with people complaining about the tightness of the adjustment (not you, Rod) - particularly those who only found it tight when playing with it on a showroom floor - is that they did not first loosen the clamping bolts on the side. If they did not, then any impression they got of it being hard to adjust is a good thing - because it was locked in place. This is why it's good to go by people who have actually used the dang thing under the skies.

Frank


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