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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging
      #5478250 - 10/19/12 04:58 AM

hi all,

I realize I posted a very similar question a few days ago. I have since increased my weight budget to 15lb or so.

I'm looking for the "best-est" lightweight mount out there for imaging. No, not the Mach1 (default answer) - too heavy at 30lb.

I'm looking for something that weighs 15lb to 20lb all up. And it must get down to zero degrees latitude without horrific contortions.

I know that all of the Vixens can go to zero latitude with only the addition of a half-pier. I am hoping for something a bit higher in quality.

The EM-10 / EM-11 seem incapable of going to zero latitude without a wedge. That would have been perfect for me..

It must have a full declination worm gear, so the P2Z is out.


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gdd
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: N Seattle suburb, WA
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5478544 - 10/19/12 10:31 AM

The GM8 goes to zero latitude. There is also the Starlapse system using GM8 parts.

Gale


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tjugo
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/06/07

Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: gdd]
      #5478575 - 10/19/12 10:52 AM

Vixen SXD + NexSXD, very smooth PE 15 arc-sec peek to peek. A couple of years ago I was in a similar situation EM11 vs SXD. And I took the SXD ticket, knowing before hand that NexSXD board upgrade was a must for AP.

The SXD can carry my Epsilon 160 with all the AP equipment mounted. I am not sure how low the Alt adjustment can go on SXD, but AFAIK it can go to 0.

I just sold the SXD cause now I have a permanent setup, I own an EM200 and an Atlas. The SXD built quality is much much better than the Atlas and very close to the EM200. PE is like this:

-- Atlas 40 arc sec p-p (not very smoth, but workable)
-- SXD 15 arc sec p-p (very smooth)
-- EM200 8 arc sec p-p (very smooth)

Cheers,

Jose


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Phillip Easton
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Reged: 12/24/10

Loc: DFW
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: tjugo]
      #5478585 - 10/19/12 11:00 AM

You might look at iOptron's iEQ30 GEM. It weights 15 lbs and will do zero degs lat. I have a iEQ45 so don't know first hand but I believe the reports for the iEQ30 have been positive.

Cheers!
Phillip


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: Phillip Easton]
      #5478677 - 10/19/12 11:45 AM

Jose, how does the SXD compare to the EM200 when guiding? what is the RMS error?

Also it is my preference to buy a premium mount. I'm thinking something along the lines of a Mach1 or EM200, but smaller and lighter. The EM10/11 would be perfect if it could go down to zero latitude. I may yet end up with one, but I'd need a wedge.

And polar alignment with a wedge is a PITA because changing the azimuth also changes the altitude.


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tjugo
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/06/07

Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5478696 - 10/19/12 11:57 AM

Hi Orlando,

The residual error was limited by the seeing:

http://mtanous.mine.nu/images/guiding_error.bmp

The nice thing about the SXD is that you don't need to tweak the guiding. On the other hand the Atlas is very sensible to the way it is guided. The EM200 is even easier to guide.

The error in the graph is in arc seconds.

Cheers,

Jose


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tjugo
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/06/07

Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: tjugo]
      #5478705 - 10/19/12 12:00 PM

I forgot to mention the Polar scope of the SXD is as good as the Tak. But since Tak mounts are more expensive people like to brain wash their heads claiming that the Tak PAS is the best in the market. Nahh, the vixen is just as good as the Tak in everyway.

Cheers,

Jose


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: tjugo]
      #5478725 - 10/19/12 12:17 PM

Hi Jose, how does the Tak guiding graph look like? I am just curious..

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tjugo
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/06/07

Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5478868 - 10/19/12 01:54 PM

Orlando,

I don't have any PE graph available for the EM200. I haven't done any deep PE analysis of the EM200 PE because the mount does not have PEC. I just did some quick PE analysis and the PE was smooth and small.

With the EM200 I can set the autoguider to take 5s integrations, very handy for OAG. For the Vixen SXD I used to set the autoguider to use 3s integrations. The Atlas needs 0.2s (without PEC) or 1s (with PEC), you need to play all kind of tricks to avoid chasing the seeing with short integrations.

The EM200 is heavy and is not easy to move around. The SXD can be move around with tripod and CW easily.

Cheers,

Jose


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orlyandico
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Loc: Singapore
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: tjugo]
      #5479046 - 10/19/12 03:39 PM

Yes that's why I am not looking at the EM200. Pretty heavy for its payload (the Mach1 has a better payload-to-weight ratio, but is still too heavy for me).

I weighed my imaging setup again and it's only 15lb. I am carrying it on an AP600 right now (25lb imaging capacity, weighs more than a Mach1 but less than an Atlas/CGEM/EM200). I can guide at 4-second intervals as the PE is quite low (8" peak-to-peak). But it weighs a lot and I get lazy to go out.

Seems an EM11 would be able to carry my setup competently enough.. only issue is the latitude. I have wedges on both my CGEM and AP. Heavy and heaviest. I'll probably get rid of the CGEM if and when I get a suitable replacement that weighs less...


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tjugo
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/06/07

Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5479147 - 10/19/12 05:07 PM

I thought that the AP600 was lighter than the Mach1. How much does the AP600 weight?

Cheers,

Jose


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: tjugo]
      #5479547 - 10/19/12 09:41 PM

Hi Jose, Company7 says 27lb for the 600, which AP says 32lb for the Mach1, both without CW shaft or saddle. I put mine on a bathroom scale though and it's about 35lb.

So pretty much the same - although the 600 is only rated 25lb and the Mach1 is rated 45lb (not to mention the 600 has pretty high DEC backlash compared to the Mach1).


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PGW Steve
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5479573 - 10/19/12 10:01 PM

I've got an Astrotrac and a Polarie that I use for very light imaging and I like both. I want something that is a bit more than those pieces of hardware, and I'm going to check out the iEQ30 at ASAE in person. Looking at the specs I think that might fit the bill.

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Footbag
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5479577 - 10/19/12 10:02 PM

AP's 32lbs claim for the Mach 1 includes the CW shaft. So it should be 28lbs without. I haven't weighed mine, but Im pretty sure it weighs more then that.

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orlyandico
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Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: Footbag]
      #5479647 - 10/19/12 10:50 PM

Actually a good part of the non-portability of my AP600 setup is the huge, non-collapsible wooden tripod that I made for it (which weighs 27lb). I would very much like a Rob Miller Tri36L, that would improve portability quite a bit - but for not much more than that price I can scrounge up a used EM10 non-Goto (with tripod) and have two mounts instead of one..

and entire iEQ30 would cost about the same as a Tri36L with the trimmings. Of course that's neither here nor there, but I still think two mounts is better than one. I would like to avoid the iEQ30 though as my experience with my CGEM has been less than stellar..


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scblur
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Reged: 05/29/07

Loc: Pittsburgh
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: tjugo]
      #5480212 - 10/20/12 11:29 AM

And BTW, thanks again for a beautiful mount Jose.
Scott



Quote:

Vixen SXD + NexSXD, very smooth PE 15 arc-sec peek to peek. A couple of years ago I was in a similar situation EM11 vs SXD. And I took the SXD ticket, knowing before hand that NexSXD board upgrade was a must for AP.

The SXD can carry my Epsilon 160 with all the AP equipment mounted. I am not sure how low the Alt adjustment can go on SXD, but AFAIK it can go to 0.

I just sold the SXD cause now I have a permanent setup, I own an EM200 and an Atlas. The SXD built quality is much much better than the Atlas and very close to the EM200. PE is like this:

-- Atlas 40 arc sec p-p (not very smoth, but workable)
-- SXD 15 arc sec p-p (very smooth)
-- EM200 8 arc sec p-p (very smooth)

Cheers,

Jose




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andysea
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Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: PGW Steve]
      #5480560 - 10/20/12 03:07 PM

For imaging with Camera lenses I use a Kenko Skymemo. It's very smooth and I get excellent unguided results up to 400mm FL. I also have the accessory to guide in RA but I never bothered to use it. It can also have a dec motor added.

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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5481264 - 10/21/12 12:49 AM

Quote:

I know that all of the Vixens can go to zero latitude with only the addition of a half-pier. I am hoping for something a bit higher in quality.




I've measured my Vixen GP2 at +/- 7 arc seconds of PE...not too shabby. They're very nice mounts, very good quality, and the tripod is compact to transport, yet very sturdy. I'm not sure why you think they're not higher quality.

Patrick


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: Patrick]
      #5481316 - 10/21/12 01:59 AM

Patrick, I had a GP. The periodic error was +/- 40.

Granted it was an old Orion Vixen one, but still.

+/- 7 is Tak EM11 class. A lot of folks use PHD to measure periodic error and forget to turn off the guiding output. Made this same mistake and thought my GP was +/- 10 which made me really happy until... another mistake I've made is forgetting to account for declination when measuring the PE.


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tjugo
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/06/07

Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: scblur]
      #5481770 - 10/21/12 11:24 AM

Quote:

And BTW, thanks again for a beautiful mount Jose.
Scott



Quote:

Vixen SXD + NexSXD, very smooth PE 15 arc-sec peek to peek. A couple of years ago I was in a similar situation EM11 vs SXD. And I took the SXD ticket, knowing before hand that NexSXD board upgrade was a must for AP.

The SXD can carry my Epsilon 160 with all the AP equipment mounted. I am not sure how low the Alt adjustment can go on SXD, but AFAIK it can go to 0.

I just sold the SXD cause now I have a permanent setup, I own an EM200 and an Atlas. The SXD built quality is much much better than the Atlas and very close to the EM200. PE is like this:

-- Atlas 40 arc sec p-p (not very smoth, but workable)
-- SXD 15 arc sec p-p (very smooth)
-- EM200 8 arc sec p-p (very smooth)

Cheers,

Jose







Scott,

It was a pleasure doing business with you. I am sure you gonna like the mount. The SXD performs better than the EM10/11, and the quality, fit and finish is very close. The tripod is very good, light and sturdy.

Orlando: The vixen sphinxs are all in the 20 arcsec peek to peek range of PE, the reason these mounts are not popular for AP is the stock electronics (random DEC jumps). If you 'upgrade' to the NexSXD you end up with a very portable AP mount. Cheaper than the EM11, with similar if not smaller PE and more weight capacity.

Cheers,

Jose


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MooEy
member


Reged: 10/02/07

Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: tjugo]
      #5482994 - 10/22/12 01:59 AM

I did a measurement on SP, SXW and SXD long ago. All 3 of them are well below +/- 10.

Not sure where you got your GP from. It's probably in a horrible condition. My advice, don't buy used mounts intended for imaging from a non-imager.

I had the SP with the Synscan. It was pretty gd, goto is decent, guiding is responsive, stars generally comes out round. Anyway, i ended up selling off the combination due to the large amount of exposed parts.

Moving up to SXD made the setup cleaner, but autoguiding was erratic. Starbook is quite horrible when it comes to imaging. Never had a chance to try the NexSXD, but i suspect it might be somewhere decent.


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: MooEy]
      #5483014 - 10/22/12 02:43 AM

Yup it was in horrible condition

Come to think of it, the periodic error was +/- 40" and incredibly smooth. Maybe it was the non-concentric spur gears (they were a little bit too large for the shafts - kind of funny as they were official Vixen gears).

Indeed the EM10/11 seems to be a dead end - not low-latitude capable, incredibly expensive.. seems am going round back to the Vixens.


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gdd
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: N Seattle suburb, WA
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5484543 - 10/22/12 11:47 PM

Don't forget the Losmandy gm-8, should have fairly low and smooth PE. Good to zero degrees latitude. Rated for 30 pounds visual.

Gale


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tomcody
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Reged: 07/06/08

Loc: Titusville, Florida
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5484573 - 10/23/12 12:15 AM

Quote:

Hi Jose, how does the Tak guiding graph look like? I am just curious..



http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/em11_tsa102/index.htm


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andysea
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Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: tomcody]
      #5484701 - 10/23/12 01:37 AM

It's no mystery that Takahashi will provide flawless tracking with super smooth periodic error that can be easily guided out. The polar scope is also worth mentioning. It's the best in the industry.

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orlyandico
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Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: andysea]
      #5484725 - 10/23/12 02:07 AM

actually I saw that EM11 guiding graph on the wlcastleman site.

frankly for $4325 I am not blown away. I know its not a valid comparison but I am getting better results than that, today. Albeit my mount weighs 35lb.

if that's the best one can get under 20 lbs I feel its not really worth buying the Tak. I suspect an iEQ30 can come close to that while costing less than 1/3 as much.

and the Tak polar scope is irrelevant to me. I can't see Polaris.


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core
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Reged: 02/23/08

Loc: Mostly in Norman, OK
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5484750 - 10/23/12 03:06 AM

Getting back to the SXW/SXD with the NexSXD board:

SXW head 15 lb
SXD head 19 lb
Tripod 12 lb
Cwt 4 lb

That's a total of 31 lb for my SXW stock setup. Because of the way it is designed (drive and electronics act as counter weight, I can mount a C6 on it and it will balance with a 4 lb cwt only half way out. It'll even manage a C8 with a single 4 lb cwt right at the end.

You could probably shave off the weight a little by cutting down the tripod columns, and make it fit in a standard luggage to boot - or iirc there's a chap in Hong Kong or Japan (?) that sells a custom plate to mount the head onto Manfrotto bowl heads (also has Tak adapter iirc) - then go for a lighter weight CF tripod.

I'm still dipping my toes into imaging with a Astrotrac Travler setup, and will get a NexSXD board when I'm ready to go up in focal length and duration.


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Patrick
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Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5486070 - 10/23/12 09:23 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

Quote:

+/- 7 is Tak EM11 class. A lot of folks use PHD to measure periodic error and forget to turn off the guiding output. Made this same mistake and thought my GP was +/- 10 which made me really happy until... another mistake I've made is forgetting to account for declination when measuring the PE.




Here's the PE graph. I was not using PHD Guiding...my GP2 does not have guiding capability.

Edit: For the record, I used K3CCDTools to record the data and PEAS to create the chart.

Patrick

Edited by Patrick (10/23/12 11:38 PM)


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andysea
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Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Best Lightweight Mount for Imaging new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5486225 - 10/23/12 11:02 PM

You might have answered your own question. Perhaps the IEQ30 is the mount that you're looking for. I Have a friend who uses the IEQ45 and he is very happy with it. The craftsmanship is not at Tak level but ultimately performance is what counts the most.
I love my Rob Miller tripod but a portable pier might be better suited for your imaging latitude.....Those Vixen mounts look good tho!


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