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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: coz]
      #5918303 - 06/13/13 07:48 AM

I've been using ASA DDM60 since last winter and couldn't be happier.

Have pretty much the same comments than jjongmans except that I'm using it only unguided. And the mount really is completely silent and very accurate. The direct drive technology is simply astonishing.

Building e.g. a 60 point model takes about 15-20 minutes depending how fast your camera can download the frames for plate solving. I'm using bin 3x3 so it's quite fast. You can use an existing model even when moving the setup around, however, I've never tried it myself because have a permanent setup.

ASA doesn't have absolute encoders but when starting up the system, it'll automatically search the "homing position", so there is really no need for the encoders to be absolute just high resolution. What comes to being able to use the mount without a computer, well, I'm taking only astrophotos so have never had a need for that.

One thing (in addition to the direct drive) that was very important for me when deciding to buy ASA instead of some other alternatives was the quality of software. ASA has a VERY high quality software (Autoslew and Sequence), and as far as I know, is quite far ahead from some other manufacturers.


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pbsastro
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 03/21/07

Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: bratislav]
      #5918333 - 06/13/13 08:27 AM

Bratislav:
I did not based my decision on the manual alone, but also on the reports I have been reading for several months. I like to base my decisions on my own understanding of things, and not only because the experts say it is good, while I don’t understand why, neither if their “good” fits my needs. So I think it is very important to match user reports with understanding the mount reading the manuals.

I am aware AP1100 is not in the same load capacity class of 1000HPS. Note I stated:
“AP1100 is an amazing achievement in terms of load/weight”
“weight is the most important factor to me, and AP clearly wins there”

You are right 1000HPS is in the same capacity class of Mach1. However AP1100 and 1000HPS are in the same weight and price class.
So 1000HPS can be compared to either Mach1 or AP1100 depending on which class type we focus.

So to me AP clearly wins on mechanical design, but AP clearly loses in the encoders design, in my view AP took all wrong decisions there, again in my view, I respect other opinions.
First , as Per stated they chose more expensive encoders in order to make them an ad-on item. If they used cheaper encoders like 10micron, they could put them standard on all mounts, so not requiring add-on. It seems to me AP tries to solve a problem (add-on requirement) that they created themselves.
Second, AP made the encoders attached to the wheel rather than to the axis. This means if you unlock the axis, and move the scope by hand you lose all alignment. Roland stated that he prefers it this way because he wants to model the wheel as well, and it would not be possible if the encoder-wheel position would change. I don’t see the need to model the wheel, the encoders can pretty well correct all wheel errors. What we need to model is errors outside the mount (alignment, sky refraction, flexure, etc).


I am a type of user completely opposite to Per. Per does imaging 100% of time, never puts eyepiece on scope. I am 90% visual and only occasional imager. I do not plan to lose much time imaging, and I want it to be simple and fast, that is simple setup and no long exposures. This means I want to avoid guiding for simplicity and can avoid guiding with HPS.
And visually HPS is so much better. You don’t have to polar align at all and get perfect visual pointing and tracking. And we can pan the scope by hand without losing alignment, which for me is a very important thing. I hate to always have keep pressing buttons to pan the sky. There is something magical about just pan the scope manually and the mount telling you where it is. Similar to what some Discmount mounts do, but with tracking included.

Regarding looks I much prefer white color of AP1100 to black color of 1000HPS and Mach1. But more important than that is clean design of the 1000HPS with no wires sticking out. AP1100 or AP1600 with encoders seem like prototype mounts, (not production mounts) with wires sticking out and in all over the place. Really ugly. Why not using covers like the 1000HPS? I understand AP wants it modular, but the user could easily remove the cover with two screws, or keep the cover off all the time if preferred.

Regarding support, I guess it depends on which country you live... If I lived in the US maybe I went with AP only for the support.

Pedro


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jjongmans
super member


Reged: 02/11/12

Loc: The Netherlands
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: pbsastro]
      #5918340 - 06/13/13 08:34 AM

There are two types of models you can use with an ASA DDM:
- All-sky model
- Declination model

I have a permanent setup, so I use the all-sky model. It can be generated completely automated within 15 min, depending on the amount of points and download time of the CCD.

In a mobile setup you can use a declination model, that is for one object during that night. The DDM60 is developed for mobile use, but it's quite heavy.


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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: GIR]
      #5918936 - 06/13/13 02:45 PM

Quote:


ASA doesn't have absolute encoders but when starting up the system, it'll automatically search the "homing position", so there is really no need for the encoders to be absolute just high resolution.




The ASA DDM60 is not in the same weight class as the AP1600, 2000/3000HPS etc Now the ASA DDM85 is in the weight class and does have renishaw encoders.

Now i'm more confused than ever..

Maybe I should put up a vote to see if I should cancel my AP1600 w/encoders order and go with someone else... sigh..

AP1600 w/encoders option(1100 does not have enought weight capacity)
10micron 2000 (132lb) or 3000HPS encoders standard
ASA DDM85 with 143lb or the 220lb version encoders standard
Bisque MEII w/encoders option

This is worse than trying to find the fabled universal camera that works with all scopes.



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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5918972 - 06/13/13 03:16 PM

Too late Dave. You already ordered a mount. You need to stop reading this forum.

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famax
member


Reged: 07/01/07

Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5918976 - 06/13/13 03:18 PM

Since you are in US, you should consider the €/$ balance
and the local service/support.
Européens tend to go 10µ or ASA because of the same but reversed argument :
For example the AP mach one cost nearly 10000$ in germany
THe 4000$ difference are mainly transport and dealer profit/costs/fees (VAT) , +count 5% for import cost in EU for optical goods.


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coz
sage


Reged: 08/25/10

Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: famax]
      #5918992 - 06/13/13 03:26 PM

I don't think you'll be disappointed with the AP1600!

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psandelle
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: coz]
      #5919010 - 06/13/13 03:36 PM

They're all great mounts! Unless there's some very specific reason you have that one mount fulfills over another (like some weird supernova mapping purpose you're putting it to, and one of the mounts is directly better at that task), and you've already ordered the AP, it seems like you should probably stay with the AP.


I'm with frolinmod: stop reading and get ready to enjoy!

Paul


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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: pbsastro]
      #5919013 - 06/13/13 03:37 PM

Quote:


Second, AP made the encoders attached to the wheel rather than to the axis. This means if you unlock the axis, and move the scope by hand you lose all alignment. Roland stated that he prefers it this way because he wants to model the wheel as well, and it would not be possible if the encoder-wheel position would change.




Really? Do we have any first hand knowledge of this? Per AP's site: Absolute encoder knows the exact position of the gear angle of the mount when the power is applied.

So if you were aligned, manually moved the scope, the encoder should 'read" the marks on the ring and know it's offset down to a few microns.. Yes,No?


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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: psandelle]
      #5919017 - 06/13/13 03:38 PM

Quote:

They're all great mounts! Unless there's some very specific reason you have that one mount fulfills over another (like some weird supernova mapping purpose you're putting it to, and one of the mounts is directly better at that task), and you've already ordered the AP, it seems like you should probably stay with the AP.


I'm with frolinmod: stop reading and get ready to enjoy!

Paul




I Know, I know.. that darn other voice in my head.. lol!


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: famax]
      #5919019 - 06/13/13 03:41 PM

Quote:

Since you are in US, you should consider the €/$ balance
and the local service/support.
Européens tend to go 10µ or ASA because of the same but reversed argument :
For example the AP mach one cost nearly 10000$ in germany
THe 4000$ difference are mainly transport and dealer profit/costs/fees (VAT) , +count 5% for import cost in EU for optical goods.




It is actually not too bad to import things from Europe (or elsewhere) to the US because, while there is the shipping cost to consider, the import duty is only 8% and there is no VAT so European items can actually end up less expensive in the US than in the EU. Going from the US to the EU is tough because of the 5% duty plus the 22% VAT. The fees on some of the items I ship to the EU are sometimes huge. The EU dealer is unlikely to make any more than the US dealer.


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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: coz]
      #5919026 - 06/13/13 03:42 PM

Dave
AP 1600 with encoders will be a fantastic mount, and the local service/support really is a valuable thing especially with mounts.


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WesC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: La Crescenta, CA
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5919030 - 06/13/13 03:47 PM

Stick with the AP1600... you won't be sorry.

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psandelle
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: WesC]
      #5919060 - 06/13/13 04:03 PM

Dave - as long as the little voice doesn't tell you to go to the top of a water tower and throw your mount off...it's probably okay.

I think the AP is a great mount, and I'm not sure any of the choices will be a mistake.

Paul


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orion69
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/09/10

Loc: Croatia
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: GIR]
      #5919199 - 06/13/13 05:31 PM

Quote:

..., and the local service/support really is a valuable thing especially with mounts.




For that reason (because they are both very close to me) I have 2 options and both are excellent. First is DDM60 (Austria) and second is GM1000HPS (Italy). I'll probably go with one that requires less time to start imaging since I don't have permanent setup.

Edited by orion69 (06/13/13 05:33 PM)


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famax
member


Reged: 07/01/07

Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: EFT]
      #5919324 - 06/13/13 06:45 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Since you are in US, you should consider the €/$ balance
and the local service/support.
Européens tend to go 10µ or ASA because of the same but reversed argument :
For example the AP mach one cost nearly 10000$ in germany
THe 4000$ difference are mainly transport and dealer profit/costs/fees (VAT) , +count 5% for import cost in EU for optical goods.




It is actually not too bad to import things from Europe (or elsewhere) to the US because, while there is the shipping cost to consider, the import duty is only 8% and there is no VAT so European items can actually end up less expensive in the US than in the EU. Going from the US to the EU is tough because of the 5% duty plus the 22% VAT. The fees on some of the items I ship to the EU are sometimes huge. The EU dealer is unlikely to make any more than the US dealer.





I do agree, moreover without the vat, the price you propose for 10µ mount are very attractive


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pbsastro
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 03/21/07

Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5919401 - 06/13/13 07:28 PM

Quote:

Quote:


Second, AP made the encoders attached to the wheel rather than to the axis. This means if you unlock the axis, and move the scope by hand you lose all alignment. Roland stated that he prefers it this way because he wants to model the wheel as well, and it would not be possible if the encoder-wheel position would change.




Really? Do we have any first hand knowledge of this? Per AP's site: Absolute encoder knows the exact position of the gear angle of the mount when the power is applied.

So if you were aligned, manually moved the scope, the encoder should 'read" the marks on the ring and know it's offset down to a few microns.. Yes,No?




Note they say "gear angle", and gear is internal position, not output position.

From Roland himself (yahoo ap-ug 8-4-2013):
“The encoders are tied to the worm gear, not to the clutched shaft, so if you loosen the clutches and move it by hand, you will have to reset the encoder positions. However, this has the advantage of always having the encoder tied directly to the worm gear teeth, so when you build up a pointing model, it will always be valid because you are not changing the relationship between the worm teeth and the encoder.”

However I now found this a little ahead on the same thread. Roland says (18-4-2013):
“The absolute encoders are attached to the output shaft of each axis. So they know exactly where each axis is pointed at all times. Since they are absolute encoders, the output of the encoder sensor always knows the exact angle of the worm wheel position upon power-up.”

So it seems output shaft and clutched shaft are not the same thing. You may want to reactivate the question there and clarify with Roland.
To me, if you use absolute encoders in a way that moving by hand looses position, then they are really relative encoders, not absolute encoders. After all you could get the same result by using relative encoders and storing the last position in the mount controller flash memory.

Pedro

Edited by pbsastro (06/13/13 07:54 PM)


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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc new [Re: pbsastro]
      #5919964 - 06/14/13 02:55 AM

Couple of comments concerning the ASA direct drive mounts…

My main goal was to get a high quality mount that would also enable to do unguided imaging. And being able to do unguided imaging properly requires some things that might not be so important otherwise.

First of all, the mount has to be very solid technically (0 backlash, very small PE and preferably low frequency) and has to have high resolution encoders. All ASA direct drive mounts have 0 backlash and 0 PE with high resolution Renishaw encoders.

The other central issue is high quality software. I'm sure one can do unguided imaging with many high end mounts to a certain point. However, if you want to do it without getting some extra grey hair and spending time imaging rather than tuning your equipment, then the software is the key. So I would recommend anybody buying a mount for unguided imaging to compare the software of different manufacturers …the difference is huge.

ASA direct drive technology is very different from traditional worm/belt gear drive mounts, and will require some time to get used to it. E.g. when the power is off, both axis can move freely and there is nothing else holding the DEC and RA axis in place other than the perfect balance.
However, when you turn the power on, everything changes and both axis become very stiff. I'm not a technical person but it seems like there is some kind of strong magnetic field moving the axis. That would explain why the mount is completely silent to operate.

Anyway, even if the learning curve is a bit steeper in ASA direct drive mounts than in some "traditional" mounts, it's not too difficult to learn and very logical in the end.


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orion69
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/09/10

Loc: Croatia
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc [Re: GIR]
      #5919991 - 06/14/13 03:29 AM

GIR, I noticed you have permanent setup, but let's suppose that you don't, how long will it take from turning mount on to starting imaging (30 min subs @ 1000mm)?

Thx


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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Mount Upgrade Time! AP, SB, 10Micron, etc [Re: GIR]
      #5919999 - 06/14/13 04:26 AM

Quote:


The other central issue is high quality software. I'm sure one can do unguided imaging with many high end mounts to a certain point. However, if you want to do it without getting some extra grey hair and spending time imaging rather than tuning your equipment, then the software is the key. So I would recommend anybody buying a mount for unguided imaging to compare the software of different manufacturers …the difference is huge.





And best of all is NO software dependency and still unguided imaging

I am all for direct drive technology and think that it is the future, but someone has to bite the bullit and move the motor control algorithms into the mount firmware. With today's high end micro controllers the performance is not an issue and the reliability of things in firmware compared to things in the PC environment is lightyears better. I am quite certain that ASA's mounts will function more or less flawlessly with their 100 percent PC dependency, but the scary part is USB communication and the not so real-time performance of Windows. Besides, I think an investment in a truly high-end PC is very important - the stuff will be as reliable as your PC.

Now, one can argue that you are software dependant anyway when it comes to imaging. But, and this is a big BUT, when you have your stuff on a remote site, or are asleep inside, and the scope won't park so that the roof can be closed when the rain comes, something unspeakable is going to hit the rotating air mover big time.

This, of course, is a highly personal comment as it involves many feelings and hunches, but I do believe it has some merit.

My ideal mount would be a direct drive technology one with total firmware control, no need for motor traing (should be done at the factory), no external PC or software dependency and electromagnetic axis locks that engage with loss of power.

The last part should be on anyone's short-list. Suppose you start a slew at 20°/s, the mount accelerates and *POOF* - power-out. Your equipment will hit the pier with a speed of just under 1 km/h. Unlikely, yes, but we regularly protect ourselves from many even more unlikely things.

Now that qualfies as genuine two-cent advice

/per


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