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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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dhaval
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 07/21/08

Loc: Round Rock, TX
New to me Mach 1!
      #5884812 - 05/25/13 11:06 PM Attachment (98 downloads)

Finally pulled the trigger on the Mach 1 (and since pulling the trigger, it has been raining in Austin - with no end to the cloudy nights in sight any time soon - but I am hoping I can get to use it sometime soon)!

I have high expectations of this mount - I have ordered the RAPAS and the hi res rotating pier base, although I am not sure if I should have or not.

The tripod for the mount is the AP/Baader hardwood tripod and the mount sits solid on it! I think I will stick with this particular tripod for a little bit (I have about 23 lbs of telescope/camera/FW/Filters on the mount/tripod).

First impressions - This looks so solid - better than the G11 that I used to have, even on the wooden tripod. I was worried about it being stable, but this looks really solid. I am hoping that will truly be the case - I will primarily be imaging with this setup, so hopefully, I don't have to change the tripod. The construction is so very well thought out - can hardly seem to find a fault with how it's designed and made. The only thing that I find "odd" is the hanging GTO box - I think that should somehow be fixed to the mount - but I can deal with that bit of oddity.

I am hoping for some clear skies soon!

Thanks,
Dhaval


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dhaval
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 07/21/08

Loc: Round Rock, TX
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: dhaval]
      #5884813 - 05/25/13 11:06 PM Attachment (77 downloads)

And one more pic -

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Gregg Carter
member


Reged: 08/11/10

Loc: Northern New Mexico
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: dhaval]
      #5884823 - 05/25/13 11:12 PM

Beautiful.

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David Ault
sage


Reged: 09/25/10

Loc: Georgetown, TX
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: Gregg Carter]
      #5884840 - 05/25/13 11:24 PM

Dhaval,

Congratulations on the new mount. It looks like a beauty. I was wondering who purchased some nice equipment in my area. My lawn and water bill thank you

Regards,
David


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dhaval
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 07/21/08

Loc: Round Rock, TX
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: David Ault]
      #5884872 - 05/25/13 11:43 PM

David,
So good to hear from you! I am hoping we can meet up at the next members star party - hopefully, I can make it out there and it is not cloudy!

Dhaval


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David Ault
sage


Reged: 09/25/10

Loc: Georgetown, TX
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: dhaval]
      #5884891 - 05/25/13 11:54 PM

Dhaval,

I'd would be great to meet you out there. Although you should expect a fair amount of drool to accumulate on your new mount

Regards,
David


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JumboFlex
sage


Reged: 01/20/09

Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: dhaval]
      #5884893 - 05/25/13 11:57 PM

Its a great mount. Dont worry about your upgrade purchases, they are actual upgrades IMO, especially the hi res rotating pier.

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andysea
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: JumboFlex]
      #5885007 - 05/26/13 01:48 AM

Congrats! You will love the Mach1, it's am amazing mount. Since I bought it I essentially stopped using my other mount. I also use the RAPAS and i think it's totally worth it.

Andy


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FaronD
sage


Reged: 03/25/10

Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: dhaval]
      #5885051 - 05/26/13 02:57 AM

You're going to enjoy using the Mach 1. I ordered the same two items as well. I just finished setting up the RAPAS last night, I'm looking forward to testing the accuracy next time out. I know it's going to save me setup time.

The new rotating base was installed immediately at purchase and I'm glad I did it. The operation is ultra smooth and there are no bolts to lock down. The benefits will be seen at the RAPAS.

Faron


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CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: FaronD]
      #5885427 - 05/26/13 11:25 AM

Congrat's on the new Mach1 and Planet tripod, a great matchup and looks beautiful in you image. I agree the rotating base a real upgrade, though once you are aligned it doesnt matter, it's during alignment it really helps. Look forward to your comments.

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Ron (Lubbock)
sage


Reged: 08/17/12

Loc: West TX
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5890000 - 05/28/13 11:27 PM

That must be one heck of a mount, because it's been cloudy and windy every night for a week up here in Lubbock too! I've been looking at the Astro-Physics mounts recently too, so let us know how it goes.

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dhaval
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 07/21/08

Loc: Round Rock, TX
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: Ron (Lubbock)]
      #5890011 - 05/28/13 11:34 PM

Ron (and David too) - I apologize folks! The mount obviously looks beautiful!! I believe next week has a few days without clouds - by which time I should get my "upgrades" as well!!

CS,
Dhaval


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Whichwayisnorth
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/04/11

Loc: Southern California
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: dhaval]
      #5890088 - 05/29/13 12:46 AM

Very jealous of your mount. I'd love to have a Mach1.

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hytham
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/25/12

Loc: Canadian in the US
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: Whichwayisnorth]
      #5891023 - 05/29/13 05:09 PM

Congrats! I just received my Mach1 and all of its goodies yesterday afternoon - rain forecast for the next 10 days and it has of course been raining for about 6 already. I hate MN!

I can't wait to use it and look forward to hearing what you think.


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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: hytham]
      #5891205 - 05/29/13 07:30 PM

it's the real deal and i'm very glad i upgraded. it "just works".

edit: the new az plate is a must-have. it's actually hard to get aligned with the old plate as when you loosen the lock screws, it wobbles a little bit.


Edited by pfile (05/29/13 07:31 PM)


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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: pfile]
      #5891209 - 05/29/13 07:39 PM

sweet!!

glad you didn't go with that meade 850! It wouldn't have "just worked". And other 850 owners are jealous of your mount! i'm jealous! lol


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5891223 - 05/29/13 07:49 PM

It's a nice mount. But keep your thumb over the stop button on slews until you really know what you're doing.

-Rich


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dhaval
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 07/21/08

Loc: Round Rock, TX
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5891378 - 05/29/13 09:22 PM

Thanks all for the nice words. I can't wait to use mine - of course, its going to be cloudy over the next few days, but hopefully next week there are a few days when I can take it for a test drive.

Rich - please elaborate - what does that mean?

Thanks,
Dhaval


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bigj
member


Reged: 05/07/13

Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: dhaval]
      #5891530 - 05/29/13 11:07 PM

Cant wait to see the imanges on the night sky and PE data

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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: dhaval]
      #5891540 - 05/29/13 11:15 PM

The mount needs a very specific order of operations to align it. If the geometry isn't right when it attempts a sync or when you go between steps in the polar alignment routine, it is possible for it to get an indeterminate solution on its geometry. What that means is the next time you slew, it will attempt an underhand pass, which will cause a collision. So, keep a finger near the stop button. Read the manuals, and follow them literally.

I apologize for how scary that sounds- in practice, it is so quick and nimble to do anything you ask, it's easy to forget this is possible.

-Rich

Quote:

Thanks all for the nice words. I can't wait to use mine - of course, its going to be cloudy over the next few days, but hopefully next week there are a few days when I can take it for a test drive.

Rich - please elaborate - what does that mean?

Thanks,
Dhaval




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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: bigj]
      #5891545 - 05/29/13 11:18 PM

Bigj, just do a search. The AP Mach 1 GTO is one of the best characterized mounts made, so you don't have to wait for raw data to crunch through.

-Rich

Quote:

Cant wait to see the imanges on the night sky and PE data




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andysea
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5891554 - 05/29/13 11:22 PM

Quote:

It's a nice mount. But keep your thumb over the stop button on slews until you really know what you're doing.

-Rich




Great suggestion! Even when you know what you're doing I suggest keeping your thumb on that stop button
I even reduced my slew speed to 600x just to be safe.

Andy


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: andysea]
      #5891568 - 05/29/13 11:32 PM

I crashed my AP 130 EDFGT into the pier that way :-/ It had always seemed to know what it was doing. And it *almost* made it.

AP had a paint kit, though you had to know where to look to find the scrape mark (the paint is kind of odd stuff- sort of like painting by dabbing on yogurt).

If Bigj wants a link to get started:

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=1925

-Rich


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5891622 - 05/30/13 12:18 AM

I'm a bit puzzled by the doom and gloom around mount crashing etc

The Mach1 is probably the simplest darn mount there is to set up (in my experience). You just point it to a star opposite where the scope is (i.e. not on the same side of the meridian), sync, and you're off!

The only case I see where there might be mount confusion is if you sync on a star on the same side of the meridian after power on, but the manual explicitly says not to do that.

In any case I've never had a mount crash, and I barely read the manual.


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5891655 - 05/30/13 12:53 AM

There are other ways of causing that. One of them happens with the polar alignment routine, and I haven't quite figured out what causes it.

-Rich


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mikeschuster
super member


Reged: 08/25/11

Loc: SF Bay area
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5891665 - 05/30/13 01:09 AM

My Mach 1 (sold) did seem to have a slew under the mount quirk. Setup in Park 1 position, Resume Ref-Park 1, let the mount track a few minutes or so from this position, then slew. Often the slew was under the mount. I never did figure out why this was happening, but likely I was doing something wrong,
Mike


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bigj
member


Reged: 05/07/13

Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: mikeschuster]
      #5891691 - 05/30/13 01:37 AM

The native PE would be nice to see and photos with 10 minutes subs would be nice. I cannot wait to see them.

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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: bigj]
      #5891703 - 05/30/13 01:52 AM

by the way, why does the mount hand controller have a "resume from park X" menu option? that seems a surefire way to get it confused - if it's at park 3 for instance and you tell it to resume from park 1 it's idea of the sky gets messed up.

seems like if it was in any park position the right thing to do is simply "resume from park", since the mount should know where it was parked.


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bigj
member


Reged: 05/07/13

Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: pfile]
      #5891718 - 05/30/13 02:05 AM

I think AP is a good mount but technology is old, look at the controller its dated about 20 years

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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: bigj]
      #5891767 - 05/30/13 03:23 AM

I always do park 3 and resume from park 3. That's the home position for CGEM's.

The native PE is well-known. Mine does about 6" p-p. After PEC training that drops to < 1" p-p.

I have numerous 10- and 20-minute guided subs. 20 minutes is too much for unguided with my not-so-good polar alignment (at 600mm).

The hand controller does seem a bit ancient, and the interface isn't so good compared to even the humble Nexstar. But it's vacuum fluorescent and doesn't dim in cold weather. And it's very beefy. The thing would outlast most contemporary electronics gear.


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bigj
member


Reged: 05/07/13

Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5891786 - 05/30/13 04:11 AM

please give the raw data

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pfile
Post Laureate


Reged: 06/14/09

Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: bigj]
      #5892176 - 05/30/13 11:07 AM

sure, i do park 3 and then just resume from park. it just seems like having specific "resume from park X" controls is really dangerous. i've done it once and a recal fixes everything but until then a goto could drive the scope into the pier.

the hand controller seems fine to me. i agree it is very robust. i don't care that much though because i drive the mount with ASCOM - wifiscope + SkySafari and AstroTortilla.


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andysea
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: pfile]
      #5892512 - 05/30/13 01:57 PM

Coming from a Takahashi mount I thought that the AP hand controller was a big improvement. What is a comparable mount that has a good hand controller? just curious....it doesn't really matter to me anyway as all I use is goto and meridian delay.

Andy


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JumboFlex
sage


Reged: 01/20/09

Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: andysea]
      #5892839 - 05/30/13 04:27 PM

Not sure if i would call anything from AP "old" tech. The hand controller worked for me at below freezing temps, the "advanced" tech of an iphone wouldnt.

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Footbag
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: JumboFlex]
      #5892940 - 05/30/13 05:36 PM

I came from a Celestron CPC, and giving up the Celestron firmware was hard. I was very concerned with the "old" AP hand controller. Truth is, it's simpler but better.

And having more then one line of text gives you much more info. I actually learn the sky with it.


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turtledude1
member
*****

Reged: 10/08/08

Loc: SW Fla.& SW. NM
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: dhaval]
      #5893032 - 05/30/13 06:40 PM

I know just how you feel with your new Mach 1. Fedex just delivered my used but never got used AP 1200GTO this morning. It's going to take six months to wipe the grin off my face. This will be a huge improvement over my CGE Pro.

Russ


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: turtledude1]
      #5893143 - 05/30/13 08:08 PM

The really weird thing about AP after using something like a Celestron is the alignment which "Just is". Turn it on, and it's aligned. I have been starting at Park 3, and then drive it to Park 1 and do initial alignment with a level. I then go to the first object. This was how I was able to see the M81 supernova a year ago- the sky was overcast except for that area. But I was able to get a compass bearing and get aligned with the level, and had it drive there blind. Voilà, the supernova was in the field of view.

I'd tend to say what you really need to do is THINK REAL HARD before using a Sync command.

The original Sky Safari sent Sync instead of RCAL when you pressed the "Align" button on the mount control. That was what I had done just before the collision. So, I talked to Tim at Southern Stars as well as AP, and now Sky Safari is fixed so it sends RCAL instead of Sync.

For Bigj, who apparently hasn't discovered Google:

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/3952049/page...

-Rich


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5893170 - 05/30/13 08:26 PM

good one Rich.

You're right about the "just is" alignment... it does require that your polar alignment be well-nigh perfect. But it's nice that the AP GTO controller follows the principle of least astonishment.


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bigj
member


Reged: 05/07/13

Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5893618 - 05/31/13 03:26 AM

Starhawh
Thanks for googal tip. I still would like raw see data from a new mount. The 8.4 arc second was nice but not to AP standard. I was hopping to see 6 arc secounds or better.


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RAKing
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/28/07

Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: bigj]
      #5893734 - 05/31/13 07:32 AM

My Mach 1 celebrated its 4th birthday a few weeks ago and it's still the best investment I ever made in astronomy.

I don't know how anyone could regret switching from Celestron electronics to Astro-Physics. The circuit boards are better, the hand controller is much better, and the commands are easier to use. I start from Park 3, Goto a single star, Synch, and off I go. Keying in a database object or a set of RA/Dec coordinates couldn't be easier.

Six years ago, when I first got on the A-P waiting list, a friend told me that if I ever tried the A-P hand paddle I would never be happy going back to Celestron, Synta, or Gemini - mounts I had used previously. I have to agree that he was right.

Cheers,

Ron


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Doug D.
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 08/23/05

Loc: Virginia
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: RAKing]
      #5893751 - 05/31/13 08:04 AM

Quote:

My Mach 1 celebrated its 4th birthday a few weeks ago and it's still the best investment I ever made in astronomy.






Yeah, I'd say Ron has that just about right. I think our mounts must be from the same litter.


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FaronD
sage


Reged: 03/25/10

Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: bigj]
      #5895616 - 06/01/13 08:13 AM

Quote:

I think AP is a good mount but technology is old, look at the controller its dated about 20 years




The AP HC is excellent! The actual AP HC is rugged, handles extreme low temps well, and has nice 4 line vacumn-fluorescent display. You must be referring to the software? Sure, it lacks some of the bells and whistles of the newer mounts. Actually, it only lacks in software for Polar Alignment. This is a nonissue since the new RAPAS arrived. The alignment now literally takes 2 minutes. Modelling, I don't need it with my setup. Simply Recal on a star and it's set to go.

I'm willing to bet most AP mount owners are imagers. The AP software works extremely well in that regard. The meridian delay is fanatastic! My Mach 1 is the easiest mount ever to operate, no muss no fuss.

Faron


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: New to me Mach 1! new [Re: FaronD]
      #5895709 - 06/01/13 09:46 AM

I re-trained the PEM on my Mach1 a few days ago. Mine is a 2009 model with the precision alt-az adapter, but I bought it used from the first owner.

This data is about 3 worm cycles for the fundamental, and after PEM. The only wrinkle is, data was captured with a finder-guider, so the pixel scale is very poor.

Raw PE (about 5" p-p) - according to Ray only the fundamental, 1st, and 2nd harmonics exist and can be corrected, so only those are checked:


After one round of PEM and two rounds of PEM refinement:


I used to get a better figure (0.42" p-p) but the above is what I'm getting now.


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