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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: Rural Nova Scotia
AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did?
      #6055899 - 08/31/13 11:36 AM

Title is pretty much self-explanatory.

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darbyvet
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Seneca Falls, New York
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6055947 - 08/31/13 12:11 PM

I went with SB because I had experience using THESKYX software and the SB mounts obviously integrate very well with this software.I am very happy with my decision.I was a little worried about the online only support, but I have received very prompt and thorough help through the forums.
I also like the fact that they are constantly updating the software.
my mount is superb with 10 arcsec pointing, ability to do long unguided subs and a periodic error of +/- 2 arcsecs before PEC training.


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: darbyvet]
      #6056029 - 08/31/13 01:06 PM

AP because the smallest SB mount - the MX - is too large and unportable for me, and I like having the option of not using a PC.

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Footbag
Post Laureate
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Reged: 04/13/09

Loc: Scranton, PA
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6056051 - 08/31/13 01:18 PM

Quote:

AP because the smallest SB mount - the MX - is too large and unportable for me, and I like having the option of not using a PC.




Ditto. The Mach 1 is 29lbs vs 50lbs for the MX.


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korborh
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 01/29/11

Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Footbag]
      #6056181 - 08/31/13 02:18 PM

AP because
+ I like philosophy of keeping the mount modular, reliable, robust and yet simple.
+ clutches = safety against bumping damage
+ Ability to work without a PC and software flexibility.
+ Dedicated personalized phone support.

Edited by korborh (08/31/13 03:59 PM)


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PGW Steve
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: korborh]
      #6056297 - 08/31/13 03:34 PM

I bought a 1200 for its ability to run without a computer, and off a standard battery.

I've since purchased a Mach 1....and this week I wired A-P a pile of cash for a 1600 with low temp encoders. I haven't decided if I will sell the 1200 yet once the 1600 shows up.

I LOVE the Mach 1, this was my first mount with through the mount cabling, I can't wait to take advantage of this feature with the 1600.


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WesC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 02/06/13

Loc: La Crescenta, CA
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: PGW Steve]
      #6056339 - 08/31/13 04:10 PM

I'm planning on an AP 1100GTO. It's very light and modular for its capacity and since I plan to be portable with it, that's very important. Also AP has the very best reputation for quality, reliability and service. I plan a mix of visual and ap, so I don't want to have to carry around a PC.

If I had a permanent obs and was 100% astrophotography, I would consider the MX/ME though.


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Wouter D'hoye
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/27/03

Loc: Belgium
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: WesC]
      #6056388 - 08/31/13 04:47 PM

Hi

I opted for Bisque. At the time of my purchase (discount offer) it offered the best capacity/price ratio. And I really like the software integration with the sky. As I am an imager I always need a computer so the fact that a computer is required for the mount is not an issue to me. I'm very happy with mine.

Wouter.


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gezak22
professor emeritus
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Reged: 08/15/04

Loc: On far side of moon. Send help...
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6056446 - 08/31/13 05:41 PM

Quote:

Title is pretty much self-explanatory.




I need mobility -> AP. It's on its way as we speak (a second hand Mach 1).

Edited by gezak22 (08/31/13 06:15 PM)


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Phil Cowell
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/24/07

Loc: Southern Tier NY
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: gezak22]
      #6056496 - 08/31/13 06:31 PM

AP it runs without an additional computer. Don't like the SB software yearly maintainance tax model of business.

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Peter in Reno
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/15/08

Loc: Reno, NV
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Phil Cowell]
      #6056677 - 08/31/13 08:43 PM

After thoroughly researching for the best mount possible, my main reason for A-P mount is ability to use hand controller without the need for computer even though I use computer for imaging. I am still using hand controller to find DSO objects I am imaging. I didn't want to tax the computer by using planetarium software. I wanted minimal CPU usage. I use the computer or laptop only for imaging and autoguiding.

Even though A-P hand controller does not have pointing model, it's very easy to polar align the mount and not once it ever failed to find DSO objects I wanted to image. A-P mount is so easy to maintain especially re-meshing the gears and their service is top notch. A-P mounts are quite light for their incredibly heavy load capacity. Latest 1100GTO and 1600GTO mounts are actually lighter than their predecessors and the load capacity actually increased.

Peter


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CharlesW
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/02/12

Loc: Chula Vista & Indio, CA
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #6056716 - 08/31/13 09:06 PM

I bought my PMX because it was on sale and I walked out of OPT with it. No waiting. I don't really mind paying the yearly software tax but you don't have to if you don't want to. TheSkyX will keep working, you just won't get any updates. And you can use an MX without a computer, but really, at the $9000 price range, are you not using a computer anyway, no matter what the mount? It's just a beautiful piece of equipment.

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korborh
professor emeritus
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Reged: 01/29/11

Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: CharlesW]
      #6056723 - 08/31/13 09:13 PM

SB mount cannot "GoTo" without computer.

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blueman
Photon Catcher
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Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: CharlesW]
      #6056727 - 08/31/13 09:17 PM

AP,
1)because it breaks down into two pieces making it easy for me to lift the individual parts.
2) the simple one star alignment, I am on my way in a couple of minutes using a pier that I have. But I set it up each time I use it. However it bolts back and no need to do a new polar alignment.
3) works without a computer if I wish and is not proprietary about software, no yearly maintenance fees.
4) best support that I have seen. Call, get advice, get parts, get whatever you need immediately.

I know someone with the SB PMX and it is a good looking mount.
There were things I liked about it.
1) built in USB hub, makes cable management very nice.
2) great looking mount, very attractive
3) seemed to work well with the SKYX.

What I did not like.
1) it was heavy and seemed cumbersome. Too much weigh for my old back.
2) Took a long time for it to polar align, I was already imaging and had taken a couple of subs before he got going.

Blueman


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Bob Abraham
sage


Reged: 05/17/05

Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: blueman]
      #6056829 - 08/31/13 10:39 PM

SB because:

1) First-class support for Mac OS X. By integrating T-Point with ProTrack you can get flexure modelling incorporated into the tracking, which was important for me. I believe you'll be able to do the same thing with AP Command Center when that comes out, but it won't run on a Mac (unless you emulate a PC on it).

2) Homing sensors come standard. A big help for remote observing.

3) I really like TheSkyX's feature set.

Bob

P.S. I'm told a version of TheSkyX for iOS is coming out fairly soon, which might solve the issue of GoTo's without a hand controller.


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j.w.white
sage


Reged: 07/18/09

Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6056857 - 08/31/13 11:06 PM

I looked closely at both, but eventually settled on the PMX for a couple of reasons.

* Software: Specifically, it's integration with TheSkyX. I was using TSX with my CGEM and, with the promised new Camera AddOn features (DSLR imaging and Guiding), I was happy to stick with it (although not ready to cast aside BYEOS yet!). I was also developing an appreciation for the TPoint modeling ability, both for pointing and polar alignment. It worked well with the CGEM, and being able to run automatic pointing runs was something that I looked forward to a lot.

* Design: Not just the pretty fire engine red, but the USB hub and through the mount cable space. My PMX has far fewer cables dangling around than my CGEM did! I also liked the ability to run independent power through the mount. With mount supplied power, I run my focuser and an additional USB hub. With the independent power through the mount (makes use of the mounts wiring, but you have to supply the power), I run the dew busters. I only use a single "through the mount" cable to supply power to the camera. I also like the integrated Direct Guide capability that allows me to make guiding corrections through the USB connection to the guide camera, rather than requiring an additional cable.

* Reputation: This wasn't a SB vs AP decision (I was too impressed with AP to do that), it was more a PMX quality based on the PME reputation. It helped add to the comfort of the purchase.

* Availability: When I was ready to buy, the PMX was available and the comparable AP mounts were not. This is probably more of an excuse than a reason. If availability was the other way around (AP available, PMX not), I probably still would have waited for the PMX, but it would have been a tough decision!

While I agree somewhat to the criticisms of the need for a tethered computer, I wasn't all that concerned. I was already using a tethered computer with my CGEM, and I LOVED it's hand control. Except for some initial tasks, I rarely used it though. I still have the CGEM for visual only (I developed a renewed appreciation for it once I stopped trying to image with it...) and always ponder how a like hand control would add value to the PMX. Activities that constantly have me at the mount (Homing and the first star sync) would benefit from a more interactive hand control (probably far less of an issue for those who have their PMX pier mounted).

The mount is heavy, no doubt about that! Not too heavy to push it out of the "portable" class, but definitely heavier than my CGEM. That said, the way it sits flat, it's much easier to carry and place on the tripod than the CGEM.

Probably the biggest complaint I have with the PMX compared to the CGEM (and AP) is it's need for a monster power source! I'm not so much tied to a computer as I am tied to my extension cord, at least until I drop a bunch of cash on a portable power supply that is up to the job of keeping this thing running. So far, it hasn't been much of a factor (other than forcing me to purchase an eithernet extender) since I set up the computer inside.

I envy AP mount owners, but I'm happy with my choice.


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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #6056881 - 08/31/13 11:27 PM

AP Mach1. I always image remotely, rarely from the same spot twice in a row since we combine our interest in geology with astronomy. I wanted a proven mount that I could rely on with portability being a key factor. All the components and cameras except for the Eagle tripod are packed in rugged cases and field setup is simple. Do a rough polar align sighting Polaris through the Dec axis. Do a quick two star and then an accurate polar align with Alignmaster tied into my GPS. One Win7 laptop controls everything thru USB and serial ports: Goto, guiding, imaging and GPS. Since we literally sometimes find ourselves in the middle of nowhere, reliability and simplicity in a precision setup was essential.

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orlyandico
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #6057045 - 09/01/13 03:20 AM

I agree that the PMX has the best payload to dollar ratio of a premium mount. In fact I suspect the PMX pricing has caused the introductory lower price of the AP1100.

So if my payload ever got greater than a C11, I'd take a long hard look at the PMX.

I know homing sensors are in principle superior, but what I've noticed is that my Mach1 doesn't get lost even if I pull the plug etc. Just power on again and resume from park. There was some talk of the mount getting lost or banging into something under some circumstances but I don't remember the details.

What Dennis di Cicco said in his 2007 S&T review (that you can turn on at any time and the mount will hide a star behind the finder crosshair) is something I've experienced and it's very cool. So while in principle homing sensors are desirable, I am very happy even though I don't have them.


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RAKing
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/28/07

Loc: West of the D.C. Nebula
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Footbag]
      #6057270 - 09/01/13 08:55 AM

Quote:

Quote:

AP because the smallest SB mount - the MX - is too large and unportable for me, and I like having the option of not using a PC.




Ditto. The Mach 1 is 29lbs vs 50lbs for the MX.




Second ditto. I wanted the lightest weight mount I could find that would still carry the payload I wanted. My Mach 1 is now 4.5 years old and it has been one of the best astronomy investments I ever made.

Another reason - it doesn't require a computer to operate. That "Con" also knocked the nice Takahashi mounts out of the running five years ago when I made my decision.

Cheers,

Ron


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Dave MModerator
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/03/04

Loc: Ohio
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: blueman]
      #6057414 - 09/01/13 10:59 AM

Quote:

AP,
1)because it breaks down into two pieces making it easy for me to lift the individual parts.
2) the simple one star alignment, I am on my way in a couple of minutes using a pier that I have. But I set it up each time I use it. However it bolts back and no need to do a new polar alignment.
3) works without a computer if I wish and is not proprietary about software, no yearly maintenance fees.
4) best support that I have seen. Call, get advice, get parts, get whatever you need immediately.





+1 on the above, reason i went with a AP900.


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orlyandico
Post Laureate
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Dave M]
      #6057568 - 09/01/13 12:12 PM

Just another tiny detail to help the amateur astronomer: you can drive a DC focus motor directly from the GTO control box, under both keypad and LX200 control.

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PGW Steve
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 10/03/06

Loc: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6057643 - 09/01/13 12:58 PM

Quote:

Just another tiny detail to help the amateur astronomer: you can drive a DC focus motor directly from the GTO control box, under both keypad and LX200 control.




And you can push the mount around if you have a power issue, like forgetting a cord

On the Mach 1, the RA and DEC gearbox/servo is a direct swap. Should something happen, a few screws will get you tracking in RA again.


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tomcody
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/06/08

Loc: Titusville, Florida
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6057684 - 09/01/13 01:27 PM

Terry, The key difference between AP and SB mounts is that SB's are designed to be robotic from the start, that means they have dedicated hardware switches and homing points in the encoders that are designed to provide foolproof homing from an unknown position (this is needed if the mount is in a remote observatory and you loose the power or have a computer lockup and need to reboot remotely) all industrial robotics can do this, home systems, not so much. If you do not need this kind of foolproof homing? then the feature set of each determines which is best for you.
Rex


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: tomcody]
      #6057877 - 09/01/13 03:19 PM

I bought the AP 900 about 18 months ago after looking at it an the MX. I liked the 12 volt power on the 900 and it was available for immediate shipping. The MX had a significant wait. I like the simplicity of the AP900 with its stand alone controller.

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DeanS
Post Laureate
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Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: JMW]
      #6059342 - 09/02/13 01:58 PM

Stand alone controller.
Able to go way past the meridian.
More portable.


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Tom and Beth
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6059412 - 09/02/13 02:28 PM

SP was the preferred ROBOTIC mount when I first was in a position of choosing. As I didn't (and still don't) use the mount remotely, I chose AP.

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Christopher Erickson
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/08/06

Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Tom and Beth]
      #6059755 - 09/02/13 06:02 PM

The reasons I chose an AP 900GTO:

* Build quality.
* Legendary customer support.
* Sophisticated hand controller, usable down to about -40C.
* Sophisticated ASCOM driver.
* 12VDC battery power.
* Swiss servo motors.
* Pointing precision.
* Tracking precision.
* Excellent rigidity yet light weight.
* Wide range of available accessories.
* All parts available for separate purchase.
* Modularity.
* Easily-removable electronics.
* Portability.
* Well-documented and universally-supported software commands.
* Beautiful engineering down to the smallest details.
* Planetarium agnostic.
* Imaging software agnostic.
* Control software agnostic.
* No yearly licensing fees.
* Comes with a copy of PemPRO.
* Dual serial ports, the universal denominator of interfaces.
* Worm position auto-save on power loss.
* Ability to image well-past the meridian.
* ST-4 Autoguider input.
* PAINLESS to polar-align.
* Support for latitudes from 20 to 68 degrees and with a few small mods, down to 18 degrees.
* The AP user community.
* Huge third-party support.

Edited by Chris Erickson (09/02/13 06:04 PM)


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #6060185 - 09/02/13 10:48 PM

So tell us how you really feel, Chris.

David


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Bob Abraham
sage


Reged: 05/17/05

Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6060302 - 09/03/13 12:04 AM

Hi Chris,

Of course many/most of the things you've noted apply to SB mounts too, particularly with the newer ME-II and MX which can track way past the meridian (a weakness of the old ME).

Both AP and SB make fantastic mounts. In my opinion, one of the more important things to consider when differentiating between AP and SB is the philosophical requirement for TheSkyX to drive the SB mounts. While AP mounts are indeed way more agnostic about software, I think that cuts both ways. A lot of the best stuff about the SB mounts comes from the tight integration between the hardware and software (e.g. Pro-Track, DirectGuide). I'd hate to give that up.

For example, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but to get something working at the level of sophistication of Pro-Track (e.g. incorporation of T-point flexure modelling in the tracking) on the AP mount requires AP Command Center, which means (1) you're no longer agnostic about software, and are even less agnostic about hardware, since you can only run it on a PC; and (2) AP Command Center isn't even out yet except to the beta testers, so I think it's just not possible to match the SB mount in this regard at the moment.

I'm kind of reminded of PC vs Mac, or Android vs. iOS arguments… the openness of one system is a good thing, but the tight coupling of the hardware and software on the other system is a good thing too. I can well understand why somebody might prefer one or the other depending on circumstances.

Anyway, in addition to an ME-II in New Mexico I have a Mach-1 GTO in my back yard and I really like both mounts.

Bob


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Christopher Erickson
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/08/06

Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #6060388 - 09/03/13 01:37 AM

I simply responded to the OP about why I chose AP. I said nothing about SB or made any comparison to them. The OP didn't request a comparison.


Quote:

Hi Chris,

Of course many/most of the things you've noted apply to SB mounts too, particularly with the newer ME-II and MX which can track way past the meridian (a weakness of the old ME).

Both AP and SB make fantastic mounts. In my opinion, one of the more important things to consider when differentiating between AP and SB is the philosophical requirement for TheSkyX to drive the SB mounts. While AP mounts are indeed way more agnostic about software, I think that cuts both ways. A lot of the best stuff about the SB mounts comes from the tight integration between the hardware and software (e.g. Pro-Track, DirectGuide). I'd hate to give that up.

For example, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but to get something working at the level of sophistication of Pro-Track (e.g. incorporation of T-point flexure modelling in the tracking) on the AP mount requires AP Command Center, which means (1) you're no longer agnostic about software, and are even less agnostic about hardware, since you can only run it on a PC; and (2) AP Command Center isn't even out yet except to the beta testers, so I think it's just not possible to match the SB mount in this regard at the moment.

I'm kind of reminded of PC vs Mac, or Android vs. iOS arguments… the openness of one system is a good thing, but the tight coupling of the hardware and software on the other system is a good thing too. I can well understand why somebody might prefer one or the other depending on circumstances.

Anyway, in addition to an ME-II in New Mexico I have a Mach-1 GTO in my back yard and I really like both mounts.

Bob




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Bob Abraham
sage


Reged: 05/17/05

Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #6060416 - 09/03/13 02:12 AM

Hi Chris,

Quote:

I simply responded to the OP about why I chose AP. I said nothing about SB or made any comparison to them. The OP didn't request a comparison.




Well, fair enough, though the OP entitled the thread "AP vs SB". So I'm pretty sure the OP is requesting a comparison (or the "vs" wouldn't be in there) and the rationale behind picking one mount as opposed to another. But the title is pretty open ended so perhaps I'm misunderstanding what the OP is looking for.

Bob

Edited by Bob Abraham (09/03/13 02:18 AM)


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Alph
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #6060437 - 09/03/13 03:17 AM

Quote:

I'm misunderstanding what the OP is looking for.



Entertainment. Why to bother to respond?


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CounterWeight
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: Alph]
      #6061032 - 09/03/13 01:14 PM

I chose the A-P Mach1 because it was the 'least expensive top quality' mount out there for what I need(ed) and the PMX wasn't out in production yet. if I had to do it over again I would likely go for the PMX for my obs setup.

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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #6061679 - 09/03/13 09:10 PM

If I had to do things over I'd probably bite the bullet and find a used 900 now that their prices are plummeting. It certainly is a lot heavier and less handy than the Mach1, but I may one day want to get a 12" RC...

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Psyire
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 06/24/07

Loc: 55* North
Re: AP vs SB: Why did you choose what you did? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6064899 - 09/05/13 05:34 PM

I received my PMX a few weeks ago after ordering it earlier this spring. Here's a list of my reasons for choosing this mount in particular.

- The reputation of the PME
- Payload per $$
- Full integration of computer control / software suite
- Ability to 'home' the mount
- Ability to use 14" scopes (Excited about possibilities with the new Planewave 14")
- Still considered 'portable'
- Made & Supported in North America

*Note these aren't all PMX specific points, but just points in general


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