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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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OzAndrewJ
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 11/30/10

Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: Mkofski]
      #6360483 - 02/06/14 07:25 PM

Gday Mike

Quote:

If the LX80 supported some of the features of the 850, like an optional StarLock, that would be innovative. I see the desire to maintain compatibility...




There is no reason ( i can currently see ) that Starlock "code" could not be added to the Audiostar firmwares, whilst still retaining backwards compatibility with older mounts .
( Ie the LX850/600s can still run without a Starlock fitted )

The Starlock interface runs off simple serial commands, so it would mean that the only "current" serial port on the Hbx would need to be dedicated to it, but it should work.
If Starlock had a "shared" serial port that would pass through commands to the scope, it would be even simpler.
( Thats assuming Meade can do it without introducing more bugs )

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia

PS I note the Author of the Autostar/Starlock code indicates he has a "12" RCX with Starlock" in his observatory, so assuming that is not a misprint, moving the Starlock to older models isnt too hard.

PPS, for the spreadsheet, the LX850 PEC is currently PPEC

Edited by OzAndrewJ (02/06/14 07:36 PM)


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WadeH237
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Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: mmalik]
      #6360487 - 02/06/14 07:28 PM

Quote:

...focus being NEWer technologies (AVX being on the list).




I must be missing something. What new technology does the AVX bring? It is just a (welcome) update to the CG5, is it not?

To be clear, I have nothing against the AVX. I think that it' a fantastic option - perhaps the *best* option - for its price. Of all the mounts listed here, it and the Mach1* are the most likely candidates when I get around to my next mount purchase.

-Wade

*You may ask why I could possibly have the AVX and Mach1 in competition with each other on my "next mount" list. The answer is that they each fill a completely different need. The AVX is a great grab-and-go visual mount. The Mach1 is a great, highly portable imaging mount. I've already got mounts for both of these jobs, so I don't have any idea which one I'd update first...if I update either one at all.


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Mkofski
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Reged: 07/19/11

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: WadeH237]
      #6360515 - 02/06/14 07:40 PM

In a listing of innovative mounts, neither the AVX or Mach1 belong. Both great mounts for what they do but not innovative hardware or software.

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calypsob
sage
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Reged: 04/20/13

Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: Mkofski]
      #6360544 - 02/06/14 07:52 PM

The innovation is in the supply chain capabilities of these companies. Strategic sourcing, manufacturing, transportation, customer service, and all of these retailers who have the POS data on this equipment are using this information to bring you bigger and better products. And today you are really starting to see some true innovation. I am astonished at how far mounts have come since the entry grade CG5, quality, innovation, prices! It's pretty cool how this industry is coming along, and yes I would agree that astrophotography seems to be a big driving factor of this industry.

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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: Mkofski]
      #6360594 - 02/06/14 08:17 PM

OTA's are probably the best they have ever been for consumer electronics.
The new GO-TO mounts not so.. Just like a great deal of buyers strip the Refractors of the factory focuser for an updated one. I don't know how they do it in China short of near Slave labor wages.. Now don't get mad at me and go crying to the Mods for that statement.. It is very near to the truth!
Back on track, the stand alone mounts put new life into older tubes as well! I have a C14 that has spectacular optics, no Zones or SA to speak of, or Astigmatism.
I'd be pretty hard pressed to sell it and HOPE for one as good!
A friend of mine has one of the new Meade 650 mounts, you couldn't wrench it from his hands. Lets hope they age well.
Unlike the LXD-55/75 series or Advanced GT.. I have both the ones above and had to work in both the exception was the LXD-75 that is one tough mount!
I must admit I still prefer the GEM and Fork mounts over the AZ-ALT mounts that are dead if the electronics go in 7 yrs or so and there are no parts.
The LXD-55, I just stripped the motor and electronics off of it and have a decent Manual Super Polaris style.


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BKBrown
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Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: Northern Virginia, USA
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: mmalik]
      #6360697 - 02/06/14 09:16 PM Attachment (19 downloads)

This is a very entertaining thread, I think I would like to add two more comparatively new and innovative mounts to the list: The Atlas AZ EQ-G which, unlike its Meade predecessor, actually does work quite well in either GEM or Alt-Az configuration, and the T-Rex which is supposed to have a tracking (and GoTo...Ed?) capability available shortly. I have been highly impressed with both of these mounts so far, and neither will break the bank IMHO (at least not compared to several other high end mounts we could name ).

Clear Skies,
Brian

Edited by BKBrown (02/06/14 09:18 PM)


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A. Viegas
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 03/05/12

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: BKBrown]
      #6360710 - 02/06/14 09:23 PM

I think a price/performance per category would be very useful. It seems to me that we have $1,500 and under, $1,500-$4,000 and then the premium category... In each group there are deciding factors, such as total load, PEC/precision and of course functionality... in each price range there are going to be close calls among users who champion a particular company or style over another... But for those of us who are stepping up in our equipment and eyeing the next higher category it can become confusing why one particular mount for $3,999 or another for $5,000 is better or worse...

Al


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: A. Viegas]
      #6360819 - 02/06/14 10:15 PM

Ed makes a very good point. Worm driven German EQ mounts have been around for 200 years. By that standard only ASA has anything revolutionary. Everybody else is using 200 year old technology.

It's very difficult to revolutionize the mount industry simply because volumes are too small to amortize development costs. Look at the AP1200. This design is almost 20 years old and still crushes the majority of conventional mounts in performance. It's 200 year old technology taken to almost as perfect as possible.

things like the ZEQ25 are only minor refinements to be honest.

Encoders have been around since the 1970s. Autoguiding as well.

Really the only revolutionary thing I see is direct drive. Dr Keller must be some sort of evil genius

Although lets not forget the CalPoly SiTech driven telescope is also direct drive.


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: orlyandico]
      #6360847 - 02/06/14 10:29 PM

.. or is the definition of revolutionary, making something cheap? That I would argue is evolutionary.

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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: orlyandico]
      #6361175 - 02/07/14 02:01 AM

Quote:


Really the only revolutionary thing I see is direct drive. Dr Keller must be some sort of evil genius






Iíve to agree with that genius part Öbut donít think Dr. Keller is evil Heís actually a nice guy and has been very responsive to new ideas in the beta testing group.

Would also agree with some previous comments that the high end mount market is not an easy one and there are no quick profits made. But I donít think the company has to be mega size, just innovative with a good product. However, it has to be able to generate profits because no company will survive for long without making money. Even if being a part of a larger group, a loss making unit will be closed down or sold sooner or later if only making losses.

Itís also a market where people are willing pay quite substantial amounts of money to get the ďbest mount availableĒ. High resolution encoders are here to stay but they are also very expensive. As we've seen with AP and SB, adding high quality encoders to the mount will raise the price considerably. Of course you can always use cheaper encoders but thatís not the way to go IMO.

Iím personally convinced that the direct drive technology and encoders is a combination very difficult to beat in the future. Itís very demanding technology to master but also very difficult to copy by competitors. ASA has been fortunate to get a guy like Dr. Keller, who has brought his expertise from the professional observatories world and helped them to develop very high quality products (with reasonable prices) for the astro community.


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mmalik
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Reged: 01/13/12

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: EFT]
      #6361190 - 02/07/14 02:23 AM

Quote:

The only things that can really bring down the costs are mass production (not going to happen with premium equipment), new manufacturing techniques, cheaper materials (which is certainly not the current trend especially when you look at aluminum), and cheaper components (less expensive drive systems, encoders and other off-the-shelf components).




I feel that things that bring down the costs are already starting to happen; yes they may not be premium but that's how innovation happens, cheap and simple. My point being today's premium will NOT remain premium if things progressed the way they seem to be progressing with todayís so called 'non-premium' mounts. Non-premium production is what's driving the revolution, not the premium. Premium just canít afford to try innovation in quick repetitive cycles the way non-premium can. And yes, premium eventually will benefit from non-premium experimentation and research.


Non-premium production is which lends itself to trying new things in quick production cycles and same goes for the buyers of non-premium products who make those products expendable.


To use a recent example of one of one of your customers who started off with $5K budget but ended up with or will end up with around $30K by the time all is said and done with premium purchase. Now that purchase is not expendable. Hypothetically speaking, had he spent what he originally planned he wouldn't think twice making his next purchase in few years for the next big thing. Such expendability is what drives a revolution and innovation in my opinion on both ends, manufacturing and consumption. Regards


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mmalik
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Reged: 01/13/12

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: nodalpoint]
      #6361196 - 02/07/14 02:32 AM

Quote:

...use whatcha got and don't worry too much about whatcha ain't got!




I ain't got much (equipment I mean); would like to experiment with innovation (non-premium) without ending up having nothing left.


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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6361201 - 02/07/14 02:37 AM

Quote:

Direct drive is the mount inevitability. It's too spendy now, but will be THE way to produce a very good mount. Once the cost comes down out of the stratosphere, mounts in the CGE Pro/LX850/Losmandy Titan class will become extinct and before that, AP, Bisque, etc will have to abandon the worm gear for high torque motors and absolute encoders.

Replacing mounts like the Atlas won't happen anytime soon as I doubt that direct drive will be that inexpensive, but eventually, it'll happen.

It is an exciting time!

David




I think you are 100 percent correct. But it will take time and the prices need to come down.

/per


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mmalik
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Reged: 01/13/12

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: Mkofski]
      #6361202 - 02/07/14 02:38 AM

Quote:

At this time the only innovative low end mounts are coming from iOptron.




Tend to agree; premium producers could learn from the trend before innovation surpasses them, in sales volume and quality. Regards


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mmalik
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Reged: 01/13/12

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: Mkofski]
      #6361205 - 02/07/14 02:44 AM

Quote:

In a listing of innovative mounts, neither the AVX or Mach1 belong.




May be not innovation, but they belong to the revolution, especially AVX. Regards


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mmalik
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Reged: 01/13/12

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: WadeH237]
      #6361225 - 02/07/14 03:01 AM

Quote:

What new technology does the AVX bring?




May be not new the technology per se, but surely creative and revolutionary. A welcome participant of the revolution. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: BKBrown]
      #6361233 - 02/07/14 03:08 AM

Quote:

The Atlas AZ EQ-G which, unlike its Meade predecessor, actually does work quite well in either GEM or Alt-Az configuration




I see there Atlas 'Pro' AZ/EQ-G ($1,999.99); is that the same you mention? When was this released? Looks new release. Regards


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mmalik
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Reged: 01/13/12

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: A. Viegas]
      #6361241 - 02/07/14 03:17 AM

Quote:

It seems to me that we have $1,500 and under, $1,500-$4,000 and then the premium category... In each group there are deciding factors, such as total load, PEC/precision and of course functionality... in each price range there are going to be close calls among users who champion a particular company or style over another... But for those of us who are stepping up in our equipment and eyeing the next higher category it can become confusing why one particular mount for $3,999 or another for $5,000 is better or worse...




Later part of your statement is what I have been struggling with as well; putting mounts in such categories may not convey the right message or may not be as meaningful, and may even be contrary to the messageóinnovation doesn't have to be so called 'premium' or come at a premium price. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: orlyandico]
      #6361249 - 02/07/14 03:22 AM

Quote:

Really the only revolutionary thing I see is direct drive.




Orlando, for those of us new to direct drive, can you explain in technical terms what that is? Regards


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [Re: mmalik]
      #6361257 - 02/07/14 03:31 AM

Here's the paper on the 18" CalPoly direct-drive (which uses SiTech by the way)

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2008SASS...27..123G

Very briefly, a direct drive mount is a mount which has no geartrain. Each axis is a massive motor that is directly driven. No geartrain equals no periodic error whatsoever, and very high slewing speed.

But you need precise motor control, because the motor is running at 1 revolution per day when tracking, and you need to maintain speed extremely accurately.

Hence you need to have relative or absolute encoders on both axes, to provide positional feedback.


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