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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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mmalik
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Reged: 01/13/12

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Are we in a mount revolution?
      #6359125 - 02/06/14 06:47 AM

We seem to be in a mount revolution or is it just me that thinks that way? All of a sudden there is some flurry of activity on the mount horizon with new mounts either already out or coming soon. Choices seem to be growing day by day. Let’s get the discussion started; table below is just a primer (corrections welcome!).


What does this revolution mean for old contenders and new players? I feel mount playing field is going to get leveled at a different level, i.e., more affordable level I mean than anticipated which is a good thing.


Let’s keep the discussion focused on mounts accessible to large majority of astronomers instead of getting into the hypotheticals of tens of $K figure mounts.


Then there are other ramifications; in the modern era of ever evolving mounts, does it even make sense to make one time/lifelong investment in a mount? Is a new norm to invest in something that will get you by for few years and then put yourself in a new one every few years or so.


Mount technology is evolving, from metallurgy & mechanics to electronics (encoders getting cheaper/affordable); do old rules even apply to such decision making? Who knows the best you buy today will be obsolete in a year or so at the pace things are moving? Are mounts becoming more expendable? Are we to adopt more of a PC model where every so often, whether you like it or not, you are bound to upgrade or ye be left in the dust.


What does this mean for already struggling ones like Meade with inventories like LX850; did they miss the boat? What does this mean for previously successful ones like Astro-phisics, are they to worry? What does this mean for new comers; will they be big boys on the block?


Then there are international ramifications, US, Italian, Chinese, etc. Who will win in the end, the price and the quality battle?


Last but not least, is astrophotography driving all this; it has to be. Photo astronomy future looks bright!


Note: I have kept the list limited to not blow it out of proportion; we can grow it as we go. Let me know if I have missed any significant NEW ones?

IMPORTANT: Tripod/pier weights are not included. Focus on ‘Weight of Head’; total weight is just my way of simply adding everything up with the exception of tripod/base to get an idea of the mass.



Edited by mmalik (02/08/14 05:04 PM)


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rkayakr
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Reged: 10/27/10

Loc: Northeast Ohio
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6359343 - 02/06/14 09:47 AM

New mounts by Avalon:
M-zero - $4800
Linear Fast Reverse - $5910
M-Uno Fast Reverse - $7100

Of these I think that the Linear Fast Reverse is the most interesting.


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6359368 - 02/06/14 09:58 AM

Astrophotography is largely the driving force. However, remote imaging is a very important separate factor in that regard. But in the end, the availability of new technology and lower prices for existing technology have a lot to do with the products that are becoming available. From a business prospective, the rule is innovate or die.

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WadeH237
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: EFT]
      #6359443 - 02/06/14 10:44 AM

We are in a wonderful time for all parts of amateur astronomy. The options available for telescopes and cameras is changing just as fast as it is for mounts.

In looking at your list in this context, I would say that the interesting mounts are the ZEQ25, CEM60 and the GM1000HPS. They each bring something to the table that wasn't there before.

The AVX is essentially an incremental update to the CG5. The Mach1 is a conventional GEM, extremely well executed. The HDX110 is very similar (if not related to) the CGE Pro.

I would add to your list the EQ6 Pro and the LX-850. I would have also suggested the LX80, except that it's been discontinued. If it had lived up to expectations, it would have been a game changer in its market segment.

Yup. It's a great time to be an amateur astronomer.


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6359458 - 02/06/14 10:54 AM

Quote:

We seem to be in a mount revolution or is it just me that thinks that way? All of a sudden there is some flurry of activity on the mount horizon with new mounts either already out or coming soon. Choices seem to be growing day by day. Let’s get the discussion started; table below is just a primer (corrections welcome!).


What does this revolution mean for old contenders and new players? I feel mount playing field is going to get leveled at a different level, i.e., more affordable level I mean than anticipated which is a good thing.


Let’s keep the discussion focused on mounts accessible to large majority of astronomers instead of getting into the hypotheticals of tens of $K figure mounts.


Then there are other ramifications; in the modern era of ever evolving mounts, does it even make sense to make one time/lifelong investments in mounts? Is a new norm to invest in something that will get you by for few years and then put yourself in a new one every few years or so.


Mount technology is evolving, from metallurgy to electronics (encoders getting cheaper/affordable); do old rules even apply to such decision making? Who knows the best you buy today will be obsolete in a year or so at the pace things are moving? Are mounts becoming more expendable? Are we to adopt more of a PC model where every so often, whether you like it or not, you are bound to upgrade or ye be left in the dust.


What does this mean for already struggling ones like Meade with inventories like LX850; did they miss the boat? What does this mean for previously successful ones like Astro-phisics, are they to worry? What does this mean for new comers; will they be big boys on the block?


Then there are international ramifications, US, Italian, Chinese, etc. Who will win in the end, the price and the quality battle?


Last but not least, is astrophotography driving all this; it has to be. Photo astronomy future looks bright!


Note: I have kept the list limited to not blow it out of proportion; we can grow it as we go. Let me know if I have missed any significant NEW ones?

IMPORTANT: Tripod/pier weights are not included. Focus on ‘Weight of Head’; total weight is just my way of simply adding everything up with the exception of tripod/base to get an idea of the mass.





Curious how the LX850 is not on your table, yet it is selling well and it is an extremely capable mount. I highly doubt Meade has missed the boat at this end of the mount universe. And those people who are not considering the LX850? Too bad, you are missing out on a great, well built mount.

Also curious even the CGEPro is not in the table.

Astrophotography is certainly driving things, though it is not for everyone and there are many added costs and a learning curve in the process. Of course one should not ignore the video astronomy revolution which I think is very real and does not require the sophistication of the Mach1GTO, GM1000HPS, or even the LX850 or CGEPro.

I think the bigger change is things are moving away rapidly, it seems, from fork mount telescopes to GEMS. One of the driving forces is many good optics/OTAs are easily outliving their old fork based electronic mounts and need a new home. In comes the GEM. Right now my LX200 (22 years old) is doing very well, but I can see the day it would die and then I would need a new mount for my 10" SCT with excellent optics.


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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: WadeH237]
      #6359487 - 02/06/14 11:08 AM

Yes we are.

As Ed puts it: "Innovate or die". I strongly believe that. Just having great mechanics and nicely machined parts is simply not enough any more. Technologies that I find interesting are:

Belt drive
Not new, but definitely maturing rapidly. The Avalons are belt drive. Bisque, 10Micron and many others now have belt-driven first stage reducers.

Friction drive
The Gemini GF-53 didn't really hit us. The Mesu 200 has to a larger extent. I don't know what else is out there but the technology is interesting. Does it wear down? Is this a technology that will be warranted when direct drive becomes more available?

Encoders
Definitely a must in a modern mount. PE is virtually lost as is lots of minor imperfections in the drive train. With modeling unguided imaging may result. They better off if they are designed in from the beginning, not bolted on. If properly implemented, they remove all need for homing and the mount can never get lost.

Direct drive
It will be a few years before this matures into easily handled products, but I think it will eventually get into all mounts. It is simply the way to go. The Skyvision mounts look interesting.

Simplicity and integration
Today's early versions of advanced encoder technology, sky modeling and direct drive motors mostly looks like bolt-ons to me. The right direction must be integration and simplicity in handling. The Starlock system is a good effort (not that I know for sure it works, but still). That is the kind of integration that will win in the end, just as long as it doesn't prove too wrapped up to be functional.

Standards
ASCOM is a great initiative! Just think of how it would be without it. In the same manner, I would like to see more standardized solutions for mount communication, modeling and control. Imagine if all sky models were in the same format and you could the software package that you like to analyse your mount's performance, regardless of brand.

Slightly more than two cents, but still...

Why don't you add Mesu to the list and put "Absolute, 12Mticks" on the GM1000HPS.

/per


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6359547 - 02/06/14 11:39 AM

ASA has both direct drive and encoders.

And it's not on this list??

Arguably ASA has the most revolutionary technologies in a single mount.


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MikeML
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Reged: 10/09/04

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6359840 - 02/06/14 02:20 PM

Quote:



And those people who are not considering the LX850? Too bad, you are missing out on a great, well built mount.






Maybe it is. Honestly, I haven't seen anything that impressive from a LX850 yet. Still waiting.


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mmalik
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Reged: 01/13/12

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6359867 - 02/06/14 02:34 PM

Quote:

ASA has both direct drive and encoders.

And it's not on this list??

Arguably ASA has the most revolutionary technologies in a single mount.




I am finding mostly direct drive ones; do you have link for encoded ones? Boy they are pricey; only one under $10K seems ASA DDM60 Direct Drive and that's even WITHOUT CW shaft; is that right? Who sells mounts without shafts; at least mainstream trends are different. Is OPT the main source for these in the US? Regards


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Adam S
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6359870 - 02/06/14 02:35 PM

I think Charles Riddel is doing amazing things in the visual arena with the Hitch series. As you noted, using physics, geometry and metallurgy to make simple yet sophisticated altaz mounts that will set new standards.

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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: rkayakr]
      #6359871 - 02/06/14 02:36 PM

Quote:

Of these I think that the Linear Fast Reverse is the most interesting.




Will look into it. New for me; didn't know much about 'em. Regards


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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6359960 - 02/06/14 03:25 PM

Quote:

ASA has both direct drive and encoders.

And it's not on this list??

Arguably ASA has the most revolutionary technologies in a single mount.




It's so fanny that Per happen to "forget" ASA from his innovations list. He mentions even Skyvision but not ASA
ASA is by far the most innovative mount manufacturer at the moment. But it just happens to be a direct competitor to 10Micron

ASA mounts


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hungerford
sage


Reged: 08/23/08

Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: GIR]
      #6359970 - 02/06/14 03:29 PM

The Mesu 200 is a direct drive mount and the tracking is superb.
It is manufactured in Holland so it could be a expensive to import but it is a great mount and the manufacturer always answers his phone or emails very promptly.
Vince


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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6359983 - 02/06/14 03:34 PM

Quote:


Direct drive
It will be a few years before this matures into easily handled products...
/per




Give us a break Per, you're starting to be way too bias with your 10Micron campaign.


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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: hungerford]
      #6359989 - 02/06/14 03:36 PM

Quote:

The Mesu 200 is a direct drive mount and the tracking is superb.
It is manufactured in Holland so it could be a expensive to import but it is a great mount and the manufacturer always answers his phone or emails very promptly.
Vince




Mesu is a friction drive mount ...but a very nice mount anyway.


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GIR
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Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6360040 - 02/06/14 03:55 PM

Quote:

only one under $10K seems ASA DDM60 Direct Drive and that's even WITHOUT CW shaft; is that right? Who sells mounts without shafts;




Never seen ASA mounts been sold without the CW shaft

ASA DDM60 delivery


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6360042 - 02/06/14 03:55 PM

Quote:

Why don't you add Mesu to the list




Lot of good info; most new for me. Would you have link for relevant Mesu EQ mount/specs. Regards


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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6360046 - 02/06/14 03:58 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Why don't you add Mesu to the list




Lot of good info; most new for me. Would you have link for relevant Mesu EQ mount/specs. Regards




Mesu 200


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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6360064 - 02/06/14 04:05 PM

Quote:

ASA has both direct drive and encoders.

And it's not on this list??

Arguably ASA has the most revolutionary technologies in a single mount.




Agreed, ASA needs to be on the list.

As for having both encoders and direct drive; can you find a mount that has direct drive and no encoders?

/per


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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6360078 - 02/06/14 04:11 PM

GIR, I think you have to cool down a bit. I didn't forget the ASA mount per se as everyone knows that they are "the" direct drive mount company right now. I didn't mention EQ8 either, in its own right a modern low price blow to the market.

I mentioned Skyvision because I think most people haven't heard of it. Simple as that. And it shouldn't go on the list because it is way too expensive.

So, please stop bashing now.

/p


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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6360079 - 02/06/14 04:11 PM

Quote:


As for having both encoders and direct drive; can you find a mount that has direct drive and no encoders?

/per




Why on earth would you want something like that ? All ASA mounts have both direct drive and very high resolution encoders (way better than 10Micron ) + absolutely fantastic software. It's a combination very difficult to beat.


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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6360087 - 02/06/14 04:15 PM

Quote:

GIR, I think you have to cool down a bit. I didn't forget the ASA mount per se as everyone knows that they are "the" direct drive mount company right now. I didn't mention EQ8 either, in its own right a modern low price blow to the market.

I mentioned Skyvision because I think most people haven't heard of it. Simple as that. And it shouldn't go on the list because it is way too expensive.

So, please stop bashing now.

/p




Per, I think it should be you to cool down a bit ...and there is no bashing on anything just trying to put things straight.


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mmalik
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Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6360092 - 02/06/14 04:17 PM

Quote:

Also curious even the CGEPro is not in the table.




No big secret, just a startup list. GEPro isn't on the list just like iEQ30/45 aren't; focus being NEWer technologies (AVX being on the list). May get added to the list in due time; and folks are free to add/make their own lists, open and free discussion. Will chime in on LX850, it has a class of its own. Regards


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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: GIR]
      #6360093 - 02/06/14 04:18 PM

Yes, that was my whole point: you cannot make a direct drive mount without encoders on the shafts.

And yes, I know that ASA's Renishaws are 67 Mticks encoders and 10Micron uses encoders with only 12 Mticks, but this thread was not about that, nor does it make the one mount five times better.

/p


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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6360100 - 02/06/14 04:21 PM

Just read my post again and realize that it doesn't campaign for anything.

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GIR
super member


Reged: 01/02/10

Loc: Finland
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6360101 - 02/06/14 04:21 PM

Quote:

Yes, that was my whole point: you cannot make a direct drive mount without encoders on the shafts.

/p




Encoders on the shafts ?


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Per Frejvall
sage


Reged: 09/28/12

Loc: Saltsjöbaden, Sweden
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: GIR]
      #6360105 - 02/06/14 04:24 PM

Yes, a pretty good place to have them so that they can feed data back to the software controlling the motor. But perhaps "axii" is a better English term. Not native English speaking, unfortunately.

/p

Edited by Per Frejvall (02/06/14 04:25 PM)


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Tonk
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6360134 - 02/06/14 04:38 PM

For the GM1000HPS, the "?" in the PEC column of your table - is "A-PEC" - automatic PEC (it trains itself via the encoders - the end user doesn't do training runs)

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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6360135 - 02/06/14 04:40 PM

Quote:

...put "Absolute, 12Mticks" on the GM1000HPS.




Done; first post updated! Regards


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6360136 - 02/06/14 04:41 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Also curious even the CGEPro is not in the table.




No big secret, just a startup list. GEPro isn't on the list just like iEQ30/45 aren't; focus being NEWer technologies (AVX being on the list). May get added to the list in due time; and folks are free to add/make their own lists, open and free discussion. Will chime in on LX850, it has a class of its own. Regards




True, the AVX is very innovative compared to the LX850, and the LX850 should be in its own cubby.

Mach1GTO should not be on your list if you are ignoring legacy, current mounts. Maybe instead include the A-P 1100 instead.

Still, a bit confusing on the table. Once I am done with my travels I will create a mount table myself.


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6360169 - 02/06/14 05:02 PM

Quote:

...curious how the LX850 is not on your table




LX850 added to the list in the first post. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Tonk]
      #6360175 - 02/06/14 05:05 PM

Quote:

For the GM1000HPS, the "?" in the PEC column of your table - is "A-PEC" - automatic PEC (it trains itself via the encounters - the end user doesn't do training runs)




Thanks Tony; first post updated. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6360209 - 02/06/14 05:18 PM

Quote:

Mach1GTO should not be on your list if you are ignoring legacy, current mounts. Maybe instead include the A-P 1100 instead.




Mach1 will need to stay for a while just for reference sake; I have added 1100GTO. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6360219 - 02/06/14 05:23 PM

Folks while discussion can continue, I'll add Avalon, Mesu, ASA, etc. to the list in due time. Regards

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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6360247 - 02/06/14 05:36 PM

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


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6360258 - 02/06/14 05:39 PM

If you are going to discuss a mount revolution I think you have to include the go-to Dobsonians Orion has made mainstream.

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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6360268 - 02/06/14 05:43 PM

Given the trend, nothing you buy today, no matter how expensive, is NOT going to last long before getting obsolete or getting superseded; at least that's how I look at it. This aspect in itself should be an incentive for not investing life savings in a mount and should be an important factor for manufacturers to bring the prices down so more of such units could be sold while raking in same profits that otherwise would have been brought in selling very few very expensive ones. And putting quality and technology (e.g., encoders) in lower priced mounts, no matter how contradictory it may sound, is the secret to achieving that goal. I think such change has already begun. Your thoughts?

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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6360372 - 02/06/14 06:29 PM

Quote:

Given the trend, nothing you buy today, no matter how expensive, is NOT going to last long before getting obsolete or getting superseded; at least that's how I look at it. This aspect in itself should be an incentive for not investing life savings in a mount and should be an important factor for manufacturers to bring the prices down so more of such units could be sold while raking in same profits that otherwise would have been brought in selling very few very expensive ones. And putting quality and technology (e.g., encoders) in lower priced mounts, no matter how contradictory it may sound, is the secret to achieving that goal. I think such change has already begun. Your thoughts?




The problem is that assumes that the manufacturers, particularly the premium manufacturers, have significant profit margins that they could lower to sell more units. The reality is that most manufacturers of astronomy equipment do not have significant profit margins. In fact, a fair number could probably not survive if their only business was mount manufacturing, or even mount and telescope manufacturing. A significant number of premium mount manufacturers have other primary businesses that bring in far more profit then mount manufacturing ever would. Right off, Losmandy, 10Micron and Avalon are good examples of this. Many others are very limited in size and production capacity because they have no other profit centers upon which they can rely. We benefit from some of these company's ability to produce premium equipment because of their existing design and manufacturing expertise and the fact that they do not need to sell their astronomy products with huge profits because those parts of their businesses are not primary profit centers. The same is true for many small astronomy businesses that produce high quality products where the owner has another daytime job.

I know of no manufacturer making large profit margins on astronomy equipment, particularly when man hours, machinery time and overhead are taken into consideration. I know of some who make very little profit but continue to provide their products because of a love of the hobby. I also know of no one who wouldn't gladly reduce their prices if there were already enough margin to do so and it was obvious that doing so would increase their market share. 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). Most of these constraints limit the low end of prices for non-premium equipment as well which is easily seen in the cost difference between the CG-5 and the AVX as an example. You can be pretty sure that the profit margin has not significantly, if at all, increased with the newer mount.


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nodalpoint
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6360377 - 02/06/14 06:31 PM

Quote:

Your thoughts?




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


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Mkofski
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6360446 - 02/06/14 07:08 PM

I think that any list of mounts that offer innovative features should be 3 list... Low end, medium prices and high priced mounts. Low end mounts aren't going to include encoders or other expensive tech but can still be innovative in design. At this time the only innovative low end mounts are coming from iOptron.

If the LX80 had met its specs even 80% could have been an innovative low end mount. With the computer advancement over the last decade, there is no reason a low end mount couldn't do more and do it better now than 10 years ago. 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 with older hand controllers but functionality of the software would go a long way to making a mount more desirable.

The LX850 seems like an example of a medium priced mount that has software innovations that helped integrate existing hardware. Both Meade and Celestron have done some innovative things with software but haven't gone very far yet.

I don't know anything about high end mounts and won't ever own one. I'll leave that discussion for others.


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OzAndrewJ
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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






I’ve to agree with that genius part …but don’t think Dr. Keller is evil He’s 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 don’t 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.

It’s also a market where people are willing pay quite substantial amounts of money to get the “best mount available”. 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 that’s not the way to go IMO.

I’m personally convinced that the direct drive technology and encoders is a combination very difficult to beat in the future. It’s 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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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 today’s so called 'non-premium' mounts. Non-premium production is what's driving the revolution, not the premium. Premium just can’t 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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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? new [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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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [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 message—innovation 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? new [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? new [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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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #6361267 - 02/07/14 04:33 AM

Quote:

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




Gday Andrew, will update soon. Regards


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BPO
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6361373 - 02/07/14 07:24 AM

Quote:

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.




Don't forget Astelco's extraordinary NTM-500.

NTM-500 review here on CN.

Certainly not for everybody (yet), but you may be surprised at just how many are in use by some seriously dedicated amateurs (and quite a few professionals).


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BKBrown
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6361376 - 02/07/14 07:28 AM

Quote:

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




That would be the one (as seen in my picture above, sitting on a Losmandy HD tripod)...

Clear Skies,
Brian


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rkayakr
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6361417 - 02/07/14 08:22 AM

Quote:

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.





Avalon mounts have belt drive with no worm.

Edited by rkayakr (02/07/14 08:27 AM)


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WadeH237
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6361539 - 02/07/14 09:35 AM

Quote:

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




I still don't get it. Try as I might, I cannot think of a single creative or revolutionary feature on the AVX.

If you take a CG5 and improve the bearings, make the packaging of the motors more efficient and fix the PEC so that it can store the data (instead of requiring a reprogram on each session), you get an AVX. Oh, and I think that they put new motors on it.

These changes are very welcome and really improve the mount. Part of its appeal is that it takes one of the most reliable and ubiquitous low end mounts out there and makes incremental improvements across the board with proven technology - the very definition of evolutionary...not creative or revolutionary.


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EFT
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: WadeH237]
      #6361547 - 02/07/14 09:39 AM

Quote:

Quote:

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




I still don't get it. Try as I might, I cannot think of a single creative or revolutionary feature on the AVX.

If you take a CG5 and improve the bearings, make the packaging of the motors more efficient and fix the PEC so that it can store the data (instead of requiring a reprogram on each session), you get an AVX. Oh, and I think that they put new motors on it.

These changes are very welcome and really improve the mount. Part of its appeal is that it takes one of the most reliable and ubiquitous low end mounts out there and makes incremental improvements across the board with proven technology - the very definition of evolutionary...not creative or revolutionary.




The bearings are unchanged but you are correct about the rest.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: WadeH237]
      #6361558 - 02/07/14 09:45 AM

Quote:

Quote:

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




I still don't get it.




Me, too. Yet another clone of an 80's Vixen mount is hardly revilutionary.


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WesC
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #6362452 - 02/07/14 05:17 PM

I don't think anything mentioned in this thread is truly revolutionary... even a different drive method, if its still a German equatorial mount, doing the same things a GEM does is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Even if it is a big improvement in the way it works.

The question "Is X revolutionary or evolutionary?" is the played out, over-hyped discussion of the decade. I really wish sometimes that folks would go back to school and learn the definition of these two words.

Like the venerable Inigo Montoya once said, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."



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Per Frejvall
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: WesC]
      #6362531 - 02/07/14 05:52 PM

Don't get hung up on GEM vs Alt/Az. Direct drive is revolutionary because of basic principles, as is modern belt drive, as is the use of absolute encoders for augmentation, as is friction drive, as is harmonic drive.

Not necessarily because they are in fact new technologies; rather because they are modern and (hopefully) cost-effective implementations of technology, bringing it to us amateurs.

Evolutionary or revolutionary? Well, those are just different degrees of the same thing. Who decides when evolutionary trips over to revolutionary. Heck, it's just an "R"

/per

/per


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: WesC]
      #6362544 - 02/07/14 05:57 PM

We are getting too much caught up in revolutionary/evolutionary business. The whole idea is that lot of new choices are becoming available and quite a few at more affordable prices, unlike ever before. Some of ‘em may just be creative new designs (e.g., ZEQ) and some may just be more affordable to the masses with improved performance (e.g., AVX), if not new technology. Let’s focus our efforts more on the substance of what's being discussed than trying to define terms and getting bogged down. I think most folks “get” the concept and the exciting (mount) times we are in. Regards

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Stew57
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6362566 - 02/07/14 06:05 PM

Speaking of evolutionary/revolutionary, what ever happened to the Explore Scientific mount displayed a few years back? It sure looked nice but I bet it didn't come in at the target price.

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gdd
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6362581 - 02/07/14 06:12 PM

Quote:

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.





The direct drive motors may be revolutionary regards allowing for more instanteous response to feedback from the encoders, but I don't see them as essential. The short periodic errors associated with the worm are gone, but the daily periodic error similar to that associated with the worm wheel remains. The daily error I am sure can be (and probably is) removed by software calibrating against a standard. I think the revolution is that the encoders can be thought of as bolt on precision that does not depend the resources of just the small amateur astomomy industry. If multiple industries require increasingly precise encoders, the size of the combined markets may allow for declining costs and increasing performance like we have seen in digital cameras and computers.

Gale


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jrbarnett
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6363116 - 02/07/14 11:13 PM

I think that it's also worth noting that capacity is the manufacturer's claimed capacity. There is no standard rating method for measuring mount capacity. I can promise you that a Mach 1 has a much higher payload capacity than a G-11 or CGE, each of which are rated by their manufacturer as having 60# of capacity, whereas the Mach 1 claims only 45# capacity.

Regards,

Jim


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #6363223 - 02/08/14 12:54 AM

Quote:

I think that it's also worth noting that capacity is the manufacturer's claimed capacity. There is no standard rating method for measuring mount capacity. I can promise you that a Mach 1 has a much higher payload capacity than a G-11 or CGE, each of which are rated by their manufacturer as having 60# of capacity, whereas the Mach 1 claims only 45# capacity.

Regards,

Jim




One thing to add on the mount capacity, the LX850 is rated for 90 lbs, and it looks like that holds very easily for visual and astrophotography. I am running over 80 lbs with no problems at all. I am back home in New Mexico and will be loading up the LX850 tomorrow. I looks like I will have at least 7 days of good weather, heh heh heh...


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blueman
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6363290 - 02/08/14 02:43 AM

All I need is a mount that works well all the time and is able to work with any software I have. Make it easy to work on too and it is a real winner.
That is why I vote for the AP mount, all the above is true.
Blueman


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: BPO]
      #6363347 - 02/08/14 03:59 AM

Quote:

Don't forget Astelco's extraordinary NTM-500.




Will get that added. Thx


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #6363348 - 02/08/14 04:06 AM

Quote:

If you are going to discuss a mount revolution I think you have to include the go-to Dobsonians Orion has made mainstream.




May be we can tackle 'em in the later part of the discussion. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6363369 - 02/08/14 04:48 AM

Links to ones listed so far...

ZEQ25...
AVX...
CEM60...
Mach1...
HDX110.../EQ8...
LX850...
GM1000HPS...
1100GTO...
LFR...
DDM60 PRO...
NTM-500...
Mesu 200...


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Per Frejvall
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6363373 - 02/08/14 04:56 AM

Http://10micron.de is even better and can be viewed in English.

/per


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6363407 - 02/08/14 06:27 AM

On a lighter note, no discussion of revolution would be complete without coups; some very successful, some not so much.


ZEQ25 is launching a very successful campaign at the moment if they maintain the momentum. AVX campaign is slow but steady. Both ZEQ25 and AVX are grass roots campaigns recruiting commoners without much fighting skills.


CEM60 coup is in the works and highly anticipated to succeed in overthrowing the dictator.


Mach1 is the battle-hardened dictator, challenging to be toppled.


HDX110 & EQ8 forces have teamed up for a new insurgency.


LX850 coup started with LX800 commander who had to endure an epic defeat but campaign goes on; success of the current campaign remains quite dubious given their highly complex, integrated, battlefield untested, and proprietary war gadgets.


GM1000HPS is an Italian invader who has partnered up with the locals, but will be fighting at the expense of the locals.


1100GTO is a fat commander waiting in the wings who has pledged allegiance to the dictator in power.


LFR is a dubious Italian cohort working in concert with GM1000HPS to over throw the regime, again at the expense of the locals, but uses some new drive system with no gears.


DDM60 PRO is an Austrian led coup whose chances of success are slim given poor commoners may not be worthy to serve; furthermore, their direct drive system has yet to endure the test of time.


NTM-500 and Mesu 200 are little known Russian and Dutch insurgencies and have almost no chance of rising to significant power.

Happy coup-ing!


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orion69
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6363415 - 02/08/14 06:40 AM

Quote:

On a lighter note, no discussion of revolution would be complete without coups; some very successful, some not so much.


ZEQ25 is launching a very successful campaign at the moment if they maintain the momentum. AVX campaign is slow but steady. Both ZEQ25 and AVX are grass roots campaigns recruiting commoners without much fighting skills.


CEM60 coup is in the works and highly anticipated to succeed in overthrowing the dictator.


Mach1 is the battle-hardened dictator, challenging to be toppled.


HDX110 & EQ8 forces have teamed up for a new insurgency.


LX850 coup started with LX800 commander who had to endure an epic defeat but campaign goes on; success of the current campaign remains quite dubious given their highly complex, integrated, battlefield untested, and proprietary war gadgets.


GM1000HPS is an Italian invader who has partnered up with the locals, but will be fighting at the expense of the locals.


1100GTO is a fat commander waiting in the wings who has pledged allegiance to the dictator in power.


LFR is a dubious Italian cohort working in concert with GM1000HPS to over throw the regime, again at the expense of the locals, but uses some new drive system with no gears.


DDM60 PRO is an Austrian led coup whose chances of success are slim given poor commoners may not be worthy to serve; furthermore, their direct drive system has yet to endure the test of time.


NTM-500 and Mesu 200 are little known Russian and Dutch insurgencies and have almost no chance of rising to significant power.

Happy coup-ing!




Well, that kills my interest for this thread...


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6363425 - 02/08/14 06:55 AM

Quote:



LX850 coup started with LX800 commander who had to endure an epic defeat but campaign goes on; success of the current campaign remains quite dubious given their highly complex, integrated, battlefield untested, and proprietary war gadgets.






Alright I will take the bait!

LX850 is not highly complex. It is very easy to set-up and use.

* Set-up mount (you know, the tripod, put on the mount, add counter weights, plug it in)
* Balance
* Turn on mount.
* Do "easy align"
* And you have gotos to within 1'

Your good. Want to do some a-p?

* Auto PE training (no guidescope or separate software/computer)
* Auto calibration
* Bonus if you want - Auto drift align.

Your good, take pictures!

Now if people have problems with these steps, they should probably look into a different field of study.

Near as I can tell the beginners to the pros have been using the LX850 and it is battlefield tested. It is also the only one with a dual guide scope observers. I have no need to add an extra computer, purchase extra software or anything to control it. And, the mount does easily support 90 lbs, its rated spec. This mount is as easy as it gets out of the box.

The LX850 was the mount Meade should have come out with in the first place, not the LX800. Fortunately Meade was wise enough to recall the LX800 and fix the problem, for that I respect Meade for owning up to the problem.

Nothing proprietary about the mount at all - you don't want to use StarLock? Fine, purchase PEMPro, download PHd and your own type of guider - that will work too. I have simply had no need to do this.

One thing that should be noted - several of these mounts have been sold over the past year and there are no major complaints out there at all. It just works.


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6363446 - 02/08/14 07:19 AM

I wish Meade well, but reality is LX850 with all its might may not be able to turn Meade around. LX80 is a lost cause and Meade needs to bury that hatchet. What Meade really needs is a winner of ZEQ or AVX sort. I hope they have something up their sleeves otherwise field is laid out. Meade did have a running start, rather they were at the right place at the right time with both LX800/80 had they done their homework. I am afraid, this time around time might not be on Meade's side. Only hope I see is if they really came out with something new that is of high quality and at a lower price. LX850, good or bad, has a hefty price tag and that just is not going to compete with Mach1s of the world. Regards

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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6363462 - 02/08/14 07:38 AM

Quote:

I wish Meade well, but reality is LX850 with all its might may not be able to turn Meade around. LX80 is a lost cause and Meade needs to bury that hatchet. What Meade really needs is a winner of ZEQ or AVX sort. I hope they have something up their sleeves otherwise field is laid out. Meade did have a running start, rather they were at the right place at the right time with both LX800/80 had they done their homework. I am afraid, this time around time might not be on Meade's side. Only hope I see if they really come out with something new that is of high quality and at a lower price. LX850, good or bad, has a hefty price tag and that just is not going to compete with Mach1s of the world. Regards




Now you know Meade was purchased by a large Chinese firm (seems like China owns most of our industry by sales lately)? Meade is turning things around and I think time is again on their side (large pools of cash help). There is a market for the LX850, a high quality system with a lot of bang for the buck and a true turnkey solution. It definitely fills a market need and they are selling them.

And don't forget, the LX850 competes the CGEPro and mounts in this class, and does it very well.

But yes, they need GEMs in the lower end, I 100% agree. I have an LX80 in my hands for testing right now, so stay tuned there, but it is more of interest in the used market since they are no longer built. My gut tells me they had an excellent mount in this price range, but the bugs and QA killed it. Meade is coming out with a mount to replace the LX80 very soon - I am curious what it is.

Also, they should have evolved/continued the LXD75. I purchased one of these mounts used. This my friends is an excellent, light weight grab and go mount. It has traveled extremely well with me all over the U.S. covering 1,000s of miles. It handles my 130mm with no problems. I think Meade blew it taking this mount out of the game.

I don't know the numbers, but I do think the real "revolution" is in the boom of GEM based mounts (Dobs are in their own universe). I know a lot of people are deforking their excellent, but old OTAs and need a new mount. People are beginning to collect a variety of optical systems. Some people, like me want variety. I won't cart around my 14" ACF (excellent optics btw), but I will cart around my 80mm and 130mm APOs and 90mm SMII. Sometimes I use the LX850, but when traveling I will use the LXD75 or now the LX80. If I want excellent pro imaging in very remote locations? I will use the Mach1GTO, AP1100GTO or 10 Micro (yes this purchase will happen soon).

That is your revolution - the boom in GEMs. I don't know the market numbers, but I suspect growth is solid here.


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OzAndrewJ
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6363497 - 02/08/14 08:22 AM

Gday Andrew
Quote:

you don't want to use StarLock? Fine, purchase PEMPro, download PHd and your own type of guider - that will work too.




Not so sure there sunshine .
The Non Starlock mode of PEC has bugs that will make it unusable at times, esp in the LX600.
Also, i am pretty sure PEMPro doesnt know how to deal with the new PEC data format for direct loading, hence must use manual playback mode, which can be "unusual" to say the least.
Starlock ON vs Starlock Off uses totally different mechanisms, and the latter is IMHO currently sadly lacking.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6363671 - 02/08/14 10:06 AM

Mathis Instruments. Available with encoders and are just a terrific mount for those that need big payloads AND fork mounting. Not made for portability. Their smallest mount, the MI500 compared to my MI250 (Mountain Instruments, very similar design) is like comparing a CGE Pro to a CG5. These are big mounts!

David


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Bluejay08
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6363861 - 02/08/14 11:39 AM

Well, LX80 is nothing new comparing to MiniTower with a wedge, or little IOptron Cube-A mount.

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blueman
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Bluejay08]
      #6363982 - 02/08/14 12:41 PM

I hope the LX850 holds up to the test of time. That will be a big relief.
Blueman


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: blueman]
      #6363992 - 02/08/14 12:46 PM

Quote:

I hope the LX850 holds up to the test of time. That will be a big relief.
Blueman




I hope so too Blueman

With the next 10 days looking mostly clear I hope to go out and look at something using my LX850 or with anything at this point, even with the bright Moon out. Not being able to observe for the last month has been painful.


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gdd
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6364309 - 02/08/14 03:36 PM

To be truly revolutionary shouldn't the mount be able to deliver something existing mounts can't regardless of price? For example, the gyroscopic mounts used in satellites could also be coupled with another growing hobby - space pictures from weather balloons and kites. Amatuers would finally be able to get above most of the atmosphere, first for easy short exposures of the moon and planets, later as the technology matures for long exposures of DSO's.

Gale


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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: gdd]
      #6364352 - 02/08/14 03:58 PM

Quote:

To be truly revolutionary shouldn't the mount be able to deliver something existing mounts can't regardless of price? For example, the gyroscopic mounts used in satellites could also be coupled with another growing hobby - space pictures from weather balloons and kites. Amatuers would finally be able to get above most of the atmosphere, first for easy short exposures of the moon and planets, later as the technology matures for long exposures of DSO's.

Gale




Now there is a thought.

Actually we have two altitude balloon flights happening in 2015 and 2016 that might be doing something in the same vain you are talking about…

As they say, stay tuned…


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6364565 - 02/08/14 05:53 PM

Quote:

That is your revolution - the boom in GEMs.




Well said!


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6364568 - 02/08/14 05:54 PM

Quote:

Mathis Instruments. Available with encoders and are just a terrific mount for those that need big payloads AND fork mounting. Not made for portability. Their smallest mount, the MI500 compared to my MI250 (Mountain Instruments, very similar design) is like comparing a CGE Pro to a CG5. These are big mounts!




Reluctantly added to the first post; definitely not for the masses. Fills a niche but far from the revolutionary spirit. Regards


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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6364652 - 02/08/14 06:52 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Mathis Instruments. Available with encoders and are just a terrific mount for those that need big payloads AND fork mounting. Not made for portability. Their smallest mount, the MI500 compared to my MI250 (Mountain Instruments, very similar design) is like comparing a CGE Pro to a CG5. These are big mounts!




Reluctantly added to the first post; definitely not for the masses. Fills a niche but far from the revolutionary spirit. Regards




Hmmmm...certainly not for the masses, but if "revolutionary" is guiding this thread, I'm wondering why the Mach 1, certainly an excellent mount, and the AVX, an upgraded CG5-GT are listed. And if it's "for the masses" that is driving the list, I can think of several that aren't listed.

It all comes down to subjectivity. The AP1100 is an upgraded AP900 and if you leave the encoders on the shelf, there is nothing revolutionary about the 1100. Yes, sir, I'd love to have one even without the encoders because it's going to be am excellent performer, but revolutionary?

David


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Whichwayisnorth
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6365191 - 02/08/14 11:48 PM

As far as I am concerned anything truly revolutionary has to do with maximizing performance and minimizing cost.

Of the mounts we are talking about I feel that the CEM60 is the only one that fits as not only is it a different design than we are used to but also iOptron is trying to give us more for the money. I am anxious to see how it turns out.


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6365222 - 02/09/14 12:19 AM

David, we went around the definition jargon above so I am not going to repeat it. Michael, put is nicely, “maximizing performance and minimizing cost”. I agree Mach1 probably doesn’t belong in the list, but as I have explained above, I left it there as a reference.


I think we are getting caught up on the literal meaning, while it basically means something new to the market, relatively affordable, excites masses, drives future trends, etc. You get the idea. Mathis hardly fits that criterion. Regards


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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6365273 - 02/09/14 01:06 AM

Only the robotic mounts are revolutionary. But they are expensive too. But using robot technology to replace normal GEM is revolutionary. I would like to have one if I hit the lottery.
Blueman


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6365768 - 02/09/14 10:35 AM

Exp'e'ndable by definition (under the context of mounts) is something that you can easily get rid of, salvage, or abandon for having an option, flexibility, or opportunity to upgrade every so often.


Premium mounts costing 10s of thousands of dollars are hardly expendable under current model and that has to change. You spend your life savings on them and then you are locked in for life, not just the mount, but the technology you bought in it. You can’t upgrade for the life of you no matter how badly you wanted to. And that’s the truth of it whether you like it or not.


Moore’s law is finally starting to trickle down to mounts in terms of computing, sensing, and circuitry needed to make a modern mount work. Yes there is machining and metallurgy involved, but other components that drive precision (mostly electronics, transduces (optical or magnetic), etc.) are not going to sit idly by, in terms of their improved performance and affordability, for the life of a mount.


Today’s so called premium mounts of either side of the pond (e.g., Astro-Physics in the US and 10Micron in Italy) are in way impediment to such a revolution in terms of what they cost today—yet in the name of so called ‘quality’. Yes you buy quality metals and finishing, but rest of the guts of ‘em are going to age quickly at the pace things have started to move. My point being, buy them by all means, but you may just sideline yourself to watch the revolution pass you by.


On the flip side, this revolution offers “gougers” on either side of the pond, a unique opportunity to offer state of the art mounts at lower more ‘expendable’ price points where one doesn’t have to end up dying with one before upgrading. No commotion required here how hard it is to make premium mounts, how small the margins are, etc.; it can be done, just DO IT.


What I am getting at is that revolution is not about buying multi 10s of thousands of dollars mounts, rather it is about buying the ones that may not be so premium per today’s standards. That’s not to say non-premiums are not up to par; they are improving and catching up fast. They provide us unique opportunity to ‘expend’ them; means replace/upgrade them at the pace and frequency never seen before.


Let me ask you this, what is expendable mount/amount for you? The one that you can throw out the door for the latest in mount technology available (at the time) without thinking twice; is it $5K, $10K, $20K, $30K... [I am quite sure most fall under $5K per today’s economy for the masses]


A philosophical thought would be that you are actually stalling mount development by paying premium prices; you are giving so called premium manufacturers an impression that they may be doing something right while they aren’t. Premium manufactures have a misconception that they may be producing something worthy while they don’t get the point that they may serving only wealthy or taking the life savings of not so wealthy.


Real life examples would be one gentleman who recently bought hyper tuned Italian mount for around $30K from this side of pond; another gentleman is contemplating spending $20K on another hyper tuned Italian.


Lesson here being, don’t spend 10s of thousands on a mount in the name of premium that you can’t upgrade to the latest later; buy something that you can upgrade at whim as revolution evolves!


Don’t think what you can afford today, think what most astronomers can afford today. By buying premium and paying premium prices, you are not helping but hurting the innovation.


Think BIG and think of masses. Chinese manufactures I think have realized the dream that us “ponders” couldn’t when it comes to the revolution in mount technology and affordable pricing. Ponders have mostly learned to machine parts at high labor, Chinese seemed to have learned to mate technology with machined parts at not so high labor.


Paraphrasing Kennedy, “Ask not what your mount can do for you, ask what you can do for your mount”. Regards


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blueman
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6366080 - 02/09/14 01:15 PM

You make it sound like once you buy a premium mount you are stuck with it for life. That is not the case. You can sell a premium mount easily enough. You won't get all your money back but most of it.
Blueman
Quote:

Exp'e'ndable by definition (under the context of mounts) is something that you can easily get rid of, salvage, or abandon for having an option, flexibility, or opportunity to upgrade every so often.


Premium mounts costing 10s of thousands of dollars are hardly expendable under current model and that has to change. You spend your life savings in them and then you are locked in for life, not just the mount, but the technology you bought in it. You can’t upgrade for the life of you no matter how badly you wanted to. And that’s the truth of it whether you like it or not.


Moore’s law is finally starting to trickle down to mounts in terms of computing, sensing, and circuitry needed to make a modern mount work. Yes there is machining and metallurgy involved, but other components that drive precision (mostly electronics, transduces (optical or magnetic), etc.) are not going to sit idly by, in terms of their improved performance and affordability, for the life of a mount.


Today’s so called premium mounts of either side of the pond (e.g., Astro-Physics in the US and 10Micron in Italy) are in way impediment to such a revolution in terms of what they cost today—yet in the name of so called ‘quality’. Yes you buy quality metals and finishing, but rest of the guts of ‘em are going to age quickly at the pace things have started to move. My point being, buy them by all means, but you may just sideline yourself to watch the revolution pass you by.


On the flip side, this revolution offers “gougers” on either side of the pond, a unique opportunity to offer state or the art mounts at lower more ‘expendable’ price points where one doesn’t have to end up dying with one before upgrading. No commotion required here how hard it is to make premium mounts, how small the margins are, etc.; it can be done, just DO IT.


What I am getting at is that revolution is not about buying multi 10s of thousands of dollars mounts, rather it is about buying the ones that may not be so premium per today’s standards. That’s not to say non-premiums are not up to par; they are improving and catching up fast. They provide us unique opportunity to ‘expend’ them; means replace/upgrade them at the pace and frequency never seen before.


Let me ask you this, what is expendable mount/amount for you? The one that you can throw out the door for the latest in mount technology available (at the time) without thinking twice; is it $5K, $10K, $20K, $30K... [I am quite sure most fall under $5K per today’s economy for the masses]


A philosophical thought would be that you are actually stalling mount development by paying premium prices; you are giving so called premium manufacturers an impression that they may be doing something right while they aren’t. Premium manufactures have a misconception that they may be producing something worthy while they don’t get the point that they may serving only wealthy or taking the life savings of not so wealthy.


Real life examples would be one gentleman who recently bought hyper tuned Italian mount for around $30K from this side of pond; another gentleman is contemplating spending $20K on another hyper tuned Italian.


Lessen here being, don’t spend 10s of thousands on a mount in the name of premium that you can’t upgrade to the latest later; buy something that you can upgrade at whim as revolution evolves!


Don’t think what you can afford today, think what most astronomers can afford today. By buying premium and paying premium prices, you are not helping but hurting the innovation.


Think BIG and think of masses. Chinese manufactures I think have realized the dream that us “ponders” couldn’t when it comes to the revolution in mount technology and affordable pricing. Ponders have mostly learned to machine parts at high labor, Chinese seemed to have learned to mate technology with machined parts at not so high labor.


Paraphrasing Kennedy, “Ask not what your mount can do for you, ask what you can do for your mount”. Regards




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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: blueman]
      #6366096 - 02/09/14 01:20 PM

Yeah the OP makes it sound like buying a premium mount is a crushing financial burden that chains you to the tyranny of Roland Christen or Tom Bisque

The reality is that, particularly if you buy used, you can re-sell the mount for basically no loss except the cost of shipping. If you buy new then yes there is a loss, but what product doesn't penalize the first owner.

Also the OP seems to have an underlying sentiment that the premium mount manufacturers are ripping off Joe Consumer. Again, I challenge you to find someone who tried to challenge AP and Bisque, and do it for a lower price. Many have tried and failed (e.g. William Optics, MorningCalm).

My thesis is that mechanical quality does cost something, and even if you're Chinese you won't be able to do away with that cost. And the premium manufacturers aren't ripping us off, in fact they are not enjoying huge profit margins.

Let me add: try to find a Chinese-made high-resolution absolute encoder.

I'll wait.

Even the Koreans can't make a good high-resolution encoder. Those Autonics encoders (make in Korea) may be good enough for elevators, but not telescopes. And lest you scoff, Samsung is the largest technology company in the world. The Koreans are first-tier technology manufacturers. Even Japan isn't known for encoders (although Canon and Omron have some good offerings - but not notably cheaper than their German and UK competition).

There's a reason the Chinese are still buying Renishaw and Heidenhain encoders. They still can't make them. I'd be surprised if the CEM60 contained a Chinese-made encoder (I'd bet a steak dinner it contains a Western encoder).

Ditto for mounts. At some point precision costs. And the Chinese observatories/universities are still buying Western mounts (see http://www.apm-telescopes.de/en/APM-Company-History.html for all of Markus' Chinese customers).

If the Chinese did have some miraculous revolution in low-cost precision, why aren't they eating their own dog food?


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jimb1001
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6366202 - 02/09/14 02:10 PM

I understand the gripe about upgradability, that's any tech product.

Cameras, cars, computers, phones, time marches on.

Just because something new comes out doesn't mean what you have stops working as it did when you bought it new.

As others have mentioned, there is always a market for good quality used tech products and this is the upgrade path. It is, as always, based on what you can afford.

No one is assured that they can have the latest and greatest of tech toys on a beer budget.


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Falcon-
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6366224 - 02/09/14 02:20 PM

Quote:

Yeah the OP makes it sound like buying a premium mount is a crushing financial burden that chains you to the tyranny of Roland Christen or Tom Bisque




For some of us it *IS* a crushing financial burden. For me a new AP mount would be on the order of 1/3 to 1/2 of my entire income from last year - it is clearly impossible for me to purchase one if I want to still eat and/or have a roof over my head. That said... "chains you to the tyranny"? Not at all. "Ripping off the consumer"? Nope. I absolutely and totally agree that high mechanical quality costs money and that those high-end mounts are worth every penny!

For someone like me the evolutionary increasing quantity and abilities and small innovations of the low and mid range mounts (Skyguider, ZEQ25, Az-EQ6, CEM60, etc, etc) feels revolutionary because while such mounts will never be AP quality they are a significant improvement in performance over previous generations in the same price range.


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EFT
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6366230 - 02/09/14 02:23 PM

Something else to consider is that it is mostly the electronics that change with time, not the mechanics. There are certainly some mechanical changes, like the potential rise of direct drives, but for the most part, a mechanically very well built mount will remain a mechanically very well built mount forever if well maintained. The electronics however may change and common to many premium mounts is the ability to change both the electronics and the firmware that runs the mount (which is common to nearly every mount as long as it remains supported). Some of the premium mount companies have had entire electronics upgrade assemblies while others rely on specific component upgrades. Others rely on external computing systems leaving mostly mechanical systems in the mounts so that the entire computing system could potentially be replaced. There will certainly continue to be advancements, but that is where the consumer will have to decide things like whether it is worth upgrading from a mount with X encoder resolution to one with Y encoder resolution when everything might essentially remain the same.

Plenty of people continue to use premium mounts that were bought sometime in the past and at the time were quite expensive. High quality mounts, while often more expensive, will generally stand the test of time quite well, but eventually everything becomes dated. You simply get what you pay for and have to decide what it is you want and will be happy with. If you can afford it and decide to spend a large amount on a premium mount, then you are likely buying a mount that could easily outlast your use of it (even if someday you have to install a completely new drive system on it). That doesn't mean that you are trapped with it regardless of whether you spend $2,000 or $20,000, particularly since the amount you spend is relative to what you can afford. You can't assume that someone who spends $2,000 could afford $20,000 and just simply chooses not to. In fact, it is far more common that the person who spends $2,000 now will end up spending $4,000 later and so on. Someone who spends $2,000 on a mount may be just as "trapped" with it as someone else who spends $20,000 on a mount. Being "trapped" is dictated only by what you can afford, not what is available.

There is certainly no one that I know of that is gouging in this business. While maybe a couple of the owners of the very large retailers are doing very well in this business and a few manufacturers who cater to the government are probably doing well, the vast majority of people in the astronomy business, manufacturing or retail, merely get by. Many of the manufacturers have other "day" jobs as a matter of fact and this includes some of the best accessory makers out there. I certainly defy you to find anyone who is individually (i.e., not a big company) getting wealthy simply off of manufacturing astronomy equipment for the amateur market.


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gdd
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: EFT]
      #6366256 - 02/09/14 02:36 PM

Quote:

Something else to consider is that it is mostly the electronics that change with time, not the mechanics.




That is what is "revolutionary" about the G11. It can't become obsolete because of the electronics. If the control box becomes obsolete, get the new one. Don't like Losmandy's? Get a third party one like SiTech and go with that.

Same goes for some of the mechanical parts because they bolt on like the electronics rather than being integrated into the mount.

Gale


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: gdd]
      #6366278 - 02/09/14 02:48 PM

The exact same story can be said for the AP mounts. The servo motors and encoders could very well be driven by SiTech. I retrofitted my old AP stepper mount with a German controller.

At the end of the day it's the mechanicals (and possibly a very-rigidly mounted set of encoders) that count. The electronics comes and goes...

and, as has been abundantly proven, good mechanics, no matter where you manufacture them, costs money.

maybe when 3D printing (of metal) has been consumerized - right now the 3D printers that GE uses for making jet engine injector nozzles costs millions of $$$ - then high precision mechanics will become cheap.

it would be the Singularity (a high-precision 3D printer would be able to make any arbitrary mechanical thing of equal precision).

now that would be the revolution...


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6366333 - 02/09/14 03:12 PM

Quote:

For some of us it *IS* a crushing financial burden.




I did not mean to disparage anyone with that statement. There was a bit of hyperbole there.

I know that amateur astronomy is a very inclusive hobby. Heck, five years ago I was futzing around with an EQ-1, and I was telling myself it was all the mount I would ever need. Three years ago I busied myself with a rust-bucket Vixen GP that I got off ebay for $200..

It would be great if precision could go down to the EQ-1 level. Maybe when the 3D printers rule the world...


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6366350 - 02/09/14 03:19 PM

Quote:

At the end of the day it's the mechanicals (and possibly a very-rigidly mounted set of encoders) that count. The electronics comes and goes...




Orlando, that doesn't make sense; it is like telling a buyer of a premium car, "don't worry too much about electronics as it ages, you are buying fine a piece of machinery". Try going back to the premium manufacturer for an electronics upgrade or do it yourself (in your case ). That's how practically impossible and illogical it sounds. Electronics "is" the car, just the same as electronics "is" the modern mount. One would rather be better off throwing the old one out and buying a new one if it was within reasonable/expendable price range. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: jimb1001]
      #6366376 - 02/09/14 03:34 PM

Quote:

I understand the gripe about upgradability, that's any tech product.

Cameras, cars, computers, phones, time marches on.




Fact of the matter is premium manufacturers have you ‘back’ loaded; they don’t offer anything near precise in their startup offerings until they get you by the bank in the name of so called precision (whatever you may call that, encoders/transducers, direct drives, etc.)


Mount technology is in its infancy and not even close to the precision that has been achieved in other industries, like cars, cameras, computers, etc. We no longer need to pay premium for such relics of the past.


Let’s adopt an expendable/disposable model like PC industry (super computer of yesterday can be had for $1K today at Walmart), let these new inventors go through some quick revisions, and let us buy their revisions in some quick succession at affordable prices to get this revolution off the ground.


Revolution is NOT coming from premium manufactures, price hike is. Money we poured into premium mounts over the years has led us to a premium black hole in mount precision without any gain in their affordability for the masses. Regards


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EFT
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6366447 - 02/09/14 04:03 PM

Quote:

Quote:

At the end of the day it's the mechanicals (and possibly a very-rigidly mounted set of encoders) that count. The electronics comes and goes...




Orlando, that doesn't make sense; it is like telling a buyer of a premium car, "don't worry too much about electronics as it ages, you are buying fine a piece of machinery". Try going back to the premium manufacturer for an electronics upgrade or do it yourself (in your case ). That's how practically impossible and illogical it sounds. Electronics "is" the car, just the same as electronics "is" the modern mount. One would rather be better off throwing the old one out and buying a new one if it was within reasonable price range. Regards




The problem is that a "reasonable" price range is strictly relative. To one person that may be $2,000 or less while to another that may be $20,000 or more. There is not going to be a mount with the features and care taken in the manufacture of those that cost $20,000 right now for $2,000 at any time in the reasonably near future. That doesn't mean that the same features will never be available in the less expensive mounts or that advancements in CNC machining technology will not be able to make a much higher quality product for a lesser cost in the future. That is clearly not the case. But if you are waiting for the day that all the features and quality of a $20,000 mount are available in a $2,000 mount, then you certainly will not be buying anything in the reasonably foreseeable future.

If you look at premium mounts from 10-20 years ago that are still operating, you will find that it is their mechanics that are still operating and rarely their electronics which were long ago replaced for more modern electronics (e.g., allowing for goto where before they were only capable of tracking). The premium mounts of today largely spawn the revolution or evolution of tomorrow's non-premium mounts and give the companies making those mounts something to strive for as the technology-related parts of the mounts become less expensive. In the mean time, the premium mount manufactures must continue to innovate or eventually be overtaken and rendered superfluous. You are not going to take a $1500 mount and stick a $4000 encoder on one axis and suddenly have a mount that is equal to any given premium mount. Premium mounts are actually far more likely to be upgradeable than a much less expensive mount that is really only upgraded by tossing it out (or selling it) and buying something better. So you have to ask where the better value lies (Hint: the answer will be different for each person).

Considering the number of people I have observed go through premium equipment while moving up in capacity and cost, the "expendable" nature of any give mount is completely dependent on the owner's ability to buy something else. It is completely independent from the cost or the quality of the mount itself. Taking this thread down this path would suggest that no premium mount (however you wish to define that, cost, quality, features, etc.) of any kind should be considered in the discussion and it should instead be limited to a discussion of possible advances in goto mounts being attempted (since plenty of the current mounts are not very field proven at this point) in, less-expensive, mass-produced mounts which are all currently manufactured primarily (if not entirely) in China. That is fine and your choice as the OP, but it is certainly not how the thread started out.


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Destrehan Dave
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6366477 - 02/09/14 04:18 PM

Great thread.

Personally, I'd do without Astronomy altogether before buying another Chinese mount. I've had 3: AS/GT, (the ad said "AstroPhotographer's dream" - HA!), a CGEM (must have stood for "Can't Get Enough Momentum", because it continually stopped in mid-slew), and a CGEM Pro. Let's just say I took a financial blood-bath on all 3. Sold them all for significant losses... could have bought at least a G11 or Mach1 in the end.

It really just depends on what you want. AP says they don't create niche-mounts... you can use their mounts for imaging; with or without a computer. They literally just work. Set up the mount, align using the best polar scope ever manufactured (RAPAS), start pushing buttons, and you are good to go all night. Hook on a camera, and do a few minutes unguided. Hook on a guide camera, and the mount responds to guiding commands with 10x more precision (minimum distance it can jog) than the aforementioned mounts. It's a masterpiece; easily worth 4x the price of the Chinese mounts I've owned.

Yet there are those special individuals out there who get amazing results from their C-mounts... Joe Rome, Uncle Rod, etc. Uncle Rod does more amazing things with his VX-C8HD-Mallincam setup than anyone I've ever had the privilege to observe.. maybe some of it could have been operator error, bad luck, or lack of patience and experience on my part. These are extraordinary people getting world class results with ordinary equipment. Hats off and Kudos to them. There is no substitute for raw talent and patience.


If I were to be purchasing a mount today, it'd be the ASA DDM60, because it's optimized for Astrophotography, which is what I love to do. It has amazingly simple software. The tools are optimized for constantly improving your setup and processes. With features to help you achieve perfect balance, understand, quantify and correct flexure, quickly build pointing models optimized for a certain area of the sky, an awesome polar assist routine. I would guess their tracking and pointing correction algorithms are significantly less complex because there is no backlash or periodic error. And Dr. Keller's name belongs with the other great ones, such as Ray Gralak and the Bisque Brothers. It truly is an astrophotographer's dream.

On the other hand, leave it home for your next public stargaze. You need a camera, MaximDL, and TheSkyX just to start the race. I've also heard it's pretty sensitive to little feet and hands. If that's what you do a lot of, the AP, in my opinion, can't be beat.

Don't know about their support, but my experience with Celestron and Meade have been dismal. Celestron fixed my AS/GT for a hefty sum after trying to drive like 30lbs on it.. it's stated capacity. They took my CGEM in for fixing, returned it back in the same condition after a few months, and finally just gave me a brand new one, thank God. I sold it so quick it would make your hair stand up.

And although it was a few years ago, A certain university bought a Meade 16, and it took Meade over a year to finally fix it and get it right. Don't know about ASA support, but since OPTCORP services them stateside, that's their problem. AP is, as usual, the SURE bet here... they can't be bettered.

So, that's my two dollars worth... Just one man's opinion. No Chinese mounts.. period. I'll do without first. Maybe take up the bassoon first

Thanks for listening..

DD


Edited by Destrehan Dave (02/09/14 04:55 PM)


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6366482 - 02/09/14 04:21 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I understand the gripe about upgradability, that's any tech product.

Cameras, cars, computers, phones, time marches on.




Fact of the matter is premium manufacturers have you ‘back’ loaded; they don’t offer anything near precise in their startup offerings until they get you by the bank in the name of so called precision (whatever you may call that, encoders/transducers, direct drives, etc.)


Mount technology is in its infancy and not even close to the precision that has been achieved in other industries, like cars, cameras, computers, etc. We no longer need to pay premium for such relics of the past.


Let’s adopt an expendable/disposable model like PC industry (super computer of yesterday can be had for $1K today at Walmart), let these new inventors go through some quick revisions, and let us buy their revisions in some quick succession at affordable prices to get this revolution off the ground.


Revolution is NOT coming from premium manufactures, price hike is. Money we poured into premium mounts over the years has led us to a premium black hole in mount precision without any gain in their affordability for the masses. Regards




You're comparing the auto industry's ability to revolutionize vehicles with their multi million dollar R&D departments to astronomy mount manufacturers? Same for camera companies and computer companies? If ever there was a non sequitur...

You want someone to make a mount that does what an ASA mount does at CGEM prices. Maybe you should sit down with Bisque or the guys at AP or ASA and find out just what it costs to make a premium mount (what kind of volume are we discussing?). I'm relatively sure that if you were a machinist working for one of these companies that you'd want to be compensated for your expertise. Good employees are VERY difficult to fine and keep. I'd be willing to bet that you'll find mostly long term machinists that work for AP or Bisque because they are compensated well and are proud of the work they do.

This is a tiny industry. Low volume equals high prices. Gotta' pay for the stuff and gotta' pay your employees and still have enough left over to feed your family as well. It's economics that dictate the price, simple. If you have a better business model to produce low volume items cheaply, you need to exploit it.

This discussion has happened several times when one person will say that he can produce a mount as good as an MX or an AP1100 for less money. And yet, I haven't seen it happen. There's a reason why. Profit margins on the thousands and thousands of cars that Ford sells can be far less and still pay everyone because of that volume. Do you expect Bisque or AP to run on that same margin? Aint' gonna' happen and stay in business because the volume is so low.

This is the busiest astro webpage around. It has about 70,000 members. How many do you suspect are imagers? 1%? Likely, it's less than that. So where is the volume of purchases going to come from to produce those mounts you think we deserve?

David


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Spacetravelerx
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Reged: 12/23/12

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: EFT]
      #6366528 - 02/09/14 04:35 PM

I will chime in I what I think is the "generic" second element to the mount revolution.

First is the massive growth in GEM based mounts.

The second is the near-automation of mounts, and I mean that in the generic all encompassing sense. I am NOT referring to robotic type mounts, but just the general ease of automation. Let me explain.

In the olden' days you could only set up your telescope, look through your eyepiece and you were good. Bonus having GOTO and RS-232 ports. And you still can.

But...

Now? Well last night it got a bit nippy for me in New Mexico (mid 30s ), but no problems - I just go inside my home and control and view the data from my telescope inside the warm confines of my toasty home using my wifi and computer infrastructure! I merely have my laptop hooked up outside to a camera on the telescope (DSLR, MallinCam, or whatever), have the mount hooked up via wifi (SkyFi), and have total control and viewing via my iPad, iPhone, Macintosh computers and even Apple TV. Easy as pie. This is just not for my LX850, but also LX80, LXD75, ETX125 and to be honest most any mounts out there (AVX - fine, CGE Pro - fine, AP Mounts - fine, just name your size and price range).

Integrating your mount to your home network, and ease of control and visualization from anywhere in your home or camp site? And you don't need to be rich. This is indeed revolutionary.

Last night I had some nice weather windows here and there. I turned on the telescopes/mounts, hooked up the MacBook Pro - and throughout the home I was getting data feeds/images of M82 and the Supernova - live - throughout my home's network. And, I could share this with family and friends via join.me or whatever service de jour.

I am hosting a large star party at the SmallSat conference (1200 folks). We are kicking off with a night sky tour for the audience before having fun looking into eyepieces. Easy to do - set up a local network, hook up the computers, run sky safari, tie in a few large displays and call it good. So easy. So unthinkable in years past.

And still, you can do this all so easily from home.

This is your revolution...


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Falcon-
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6366561 - 02/09/14 04:47 PM

Quote:

Quote:

For some of us it *IS* a crushing financial burden.




I did not mean to disparage anyone with that statement. There was a bit of hyperbole there.




No worries, hyperbole understood as such. I still feel it is a good point to make though given the tendency to tell someone with a budget of $1000 to just save up for a Mach1 (or over in the DSLR section someone asking about a specific older camera being told to just go buy a brand new 60Da or 5D Mk III).


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Falcon-
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6366571 - 02/09/14 04:49 PM

Quote:

Integrating your mount to your home network, and ease of control and visualization from anywhere in your home or camp site? And you don't need to be rich. This is indeed revolutionary.




I have to agree. I was just taking advantage of that myself a couple nights ago (-10c weather, ~-15f). Sitting inside to babysit the autoguide session and even slightly tweaking the framing without heading back out into the cold is rather nice.


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gdd
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/23/05

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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Falcon-]
      #6366598 - 02/09/14 04:59 PM

No matter how good and precise the affordable mounts become there will always be a need in the market for something better. The professional astrophotographers will need a way of differentiating themselves from the rest of us, they may complain about the expense of their equipment but they need the high cost of entry. Fortunately they will still have their superior skill and artistic sense to stay ahead of the rest of us should the cost of entry become extremely low.

Gale


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BPO
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Destrehan Dave]
      #6366607 - 02/09/14 05:01 PM

Quote:

[L]eave [the ASA DDM60] home for your next public stargaze. You need a camera, MaximDL, and TheSkyX just to start the race.



Is that correct?


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Starhawk
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6366674 - 02/09/14 05:33 PM

I'm sorry, but I am going to have to differ with you on several points.

First, there is exteme ease in upgrading the high end mounts. Orly is literally correct- the electronics packages on AP mounts aren't even part of the mount; it's a little box on the side which plugs in. Someday there will be a CP4, and you're only "Left behind" if you don't want to spend less than a CGEM costs to get an entirely new control system.

Ditto for the 10Micron mounts and Losmandy as well.

If anything, it's the low end mounts from mass manufacturers which lock you in to an exact electronics set and proprietary ecosystem. Far from revolutionary, this model is backward and repressive.

Another point is the claim mounts are in their infancy. The earliest surviving telescope mounts are over 500 years old. What are you talking about?

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

I understand the gripe about upgradability, that's any tech product.

Cameras, cars, computers, phones, time marches on.




Fact of the matter is premium manufacturers have you ‘back’ loaded; they don’t offer anything near precise in their startup offerings until they get you by the bank in the name of so called precision (whatever you may call that, encoders/transducers, direct drives, etc.)


Mount technology is in its infancy and not even close to the precision that has been achieved in other industries, like cars, cameras, computers, etc. We no longer need to pay premium for such relics of the past.


Let’s adopt an expendable/disposable model like PC industry (super computer of yesterday can be had for $1K today at Walmart), let these new inventors go through some quick revisions, and let us buy their revisions in some quick succession at affordable prices to get this revolution off the ground.


Revolution is NOT coming from premium manufactures, price hike is. Money we poured into premium mounts over the years has led us to a premium black hole in mount precision without any gain in their affordability for the masses. Regards




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Destrehan Dave
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: BPO]
      #6366698 - 02/09/14 05:39 PM

Quote:

Quote:

[L]eave [the ASA DDM60] home for your next public stargaze. You need a camera, MaximDL, and TheSkyX just to start the race.



Is that correct?




I don't own one, but according to my research (and the ASA Support Forum)

Link to ASA Topic

it sure looks to me that this is a mount that is optimized for Astro-imaging. You definitely need Maxim, a planetarium program, and their proprietary software Autoslew and their sequencing software to get started.

That's what I was alluding to. If you like quick, hassle-free visual setups, you might want a CPC, VX, or an AP. Another approach, totally different, is the interesting Meade LX850. As I said before, they are not my cup of tea. Not banging on them... just my personal opinion. Looks very effective, but I'd never feel quite right about it no matter how good it was... it's me.

In my opinion, for my desires, the state-of-the art is ASA. I certainly can't sneeze at the Paramount MX, which also needs a computer, but at least has that neat hand paddle. The MX won't be offered with encoders. If you are to believe their own web page, in the case of the MX, the actual gains for what you get with an encoder are infinitesimal compared to their cost; namely, $4Gs per axis on their ME-II They won't offer them on the MX.

And I'm sure when Astro-Physics offers their APPC program, it might just best them all. They are as close as it gets to the 'sure bet' if you want to keep it for 20 years. Awesome value for the money

We all have our preferences. I could completely change my mind tomorrow and be enamored with an MX or an AP1100 with encoders. Or just learn to be ecstatic over the AP900, which is really all the mount anybody could ever want... it's exquisite!

DD


One day, I'll by a C8HD on a VX to use for 'casual' viewing, and keep my TEC APO160FL refractor for imaging. That way, I'll have my cake and eat it too



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Spacetravelerx
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6366803 - 02/09/14 06:20 PM

Quote:

I'm sorry, but I am going to have to differ with you on several points.

...

Another point is the claim mounts are in their infancy. The earliest surviving telescope mounts are over 500 years old. What are you talking about?

-Rich






Rich,

You completely miss the point. In geological terms 500 years is like an instant in time, ergo infancy.


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Starhawk
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6366948 - 02/09/14 07:23 PM

Heh- funny post.

-Rich


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6367204 - 02/09/14 09:20 PM

This just sounds like anti-capitalistic paranoia.

Again, like I said, show me the low cost revolutionary technology that will achieve what you want.

Unlike yourself perhaps, I've done the hard research of determining what encoders cost, what precision servo motors cost, etc. I don't believe the premium manufacturers have anything near a 100% margin once their labor costs are factored in. So your suspicions about the premium manufacturers gouging the customers are simply speculation (and almost certainly wrong).

I invite you to build your own mount to AP or Bisque quality. Or even just price out how much it would cost to build such a thing. If you even match their cost I will be shocked and awed.

As others have posted here, you can't compare technology like computers or mobile phones, where incremental improvements are driven by Moore's Law and billions of $$$ in R&D, to telescope mounts.

As for cars.. cars are a better comparison because they have a lot of mechanical moving parts. I submit that a Model T Ford compared to a working man's wage in 1910, is not significantly more expensive than a Toyota Corolla today, again relative to an average wage. Mechanical things don't improve like computers do, because there's no Moore's Law for mechanical stuff (until the 3D printers take over...)

And.. mount technology is in its infancy and doesn't have anything close to the precision of other products? don't make me laugh. Actually there is literally zero other consumer technology with the precision of a telescope mount.

To give an example, the bottom-end offering of "evil" AP can track uncorrected at 7" p-p. That is equivalent to 0.46 seconds maximum error in one day. Compare it to a Rolex that costs the same amount of money and can only muster 5 seconds in a day. So the AP mount is 10X as accurate and is made in far smaller quantities than the Rolex.


Quote:

Fact of the matter is premium manufacturers have you ‘back’ loaded; they don’t offer anything near precise in their startup offerings until they get you by the bank in the name of so called precision (whatever you may call that, encoders/transducers, direct drives, etc.)

Mount technology is in its infancy and not even close to the precision that has been achieved in other industries, like cars, cameras, computers, etc. We no longer need to pay premium for such relics of the past.


Let’s adopt an expendable/disposable model like PC industry (super computer of yesterday can be had for $1K today at Walmart), let these new inventors go through some quick revisions, and let us buy their revisions in some quick succession at affordable prices to get this revolution off the ground.


Revolution is NOT coming from premium manufactures, price hike is. Money we poured into premium mounts over the years has led us to a premium black hole in mount precision without any gain in their affordability for the masses. Regards




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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6367372 - 02/09/14 11:05 PM

Here's an example of something "revolutionary."

In this post - http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/6366994/page...

Yannick complains about the 280" of periodic error on his Sightron Nano Tracker.

I point out that a $10 Bourns absolute encoder (this one - http://www.newark.com/bourns/eaw0j-b24-ce0128l/absolute-mechanical-encoder/dp... with a $10 Atmega328 could provide a PEC indexing solution for the Nano Tracker.

So for a total cost of $20 (maybe $60 at the retail end) you can get maybe 10" to 20" p-p instead of 280".

That's one instance where Moore's Law helps.

But it's no big trick getting 280" down to 20".

It's the jump from 20" to 2" that costs the big bucks, and there are no cheap shortcuts there.


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6367628 - 02/10/14 03:10 AM

Quote:

...If you buy new then yes there is a loss, but what product doesn't penalize the first owner.

...I challenge you to find someone who tried to challenge AP and Bisque, and do it for a lower price. Many have tried and failed (e.g. William Optics, MorningCalm).

...My thesis is that mechanical quality does cost something, and even if you're Chinese you won't be able to do away with that cost. And the premium manufacturers aren't ripping us off, in fact they are not enjoying huge profit margins.

...Even the Koreans can't make a good high-resolution encoder. Those Autonics encoders (make in Korea) may be good enough for elevators, but not telescopes. And lest you scoff, Samsung is the largest technology company in the world. The Koreans are first-tier technology manufacturers. Even Japan isn't known for encoders (although Canon and Omron have some good offerings - but not notably cheaper than their German and UK competition).

There's a reason the Chinese are still buying Renishaw and Heidenhain encoders. They still can't make them. I'd be surprised if the CEM60 contained a Chinese-made encoder (I'd bet a steak dinner it contains a Western encoder).





Don’t tell me someone spending 10s of thousands of dollars is not chained to the manufacturer one way or the other. And Astro-physics and 10Microns of the industry have made you believe how miserable it is to make a mount at a reasonable price, even non-encoded entry level ones, while it is not.


Your knowledge of encoders is fine but that doesn’t help the plight of average consumer. Every viable solutions of yours doesn’t have to end at absolute encoders; there may be some intermediary measures (low resolution/incremental, etc.) that can be taken. Well, it’s not for you or I to argue the fact, and challenge may have already been accepted by the Chinese.


Your thesis of mechanical quality costing something is fine, but it doesn’t have to cost what's it's pretended to cost. As I said, there are avenues that can be pursued to make quality mounts at affordable prices.


Does it matter where CEM60 folks got their encoder? It is only on one axis and is not even absolute. Does it matter if CEM60 succeeds or not? It doesn’t! It shows good faith effort being made and that’s what matters and that’s the kind of revolution that’s needed. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6367694 - 02/10/14 04:11 AM

Quote:

You're comparing the auto industry's ability to revolutionize vehicles with their multi million dollar R&D departments to astronomy mount manufacturers? Same for camera companies and computer companies? If ever there was a non sequitur...

You want someone to make a mount that does what an ASA mount does at CGEM prices. Maybe you should sit down with Bisque or the guys at AP or ASA and find out just what it costs to make a premium mount (what kind of volume are we discussing?). I'm relatively sure that if you were a machinist working for one of these companies that you'd want to be compensated for your expertise. Good employees are VERY difficult to fine and keep. I'd be willing to bet that you'll find mostly long term machinists that work for AP or Bisque because they are compensated well and are proud of the work they do.

This is a tiny industry. Low volume equals high prices. Gotta' pay for the stuff and gotta' pay your employees and still have enough left over to feed your family as well. It's economics that dictate the price, simple. If you have a better business model to produce low volume items cheaply, you need to exploit it.

This discussion has happened several times when one person will say that he can produce a mount as good as an MX or an AP1100 for less money. And yet, I haven't seen it happen. There's a reason why. Profit margins on the thousands and thousands of cars that Ford sells can be far less and still pay everyone because of that volume. Do you expect Bisque or AP to run on that same margin? Aint' gonna' happen and stay in business because the volume is so low.

This is the busiest astro webpage around. It has about 70,000 members. How many do you suspect are imagers? 1%? Likely, it's less than that. So where is the volume of purchases going to come from to produce those mounts you think we deserve?




David, R&D comparisons and ‘how tiny we are’ argument has been beaten to death and everyone knows! No, it is not a valid argument in my opinion, honestly.


No, I don’t want someone to make amount what an ASA mount does at CGEM prices but I sincerely would like Astro-physics, 10Mcirons, and Paramounts of the world to make an honest effort to make something at CGEM prices.


ASA’s direct drive is new and made to be sound too exotic at the moment (don’t let Orlando go at it if he gets a break from mystifying encoders ) and I would rather wait for Chinese to take a stab it before trying/buying. It sounds too foreign (EU) at the moment and crossing pond is never a good thing for either side [forget premium prices then... that's premiumX2].


Your argument about numbers may be quite off; deducing from CN numbers may not be quite scientific. I have been doing astronomy for many years and first time I logged on/signed up was in 2012. Trust me, volume is there; we just don’t have much to offer in quality, affordable astronomy equipment to new comers (and no, that Walmart class equipment has to go if are to attract new to astronomy). Aside from mounts, our own Astronomics’ tiny little 65mm EDQ doesn’t even work out of the box before it needs an overhaul by the user.


Plus, once mounts like ZEQ and AVX have a chance to get their kinks out, I feel they will get adopted by new comers in larger numbers than ever before given their price point and coming boom in astrophotography. Yes, if we don't keep messing up like LX80 [wish Meade would once live up to their end of the bargain], then it will be different story... more on that later. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Destrehan Dave]
      #6367703 - 02/10/14 04:23 AM

Quote:

Personally, I'd do without Astronomy altogether before buying another Chinese mount. I've had 3: AS/GT, (the ad said "AstroPhotographer's dream" - HA!), a CGEM (must have stood for "Can't Get Enough Momentum", because it continually stopped in mid-slew), and a CGEM Pro. Let's just say I took a financial blood-bath on all 3. Sold them all for significant losses... could have bought at least a G11 or Mach1 in the end.

...

So, that's my two dollars’ worth... Just one man's opinion. No Chinese mounts.. period. I'll do without first. Maybe take up the bassoon first




David, I had to lookup what a 'bassoon' was . Not going to sell you Chinese; I wouldn’t have either had it not been for the apathy of so called premium-ers. Revolution is happening (ZEQ/AVX/CEM, etc.), let’s see how it transpires. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: EFT]
      #6367710 - 02/10/14 04:37 AM

Quote:

I know of no manufacturer making large profit margins on astronomy equipment, particularly when man hours, machinery time and overhead are taken into consideration. I know of some who make very little profit but continue to provide their products because of a love of the hobby. I also know of no one who wouldn't gladly reduce their prices if there were already enough margin to do so and it was obvious that doing so would increase their market share. 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).




Ed, you pretty much said it, “not going to happen with premium equipment”; that’s wrong attitude in my opinion at least, which actually should be, “we ought to try at least”. It is chicken and egg thing, premium-ers are not going to try mass production to reduce price; masses are not going to buy at premium prices unless mass produced/offered at lower price. We have a stale mate; let Chinese solve our problem! Regards


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famax
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6367734 - 02/10/14 05:44 AM

Precision mechanics isn't subject to scale cost cuts...
So, precision mechanics will be ever expensive.
that's it.


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GIR
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6367747 - 02/10/14 06:01 AM

Quote:



No, I don’t want someone to make amount what an ASA mount does at CGEM prices but I sincerely would like Astro-physics, 10Mcirons, and Paramounts of the world to make an honest effort to make something at CGEM prices.


ASA’s direct drive is new and made to be sound too exotic at the moment (don’t let Orlando go at it if he gets a break from mystifying encoders ) and I would rather wait for Chinese to take a stab it before trying/buying. It sounds too foreign (EU) at the moment and crossing pond is never a good thing for either side [forget premium prices then... that's premiumX2].






Have to say that I've lost the logic behind all this.

You'd rather wait for Chinese to start producing very high tech and complex instruments with lower costs ? Chinese who are famous for having a lot of problems with quality control etc.
At the same time you see EU as too foreign and are afraid of "crossing the bond" Even both, US and Europe are known for their ability to produce very high quality products

For me the combination of latest technology (and high quality products) with cheap prices is not from this world, however much we'd like to see that.

P.S. I don't think Orlyandico is mystifying encoders, quite the opposite. He has been able to explain very nicely that not all encoders are equal, and why high quality encoders are so expensive.


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: GIR]
      #6367765 - 02/10/14 06:34 AM

Quote:

You'd rather wait for Chinese to start producing very high tech and complex instruments with lower costs ? Chinese who are famous for having a lot of problems with quality control etc.




Well, sadly that's what it is going to take to trickle down technology at lower prices. I had the same point of view not long ago (about QA I mean). With some recent developments things are starting to change with China I think. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: famax]
      #6367770 - 02/10/14 06:46 AM

Quote:

Precision mechanics isn't subject to scale cost cuts...
So, precision mechanics will be ever expensive.
that's it.




Not building rocket ships here; some semblance of precision will be fine for the masses. ZEQ and AVX are good examples of not so precise mechanics but something that can be gradually improved to encroach upon the precision that is now the domain of premium.


Concept is not hard to grasp folks; deep down in all of us there is voice of reason. That's all that it will take; otherwise no logic given is good enough from either side. There is the revolution. Regards


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6367782 - 02/10/14 07:06 AM

mmalik, what you have is a bunch of motherhood statements with no basis in reality. and you can't be bothered to actually do the research and find out for yourself how much precision costs. you just dismiss it as "mystifying."

For your information I have built TWO encoder drives for mounts, one with an (expensive) Swiss encoder, and one with a (cheap) Slovenian encoder. The more expensive one costs about $1000 in parts, so if productized would cost $2000 (same range as the TDM). The cheap one costs about $500 in parts.

What, no Chinese?!?! well because they can't make encoders with the necessary precision at the right price.

when I did my GoTo conversion, I initially ordered some planetary gearbox steppers (through AliExpress) from China. $80 each (vs $250 each for Japanese Vextas, the same motors used in Takahashi mounts). So expensive! you say. Those %$#$!! Chinese steppers, the bolt holes in the gearhead stripped when I torqued down the holding bolts. So I got to throw away $160. That's a freakin' stepper motor, which is 1950s technology.

What you fail to grasp is that a product is far more than the cost of its materials. You also have to factor in risk, cost of money, cost of returns, fulfillment, the capital expenditures to gear up for mass production.. I started out damning the TDM people because they want $2000 for their gadget. But after going through the same procedure.. they need to charge $2000 to survive. Maybe I can productize something like the TDM, but since the parts cost $1000 I don't see how I can undercut those Hungarians.

If you like working for nothing, then good for you. People have to eat.

In the meantime, you can keep on waiting for your revolution.


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Ultron
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6367878 - 02/10/14 08:40 AM

Quote:

Here's an example of something "revolutionary."

In this post - http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/6366994/page...

Yannick complains about the 280" of periodic error on his Sightron Nano Tracker.

I point out that a $10 Bourns absolute encoder (this one - http://www.newark.com/bourns/eaw0j-b24-ce0128l/absolute-mechanical-encoder/dp... with a $10 Atmega328 could provide a PEC indexing solution for the Nano Tracker.

So for a total cost of $20 (maybe $60 at the retail end) you can get maybe 10" to 20" p-p instead of 280".

That's one instance where Moore's Law helps.

But it's no big trick getting 280" down to 20".

It's the jump from 20" to 2" that costs the big bucks, and there are no cheap shortcuts there.




The parts might be $20, but the R&D, man hours, software programming, and final testing would also cost them money. This charge would be added to the final price as well. It's easy for one person to do it on their time off, but people get paid money specifically to do all this in a company.

Probably another reason these Chinese mounts can be sold cheap is the lack of final testing from the factory. How often do you hear about AP, Bisque, Tak mounts being sent back after purchase due to being faulty out of the box? This costs the company man hours, the proper equipment for testing, the time for R&D to correct problems, and most importantly, product yield. If it doesn't pass, it doesn't get sold.

Now, the Chinese probably have some testing in place, but nowhere near as strict, which helps produce higher yield, in turn means defective equipment being sold, and the faulty equipment being returned. They take the chance that they can sell these mounts with minimal testing, and that only some will fail miserably and be returned. Look at all the threads of people taking apart their iOptron and Celestron mounts from the get go to "tune" them. These should come to customers in working order. If this was done properly and tested at the factory, the prices would skyrocket, and there would be no talk of "revolution".

Edited by Ultron (02/10/14 08:41 AM)


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6367905 - 02/10/14 09:07 AM

Quote:

Quote:

You're comparing the auto industry's ability to revolutionize vehicles with their multi million dollar R&D departments to astronomy mount manufacturers? Same for camera companies and computer companies? If ever there was a non sequitur...

You want someone to make a mount that does what an ASA mount does at CGEM prices. Maybe you should sit down with Bisque or the guys at AP or ASA and find out just what it costs to make a premium mount (what kind of volume are we discussing?). I'm relatively sure that if you were a machinist working for one of these companies that you'd want to be compensated for your expertise. Good employees are VERY difficult to fine and keep. I'd be willing to bet that you'll find mostly long term machinists that work for AP or Bisque because they are compensated well and are proud of the work they do.

This is a tiny industry. Low volume equals high prices. Gotta' pay for the stuff and gotta' pay your employees and still have enough left over to feed your family as well. It's economics that dictate the price, simple. If you have a better business model to produce low volume items cheaply, you need to exploit it.

This discussion has happened several times when one person will say that he can produce a mount as good as an MX or an AP1100 for less money. And yet, I haven't seen it happen. There's a reason why. Profit margins on the thousands and thousands of cars that Ford sells can be far less and still pay everyone because of that volume. Do you expect Bisque or AP to run on that same margin? Aint' gonna' happen and stay in business because the volume is so low.

This is the busiest astro webpage around. It has about 70,000 members. How many do you suspect are imagers? 1%? Likely, it's less than that. So where is the volume of purchases going to come from to produce those mounts you think we deserve?


Aside from mounts, our own Astronomics’ tiny little 65mm EDQ doesn’t even work out of the box before it needs an overhaul by the user.

Plus, once mounts like ZEQ and AVX have a chance to get their kinks out, I feel they will get adopted by new comers in larger numbers than ever before given their price point and coming boom in astrophotography. Yes, if we don't keep messing up like LX80 [wish Meade would once live up to their end of the bargain], then it will be different story... more on that later. Regards




You're contradicting yourself. In one breath, you complain about a 65mm refractor needing help out of the box, yet you say that once the above mentioned mounts get the kinks out, they'll be good. Which is it? Not good to have to tinker or ok if you have to tinker.

AP, Bisque and ASA to name a few have decided to make high end mounts with a very high degree of accuracy and it's not cheap to do so, regardless of what you think. There are plenty of mid to low price mounts out there for visual and imaging backyarders to choose from. Why should the high end guys have to make something to place into a market that already has a plentitude of competitors?

And you like the car comparison...I suppose you believe that Ferrari should get off its high horse (pun intended) and start making cars to compete with Toyota or Ford so that the masses can own a Ferrari? What's the difference when comparing Ferrari, a very low volume, high priced vehicle with a Mustang, a low priced, high volume vehicle...sorta' like comparing a CGEM to a Mach1?

And don't say Corvette. GM's Ferrari competition, the ZO6, will be north of 100K...not for the masses.

David


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Starhawk
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6367927 - 02/10/14 09:32 AM

This is another version of those wacky posts from a couple years ago where apparently the guys from ASA were saying now that an expensive direct drive is available, all conventional mounts should cost $1.95.

Like those, there is no thought to what it takes to make really good machined parts. I've done machining- a precision result literally means more passes, special tooling, and special care at every step. All of this means more time and buying more equipment. All of that is cost.

One of the problems with simple statements of "Supply and demand" is it is thrown around with little regard to the limits. Boeing 777 airliners are mass produced compared to Space Shuttles- 1168 built vs. 6. So, to some extent, the 777 can benefit from economies of scale. And based on that, one might naively assume increasing the build quantities of 777s further, they would eventually be $5 each. However, there is a finite amount of work, and a substantive amount of energy and material which must be employed to build it, so, it can't just get cheaper and cheaper- that's why supply is a curve- it asymptotically approaches the limits of physics. Likewise, if Space Shuttles had been built in 777 quantities, they would still be more expensive because of what they were made of and the amount of work needed to do it. But the big thing in either of these examples is it requires more total money to be spent to get any improvement in supply or in cost. If we had bought 64 shuttles instead of 6, we would have seen vast improvement in per-unit cost, as well as improvements in the delivered vehicles as it was possible to employ what was learned on early examples on later ones. But the total amount spent would have been much larger.

E.g. For additional effort to make the per unit cost cheaper, it means the total amount spent is more. If I have a method, which if implemented, will let me make item X for half as much, I have to sell twice as many to break even. If I will sell the same number, then I'll just make half as much,and the bank loan I got to pay for the new machining center I bought to reduce per-part cost eats by business.

So, back to telescope mounts. No seriously cheap way to make superb gears has been found. Cheap mediocre gears are available. No seriously cheap way to get the highest end performance has been found, otherwise- as Orly pointed out, the encoders are expensive before they are attached to a mount.

So, where does this revolution live? If. Mach 1 GTO mounts cost 10% less, would that be your revolution? Right now, they are individually hand assembled and run by one person against a master reference to ensure they do work and do meet spec before they ship. Is that step the one you want to see deleted to save 20% in the cost of the mount, and instead have a product where instead of every single one in the field coming in below the spec, there would be a significant number which didn't meet it? That wouldn't be a Mach 1 GTO then, would it? In fact, there is a mount with exactly those parameters talked about here, which has never been demonstrated to meet Mach 1 level performance. There is no free lunch.

So, instead of emoting this peculiar view there is about to be a suddenly cheap super mount for a very small market, and somehow the industry will survive despite far less being invested in it, how about thinking about what would grow this hobby so there would be the interest needed to develop further? If amateur astronomers were as common as iPhone users,so $billions/ month were being spent on this hobby, you'd see faster advancement.

-Rich

Edited by Starhawk (02/10/14 09:39 AM)


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WadeH237
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6368263 - 02/10/14 12:50 PM

Quote:

And Astro-physics and 10Microns of the industry have made you believe how miserable it is to make a mount at a reasonable price, even non-encoded entry level ones, while it is not.




Where do you get this idea?

I don't have direct experience with 10Micron, but I have met the folks at Astro-Physics and spent time talking with them.

Roland, Marj and the others at AP are great people, who have a deep passion for what they do. There is absolutely no price gouging whatsoever going on with them.

In terms of pricing policy, it seems to me that they follow their costs more closely than they follow supply and demand. Can you name any other company that maintains (sometimes long) waiting lists for their products, rather than simply raise the prices to where supply and demand match?

We can debate the quality and performance of the products all you want, but please don't make claims that they are doing any injustice to either their customers or amateur astronomy.


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6368268 - 02/10/14 12:53 PM

Listening to you folks, do we have a stalemate then instead of revolution? I think NOT! It is coming from low end instead of high, and that is a fact. Whether it erodes so-called high ups, time will tell. Regards

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blueman
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6368315 - 02/10/14 01:13 PM

There will always be low end and high end on everything. This is true if you look, whether it be bicycles or telescopes.
You can not get high end for the cost of low end on anything, just isn't possible.
So, it is up to you to decide which end you wish to buy.
Blueman


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frolinmod
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Destrehan Dave]
      #6368328 - 02/10/14 01:21 PM

Quote:

If you are to believe their own web page, in the case of the MX, the actual gains for what you get with an encoder are infinitesimal compared to their cost; namely, $4Gs per axis on their ME-II.



Actually it's $3K per axis. Please scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page for extensive information concerning on-axis encoders.


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jimb1001
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6368336 - 02/10/14 01:24 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I understand the gripe about upgradability, that's any tech product.

Cameras, cars, computers, phones, time marches on.




Fact of the matter is premium manufacturers have you ‘back’ loaded; they don’t offer anything near precise in their startup offerings until they get you by the bank in the name of so called precision (whatever you may call that, encoders/transducers, direct drives, etc.)


Mount technology is in its infancy and not even close to the precision that has been achieved in other industries, like cars, cameras, computers, etc. We no longer need to pay premium for such relics of the past.


Let’s adopt an expendable/disposable model like PC industry (super computer of yesterday can be had for $1K today at Walmart), let these new inventors go through some quick revisions, and let us buy their revisions in some quick succession at affordable prices to get this revolution off the ground.


Revolution is NOT coming from premium manufactures, price hike is. Money we poured into premium mounts over the years has led us to a premium black hole in mount precision without any gain in their affordability for the masses. Regards




Your comparisons don't really hold up.

There are $300 laptops and $3000 laptops. The software and firmware is usually exactly the same. The difference is in the design, materials used and assembly.

Pretty much the same story with mounts. The software controlling the AVX is just a precise as that controlling much more expensive mounts. The difference in price is the precision of the mechanical aspects of the mount. Its easier to precise when creating 1s and 0s in a computer program than in making 2 gears mesh perfectly.

The added expense is in the amount of labor required to achieve precision on an individual basis.

Lets face it, a very precise and durable mechanical device is a car's automatic transmission. Even mass produced in the millions with exceptional engineering applied to the design and manufacturing process, still costs upwards of $5000.

So given the amount of mechanical components in a telescope mount, I don't see why you have an expectation that AP level mechanical precision from a $1000 mount, in the small quantities the demand requires.


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Spacetravelerx]
      #6368856 - 02/10/14 05:37 PM

Quote:

Meade is coming out with a mount to replace the LX80 very soon - I am curious what it is.





To give credit where credit is due, fault doesn’t completely lie with premium-ers; entry levels/generics have to share some of the burden. Meade is the biggest culprit of all with their putzing around for past few years. There is a void to the counterparts of AVX and ZEQ from Meade. LX80 was never going to stand up to the challenges we are talking about, and it never did. With that chapter closed, Meade has an opportunity to commit another coup though it will not be much of a coup this time around but surely will be a welcome relief to the masses and will help accelerate revolution in progress. Only if they could produce something quality that (wishfully) may even beat AVX/ZEQ?


While we are at it, and while everyone is in lecturing mode how high end will be high end and low and will be low end; I beg to differ… why can’t for the life of premium-ers they wouldn’t try something at AVX/ZEQ price point, be it Chinese made, did quality control themselves, and offered something quality for a change while their coffers are filled? No I am not expecting that one precious guy building mounts at Astro-physics to do all that, but just a thought why can’t it be done?


I digress; while Orlando’s gold laced encoders might be pricey (pun intended), what I don’t know if those $20 encoders he talks about can be tried in the lower end mounts of AVX/ZEQ class and Meade’s upcoming surprise (let's call that MDE for discussion sake?) Would Meade want to venture to commit that kind of coup while our grandiose dilutions last?


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6368872 - 02/10/14 05:45 PM

You need to read up more on encoders.

A $20 encoder simply doesn't have the precision, it only has about 100 - 200 ticks. Simple math will tell you that with 1296000 arc-seconds per revolution of the axis, 200 ticks won't cut it.

All existing servo mounts - even the cheap ones - are already using $50 encoders on their motors. But the kind of encoders that are interesting to me are not on the motors, but on the actual RA and DEC axes. Those encoders need to have at least 1 million ticks.

Find me a 1 million tick encoder under $100 and we'll be in business. Heck find me a 1 million tick encoder under $250 and that would still be something. Don't forget, you need one per axis.

Let's look at one of these Chinese "revolutions" - the AZ-EQ6 has axis encoders on both axes (!) oh wait, they are only 7000 ticks each. Useful for rough pointing, but useless for improving the periodic error. And 7000 ticks is pretty dismal considering that the encoder track goes all around the axes. HP/Agilent has been making 10000 tick encoders that are much smaller, for years (note: 10000 tick is still way insufficient for the type of thing 10Micron and ASA are doing).

Your wishful thinking requires that a lot of enabling technologies become cheap. Guess what.. they're not.


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6368885 - 02/10/14 05:52 PM

What about incremental ones? I think CEM60 has one, is there a cheaper version that that can be tried on AVX/ZEQ class?

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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? *DELETED* new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6368891 - 02/10/14 05:55 PM

Post deleted by orlyandico

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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6368899 - 02/10/14 05:58 PM

Absolute encoders with 1 million ticks start at about $450 each. But they have about +/- 20" of subdivisional error, so are difficult to use in mounts. Absolute encoders with low SDE.. those are in the multiple thousands. Think AP is gouging with their $4000/axis absolute encoders? the encoders they use are about $3000 from the supplier, so AP's profit is minimal considering that they have to integrate the encoders.

The 10000 tick incrementals are about $100-range. The existing 200 ppr ones on the motors of even the humble AVX are in the $70 range. 5000cpr incrementals like the ones I used are in the $400 to $700 range depending on manufacturer.

BTW your idea of taking low-end mounts and doing very strict quality control on them, etc. has sort of been done (Company 7). Not by a manufacturer, but by a distributor.

How much would you pay for a guaranteed-working CGEM, with guaranteed under 20" peak-to-peak fundamental? it takes many hours to tune these mounts, measure the PE, replace the too-short bolts that strip the threads in the casting. Probably 20 hours minimum.

Are you willing to pay even an additional $500 for that? Most people aren't.


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6368962 - 02/10/14 06:17 PM

Let's look at the CEM60.

The non-encoder version is $2500, and the encoder version is $3900.

I am not in the least surprised at such a price differential. Given what I've just shared about encoder pricing, that price differential of $1400 makes sense.

So... iOptron is price gouging! the incremental encoder in there can't cost more than $500 right?


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gdd
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6369108 - 02/10/14 07:15 PM

Quote:

All existing servo mounts - even the cheap ones - are already using $50 encoders on their motors. But the kind of encoders that are interesting to me are not on the motors, but on the actual RA and DEC axes. Those encoders need to have at least 1 million ticks.





How about a compromise on encoders for low end mounts, put them on the gearbox output shaft or the worm to eliminate gearbox noise and allow PEC to work on the primary PE from the worm.

Edit: Or if you don't use PEC, it would still smooth out the PE so autoguiding would work better.

Gale

Edited by gdd (02/10/14 07:17 PM)


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Phil Cowell
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: blueman]
      #6369120 - 02/10/14 07:21 PM

Quote:

There will always be low end and high end on everything. This is true if you look, whether it be bicycles or telescopes.
You can not get high end for the cost of low end on anything, just isn't possible.
So, it is up to you to decide which end you wish to buy.
Blueman




I think the high end and lower end will continue, the biggest impact is looking like the higher mid level producers. Probably were the biggest vendor attrition is likely to take place.


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OzAndrewJ
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: gdd]
      #6369142 - 02/10/14 07:34 PM

Gday Gale

Quote:

How about a compromise on encoders for low end mounts, put them on the gearbox output shaft or the worm to eliminate gearbox noise and allow PEC to work on the primary PE from the worm.




If you refer to the following thread, thats exactly what one vendor is doing as an add on for a Meade LX200GPS type scope
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/6321788/page...
Still waiting for more feedback, but it does look like an interesting way to skin a cat.

That said, the Meades also have the equivalent of Celestrons 8/3 error and after looking at many long duration error plots for Meades, there can also be substantial ( but slow ) drift due to tooth spacing errors, so it still only gets you part way.
Encoders on the worm are sure a step forwards, but the real benefit will be with cheap hi precision encoders on the output axles.
One thing i thought of years ago ( but it would require a specialised jig ) is if you could make an axle with a wormwheel solidly fixed ( ie machined as a single assy ).
Then glue a writeable DVD ( or its equivalent ) to the unit.
Put it in a jig in its bearings and then burn an absolute encoder pattern into it.
That would massively reduce centring errors etc.
Never could find out how accurate the readheads/error corrections were at low speeds tho.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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gdd
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #6369386 - 02/10/14 09:38 PM

Quote:

Gday Gale


Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How about a compromise on encoders for low end mounts, put them on the gearbox output shaft or the worm to eliminate gearbox noise and allow PEC to work on the primary PE from the worm.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



If you refer to the following thread, thats exactly what one vendor is doing as an add on for a Meade LX200GPS type scope
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/6321788/page...
Still waiting for more feedback, but it does look like an interesting way to skin a cat.





Looks like it is designed to replace the PEC functionality built into the mount(rather than supplement it as I envisioned), maybe make it permanent (if it was not already) or more accurate. It claims to know the position of the worm at all times within 0.35 degrees and also calibrates it against a PEC training session.

More detailed discussion should go in the other thread.

Gale


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gdd
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: OzAndrewJ]
      #6369387 - 02/10/14 09:38 PM

Quote:

Gday Gale


Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How about a compromise on encoders for low end mounts, put them on the gearbox output shaft or the worm to eliminate gearbox noise and allow PEC to work on the primary PE from the worm.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



If you refer to the following thread, thats exactly what one vendor is doing as an add on for a Meade LX200GPS type scope
http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/6321788/page...
Still waiting for more feedback, but it does look like an interesting way to skin a cat.





Looks like it is designed to replace the PEC functionality built into the mount(rather than supplement it as I envisioned), maybe make it permanent (if it was not already) or more accurate. It claims to know the position of the worm at all times within 0.35 degrees and also calibrates it against a PEC training session.

More detailed discussion should go in the other thread.

Gale


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: gdd]
      #6369634 - 02/11/14 12:04 AM

an absolute encoder on the worm (the $10 Bourns one) would give absolute indexing of the worm rotation to 8 bits, so a bit more than 1 degree per count. Should be plenty for an enhanced PEC.

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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6369791 - 02/11/14 02:55 AM Attachment (9 downloads)

Quote:

Think AP is gouging with their $4000/axis absolute encoders? The encoders they use are about $3000 from the supplier, so AP's profit is minimal considering that they have to integrate the encoders.

...

So... iOptron is price gouging! The incremental encoder in there can't cost more than $500 right?





Your knowhow of encoders is very much appreciated; thank you for the technical details above!


When it comes to gouging for the lack of a better word, Astro-physics pricing model is such that they would have ‘had’ you before they even let you close to their encoded ones (in price I mean); you would have spent around $9K on non-encoded already before their additional $4K/$3K margin/axis price model kicks in.


IMPORTANT: A comparison of sorts below; NOT a valid comparison here... CEM60 is half the capacity of 1100GTO; yes you might say hence price doubles for 1100GTO but that’s not supposed to be a linear model per se.


Point here being $16K is NOT expendable for most while $4K becomes somewhat expendable for most. I would rather be gouged by iOptron under such a model and have the flexibility to throw one out the door if it came to that to try something new that came along rather be either stuck with one for life and not have the flexibility to enjoy the hottest technology of the time or be worried about selling and losing in first owner depreciation. On a side note, CEM60 may fill that permanent vs. portable mount model more easily than 1100GTO.


There is your revolution folks; not joined at the hip to your mount for life.


Following is a dialogue between Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and Neil (Robert De Niro) in 1995 film 'Heat'; this is the discipline required under such a revolution—metaphorically speaking. Regards


NEIL: A man told me once: you want to make moves? Don't keep anything in your life you're not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.

So if you're chasing me and you gotta move when I move, how do you expect to keep a family?

VINCENT: What are you, a monk?

NEIL: No. I got a woman.

VINCENT: What do you tell her?

NEIL: I tell her I'm a salesman.

VINCENT: And if you spot me around the corner. You gonna walk out on her? Leave her flat? Like that? Not even say goodbye?

NEIL: That's the discipline.

VINCENT: What you're left with is pretty empty.

NEIL: Yeah? Then maybe you and me, we should both go do somethin' else, pal.

VINCENT: I don't know how to do anything else.

NEIL: ...neither do I.

VINCENT: And I don't much want to.

NEIL: Neither do I.

VINCENT: We're sitting here like a couple of regular fellas. You do what you do. I do what I gotta do. What happens if I am there and I got to put you away? I won't like it. But, if it's between you and some poor *BLEEP* whose wife you're going to make into a widow, brother, you are gonna go down.

NEIL: There's a flip side to that coin. What if you got me boxed in and I gotta put you down? 'Cause no matter what, you will not get in my way. But now that we been face to face, I would not feel good about that. But I won't hesitate. Not for one second.

VINCENT: (smiles) Maybe it'll happen that way. Or who knows ...

NEIL: ...maybe we'll never see each other again.



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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6369797 - 02/11/14 02:59 AM

So.. you'd rather gamble $4000 on an iOptron and then "throw it out" if it doesn't meet expectations?

Then you must have far more disposable income than I.

When I got my mount I knew my wife would not tolerate yet another mount if this one didn't meet expectations.

At least with AP (or Bisque, or 10Micron) you are sure it won't let you down.

People who can't afford to gamble $4000 are better off paying $6500 for a "known good."


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6369808 - 02/11/14 03:12 AM

Quote:

So.. you'd rather gamble $4000 on an iOptron...




Sadly, that's the discipline! No different from your super computer that you upgrade every few years...


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Tonk
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6369846 - 02/11/14 04:34 AM

Quote:

Then glue a writeable DVD ( or its equivalent ) to the unit.




Interesting - the same thought had briefly passed through my head. You also have a mass produced laser reader device as well which is a plus. Another issue is the centering precision required when gluing the disk to the axle end else eccentricities mess stuff up. Possibly you can calibrate out the eccentricity errors with an external higher resolution reference encoder (which I believe is how 10Micron deal with the eccentricity issue).

I wonder what the real killer is with this idea


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Whichwayisnorth
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Tonk]
      #6369853 - 02/11/14 04:57 AM

You burn it in place to eliminate the issue. Get it as centered as you can and burn baby burn.

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Tonk
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Whichwayisnorth]
      #6369857 - 02/11/14 05:07 AM

Quote:

You burn it in place to eliminate the issue.




Cool - at this rate we could embark on an open source abs encoder project


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austin.grant
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Tonk]
      #6369989 - 02/11/14 08:22 AM

When gathering supporting artifacts for a discussion, one of the first things I ask myself is, "Does the crux of my rebuttal involve a quote from the 1995 movie 'Heat'?" If the answer to that basic question is "yes", I know I've already lost the argument and, most significantly, my mind.

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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Phil Cowell]
      #6370878 - 02/11/14 06:02 PM

Quote:

Quote:

There will always be low end and high end on everything. This is true if you look, whether it be bicycles or telescopes.
You can not get high end for the cost of low end on anything, just isn't possible.
So, it is up to you to decide which end you wish to buy.
Blueman




I think the high end and lower end will continue, the biggest impact is looking like the higher mid level producers. Probably were the biggest vendor attrition is likely to take place.




What price level you have in mind when you say mid-level producers; and/or which mid-level producers? Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6370914 - 02/11/14 06:21 PM

Quote:

...put "Absolute, 12Mticks" on the GM1000HPS




Per, what's the price of the one you suggest. I ask because I had put ~$9k for GM1000HPS in the first post; does that price include the specs you suggest? Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: WadeH237]
      #6370936 - 02/11/14 06:31 PM

Quote:

I would add to your list the EQ6 Pro...




Wade, this got lost in the translation, Sorry; can you provide specs if handy? What's the deal with SkyWatcher and Orion branded mounts? What's the difference between Atlas and Sirius logos? Regards


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Phil Cowell
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6370948 - 02/11/14 06:40 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

There will always be low end and high end on everything. This is true if you look, whether it be bicycles or telescopes.
You can not get high end for the cost of low end on anything, just isn't possible.
So, it is up to you to decide which end you wish to buy.
Blueman




I think the high end and lower end will continue, the biggest impact is looking like the higher mid level producers. Probably were the biggest vendor attrition is likely to take place.




What price level you have in mind when you say mid-level producers; and/or which mid-level producers? Regards




Around the .$2000 to $3500 range. There is a lot of competition moving into that market. Not all will survive. Time will tell which ones.


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: EFT]
      #6371112 - 02/11/14 08:28 PM

Quote:

The premium mounts of today largely spawn the revolution or evolution of tomorrow's non-premium mounts and give the companies making those mounts something to strive for as the technology-related parts of the mounts become less expensive. In the meantime, the premium mount manufactures must continue to innovate or eventually be overtaken and rendered superfluous...




If that were a true statement [if folks agree?] then trends are surely changing, hence the revolution. I see today’s non-premium-ers making more strides in innovation than today’s somewhat complacent, reapers of the past. Yes, they may have stuck encoders on their already ‘not so accessible to masses’ mounts to make then even more non-accessible, but that’s about it.


Good examples are CEM60 and LX850; iOptron is actually trying to do something to bring some level of mount precision to average astronomer. While I never subscribed to the LX850’s StarLock gadget and its price point, it still was a worthy effort at innovation by Meade which didn’t catch on as predicted; reason once again being its price point [another reason why new technology has to be within reason].


What we need (wishfully...) from premium-ers like Astro-physics, 10Micron, Paramount, etc. is 'somewhat' precise mount offerings in the range of $2K-$4K. Encoders being the name of the game these days, yes they would need to stick them one, be them incremental... no harm wishing


Putting people into arbitrary low, medium, high money brackets, and putting mounts into low, medium, high categories [which was intentionally avoided this thread] is an exercise in futility in my opinion. We already know where masses fall in money brackets, and where masses fall in their weight requirements (with margin of error).


While premium-ers take their time to finely refine that one mount by one machinist (who is probably millionaire by now), China would have built 10s of 'somewhat' precise mounts.


No one is denying the importance of precision crafted mounts; there will always be a need. Most agree we also don’t need non-QA, non-precise Chinese crafts like LX80. There is a median and it is starting to get painted again and that’s quite revolutionary. Regards


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austin.grant
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6371143 - 02/11/14 08:42 PM

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That's why the premium mount manufacturers don't need innovation, and precisely why the low-end manufacturers MUST innovate.

To continue the revolutionary new tradition of including movie quotes, here's a gem from the 1995 classic "Billy Madison"

Principal: Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Billy Madison: Okay, a simple no would’ve done just fine.


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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6371626 - 02/12/14 04:05 AM

Quote:


Quote:


...put "Absolute, 12Mticks" on the GM1000HPS





Per, what's the price of the one you suggest. I ask because I had put ~$9k for GM1000HPS in the first post; does that price include the specs you suggest? Regards





You can't get an 1000HPS without encoders or with different encoders - so it should be right. The only purchase choices I had are additional counterweights and with/without various tripod choices. I bought the mount head only configuration (no tripod but includes the mount controller) in the UK last year for Ł4,500 (excluding tax). The price was put up significantly a month later.


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Per Frejvall
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Tonk]
      #6371709 - 02/12/14 06:53 AM

Correct. Encoders only, no version without.

/per


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Destrehan Dave
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6372163 - 02/12/14 11:55 AM

Just got an email from iOptron.. Encoders on _both_ axis coming in the CM120! The war has begun!

I hope this 'revolution' does not evolve into the type of 'war' Microsoft waged in the early '90s with an inferior operating system they 'borrowed' called 'Windows 3.1' They were so big, all they had to do to extinguish competition (and innovation) was to announce that an alternative was going to be included in their next release of software. Anybody remember BackupXpress? Reliable backup was an area where Windows, well.. sucked. Kinda like adjusting the azimuth in a CGEM without a layer of sticky tape. How about Superbase, Paradox, TurboC, FoxBase, dBase, GroupWise, LotusNotes? All killed by the evil empire.

Thank God there is not a supergiant in the cluster. If AP would announce an AP100 with 50 lbs capacity, or price drop of the Mach1GTO to $4Gs, the competition would have to surrender. Or SB could announce a "Paramount LIGHT" for $5Gs and everyone would forget adding encoders to mid-level mounts, whatever they are.

Praise the Lord there is competition; neither SB nor AP can afford to lose money on their first couple thousand units until the market adjusts, like Microsoft did with XBox... I heard they lost like $150 on every unit they sold for years.

Hey, maybe we could mass produce them for a loss and have the Government bail us out because we'd then be 'too big to fail...'

Any takers


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Destrehan Dave]
      #6372188 - 02/12/14 12:18 PM

I bet that CEM120 (with "120 lb payload") will cost.. $7000.

CEM60 at $2500. A CEM120 would be around $5000 (reasonable, same price as the CGE Pro - the iEQ45 doesn't cost less than the CGEM and I see no reason for this to change).

CEM60EC at $3800 (a $1300 premium). So two encoders would be.. $2600 (or maybe less).

If the CEM120 (no encoders) is $5000 then it's a CGE Pro, and the Mach1/PMX/GM1000HPS are safe - the CGE Pro is a pretty competent (and expensive) mount, but there's still a waitlist for AP mounts.

But if the CEM120EC (dual-encoder version) is $5000 it will (probably) kill the entry-point premium mounts. Even if it only has relative encoders, the much higher payload, lower price, and equivalent tracking accuracy would trump Uncle Rollo's satiny machining.

I don't see that happening though because there's no way iOptron can make a 100lb-class mount with dual encoders for $5000 (if they could the CEM60EC should cost $2500, not $3800).

If the CEM120EC is $7000... that's almost GM1000HPS territory (with arguably greater payload) and hence no longer a compelling proposition unless you really need the payload and are a gambler (because a used AP900, even though encoder-less, is a very good mount, with arguably equal payload - since iOptron is fond of overstating payload - and would cost less).

But this is just my theory (and my own opinion).


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blueman
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Destrehan Dave]
      #6372193 - 02/12/14 12:20 PM

With a good mount I am not sure why encoders are needed. The only scenario that I can really see if a remote observatory where a mount gets bumped or somehow moved and the alignment is knocked off, then the encoders would make that a non issue.
But if the PE is low and you guide, I am not quite sure why you need to spend all that money on these encoders.
Blueman


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: blueman]
      #6372208 - 02/12/14 12:25 PM

Blueman, agree. Homing switches and very good gears really are all you need (compared to relative encoders) if guiding.

I still think absolute encoders add an additional benefit, but you are right, encoders on a good mount are a limited benefit.

On a not-so-good mount however the TDM has adequately proven that encoders are indeed a benefit, a band-aid for less-than-perfect mechanicals.

I told myself I'd stay away from this thread after Austin Grant's perfect post.

But the thread just keeps growing. I have learned the benefits of the Ignore List however.


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WesC
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6372265 - 02/12/14 12:50 PM

I would think on a good mount encoders would eliminate the need to guide in all but the most demanding situations, wouldn't they?

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Per Frejvall
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: WesC]
      #6372279 - 02/12/14 12:56 PM

Wes,

Coupled with modeling, yes. Without modeling, all they do is remove the PE.

/per


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: blueman]
      #6372342 - 02/12/14 01:25 PM

Quote:

With a good mount I am not sure why encoders are needed. The only scenario that I can really see if a remote observatory where a mount gets bumped or somehow moved and the alignment is knocked off, then the encoders would make that a non-issue.

But if the PE is low and you guide, I am not quite sure why you need to spend all that money on these encoders.




Blue, trust me encoders are needed; I image... with elCapitan and that dinosaur is nowhere near precise. Pointing is approximate and guiding is so so at best. Astro-physics mounts are as crude as they come regardless of all the hype; technology help with encoders is desperately needed, but at a lower cost. Regards


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Griffin!
sage


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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6372407 - 02/12/14 01:58 PM

Quote:


Blue, trust me encoder are needed; I image... with elCapitan and that dinosaur is nowhere near precise. Pointing is approximate and guiding is so so at best. Astro-physics mounts are as crude as they come regardless of all the hype; technology help with encoders is desperately needed, but at a lower cost. Regards






Edited by Griffin! (02/12/14 01:58 PM)


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austin.grant
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6372450 - 02/12/14 02:20 PM

Quote:

Quote:

With a good mount I am not sure why encoders are needed. The only scenario that I can really see if a remote observatory where a mount gets bumped or somehow moved and the alignment is knocked off, then the encoders would make that a non-issue.

But if the PE is low and you guide, I am not quite sure why you need to spend all that money on these encoders.




Blue, trust me encoders are needed; I image... with elCapitan and that dinosaur is nowhere near precise. Pointing is approximate and guiding is so so at best. Astro-physics mounts are as crude as they come regardless of all the hype; technology help with encoders is desperately needed, but at a lower cost. Regards






The WORST 3600GTO ever produced would have no more than 5 arc seconds peak-to-peak of error prior to PEC. First, I assure you none have been that "rough" and second, they are all sub-arc second after PEC. Add in an autoguider, and that star isn't moving. Oh, and that's with 300-pounds of scope and gear. If that's "crude" and "nowhere near precise" in your terms, it's time for you to find another hobby.

I agree with Orlyandico, time to try out the Ignore User feature.

Edited by austin.grant (02/12/14 02:30 PM)


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: austin.grant]
      #6372596 - 02/12/14 03:31 PM

Austin, machining is inherently a crude art; most would agree, in precision to the degree needed in astronomy, and variables involved in executing such technology in the real world. Time has come for technology to take us to the next level and that what’s happening but it doesn’t have to cost double to get there. Something will have to give; may be machining costs can be reduced to factor in encoder costs if encoders are so precious, and/or may be they could compensate for not so precise machining. I consider producing less in the name of quality a form of hoarding. Regards


To continue with the move quotes, one from 1998 film, ‘Deep Impact’:

“There will be no hoarding, there will be no sudden profiteering. I’m freezing all wages, all prices. What a bottle of water cost you yesterday, it will cost you tomorrow.”


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6372655 - 02/12/14 04:07 PM

Quote:

Quote:

With a good mount I am not sure why encoders are needed. The only scenario that I can really see if a remote observatory where a mount gets bumped or somehow moved and the alignment is knocked off, then the encoders would make that a non-issue.

But if the PE is low and you guide, I am not quite sure why you need to spend all that money on these encoders.




Blue, trust me encoders are needed; I image... with elCapitan and that dinosaur is nowhere near precise. Pointing is approximate and guiding is so so at best. Astro-physics mounts are as crude as they come regardless of all the hype; technology help with encoders is desperately needed, but at a lower cost. Regards






David


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Ultron]
      #6372758 - 02/12/14 05:03 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Here's an example of something "revolutionary."

In this post - http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/6366994/page...

Yannick complains about the 280" of periodic error on his Sightron Nano Tracker.

I point out that a $10 Bourns absolute encoder (this one - http://www.newark.com/bourns/eaw0j-b24-ce0128l/absolute-mechanical-encoder/dp... with a $10 Atmega328 could provide a PEC indexing solution for the Nano Tracker.

So for a total cost of $20 (maybe $60 at the retail end) you can get maybe 10" to 20" p-p instead of 280".

That's one instance where Moore's Law helps.

But it's no big trick getting 280" down to 20".

It's the jump from 20" to 2" that costs the big bucks, and there are no cheap shortcuts there.




The parts might be $20, but the R&D, man hours, software programming, and final testing would also cost them money. This charge would be added to the final price as well. It's easy for one person to do it on their time off, but people get paid money specifically to do all this in a company.



Orlando, I had similar thoughts... about you doing what you do with encoders. You don’t think an average astronomer can provision encoders on a mount? I am not talking about the mounts that are designed to be upgraded, but the regular ones? Regardless of how technical savvy or electronics inclined some of us might be, don’t you think provisioning encoders from scratch is manufacturer domain per se, not user? What it costs them in R&D is whole another discussion. Regards


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gdd
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6372819 - 02/12/14 05:39 PM

Quote:

Austin, machining is inherently a crude art; most would agree, in precision to the degree needed in astronomy, and variables involved in executing such technology in the real world. Time has come for technology to take us to the next level and that what’s happening but it doesn’t have to cost double to get there. Something will have to give; may be machining costs can be reduced to factor in encoder costs if encoders are so precious, and/or may be they could compensate for not so precise machining. I consider producing less in the name of quality a form of hoarding. Regards





Don't the encoders themselves require precise machining and also the adapters to attach them to the mount concentrically? Or are you suggesting they do not require such precision because they can be electronically calibrated to a highly precise master?

Gale

Edited by gdd (02/12/14 06:36 PM)


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Tonk
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: gdd]
      #6372915 - 02/12/14 06:31 PM

Quote:

the[y] can be electronically calibrated to a highly precise master?




Which is what 10Micron are doing? Anyone able to confirm?


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Tonk]
      #6373012 - 02/12/14 07:38 PM

Encoders need to be rigidly and precisely mounted, otherwise they will add to mount errors. This is why Per thinks that add on or user installable encoders - like AP - are inferior.

Mechanical registration will always be an issue.

Read "The Accuracy of Angle Encoders" on Renishaw web site.

I wrote a paper - https://www.dropbox.com/s/4tml2d83k8okj86/Project-HET615-OrlandoAndico.pdf

That summarizes most of the recent research on encoders. It also documents (one of) my own encoder experiments.

To cut the story short there are large scale errors and small scale ones. Large scale errors are caused by mechanical errors. You either use multiple encoder read heads, or an external calibration encoder, to fix this. If you calibrate, you need to make sure that encoder doesn't move after calibration. Hence it does not relax the precision mechanical requirement because the encoder and read head mounting must be extremely rigid.

If you can use 2 or 4 read heads the mechanical problems are relaxed. But at greatly increased cost.


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6373121 - 02/12/14 08:50 PM

Great article and project Orlando; congrats!

Few questions... What type of degree program you are in; this could have been or would be a good PhD thesis project? Didn’t know what SAO was, had to Google it. Have you graduated; if yes, what kind of degree did you earn? I am in a doctoral program but in a totally different field of study; I think Tony is also in a doctoral program, don't know which?


Few questions about your paper; I see you used ST-4 port for guiding [“The Arduino microcontroller provided feedback to the mount through the ST-4 guide port”], I don’t think that’s how manufacturers implement adjustments, correct? Or what do they use? What software did you use to send corrections through ST-4; will have to read it again to fully understand the details? Regards


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Ultron
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6373198 - 02/12/14 09:25 PM

Quote:


I don't see that happening though because there's no way iOptron can make a 100lb-class mount with dual encoders for $5000 (if they could the CEM60EC should cost $2500, not $3800).





I believe iOptron is manufacturing their own encoders, which would at some point drive the price of their mount down once they've improved the process and increased their yield. Now chinese encoders.....not sure how well they will work.


I work with linear scale encoders at my job, and like Orlando said, there are MANY factors that can cause encoders to be inaccurate. The encoder systems I work on have a pre-amp where we can adjust the pulses electronically to compensate for some of these errors. If we cannot remove all error, the encoder position needs to be adjusted, whether it be the distance from the scale, the tilt, or adjusting the head to be parallel with the scale.


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6373362 - 02/12/14 10:43 PM

I've brought this up before, but one of our members, Paul Burke, mounted a Renishaw encoder on his SiTech powered MI250 on the RA axis only, did all the machining himself, and posted a 20 minute unguided image at 2400mm focal length...a reduced 14" MeadeR. Say what you want about add on encoders, ie, Astro Physics, but if Paul can get that kind of performance from his MI250 doing the work himself, I'm reasonably sure the machinists and electronics people at AP will do a reasonable job of getting it right.

David


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6373379 - 02/12/14 10:51 PM

David, that is Per's opinion on add-on encoders.

In my paper, I show that my add-on encoder makes my old AP600 unguided, match the FWHM of a guided Paramount ME. At least at 1.8"/pixel.

So yeah, encoders work.


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blueman
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6373380 - 02/12/14 10:51 PM

Honestly, my AP900 points beautifully, puts a small star nearly on the crosshair even when I slew across the sky. Same after a flip, a few arc minutes error, but nothing much.
I think a good polar alignment helps with this as much as anything. But I am never far off target with a single star is placed on the cross hair on startup and sync with The Sky 6.
Blueman
Quote:

Quote:

With a good mount I am not sure why encoders are needed. The only scenario that I can really see if a remote observatory where a mount gets bumped or somehow moved and the alignment is knocked off, then the encoders would make that a non-issue.

But if the PE is low and you guide, I am not quite sure why you need to spend all that money on these encoders.




Blue, trust me encoders are needed; I image... with elCapitan and that dinosaur is nowhere near precise. Pointing is approximate and guiding is so so at best. Astro-physics mounts are as crude as they come regardless of all the hype; technology help with encoders is desperately needed, but at a lower cost. Regards




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rgsalinger
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6373382 - 02/12/14 10:54 PM

I've been following this thread but I really can't work out why you guys are so concerned about 20 minute unguided images. I can take unlimited 15 minute subs with my AP Mach1 using an OAG or a AP guidescope arrangement with about .2 arc seconds at 1625mm. Why would anyone actually NEED to take a 20 minute sub unguided. I do get it that imaging in narrow band may require longer subs but why would you want to spend 2K for encoders when a guiding solution would be half the price?
Rgrds-Ross


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: rgsalinger]
      #6373408 - 02/12/14 11:05 PM

My paper discusses some of the technical reasons why you would want to go unguided.

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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: rgsalinger]
      #6373462 - 02/13/14 12:33 AM

Quote:

Why would anyone actually NEED to take a 20 minute sub unguided.




It is not about guiding, it is about increasing mounts' precision. Guiding is a way to overcome today's mounts' tracking errors. Encoders are just newer means to overcome the same old problem until some day in the future where no corrective feedback will be required and they'll move precisely by themselves (I doubt even direct drives are there yet?). Mount technology, like everything else, has to move forward and this is just one logical next step. Regards


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WesC
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6373490 - 02/13/14 01:01 AM

I don't think so... They're both a means to an end. That end being round stars in long exposures.

I agree that if you can do it through guiding at 1/4 to1/2 the price, it's mostly a technical exercise. I do think encoders are a nice solution. But they are a very, very expensive one compared with guiding or adaptive optics.


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cuivienor
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6373507 - 02/13/14 01:21 AM

It always amazes me how there is no low-cost solution to this simple problem: "turn something on itself at a constant rate (bonus points if you can do it for something heavy at an awkward angle)" Constant rate can only be approached, never attained (and if it is approached sufficiently that detecting equipment such as CCD sensor can't make the difference with a perfectly constant rate, than that is just as good). And the big bucks go to the more mass that can be turned and the more precisely...

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nodalpoint
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: WesC]
      #6373530 - 02/13/14 01:53 AM

Reading through the thread, one can only conclude we're in a...





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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Destrehan Dave]
      #6373568 - 02/13/14 03:08 AM

Quote:

Just got an email from iOptron.. Encoders on _both_ axis coming in the CM120! The war has begun!

I hope this 'revolution' does not evolve into the type of 'war' Microsoft waged in the early '90s with an inferior operating system they 'borrowed' called 'Windows 3.1' They were so big, all they had to do to extinguish competition (and innovation) was to announce that an alternative was going to be included in their next release of software. Anybody remember BackupXpress? Reliable backup was an area where Windows, well.. sucked. Kinda like adjusting the azimuth in a CGEM without a layer of sticky tape. How about Superbase, Paradox, TurboC, FoxBase, dBase, GroupWise, LotusNotes? All killed by the evil empire.

Thank God there is not a supergiant in the cluster. If AP would announce an AP100 with 50 lbs capacity, or price drop of the Mach1GTO to $4Gs, the competition would have to surrender. Or SB could announce a "Paramount LIGHT" for $5Gs and everyone would forget adding encoders to mid-level mounts, whatever they are.

Praise the Lord there is competition; neither SB nor AP can afford to lose money on their first couple thousand units until the market adjusts, like Microsoft did with XBox... I heard they lost like $150 on every unit they sold for years.

Hey, maybe we could mass produce them for a loss and have the Government bail us out because we'd then be 'too big to fail...'

Any takers




Dave, any details you would like to share in CEM120 specs, etc. or share the content?


About Microsoft, we digress… I think Microsoft was a “good” pirate that brought computing to masses at relatively affordable prices. Ironically, good pirate got pirated itself; regardless what your opinions are, that led to its dispersion to the every corner of the World to folks who couldn’t even afford it. It was Microsoft and PC platform that lent itself to hardware and software innovation and customization; remember folks building their own computers in the 90s [some today as well]. Apple never let that diaspora take place and led to its near death before it was resuscitated back to life. If there is a revolution in computing today, it is due to Microsoft; Apple shares in the modern revolution, but Microsoft has earned it in my opinion in the end, slow and steady. If the likes of Novell, Lotus Notes, etc. died, they died of their own lack of innovation [barring the ones that were bought out by Microsoft].


In astronomy, it is a deceptive to think that there is no supergiant; so called premium supergiants belong to one club. Metaphorically speaking, if these supergiants are being pirated or invented over today by China, that’s a good thing and is for the good cause… it brings quality astronomy to masses.


Astronomy is an intimidating hobby; ever see folks walk up to a mount and ask their first question, “that must be very expensive?” and their guesses on price are often higher than the actual. Point being, perception out there is that this hobby is very expensive, and that has to change.


Yes, competition is good; until now there actually was no real competition. Entry levels were resigned to their own corner and premiums to theirs; gap now seems getting bridged. Yes, it ought to worry premiums more so than the entrants. Unless premiums come out with equivalent price offerings, they are bound to lose except may be at the very high-end.


This goes to AVX and ZEQ... what Truman said in 1998 film Armageddon, "You're already heroes, just sit back and enjoy the ride". Regards


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Starhawk
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6373777 - 02/13/14 09:02 AM

The problem with this thread is it ignores the most important fact: most people with expensive mounts have spent years moving through a progression of inexpensive mounts. If these met their needs, the high end mounts would never get tried.

And we continuously get the data here showing the inexpensive mounts don't have the performance of the high end ones. One can emote an opinion about how the cheap stuff ought to do it all, but the fact of the matter is, the reason it's cheap is the price point is allowed to defeat every other performance criterion in the requirements.

So, what this thread is really about is claiming the entry level inexpensive gear has become so good, no one has to upgrade anymore.

If only.

As for interpretations of this hobby being expensive- compared to what? One Harley Davidson costs more than 5 Mach 1 GTO mounts. How about golf? Scuba? Flying? Stop me when I mention the hobby cheaper than astronomy.

Mostly, this interpretation comes from people in the hobby making comments to people outside of it about it being expensive, when, in fact it isn't. And I know people making over $100,000/year who are interested in astronomy, but won't get a scope because spending $200 sounds too expensive to them, yet they regularly go on cruises at $1200/person. Here we have yet another thread claiming the remarkably cheap hobby of astronomy is "Expensive" and a revolution is needed to make it cheaper. The truth: lots of people have no idea what's a good investment for their own enjoyment. They will look at a very solid case for many hours of enjoyment from a telescope, and instead view that as "Expensive" compared to the motorcycle costing ten times as much even though they are only going to get a few hours of enjoyable travel on on a trip every couple years. Otherwise, it gets used in commuting traffic, where people I have known with them had their lives taken by it far too soon, all because it looked cool to them.

-Rich


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dawziecat
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6373789 - 02/13/14 09:15 AM

A revolution? The thread seems to be pretty much entirely about encoders.

The blinkin' things are staggeringly expensive! About eight grand for my mount! To do what? Track a comet? Prevent the mount from getting "lost in space?"

Now, if the price of these gew-gaws plummets to the point we can buy a $1500 mount, add encoders to both axes for another $500 . . . and get a mount that tracks like a $10,000 mount . . . THAT would be "revolutionary!"

Wake me up when we get there.

We like analogies here. I see the high end mounts like Rolex watches. A "revolutionary" watch is a quartz crystal watch, A Timex if you will, that is actually a better time-keeper than a Rolex but at about one thousandth of the cost. THAT is a revolution . . . a device that performs its function BETTER than its predecessors and does so at LESS cost. A multi-thousand dollar extra component, that may or may not fail, and may, or may not allow the user to forgo a few hundred dollars worth of guiding equipment, is hardly "revolutionary!"

There have been complaints from a vociferous few about AP's implementation of these things as "add-ons," as if this company built their reputation through stupidity and incompetence. Encoders as an "add-on" option, on one or both axes, seems positive genius to me! When one of these little electro-mechanical devices goes belly-up, as electro-mechanical devices are wont to do on occasion, there is no need to ship the whole weighty and bulky shebang perhaps half way around the world, for repair at great cost. And, if one feels, as I do, that encoders are far too pricey for the advantages they bring, you have the option of buying the mount without them and, should one choose to do so, add them later without so much as having to return the mount. And this, some here see as a bad thing?
What would have been staggeringly stupid of AP would have been to integrate encoders as non-optional and boosting the price of all their mounts accordingly!

At the price point of the encoders, my mount is not likely to see them added for the foreseeable future. Were I operating a remote observatory, I might feel quite differently but, in my situation, I see precision, high-res encoders as far too expensive for the advantages they bring. And, to be frank, I don't trust the things! By that I mean, they are electro-mechanical. How will they fare, year in and year out, in a northern observatory setting? It's sure gonn'a hurt if they succumb to the harsh environment of repeated freeze-thaw cycles and high humidity.

Until these thing have had time to prove themselves reliable over the long term, and the price plummets by almost an order of magnitude, I see them as decidedly non-revolutionary! That does not make them "bad" or "undesirable." I'd love to have 'em but, at their present price point, I see them being more a technological, cost be damned "tour-de-force" than a "revolution."

Edited by dawziecat (02/13/14 09:31 AM)


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austin.grant
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6373836 - 02/13/14 09:47 AM

Excellent post, Terry! If the encoders on a precision instrument fail, it's still capable of fantastic tracking and guiding. If the encoders on the cheap, "revolutionary" mount fail, it's a new boat anchor.

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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: dawziecat]
      #6373849 - 02/13/14 09:56 AM

Terry, as I've said before, the OP demands a price revolution which requires that the underlying technology have a revolution all its own.

Encoders have been around since the 1960s. They have been getting incrementally cheaper, but even today, two small companies - Renishaw and Heidenhain - are still the world leaders, and the Chinese haven't put them out of business.

What that tells me is, encoders are hard. And telescope mounts aren't the driving force behind encoders. Robots, solar panels, CNC machinery, IC fabrication, are. These applications demand high accuracy and repeatability. But the devices also cost a lot. But that's OK because your multimillion dollar IC lithography machine will eventually assemble billions of dollars worth of Intel chips.

Until there is a large, consumer scale application that demands ultra high precision encoders, this technology won't get cheaper.

Things like CDs and Bluray don't require such precision because they are self clocking and self aligning. Same for hard drives, the absolute angle is not important, just alignment to read the track properly.


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orion69
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: blueman]
      #6374014 - 02/13/14 12:10 PM

Quote:

With a good mount I am not sure why encoders are needed. The only scenario that I can really see if a remote observatory where a mount gets bumped or somehow moved and the alignment is knocked off, then the encoders would make that a non issue.
But if the PE is low and you guide, I am not quite sure why you need to spend all that money on these encoders.
Blueman



That is what interest me too. If we compare ASA DDM60 vs AP or PMX will there be difference in star size (fwhm) if all mounts are guided and working correctly? I asked similar question before and conclusion was that there will be no visible difference if seeing is limitating factor. But why not if we all agree that direct drive DDM60 is more precise?


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: gdd]
      #6374071 - 02/13/14 12:52 PM

Quote:

Don't the encoders themselves require precise machining and also the adapters to attach them to the mount concentrically? Or are you suggesting they do not require such precision because they can be electronically calibrated to a highly precise master?




Gale, Orlando is probably better suited to answer this; I think you are partly right on the first one as it will depend the type of encoder, optical or other. No, wasn't intending that on your second question.


To clear the air a bit, this discussion is not about encoders per se; discussion is about the evolving trend of relatively precise mounts that are being offered at a significantly lower price (both encoded and non-encoded), and the “hope” that this trend will make premiums either develop equivalents, and/or re-think their existing lofty pricing models (and/or underlying processes). I think point has been well made that encoders are expensive, but there are alternatives, like incremental ones whose one application is about to come out in CEM60. Revolution is ON. Regards


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6374114 - 02/13/14 01:06 PM

Since probably nobody read my paper linked above..

http://news.thomasnet.com/companystory/Ultra-Precise-Positioning-of-the-Large...

"This results in an angular resolution of 0.0003 arc seconds. Calibration and compensation of systematic errors bring a system accuracy of 0.06 arc seconds over 13.2°."

One of my professors was at the GranTeCan in October last year. And had an amazing, rare night of sub-arcsecond seeing (note: this is on top of a mountain, on an island in the middle of the Atlantic).

With that kind of seeing (that amateurs never get - even in New Mexico), with the 10-meter mirror, active optics.. laser guide star (for the active optics) the encoders are actually used for pointing only (not tracking) unless the laser guide system is not in use (only for specific observations such as spectrometry where you defocus the star onto the spectrometer slit so as not to saturate the detector).


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orion69]
      #6374129 - 02/13/14 01:12 PM

Quote:

But why not if we all agree that direct drive DDM60 is more precise?




Good question; presuming direct drives are 'that' precise, they are currently out of the reach for most. They would have to be outsourced to China or China would have to make them for them to be real benefit or even for them to be tested at large for their merit. I don't see a future for them if status quo remains. Regards


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jimb1001
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6374140 - 02/13/14 01:15 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Don't the encoders themselves require precise machining and also the adapters to attach them to the mount concentrically? Or are you suggesting they do not require such precision because they can be electronically calibrated to a highly precise master?




Gale, Orlando is probably better suited to answer this; I think you are partly right on the first one as it will depend the type of encoder, optical or other. No, wasn't intending that on your second question.


To clear the air a bit, this discussion is not about encoders per se; discussion is about the evolving trend of relatively precise mounts that are being offered at a significantly lower price (both encoded and non-encoded), and the “hope” that this trend will make premiums either develop equivalents, and/or re-think their existing lofty pricing models (and/or underlying processes). I think point has been well made that encoders are expensive, but there are alternatives, like incremental ones whose one application is about to come out in CEM60. Revolution is ON. Regards




Outside of the specifics about encoders, this thread is a collection of buzz words, wishful thinking and antagonistic comments towards AP.

Processing 1s and 0s can be done faster and faster because we are dealing with a flow of electrons not the turning of large, heavy gears. If you can find a way to move large masses and mesh them with no slippage you can start your "revolution."

Until then, getting closer to perfection will continue to require lots of skilled hand work and so higher prices.

For astronomy there are workarounds that very specifically can allow imagers to create photos with round stars. That's the "problem" that needs a solution and, thankfully, there are ways to minimize the problem without needing to find a way to manufacture and custom fit labor intensive components.

Why isn't space travel a reality for everyone? Why can't we build a ship with anti-gravity propulsion that will allow me to lift from my backyard into orbit, at little or no cost?

That NASA is ripping everyone off because they have us all convinced it has to be expensive to lift heavy objects into space.

The only value in this thread has been to get some information about encoders out to those of us who don't know a lot about them. The rest sounds vaguely like whining and bemoaning the fact we still live in pretty primitive times when it comes to building very precise instruments.


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Per Frejvall
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6374164 - 02/13/14 01:26 PM

Are encoders revolutionary or even needed? Well, let me express myself here

I am interested only in remote imaging, remote being either not wanting to go to the mount or not being able to. I have both scenarios, one in Provence, one on my balcony. The scopes I own right now (three of them) have never seen an eyepiece. So, what revolutionary changes do mounts need in order to cope with my remote requirements and perform well and reliably?

Bisque stroke the first blow, I think. They concentrated on the "remote factor" and made the mount accurate and recoverable by means of homing sensors and procedures for handling them (not saying they were actually first with this, but I get the impression they sort of set the standard). So they actually started a mount revolution.

Recovering a mount is a key factor. You simply cannot allow the mount to not be recoverable, and it needs to recover in 100 percent of the cases.

Goto accuracy, whether by means of plate solve or just hitting it on first try is essential in order to maximize imaging time.

Tracking accuracy needs to be good, no question there. The question is whether you accept guiding or not. For me, guiding is a pain in the royal behind. I simply don't like it and I find it not reliable enough to trust in automatic mode. ACP does a really good job with guide star re-acquisition and all, but still. If you go OAG you have the constant struggle to find guide stars, especially at long focal lengths and when imaging objects that simply don't have much of guide stars around them. Now, bear in mind that I enter a list of targets in ACP and the observatory does the rest; opening the roof, obtaining flat frames, choosing targets, exposing them and finally delivering the subs to my systems in Stockholm. I have spent close to a year perfecting this - still waiting for the unusually bad weather in southern France to clear off

So, to me, the combination of reasonable price, absence of guiding requirements, pinpoint goto and tracking, and a reliable "never get lost" feature is a revolutionary mount.

To this we can add interesting and revolutionary technology, and couple that with price too. ASA's motors are revolutionary. Consider the price, which in Europe is directly competitive (not so much in the US) to other high end offerings. It is low for that technology.

10Micron's offerings with absolute encoders are on par with other high end mounts if we look at the price. So, basically, you get the encoders almost for free.

So, it is clear: you do not get better images by using a mount that can do unguided imaging. You do not get better images by using a mount that can be trusted in all situations regarding tracking and recovery.

It is also clear that: I can trust my mount to always be where it (and I) think it is, which gives me more imaging hours. It is clear that I get more imaging hours by not guiding. I get more imaging hours because of my mount always hitting the target dead center on the first slew after a power on. Every time.

For me, the only way to reach these goals is to use a mount than can do all that. There are too few of those on the market, so something has to change in order to bring prices down and these functions forward. The change will have to be cheaper encoders, better software handling of said encoders, better sky modeling and higher reliability.

Inventors! At the ready, set GO!

All the best from a cloudy Sweden...

/per


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blueman
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6374201 - 02/13/14 01:45 PM Attachment (22 downloads)

I agree and stated that remote observatories and encoders are a good idea. Lost mounts suck!
But guiding, well I find it absolutely simple and reliable. I use a 50mm f/5 Mini-Borg with an Atik Titan mono camera and it always has a guide star. Guiding by MaximDL is painless and it picks the guide star. CCDAutoPilot handles the entire session without a hitch including flip and plate solves as well as guiding. It parks the mount and turns off tracking at the end of the session and then warms up the camera. Really I am not needed at the scope for anything. I do watch and control everything by remote desktop in Win 7 so that I can keep an eye on things like clouds and trees.
Blueman


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Per Frejvall
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: blueman]
      #6374402 - 02/13/14 04:05 PM Attachment (17 downloads)

Blueman,

That is excellent. Please note that I don't find guiding impossible, only unnecessary and annoying


Love that setup! A TEC-140 is on my list. Since I have bought two 10Micron mounts and a bunch of stuff to go with them, including a not so cheap observatory build in France, in the past two years I settled for a temporary substitute, a TS 130 with Riccardi reducer. I have yet to see it perform as I have been totally clouded in forever. It's on my desk... Waiting...


/per


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Per Frejvall
sage


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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6374416 - 02/13/14 04:12 PM Attachment (18 downloads)

On a side note, the difference in alt for our mounts is a significant...

(the thing on the NEQ6 is the first test of an optical homing sensor )


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blueman
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6374765 - 02/13/14 08:02 PM

That is sad to here that weather has not been cooperating. That is the one thing that we have no control over.
Guiding is an easy way to keep everything in place. There are other solutions to be sure, but guiding is a simple and effective way to handle the PE problem.
I am sure that I could do unguided images, but I feel that I prefer having guiding to be certain that everything is kept in check.
Blueman
Quote:

Blueman,

That is excellent. Please note that I don't find guiding impossible, only unnecessary and annoying


Love that setup! A TEC-140 is on my list. Since I have bought two 10Micron mounts and a bunch of stuff to go with them, including a not so cheap observatory build in France, in the past two years I settled for a temporary substitute, a TS 130 with Riccardi reducer. I have yet to see it perform as I have been totally clouded in forever. It's on my desk... Waiting...


/per




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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: blueman]
      #6374889 - 02/13/14 09:02 PM

Nice setups you both have, congrats Per/Blue!

Per, so you are able to image without guiding with your 10Microns; how long can you go? Are you saying ASA are lower in price than 10Micron in EU? Regards


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6374961 - 02/13/14 09:31 PM

Quote:

Nice setups you both have, congrats Per/Blue!

Per, so you are able to image without guiding with your 10Microns; how long can you go? Are you saying ASA are lower in price than 10Micron in EU? Regards




The ASA are slightly less expensive in the EU than the US if you don't include the 19 to 22 percent VAT charged throughout the EU. In reality, because of the very high VAT in the EU, it is sometimes possible to sell products in the US that are made in Europe for about the same amount or less than people pay for them in the EU even with shipping and import duty.


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EFT
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: blueman]
      #6374968 - 02/13/14 09:34 PM

Quote:

That is sad to here that weather has not been cooperating. That is the one thing that we have no control over.
Guiding is an easy way to keep everything in place. There are other solutions to be sure, but guiding is a simple and effective way to handle the PE problem.
I am sure that I could do unguided images, but I feel that I prefer having guiding to be certain that everything is kept in check.
Blueman
Quote:

Blueman,

That is excellent. Please note that I don't find guiding impossible, only unnecessary and annoying


Love that setup! A TEC-140 is on my list. Since I have bought two 10Micron mounts and a bunch of stuff to go with them, including a not so cheap observatory build in France, in the past two years I settled for a temporary substitute, a TS 130 with Riccardi reducer. I have yet to see it perform as I have been totally clouded in forever. It's on my desk... Waiting...


/per







Unfortunately, while cost effective, a lot of people do not find guiding easy and in fact struggle with it quite a bit. But the less work the guiding system has to do, the easier it is and thus your AP900 makes the job much easier.


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blueman
Photon Catcher
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: EFT]
      #6375069 - 02/13/14 10:27 PM

NO doubt that a quality mount makes everything easier.
Blueman
Quote:

Quote:

That is sad to here that weather has not been cooperating. That is the one thing that we have no control over.
Guiding is an easy way to keep everything in place. There are other solutions to be sure, but guiding is a simple and effective way to handle the PE problem.
I am sure that I could do unguided images, but I feel that I prefer having guiding to be certain that everything is kept in check.
Blueman
Quote:

Blueman,

That is excellent. Please note that I don't find guiding impossible, only unnecessary and annoying


Love that setup! A TEC-140 is on my list. Since I have bought two 10Micron mounts and a bunch of stuff to go with them, including a not so cheap observatory build in France, in the past two years I settled for a temporary substitute, a TS 130 with Riccardi reducer. I have yet to see it perform as I have been totally clouded in forever. It's on my desk... Waiting...


/per







Unfortunately, while cost effective, a lot of people do not find guiding easy and in fact struggle with it quite a bit. But the less work the guiding system has to do, the easier it is and thus your AP900 makes the job much easier.




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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6375136 - 02/13/14 11:03 PM

Quote:

10Micron's offerings with absolute encoders are on par with other high end mounts if we look at the price. So, basically, you get the encoders almost for free.




Not so free; we just don't know the breakdown. Or does anyone know the breakdown? Besides 12Mticks, do we know what type they are? Ever looked at 'em, any pics you might have? Regards

Edited by mmalik (02/13/14 11:04 PM)


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #6375173 - 02/13/14 11:25 PM

Quote:

The problem with this thread is it ignores the most important fact: most people with expensive mounts have spent years moving through a progression of inexpensive mounts. If these met their needs, the high end mounts would never get tried.

And we continuously get the data here showing the inexpensive mounts don't have the performance of the high end ones. One can emote an opinion about how the cheap stuff ought to do it all, but the fact of the matter is, the reason it's cheap is the price point is allowed to defeat every other performance criterion in the requirements.

So, what this thread is really about is claiming the entry level inexpensive gear has become so good, no one has to upgrade anymore.




Rich, if your name is “you” then you don’t need to worry about anything


Yes, I AM saying that old exercise of starting with, metaphorically speaking, ETX and working you way up to Mach1 got to end; there shouldn’t be so widely spaced low and high ends (except for very high end). One can deduce from the responses in this thread, from the economies of masses, and from general understanding what an average astronomer [not a total novice] might be willing to spend on the hobby [regardless of income], the range we are talking is approximately $2K-$4K.


One reason I keep looking at premium manufactures to take ‘on’ the $2K-$4K revolution is because traditional low-enders have not been able to either keep their end of the bargain or have done a very poor job at it. Meade is the biggest culprit of all and of all time, never breaking the mediocrity barrier. iOptron is a breath of fresh air on the non-premium horizon; if they can keep the momentum, they ought to shake long standing premium model and will be a welcome surprise if that even happens. And it is NOT a bad thing; it is going to adjust, current widely divergent model.


In short, premiums don’t need to be so premium in pricing and non-premiums don’t need to be so generic and low quality. And yes, if this ever becomes a reality most shouldn’t need an upgrade (again except to the very high end).


Encoders in this bracket is another dilemma, more on which later. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6375200 - 02/13/14 11:43 PM Attachment (13 downloads)

Here is the modified version of the chart that includes only encoded ones; wide dispersion is quite apparent. Biggest outlier is the 1100GTO, regardless of its weight capacity. Food for thought... Regards


•How will CEM60 pull it off in $4K?
•How is GM1000HPS doing it on both axes in ~$9K (while Mach1 lacks at ~$6.5K)?
•How the heck 1100GTO is asking for ~$16K?
•Where will CEM120 fall?


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wz2
Most Boring Astronomer...


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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6375242 - 02/14/14 12:08 AM

Quote:

Biggest outlier is the 1100GTO, regardless of its weight capacity.





How can consideration for any mount be "regardless of its weight capacity?" Not to be a trouble monger but that struck me as an odd statement.

Chris


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EFT
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6375255 - 02/14/14 12:22 AM

Quote:

Quote:

10Micron's offerings with absolute encoders are on par with other high end mounts if we look at the price. So, basically, you get the encoders almost for free.




Not so free; we just don't know the breakdown. Or does anyone know the breakdown? Besides 12Mticks, do we know what type they are? Ever looked at 'em, any pics you might have? Regards




There is no breakdown. 10Micron designed and patented their own encoders for their mounts and it is still not cheap even when you do it yourself. The amateur astronomy industry benefits from advancements in other manufacturing and products, not the other way around. A small industry like this cannot drive the development of new methods of manufacturing or the design of precision components and it is rare (if anytime) when one even designs a truly new technology from the ground up.


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Per Frejvall
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: wz2]
      #6375268 - 02/14/14 12:32 AM

Mmalik,

Looking at base prices including VAT in Germany:

10Micron GM1000HPS is €7,700
10Micron GM2000HPS is €12,500

Compare them to AP (same retailer):

AP GTO900 is €9,170
AP GTO1100 is €10,500

Assuming they are all the same build quality - and I think that is a safe assumption - then the encoders are for free here. The 900 takes 28% more load, though. AP sports "hand built" and "each is inspected", same goes for 10Micron.

I do not know what encoders are put into the 10Micron mounts nor have I disassembled one. My guess is that warranty may be compromised if I open it up, but I am not sure about that. I don't mind opening a €1,200 NEQ6 and have done so on numerous occasions, but the 10Microns? Nah, don't think so

All the best,

Per


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EFT
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6375283 - 02/14/14 12:41 AM

Quote:

Quote:

The problem with this thread is it ignores the most important fact: most people with expensive mounts have spent years moving through a progression of inexpensive mounts. If these met their needs, the high end mounts would never get tried.

And we continuously get the data here showing the inexpensive mounts don't have the performance of the high end ones. One can emote an opinion about how the cheap stuff ought to do it all, but the fact of the matter is, the reason it's cheap is the price point is allowed to defeat every other performance criterion in the requirements.

So, what this thread is really about is claiming the entry level inexpensive gear has become so good, no one has to upgrade anymore.




Rich, if your name is “you” then you don’t need to worry about anything


Yes, I AM saying that old exercise of starting with, metaphorically speaking, ETX and working you way up to Mach1 got to end; there shouldn’t be no widely spaced low and high ends (except for very high end). One can deduce from the responses in this thread, from the economies of masses, and from general understanding what an average astronomer [not a total novice] might be willing to spend on the hobby [regardless of income], the range we are talking is approximately $2K-$4K.


One reason I keep looking at premium manufactures to take ‘on’ the $2K-$4K revolution is because traditional low-enders have not been able to either keep their end of the bargain or have done a very poor job at it. Meade is the biggest culprit of all and of all time, never breaking the mediocrity barrier. iOptron is a breath of fresh air on the non-premium horizon; if they can keep the momentum, they ought to shake long standing premium model and will be a welcome surprise if that even happens. And it is NOT a bad thing; it is going to adjust, current widely divergent model.

In short, premiums don’t need to be so premium in pricing and non-premiums don’t need to be so generic and low quality. And yes, it this ever becomes a reality most shouldn’t need an upgrade (again except to the very high end).


Encoders in this bracket is another dilemma, more on which later. Regards




The "low-enders" as you call them, are not going to raise their prices too much or make things that are too expensive because that is no the business they are in. They are in the business to make money and the high-end gear with low margins and small sales doesn't really do that. At the same time, the high-end manufacturers have no need or apparent desire to start building "low-end" mounts for the masses. Why should they when there are plenty to go around and plenty of competition. Machining billet aluminum cannot be done as cheaply as casting aluminum so why should the high end manufacturers be interested in investing in manufacturing technology that is well outside of what they do. That is not to say that casting is not used by some high-end manufacturers, e.g., Takahashi, Mountain Instruments (some things are simply too big to machine from billet alone), etc., but in those cases the process often involves as much machining as it does casting. But for those manufacturers producing 100% milled products, why would they want to get into the less expensive casting methods used by the "low-end" manufacturers? There is no incentive unless they want to steer their business into competition with the "low-end" manufacturers.

This is no reason for the gap (as you see it) to be closed between the "low-end" and "high-end" manufacturers except where one chooses to compete in the other category for some reason (like Toyota/Lexus, Nissan/Infinity, Mercedes/Chrysler (and that one failed)). At best there may be some incentive to move up (as is apparent from at least a couple of "low-end" manufacturers), but nobody whose making Mercedes simply wants to start making Chryslers just for the heck it (unless you purchase someone else who is already making them). Please take the car analogies with a grain of salt.

There may be reason for some manufacturers to either move up or down into the $5000 to $10000 range where there isn't much going on, but there is no incentive to cross over directly into each other's current price territories.


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EFT
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6375290 - 02/14/14 12:51 AM

Quote:

Here is the modified version of the chart that includes only encoded ones; wide dispersion is quite apparent. Biggest outlier is the 1100GTO, regardless of its weight capacity. Food for thought... Regards


•How will CEM60 pull it off in $4K?
•How is GM1000HPS doing it on both axes in ~$9K (while Mach1 lacks at ~6.5K)?
•How the heck 1100GTO is asking for ~$16K?
•Where will CEM120 fall?





You really need to learn the difference between different kinds of encoders and what exactly they do in any given mount. All encoders are not equal nor are all encoder implementations. You can also not compare tried and tested mounts that are already on the market with those that have yet to see their day in the sun or stars. We have yet to even see an encoder specification on some of these mounts and know nothing other than they are apparently relative encoders.

The word "encoder" is not magic and is meaningless in regards to telescope mounts without more information. It's reasonable to say that every servo motor driven mount out their uses encoders and even some stepper motor driven mounts do. That does not make them all equal in what they can or cannot do, but that seems to be the idea here.


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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6375315 - 02/14/14 01:09 AM

Quote:

Mmalik,

Looking at base prices including VAT in Germany:

10Micron GM1000HPS is €7,700
10Micron GM2000HPS is €12,500

Compare them to AP (same retailer):

AP GTO900 is €9,170
AP GTO1100 is €10,500

Assuming they are all the same build quality - and I think that is a safe assumption - then the encoders are for free here. The 900 takes 28% more load, though. AP sports "hand built" and "each is inspected", same goes for 10Micron.

I do not know what encoders are put into the 10Micron mounts nor have I disassembled one. My guess is that warranty may be compromised if I open it up, but I am not sure about that. I don't mind opening a €1,200 NEQ6 and have done so on numerous occasions, but the 10Microns? Nah, don't think so

All the best,

Per




You guys have it much worse when it comes to importing goods from abroad than we do here. Our 8% duty is nothing compared to the 19-22% VAT and other fees that you get socked with in the EU and even that is nothing compared to some countries that charge 50% or more on imported goods. It really makes many things much cheaper to buy here in the US than just about anywhere else, sometime even in the country where the goods are manufactured. That is the only way that European goods can be competitive here and why US goods are not cost competitive over there.

Like I said elsewhere, 10Micron does not use encoders purchased from another source in its mounts. Yes, your warranty would be compromised, so don't do it. Even I won't open one of these puppies up just for the fun of, while I will tear just about anything else apart.


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blueman
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6375328 - 02/14/14 01:19 AM

Check out the cost of the encoders used on the AP mounts, you will be shocked how much they cost. They are not charging that much for installing them.
Blueman
Quote:

Here is the modified version of the chart that includes only encoded ones; wide dispersion is quite apparent. Biggest outlier is the 1100GTO, regardless of its weight capacity. Food for thought... Regards


•How will CEM60 pull it off in $4K?
•How is GM1000HPS doing it on both axes in ~$9K (while Mach1 lacks at ~$6.5K)?
•How the heck 1100GTO is asking for ~$16K?
•Where will CEM120 fall?





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OzAndrewJ
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: EFT]
      #6375343 - 02/14/14 01:38 AM

Gday Ed

Quote:

The word "encoder" is not magic and is meaningless in regards to telescope mounts without more information.




You really need to stop inserting facts that upset the vision of perfection that is created from "having encoders".
Its a bit like some peoples belief in the magic of ST4 over all else.
As noted by Per and others earlier, the encoders/ST4 are useless if the feedback loops are not also designed and optimised to work with them.
Its a system integration problem, not a simple process of chucking a disparate group of bits together in the hope it works.

Andrew Johansen Melbourne Australia


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Per Frejvall]
      #6375347 - 02/14/14 01:45 AM

Quote:

AP GTO1100 is €10,500

Assuming they are all the same build quality - and I think that is a safe assumption - then the encoders are for free here.




€10.5K [including VAT] converts to ~$14.5K, comes close to price in the US (~$2K difference [if US taxes were included, otherwise just ~$1K difference]); not so free I guess? Regards


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jimb1001
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6375353 - 02/14/14 01:54 AM

Quote:

Meade is the biggest culprit of all and of all time, never breaking the mediocrity barrier.




I'm sorry but you've made so many comments that are unsupported that I think you are just a troll.

First, AP is a price gouger. Because you think their costs should allow them to be less expensive. Yet, you clearly have no idea what their costs are.

Meade has never been anything but mediocre. I've had lots of different scopes and mounts from many manufacturers. The LX 200 series was anything but mediocre. Why don't you share the comparisons you've made to come to this conclusion. The 850, by almost all reports, is exceptional.

I am currently using an LS8. Its light weight and the easiest to use telescope I've ever seen. Plop it down in any orientation and flip the switch. It finds level, north, does an alignment and is ready to go in less than 10 minutes.

Activate high precision pointing and it will goto a star near the object to be observed, use its camera to determine an offset, make the correction and then slew to the object. All in less than 2 minutes and the object is centered in the field of view of an 18mm eyepiece.

Again, what did you use for comparison to determine this is mediocre.

I don't mind discussing any well thought out opinion but your habit of throwing out pejorative statements with no facts to support them has earned you a spot on my ignore list.


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EFT
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6375362 - 02/14/14 02:10 AM

Quote:

Quote:

AP GTO1100 is €10,500

Assuming they are all the same build quality - and I think that is a safe assumption - then the encoders are for free here.




€10.5K [including VAT] converts to ~$14.5K, comes close to price in the US (~$2K difference [if US taxes were included, otherwise just ~$1K difference]); not so free I guess? Regards




You don't understand what he is saying and you are not comparing the correct things. What he means is this as follows. If you look at Baader in Germany who sells both the AP and 10Micron mounts, the AP1100AE (absolute encoders on both axes) is 17,550 euro, the AP1100 is 10,450 euro, and the GM2000HPS is 12,990 euro. If you consider the mounts sans encoders to be generally equal (as Per does), then from Baader (and within the EU in general), an additional 2,540 euro gets you absolute encoders on both axes of the GM2000HPS while it takes and additional 7,100 euro to get them on the AP1100. Thus, as Per sees it in Europe, it is like getting the absolute encoders on the GM2000HPS for free. Clearly, it is not free, but it is only about a third of the cost.

This is largely because it is so expensive to import things into the EU. These price differences do not hold true in the US and are in fact fairly equal.

I hope that it is finally clear now.


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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: jimb1001]
      #6375369 - 02/14/14 02:30 AM

Jim, I think most folks understand what I meant; Meade threw out LXD, failed at LX80/800, and now LX850 is in a limbo not knowing where it fits with its price point, StarLock blackbox, and no precision encoding. There really hasn't been solid mount strategy from Meade; wish there was. There is talk of this new mount from Meade, I hope that can join the revolution. Regards

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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: EFT]
      #6375373 - 02/14/14 02:33 AM

Quote:

I hope that it is finally clear now.




Thanks Ed for elaborating. Regards


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: EFT]
      #6375424 - 02/14/14 04:44 AM

AP encoders are so expensive because they are Renishaw Resolute Extended Temperature Range.

When temperatures get low the encoder ring shrinks. Which wreaks havoc on accuracy
AP mounts are used in Antarctica where you have 6 months night at -50° wind chill factor. Even mount grease freezes so you need special dry lubrication. You also need special encoders.

So comparing AP encoders and saying they are overly expensive is inaccurate. As I said Resolute ETR are really really expensive. AP isn't making much money on them.


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GIR
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6375428 - 02/14/14 04:47 AM

Some facts and figures about VAT in EU…

VAT differs somewhat between EU countries e.g. being 19 % in Germany but 24 % in Finland. However, VAT is determined by the country of purchase. So if I’ll buy astrogear from Germany which is shipped to Finland, VAT will be only 19 % for me. But if I’ll buy the same stuff from Finland VAT will be 24 %.

And some price comparison between ASA and 10Micron mounts in Europe (with German 19 % VAT)…

10Micron GM1000HPS (capacity 25 kg) 7.695 €
ASA DDM60 (capacity 28 kg) 7.735 € (Pro version cables pulled thru axis 8.625 €)
10Micron GM2000HPS (capacity 60 kg)12.550 €
ASA DDM85 standard (capacity 65 kg, cables pulled thru axis included) 14.875 €


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: GIR]
      #6375443 - 02/14/14 05:19 AM

I heard that ASA is also using Renishaws.

But they moved from optical Renishaws to magnetic ones. Not the ones I used though (the RLS ones) as the RLS encoders have too low a resolution.


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GIR
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6375460 - 02/14/14 05:36 AM

Quote:

I heard that ASA is also using Renishaws.

But they moved from optical Renishaws to magnetic ones. Not the ones I used though (the RLS ones) as the RLS encoders have too low a resolution.




Yes they are using Renishaws, but don't know what kind...


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Jared
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: mmalik]
      #6375600 - 02/14/14 08:57 AM

Mount revolution? No, I don't see a revolution. A wider selection than ever before, certainly. More features than ever before such as direct drive and absolute encoders, sure. There is incremental improvement. But, no, I don't think that constitutes a revolution.

As far as calling on the high-end manufacturers to make a $4,000 mount with low-end mechanical quality compensated for by high resolution absolute encoders... Even if it were possible I don't think it will happen. It's not how Astro-Physics and Software Bisque and ASA have made their reputations. It's not what they "do." At least right now, it's also not possible. Absolute encoders with the requisite resolution are simply too expensive and have been for some time. Maybe that will change, but not yet.

As to he importance of absolute encoders in the first place... While I don't think the price/performance ratio is there yet, they certainly have a place for permanent observatories. Their benefit for portable use, however, is debatable. They require a detailed pointing model that must be re-built every time the scope is setup, and that uses up too much precious imaging time. I'd much rather just use an autoguider to accomplish the same task at least as well.

As far as singling out Astro-Physics for gouging its customers, getting them hooked as though high-end mounts were a drug, and producing a "crude" product. I think you yourself know how silly that is and are just saying inflammatory things to keep the thread lively. Kind of silly. If you don't think they offer good value, don't buy their products. As you yourself pointed out by building the table in the first place there are lots of choices on the market.

One thing nobody has discussed at all with tegard to tracking performance, if not mount performance directly is the availability of consumer adaptive optics systems. Those have the potential to not only address all tracking issues to a level beyond what even absolute encoders can handle, but also to counter some of the effects of seeing itself. You still have the hassles of guiding, but you get sub arc second tracking, no "striction" issues from high-mass mounts, lower cost than absolute encoders, no pointing models required, no differential flexure, and a lower cost than absolute encoders. No, they are not perfect either. You need plenty of back focus, the number of manufacturers is limited, they need a relatively bright guide star in order to reach higher frequencies, etc. The point is that there is more than one way to get excellent tracking accuracy from a mount, and I believe consumer adaptive optics systems offer the best potential for allowing a mid-grade mount to perform like a high-end mount, especially at moderate focal lengths where guide stars are more plentiful.


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wz2
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6375606 - 02/14/14 09:00 AM

Quote:

AP encoders are so expensive because they are Renishaw Resolute Extended Temperature Range.






Actually the "extended temp range encoders" are an additional option that puts the 1100 even further north of $16,000.

Chris


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orlyandico
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: wz2]
      #6375727 - 02/14/14 10:17 AM

There is a $400 difference per axis between Resolute and Resolute ETR. At $2800 per axis for regular non ETR, that's cheap. Try pricing the read head and encoder ring separately.

If you want to call someone out for price gouging check the price of the Takahashi EM3500 with the "dinosaur" elCapitan which has a comparable payload.

Now figure out who's over charging.


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Tonk
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: wz2]
      #6375740 - 02/14/14 10:22 AM

Quote:

Their benefit for portable use, however, is debatable. They require a detailed pointing model that must be re-built every time the scope is setup, and that uses up too much precious imaging time




Are you sure this isn't just conjecture here? - I build a 3 iteration 15 star pointing model including 2 polar align incremental adjustments in around 20 - 30 minutes during *twlight* when setting up my portable GM1000HPS rig (thats model - PA adjust - model - PA adjust - model - done - using a astrometric eyepiece/barlow). That routinely gives around a 15" pointing accuracy (all sky) and about the same for PA giving me 10 minutes unguided with no frames dropped yet.

So the benefit for portable use is exceptional! Its what I bought the GM1000HPS for - portability, ease and speed of set up and exceptional tracking accuracy


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gdd
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Jared]
      #6375836 - 02/14/14 11:04 AM

Quote:

Mount revolution? No, I don't see a revolution. A wider selection than ever before, certainly. More features than ever before such as direct drive and absolute encoders, sure. There is incremental improvement. But, no, I don't think that constitutes a revolution.




I think that is true if you are talking about the last 5-10 years. But the years of incremental changes of affordable mounts offered since the 50's or 60's have accumulated to look like a revolution.

Gale


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dawziecat
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: gdd]
      #6375929 - 02/14/14 11:58 AM

Well, I dunn'o.

Seems to me the advent of affordable auto-guiding was the last "revolution" I recall! Good mounts have always been available . . . at high cost. I don't see that has changed a bit! Encoders or no encoders, good mounts are still expensive!


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mmalik
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Re: Are we in a mount revolution? new [Re: Tonk]
      #6376097 - 02/14/14 01:15 PM

Quote:

That routinely gives around a 15" pointing accuracy (all sky) and about the same for PA giving me 10 minutes unguided with no frames dropped yet.




Quite impressive!


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mmalik
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