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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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orion69
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/09/10

Loc: Croatia
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
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
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/30/10

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
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
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
member


Reged: 09/29/09

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
Photon Catcher
*****

Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/23/05

Loc: N Seattle suburb, WA
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 07/04/11

Loc: Southern California
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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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blueman
Photon Catcher
*****

Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/13/12

Loc: USA
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Photon Catcher
*****

Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Are we in a mount revolution? [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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