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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900?
      #5196056 - 04/29/12 07:32 AM

I have been considering a high end mount for some time now. Initially, I was quite set on the AP900 but the more I read about the Paramount MX, the more I like it. The fact that a computer is required is not an issue for me because I have to use one for my CCD camera anyway.

Other than that, are there any pitfalls I should be concerned about? The fact that AP900 breaks into two parts is really good but the MX isn't very heavy and so I think it shouldn't be a problem.

I also like the homing ability and it seems it makes setting up every night easier as well because all you have to do is start the mount, home it, point it a bright star and you're go. Do I understand this correctly?

How easy is polar alignment with the MX? How long does it typically take? Does the SkyX have some sort of polar alignment routine?

I also REALLY like fact that the MX can have wires running through the mount - no more cable snags! On paper, it seems that the MX is a better buy. But then again, the AP900 is a proven performer. However, from reading some previous threads it seems that the MX is no slouch. It even includes counterweights, a saddle and a lot of software.

How does Software Bisque's support compare to that of AP?

My long-term requirements are to able to use a scope like DSI RC14 which weights about 78 lbs. or a TOA-150. Currently, I'll mount a AT RC8 / FSQ-85EDX.

What do you folks think? Should I go for the MX?


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5197122 - 04/29/12 07:23 PM

I'd recommend also posting your question over on the IceInSpace Equipment Forum where you'll find more Paramount MX owners.

Quote:

....the MX isn't very heavy and so I think it shouldn't be a problem.



To me the MX is comparatively light. I can carry it an indefinite distance without trouble. Mind you I'm comparing the weight to the ME which is much heavier.

Quote:

....all you have to do is start the mount, home it, point it a bright star and you're go. Do I understand this correctly?



I you haven't torn down the mount and OTA since the last time you used it then you just turn the mount on and let it home itself. You don't need to sync it on a star or anything else. However, if you've torn the mount down, then you're going to have to at the very least rough polar align, sync on a star and refine polar alignment again.

Quote:

How easy is polar alignment with the MX?



It's very easy, particularly if you use a camera to do automated calibration.

Quote:

Does TheSkyX have some sort of polar alignment routine?



Yes, see TheSkyX->Telescope->Tpoint Add On->Polar Alignment for the polar alignment report.

I recommend you download and read the Paramount MX User Guide.

Quote:

How does Software Bisque's support compare to that of AP?



I think Software Bisque support is excellent. They do their support via their support web forum.


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DeanS
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Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5197334 - 04/29/12 10:03 PM

I think you should look for a larger mount if you are planning on the DSI 14" as this will load up either of these mounts.

The new AP1600 sure looks sweet And you can buy it as a base unit, and add the encoders later on if you want.


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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5197531 - 04/30/12 12:25 AM

Quote:

I'd recommend also posting your question over on the IceInSpace Equipment Forum where you'll find more Paramount MX owners.




Thanks, will do.


Quote:

....all you have to do is start the mount, home it, point it a bright star and you're go. Do I understand this correctly?



I you haven't torn down the mount and OTA since the last time you used it then you just turn the mount on and let it home itself. You don't need to sync it on a star or anything else. However, if you've torn the mount down, then you're going to have to at the very least rough polar align, sync on a star and refine polar alignment again.

Ah, I see. However, assuming that the polar alignment is perfect, does one need to sync on multiple stars or just one star more than enough? Will subsequent GoTo's be accurate enough (enough to put the star in the CCD, on either side of the meridian?) if I've synced on just one star?

Do I need to sync separately for both sides of the meridian?

Quote:

It's very easy, particularly if you use a camera to do automated calibration.



By automated calibration do you mean plate-solving? Then yes - with my G11 mount, I can make quite an accurate model in very little time because I started syncing on plate-solves and not the bright stars.

So I already have Maxim and Pinpoint configured but I guess TheSkyX will use it's own utility. However, i really hope I'm not locked into using CCDSoft. I really prefer MaximDL.

Quote:

I think you should look for a larger mount if you are planning on the DSI 14" as this will load up either of these mounts.

The new AP1600 sure looks sweet And you can buy it as a base unit, and add the encoders later on if you want.




The AP1600 is more mount than I can manage right now. The RA section alone is heaver than the MX, I believe. It's also much larger. I think I'll just my requirement to a DSI 10" or a CDK 12.5". Are there any other, lighter, telescopes in the 12" to 14" range which are corrected?

Edited by saadabbasi (04/30/12 12:28 AM)


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5197925 - 04/30/12 09:43 AM

Hey Saad...maybe wait to see how the optics are on the new LX800 OTAs. It's pretty attractive with the native f8 and the dedicated f5 reducer. The 12" version weighs in at 57lbs naked and would be great on something like an MX. However, I don't know if Meade is offering the OTA as stand alone.

David


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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5197934 - 04/30/12 09:48 AM

David, yes, I'm not buying an OTA anytime soon. But do you think Meade's optical quality would be as good as a Planeview CDK or something similar?

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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5198218 - 04/30/12 12:45 PM

The questions concerning the Paramount MX that you have asked are answered by reading the Paramount MX User Guide. Please click on the link, download it and read it. It's a fairly good manual and well worth reading. You can also post questions and get answers on the Software Bisque support website.

Yes you can use MaximDL. There's an X2 to MaximDL plug-in for TheSkyX available that allows you to have TheSkyX go through MaximDL for camera control. The only time you'd actually need to control the camera from within TheSkyX for anything (having it go through Maxim for camera control) is when doing Tpoint automated calibration. For all other purposes you'd want to just go straight to Maxim as usual for all your camera control needs.

Note that there is also an ASCOM driver to permit you to control the mount via ASCOM compliant applications. The ASCOM driver communicates back and forth with TheSkyX and TheSkyX does the actual mount control. See the ascom-standards.org website for many ASCOM related drivers and plug-ins for TheSkyX.

Quote:

Are there any other, lighter, telescopes in the 12" to 14" range which are corrected?



I own an EdgeHD 14 which is inexpensive compared to those others you mentioned. I have it mounted on a Paramount ME. I'm looking forward to trying out the Celestron reducer which is supposedly on its way to me right now <knock wood>. I'd like a CDK17 or a CDK20, just can't justify the cost.


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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5198552 - 04/30/12 04:03 PM

frolinmod, do you reckon the MX will handle the C14HD well?

I'm really excited about the Paramount MX. The integration between the hardware and software is really beyond any other mounts that I've read about. I can't wait to order mine around September/October.

Edited by saadabbasi (04/30/12 04:05 PM)


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5198596 - 04/30/12 04:29 PM

Quote:

frolinmod, do you reckon the MX will handle the C14HD well?



Yes.


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5199177 - 04/30/12 10:26 PM

Quote:

David, yes, I'm not buying an OTA anytime soon. But do you think Meade's optical quality would be as good as a Planeview CDK or something similar?




Will it be the equivalent of the CDK? Probably not, but will it be quite good? I guess what many of us are holding out hope for is that it's the match of the old RX400 optics. The scopes were a mechanical Rube Goldberg, but the optics were terrific! If the new new Meades match that performance, Meade will have a lot of imagers knocking down the doors.

David


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gnowellsct
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/24/09

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5199181 - 04/30/12 10:27 PM

There's a Korean company that was at NEAF turning out some very beautiful stuff you might want to throw them into the consideration mix.

Myself I have an AP900 (QMD) and I think one could do a lot worse. I use with a C14+4" refractor and it is one of the joys of my astronomy life.

Greg N

p.s. I ain't a talkin' about no Ioptron. The company is called Morning Calm and this is seriously good stuff at very competitive prices. These guys will handle any technical question you throw at them and their English is excellent. www.astrodreamtech.com


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5199201 - 04/30/12 10:33 PM

Quote:

If the new new Meades match that performance, Meade will have a lot of imagers knocking down the doors.



Speaking of which, does anyone know if Meade will sell just the new OTAs separately?

I've heard (from a post over on IceInSpace) that the AP900 is also now being discontinued to eventually be replaced with something much better, no more will be produced and that if you want one, you need to buy one from current stock, real quick. Quite a shakeup in the product line, eh?


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5199567 - 05/01/12 06:32 AM

The entry level morning calm is about $5500. If its comparable to the Mach1 then i think i'd rather go for the Mach1. On the other hand, Ap900 payload for Mach1 price would be a winner. I dont expect it though, Korea isnt a cheap place to manufacture stuff anymore.

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elbee
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/02/09

Loc: Arizona
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5200220 - 05/01/12 02:02 PM

Quote:

I've heard (from a post over on IceInSpace) that the AP900 is also now being discontinued to eventually be replaced with something much better, no more will be produced and that if you want one, you need to buy one from current stock, real quick.




the AP1200 has been replaced by the AP1600. the AP900 is still in production and available.


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Alph
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: elbee]
      #5200238 - 05/01/12 02:09 PM

Quote:

the AP900 is still in production and available.



When the last production runs out they are gone for good. As I correctly predicted, the AP900 is dead. A-P had no choice but to admit.


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bobhen
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/25/05

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5200278 - 05/01/12 02:35 PM

The 900 is not “really dead”. It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity. AP will still be producing 4 high-end mounts: the M1, the enhanced 900 (whatever they call it), the 1600, and the 3600.

There won’t be a hole in the line up.

AP stated they felt the Mach 1 and the 900 were a little too close in capability - which probably says a lot about the Mach 1.

AP says they are taking things that they learned from Mach 1 development and are applying those enhancements to the 900 and 1200, as those mounts have been around for some time.

Bob


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Alph
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: bobhen]
      #5200300 - 05/01/12 02:50 PM

Quote:

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.



Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master. I see a troubling trend with AP mounts, heavier, bigger and more expensive. They are out of touch.


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blueman
Photon Catcher
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Reged: 07/20/07

Loc: California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5200378 - 05/01/12 03:39 PM

Hi Alph,
I think rather than seeing it your way, I see that AP is trying to balance the models a bit more, making a steady progression in capacity as you go up the line.
Agreed, the cost is going up as is the weight, I would like to see the AP-900 staying close to the original weight, so it is portable and small. But updating it is a good thing. Making them so that the wires is internal and the beefing up seems to be the main changes, we will have to wait and see what the AP-900 is like.

The cost of everything is going up of course and I think that AP is effected as well by this. So, the cost of manufacture is increasing. Yes, it would be nice to see prices go down, but that is not about to happen.
The prices have never been cheap for AP gear, I guess that will continue.
Blueman
Quote:

Quote:

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.



Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master. I see a troubling trend with AP mounts, heavier, bigger and more expensive. They are out of touch.




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D. Perry
super member
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Reged: 09/28/07

Loc: Southern California, USA
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5200393 - 05/01/12 03:45 PM

A-P makes everything from the Mach1GTO to the AP3600, covering just about every weight capacity and doing it with high quality products and great support.

They don't compete with Meade, iOptron, or any of the more mass-produced stuff. They aim for quality in everything they make.

So... How are they out of touch?

Compared to the 1200, the 1600 has increased weight capacity, relocated and self-tensioning motors, and through-the-mount cabling... Features that refine their current offering and support remote operation even further. The improvements and new features are clear.


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Alph
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: D. Perry]
      #5200415 - 05/01/12 04:01 PM

If the weight capacity of the Mach1 is underrated wrt the AP900 what is the true/actual capacity of both mounts?

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Christopher Erickson
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Reged: 05/08/06

Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5200427 - 05/01/12 04:07 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.



Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master. I see a troubling trend with AP mounts, heavier, bigger and more expensive. They are out of touch.




I have to add that my favorite mounts for "small" robotic observatories (all things being relative) are all from Astro-Physics. Their customer support, open communication protocols and responsiveness to special needs and applications are unmatched by anyone else in the industry.


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Peter in Reno
Postmaster
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Reged: 07/15/08

Loc: Reno, NV
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5200436 - 05/01/12 04:12 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.



Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master. I see a troubling trend with AP mounts, heavier, bigger and more expensive. They are out of touch.




I am not quite understanding your point. I had Atlas and Celestron mounts and they were nowhere even close to my current AP Mach1 mount. Mach1 is much lighter and has much higher carrying imaging capacity than both Atlas and Celestron. I was fed up with poor tracking and high PE of mass produced mounts so I took the risk of spending more on A-P Mach1 and I am glad I did because it has never let me down.

I think A-P has one of the best business model in the telescope market. It makes sense what they are doing right now. They may cost more than others and why do they charge more? Because they can and know what the market is willing to pay for. They have been around for a very long time and not even close to bankruptcy like Meade did. Also, people are willing to spend extra for high quality, reliability and service support. Meade, Celesron, and Atlas don't even come close to what A-P offers.

IMO, you seem to have a grudge against A-P. I have never read one single positive comment from you about A-P and I don't think I have read others' negative comments about A-P. And finally, have you ever own an A-P product?

Peter


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Joe Bergeron
Vendor - Space Art


Reged: 11/10/03

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5200649 - 05/01/12 06:37 PM

Quote:

Their customer support, open communication protocols and responsiveness to special needs and applications are unmatched by anyone else in the industry.




You see, they are out of touch! They don't follow industry norms!


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Bowmoreman
Clear enough skies
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Reged: 09/11/06

Loc: Bolton, MA
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5200675 - 05/01/12 06:58 PM



Let's keep it on track

That said, I agree, and I don't even own one...


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Calypte
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/20/07

Loc: Anza, California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5200744 - 05/01/12 07:39 PM

How would capacity be determined? Some manufacturers seem to think a load just short of utter collapse is the "capacity." A-P is more conservative. The mount should be able to do useful work. But it still depends upon the scope (long? short? heavy weights at the ends?) and ambient conditions. Losmandy claims 60 lbs capacity for the G11 vs A-P's 45 lbs for the Mach1GTO. I own both. I've never loaded either to claimed capacity, but having loaded each mount with the exact same gear, I can definitely say that my Mach1GTO is steadier than my G11 under all tested circumstances.

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gnowellsct
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/24/09

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5200860 - 05/01/12 08:53 PM

Quote:

The entry level morning calm is about $5500. If its comparable to the Mach1 then i think i'd rather go for the Mach1. On the other hand, Ap900 payload for Mach1 price would be a winner. I dont expect it though, Korea isnt a cheap place to manufacture stuff anymore.




Were I in the market I'd give Morning Calm a call...


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: gnowellsct]
      #5201185 - 05/02/12 01:44 AM

Actually I have to disagree with all the negative comments about AP mounts.

After several China mounts, I now have a 15+ year old AP600 QMD. AP still supports this mount. I emailed them and although I did not buy the mount from them, they were very helpful, would sell me replacement motors/gearboxes (for a 15-year old mount!!) and would even repair the hand controller if ever that becomes necessary.

Where can you find service like that?

And I believe AP pricing is very reasonable for what they offer.

Check out the Morning Calm GE200. 20kg payload (30kg if close to the pivot), 4500 EUR / 5500 USD. That is Mach1 price for pretty much Mach1 payload. No word on the performance.. does anybody own this thing?

The CGE Pro is $5K. Anybody check the price of the Vixen AXD? I can't imagine who would pay $11K for that thing.. Tak mounts? overpriced IMHO.

The Gemini mounts from Europe are built in Hungary where the labor is less expensive. It's still a 5000 EUR mount.

So if you want something better than a China mount, you're looking at $5K minimum. And guess what.. that's almost Mach1 level (for me, given my 3rd-world economic sensibilities, $5K and $6.5K are pretty much the same - a large chunk of change).

Also considering the base 1600GTO is not significantly more than a 1200GTO, I really don't see the justification for the hating.


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Christopher Erickson
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/08/06

Loc: Waikoloa Village, Hawaii
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5201276 - 05/02/12 05:50 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Their customer support, open communication protocols and responsiveness to special needs and applications are unmatched by anyone else in the industry.




You see, they are out of touch! They don't follow industry norms!




LOL!

Thank goodness they don't!

Marj and Roland are great people who are very accessible, really care about the quality of their products and the satisfaction of their customers. They will repair your mount or scope, or sell you parts if you want to try it yourself. They will give you nearly-unlimited time on the phone if you need it.

If Software Bisque, Losmandy, Meade and Celestron were one tenth the company that Astro-Physics is, they would still be ten times better than they are now.

Yes, their stuff costs more and there are the long waiting lists, but it's worth it. The lists for mounts are getting shorter all of the time. I just wish the same were true for their refractors!


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Happy Birthday Awesomelenny
Post Laureate
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Reged: 05/02/04

Loc: Long: 81.42 W Lat: 41.21 N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5201427 - 05/02/12 09:06 AM

I 2nd Christopher's statement regaring Astro-Physics. The customer service is unbelievable! My AP1200 is leaps better than anything else I owned. I owned several brands and won't ever turn back now!

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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Awesomelenny]
      #5201433 - 05/02/12 09:11 AM

Thanks for derailing my thread, Alph.

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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5201456 - 05/02/12 09:33 AM

Sorry, Saad.

I hope to be in your position soon. :-)

The MX is certainly a good buy and the Bisque automation is very mature, Chris E. says he does a lot of work on remote observatories using AP mounts, but the ones I've paid to use (e.g. GRAS) all use ME's. So personally if remote operation was very important, the Bisque mounts seem to be currently better supported.

Note that the 1600GTO has absolute encoder option, which provides many of the same benefits as the limit switches on the ME/MX. But the 900 does not have limit switches, although according to AP you can power it down "anytime" and it will remember its axis positions. Some people say the 900 can get "lost" after power down, while the ME/MX don't have this problem due to the limit switches.

Personally, I'd go AP again when I get the chance, because the ME/MX are slaves to a computer while at least with the AP's you have the option of going computer-less.


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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5201508 - 05/02/12 10:07 AM

Thanks, orlyandico.

Before the AP1600GTO was announced, I was ready to jump on an AP900. After the AP1600GTO, I've been slightly reluctant because it's fairly obvious it will be updated sooner or later.

Considering that, I just feel I should get the most bang for my buck that I can. If I purchase the AP900 now I miss out on (potentially) through-the-mount cabling, an increase in payload, an option to have absolute encoders etc.

I feel these are significant improvements, especially if the "new" AP900 retains the current size.

The problem now becomes how long do I wait?. There's no info when the 'upgraded' AP900 will be produced. I have to wait till the end of the year to get enough cash. If however, the new AP900 still isn't announced, I'll probably have to go with PMX.

The PMX, as the AP900 stands, offers more payload, through-the-mount cabling, and it comes with a lot of extras (software, 2 x counterweights, saddle) - with no decrease in precision as compared to AP900 (at least that's what I perceive. I don't know if that is actually true, but considering the rave reviews of the PMX and the PME, it seems Bisque knows what they're doing).

I know that a computer is required all the time, but I need to have a computer 99% of the time anyway because of my CCD camera.

So, now, only one concerns remains - will Software Bisque still support this mount 10-15 years down the line?

Edited by saadabbasi (05/02/12 10:08 AM)


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5201526 - 05/02/12 10:17 AM

Hi Saad,

While I think both A-P and ME/MX are great mounts, I would pick A-P mainly for best of both worlds: using hand controller and/or computer. There are some nights when I don't feel like imaging and want to use the scope for visual use, the hand controller is handy to have and you don't have to add computers and messy cables.

I took a close look at MX web site and I have a small concern. It uses belt driven gears. If the belt is made out of rubber, then PEC may have to be re-recorded frequently because if the belt begins to stretch or change especially when the temperature drops significantly during the same imaging night, then current PEC may no longer be valid.

Good luck and let us know your decision.

Peter


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orlyandico
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5201532 - 05/02/12 10:21 AM

I doubt the belts would stretch much.. those are probably timing-grade belts which are used for high-precision applications.

As for support 15 years down the road.. well you should ask the users of the older Paramounts such as those running the MKS3000 or the even older stepper drives.

Somehow I feel AP has a better record here...


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Bowmoreman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5201536 - 05/02/12 10:23 AM

Saad, I would say they are quite likely to be able to support you 10-15 years down the road.. Here's why:

Their business model isn't *only* hardware, it includes a not insignificant standalone software business. Software tends to be a more profitably sustainable business model than hardware, and so, they are potentially more likely to financially weather an economic "storm" (all else being equal).

The fact they make top-tier/quality mounts doesn't hurt either... The "carriage trade" will *always* be around, it's a question of the size of that market... If there were only two mount makers left, I'd have to bet on AP and Bisque...

(says the guy with the wonderful, but unfortunately now unsupportable, MI-250)...

All that said, at these levels, mounts are pretty much indesructable... as long as the electronics work, that is!

Either the PMX or the AP900 updated will be my next mount. IF there is a "next mount"...

Edited by Bowmoreman (05/02/12 10:24 AM)


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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5201538 - 05/02/12 10:25 AM

Quote:


I took a close look at MX web site and I have a small concern. It uses belt driven gears. If the belt is made out of rubber, then PEC may have to be re-recorded frequently because if the belt begins to stretch or change especially when the temperature drops significantly during the same imaging night, then current PEC may no longer be valid.

Good luck and let us know your decision.

Peter




Interesting point about the belts. Does anyone here know if the PME has belts? If so, then the PMX probably has the same ones and they're probably really well made.

EDIT: I wanted to mention that's its actually impossible to actually make the "wrong" choice here. Both AP and Bisque make state of the art mounts, I know I'm going to be happy with either of them - however, I just feel I should maximize the features I can get for the price.

Quote:

Saad, I would say they are quite likely to be able to support you 10-15 years down the road.. Here's why:

Their business model isn't *only* hardware, it includes a not insignificant standalone software business. Software tends to be a more profitably sustainable business model than hardware, and so, they are potentially more likely to financially weather an economic "storm" (all else being equal).

The fact they make top-tier/quality mounts doesn't hurt either... The "carriage trade" will *always* be around, it's a question of the size of that market... If there were only two mount makers left, I'd have to bet on AP and Bisque...

(says the guy with the wonderful, but unfortunately now unsupportable, MI-250)...

All that said, at these levels, mounts are pretty much indesructable... as long as the electronics work, that is!

Either the PMX or the AP900 updated will be my next mount. IF there is a "next mount"...




Thanks! That was very insightful.

Edited by saadabbasi (05/02/12 10:29 AM)


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orlyandico
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5201552 - 05/02/12 10:34 AM

If you look at used pricing, neither of these mounts really depreciate.

Heck even a used AP600GTO is still over $4K. Perilously close to the $6.3K (new) Mach1 which weighs less and carries more.

Generally when resale prices hold up THAT well, you know you've got a keeper.


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5201553 - 05/02/12 10:35 AM

Quote:

when the temperature drops significantly during the same imaging night, then current PEC may no longer be valid.



The Paramount GT-1100S and Paramount ME also use tensioned timing belts. The potential problem you describe does not exist.


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5201563 - 05/02/12 10:41 AM

Quote:

Quote:

when the temperature drops significantly during the same imaging night, then current PEC may no longer be valid.



The Paramount GT-1100S and Paramount ME also use tensioned timing belts. The potential problem you describe does not exist.




That's good to know.

Thanks,
Peter


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5201573 - 05/02/12 10:48 AM

Quote:

As for support 15 years down the road.. well you should ask the users of the older Paramounts such as those running the MKS3000 or the even older stepper drives.



I recently sold a 12 year old Paramount GT-1100S with MKS-3000 electronics. That mount is still supported, and at the time I sold it was still going strong and still working like the day I first received it. I had lost the original software media and license keys. Software Bisque sent the new owner a complete suite of new software media and licenses (which were the same as for the ME) on my behalf. Good support. Good mount. The ME and MX are better.


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5201619 - 05/02/12 11:16 AM

Do both axis use belts or just Declination axis? It would make more sense if the belt is only for Dec axis to eliminate backlash and RA motor is always running in one diretcion therefore no backlash so there should not be a need for a belt on RA axis. Correct?

Peter


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Bowmoreman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5201628 - 05/02/12 11:21 AM

On the topic of belts... belt drive - done well - is usually BETTER than direct gearing in important aspects...

For example, with high-end audio turntable's, all the best are belt drive. Why? because belts better isolate rumble and high frequency physical disturbances/noise...

I can easily imagine the same phenomenon with mounts; the belts isolating/damping/smoothing out the higher order harmonics and noise from the motor and reduction gear(s) upstream of the belt.

With auto-tensioning, behavior variance as a function of stretch and/or temperature will be a non issue.

All the above is true only if it is done "right", which I'd have to believe they have.


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Bowmoreman]
      #5201649 - 05/02/12 11:32 AM

I totally agree that using belt driven gears for mounts are great mainly to virtaully eliminate backlash. Backlash is the enemy for imaging. If Bisque has been using belt driven gears in their mount from day one and people have not complained about it, then I do not see a problem using belts in mounts. Like you said as long as it's well engineered. Probably PEC is not even needed.

Peter


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Bowmoreman]
      #5201674 - 05/02/12 11:46 AM

Quote:

Do both axis use belts or just Declination axis?



On all Paramounts both RA and DEC use timing belts. Tracking speeds are continuously variable on both axes. The mounts are intended to be used for more than just tracking sun, moon and stars. They can precisely track planets, comets, asteroids and satellites as well. Try putting your slew speed and acceleration up to maximum on an ME or MX sometime. It's like having an assembly line robot.


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5201706 - 05/02/12 12:05 PM

OK, thanks for providing valuable information about Paramount mounts. Sounds like great engineering work regarding to belt driven mounts.

Peter


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Joe Bergeron
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5201718 - 05/02/12 12:11 PM

Quote:


Before the AP1600GTO was announced, I was ready to jump on an AP900. After the AP1600GTO, I've been slightly reluctant because it's fairly obvious it will be updated sooner or later.




A-P has stated that the currently available 900 mounts are the last that will be made. I think the upgrade will come sooner rather than later.


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blueman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5201964 - 05/02/12 01:59 PM Attachment (53 downloads)

Though is is certain that the AP-900 will undergo a transformation, this does not take away from the mount as it is now. It is a great mount, compact, light weight and works very well.

Internally routed cables sounds like a good idea, but when cables are placed in a confined space and then twisted, then they will be more prone to failure over time. I think there have been problems with this with another brand mount. Still, I guess it would be nice.

More capacity would also be great, but if it is at the cost of more weight, well that would detract from the mount for me, I wanted the light weight as I am no longer a young man.

Then, increase price, hmm, well $8750 was already a lot of money, add the tripod or pier, counter weights and a polar scope and you are topping $10,000! The new mount may cost and additional $1200-1500 if the prices follow the AP-1600. This too is not always the best thing.

So, if you want a new AP-900, this is the time to act. But, remember this, if the new mount comes out soon and there are a lot of people wanting to upgrade, then there will be used AP-900 mounts for sale, same as the AP-1200! This is a good thing, maybe the prices will even be better?

But I have to say, I really like the AP-900. It is overall an easier mount for me to handle over my MI-250, which is also a great mount, just bigger and heavier.
Blueman
Quote:

Quote:


Before the AP1600GTO was announced, I was ready to jump on an AP900. After the AP1600GTO, I've been slightly reluctant because it's fairly obvious it will be updated sooner or later.




A-P has stated that the currently available 900 mounts are the last that will be made. I think the upgrade will come sooner rather than later.




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Joe Bergeron
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: blueman]
      #5202035 - 05/02/12 02:33 PM

Yes, if I controlled a fabulous fortune I would order a 900 mount right now.

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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5202064 - 05/02/12 02:51 PM

Quote:

Internally routed cables sounds like a good idea, but when cables are placed in a confined space and then twisted, then they will be more prone to failure over time. I think there have been problems with this with another brand mount. Still, I guess it would be nice.



Through the mount wiring is indeed a very nice feature. I've never had any trouble with running cables through the mount nor with cable twisting or cable failure over time. Still, nobody likes having a lot of cables. These days I've reduced the number of extra added cables going through my mount to just two: one 14AWG 12V power and one USB2 data. I have a HitecAstro Mount Hub Pro on the mount to which everything else connects including dew heaters, focuser, rotator, camera and the mount itself. I have just a single USB2 cable running from the back of the mount to my computer. No cable clutter. If you haven't taken a look at the Mount Hub Pro, you might want to think about doing so.


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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5202451 - 05/02/12 06:20 PM

Quote:

Thanks, orlyandico.

Before the AP1600GTO was announced, I was ready to jump on an AP900. After the AP1600GTO, I've been slightly reluctant because it's fairly obvious it will be updated sooner or later.

Considering that, I just feel I should get the most bang for my buck that I can. If I purchase the AP900 now I miss out on (potentially) through-the-mount cabling, an increase in payload, an option to have absolute encoders etc.

I feel these are significant improvements, especially if the "new" AP900 retains the current size.

The problem now becomes how long do I wait?. There's no info when the 'upgraded' AP900 will be produced. I have to wait till the end of the year to get enough cash. If however, the new AP900 still isn't announced, I'll probably have to go with PMX.

The PMX, as the AP900 stands, offers more payload, through-the-mount cabling, and it comes with a lot of extras (software, 2 x counterweights, saddle) - with no decrease in precision as compared to AP900 (at least that's what I perceive. I don't know if that is actually true, but considering the rave reviews of the PMX and the PME, it seems Bisque knows what they're doing).

I know that a computer is required all the time, but I need to have a computer 99% of the time anyway because of my CCD camera.

So, now, only one concerns remains - will Software Bisque still support this mount 10-15 years down the line?





Two more considerations concerning Astro-Physics:

1. They are honest and up-front about new products, future products, current products and old products. Most manufacturers are not willing to do that because it gives their competitors an advantage over them. AP clearly considers customer relations to be much more important than competitive strategies.

2. They (and Televue) support older products way above and beyond any other manufacturers. No reason to be afraid of a discontinued or older AP mount. It will be supported for many, many years.


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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5202496 - 05/02/12 06:41 PM

Quote:

I totally agree that using belt driven gears for mounts are great mainly to virtaully eliminate backlash. Backlash is the enemy for imaging. If Bisque has been using belt driven gears in their mount from day one and people have not complained about it, then I do not see a problem using belts in mounts. Like you said as long as it's well engineered. Probably PEC is not even needed.

Peter




I like timing-belt drive systems but it is important to note that about 98% of all telescope axis backlash comes from the interface between the worm gear and the worm wheel and that is not solved by a timing belt drive between the axis motor and the worm gear.


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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5202526 - 05/02/12 06:58 PM

I should have added that in my day-job, "backlash" is generally-defined as the play in the worm drive.

"Hysteresis" is generally-defined as the play in the drive train between the motor and the worm drive.


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Stew57
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5202605 - 05/02/12 07:32 PM

Backlash can be compensated for but Hysteresis is trouble. My lowly cgem has an 8/3 pe error that is 75% of the 1st harmonic. No way for PEC to correctn for it when PEC is only corrects for 1 worm rotation on that mount. A belt drive would have eliminated that problem.

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orlyandico
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Stew57]
      #5202616 - 05/02/12 07:40 PM

Mark, actually that 8/3 is inside the cheapo Igarashi gearhead. Replacing the spur gear between the gearhead output shaft and the worm shaft with a belt would do nothing to fix that.

(this is the reason why A-P uses Maxon motors.. you can't get rid of backlash in the gearhead, but you can reduce it)


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5202780 - 05/02/12 09:22 PM

I am a little confused. Why would Maxon motors reduce backlash?

I have read that A-P motors are from Switzerland but did not know that they were Maxon motors. I have read great things about Maxon motors.

Peter


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orlyandico
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5203091 - 05/03/12 02:37 AM

the CGEM problem is a not-high-quality gearbox.

if the gearbox has loose tolerances then there will be backlash and periodic error caused by the gearbox itself.

e.g. when reversing direction you need to take up the slack within the gearbox itself, before you can take up the slack in the worm-to-worm-wheel interface.

obviously the more money you put in the motor gearbox, the less backlash there will be in the gearbox itself.

maxon also produces coreless servo motors that do not "cog."

cogging of the motor due to the armature poles limits the minimum movement the motor can execute.


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Bowmoreman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5203176 - 05/03/12 07:02 AM

Quote:

I am a little confused. Why would Maxon motors reduce backlash?

I have read that A-P motors are from Switzerland but did not know that they were Maxon motors. I have read great things about Maxon motors.

Peter




The Maxons in my MI 250 are great.

Belts virtually eliminate the hysteresis upstream of the worm... Not backlash tween worm and the final gear...


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orlyandico
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Bowmoreman]
      #5203315 - 05/03/12 08:52 AM

Dave - only true if the belt drive is directly driven by the motor via a high reduction. If there is a gearhead reduction on the motor itself, you would still have backlash inside the gearhead (which of course could be minimized by buying an expensive motor + gearhead).

To put this into perspective, a typical Maxon coreless motor with a 10:1 (range) high-end gearhead is $400 plus.

There's a reason these motors don't find their way into the CGEM's of the world...


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5203555 - 05/03/12 11:14 AM

YouTube video of MX Worm Block Assembly. You will see drive belt in the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARKTL9XlSV4

Peter


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5203604 - 05/03/12 11:41 AM

Here's another video of the Paramount MX tracking a satellite:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b3GKy_sAr0

One of those pretty flashing types.


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Joe Bergeron
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5203815 - 05/03/12 01:35 PM

Quote:


A-P has stated that the currently available 900 mounts are the last that will be made. I think the upgrade will come sooner rather than later.




By the way, this is not a "rumor". It was stated by Marj Christen more than once on one of AP's Yahoo groups. I'm not inclined to go around bloviating about things I don't know.


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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5205537 - 05/04/12 12:29 PM

Does anyone here know how to get in touch with Software Bisque? I posted a message on their Support Forum on the 29th and still no one has replied. I also sent an email yesterday, but no response.

Edited by saadabbasi (05/04/12 12:31 PM)


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blueman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5205609 - 05/04/12 01:20 PM

I believe that she also mentioned it would be about a year? One would assume there would be a run of AP-1600's and Mach1 mounts prior to the next run of the NEW AP-900?

Blueman
Quote:

Quote:


A-P has stated that the currently available 900 mounts are the last that will be made. I think the upgrade will come sooner rather than later.




By the way, this is not a "rumor". It was stated by Marj Christen more than once on one of AP's Yahoo groups. I'm not inclined to go around bloviating about things I don't know.




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Bob_Stan
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5205639 - 05/04/12 01:34 PM

What forum did you post to at Software Bisque and what subject? I read them fairly regularly and don't remember seeing any posts from April 29th?

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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Bob_Stan]
      #5205647 - 05/04/12 01:39 PM

Quote:

What forum did you post to at Software Bisque and what subject? I read them fairly regularly and don't remember seeing any posts from April 29th?




http://www.bisque.com/sc/forums/t/15430.aspx

Thanks!


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coz
sage


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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: blueman]
      #5205696 - 05/04/12 02:13 PM

I think she said soon so maybe after the 1600s because the Mach One is now.

Quote:

I believe that she also mentioned it would be about a year? One would assume there would be a run of AP-1600's and Mach1 mounts prior to the next run of the NEW AP-900?

Blueman



Quote:

Quote:


A-P has stated that the currently available 900 mounts are the last that will be made. I think the upgrade will come sooner rather than later.




By the way, this is not a "rumor". It was stated by Marj Christen more than once on one of AP's Yahoo groups. I'm not inclined to go around bloviating about things I don't know.







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Alph
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5205792 - 05/04/12 03:07 PM

Quote:

Does anyone here know how to get in touch with Software Bisque? I posted a message on their Support Forum on the 29th and still no one has replied. I also sent an email yesterday, but no response.



You need to re-post your question again and again. About a year ago, I called SB about a tripod for the Paramount MX and I did not like what I experienced. Maybe it is me but I have high expectation when I am about to spend $11,000.00 on two sets of worm/worm wheels and two electrical motors on a tripod. SB also seems very quick to recommend shipping the Paramounts back to them if there is a problem. As much you might like the looks of the PMX, considering your location, you need a mount that you can service and troubleshoot on your own.


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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5205818 - 05/04/12 03:29 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Does anyone here know how to get in touch with Software Bisque? I posted a message on their Support Forum on the 29th and still no one has replied. I also sent an email yesterday, but no response.



You need to re-post your question again and again. About a year ago, I called SB about a tripod for the Paramount MX and I did not like what I experienced. Maybe it is me but I have high expectation when I am about to spend $11,000.00 on two sets of worm/worm wheels and two electrical motors on a tripod. SB also seems very quick to recommend shipping the Paramounts back to them if there is a problem. As much you might like the looks of the PMX, considering your location, you need a mount that you can service and troubleshoot on your own.




Interesting... it's good to experience this before I purchased the mount. If I don't receive a reply soon, I think I'm just going to wait for the new ap900.


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LLEEGE
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: blueman]
      #5205850 - 05/04/12 03:49 PM

Quote:

One would assume there would be a run of AP-1600's and Mach1 mounts prior to the next run of the NEW AP-900?

Blueman


There will not be another run of 900's. The next run of 900 class mounts will be the new design. There is no decision yet as to what it will be called. Howard is pushing for 1000 so they can call it "The Grand".

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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #5205858 - 05/04/12 03:54 PM

Quote:

Quote:

One would assume there would be a run of AP-1600's and Mach1 mounts prior to the next run of the NEW AP-900?

Blueman


There will not be another run of 900's. The next run of 900 class mounts will be the new design. There is no decision yet as to what it will be called. Howard is pushing for 1000 so they can call it "The Grand".




The Grand sounds pretty cool! Does anyone know if the "the grand" will have encoders like the AP1600GTO?


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LLEEGE
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5205871 - 05/04/12 04:00 PM

Encoders will be an option, the same as the 1600.

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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #5205881 - 05/04/12 04:05 PM

Quote:

Encoders will be an option, the same as the 1600.




Thanks and would you happen to have any idea when the new mount will be announced? And if there's any increase in price?


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Alph
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: LLEEGE]
      #5205904 - 05/04/12 04:20 PM

Quote:

Howard is pushing for 1000 so they can call it "The Grand".



How about "Three Grands" (for an encoder )


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5206092 - 05/04/12 06:25 PM

Saad,

Do you realized that Paramount mounts require 48V DC power? I have no idea whether it would be an inconvenience to transport 48V battery to the field. I would not like transporting four 12V batteries to the field plus another 12V battery for other equipment like cameras, dew heater, etc. Something to think about.

Paramount sells optional 48V portable power supplies in 5AH and 10AH models. They costs between $600 and $750!!!!!

Peter

EDIT: Maybe you can use single 12V car battery and use an inverter (12V to 110VAC) to power the included 48V power supply.

Edited by Peter in Reno (05/04/12 07:01 PM)


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blueman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5206180 - 05/04/12 07:08 PM

That is one thing that I thought about a lot when looking at SB mounts, seems strange to use a voltage like that and not too practical in the field. I guess not such a problem if you are permanently mount in an observatory?
Blueman
Quote:

Saad,

Do you realized that Paramount mounts require 48V DC power? I have no idea whether it would be an inconvenience to transport 48V battery to the field. I would not like transporting four 12V batteries to the field plus another 12V battery for other equipment like cameras, dew heater, etc. Something to think about.

Paramount sells optional 48V portable power supplies in 5AH and 10AH models. They costs between $600 and $750!!!!!

Peter

EDIT: Maybe you can use single 12V car battery and use an inverter (12V to 110VAC) to power the included 48V power supply.




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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5206227 - 05/04/12 07:40 PM

Saad, beats me why no response considering that you posted in the presales questions area for which the questions don't even show up unless they have been read. Maybe has something to do with everyone being at NEAF that week? It's a small company. But from the Paramount MX page on the Software Bisque website you can get the box sizes and weights, then get shipping estimates and such online as needed:

Q: What are the dimensions and weight of the Paramount MX shipping boxes?

A: The dimensions of the large Paramount MX shipping box are 13-in. x 24.5-i.n x 26-in. (33 cm x 62 cm x 66 cm ) and weighs approximately 65 lbs. (29 kg). Counterweights are shipped separately.

Counterweights 2 or 3 at 9 kg (20 lbs.) each., 305 x 305 x 305 mm (12 x 12 x 12 in.), 18-27 kg (40-60 lbs.)
So unless you ask them to add a third counterweight (two are standard), figure 2 counterwights or 40lbs for the counterweight box.


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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5206229 - 05/04/12 07:41 PM

Quote:

Saad,

Do you realized that Paramount mounts require 48V DC power? I have no idea whether it would be an inconvenience to transport 48V battery to the field. I would not like transporting four 12V batteries to the field plus another 12V battery for other equipment like cameras, dew heater, etc. Something to think about.

Paramount sells optional 48V portable power supplies in 5AH and 10AH models. They costs between $600 and $750!!!!!

Peter

EDIT: Maybe you can use single 12V car battery and use an inverter (12V to 110VAC) to power the included 48V power supply.




Just an FYI...

Power conversions can be as efficient as 92% but are generally around 80% efficient.

Converting 12VDC to 120VAC and then down to 48VDC will probably be about 64% efficient (80% of 80%), meaning that 36% of your 12V battery power will be converted to heat in the converters. This also means that your battery's Ah capacity would need to be re-rated by 36%.

I believe that SB's decision to use 48VDC is a good one from a motor perspective although it does create problems in the field.

Instead of converters, I would use four smaller, inexpensive 7Ah or larger 12VDC sealed lead-acid batteries wired up in series.


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5206237 - 05/04/12 07:48 PM

Quote:

Do you realized that Paramount mounts require 48V DC power?



Which is quite honestly no big deal. In the field you can use an inverter with the included power supply brick. SB also sell a 48V battery pack made specifically to power the mount, but that's rather pricy. The mount itself also doesn't actually use very much power. Laptop uses way more power.

If you use an inverter, it doesn't need to be an expensive or high capacity one. A cheap one that handles just the needed amount of power works very well here. Doesn't need to be a fancy sine wave inverter or anything like that either.

Many MX owners are using the mount as a smaller less expensive equivalent to the ME. They're using them in observatories. Power is certainly not an issue there.


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5206265 - 05/04/12 08:08 PM

Quote:

SB also seems very quick to recommend shipping the Paramounts back to them if there is a problem. As much you might like the looks of the PMX, considering your location, you need a mount that you can service and troubleshoot on your own.



The only time I see SB recommend shipping a mount back to them is when the mount owner is a non-technical person. People like that do own mounts too. Not everyone is technically inclined. If you're at all technically inclined they send parts with instructions. That's my impression in any case. YMMV of course.

See the video posted earlier in this thread of an MX mount repair done in the field by an typical MX mount owner that SB sent parts and instructions. A link to that video was posted a little bit back in this thread during the discussion of worms and belts.


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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5206626 - 05/05/12 01:06 AM

I think I'm going to stick with AP here. I'll just wait for whenever the new AP900 is released.

I really liked the MX but SB doesn't seem interested and OPT, after 3-4 emails of discussion over the past week, simply stated they can't provide me with a mount (didn't give any reason).

So I'm going to save myself a headache and just stick with AP.

I wanted to thank all of you, you all provided very valuable insight into the matter. I definitely leaned a lot about the MX and about AP from this thread.

Edited by saadabbasi (05/05/12 01:08 AM)


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5206706 - 05/05/12 03:11 AM

Good choice with AP. With the PMX, consider the limitation of needing a PC at hand, if you ever need to do visual.

I operate both a AP1200 and Paramount ME (MX's bigger brother). I love how simple and effective using the AP mount. I can get the stuff I need to do so much faster, just made for fun.

The PME sometimes gets in the way due to the the homing and other software rituals needed. With the AP, just turn on and Goto. Always aligned. The handbox is also sweet for visual work. Very robust mount, you wont regret it.


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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5207065 - 05/05/12 11:37 AM

Hmm, I've emailed this to AP but I wanted to ask you guys since it's a weekend: Will Astro-physics support their mount where I live (Pakistan)?

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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5207108 - 05/05/12 12:04 PM

Quote:

Hmm, I've emailed this to AP but I wanted to ask you guys since it's a weekend: Will Astro-physics support their mount where I live (Pakistan)?




They support their mounts all over the world, including Antarctica and Alaska. I don't think they would have a problem with Pakistan.


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mchaser
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Reged: 12/22/04

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5207135 - 05/05/12 12:20 PM

I'm curious, why did OPT say they couldn't provide the mx mount?

Mike


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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: mchaser]
      #5207153 - 05/05/12 12:31 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Hmm, I've emailed this to AP but I wanted to ask you guys since it's a weekend: Will Astro-physics support their mount where I live (Pakistan)?




They support their mounts all over the world, including Antarctica and Alaska. I don't think they would have a problem with Pakistan.




Thanks Chris, that's very good to know.

Edited by saadabbasi (05/05/12 12:34 PM)


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EddWen
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5207194 - 05/05/12 12:57 PM

If you sign up for Yahoo AP-UG you will find a lot of interesting information. Lots of support activity for a mount in India right now.

BTW, Anacortes Wild Bird (Astromart) has a new AP900 in stock, if you can't wait ;-)

Good luck !

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Hmm, I've emailed this to AP but I wanted to ask you guys since it's a weekend: Will Astro-physics support their mount where I live (Pakistan)?




They support their mounts all over the world, including Antarctica and Alaska. I don't think they would have a problem with Pakistan.




Thanks Chris, that's very good to know.




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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: EddWen]
      #5207378 - 05/05/12 02:38 PM

I think A-P GTO Yahoo Group would be better because it's dedicated to A-P mounts. I would join both groups.

Peter


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Logan Tudor
member


Reged: 12/28/11

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5208303 - 05/06/12 04:16 AM

Any guesses or inside info on the timings for the 900's replacement, the 1000, 'The Grand' or whatever it's finally named?

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Logan Tudor
member


Reged: 12/28/11

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5208304 - 05/06/12 04:16 AM

Any guesses or inside info on the timings for the 900's replacement, the 1000, 'The Grand' or whatever it's finally named?

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blueman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Logan Tudor]
      #5208722 - 05/06/12 12:25 PM

As I recall, AP made some mention that it would probably take a year.
I would figure they will finish this run of AP-900s and sell them. They will also finish the run on AP-1600's and Mach1s before they would have time to retool and begin a run of the AP-1000 or what ever the name turns out to be, would be my quess.
Blueman
Quote:

Any guesses or inside info on the timings for the 900's replacement, the 1000, 'The Grand' or whatever it's finally named?




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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: blueman]
      #5208800 - 05/06/12 01:20 PM

Quote:

As I recall, AP made some mention that it would probably take a year.
I would figure they will finish this run of AP-900s and sell them. They will also finish the run on AP-1600's and Mach1s before they would have time to retool and begin a run of the AP-1000 or what ever the name turns out to be, would be my quess.
Blueman
Quote:

Any guesses or inside info on the timings for the 900's replacement, the 1000, 'The Grand' or whatever it's finally named?







I think the current "run" is already over. They just have some AP900s left over from the production run. I think they also have some Mach 1s.

The next run is of the AP1600GTO and after that it's probably the Mach 1 again since it's a big seller. After that, I guess, the "the grand" would be produced. I hope they announce it before then though.


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Alph
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5208829 - 05/06/12 01:39 PM

Quote:

I think the current "run" is already over. They just have some AP900s left over from the production run.



I believe that the prices for used 1200s and 900s will come down significantly. The changes to the 1600 are rather cosmetic so the 1200 is as good as the 1600 and the 900 will be as good as the 1000. Why no to wait and pick up one of those mounts at a significant discount? In the meantime you can still enjoy your G11. BTW What's the reason for upgrade? Is there anything wrong with your G11? Despite all the hoopla surrounding AP mounts my eyes are on the Losmandy Titan.


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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5208849 - 05/06/12 01:50 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I think the current "run" is already over. They just have some AP900s left over from the production run.



I believe that the prices for used 1200s and 900s will come down significantly. The changes to the 1600 are rather cosmetic so the 1200 is as good as the 1600 and the 900 will be as good as the 1000. Why no to wait and pick up one of those mounts at a significant discount? In the meantime you can still enjoy your G11. BTW What's the reason for upgrade? Is the anything wrong with your G11?




That's a good point, Alph. However, I'm hoping the new mount will feature the same upgrades as the AP1600 did. I'd like the ability to upgrade to absolute encoders in the future and I very much want through-the-mount cabling. I'd also like slightly more capacity than the AP900 currently provides (but not so much as the AP1600).

There's nothing particularly wrong with my G11 but I've wanted a high-end mount for some time now. The G11, on the whole, has served me well. But it still loses subs without any apparent reason and Gemini can be frustrating to deal with as well.

I still hope we don't have to wait a year for the new AP mount. I'm hoping SB would get back to me before that but it doesn't look like it.

EDIT: I thought I remembered reading you were interested in a Paramount MX. Are you now looking at the Titan?

Edited by saadabbasi (05/06/12 01:52 PM)


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Alph
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5208902 - 05/06/12 02:18 PM

Quote:

I thought I remembered reading you were interested in a Paramount MX. Are you now looking at the Titan?



Yes I was and I am still interested in the Paramount MX but I am not so sure anymore if I am ready to pay $11k for the PMX and the tripod. The PMX is very portable in terms of weight but it is not portable when it comes to alignment. SB did nothing to improve anything in this regard. What makes sense in an observatory mount does not necessarily make sense in a portable mount. Those relatively young dudes from SB don't understand that.


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5209086 - 05/06/12 04:34 PM

Does anyone know if Rob Miller is still with SB and has had anything to do with design of the PMX? If Rob worked on that mount, the mechanics has to be great.

The umbilical cord to the computer for the mount operation, that seems like an idea from the "relatively young" and inexperienced on what really matters in a mount.


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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5209228 - 05/06/12 06:32 PM

I specifically asked the AP guys at NEAF if the one critical feature of the AP1600, the encoders, could be expected in the smaller mounts, later. They said not in the near term; the encoders need a fair amount of volume, and fitting them into the AP1600 has meant the mount is designed around them.

Note, there is a very real component to this- higher resolution needs distance. If it is resolving .1 arcseconds, the minimum to have control around .2 arcseconds, then that is 6,480,000 steps in a circle. A 150mm diameter encoder would need to be reading 1375 counts per millimeter to do this.

-Rich


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5209237 - 05/06/12 06:39 PM

What are the benefits for the optional encoders? Are they useful for portable setup? Do they require perfect polar alignment and pointing models before these encoders become useful? Are they more beneficial for permanent setup?

Thanks,
Peter


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5209291 - 05/06/12 07:08 PM

Quote:

The PMX is very portable in terms of weight but it is not portable when it comes to alignment.



Alph, sometimes I swear you just like to bash every mount in existence. You bash the excellent AP mounts, you bash the excellent SB mounts. Is there any mount you do like? Seriously, if there is a mount you like, I want to know.

I have extensive experience with Paramount mounts. I've been using them for over 12 years now. I take my Paramount into the field several times a year. It is very easy to polar align. It's so easy that I suspect anyone who says otherwise either doesn't actually own a Paramount or simply doesn't have much if any significant experience using one.

Quote:

SB did nothing to improve anything in this regard.



They added a polar alignment scope option for people who like to use polar alignment scopes. I get rough polar aligned just as easily without one, but the option is there for people who prefer it. Fine polar alignment is the same either way. I don't know why you think it's so hard to polar align a Paramount. It's easy.




Quote:

The umbilical cord to the computer for the mount operation, that seems like an idea from the "relatively young" and inexperienced on what really matters in a mount.



"Relatively young and inexperienced." That sounds like a talking point being passed around. If only it were true, which it isn't. Those Bisque guys are almost as old as I am. They've been developing astronomical software for over 20 years and selling high quality high end mounts for over 14 years.

In my own opinion the Paramount MX is primarily a portable robotic imaging mount hence the computer control and tight integration is an asset rather than a detriment. Many people are treating the MX as a less expensive (relative to the ME) observatory mount. It works well either way, so long as you're primarily doing imaging.

Quote:

Does anyone know if Rob Miller is still with SB and has had anything to do with design of the PMX?



Rob Miller has widely stated that he designed the ME. The MX is a descendent of the ME. Rob Miller also designed and currently sells mount tripods that are very good and comparatively inexpensive. I have one, use it in the field and I like it.


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blueman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5209339 - 05/06/12 07:44 PM

I think that those who have some experience using better mounts would all agree that the AP and SB mounts are excellent, state of the art mounts.
Which one is better, well there is no direct answer to a question like this. It depends on what you are looking to do, what you prefer and whether you are wanting a stand alone Go-To system or not.
But, I think I can safely say, either mount would be a great choice.
Personally, I chose the AP-900, but that does not make it the better mount, but rather the mount that I preferred, after considering all my needs and demands.
Blueman


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Starhawk
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: blueman]
      #5209637 - 05/07/12 12:18 AM

The AP1600 encoders are native to the special version of the GTO controller for that mount- if you have them, it uses them. The primary control for rate and position is via the motors. If the mount is equipped with the encoders, they are used to push corrections for both rate and position in real time. Note, this makes both PEC and autoguiding essentially irrelevant. AP still programs in a three-cycle average PEC routine.

-Rich


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5209677 - 05/07/12 01:02 AM

Quote:

Note, this makes....autoguiding essentially irrelevant.



I'm skeptical of that claim. It will certainly help, particularly when combined with APCC. In some circumstances it may even be considered sufficient by some people. However, at long enough focal lengths or long enough exposures, autoguiding will still be needed.


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orlyandico
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5209680 - 05/07/12 01:06 AM

frolinmod,

i have also seen it bandied around that Rob Miller also designed the AP900...

that said, those tripods are pretty good for what he charges for them...


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orlyandico
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5209684 - 05/07/12 01:12 AM

^ the bit about auto-guiding becoming irrelevant is the same rehash of the TDM from months back. My personal take is, if your focal length is short enough (say under 1000mm) and your subs are short enough (5 minute range) then things like encoders and even a good PEC routine would enable you not to guide.

But those guys with long SCT's or RC's and doing 20+ to hours-long exposures would still need to guide.


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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5209689 - 05/07/12 01:20 AM

Quote:

^ the bit about auto-guiding becoming irrelevant is the same rehash of the TDM from months back. My personal take is, if your focal length is short enough (say under 1000mm) and your subs are short enough (5 minute range) then things like encoders and even a good PEC routine would enable you not to guide.

But those guys with long SCT's or RC's and doing 20+ to hours-long exposures would still need to guide.






Even above the arctic circle on the winter solstice, you can't image for 20+ hours...


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5209692 - 05/07/12 01:27 AM

Quote:

i have also seen it bandied around that Rob Miller also designed the AP900...



I thought Rob designed the 900, the 1200 and the ME. See the archives on his Catamount Systems website (which appears to be unmaintained for the last few years). The guy is a legend.


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5209699 - 05/07/12 01:33 AM

Quote:

^ the bit about auto-guiding becoming irrelevant is the same rehash of the TDM from months back.



Yes, but Ray's APCC adds features that help go beyond that. So when you combine the two, the claim becomes far more reasonable though still not quite enough for long focal lengths and/or long exposures. It doesn't take hours. 10 or 15 minute exposures at 4M focal length is difficult enough.


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orlyandico
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5209714 - 05/07/12 01:50 AM

Chris, I meant 20+ minutes to hours.

20+ hours to hours doesn't make sense.


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WadeH237
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5210029 - 05/07/12 10:23 AM

Quote:

But those guys with long SCT's or RC's and doing 20+ to hours-long exposures would still need to guide.




I would have thought this, too. But last fall at AIC, Ray Gralak showed an unguided 15 minute exposure through a C14 at F/11, using APCC. It looked as good to me as any guided image that I've ever seen. And I think that the scope was mounted on an AP1200, so it didn't even have the encoders.

The relevance of APCC here is that it was making adjustments for atmospheric refraction, etc.

Ultimately, I think that the maximum duration of an unguided image is going to come down to the accuracy of polar alignment and flexure in the imaging system.


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Daniel Bisque
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5210037 - 05/07/12 10:31 AM

Dear Saad,

I apologize that you did not receive a timely response from Software Bisque for this thread.

Did you receive a private email messeage from me on Friday, May 4?

I wrote:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Thanks for considering the Paramount MX!

>>Will Software Bisque still support my mount if I purchase it?

Yes. (Our Paramount ME and Paramount MX customers are located all over the globe and you can post support questions to the support forum anytime).

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Consider purchasing the mount through Dubai Telescope: http://dubai-telescope.com/ (a Software Bisque Paramount MX reseller).

Or, you can purchase the mount directly from Software Bisque. Shipping and handling charges are approximately $350.00
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


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Daniel Bisque
Vendor


Reged: 04/20/11

Loc: Golden, CO USA
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5210053 - 05/07/12 10:45 AM

>>You need to re-post your question again and again.

I try my best to answer as many posts as I can on the SB forums (over 12,000 during the past 6 1/2 years).

Try as I might, I sometimes fail. Sorry about that.

>>
I called SB about a tripod for the Paramount MX and I did not like what I experienced.
<<

Were you treated unfairly? I'd like to know.

>>
Maybe it is me but I have high expectation when I am about to spend $11,000.00 on two sets of worm/worm wheels and two electrical motors on a tripod.
<<

Software Bisque works hard to offer quality products at a fair price. Sorry you feel this way.

>>
SB also seems very quick to recommend shipping the Paramounts back to them if there is a problem.
<<

I am responsible for troubleshooting Paramount mounts. I recommend returning mounts only after exhausting all other avenues.

In some instances, yes, I immediately recommend returning the mount for service (like when a fully loaded Paramount ME mount fell off a tripod and hit the ground recently).

>>
As much you might like the looks of the PMX, considering your location, you need a mount that you can service and troubleshoot on your own.
<<

As I hope the extensive history of support questions to the Software Bisque Paramount forums indicate, Software Bisque will be there if needed.

Just my two cents...


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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Daniel Bisque]
      #5210079 - 05/07/12 11:10 AM

Quote:

Dear Saad,

I apologize that you did not receive a timely response from Software Bisque for this thread.

Did you receive a private email messeage from me on Friday, May 4?

I wrote:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Thanks for considering the Paramount MX!

>>Will Software Bisque still support my mount if I purchase it?

Yes. (Our Paramount ME and Paramount MX customers are located all over the globe and you can post support questions to the support forum anytime).

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Consider purchasing the mount through Dubai Telescope: http://dubai-telescope.com/ (a Software Bisque Paramount MX reseller).

Or, you can purchase the mount directly from Software Bisque. Shipping and handling charges are approximately $350.00
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>




Thank you for responding Daniel. I've sent you a PM. Weirdly, I didn't receive any email on Friday.

EDIT: Just wanted to update everyone here: I actually did get the email from SB but it ended up in my Spam folder (which has never happened before). So it was really wan't SB's fault and I apologize if I sounded frustrated!

Edited by saadabbasi (05/07/12 01:24 PM)


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Alph
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Daniel Bisque]
      #5210411 - 05/07/12 02:41 PM

Quote:

>>
I called SB about a tripod for the Paramount MX and I did not like what I experienced.
<<

Were you treated unfairly? I'd like to know.

>>
Maybe it is me but I have high expectation when I am about to spend $11,000.00 on two sets of worm/worm wheels and two electrical motors on a tripod.
<<

Software Bisque works hard to offer quality products at a fair price. Sorry you feel this way.




It is not that I was unfairly treated. I think I wasn’t treated at all. I was just surprised that a call from a potential customer generated little interest and attention from your receptionist.

Quote:

>>
SB also seems very quick to recommend shipping the Paramounts back to them if there is a problem.
<<

I am responsible for troubleshooting Paramount mounts. I recommend returning mounts only after exhausting all other avenues.



That's good to know. However I recently read a post on your site that made me wonder. I hope It was just a fluke.


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blueman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5210415 - 05/07/12 02:44 PM

Hmm, Alph, I thought this was Saad's post, not yours?
Blueman
Quote:

Quote:

>>
I called SB about a tripod for the Paramount MX and I did not like what I experienced.
<<

Were you treated unfairly? I'd like to know.

>>
Maybe it is me but I have high expectation when I am about to spend $11,000.00 on two sets of worm/worm wheels and two electrical motors on a tripod.
<<

Software Bisque works hard to offer quality products at a fair price. Sorry you feel this way.




It is not that I was unfairly treated. I think I wasn’t treated at all. I was just surprised that a call from a potential customer generated little interest and attention from your receptionist.

Quote:

>>
SB also seems very quick to recommend shipping the Paramounts back to them if there is a problem.
<<

I am responsible for troubleshooting Paramount mounts. I recommend returning mounts only after exhausting all other avenues.



That's good to know. However I recently read a post on your site that made me wonder. I hope It was just a fluke.




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Daniel Bisque
Vendor


Reged: 04/20/11

Loc: Golden, CO USA
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5210454 - 05/07/12 03:11 PM

Quote:

Quote:

>>
I called SB about a tripod for the Paramount MX and I did not like what I experienced.
<<

Were you treated unfairly? I'd like to know.

>>
Maybe it is me but I have high expectation when I am about to spend $11,000.00 on two sets of worm/worm wheels and two electrical motors on a tripod.
<<

Software Bisque works hard to offer quality products at a fair price. Sorry you feel this way.




It is not that I was unfairly treated. I think I wasn’t treated at all. I was just surprised that a call from a potential customer generated little interest and attention from your receptionist.

Quote:

>>
SB also seems very quick to recommend shipping the Paramounts back to them if there is a problem.
<<

I am responsible for troubleshooting Paramount mounts. I recommend returning mounts only after exhausting all other avenues.



That's good to know. However I recently read a post on your site that made me wonder. I hope It was just a fluke.




Can you point me to the specific post, please? Again, with respect to mount troubleshooting and resolving mount-related problems, sending the mount back is a last resort.


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Alph
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Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Daniel Bisque]
      #5210499 - 05/07/12 03:46 PM

Quote:

Can you point me to the specific post, please? Again, with respect to mount troubleshooting and resolving mount-related problems, sending the mount back is a last resort.




Support Forums » Paramount Forums » Paramount ME » Assessing Damaged Gears


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frolinmod
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Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5210677 - 05/07/12 05:43 PM

Alph, are you sure you want to use that as an example? I don't think it's a very good example of what you mean (or think you mean). It is very clear from the post that the mount is SEVERELY damaged. Fixing that sort of damage isn't like just changing out a faulty board, motor, worm or what have you replaceable part. There could easily be all sorts of hidden damage that cannot even be seen until after the mount has been completely disassembled. All sorts of parts could be affected and need replacement. I don't think the good doctor is going to do that, nor does he likely have the time even if he had the inclination. Now if he would just stop dropping mounts, counterweights, payload and all, on the floor... Oy vey.

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blueman
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Reged: 07/20/07

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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5210709 - 05/07/12 05:57 PM

Alph,
The way you said it, one would think that you personally had issues. But apparently it is another case of you speaking of something you read.
Blueman
Quote:

Quote:

Can you point me to the specific post, please? Again, with respect to mount troubleshooting and resolving mount-related problems, sending the mount back is a last resort.




Support Forums » Paramount Forums » Paramount ME » Assessing Damaged Gears




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korborh
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 01/29/11

Loc: Arizona
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5210769 - 05/07/12 06:27 PM


Quote:


"Relatively young and inexperienced." That sounds like a talking point being passed around. If only it were true, which it isn't. Those Bisque guys are almost as old as I am. They've been developing astronomical software for over 20 years and selling high quality high end mounts for over 14 years.




frolinmod, I did not want to sound too harsh on SB...sorry my frustration from the other night got in the way . The PC was quite unstable and could not do much with the mount and the homing need was not helping.

My thinking is that a robust mount should be less dependent on a PC. But I can understand both usage models, with and without PC. No doubt SB makes excellent mounts.


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frolinmod
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Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5210804 - 05/07/12 06:43 PM

Quote:

and the homing need was not helping.



Curious, if you're talking about a Paramount, then the mount only needs to be homed once each time you turn it off and back on or disengage and re-engage the worms for balancing and the like. Takes all of 30 seconds or so and can be done either locally via the hand control or remotely via the computer. I hope you're not thinking you need to home it more often then that. It won't hurt (or help) anything if you do, but it's likely a waste of your time doing it when it doesn't actually need to be done. A stable computer certainly is an important ingredient. When I had trouble with my Dell "observatory" laptop locking up, I sent it back to Dell for repair and when it came back was shocked to find they had actually fixed it (swapped out the motherboard). I figured I'd be in for a long fight with them, but no. Sometimes my pessimism fails me.


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korborh
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 01/29/11

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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5210817 - 05/07/12 06:47 PM

I think the response from SB to send the mount was appropriate in that catastrophic case ...

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David PavlichAdministrator
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5211209 - 05/07/12 10:56 PM

Let's keep it on topic, gang.

David


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
*****

Reged: 12/04/10

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5211295 - 05/07/12 11:46 PM

Let's see if I can't get into trouble in this thread.

I've all the Paramounts and AP mounts. As for the MX vs. the 900, I think it comes down to what you want to accomplish. IME, for imaging on a portable OR perm setup it's hard to beat The SkyX Pro and a Paramount. No doubt that AP makes a fine mount, just saying.

I also saw a post from someone quoting setup time for an MX that doesn't own one. I'll let you guess who. The comment stated it took forever to get an accurate alignment with The Sky X and MX. I can run a 150 point calibration on a portable setup and have sub 10 arc second pointing all sky in about 25 minutes. I can do so while the evening sky is still useless to image and still have time for darks. I have posted these results and the tracking of my paramounts here and on the bisque forums. After that 25 minute setup I can turn on pro track and do unguided images of 20-30 minutes at will. I don't go longer only because of the risk inherent to long subs.

As for comparing APCC - I don't see how we can.

1) it isn't released
2) it doesn't have a similar scope to the bisque software. it only covers "some" of what The SkyX does.

I'd also like to point out that becoming a software vendor doesn't happen overnight. It has taken over a decade to produce The Sky at it's current level. To date AP has only sub contracted the development and support of a driver...driver! And the APCC is little more than an extended driver. At lease in it's first release phase.


Joe


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blueman
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Reged: 07/20/07

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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5211301 - 05/07/12 11:51 PM

Ray stated before NEAF, that APCC is close to release, very soon. Hopefully it will be soon, but honestly, I don't need it, but still it would be cool.
I think you could not go wrong with either mount.
Blueman
Quote:

Let's see if I can't get into trouble in this thread.

I've all the Paramounts and AP mounts. As for the MX vs. the 900, I think it comes down to what you want to accomplish. IME, for imaging on a portable OR perm setup it's hard to beat The SkyX Pro and a Paramount. No doubt that AP makes a fine mount, just saying.

I also saw a post from someone quoting setup time for an MX that doesn't own one. I'll let you guess who. The comment stated it took forever to get an accurate alignment with The Sky X and MX. I can run a 150 point calibration on a portable setup and have sub 10 arc second pointing all sky in about 25 minutes. I can do so while the evening sky is still useless to image and still have time for darks. I have posted these results and the tracking of my paramounts here and on the bisque forums. After that 25 minute setup I can turn on pro track and do unguided images of 20-30 minutes at will. I don't go longer only because of the risk inherent to long subs.

As for comparing APCC - I don't see how we can.

1) it isn't released
2) it doesn't have a similar scope to the bisque software. it only covers "some" of what The SkyX does.

I'd also like to point out that becoming a software vendor doesn't happen overnight. It has taken over a decade to produce The Sky at it's current level. To date AP has only sub contracted the development and support of a driver...driver! And the APCC is little more than an extended driver. At lease in it's first release phase.


Joe




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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5211795 - 05/08/12 11:00 AM

Quote:


I also saw a post from someone quoting setup time for an MX that doesn't own one. I'll let you guess who. The comment stated it took forever to get an accurate alignment with The Sky X and MX. I can run a 150 point calibration on a portable setup and have sub 10 arc second pointing all sky in about 25 minutes.




Is this 150-point calibration process automated? I am assuming that The SkyX automatically plate-solves the image to find it's coordinates. Would appreciate some info on this.


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frolinmod
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Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5211960 - 05/08/12 12:32 PM

Quote:

Is this 150-point calibration process automated? I am assuming that The SkyX automatically plate-solves the image to find it's coordinates. Would appreciate some info on this.



Oh yes, it's automated. Yes, TheSkyX plate solves images. TheSkyX calls a plate-solve an "image link." It works quite well. When I set up in the field at a remote site I try to do as little as possible manually. Worst case when first setting up I might need to manually map a dozen stars at most before the I'm able to go full auto from that point on.

Initial set up at a new site goes something like this:

I put the mount on the tripod and point it North. Home the mount and tell TheSkyX to slew to a star. I adjust the alt and az to center the star, then I sync on the star. Then I take a picture and have TheSkyX plate solve it. If it is successful, I do an automated calibration run on 25 or so data points. If it's not successful I just manually map a few stars on each side of the meridian to get things going, plate solves will now be successful, then fire up the automated calibration. After doing that short automated calibration I tweak the polar alignment, re-sync and do another 25 or so point automated calibration, repeating alt and az adjustments, syncing and short automated calibration runs until TheSkyX tells me I'm polar aligned close enough and can stop being so anal retentive. That usually takes two or three short automated runs. Then I do a 150-180 point automated run to get 10-arc second or so RMS all sky pointing. That may sound like a lot, but it's not. It takes maybe an hour or a little more for the entire process. The mount and software are doing most of the work while I relax in my lounge chair. It also only needs to be done once for the entire time until I go to some other site with the mount. I usually stay three or so nights, so no biggy.

When you turn the mount on for the evening it just needs to be homed. Mouse click (or double tap on the hand controller), you're homed and on your way for the evening. If you disengage the worms to balance the mount, you just need to click home afterwards and then it's as if nothing happened and you're on your way again. If you forget to move a step stool out of the way, the mount bumps into it and immediately stops and starts beeping at you, then you just move the stool, click home and it's as if nothing ever happened.


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
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Reged: 12/04/10

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5212000 - 05/08/12 12:52 PM

As fro stated, yes fully automated. And it learns as it goes - applying the points and becoming more accurate as it builds the model.

I'll be honest with ya, after becoming so used to The SkyX Pro and TPoint is took me longer to setup the AP900 and get pointing 2 nights ago. Of course being accustom to any routine makes it easier regardless of the initial complexity. But I just want to point out it (The Sky X/TPoint) is most definitely not as complex as many make it out to be. IME it's the folks that have the least practical experience with things that are the loudest to complain.

Blueman's point is also a fair one - you will be well served by either mount. As always, understanding your requirements is the best place to start making a decision like this.

By the way - the APCC = Driver association may have been a bit over the top on my part. Ray is a good guy and AP a great company. I was only attempting to make the point that in comparison (IMO) APCC/The Sky X aren't apple to apples.

Joe


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saadabbasi
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Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5212056 - 05/08/12 01:22 PM

Thanks frolinmod and jmiele, this does sound very very good. I read the manual and it doesn't seem to difficult to setup. But the question is, is it good enough to forego the polar scope? The polar scope is pricy and I'd rather save the money and put it towards a tripod. I will be setting up every night as I don't have a permanent setup.

Speaking of tripods, I find the SB tripod quite pricy and I was wondering if i would be possible to make a custom adapter (I have access to a CNC machine shop) that fits the MX to the Losmandy tripod.

Would you folks recommend that or should I get the Rob Miller tripod?

Edited by saadabbasi (05/08/12 01:24 PM)


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jmiele
Patron Saint?
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Reged: 12/04/10

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5212094 - 05/08/12 01:39 PM

I have never used a polar scope with the MX. I always start with a level tripod and that results in little to no change in Alt. I use my compass to point north. From there I leave it to The Sky X to tell me what small changes are required after its modeling. As stated earlier, a small run of a dozen or so points will get you a model that will give you some corrections to make. I do that if I think I need to make some initial gross adjustments. Then I make the suggested adjustments, deleted that model and start a new larger one.

On my portable setup I always start a new model when setting up. You can get all the help you need in the Bisque forums. The best part of those forums is the community is also very helpful in the support of the products. The reason is the community is a big part of the development of the product. Suggestions are taken and moved into the product at a very rapid pace. The daily build process has allowed for teams all over the world to have advanced, cutting edge environments working how they require. Later the best of these ideas are built into the standard product. I think it's a wonderful support model.

Joe


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5212102 - 05/08/12 01:43 PM

Quote:

is it good enough to forego the polar scope?



Different people will have different opinions on that. Some people really like their polar scopes. In my opinion a polar scope only gets you so close and you have to do fine polar alignment anyway. I don't use a polar scope. Also, a polar scope reduces the amount of through the scope extra cabling that you can do. You can get more cables through the mount without having the polar scope in there too.

Quote:

I will be setting up every night as I don't have a permanent setup.



I hope you at least have a semi-permanent setup like I do. My mount and scope stay in my backyard covered with a Telegizmos 365 while they're set up. When I want to use it I just take the cover off, home the mount and I'm on my way.

Quote:

Would you folks recommend that or should I get the Rob Miller tripod?



If you're ever going to take your mount into the field then a Rob Miller tripod is essential. Be sure to get the levelers and the rotating top plate. Buy direct from Rob Miller.

If you're just setting up in your backyard ever only, you could build or buy a pier, it'll be more rigid than a tripod.

The Astro-Physics 10" portable piers are also nice (and comparatively inexpensive), but do need a fairly level spot to sit on (as well as a custom local machine shop made adapter plate, Rob Miller can make custom adapter plates for AP piers too if a local machine shop isn't convenient). I like it and used one with my Paramounts for many years, but I sold mine when I got a Rob Miller tripod!


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saadabbasi
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Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5212184 - 05/08/12 02:29 PM

Quote:


I hope you at least have a semi-permanent setup like I do. My mount and scope stay in my backyard covered with a Telegizmos 365 while they're set up. When I want to use it I just take the cover off, home the mount and I'm on my way.




I only have a semi-permanent setup in the winters. In the summers, the heat is around 45C (113 Faherneit for you guys :P) or so. I really don't think such a climate would be beneficial for the mount. In the winters, the max. during the day is 25-30C.

But... I am sort of used to spending at least an hour to setup my G11. I used to setup my pointing model in a similar way - after polar alignment, I used MaximDL with PinPoint to do plate-solves. I used to slew the mount to about 35 degrees above the horizon and sync on a star. Then I would move slew the mount about 10 or so degrees, take an exposure and plate-solve. Once I had a solution, I would do an "additional align" on the coordinates found by the plate-solve. I could get a very reasonable pointing model in the way. So I'm quite used to using software to do the "dirty work" - except this was mostly manual, in the sense that I had to slew the mount myself, do a plate-solve and then sync. The method using Tpoint sounds far more automated.

I think I'm going to forego the polar-scope, invest that money towards a tripod and hopefully place the order for the MX within this month.


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Alph
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5212232 - 05/08/12 02:54 PM

Quote:

he method using Tpoint sounds far more automated.



MaxPoint can work with MaximDL in fully automated mode. Though I am not sure what PinPoint is.


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5212246 - 05/08/12 03:05 PM

Quote:

Though I am not sure what PinPoint is.



PinPoint is an astrometric engine written by Bob Denny. It's used by all manner of applications for plate solving. See: http://pinpoint.dc3.com/


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Alph
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5212284 - 05/08/12 03:26 PM

Quote:

PinPoint is an astrometric engine written by Bob Denny. It's used by all manner of applications for plate solving. See: http://pinpoint.dc3.com/




Thx - brain freeze. I forgot that PinPoint is integrated with MaximDL.

BTW. I used to play the game of building pointing models with my CGE, MaximDL/MaxPoint. I finally got tired of it. It does not make any sense to me. I normally work on a single object a night. I can get to it using simple mount alignment with the NexStar controller. The most accurate Polar alignment method is drift alignment anyways.
Your arguments fall short of convincing me that the Parmount MX is easy to use in a portable environment - been there and done it.


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5212308 - 05/08/12 03:43 PM

Quote:

The most accurate Polar alignment method is drift alignment anyways.



At the risk of derailing this thread, there is no such thing as "the most accurate polar alignment method." There is no one single polar alignment location for every sky position. For every single HA/DEC position you might track on, there is a different polar alignment that is best for tracking on that position. Polar alignment is therefore always a compromise. It is sufficient to be close and that's good enough. However, some large observatories even adjust (or do the equivalent of adjusting) the polar alignment for the specific HA/DEC of the object being observed.

One of the nice things about having a robotic mount is that you can use software such as ACP or CCD Autopilot to automate your imaging program. With ACP Scheduler you can even let it choose what will be imaged that night. The mount might then visit and image from a handful to hundreds of targets over the course of the night. You sleep while all this is going on. Better for your health. I personally don't do this, but a lot of people do.

Quote:

Your arguments fall short of convincing me...



Alph, I'm not trying to argue with you or to convince you. Your way of doing things is just fine.


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5212348 - 05/08/12 04:08 PM

Saad,

I find that creating pointing models fascinating with Sky X and MX but if you typically image one object per night, then I believe a decent polar alignment and syncing on a known star nearest to your target object is reasonably enough. That's how I do it and get pretty good results. Both A-P and MX mounts have super smooth tracking and very low PE that autoguiding alone all night for one target is enough, at least for me. This way you can save time creating pointing models and spend more time imaging.

With my A-P Mach1, I use a very quick and accurate polar alignment method using finderscope called "Quick Drift Alignment" using Meridian Delay as describe in the manual, then slew to a known star nearest to my target object, "Recal" (or sync) on that star and finally slew to target object. The object is always dead center in camera's FOV. I can get this done long before astronomical darkness arrives and ready for imaging.

Another big plus about A-P mounts is that there is no Meridian limits built into the mount. Bisque web site says up to 2 hours past Meridian before Merdian flipping is required. I don't know if this is a big deal for you. Depending on your latitude, you can image all night without Meridian flipping with A-P mounts. My latitude is 39 degrees and so far the highest Declination of an object I've imaged without flipping is 25 degrees (NGC4565) for six hours (3 hours each side of the Meridian). I believe I can easily go as high as a few degrees below my latitude without Meridian flipping and the scope not hitting the pier/tripod. I use C-8 EdgeHD as my imaging scope.

No doubt both AP900 and MX are great mounts and I am sure you will make an excellent decision. I can see MX is a better buy since it comes loaded with Sky X, T-Point, Camera Add-on software, two 20lbs counterweights and saddle.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

Peter


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saadabbasi
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5212393 - 05/08/12 04:31 PM

Quote:

Saad,

I find that creating pointing models fascinating with Sky X and MX but if you typically image one object per night, then I believe a decent polar alignment and syncing on a known star nearest to your target object is reasonably enough. That's how I do it and get pretty good results. Both A-P and MX mounts have super smooth tracking and very low PE that autoguiding alone all night for one target is enough, at least for me. This way you can save time creating pointing models and spend more time imaging.




Peter,

I agree that a large pointing model may not be necessary for a portable imaging setup, but I think that one must calibrate with 20 or so stars to refine the polar alignment. I think there are two major steps to polar aligning the MX

1) Use the homing method for "quick polar alignment" as described by Joe.
2) Refine using Tpoint.

So while I'll probably won't create a arc-second accurate pointing model, I'll definitely use 20 or so stars to refine my PA. Since the process is iterative, it may be necessary to do this a few times. Either way, 25-35 minutes are reasonable.

I agree that imaging past the meridian is a great feature of the AP mounts. I don't know if the MX will simply stop 2 hours past the median or it'll keep going. One of my OTAs is quite short (Tak. FSQ-85ED) and I can probably go further without hitting anything, but I"m not sure if the 2-hour limit is hard-programmed into the mount.

However, if a flip is necessary one could just spend some time extra to create an accurate enough pointing model on both sides of the meridian so that when the time comes the targets lands dead-center in the FOV.

My G11 can do this, provided my pointing model catered for both sides of the meridian.

Edited by saadabbasi (05/08/12 04:36 PM)


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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5213096 - 05/09/12 12:27 AM

Quote:

<SNIP> However, some large observatories even adjust (or do the equivalent of adjusting) the polar alignment for the specific HA/DEC of the object being observed. <SNIP>




I would be very curious to hear more about this polar alignment adjustment being done at some large observatories. Can you provide more information? The names of the observatories in question?

Thanks and clear skies.


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5213137 - 05/09/12 01:40 AM

Quote:

I would be very curious to hear more about this polar alignment adjustment being done at some large observatories. Can you provide more information? The names of the observatories in question?



I searched back through my archives to see from where I got this information into my head: The UK 1.2M Schmidt Telescope (UKST). All other papers, quotes and references I have to such telescopes appear to inevitably trace back to this one single telescope.

Quote:

The polar axis has to be adjusted for optimum off-axis image quality at different declinations, to counter differential atmospheric refraction. This is done for each exposure by means of a motorised jacking system.



The following webpage is also an interesting related read: http://canburytech.net/DriftAlign/DriftAlign_3.html


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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5213191 - 05/09/12 05:04 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I would be very curious to hear more about this polar alignment adjustment being done at some large observatories. Can you provide more information? The names of the observatories in question?



I searched back through my archives to see from where I got this information into my head: The UK 1.2M Schmidt Telescope (UKST). All other papers, quotes and references I have to such telescopes appear to inevitably trace back to this one single telescope.

Quote:

The polar axis has to be adjusted for optimum off-axis image quality at different declinations, to counter differential atmospheric refraction. This is done for each exposure by means of a motorised jacking system.



The following webpage is also an interesting related read: http://canburytech.net/DriftAlign/DriftAlign_3.html




Ah! King Rate!

In the old days before modern electronic controls, telescopes were driven by mechanical clock drives. Fudging the polar alignment when imaging near the horizon to the East or West helped to compensate for the effects of atmospheric refraction.

Modern electronic motor control systems don't need that bad-old-mechanical-drive-way to compensate for King Rate.

And modern mounts do NOT need their polar alignment modified to compensate for King Rate.

http://www.brayebrookobservatory.org/BrayObsWebSite/HOMEPAGE/King%20Rate.html

http://canburytech.net/DriftAlign/DriftAlign_3.html

http://leq.one-arcsec.org/e/Gallery/Simulation/simulation_e.html

http://www.celestron.com/c3/support3/index.php?_m=knowledgebase&_a=viewarticle&kbarticleid=2223

All modern professional observatories understand King Rate perfectly well and the do NOT modify their polar alignment to compensate for it. Especially the ones with Alt-Az mounts! They all modify their sidereal tracking rate instead.


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JAT Observatory
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5213684 - 05/09/12 12:24 PM

One reason that I have not seen mentioned here to consider building a pointing model if you buy a Paramount is the ProTrack function an exclusive feature for ME and MX mounts.

While the pointing models correct the repeatable errors in pointing, the ProTrack functions uses that same data to correct those errors while the mount is tracking. So even if you only image one object during the session, your mount still has to track that object.

The issues that cause repeatable errors in pointing (such as flex) don’t occur at just discrete points in the sky. They occur continuously and gradually as the mount moves.


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: JAT Observatory]
      #5213768 - 05/09/12 01:11 PM

What I am hearing here is the rosy-picture of building pointing-models and such.

Is there a single serious DSO imager that uses Protrack instead of auto-guiding?
One of the requirements of protrack is that it needs a large-pointing model and a fixed mirror system. How many high-res images there are with Protrack being used and adding productivity to imaging?

Consider this - why do you need 30 images to go to a DSO when you need only 1? No one has mentioned plate-solve and sync. Once you use that, you see how efficient and accurate it is than to build long pointing runs.

I know folks who spend all their time trying to perfect their pointing models and PA to arcsec, and not getting much imaging done.

What are your goals - several dozen images in one night? Maybe pointing model will help there. Using pointing models for PA is not as fool-proof as drift align, and at best inefficient. Why not just drift align?


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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5213874 - 05/09/12 02:00 PM

Quote:

What I am hearing here is the rosy-picture of building pointing-models and such.

Is there a single serious DSO imager that uses Protrack instead of auto-guiding?
One of the requirements of protrack is that it needs a large-pointing model and a fixed mirror system. How many high-res images there are with Protrack being used and adding productivity to imaging?

Consider this - why do you need 30 images to go to a DSO when you need only 1? No one has mentioned plate-solve and sync. Once you use that, you see how efficient and accurate it is than to build long pointing runs.

I know folks who spend all their time trying to perfect their pointing models and PA to arcsec, and not getting much imaging done.

What are your goals - several dozen images in one night? Maybe pointing model will help there. Using pointing models for PA is not as fool-proof as drift align, and at best inefficient. Why not just drift align?




No matter how perfect your mount is tracking there can still be an issue of variable-degrees of flexure in the optical axis that will benefit from autoguiding. Changing cameras or accessories will likely change those flexure characteristics as well. Some people have different T-Point models for different equipment configurations. And atmospheric refraction (King rate) is influenced by altitude, barometric pressure, temperature and ambient humidity. One more reason to avoid imaging low in the sky, when you can help it.

I hope this helps.


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Daniel Bisque
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5213889 - 05/09/12 02:10 PM

Quote:

I would be very curious to hear more about this polar alignment adjustment being done at some large observatories. Can you provide more information? The names of the observatories in question?




This post (from Patrick Wallace) might be helpful:

http://www.bisque.com/sc/forums/p/12959/49180.aspx#49180


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5213961 - 05/09/12 02:50 PM

Quote:

Is there a single serious DSO imager that uses Protrack instead of auto-guiding?



I'm NOT a serious DS0 imager, but I do use ProTrack and I don't autoguide. With an EdgeHD 14 at f/11 (nominal FL=3911mm) on a Paramount ME with ProTrack turned on, I just plain haven't needed to autoguide. Of course when I start doing narrow band, it's highly likely that I'll finally have to off-axis guide and I'm fully prepared for that with a QSI-WSG and a Loadstar. Guys, my sub-exposures are five minutes, not super long. I'm lazy and I'm not willing to go longer.


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5214077 - 05/09/12 03:53 PM

Frolinmod, do you have images you can share that show tight rounds stars (<2" arcsec FWHM) in long exposures with your setup and Protrack?
That would be a good data point for reference.


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JAT Observatory
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5214170 - 05/09/12 05:01 PM

Quote:

Quote:

What I am hearing here is the rosy-picture of building pointing-models and such.

Is there a single serious DSO imager that uses Protrack instead of auto-guiding?
One of the requirements of protrack is that it needs a large-pointing model and a fixed mirror system. How many high-res images there are with Protrack being used and adding productivity to imaging?

Consider this - why do you need 30 images to go to a DSO when you need only 1? No one has mentioned plate-solve and sync. Once you use that, you see how efficient and accurate it is than to build long pointing runs.

I know folks who spend all their time trying to perfect their pointing models and PA to arcsec, and not getting much imaging done.

What are your goals - several dozen images in one night? Maybe pointing model will help there. Using pointing models for PA is not as fool-proof as drift align, and at best inefficient. Why not just drift align?




No matter how perfect your mount is tracking there can still be an issue of variable-degrees of flexure in the optical axis that will benefit from autoguiding. Changing cameras or accessories will likely change those flexure characteristics as well. Some people have different T-Point models for different equipment configurations. And atmospheric refraction (King rate) is influenced by altitude, barometric pressure, temperature and ambient humidity. One more reason to avoid imaging low in the sky, when you can help it.

I hope this helps.




"No matter how perfect your mount is tracking there can still be an issue of variable-degrees of flexure in the optical axis that will benefit from autoguiding."

The autoguided setup can also suffer from issues induced by flex of the autoguider itself if the autoguider is not an off-axis guider. A separate auto-guider on a piggy-backed or side-by-side mounted OTA can have flex issues with different characteristics than those of the imaging train. If present those errors in a non off-axis guided setup will not be corrected by the autoguider.


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Christopher Erickson
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: JAT Observatory]
      #5214192 - 05/09/12 05:20 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

What I am hearing here is the rosy-picture of building pointing-models and such.

Is there a single serious DSO imager that uses Protrack instead of auto-guiding?
One of the requirements of protrack is that it needs a large-pointing model and a fixed mirror system. How many high-res images there are with Protrack being used and adding productivity to imaging?

Consider this - why do you need 30 images to go to a DSO when you need only 1? No one has mentioned plate-solve and sync. Once you use that, you see how efficient and accurate it is than to build long pointing runs.

I know folks who spend all their time trying to perfect their pointing models and PA to arcsec, and not getting much imaging done.

What are your goals - several dozen images in one night? Maybe pointing model will help there. Using pointing models for PA is not as fool-proof as drift align, and at best inefficient. Why not just drift align?




No matter how perfect your mount is tracking there can still be an issue of variable-degrees of flexure in the optical axis that will benefit from autoguiding. Changing cameras or accessories will likely change those flexure characteristics as well. Some people have different T-Point models for different equipment configurations. And atmospheric refraction (King rate) is influenced by altitude, barometric pressure, temperature and ambient humidity. One more reason to avoid imaging low in the sky, when you can help it.

I hope this helps.




"No matter how perfect your mount is tracking there can still be an issue of variable-degrees of flexure in the optical axis that will benefit from autoguiding."

The autoguided setup can also suffer from issues induced by flex of the autoguider itself if the autoguider is not an off-axis guider. A separate auto-guider on a piggy-backed or side-by-side mounted OTA can have flex issues with different characteristics than those of the imaging train. If present those errors in a non off-axis guided setup will not be corrected by the autoguider.




Agreed!

Pretty-much all I ever use is off-axis guiders (a.k.a. radial guiders) and I overlooked that some people still prefer to autoguide with separate scopes.


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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Christopher Erickson]
      #5214667 - 05/09/12 11:10 PM

A Paramount properly modeled with protrack enabled does not require auto guiding in order to do AP. AO would be a different story. Adaptive Optics can actually assist with seeing if properly configured. This is a mount that when properly configured is going to have less than an arc second of PE. Protrack will deal with tracking error resulting from alignment error in both RA and Dec - if any exists. At least, the above has been my experience with 2 separate ME's and an MX.

I'm not talking about taking this mount out and plugging it in and go.. I spent many cloudy nights perfecting my setup and modeling. Understanding your gear is always a plus, but these mounts have capabilities that when combine with the software can really take you as far as you want. I take great pride in the fact I can point at 10 arc second accuracy after only 20-25 minutes. At the same time, spending the time I did is NOT required to do 5-10 minute unguided subs. IME 5-6 minute unguided subs on a paramount is a first night thing. Provided you already have the software setup and configured. The best part is you can configure and test in daylight using images from the DSS.

Joe


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blueman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5214723 - 05/09/12 11:53 PM

I would love to see an image taken with 10 minute unguided subs. Would you mind posting one?
Blueman
Quote:

A Paramount properly modeled with protrack enabled does not require auto guiding in order to do AP. AO would be a different story. Adaptive Optics can actually assist with seeing if properly configured. This is a mount that when properly configured is going to have less than an arc second of PE. Protrack will deal with tracking error resulting from alignment error in both RA and Dec - if any exists. At least, the above has been my experience with 2 separate ME's and an MX.

I'm not talking about taking this mount out and plugging it in and go.. I spent many cloudy nights perfecting my setup and modeling. Understanding your gear is always a plus, but these mounts have capabilities that when combine with the software can really take you as far as you want. I take great pride in the fact I can point at 10 arc second accuracy after only 20-25 minutes. At the same time, spending the time I did is NOT required to do 5-10 minute unguided subs. IME 5-6 minute unguided subs on a paramount is a first night thing. Provided you already have the software setup and configured. The best part is you can configure and test in daylight using images from the DSS.

Joe




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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5214735 - 05/10/12 12:03 AM

Quote:

A Paramount properly modeled with protrack enabled does not require auto guiding in order to do AP.




Any images showing long exposures (10 min+) with small tight stars (<2" FWHM) to corroborate the above? This would be good data point to showcase Protrack feasibility for DSO imaging.

Quote:

I spent many cloudy nights perfecting my setup and modeling. Understanding your gear is always a plus, but these mounts have capabilities that when combine with the software can really take you as far as you want.




This learning curve and time to productivity needs to be not taken lightly. Not everyone will be able to master T-point and have time to do 100+ point models.

Could we know what the MX can do that other high-end mounts can't? (Well maybe tracking a satellite, but how many are interested in that). Don't tell me the open-loop Protrack is a replacement for auto-guiding until we see high-res long exp images that show tight round stars. Auto-guiding is relatively painless compared to building and sustaining long and delicate models.

If you are talking about 3-4" FWHM stars, then a lot of mounts will do that unguided with good PA, PEC and fixed mirror/lens OTA.


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5214760 - 05/10/12 12:20 AM

Rick J has Paramount ME and Meade 14" SCT and always takes 10 minute subs unguided at F/10 or about 3500mm focal length. His images look fabulous. Look for "Rick J" at "CCD Imaging & Processing" category. His setup is always permanent.

Peter


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5214795 - 05/10/12 12:55 AM

Quote:

Rick J has Paramount ME and Meade 14" SCT and always takes 10 minute subs unguided at F/10 or about 3500mm focal length.




I looked but could not find reference to 'un-guided' in his images. I believe his camera is a dual-chip one, not sure if that is being used.
Again, it is important to quantify the image in star FWHM to understand how they compare to auto-guided (with OAG of course).
Also, how long does it take to setup the equimpent to get unguided x-minutes with x" FWHM.?
All these are important data for anyone buying into the hype of ProTrack.


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AFAdrenaline
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5214803 - 05/10/12 01:05 AM

not to side track the conversation real quick:
Quote:

Could we know what the MX can do that other high-end mounts can't? (Well maybe tracking a satellite, but how many are interested in that)



can one not plug in the orbital parameters w/ the AP mounts to track satellites? being able to image the ISS is definitely on my list of things I'd like to do one day


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5214813 - 05/10/12 01:12 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Rick J has Paramount ME and Meade 14" SCT and always takes 10 minute subs unguided at F/10 or about 3500mm focal length.




I looked but could not find reference to 'un-guided' in his images. I believe his camera is a dual-chip one, not sure if that is being used.
Again, it is important to quantify the image in star FWHM to understand how they compare to auto-guided (with OAG of course).
Also, how long does it take to setup the equimpent to get unguided x-minutes with x" FWHM.?
All these are important data for anyone buying into the hype of ProTrack.




Here is Rick J's example: Rick J unguided comment

Read the whole thread.

Peter


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5214834 - 05/10/12 01:35 AM

800 points in the T-point model !!

Using the image scale 1.06"/px (based on his scope, camera and bin2), the star FWHM are 3.5-4.5" , which is MUCH larger than 2". This is using the full-res image that is posted there. It is jpg though, a fits/tiff would be better to make the assessment.


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: AFAdrenaline]
      #5214836 - 05/10/12 01:40 AM

Yes you are right. The AP mount supports custom tracking but...are the RA/DEC rates for satellites fixed or varying? I am not sure statellitetracker works with AP mount.

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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5214843 - 05/10/12 02:06 AM

Quote:

800 points in the T-point model !!

Using the image scale 1.06"/px (based on his scope, camera and bin2), the star FWHM are 3.5-4.5" , which is MUCH larger than 2". This is using the full-res image that is posted there. It is jpg though, a fits/tiff would be better to make the assessment.




Isn't it difficult to get 2" FWHM even with autoguiding? I'll be happy to get 3" in my usual less than ideal seeing condition.

Peter


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5214848 - 05/10/12 02:20 AM

With high-end mount like yours and OAG, you should be able to get 2" without much effort. I have an AP mount and almost always get <2" stars even in 30mins exposures.

Most don't realize how small 2" is, because when the guiding is up to it, all other issues show up and need to be perfected. Like focusing (often and well), collimation. That is why it is important to back the claims of guiding methods with star FWHM in arcsec in RAW images.

PM me offline and I can help you on getting to the next level of resolution, in the 2" regime, which is exponentially big jump from 3".


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: blueman]
      #5215052 - 05/10/12 08:48 AM

One of our more infrequent posters, Paul Burke (f29pc), posted a 20 minute unguided sub that he did with his MI250 at about a 2300mm focal length. It can be done, but the work to get his 250 to that level was exstensive.

David

Quote:

I would love to see an image taken with 10 minute unguided subs. Would you mind posting one?
Blueman
Quote:

A Paramount properly modeled with protrack enabled does not require auto guiding in order to do AP. AO would be a different story. Adaptive Optics can actually assist with seeing if properly configured. This is a mount that when properly configured is going to have less than an arc second of PE. Protrack will deal with tracking error resulting from alignment error in both RA and Dec - if any exists. At least, the above has been my experience with 2 separate ME's and an MX.

I'm not talking about taking this mount out and plugging it in and go.. I spent many cloudy nights perfecting my setup and modeling. Understanding your gear is always a plus, but these mounts have capabilities that when combine with the software can really take you as far as you want. I take great pride in the fact I can point at 10 arc second accuracy after only 20-25 minutes. At the same time, spending the time I did is NOT required to do 5-10 minute unguided subs. IME 5-6 minute unguided subs on a paramount is a first night thing. Provided you already have the software setup and configured. The best part is you can configure and test in daylight using images from the DSS.

Joe







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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5215217 - 05/10/12 10:44 AM

Quote:

One of our more infrequent posters, Paul Burke (f29pc), posted a 20 minute unguided sub that he did with his MI250 at about a 2300mm focal length. It can be done, but the work to get his 250 to that level was exstensive.





I found the thread and his work and effort is impressive! The image looks pretty good; I wish there was an fit/tiff version for analysis.
Among other things, he used encoders on axis which makes the system more of a closed loop, as feedback is coming from the axis.


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5215229 - 05/10/12 10:51 AM

Quote:

Quote:

One of our more infrequent posters, Paul Burke (f29pc), posted a 20 minute unguided sub that he did with his MI250 at about a 2300mm focal length. It can be done, but the work to get his 250 to that level was exstensive.





I found the thread and his work and effort is impressive! The image looks pretty good; I wish there was an fit/tiff version for analysis.
Among other things, he used encoders on axis which makes the system more of a closed loop, as feedback is coming from the axis.




Paul still guides, but he wanted to post this result to show what a good mount is capable of.

David


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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5215238 - 05/10/12 10:59 AM

There is no shortage of proof on the web of unguided Paramount images. This is one I took on an MX with the CCA250 some time ago. While only 1200+ mm FL in is unguided and un processed. As my mind is going I recall little else. I'll have to dig through backups as I had a computer disaster while I was recently ill.. Also apparently my website deepskydesigns.com is down.

Joe

http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/hh293/jwmiele/M31L.jpg

Edited by jmiele (05/10/12 11:06 AM)


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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5215263 - 05/10/12 11:11 AM

Not sure why i can't get a decent uncompressed image to post. they look horrible.

I don't really use PBase but here is another link...

http://www.pbase.com/jwmiele/image/139717385


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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5215294 - 05/10/12 11:27 AM

That PBase image is the entire STX 16803 image. The CCA-250 has a really nice flat field. I've no recollection of the seeing conditions but I was just north of NYC and here it is generally - *BLEEP*. Up north is considerably better.

Joe


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5215378 - 05/10/12 12:02 PM

That M31 is 1.54"/px if I am calculating correctly, with your 9um pixels. The stars are >4-5" FWHM using this scale. Far from high-res and not anything any other high-end mount cant do unguided.

The difference between 2" FHWM and 3" is huge when talking about guiding and mount tracking abilities. 4" is another step in loss in resolution.
What is the length of unguided subs you used?


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5215389 - 05/10/12 12:09 PM

No doubt there are great images made by Parmounts. So are with other high-end mounts.

I am questioning the claims that "guiding is not needed for AP" with Paramount Protrack. The manufacturer will claim and hype all sorts of things, but it important that objective data is out there when making such claims and also explaining what loss in resolution/detail between guided and un-guided, and the effort needed to achieve the same resolution.


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JAT Observatory
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5215397 - 05/10/12 12:16 PM

I have been reading this thread with much interest from the very beginning. I get the feeling there are some people in this thread that for some reason seem to dislike Paramounts and there are others that seem to dislike APs. That is just an observation of mine. I want to make a couple a statements.

I am a Paramount owner.
I am very happy with my Paramount. It’s gotten a lot of use since I acquired it.
Whenever I have had a problem or a question Software Bisque has been helpful.
There are some things I don’t like about my Paramount

I don’t own an AP mount
I don’t dislike AP mounts
If I owned an AP mount (from what I’ve read) I would more than likely be very happy with it

I am a remote user, which is why I choose the Paramount (that and the fact I got a good deal on a used one).

Sometimes my setup is run completely autonomously from start to finish and I look at the results a day or so later.

I don’t consider myself an imager. I take images because I am a remote user. I spend very little time (if any) processing images. Most of the time I don’t even save the images if viewing realtime. The CRT is my eyepiece.

I use ProTrack but sometimes I autoguide.
My comments about Protrack were only mentioned as a feature, not to try and convince anyone to replace autoguiding with it.

Sometimes I track satellites because it’s nice to actually see things up there I touched on the ground.

This is a hobby so I try not to get too worked up about it.

People can be passionate about things.

Not everything you read on the internet is true.

There are a number of bright people here.

Both the Paramount and the AP (from what I’ve read) are great mounts


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Peter in Reno
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: JAT Observatory]
      #5215449 - 05/10/12 12:45 PM

Hi Korboh,

Is it accurate to measure FWHM for long exposure images? The stars will naturally bloat. Would it be more accurate to measure FWHM by taking short exposure images of 5 to 10 seconds at a dense star fields? Or using 10 minute raw and unprocessed sub in FIT format?

I am not sure I can really get 2" FWHM where I live due to typical unsteady seeing conditions. I would probably have to go to a dark site where the sky is dark and steady.

Thanks,
Peter


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freestar8n
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5215492 - 05/10/12 01:11 PM

Hi-

This thread is interesting to me, and it's nice to hear people speaking in terms of quantitative fwhm values - which I consider essential. Unfortunately it is hard to tell guiding issues from seeing in many situations, but one way is to compare your results with other people in the general area on the same night - and see if yours are comparable, better, or worse.

Regarding self-guiding - I have no doubt that high end mounts can do very well, but I'm surprised if a mass-produced sct, even with mirror locks, can achieve 2" fwhm reliably in a long sequence of 10m exposures - particularly if it crosses the meridian. Even with a high-end OTA and a fixed primary, I expect that good autoguiding would show improved results over self-guided. I see comments that "guiding would have made it worse" - and I don't agree with that as long as the guiding is well tuned.

With refractors I expect much less of a problem self-guiding - particularly at shorter focal lengths.

Finally - my personal "niche" is in getting good guiding results from mid-range equipment, and my conclusion is that you can do much better than people realize with a mid-range mount if you guide tightly and with low latency using an accurate centroid. So - a high end mount from any company should make it much easier to get to the 2" fwhm level, if your seeing allows, but a lot of results by people using mid-range equipment are limited more by technique and software than the mount itself.

Frank


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: JAT Observatory]
      #5215499 - 05/10/12 01:14 PM

Good points Marcus.

The OP is trying to decide between mounts. So it is useful to understand the advertised features objectively. Some of us like to be more quantitative when checking the claims.

Why do you think anyone is attacking Paramount? They are great mounts. Just don't want would be buyers to be misled by anecdotes of 'unique' un-guided imaging abilities.


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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5215669 - 05/10/12 02:30 PM

I find you questioning me and my reputation in poor form. As a new poster perhaps listen more and judge less. I've also done the same with a c14 on the MX and ME. But, I've nothing to prove to you.

I was attempting to help the OP with my ACTUAL experience with these mounts. I've no doubt you have little to no time behind these mount Korb.

BTW, 99.99% of what you get in these forums is subjective opinion. We operate as adults and base how we feel about what we read on our knowledge of the poster. Get to know me a bit better before calling me out. Of your 24 posts you've spent 50% of them questioning longstanding members.

Joe


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5215703 - 05/10/12 02:49 PM

Sorry if I came out as personal. Where did I try to judge you, why do you feel so? Maybe I was too direct in the question, and perhaps I used the word 'claim' too strongly. Sorry about that again. Nothing personal.

Questioning is not allowed in this forum? Are we supposed to check how many posts someone has made, how old they are, and what their name is, before asking a fair question or objective data?


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Alph
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5215734 - 05/10/12 03:04 PM

Quote:

Questioning is not allowed in this forum?



Pretty much so when it comes to A-P or SB mounts
What some of us questioned was the practicality of TPoint and ProTrack when you are out in the boonies.


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blueman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5215754 - 05/10/12 03:14 PM

This is a photo using single 10 minute images, not stacks from hours of imaging.
However, it does show it did take a 10 minute unguided sub.

Blueman
Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

Rick J has Paramount ME and Meade 14" SCT and always takes 10 minute subs unguided at F/10 or about 3500mm focal length.




I looked but could not find reference to 'un-guided' in his images. I believe his camera is a dual-chip one, not sure if that is being used.
Again, it is important to quantify the image in star FWHM to understand how they compare to auto-guided (with OAG of course).
Also, how long does it take to setup the equimpent to get unguided x-minutes with x" FWHM.?
All these are important data for anyone buying into the hype of ProTrack.




Here is Rick J's example: Rick J unguided comment

Read the whole thread.

Peter




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JAT Observatory
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5215939 - 05/10/12 05:06 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Questioning is not allowed in this forum?



Pretty much so when it comes to A-P or SB mounts
What some of us questioned was the practicality of TPoint and ProTrack when you are out in the boonies.




People have different interests for me satellite tracking is one place Protrack is useful in the boonies or not. Unless the bird is moving at a very slow pace you aren't going to be autoguiding, so any corrections would have to be made manually.

Whether or not a user decides the practicality of when a feature on a mount is useful or not is up to the user, but I think making a perspective user aware of a feature or option is a plus so the user can decide.


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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5215953 - 05/10/12 05:16 PM

Quote:

Sorry if I came out as personal. Where did I try to judge you, why do you feel so? Maybe I was too direct in the question, and perhaps I used the word 'claim' too strongly. Sorry about that again. Nothing personal.

Questioning is not allowed in this forum? Are we supposed to check how many posts someone has made, how old they are, and what their name is, before asking a fair question or objective data?





Of course questioning is allowed. I'll try not to be so sensitive moving forward. I wasn't attempting to prove or disprove anything with my statements or links. I posted the first unguided single sub I could find. I didn't measure FWHM prior to posting. I looked at it, it looked decent, I linked it.

I do take issue when folks without practical experience question those sharing and attempting to assist with their experience. However, I can be a cement head, and as Alph can tell you I've had plenty to say about TDM gear and have not own any.

Sorry for the distraction. I will look further for data, but as stated by others, I think plenty exists out there. That said, good solid work can and has been done on mid to low end gear as well. Ones understanding of their gear and diligence can result in great things regardless of the pedigree.

Joe


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5216016 - 05/10/12 05:58 PM

Joe,
Again I sincerely apologize, never intended to be personal.

The good thing about quantitative analysis of guiding quality is that it is easy to compare with other methods (numbers speak for themselves). I guess I am one of the 0.01% out there.

BTW, just because I am new to posting on the forum does not mean I do not have experience with imaging or equipment . In fact I am helping resolve issues and get two PME's on the path to imaging productivity. These are not my mounts, but I know about them.


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5216047 - 05/10/12 06:27 PM

Guys, I think some of you are really going overboard with the ProTrack hate. ProTrack is just one more useful feature that makes our life easier. It's one more useful tool in our tool belt. It isn't a magic bullet that will cure the common cold. It just makes things easier and that is all. If you had this feature available to you, you'd probably appreciate having it too. In fact, I predict that once APCC is released and A-P mount owners get a somewhat similar feature, we'll see bragging and hear loud horn tooting (and for good reason too).

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blueman
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5216085 - 05/10/12 06:53 PM

No hate from me, I was curious to see what results you could achieve with this tool. All tools are great, if a mount has special tools that are very useful, then it is good to know about them.
Blueman
Quote:

Guys, I think some of you are really going overboard with the ProTrack hate. ProTrack is just one more useful feature that makes our life easier. It's one more useful tool in our tool belt. It isn't a magic bullet that will cure the common cold. It just makes things easier and that is all. If you had this feature available to you, you'd probably appreciate having it too. In fact, I predict that once APCC is released and A-P mount owners get a somewhat similar feature, we'll see bragging and hear loud horn tooting (and for good reason too).




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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5216088 - 05/10/12 06:55 PM

We're good NP Korb.....


Fro, Agreed.... And as for APCC I've no doubt there will be horns. My question, and I think it's in keeping on topic, how much do we think APCC will cost? After seeing it I couldn't venture a guess and I'm not thinking it's going to be a toss in like PEMPro... ??


Joe


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5216115 - 05/10/12 07:13 PM

If it is anything >$50, I don't think I am going to buy it. Currently that is my threshold on APCC value.
My guess it will be >$150.


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korborh
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5216302 - 05/10/12 09:20 PM

Quote:

Guys, I think some of you are really going overboard with the ProTrack hate.




No not hate. Just doubt, skepticism and questioning.


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gillmj24
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5216633 - 05/11/12 07:23 AM

At NEAF they said in the $200 range.

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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: gillmj24]
      #5216682 - 05/11/12 08:13 AM

o.O

WoW!


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5217482 - 05/11/12 04:40 PM

A question for you T-Point users: How does the automated system work when the horizons aren't so great? In my case, directly north is the pits, NE to SE is good down to about 35°, SE to W is about 40°.

Do you have to set parameters or does the mount just decide that if the camera can't see a star it moves on its own? SiTech has an automated routine, but the user is required to set minimum parameters for it to do its search pattern.

Thanks!

David


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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5217521 - 05/11/12 05:14 PM

You can define your horizon elevation for the entire 360 degrees. There are a couple of ways to do so, one that affects the program overall and the other specific to a T-point run. The one that's specific to a T-point run would raise the horizon to the same point for the entire 360 degrees. The other way lets you select the individual horizon elevation in each direction.

Joe


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frolinmod
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5217623 - 05/11/12 06:34 PM

If you have a horizon defined, then automated calibration will use that as a mask and won't bother trying to image through horizon obstructions. The best way to create a horizon is to create a custom horizon from a panoramic picture of your observing site (requires TheSkyX). The next best way is to draw it using a cross-hair finderscope and the mount's joystick to slew the mount around outlining your horizon as you go (requires TheSky6). In automated calibration itself where you set how many data points you want to collect and how they're distributed over the sky, you can also drag around some sky handles to restrict coverage by azimuth and elevation. If it still ends up trying to image through an obstruction, it'll do it, the plate solve will fail for lack of stars, it'll note that on screen, then it'll just move on to the next one. It'll also do retries with slight offsets if you want it to. That can be handy when imaging right through some trees.

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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5217933 - 05/11/12 10:12 PM

Thanks, guys! Sounds sorta' like I expected.

David


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Ray Gralak
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5223510 - 05/15/12 01:00 PM

Quote:

Quote:

It is, like the 1200, being updated with new features and capacity.



Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master.



The optional encoders in the AP1600 are not a copy of other solutions. The encoders in the AP1600 are absolute encoders, which are much better than encoders used in some other solutions.

In addition to being extremely precise encoders for RA and Dec tracking, absolute encoders allow the mount to always knows it's exact orientation. This eliminates the need for hardware homing and limit switches. In fact theoretically this would allow for soft-configurable home and dynamic limits in the mount (not requiring a PC at all).

-Ray Gralak


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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5224147 - 05/15/12 08:39 PM

Ray, One question... The 3600 offers HiRES encoders but still has a homing switch option. Are the home switches needed if I get the HiRES encoder? Are they still needed because the 3600 doesn't offer HiRES for both axis? Is the 1600 actually a step beyond the 3600 from a technology standpoint?

Ok, so it wasn't one question.

Joe


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Ray Gralak
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: jmiele]
      #5224556 - 05/16/12 02:11 AM

To eliminate the home/limit switches you need absolute encoders on both axes. The 3600 does not use an absolute encoder nor does it have encoders on both axes. Thus, the 1600 is thus a couple steps ahead of the 3600 in this regard when the 1600 is equipped with its absolute encoders.

-Ray


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jmiele
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5225475 - 05/16/12 04:46 PM

Thanks Ray for the explanation. Joe

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Alph
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Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5225806 - 05/16/12 08:10 PM

Quote:

In addition to being extremely precise encoders for RA and Dec tracking, absolute encoders allow the mount to always knows it's exact orientation. This eliminates the need for hardware homing and limit switches. In fact theoretically this would allow for soft-configurable home and dynamic limits in the mount (not requiring a PC at all).




Here is more on absolute encoders from 10micron

gm2000HPS

Edited by Alph (05/17/12 01:00 PM)


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Ray Gralak
Vendor (PEMPro)


Reged: 04/19/08

Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Alph]
      #5226159 - 05/17/12 12:50 AM

Thanks Alph for that! I think you now probably can see that absolute encoders on both axes is not the same as adding the device you mention below to a 1200.

-Ray

Quote:

Alph wrote:
Quote:

Alph wrote:
Wrt to new features in the AP1600 I see practically none. A high precision encoder has been available for the AP1200 for some time. It is called telescope drive master.




Here is more on absolute encoders from ...





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saadabbasi
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: 29N
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5707108 - 03/01/13 12:45 PM

Well, it's been quite some time since I made this thread, but I wanted to update and let everyone who helped know I went with the MX. I received my tracking numbers on Wednesday. The $1000 off discount really helped out my decision and I'm pretty sure I made the right choice.

There have been some reports of a few faulty worms (which kinda worries me) and some MXs having trouble, but I hope SB has grown out of the teething problems now.


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korborh
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 01/29/11

Loc: Arizona
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: saadabbasi]
      #5707333 - 03/01/13 03:00 PM

Congratulations Saad, you made a good choice.
While nothing is perfect, with AP/SB problems are usually rare due to their extreme QC.
Once you get the mount, I recommend you give it a thorough test to measure PE/smoothness with different degress of imbalance and different sky regions.


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Hilmi
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: korborh]
      #5707373 - 03/01/13 03:26 PM

Congrats Saad. I was going to pull the trigger this month on the MX or Mach1 but there is a major leak that has caused damage to the house costing me $2500. And the leak timed itself perfectly in time to my bonus so as to prevent me from taking advantage of the sale on the MX

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shams42
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/05/09

Loc: Kingsport, TN
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Hilmi]
      #6123609 - 10/07/13 09:05 PM

Please follow the link below for my experience doing unguided imaging with the Paramount MX. This animated gif compares a stack of unguided images vs guided images. The mount is a Paramount MX. The imaging scope is a TOA-130 with reducer (f/5.76) producing a plate scale of 1.49" / pixel. The image here has been resampled to 200% to better show the star shapes.

Prior to data collection, a 192-point TPoint model was created, allowing TheSkyX to alter the tracking on the fly to compensate for polar alignment errors, flexure, and atmospheric refraction (via ProTrack). Also, periodic error correction (PEC) was applied, reducing the mount's native periodic error (4.6" peak to peak) to less than the seeing.

The images were acquired on the same night with the system alternating between guided and unguided exposures.

Processing including only a histogram stretch. I basically applied PixInsight's automatic screen transfer stretch to each image. Note that for a "real" process I would have stretched less aggressively and sought more contrast between the galaxy and the background.



Here is a PixInsight DynamicPSF analysis on the same 20 stars from the guided and unguided stack:

GUIDED

Average Moffat PSF
N ....... 20 stars
B ....... 0.043250
A ....... 0.142536
sx ...... 2.43 px
sy ...... 2.36 px
FWHMx ... 3.23 arcsec
FWHMy ... 3.14 arcsec
r ....... 0.972
theta ... +19.94 deg
beta .... 3.81
MAD ..... 5.615e-003

UNGUIDED


Average Moffat PSF
N ....... 20 stars
B ....... 0.044185
A ....... 0.154625
sx ...... 2.41 px
sy ...... 2.34 px
FWHMx ... 3.16 arcsec
FWHMy ... 3.06 arcsec
r ....... 0.968
theta ... +41.95 deg
beta .... 3.92
MAD ..... 5.670e-003

As you can see, seeing wasn't great the night I did this. It is possible that with better seeing more difference would be noticeable. Also, a test with longer subs would be informative. I was collecting actual data when I did this and under my skies, there is no advantage to doing LRGB subs longer than 5 minutes. I just got the mount last week so I haven't yet had the time to do all the tests I'd like to do.

Edited by shams42 (10/07/13 09:09 PM)


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orion69
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/09/10

Loc: Croatia
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: shams42]
      #6123640 - 10/07/13 09:26 PM

Matthew, this is quite impressive performance, I'll be in the market for a new mount soon so PMX is really looking good.

Btw, your images are beautiful, well done!


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Jesus Munoz
sage


Reged: 03/09/07

Loc: Querétaro, México
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: orion69]
      #6123940 - 10/08/13 12:36 AM

Outstanding performance. It's impossible to choose between both which one is better. Congratulations for your mount.

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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: Has anyone here used an Paramount MX and an AP900? new [Re: Jesus Munoz]
      #6124032 - 10/08/13 02:14 AM

With ProTrack enabled and active, you might be able to get away with much longer guiding exposures. Try doubling or tripling the length of your guide exposures and see if guiding is still good. The advantage is being able to use dimmer guide stars with your OAG.

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