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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Jeff Morgan
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Reged: 09/28/03

Loc: Prescott, AZ
Losmandy vs. iOptron
      #5540103 - 11/26/12 11:03 AM

What is your opinion of selling off a GM-8 (non GOTO) with the G11 HD tripod to acquire a GOTO capable newer mount?

The impetus for this is the prospect of using SkySafari on an iPad Mini to drive the mount. I think this would be particularly helpful in my double star observing. I would build the observing lists in AstroPlanner and export them to SkySafari.

I'm currently mounting a 4.7" AP refractor on the Losmandy, and the approximate total load (OTA, finder, diagonal, eyepiece) is around 15 pounds.

As I look at the new and used markets, it appears I could almost do the transaction as a wash (no new money in). OTOH, the GM-8 has been a wonderful mount for me, and I could add Gemini for an additional $1500 to obtain GOTO capability.


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dawziecat
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/20/10

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Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5540261 - 11/26/12 12:50 PM

Hi Jeff:

I have no experience with iOptron.

What prompts me to reply is my own limited experience with adding objects to Gemini II catalog lists.
You are able to do so . . . in effect, you can create your own catalog of, in your case, double star systems. You can do this, either from scratch, or by editing the existing catalogs supplied with Gemini II.

If you are satisfied with your GM-8 and willing to add Gemini II, this capability to create your own observing catalogs might be something to consider.


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The Ardent
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Reged: 10/24/08

Loc: Virginia
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5540435 - 11/26/12 02:38 PM

I was using my Star 12 and Losmandy GM8 last night on the moon and Jupiter.

I have a friend who uses the SkySafari/ Ipad combo with a Tak mount, its really neat.


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Startraffic
professor emeritus
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Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.1748...
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5540445 - 11/26/12 02:46 PM

Jeff,
I had an LXD55 & got spoiled by Goto but was not happy with a number of thing about it. I have a G11, that started out with the DDS. I added clutches, encoders, polar scope, OPW, etc. It is a great mount. I wanted Goto & added Gemini-2 a couple of years ago. It isn't a difficult install to do. Remove the motors, & the DDS. Install the new motors & Gemini. That's pretty much it as far as the hardware goes. If you're happy with you're G8, don't plan on adding any more weight, then adding a Gemini is a real option. If you have the encoders, I'd keep them. They aren't made anymore, & they will be a feature on the G2. You can also sell off the DDS & recover some of the cost of getting the Gemini.

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898
518ft ASL


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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Startraffic]
      #5540577 - 11/26/12 04:04 PM

I'd agree; I think your GM-8 is a known quantity. Adding Gemini 2 might be a touch expensive; but at least you know what you're getting. The iEQ45s have some issues with AP; I'd recommend searching through the forums to read about them.

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Ed Wiley
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Kansas, USA
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Raginar]
      #5541007 - 11/26/12 08:42 PM

Are you a visual observer only? I had a G-8 and liked it very much. Larger scopes required a move to a G-11, but that was the only reason, not mount quality. I fitted a Gemini II to it a couple of weeks ago and like the Gemini II; I can find a double in a 21' FOV using my 8" F22.5 DK and a 24mm Panoptic. (That's about 190x as a finder eyepiece. )

My advice: if you are totally satisfied with your G-8 and not contemplating heavier OTAs in the future, retrofit the Gemini II on the G-8.

Ed


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mega256
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: N of Tampa
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Ed Wiley]
      #5541168 - 11/26/12 10:14 PM

I just bought a iEQ45c as a second portable mount...

My G11-G2stays in the pod with the C-14
with new losdmandy high tourqe motors..

And the G2 and new motors are super,great interface and good software...I think the G2 is worth the money..
the new motors would be about 500 on there own.


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Astronewb
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Reged: 09/19/11

Loc: Connecticut
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: mega256]
      #5541305 - 11/26/12 11:25 PM

Jeff, the iEQ45 would be an excellent choice for you for observing double stars. Go-to's are excellent, even a one star align will put your target in FOV of a nice wide field 20-30mm EP.

Unfortunately, you would not be able to use Skysafari with the 8407 hand controller version. Southern Stars and iOpron seem to be at odds over drivers. It does work with Starry Night Pro though.

Hope the info helps,

Paul


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
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Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5541815 - 11/27/12 10:31 AM

I would certainly not trade the quality and reliability of your GM8 for other mount you have suggested. Better to invest in your current mount than downgrade from it, especially if you have really liked the GM8 to this point. It will only be easier to use with the upgraded controller and you will probably like it even more.

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Midnight Dan
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Reged: 01/23/08

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Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: EFT]
      #5541844 - 11/27/12 10:47 AM

Quote:

The iEQ45s have some issues with AP; I'd recommend searching through the forums to read about them.




Certainly do some research and read up on the iEQ45s. But I don't think you'll find they have any more issues with AP than any other mount in their class like the Atlas or CGEM. In mass produced mounts, quality will vary and individuals sometimes get substandard examples. iOptron has been doing a great job of customer support and seems to be addressing any issues for their customers.

In it's price range, I think the iEQ45 an excellent mount, for visual or AP. But I'd have a hard time recommending it over a Losmandy. I've never used a Losmandy, but from what I've read it is a significant step up in quality and workmanship from the Atlas/CGEM/iEQ45 level. The iEQ45 will provide more convenience features like a built-in GPS, handset heater, and easy-to-use firmware. But, if you like the Losmandy you have, you may find the mass-produced mounts to be a bit of a let down. You're probably better off upgrading what you have.

-Dan


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Raginar
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Reged: 10/19/10

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Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5541872 - 11/27/12 11:08 AM

Dan, I completely agree. That said, if he's happy with the mount he has, I have to agree with Dave that upgrading to a G2 would be the best option.

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terry59
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Loc: Colorado, USA
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5541902 - 11/27/12 11:25 AM

As the owner of a GM-8 and Sirius I have to recommend getting Gemini II over your other options. Don't downgrade!

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Jeff Morgan
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Reged: 09/28/03

Loc: Prescott, AZ
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Raginar]
      #5542286 - 11/27/12 02:55 PM

Quote:

Dan, I completely agree. That said, if he's happy with the mount he has, I have to agree with Dave that upgrading to a G2 would be the best option.




Yes, I am starting to warm to the idea.

Just when I foolishly thought I was done spending money on this hobby


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jrbarnett
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Reged: 02/28/06

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Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5542303 - 11/27/12 03:05 PM

Yes - get a mid-capacity GOTO mount in place of your GM-8.

No - don't get an iOptron mount.

Instead - get an Orion Atlas EQ-G, Orion Sirius or, perhaps, Celestron CGEM, or one of the Sky-Watcher versions of the Atlas or Sirius.

Good luck, Jeff.

- Jim


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old_frankland
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/28/05

Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5550935 - 12/02/12 07:56 PM

Quote:

What is your opinion of selling off a GM-8 (non GOTO) with the G11 HD tripod to acquire a GOTO capable newer mount?

The impetus for this is the prospect of using SkySafari on an iPad Mini to drive the mount. I think this would be particularly helpful in my double star observing. I would build the observing lists in AstroPlanner and export them to SkySafari.

I'm currently mounting a 4.7" AP refractor on the Losmandy, and the approximate total load (OTA, finder, diagonal, eyepiece) is around 15 pounds.

As I look at the new and used markets, it appears I could almost do the transaction as a wash (no new money in). OTOH, the GM-8 has been a wonderful mount for me, and I could add Gemini for an additional $1500 to obtain GOTO capability.




I'm more or less on the same path. I've had a GM8 for the better part of 10 years, and it has served me well. I now find I'd like to go with digital mount capabilites so I can semi-remotely operate the mount from inside my house. Going to a CGEM or iEQ45 would provide an easy fix, but I do hesitate to step away from the mount quality found in the GM8. Many that have responded to your question have urged going with G2 rather than a new mount.....a direction I am now giving serious thought.

By the way, I have been using my GM8 with a 4" f/7 refractor and 60mm guide scope, plus cameras...about 22 pounds, and when all is well balanced and reasonably good polar alignment, the GM8 mount has performed quite well.

http://www.lafterhall.com/ccd_imaging.html

.....pretty sure I just talked myself into a G2 for my GM8.


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mega256
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: N of Tampa
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: old_frankland]
      #5552144 - 12/03/12 02:24 PM

I will have to say for portable setup and different sites..

The iEQ45 is a Very nice choice....and at a load under
25lbs is a very stong mount.It is the fastest ,eayest mount
I have ever used..The gps,super slick polar scope/setup and 1 star align makes it fast and spot on.It does have a load ratting of 45 lbs and I think 30-35 in CCD mode would be easy.
The fit n finish is nice But not a "Losmandy"..

As far as use,it will do the trick....

** you may be able to sell the losmandy mount and buy a new
iEQ45 for very little $$or no $ vrs the +$1500 for the G2
upgrade.**

It you dont mind the weight...You might sell the Gm8 and buy
and new G11-G2.....The new G8/G11 do have improvments over the years..about G11/G2 $3200....this is an economics option..The price to upgrade a G8 or G11 is the same about $1500..
The resale value on the G11 is much closer to the total
investment cost of the mount..IMHO

If I were to put $1500 into a mount that was that old I would think about getting it hypertuned also...Or at least
regreased and snugged up..
The G8 is a great mount....But is is woth another 1500 ?
might be....good luck

Edited by mega256 (12/03/12 04:57 PM)


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Skyshooter
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/07/08

Loc: S. Utah, U.S.A.
Re: Losmandy vs. iOptron new [Re: mega256]
      #5553065 - 12/03/12 11:10 PM

A cable is available for the Sky-fi which will work with the Gemini2. I recently had my GM8 retrofitted with the G2 and love it. I wish I had your HD tripod for home use. It's been a great mount and I've been toying with the idea of wireless control as well. The D-Link Dap-1350 looks like a better solution for me (wireless ethernet as opposed to serial). I hear sky safari is cool but I kinda like a laptop for control as opposed to an Iphone or Ipad. I'd keep the GM8 or bite the bullet and get a G11.

Good luck,
Ed


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