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svthomas
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Reged: 09/09/11

Loc: Billings/Bozeman, MT. USA
Deciding between two mounts for AP
      #5593112 - 12/28/12 06:44 PM

Background info: I am upgrading from a cg5gt, I am still quite new to the hobby (1 year into it), and think I've finally decided on an Orion Atlas EQ-G...or IOptron IEQ45. I am primarily interested in astrophotography, and don't really do much visual observing. I am not too concerned about weight--lifting a few extra lbs will probably do me some good. My imaging setup will range from 16 to 22(ish) lbs (AT6IN + AT72ED or AT6RC + AT72ED). I will be doing guided subs at 430mm, 610mm, and 900mm (give or take, as I will be using a reducer). I will be upgrading at the end of January.

I have done some reading around, and I still haven't quite found what I've needed to rule out the IEQ45. Perhaps there are some things that the Atlas can do that the IEQ45 cannot? Perhaps EQMOD or software assisted drift alignment techniques, weight capacities for photography, or noise? In this regard, I am in need of some sound advice, as I simply lack the experience to make a decision that I will not regret in a year. Additionally, I really cannot afford to be doing this again in a year, as I will be a student and will not be able to remedy the issue, financially. With this in mind, please know that I need to get it right the first time, as this mount will need to last me through a few college years.

I really like the idea of having a heated LCD in the hand controller, built-in GPS, position of polaris on the hand controller for polar alignment (I currently use Polar Finder on the laptop), and having a larger LCD display on the IEQ45. However, I am not entirely convinced that makes the mount a better purchase over the Atlas--perhaps I am being blinded by the cosmetic goodies? Additionally, I am a bit sensitive to mount noise--my biggest complaint about the cg5gt is noise. It is my understanding that the Atlas should be more quiet than the IEQ45 due to stepper motors?

Any advice is welcome--even perhaps a better alternative that I carelessly looked over. Sorry in advance for another Mount A vs. Mount B question.

-SV


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Dan Crowson
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Reged: 10/08/10

Loc: O'Fallon, MO
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: svthomas]
      #5593151 - 12/28/12 07:03 PM

SV,

I can't say enough about the Atlas. I've used one for about a year and a half now with an AT6RC at 1368mm. Being that you're doing astrophotography, you'll be using a laptop anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much about the hand controller. If you use EQMOD, you'll never take it out of the box.

I setup and tear down every time. For polar alignment, I spend a minute putting the star in the circle (after looking at EQMOD to find where it should be). I know this could be automated but this is good enough for me to take 30 minute exposures.

Reading you post again, I can tell you that the cosmetic goodies are just that. I've taken my mount on the road a couple times and pulling the GPS coordinates off my cell phone was good enough to create a profile in EQMOD and my planetarium program.

The Atlas is not quiet so that could rule it out if that is an issue for you. It has never bothered me because I point to a single star to sync (first one is the only one not on my CCD) and then I go inside (the house or my car if somewhere) and remotely connect to my laptop. You'll also find that you only slew once per object so it isn't that big of deal.

Anyway, good luck. If you want to see some of my results with the Atlas and AT6RC, check out my Flickr .

Dan


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Midnight Dan
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: Dan Crowson]
      #5593234 - 12/28/12 07:52 PM

>> I simply lack the experience to make a decision that I will not regret in a year.

To be perfectly honest, if you buy either of these mounts, it's unlikely that you'll regret it in a year. They are both very capable, good quality mounts.

The iEQ45's strong points are that it is light weight for the carrying capacity, and it's a newer design with lots of convenience features like a built-in GPS, very easy and accurate dark-field illuminated polar scope and alignment routine, built-in handset heater, etc. The handset is pretty fully featured and easy to use.

The Atlas has a much longer history than the iEQ45 and is a mature product with lots of happy users. EQMod.exe is required to get many of the more modern features, but those who use the combination get great results.

I have the iEQ45 and am very pleased with it. I'd recommend it to anyone.
-Dan


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Denimsky
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/21/07

Loc: BC, Canada
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5593419 - 12/28/12 09:56 PM

Is there an ASCOM driver for iEQ45?

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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: Denimsky]
      #5593454 - 12/28/12 10:26 PM

the CGEM has been much maligned in the past (and there have been a lot of complaints, including by me).

but if you get a good one... the handset firmware is just great. the All Star Polar Align is the best thing since sliced bread.. the only bad news is the sometimes horrific periodic error and the large 8/3 harmonic.

i've heard that iOptron will send you a new worm if the one you've got exhibits too much periodic error.. they seem to guarantee around 20" peak-to-peak (although i find nowhere where this is written down). that's a good thing..

also the iEQ45 is much lighter than its competitors, almost 1/2 the weight.

on the other hand the Atlas/EQ6 is pretty much bulletproof. and they're everywhere, everybody knows how to fix them and work around any particular bugs or issues.

this thread might add more - it's about the HEQ5Pro, which has the same electronics as the EQ6/Atlas

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5589500/page...


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rigel123
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Reged: 06/29/09

Loc: SW Ohio
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: Dan Crowson]
      #5593468 - 12/28/12 10:36 PM

Quote:



The Atlas is not quiet so that could rule it out if that is an issue for you. It has never bothered me because I point to a single star to sync (first one is the only one not on my CCD) and then I go inside (the house or my car if somewhere) and remotely connect to my laptop. You'll also find that you only slew once per object so it isn't that big of deal.

Dan




I think that is the first time I have heard anyone say the Atlas is noisy. I have to have my ear right beside my Atlas to even hear it when it slews.

I totally agree that it is a great mount.


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MikeCMP
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Reged: 07/12/11

Loc: Chardon OH
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: rigel123]
      #5594104 - 12/29/12 10:31 AM

I was surprised by the comment about the atlas being noisy as well, mine sounds like a mouse squeaking. Compared to the coffee grinder sounds my lx200 makes the atlas is silent!

Mike


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Midnight Dan
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: Denimsky]
      #5594169 - 12/29/12 11:05 AM

Quote:

Is there an ASCOM driver for iEQ45?




Yes there is.
-Dan


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

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5594231 - 12/29/12 11:48 AM

Stick with the Atlas/CGEM/CGEM DX (maybe the AZ EQ6) and you will be happier in the long run. I have an iEQ45 sitting here right now and would never put it up against the other mounts. Like you said, don't be blinded by the cosmetic goodies. In addition, if you are already use to the Nexstar system, then the move to the CGEM/CGEM DX is easy.

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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: EFT]
      #5594417 - 12/29/12 01:25 PM

hi Ed,

can you elaborate on what you say about the iEQ45?

i had a chance to look at two... they seemed OK on the outside. and the PE is somewhat smaller than really bad CGEMs..

as an aside: I used to absolutely hate my CGEM, and would jump at the chance to sell it. But after re-spacing the encoders, it has been performing really great that I will not sell it even if two people want to buy it.. (and in spite of the fact that I now have two Astro-Physics mounts)

After using the AP GTO controller for the last week, I have a much better appreciation for the Nexstar controller, particularly its mount modeling (non-existent on the AP) and the All Star Polar Align. It's just bad that the 8/3 gear problem on the CGEM is there, and the periodic error is high.

That said, my CGEM can still guide at < 2" RMS, which should be enough for any focal length under 1000mm.


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Midnight Dan
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Reged: 01/23/08

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Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5594435 - 12/29/12 01:35 PM

You will find people who've gotten bad examples of Atlas, CGEM and iEQ45s. That's just the nature of the game at this price point. When you spend the money for something in the range of a Paramount, AP, Losmandy, etc, you can expect a lot more.

On the other hand, you'll find lots of happy owners of all three mounts as well. The main thing is, when you get a bad one, will the company work with you and make it right. Most people who've dealt with iOptron will tell you that their customer service is top notch and very responsive. I've found the same.

I've only owned the iEQ45 but from what I've read, if you get a good example of any of these mounts, they will perform similarly ... all bells and whistles aside.

-Dan


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

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5594545 - 12/29/12 02:34 PM

Quote:

hi Ed,

can you elaborate on what you say about the iEQ45?

i had a chance to look at two... they seemed OK on the outside. and the PE is somewhat smaller than really bad CGEMs..

as an aside: I used to absolutely hate my CGEM, and would jump at the chance to sell it. But after re-spacing the encoders, it has been performing really great that I will not sell it even if two people want to buy it.. (and in spite of the fact that I now have two Astro-Physics mounts)

After using the AP GTO controller for the last week, I have a much better appreciation for the Nexstar controller, particularly its mount modeling (non-existent on the AP) and the All Star Polar Align. It's just bad that the 8/3 gear problem on the CGEM is there, and the periodic error is high.

That said, my CGEM can still guide at < 2" RMS, which should be enough for any focal length under 1000mm.




Just my out-of-the-box observations at this point. The iEQ45 is of the typical iOptron build quality, that is cheap with as many corners cut as possible. The tripod is junk reminicent of the LX80 tripod that people have had break (maybe the pier is better). The mount base castings are poor and thin in comparison to the Atlas/CGEM. The motor/electronics boxes are plastic and look like afterthoughts and help to make the mount very noisy (like the CG-5). The V-series saddle should simply be tossed. The hideable counterwieght bar is a cute idea, but not a good one and results in an entirely too short bar (note that the Atlas suffers from the same problem). The attachment of the mount to the tripod with three non-captive thumb screws is a bad idea (these will get dropped and/or lost). I personally find the hand controller to be confusing with a lot of unnecessary information.

The news is not all bad though. The latitude adjustment mechanism, while a little cumbersome, is nice and seems to work well (its a real contrast to the rest of the mount base). The knobs are all metal, even though on the small side. Nice polar scope (essentially unnecessary on the Atlas/CGEM). GPS, which is simply unnecessary technology. The D-series saddle is a compression saddle that is machined. Having the power connection as well as the hand controller connection in a non-moving location is good (but having the AG connection there is not necessarily good). The downside is that you need to have a cable go to the DEC axis like the CG-5 with is not advantageous.

While the upper portion of the mount appears capable, nothing about the mount base or tripod suggests that it should have a similar wieght capacity to the Atlas/CGEM. I can overload any mount and make it work, that doesn't mean I should and I think this mount is overrated on that basis.

Finally, for the additional price necessary to purchase the mount that has the DEC axis problem fixed (i.e., the modified mount), I would save the extra money ($200 on the CGEM, $300 on the Atlas) and put it into something else. Were this mount in the $1000 range and competing against the Sirius, I would maybe think better of it. As Dan says, in this range of mounts, there are good and bad examples and the iEQ45 is clearly no exception.

When I get some time to tear it apart, I will let you know what I think about the guts. To date I have only seen other's photos which have left me unimpressed.


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JonM
super member


Reged: 07/25/08

Loc: Colorado
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: svthomas]
      #5594568 - 12/29/12 02:46 PM

I bought the Ioptron and kept it for about a week before sending it back. The polar illuminator broke the first night I used it. The GPS could not figure out local time from GMT and time zone inputs. At the meridian, it stopped tracking even though the safety feature was disabled. The support from Ioptron was rather rude in my opinion. The mount was missing some washers for the azimuth adjusting knobs. When I told Ioptron about that they told me I could use some from the local hardware store. They never offered to send me any. I also think the load limit for the IEQ45 is optimistic bases on my experience using it with an 120 ED and a AT-72 finder scope and an SBIG camera. I replaced The IEQ45 with an Atlas from Orion and have never looked back. EQMOD is great. If your polar alignment is very good, A one star alignment is all I need to get objects on my cameras chip (if in the same quadrant) EQMOD also has a pulse guide routine that eliminates the need for an ST-4 connection thus getting rid of one cable connection. You can also adjust the tracking rate very easily if need be. Also, if you don't like it, you get 30 days to send it back. It's quiter than the CG-5 and very quiet while tracking. Some noise while fast slewing but not bad at all.

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mega256
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: N of Tampa
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: JonM]
      #5594645 - 12/29/12 03:49 PM

Iv had 2 atlas mounts (at the same time for over 2 years,B4 my G11-g2...I liked the mounts alot...
BUT I just bought a iEQ45,and I will say that I enjoy this
mount very much.The Ieq comes with a counterweight bar That
would only be on a modified Eq6 and allmost as big around as my G11.IMHO as a owener of both mount This ieq45 mount is every bit as capable as my atlas(UNMODIFIED) mounts were.And a pleasure to setup and use....If I didnt have a G11 and only
had one mount,AND didnt care about the old tech and weight of the EQ6,I would have a EQ6.....But for a portable mount
that goes to dark sites and star parties,My iEQ45 is great for me...As far as the tripods go I never thought much of the atlas tripods..(unmodified).In anycase I built an adapter for my G11 tripod for use at overnight star parties....But for ease of use and fast setups the ioptron one works fine.
And having a shorter counterweight bar is very nice,in its setup many diferent types of scopes can be used.And not have a LONG bar to get in the way.There is an optinoal bar extension that can add length to the system if needed.
The thing about this mount is the ease of use and its technology(buit in gps rather that add on ,ect)and very low weight makes moving it a snap..
Even with a one star align,this mount has great gotos and tracking.(easy to redo if someone bumps into you'r mount..lol)
But the ATLAS/EQ6 are Much quiter !!
But you can change slew speed to help with the noise.
So that being said...The EQ6 is a great mount for the price.
But like me,if you want a much lighter mount with 45lb payload,electronic balance,modern electronics,ease of use,belt drive,and very good cutomer service,I got the iEQ45 ,after owning Atlas,s......But I use this mount as a portable unit.You cant go wrong with any of the 3..Just depends whats important to you.
and its sooo much lighter,and does a great job tracking..
Iv had good response with Ioptron support,they returned phone calls,and emails fast..They even sent me some touch up paint in 2 days when I asked for some for my counterweights..,,,the new clutch modle has new bearings
also and the 8407 hand controller with multi star align...

Edited by mega256 (12/29/12 04:15 PM)


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SKYGZR
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 08/14/09

Loc: Planet Earth, Milky Way Galaxy...
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: mega256]
      #5594684 - 12/29/12 04:18 PM

Atlas + EQMOD = Better

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Jeff in Austin
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/26/07

Loc: TEXAS
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: SKYGZR]
      #5594715 - 12/29/12 04:54 PM

I went from a CG5 ASGT to an Atlas and it was like night and day. A great improvement! I haven't used the iEQ45, but I think the Atlas will be a great combination for your scopes. I used an AT8RC with a AT66ED on top with excellent results (at 34 lbs and pier mounted).

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svthomas
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Reged: 09/09/11

Loc: Billings/Bozeman, MT. USA
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: svthomas]
      #5594800 - 12/29/12 06:00 PM

Firstly, Wow! The users on this site never cease to amaze me. The willingness to help a stranger, and provide quantitative, useful information is simply impressive—I am happy I joined this community, hopefully one day I will have learned enough so that I too can help others, just as you all have done.
Now that I have gotten that out of the way…

Dan Crowson -- It is reassuring to hear that the Atlas is able to handle the AT6RC at 1368mm—it will be nice to know in the back of my mind that if I _want_ to image at that FL, I will be safe and have a mount that is quite able.
I most certainly will be using EQMOD if I get the atlas, so it is nice to know that I shouldn’t worry too much about the hand controller—to be honest, I was a bit concerned about having a piece of hardware/software that will be technologically sound and be able to endure a few years without being what one would consider ‘outdated.’ Looking at the controller I sort of got the feeling that I may already be behind the curve, so it’s great to know that the hand controller is rather insignificant when using a computer in the field.
Great, I too will be tearing down after every session, and being able to get an accurate, consistent, and fast polar alignment is important to me. It is nice to know that EQMOD can assist with that.

Midnight Dan -- I agree, and you do have a valid point—both of these mounts will likely be perfectly capable. However, I just know that if I cannot fully justify that I made the best, overall decision for the amount spent, I will beat myself up over it for the entire duration of mount ownership, even if the mount functions adequately.
In regard to the controller, these kinds of things are what really sort-of hooked me on the ieq45—I have this feeling that I will be missing out on newer features that may not be built immediately into the Atlas design. However, on the other side, the Atlas does have a longer history, and the fact that the mount has endured this long with a positive track record and even while not having these shiny features built-in stands on its own. Being able to use EQMOD also helps realize that I may not be missing out on much.
Also, I agree that customer service is important at this price point. Most of what I have come across in terms of IOptron customer service has been positive.

EFT -- Yes, the ‘long run’ is what I am applying quite a bit of significance to in this decision. I am trying to find the balance between shiny new features and longer term reliability. Perhaps in this price range I am expecting too much. In this instance, my gut is telling me to lean towards something that has a track record for being reliable and ignore the built-in goodies.
Thanks for the break down about the pros and cons of the IEQ45. I am certainly not looking for a mount that could be considered overloaded, that’s exactly one of the main reasons I am moving away from my CG5, apart from the noise, and some goofiness with the DEC and autoguiding (which is also probably related to the weight).

Orlyandico -- At one early point in my decision process I was going to get a CGEM, but I eventually became afraid because I have read so many stories about users getting bad apples, or sending them back after so long because something went bad, etc. However, I am probably just being a bit over-cautious.

JonM – I certainly would not be happy had I experienced that with a new mount. I would find it quite concerning if a new mount was missing parts and the manufacturer recommended I find replacements at the hardware store, rather than just sending the proper replacements.
I am hearing a lot of positive things about EQMOD, and I am excited to check it out, to say the least.
Acquiring a mount that is a bit quieter than the CG5 is something that I am most certainly looking forward to. I don’t necessarily need silent; I just would like something that is quieter than a coffee grinder. It really comes down to having a mount that doesn’t disturb others when out viewing in groups. I have overheard a few comments made by others in my club about the sound of my mount slewing and it is disheartening, to say the least—I have spent hours adjusting the mount, and have lined the inside of the plastic casing, but my efforts weren't as fruitful as I had hoped. I have checked out a few samples of the Atlas on youtube and it certainly sounds much better than the CG5. That factor alone has me hopeful about an Atlas purchase.

Mega256 -- Ah, now you have my attention with the ‘UNMODIFIED’ comment. I will need to do some research about Atlas modifications. That sounds like a fun, winter project.
That’s reassuring to hear that both mounts do well with their goto. I know that this isn’t really a requirement, or necessity, it’s just nice to be able to quickly punch in an object and have the mount effortlessly slew to it without requiring much, or any effort. However, I may turn into the Grinch if someone bumps into my mount.
As I mentioned above, noise is definitely something I will be paying attention to in my decision, as I don’t want to be in the same situation I am now in with my CG5 and its noise.
Thanks for all of the information that will certainly help with weighing the pros and cons for each.

Jeff in Austin -- I would have to say I agree that it would be a good combination, based on what I have read and the help provided here.


Thanks to everyone who has helped. I apologize if I missed a response to something; do know that I did indeed read every word of help provided here and took it into considering when making my decision.

I think I am going to go with an Atlas. While both are probably fine for my setup, I just feel that it may be a better idea to go with a mount that has been around for a while and has plenty of data available that shows that overall, the mount can be depended on for years to come, give or take a few bad apples.

-SV


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mega256
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: N of Tampa
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: svthomas]
      #5594945 - 12/29/12 07:19 PM

Just cant go wrong with an atlas...BUT I would get a EQ6..
if I had a choice...You will have to buy from Canada,not a problem,but Orion has the USA market Atlas in the USA..
Take a look at KW scopes,,,also the alt/az EQ6 is nice but more money,and if you dont want or need the alt/az mode may not be a good value...You can get some deals on the Atlas at times..
Like I said I would get the Atlas/EQ6 if that was my only mount in that price point...Its a beast!!
But for me I just like my IEQ45..better for what i want to use it for...I can move the mount and tripod in one piece
I could not do that with my atlas...

The Atlas/Eq6 have been around for a long time and LOTS of mods are all over...join the Yahoo groups and EQmod group..
The new Atlas mounts have good grease,so if you buy new ,dont worry about it.


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Jim langley
super member


Reged: 07/02/11

Loc: New Holland, PA
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: mega256]
      #5595050 - 12/29/12 07:59 PM

Just to add my two cents, I had an Atlas, using it with EQMOD. This is an AWESOME combination, but the mount was just too heavy for my purposes, which is why I moved to an IEQ45 with the new clutch and bearings, (worth the $100 extra). This mount is a fair amount lighter, and at 57, the Atlas just was pushing my limits for portability. Plus, I bought the iOptron battery counterweight which eliminates the weight of an additional battery and replaces the dedicated counterweight.

I'm holding judgement on the IEQ45, but so far, everything looks great. Most of the negative comments I have read are typical of early release products. I have owned some other iOptron products and have never found their stuff to be garbage.


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

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Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: Jim langley]
      #5595327 - 12/29/12 11:31 PM

I don't see what's the big deal with CG-5 noise.

I don't have a CG-5, but my CGEM sounds like an asthmatic coffee grinder.. and my Mach1 sounds like a muscleman coffee grinder.

In other words, even the Mach1 is pretty darn noisy.


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

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5595340 - 12/29/12 11:42 PM

Quote:

I don't see what's the big deal with CG-5 noise.

I don't have a CG-5, but my CGEM sounds like an asthmatic coffee grinder.. and my Mach1 sounds like a muscleman coffee grinder.

In other words, even the Mach1 is pretty darn noisy.




The CG-5 has similar noise to the CGEM since they both use the same motors. However, the plastic motor housings of the CG-5 tend to significantly amplify the noise compared to the CGEM. If you run the CG-5 with the motor covers off, it is similar in sound to the CGEM, although a CGEM can usually be adjusted to be more quiet in the long run.

Interesting about the Mach1. I would have expected that to be pretty quiet.


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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

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Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5595457 - 12/30/12 01:38 AM

Quote:

the only bad news is the sometimes horrific periodic error and the large 8/3 harmonic.




What is the source data for your comments and how many samples have you checked? I'm just wondering since your comments are so negative. Did you have a bad experience with a CGEM mount?

Thanks,

Patrick


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orlyandico
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Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: Patrick]
      #5595471 - 12/30/12 02:03 AM

hi Patrick,

the 8/3 is quite well known. Even Celestron is aware of it and trying to do a firmware fix (you can check on the - members only - TeamCelestron forum, which is an official Celestron forum). You'll also see regular complaints along this line on the CelestronCGEM yahoo group.

for some CGEM's the 8/3 harmonic is small-ish, but on mine it's huge (about 20"). Mark also has one with large 8/3, and his travails with his CGEM here on CN are well documented.

that said.. the software is great. Like I said, in spite of the huge periodic error, it guides well enough ( < 2" RMS ) which should be good enough for focal lengths under 1000 mm.

I would class it as a "must guide" mount though - on mine the PE is 40" peak-to-peak which makes it almost useless for unguided imaging except very short exposures i.e. 30 seconds, at very short focal lengths, i.e. under 500mm.

There's one guy (Jeff) on the CelestronCGEM yahoo group who images with a CGEM and a C11HD at native focal length. But... he has an adaptive optics unit. My own experience with the CGEM and my C9.25 is that over 1-2 minutes, even with guiding, the CGEM can't produce consistently round stars at f/10. The gear noise is simply too large (and that includes the 8/3). That's 0.68" / pixel though which would be demanding of most mounts.

I think I've been pretty open about my bad experience with the CGEM - but I am by no means alone in this. That said, I am keeping mine, in spite of having two AP's and a couple guys want to buy my CGEM - the software is great, the mount modeling is great, the ASPA is great - it's a great visual mount, if a bit heavy.

But anyone buying one has to be aware of the 8/3, DEC cogging, and large periodic error. Overall I think the Atlas/EQ6 is more trouble-free due to having a simpler gearbox and no known cogging issue.


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5595483 - 12/30/12 02:19 AM

one other thing I have to point out - realistically, doing long exposure with any $1500 mount at > 2 meter focal length is going to be a challenge.

a lot of people have great success with CGEM's or Atlas mounts. but if you check they are almost invariably < 1 meter focal length.

when you get to < 1" / pixel things become much tougher and I think it's not fair to expect that sort of performance consistently from a CGEM, Atlas, or comparable mount.

so - CGEM, Atlas, or iEQ45 - all should work fine under 1000mm. But if I was ambitious and going for > 2 meter FL, I think I would choose the Atlas... but I am keeping the CGEM for its sheer convenience and user-friendliness.


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Steve Drapak
member


Reged: 09/18/08

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: rigel123]
      #5595523 - 12/30/12 03:26 AM

Quote:

Quote:



The Atlas is not quiet so that could rule it out if that is an issue for you. It has never bothered me because I point to a single star to sync (first one is the only one not on my CCD) and then I go inside (the house or my car if somewhere) and remotely connect to my laptop. You'll also find that you only slew once per object so it isn't that big of deal.

Dan




I think that is the first time I have heard anyone say the Atlas is noisy. I have to have my ear right beside my Atlas to even hear it when it slews.

I totally agree that it is a great mount.




My EQ-6 got a bit noisy after a year or so, sounded like a garburator when slewing fast, I tightened up the gear meshing (found a step by step guide using google) and ever since it's been as quiet as anything, just a low whine when it slews.


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andysea
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: Steve Drapak]
      #5595532 - 12/30/12 03:40 AM

My Mach1 is pretty noisy when it slews full speed. My Njp sounds like a dentist drill. They both track well, I wouldn't worry too much about noise:)
Going back to the op's question I wouldn't agonize over which mount to buy. The reality of this hobby is that there is no lifetime purchase. Whichever mount you end up with chances are you will be upgrading again and again and again....


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: andysea]
      #5595547 - 12/30/12 04:07 AM

Andy - I don't see you upgrading that NJP

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andysea
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5596008 - 12/30/12 12:01 PM

Lol you have a point there!! I still want ap900 because it looks so cool!

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Luke Jones
journeyman


Reged: 03/27/09

Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: andysea]
      #5611370 - 01/08/13 05:03 AM

I've found my IEQ-45 to work very well, other than for periodic error in the geared motor (not the worm). I should mention that I'm very demanding with quality and trying for mount performance far beyond the IEQ-45 price tag. I have an 8" LX200 on the mount and image at the demanding FL of 1800mm-2000mm, which seems to be well beyond typical IEQ-45 use (far as I can determine).

Since working out that there's 3 secs of DEC backlash (slop in the geared motor) I've got outstanding DEC tracking at around 0.5 arcsec.
The RA tracking is much more interesting. The three motors I've tested all exhibit a perfect sinusoidal periodic error of 4-7 arcsec every 6.5 secs. To see this properly you need a high resolution encoder sampling many times a second. This corresponds perfectly to the geared motor's 64:1 ratio. I've built a high resolution RA encoder to autoguide the mount using the fast ST4 interface, but found that at my high focal length coped poorly with motor gear periodic error, leading to stars that are more elliptical than round. This is because a 6.5 sec period is too fast to correct.
Over the last few (cloudy) days I've managed to run wires from the motor encoder to my own RA encoder micro-controller, and add predictive slow down/speed up commands to adjust for motor encoder periodic error. The results look like excellent RA tracking to +/- 1 arcsec (not yet field tested with stars).

This info is long-winded evidence to back up the warning I'm giving you that you could be in for elliptical stars if aiming for maximum quality at high focal lengths. The more rough your polar alignment and DEC tracking is, the less you'll notice RA problems where stars aren't round
Here's an image to explain the periodic error (worm + geared motor) - http://www.flickr.com/photos/40282801@N07/8010537911/in/photostream

For visual use I find the mount to be awesome, and if you're not too demanding in the areas I described, you should also find it good for AP.


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nomosnow
sage


Reged: 03/21/11

Loc: Fort Saskatchewan,Ab ,Canada
Re: Deciding between two mounts for AP new [Re: Luke Jones]
      #5611972 - 01/08/13 01:40 PM

Luke , keep up the good work and please keep us posted on your results both here and on the iEQ45 yahoo imaging group.
I find that my mount has acceptable tracking for my 750 mm fl reflector.But... I wouldn't push it above that .
John


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