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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Losmandy Encoders
      #5646550 - 01/27/13 05:57 PM

Does anyone know if Losmandy still offers an encoder kit for their G11 mount? If available, I'm thinking of going digital setting circles instead of a Gemini II retrofit kit. Would go with the Sky Commander box.

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orlyandico
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5646615 - 01/27/13 06:24 PM

No, it's long been discontinued.. you can find one used if you want long enough. JMI also makes an encoder kit but it's not as pretty as the Losmandy one.

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Mike W
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5646836 - 01/27/13 08:05 PM

You also have to make sure your shafts have the groove in them. (For the Losmandy encoders) Easy to tell just unscrew clutch knob and if it's there you'll see it.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Mike W]
      #5647092 - 01/27/13 10:33 PM

Just took a looksee at the shafts. No keyway or flat machined into the shafts, but, wouldn't be hard to add (have a small mill). Guess I should look into the hardware from JMI, although I still like the sky commander

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orlyandico
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5647131 - 01/27/13 10:54 PM

You can get just the encoders from JMI and use a 3rd party DSC like the Sky Commander or Argo Navis.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5647140 - 01/27/13 10:58 PM

That's what I was hoping. JMI DOES sell the hardware kit yet then? Guessing gears and bracket to hold the encoder in-place?

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orlyandico
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5647160 - 01/27/13 11:13 PM

i looked through their page and they have no specific illustration for the G11. but in the text it is mentioned. they do mention that the shafts have to have the flat.

i would guess call them and see.


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5648082 - 01/28/13 12:46 PM

Ive got an email in to JMI and SkyEngineering to see what my options are. I wouldnt mind a Gemini II, but this option would be half what the G2 kit costs, provided I dont have to reinvent the wheel by too much.

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5648426 - 01/28/13 03:01 PM

Well... Astronomics just got back with me explaining that a G2 retro-fit is available to ship. Placed the order (didn't want to screw around anymore). Lots to learn now.

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10gauge
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Reged: 10/31/10

Loc: Boston
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5648989 - 01/28/13 07:06 PM

Good question. To outfit an alt-az mount, is it as simple as placing encoders and a Sky commander on the rotating axes?

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: 10gauge]
      #5649019 - 01/28/13 07:23 PM

JMI emailed back and they do indeed have an encoder kit. Shafts need machiened. I dont know how much would have to be milled off, but my guess is not very much.

Cant wait to get hold of the G2 though. Looking forward to the extra power over the steppers (12" LX200 OTA) let alone GOTO


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orlyandico
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5649049 - 01/28/13 07:35 PM

well what's the price of the G2 upgrade kit? i think it's over $1500...

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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5649074 - 01/28/13 07:46 PM

Yep... Went from ~$700 for DSC's to +$1500 for the G2. Should last me long time though and the quality of the mount is definately worth the money.

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Startraffic
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Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.1748...
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5650199 - 01/29/13 12:23 PM

berlinstar,
Just for giggles & grins get Losmandy a call. I had an email from him before Christmas about the encoders on my HGM-200 & the G2. During this email he mentioned that they were looking at reintroducing them. Another person poking him might help get that done. The G2 is "supposed" to have the external encoders as an optional feature, but Rene' hasn't had time to write the code for this, yet. Now it's on the back burner, but still in the plans.
Wen I got mine they were ~$350 for the set.

Clear Dark Skies
John
39.138274 -77.168898


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Mike W
sage


Reged: 04/30/06

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Startraffic]
      #5650910 - 01/29/13 06:36 PM

We should set up a mass e-mail to Losmandy to re-introduce them. I know I would buy the kit for my G-8 and mill the shafts myself.
Quote:

berlinstar,
Just for giggles & grins get Losmandy a call. I had an email from him before Christmas about the encoders on my HGM-200 & the G2. During this email he mentioned that they were looking at reintroducing them. Another person poking him might help get that done. The G2 is "supposed" to have the external encoders as an optional feature, but Rene' hasn't had time to write the code for this, yet. Now it's on the back burner, but still in the plans.
Wen I got mine they were ~$350 for the set.

Clear Dark Skies
John
39.138274 -77.168898




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Billydee
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Loc: Winter Haven, FL
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Mike W]
      #5651058 - 01/29/13 08:01 PM

Mike and John,

Rene' is going through major legal problems at the current time and is not up to taking on any additional Gemini developement. He will probably have this problem for at least a year. That means that there is no one to design the firmware or the software. The Alpha and Beta testing takes about one additional year. Look for encoders in about 3 years. I think Losmandy was not making much money on the older system and the amount they make on the new Gemini II will not make them very interested in bringing back the old system. The market for what you want is very small.

Here is a note on encoders for a Questar 7. This encoder is no longer made but it lists info on the person that designed and made them. It also says that he is doing them for the Questar 3.5. He may want to look at a Losmandy set if you can talk him into it.

"RARE FIND!!! Encoder Kit (Q70) with needed hardware/brackets/Cables/instructions for your Questar 7" Scope! This kit plus your separately purchased new/used Computer & needed Software(The sky etc) will bring your $12,000 Scope into the Digital Age and Enhance it's Value. You are buying ONLY the Encoders & hardware in Kit. This appears by eye to be New/Unused. Encoder brackets have NO fastener marks/small hardware bag unopened. Has original Box/instructions. Will NOT fit the 3 & 1/2" Scope. Call Jim's Mobile (303-233-5353) for their compatible Computer Models etc. Now they only accommodate the 3 & 1/2" scope. Search internet for used Computers and Software. The Chrome is "beautiful." If you miss this, you may be kicking yourself next week!
Price is Firm-don't expect a reduction later!!! Personal Inspections can be arranged. Will be boxed/shipped well packed in same condition. Has both encoders/brackets,needed belts, instructions, cables & small parts bag."

Luck, Bill

Edited by Billydee (01/29/13 08:11 PM)


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Startraffic
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Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.1748...
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Billydee]
      #5651851 - 01/30/13 09:14 AM

Bill,
I was & am aware of Rene' problems, understand them & I'm quite willing to wait for the encoder development. He is the best developer Gemini has ever had, bar none, period.
I had an email from Scott on Jan 4 of this year that they would be looking into making the encoders again. I hope he does, there is still a market and they are an alternative method of control or the way that I've used them, a method of pointing recovery. I think their biggest drawback is that they are so bulletproof. You buy them once & you never need to fix, repair, or adjust them again, ever. If they would wear out then he could sell more of them.
I recently (about 4-5 months ago) got an older HGM-200 that came with Gemini-1. I moved the G2 from my G11 over to the HGM & it fit & both have worked flawlessly. The G11 encoders hooked into the G1. They work like a champ. The HGM has encoders built in & I'm trying to find out want the pinouts are so I can temporarily hook them up to my old Sky Commander-4 for pointing recovery during outreach the way that I could with the G11. If I'm not doing outreach I don't NEED it, but I want it. I think, but I'm not sure, that the encoders on the HGM are actually a higher resolution than those in the G2 motors. This would give me a tighter, more accurate pointing model. I don't know. I did change the encoders on the G11 from the 4k to 10k, & they worked very well with the Sky Commander, and work well with G1 so nothing was "lost" by the retro fit back to the G1.

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898


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Billydee
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Startraffic]
      #5652449 - 01/30/13 02:23 PM

I know that there are a number of people that want encoders to find a reference point but the cost to develop the hardware, firmware and software is very high. You must get this cost back in months and not years. They are making a fair profit on the Gemini II system so there is no point in pushing the encoders because on a dollar scale it does not really work.

That is why I provided an outside person that can probably come up with a system that will work with current encoders and software. You might give him a call, I'm told he is very good. If he was willing to make a system for Questar 7s, then he will be able to work on this project (I'm guessing he probably made less than 15 copies for the Q-7).

"Call Jim's Mobile (303-233-5353) for their compatible Computer Models etc."

Luck, Bill

Edited by Billydee (01/30/13 02:33 PM)


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pfile
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Reged: 06/14/09

Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Billydee]
      #5653165 - 01/30/13 08:36 PM

given losmandy's sales model, i wonder if making the software open source (or at least publishing the hardware specs for the G2) would be a good idea.

unless they think someone would try to undercut them with cheap gemini-2 compatible hardware, this is one way to avoid the bottleneck of a single guy as the sole software developer.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: pfile]
      #5653181 - 01/30/13 08:48 PM

Quote:

unless they think someone would try to undercut them with cheap gemini-2 compatible hardware, this is one way to avoid the bottleneck of a single guy as the sole software developer.




Cheap Gemini-2 compatible hardware would be a great benefit to Losmandy. Their reliance on a single, small, foreign source for controllers has always seemed to me to be a major disadvantage. It caused a substantial period of unavailability only recently. The only other substantial producer who relied on that source ended up dropping mounts entirely rather than trying to ramp up production again when controllers became available.


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orlyandico
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: pfile]
      #5653186 - 01/30/13 08:53 PM

An option for non-Gemini users is the German Littlefoot stepper controller.

It also supports encoders. Cost about $800 (plus motors). I have one on my AP600 GoTo conversion. I know folks in Europe are using it with G11's.

http://orlygoingthirty.blogspot.sg/2012/08/astro-physics-600e-qmd-go-to-conve...

The Littlefoot is actually a cheaper GoTo conversion for non-GoTo G11's than buying a Gemini 2. The developer (Rajiva) is fairly active and there is an active (mostly German) forum. My GoTo conversion cost about $100 more for the motors (surplus) - same motors used in the Tak NJP Temma.

The big drawback is the primitive GoTo alignment model (single star, just like the AP GTO and Tak Temma).


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5653198 - 01/30/13 08:56 PM

Yep... I had one on back order with Astronomics back 2011 for about 4 months. Finally cancelled. Hope to have this one by next week.

Are the boards made in Japan?


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orlyandico
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5653200 - 01/30/13 08:56 PM

Ah - and there (ought to be) another option for servo mounts.. the AP GTO CP3 and hand controller.

I am fairly sure that AP doesn't manufacture them in-house. So the big mystery.. who makes the things? I know that some companies such as Planewave use the AP motor controller and handset, so OEM'ing them for non-AP mounts is possible.

AP does want $2000 for the motor controller and handset, so even pricier than the Gemini 2.


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Billydee
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5653237 - 01/30/13 09:21 PM

John C. & pfile,

Losmandy does not make the Gemini II and it does not own the software, firmware or the actual Gemini electronics design. Rene' owns the software and he has not released it when it was requested in the past. I think the hardware is make by a German company and Losmandy just sells it. Losmandy makes the mount and adds outsourced electronics and software. The same can be said for the motors and gearboxes.

Losmandy mounts are a secondary production line to the major product the company makes which is equipment for the movie industry. We are lucky they make a product that the ASTRO users can enjoy. Their method allows a $3500 mount that really should sell for about $7000.

Luck, Bill


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Billydee]
      #5653270 - 01/30/13 09:48 PM

Quote:

John C. & pfile,

Losmandy does not make the Gemini II and it does not own the software, firmware or the actual Gemini electronics design.




Yes, that was my point. I've always felt that locating an alternate controller source would help Losmandy.


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orlyandico
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5653306 - 01/30/13 10:03 PM

I'm not so sure the $3500 G11 is worth $7000.

AP makes a profit selling the Mach1 for $7000.


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Billydee
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5653307 - 01/30/13 10:03 PM

John C.,

Here is Rene' Gorlich's Gemini I website. He makes reference to Losmandy putting the Gemini system in a nice case and using it on his mount. I am sure that Rene' has major connections to the design of the board and HC as well as design of the software. He probably has a connection to the company that makes the hardware (PC board and HC).

There are other sources for telescope control but there cost is much higher than Gemini (take AP, he designed his own system and does all the software at $7,000 to $12,000 per mount with a 2 year wait time). It is a small market and design cost and equipment production does not make many companies wild to enter it. Losmandy, MI and Celestron all use or used Gemini on their mounts.

http://www.docgoerlich.de/Gemini.html

Bill

Edited by Billydee (01/30/13 10:05 PM)


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Billydee
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Billydee]
      #5653317 - 01/30/13 10:08 PM

Orlyandico,

O.K. lets say $5,500.

Bill


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Bowmoreman
Clear enough skies
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5653697 - 01/31/13 06:54 AM

Quote:

Quote:

unless they think someone would try to undercut them with cheap gemini-2 compatible hardware, this is one way to avoid the bottleneck of a single guy as the sole software developer.




Cheap Gemini-2 compatible hardware would be a great benefit to Losmandy. Their reliance on a single, small, foreign source for controllers has always seemed to me to be a major disadvantage. It caused a substantial period of unavailability only recently. The only other substantial producer who relied on that source ended up dropping mounts entirely rather than trying to ramp up production again when controllers became available.




It is also arguably the thing that put the nail in the coffin of Mountain Instruments, or at a minimum was a major contributing factor... Larry couldn't start a new run cause there were no Geminis available, during a key part of his business cycle...

It'd welcome it of course...


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Startraffic
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Billydee]
      #5653824 - 01/31/13 08:46 AM

BillyDee,
There is no development cost. The encoders are made with a CNC machine that HGM owns. The program for the milling is already done. Losmandy owns the patents on the encoder housings. The encoders could be put back on the market for the typical costs. i.e. materials+labor+machiningx3
I don't have a vested interest in getting them back in production. I have a set on my G11 that work just fine with either my SkyCommander or Gemini-1. My interest is that other G8 & G11 owners that have the DDS or G1 systems can use them & get a 2nd or more accurate pointing model on their mount.

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898


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Billydee
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Reged: 01/23/08

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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Startraffic]
      #5654554 - 01/31/13 03:35 PM

Startraffic,

I am told that Losmandy has removed the mounting points as well as the flat milling from all new G-11s. This means he does not want to have them as an option. You still have the Gemini software issue and getting power to the encoder. If he does add them he probably will change the type or design. The way to go would be optical encoders instead of mechanical ones. The major optical encoder used today is the optical computer mouse and you know how cheap they are (even a cordless one costs under $20). I still don't see Losmandy adding them for two to three years.

Bill


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berlinstar
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Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Billydee]
      #5655155 - 01/31/13 09:56 PM

You guys know way about this stuff than I ever thought was involved. Thats VERY interesting about the mouse encoders. Never thought about something like that. Has someone already built a system with them?

Almost seems like a good software engineer could build some drivers to make them work with existing computer software?


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Billydee
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Winter Haven, FL
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5655290 - 01/31/13 11:15 PM

Berlinstar,

I saw a person plan on using a mouse electronics but to get the number of clicks for that are needed by Gemini the scan area would be a circle about 3 ft across and to have two of those hanging on your mount would be a sight.

JMI's Losmandy system used optical off-the-shelf encoders and were very close to Losmandy sized encoders. I see no problem with building an optical encoder for the Gemini I system that uses the Gemini I software. The problem is building a system for Gemini II because Rene' has not been able to get to doing the code for the software. You would have problems because Gemini system software is not open to the public and the code is owned by Rene'.

Bill


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Geo.
Carpal Tunnel
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Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Billydee]
      #5656092 - 02/01/13 10:44 AM

I have a set of G11 encoders and hardware I'm not using. I'm working on fitting Meade LX90 drives on the G11. Let me know if interested.

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berlinstar
super member


Reged: 03/28/11

Loc: Berlin Center, OH
Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Geo.]
      #5656194 - 02/01/13 11:37 AM

Wow... You have a thread going on that project? That's a burr about the encoder hardware. Shoot me a PM on what you'd want for them if you don't mind.

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netwolf
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: berlinstar]
      #5659605 - 02/03/13 09:38 AM

There is another goto system out there also for Losmandy. And it cane be used with the existing Losmandy Servo Motors.

Sitech Servo from Sidereal Technolgy.

http://siderealtechnology.com/
I have used this on my G11 and it works a treat. You can used it without a computer but only for Slew and Track. For goto you need a computer or some folks use it with SkyFI and Skysafari on a Tablet.

A few MI250 users have switched to Sitech also. The best thing is that the firmware is very mature. And updates are regular. Also a very live community on yahoo for it.

One very cool feature is the support for Hi-Res Gurley and Reinshaw encoders.
Some results
https://sites.google.com/a/sitechservo.info/chuck-shaw-s-site/Home/g-11-gurle...

I also own the G1 Gemini controller, but its still sitting on the shelf. Meant to use it as a standalone system but have not as yet got around to it.
I am waiting to see the G2 mature some more and I really hope Rene gets it there soon, especially waiting to see the Hi-res encoder support.

I also have been following Rajiva work on the littlefoot and its predecessors. This has many many many features the list is just outstanding. Not to mention the recent news of Direct Drive with Nema 23-24 motors on the G11. No backlash as there is no gearbox. Also this unit is meant to support hi-res encoders so pottentially you could use a gurley or reinshaw encoders with it.

I am still waiting to see more data from the G11 direct drive version. Some PE images, and PE graphs would be nice.

Over all what I like best is that Losmandy mount has lots of options, and is very easy to retrofit many Goto solutions. And generally its a mount which is very easy to service yourself, with most all parts still avaialble. For a product that is not Losmandy's major earner, it does provide a very good mount for your buck.

Indeed as someone mentioned this could easily be sold for a lot more money. Fortunately for us Hollywood keeps Scott busy.


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Billydee
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: netwolf]
      #5660740 - 02/03/13 09:08 PM

The Questar 7 Encoder Kit on eBay did not sell. I did some checking on the person that made it, "Jim's Mobile". The instruction sheet that came with the Q7 kit says it is a JMI kit (now that is interesting). That probably means Jim's Mobile is JMI. The below reference was made in some of my prior Posts.

"Call Jim's Mobile (303-233-5353) for their compatible Computer Models etc."


Maybe Jim might give us some information as to an avenue for encoder packages for the Losmandy G-11 seeing that he also produced them in the past.

There is a posting on Yahoo about Rene' waiting for information on the motor encoders to allow him to max the torque on all three Losmandy motor types. The name "Aveox" was in the Post. That means Aveox is probably the producer of the new Losmandy motors. They also make gearboxes. I've seen many of their motors on electric RC model airplanes. Please note that these are not the encoders that show mount position but are used in the actual drive motors on the mount.

Bill

Edited by Billydee (02/03/13 09:13 PM)


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netwolf
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Re: Losmandy Encoders new [Re: Billydee]
      #5660814 - 02/03/13 10:10 PM

You can also try Wild Card Invoations in Australia, they are the makers and sellers of ArgoNavis. They sell kits for a lot of mounts.

http://www.wildcard-innovations.com.au/


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