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David PavlichAdministrator
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MX discount...
      #5655198 - 01/31/13 10:23 PM

If you're looking for a top end mount, look here! That's a dandy deal.

David


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Hilmi
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5655507 - 02/01/13 02:37 AM

I saw that. I just got my mount fixed so it works really well. I cant justify this purchase to my self.

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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5655544 - 02/01/13 03:41 AM

it is a good deal... if you are able to spend $8500. and use a PC with the mount all the time.

methinks the PMX even at its original price was more attractive than the AP900.. but you're married to the PC if you go with Bisque.


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mmalik
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5655607 - 02/01/13 05:37 AM

That's a decent $1K discount from $9K to ~$8K for MX (90 lbs)...; currently 900GTO (70 lbs)... is at $8,750 which makes MX quite competitive and attractive offering. PC requirement is not a huge impediment if pricing incentives were to remain persistent. I feel premium mounts are over-priced to begin with; hope Astro-Physics and others will follow suit. Thx

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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: mmalik]
      #5655616 - 02/01/13 05:55 AM

Don't forget the MX comes with weights. I think also a saddle. Those are extra cost items with AP.

The problem isn't so much the PC - most people use PCs to image - but setting up the pointing model. Its not a "slap it down turn it on and observe" kind of user experience.


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Bowmoreman
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5655665 - 02/01/13 07:04 AM

If and when I move to, say, Texas and build another observatory, that is my next mount... I only do permanent mounted imaging so the pc and pointing model isn't an issue for me...

Of course I'd have to break a cardinal rule, why sell something that works flawlessly? (My MI250) in order to afford it...

It's so pretty, too!


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darbyvet
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Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Seneca Falls, New York
Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5655885 - 02/01/13 09:21 AM

Quote:

Don't forget the MX comes with weights. I think also a saddle. Those are extra cost items with AP.

The problem isn't so much the PC - most people use PCs to image - but setting up the pointing model. Its not a "slap it down turn it on and observe" kind of user experience.





I have an MX and using tpoint to set up a pointing model was really not difficult to do.It wasnt any harder than drift aligning my cgem.

It took me an hopur to set up a 180 point model with 7arcsec pointing accuracy.Gathering the stars is automatic-I just sat and watched my set up slew around the sky for an hour and then I pressed the supermodel button and had a pretty accurate pointing model.If you have a permanent set up you only have to do the tpoint run once.

Polar alignment was easy too.tpoint calculates the error after you have 30-40 stars and the software tells you exactly how to adjust the mount.


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rmollise
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: darbyvet]
      #5655915 - 02/01/13 09:35 AM

Only 8,000? Hell, I'll take two!

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korborh
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Reged: 01/29/11

Re: MX discount... new [Re: rmollise]
      #5656021 - 02/01/13 10:19 AM

We need some price wars to bring these inflated 'high-end-mount' prices down to earth.

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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5656030 - 02/01/13 10:23 AM

That's interesting.... I don't really see these high end mounts as overpriced. I see them as incredible value for what you get.

If a price war means AP goes out of business, and we all get stuck with lesser gear, I'd see that as a minus.

That said - better bang for the buck is the Mesu.

Cheaper than a Mach1 and 200lb capacity. I just couldn't gamble on one......


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psandelle
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5656100 - 02/01/13 10:48 AM

Unc - hahahahaah! Pocket change!!!

Actually, I think it's a great price. I wish I could justify my need for one at the moment...ah, well, eventually.

And orly - quit pushing the Mesu's! Too tempting!!!


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frolinmod
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 08/06/10

Loc: Southern California
Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5656224 - 02/01/13 12:03 PM

Quote:

The problem isn't so much the PC - most people use PCs to image - but setting up the pointing model. Its not a "slap it down turn it on and observe" kind of user experience.



You don't have to create a pointing model if you don't want to. The MX is very much a slap it down and turn it on. I do it all the time. Should one choose to build a model, the process is automated, quick and painless.


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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5656292 - 02/01/13 12:41 PM

frolin, good to know. however even if you slap it down and turn it on, you still need the PC, right? no option for completely dumb operation.

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drksky
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5656567 - 02/01/13 03:17 PM

Quote:

frolin, good to know. however even if you slap it down and turn it on, you still need the PC, right? no option for completely dumb operation.




If it works anything like the ME this is simply not true if you don't need GOTO. I use our permanently mounted ME all the time without turning on a computer. Just like using a push-to mount but with a joystick.


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frolinmod
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5656901 - 02/01/13 06:18 PM

Quote:

....even if you slap it down and turn it on, you still need the PC, right? no option for completely dumb operation.



It will indeed work as a dumb mount. Without a computer connected it tracks and the hand controller can be used to slew in RA/DEC as usual. I've done this on rare occasions.


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Paul G
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5657082 - 02/01/13 08:21 PM

Quote:

Quote:

....even if you slap it down and turn it on, you still need the PC, right? no option for completely dumb operation.



It will indeed work as a dumb mount. Without a computer connected it tracks and the hand controller can be used to slew in RA/DEC as usual. I've done this on rare occasions.




A friend more familiar than I with SB mounts said it will not track at lunar or solar rate without a computer. Do you know if this is correct?


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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: drksky]
      #5657156 - 02/01/13 09:16 PM

Quote:

frolin, good to know. however even if you slap it down and turn it on, you still need the PC, right? no option for completely dumb operation.





No GOTO functionality and cannot go to RA/DEC, sync or anything without computer. So it is indeed severely limited without computer.


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5657321 - 02/01/13 10:52 PM

When you consider its 90lbs of imaging gear capacity, I don't know that SB had its main function to be a portable mount to take to any place you wish. It's really meant to be in an obs or at least somewhere that has electricity to run everything.

I wouldn't consider the MX if I was looking for portability. There's other mounts that do that very well. But with what you get in the package, this is a mount that you can set up in an obs with what comes in the box, stick your imaging gear on it, let T-point do its thing and you're ready to make some nice images. Counterweights and saddle come as standard fare as does the SkyX.

David


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mmalik
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5657353 - 02/01/13 11:19 PM Attachment (17 downloads)

I like Paramount mounts; my problem has been using devices like iPad/SkySafari Pro... which are a breeze to use with Astro-physics mounts while it becomes a daisy chain kind of affair with MX/ME; SkySafari Pro going through TheSkyX I mean to control MX/ME.

FYI: I never got iPad/SkySafari Pro/SkyWire... going for ME and finally gave up being frustrated [I use it all the time with elCapitan for navigation, pointing, aligning, framing, etc.]; more details of the ordeal here.... Thx


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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: mmalik]
      #5657495 - 02/02/13 01:30 AM

well the "portable" comparison is with the AP900. because i do know that a number of AP900 users don't use them with permanent setups..

so... dumb mode. can it autoguide in dumb mode?


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drksky
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5657631 - 02/02/13 06:47 AM

IF you're autoguiding, you're already using a computer, so what's the point?

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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: drksky]
      #5657649 - 02/02/13 07:18 AM

not if you're using an SG-4 or similar... i'm thinking of the SG-4 + DSLR combination for hassle-free imaging.

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M13 Observer
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Reged: 12/09/06

Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5657662 - 02/02/13 07:45 AM

Quote:

We need some price wars to bring these inflated 'high-end-mount' prices down to earth.




Yeah, we need them to be like all the others with little or no support, questionable or unreliable operations which need all sorts of tuning tweaks and off-brand updates to work properly, intermittent failures, no support except to the original buyer and that only for a very short period of time, support and repairs consisting of "it works just the way we designed it" and if you want it fixed "buy our new mount".

No thanks. I'll take an (in order of personal preference) AP, Bisque, or Tak mount any time.


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rmollise
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5657701 - 02/02/13 08:43 AM

Quote:

That's interesting.... I don't really see these high end mounts as overpriced.




I don't either. I just don't have a spare $8,000 lyin' around.


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rmollise
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5657705 - 02/02/13 08:45 AM

Quote:

not if you're using an SG-4 or similar... i'm thinking of the SG-4 + DSLR combination for hassle-free imaging.




Maybe if you've got a standalone guider, which not many people do. OTHERWISE, you won't be guiding even ST4 style without a computer. You will have PHD, or Maxim, or CCDsoft running on a PC to allow you to guide. Some of the standalone autoguiders can work, but not a cotton picking one of them works as well as good old PHD and a computer. The computer is something of a red herring in my mind, anyway. A netbook is actually more portable and easier to use than some dadgum standalone autoguider.

Edited by rmollise (02/02/13 08:49 AM)


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BlueGrass
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: rmollise]
      #5657787 - 02/02/13 09:37 AM

".. is something of a red herring .." Totally agree!

For any long exposure imaging, the vast majority are going to be using a CCD with FW and capture software along with autoguiding. Even using a DSLR, most will use capture software. In my mind,
anyone purchasing a mount in this class would be looking to do AP exclusively.


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Awesomelenny
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: M13 Observer]
      #5657987 - 02/02/13 11:50 AM

I too agree with M13 Observer too. AP for instance, wow their customer service is impeccable!

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Hilmi
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Awesomelenny]
      #5657993 - 02/02/13 11:55 AM

When it comes to AP vs SB I think the best attitude to have is to agree to disagree

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rmollise
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5658014 - 02/02/13 12:04 PM

Quote:

".. is something of a red herring .." Totally agree!

For any long exposure imaging, the vast majority are going to be using a CCD with FW and capture software along with autoguiding. Even using a DSLR, most will use capture software. In my mind,
anyone purchasing a mount in this class would be looking to do AP exclusively.




Purty much. I wouldn't think of imaging with my DSLR without Nebulosity. So much easier.


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Bill Dean
member


Reged: 09/05/05

Loc: Encinitas, CA
Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5658447 - 02/02/13 04:29 PM

Sure, you can directly guide via the guider input as you suggest. The polar alignment scope is a little clunky but it does do the job. So yeah, you could do the dumb mount thing. It should be noted that while SB is a bit late they are planning on releasing an ipad version of TSX for complete mount control including Tpoint. Android has been mentioned as well so that could be a pretty appealing setup too.

Clear skies,
Bill


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Bill Dean
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Reged: 09/05/05

Loc: Encinitas, CA
Re: MX discount... new [Re: mmalik]
      #5658476 - 02/02/13 04:44 PM

SB is working on an ipad version of TSX. They are a bit late though.

I have used splashtop a bit and it works pretty well to remotely "drive" via the connected laptop but it's less easy to work with MaximDL this way. I prefer a more traditional vnc or remote desktop solution. The opengl stuff is a little annoying but it's doable. Haven't given SkySafari a try.

Clear skies,
Bill


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Bowmoreman
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: rmollise]
      #5659015 - 02/02/13 10:21 PM

Quote:

Quote:

not if you're using an SG-4 or similar... i'm thinking of the SG-4 + DSLR combination for hassle-free imaging.




Maybe if you've got a standalone guider, which not many people do. OTHERWISE, you won't be guiding even ST4 style without a computer. You will have PHD, or Maxim, or CCDsoft running on a PC to allow you to guide. Some of the standalone autoguiders can work, but not a cotton picking one of them works as well as good old PHD and a computer. The computer is something of a red herring in my mind, anyway. A netbook is actually more portable and easier to use than some dadgum standalone autoguider.




I'd stack my STV up against just Aout Nything for accuracy... And it's way, way faster than any pc based approach... Generally I'm guiding before my pc has finished booting and the camera has reached temp!

You can get an STV used now for a steal price wise... Is it as portable as a netbook or laptop? No. But, unlike software based solutions, it is basically a hardware urn key appliance. I like that.

That said, the MX is on my desire list, after all my STV will guide it just fine...



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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bowmoreman]
      #5659047 - 02/02/13 10:38 PM

Bill, the ipad version of TSX... it will be truly stand alone and not just talking to a PC?

that sounds interesting.... not that i'm in a position to buy an MX

btw i use maximdl with my Mach1 and i can remotely drive it with VNC. there is a VNC client for both ipad and android... have used both. works fine. doesn't eliminate the PC running maximdl though.


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Bill Dean
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Reged: 09/05/05

Loc: Encinitas, CA
Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5659212 - 02/03/13 12:41 AM

Stand alone version for the iPad, no laptop required. I think the threads on the SB forums were back in July or so. Not sure how "full" a version but it sounds like there's some TPoint capability so it could be pretty useful or at least it sounds like it could address complaints about the lack of a fully functional hand controller. Personally I don't really see a great deal of utility but I have taken my PMX out for purely visual use with friends a couple of times and slew-hopped without a laptop and it was fun enough. I guess I would buy an android version but they were pretty clear that iPad will come first.

I do the same (prefer Splashtop though) for monitoring imaging runs from the house with a tablet. TSX works surprisingly well with a touch interface but the smaller dialogs and number of them with MaximDL really screams for a mouse and keyboard so I generally use a desktop and remote in when it's chilly or I'm watching a game and am messing around rather than running a scripted session.

Clear skies,
Bill


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jarin
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Reged: 10/03/09

Loc: Northern VA
Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bill Dean]
      #5659262 - 02/03/13 01:46 AM

Had to chime in - I've had my MX for just under a year now, and I setup/breakdown remotely each and every time. From the time of my first slew in building a t-point model to imaging for me is about 15 minutes. I normally do 2 or 3 iterations of 18 point models. The mount is *extremely* portable at 50 lbs, so whoever said it's not portable maybe has never seen or lifted one. I've taken exactly 1190 light subs since I've owned it and 1189 are perfect keepers. That speaks for itself. I had a CGEM for 10 months, then a CGE-Pro for 1.5 years before the MX, and the MX is just a beautiful piece of machinery.

The first 11 (reverse chronological) images on this page were with the MX, the rest the Pro:

http://www.silvren.com/AP/pictures/

Jeff


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rmollise
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bowmoreman]
      #5659627 - 02/03/13 09:50 AM

Quote:



I'd stack my STV up against just Aout Nything for accuracy... And it's way, way faster than any pc based approach... Generally I'm guiding before my pc has finished booting and the camera has reached temp!

You can get an STV used now for a steal price wise... Is it as portable as a netbook or laptop? No. But, unlike software based solutions, it is basically a hardware urn key appliance. I like that.

That said, the MX is on my desire list, after all my STV will guide it just fine...






Well, the problem is that it's not made anymore and hasn't been for a long time. Didn't much like that itsy-bitsy screen, either.


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nomosnow
sage


Reged: 03/21/11

Loc: Fort Saskatchewan,Ab ,Canada
Re: MX discount... new [Re: rmollise]
      #5659796 - 02/03/13 11:33 AM

I won't pretend to know why you need to make a pointing model with this mount but...I would like to comment that it would sure be nice if you could buy a mount of this caliber with a decent hand controller like on my iEQ45 or CG-5 .

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rmollise
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: nomosnow]
      #5659835 - 02/03/13 11:53 AM

Quote:

I won't pretend to know why you need to make a pointing model with this mount but...I would like to comment that it would sure be nice if you could buy a mount of this caliber with a decent hand controller like on my iEQ45 or CG-5 .




I've thought the same thing for years.


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Hilmi
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: rmollise]
      #5659882 - 02/03/13 12:18 PM

Because then they cant lock you into their software for years to come.

Just think how much they make out of each upgrade and assume each user will upgrade a couple of times during the product life cycle.

Edited by Hilmi (02/03/13 12:21 PM)


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Bill Dean
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Loc: Encinitas, CA
Re: MX discount... new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5659973 - 02/03/13 01:12 PM

Hi Hilmi,

The software (TSX Pro, TPoint add-on, camera add-on) is included in the mount purchase. The subscription model basically boils down to $75/year after the first year for TheSkyX support and upgrades. If you choose not to renew the subscription the software is of course still licensed and will continue to work. New features are being added frequently but there's no requirement to "upgrade" to use the mount/software but the cost of renewal seems pretty reasonable to me given the constant development and responsive support.

Clear skies,
Bill


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Hilmi
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bill Dean]
      #5660035 - 02/03/13 01:54 PM

I never said the cost isn't reasonable, but do think about it, over the life time of the mount, it continues to generate revenue through subscriptions and upgrades. It's a great business model. Microsoft has been trying to move users to subscription based fee for years with no success.

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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bill Dean]
      #5660254 - 02/03/13 04:00 PM

The MX can *only* be driven by TheSkyX. There are many astronomy programs that use ASCOM and/or run on other devices and using ASCOM - these will not work with MX. That can be a limitation/issue for some.

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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5660341 - 02/03/13 04:55 PM

Quote:

The MX can *only* be driven by TheSkyX. There are many astronomy programs that use ASCOM and/or run on other devices and using ASCOM - these will not work with MX. That can be a limitation/issue for some.




Considering that the purchase price includes all the software needed and that it's compatible with Mac and Windows, I don't see why this would be an issue other than those mentioned about being tied to a computer.

David


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5660572 - 02/03/13 06:56 PM

Quote:

Quote:

The MX can *only* be driven by TheSkyX. There are many astronomy programs that use ASCOM and/or run on other devices and using ASCOM - these will not work with MX. That can be a limitation/issue for some.




Considering that the purchase price includes all the software needed and that it's compatible with Mac and Windows, I don't see why this would be an issue other than those mentioned about being tied to a computer.

David




I am among those who selected TheSky6 as my primary telescope control software years ago but don't own a Bisque mount so I had to purchase it. It was a good investment. I have used quite a few ASCOM-compatible programs along with it, and have never found one that didn't work with TheSky6 and a TheSky-controlled telescope. It interfaces nicely with them all Unless there's a new defect in TheSkyX, the limitation claimed above isn't valid.


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Pak
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5660584 - 02/03/13 07:06 PM

I think both Celestron and Meade have versions of their hand controllers that have all the computer stuff inside the HC itself. All that is left to do is to have someone develop a little module that you plug the one of those HC's into and then plug that module into the PMX. The module will interpret the commands into Paramount-speak.

Licensing issues aside, I think that would be a nice item.


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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5660675 - 02/03/13 08:27 PM

Quote:

It interfaces nicely with them all Unless there's a new defect in TheSkyX, the limitation claimed above isn't valid.




The point was not about software, but about PMX hardware. The limitation could arise if someone wants to use a device using some other planetarium or any other application that uses ASCOM to talk to mounts. They can't do it unless its TheSkyX.
You are benefiting from the fact that your mount can be controlled by the application you chose. You are using ASCOM driver or software written to work with TheSky6 for your mount. My point is that is an advantage when it comes to mounts - being able to talk ASCOM.


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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5660761 - 02/03/13 09:22 PM

I believe TheSkyX has an ASCOM shim...

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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5660840 - 02/03/13 10:35 PM

Sure, the X2 interface, but I am not talking about SkyX. I am talking about PMX. It is tied to SkyX and cannot be driven standalone by any other ASCOM applications or devices.

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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5660914 - 02/03/13 11:34 PM

that was also my earlier point... the PMX is married to a PC... that runs TheSkyX. no way around that.

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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5660960 - 02/04/13 12:06 AM

Quote:

The point was not about software, but about PMX hardware. The limitation could arise if someone wants to use a device using some other planetarium or any other application that uses ASCOM to talk to mounts. They can't do it unless its TheSkyX.
You are benefiting from the fact that your mount can be controlled by the application you chose. You are using ASCOM driver or software written to work with TheSky6 for your mount. My point is that is an advantage when it comes to mounts - being able to talk ASCOM.




If I believed that that my current software configuration wouldn't operate a Bisque mount then I would accept that you are more familiar with my software and its setup than I. I know of others using precisely the same software with a PME, though, so I decline to make that leap.


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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5660983 - 02/04/13 12:22 AM

John, your current software (Sky6) will not operate an MX. And MX would not be operated by anything but SkyX.

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frolinmod
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5661144 - 02/04/13 05:15 AM

Through the magic of ASCOM I frequently operate my Paramount via ASCOM compatible third party applications. All those applications know is that it's an ASCOM mount. They don't know that it's a Paramount underneath or anything about TheSkyX. They don't care how that is accomplished either, just that it is. That's what ASCOM is for. This works well for me.

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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: frolinmod]
      #5661403 - 02/04/13 09:56 AM

personally i don't see ascom as that great. the reliance on clunky activeX makes it slow and not so reliable. the bisque solution is actually better. the only reason for ascom existence is that it is a standard.

i wish manufacturers would support INDI more.


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Ray Gralak
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Reged: 04/19/08

Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5661464 - 02/04/13 10:36 AM

Quote:

personally i don't see ascom as that great. the reliance on clunky activeX makes it slow and not so reliable. the bisque solution is actually better. the only reason for ascom existence is that it is a standard.

i wish manufacturers would support INDI more.




Hi Orly!

ASCOM does not rely on ActiveX. It relies on COM interop to allow scripting from 3rd party applications. The same Microsoft technology is used in the core of all Windows versions for a long time (and is used by bisque products on Windows). COM interop may be old but it is a very slick concept which allows virtually any programming language to control an ASCOM driver.

So, in your opinion, what makes INDI or the bisque solution better? (Have you actually programmed either?)

-Ray


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rmollise
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5661496 - 02/04/13 10:46 AM

Quote:

personally i don't see ascom as that great. the reliance on clunky activeX makes it slow and not so reliable. the bisque solution is actually better. the only reason for ascom existence is that it is a standard.

i wish manufacturers would support INDI more.




Well...that's true except it doesn't rely on Active X, and it's not clunky at all. It works great and speedily, even with very complex drivers like EQMOD.


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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: rmollise]
      #5661501 - 02/04/13 10:48 AM

Rod, it's not too speedy for me.

In any case it's a windows only solution. So the Mac users have to look at other options. At least Bisque supports them.


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Ray Gralak
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5661532 - 02/04/13 11:04 AM

Quote:

Rod, it's not too speedy for me.





I think you are mistaken on the performance issue. You can easily do more than a 1,000 "empty" COM interop calls in a second on the average windows application. Any perceived slowness of a single COM interop call is caused the delay introduced by sending commands to and from the device, which in the case of a telescope is usually over a serial port. Other solutions would have a similar delay.

-Ray


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rmollise
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5661566 - 02/04/13 11:23 AM

Quote:

Rod, it's not too speedy for me.

In any case it's a windows only solution. So the Mac users have to look at other options. At least Bisque supports them.




Sorry, not sure what's going on with your setup, but I've never had speed problems with ASCOM or heard of anyone who has. Again, if it will run EQMOD, a plain old driver is duck soup.


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Hilmi
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: rmollise]
      #5661725 - 02/04/13 12:52 PM

I figure if ASCOM is fast enough to handle accurate auto-guiding, then it's fast enough for any reasonable use. Beyond that, the AP vs. SB argument. I feel that they are both great mounts and the only downside I can see to the SB way of doing things is that should your computer fail for any reason (and who hasn't had a PC failure, they are probably the weakest link in our set-ups) you loose all goto capability. For people hate stare hoping or people like me who just never learnt the sky enough to navigate it due to living in a heavily light polluted sky then loosing goto is equivalent to ending your session.

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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5662189 - 02/04/13 05:38 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

The MX can *only* be driven by TheSkyX. There are many astronomy programs that use ASCOM and/or run on other devices and using ASCOM - these will not work with MX. That can be a limitation/issue for some.




Considering that the purchase price includes all the software needed and that it's compatible with Mac and Windows, I don't see why this would be an issue other than those mentioned about being tied to a computer.

David




I am among those who selected TheSky6 as my primary telescope control software years ago but don't own a Bisque mount so I had to purchase it. It was a good investment. I have used quite a few ASCOM-compatible programs along with it, and have never found one that didn't work with TheSky6 and a TheSky-controlled telescope. It interfaces nicely with them all Unless there's a new defect in TheSkyX, the limitation claimed above isn't valid.




Me, too! I use the Sky6 to control my MI250 via SiTech. 6 is a good program. I can only imagine that X is really good!

David


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Bill Dean
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5662396 - 02/04/13 08:01 PM

I think you may be confusing running TSX with having to *use* The Sky. Not the case, I use Guide 9 and MaximDL to "drive" my PMX via The ASCOM plug in for The Sky controlled telescope. The Sky is minimized mostly.

TSX is growing on me though and I assume I'll use it exclusively by the summer.

Clear skies,
Bill


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CounterWeight
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bill Dean]
      #5662745 - 02/05/13 12:18 AM

In looking at my next purchase it's interesting. IMO the Bisque mount is great mechanicals coupled with great software. For imaging it's a dream machine. As far as the always unavoidable comparison to A-P, I think that the concept of software is something A-P is trying to catch up on with APCC though it's nowhere near what you get with a Paramount. In one it's 'our mount is perfect and we cn't help it if your scope is slightly non-ortho to it... the other is hey, let's get your scope imaging... It's two different schools of thought from inception and cleary obvious in the to customer product offering. Two great mounts, two great companies, with vastly different approaches to software integration and implementation. ummm USB? ... Both work very well at what they are supposed to in their way, have the images and customers to prove it. it's a choice that is actually a choice and we're lucky to have it. Dropping the price by $1k is fantastic.

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Paul G
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5662952 - 02/05/13 06:24 AM

Quote:

In looking at my next purchase it's interesting. IMO the Bisque mount is great mechanicals coupled with great software. For imaging it's a dream machine. As far as the always unavoidable comparison to A-P, I think that the concept of software is something A-P is trying to catch up on with APCC though it's nowhere near what you get with a Paramount. In one it's 'our mount is perfect and we cn't help it if your scope is slightly non-ortho to it... the other is hey, let's get your scope imaging... It's two different schools of thought from inception and cleary obvious in the to customer product offering. Two great mounts, two great companies, with vastly different approaches to software integration and implementation. ummm USB? ... Both work very well at what they are supposed to in their way, have the images and customers to prove it. it's a choice that is actually a choice and we're lucky to have it. Dropping the price by $1k is fantastic.




I know there is a major difference in functionality when both mounts are used without a laptop. If both mounts are used with a laptop, The Sky, and Tpoint how much difference is there in how they function?


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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Paul G]
      #5663292 - 02/05/13 10:29 AM

The main differences are that A-P will give more flexibility at the risk of user error e.g. one can image horizon to horizon if possible without meridian flip if scope/pier arrangement allows it. SB design has hard limits (2hrs. for MX) in the mounts to make it safer for observatory. Another difference is A-P has clutches for manual operation and safety from accidental bumps, and so A-P mount cannot have absolute homing (without encoders). SB mount does not have clutch and has absolute homing.

From what I understand, mechanically they are similar in performance. The differences are more based on what user cares more for - higher flexibility (field, software, paddle) for field/observatory vs. more robust for observatory use.


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rmollise
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5663308 - 02/05/13 10:36 AM

I am not likely to ever own either mount--they are so far above my humble needs and talents that it is not even funny.

That said, I've used both brands and believe the AP to be more flexible. Yes, I wish the HC software were a litle more sophisticated, but the folks running these mounts are usually imagers who are going to go-to and stay on a target or two all evening, and that is pretty easy to nail down with even the simple software of the AP control. And I guess that's the beauty of the thing. The APs can be kept simple and run like we've always run telescope mounts. Or they can be run with modeling software or anything else from a laptop.

No doubt the MX is a godsend for folks doing stuff like remote control from distant sites, but I am too dumb about such things to even form an opinion on 'em.


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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: rmollise]
      #5663318 - 02/05/13 10:41 AM

yes the absolute homing on the MX is a big deal.

the new 'S' firmware for the CP3 supposedly helps with this because the mount no longer has to be parked (it remembers its position when it loses power) so - in theory - a homing sensor is no longer required.

how well this actually works in practice, i don't know.


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darbyvet
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5663326 - 02/05/13 10:44 AM

I have an MX on a pier in my skyshedpod.I have s decent tpoint model (7 arcsec pointing) and can get 10-15 min subs without star trailing unguided.I have my c11 and ES 80mm triplet refraftor mounted so I can switch between planetary and DSO imaging.It takes about 3 mins for me to be ready to start imaging.I have barely scrathced the surfrace of what the moutn and theskyX can do.

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CounterWeight
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: darbyvet]
      #5663543 - 02/05/13 12:56 PM

I was referring to what each does as supplied 'out of the box' without any additional purchase or add on. As I said, each is capable of doing all it advertises. As the OP was about cost, that is what I meant as far as my prev post. All the other posts about 'what you need' are up to the purchaser, no better or worse in my opinion.

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pfile
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5663553 - 02/05/13 01:01 PM

Quote:

yes the absolute homing on the MX is a big deal.

the new 'S' firmware for the CP3 supposedly helps with this because the mount no longer has to be parked (it remembers its position when it loses power) so - in theory - a homing sensor is no longer required.

how well this actually works in practice, i don't know.




do you know if there is any dependence on APCC for this functionality, or is it purely inside the CP3?

rob


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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: pfile]
      #5663605 - 02/05/13 01:40 PM

This functionality is programmed in the 'S' chip - so yes in the CP3 box.

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Ray Gralak
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Reged: 04/19/08

Re: MX discount... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5664856 - 02/06/13 09:24 AM

Quote:

I was referring to what each does as supplied 'out of the box' without any additional purchase or add on. As I said, each is capable of doing all it advertises. As the OP was about cost, that is what I meant as far as my prev post. All the other posts about 'what you need' are up to the purchaser, no better or worse in my opinion.



If you go by that definition then the MX is not ASCOM compatible out of the box (because you need a third party "add on"). The Bisque software had to be included with the Paramounts otherwise they wouldn't be very useful at all. So, I think it's pretty silly to exclude all the software one can use, or, in this case, *has* to be used if the mount is to do useful work.

-Ray


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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5665007 - 02/06/13 11:11 AM

i personally won't get APCC - yet - but it's comforting to know that the capability is there.

i did buy the S chip because "no need to park" is cool to have.


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Bob Abraham
sage


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Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5665207 - 02/06/13 01:01 PM

Is APCC is actually available? My understanding is that it is still in beta.

I own a Mach 1 GTO and regularly use a Paramount ME. Both are terrific mounts. However, I'm thinking of buying a Paramount MX to replace the Mach 1 because:

1) I prefer using a Mac and don't want to have to deal with an emulation layer. So even when APCC comes out it won't work for me. In any case, I like TheSkyX a lot.

2) I appreciate being able to home the mount remotely, which is a feature built-in to the Paramounts (and I believe you can add this capability onto AP's larger mounts, but not the Mach-1 GTO). The Mach 1 mostly lives in an observatory and I occasionally run it remotely, even though most of the time I'm right next to it.

3) I find the lack of basic pointing corrections (even something really simple to handle in a basic model, like a single non-orthogonality term) in the AP mount's hand controller disappointing. It's really the only aspect of the mount I actively don't like (the lack of a home switch is less of a big deal in a portable mount). If TheSkyX comes out for iOS with T-point (unclear to me what features will be in the iOS version of TheSkyX) then it could well be that the MX would have a truly fabulous hand controller! Anyway, aside from modelling in the hand controller the Mach 1 GTO is a brilliant mount for its weight class.

4) I have been using T-point in one incarnation or another for 25 years on professional telescopes, and I like its basic philosophy (basing pointing corrections on coefficients of a physical geometrical/structural model, rather than minimizing errors on some more abstract transformations). Since T-point is integrated into TheSkyX and the Paramount mounts play so nicely with TheSkyX, an ME/MX + TheSkyX + T-point operate like a well integrated system. Of course one can use TheSkyX+T-point with AP mounts but it's less integrated (no Pro-Track, no Direct Guide). Maybe an AP mount + APCC will be similarly well-integrated as a system - though sadly I won't be able to use it day-to-day because I won't be able to run it on a Mac. In any case, I look forward to trying out APCC when it comes out, perhaps I'll run it on a virtual machine for a while just to check it out. I certainly trust Ray Gralak to deliver some nice software... PEMPro is terrific (wish I could get it on my Mac, even though I do my polar alignment with T-point these days, PEMPro is very cool).

Bob


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Ray Gralak
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #5666671 - 02/07/13 09:09 AM

Quote:

Is APCC is actually available? My understanding is that it is still in beta.

I own a Mach 1 GTO and regularly use a Paramount ME. Both are terrific mounts. However, I'm thinking of buying a Paramount MX to replace the Mach 1 because:

1) I prefer using a Mac and don't want to have to deal with an emulation layer. So even when APCC comes out it won't work for me. In any case, I like TheSkyX a lot.

2) I appreciate being able to home the mount remotely, which is a feature built-in to the Paramounts (and I believe you can add this capability onto AP's larger mounts, but not the Mach-1 GTO). The Mach 1 mostly lives in an observatory and I occasionally run it remotely, even though most of the time I'm right next to it.

3) I find the lack of basic pointing corrections (even something really simple to handle in a basic model, like a single non-orthogonality term) in the AP mount's hand controller disappointing. It's really the only aspect of the mount I actively don't like (the lack of a home switch is less of a big deal in a portable mount). If TheSkyX comes out for iOS with T-point (unclear to me what features will be in the iOS version of TheSkyX) then it could well be that the MX would have a truly fabulous hand controller! Anyway, aside from modelling in the hand controller the Mach 1 GTO is a brilliant mount for its weight class.

4) I have been using T-point in one incarnation or another for 25 years on professional telescopes, and I like its basic philosophy (basing pointing corrections on coefficients of a physical geometrical/structural model, rather than minimizing errors on some more abstract transformations). Since T-point is integrated into TheSkyX and the Paramount mounts play so nicely with TheSkyX, an ME/MX + TheSkyX + T-point operate like a well integrated system. Of course one can use TheSkyX+T-point with AP mounts but it's less integrated (no Pro-Track, no Direct Guide). Maybe an AP mount + APCC will be similarly well-integrated as a system - though sadly I won't be able to use it day-to-day because I won't be able to run it on a Mac. In any case, I look forward to trying out APCC when it comes out, perhaps I'll run it on a virtual machine for a while just to check it out. I certainly trust Ray Gralak to deliver some nice software... PEMPro is terrific (wish I could get it on my Mac, even though I do my polar alignment with T-point these days, PEMPro is very cool).

Bob




Hi Bob,

I own both Windows and Mac computers. What features are there on the Mac that make it a must have over a PC? You can usually get a much more powerful windows machine for much cheaper and have a whole lot more choices in astronomy apps. What does the Mac version of SkyX have that the Windows version does not? If you use your Mac outside do you really want to risk having it exposed to the environment? Having used (and still using) multiple Macs and Windows machines I say just wonder why not just get a cheap Windows laptop and dedicate it to the mount? No Windows emulation is needed and you save your Mac for indoor use.

-Ray


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Bob Abraham
sage


Reged: 05/17/05

Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: MX discount... new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5666818 - 02/07/13 10:45 AM

Hi Ray,

As I see it, the advantage of running Macs is that you get both UNIX and nice hardware and a pretty good mix of free and commercial software. And in my opinion you actually get way more choices in very powerful astronomy apps with the Mac, because the whole world of hard-to-use but insanely powerful free professional astronomy apps is opened up to you.

Just one example:

Right now my colleague at Yale and I have put together a project to use a remotely operated Paramount ME in New Mexico atop of which is sitting a bank of Canon lenses feeding a bunch of CCD cameras. Data taking is fully automated and works using 3 Mac minis (which are pretty cheap) that sit in the observatory which talk to each other using a client-server model that I hacked together using Perl and Python and Bash scripts. This was comparatively easy because networking and scripting is so straightforward in UNIX and there's so much pre-existing code knocking around. The data analysis pipeline (real-time reduction of data from 4 cameras now, and 9 cameras soon) uses Python and IRAF scripts.... also UNIX-specific, because these in turn call tools only available on a UNIX-based OS. For example, plate solves and image stacking also use tools like SCAMP and SWarp which are pretty awesome and UNIX-specific (check out http://www.astromatic.net/software if you're not familiar with them). The same Mac that's running TheSkyX and controlling our mount in New Mexico is running a bespoke TCP/IP server that communicates a bunch of data to the other machines on the network. I guess I could have written a server on a Windows machine but it was pretty easy to just hack it together in an afternoon on the Mac since as I'm sure you know UNIX is pretty good for that kind of thing.

Anyway, that's just one example. My institute also operates a remote 0.5m telesope on an AP3600 for research... also a very heavy reliance on UNIX. The world of professional astronomy is totally dominated by UNIX (hence Mac OS X and Linux boxes outnumber PCs running Windows by 10:1, except perhaps amongst the admin staff) and if you use a Mac all the same software I use to deal with HST and Gemini data is available to you. Mac mini's are fairly cheap these days so the buy-in isn't too bad.

Admittedly though much of this software is not very easy to use... for example there is nothing out there that I am aware of that lets you polar align as easily as PEMPro. And scope control has always been a weak point because most professional telescopes have had custom control software (a lot of which, frankly, is lousier than TheSkyX + T-point) which you can't use to control a high-end amateur mount.

Anyway, now that high-end amateur mounts like the AP3600 and the Paramounts can easily support 0.5m+ telescopes (the bread and butter of Universities) having TheSkyX running on Macs which are common around these parts is turning out to be a pretty good thing.

Bob

Edited by Bob Abraham (02/07/13 05:21 PM)


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CounterWeight
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5666819 - 02/07/13 10:45 AM

Quote:

If you go by that definition then the MX is not ASCOM compatible out of the box (because you need a third party "add on"). The Bisque software had to be included with the Paramounts otherwise they wouldn't be very useful at all. So, I think it's pretty silly to exclude all the software one can use, or, in this case, *has* to be used if the mount is to do useful work.

-Ray





Ray, I am not excluding anything - and your misunderstanding of my point here needs clearing up.

What we started talking about was the SB PMX sale/discount beaing a great deal $ wise. Last I checked the equivelent capacity A-P mount is something like $8,750 by itself 'as delivered'. But you need to buy a few things to get your scope on it and going - this is not even talking about provided software capability(here I refer to counterweight(s), saddle plate), which increases the cost. You know this.

ASCOM is free for anything so that economic common denominator drops out. You understand this.

To give the A-P mount the TheSkyX and/or it's add ons, increasing the cost further. You know it's not freeware.

It is the capability and fuctionality of this last item the A-P mount clearly lacks out of the box, the reality is the functionality and planetarium software (and TheSkyX with it's plug in's is really nice software that I'd hope you could appreciate if possible)... 'it is not there in the A-P mount box', and as delivered, it isn't.

So where are we. My math shows an A-P 900 coming in over $9k to get to where the SB PMX is at it's sale price of Correction $8k. Vastly different offerings and at least a Correction $1k price difference.

Unless you can show me somehow that you can get the same capability and functionality at the same price point - I'll point the 'silly' back to you.

Thanks for catching my error(s) Sedat!

Edited by CounterWeight (02/07/13 08:43 PM)


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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5666943 - 02/07/13 11:47 AM

Bottom line - AP900 needs a price drop to stay competitive. These price drops are great for the customer and I hope AP follows and we see some price wars!

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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5667087 - 02/07/13 01:23 PM

it is interesting Bob because Chris Erickson who does a lot of work in Hawaii mentioned in another forum (Roboscopes on Yahoo) that all the big guys (i.e. the multi-meter telescopes) are now using Windows...

and yes i'm familiar with the astromatic stuff and galfit

getting that stuff running on windows is a complete PITA. i'm not a mac head so i use linux for that.

i long for the days of mature indi drivers. but even the AP indi driver has holes.


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Bob Abraham
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5667368 - 02/07/13 04:01 PM

Hmm... that's certainly not my experience. In the last couple of years I've observed with/gotten data from quite a few Mauna Kea telescopes (Gemini North, Keck, UKIRT and CFHT) and have been on various management committees related to these. As far as I can see, Windows usage for scientific data collection and data analysis is very (very) low in this community... basically it is zero. For example, on Gemini (the telescopes I'm most familiar with) all instruments must be controlled using an open-source system somewhat similar to INDI known as EPICS (http://www.aps.anl.gov/epics/) which is also used to talk to the telescope control system (which uses T-point for pointing... so you can see there's some convergence with commercial astro software there). Most development is done on Linux or Mac OS X (though Win32 is still officially supported by the EPICS consortium). Almost all data analysis is done in IRAF (UNIX only) or IDL (versions exist for Linux/MacOSX/Windows).

In my experience most Windows machines being used in the larger Mauna Kea observatories are used for specific engineering tasks and for optical design (ZEMAX is Windows-only) and by the admin people. A few years ago I did see Windows being used to control a near-infrared camera on a visitor instrument on Las Campanas (in Chile) though it was being used on one of the smaller telescopes there. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that Windows drives most of the smaller pro-am telescopes in the 0.5m-class all over the world, particularly if they're used for teaching. As has been pointed out there's a lot of great Windows-only software for that market. But for somebody aspiring to take advantage of lots of great pre-existing professional astronomy software, or for an environment with lots of astronomy students who may wish to go on to work with bigger telescopes, in my opinion Windows is probably not the right choice as these days Mac OS X/UNIX is really the canonical OS in that environment.


Bob

Quote:

it is interesting Bob because Chris Erickson who does a lot of work in Hawaii mentioned in another forum (Roboscopes on Yahoo) that all the big guys (i.e. the multi-meter telescopes) are now using Windows...

and yes i'm familiar with the astromatic stuff and galfit

getting that stuff running on windows is a complete PITA. i'm not a mac head so i use linux for that.

i long for the days of mature indi drivers. but even the AP indi driver has holes.




Edited by Bob Abraham (02/07/13 05:24 PM)


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bilgebayModerator
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5667409 - 02/07/13 04:20 PM

Quote:



So where are we. My math shows an A-P 900 coming in over $9k to get to where the SB PMX is at it's sale price of $7k. Vastly different offerings and at least a $2k price difference.




SB website is listing this mount at $7995....am I missing something ?


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rmollise
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: bilgebay]
      #5667468 - 02/07/13 04:51 PM

Well, a tripod or pier, counterweights, and a polar scope if you believe in such things. Course these are "optional" with the APs, too...

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Alph
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: bilgebay]
      #5667549 - 02/07/13 05:42 PM

Quote:

Quote:



So where are we. My math shows an A-P 900 coming in over $9k to get to where the SB PMX is at it's sale price of $7k. Vastly different offerings and at least a $2k price difference.




SB website is listing this mount at $7995....am I missing something ?




Have you ever been married? My wife does it all the time.


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CounterWeight
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Alph]
      #5667855 - 02/07/13 08:59 PM

Sedat- Sorry I got that wrong! will correct it's only $1000-(USD) off Sale!

Rod - I believe the PMX ships with "(2) 20 lb (9kg) counterweights "

equivelent accys from A-P...
(2) 18lb cw's would be an aditional $380.
Saddle plate and dovetail plate maybe another $250? (? depending)

One other thing I don't think you can buy yet from A-P is the built in USB 2.0 interface on the PMX, though in all fairness the A-P provides a serial cable for theirs and the cost of the USB/serial dongle isn't much at all these days.

TheSkyX pro I think is $350 -

Sorry about my typos and poor math.

Edited by CounterWeight (02/07/13 09:00 PM)


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Ray Gralak
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #5667976 - 02/07/13 10:25 PM

Quote:

Hi Ray,

As I see it, the advantage of running Macs is that you get both UNIX and nice hardware and a pretty good mix of free and commercial software. And in my opinion you actually get way more choices in very powerful astronomy apps with the Mac, because the whole world of hard-to-use but insanely powerful free professional astronomy apps is opened up to you.

Just one example:

Right now my colleague at Yale and I have put together a project to use a remotely operated Paramount ME in New Mexico atop of which is sitting a bank of Canon lenses feeding a bunch of CCD cameras. Data taking is fully automated and works using 3 Mac minis (which are pretty cheap) that sit in the observatory which talk to each other using a client-server model that I hacked together using Perl and Python and Bash scripts. This was comparatively easy because networking and scripting is so straightforward in UNIX and there's so much pre-existing code knocking around. The data analysis pipeline (real-time reduction of data from 4 cameras now, and 9 cameras soon) uses Python and IRAF scripts.... also UNIX-specific, because these in turn call tools only available on a UNIX-based OS. For example, plate solves and image stacking also use tools like SCAMP and SWarp which are pretty awesome and UNIX-specific (check out http://www.astromatic.net/software if you're not familiar with them). The same Mac that's running TheSkyX and controlling our mount in New Mexico is running a bespoke TCP/IP server that communicates a bunch of data to the other machines on the network. I guess I could have written a server on a Windows machine but it was pretty easy to just hack it together in an afternoon on the Mac since as I'm sure you know UNIX is pretty good for that kind of thing.

Anyway, that's just one example. My institute also operates a remote 0.5m telesope on an AP3600 for research... also a very heavy reliance on UNIX. The world of professional astronomy is totally dominated by UNIX (hence Mac OS X and Linux boxes outnumber PCs running Windows by 10:1, except perhaps amongst the admin staff) and if you use a Mac all the same software I use to deal with HST and Gemini data is available to you. Mac mini's are fairly cheap these days so the buy-in isn't too bad.

Admittedly though much of this software is not very easy to use... for example there is nothing out there that I am aware of that lets you polar align as easily as PEMPro. And scope control has always been a weak point because most professional telescopes have had custom control software (a lot of which, frankly, is lousier than TheSkyX + T-point) which you can't use to control a high-end amateur mount.

Anyway, now that high-end amateur mounts like the AP3600 and the Paramounts can easily support 0.5m+ telescopes (the bread and butter of Universities) having TheSkyX running on Macs which are common around these parts is turning out to be a pretty good thing.

Bob




Hi Bob,

I've done a lot of UNIX and LINUX programming over the years (I have almost 35 years of software development experience). In many cases I've been able to compile and run unix code on a Windows PC with just a few tweaks by using CygWin. I've also used LINUX as a VMWare guest operating system on Windows.

But I don't think that many people would do the types of programming projects that you have done. Regarding commercial astronomy applications I just haven't seen the *need* to have Mac O/S when there are so many application and hardware choices under Windows.

-Ray


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Ray Gralak
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5667997 - 02/07/13 10:35 PM

Quote:

Quote:

If you go by that definition then the MX is not ASCOM compatible out of the box (because you need a third party "add on"). The Bisque software had to be included with the Paramounts otherwise they wouldn't be very useful at all. So, I think it's pretty silly to exclude all the software one can use, or, in this case, *has* to be used if the mount is to do useful work.

-Ray





Ray, I am not excluding anything - and your misunderstanding of my point here needs clearing up.

What we started talking about was the SB PMX sale/discount beaing a great deal $ wise. Last I checked the equivelent capacity A-P mount is something like $8,750 by itself 'as delivered'. But you need to buy a few things to get your scope on it and going - this is not even talking about provided software capability(here I refer to counterweight(s), saddle plate), which increases the cost. You know this.

ASCOM is free for anything so that economic common denominator drops out. You understand this.

To give the A-P mount the TheSkyX and/or it's add ons, increasing the cost further. You know it's not freeware.

It is the capability and fuctionality of this last item the A-P mount clearly lacks out of the box, the reality is the functionality and planetarium software (and TheSkyX with it's plug in's is really nice software that I'd hope you could appreciate if possible)... 'it is not there in the A-P mount box', and as delivered, it isn't.

So where are we. My math shows an A-P 900 coming in over $9k to get to where the SB PMX is at it's sale price of Correction $8k. Vastly different offerings and at least a Correction $1k price difference.

Unless you can show me somehow that you can get the same capability and functionality at the same price point - I'll point the 'silly' back to you.

Thanks for catching my error(s) Sedat!




Well, unless something has changed, you don't get a computer with a paramount mx, do you? So, literally I think that all you can do for $8K is slew with a joystick (correct me if I'm wrong at that?). The AP comes with a hand controller so you are ready to go. The hand controller itself is very expensive (about $1K) because it is ruggedized to withstand most impacts and temperature extremes that most laptops could not operate under.

Besides, I understand this is a moot point because there probably will be no more 900's made. If true, I would wonder what cool features and improved specifications there might be in its replacement.

-Ray


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frolinmod
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: rmollise]
      #5668015 - 02/07/13 10:44 PM

Quote:

Well, a tripod or pier, counterweights, and a polar scope if you believe in such things. Course these are "optional" with the APs...




Fortunately all Paramounts come with a very nice saddle plate (the so called Versaplate), a counterweight shaft and a pair of counterweights. But regardless of which Paramount you purchase, chances are you'll need (or want) at least one more counterweight.

Too bad Rob is no longer making his tripods. He was selling them for half the price of the Bisque tripod. The Bisque tripod is just plain overpriced. I think the 10" diameter Astro-Physics portable pier is a good deal. In the case of a Bisque mount, all it needs is a simple adapter plate that any reliable local machine shop can make for cheap.


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: bilgebay]
      #5668060 - 02/07/13 11:03 PM

No, Sedat, you didn't miss anything. It's 1K off the regular price. In my book, that's the best 90lb capacity mount deal at the moment when you consider its capability. And as mentioned already, get it all set up on your pier, load the software, plop your scope on it and it's good to go.

David


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Bob Abraham
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5668215 - 02/08/13 01:02 AM

Quote:



But I don't think that many people would do the types of programming projects that you have done. Regarding commercial astronomy applications I just haven't seen the *need* to have Mac O/S when there are so many application and hardware choices under Windows.

-Ray




Hi Ray,

Yeah, fair enough, the project I described does have unusual requirements, though at least in this particular case I'd argue the Mac seems the better choice for technical reasons, and my colleagues and students and I do these kinds of weird projects pretty often. And I guess that kind of drives me in the direction of the Paramount (speaking only for myself of course... everybody has different needs of course).

Probably at the end of the day I see this Mac/Linux vs. Windows thing coming from an environment where Windows machines are rare and go against the grain, so I'd need to see a pretty good reason for using Windows before rolling that way. Back before TheSkyX + T-point I think there was such a reason, but nowadays... not so much. In fact at this point about the only Windows software I really miss on the Mac is PEMPro... so if you ever decide to port it you'll have at least one customer! And if I was running Windows mainly I'd sure miss a lot more than one program (swarp, scamp, IRAF, etc etc).

Actually, given the prevailing trends, I suppose if I were a developer I'd think seriously about blowing off both Windows and MacOSX and consider writing new things for iOS or Android (only for apps that don't require heavy lifting of course... I don't see PCs going away anytime soon).

Regards,

Bob

P.S. I used Cygwin a number of years ago by the way and found it OK in a pinch but non-optimal... as you know some pretty basic things a Unix person uses all the time (e.g. fork()) just don't exist on Windows. At least at the time I found the way Cygwin handled this missing but important POSIX system stuff to be slow and kludgy... I remember pulling my hair out trying to compile IRAF for example. This was quite a while ago so maybe things are better now, but back then I figured if I was going to do stuff in Windows I probably ought to bite the bullet and learn to use the Windows APIs... never did though.

P.P.S. Explaining my thinking on this stuff has been very helpful as it's made me critically examine what mount is right for me. I guess after all this self-justification I'd better order that Paramount MX now while they're still on sale.

Edited by Bob Abraham (02/08/13 01:26 AM)


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CounterWeight
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #5668522 - 02/08/13 09:07 AM

Ray,
Quote:

Well, unless something has changed, you don't get a computer with a paramount mx, do you? So, literally I think that all you can do for $8K is slew with a joystick (correct me if I'm wrong at that?). The AP comes with a hand controller so you are ready to go. The hand controller itself is very expensive (about $1K) because it is ruggedized to withstand most impacts and temperature extremes that most laptops could not operate under.





Correct. No computer device supplied with the PMX - though I applaud their choice of USB interconx for that. And here I think is a good point as yes, what you get with an A-P is a very superior quality construction hand controller that has a decent object library and limited but useful utilities. My imaging /observing time in PNW extremely hobbled by cloudy nights since I bought mine, but the library is robust enough that I've only used the computer with either SkyTools3 or TheSky a few times total.

This in ways get to my comment about there is a difference in design concept. Most of us have laptops and most of those have a USB connect. Laptops aren't an expensive item and yet are not free either. But you do have a much larger screen and all the versatility that they bring to the party.

slightly OT lament->
I've also been a programmer since the appleII/trash80 days, built my first 'binary computer' from an edmunds kit in the 60's as a kid. So I'm one hails to before the personnel departments called folks hardware or software people. Push and pop, peek and poke... every bit mattered... and IMO still does though I think what folks refer to by programming these days in ways a far cry, and in cases where necc folks may try to figure out what the compiler is doing but few are capable. This as well as popping state analyzers onto chips to figure out what was really happening... remember those first 'mac's'? Pepsi Cola and locked architecture? Pascal, Modulo2, CPM, Fortran... 4D, Wingz, macNosey... oddities like SONBOL and LISP, RISC, and SCHNOC... Locked PGA's for the BMU and TSM? Anyway in the interval we've seen the kings new clothes many times over, though it seems so many don't know where we've been to get here.
end of slightly OT<-

I could digress into the interface / programming of devices, protocols, languages, intelligent and dumb controllers - but will just say that in this specific case / these two mounts the approach to control and manipulation is different enough to merit understanding.

Other than the greater rated imaging load capability for the PMX (and here I'd happily agree that A-P is 'conservative') and supplied items ofr PMX that are 'needed accesories' for the A-P - it is this issue of mount control that I am talking about. And here is where I think SB/PMX difference extraordinary. It's not like you have some little box that pops onto the screen, it's a fully fleshed environment that not only includes a great visual interactive planetarium program - it is integrated into the mount control / manipulation. I agree the A-P can be plugged into it, but would also require a computer.

So IMO that makes the difference noted by many. To have the capability of TheSky and it's plug ins either would require a laptop (I'm not a fan of small screens) and so that becomes a sort of common denominator.

If A-P wants the capability of the SB, then it needs SB, not the other way around. If a 'requirement' is the type of control that comes with the A-P, well then you buy an A-P. This is the 'out of box' product I'm trying to get at.

At times here I feel that to say something good about ASA or SB/Paramount is somehow interpreted as saying something bad about the A-P, or made to seem so by folks posts that follow on. In my case couldn't be farther from the truth. I own an A-P product and have nothing but great things to say about it, the support, the company.

I think it passes the reasonabless test to say these are different products from a systems engineering standpoint, and from that aspect the SB certainly IMO has a fantastic tooth to tail 'solution' for some folks, 'out of box' I am very impressed. For others it may be the requirements different and A-P can be entirely satisfactory once required accy's purchased. No better or worse IMO, but definately different animals within type.

Back to ideas relating to price, the SB/PMX at it's sale price (and OK, lets include a $500 laptop) I see a fantastic buy and well below the price for same system capabilty for the lower load rated A-P. If you already own a laptop, the $ difference even greater but that IMO a bit of hair splitting. IMO it's a case of more for your money if you need what it can do.

As always apology for all typos and length of the post here. I just want to be very clear that I am not saying anything bad about A-P 'system', while trying to say good things about the PMX 'system'.


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Ray Gralak
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5668636 - 02/08/13 10:06 AM

Quote:

Ray,
Quote:

Well, unless something has changed, you don't get a computer with a paramount mx, do you? So, literally I think that all you can do for $8K is slew with a joystick (correct me if I'm wrong at that?). The AP comes with a hand controller so you are ready to go. The hand controller itself is very expensive (about $1K) because it is ruggedized to withstand most impacts and temperature extremes that most laptops could not operate under.





Correct. No computer device supplied with the PMX - though I applaud their choice of USB interconx for that. And here I think is a good point as yes, what you get with an A-P is a very superior quality construction hand controller that has a decent object library and limited but useful utilities. My imaging /observing time in PNW extremely hobbled by cloudy nights since I bought mine, but the library is robust enough that I've only used the computer with either SkyTools3 or TheSky a few times total.

This in ways get to my comment about there is a difference in design concept. Most of us have laptops and most of those have a USB connect. Laptops aren't an expensive item and yet are not free either. But you do have a much larger screen and all the versatility that they bring to the party.

slightly OT lament->
I've also been a programmer since the appleII/trash80 days, built my first 'binary computer' from an edmunds kit in the 60's as a kid. So I'm one hails to before the personnel departments called folks hardware or software people. Push and pop, peek and poke... every bit mattered... and IMO still does though I think what folks refer to by programming these days in ways a far cry, and in cases where necc folks may try to figure out what the compiler is doing but few are capable. This as well as popping state analyzers onto chips to figure out what was really happening... remember those first 'mac's'? Pepsi Cola and locked architecture? Pascal, Modulo2, CPM, Fortran... 4D, Wingz, macNosey... oddities like SONBOL and LISP, RISC, and SCHNOC... Locked PGA's for the BMU and TSM? Anyway in the interval we've seen the kings new clothes many times over, though it seems so many don't know where we've been to get here.
end of slightly OT<-

I could digress into the interface / programming of devices, protocols, languages, intelligent and dumb controllers - but will just say that in this specific case / these two mounts the approach to control and manipulation is different enough to merit understanding.

Other than the greater rated imaging load capability for the PMX (and here I'd happily agree that A-P is 'conservative') and supplied items ofr PMX that are 'needed accesories' for the A-P - it is this issue of mount control that I am talking about. And here is where I think SB/PMX difference extraordinary. It's not like you have some little box that pops onto the screen, it's a fully fleshed environment that not only includes a great visual interactive planetarium program - it is integrated into the mount control / manipulation. I agree the A-P can be plugged into it, but would also require a computer.

So IMO that makes the difference noted by many. To have the capability of TheSky and it's plug ins either would require a laptop (I'm not a fan of small screens) and so that becomes a sort of common denominator.

If A-P wants the capability of the SB, then it needs SB, not the other way around. If a 'requirement' is the type of control that comes with the A-P, well then you buy an A-P. This is the 'out of box' product I'm trying to get at.

At times here I feel that to say something good about ASA or SB/Paramount is somehow interpreted as saying something bad about the A-P, or made to seem so by folks posts that follow on. In my case couldn't be farther from the truth. I own an A-P product and have nothing but great things to say about it, the support, the company.

I think it passes the reasonabless test to say these are different products from a systems engineering standpoint, and from that aspect the SB certainly IMO has a fantastic tooth to tail 'solution' for some folks, 'out of box' I am very impressed. For others it may be the requirements different and A-P can be entirely satisfactory once required accy's purchased. No better or worse IMO, but definately different animals within type.

Back to ideas relating to price, the SB/PMX at it's sale price (and OK, lets include a $500 laptop) I see a fantastic buy and well below the price for same system capabilty for the lower load rated A-P. If you already own a laptop, the $ difference even greater but that IMO a bit of hair splitting. IMO it's a case of more for your money if you need what it can do.

As always apology for all typos and length of the post here. I just want to be very clear that I am not saying anything bad about A-P 'system', while trying to say good things about the PMX 'system'.




My point was that the AP comes with a $1K handbox, explaining part of the difference. If AP decided to sell the mount without the hand controller the price would be about the same. Then if you want to include a $500 laptop then the user can load a free planetarium program (some are very nice) and the AP V2 ASCOM driver and Pulseguide. Between all of them the only thing missing is a pointing model, which the cheapest one would be MaxPoint for $150. So, the price is actually not that different. (And there are those who choose to image without a computer using just a DSLR camera).

As for USB, I think it is a worse option than a serial port. USB ports have proven to be way less robust than serial ports. IMO there's not much advantage using USB.

That said, you are comparing a rather new mount to a mount designed over 10 years ago and will likely no longer be produced. Have you considered that the price drop might be in anticipation of an AP900 replacement?

-Ray

Edited by Ray Gralak (02/08/13 10:15 AM)


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Ray Gralak
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #5668652 - 02/08/13 10:20 AM

Quote:

Quote:



But I don't think that many people would do the types of programming projects that you have done. Regarding commercial astronomy applications I just haven't seen the *need* to have Mac O/S when there are so many application and hardware choices under Windows.

-Ray




Hi Ray,

Yeah, fair enough, the project I described does have unusual requirements, though at least in this particular case I'd argue the Mac seems the better choice for technical reasons, and my colleagues and students and I do these kinds of weird projects pretty often. And I guess that kind of drives me in the direction of the Paramount (speaking only for myself of course... everybody has different needs of course).

Probably at the end of the day I see this Mac/Linux vs. Windows thing coming from an environment where Windows machines are rare and go against the grain, so I'd need to see a pretty good reason for using Windows before rolling that way. Back before TheSkyX + T-point I think there was such a reason, but nowadays... not so much. In fact at this point about the only Windows software I really miss on the Mac is PEMPro... so if you ever decide to port it you'll have at least one customer! And if I was running Windows mainly I'd sure miss a lot more than one program (swarp, scamp, IRAF, etc etc).

Actually, given the prevailing trends, I suppose if I were a developer I'd think seriously about blowing off both Windows and MacOSX and consider writing new things for iOS or Android (only for apps that don't require heavy lifting of course... I don't see PCs going away anytime soon).

Regards,

Bob

P.S. I used Cygwin a number of years ago by the way and found it OK in a pinch but non-optimal... as you know some pretty basic things a Unix person uses all the time (e.g. fork()) just don't exist on Windows. At least at the time I found the way Cygwin handled this missing but important POSIX system stuff to be slow and kludgy... I remember pulling my hair out trying to compile IRAF for example. This was quite a while ago so maybe things are better now, but back then I figured if I was going to do stuff in Windows I probably ought to bite the bullet and learn to use the Windows APIs... never did though.

P.P.S. Explaining my thinking on this stuff has been very helpful as it's made me critically examine what mount is right for me. I guess after all this self-justification I'd better order that Paramount MX now while they're still on sale.



Bob, as for using fork() that's why I sometimes run Linux Virtual Machines. VMWare has excellent device support on Windows for USB and other devices. It's great because I can simply copy the VM to another PC if I change out the PC. Good luck with your MX purchase. I'm sure it will be a fine mount.

-Ray


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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5668777 - 02/08/13 11:28 AM

I have never heard of using an AP mount without the handbox.. didn't even know that was possible...

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Ray Gralak
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5668899 - 02/08/13 12:23 PM

Quote:

I have never heard of using an AP mount without the handbox.. didn't even know that was possible...




It's not currently possible. I was just saying that if it was possible the mount's price might be less expensive.

-Ray


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CounterWeight
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5670571 - 02/09/13 11:38 AM

The A-P is already 'list price' less expesive because A-P does not include counterweights or an attachment plate. Not including the H/C would I'm sure affect the price but then the point that it works as such out of box sort of falls apart, an odd rabbit hole to go down. But that is not what this thread is about, though it seems to have been shoehorned in an odd way.

Ray, I guess my plea to you as a programmer missed. Am I correct you supply a product that is shipped by A-P with their mounts? I don't believe the same product is supplied out of box with the SB/PMX? You supply a product that ships with A-P mounts and you are here talking about what? Seems to me that A-P is also making at least some assumption that a computing platform might be availble? Where else would your software and the rest reside? It can't be put into the HC as far as I understand?

Am I mistaken and your product is somehow integrated into the SB suite? Then I could understand you're not violating vendor TOS here. I have flagged the mod's here and they don't respond, so I'm asking here.

How it's possible you could not compliment the efforts of SB in a systems software and integration and approach is baffling to me. And it is exactly here in the supplied software that SB has been and still is light years ahead of A-P which ships with your product. This is not to knock your part of the software A-P ships in their box at all.

The 'laptop' point you make, I have to ask then though it is not a requirement to use an A-P mount they do ship software that does need one, to run PulseGuide? (They do credit you by name on their site) What that software is capable of and what the SB suite is capable of are quite different and I give very high marks to what the SB folks have pioneered with their offering. The point about USB/serial I think moot as there is an industry using it and that is what the software resides on. Hardware vendors either get on the bus or you buy the dongle for whatever $ they are going for. That the SB software works very well with the A-P products is even more a reason to compliment them IMO.


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Bob Abraham
sage


Reged: 05/17/05

Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: MX discount... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5670673 - 02/09/13 12:44 PM

Hi Jim,

Obviously this kind of thing is up to the moderators, but in my opinion Ray has not been 'pushing' AP products in any way here. He's made some interesting points and thinking about these have helped me form my own opinions and ultimately helped clarify my thinking about whether or not to go for an MX (something I've been dithering over but which I now think I'm going to go ahead and do). My feeling is that it would be a shame to have his perspective moderated away.

Bob

Edited by Bob Abraham (02/09/13 12:50 PM)


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Paul G
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5670679 - 02/09/13 12:48 PM

Counterweight:

Why would you flag the moderators??????

And why would Ray need to compliment SB on their software integration? They're a software company, one would hope their own software works well with their own mounts.

Edited by Paul G (02/09/13 12:50 PM)


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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Paul G]
      #5670698 - 02/09/13 12:58 PM

IMHO: the SB software is great, etc. etc. But it is also necessary - SB would be in a heap of trouble if their software wasn't great, because their mount is completely struck dumb without it.

On the other hand, APCC may or may not be great in the same way. Does it try to provide functionality to AP mounts that has been in TSX for a long time? yes, certainly. In fact I would say that AP mounts would need APCC to get feature-parity with SB mounts.

But you don't need APCC. AP mounts work just fine without it. They don't have the fancy pointing model, etc. but they are functional. An SB mount is much less functional without its matching software suite.

I don't know if this is a canard or not.. but before I got my Mach1 I was looking at other 5k - 6k mounts and there was this Paramount GT1100s that kept popping up on the classifieds. For 5k at that. I must say I was sorely tempted, but at the end of the day the absolute requirement on a computer discouraged me. Of course the fact the SB mount was old and huge also were factors..


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Bob Abraham
sage


Reged: 05/17/05

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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5670872 - 02/09/13 02:48 PM

Hi Orlyandico,

I see where you're coming from. My Mach 1 is a fabulous mount, and I'm glad it has some type of hand controller with a database even if I am not wild about its lack of some simple modelling. But on the other hand the SB mounts do come with a pretty nice joystick (with multiple speeds etc) which one can use to slew around without a computer so I think saying it's "struck dumb" without software is perhaps a bit harsh. Plus it seems like an iOS version of TheSkyX is around the corner, at which point you won't need a PC or Mac just an iPhone which I always have with me anyway. I know that the iOS version of TheSkyX isn't out yet but APCC isn't either... and since I don't think either are vapourware its only sensible to factor their existence into purchasing decisions.

Right now I want a mount that is super well integrated with a top-class first-class Mac OS X software to handle advanced tracking (so an MX + T-point + ProTrack sounds good) and would also welcome remote homing, so I think I know what I'm going to buy. But it's hard to go wrong with either AP or Bisque mounts I think...

Bob

Quote:

IMHO: the SB software is great, etc. etc. But it is also necessary - SB would be in a heap of trouble if their software wasn't great, because their mount is completely struck dumb without it.

On the other hand, APCC may or may not be great in the same way. Does it try to provide functionality to AP mounts that has been in TSX for a long time? yes, certainly. In fact I would say that AP mounts would need APCC to get feature-parity with SB mounts.

But you don't need APCC. AP mounts work just fine without it. They don't have the fancy pointing model, etc. but they are functional. An SB mount is much less functional without its matching software suite.

I don't know if this is a canard or not.. but before I got my Mach1 I was looking at other 5k - 6k mounts and there was this Paramount GT1100s that kept popping up on the classifieds. For 5k at that. I must say I was sorely tempted, but at the end of the day the absolute requirement on a computer discouraged me. Of course the fact the SB mount was old and huge also were factors..




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Paul G
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #5670918 - 02/09/13 03:28 PM

Quote:

But on the other hand the SB mounts do come with a pretty nice joystick (with multiple speeds etc) which one can use to slew around without a computer so I think saying it's "struck dumb" without software is perhaps a bit harsh.




Maybe a bit, but a mount that won't track the moon or the sun without a computer... Given the sophistication of the mounts they produce and the software they write, I find it odd that the hand controller they produced is so rudimentary in function.


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Alph
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Bob Abraham]
      #5670919 - 02/09/13 03:29 PM

Quote:

But it's hard to go wrong with either AP or Bisque mounts I think...




It is very easy to go wrong with both manufacturers if your expectations are too high. Those mounts are very good however they both fall short of what $10,000 should get you.


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Bob Abraham
sage


Reged: 05/17/05

Loc: Toronto, ON, Canada
Re: MX discount... new [Re: Alph]
      #5670977 - 02/09/13 04:13 PM

Hi Paul: I agree it's a pretty rudimentary joystick on the Paramounts. It seems to be a "nice to have for occasional visual use and in a pinch" sort of thing. I suppose the iOS app is intended to take things to the next level... be interesting to see how well it works.

Hi Alph: Try pricing telescope hardware from places like DFM. Both AP and Bisque make really good stuff at a level of precision and reliability which one may or may not need, but if you need it I think they are not overpriced. An AP3600 run by my department and by the National Research Council operates outside during winters in the Arctic no problem, and the Paramount ME we've been operating in New Mexico has been totally flawless (which is more than can be said for the software I wrote to run it). In my opinion both mounts have offered very good value.

Edited by Bob Abraham (02/09/13 04:19 PM)


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Ray Gralak
Vendor (PEMPro)


Reged: 04/19/08

Re: MX discount... new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5671272 - 02/09/13 07:27 PM

Quote:

The A-P is already 'list price' less expesive because A-P does not include counterweights or an attachment plate. Not including the H/C would I'm sure affect the price but then the point that it works as such out of box sort of falls apart, an odd rabbit hole to go down. But that is not what this thread is about, though it seems to have been shoehorned in an odd way.

Ray, I guess my plea to you as a programmer missed. Am I correct you supply a product that is shipped by A-P with their mounts? I don't believe the same product is supplied out of box with the SB/PMX? You supply a product that ships with A-P mounts and you are here talking about what? Seems to me that A-P is also making at least some assumption that a computing platform might be availble? Where else would your software and the rest reside? It can't be put into the HC as far as I understand?

Am I mistaken and your product is somehow integrated into the SB suite? Then I could understand you're not violating vendor TOS here. I have flagged the mod's here and they don't respond, so I'm asking here.

How it's possible you could not compliment the efforts of SB in a systems software and integration and approach is baffling to me. And it is exactly here in the supplied software that SB has been and still is light years ahead of A-P which ships with your product. This is not to knock your part of the software A-P ships in their box at all.

The 'laptop' point you make, I have to ask then though it is not a requirement to use an A-P mount they do ship software that does need one, to run PulseGuide? (They do credit you by name on their site) What that software is capable of and what the SB suite is capable of are quite different and I give very high marks to what the SB folks have pioneered with their offering. The point about USB/serial I think moot as there is an industry using it and that is what the software resides on. Hardware vendors either get on the bus or you buy the dongle for whatever $ they are going for. That the SB software works very well with the A-P products is even more a reason to compliment them IMO.



Um.. where to start!!

1) I am not an employee of Astro-Physics and, besides, I was not trying to push AP products. I was just trying to bring up the reasons why pricing is the way it is. That said, in additional to my full-time day job I am an independent software consultant. I have developed software for Astro-Physics but I do *not* get royalties for that software so pushing AP mounts does not financially benefit me.
2) I'm not violating TOS. By previous agreement with the CN moderators I am allowed to talk about telescope hardware of any type.
3) PulseGuide and the AP V2 ASCOM driver are free products. Anyone can download for free from my web site. That AP credits me for them is simply an honor. I didn't ask them to do that.
4) That AP includes PC software with their mounts doesn't mean a user NEEDS to use them. My point was that the AP hand controller is essentially a simple computer that can be used for GOTO control without the need of a PC. The controller is ruggedized so it will operate in environments that an Iphone/ipad/PC/etc. probably would not be able to operate. That is valuable to many people.
5) None of the PC software included with AP mounts tries to be a planetarium program so it's not competition to TheSky (nor was it intended to be). There are plenty of good free and commercial planetarium programs, including TheSky.
6) Any mount (not just AP mounts) can benefit from most of the Bisque Software Suite, so I think it's just a matter of dollars and cents difference in price. That's why I said if you took away the $1K cost of the AP ruggedized hand controller you could buy a similar suite of software... and maybe even with more capabilities.
7) USB is not as good as serial in the case of mounts. The limit of 15 feet without active extensions is not very good! Serial cables can be run for hundreds of feet without need of any other equipment. I've been running the same 100ft cable serial connection from a PC to my remote outdoor telescope for over a dozen years and it is still functioning. The only problem with serial ports is that they are a dieing breed. Rather than USB I think a much better choice for a hard-wired telescope connection would be Ethernet.

-Ray


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Mike Wiles
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 02/04/09

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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Ray Gralak]
      #5671554 - 02/09/13 11:09 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I have never heard of using an AP mount without the handbox.. didn't even know that was possible...




It's not currently possible. I was just saying that if it was possible the mount's price might be less expensive.

-Ray




I have only plugged my hand controller into my AP900 once. Every single other time I've used it, I have connected it directly to the laptop. My hand controller hasn't been out of the box that it came in for 9 months at least.

  • I'll use a compass to roughly polar align in azimuth.
  • I'll use the first half of the daytime polar alignment procedure to get altitude close.
  • As soon as it's dark enough, I'll slew to a known star and plate solve. I'll sync the mount to that plate solve.
  • Next, I'll use PEMPro to polar align the mount and have the mount aligned within an arc minute well before astronomical twilight.
  • At this point, the mount has a slewing accuracy of about 1 arc minute anywhere in the sky without needing to create a pointing model.
  • Kick off CCDAutoPilot and go play with the 15" Obsession for the rest of the weekend.

I would argue that the hand controller is not at all necessary. It's nice to have though....and I think is perhaps the only shortcoming of the Paramount. But - as someone mentioned earlier, they're two very different products....equally good, but different.

To be fair - the only reason I chose an AP900 over the Paramount MX was availability. At the time, the AP900 was immediately available - the Paramount was a 4 month wait. If I had to do it over again, I'd choose the AP900 again without question. But let's face it - you can't go wrong with either mount.

Mike


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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Alph]
      #5671683 - 02/10/13 12:43 AM

It boggles my mind what you should expect for 10,000.

30 minute unguided at 3000mm?

I can't speak for the SB, but my Mach1 has exceeded my expectations in most ways compared to my previous mounts. The only areas where it has fallen short are

1) the one-star alignment model is... rudimentary

2) I crushed my finger between a clutch knob and the DEC motor (although this is mentioned in the manual)


Quote:

It is very easy to go wrong with both manufacturers if your expectations are too high. Those mounts are very good however they both fall short of what $10,000 should get you.




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WadeH237
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: Snohomish, WA
Re: MX discount... new [Re: Alph]
      #5672042 - 02/10/13 09:47 AM

Quote:

It is very easy to go wrong with both manufacturers if your expectations are too high. Those mounts are very good however they both fall short of what $10,000 should get you.




I don't understand this statement at all.

I see posts from people all the time with mounts in the under $2000 price range, where expectations may be out of line. I think that the typical buyer of a mount in the AP or Bisque price range does a bit more homework (or has a lot more experience) and has a pretty good understanding of what they are buying.

Regarding value, I have never spoken to an actual owner of an AP or Bisque mount that shared your opinion that they are not worth the price. In fact, I can't think of a time off the top of my head where I spoke with an owner who wasn't overtly happy with their AP or Bisque mount. Oddly, I cannot make the same statement for mounts in the under $2500 price range.

Regarding the actual topic of this thread, I think that the Paramount MX is a great mount, and at the sale price, it's a huge amount of value for the money.


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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: WadeH237]
      #5672214 - 02/10/13 11:49 AM

Quote:

Quote:

It is very easy to go wrong with both manufacturers if your expectations are too high. Those mounts are very good however they both fall short of what $10,000 should get you.




I don't understand this statement at all.






I think I can guess where Alph is coming from. Precision manufacturing has come a long way due to huge advances in CAD and CNC. Other than two sets of precision worm/gears, these mounts are very simple technologically (including the circuitry that drives them). Over the years, the SB/AP mount prices have not really reflected the ease of manufacturing possible with modern CAD/simulation software/hardware.


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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5672225 - 02/10/13 11:58 AM

If that is true, then why isn't Synta producing AP-class mounts today at the $1500 price range?

Heck why aren't they producing it at $3000?

For a while back there I thought iOptron was gonna challenge AP/Bisque with the iEQ75 and its built-in Renishaw encoder. But did that ever ship?

Not to mention Meade. They're not much lower than AP/SB.


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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5672242 - 02/10/13 12:08 PM

Maybe the precision just needs to have so much cost. But CAD/CNC/software is improving exponentially so it ought to be a lot easier to achieve precision today than 5yrs ago. Maybe not at Synta's price point, but there is huge gap there. I hear CGE-pro worms are much more precise now than when it came out. And there was no price increase.

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Hilmi
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5672331 - 02/10/13 12:57 PM

Fair point, but why lower the price if the market will accept it? It doesn't make any sense to lower the price.

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orlyandico
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5672374 - 02/10/13 01:33 PM

... until somebody comes along with something just as good at a lower price. I don't think the CGE Pro is quite there yet. Celestron's own numbers reflect this.

maybe the LX850 will have that effect, if it truly lives up to its promise. then again maybe not.

i guess the LX850 will be the acid test of whether more modern techniques can match the AP/SB engineering at a lower price.


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korborh
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Re: MX discount... new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5672457 - 02/10/13 02:25 PM

Quote:

Fair point, but why lower the price if the market will accept it? It doesn't make any sense to lower the price.




SB just did. It makes sense if more will buy at reduced cost. Good to see SB trying this.


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WadeH237
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Reged: 02/24/07

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Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5672689 - 02/10/13 04:53 PM

I think that there is more to the price than just the cost of machinine work.

I think that the biggest factor in price is probably the size of the market. The market is small enought that their is no way to get the economies of scale that you get with cars, lawn mowers, consumer electronics, etc. Both AP and Bisque are really small shops. You could exchange personal email with the respective owners of each company if you wanted to do so.

I don't think that materials have gone down in price. If anything, I think it's the opposite.

You are also paying for service. How many times have we heard people on these forums ask "Why doesn't this work out of the box?", "Why does it so hard to reach support?", "Why does it take months to get my mount fixed?", "Why did the save cost on this critical part?" etc. when talking about the most popular brands? Well, the answer is cost. With AP and Bisque, you never hear these questions.

And finally, and perhaps most telling, I don't see either AP or Bisque making their company owners fabulously wealthy.

Frankly, if the cost of an AP or Bisque mount reflects what it truly takes to provide the whole package that they offer, I hope they never go down in price. If I want a low cost mount (and sometimes I do), I will buy one.


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: MX discount... new [Re: WadeH237]
      #5672713 - 02/10/13 05:13 PM

Quote:

I think that there is more to the price than just the cost of machinine work.

I think that the biggest factor in price is probably the size of the market. The market is small enought that their is no way to get the economies of scale that you get with cars, lawn mowers, consumer electronics, etc. Both AP and Bisque are really small shops. You could exchange personal email with the respective owners of each company if you wanted to do so.

I don't think that materials have gone down in price. If anything, I think it's the opposite.

You are also paying for service. How many times have we heard people on these forums ask "Why doesn't this work out of the box?", "Why does it so hard to reach support?", "Why does it take months to get my mount fixed?", "Why did the save cost on this critical part?" etc. when talking about the most popular brands? Well, the answer is cost. With AP and Bisque, you never hear these questions.

And finally, and perhaps most telling, I don't see either AP or Bisque making their company owners fabulously wealthy.

Frankly, if the cost of an AP or Bisque mount reflects what it truly takes to provide the whole package that they offer, I hope they never go down in price. If I want a low cost mount (and sometimes I do), I will buy one.




Amen and amen!

David


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Matt Houston
member


Reged: 02/08/13

Loc: Florida
Re: MX discount... new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5672987 - 02/10/13 08:20 PM

Does anyone know how long the sale price will run for? I saw one website that said that the sale runs through March 15th. I'm planning to purchase the MX mount in early March. Thanks.

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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: MX discount... new [Re: Matt Houston]
      #5673196 - 02/10/13 10:21 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights, Matt! Give the gang at Astronomics a call. They'll know.

David


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RussD
member


Reged: 04/20/06

Loc: Minnesota
Re: MX discount... new [Re: korborh]
      #5673285 - 02/10/13 11:20 PM

Anyone remember when the first Paramount came out in 02? Didnt they offer it for something like 9K as an introductory price? I cannot recall the exact number but it did not last that long before it jumped to 11 or 12K. I am sure the new MX will not stay at 8 (or 9K) for long.

I was shopping for an AP900 at the time and I think I paid around 6K for it.

The AP900 was a financial stretch for me but I am glad I made the investment. I paid what it cost and so do a lot of people. While I have had problems from time to time the issues are not anything like what is typically discussed in forums for less expensive mounts where modification, "supercharging", and mechanical tweaking are the norm just to get to a performance level I would consider *BLEEP*.

Cmon people, we are sounding like a bunch of snobs arguing about the best temperature for our tea. I just vote with my wallet and let the cards fall where they may.

I visited AP recently and there were about 20 modest cars in the parking lot. It was a busy place typical any small manufacturing company. I suspect Bisque is similar. No one is getting rich. These companies have got a lot of overhead and investment in these products and they are both succeeding. We are very very lucky and I am glad to shell out my hard earned bucks to support both of them.

Russ


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BlueGrass
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/25/09

Loc: Wasatch Front, UT
Re: MX discount... new [Re: RussD]
      #5673364 - 02/11/13 12:25 AM

I suspect that the actual manufacturing, testing and support costs for these mounts are higher than most people think. They are not cast productions; all components are finely machined and assembled. Those that believe they're over-priced and would be glad to see a significant price drop or price war: Those cuts would come at the expense of support and quality. There are brand names in this crazy mixed up world that still mean something, that haven't sold out to find the cheapest manufacturing, aren't dedicated to flooding the market hoping to prosper just by quantity...

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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

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Re: MX discount... new [Re: BlueGrass]
      #5673436 - 02/11/13 02:14 AM

... which is pretty much what I meant when I said I don't consider them overpriced.

My AP is the first mount I've had that exceeded my expectations. Would I be happy if it was $4K? yes, but if the quality went down then I would be one unhappy camper.

I don't think AP or SB can get the price lower without sacrificing on something. And if you're sacrificing on something, there's the CGE Pro and G11 to pick up the slack

That said.. there are mounts "out there" which cost less and promise comparable performance. The Mesu 200 is one. 100kg capacity at less than the price of a Mach1. Also the Gemini G53f.

The ASA mounts cost more. The Tak mounts cost more (compare EM200 to Mach1, or EM400 to AP900). I am really convinced the price can't go any lower if you want that level of quality.

Yes the PMX is 8k now. I believe there also was a sale on the PME II, it actually is less than the list of the PME. I don't expect that pricing to last.


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psandelle
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: MX discount... new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5673670 - 02/11/13 09:24 AM

Yeah, when I used to own Ferrari's people would come up and say things like "But my Honda does the same thing," or "My Porsche's just as fast," or "Wow, they're so expensive!" I'd just smile and nod and know that I was buying something of superior quality that took time, effort and artistry to make. Also, anyone who complains about price on a Ferrari (or one of these top end mounts) can't afford one, so they shouldn't bother.

No one gets rich on these, but if you want that "extra" that makes it better than the rest, it's not a linear price hike. Same goes for top-end apo's or any other piece of equipment that's top of the line. Bang-for-buck? You have to figure that out for yourself, but the best costs and you have to decide if it's worth paying for (and that includes ASA's, etc.). You want to know what REALLY costs? Try pricing a custom mount that does all the things an AP or a SB mount does.

Paul


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RussD
member


Reged: 04/20/06

Loc: Minnesota
Re: MX discount... new [Re: psandelle]
      #5673708 - 02/11/13 09:49 AM

When you compare these products to other "luxury" items such as boats, snowmobiles etc. it is tempting to say that AP and Bisque products are overpriced. After all a GEM is a relatively simple machine and there is not a lot of materials there. But these folks are producing precision products in small numbers unlike the other to companies like the Yamaha, Polaris who have high volume and diversified operations.

Russ


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: MX discount... new [Re: RussD]
      #5673734 - 02/11/13 10:07 AM

What boats are you looking at that even an AP 3600 doesn't look hilariously cheap next to? The mounts are a one-and-done. A boat is proverbially the hole in the water to pour money into. How about Harleys? Astronomy is the cheapest midlife crisis you can get into.

The market is small and all, but what AP boils down to isn't some business guy trying to squeeze every dime out of astronomy; it's about making what Roland wanted for himself available to others. I've talked to him about this-this IS his retirement. All he's trying to do is cover expenses.

Try and buy a high end mount from the folks who really are trying to do it for profit, like Newport or Contraves. That should correct your interpretations on the cost of precision equipment.

-Rich


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psandelle
professor emeritus


Reged: 06/18/08

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: MX discount... new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5673768 - 02/11/13 10:21 AM

Yeah, but with a Contraves, you can track missiles as well. There's a certain sense of security in knowing you can grab some good Ha data AND nail an incoming North Korean ICBM as well.

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orlyandico
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*****

Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: MX discount... new [Re: psandelle]
      #5674005 - 02/11/13 12:46 PM

I think a better analogy is the Japanese observatory class mounts, like the big Taks (EM-3500) and the Goto's.

When you compare the price of an EM-3500 to the AP3600 with a similar capacity, the 3600 is hilariously cheap in comparison.


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RussD
member


Reged: 04/20/06

Loc: Minnesota
Re: MX discount... new [Re: Starhawk]
      #5674941 - 02/11/13 10:42 PM

Rich,
Ok maybe my analogy was not perfectly on. But where I am from (the land of 10,000 lakes) you can get a pretty nice fishing boat for the cost of an AP3600. So to the average joe a thing that tracks the stars is way over priced when you can get a fishing boat for the same amount. I can just hear it now..."You wanna try tracking something really tough, try going after a walleye....that sort of thing."

I think we are agreeing on this and you may have taken what I said in the opposite way I intended. We are all very very thankful that Roland runs his business the way he does. I now own three of his mounts and a telescope of his making. He could sell a whole lot fewer mounts for a whole lot more if he wanted to. So could Bisque. But they both are in it for us. And I am glad for that. The 3600 is the ONE product in recent memory that had a price so low that it shocked me. That is probably the biggest steal in astronomy right now.

Russ


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