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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Pak
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Reged: 09/15/12

Loc: The Great Arc
Mach1GTO and largest SCT for astrophotography
      #5734327 - 03/15/13 03:23 PM

I've had a 14" SCT in the past and a very heavy mount. The results were mixed.

As I am getting older I am starting to recognize the benefit of scaling down.

As of this moment I am leaning heavily towards the Mach1GTO for its internal cable routing, light weight to capacity ratio and it low out of the box PE. Maybe there is another choice in its weight class but other than some European brands that I am not that familiar with like the DDM60-Pro, I don't really know what else to consider. The Paramount MX *sale price* was considered as well but while it is a great system it is just too heavy for hat I want to deal with. So I am back considering the Mach1GTO. So if I decide to go with the GT0, what is the largest weight I should put on it for astrophotography? I was thinking about the EdgeHD 11" and either shooting with a hyperstar (no guiding), using the .7 reducer for it and my CCD camera and using the cameras built in OAG(no piggybacked guide scope) and sometimes shooting at its native F/11 using the same configuration. Seems to me 28lb ota and maybe a 6-10 pounds of camera equipment should be fine on the M1GTO.

I would like to hear from anyone running a similar set up for photography. I am going to be using The Sky X Pro for pointing and imaging. I see that the drivers for this mount are included already so I don't anticipate there being an issue.


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Mach1GTO and largest SCT for astrophotography new [Re: Pak]
      #5734374 - 03/15/13 03:44 PM

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5066592/Main...

C11 should be OK at native FL. C14 visual.

and from Roland

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto/message/16343


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Jared
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Reged: 10/11/05

Loc: Piedmont, California, U.S.
Re: Mach1GTO and largest SCT for astrophotography new [Re: Pak]
      #5734378 - 03/15/13 03:46 PM

I have used my Mach1 very successfully with 50 pounds of imaging gear (10" Ritchey, associated dovetails, heavy camera, guide scope). The mount was also quite comfortable with 45 pounds of refractor and camera (longer moment arm). I felt like I was near the limits of what would be "comfortable" for a Mach1 in both cases. My Mach1 rides on an Eagle portable pier--highly recommended if your budget will allow.

28 pound OTA with accessories should be no sweat. I'd say the 11" SCT would be no problem at all. I don't think I'd recommend the 14". You'd be pushing 55 pounds or so with camera and reducer, and the extra focal length would make this even more challenging. It would probably carry it, but I could see a slight falloff in guiding accuracy when I jumped from the refractor to the RC, so I think 50 pounds or so is really the comfortable limit for this mount with a short optical tube. 11" Edge--no problem.


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orlyandico
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Mach1GTO and largest SCT for astrophotography new [Re: Jared]
      #5734386 - 03/15/13 03:50 PM

Agreed. You need a good tripod. I'm using an old cheap $75 Celestron Ultima tripod on mine and the whole contraption is at the edge of comfort with my C9.25 - but it's the tripod, not the mount.

Too bad Rob Miller isn't making any of his gorgeous tripods right now. The Eagle Pier is too expensive in my opinion. If you could find a Meade Heavy Duty Tripod or the Losmandy FHD, those would work too albeit quite heavy.

The Rob Miller Tri36L is really the best bet at under $1000 (under $700 if you don't get the levelers), 200lb capacity, and 9lb weight. Except they are unobtainium right now.


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Pak
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Reged: 09/15/12

Loc: The Great Arc
Re: Mach1GTO and largest SCT for astrophotography new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5734403 - 03/15/13 03:57 PM

Ok this is very good information to have. Maybe I'll get lucky in the used market. I am really trying to cut down on all the weight and make it more portable. I want to be able to throw it all in the back of my SUV along with a tent and misc. other pieces of equipment and be on the road fast. I would also very much like to not have to fold my seats down and actually let my family come along once in a while.

The lightest weight tripod I can get away with would be best . I can always strap it on the roof rack.

I think you've really helped me make up my mind.

How is the hand controller for visual? I am very much used to the latest Celestron hand controllers and the latest Meade Autostar II controllers. They seem full featured and easy to use in their own way. I have no experience with the AP hand controllers. I've never even seen one in person. Will I be missing out on anything?


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Peter in Reno
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Reged: 07/15/08

Loc: Reno, NV
Re: Mach1GTO and largest SCT for astrophotography new [Re: Pak]
      #5734422 - 03/15/13 04:10 PM

A-P hand controller is quite different than Celestron's and I've used both of them. I find A-P hand controller very nice and pretty easy to use. I like A-P menu structure. I find both hand controllers equally easy to use.

The only thing you might miss is pointing model. A-P hand controller does not have pointing model like Celestron has. I wouldn't worry about it because it's pretty easy to polar align A-P mounts and there are several methods. Once well polar aligned, you shouldn't have issues finding objects.

Peter

Edited by Peter in Reno (03/15/13 04:16 PM)


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orlyandico
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Re: Mach1GTO and largest SCT for astrophotography new [Re: Peter in Reno]
      #5734457 - 03/15/13 04:31 PM

The AP handset is different from Celestron but equally easy to use. It's a much more rugged item and feels much nicer. The issue is that the pointing model uses a single star, so GoTo pointing accuracy is not going to be as accurate as a Celestron particularly if your polar alignment is off.

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