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Jjones
member


Reged: 04/20/11

Loc: Stillwater, MN
Better than Argo Navis?
      #5734599 - 03/15/13 06:01 PM

I'm considering an Obsession 12.5". Is there a less expensive alternative of digital setting circles than the Argo Navis?

Thanks!


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Fred1
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/19/07

Loc: Somewhere in the Orion Spur
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: Jjones]
      #5734700 - 03/15/13 06:59 PM

Sky Commander.

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wavelandscott
super member


Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Ridgefield, Connecticut, USA
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: Fred1]
      #5734917 - 03/15/13 08:38 PM

There maybe some less expensive alternatives but it is hard to beat the Argo Navis for overall usability and performance it revolutionized my viewing.

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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: Fred1]
      #5736590 - 03/16/13 04:26 PM

Quote:

Sky Commander.




I recommend doing some serious comparisons between Argo Navis and Sky Commander. There are some strong opinions for both products.


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MDB
super member


Reged: 06/06/12

Loc: Idaho
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: GeneT]
      #5736677 - 03/16/13 05:17 PM

Hello Jjones,

I noticed that you are from MN so I am assuming you may be doing some cold weather viewing, if so you may want to check on Sky Commanders cold weather capabilities. Argo Navis has a heated LCD screen and with DC power it worked very well for me this winter at -10F. Without heat the LCD would disappear in about 30 minutes at 25 or 30F. I am not familiar with Sky Commanders cold weather capabilities. Just something to consider.

Mike


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BKBrown
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: Northern Virginia, USA
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: MDB]
      #5736722 - 03/16/13 05:42 PM

Sky Commander has a heating element for the LCD that works off of adapter power, not the 9v battery. The manufacturer says in the manual that "external power must be used in cold weather, 10 degrees C and below". I believe them...

Clear Skies,
Brian


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Ed Wiley
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Kansas, USA
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: BKBrown]
      #5737399 - 03/16/13 09:36 PM

I may be telling you something you already know, if so, sorry. DSCs are basically encoders that reads the movement of the scope. The computer read the encoders. Either Sky Commander or Argo Navis can read the DSC encoders. I use Sky Commander on my 12.5" Obsession and used the same unit on my DSC equipped Losmandy G11 before I retrofitted Gemini II. You should do some price comparisons. How much would you save if you installed your own encoders and bought a SC?? What is the difference between a SC and a AN if you have Obsession install the encoders and you buy the computer? Is it worth saving a couple of hundred bucks given that lots of folks like the AN unit and you get to ask Dave questions? (I say this because I was observing next to a newbie with a 12.5" and the AN unit at a star party and Dave took the time to show him the basics of his AN unit.)

Soooo-- if you are handy you can buy an encoder kit and a computer from Sky Commander, install the encoders and you are in business. Or-- you can let Dave the whole thing for more $$. Or -- you can have Obsession install the encoders and buy the computer of your choice. I'm not handy but was lucky to get my 12.5" used with encoders factory installed.

Good luck with your choice.

Ed


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paul hart
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/01/04

Loc: Lawn Guyland, New Yawk, Earth
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: Ed Wiley]
      #5737433 - 03/16/13 09:53 PM

I've never used Argo Navis, but I do use Sky Commander on my 14". I'm quite happy with it. I use an external 12 volt battery to enable the LCD display heater to work.

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tezster
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/14/09

Loc: Missisauga, Canada
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: paul hart]
      #5737523 - 03/16/13 10:47 PM

DSCs connected to a tablet/laptop running a star atlas software like SkySafari would be much more user friendly and capable than the DSC alone, IMO. Using wireless devices that can connect to encoders directly (without a DSC) also work.

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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: Jjones]
      #5737607 - 03/16/13 11:15 PM

We've had two dud Argo Navis computers in our club. In neither case did the manufacturer provide good support. In one instance the manufacturer even accused my clubmate (I was the original owner and he bought it for me) of using the computer with a Servo Cat. None of us has a Servo Cat, and besides, where does it say that Argo Navis can't be used with Servo Cat? My sense is that they have had plenty of failed units and look for excuses to get out of having to fund repairs. I've also heard that they no longer outsource manufacture of the electronics, though I don't know for a fact whether this is true. I'd never buy another AN as a result, and counsel my club mates and others against them. Sky Commander's are bullet proof. Heck, even Intelliscope is more reliable than AN in my experience. You can get an entire Intelliscope equipped scope for less than an AN. The quality is not up to the price. Great features. Nice design. Shoddy execution.



- Jim


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
*****

Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: MDB]
      #5737611 - 03/16/13 11:16 PM

Sky Commander has internal heat and a thermostat, too. It'll eat a 9V quickly though, so for cold viewing an external larger battery is a better option, though I use 9V Lithium batteries in mine in cold and have had good luck.

Regards,

Jim

Edited by jrbarnett (03/16/13 11:18 PM)


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wavelandscott
super member


Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Ridgefield, Connecticut, USA
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5738410 - 03/17/13 11:13 AM

Quote:

We've had two dud Argo Navis computers in our club. In neither case did the manufacturer provide good support. In one instance the manufacturer even accused my clubmate (I was the original owner and he bought it for me) of using the computer with a Servo Cat. None of us has a Servo Cat, and besides, where does it say that Argo Navis can't be used with Servo Cat? My sense is that they have had plenty of failed units and look for excuses to get out of having to fund repairs. I've also heard that they no longer outsource manufacture of the electronics, though I don't know for a fact whether this is true. I'd never buy another AN as a result, and counsel my club mates and others against them. Sky Commander's are bullet proof. Heck, even Intelliscope is more reliable than AN in my experience. You can get an entire Intelliscope equipped scope for less than an AN. The quality is not up to the price. Great features. Nice design. Shoddy execution.



- Jim




I am sorry to hear of the problems that you have had with AN...I am quite surprised by your experience as it does not match the experience of others that I am familiar with. I had the opportunity to live in Australia for a number of years and came to know the owners of Wildcard Innovations (the manufacturer of AN) and found them exceptionally responsive and helpful to the Astro community...go figure?!?


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Fred1
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/19/07

Loc: Somewhere in the Orion Spur
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: wavelandscott]
      #5738534 - 03/17/13 12:41 PM

Quote:

Quote:

We've had two dud Argo Navis computers in our club. In neither case did the manufacturer provide good support. In one instance the manufacturer even accused my clubmate (I was the original owner and he bought it for me) of using the computer with a Servo Cat. None of us has a Servo Cat, and besides, where does it say that Argo Navis can't be used with Servo Cat? My sense is that they have had plenty of failed units and look for excuses to get out of having to fund repairs. I've also heard that they no longer outsource manufacture of the electronics, though I don't know for a fact whether this is true. I'd never buy another AN as a result, and counsel my club mates and others against them. Sky Commander's are bullet proof. Heck, even Intelliscope is more reliable than AN in my experience. You can get an entire Intelliscope equipped scope for less than an AN. The quality is not up to the price. Great features. Nice design. Shoddy execution.



- Jim




I am sorry to hear of the problems that you have had with AN...I am quite surprised by your experience as it does not match the experience of others that I am familiar with. I had the opportunity to live in Australia for a number of years and came to know the owners of Wildcard Innovations (the manufacturer of AN) and found them exceptionally responsive and helpful to the Astro community...go figure?!?




Likewise. The one problem I had with my Argo (the dial stopped working) was quickly remedied by Gary Kopf although it had to be shipped to Australia to fix, it was done so under warranty and returned very promptly. It's been working flawlessly ever since. Any questions on operating it are also quickly responded to on the Argo Yahoo Group, often by Gary Kopf himself, likewise with emails sent to him directly. There are several other Argo users in my club and I can attest that their experiences have been similar.

The OP asked for a less expensive alternative, which is the only reason why earlier I provided the link for the Sky Commander which is another good reliable unit with a different feature set.


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JMW
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 02/11/07

Loc: Nevada
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: Fred1]
      #5741791 - 03/18/13 09:21 PM

I have both. The Sky Commander is a little simpler interface and needs external battery supply to work well with the 8-10K encoders. I use a 3 amp hour 12 volt gel battery for both to help with the run time in cold weather so it doesn't matter that much to me. Argo Navis supports a more complex pointing model if you take the time to read the manual. I like the interface a bit better when wearing gloves on the Argo Navis.

I have been using both with Sky Safari. Argo Navis has a 'From Planetarium' mode so the selected object in Sky Safari is used to set the alt/az arrow pointers. You could also just use a Nexus and Sky Safari and skip the DSC altogether.


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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: JMW]
      #5742064 - 03/18/13 11:47 PM

why not just use any tablet or smartphone at this point with a Nexus or a Bluetooth DSC? There are tons of DSC capable apps and the quality of information is just really hard to beat.. these older Sky commander and Argo Navis computers just don't hold a candle to using say Sky Safari or DeepSky Browser..

I use a Nexus with an iPad mini with DeepSkyBrowser from the Nexus guys and Sky Safrai Pro...



this unit has so many capabilites, it even charges my iPad while connected... mind you i use a 5amp power supply but there's nothing like handing my kids the iPad, have them say "Dad, let's look at M57!", then have them push to and find it! then read all about it and be excited!! You can't get that with the others.. you also have access to all the info on the objects you could possibly ask for and hec, the iPad has a SIM card so, GPS,altitude, etc are all in the palm of your hands... you can even get the forecast and answer a couple of emails while your at it

all joking aside, my point is, why spend the 4 to 8 hundred plus plus dollars on older tech.. my rig cost me 220 for the nexus, 100 for the encoders and 450 for the iPad... about what you would spend for an Argo Navis or full blown Sky Commander setup...

I don;t mean to knock em, but i am a programmer and have been in IT for over 20 years and my take on this is, get with the times.


just myho
clear skies..


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rcdk
super member


Reged: 11/13/10

Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: JoeM101]
      #5742082 - 03/19/13 12:04 AM

Finding is great, but tracking is pretty awesome too. Nothing like sitting down, staring at an object that is staying dead center in the eyepiece to really bring out detail.

Finding lets you see more objects, tracking lets you see more in the objects.

+1 for Sky Safari.


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Rocketlawnchair
member


Reged: 06/17/11

Loc: Toronto, ON
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: Fred1]
      #5742142 - 03/19/13 01:05 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

We've had two dud Argo Navis computers in our club. In neither case did the manufacturer provide good support. In one instance the manufacturer even accused my clubmate (I was the original owner and he bought it for me) of using the computer with a Servo Cat. None of us has a Servo Cat, and besides, where does it say that Argo Navis can't be used with Servo Cat? My sense is that they have had plenty of failed units and look for excuses to get out of having to fund repairs. I've also heard that they no longer outsource manufacture of the electronics, though I don't know for a fact whether this is true. I'd never buy another AN as a result, and counsel my club mates and others against them. Sky Commander's are bullet proof. Heck, even Intelliscope is more reliable than AN in my experience. You can get an entire Intelliscope equipped scope for less than an AN. The quality is not up to the price. Great features. Nice design. Shoddy execution.



- Jim




I am sorry to hear of the problems that you have had with AN...I am quite surprised by your experience as it does not match the experience of others that I am familiar with. I had the opportunity to live in Australia for a number of years and came to know the owners of Wildcard Innovations (the manufacturer of AN) and found them exceptionally responsive and helpful to the Astro community...go figure?!?




Likewise. The one problem I had with my Argo (the dial stopped working) was quickly remedied by Gary Kopf although it had to be shipped to Australia to fix, it was done so under warranty and returned very promptly. It's been working flawlessly ever since. Any questions on operating it are also quickly responded to on the Argo Yahoo Group, often by Gary Kopf himself, likewise with emails sent to him directly. There are several other Argo users in my club and I can attest that their experiences have been similar.

The OP asked for a less expensive alternative, which is the only reason why earlier I provided the link for the Sky Commander which is another good reliable unit with a different feature set.






I've sent many emails to Gary at Wildcard, both before and after purchasing my Argo Navis, and I always get a quick and very detailed response. I would rate Gary as one of the best at offering support for his product. I've also met several others who own an Argo Navis and have never heard a bad word from anybody. Shoddy execution? First I've heard of this.

I've never used a Sky Commander, but I am very happy with my AN and would recommend it to anyone.

Edited by Rocketlawnchair (03/19/13 01:21 AM)


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Chucky
sage
*****

Reged: 04/16/10

Loc: Dublin, Ohio
Re: Better than Argo Navis? new [Re: Rocketlawnchair]
      #5742357 - 03/19/13 07:13 AM

<< these older Sky commander and Argo Navis computers just don't hold a candle to using say Sky Safari or DeepSky Browser.. >>

But for me.....and I'm sure many, many others, sometimes I want to go with the 'low tech' approach.....sans ipad, SF.....especially when it's cold and I'm tired. Having a bullet proof and easy to use Sky Commander is nice at times and offers another option for me. But I do enjoy my Mini with Sky Safari. Yes, technology is changing quickly. I'm sure the folks at Argo Navis are concerned. Sky Commander too, but probably less so. As the saying goes 'Innovate or die'.


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Dick Jacobson
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/22/06

Loc: Plymouth, Minnesota, USA
Re: Better than Argo Navis? [Re: Jjones]
      #5742456 - 03/19/13 08:58 AM

My pet peeve with both Argo Navis and Sky Commander is that they don't have a 10-key pad like the systems used by Celestron, Meade, and Orion. To me, the menu-based system (turn the dial, hit enter, turn the dial again to find a digit, hit enter, turn the dial again to find another digit, hit enter, etc, etc) is slow and clumsy.

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JoeM101
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 04/09/12

Loc: 45.66086, -73.54702
Re: Better than Argo Navis? [Re: Dick Jacobson]
      #5742517 - 03/19/13 09:51 AM

When I want tot go low-tech, I use my iPhone connects via wifi to Nexus and I'm ready to go

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