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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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neptun2
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/04/07

Loc: Bulgaria
Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load
      #5767144 - 03/30/13 04:44 PM

Hello. I currently have skywatcher 120 ED refractor and heq5 pro mount and am happy with this combination. I plan in future upgrade to esprit 150 ED refractor which is around 15kg. With all accessories the system will probably reach 17.5 kg. I use off-axis guiding and DSLR for imaging and plan to use 5 to 10 minute exposures.

I have several options. The skywatcher EQ6 (Atlas) is the cheapest option. It is rated at 20kg load and maybe i will overload it. What do you think? Is it capable to handle such load?

Another option is the CGEM DX. With it's 50lbs (23kg) rating it looks like what i need (i will load it to around 75% of the rated capacity). I have no experience with celestron. Is the DX good choice for my purpose? My top budget is around the price of new cgem DX so losmandy G11 or other high end mounts are not option. If you have other suggestions please share them.


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: neptun2]
      #5767920 - 03/31/13 12:07 AM

I like the G11 myself. It's a proven performer and with Gemini II pretty much sorted out, it makes for a good mount. The CGEM DX isn't bad, either. I like its firmware better than GII because of its simplicity and its All Star Polar Alignment. Either way, I think you'd be just fine.

David


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neptun2
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/04/07

Loc: Bulgaria
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5767948 - 03/31/13 12:28 AM

Thank you for the feedback David. G11 is good mount without doubt but it is out of my price range. The options are EQ6 (Atlas) or CGEM DX. They are similar mounts mechanically. Atlas is usually rated at 45 lbs capacity while the cgem DX - at 50. My load will be around 40 lbs so that makes me lean towards the cgem DX. If i was sure that there will be no difference between the cgem dx and atlas i would go with the Atlas because it's price here in europe is almost half of the cgem DX.

One more thing to consider - the cgem DX is in fact cgem with improved tripod and elecronics. Have anybody compared the tripod of Atlas and cgem DX? Is the DX tripod so much more robust? If so maybe the DX is the better choice anyway.

Edited by neptun2 (03/31/13 12:29 AM)


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Phil Sherman
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/07/10

Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5767949 - 03/31/13 12:33 AM

I think the Atlas will handle your load but you'll have settling time issues. I'm running 14.5kg on my atlas and haven't had any issues.

The new Atlas AZEQ Pro has a slightly higher weight limit but might be just over your budget. Another consideration is that it's a brand new mount and there isn't much user experience available yet.

If you're looking at AP with the mount, don't forget to add in whatever mount control software you'll need. One great advantage is the Synta mounts (including the Atlas and Sirius) is the availability of EQASCOM (aka EQMOD). Combine this with CdC and PhD and you have a full set of mount control software that's all available as free downloads from the web.

Phil


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Hilmi
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: Phil Sherman]
      #5767960 - 03/31/13 12:39 AM

While I have not tried any of these mounts, I can recommend one thing from my personal experience.

Since these mounts are very similar to each other, get the cheapest of the bunch and use the difference in price to invest in a pier.

I just moved my G11 onto a pier 2 days ago and there is a marked improvement in performance in everything from GOTO accuracy all the way to tracking accuracy. And this is moving from a tripod known to be a solid performer.

I hope this tip is of use to you.


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neptun2
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/04/07

Loc: Bulgaria
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5767972 - 03/31/13 12:58 AM

Well the new Skywatcher AZEQ6 is also an option. In fact it is cheaper in europe than the CGEM DX. I checked the tripods and the one in cgem dx is definitely sturdier than the atlas (2.75" versus 2" legs and also much heavier). I think that the new azeq6 uses the same tripod as old atlas. I also do not see anywhere any mention that the azeq6 have higher capacity than the old eq6.

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andysea
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: Hilmi]
      #5768797 - 03/31/13 01:24 PM

Quote:

While I have not tried any of these mounts, I can recommend one thing from my personal experience.

Since these mounts are very similar to each other, get the cheapest of the bunch and use the difference in price to invest in a pier.

I just moved my G11 onto a pier 2 days ago and there is a marked improvement in performance in everything from GOTO accuracy all the way to tracking accuracy. And this is moving from a tripod known to be a solid performer.

I hope this tip is of use to you.




I think this is great advice. I owned an atlas and my main complaint about it was the tripod being not stable enough. I have never owned a celestron mount but I've read many posts from people complaining about motor cogging. Perhaps something worth researching before making a decision?


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neptun2
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/04/07

Loc: Bulgaria
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: andysea]
      #5769061 - 03/31/13 03:33 PM

Well in fact this looks like a good solution. I checked what options are available for the Atlas mount and here are 2 possibilities:

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p1213_Berlebach-tri...

http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p4191_Pier-with-thr...

The weight of the mount head , refractor with all accessories and counterweights will most probably be around 50 kg so do you think that these options will handle it? If so which will be better - the tripod or the pier?


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Startraffic
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.1748...
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: neptun2]
      #5769410 - 03/31/13 06:11 PM

Neptun2,
I have a G11 that I have run with that heavy a load with no real issues. Worth a serious look. You might find one in the S&S for less than your CGEM. The big advantage of the entire Losmandy line is that you can work on them yourself if they have a problem.

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898


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Raginar
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/19/10

Loc: Rapid CIty, SD
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: Startraffic]
      #5769531 - 03/31/13 07:24 PM

I agree with Startraffic. If you're into imaging, you don't want something with questionable mechanics.

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andysea
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: Raginar]
      #5769871 - 03/31/13 11:02 PM

That is true and that's why I own a Tak NJP and a Mach1. However I think the OP stated that the G11 was out of the price range budgeted. If one can stretch the budget I would definitely recommend a high end mount.

Neptun, regarding your question about weight and tripod options I really don't have an answer for you. When I had an atlas I never loaded it up to its limits. I only have experience with my Rob Miller and my Takahashi tripods.

Andy


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neptun2
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/04/07

Loc: Bulgaria
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: andysea]
      #5770198 - 04/01/13 06:39 AM

Thanks for the feedback guys. I am completely aware that G11 is much better regarding mechanics than the options that i mentioned. Unfortunately i live in eastern europe so getting second hand G11 here is not easy. Of course if i had around twice the budget i would definitely go with G11 , CGE Pro or other high end mount. My idea was to get the big APO first with relatively cheap mount which can handle it and later replace the mount with high end one. Maybe this is not possible and i should do the opposite - buy first high end mount and later add the heavier telescope. I will have to think again and see what to do.

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Hilmi
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/07/10

Loc: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: neptun2]
      #5770203 - 04/01/13 06:56 AM

I would say mount first then optics. In astrophotography, you will have more trouble with the mount than the optics. But if your budget wont permit it, then there is not much of a choice there and I wouldn't kill myself over it.

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neilson
professor emeritus


Reged: 08/22/10

Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: neptun2]
      #5770262 - 04/01/13 08:29 AM

Hi,
I have owned the CGEM DX and the tripod on it makes a big difference. I also owned the G11 G2 and If you buy a G11 expect to have to do a bit of tuning on it. And the Gemini2 requires you to build a model on the East and West sides every time you set up unless your permanently mounted.

I ended up buying a used CGE and its great for imaging. The Celestron Nexstar is easy to use and both my Celestron mounts gave me gotos that are centered with my 2350mm focal length ota every time.

The Celestron Cgem and Cgem Dx have the 8/3 error. I didn't notice it in mine. And its mostly reported in the regular Cgem's. I wondered if they hand picked better motor/gearbox's for the DX. Celestron claims to be working on a fix for it but it might end up being a new motor/gearbox like in their new VX mount. Or it might be a firmware update.

I have read alot of good things about the EQ6 and it doesn't have the 8/3 error problem. I really liked the CGEM DX but if I was chosing I would want an EQ6 Atlas mount with the CGEM DX tripod. I could never go back to a small tripod. I found the 2.75" diameter legs and added weight made a big difference when imaging especially when the wind starts up. It also increases the mounts max imaging load capability.

neilson


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terry59
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/18/11

Loc: Colorado, USA
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: neilson]
      #5770266 - 04/01/13 08:32 AM

Quote:

And the Gemini2 requires you to build a model on the East and West sides every time you set up unless your permanently mounted.





That is just wrong. If imaging on one side then a model on that side is all that is necessary.


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neptun2
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/04/07

Loc: Bulgaria
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: terry59]
      #5770466 - 04/01/13 10:35 AM

Well i have seen several other threads about this 8/3 error. What exactly it is? As i see it is error which appears once very 3 cycles of the work gear and so it is not possible to correct it with PEC. Ok but can it be easily autoguided? Does it create any real problem if you don't use PEC but only of-axis guiding?

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Stew57
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/03/09

Loc: Silsbee Texas
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: neptun2]
      #5770514 - 04/01/13 11:08 AM

My particular 8/3 error has a large 2nd derivative so does not guide well. Mine is also 75% of the worm PE. My mount is in the minority however and every mount is different. Many have no problems at all. For my application guiding is problematic so I was hoping that the PEC would work a little better. I will admit that my use falls in the 1% range.

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neptun2
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/04/07

Loc: Bulgaria
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: Stew57]
      #5770521 - 04/01/13 11:14 AM

Well in this case that is something that needs to be considered. Thanks for sharing that information.

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orion69
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/09/10

Loc: Croatia
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: neptun2]
      #5770647 - 04/01/13 11:56 AM

Quote:

I plan in future upgrade to esprit 150 ED refractor which is around 15kg. With all accessories the system will probably reach 17.5 kg.

The skywatcher EQ6 (Atlas) ...
Another option is the CGEM DX...
losmandy G11...




Well, I'm in similar situation, soon buying new astrograph, probably 150mm refractor. I own CGEM and since I never imaged with 6" refractor, please accept this as my subjective opinion.

I think that neither of mounts you mentioned would be good for imaging with 17.5 kg refractor. Maybe G11 but I very much doubt it. It's just too close to mount weight limit. For AP on these low end mounts imaging equipment should be around half or little above half of weight limit.

I would go with CGE Pro or better... IMHO


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neptun2
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 03/04/07

Loc: Bulgaria
Re: Mount for astrophotography and around 18kg load new [Re: orion69]
      #5770793 - 04/01/13 01:08 PM

Well i have experience with my HEQ5. I have loaded it with anything from 7 to 12kg. It is rated for 14kg. Well up to around 75% of the rated load it works good for exposures up to 10 minutes with off-axis guiding and foca length 1000mm. That is why i thought that some of these relatively low end mounts can maybe hold the big refractor despite being on the edge of the useful load capacity. Well maybe i will really go for high end mount first and then buy the refractor later.

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