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Equipment Discussions >> Mounts

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Tuugii
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Mount for 16" OTA
      #6001033 - 08/01/13 06:02 AM Attachment (54 downloads)

Hello all,

I apologize for posting about the same thing again (but after a year). Maybe few of you might recognize me, but if you don't, basically I am trying to fix one classical 16" meade sct ota in my home country - Mongolia.

A brief history of the telescope is following: it was installed at the local observatory by the Spacewatch program in late 2001. Spacewatch program is a project based in Arizona for surveying asteroids and near earth objects, and basically by installing this telescope in central asia it was expanding it's network. The telescope had worked for 4 years without much trouble, until when the smart drive had failed after a lightning stroke about 100m away, effectively handicapping the telescope. Since this incident it has been sitting in the dome doing nothing, now for almost a decade. It was the only fully functional nighttime telescope in the whole country, and because of this incident the observational part of the astronomy research had stopped completely.

So basically I want to bring this telescope and astronomical research in my home country back to life by fixing the mount.

Last year I had a fruitful discussion on this forum and I decided to purchase AP1200 mount and ship it to Mongolia. I wrote a proposal to IAU, but they said the total price was too much and that I need to reduce it to about $9,000. From this amount I should subtract counterweights, and other accessories and also the shipping cost. So really I have about $7,000 bucks to buy a mount that can comfortably handle 16"OTA + autoguiding setup + main CCD weight.

Do you guys think this is feasible? are there any mounts of comparable price that you use for a similar heavy setup?

I will really appreciate your input,
Tuugii


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001037 - 08/01/13 06:06 AM

What is the weight? If its under 70lb a Paramount MX might do...

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Tuugii
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001040 - 08/01/13 06:07 AM

Do you guys think the new CGE Pro can handle it? also by stretching the price a bit Paramount MX might be within the reach.

Both of these mounts are listed to handle no more than 90lb. But this number doesn't seem to include the counterweight. How does one calculate how much counterweight you need with the EQ mount?

thanks,
Tuugii


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001053 - 08/01/13 06:24 AM

This question already popped up. I seriously doubt the CGE Pro can handle it. Probably not the PMX either. The total weight of the Meade 16" is 140 lb. Even the AP1200 might be marginal.

I assume you have to buy new for grant purposes. In that case you have no options. A used Paramount ME would fit the budget and could carry the load.

Alternatively why not enlist someone from your local Electrical Engineering department to integrate a SiTech system with the existing fork mount? Cost under $2000 all in.

Alternatively Ed Thomas is selling a Morning Calm 500GE for $5500. It can carry the load. The only problem is the company making it has stopped mount production forever....


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6001061 - 08/01/13 06:31 AM

Or the Mesu 200.

Its made in the Netherlands so would be cheaper to ship to Mongolia. And you can take off the VAT of 19% since it is sold outside EU.

100kg capacity. Also uses SiTech for control. About 6000 euro I think.


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Tuugii
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6001092 - 08/01/13 07:32 AM

orlyandico,

the 16" ota alone weights about 70-80lb or so. 140lb must have included the fork. The 14" ota weight about 54lb.

SiTech sounds very interesting. It is probably doable but I doubt there would be somebody who will be able to figure out everything. Mongolia is a small country (by population), and is far from everything literally in the middle of nowhere. So if problems pop up we might get into deep s*it. But I will definitely take a closer look at it.

Just found out about Losmandy HGM Titan. New one costs less than 6k, but says can handle 100lb. Again not sure if this number includes the counterweights...


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Tuugii
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: orlyandico]
      #6001101 - 08/01/13 07:42 AM

Quote:

Or the Mesu 200.

Its made in the Netherlands so would be cheaper to ship to Mongolia. And you can take off the VAT of 19% since it is sold outside EU.

100kg capacity. Also uses SiTech for control. About 6000 euro I think.




very interesting. Unfortunately ground shipping from Europe is actually much more than from U.S. I will email them in any case.


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shawnhar
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001117 - 08/01/13 08:04 AM

Quote:

orlyandico,

the 16" ota alone weights about 70-80lb or so. 140lb must have included the fork. The 14" ota weight about 54lb.

SiTech sounds very interesting. It is probably doable but I doubt there would be somebody who will be able to figure out everything. Mongolia is a small country (by population), and is far from everything literally in the middle of nowhere. So if problems pop up we might get into deep s*it. But I will definitely take a closer look at it.

Just found out about Losmandy HGM Titan. New one costs less than 6k, but says can handle 100lb. Again not sure if this number includes the counterweights...



The stated mount capacity never includes the weight of the counterweights as far as I know.


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Tuugii
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: shawnhar]
      #6001136 - 08/01/13 08:29 AM

how one calculates the amount of counterweight needed for GEM?

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Tuugii
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001140 - 08/01/13 08:35 AM

looked back into my old email correspondence with one guy from Astro-Physics. He had suggested 4x18lb counterweight since the 16" OTA weight is 68lb.

Damn, so these 'nicely' priced 100lb capacity mounts won't be able to handle the job...

Edited by Tuugii (08/01/13 08:37 AM)


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Tuugii
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001141 - 08/01/13 08:39 AM

so far looks like the mesu 200 is the only option...

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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001150 - 08/01/13 08:48 AM

Folks have been known to retrofit those mounts with SiTech controllers.

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shawnhar
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Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001152 - 08/01/13 08:49 AM

What about repairing the drive?
I would think it might be possible to repair the internal issue with the mount as the least expensive option. Has anyone with electrical skills looked for bad capacitors, etc...?
(Sorry you may have addressed this in previous thread)


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Startraffic
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 02/12/06

Loc: Lat. 39.143345, Long. -77.1748...
Re: Mount for 16" OTA new [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001181 - 08/01/13 09:14 AM

Tuugii,
I have a Losmandy HGM-200, the older brother of the Titan. I can say for a fact that it will easily handle 54lbs of OTA. I've hung a Vixen 8" f4 R200SS, Celestron C6R (152mm f8), Coronado 60mm PST, and a 90mm f4 IOptron simultaneously, with the IOptron piggybacked on the Vixen as a guidescope, and 4 cameras (1-Orion GS, 1-Meade DSI, 1-Imaging Source, and a SBig ST-7 on the Vixen). Total equipment load was ~80Lbs (~175kg) Gemini-2 was able to Goto and put the star on the GS chip every time & track at <.5 arcseconds for 20 minutes unguided, all night guided.
The Titan is a newer, sleeker, cone style design but with the same specs as the HGM-200. The claim of 100Lbs is no joke, balanced correctly, it'll carry that with no problems.
A couple of notes about Losmandy mounts. I've had 3 now, 2 G-11s, & the HGM. All have been brutes designed for the serious amateur astronomer with solid AP ability, but ease of maintenance You'll need two good sets of allen wrenches, metric & US standard, a good set of feeler gauges, and a strong back. (These are NOT ETX's, they are milled, anodized aluminum. The G11 weighs 36Lbs & the Titan 75Lbs, it does break down into 2 "manageable" ~35lb pieces.) They are not perfect tracking out of the box, they are OK at tracking, but will need to be "tweaked" to be perfect, (drive train alignnment) and are fussy about balance. They "like" a bit of "eastward" bias to keep the worm engaged to the worm wheel. There are a couple of mods for the G11 that are simple, cheap, and just plain work. My HGM hasn't needed anything but Cleaned, Lubed, and Polar aligned. I do an annual clean & lube on the G11 when I notice any lagging or that my stars are becoming elongated. The HGM hasn't needed to be relubed but I suspect it will next year.
Once they are polar aligned, a couple of hours spent drift aligning, (since you're on a pier) will be well spent. Once that is done you're good to go for teaching the Gemini where it is and where it's pointing. Gemini saves its' PEC locally & is loaded after a cold reboot is done. If the mount has been physically moved then the pointing model will need to be redone if not then it can be reloaded and synced to a star, then off you go.
There is an excellent website ( http://www.gemini-2.com/ ) written & supported by Tom Hilton (He has no affiliation to Losmandy or Gemini) will get you the Gemini-2 firmware updates, and keep you up to date on any new features being added & how to use them. There are also several Yahoo groups ( http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Gemini-II/ http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Losmandy_users/ http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Titan_Mount/ ) that are excellent sources of user support. HTH

Clear Dark Skies
Startraffic
39.138274 -77.168898


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Tuugii
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Re: Mount for 16" OTA [Re: shawnhar]
      #6001182 - 08/01/13 09:14 AM

the telescope operator told me that he actually brought the 'best' electrician in Mongolia and they together disassembled every piece in the smartdrive. And apparently that guy couldn't figure out what was wrong.

Retrofitting with SiTech is a great cheap way of fixing it. But I afraid without an access to machining shop and people without resources it might not work. I am the only guy affiliated with the observatory who speaks English, and I live in U.S.


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Tuugii
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Re: Mount for 16" OTA [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001191 - 08/01/13 09:25 AM

Startraffic, many thanks for the detailed info.

I am wondering how much counterweight did you use for that crazy ~80lb setup? Our setup should be pretty close to this with all other stuff (16" OTA alone is 68lb).


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Mount for 16" OTA [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001192 - 08/01/13 09:26 AM

I find it hard to believe that there is no-one in Mongolia who can fix that thing. I come from a Third World country (Philippines) but even in my country the physics department of the national university has a complete machine shop, and they definitely have the skills to do something like adopt a SiTech.

I am assuming your country and mine are of similar development. Therefore the National University of Mongolia must have a similar physics department.

Regarding the HGM Titan: I know someone who owns one; he has a 16" Newtonian on it (albeit with a carbon tube). And he does 20-minute subs with ease. So I think it would carry a 16" SCT fairly easily. It is not in the same class as an AP900 though (according to him).


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Tuugii
professor emeritus


Reged: 03/22/07

Loc: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Re: Mount for 16" OTA [Re: orlyandico]
      #6001205 - 08/01/13 09:35 AM

orlyandico, the gdp of Mongolia might be twice as much that of your country, but it is all due to recent mining boom. The government spends no s*it to science. Buying a new AP1600 with all accessories and shipping to Mongolia for about $15k is as much money some rich people there spend one day doing shopping. It is such a shame.

The local university has a physics department and I know many people there. As far as I know that institution is full of 'theoreticians' who become taxi drivers after they graduate, seriously. Haven't been there for a while, maybe they have a machine shop now, I will check.


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orlyandico
Postmaster
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Reged: 08/10/09

Loc: Singapore
Re: Mount for 16" OTA [Re: Tuugii]
      #6001232 - 08/01/13 09:56 AM

Aww. I stand corrected. The GDP per capita may be similar, but the Philippine economy is 25X larger. Incidentally I once did a lecture to a delegation from Mongolia at the Asian Institute of Management. And I have a cousin who's married to someone from Mongolia. But I digress..

Still... don't all physics departments have a well-equipped machine shop? if I managed to convert my non-GoTo mount to GoTo with no machine shop and just hand-held power tools, surely anyone can, right?

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


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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Mount for 16" OTA [Re: orlyandico]
      #6001241 - 08/01/13 10:04 AM

Quote:

if I managed to convert my non-GoTo mount to GoTo with no machine shop and just hand-held power tools, surely anyone can, right?




You did a fine job on that conversion. I believe that a Classic LX200/SiTech conversion would use existing motors, encoders, and gears so it should involve much less fabrication.


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