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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new
      #6623789 - 07/08/14 04:38 PM

I did my first real session of outreach recently with my alt/az mount and refractor.. It was doable but I was thinking tracking would have made the evening easier for me, allowing to to answer questions better.., now, my wife will also be joining me for part of a star party soon so I figured if I set this up (goto scope) for her that might be nice... And in addition to all that I figured it would be nice to have the option to shoot some photos with my dslr now and again. Originally was looking at the cube mounts from ioptron, they look perfect, compact and affordable, and I don't Really need Equatorially mounted which is better for astrophotography..if I ever snap any pics a couple seconds would be sufficient, I have no real plans for serious ap other than planetary or what my dslr can do.. So alt/az goto would have been ok.

. But here's where it gets tough: my refractor with rings, dovetail, diagonal and finder scope comes in at almost 17lbs. Without an eyepiece. In order to take advantage of the nice compact ioptron mounts (mini tower II or mini tower pro) I need to go with the higher end ones to deal with the load capacity needed for my scope, pushing the cost up to about $900-$1000.

When it gets that high I figured I might as well go with an EQ mount so at least if I eventually do want to attempt longer photos I can. So that parts decided.

The ioptron ZEQ is $850 or $1000 with tripod. (I want a new tripod as well, as changing my alt/az mount for the EQ mount isn't something I want to do all the time...). It has GPS. Not sure what warranty is on their scopes.

The advanced vx is attractively on sale for $719 and has a 2 year warranty but no gps (available as add on). Gps is not a deal breaker but I recall from past goto mounts I've owned that it can speed things up. Going without it for now is acceptable to me as I don't expect to use this THaT much.

Seems like the current sale price of the VX is the one for me..

Both scopes have alignment routines for when you can't see a pole star, which is the case for my backyard at least. I understand that probably won't give me a good imaging ready alignment but again, AP is low on my list except that if I do want to do it I'd like ithe mount to be capable.

My questions are: what other mounts might I be looking at? I'd prefer to find something used as well, cost is important.



Thanks!


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Greyhaven
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/11/04

Loc: Greater downtown Maine
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok [Re: lamplight]
      #6623933 - 07/08/14 06:11 PM

GPS should not be a deal breaker. if you are within 50 miles of your normal viewing location you don't need to enter a new location just the date, time and your good to go. You can't do better than the $719. AVX right now.
Be Well
Grey


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cam1936
sage


Reged: 08/01/08

Loc: Alberta, Canada
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: Greyhaven]
      #6624095 - 07/08/14 08:03 PM

VX!

I have the predecessor (CG-5) and GPS is not needed. Just a few seconds with a smart phone and you have your GPS coordinates and you just plug those in along with a correct time and date. It literally takes 1 minute.

Polar alignment does not have to be 100% accurate for visual use. I can get the mount setup and aligned well enough for visual use in 10 minutes. Gotos are very accurate, always in the field of view of a mid mag EP.


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
*****

Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: cam1936]
      #6624331 - 07/08/14 10:30 PM

Quote:

VX!

I have the predecessor (CG-5) and GPS is not needed. Just a few seconds with a smart phone and you have your GPS coordinates and you just plug those in along with a correct time and date. It literally takes 1 minute.

Polar alignment does not have to be 100% accurate for visual use. I can get the mount setup and aligned well enough for visual use in 10 minutes. Gotos are very accurate, always in the field of view of a mid mag EP.




My outreach setup is a CG5-GT and a Stellarvue 4" f11 refractor. For visual, I use a compass to get it pointed generally north. Typically, the first alignment star is out of the FOV of the scope unless blind luck had the thing pointed close to the celestial pole. But it's usually in the FOV of the 9X50 finder. Once I get the first alignment star synched, it goes smoothly from there.

For the astrobucks, the venerable CG5-GT is difficult to beat and there are some very attractive used prices.

David


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pogobbler
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: Central Indiana, USA
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #6624532 - 07/09/14 01:18 AM

I agree, the CG5-GT would be your best bet for useability, stability, and affordability.

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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: pogobbler]
      #6624764 - 07/09/14 08:22 AM

Thanks! I actually owned one so know what to expect. I'll keep eyes open for a used cg-5. Or perhaps the vx .. Although I came across a dob in classifieds so there goes the money.

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sickfish
super member


Reged: 01/13/09

Loc: Watertown Ma.
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: lamplight]
      #6624772 - 07/09/14 08:28 AM

+VX or CG-5

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Jon_Doh
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/16/11

Loc: On a receiver's back
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: lamplight]
      #6624774 - 07/09/14 08:30 AM

The iOptron mount is lighter and easier to carry, but their alignment and goto system is rather hinky. I too would recommend the AVX, having owned both mount types previously.

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shawnhar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: Jon_Doh]
      #6626099 - 07/09/14 11:28 PM

Orion Sirius smokes an AVX, better in every way.
http://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=105832&so...

If you don't care about taking any more than simple 30 second exposures or not being able to look straight up, the SE mounts are great.
http://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=105762&so...

I waited a year to get a good deal on an EQ6 (Atlas) mount (what you would pay for a new AVX) and I am VERY happy. Honestly if you have any dreams of AP in the future, I would post a wanted ad in the classifieds for an Atlas, to get a mount that is really much better, you have to throw another grand at it.


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youngamateur42
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 11/21/12

Loc: La Verne, CA
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: shawnhar]
      #6626225 - 07/10/14 01:35 AM

My dad has been using an Orion Sky View Pro very successfully, and is able to support a 6" F/5 including all the imaging equipment.

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17.5Dob
sage


Reged: 03/21/13

Loc: Colorado,USA
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: shawnhar]
      #6626247 - 07/10/14 02:09 AM

Quote:

I waited a year to get a good deal on an EQ6 (Atlas) mount (what you would pay for a new AVX) and I am VERY happy. Honestly if you have any dreams of AP in the future, I would post a wanted ad in the classifieds for an Atlas, to get a mount that is really much better, you have to throw another grand at it.




I just spent ~ that much on an Atlas, that was still in the original shipping box and only used twice. Found it on Craigslist 1 hr away.

The gentleman walked me through the set up, helped me brake it down, and told me, if I ever need a part, to call him and he'd phone it in to Orion, since he's registered as the owner.

He'd bought it as a "spare" for his observatory Atlas, that was fully hypertuned. He just upgraded the observatory Atlas to the HDX110/, and didn't need the spare anymore.


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Brian Carter
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 11/24/04

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: 17.5Dob]
      #6626386 - 07/10/14 07:21 AM

I have an AVX for my C8. You certainly won't be unhappy with it, it's a solid mount and the computer has a lot of fun features. I only use it for visual use, so I won't comment on it for photographic use.

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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: Brian Carter]
      #6626579 - 07/10/14 10:19 AM

ok thanks,

looks like the orion sirius is a good option, except cost, for the moment. I had the atlas briefly, so i know they make a nice mount in this range as well. even used, they're more than i can spend now.

skyview pro looks like a nice solid EQ mount but goto is an added upgrade (at almost $500 alone, so thats out). used is an option.

something like the SE mounts (or ioptron easy pack and go alt/az gotos) are EXACTLY what i was looking for .. did a quick search and it should handle the weight and it even has an auto guiding port.

I've never used an auto guider, is 30" about the max exposure even if auto guided for a alt/az tracking mount? not that i even plan on getting an auto guider now or anytime soon, but just curious about my options for the future, if i don't opt for a EQ mount.

definitely wouldn't be able to point at zenith with my refractor on that mount, but thats not a deal breaker. especially if i can find one affordably priced used.

appreciate all the feedback, a few options i hadn't considered.(what i was hoping to get! )

disappointed to hear the ioptron alignment routine is a little funky.


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shawnhar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: lamplight]
      #6626716 - 07/10/14 11:57 AM

No point, really, in autoguiding an SE mount. You will be maxed out at around 45 seconds before field rotation will become an issue. That's the downside of Alt/AZ mounts.

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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: Best inexpensive tracking and goto mount? Used ok new [Re: shawnhar]
      #6627072 - 07/10/14 09:10 PM

Read up a little on field rotation. EQ it is, thanks everyone.

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