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10 Micron GM1000HPS --- My Experience
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10 Micron GM1000HPS Equatorial Mount --- My Experience
By Rhett Herring
It started about two years ago. I wanted to try my hand at Astrophotography. I studied up and luckily enough for me there is a very large community in Tucson, Arizona I could and did learn from.
I put together my first rig under the guidance of a local shop (Starizona). They helped my jump start my new found hobby. It’s important to understand at this point that I’m the type of person who dives in head first. I love to learn an often times I go a bit overboard when I become interested in a subject.
My first setup was working OK for me. I had a Celestron 11 inch HD scope a Hyperstar, Atik camera and a Celestron CGEM mount. I was getting images that I thought were wonderful and was overall very happy. The one major pain point I had was setup time and accuracy of the mount using was not always a fast fun experience. I found the CGEM mount overall worked well but there were some things that frustrated me which I will not go into here. I also wanted to do more advanced imagery… namely Satellites and Comets and I wanted it to be as easy as possible of course.
I started shopping around for a different mount. I attended the southwest astrophotography seminar and this is where I was introduced to the 10 Micron GM1000HPS mount. Immediately I was drawn to the mount for a couple reasons… Quiet… this thing is deadly silent. SPEED…. The mount is simply faster than most of us will ever need. I read as much material online as I could find on the mount and sent some emails to a few users I found on AstroBin. I received almost immediate responses and all were overwhelmingly positive.
I made the leap and purchased the GM1000HPS mount from Ed Thomas at Deep Space Products in Phoenix. I purchased the complete package which comes with separate carrying case for the mount and tripod. The aesthetics of the mount as simply awesome… every corner is finely machined it screams quality.
The first step for me was to set up the mount in my office and become familiar with all the functions. Set up was straight forward and very easy. I added the weights and my scope, camera and Hyperstar. One thing I was always uneasy about was balancing my setup. Seems easy enough and I did it many times but there was never any tactile feedback to say “yes” you are balanced correctly. Well one of my favorite things about the mounts is that it has a function that slews the scope and will tell you if you need to make adjustments and which way they need to be made. I love this type of functionality and ease of use! I then set up the remote software that would allow me to control the mount from my PC. Once again, very easy to accomplish this task, the mount uses a standard network cable that connects to my PC or the router I now use.
I was ready for the worst but hoping for the best but what I got was an incredible easy set up process that took minutes. I set up the mount pointed in the general direction of Polaris. I aligned with two stars using the controller. Once I was aligned with only those two stars I never used the hand controller again. I used the remote software from my pc for some additional reference stars. I proceeded to do a quick polar-align where I had to manually move the adjustment knobs. No issues or problems. Once I was polar-aligned I did another three star alignment. Total elapsed time 25 min; not bad for a first time out. The accuracy of the mount after the two star alignment was amazing; third star was almost dead center. I thought well maybe I was just lucky. Nope this has been my experience every time out and I’m out a lot.
I now use the free Model Maker software created by Per Frejvall and my life is much simpler. I have a permanent model stored that I use while my mount is attached to my pier. Creating a new model while traveling is also quick and easy once you understand the software.
Very simply I no longer use a guide scope. I have tried 20 minute unguided imaging and my images are sharp and my stars are round. Using a Hyperstar I’ve rarely have the need to do 20 minute images on a regular basis but it’s nice to know I can do it unguided when I need to.
My overall experience with the mount over the past year has been wonderful. I admit I don’t have years of Astrophotography experience so my comparisons are limited. I have however been to a few star parties and watched a few friends set up and I’m happy I made the leap to the 10Micron mount.
I’m now in the process of building a new home with an observatory… I’m sad to say I will be parting with my 1000HPS mount. I am however replacing it with the 2000HPS mount and I cannot wait until everything is finished.
- Tonk, timmbottoni, Greg M and 8 others like this