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My Losmandy G11T review


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My Losmandy G11T review

by Jeff Marston (CN Member "Jeffmar")

 

 

 

I have now owned my Losmady G11T for about a year. I have used it almost exclusively for astrophotography and star parties ever since I got it. I looked through the reviews and articles in Cloudy Nights and didn't see anything specifically to the G11T, so I thought I would write about my experiences with this mount.

 

I have been doing this hobby for over 20 years. I started out with a C11 mounted on the original sand cast fork and heavy tripod Celestron SCT's were mounted on in the early decades of the company. That old mount did one thing. It had sidereal tracking. I had to find objects in the sky the old fashion way. For years that was good enough, but I noticed that people who owned mounts with goto capabilty could look at dozens of targets a night instead of the half dozen I usually found. 

 

Over the next 15 years I have gone through a succession of mounts to use with my C11. I started with a CG-5. As you can imagine it wasn't a great match. The next mount was a CGEM. It was much better for visual but still left a lot to be desired for astroimaging. Sticking with Celestron, I got a CGX after a few years. Finally I had a mount that would handle my C11 pretty well. It was awesome for visual and pretty good for astrophotography. I was able to keep more of my subframes than I deleted. 

 

At this point I had upgraded my scopes along the way, getting a new C11 Edge and C8 Edge. Since the Edge models weighed basically the same as the regular models a new mount wasn't really needed. The thing that changed everything was getting a scope I had dreamed of owning since I started this hobby over 20 years ago. I bought a C14 Edge and stuck it on my CGX mount. It required at least three 17 pound counterweights and I was back to more wobble than I wanted. Three months after getting my big scope I upgraded to a CGX-L. Even though the CGX-L and the CGX look almost like the same mount, the CGX-L has bigger worm wheels, a thicker counterweight shaft, and a much more substantial tripod. For about a year I was alternating between my two Celestron mounts, depending on the scope I was using, and was pretty happy this things.

 

About 15 month ago I turned on my CGX mount and I got a couple of error messages. It said something like error 16 and 17. Those weren't the exact messages, but the numbers are accurate. That meant that the mount was basically dead. I decided right then I was going to get away from chinese mounts and get something that would last longer. I also wanted two functional mounts in case one of them decided to take a vacation. After a few weeks of research I narrowed down my choices to Losmandy and Astrophysics. I really wanted to get the AP1100 but there it was twice as expensive and had a lengthy waiting list. I think the big factor was the long waiting list,so I ordered the G11T from Losmandy. It took a little over a month to get, but it was better than waiting up to a year. 

 

When I got the G11T I assembed it with some difficulty. The instructions were straight forward, but Losmandy hadn't sent me any tools that were specific for that mount, like they usually do. When I finally got it together and started slewing the mount it would stall. I was getting a "heavy load" message on the hand controller. I knew that Scott Losmandy had videos on care and maintenance on his site. It took me a few tries but it worked and I was up and running.

 

In the year since I have had my Losmandy mount I have used almost exclusively for everything. It holds my C14 very well. The G11T/C14 combination is really good for visual and decent for astrophotography. I can't blame the few astro imaging problems I have had on the mount because a 3910mm focal length creates problems all on its own. I have had a lot of success using my 5 inch refractor and my C8 on the G11T. With both of those scopes the mount auto guides flawlessly when I get the setup done correctly.

 

What do I like about the G11T? It is a very well built mount. It looks like when a 1/2 inch thick piece of aluminum could have been used in construction, Scott Losmandy used an inch, or more. The mount is simple to work on. I have heard that nearly every mount Losmandy has made for decades is upgradable ot current models. It is capable of very accurate auto guiding. My scopes don't move in mild winds. The mount and tripod are very sturdy. It is just a beautiful piece of work. I have had my Celeston and Losmandy mounts apart enough to see a huge difference in construction. Celeston sometimes uses parts the are just sturdy enough to make the mount function. That means things like plastic gears and loose tolerances in the motor gearboxes.I am the only one in my astonomy club who owns this model and other members often come over to admire the mount and ask questions about how it works. 

 

What is just so so about the G11T. It is heavy. The RA unit weighs well over 40 pounds and DEC unit weighs 18 pounds. I keep the them in separate cases because one 70 pound case would be too much. The goto on my Celestron mounts seemed to be more accurate. I could do a 2 or 3 star alignment and I would usuall get any target right near the middle of my eyepiece every time. The G11T will get there, it just seems to require a lot more alignment stars to get the same accuracy. My Losmandy mount isn't as dummy proof as my Celestron mounts. I have had to be very careful setting the RA limits or the mount will bang parts together. The CGX mount series had hard stops and I didn't have to worry about that. I also have to pay closer attention during the startup phase of my mount. Not paying attention to the startup data can be a real issue.

 

Very recently my mount refused to track (sidereal) and wouldn't autoguide for very long. When I turned of auto guiding stars were marching across my computer screen like an old space invaders game from way back when. Even with poor polar alignment stars should have stayed in roughly the same place for minutes rather than a second. I got the the Losmandy forum and even emailed Brian at Losmany. Brian and at least one other guy said I may have had the wrong mount model checked in the menu. I set up the mount in my back yard last night, replaced the battery in the Gemini 2 box, just in case, and got it going. I had to reenter the basic information because of the battery swap. At first the local time and date I had put in were not being retained. My mount was going nowhere near the calibration stars. After a few tries I went back to look at the startup menu and noticed a set button. I put in the correct time and date, again, and pushed the set button a few times. That seemed to fix everything. the Calibration stars were where they should be and sidereal tracking was back. I even tried autoguiding and got some really good results given the rough polar alignment I did. 

 

In general I really like my G11T. It is well built, should last for decades from what other owners of Losmandy mounts say. It seems to work really well with auto guiding. It is very stable even with my C14.  It is very different from my Celestron mounts and to be fair It took a while for me to learn how to use those mounts also. 

 


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31 Comments

What kind of guiding accuracy do you get with the C14 mounted?

What kind of guiding accuracy do you get with the C14 mounted?

I haven’t done enough guiding using the C14 to give you a good answer. I have done some unguided imaging with the G11T/C14 combination for up to 45 seconds and got some good. images. The image below was one of them. By the time I got my guiding issues solved with my Losmandy mount I was using mostly a 127mm refractor for imaging. I haven’t given up on imaging with the C14. This next spring I will use it for getting images galaxy season. 

 

M51
 
I have been getting just below .7 total using my 5 inch refractor and C8 during guiding. I have been pretty happy with my images lately with my smaller scopes. These are all done using my G11T
 
Double cluster
M31 again
m27
M13

 

 

    • doctordub, davelpg, Maxtrixbass and 5 others like this

Nice review! thanks!

    • Jeffmar likes this
Photo
Gerry Smith
Oct 04 2021 10:24 AM

Very nice review. I switched from Celestron to Losmandy about a year ago. The difference between painted cast aluminum (recycled pop cans) and anodized machined aluminum amazed me.

    • Jeffmar and demorcef like this

Very nice review. I switched from Celestron to Losmandy about a year ago. The difference between painted cast aluminum (recycled pop cans) and anodized machined aluminum amazed me.

 

The build quality of Losmandy mounts is certainly a big step up from the mounts I have used. 

 


 

 

Thank you for your review.  

 

"The G11T will get there, it just seems to require a lot more alignment stars to get the same accuracy."  This made me chuckle.  The number of stars required to build a pointing model is one of the things I didn't like about Gemini 2.  I'm back to Gemini 1 on both of my mounts.  Good luck with your newish mount.  It looks like you're taking good photos with it.  Perhaps lunar and planetary with your C14?

    • Jeffmar likes this

Thank you for your review.  

 

"The G11T will get there, it just seems to require a lot more alignment stars to get the same accuracy."  This made me chuckle.  The number of stars required to build a pointing model is one of the things I didn't like about Gemini 2.  I'm back to Gemini 1 on both of my mounts.  Good luck with your newish mount.  It looks like you're taking good photos with it.  Perhaps lunar and planetary with your C14?

I have set up this mount once or twice a week for a year now. I have been doing six stars and sometimes seven to get alignment where I want it to be. The process has become a lot quicker with all the practice I have been getting. I guess it’s kind of like buying a diesel semi truck vs a sport utility vehicle. The diesel semi will last almost forever and will haul big loads, but it isn’t going to go up a twisty road all that well. 

 

I have used my G11T exclusively since I got it a little over a year ago. I still have my Celestron CGX-L and have been tempted to use it instead, but I was determined to learn how to use the Losmandy mount as well as I could. The CGX-L is simpler and quicker to set up, but for now It is my backup mount and my Losmandy mount is working quite well for autoguiding.

I appreciate this review. Losmandy has been on my radar since the mid 90's when I started doing astronomy. My mantra has been "mount before optics" ever since I acquired a CG5, and did crazy stuff like putting an 80mm Meade ST on it. My mount had been re-built by an expert at Denver Astronomical Society, and tracks ~wonderfully~ with a 6" f-5 newt, which I mention because the weight of it is much less than the CG5 can carry.

I've decided a bigger and better mount should be next on the major purchase list. What are the competitors for the Losmandy 11 in terms of quality and payload?

    • Jeffmar likes this

I have set up this mount once or twice a week for a year now. I have been doing six stars and sometimes seven to get alignment where I want it to be. The process has become a lot quicker with all the practice I have been getting. I guess it’s kind of like buying a diesel semi truck vs a sport utility vehicle. The diesel semi will last almost forever and will haul big loads, but it isn’t going to go up a twisty road all that well. 

 

I have used my G11T exclusively since I got it a little over a year ago. I still have my Celestron CGX-L and have been tempted to use it instead, but I was determined to learn how to use the Losmandy mount as well as I could. The CGX-L is simpler and quicker to set up, but for now It is my backup mount and my Losmandy mount is working quite well for autoguiding.

That was my experience with Gemini 2 as well: a minimum of six stars (three on each side of the meridian) and most times eight.  That was just to get going for the night.  With Gemini 1, three stars are enough to get going.  I'll add stars throughout the night and pointing accuracy generally improves with each added star.

 

One of the cool things about Gemini 2, though, is the ability to store at least one pointing model (maybe two) in the hand controller's SD memory card.  If you have yourself set-up such that your mount set-up is repeatable, you might be able to do a warm start and a couple of synchs and have pointing accuracy and polar alignment good enough.  If your pointing model ever "goes bad" for some reason you can restore/ reload it.  Like after changing the battery...

    • Jeffmar likes this

I appreciate this review. Losmandy has been on my radar since the mid 90's when I started doing astronomy. My mantra has been "mount before optics" ever since I acquired a CG5, and did crazy stuff like putting an 80mm Meade ST on it. My mount had been re-built by an expert at Denver Astronomical Society, and tracks ~wonderfully~ with a 6" f-5 newt, which I mention because the weight of it is much less than the CG5 can carry.

I've decided a bigger and better mount should be next on the major purchase list. What are the competitors for the Losmandy 11 in terms of quality and payload?

If your CG-5 fits your needs, why replace it?

 

From Losmandy, the GM-8 has approximately the same weight capacity as the CG-5.

 

Competitors for the G-11 would be the i-Optron CEM60, Celestron CGEM DX (50 lb rated capacity), Celestron CGX, Takahashi EM-400 or NJP, perhaps others in the +60 lb rated capacity range.  Of course, there are other considerations besides rated capacity.  For example, if you like your CG-5, you might like the HEQ-5/Sirius or EQ-6/Atlas.  Both have more capacity than the CG-5, better mechanical construction, are easy to work on (OK, the Atlas is somewhat of a pain).  Many astrophotographers get good results with both.

I have been thinking of getting a G811 with the lighter tripod since my CGX bit the dust.

 

Years ago I had an old C11 mounted on a CG-5. It seemed like if I touched the scope the whole thing would rock back and forth for a minute. Okay, it wasn’t really a minute but you get what I mean, and that old CG-5 worked just fine for my 100mm f/5 refractor.

Photo
iantaylor2uk
Oct 06 2021 05:25 PM
I have a G11 which I bought new in the UK in 2009. It had the 492 digital drive system on, but I have since upgraded it to Gemini 2. I like the fact that Losmandy mounts are easy to strip down for cleaning and regreasing. It also works well with the ASI Air Pro if u are into astrophotography.
    • Starsareus and Jeffmar like this

I have been thinking of getting a G811 with the lighter tripod since my CGX bit the dust.

 

Years ago I had an old C11 mounted on a CG-5. It seemed like if I touched the scope the whole thing would rock back and forth for a minute. Okay, it wasn’t really a minute but you get what I mean, and that old CG-5 worked just fine for my 100mm f/5 refractor.

Bias alert: I've used a G-11 on the HD tripod for years, only recently did I get a GM-8 with the LW tripod.

 

I found the LW tripod to be flimsy-feeling.  If I try to be objective, setting my GM-8 down and lightly kicking the tripod legs to get them spread made my mount rigid enough for visual.  I just couldn't get over how bendy the tripod felt after years of using the HD tripod.

 

Of course, I don't have any problem carrying a G-11 assembled (but without a scope mounted).  If you prefer not to do that, the LW tripod saves you something like twenty pounds, or something like that.

    • Jeffmar likes this

Bias alert: I've used a G-11 on the HD tripod for years, only recently did I get a GM-8 with the LW tripod.

 

I found the LW tripod to be flimsy-feeling.  If I try to be objective, setting my GM-8 down and lightly kicking the tripod legs to get them spread made my mount rigid enough for visual.  I just couldn't get over how bendy the tripod felt after years of using the HD tripod.

 

Of course, I don't have any problem carrying a G-11 assembled (but without a scope mounted).  If you prefer not to do that, the LW tripod saves you something like twenty pounds, or something like that.

I appreciate the heads up. The tripod for my CGX-L is actually heavier than the heavy duty tripod for my G11T, so I can’t complain too much about that. I would still like a GM-811. There is a guy who brings his G11 to star parties in my area with a beautiful wooden mount, and it seems very sturdy. I might get one like that just because it is such an attractive tripod.  We talk about equipment that is too heavy, and we whine about mounts that are too flimsy. CAN WE EVER FIND HAPPINESS?grin.gif

    • George N and gfstallin like this
Photo
firemachine69
Oct 09 2021 08:08 PM

I have been thinking of getting a G811 with the lighter tripod since my CGX bit the dust.

 

Years ago I had an old C11 mounted on a CG-5. It seemed like if I touched the scope the whole thing would rock back and forth for a minute. Okay, it wasn’t really a minute but you get what I mean, and that old CG-5 worked just fine for my 100mm f/5 refractor.

 

 

The idea of tossing out a 3k mount is infuriating.

Photo
Bkmiller4463
Oct 12 2021 12:36 PM

Great setup.

    • Jeffmar likes this

​Hi Jeff, I’m the guy of whom you speak. Let’s chat at the next star party, maybe we can swap tripods for the night and you can see what you think of the Planet. I’m not sure if your mount will fit my adapter and vice versa, but we can give it a shot.

 

Thanks for the nice comments and you’re right - it *is* purty!

Brian

Hey Brian,

 

Good to know you are on this forum. If I had a little more room in my garage I think I would get one of those beautiful tripods. 

See you at the next star party!

 

Jeff

    • Bkmiller4463 likes this

Thanks for the positive review.  I ordered a G11T on Sept. 20, 2021 in case my Orion HDX110/EQ8 let's me down.  The auxillary encoders failed earlier this year.  Even though the EQ8 has a larger payload it is a very difficult mount to service.  I have no problem tearing down Atlas mounts but an EQ8 nowhere resembles those in construction.

 

I could tell that the G11T is a different story if the user ever needs to do maintenance.  A friend of mine in another state has had 14 years of reliable service from his G11 and uses it mainly for astrophotography.

 

I am guessing I might receive mine somewhere between Nov..-Dec.

    • Jeffmar likes this

Thanks for the positive review.  I ordered a G11T on Sept. 20, 2021 in case my Orion HDX110/EQ8 let's me down.  The auxillary encoders failed earlier this year.  Even though the EQ8 has a larger payload it is a very difficult mount to service.  I have no problem tearing down Atlas mounts but an EQ8 nowhere resembles those in construction.

 

I could tell that the G11T is a different story if the user ever needs to do maintenance.  A friend of mine in another state has had 14 years of reliable service from his G11 and uses it mainly for astrophotography.

 

I am guessing I might receive mine somewhere between Nov..-Dec.

I think the G11T should work great with any scope you have listed. It works really well with my ES ED127 for imaging. I am going to try using my C14 now and then for imaging galaxies. It will be interesting to see how much I can push that mount.

 

Good luck with your mounts!

I appreciate the heads up. The tripod for my CGX-L is actually heavier than the heavy duty tripod for my G11T, so I can’t complain too much about that. I would still like a GM-811. There is a guy who brings his G11 to star parties in my area with a beautiful wooden mount, and it seems very sturdy. I might get one like that just because it is such an attractive tripod.  We talk about equipment that is too heavy, and we whine about mounts that are too flimsy. CAN WE EVER FIND HAPPINESS?grin.gif

I have owned a GM-811 and LW tripod for several years - unfortunately one of the last before the new spring-loaded drives - so some long snowy winter it needs to go back to Losmandy for the up-grade. It is my "travel" mount - especially needed when I'm at my Adirondack camp - since 'everything' needs to be carried down/up a 50 yard hill to the lake front to get open sky. I have only used it for imaging mostly with an ES 127ed refractor and DSLR or SBIG STL-6303e CCD. I polar align for imaging with a PoleMaster - or just use the buile in Gemini routine for visual. Like others I have found the need for 6 star alignment for accurate slews - but the field is so large with my set-up that even with 2 star alignment target objects are at least in the field. It did just fine holding the 5-inch refractor (heavy FT 3-inch focuser) and big CCD. I've also used it a few times with an ES 8" F/3.9 carbon fiber Newt and DSLR.

 

Future plans: I hope to control the mount from my laptop via Ethernet cat-6 cable ( using the ap that mimics the hand control on the laptop or my copy of TheSkyX Serious - won that in a raffle!! ). Sometime next year I plan on upgrading to TheSkyX Imaging with full T-point and camera control, guiding, etc - I recently purchased a used SBIG AO-L guiding unit. I may purchase a separate G-11 Dec unit so I have the option to configure the mount as a 811 or 11 - depending on the payload and weight-carry requirements.

 

Based on my use of this mount (three friends also have G-11's that they like) - when my ancient Mountain Instruments MI-250 currently in my observatory dies - the G11T will certainly be a likely replacement.

The DEC on my G11T is spring loaded but the RA component isn’t. Once I got the right tension on both the RA and DEC units it has been running very well. I really can’t feel any gear lash on the RA even though it is an older style construction. Maybe Scott Losmandy will upgrade the RA with a spring loaded worm gear in the future.

For those of us who are lucky enough to have an observatory, the Losmandy mounts are AMAZING!!!  Once alignment is setup (one time) can go weeks without having to tweak anything.  Getting fantastic results and could not be happier.  Always dreamed of owning a Losmandy and was thrilled last year to purchase my G11G!!

    • Jeffmar likes this

Just wanted to say that this is a very helpful and enjoyable review, thank you. Especially because there are still very few reviews online about the G11T, which I'm considering buying sometime next year. 

 

I was wondering if you use the Losmandy Polar Scope for the G11T or a different method? I noticed that the polar scope for the G11T goes into the side of the mount and works different than on the GM8 and G11. Just wondering how that works out.

    • Jeffmar likes this

Just wanted to say that this is a very helpful and enjoyable review, thank you. Especially because there are still very few reviews online about the G11T, which I'm considering buying sometime next year. 

 

I was wondering if you use the Losmandy Polar Scope for the G11T or a different method? I noticed that the polar scope for the G11T goes into the side of the mount and works different than on the GM8 and G11. Just wondering how that works out.

Thanks, Nevel!

 

I asked Losmandy to send me a polar scope, but they either forgot or they aren’t making them anymore. I am pretty used to getting a decent polar alignment using other methods, but a polar scope could speed things up a little. 

 

I start by centering Polaris in my telescope using the Alt/Az knobs on the mount. Next I get my pointing accuracy going with 6 or sometimes more calibration stars. I then do a polar align assist to a bright star to the south and use the alt/az knobs again for final adjustments. I have been finding that I am not very far off good polar alignment just from centering Polaris in my scope.

 

My Celestron mounts were a bit faster because I didn’t need to go to as many calibration stars for but the process is basically the same.

Thanks Jeffmar. Strange that you didn't receive the polar scope, assuming you asked for it of course. wink.gif  I don't think they stopped making them. When I emailed Losmandy a couple days ago about polar alignment with the G11T, Brian said:

 

"Regarding the G11T polar scope, it attaches to the side, not the rear. It has a different design than the G11 and GM8: https://store-losman...s.com/hgm-tps. ​If you are imaging, you might consider ​computer-assisted polar alignment, such as iPolar, polemaster, sharpcap, etc."

 

No indication that they're stopping production for the G11T polar scope.



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