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Software Bisque Paramount MyT 10 Year Review


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Software Bisque Paramount MyT 10 Year Review

Charles (“Chuck”) Hinckley

January 28, 2023

 

 

While a long time ago, I was educated as a physicist and professionally spent several years as an engineer working in power plant operations and design engineering until I migrated to other areas of the power industry.  Mine is a useful perspective to provide to a review of the electro-mechanical equipment used in astrophotography, and I am reviewing my Paramount MyT mount after about 10 years of use.

 

Here is the punch line:  while there is serial defect in some legacy mounts and a series of lessons learned, I love this mount and the Software Bisque company, and their support of this product is flawless.  I have experience with several mid-size mounts as well.

 

This mount is very robust.  I had operator error induced failures over the years causing me to have to repair the mount. This mount has a robust design, construction, excellent parts and technical support.  Maintenance can be performed with ease.  Software Bisque after-market support in the form of spare parts, documentation, and technical support is outstanding. 

 

I have read negative comments regarding Software Bisque customer service.  I have broken Paramount mounts, repaired them, used the Software Bisque software, use their Fusion computer, all these activities required interface with customer service.  I have had nothing but positive experiences with both technical and parts support.  For technical support, the forum’s do work, and issues are responded to until the issues are addressed, and I have had some complicated issues resolved.

 

I find these characterizes invaluable, and well worth the price “premium” vs. cheaper mounts.  I have own cheaper mounts, and they have a place for sure, but I found the less expensive mounts, well, cheaper.  I will get 30 plus years of use from my Paramount MyT, and that is not my experience with less expensive mounts unless considerable effort is spent on maintenance and DIY upgrades. 

 

I like the seamless integration with the other Software Bisques products.  I am a TheSkyX user and am also using a Fusion Lynx based mini computer, both Software Bisques products that work well with the MyT and Paramount products. 

 

I overload the MyT mount with a 59-pound payload vs a rating of 50 pounds.  The MyT responds flawlessly.  I have used this same payload on a 100-pound mount rated mount with a significantly worse result.

 

Operational outcomes:  I get unguided exposure times of 3 plus minutes without PEC training, and with PEC training well over 5 minutes.  I generally guide if I want a long exposure.  With a thirty-pound payload package and PEC training, I am quite sure one could achieve very long unguided exposures.  I achieve peak to peak PE performance of 1.0 acrseconds. 

 

There is a serial defect in older MyT’s (mine included). The MKS5000 telescope control system’s printed circuit board’s USB-Mini plug/female.  Paramount mounts now ship with a MKS6000 control system that corrects the issues of the MKS5000.  MKS6000 retrofit kits are available, but importantly as folks are upgrading, used MKS5000 cards are available in the used market. 

 

There is an effective repair for the MKS5000 and a preventative configuration that resolves and potentially prevents this problem from occurring/re-occurring.  The repair:  take the USB plug fitting to any electronics repair professional, and for under $100, they can solder the plug back on the PCB.  Don’t try at home unless you have considerable experience, it is quite easy to short out the landing pins; repairing shorted pins takes time and is far more difficult than just avoiding the problem.  Don’t lose the detached USB-Mini plug, it is far better to repair that plug if damaged and re-use it as in it lands on the PCB pins properly.  Sometimes you will find it still on the PCB, sometimes in the electronics box loose, and look also on the male.  The female may have detached from the PCB and be stuck on the male cable.  Its possible to use a new female plug, but trust me, find the original.

 

As a preventative matter, I use a bit of electronics grade silicon (be careful and use a non-conductive electronics silicon) and harden the USB plug (and 48 VDC female plug as well).  I also use a dongle size USB-Mini male to USB-A female which I leave plugged into the PCB’s USB-Mini female plug.  In this way, I am plugging and un-plugging a USB-A to the dongle (Amazon.com under $6), and not the PCB mounted USB-Mini directly.  This means that I have removed the front plate from the electronics box.  I could drill out the USB penetration on this plate to make room for the dongle, but I have not. 

 

This USB-Mini issue was the number one reported issue with the mount.  The new MKS6000 has WiFi and otherwise addresses this defect.  I control my telescope systems via a on mount mini-computer, so I prefer to hard wire connect the mount to my mini-computer, so this wired connection remains important to me – regardless of if I upgrade to the MKS6000.  I have seen USB-Mini connection problems arise in other applications as well. 

 

Some nice to know items:  there is a lot of relevant documentation on the Software Bisque website, download it and page through.  The worm gears have adjustment set screws, learn how to set these to your configuration (there is relevant documentation); if your mount is slipping in RA, the cause is likely these set screws and not the worm gear.  There is no GPS, be careful that you input the GPS coordinates of your mount not your Google address coordinates; there are phone apps that display very accurate GPS data.  I like Home startup routine, but I set Park to be the polar alignment position.  Whereas waterproofing is not possible, I did pay some attention to moisture control. 

 

See my much too long YouTube video on this subject at https://youtu.be/62fKPw3Njoo for more details.

 

 

Other disclosures: I have been using telescopes off and on for over 40 years, was an early “Go-To” adopter, have used Meade, Celestron, Losmandy mounts.  For a small mount, I am using a Sky Watcher Start Adventurer with an ASI Air these days, a very powerful combination.  I put the amateur in the word amateur, and am by no means an expert, and still have not figured out how to be a photographer.  #Chuck Hinckley, #Charles Hinckley, #Paramount, #Software Bisque, #MyT

 

 


  • Bob Campbell, George Blahun Jr, gdallmann and 8 others like this


10 Comments

I have a MyT from the same era and can second everything that is said above.  It's been a wonderful experience from the beginning and continues to perform perfectly.  I, too, have had to make various repairs over time and have always found Software Bisque responsive and helpful (for the most part).  

    • flyboyu777 likes this
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Elusivephotons
Feb 01 2024 12:21 PM

Excellent review Chuck!  I have owned a Paramount MX Classic for over 10 years and can attest to a very similar experience to what you've had with your MYT.  I will be upgrading my electronics to the MKS6000 once it is available and I hope to have another 10+ years of service from it.

That's a cool review.  Hard to believe it's been 10 years.

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BrettJoslin
Feb 01 2024 09:00 PM

Thanks for the review. I literally was coming on CN to see If someone talked about weight capabilities of the MyT even though it’s rated for 55lbs.  I’m trying to figure out what scope to get for it, I’m between a used celestron edge EdgeHD 11” or a new 9.25”. Sounds like I would be ok with either sine the 11” is 28 lbs.

 

I bought the mount too long ago and have not had opportunity to use it between clouds, time, and the learning curve of SkyX. 
 

Although I have gotten a little discouraged with my progress your article made me realize I did not make a mistake buying it. By the way my usb mini broke off and I had my local video game repair shop fix it.

 

thanks for writing this. 

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RonLevandoski
Feb 03 2024 04:24 PM

I got interested in astronomy as a result of my physics teacher showing me Saturn thru a 150mm Unitron with the fixed pier. It had a marvelous mechanical drive equatorial mount. I was in the ninth grade and I was hooked. This interest eventually led to a career in the health care sciences and the rest is the history of my life.  

 

A lot of Unitron scopes I've looked thru over the years are somewhat hit or miss as to the quality of the views. Modern scopes are much more consistent. But the six inch Unitron was exceptional. Wish I could look thru it again. 

 

Nowadays, I have a Takahashi EM 200 and an EM 400 mount. I am NOT an engineer and I don't enjoy spending my time fixing things, but it's OK if that's your thing.

 

My EM 200 handles a Tak TOA 130 with all the imaging goodies flawlessly. I bought it in 2008 and it has never had any service of any kind. It just works. 

 

My 2016 era EM 400 easily handles a SkyWatcher 150mm refractor and also my PlaneWage 14 CDK, both loaded with ZWO filter wheel, ZWO auto focuser and a NiteCrawler focuser/rotator on the PW CDK. 

 

The tracking with both mounts is flawless. I use TheSky X to image with the Planewave and I use a ZWO ASI AIR PLUS to image with the TOA 130.  

 

The ASI AIR PLUS is a real game changer for me. Sure wish I'd had one of these maybe twenty years ago. I do all my imaging with an iPad 13 and life is very good indeed. 

 

docron

    • flyboyu777 likes this

I have a MyT that's going on about 8 years or more of use.  It's been a great performer and can handle my 6" f/9 AP refractor with a heavy Feathertouch focuser with ease.  I installed the WiSky add-on when it came out so I don't normally use the USB port.  For those who do, Bisque sells a Dongle to give some strain relief to the connector:  https://www.bisque.c...ain-relief-kit/

 

Jim

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Richard Francis
Feb 07 2024 03:49 PM

I’ve had an MyT since 2020, and an MEII since 2013, so about 10 years. Apart from the size they are very similar, and have the same MKS5000 board.

 

My MEII had pointing problems from the start, and after extensive discussion on the forum it was finally agreed that the worm was a mess and needed rework. It was now over 3 years old but Software Bisque were very honourable and treated it as a warrantee repair. It had to be shipped from France to Colorado, and their customer support was fabulous.

 

My only regret was not having the encoder option. It was not available when I bought the MEII and to retrofit would require another intercontinental trip to Colorado, with the associated import duty and tax risks. For the MyT it was a stock clearance sale, so relatively cheap, but with no options.

 

Concerning the connectors on the MKS5000 board, I never had problem, but both mounts are permanently installed in their respective observatories. If I was going to move them I would definitely go for one of these “dongles”, or “connector-saver” as we call them in my old line of work.

 

Cheers,
Richard

    • flyboyu777 likes this

I will add to this as I have had my MyT mount since 2021. I purchased it after having major issues with a CGX mount. After learning SkyX, I have thoroughly enjoyed using it. I primarily use a large refractor for imaging and consistently get round stars. It is a dream mount and hope to purchase a second one in the future to run my C11 setup. 

Good review, but whenever I hear "PCB mounted" in conjunction with a telescope mount connector, I cringe.  Anything connected with a cord that could get snagged in the dark should either disengage easily and without damage, or be very secure, and most of all, bulkhead mounted. 

I've had the same amount for several years, but after experiencing the mini-USB break off the board and spending $2000 to get a new board(the new board wasn't available at that time), I decided to sell it and buy an Astro-Physics Mach 2. I did not want to spend another $2k to get a new board when the plug broke again, which it would eventually. It is a beautifully made mount, though, and has wonderful controls for polar aligning.



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