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Avalon M Uno One year Review

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#26 Peter in Reno

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Posted 13 September 2015 - 07:42 PM

Hi Derek,

 

Very nice report and I am glad you are successful with your new setup.

 

From your report, I am under the impression that you only use polar scope for polar aligning and nothing else. Is this correct? Is the polar scope's reticle the same as Losmandy? I have tried Losmandy polar scope for my previous A-P Mach1GTO and I never got accurate polar alignment so I used a different and more accurate method as per A-P Quick Drift Alignment using Meridian Delay and finderscope.

 

I don't mind if the mount does not come with built-in pointing model. A-P mounts are the same way and relies on reasonably good polar alignments and then I use SGPro for plate solving for accurate framing of DSO and other automation.

 

Thanks,

Peter



#27 schmeah

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Posted 13 September 2015 - 08:25 PM

Hi Peter. The reticle is even simpler than the Losmandy. Just the Big Dipper asterism on one side, Casseiopeia on the other and a circle to place Polaris. I don't even use it for polar alignment anymore. I used it the first time I set the mount down to get a very rough alignment, and the resulting stiff neck convinced me that I never wanted to use a PA scope again (the side bracket mounting is more neck friendly). After marking the spots on the pavers for the tripod feet that first time, I've since just done a simple CCD drift align when I take the rig out of the garage. It takes me about twenty minutes and is good enough for two hour long guided exposures without noticeable field rotation at FL 2350. I don't miss a pointing model, but I guess you can't miss something that you've never used. I suspect if enough people asked for it, Luciano at Avalon would come up with a pointing model. But I agree, plate solving makes it even less essential.

 

Derek



#28 EFT

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Posted 13 September 2015 - 08:58 PM

The standard polar scope is the same as the SkyWatcher.  However, you can also use a Losmandy polar scope in the outboard polar scope mount.



#29 Hilmi

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Posted 13 September 2015 - 10:38 PM

You can use it on the main polar scope minting too with an adapter

#30 pwarborg

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 07:26 AM

My experience with the M-Uno has been very good, I had struggled with guiding my G11 with mediocre results for years. It was a common site here in the mount forum that I would be asking for assistance. Funny thing is, since I purchased the M-Uno I rarely have to visit the mounts forum. That tells you something about how good this mount is.

 

I also tried it as a completely stand alone imaging system without computer. I used my phone for Go To and used a Lacerta M-Gen II stand alone autoguider for guiding, dithering and camera control. The M-Uno provided a completely pain free imaging session. Everything just worked!. That's what I always wanted to have in a mount. I also like the fact that in some countries you have the ability to choose if you want Avalon's own StarGo system or the Synta controller which allows you to use Eqmod.

 

I took these images a couple of nights back. These are the tightest stars I have ever had. The slight elongation on the right side seems to be something in my optical train as it has been reproduced with the camera at different orientations and two different cameras. I think it is badly machined adapter. The color image was via DSLR and the B&W image was via CCD Camera. Both were with 8" Edge HD at f7. The CCD image is a single 20 minute exposure. I am happy with what I am getting.

A bit late to jump on this post, but I'm kind of desperate to find somebody to share their guiding parameters with their MGEN/M-Uno combination. After following all the posts regarding the M-Uno, it seems that I am the first one who had no luck with "plug&play" with this mount... I'm using one with the Synta controller, which I operate from a Starsense hc via a Skywatcher interface. Alignment and PA are just fine. Pointing is more than good enough, but with the guiding I keep on struggling. I used the MGEN before on my AVX with a 400mm guide scope (for all my OTAs ranging from 480 to 1624mm FL). That worked well enough. Just the too many bad images in the long run per session, which I attributed to the AVX's bad backlash in DEC and a general 'lack of precision", made me think of getting something somewhat better. My setup for the M-Uno is a 240mm guide scope in that special Avalon adapter, which you put between OTA and mount. Serves double purpose, because it creates room for all of my scopes to freely move round and over the meridian and also fits the guide scope with a good connection to mount and OTA. Or so I thought... While my results now are mostly reproducible during a particular session, I start getting oval stars in exposures longer than 10 minutes. Even my AVX managed exposures of that length with good results at about 50% of the time...

To cut the story short: Would you be willing to share your MGEN parameters you are using with the M-Uno? Guiding rate, Num, Tol, Aggr and Mode? Your favorite exposure time for the guider? Some brief info about your actual setup would be welcome as well. E.g. which optic do you use for guiding?

Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks and cs,

Pat



#31 schmeah

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 10:34 AM

Hi Pat. I'm not familiar with the MGEN guider. I use the Lodestar II with Phd. Also I don't know anyone that uses that specific guide adapter though I have seen pictures of it on a vendors site. How are your guide RMS errors and do you have any tracings? If they are good, it would suggest PA or flexure. Though you may have already, since you use MGEN and the older Synta controller, you may want to try posting on Stargazers Lounge where there are more European users. Also I would post on the Yahoo site, and contact Luciano directly who has never failed to come up with a prompt solution to any of my M Uno issues. Keep us posted.

 

Derek



#32 Hilmi

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 10:43 AM


My experience with the M-Uno has been very good, I had struggled with guiding my G11 with mediocre results for years. It was a common site here in the mount forum that I would be asking for assistance. Funny thing is, since I purchased the M-Uno I rarely have to visit the mounts forum. That tells you something about how good this mount is.

I also tried it as a completely stand alone imaging system without computer. I used my phone for Go To and used a Lacerta M-Gen II stand alone autoguider for guiding, dithering and camera control. The M-Uno provided a completely pain free imaging session. Everything just worked!. That's what I always wanted to have in a mount. I also like the fact that in some countries you have the ability to choose if you want Avalon's own StarGo system or the Synta controller which allows you to use Eqmod.

I took these images a couple of nights back. These are the tightest stars I have ever had. The slight elongation on the right side seems to be something in my optical train as it has been reproduced with the camera at different orientations and two different cameras. I think it is badly machined adapter. The color image was via DSLR and the B&W image was via CCD Camera. Both were with 8" Edge HD at f7. The CCD image is a single 20 minute exposure. I am happy with what I am getting.

A bit late to jump on this post, but I'm kind of desperate to find somebody to share their guiding parameters with their MGEN/M-Uno combination. After following all the posts regarding the M-Uno, it seems that I am the first one who had no luck with "plug&play" with this mount... I'm using one with the Synta controller, which I operate from a Starsense hc via a Skywatcher interface. Alignment and PA are just fine. Pointing is more than good enough, but with the guiding I keep on struggling. I used the MGEN before on my AVX with a 400mm guide scope (for all my OTAs ranging from 480 to 1624mm FL). That worked well enough. Just the too many bad images in the long run per session, which I attributed to the AVX's bad backlash in DEC and a general 'lack of precision", made me think of getting something somewhat better. My setup for the M-Uno is a 240mm guide scope in that special Avalon adapter, which you put between OTA and mount. Serves double purpose, because it creates room for all of my scopes to freely move round and over the meridian and also fits the guide scope with a good connection to mount and OTA. Or so I thought... While my results now are mostly reproducible during a particular session, I start getting oval stars in exposures longer than 10 minutes. Even my AVX managed exposures of that length with good results at about 50% of the time...
To cut the story short: Would you be willing to share your MGEN parameters you are using with the M-Uno? Guiding rate, Num, Tol, Aggr and Mode? Your favorite exposure time for the guider? Some brief info about your actual setup would be welcome as well. E.g. which optic do you use for guiding?
Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks and cs,
Pat

I used the default parameters from the factory except as follows. I changed guide speed to 0.15 and aggressiveness to 90%. This is for 1400 mm focal length.

Keep aggressiveness high and fiddle around with guide speed according to focal length. Hope this helps
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#33 Hilmi

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Posted 20 November 2016 - 02:05 AM

I forgot to mention, you need to enter your focal length into the parameters on the MGEN II



#34 Magnetar Flare

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 06:01 PM

Very informative.



#35 schmeah

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 06:53 PM

Very informative.

Thanks Magnetar. I thought about updating this with a two year review, but I would just be rehashing more of the same, namely that I remain enamored with this mount, in its performance and simplicity. The only information that should be updated is that I was disappointed to learn that Deep Space Products/ Ed Thomas will no longer be selling Avalon Mounts. However, I have no doubt that Luciano Dal Sasso will fill the void sooner than later.

 

Derek



#36 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 10:38 PM

This is an excellent review on an excellent mount. Good job of sharing lots of information here and showing this to be another great option for people to consider.

 

HA 


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#37 schmeah

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 06:31 AM

This is an excellent review on an excellent mount. Good job of sharing lots of information here and showing this to be another great option for people to consider.

 

HA 

Thanks. We're fortunate to have so many great options in this category. Mach 1, MyT, M Uno, Mesu, Gemini, Ten Micron (though a bit more expensive). All fine mounts and unique in their own way. It just depends on what you're looking for. No flip simplicity was the thing for me, although it isn't even a consideration for many.

 

Derek



#38 sparrowhawk

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 08:19 AM

Are you able to use it without a laptop? Just using a phone or tablet as the controller?


Shawn

#39 schmeah

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 09:30 AM

Are you able to use it without a laptop? Just using a phone or tablet as the controller?


Shawn

Yes the StarGo controller is bluetooth and WiFi enabled, so can be controlled with a tablet or smartphone. I have the older controller that was not WiFi capable, and I was never a fan of bluetooth. So I have a laptop in the garage cabled to the mount nearby, and I control the laptop via IPAD andTeamViewer from inside the house.

 

StarGo is now a very stable control program, and now has a 24 star pointing model and integrated platesolver which were not available when I did my initial review.

 

Derek


Edited by schmeah, 01 February 2017 - 09:31 AM.

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#40 schmeah

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 10:42 AM

Went back to the SCT last night. Still performs consistently well at long FL (2350). I often feel however that the excellent tracking and guiding of this mount is wasted because of my poor skies. This graph looks good despite the lousy seeing and gentle breeze (5-8 MPH) from last night.  

 

MUnoGuiding (585).jpg  


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#41 psandelle

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 11:26 AM

You can only do what you can do. Imagine if your mount were sucky?

 

Looks pretty good under the circumstances.

 

Paul


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#42 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 03:09 PM

Went back to the SCT last night. Still performs consistently well at long FL (2350). I often feel however that the excellent tracking and guiding of this mount is wasted because of my poor skies. This graph looks good despite the lousy seeing and gentle breeze (5-8 MPH) from last night.  

 

post-10930-0-11580500-1486136500.jpg

Hey that is a very handsome guide graph for that size scope and focal length. Bet the stars look great. Appreciated you posting this up. 

 

The mount performs and this cannot be debated. 

 

HA


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#43 wilsolr47

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 09:46 AM

Derek, I want to thank you for your excellent review of this mount. I ran across this thread at the same time I was looking for a new mount to replace my CGEM. I too image with a C 9.25" EdgeHD with Hyperstar and at Prime Focus. The CGEM just wouldn't give me round stars at PF. I could get some usable subs at 10 min but nothing really good and 10 min in most cases was too short of a time for subs. It did okay with the Hyperstar but I was always babysitting the mount and having to do the meridian flip. So when I saw your article and your results, along with Alessandro Faleseide in Italy, I made the decision to purchase the M-Uno. I have just received it and am in the process of setting it up in my Skyshed Pod for imaging next week.

 

Can you tell me what you use for a guidescope both with the Hyperstar and at PF? I have the Orion Short Tube 80mm and the Orion SSAG camera that I have been using. I also have the Orion 50mm guide scope that I can use and it is much lighter and easier to counterbalance but I don't know if it will do the job. I would appreciate any help you could pass my way as a new convert to the M-Uno style single arm fork mount.

 

Thanks Derek!

 

Larry



#44 schmeah

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Posted 19 February 2017 - 09:47 AM

Derek, I want to thank you for your excellent review of this mount. I ran across this thread at the same time I was looking for a new mount to replace my CGEM. I too image with a C 9.25" EdgeHD with Hyperstar and at Prime Focus. The CGEM just wouldn't give me round stars at PF. I could get some usable subs at 10 min but nothing really good and 10 min in most cases was too short of a time for subs. It did okay with the Hyperstar but I was always babysitting the mount and having to do the meridian flip. So when I saw your article and your results, along with Alessandro Faleseide in Italy, I made the decision to purchase the M-Uno. I have just received it and am in the process of setting it up in my Skyshed Pod for imaging next week.

 

Can you tell me what you use for a guidescope both with the Hyperstar and at PF? I have the Orion Short Tube 80mm and the Orion SSAG camera that I have been using. I also have the Orion 50mm guide scope that I can use and it is much lighter and easier to counterbalance but I don't know if it will do the job. I would appreciate any help you could pass my way as a new convert to the M-Uno style single arm fork mount.

 

Thanks Derek!

 

Larry

 

Hi Larry. Congrats on your new mount! And welcome to a small but growing club.  I suspect you will be very happy with it. And please feel free to contact me anytime with questions. I'm not the most technical imager, but fortunately with this mount you don't have to be. I don't use a hyperstar with my Edge. But I will tell you that the best move I ever made with astrophotography was not my mount upgrade, but moving from a guidescope to an OAG ( built into my QSI ). Flexure is such an ugly and unpredictable beast, especially at long FL. No matter how good your mount is, egg shaped stars may result if flexure is not completely tamed. And if you plan to piggy back a large guidescope on the Edge you may be pushing the mount limit a bit in terms of acheiving balance without a lot of counterweight. And guiding a long FL SCT with a small 50mm guidescope will pose particular challenges. One of the main advantages of this mount is no requirement for heavy counterweights.

 

Derek


Edited by schmeah, 19 February 2017 - 10:02 AM.


#45 wilsolr47

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 11:37 PM

Derek, thanks for your reply especially on the guiding bit. I was just in contact with you on your facebook page today and appreciate you giving me your thoughts on my "double star" issue. Windy and rainy here in Tucson tonight so can't do anymore troubleshooting until maybe tomorrow night or Thursday. I'm sure I will get it sorted. I do use an Orion Short Tube 80mm for a guide scope and the SSAG with PHD 2.6. I'm guessing I may have to take your advice and go to OAG to avoid the flexure issue. So far I am extremely impressed with the mount. With my setup I have had to add more weight on the arm to counterbalance all that guide scope so the OAG would help a lot there too. I appreciate your willingness to communicate and help out. It seems Ed is back in the Avalon business as I see the mounts advertised on his website again.



#46 CrzHrs

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 03:35 AM

Hi Derek, i wish to thank you for your great review. i finally decided to pull the trigger on an avalon M-Uno, thanks to reading your posts, speaking with Alessandro Falesieadi and due the overwhelming support from Luciano.

 

I was seriously interested in a linear, but the meridian flip possibility mixed with the lightweight is a winning combo.

 

Crz



#47 schmeah

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:36 AM

Derek, thanks for your reply especially on the guiding bit. I was just in contact with you on your facebook page today and appreciate you giving me your thoughts on my "double star" issue. Windy and rainy here in Tucson tonight so can't do anymore troubleshooting until maybe tomorrow night or Thursday. I'm sure I will get it sorted. I do use an Orion Short Tube 80mm for a guide scope and the SSAG with PHD 2.6. I'm guessing I may have to take your advice and go to OAG to avoid the flexure issue. So far I am extremely impressed with the mount. With my setup I have had to add more weight on the arm to counterbalance all that guide scope so the OAG would help a lot there too. I appreciate your willingness to communicate and help out. It seems Ed is back in the Avalon business as I see the mounts advertised on his website again.

Hi Larry. I look forward to hearing about your progress. Regarding the double star issue, I suspect it will be easy to figure out once you are able to spend a bit more time with. If as you say your guiding was fine, then it wasn't a tracking issue. Don't forget to save your guide logs in Phd. Yeah, I don't know what happened with Ed but glad to see him back on board.

 

Hi Derek, i wish to thank you for your great review. i finally decided to pull the trigger on an avalon M-Uno, thanks to reading your posts, speaking with Alessandro Falesieadi and due the overwhelming support from Luciano.

 

I was seriously interested in a linear, but the meridian flip possibility mixed with the lightweight is a winning combo.

 

Crz

 

Congrats on the mount! It was the no-flip that did it for me, otherwise I would be a Mach 1 owner ( I wouldn't even have been aware of the Linear back then ). I know that some are comfortable with a fully automated flip, but from the many posts that I have read, its not so simple for most. I like simple. Horizon to horizon imaging while I sleep. 

 

Derek



#48 classpath

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:17 AM

Hi Derek,

 

How's M-uno for visual observing? Of course, my primary purpose is astrophoto, but when I go to darksite with my son, we spent first one hour for visual observing together before I switch to astrophoto mode. I heard that it might not be comfortable due to its shape. Since keeping current mount (AVX) too is not an option for me, I'd like to make sure before making final decision. Thanks :) 


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#49 sparrowhawk

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 06:11 AM

I am also curious how it works for visual.

#50 schmeah

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 08:56 AM

Hi Derek,

 

How's M-uno for visual observing? Of course, my primary purpose is astrophoto, but when I go to darksite with my son, we spent first one hour for visual observing together before I switch to astrophoto mode. I heard that it might not be comfortable due to its shape. Since keeping current mount (AVX) too is not an option for me, I'd like to make sure before making final decision. Thanks smile.gif

 

 

I am also curious how it works for visual.

 

I don't use it for visual, but I would argue that because it is a single arm fork, the shape is more amenable for visual observation than a GEM, due to fewer awkward eyepiece orientations during observations, and after slews from one side of the meridian to the other (no flip). It also offers an advantage over a traditional fork in terms of weight ( you can remove the OTA for transportation ) and ability to observe near the zenith without risk of the eyepiece colliding with the fork base. The hand controller however has no built in built in database / goto functionality, but the mounts / Stargo are now wifi capable so you can control the mount with a smartphone/tablet. Depending on the expected imaging load, if observing is a major focus, the M Zero might be a good alternative as it is very light and can be used in true alt-az mode for observing, particularly with binos.

 

Derek




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