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Low cost tripod/mount option for ED80?

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#1 synfinatic


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Posted 19 November 2017 - 08:37 PM

So a buddy of mine picked up a used ED80 (his first scope) and some cheap prototype Chinese motorized GEM mount.  The mount w/ tripod was literally $40 at the swap meet and well it was worth a shot, but it's not able to handle the weight.   I lent him my CG2 with motor drive (I use it with my solar scope) last night and he was really frustrated by it due to clearance issues, running into the slew stops, etc.  Now he's really frustrated by the whole thing and about to give up on the ED80 which seems to be a real shame.


I know he wants to get into astrophotography someday, but I know he's not willing to put that kind of money into a mount right now.  Also, he got a really smoking deal on the ED80 and so that's kinda skewed his mental image of what things should cost.


So I'd like to give my buddy some good suggestions for mounts which will work well for visual with the ED80, but I'm a dob kinda guy and frankly I don't really know.  He wants motorized tracking & slew.  He doesn't need a computer to locate objects, but wouldn't be against it either.  I've never tried to star hop with a GEM, but I imagine it's more difficult then on an Alt/Az mount?  I'm sure he'll buy used.


Any suggestions?  


TL;DR: What's a cheap, reliable and easy to use tracking mount for visual use with an ED80?

#2 Don W

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Posted 19 November 2017 - 08:40 PM

I would look for a used Celestron GT, SLT or SE mount, the SE being the heaviest but most expensive. You can get just the mount/tripod for about $500.


GT mount with Televue 85




SLT Mount with Vixen ED80 Sf (same lense as the ED80 Orion)


IMG_0588 (2).JPG


SE mount with 4" TV Genesis SDF





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#3 msl615



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Posted 19 November 2017 - 08:58 PM

I'm going to go a different direction here and suggest an older Vixen Great Polaris or Super Polaris. Classic mounts, very high quality, well known and tons of info on the Web about them.  I would suggest learning the sky without a motor or slewing and working manually for a while. Then, if he thinks tracking is worth it for visual, then easy to get motors and controllers for Vixen.  I use them only for visual, and while I have some of their great Vixen motors, controllers, GOTO systems, etc,  I have never installed them. So easy to get a quick polar align with these, and then simply manual tracking for any particular object.


I also hope he does not give up...perhaps by going very simple at first, it will be easier. 



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#4 vtornado



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Posted 19 November 2017 - 09:32 PM

A celestron CG4 will handle this scope.   For it's price, it works well.  Smooth motions,  sturdy enough for an 80mm scope.  I have used the slow motion and setting circles to find and track objects. 


A logic drive can run this scope in R/A.  These drives are 30.00.  (If used, you do lose your slow mo on the R/A axis.).  There is a simple mod to run the CG4 in alt-az if you like that.

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#5 Bean614



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Posted 19 November 2017 - 09:42 PM

It was suggested, about the Celestron GT, SLT, etc., that "You can get just the mount/tripod for about $500.".  That's WAY(!!!) more than they cost used, in Excellent condition.  Right here on CN's Classifieds you can get a GoTo GT Mount, with Hand Controller, for $70, from a well known seller.  I have 3, all work perfectly, and all easily attach to most anything inexpensive Tripod.  My 80ED is on one, and I use several other refractors (including an SP-C102), and 5 & 6 inch SCT and MCT scopes on the others.  They are VERY handy to have around, can be used with Skysafari or SkyPortal via a SkyFi, and I've used my T3i with my 80ED for 30-45 second exposures. Other than all that, they're terrible (I DO hope you realize that's a joke).  Highly recommended!

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#6 bobzeq25


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Posted 19 November 2017 - 10:39 PM

I'd also recommend to your friend that he continue to pursue imaging, but with a camera and a lens, not a scope.  People do lovely images that way, and it's far cheaper.  This book is a guide.



#7 Stelios


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Posted 20 November 2017 - 01:37 AM

CG5 used for around $350 will not only handle the ED-80 effortlessly *but will also be usable for AP--at least while in the learning phase*.

#8 synfinatic


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Posted 26 November 2017 - 07:35 PM

Thanks everyone!   The Celestron GT seems to be about right for my buddy. 

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