Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Skywatcher AZ GTi mount

  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 23 November 2017 - 01:39 AM

I couldn't wait for the bloody thing to hit the US so I ordered from Germany. I tested tonight using my Tele Vue NP101is. 
 
It is an absolutely TINY mount. It is a well engineered piece of kit for the price. It cost me with shipping about $460 USD.
 
The Smartphone app is quite decent and well thought out. I am using iOS so I can't make Sky Safari work with it on the same phone. Hopefully they will figure out a work around or (better) add in the same 40,000 objects that is in the SynScan. Searching by and adding custom designed observing lists based on NGC, SAO, IC, etc would be a nice to have feature as well.  
 
It runs on 8 AA batteries. I had it slewing all over the place tonight as I went through a few double stars, a few open clusters, and a few named stars. My guess is that with heavy use 4ish hours would be about right.
 
There was backlash but there is a setting in the app to deal with that. 
 
Bright star alignment was very easy to deal with on the phone and I didn't do a super precise alignment. However every target was in the 16mm and 11mm Nagler EP's I was using that I raided from my BV setup. If I was going for high power with the 3.5mm Nagler I have with the scope I would have been much more precise about the alignment. 
 
I will likely add a SynScan controller when I can find one to buy.
 
It handled the Tele Vue NP101is with no problem overall. The setup I have weighs about 6.35 kg or 14 lbs which is 1.35 kg or 3 lbs over the rated limit. There was shakes each time I touched the focuser. However I expected that, it settled within a second or two, and I can still focus if I am very gentle. There were not shakes when the mount was moving at the speed setting of 5 or 6. I found that surprising. Based on my experience using the NP101is I would expect that an Explore Scientific Essentials or CF 102mm, Stellar Vue 102mm, Skywatcher Black Diamond 100, or Takahashi FC-100DL would be OK on the mount if one is able to handle a small amount of shakes or uses vibration suppression pads on hard ground. For sure an 80-90mm APO will do fine. As will a 127mm  or possibly even a 152mm Mak or 6" SCT.
 
The tripod was surprisingly robust for its weight and size. The accessory tray was a nice feature. The reported issue on some of the UK forums where if you slipped the clutches you might loosen the pillar head didn't seem to be an issue when I tried it.
 
The whole thing collapses down to a DSLR and photo tripod sized package. Add in a 60-102mm short length refractor or one of the Skywatcher smaller Mak's and it is an amazing travel package or grab and go! I could see getting a 80mm APO and stuffing it, a diagonal, some EP's, and the mount/tripod in a roll away suitcase with my clothes and carrying it in an overhead bin on an airplane!
 
The mount is noisy slewing at high speed but again I expected that. It is quiet when slewing at slow speed.
 
The fact that they had a detachable battery package was a very nice touch. So was the ability to slip the clutches and manually move the scope around then tighten them back up and not loose alignment. 
 
I will report more as I use it more. It is meant to by my G&G for in the car when I am out and about and have a window of time to observe. Next steps will be to see how much of it I can fit in the NP101is case and to see if it will actually work with Tele Vue Binoviewers. I realize that I am pushing it to the point where it may break but I want to see where the edge of the envelope is.
 
Note: In the first series of images you will see the Berlebach Report tripod. I didn't like how the legs would splay out on it if the locking knobs were not set just right so I switched to the Skywatcher tripod. I actually ended up liking the Skywatcher tripod better and found it more stable which surprised me.
 
24720606668_95dc775744_z.jpg
38535683976_22889f1dba_z.jpg
38535684156_8545b0d848_z.jpg
38535684276_f830d155da_z.jpg
24720607048_db4f604f1f_z.jpg

These last two are videos so you have to click them then play the video's from Flickr. Sorry about that.

24720605758_0268cc3fde_b.jpg
24720606358_9b86eea4d8_b.jpg
  • Tyson M, North of Sixty and trurl like this

#2 Kunama

Kunama

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3081
  • Joined: 22 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Canberra, Australia

Posted 23 November 2017 - 01:44 AM

A good timely write-up.... I am getting one for my little FOA60 as my travelling companion, probably with the Synscan handset.



#3 North of Sixty

North of Sixty

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 523
  • Joined: 29 Nov 2015
  • Loc: Yukon

Posted 23 November 2017 - 01:53 AM

Wow, awesome review dr. who. Thanks for that. 

 

"For sure an 80-90mm APO will do fine."   That's what I want to hear. With the Freedom Find thing to be able to use it un-powered I'll be putting this mount higher up the list now. 



#4 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 23 November 2017 - 01:54 AM

Before anyone asks the rings and dovetails are from PrimaLuceLabs. They were the lightest rings and dovetails I could find in stock at my local shoppe. 

 

And if I can fit the tripod, mount, and pillar in the Tele Vue case I am golden in terms of all in one observing setup. What you don't see in the photos or video is the Telrad I use to align with. It fits in the case along with the diagonal and EP's. 



#5 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 23 November 2017 - 02:01 AM

A good timely write-up.... I am getting one for my little FOA60 as my travelling companion, probably with the Synscan handset.

 
Matt-

I would look at a FC-100DF, FC-76, FSQ-85, or Tele Vue 85. The FC-100 with the focuser removed will be small enough for carry on luggage. The FC-76, FSQ-85 (trying to both keep you in the Tak family and bankrupt you... But hey can you really put a price on your happiness...? whistling.gifevillaugh.gif) and TV 85 will for sure be. And will give you that little bit extra Oomph.

I have observed with a FC-60 and with my FSQ-85. The 60 is nice but the 85 is really nice. Pity I have a CCD shoved up its bum... wink.gif

 

Wow, awesome review dr. who. Thanks for that. 
 
"For sure an 80-90mm APO will do fine."   That's what I want to hear. With the Freedom Find thing to be able to use it un-powered I'll be putting this mount higher up the list now.


Cheers. I am actually very favorably impressed with this. My fall back was a Stellar Vue M2 with encoders from Astro Systems. Based on how this worked I don't need that.

#6 Traveler

Traveler

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2252
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2007
  • Loc: The Netherlands

Posted 23 November 2017 - 02:18 AM

Nice review!

It looks like the slewing sound is not that loud, isn't it?



#7 Kunama

Kunama

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3081
  • Joined: 22 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Canberra, Australia

Posted 23 November 2017 - 03:12 AM

 

A good timely write-up.... I am getting one for my little FOA60 as my travelling companion, probably with the Synscan handset.

 
Matt-

I would look at a FC-100DF, FC-76, FSQ-85, or Tele Vue 85. The FC-100 with the focuser removed will be small enough for carry on luggage. The FC-76, FSQ-85 (trying to both keep you in the Tak family and bankrupt you... But hey can you really put a price on your happiness...? whistling.gifevillaugh.gif) and TV 85 will for sure be. And will give you that little bit extra Oomph.

I have observed with a FC-60 and with my FSQ-85. The 60 is nice but the 85 is really nice. Pity I have a CCD shoved up its bum... wink.gif

I already have the FOA60 and will have to be happy with that or face the "Wrath of Jen" ..... it was my 60th birthday gift from her and given that she is financing my little binocular project, I shall have to behave cool.gif

I have a Manfrotto MT055CXPro3 tripod that will hold the AZ-GTi head and mini pier as well as the FOA.



#8 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 23 November 2017 - 06:03 AM

Nice review!
It looks like the slewing sound is not that loud, isn't it?


Thank you. Not horribly so, no. Louder than an AZ-EQ6 but not as loud as a CGEM.
  • Traveler likes this

#9 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 23 November 2017 - 06:05 AM

Cheers Matt. The FOA is very nice and a appropriate based on the birthday milestone for sure!

The tripod on this isn't bad at all. I want to see if I can get a bit of the shakes worked out if I can via a more sturdy tripod.

#10 Doug Culbertson

Doug Culbertson

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6814
  • Joined: 06 Jan 2005

Posted 23 November 2017 - 08:06 AM

Nice write up, and I was also considering one of these for my AT72EDII. I also have a Berlebach Report; does this mount have a 3/8” thread on the bottom? 



#11 Tomvictor

Tomvictor

    Viking 1

  • ***--
  • Posts: 555
  • Joined: 09 Aug 2004
  • Loc: N.59.24.48.

Posted 23 November 2017 - 08:31 AM

Another new Sky-Watcher mount AZ-EQ AVANT

 

https://stargazerslo...comment-3325622


  • Traveler likes this

#12 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 23 November 2017 - 05:29 PM

Nice write up, and I was also considering one of these for my AT72EDII. I also have a Berlebach Report; does this mount have a 3/8” thread on the bottom?


Thank you. Yes it has a 3/8" thread. And it would work very well with your AT72. Does your report have a tray on the bottom? I am wondering if I do that then it will not let the legs splay out as much...

#13 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 23 November 2017 - 05:34 PM

Another new Sky-Watcher mount AZ-EQ AVANT
 
https://stargazerslo...comment-3325622


Wow! Very nice. Pity that it only has a 3kg/6.6lbs weight rating. If it could handle the NP101 I have I would be getting that mount as well! I like manual alt/az and EQ mounts. The next purchase on my list is a Losmandy AZ8 if I can find one used. It is smaller than my DM6 and easier to carry in the car. I also like the setting circles and slow motion controls on it. Sadly there isn't anything else I can find in that market space that has slow motion and setting circles.

#14 Doug Culbertson

Doug Culbertson

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6814
  • Joined: 06 Jan 2005

Posted 23 November 2017 - 05:44 PM

 

Nice write up, and I was also considering one of these for my AT72EDII. I also have a Berlebach Report; does this mount have a 3/8” thread on the bottom?


Thank you. Yes it has a 3/8" thread. And it would work very well with your AT72. Does your report have a tray on the bottom? I am wondering if I do that then it will not let the legs splay out as much...

 

 

No, mine doesn’t have a tray but, as you said, it will not allow as much spread for the legs. The folks at Berlebach said that it would limit the spread to 20 degrees as I recall.

 

Now I just have to find someone who has this mount in stock.  



#15 dwmedic

dwmedic

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 191
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2009
  • Loc: Oxford,Ks

Posted 23 November 2017 - 08:25 PM

Can hardly wait for this mount. Keep talking myself out of ordering it from overseas. 



#16 skyward_eyes

skyward_eyes

    Vendor - Sky-Watcher USA

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 4621
  • Joined: 12 Dec 2006
  • Loc: Phoenix, AZ

Posted 23 November 2017 - 10:34 PM

We are just waiting for our test samples to arrive. We are hoping to see them shortly. We have a lot of new stuff in the works. Some of our new sample product has arrived so we are not far from the AZ-GTi samples arriving. Once tested we should be able to get it going here in the US.

#17 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 24 November 2017 - 12:27 AM

I spoke to Kevin LeGore (Skyward Eyes) about the AZ GTi and some other things seen over in the EU that aren't here.

My understanding is that he personally evaluates everything rigorously before it goes into the Skywatcher USA lineup. He is a amateur astronomer first and a Skywatcher representative second. He is all about quality product and excellent customer support. I wish more companies did that in the US. It is nice to have one of us actually acting as our advocate within a large vendor. It is also something that I think is making Skywatcher a brand to go to for quality product knowing that they will stand behind it.

However as I said above I couldn't wait for it to hit here and I bought it from a Skywatcher EU dealer. If you can't wait then that would be the best option for you Doug. My guess is we see it domestically at or around NEAF.

It is well worth it though. And based on the packages I saw for sale for around US $500 or so for this mount, a 102mm or 127mm Mak or a 130mm Newt this is going to take the market by storm in terms of providing an excellent entry level platform for people coming into the hobby and a great grab and go setup that is full GOTO when we want it and able to star hop with it when we don't for the rest of us.

I will likely buy a second one for my young nephews who are just getting into Astronomy. It is prefect for them since it is so compact. They can take it with them on trips, use it in the back yard, and so on. It's the perfect Birthday present. Heck I would like one of the Skywatcher 127mm f/15 Mak's for the car as well as the NP101is! Great combination of scopes in small form factor's.

Here is an image of my current G&G setup by the way. In the open bag is the AZ GTi mount and the pillar. In the closed bag is a 24mm Panoptic, Telrad, and diagonal. Then the other EP's in the holes are 16mm, 11mm, and 3.5mm Nagler's. I had to raid 1/2 of my BV EP pairs for it but thats fine since I shouldn't be anywhere observing with the BV's were I don't have this case with me.

The tripod didn't fit but that's fine. It folds up so small I can get a padded case for it as a carry along. Paired up with this is a starbound chair, red head lamp, and the Pocket Sky Atlas. I will find a way to add the PSA into the case as well as a 50mm finder at some point. All together it makes a complete on the go observing setup.

26834912859_b82db985dd_z.jpg
  • dwmedic likes this

#18 TONGKW

TONGKW

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1238
  • Joined: 16 Jan 2007

Posted 24 November 2017 - 09:03 PM

﹣﹣﹣﹣

I like AltAz mount with go-to for easy setup.
I find my iOptron Minitower Tower II to be to be too big for many of my small OTA to take along on trips.
This Shywatcher AZ GTi appears to be ideal but I have to buy the Synscan hand controller separately.
Then I look around for other option in the market with similar performance.
I notice iOptron has the Cube Pro which includes the hand controller.
iOptron Cube Pro with 90 mm Mak OTA at US$548
http://www.ioptron.c...uct-p/10090.htm
iOptron Cube Pro mount head only at US$369
http://www.ioptron.c...duct-p/8202.htm
Both appears to be ideal for me and I shall choose one from this two.

﹣﹣﹣﹣



#19 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 25 November 2017 - 05:06 AM

I looked at iOptron but have seen, both on line and in person with friends struggling with their mounts right next to me, too many issues to make them a mount that I would consider.

#20 Astrojedi

Astrojedi

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2868
  • Joined: 27 May 2015
  • Loc: SoCal

Posted 25 November 2017 - 06:46 PM

We are just waiting for our test samples to arrive. We are hoping to see them shortly. We have a lot of new stuff in the works. Some of our new sample product has arrived so we are not far from the AZ-GTi samples arriving. Once tested we should be able to get it going here in the US.

Any guidance on timeline to US availability?



#21 Astrojedi

Astrojedi

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2868
  • Joined: 27 May 2015
  • Loc: SoCal

Posted 25 November 2017 - 06:50 PM

Nice review dr. who. How sensitive are the tracking and goto to OTA balance? Trying to understand if I am swapping heavy and light EPs will I need to rebalance? 



#22 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 25 November 2017 - 09:37 PM

Thank you AJ. Kevin LeGore mentioned where they are with it a couple of posts up. My guess would be NEAF but I am not Skywatcher so I don't know. You are in SoCal and so am I so any time you would like to meet up so you can see it I am up for it.

#23 Astrojedi

Astrojedi

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2868
  • Joined: 27 May 2015
  • Loc: SoCal

Posted 26 November 2017 - 03:43 PM

Thanks dr.who. I might take you up on that offer. Where in SoCal are you? 



#24 dr.who

dr.who

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 8956
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2012

Posted 27 November 2017 - 11:55 AM

PM sent.



#25 mxcoppell

mxcoppell

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 26
  • Joined: 25 Sep 2017

Posted 27 November 2017 - 05:58 PM

Amazing! Love the form factor of the AZ-GTi mount!

 

It's a shame that this mount is mainly for viewing - What about Astrophotography?

 

- Same form factor

- EQ Go-To Mount

- Guiding Port (ST-4)

- Payload 6-7kg (13lbs)

- Star Safari

 

That will be heaven...




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.







Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics