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Why no push-to GEMs anymore?

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111 replies to this topic

#1 terraclarke

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 12:16 PM

I really appreciate dual drive tracking eq-mounts with higher speeds for fine-tuning a celestial location and for guiding corrections. I also like DSCs and think digital sky catalogs can be very useful. But for the life of me, unless a person is disabled or doing remote observing, I can see NO value in go-to! To me, all it adds is (1) complexity along with something else to go wrong, (2) much greater power demands, and (3) added noise! Why is push-to no longer an option.


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#2 Real14

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 12:33 PM

Hi,

 

We just need to know where the celestial North or South pole is and push a button lol.gif after making a polar alignment ...

 

Push to would force us to use our brain having learned how to navigate the night sky jumping from constellation to constellation.

 

BTW I had once a location of one of my observatories where it was so dark that I could not find any constellation and I did not know where Polaris was due the huge amount of stars I was seeing ...

 

Unfortunately I had to give up that Location due to security risks bawling.gif


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#3 Crow Haven

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 12:35 PM

My guess is people think the go-to mounts are more convenient with nothing extra to do.  I have the DSC's for my old SP mount and also an old C5+ fork mt., plus one for my XT10i.  They certainly work fine.  I'm happy with just tracking when  needed like when doing planetary sketches. 


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#4 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 12:47 PM

The only thing I miss about my first foray to the skies is the old go-to slewing motors sound. Some call it a whine but I no longer suffer through that hassle. Unplugged and hoppy. 



#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 12:48 PM

I really appreciate dual drive tracking eq-mounts with higher speeds for fine-tuning a celestial location and for guiding corrections. I also like DSCs and think digital sky catalogs can be very useful. But for the life of me, unless a person is disabled or doing remote observing, I can see NO value in go-to! To me, all it adds is (1) complexity along with something else to go wrong, (2) much greater power demands, and (3) added noise! Why is push-to no longer an option.

 

Actually I think GOTO is simpler than Equatorial drives with PushTo.  This is because the same encoders used to regulate to drive speeds can be used for the push to.  Otherwise,  a second set of encoders is needed. 

 

Some mounts do have dual encoders so the mount can be slewed without losing alignment.  I think the Orion GoTo Dobs are done this way. 

 

Myself , what I'd like to see is a RA drive that could be used seemlessly with manual slow motion controls .  No Goto,  No pushto. 

 

Jon


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#6 JamesMStephens

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 12:54 PM

 

Myself , what I'd like to see is a RA drive that could be used seemlessly with manual slow motion controls .  No Goto,  No pushto. 

 

Jon

Questar!


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#7 WadeH237

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 12:57 PM

I think that you don't see push-to GEMs anymore because very few people buy them; not enough for manufacturers to support that market.

 

Taking your concerns one at a time:

 

Complexity:  There is really not a lot of added complexity with a goto system versus push to.  Assuming that you're interested in DSCs, and assuming that the reason you're not using a dob is that you want tracking, the only significant difference between a push-to GEM with DSCs and RA tracking, and a full goto GEM, is the declination motor.

 

Power Consumption:  The motors are the big power consumers on a mount.  A goto GEM will consume more power when slewing, but when viewing an object while tracking, there should be no significant difference.

 

Noise:  I'll give you this one.  But again, it's only when slewing.

 

And of course with all of my GEMs, if I want to, I can polar align them, turn them on and skip all of the goto stuff.  They will track just fine without multiple star alignments, and I can release the clutches to repoint them.


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#8 Augustus

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 01:11 PM

I agree. Similarly, I would love it if Celestron or Meade re-introduced a GoTo-less 8" or 6" fork-mounted SCT for less than $1000 with a simple clock drive.


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#9 Astrojensen

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 01:18 PM

They still do exist. You can still get the Losmandy GM8 and G-11 mounts without GOTO, for example. Also Sky-Watchers EQ-3, EQ-5 and EQ-6 mounts are available without GOTO. Vixen also still has manual mounts. So has Takahashi, though they may not be marketed in the US (I couldn't find them on the official German dealers website, either). 

 

There are probably others that I am unaware of. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#10 terraclarke

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 01:45 PM

They still do exist. You can still get the Losmandy GM8 and G-11 mounts without GOTO, for example. Also Sky-Watchers EQ-3, EQ-5 and EQ-6 mounts are available without GOTO. Vixen also still has manual mounts. So has Takahashi, though they may not be marketed in the US (I couldn't find them on the official German dealers website, either). 

 

There are probably others that I am unaware of. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

Yes, but not with DSCs. I loved my old Dual Drive (mint flavored) Vixen GPDX with DSCs. Wish I still had it. 


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#11 bobito

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 01:47 PM

I like goto because astronomy is a leisurely hobby for me.  I don't care to learn about constellations, names of stars, or coordinates so goto allows me to view whatever I want and all I have to do is find two stars.  I don't even need to know where the stars are because my phone can find them for me.  Call me a millennial astronomer I guess... 

 

As far as effort, once I've found the two alignment stars, I need do nothing else be press buttons and what I want to see is presented to me.  From my POV, I can't figure out why anyone would use a non-goto mount aside from having to set up power.  But even then, you need power for dew control anyway or if you had tracking only mount.  And the few minutes to run an extension cord to the yard is more than made up for by not having to find anything.

 

Noise is less of an issue with modern mounts, although I have never found it annoying.  In fact, I actually find the noise during a goto pretty cool, sounds like a robot!  My LX200 and CGEM mounts were noise, but my Atlas AZ is freakishly quite.

 

Different strokes for different folks...


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#12 terraclarke

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 01:50 PM

I think that you don't see push-to GEMs anymore because very few people buy them; not enough for manufacturers to support that market.

 

Taking your concerns one at a time:

 

Complexity:  There is really not a lot of added complexity with a goto system versus push to.  Assuming that you're interested in DSCs, and assuming that the reason you're not using a dob is that you want tracking, the only significant difference between a push-to GEM with DSCs and RA tracking, and a full goto GEM, is the declination motor.

 

Power Consumption:  The motors are the big power consumers on a mount.  A goto GEM will consume more power when slewing, but when viewing an object while tracking, there should be no significant difference.

 

Noise:  I'll give you this one.  But again, it's only when slewing.

 

And of course with all of my GEMs, if I want to, I can polar align them, turn them on and skip all of the goto stuff.  They will track just fine without multiple star alignments, and I can release the clutches to repoint them.

Seems like all the new ones run with belts and stepper motors in order to handle all go-to function. The old systems were gear driven motors and clutches. Also, there was not the capacity for extensive hardware and software failure that seems inherent in the newer designs. 


Edited by terraclarke, 21 March 2018 - 01:51 PM.

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#13 theastroimager

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 01:51 PM

When it's -10 F outside, GOTO is a wonderful thing to have.

 

As far as noise, knock down the slewing speed to a lower value. It won't be silent, but it will help a lot.


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#14 Astrojensen

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:02 PM

Yes, but not with DSCs. I loved my old Dual Drive (mint flavored) Vixen GPDX with DSCs. Wish I still had it. 

Hmmm. That I can't help with. You may be right that DSCs are a thing of the past. Haven't seen new ones (except for dobs, I think) for years. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#15 terraclarke

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:02 PM

I like goto because astronomy is a leisurely hobby for me.  I don't care to learn about constellations, names of stars, or coordinates so goto allows me to view whatever I want and all I have to do is find two stars.  I don't even need to know where the stars are because my phone can find them for me.  Call me a millennial astronomer I guess... 

 

Different strokes for different folks...

To me, constellations, names of stars, and coordinate systems are a big part of the hobby and of my enjoyment of it. I enjoy using an atlas, star hopping, and using setting circles. I’m old-school and that’s the way I learned it. However, the reality of increased light pollution and urban observing, coupled with being olfder and not wanting to crouch and cramp my neck has made setting circles and especially accurate digital setting circles an attractive option. I have never owned a fully go-to mount and really would like to avoid one, but they are increasingly becoming a sole option.


Edited by terraclarke, 21 March 2018 - 03:00 PM.

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#16 terraclarke

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:05 PM

Hmmm. That I can't help with. You may be right that DSCs are a thing of the past. Haven't seen new ones (except for dobs, I think) for years. 

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark

Yes, that does seem the case anymore. I do like having TV Skytour and DSCs on my UA Unistar and am considering it for my TV panoramic mount. But of of course, they are alt-az. I have thought about getting a GM-8 and adding aftermarket JMI DSCs.


Edited by terraclarke, 21 March 2018 - 02:07 PM.


#17 photoracer18

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:09 PM

Its us older people from the days before even clock drives that appreciate DSC push-to and plain old dual drive systems. I have owned plenty of go-to mounts but most of the time I either don't use them or just use them in GEM mode without using the go-to. These days a mount with dual drives, PEC, and DSCs is plenty, and why I bought an AP400QMD when I already had a CGEM and a Losmandy G-11 G1. Actually the G-11 has DSCs and if I can find someone with a G11 DDS system and cash I am likely to trade off the Gemini one system.
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#18 Dwight J

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:12 PM

I like goto for similar reasons to liking power steering.  It is not necessary but it is sure nice to have it.  My mount is quiet and makes what I think are cool sounds while slewing.  That it points itself is jaw-dropping for the uninitiated and it's coolness factor attracts younger people to our hobby which we really really need.  We just did a lab for university astronomy students.  Many were holding up cell phones trying to grab an image from the eyepiece.  This is the current reality.


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#19 Astrojensen

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:18 PM

 

I like goto for similar reasons to liking power steering.  It is not necessary but it is sure nice to have it.

I'd say GOTO is more like a self-driving car, than power steering. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#20 Gabby76

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:19 PM

I have are my old trusty CG-5 with Argo Navis which I use more than my SXP mount.  


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#21 Astrojensen

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:29 PM

I like goto because astronomy is a leisurely hobby for me.  I don't care to learn about constellations, names of stars, or coordinates so goto allows me to view whatever I want and all I have to do is find two stars.  I don't even need to know where the stars are because my phone can find them for me.  Call me a millennial astronomer I guess... 

 

Different strokes for different folks...

I've met several with this attitude and it never ceases to baffle me. Knowing the constellations, the stars and how the coordinates work add SO, SO VERY MUCH, so many more layers to the understanding and enjoyment of astronomy. 

 

But I guess it's quite hopeless to explain. Different strokes...

 

Sorry for going OT, Terra. My bad.

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#22 Dwight J

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:32 PM

I'd say GOTO is more like a self-driving car, than power steering. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

Not quite.  If it was like a self-driving car your mount and scope would be out in the yard slewing about while you slept or watched TV.  Some imagers do this.  


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#23 Astrojensen

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 02:56 PM

Not quite.  If it was like a self-driving car your mount and scope would be out in the yard slewing about while you slept or watched TV.  Some imagers do this.  

No, LOTS of imagers do this now, some from halfway across the world. But that's the point. It doesn't make a scrap of difference to the mount, whether you're there right next to it or not, just like it doesn't make any difference to an autonomic car, whether you're in it or not, they will both still go to the point you ordered them to. 

 

A normal car with power steering will go nowhere, unless you're inside it driving it, just like a GEM with dual-axis drive (but no GOTO) will not go anywhere on the sky, if you don't point it to it. 

 

That is why GOTO can't be compared to simple power steering, IMO. It does not just assist you, it REPLACES you, at a fundamental level, just like an autonomous car replaces the driver, whether you're right next to it or not.

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#24 SteveInNZ

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 03:05 PM

It seems odd that having a push-to GEM is considered unusual, yet the Dobsonian has brought countless people into the hobby.

I really like the simplicity of using the Super Polaris with the RSC (real setting circles) but while I use those occasionally, I find it more useful to know that one turn of the RA or Dec knob is 2.5 degrees.

Because I never learnt Arabic star names, I find setting up a goto mount relatively frustrating and tended to use my CGEM as push-to. Just don't use the hand control to do anything but the cursor keys.

 

Steve.


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#25 terraclarke

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 03:10 PM

I like goto for similar reasons to liking power steering.  It is not necessary but it is sure nice to have it.  My mount is quiet and makes what I think are cool sounds while slewing.  That it points itself is jaw-dropping for the uninitiated and it's coolness factor attracts younger people to our hobby which we really really need.  We just did a lab for university astronomy students.  Many were holding up cell phones trying to grab an image from the eyepiece.  This is the current reality.

 

Maybe it’s your reality but it is not mine. It’s a hobby! That doesn’t mean everyone must keep up with the latest technology! I’m sorry but I have no desire. For me Astronomy is a lot like fishing and I like to do that myself, not have someone or something do it for me. I’m not saying there should not be go-to! I am happy for anything that attracts people to the hobby. It is just not my cup of tea. And I think it would be nice to have the option to do otherwise.


Edited by terraclarke, 21 March 2018 - 03:17 PM.

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