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NOW AVAILABLE! Our New Explore Scientific iEXOS 100 PMC-Eight $399

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#51 PatrickVt

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 10:22 PM

My iEXOS-100 arrived this evening and here are some of my first impressions after assembling it and playing with it indoors:

 

- Assembly is simple and straight-forward.  

 

- The tripod is very lightweight.  Even the mount itself is rather lightweight.  I'm coming from an EXOS-2GT and a Celestron CG-2/3 and I was surprised by how lightweight this mount is even when assembled.  My first impression is that the tripod is actually a bit too lightweight and plastic-y but it might be suitable for my lightweight telescopes.  There is no wobble nor any loose fittings so it seemed stable albeit lightweight.  I won't know how stable it actually is until I can get it outside to do some viewing.

 

- I mounted a Celestron 70mm refractor with diagonal and an eyepiece... balanced it...  the clutches were smooth and easy to work.  Smooth clutches are important to me and I liked these clutches.  This first payload was lightweight at around 3.75 lbs.  Tomorrow I plan to mount my Skywatcher Evostar 72mm refractor which will weigh in at about 4.75 lbs.  The counterweights were located about a third of the way down the counterweight shaft with the Celestron 70mm mounted.  The shaft is short and the counterweights are rather lightweight so I'm thinking that for payloads in the 10-15 lb range, you would probably need additional counterweights.  My thoughts, right now, are that my Explore Scientific ED 102mm will not work on this mount... at least not without extra/heavier counterweights and being balanced perfectly.  

 

- I connected my Talentcell power bank...  powered it on...  then realized that I need to connect my mount to my MS Surface's wifi...  did that...  started Explore Stars...  I may have done something in the wrong order because it wouldn't connect on the first shot.  I had to turn everything off again...  then on...  it connected quickly the second time around though.  (I stopped for a dinner break but my third attempt at connection worked as expected.)

 

- I chose a target using Explore Stars....  and clicked the "Slew to Target" button... the mount immediately whirred to life... a silky smooth whirring... I was immediately impressed!  Compared to my EXOS-2GT (non-PMC) this new mount is very smooth.  I slewed to a few targets and it seemed exceptionally smooth and sure.  Of course, I'm indoors so I do not know how accurately the GoTo worked but it is silky smooth with a soft whirring sound.  By comparison, my EXOS-2GT (non-PMC) sounds a bit gravel-y, coarser while slewing.  Maybe I'll put together a short video in the next couple of days to compare the sounds of each.  

 

 

So far, I'm quite impressed with this little GoTo mount!  It is lightweight, which is what I wanted.  It operates very smoothly.  Control with the Explore Stars app is easy.  The info within the app about each target is a nice feature too.  

 

I hope to play around with it some more tomorrow and I'll add more info here as necessary.  

 

Patrick


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#52 Jerry Hubbell

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Posted 02 January 2019 - 11:31 PM

Thanks Patrick for your purchase, and your initial report on your new iEXOS 100 PMC-Eight mount. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions. I am still working on some of the technical documentation but the iEXOS 100 PMC-Eight User's Manual is available here:

 

 https://cdn.shopify....447697489394579

 



#53 Startex

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 04:33 AM

I don't like hearing that it's smoother than the EXOS2. I was considering the 100 but upgraded to the EXOS2 with PMC with the understanding that is was a better mount with more payload capacity. It's supposed to be here tomorrow.



#54 PatrickVt

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 05:45 AM

I don't like hearing that it's smoother than the EXOS2. I was considering the 100 but upgraded to the EXOS2 with PMC with the understanding that is was a better mount with more payload capacity. It's supposed to be here tomorrow.

The EXOS-2GT w/PMC should be as smooth as this iEXOS.  It is the same belt driven system, as far as I know.  I was comparing it to the older EXOS-2GT without PMC which, I assume, is a worm gear system.  Although that older EXOS works just fine for me, it is not nearly as smooth as the newer PMC units.

 

The EXOS-2GT with PMC is a heavier duty version of this iEXOS-100.  They should operate the same.

 

My experience, thus far, has been so good with the iEXOS that I'm also considering purchasing the EXOS-2GT w/PMC and selling my original EXOS-2GT.

 

Patrick



#55 Newfie Stargazer

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 01:08 PM

How do you adjust for azmith when performing a polar alignment?  I see a knob for elevation adjustment, but do not see anything for fine adjustments in azmith when attempting to do a polar alignment.  Am thinking of purchasing this mount to use with my AT60ED for wide field astrophotography.

 

Also, is this mount compatible with ASIAir?



#56 Jerry Hubbell

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 02:32 PM

Hi Newfie,

 

There is no fine adjustment for the Azimuth, you can easily slightly loosen the tripod mount bolt and precisly nudge the mount head in azimuth to polar align in azimuth. The ASIAir apparently supports INDI drivers and there is an INDI driver available for all PMC-Eight systems so it will probably work. We have not tried this configuration. For more information please join the PMC-Eight Groups.io forum.



#57 Startex

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 04:32 PM

The EXOS-2GT w/PMC should be as smooth as this iEXOS. 

 

The EXOS-2GT with PMC is a heavier duty version of this iEXOS-100.  They should operate the same.

Is this true Jerry?


Edited by Startex, 03 January 2019 - 04:35 PM.


#58 Jerry Hubbell

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 06:19 PM

Yes, that is correct. The PMC-Eight versions of both mounts are configured the same, just different sizes.



#59 PatrickVt

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 06:33 PM

I put together a video today which makes it easier to compare the sound of the motors on the EXOS-2GT (non-PMC) and the new iEXOS-100 PMC-Eight.  This makes it easier to hear what I was referring to in my first impressions post above.  

 

https://vimeo.com/309354190

 

I'm still enjoying this new iEXOS-100 and learning more and more about it and the Explore Stars app.  

 

I just remembered one other thing I should mention here...  I tried mounting my Explore Scientific ED 102mm refractor on the iEXOS-100...  I find it to be too heavy and too bulky for this mount.  It weighed in at about 13 lbs with the 2" diagonal and a Baader Hyperion eyepiece but no finderscope.  The counterweights for this new mount were not even close to being heavy enough for this so I used my 11 lb counterweight from my EXOS-2GT....  with all that weight on the mount, there was a bit of flexure in the mount so I didn't even attempt to slew it.  This should come as no surprise though since the total weight of the scope and counterweight is up around 24 lbs. 

 

I removed it all and went to my Skywatcher Evostar 72mm refractor which is much better suited to this mount.  That weighed in at around 7 lbs with diagonal and eyepiece but no finderscope.  This Skywatcher is the scope used on the iEXOS-100 in the video.  My ED 102mm refractor was mounted on my EXOS-2GT in the video.

 

Patrick


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#60 PatrickVt

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 06:42 PM

Is this true Jerry?

 

 

Startex...   in reference to the EXOS-2GT PMC-Eight compared to the iEXOS-100 PMC-Eight...  here is a video review found on YouTube (not mine).  The EXOS-2GT PMC-Eight sounds exactly the same as my iEXOS-100.  The major difference between the two is the capacity.  

 

https://www.youtube....Pajsd9H4&t=449s

 

Patrick



#61 Rmorales6

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 08:15 PM

Patrick,

 

would the iexos-100 fit on your EXOS-2GT tripod with the piece on top of the tripod (the part for azimuth adjustment during polar alignment) removed?

 

Robert



#62 PatrickVt

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Posted 03 January 2019 - 08:22 PM

Patrick,

 

would the iexos-100 fit on your EXOS-2GT tripod with the piece on top of the tripod (the part for azimuth adjustment during polar alignment) removed?

 

Robert

No.  The two models are completely different.  The diameter of the EXOS-2GT tripod head is far larger than the iEXOS-100 tripod head.  The iEXOS-100 tripod is more similar to the Celestron CG-2 tripod but even those are not even close to being interchangeable.  

 

Patrick


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#63 johnt9432

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 02:47 PM

     I purchased the iEXOS-100 and have been delighted with it. It easily handles a C5 and C6 but with 1.25 inch diagonal and eye pieces. The 2 inch add just a little too much weight. I use a iPad to control it, due to simplicity of just one download. If you do a 3 star alignment it usually dead on. I have made mistakes doing a 3 star alignment and can tell you that this system learns and will make the adjustments when you slew to other objects and hit the sync button. If you do this every time it will be dead on in no time. I have yet to see exactly how long the batteries will last. I did order the 12v power cord for this so I don't have to worry about batteries. The power cord is exactly the same as EXOS2-GT. The customer service with Explore Scientific has been awesome. I had issues with the initial start up and sync with the PMC 8 and I called and Kent spent over an hour on the phone to work it all out. A big shout out to Kent and his commitment to excellent service. If you have a small OTA, you can't go wrong with this especially at the price point. 


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#64 Jerry Hubbell

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 06:23 PM

Hi John,

 

I am glad you are having a good experience with your iEXOS 100 PMC-Eight mount. If you haven't yet, I would suggest you join the PMC-Eight Groups.io support forum.

 

Clear Skies!!



#65 wbrogdo1

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 07:40 PM

Any plans to offer a package bundle on this mount?


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#66 Newfie Stargazer

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 06:29 AM

I'm a little confused as to what type of cable is required to hard wire this mount to my PC vs. wireless.  The mount has a mini-USB connector; do I need a serial converter?  My iOptron required this but the plug on the mount was a RJ9 and came with an RJ9 to RS232 cable.  I have a a RS232 to USB converter already.



#67 PatrickVt

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 10:51 AM

I'm a little confused as to what type of cable is required to hard wire this mount to my PC vs. wireless.  The mount has a mini-USB connector; do I need a serial converter?  My iOptron required this but the plug on the mount was a RJ9 and came with an RJ9 to RS232 cable.  I have a a RS232 to USB converter already.

Although I have not yet tried it, according to Jerry Hubbell, this mount only requires a USB to mini-USB cable.  The mount itself already has the required serial chipset on board.  You do, however, need to use three little utility programs to change the protocol of the wifi so it will run on ASCOM...  wired or wirelessly.  

 

Anyway, no RS232 cable required for this mount. 

 

Patrick

 

PS...  for more info on what needs to be done to get any connection working correctly, see the PMC-Eight Groups. io Support Forum.  You will find all the files necessary as well as notes and manuals. 


Edited by PatrickVt, 15 January 2019 - 10:52 AM.


#68 Newfie Stargazer

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 02:37 PM

Although I have not yet tried it, according to Jerry Hubbell, this mount only requires a USB to mini-USB cable.  The mount itself already has the required serial chipset on board.  You do, however, need to use three little utility programs to change the protocol of the wifi so it will run on ASCOM...  wired or wirelessly.  

 

Anyway, no RS232 cable required for this mount. 

 

Patrick

 

PS...  for more info on what needs to be done to get any connection working correctly, see the PMC-Eight Groups. io Support Forum.  You will find all the files necessary as well as notes and manuals. 

Patrick,

 

That's good news then.  I have been able to connect to the mount wireless via ASCOM.  I see that there is a place when running the ASCOM Diagnostics (Choose Device, Choose and connect to device, click choose,  select ES_PMC8 Telescope, then click Properties - enable serial port) where one can change from wireless to wired; is this where the chance is made?


Edited by Newfie Stargazer, 15 January 2019 - 02:38 PM.


#69 PatrickVt

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 02:51 PM

Here is the link to the PDF file at the PMC-Eight Group I referred to....   https://espmc-eight....AN003_rev01.pdf

 

Aside from the info in the document I linked, yes, you also need to change the way to connect within the ASCOM properties as you noticed.

 

Patrick


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#70 Newfie Stargazer

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 02:52 PM

Here is the link to the PDF file at the PMC-Eight Group I referred to....   https://espmc-eight....AN003_rev01.pdf

 

Aside from the info in the document I linked, yes, you also need to change the way to connect within the ASCOM properties as you noticed.

 

Patrick

Thank You :)



#71 PatrickVt

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 03:04 PM

I haven't had much luck with connecting wirelessly through ASCOM yet.  I think I'm having channel issues...  too much traffic and interference...  so my mount won't stay connected for longer than a slew or two while using ASCOM/POTH.  Then the wifi drops out and all the programs I'm using freeze.  Oddly though, I have absolutely no problems wirelessly through Explore Stars.  

 

I never received the wifi dongle with my mount so I had to call ES for them to send one to me.  That arrived yesterday but I have not had a chance to use it to change the wifi channel yet.  I might get to that tonight or tomorrow.

 

If I get the wireless ASCOM working properly with Stellarium, Cartes du Ciel, and Starry Night, then I might give a wired connection a shot too.  For this lightweight mount, I think I want to stay as light as possible which would mean I prefer wireless rather than wired.  I would, however, like the option to connect to planetarium software wirelessly too.  To be honest, I probably will never use planetarium software control in the field though.  Explore Stars works so well on its own.

 

On the positive side, after changing the wifi protocol from UDP to TCP, I have been able to connect to the mount using the ASCOM driver.  I just won't stay connected for longer than a slew or two before dropping out.  I'm hoping changing the channel using the dongle will resolve this issue.

 

Patrick


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#72 Newfie Stargazer

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 05:16 PM

Pat,

 

I will give mine a go this evening and see how it works as for the change over to wired ASCOM.  I intend to use this mount for wide field imaging using ASIAir.

 

Jim



#73 b16707

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 08:35 PM

Been interested in this mount ever since it came out to get a compact goto mount to replace my star adventurer for AP. The new price just made it sweeter.

Have a couple of questions:
Polar scope - is the scope more than just a "tunnel"? Any reticle type that it could be closest too so I can use the PolarFinder app like I can my SA to align as accurately as possible instead of "roughly" as stated in specs? Does it even have a reticle?

Any reason why I would not want to sell my SA for this? Other than size? I really would like goto to shave off the time it takes to manually find my target

Any real world usage thoughts appreciated too

Edited by b16707, 17 January 2019 - 08:38 PM.


#74 PatrickVt

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 09:58 AM

Been interested in this mount ever since it came out to get a compact goto mount to replace my star adventurer for AP. The new price just made it sweeter.

Have a couple of questions:
Polar scope - is the scope more than just a "tunnel"? Any reticle type that it could be closest too so I can use the PolarFinder app like I can my SA to align as accurately as possible instead of "roughly" as stated in specs? Does it even have a reticle?

Any reason why I would not want to sell my SA for this? Other than size? I really would like goto to shave off the time it takes to manually find my target

Any real world usage thoughts appreciated too

The "polar scope" is indeed just a smooth, narrow tunnel.  The diameter is approximately only 11-12mm.  It actually is narrow enough to be good for placing Polaris near the edge of this scope view opposite Kochab...  which then closely puts the CNP in the center of the alignment tube.  

 

I already own a Polemaster that I use with my EXOS-2GT.  I plan to purchase a Vixen-mount adapter for the Polemaster that clamps onto the underside of the Vixen dovetail bar.  Then I can use my Polemaster with my iEXOS-100 too.  

 

I know very little about the Star Adventurer mount.   I believe the capacity would be about the same for astrophotography though (since they both claim a capacity in the 10-11 lb range for astrophotography).  The Explore Stars app for the iEXOS-100 is nice so I suspect that is a nicer feature to have.  

 

Let's go back to capacities.  I have an Explore Scientific ED 102mm refractor that weighs in at 9.6 lbs, bare (Edit:  I was slightly off on this spec, see post #76 below)...  no diagonal, no guidescope, nothing but the OTA.  I placed this refractor on the iEXOS-100 in this bare configuration...  there is no way I would use that refractor on this mount...  not for astrophotography, not for visual (again, see post #76, below...  I would use this combo for visual work with the right counterweights and no additional accessories).  The counterweights weren't even heavy enough to balance the scope.  I took my 10 lb counterweight from my EXOS-2GT to give it a whirl...  no way.  The load was too heavy and causing a tiny bit of flex in the mount.  I'll admit that if I had a lighter counterweight to try that might minimize the flexure I noticed but all I had to try at the time was my EXOS-2GT counterweight.  I didn't even turn the mount on to try it.  I simply was not comfortable with that amount of weight and length on this mount.  It is not a combination I would use.  I bought this iEXOS-100 to use with my Skywatcher Evostar ED 72mm refractor which is about four and a half pounds and it handles this very easily.  Somewhere between these two scopes is probably the realistic limit.

 

All this being said, if I had a 10 lb short tube Mak-Cass...   it is possible it would work on this mount.  As a rough guess and generally speaking, I probably wouldn't go over 8 lbs with this mount.  I've seen Star Adventurer mounts and, from my experiences with other mounts and telescopes, there is no way I would mount my Explore Scientific ED 102mm on that either.  I'd probably limit that mount to only 8 lbs too rather than the claimed 11 lbs (with the counterweight kit used properly).

 

So, since I've never used a Star Adventurer mount, I really can't advise you one way or the other on whether you should sell that for this iEXOS-100.  My gut feeling is that this iEXOS-100 would be a better option for getting started with lightweight scopes but I honestly don't know for sure since I've never touched a Star Adventurer.  The Explore Stars app is a joy to use too so that is also a plus.

 

Patrick


Edited by PatrickVt, 18 January 2019 - 10:24 AM.


#75 PatrickVt

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 10:08 AM

I just put my Explore Scientific ED 102mm refractor on the scale to make sure I had the weight correct...  sorry...  it weighed in at 11 lbs.  That includes the cradle rings and dovetail but nothing else.  I'm going to try it on the iEXOS-100 again.  I let you know how it goes.

 

Patrick




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