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Need advice about a mount for AP under $1k

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#51 orionbay

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 03:43 AM

Good point ,My CGEM DX is around 100 lbs ,its big , .All my gear fills up the backseat of my Silverado..

Even with a smaller mount you will probably fill most of your trunk .You will need a power source if there is no 

electric at the camp site ,laptop,power tank etc  a lot of stuff you need for AP.

I'm pretty happy with a size of my Celestron SE mount, it together with an OTA and a power source takes 1/2 of my trunk. If the EQ mount will be somewhat larger, but not twice as large, it will be acceptable



#52 zxx

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 08:48 AM

I'm pretty happy with a size of my Celestron SE mount, it together with an OTA and a power source takes 1/2 of my trunk. If the EQ mount will be somewhat larger, but not twice as large, it will be acceptable

I use the box my mount head came with when traveling  24" x 30" x 16"  An Atlas or  EQ6  is probably about the same size and weight .

Most online vendors will give the box size and shipping weight 


Edited by zxx, 25 January 2019 - 09:49 AM.


#53 WadeH237

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 10:11 AM

Thanks for the offer! I don't know yet, will try to make it.

If you do, just send me a PM reminding me, and I will set something up.

 

And this pretty much applies to anyone.  One of the reasons that I go to star parties is to meet other astronomers, and I'm always up for talking about any part of the hobby and playing with gear.


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#54 WadeH237

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 10:21 AM

Take the mount vs payload. Local wisdom says you have to splash out for a expensive mount to get the payload you need as you need to discount the mass market payload ratings by 50%. Problem is the way payload is defined is useless (And this applies for everyone) because it's just a weight. When what you need is payload based on moment arms in relation to a tracking spec (basically you need a chart instead of a singular figure). 

Agreed.  I don't pay much attention to the "50% rule" and try not to propagate it.

 

In addition to the weight and moment arm, the image scale of the scope and camera is important, as are the actual conditions in which you will be imaging.  And then there is the smoothness of tracking, and the way that the mount responds to guide inputs.

 

But more important that all of this, the manufacturer's payload rating is not at all a standard.  Each manufacturer sets their payload rating based on their own criteria (which they usually don't talk about).  I've had some mounts where I mounted a scope that was "in spec" - and was even a combination that they sold as a bundle - that actually had me concerned that something was going to break.  And I've had mounts where the mount could carry its full rating without even breaking a sweat.

 

That's why the online community is so important.  I put far more stock in an experienced users' opinions than I do in marketing material.


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#55 Orof

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 11:42 AM

Just wanted to add that the Meade LX85 Mount is actually available (though supply is really limited). I already have the LX85 Mount, and it looks robust and appears to be a high quality mount. The 6" LX85 reflector will arrive in about a week, so i will be able to do some testing with it. I bought mine from telescopes.net.
My previous setup was a celestron 130slt with a 100$ used canon 450d and a wedge i built out of wood for AP. Worked great. This should be a great mount.

I got it due to the bad reviews i read about the avx for AP. I didn't want to open the mount and replace the grease, and was discouraged to buy it due to the lousy 6" reflector package that only includes a 6" reflector with a measly 1.25" focuser. The lx85 package has a 2" focuser, which is much better.

If you are willing to wait, i will gladly share my opinion on the AP performance of the mount with the 6" reflector.


Edited by Orof, 25 January 2019 - 07:21 PM.


#56 orionbay

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Posted 25 January 2019 - 06:39 PM

Just wanted to add that the Meade LX85 Mount is actually available (though supply is really limited). I already have the LX85 Mount, and it looks robust and appears to be a high quality mount. The 6" LX85 reflector will arrive in about a week, so i will be able to do some testing with it. I bought mine from telescopes.net.
My previous setup was a celestron 130slt with a 100$ used canon 450d and a wedge i built out of wood for AP. Worked great. This should be a great mount.

I got it due to the bad reviews i read about the avx for AP. I didn't want to open the scope and replace the grease, and was discouraged to buy it due to the lousy 6" reflector package that only includes a 6" reflector with a measly 1.25" focuser. The lx85 package has a 2" focuser, which is much better.

If you are willing to wait, i will be glad to share my opinion on the AP performance of the mount with the 6" reflector.

Yes please share your AP experience with it, will appreciate it!


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#57 Sasho_Panov

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 12:08 PM

Yes please share your AP experience with it, will appreciate it!

Just to add that I have the new Meade LX85 mount and two OTAs (70mm Astrograph and 115mm APO refractor) for 2 and half months. I am using the mount with the following imaging equipment: ZWO AS1600MM Pro, OAG, ASI174MM Mini guider cam, Filter well with LRGB and SII, Ha and OIII filters.

First month I was using my laptop, SGP Pro and PhD2 for sequencing and guiding, but now I am using ASIAIR.

 

Thus far, I am more than satisfied with this mount and you can see my images on astrobin (just search for LX85 or Sasho Panov).

 

I will be happy to provide you more information about this mount and AP, if you like.

 

Sasho


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#58 CorralesRay

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 12:40 PM

I am joining the conversation late, but I was certainly one to build up from scratch slowly. This approach has pros and cons. I started with a Nikon D50 and a barn-door tracker. The "upgrades" have been:

 

T2i astro-modified canon DSLR

 

Sky-adventurer tracking mount

Pole Master



#59 CorralesRay

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 12:46 PM

Oops, somehow I posted that early....anyway now I'm using a AVX mount with the Canon T2i. I've added the William Optics Z61.

 

It bothers me a bit when I hear people say the AVX is bad, my is fine and with a maximum focal length of 360mm the tracking accuracy is appropriate. I can get 3 to 5 minute subs if I'm very careful with polar alignment. I use the pole master and then verify with a southern and eastern tracking sub test using a 100 second exposure and moving the RA to the west and then east.

 

My next upgrade will be to add auto-guiding. I'm looking at the Lacerta since it seems it will be portable to the next mount and system upgrade.

 

I realize the AVX will need to be replaced if I ever increase my focal length.

 

Ray


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#60 orionbay

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 04:30 PM

Just to add that I have the new Meade LX85 mount and two OTAs (70mm Astrograph and 115mm APO refractor) for 2 and half months. I am using the mount with the following imaging equipment: ZWO AS1600MM Pro, OAG, ASI174MM Mini guider cam, Filter well with LRGB and SII, Ha and OIII filters.
First month I was using my laptop, SGP Pro and PhD2 for sequencing and guiding, but now I am using ASIAIR.

Thus far, I am more than satisfied with this mount and you can see my images on astrobin (just search for LX85 or Sasho Panov).

I will be happy to provide you more information about this mount and AP, if you like.

Sasho

Can you please share how long exposures you can get with it guided and unguided? Does it work well out if the box without tuning? How easy is to connect it to laptop and what is required for it?

#61 Sasho_Panov

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 06:17 PM

Can you please share how long exposures you can get with it guided and unguided? Does it work well out if the box without tuning? How easy is to connect it to laptop and what is required for it?

Considering I am using only guided imaging, I have had no need to tune the mount (training of the motors and similar, as called by Audiostar) which is recommended for visual use. I only used PEC training to reduce the periodic error.

 

For emission nebulae, I use SII, Ha and OIII narrowband filters and in those cases, my maximal guided exposure is 900 s, without elongated stars and is rather limited by sky light pollution. Since I am imaging from urban location, usually I use 300 or 600 s exposures. Of course, for imaging of galaxies, star clusters and similar for some bright objects I use LRGB filters combination and much shorter exposures.

 

The mount is pretty good for this price class and even better. It is cast from metal, except the motor covers and polarscope cover.

 

The maximal total weight (OTA and imaging equipment combined) I have used with LX85 is approximately 9,5 kg (max load recommended by Meade is 15 kg).

 

Connection with laptop is by RS232 cable (attached to the AudioStar handbox) converter to USB (to laptop). There are plenty of those cable compatible with Meade scopes on the amazon and ebay.

 

In the last few weeks, I am using AsiAir instead. It comes with ready-to-use RS232-USB cable and (contrary to many popular mounts), INDI-based Meade driver from AsiAir is perfectly working, so now I am using wireless connection and automation of imaging (except focusing, which is expecting to be supported by AsiAir OS in the next few months).


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#62 Orof

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 09:11 AM

Yes please share your AP experience with it, will appreciate it!

finally got the 6'' LX85 Reflector from Meade.

here are some photos that i took from the unboxing (also includes the LX85 polar scope that doesn't come with the Meade LX85 mount)

https://imgur.com/gallery/XAlmsYJ

I also added a video of the movment of the scope when fully assembled: https://youtu.be/Sv8RivGlYSQ

I tested it with a DSLR camera (no problem focusing), eyepieces (the hardest one to focus was the 2'' 32mm eyepiece, but even it got to focus). no need for an extender. the collimation was great from the start, only minor adjustments were needed.

can't wait to test it out. it will be interesting for me to try and balance everything and use a propper scope this time for AP with guiding.

 

Attached Thumbnails

  • dELeHlV.jpg

Edited by Orof, 31 January 2019 - 10:02 AM.

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#63 Tom K

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 08:08 PM

See this thread:

 

https://www.cloudyni...g-discontinued/

 

Another CN member got an email from Astronomics announcing a price drop on the AVX down to $699.   



#64 jstrandberg

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 09:57 PM

Looks like you are getting a lot of replies.  As one who has just a year of experience in AP and who is doing it on a very tight budget, I can say that I am impressed with Explore Scientific's EXOS2GT mount.  I have the older one because I refuse to lug around a laptop and other stuff to use their new version.  With good polar aligning I can get 90second exposures with my AT72ED and 120 second exposures with my 200mm Nikkor-Q.

 

Mine did crap out on me last month, but ES sent me a completely new mount and controller no-questions-asked and they paid for return shipping of my old mount. 


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#65 Stelios

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 10:04 PM

At $699 the AVX is worth gambling on. If you get a bad copy you can pester Celestron till they replace it (they will if it's unfixable).

 

My personal hope is that the price drop on the AVX is a precursor to their releasing an AVX II with a bearing on both axes and Sirius-quality tracking for about $899. If you're not in a hurry (and considering the weather, who is?) waiting for that might be a different gamble worth taking.



#66 Tom K

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 10:15 PM

At $699 the AVX is worth gambling on. If you get a bad copy you can pester Celestron till they replace it (they will if it's unfixable).

 

My personal hope is that the price drop on the AVX is a precursor to their releasing an AVX II with a bearing on both axes and Sirius-quality tracking for about $899. If you're not in a hurry (and considering the weather, who is?) waiting for that might be a different gamble worth taking.

+1 on the AVXII - that would make a great mount for hitting the road!



#67 orionbay

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 03:38 AM

Thanks for a lot of interesting replies!

I'm now thinking between AVX, theoretical AVXII and new Meade LX85.

High price and low portability makes me skeptical about the other options I heard here. I've been thinking about the old used options as well, and I'm not that confident about it given that without much experience I wouldn't be able to maintain it well enough, and all old things require more care than the new ones. And warranty is important too.

I'm planning to wait for 1-2 months and see how it goes.



#68 Wildetelescope

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 07:09 AM

Oops, somehow I posted that early....anyway now I'm using a AVX mount with the Canon T2i. I've added the William Optics Z61.

 

It bothers me a bit when I hear people say the AVX is bad, my is fine and with a maximum focal length of 360mm the tracking accuracy is appropriate. I can get 3 to 5 minute subs if I'm very careful with polar alignment. I use the pole master and then verify with a southern and eastern tracking sub test using a 100 second exposure and moving the RA to the west and then east.

 

My next upgrade will be to add auto-guiding. I'm looking at the Lacerta since it seems it will be portable to the next mount and system upgrade.

 

I realize the AVX will need to be replaced if I ever increase my focal length.

 

Ray

This is a very interesting and useful post.  You are using the mount with a very conservative load, a very conservative focal length and very precise polar alignment.  This is done on purpose, because you understand the limitations of the mount, as indicated by your last sentence.  And you are having success and enjoying yourself.  You are doing everything right;-) this approach is a good one for a beginner with ANY mount in ANY price range.  I think it is fair to say thatMOST people’s concern with the AVX, is that many folks new to the hobby either start with,  or very soon after the purchase, move to a payload/ focal length that challenges the mount.  That really is not the fault of the mount.  The biggest challenge to a beginner is unrealistic expectations, that lead to frustration.  Avoiding that is what leads folks to recommend larger, more expensive gear.  The flip side is that you can have a lot of fun and success with more economical gear,  as long as you understand the limitations, and use it accordingly.  I have had fun imaging with a used CG 4 and a battery driven clock drive.  All about understanding the mount and how you use it.  

 

Cheers! 

 

Jmd


Edited by Wildetelescope, 01 February 2019 - 07:11 AM.

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#69 Tom K

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 12:23 PM

This is a very interesting and useful post.  You are using the mount with a very conservative load, a very conservative focal length and very precise polar alignment.  This is done on purpose, because you understand the limitations of the mount, as indicated by your last sentence.  And you are having success and enjoying yourself.  You are doing everything right;-) this approach is a good one for a beginner with ANY mount in ANY price range.  I think it is fair to say thatMOST people’s concern with the AVX, is that many folks new to the hobby either start with,  or very soon after the purchase, move to a payload/ focal length that challenges the mount.  That really is not the fault of the mount.  The biggest challenge to a beginner is unrealistic expectations, that lead to frustration.  Avoiding that is what leads folks to recommend larger, more expensive gear.  The flip side is that you can have a lot of fun and success with more economical gear,  as long as you understand the limitations, and use it accordingly.  I have had fun imaging with a used CG 4 and a battery driven clock drive.  All about understanding the mount and how you use it.  

 

Cheers! 

 

Jmd

+1 on this comment - actually +100...


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#70 Orof

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 03:19 PM

Well, i havn't done a propper first run yet, as im still testing the ground, but i did manage to do my first successful polar aligment with the meade lx85. i was off by some degree so the go-to accuracy wasn't completely precise, but it was consistent.

for now, i ordered a bunch of stuff to complete my setup:

a working red dot finder

meade rs232 cable (the celestron one didn't work with the meade scope for guiding purposes)

2kg (4.4lb) extra counterweight.

the current counterweight is placed at the end of the shaft, i had to take the 8x50mm finder scope off and remove the battery grip to balance it with the orion accufocus (which works!), guide scope and the dslr camera. i wish meade would have included an 11lb counterweight.

i took a test picture of orion nebula without the guide camera or computer attached, and so far im very pleased. the mount feels like a tank and there are no vibrations whatsoever. the sky was very light polluted due to my location. this is a 10 sec exposure single shot

On march 9th i am planning to go to the desert with the setup and take some decent shots. i hope i will get more proffesional before that.

j4iIIu8.jpg

wruUkrZ.jpg


Edited by Orof, 09 February 2019 - 03:52 PM.

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#71 orionbay

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 03:43 PM

Well, i havn't done a propper first run yet, as im still testing the ground, but i did manage to do my first successful polar aligment with the meade lx85. i was off by some degree so the go-to accuracy wasn't completely precise, but it was consistent.

for now, i ordered a bunch of stuff to complete my setup:

a working red dot finder

meade rs232 cable (the celestron one didn't work with the meade scope for guiding purposes)

2kg (4.4lb) extra counterweight.

the current counterweight is placed at the end of the shaft, i had to take the 8x50mm finder scope off and remove the battery grip to balance it with the orion accufocus (which works!), guide scope and the dslr camera. i wish meade would have included an 11lb counterweight.

i took a test picture of orion nebula without the guide camera or computer attached, and so far im very pleased. the mount feels like a tank and there are no vibrations whatsoever. the sky was very light polluted due to my location. this is a 10 sec exposure single shot

in march 9th i am planning to go to the desert with the setup and take some decent shots. i hope i will get more proffesional before that.

Thanks for sharing! Please let us know how it works with the longer exposures once you get to it!

What do you need to connect it to a laptop?

How noisy is it when you turn it?



#72 Orof

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 06:25 PM

Thanks for sharing! Please let us know how it works with the longer exposures once you get to it!

What do you need to connect it to a laptop?

How noisy is it when you turn it?

Sure will!

i have a usb hub with 3 main connections:

1. Guiding camera usb connection

2. DSLR camera usb connection

3. RS232 to usb converter

the 3rd one the rs232 port, needs to be connected to the hand controller for my laptop to send signals directly to the mount for pulse guiding (instead of using the camera onboard st4 connection). i'm not certain that it will work with this mount, but i believe that it didn't work now because i used the celestron slt rs232 cable that has a different pin layout than the meae cable, which i just bought (the meade 505 cable)

to my ears, outside, it wasn't noisy at all. when it was tracking it was completly silent, and up until rate 6 i could barely hear it. you can hear it when its moving in the max speed, but it is completly tolerable. it is noisier compared to my old 130slt, but not by a lot.


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#73 nimitz69

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 07:22 PM

I’m curious does anybody take an approach of gradual growth with AP? Like in photography, you usually don’t buy a full frame camera straight away, instead you buy something like Canon 500D and try yourself in this area first, and upgrade later if needed (or don’t ever upgrade if it turns out to be boring). What can be an entry level AP mount that I can sell in a couple of years if I want to upgrade? And if I will end up not that passionate with AP, I could just keep it and do one decent photo a year and be happy.

The difficulty with this approach is that if you buy a sub par mount for. AP you’re likely to struggle so much that you don’t stay with the hobby.  You don’t know what you don’t know.  If you haven’t bought anything yet I’d spend money on a quality used EQ6-R equivalent mount and get less expensive camera & scope. You can get a used Nikon D5300 for under $300.

 

with your budget the only realistic option to get enough quality equipment is to go used.  If you decided you’re in for the long haul you can sell & upgrade.



#74 Orof

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 08:57 PM

The difficulty with this approach is that if you buy a sub par mount for. AP you’re likely to struggle so much that you don’t stay with the hobby.  You don’t know what you don’t know.  If you haven’t bought anything yet I’d spend money on a quality used EQ6-R equivalent mount and get less expensive camera & scope. You can get a used Nikon D5300 for under $300.

 

with your budget the only realistic option to get enough quality equipment is to go used.  If you decided you’re in for the long haul you can sell & upgrade.

hey now, i used a celestron 130slt mount (and sold it for a decent price as well before i bought my lx85 6'') for AP.

the whole setup was: 350$ Celestron 130slt, DIY wooden wedge and a 100$ used canon 450D DSLR (which i'm still using).

you can see im my gallary what kind of shots i got with it. I struggled a lot in my last session when i took those 2 beautiful pictures of andromada and orion nebula, and that is what caused me to upgrade my gear. before that though, it was a learning curve that i followed slowly and steadly over the years.

 

in this case, i agree that with the main intention being AP, that a propper AP mount should be bought. i don't think however that the AVX nor the LX85 are subpar for the current situation (a lightweight ED80 scope). when the time comes and he wants to upgrade to a scope larger than what the currnt mount will be able to carry, He will be able to sell it and get an heavier mount. till then, i don't see a reason to go used (though there are some nice deals there if you are quick)

 

it's not like he is starting with a 350$ telecope and a wooden wedge lol.gif


Edited by Orof, 09 February 2019 - 08:59 PM.

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#75 Stelios

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Posted 09 February 2019 - 09:37 PM

This is a very interesting and useful post.  You are using the mount with a very conservative load, a very conservative focal length and very precise polar alignment.  This is done on purpose, because you understand the limitations of the mount, as indicated by your last sentence.  And you are having success and enjoying yourself.  You are doing everything right;-) this approach is a good one for a beginner with ANY mount in ANY price range.  I think it is fair to say thatMOST people’s concern with the AVX, is that many folks new to the hobby either start with,  or very soon after the purchase, move to a payload/ focal length that challenges the mount.  That really is not the fault of the mount.  The biggest challenge to a beginner is unrealistic expectations, that lead to frustration.  Avoiding that is what leads folks to recommend larger, more expensive gear.  The flip side is that you can have a lot of fun and success with more economical gear,  as long as you understand the limitations, and use it accordingly.  I have had fun imaging with a used CG 4 and a battery driven clock drive.  All about understanding the mount and how you use it.  

I am not a beginner, and don't have unrealistic expectations. I had two CG-5's before my first AVX, and did quite a bit of successful imaging with the second. I know about East-heavy, balancing, PA (I had a Polemaster for my CG-5 which I moved to the AVX). My "load" was an ED-80 with an ASI1600+EFW8 (well within load limits). I was guiding (SSAG, same as CG-5). I knew to run the Guide assistant, take its recommendations, and to guide in one direction only to overcome backlash issues. I had read the PhD2 manual cover to cover. I always calibrated on a star near Meridian and Equator and used pulse guiding (although I did in desperation try ST-4 once).

And I was getting 40" (no typo!) DEC pulses every 15-20 seconds. They were visible even visually (the object would exhibit a periodic tiny jerk in the eyepiece). And they were followed by settling oscillations. RMS was of the order of 8" which is bad enough, but the stars were worse than you'd expect from that even.

After spending a lot of time trying to fix things (including loading and playing back PEC with the built-in software), I sent it back, and when their "adjustments" led to little improvement and more wasted time, sent it back again. The second time I got a brand new replacement AVX mount. Lo and behold, gone were all the gremlins! The mount just tracked nicely, and could easily do 1" RMS (guided) with the guidescope and 0.8" with an OAG. (By that time I had bought a Mach1 so I didn't use it on many occasions--I suspect it can do even better). 

So please don't assume that you can judge an experience you haven't been through. I'm sure you're right and some beginners just do things wrong, but there are most definitely problematic AVX's slipping through big C's quality control. 


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