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CGX-L *OR* AP Mach1GTO *OR* Paramount MYTRED

astrophotography Celestron mount
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#1 jerahian

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 10:53 PM

In the next 3-4 months, I will be upgrading my mount.  I've come to enjoy imaging only, with no visual observation at all.  You can see what I have been using from my sig below, and it's served me well.  I mostly image from my backyard, without a permanent setup (maybe someday), so I schlep everything out and in on as many clear nights as I can.  In the future, I also hope to add a hefty imaging refractor to my set, currently thinking the Sky-Watcher Esprit 150mm APO.  That was just for context...

 

So, for the mount, initially, I was thinking of upgrading to the CGX-L, given the price point and the hefty instrument capacity, not to mention I'm used to the Celestron setup now.  But, I've read & watched a lot of complaints about the worm gear and the belt drive and yada yada.  Now, I know one mostly finds posts and videos of people griping about stuff and not necessarily any about how things are going swimmingly, so I have to take this information with a grain of salt.  Also, given the price point, more people may have purchased a CGX-L over any of the higher end mounts, so the ratio of videos about issues could be higher for that reason.  Lastly, some of the information about issues tend to be a few years old, so would the CGX-L issues be largely resolved now?  Rhetorical question, unless any of you know the details for sure.  I don't want to tinker with a mount anymore.

 

I want a mount that comes off the production floor ready to do its job, NOT to be tested by the end user.

 

That said, I think I may have boiled it down to TWO hopeful mounts I think should be problem free.  Both are about double the cost of the CGX-L, so I must retain the CGX-L as an option if its kink free these days.  So, these are:

  • Astro-Physics MACH1GTO
  • Paramount MYTRED

Both of these are similarly priced (~$5.5-6K), and I haven't fully explored the essentials one would need to buy to go along with each (total ~$7K with pier, extension, weights, polar scope, etc.).  I would love to include the 10Micron in this decision, but the GM1000 starts at a cool $10K, which is more than I'd like to spend.

 

So, I would love to hear which one you fine folks recommend.  Please also mention why you would recommend it.  If you must recommend a mount other than these 3, please also let me know why you didn't recommend any of these.

 

Thank you, thank you!  I look forward to all your CN musings, thoughts, and recommendations!



#2 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 11:14 PM

There are a number of threads that compare mounts in this price range, but I think that either a Mach 1 or a MyT would do you fine. The issue is that the mounts operate differently, have different design "philosophies" (and design histories), different accessories (like RAPAS!), have a different approach to software and have different service & support models. I realize that you probably don't know anyone who has either of these mounts to try them out, so you may be stuck reading the manuals (Here is a link to the SkyX user manual and a link to the Paramount manual) and looking at YouTube videos (beyond advice here).
 
Personally, I own a Paramount MyT and I have, so far, had good luck with it. I know others who have a Mach 1 and are also very happy. Truthfully, I know that I would have been happy with a Mach 1 as well. In my case, however, I am a long-term CCDSoft/Sky6 & SkyX user and the MyT is the more obvious "hardware extension" for that software because they were designed to work together. Because of my history as a (happy) customer, I knew the Software Bisque staff and they are also located across town from me. At the end of the day, though, so long as it does what I want at the end of a USB cable and works with my software of choice and my workflow, that's 90% of what I care about.
 
Best of luck. It's an excellent "problem" to have,


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#3 Ron359

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 11:16 PM

I've also been assessing the CGX-L and others for a new higher cap. mount,  but not require a 2nd mortgage.   I think I've read the same earlier reports of the CGX-L drives but they seem pretty minor to me as many gear drive systems require 'tweaking' at some point.  And as you note there is not much recent 'bad reports.

 

 I recently got a chance to see and talked to one couple using one for imaging at a small star party in AZ.  and they love their mount.  I think you're also missing the fact that the CGX-L has 'handles' that make it far easier to "schlep" in and out than the other mounts you mention.  I"m not having to schlep one around, but I think this would be a huge advantage if you have to carry in and out all the time.  That and the fact you're familiar with the Nexstar OS,  if it has large cap. for you and price point would sell me.  


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#4 AgilityGuy

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 12:07 AM

I purchased a Mach1 a bit more than a year ago.  The mount just works and gets out of the way.  But things happen and when they do good support is invaluable.  When I see one of the folks at Astro-Physics answering emails on their Yahoo email list in real time - late in the evening - with someone that’s having an issue and getting them back on track it reminds me I bought from the correct company.   It’s possible SB gives customers the same support but A-P components just fit my needs the best. 


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#5 jerahian

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 02:42 PM

Thanks all! I got one vote for each it seems, plus a private PM for a 10Micron. I was prepared though; I didn’t think it was going to be easy :)

#6 bobhen

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 03:06 PM

Both mounts should work for you. I had a Mach One for 8 years and it delivered the goods.

 

If your budget is tight, have a look at the Losmandy G11. They are nicely machined, have been around for decades and have good support. And with a C8 working at F7 or faster that should be no problem. I had a G11 for many years and I did like the Mach One better but the G11 is still a fine workhorse mount.

 

For serious imaging, I would stay away from the Chinese mounts.

 

Bob



#7 darrellx

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 03:40 PM

I was in a similar position 18 months ago.  I found I was imaging almost exclusively and wanted to upgrade my imaging scope.  I settled on the Skywatcher Esprit 150 and then looked for a mount to handle the job.

 

I eventually purchased the AP Mach1.  I split my time between imaging in the backyard and going to my dark site observatory about two and a half hours drive away.  Setting up, breaking down, and transporting are no problem.

 

With my guidescope and cameras my total rig weight is 22kgs (48lb) and the Mach1 just hums along.

 

When I was looking for a good mount I also considered the CGX-L, but I read so often that the Mach1 just "fades into the background" once you setup.  I does!  It seems to be hassle free so far (after 9 months).  The other big plus for me is that balancing and aligning is so so easy.

 

By the way, I am also really pleased with the Esprit 150.

 

Good luck.

 

Darrell


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#8 dr.who

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 05:57 PM

I made this comparison a while ago. 10 Micron was also on my list, but like you I decided against it because of the higher cost for the base model of the mount. It was a fantastic mount that did things the MyT and Mach1 couldn't but the extra cost didn't balance the added value gained. In the end I decided to go with the Mach1. The reasons I selected AP over Software Bisque were as follows:

 

1. AP uses a standard 12v power supply. MyT would have required a 48v power source when everything else in my setup was 12v. I didn't want to deal with that.

 

2. AP mounts are remarkably accurate but are stupid simple to setup and use. With the MyT I would need to learn the TSX suite. Which is some amazing software but has a steep learning curve. I didn't want to deal with that. With the AP mounts I put in the RAPAS, put Polaris where the app told me to, sync (ONLY! when I am in the field and setting up/tearing down each time) on a star, and I am within minutes of the pole and all my GOTO's are dead nuts on. 

 

3. There is 15 lbs extra headroom with the Mach1 vs. the MyT. That being 65 lbs vs 50 lbs. And the usual 1/2 of the rated weight don't apply to either of them. So that is an accurate weight rating within reason. By within reason I mean that moment arm also comes into play. I can put my EdgeHD 14" SCT on my Mach1 without problem. The Mach1 treats it like it isn't there. I can't put a TEC 180 on it and expect to image with it. The moment arm on the TEC is substantially greater than with the SCT due to the length of the tube plus the weight. 

 

4. The way the mount is made mechanically and the interface to it (electronics and computer control) is done differently than the MyT. The MyT is a engineering marvel from a high tech feature rich standpoint. The Mach1 is, as I said, stupid simple.

 

Here is an analogy: My friend had a BMW road bike. It was the police interceptor version. Computer controlled with lots of high tech high value features. I rode a 1975 Harley Shovelhead FL. It was stock save I added an electronic starter to it. Kick starting it was not a lot of fun. He and I were both in a parking lot after eating lunch. My starter crapped out. His computer crapped out. A flatbed tow truck had to come get his bike and tow it to the local BMW dealer for technician repair. I kick started my Harley, he got on the back, rode B****, when we got back to my place I tore down my starter system and repaired it in my driveway while we shot the bull. I then took him home. He got his bike back three days later with a steep bill.

 

My point is that the Mach1 is like my Harley with the electronic starter. Old school but reliable. The MyT is a technological marvel but is very dependent on that technology.

 

With all that said my reasons/requirements may not mesh with your reasons/requirements. Either the Mach1 or the MyT will be a fantastic setup and you will be pleased as pie with either of them. What both do for you is make one of the more frustrating aspects of AP much less so. They do this because they reduce the potential amount of fiddling you have to do either each time you setup or in the event you are troubleshooting. By fiddling I mean the setup and ultimately troubleshooting you have to go through to get things to work right. They do this because the manufacturing tolerances are higher so there is a much lower variation on build, the materials used are higher, the QC is higher, and the performance is higher. You do get what you pay for.

 

I also own the CGX. It isn't the L but it is the same class of mount. I use it for outreach with the EdgeHD 14". I don't think I would use it for imaging simply because it is a mass produced mount and the potential fiddle factor is much higher with it or any of the other mass produced mounts. These mounts are built to a different price point than the boutique mounts like the Mach1 and MyT.

 

For me I want to image. That is the core critical success factor. Anything that has the potential to take me away from the CSF is a detriment to my enjoyment of the AP part of the hobby. Thus for me, the cost of the Mach1 was worth it because with it I eliminate a big component of the potential problems that can crop up in a very complex and difficult part of the hobby. 

 

One more thought. If you look at the top tier of imagers you will find they are not imaging with a Celestron, Meade, iOptron, Skywatcher mount. They are using AP, Software Bisque, or 10 Micron mounts. They do this for a reason. And it isn't because they are necessarily swimming in spare cash. 

 

Oh and one last thought. Don't worry. One of the iOptron fanatical rabid evangelists  should be along shortly to loudly tout the wonders of iOptron like a street corner preacher trying to hustle some poor piker out of their hard earned cash and berate you for being a mouth breathing unwashed drooling dolt for daring to consider anything other than a CEM60. Just smile and nod then slowly back away.  


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#9 orlyandico

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 07:08 PM

Funny about iOptron.. but if considering a CGX-L or a G11, then I would argue that iOptron is also an option.


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#10 DuncanM

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 08:02 PM

The CEM60 has exceptional performance and is very portable, while the CEM120 is not that portable (although not really that heavy) but has excellent capacity and very good tracking.

 

I own one of each, and while I don't evangelize about them, they are 'a better mousetrap' in many ways. Nether has required any learning curve or tinkering except for finding the "sweet spot" on the CEM60 gear switch.


Edited by DuncanM, 21 March 2019 - 11:22 AM.


#11 dr.who

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 11:05 AM

Funny about iOptron.. but if considering a CGX-L or a G11, then I would argue that iOptron is also an option.

 

 

The CEM60 is has exceptional performance and is very portable, while the CEM120 is not that portable (although not really that heavy) but has excellent capacity and very good tracking.

 

I own one of each, and while I don't evangelize about them, they are 'a better mousetrap' in many ways. Nether has required any learning curve or tinkering except for finding the "sweet spot" on the CEM60 gear switch.

 

If it is a choice between the CGX-L/G11 and a CEM60 then I would recommend the CEM60 with encoders hands down. I see it as a step above the G11 but a fair step down from a Mach1/MyT. 

 

As to the evangelizing of them, there is a cadre here that does exactly that. I find it embarrassing for them and very very short sighted as well as close minded. But then there are people here who do the same thing about TEC, Tak, AP scopes, Meade, Celestron, and so on. Personally I want what will work the best for me for the money I have to spend. That doesn't lock me into any one brand and means I will look at everything. I also think every product and manufacturer has its pluses and minuses and to be blind to that is a bad thing.


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#12 jerahian

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 12:53 PM

1. AP uses a standard 12v power supply. MyT would have required a 48v power source when everything else in my setup was 12v. I didn't want to deal with that.

Good point, I didn't know that.  I wouldn't want to deal with that either.

 

2. AP mounts are remarkably accurate but are stupid simple to setup and use. With the MyT I would need to learn the TSX suite. Which is some amazing software but has a steep learning curve. I didn't want to deal with that. With the AP mounts I put in the RAPAS, put Polaris where the app told me to, sync (ONLY! when I am in the field and setting up/tearing down each time) on a star, and I am within minutes of the pole and all my GOTO's are dead nuts on. 

 

...

 

4. The way the mount is made mechanically and the interface to it (electronics and computer control) is done differently than the MyT. The MyT is a engineering marvel from a high tech feature rich standpoint. The Mach1 is, as I said, stupid simple.

Stupid simple is what I'm looking for now.  No more fiddling for me!

 

Also, with Ken Sturrock's and your comments re: the Paramount and SkyX, I'm getting the sense the "philosophy" of SB mounts are drastically different, yet understandably still top notch, from what I am used to already.  Basically I'm looking for a simple, robust, plug-and-play mount.

 

3. There is 15 lbs extra headroom with the Mach1 vs. the MyT. That being 65 lbs vs 50 lbs. And the usual 1/2 of the rated weight don't apply to either of them. So that is an accurate weight rating within reason. By within reason I mean that moment arm also comes into play. I can put my EdgeHD 14" SCT on my Mach1 without problem. The Mach1 treats it like it isn't there. I can't put a TEC 180 on it and expect to image with it. The moment arm on the TEC is substantially greater than with the SCT due to the length of the tube plus the weight. 

Yes, I did know the 15lbs difference, but I did NOT know the 1/2 rule didn't apply to them.  I know the 1/2 rule is a general rule-of-thumb for most mounts, and I imagine it's to reduce the effort on the mount when they're prone to variations (e.g. beginner/intermediate mounts).  Is it not a rule with all high-end mounts?  And, if so, is it because AP, SB, 10Micron mounts are produced with such an assured quality that they are known to robustly handle that load capacity?

 

dr.who, your post is really great.  Thank you for taking the time to put all this down.  It's been helpful to nudge me in the direction of the Mach1.  I wasn't looking at the CEMs because I feel like I've read not so positive reviews about the CEM60 when passively researching, and the CEM120, being very new, is more expensive than the Mach1 or MYT when you include the encoders.

 

I'm actually sad about the CGX/-L.  It has so much potential if only the quality was assured during production.

 

Thanks again for your awesome post!



#13 jerahian

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 12:59 PM

I was in a similar position 18 months ago.  I found I was imaging almost exclusively and wanted to upgrade my imaging scope.  I settled on the Skywatcher Esprit 150 and then looked for a mount to handle the job.

 

I eventually purchased the AP Mach1.  I split my time between imaging in the backyard and going to my dark site observatory about two and a half hours drive away.  Setting up, breaking down, and transporting are no problem.

 

With my guidescope and cameras my total rig weight is 22kgs (48lb) and the Mach1 just hums along.

 

When I was looking for a good mount I also considered the CGX-L, but I read so often that the Mach1 just "fades into the background" once you setup.  I does!  It seems to be hassle free so far (after 9 months).  The other big plus for me is that balancing and aligning is so so easy.

 

By the way, I am also really pleased with the Esprit 150.

 

Good luck.

 

Darrell

 

Darrell-

 

Glad to hear about the Esprit 150!  I'm dying to get one, but I must refrain until I have my mount "situation" resolved :)  Post a photo of your Esprit 150 on your Mach1, I would love to see it!

 

Also, if you have an Astrobin profile, I would love to see some of the images you've captured with this setup.  I won't hold your Aussie targets against you tongue2.gif ...j/k, I'm in Sydney and Melbourne a few times / year for work...your dark skies from the bush must be amazing!!



#14 DuncanM

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 01:09 PM

I am fairly confident that a CEM60 will handle it's rated capacity under windless conditions but once you add some wind into the equation things change.

 

You can't really compare a CEM120 EC2 mount to mounts without high precision encoders. The CEM120 does compare very well feature wise but I wouldn't care to pack it around on a nightly basis.


Edited by DuncanM, 22 March 2019 - 09:12 AM.


#15 gotak

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 06:40 PM

Even so called premium mounts have derated payload under certain circumstances so don't expect it'll carry anything up to the stated weight.

Mach1 for example max out at a recommended SCT limit of 11". And a c11 is a lot less than 60lb.

#16 Jarno

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 05:36 AM

How about the Avalon Linear? It has less capacity than the AP (44 lbs) but it does fulfill the "simply works" requirement. Added benefits are that it really doesn't have backlash as advertised, it's quiet when slewing, quick to setup and... it's red. :)

Jarno

#17 schmeah

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 05:38 AM

I recall when the MyT was relatively new there were numerous Mach1 vs MyT threads, and opinion and potential purchases seemed to be split down the middle. It may be just my perception, but the interest on these boards when considering entry level premium mounts seems to have largely shifted towards the Mach 1. And I wonder if this is because of APs updating the capacity of the Mach 1 to 65 lbs from 45 lbs. The MyT is around 50lbs I recall. And I also agree with the above post that the Avalons (Linear and M Uno) are worthy of consideration.

 

Derek


Edited by schmeah, 22 March 2019 - 05:43 AM.


#18 gotak

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 06:14 AM

I recall when the MyT was relatively new there were numerous Mach1 vs MyT threads, and opinion and potential purchases seemed to be split down the middle. It may be just my perception, but the interest on these boards when considering entry level premium mounts seems to have largely shifted towards the Mach 1. And I wonder if this is because of APs updating the capacity of the Mach 1 to 65 lbs from 45 lbs. The MyT is around 50lbs I recall. And I also agree with the above post that the Avalons (Linear and M Uno) are worthy of consideration.

Derek


I do believe that it was posted here on CN that AP updated their payload rating specifically due to feeling too many people where choosing another make due to the number. Make a search for this thread. Lots of defenders of their move.

For me though as the c11 is their recommended SCT limit, and many examples also exists of cem60 imaging with c11 OTA, then the entire payload of p vs non-profit derating rule of thumb is useless. Then again i have said many times payload rating is not done right by anyone.

Anyhow end of day find out what actually works for other people in similar use cases before deciding if you want to be sure. The situation is that most people image in the open. And i think there's a tendency to put money into the mount over money into putting up walls, and that's actually where the 1/2 rule originally came from. As I have seen a pretty incredible example of an eq5 imaging in a ROR while overloaded and the results can't be complaint of by anyone. And my own experience with my ROR was that improved my guiding RMS by 0.1-0.2 arc-second on average.

#19 WadeH237

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 07:40 AM

For me though as the c11 is their recommended SCT limit, and many examples also exists of cem60 imaging with c11 OTA, then the entire payload of p vs non-profit derating rule of thumb is useless. Then again i have said many times payload rating is not done right by anyone.

Are you seriously suggesting that a CEM60 has comparable real world capacity to a Mach1?

 

There is a current thread on the AP-GTO user group regarding carrying a RASA 11 on a Mach1.  The owner of Astro-Physics says that this will be fine.  The RASA 11 is substantially heavier than an EdgeHD 11 (43lb vs 28lb) and has a longer moment arm.

 

He's also said that he's used his 10" Mak Cass on a Mach1 with no problems.  This is a 45lb scope, with a 3.7 meter focal length.

 

The 65lb capacity of the Mach1 is a typical Astro-Physics conservative rating.


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#20 gotak

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 07:45 AM

Are you seriously suggesting that a CEM60 has comparable real world capacity to a Mach1?

There is a current thread on the AP-GTO user group regarding carrying a RASA 11 on a Mach1. The owner of Astro-Physics says that this will be fine. The RASA 11 is substantially heavier than an EdgeHD 11 (43lb vs 28lb) and has a longer moment arm.

He's also said that he's used his 10" Mak Cass on a Mach1 with no problems. This is a 45lb scope, with a 3.7 meter focal length.

The 65lb capacity of the Mach1 is a typical Astro-Physics conservative rating.

This one's RASA on a CEM60.

https://www.cloudyni...ping-horsehead/

Or, how about a 12" meade SCT on a cem60 with 0.59 RMS Toal?

https://www.cloudyni...-again-tonight/


I am saying 11" SCT is way off 65Lb, if you think you can show otherwise even though AP themselves states that over and over... then good for you. There are examples of similar stuff tried on the cem60 too..

For me everyone's payload rating has caveats.

Edited by gotak, 22 March 2019 - 08:40 AM.

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#21 dmdouglass

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 12:30 PM

Ara...

 

Private message sent.



#22 bobhen

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 12:53 PM

This one's RASA on a CEM60.

https://www.cloudyni...ping-horsehead/

Or, how about a 12" meade SCT on a cem60 with 0.59 RMS Toal?

https://www.cloudyni...-again-tonight/


I am saying 11" SCT is way off 65Lb, if you think you can show otherwise even though AP themselves states that over and over... then good for you. There are examples of similar stuff tried on the cem60 too..

For me everyone's payload rating has caveats.

I had a Mach 1 and a C11. The Mach 1 handled the C11 with ease for both imaging and visual.

 

For visual a Mach 1 will handle a C14. I also had a G11. People put C14s on G11 mounts and the Mach 1 is MORE robust than a G11.

 

Bob



#23 WadeH237

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 01:11 PM

This one's RASA on a CEM60.

I never said that a CEM60 could not carry a RASA 11, and I am aware that it's far less than 65lb.

 

You are the one suggesting that the recommended limit for a Mach1 is a C11.  I'm just pointing out that your suggesting is far, far from reality - bordering on disingenuous.  I gave a very specific, verifiable example - with an authoritative source - to clarify that your suggestion is not true.

 

For what it's worth, I think that the CEM60 is a great mount at it's price point - based on what I've heard (I'd love an excuse to get my hands on one to see what it's all about).  But to suggest that it's in the same class as a Mach1 is either armchair imaging, marketing wishful thinking, or fanboyism,


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#24 gotak

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 01:13 PM

I had a Mach 1 and a C11. The Mach 1 handled the C11 with ease for both imaging and visual.

 

For visual a Mach 1 will handle a C14. I also had a G11. People put C14s on G11 mounts and the Mach 1 is MORE robust than a G11.

 

Bob

If they put their name to saying a C11 will work for imaging on the mach 1, I expect it would. I don't think anyone's crazy enough to try a C14 for imaging without additional enhancements like an AO8 etc. 

 

I never said that a CEM60 could not carry a RASA 11, and I am aware that it's far less than 65lb.

 

You are the one suggesting that the recommended limit for a Mach1 is a C11.  I'm just pointing out that your suggesting is far, far from reality - bordering on disingenuous.  I gave a very specific, verifiable example - with an authoritative source - to clarify that your suggestion is not true.

 

For what it's worth, I think that the CEM60 is a great mount at it's price point - based on what I've heard (I'd love an excuse to get my hands on one to see what it's all about).  But to suggest that it's in the same class as a Mach1 is either armchair imaging, marketing wishful thinking, or fanboyism,

Well then they should clarify that a C11 is no longer the limit to the mach 1, as recently as 2 months ago I still saw a post on AP's own forum saying 11" for mach 1 for imaging as a suggested upper limit. 



#25 DuncanM

DuncanM

    Mercury-Atlas

  • -----
  • Posts: 2512
  • Joined: 03 Nov 2009
  • Loc: Arizona Sky Village or the rain forest

Posted 22 March 2019 - 01:22 PM

Can a CEM60 carry a C-14?:

 

https://www.cloudyni...60-carry-a-c14/

 

Yup.

 

Again, note the wind.




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