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Can you go wrong buying used Astrophysics mount?

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#1 hyperion0001

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 08:00 AM

I want to upgrade to a new mount. I really wanted to go for the new Mach2GoTo, but it looks like I'd have to wait at least another year for it, so I'm thinking of alternatives. I thought I might go with the Paramount MyT, but there's something about the rugged look of the Astrophysics mount and its keypad control that appeals to me (given that I've come from an LX200 scope). I then thought I should at least consider a used Astrophysics Mach1GoTo or 1100GTO. I've never bought a used mount before...does anyone have any thoughts on buying a used Astrophysics mount? Do I need to worry about getting one that someone else might be trying to get rid of because of some subtly that I won't discover until a year into it?

 

terry

 



#2 Destrehan Dave

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 08:22 AM

Terry

Used mounts are like anything else.

Most AP owners take exceptional care of their gear, but I would make sure the mount’s ‘reportables’ are clearly stated. Scratches and dings are one thing, but even with the guaranteed exceptional engineering quality of AP products, I’d be very interested in the owner’s usage pattern and storage.

The Handboxes, although very sturdy, are the most subject to wear, as are the cords and connectors.

And the 900s don’t have TTM cabling, which might be a big deal, and all but the latest MACH1s are difficult to balance, IMHO.

There is also a substantial jump in the CP3 and CP4s. Some CP3s have an older chip and can’t use the full functionality of APCC.

In an ideal world, I’d get a good used AP for now that has the qualifications listed above... and wait for the Mach2.

And if you don’t already know, ‘later this year’, ‘in the future’, and ‘soon’ are extremely fluid terms at AP, and I say that with extreme respect and admiration. Often, timelines are extended for engineering rigor and quality, sort of the Boeing story in reverse.

How good are the mounts? You cannot buy better...

Just my fiddycents; YMMV.

DD
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#3 Richard O'Neill

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 08:25 AM

Ditto the above, all except balance which I find easy to accomplish. (As usual, YMMV.) I have both mounts and couldn't be happier.


Edited by Richard O'Neill, 17 April 2019 - 08:28 AM.

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#4 AstroGabe

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 08:59 AM

I agree with Dave.  I would only buy something this valuable from a reputable seller with a good history to back them.  Then, ask many questions about its condition, performance, est. and ask for photos before committing.  I got my Mach 1 (2010 vintage) used and later upgraded to the CP4.  With most with AP mounts, you can add the improvements that have come down throughout the years even if it's a later model.  My AP1100 was bought new, and can confirm it's a fantastic mount, and in my opinion much better designed than the Mach 1, which gives me high hopes for the Mach 2.  Still, both have their place and can be had for a good price on the used market.

 

Gabe


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#5 Neptune

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 08:59 AM

I bought a used 900 mount a few years ago. It was/is bullet proof.  The only problem I had was one o the encoders went out and needed to be replaced. AP did the replacement and I had the mount back in about 2 weeks, just like new.  The 900 mount was a great performer. Quality best describes it.


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#6 rgsalinger

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 09:08 AM

I have seen lots of AP used mounts - 900s tend to be the cheapest bang for the buck. I have yet to see anyone unhappy with their purchase. I bought a used Mach 1 and it was just as good as new. Check, though what accessories it comes with and what you need to add to bring it up to date should you want to do that. My Mach 1 required about 700 dollars of updates to get it where I wanted it to be. 

Rgrds-Ross


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#7 james7ca

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 09:41 AM

As a Mach1GTO owner (from new, now pretty well used) I'll have to add that it is possible to get something of a "lemon" from any manufacturer. That said, Mach1GTOs are solidly made and mostly warrant their good reputation. But, when you purchase a used product you obviously take additional risk and as I said even new units can be somewhat disappointing.

 

Also, don't go strictly from imaging samples provided by the owner (since certain problems can have effective workarounds). Best bet, run your own uncorrected PEM/PEC curves and look at the magnitude of the tracking errors and the smoothness of the curves. Then check the slewing (at high speed) to check for vibrations and odd noises (note, the Mach1GTO is pretty noisy when slewing, so that unto itself is not an indication of a problem). Next, check all of the electrical connections by inspection and also by wiggling the cables during operation.

 

Beyond that you should be mostly good, although you probably want to do a hand check on the clutches and the ease of rotation on each axis (note, the axes on most Mach1GTOs will be fairly stiff even when the clutch is fully loosened and again that's not necessarily an indication of a problem, although the latest revision on the mount (2017?) should move more freely.


Edited by james7ca, 17 April 2019 - 09:42 AM.

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#8 SteveGR

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 10:06 AM

You can go wrong buying anything, there is no sure thing.  The key for something like this would be diligence and healthy paranoia.  Make sure what you are actually getting, it's real condition, etc.  Unfortunately fraud is rampant on the internet these days, I have to deal with it at work all the time, which has made me really skeptical if not downright cynical.  I only buy used if I personally know the person or can do in-depth inspection.


Edited by SteveGR, 17 April 2019 - 10:07 AM.

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#9 gotak

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 10:16 AM

This likely will get interesting but their stuff is not magically protected from damage or has infinite MTBF. So like other said you will always face a risk when buying used no matter the brand.

 

There are also despite the reputation, anecdotal examples of AP mounts that had issues which could not be resolved and were sold by the original owners. However, on this note I think they are like everyone else, and it would not surprise me if the 2nd owner is perfectly happy as sometimes the issues for any brand turns out to just be user specific for any number of reasons.


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#10 rgsalinger

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 11:42 AM

It will be interesting to hear first hand from a USED buyer who got stung with an AP mount. My bet (eat a hat again) is that we won't get a credible report.

Rgrds-Ross


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#11 DeanS

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 11:50 AM

I have bought both a 900 and 1200 used, they all work great.  Bullet proof mounts without all the fancy bells and whistles.  I still do automated imaging with all of them.  I have 2 of each and see no reason to change yet as encoders are still too expensive for what gain in performance I would get.

 

Prices are getting good too. 


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#12 RussD

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 11:50 AM

I have purchased new and used AP mounts and have had great luck.  AP will fix and support used gear that has traded hands no question.  The mounts are upgradeable in most cases and definitely repairable when there are issues.  I have used them (AP900, AP1200, AP1600s) heavily in scientific applications for over 15 years and they are built to last.

 

With that said, if you can go for a new version, do it.  It is worth the wait and the extra layout.  They have made some significant leaps recently with the CP4 and the AP1100s and 1600s in both mechanics and software.   Standard configuration is great.  But if you are imaging unattended, or want a completely hands off mount, the encoders makes the mount a dream to use and run.  Encoders not only help pointing and tracking, but they also make the mount much more rigid in wind or if you happen to have some cables hanging or moving with the mount.  The encoders will sense the force and respond to keep the mount tracking accurately.  It is incredible.

 

Russ

 


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#13 StephenW

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 12:02 PM

>I then thought I should at least consider a used Astrophysics Mach1GoTo or 1100GTO

 

What are you planning to mount on it?   Per APs own description, the new Mach2 is sturdier and has higher capacity than the original, so depending on what you plan to use you might be better off waiting for it or going for the higher capacity 1100 (or even a used 900).

 

>Do I need to worry about getting one that someone else might be trying to get rid of because of some subtly that I won't discover until a year into it?

 

This is a risk when buying any used equipment.  Personally I'd only buy from someone with multiple good ratings.


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#14 WadeH237

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 01:00 PM

I have two Astro-Physics mounts, one I bought new (the AP1600) and one that I bought used (the AP1100).  I am completely satisfied with both mounts, and I got a fantastic deal on the used AP1100.

 

That said, when you buy something used, you have no idea of its history or problems that it's had, unless the seller honestly discloses that information.  I am sure that it's possible to get a used mount from any manufacturer that's been abused to the point where it's a problem.  The good news is that, if there are problems, Astro-Physics will service the mount and can make it perform like new (although, depending on what they need to do, it might not be cheap).




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