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Mount upgrade suggestions

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#1 raguramm

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 01:50 AM

Hey all,

I'm getting sucked pretty deep into this whole thing after 8 months of work and learning. I've been using an NEQ6 PRO, but Dec backlash, periodic RA spikes, and overall meh guiding have pushed me towards wanting a higher end mount. Now don't get me wrong, the mount I have is a good one, but in pursuit of higher quality and better guiding, I'm looking for something with more premium machining.

Any suggestions? My imaging train is about 25 lbs total, not likely to change too much. I was considering a Losmandy G11, since really premium stuff like AP/Bisque are intimidatingly expensive, but I'm willing to keep an open mind.
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#2 Stelios

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 02:03 AM

Go for intimidatingly expensive, Many premium mounts can be bought used with very little risk (unlike mass produced mounts). With the upcoming Mach2, many Mach1’s will be on sale as people look to upgrade (not mine, though). Used AP900’s are among the best bargains. AP fully supports them, regardless of age.

 

Cry once. And live the rest of your life knowing that if something’s wrong with your imaging, it’s *not* the mount. 



#3 dhaval

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 05:45 AM

Buy a used AP900 and call it a day. Simple. 

 

CS! 



#4 terry59

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 06:10 AM

Hey all,

I'm getting sucked pretty deep into this whole thing after 8 months of work and learning. I've been using an NEQ6 PRO, but Dec backlash, periodic RA spikes, and overall meh guiding have pushed me towards wanting a higher end mount. Now don't get me wrong, the mount I have is a good one, but in pursuit of higher quality and better guiding, I'm looking for something with more premium machining.

Any suggestions? My imaging train is about 25 lbs total, not likely to change too much. I was considering a Losmandy G11, since really premium stuff like AP/Bisque are intimidatingly expensive, but I'm willing to keep an open mind.

I like my G11. I also have a GM-8 and share the Gemini controller between them


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#5 WadeH237

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 07:42 AM

Hey all,

I'm getting sucked pretty deep into this whole thing after 8 months of work and learning. I've been using an NEQ6 PRO, but Dec backlash, periodic RA spikes, and overall meh guiding have pushed me towards wanting a higher end mount. Now don't get me wrong, the mount I have is a good one, but in pursuit of higher quality and better guiding, I'm looking for something with more premium machining.

Any suggestions? My imaging train is about 25 lbs total, not likely to change too much. I was considering a Losmandy G11, since really premium stuff like AP/Bisque are intimidatingly expensive, but I'm willing to keep an open mind.

My suggestion is to keep what you have.

 

The NEQ6 and it's various flavors (Orion Atlas, etc.) is probably the most widely used imaging mount.  Thousands upon thousands of great images have been taken with scopes riding on them.  They are well understood, and you should be able to get past the issues that you are having.

 

That said, if you want to make a meaningful upgrade, there's not a lot in the market between your current mount and the "intimidatingly expensive" ones.  In terms of capability, you might get some improvement with a G11 or a CEM60, but it's likely to be incremental.  If you can manage a used Astro-Physics or Software Bisque mount, it will pretty much change everything.



#6 ssagerian

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 08:20 AM

I guess my question is "how will you judge if the new mount has improved your imaging"? What part of your imaging are you dissatisfied with that a better mount will improve? I have a Orion Atlas EQ-G mount which is ok, most of my imaging issues are NOT related to the mount's performance (yet).


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#7 nimitz69

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 11:10 AM

I guess my question is "how will you judge if the new mount has improved your imaging"? What part of your imaging are you dissatisfied with that a better mount will improve? I have a Orion Atlas EQ-G mount which is ok, most of my imaging issues are NOT related to the mount's performance (yet).

This .....

 

people tend to be pretty quick to go after a “material solution” (new stuff) to address issues when it could easily be something else.  Unless you can definitely point to the mount as the source of your unhappiness with the quality of your images, simply buying a better mount may do nothing.        Buying the golf clubs Tiger Woods uses will not make you a scratch golfer t omorrow unless you are already one ....

 

and like has been said, the next step up in mounts from where you are can be a cliff in terms of money ....


Edited by nimitz69, 22 August 2019 - 11:11 AM.

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#8 raguramm

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 11:11 AM

Thanks all for the input. Ive troubleshot guiding to no end, and I'm still not happy with how shaky or oblong my stars turn out in longer exposures. My photos at 1 minute are great, I see a lot of fine detail in the final stacked image - often, I just run unguided for these with no issues. But doing 5-6 min subs for narrowband leaves consistently lower quality results, and my final image isn't as crisp as id like. I've ruled out mechanical flexure, focusing issues, balancing east/camera heavy, etc and I'm landing on mechanical issues with the machining of the mount as the culprit.

#9 terry59

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 12:06 PM

This .....

 

people tend to be pretty quick to go after a “material solution” (new stuff) to address issues when it could easily be something else.  Unless you can definitely point to the mount as the source of your unhappiness with the quality of your images, simply buying a better mount may do nothing.        Buying the golf clubs Tiger Woods uses will not make you a scratch golfer t omorrow unless you are already one ....

 

and like has been said, the next step up in mounts from where you are can be a cliff in terms of money ....

Without trying to parse the differences in performance between the EQ6 and a Losmandy mount, the support, availability of parts and ability to easily work on the mount means a lot to me. Also, going from EQMOD to Gemini 2 is an upgrade as is ethernet connectivity to the computer



#10 WadeH237

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 01:04 PM

Thanks all for the input. Ive troubleshot guiding to no end, and I'm still not happy with how shaky or oblong my stars turn out in longer exposures. My photos at 1 minute are great, I see a lot of fine detail in the final stacked image - often, I just run unguided for these with no issues. But doing 5-6 min subs for narrowband leaves consistently lower quality results, and my final image isn't as crisp as id like. I've ruled out mechanical flexure, focusing issues, balancing east/camera heavy, etc and I'm landing on mechanical issues with the machining of the mount as the culprit.

If you get good unguided results at 60 seconds, but egg shaped stars at 300 seconds with guiding, then I doubt the mechanical quality of the mount is the issue.

 

What is your imaging scale?  What do your guide logs look lik?  And how did you rule out flexure?

 

I know that you are not asking for troubleshooting help.  I'm only asking because I would hate to recommend an expensive purchase, only to have it not solve the problem.  Been there and done that.



#11 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 02:07 PM

This .....

 

people tend to be pretty quick to go after a “material solution” (new stuff) to address issues when it could easily be something else.  Unless you can definitely point to the mount as the source of your unhappiness with the quality of your images, simply buying a better mount may do nothing.        Buying the golf clubs Tiger Woods uses will not make you a scratch golfer t omorrow unless you are already one ....

 

and like has been said, the next step up in mounts from where you are can be a cliff in terms of money ....

+1.  Flipping this around, I bet Tiger Woods could play some pretty amazing golf with my father-in-law's old clubs.

 

As noted, something is not sane with the guiding, on a mount that's clearly capable of doing better.  So it's more likely "how you're holding it" rather than the mount itself.  I'm no "Tiger Woods" when it comes to guiding, but I've figured out (mostly) how to get some reasonably good imaging from my impossibly-overloaded AVX. 



#12 Peregrinatum

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 03:13 PM

I think the EQ6-R is pretty good bang for the buck... can handle a load of up to 30 lbs. and guide well with it.



#13 ImNewHere

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 03:36 PM

Just out of curiosity, is your guiding set so aggressively that you're chasing seeing?

#14 raguramm

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 03:50 PM

I actually get good guiding about 90% of the time, so I didn't think I was chasing seeing - periodically, at a regular several-minute interval, i get spikes in RA, and PHD2 takes a long time to recover from any perturbation in Dec. Guiding assistant tells me I have a significant amount of Dec backlash. I actually have some oblong frames in my 60s subs too, but probably 4/5 are spot on - when my subs become longer, almost every sub has some issues.

Of course, I'm no expert, so I appreciate the feedback. If I can make my existing mount work, I'd be happy to save the several thousand dollars.

#15 bobzeq25

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 05:59 PM

Good upgrades.

 

EQ6-R.  A bargain, the price you pay is it's heavy.

 

CEM60 (not the EC).  More money, but somewhat better performance, more weight capacity, and significantly less weight. 

 

From there, the sky's the limit.  Premium mounts are obviously better.

 

Mounting the guidescope very rigidly is key.  A finder shoe is likely to mess things up.


Edited by bobzeq25, 22 August 2019 - 06:01 PM.



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