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Quiet Go-To Mounts?

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#1 agmoonsolns

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 01:45 PM

What computerized go-to mounts make the least amount of noise - normal drive noises, during slewing, beeps or other sounds, etc.? My nightmare neighbor with the industrial class prison-type floodlight on her garage just moved and so far the new neighbors (knock on wood, fingers crossed, prayers and incense for the Gods, etc.) have been willing to turn it off for me. As a result, I have been terrified about doing anything which might annoy them and cause them to turn it back on. My iOptron computerized go-to mount makes quite a bit of noise (especially while slewing between objects) which makes it too loud to use late at night and I have been thinking maybe it's time to invest in a better mount making much less noise. 

 

Are there any relatively quiet go-to mounts? How much noise do they make? Are there any beeps or other sound notifications on them and can those sounds be turned off? I need something capable of handling a TOA-130 and maybe even a lighter 6" refractor (perhaps a TEC 140). I am looking for something I can connect to a tablet or laptop computer running Starry Night Pro or Sky Safari Pro. I was thinking about the Astro-Physics Mach1 or the Takahashi EM-200. If I could find one, maybe even an older AP mount like a 600, 900, etc.

 

I would even be willing to give up the computerized go-to and slewing as long as I could add digital setting circles and use it as a manual push-to mount with a basic drive. I just don't want unhappy neighbors and I am willing to make sacrifices. 

 

Okay wonderful people, what are some of my mount options?



#2 N3p

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 02:43 PM

Probably not the answer you are looking for:

 

Not using the Goto is another alternative idea instead of replacing the mount.


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#3 StrStrck

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 02:51 PM

The SW AZ/EQ 6 is quiet, of course slew is audible, but should hardly wake your neighbours. And you can set speed for manual slew, so the sound doesn’t pitch up that much. And for near stealthy operations, it’ll let you losen the clamps, turn scope manually without losing it’s orientation, re-engage clamps for a short final slew.


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#4 agmoonsolns

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 02:54 PM

That's what I have been doing - packing up the iOptron and just using an old traditional Takahashi GEM with whisper silent RA drive. The iOptron provides no reason to use without some kind of drive. I would rather use my Giro alt-az mount then. I really would like to find a relatively quiet mount with the ability to hold moderate weight and use with digital setting circles, laptop, and/or tablet.

 

Probably not the answer you are looking for:

 

Not using the Goto is another alternative idea instead of replacing the mount.



#5 otis4411

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 02:55 PM

 My GM811G is not loud at all. I can't imagine anyone being able to hear it inside a house or even if they lived next door and was on their back porch. Luckily I don't have neighbors except a house across the road. He is 150 yards at least away and a good guy. If he heard it he would come over to take a look.



#6 GrandadCast

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 03:01 PM

Not sure what model of iOptron you have but it would help (maybe). Anyway, is it possible that if there is a slew speed setting (if) and if you drop this down to 80% etc. for goto slews, the noise will drop down without any real noticeable speed between goto?

 

Jess


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#7 WadeH237

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 03:21 PM

Noise is a relative thing.

 

In my experience, Meade and Celestron mounts that use servo motors are the loudest.  In the case of Celestron (not sure about Meade) the firmware versions for the last 10 or 15 years have given an option to set the slew speed, and slowing them down makes a big difference.  I've heard plenty of Atlas mounts, and with their servo motors, they make a completely different sound.  To my ear, it's a lot quieter and is more of a high pitched whine than a grinding sound.  I not used a lot of iOpton mounts, but the one's I've seen slewing did not strike as "wow, that's quiet", so I expect that they're not a lot quieter than the others.

 

In the premium mount category, you are not guaranteed quietness either.  The Astro-Physics mounts, for example, make plenty of noise.  It's almost all gear noise and is pretty distinctive.  I can always recognize an Astro-Physics mount slewing in at a star party.  The new Mach 2, when it comes out, has a different drive train with servo motors and a belt drive.  It is supposedly near silent.  The 10Micron mounts are also virtually silent - enough so that it would be easy to be hit by one in a slew if you weren't paying attention.

 

But here's the thing.  I don't consider any of them to be a bad neighbor.  I run my AP1100 automated right outside of the master bedroom window.  With the window open, it's audible when it slews.  But with the window closed, you can barely hear it, unless you are listening for it.

 

My suggestion is to just talk to your neighbors and ask them if it's a problem.  Even if they can near it, the fact that you care enough to ask them, should help to encourage them to be agreeable.  It also wouldn't hurt to invite them over for some observing some time.


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#8 jp071848

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 03:23 PM

Not sure what model of iOptron you have but it would help (maybe). Anyway, is it possible that if there is a slew speed setting (if) and if you drop this down to 80% etc. for goto slews, the noise will drop down without any real noticeable speed between goto?

 

Jess

Looks like Jess beat me to it. Every mount I've ever had (Meade, Celestron and currently a Losmandy G11) could be quieted down quite a bit by simply reducing the slew speeds. Why not play around with the speeds, try different values and see/hear how much of a difference it will make. On my G11, it makes a big difference to an already quiet mount.



#9 agmoonsolns

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 03:37 PM

I have done that, still way too noisy. Keep in mind their house is very close and it's dead quiet at night. I have to be careful with everything as the sound really travels. The iOptron mounts are just way too noisy, doing stuff to the iOptron isn't going to suffice.

 

I would just like to know what the most silent mounts are, this is important. Preferably not made in China. I am looking for new mount suggestions, not ways to make do with the iOptron. It's been a terrific mount other than the noice, but I have spent quite a bit of time on this and the only way to reduce the noise level enough is to turn it off completely. I am trying to research the mounts which make the least amount of noise, any recommendations?



#10 agmoonsolns

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 03:46 PM

It's very definitely a problem, it wakes up their baby and then they get cross and ask me to stop making so much noise. This is why I am trying to find a better solution. If nothing else, I'll just buy a custom upgrade kit to add digital setting circles to my ancient, but wonderful Takahashi mount.

 

Has anyone tried the go-to on the newer Takahashi mounts, are they noisy? The Meade mounts are definitely out, using one of those is about as quiet as a full frontal attack by angry Daleks with rusty gears. 

 

Noise is a relative thing.

 

In my experience, Meade and Celestron mounts that use servo motors are the loudest.  In the case of Celestron (not sure about Meade) the firmware versions for the last 10 or 15 years have given an option to set the slew speed, and slowing them down makes a big difference.  I've heard plenty of Atlas mounts, and with their servo motors, they make a completely different sound.  To my ear, it's a lot quieter and is more of a high pitched whine than a grinding sound.  I not used a lot of iOpton mounts, but the one's I've seen slewing did not strike as "wow, that's quiet", so I expect that they're not a lot quieter than the others.

 

In the premium mount category, you are not guaranteed quietness either.  The Astro-Physics mounts, for example, make plenty of noise.  It's almost all gear noise and is pretty distinctive.  I can always recognize an Astro-Physics mount slewing in at a star party.  The new Mach 2, when it comes out, has a different drive train with servo motors and a belt drive.  It is supposedly near silent.  The 10Micron mounts are also virtually silent - enough so that it would be easy to be hit by one in a slew if you weren't paying attention.

 

But here's the thing.  I don't consider any of them to be a bad neighbor.  I run my AP1100 automated right outside of the master bedroom window.  With the window open, it's audible when it slews.  But with the window closed, you can barely hear it, unless you are listening for it.

 

My suggestion is to just talk to your neighbors and ask them if it's a problem.  Even if they can near it, the fact that you care enough to ask them, should help to encourage them to be agreeable.  It also wouldn't hurt to invite them over for some observing some time.



#11 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 04:12 PM

They all seem pretty loud when you are alone in the dark! But your neighbors probably won't notice if their windows are closed.

 

I would agree with one of the previous posts. Meades are pretty loud. Celestrons not as bad as that, but not quiet either. My AVX was louder than my ServoCAT Dob. Of course the ServoCAT beeps at the end of every GOTO.

 

My TTS Panther mount is the quietest mount I have owned.

 

Perhaps if you did a search of YouTube? Listen to a few videos of mounts that interest you.


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#12 Esso2112

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 04:41 PM

The Em-200 sounds like a sewing machine. One of the quietest mounts I’ve heard. I don’t have one, but a friend I observe with does. 

 

The Mach1 is noisier, especially slewing at faster speeds. If you slow it down, it might be ok. I do have one of these and it handles my FS-152 just fine. 

 

There is is an AP-600 GTO for sale over on astromart. Never heard one in person, so I can’t comment on the sound. 


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#13 agmoonsolns

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 05:05 PM

Thanks so much Esso2112 and WadeH237, that's the info I am looking for. It sounds like the EM-200 or the Mach2 (when it comes out) might be my best bets. The nice thing about the EM-200 is my tripod and everything else I have will work with it. 

 

I'll check out the AP-600, but from what you all are saying, it might not be the huge improvement I am looking for.

 

Some people really like the manly growl and grind of gears and high speed stepper motors. For me, silence would be bliss.

 

I am tempted to record some of my mounts and the mounts of others at the next star party and post them to youtube so people can decide on the noise factor themselves as everyone is different. It's funny, I didn't mind the sounds from my iOptron until it was an issue with my neighbor, now it makes me cringe. Like Einstein says, it's all relative. :-)



#14 agmoonsolns

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 05:07 PM

Anyone happen to have links to threads on the new Mach2? It takes forever to wade through search results sometimes and I am hoping some kind soul here might have bookmarked them.



#15 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 06:09 PM

Mounts that use a belt drive are supposed to be much quieter than mounts that use gear drives.  Pretty much all mounts under US$1000 will use gears instead of belts.  The cheapest mount with a belt drive is the Orion Sirius Pro (Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ5).  Belt drives will also provide superior performance compared to gear drives.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 25 August 2019 - 06:12 PM.

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#16 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 06:17 PM

But you should not have to buy a more expensive mount simply because the whirring of motors wakes up your neighbor's baby.  Remember that you have rights too, and that you are not the only source of noise in the neighborhood.  They can't silence the whole world.  A much better solution is to ask your neighbors to use a white-noise machine to drown out outside noises, including passing vehicles, cawing birds, crickets chirping, etcetera.  Buy a new mount for yourself because you want to, not because of someone else's complaint about your current mount.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 25 August 2019 - 06:22 PM.


#17 DuncanM

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 06:20 PM

The EQ6-R is very quiet.

The EQ-6 a bit less

CEM-60 "" (about equal to the EQ-6, IIRC)

AVX is noisy

CGE-Pro ""


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#18 gfeulner

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 06:41 PM

My Orion Atlas Pro eq/az-g is very quiet. It also supports my TEC 140 just fine.

Gerry


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#19 agmoonsolns

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 06:57 PM

They have an industrial grade light on the top of their house. It's literally the same type as used in prisons and junk yards. If they get mad, it's only a flick of the switch and my whole house and yard are flooded with that sickly gray LED light. If they don't like the telescopes, all they have to do is turn that light on to make it impossible to use them here. I live in constant fear of it. Every night at dusk, I tense up waiting to see if it comes on. I will go to great lengths to keep things friendly and that light off, it means that much to me. If I need to get a different mount, that's a small price to pay for me.

 

Besides, a newer, better mount isn't a bad thing in itself. I have the older MiniTower Pro with the TriPier. The mount has been one heck of a lot of fun, but I wouldn't mind getting something a little bigger and better like the EM-200. By getting an adapter, I can still use a Takahashi or AP mount on the TriPier and that would be a terrific combination.

 

I hate confrontation and I just want to get along with them.

 

But you should not have to buy a more expensive mount simply because the whirring of motors wakes up your neighbor's baby.  Remember that you have rights too, and that you are not the only source of noise in the neighborhood.  They can't silence the whole world.  A much better solution is to ask your neighbors to use a white-noise machine to drown out outside noises, including passing vehicles, cawing birds, crickets chirping, etcetera.  Buy a new mount for yourself because you want to, not because of someone else's complaint about your current mount.


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#20 N3p

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 07:12 PM

I agree with the OP if the mount is causing some noises at night, the situation should be addressed. 


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#21 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 07:29 PM

They have an industrial grade light on the top of their house. It's literally the same type as used in prisons and junk yards. If they get mad, it's only a flick of the switch and my whole house and yard are flooded with that sickly gray LED light. If they don't like the telescopes, all they have to do is turn that light on to make it impossible to use them here. I live in constant fear of it. Every night at dusk, I tense up waiting to see if it comes on. I will go to great lengths to keep things friendly and that light off, it means that much to me. If I need to get a different mount, that's a small price to pay for me.

 

Besides, a newer, better mount isn't a bad thing in itself. I have the older MiniTower Pro with the TriPier. The mount has been one heck of a lot of fun, but I wouldn't mind getting something a little bigger and better like the EM-200. By getting an adapter, I can still use a Takahashi or AP mount on the TriPier and that would be a terrific combination.

 

I hate confrontation and I just want to get along with them.

That is a sticky situation :-( .  You have the right to produce (some) noise, but they have the right to produce lots of light.  Only way to solve that would be to go to your local government to pass a light-pollution ordinance.  I seriously doubt your mount could be loud enough to violate any noise ordinances.  But it is still cruel of them though to use that light against you for the purpose of revenge for something that they could try to fix themselves first by getting a white-noise machine.  Maybe try using a white-noise machine yourself to keep the noise level even but it would be more effective for them if it was in their house instead of outside next to your mount.  I would still say to talk to your neighbors if possible and work together on brainstorming multiple solutions that both of you could try to find a solution agreeable to both parties.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 25 August 2019 - 07:32 PM.


#22 agmoonsolns

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 07:40 PM

It has been such a huge problem, I spoke to a lawyer about it and was going to pay them take care of it, but then they sold the house. Legally, it falls under the nuisance category since it destroys my ability to use and enjoy my home. Technically, I can ask for it to be removed/changed plus all legal costs and if they refuse, I can tack on the cost of my home, but things like this usually settle before that. 

 

I tried contacting the city since it violated city ordinances, but they refused to respond so I guess they could care less about lights. I could have pushed it, but didn't.

 

Sure, I could keep using the mount and making the noise, but then they get mad and turn on the light and good neighborly relations are destroyed. I really want to get along with those living next to me.

 

I am going to sell the iOptron and start by getting DSCs for the 90S. I'll get a bigger mount later once I figure out which one to get. I sent out an e-mail asking about putting the Nexus on my 90S, hopefully they will have something.

 

Anyone have more feedback on the Astro-Physics mounts?



#23 WadeH237

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 07:42 PM

Anyone happen to have links to threads on the new Mach2? It takes forever to wade through search results sometimes and I am hoping some kind soul here might have bookmarked them.

Here is the Mach 2 page on the Astro-Physics site.

 

Here is an early thread on Cloudy Nights regarding the Mach2.  The earlier you are in the thread, the more speculation there is.  As the thread progresses, more stuff is learned.


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#24 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 07:58 PM

I just saw that the iOptron CEM25P has a belt drive too, so that is probably the cheapest mount for that feature (quieter, smoother performance).



#25 kathyastro

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Posted 25 August 2019 - 08:02 PM

I found that my iOptron CEM60 was much quieter than my old HEQ5, which sounded like a bunch of washers in a coffee can.




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