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10Micron Support and Service in the Western Hemisphere

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#1 EFT

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 03:05 PM

It appears that some people do not understand how support and service is conducted for customers in the western hemisphere and some people mislead others because of their lack of knowledge or understanding in this regard.  To be clear, while your original dealer may provide limited support, there are two official certified and trained support and service centers for 10Micron mounts in the US and Canada.  These "Technical Assistance Dealers", Deep Space Products in the US and O'Telescope in Canada, chose to travel to Italy for training on servicing 10Micron mounts and have provided complete support services since they became dealers for 10Micron.  All support and service needs are available through these two companies regardless of where the products were purchased.  10Micron refers their customers to these two companies for this purpose under most circumstances for ease of communication.  While 10Micron's forum can be used for support this is not where most people in the US and Canada go for support nor has it ever been required since the introduction of 10Micron mounts to the US.  The 10Micron support forum is available only to 10Micron mount owners for the purpose of posting questions and answers.  In addition, while the fastest way to obtain support or service is through the Technical Assistance Dealers, 10Micron can be contacted directly as well.

 

Equally important is the ability of 10Micron mounts to be remotely diagnosed for potential problems in order to avoid ever having to send a 10Micron mount in for servicing.  This ability is unique to 10Micron mounts and is done through the use of internal and external logs that can be collected for a mount and used for diagnosis.  The logs record everything from the actions of the absolute encoders to the individual keystrokes made by the customer.  This data can be used for the identification and assessment of the vast majority of problems that might occur.  Logs can be collected while the owner is using the mount connected to a computer.  Deep Space Products recommend that all new users run the logging program as part of their normal setup routine.  When a problem occurs, the user can stop the logging program and forward the log to us for analysis.  This helps to assist a new user when they might not be understanding how a particular feature works as well as identify an actual problem with the mount should one occur.  In addition to running a log while using a mount, a log can be obtained simply by setting up the mount, running a quick fake goto alignment, adding a couple of fake refinement points and then tracking on a copy of objects for 5 minutes each.  This can be done at any time, day or night and the resulting log forwarded.  Since the rigidity of the system is an important key to unguided imaging, the logs can also be used to help the owner track down potential flexure problems when combined with images collected by the owner.  The logs can also be helpful in diagnosing guiding issues when combined with guide logs.  It is also possible for a mount to be accessed remotely by one of the servicers or 10Micron to help in the diagnosis of an issue.  Everything is done to diagnose potential problems with a mount or user error with as little effort as possible for the owner.

 

Since their primary expansion to the US market around 2013, the goal of 10Micron and Deep Space Products has always been to make owning a 10Micron mount no different from owning a mount from any other company including domestic companies.  The Technical Assistance Dealers are available to assist customers at all times including at night (with prior arrangements) and in-person when possible.  Being in Italy, 10Micron is also available during our nights.  The Technical Assistances Deals may also be available for mount installation assistance.

 

If you ever have questions about 10Micron mounts or need assistance with your own 10Micron mount, please contact Deep Space Products or O'Telescope.

 

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#2 freddie

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 03:16 PM

So are you saying all countries in the Western Hemisphere should use one of those two companies or are you getting confused and thinking that the US and Canada are the entire Western Hemisphere?



#3 EFT

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 03:42 PM

Deep Space Products can sell and provide support to all countries in the western hemisphere.  We can also service mounts from outside of the US and Canada, although should service be required, it will be evaluated whether sending a mount to Deep Space Products or directly to 10Micron would be the most efficient and cost effective.


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#4 rgsalinger

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 05:27 PM

In your 6 years of selling 10Micron mounts. Have you ever had to send one back to Italy to be fixed? Do you carry common spare parts for the mounts?

Rgrds-ross



#5 mmalik

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 05:53 PM

Ed, I have been considering 10Micron for years but never could come to terms with the pricing model of these mounts. Like most consumers who have voiced similar concerns about 10Micron pricing, can you once for all sum up what's up with 10Micron pricing? Would these mounts ever come down in price in return for much larger sales in volume? Isn't it time 10Micron seriously considered more sane pricing model in the US?

 

 

Take for example comparable pricing model to CEM and how much volume 10Micron will get? Take for example the issues other mounts vendors are having and consider the enormous opportunity 10Micron has to take the mount (sale/service) market by storm. Take for example the somewhat artificial shortage strategy followed by AP (in mounts/scopes) and hence their pricing model and enormous sales and service opportunity there. 10Micron can simply play at both ends of the market, high and low if pricing model were sane and palatable for most astro consumers. Staying where 10Micron is at now has made it simply untouchable!

 

 

In short, pricing is one and only concern raised time and again and your help will be greatly appreciated if you can raise the issue with your superiors at 10Micron. Thanks for your consideration. Regards


Edited by mmalik, 16 September 2019 - 05:56 PM.


#6 EFT

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:43 PM

In your 6 years of selling 10Micron mounts. Have you ever had to send one back to Italy to be fixed? Do you carry common spare parts for the mounts?

Rgrds-ross

I had one mount, a GM3000HPS that was the second production prototype made of that mount.  It was used at shows and sold as a prototype demo with a limited warranty.  There ended up being some odd things happening with it so 10Micron sent a completely new mount and retrieved the old one.  The first mount had been out of warranty so the customer was charged some for the change to a final production mount that had a full new warranty.  I personally carried to Italy a GM1000HPS that had been destroyed in domestic shipping and worked on repairing it as part of my training.

 

I am only aware of one other mount, a GM2000HPS, that has gone back to Italy (I'm not sure who was the dealer for that mount).  That mount was very interesting and was there when I was.  The mount had stopped working and all indications suggested that DEC absolute encoder had actually failed.  The encoders are currently the only thing that 10Micron deals with themselves.  When they got the mount they opened up the DEC axis housing the bottom where the encoder is located and out poured water.  It appeared that the mount had been exposed to a lot of water although the owner had no idea how.  So the DEC axis was completely rebuilt, the rest of the mount certified and then it was sent back to the customer.

 

I have spare electronics for the different mounts as well as some mechanical parts.  Anything else can generally be obtained from 10Micron quickly, particularly if a problem can be identified through the mount logging program prior to it being sent in.  If there is a problem with the computer, which is a completely separate unit from the mount, that can easily be sent in, repaired or replaced, and tested.


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#7 psandelle

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 10:27 PM

Ed - thanks for clarifying. I’ve had two 1000’s, and both were work horses and my favorite mounts. I’ll end up with a third one of these days.

 

I always thought the prices were fair and seeing AP wrestle with Mach 2 pricing just points it out more. 10Micron’s mother company crafts extremely precise items for other fields, which shows in the mounts. It isn’t a model for going cheap to get volume, but I don’t find the prices inflated at all. Plus, their sky modeling algorithm/computer is superior to SB and AP’s when I used them. Can use less data points for more accurate models. Haven’t used an ASA, so can’t comment on that. In the case of 10Micron mounts you really do get what you pay for.

 

Paul


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#8 EFT

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 11:35 PM

To answer

 

I think that in large part, that 10Micron's "pricing model" is now proven by AP's Mach2 pricing.  Premium mounts are expensive to make and the engineering and programming involved in incorporating and fully utilizing on-shaft absolute/high-precision encoders adds that much more cost (and that is with 10Micron using their own encoders). 10Micron decided quite a few years ago that this was the way to go with their mounts and their design and testing proved to them that the results of the new mounts were worth the cost.  For example, the tracking accuracy of their most popular GM2000 mount series went from +/-3" in their final non-encoder QCI mount to +/-0.5" over 15 minutes with slewing speeds up to 20 degrees/sec.  When it comes to mount costs, 10Micron mounts are cheaper in the EU than AP/SB mounts are and vice versa.

 

There have always been two problems selling 10Micron mounts in the US, price (and the mistaken comparison of non-encoder premium mounts to those with encoders based only on mount capacity), and the misperception that support and service of 10Micron mounts would have to be supplied from or conducted in Italy regardless of how many times that it has been dispelled. The foreign-made nature of the products has been as much, or more, of a problem than the cost in my experience. I would love for 10Micron mounts to cost less and there are things being considered that might just do that while maintaining their exceptional quality, but for now there is not much that can be done. I encourage 10Micron all the time to find ways to lower prices since I know that would help sales. The retail prices of the mounts and 10Micron-made accessories in the US are largely set according to the exchange rates at this time and are changed when there are significant changes in the exchange rates (the prices have been coming down for a while now but in the past 7 years they have only varied in a zone of plus or minus 5 percent). There have been important changes, including built-in Wifi and an improved hand controller, that have not added to the cost of the mounts. However, constantly changing prices as the exchange rate varies wildly would result in things being impossible to price and customers never being able to determine the actual cost of their purchasing plans so at least some stability is needed. Changes in exchange rates also do not translate to significant changes in price. A significant cost of the 10Micron products (8% - 20%) comes from US import duty and shipping costs, the shipping costs constantly increasing these days.  Were the 10Micron mounts manufactured in the US, the prices could potentially be 10% to 20% less than what they current are.

 

An increased volume of sales could very well result in lower prices to at least some extent, but there is a bottom line. How much change in prices might be reduced through the decrease in volume costs and savings in shipping costs is difficult to calculate but it could be important. Increasing sales is a perennial problem due to the dominance of AP and SB in the US market, people's misunderstandings and concerns about US support and service, and the perceived cost advantage of AP and SB mounts. This is not a problem limited to 10Micron or even telescope mounts.  In reality, the domestic mounts with absolute encoders cost right around that of the 10Micron mounts as well as their alt/az counterparts when similar capacity mounts are compared and the new Mach2 essentially eliminates the significant price gap that existed between the Mach1 and the GM1000HPS.

 

There is simply no way for 10Micron or any of the premium mount companies to match the production and prices of the mounts made across the Pacific and maintain the quality of the mounts they make.  If there were a way, then the world of telescope mounts would be very different than it is.  To my knowledge, all of the premium mount manufacturers put a lot of effort into their products and expect them to perform at the highest levels.  I would personally find it distasteful to play around with availability in order to drive demand and know 10Micron does not do that (and I don't know that AP does it either).  In 10Micron's case, there would be no benefit to holding mounts back to try do drive up demand since the only result would be losing sales to the competition that is already dominant.  I can tell you that if demand ever exceeds the supply of 10Micron mounts, it is due to the large volume of 10Micron mount sales by European mount dealers with one in particular whose sales volume I would certainly like to have.

 

Something to keep in mind when it comes to the cost of any of the premium mounts is that these companies are small or very small and none of them are making a fortune on this.  We are not talking about 100% markups since that would only result in fewer sales due to the competition from non-premium mounts.  I think that if any of these companies could produce their mounts at a level that they would stand behind for the cost of even some of the most expensive non-premium results (considering various specifications of the different mounts), they would certainly do so since the volume of sales would far exceed any amount of profit resulting from the reduction in profit on individual units.


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#9 guyroch

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 01:46 AM

In your 6 years of selling 10Micron mounts. Have you ever had to send one back to Italy to be fixed? Do you carry common spare parts for the mounts?

Rgrds-ross

It is difficult to carry so called common parts when breakdowns are uncommon to begin with.  As a Technical Assistance Dealer and the owner of O’Telescope in Canada, I can confirm that 10Micron’s communication is top notch. Both Ed and I are only one email away from -direct- communication with 10Micron’s owner, Ivan. 

 

The advantage of 10Micron is that they machine all mounts in-house and, in this day and age, overnight worldwide shipping is as common as driving to the nearest store; not having a part is not a real issue.  If the part is in Italy one day, it’s in North America the next.  

 

 

As Ed so eloquently put it earlier “Everything is done to diagnose potential problems with a mount or user error with as little effort as possible for the owner.”  I could not have said it better.

 

Regards,

 

Guylain


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#10 Raginar

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:40 AM

Thanks Ed, you're awesome.  Keep it up!

 

Chris


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#11 dcornelis

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 04:34 PM

I have a question regarding the HPS3000, how does one put a 60kg or 70kg telescope on it without damaging the worm and gear, knowing that it ussually us a clumsy operation with multiple people and not always easy to enter mounting plates? Does it have a clutch that disengages the worm and is there a bolt to hold everything stable? 

 

asking for a friend :)


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#12 EFT

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Posted 19 September 2019 - 05:26 PM

With great care.  The worm system on the 3000 is a sliding system common on larger mounts.  When the worm is engaged, the axis will not move.  When it is disengaged, then it will move "freely."  You would want to disengage the worms and position the axes in the best way to fit your location and scope, then engage the worms to lock the axes, and then load the scope.  Like you said, it is a multi person job.  You will probably want someone to be adding the counterweights before or during the scope installation and obviously not release the worms until you are reasonably near balanced to start with.  I have a calculator that allows me to determine the amount of counterweight needed and its approximate position on the counterweight bar based on the instrument load.


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