I need a mount for my APM 130 f/9 refractor. I’ve got a AVX but I feel it’s best used with my 4” refractor. I just don’t trust it with the longer, heavier refractor. With eyepiece, diagonal and mounting plate it tips the scale around 27-28lbs and nose heavy. I contemplated getting the TPI spreader and battery tray for the AVX and giving it a try with the big refractor but decided to get a bigger mount for it and at which point I’d probably sell my AVX and use the bigger mount for both my refractors. I really am only a visual observer but like the ability to do AP if I want to. The mounts I’m considering are:
1) Sky Watcher EQ6-R Pro
2) Celestron CGEM II
3) Vixen SXP2* ( much more expensive than the above and at the extreme top of what I can afford). The Starbook 10 comes with this mount.
I try and purchase things that will last and I’m going into retirement and will not be buying another mount so I want to make the right choice. Ideally, I would like to save some money and go with the Sky Watcher or Celestron but not if I’m likely to have issues or failure down the road. Any advice here is appreciated!
How sensitive are you to vibration when focusing? That will really determine what works for you. I personally HATE vibration when I try to focus, so I am VERY conservative when considering what I put on a given mount. With that stipulation, this is my experience with my F8 127 mm AP Triplet and my Atlas EQ Pro(not the belt version). I used this combination for ~8 years for visual, planet imaging, and short duration DSO imaging. In my opinion, I believe the weak spot of the EQ6 is the tripod. I used my mount on a pier. Visually, I found the F8 AP and Atlas combination to be not perfect ( by my slightly extreme standards), but acceptable. If I took care, the wiggle at the EP during focusing was minimal and damped out in under a second. Planet imaging was fine and I could do unguided exposures of bright DSO's at up to 60 second duration while keeping ~80% of the images. Personally , I think that is actually pretty dog gone good for a mount in that price range.
I eventually upgraded to a G11 GT that has the Titan RA. It is, of course steady as a rock, on my pier, even with my 6 inch F9 AP.:-) Which is as it should be given the cost. For me, the improvement in the stability for visual use alone, was worth the price tag. But that is me.
That said, I still use my Atlas EQ6 as my portable mount. I have an adapter that allows me put it on a Losmandy HD tripod. With that configuration, I have even put my 6 inch F9 on it, finding it acceptable for planetary imaging and visual, although there is SIGNIFICANTLY more wiggle, with longer damping, (~1-2 seconds).
I have never used the EQ6 R, but most of what I have read suggests it is an incremental improvement over the standard EQ6 pro, so likely you will find it works just fine with your 130 mm F9. A steady hand, and a longer Dovetail plate, on a solid tripod/pier should make for very pleasant viewing. I would also note that others have posted a number of fixes, etc. to significantly stiffen up the tripods that come with these mounts, so you do not have to necessarily go to the expense of a pier or adapter, etc... that I have to get improved performance.
Anyway, that is my experience, with a set up similar to the one you are considering. Hope you find it helpful.