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Mount for C11 Edge HD :)

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#1 msacco

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 09:26 AM

Hello guys! I've decided to with with the C11 Edge HD route, and I'm looking for a suitable mount for it.

I've heard a lot of bad reviews on the celestron hardware, and heard mostly good reviews on the Ioptron CEM60(the non encoders version).

 

I would love to hear more opinions on what would be a good choice for my C11, I'll mostly image DSO with a hyperstar probably, but I do want to have the ability to image on full focal length as well.

I'm imaging with the ASI071MC pro, and using the ASI224MC for guiding, don't think there's anything else relevant?

 

My budget is probably around the $3100 including shipping(which is around $100-200 here to Israel). I've seen so far that the best sites would probably be FLO/optcorp.

 

Thanks for the help smile.gif


Edited by msacco, 14 October 2019 - 10:00 AM.


#2 macdonjh

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 02:59 PM

I used a Losmandy G11 with the C11 I used to have for visual.  It's a great combination.  Prior to the design changes incorporating high-precision worms, one-piece worm blocks and spring loaded worms, G11 mounts took some tweaking before they were suitable for long exposure photography at 2800mm focal length.  Perhaps the revisions have corrected that?

 

A new G11 will be just outside your budget (especially with shipping), but you should be able to find a used one within your budget.  If you don't need go-to, they are even less expensive.  You do need the Gemini controller even if you're going to use an external PC and planetarium software to control the mount, though.



#3 msacco

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 03:40 PM

I used a Losmandy G11 with the C11 I used to have for visual.  It's a great combination.  Prior to the design changes incorporating high-precision worms, one-piece worm blocks and spring loaded worms, G11 mounts took some tweaking before they were suitable for long exposure photography at 2800mm focal length.  Perhaps the revisions have corrected that?

 

A new G11 will be just outside your budget (especially with shipping), but you should be able to find a used one within your budget.  If you don't need go-to, they are even less expensive.  You do need the Gemini controller even if you're going to use an external PC and planetarium software to control the mount, though.

The losmandy G11 doesn't seems much more impressive than the CEM60 really. I don't really think it's worth the additional money.

As for a second hand, unfortunately since personal shipping would probably be around $1000, it's not really gonna be end up cheaper than a new purchase(checked it a bit).

 

I could possibly strech my budget to the G11 which ends up at $3945, but so far it doesn't seem to be worth the addition much.



#4 LPA

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 04:44 PM

I've put my EdgeHD11 on my CEM60 and that combo worked very well visually. I've also gotten good results imaging, although I've never pushed it to more than 2 min subs. But by the time you ditch the cheap Celestron dovetail and replace it with good rings, then add FF/FR or Hyperstar, camera, perhaps an autofocus motor and guide scope, you will be nearing the effective imaging capacity of the CEM60. But any wind will affect the imaging so if you aren't in an observatory, then you would need a wind screen.

 

Larry


Edited by LPA, 14 October 2019 - 04:57 PM.


#5 msacco

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 05:02 PM

I've put my EdgeHD11 on my CEM60 and that combo worked very well visually. I've also gotten good results imaging, although I've never pushed it to more than 2 min subs. But by the time you ditch the cheap Celestron dovetail and replace it with good rings, then add FF/FR or Hyperstar, camera, perhaps an autofocus motor and guide scope, you will be nearing the effective imaging capacity of the CEM60. But any wind will affect the imaging so if you aren't in an observatory, then you would need a wind screen.

 

Larry

Thanks for the comment! I will not image using filters and I won't be using an OAG for the time being, maybe I'll decide to use that later, so the weight of my gear should probably be around 16 KG(36 LBS) max.

2 min subs sounds very nice for that focal length, if you were to pick a mount for DSO imaging, would you pick this mount? If not do you have any other mount you'd recommend?

Also, are you using the Ioptron tripier? (this is what I thought of getting the with CEM60)

 

Did you have any experience imaging with a hyperstar? If so, how well did that go? Thanks smile.gif


Edited by msacco, 14 October 2019 - 05:03 PM.


#6 Raginar

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 07:43 PM

I think the G11 mechanically is an easy win. At least you can call Scott if you need help. Not so much with Ioptron.

What about one of the European mounts?

Like an Avalon?

#7 LPA

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 08:29 PM

I don't have Hyperstar, I image with the dedicated 0.7x FF/FR. But I have a friend who has gotten good results with Hyperstar on his EdgeHD11. I think he uses a CGX with his. As for a pier, I would check this forum for recommendations. I've heard mixed reviews about the TriPier. I no longer use the CEM60 with my EdgeHD11. I have a ROR at our dark sky site and the EdgeHD11 is now mounted on a Paramount MX+ there. This let me add a LiteCrawler and filter wheel to that scope. I also can mount my AT130EDT on top of the EdgeHD11 to give me the option to image at 1960mm and guide at 910mm, or image at 728mm using a 0.8x FF/FR on the 130, or image unguided with both simultaneously. I thought long and hard about getting the MyT instead of the MX+. The MyT would have let me do everything I currently do except I would guide with my TV85 instead of the 130. But I wanted the excess capacity the MX+ gives me so I waited and saved a while longer before pulling the trigger on the MX+. Now I'm glad I did.

 

When I was at Okie-Tex last month I saw several EdgeHD11's mounted on CEM60's. I also saw them mounted on MyT's,  CEM120's, and Mach1's in addition to my MX+. I don't think you can go wrong with any of these mounts.

 

Larry



#8 msacco

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 01:04 AM

I think the G11 mechanically is an easy win. At least you can call Scott if you need help. Not so much with Ioptron.

What about one of the European mounts?

Like an Avalon?

Well there shouldn't really be any issues with Ioptron mount, the support for the G11 is really nice though.

And as far as I can see Avalon mounts starts at $5400, without shipping. Not really a choice ^_^

 

I don't have Hyperstar, I image with the dedicated 0.7x FF/FR. But I have a friend who has gotten good results with Hyperstar on his EdgeHD11. I think he uses a CGX with his. As for a pier, I would check this forum for recommendations. I've heard mixed reviews about the TriPier. I no longer use the CEM60 with my EdgeHD11. I have a ROR at our dark sky site and the EdgeHD11 is now mounted on a Paramount MX+ there. This let me add a LiteCrawler and filter wheel to that scope. I also can mount my AT130EDT on top of the EdgeHD11 to give me the option to image at 1960mm and guide at 910mm, or image at 728mm using a 0.8x FF/FR on the 130, or image unguided with both simultaneously. I thought long and hard about getting the MyT instead of the MX+. The MyT would have let me do everything I currently do except I would guide with my TV85 instead of the 130. But I wanted the excess capacity the MX+ gives me so I waited and saved a while longer before pulling the trigger on the MX+. Now I'm glad I did.

 

When I was at Okie-Tex last month I saw several EdgeHD11's mounted on CEM60's. I also saw them mounted on MyT's,  CEM120's, and Mach1's in addition to my MX+. I don't think you can go wrong with any of these mounts.

 

Larry

Currently I'd like to check specifically on the CEM60 to see whether it will be a good purchase or not. Thanks for the input! :)



#9 EFT

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 11:14 AM

Considering where you are, for a new, unused mount I would look to the European brands and/or dealers (Avalon is one of the more affordable choices).  It's not really going to make a lot of sense to buy a mount from the US.  The shipping on a mount and tripod from the US will be a lot closer to $400 and possibly a good amount more and then there is duty. 

 

It is going to be difficult, but if I wanted a mount that I could rely on for a long time and be able to service myself if I had to, I would support the recommendations for the Losmandy mounts made by others.  That is saying a lot since I don't pretend to be a tremendous Losmandy fan.  They are not the worlds most friendly mount and then tend to take some tinkering, but the Losmandy mount could be used for many years past what any of the Chinese mounts will.  I can say this with complete confidence having tuned up many Losmandy and Chinese mounts.  I have rehabbed very old and abused Losmandy mounts and they can be brought back to life as good as when they were new.  This will simple not happen with a Chinese mount.  At you location, that is really the most important part here.  The mounts from the Losmandy and down do not have significantly different performance, but the Losmandy will generally have the best real-life performance (as opposed to promises and unrealistic error graphs supplies by other companies).  While there are other mounts that I would recommend over the Losmandy, they would be out of your price range.

 

Imaging with the Hyperstar can be done on just about any mount that can hold the weight.  F/10 imaging is far more difficult and will require a good mount.


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#10 msacco

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 11:56 AM

Considering where you are, for a new, unused mount I would look to the European brands and/or dealers (Avalon is one of the more affordable choices).  It's not really going to make a lot of sense to buy a mount from the US.  The shipping on a mount and tripod from the US will be a lot closer to $400 and possibly a good amount more and then there is duty. 

 

It is going to be difficult, but if I wanted a mount that I could rely on for a long time and be able to service myself if I had to, I would support the recommendations for the Losmandy mounts made by others.  That is saying a lot since I don't pretend to be a tremendous Losmandy fan.  They are not the worlds most friendly mount and then tend to take some tinkering, but the Losmandy mount could be used for many years past what any of the Chinese mounts will.  I can say this with complete confidence having tuned up many Losmandy and Chinese mounts.  I have rehabbed very old and abused Losmandy mounts and they can be brought back to life as good as when they were new.  This will simple not happen with a Chinese mount.  At you location, that is really the most important part here.  The mounts from the Losmandy and down do not have significantly different performance, but the Losmandy will generally have the best real-life performance (as opposed to promises and unrealistic error graphs supplies by other companies).  While there are other mounts that I would recommend over the Losmandy, they would be out of your price range.

 

Imaging with the Hyperstar can be done on just about any mount that can hold the weight.  F/10 imaging is far more difficult and will require a good mount.

Thanks for the comment, I'm not sure everything is correct though, yes the shipping from the US would probably be around $400 or even more, but I don't think shipping from europe would necessarily be cheaper than the US.

 

I already checked Avalon products, but so far it seems like the cheapest product starts at around  4000 GBP or around $5000, doesn't seem like a reasonable choice unless there's something I'm missing.

I'm not familiar with any other european companies, so any recommendations would be much appreciated.

 

I do think a support for the mount might be very very important, but I also don't think I would really need something urgent that any other company can't support. In fact, a probably better support in my opinion would be friends that image and forums like here that always tend to help a lot with many things.

 

What would you think about the G11 payload vs the CEM60 payload? Does it match in any way in your opinion? Or it's not a matter of payload that determines here?

 

I know that imaging with a hyperstar should be "fairly" easy with either mount, but as I said I do wish to have the ability to image at full focal length.

 

Thanks smile.gif


Edited by msacco, 15 October 2019 - 01:34 PM.


#11 bobhen

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 12:13 PM

Do yourself a favor and listen to what Ed Thomas says about Losmandy vs Chinese mounts (post #9). You will be grateful in the short term and REALLY grateful in the long term.

 

Bob


Edited by bobhen, 15 October 2019 - 12:13 PM.

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#12 rathijit

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 12:54 PM

What would you think about the G11 payload vs the CEM60 payload? Obviously as stated the CEM60 payload is 5 lbs more than the G11, it's not all that much, but when you're rather on the limit, that might be very important, do you think a G11 would outperform a CEM60 in that case?

 

I know that imaging with a hyperstar should be "fairly" easy with either mount, but as I said I do wish to have the ability to image at full focal length.

I use a Losmandy G-11 with my Celestron EdgeHD 11" and have been fairly happy with the performance for the price. I don't expect premium performance, since it is a mid-range mount, and I image from a suburban region with average seeing most nights of the year. At native focal length (no reducer), I throw away about 30% of the frames for having tracking issues... it's not much, but enough to make you want to use a 0.7x reducer. With the 0.7x reducer, the imaging setup becomes a bit more manageable, despite the reducer itself weighing a lot. At 0.7x focal length (1960mm), I usually throw away about 20% of the frames for having tracking issues. The tracking issues become worse when I am guiding under poor seeing conditions... stars become elongated, which I attribute to dec backlash. I have the spring loaded upgrade, and I had the mount tuned at the factory recently, but I still see a 2000ms backlash, as measured by PhD2. The overall weight of my imaging system is about 46lb (including focuser, OAG, camera, reducer, USB hub, etc.). I feel their advertised 60lb is more like 45lb for imaging, unless you tweak and fiddle with all the knobs quite a bit.

 

I have also imaged using the HyperStar and as you suspected, it is a lot more forgiving.


Edited by rathijit, 15 October 2019 - 12:58 PM.


#13 msacco

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 02:09 PM

I use a Losmandy G-11 with my Celestron EdgeHD 11" and have been fairly happy with the performance for the price. I don't expect premium performance, since it is a mid-range mount, and I image from a suburban region with average seeing most nights of the year. At native focal length (no reducer), I throw away about 30% of the frames for having tracking issues... it's not much, but enough to make you want to use a 0.7x reducer. With the 0.7x reducer, the imaging setup becomes a bit more manageable, despite the reducer itself weighing a lot. At 0.7x focal length (1960mm), I usually throw away about 20% of the frames for having tracking issues. The tracking issues become worse when I am guiding under poor seeing conditions... stars become elongated, which I attribute to dec backlash. I have the spring loaded upgrade, and I had the mount tuned at the factory recently, but I still see a 2000ms backlash, as measured by PhD2. The overall weight of my imaging system is about 46lb (including focuser, OAG, camera, reducer, USB hub, etc.). I feel their advertised 60lb is more like 45lb for imaging, unless you tweak and fiddle with all the knobs quite a bit.

 

I have also imaged using the HyperStar and as you suspected, it is a lot more forgiving.

Interesting, according to my calculations the total weight of the C11 edge including all the gear should be around 32.5 lbs or 14.7kg, adding a reducer to that would end up being 36 lbs or 16kg, how did you end up with 10 lbs more than me? The OAG might be slightly heavier then the guidescope, but still..



#14 rathijit

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 02:24 PM

Interesting, according to my calculations the total weight of the C11 edge including all the gear should be around 32.5 lbs or 14.7kg, adding a reducer to that would end up being 36 lbs or 16kg, how did you end up with 10 lbs more than me? The OAG might be slightly heavier then the guidescope, but still..

I was surprised too. I have an extra dovetail plate on top + a carry handle as you can see in the photo below, which I guess adds some weight. There is also a FeatherTouch focuser + HSM2 motor to focus the SCT in HyperStar configuration that I don't usually remove for normal operation at F/7. This FeatherTouch focuser is a replacement for the stock focuser, and is there in addition to the MoonLite crayford style focuser attached to the 0.7x reducer. The wires add some weight as well, and so does the little QHY5L-II camera on top (I use it to see a wide field view of the surrounding sky in case there are clouds rolling in... it really helps if you are sitting inside your house wondering why subs are turning out bad). I did not take the components out individually to weigh them, but I weighed the overall setup to be 46lb. All these little things really add up!

 

Btw, most of my images from the last 3 years or so are using this setup, in case you are curious to see the results. The most recent image (the 6 panel mosaic of the North America Nebula has elongated stars... zoom in to see): https://www.astrobin...users/rathijit/

 

IMG_5384.jpg

IMG_0628.jpg


Edited by rathijit, 15 October 2019 - 02:36 PM.


#15 EFT

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 02:37 PM

Shipping to where you are is a tricky thing.  Nothing is nearby, but Europe is a lot closer so I would expect shipping by DHL to be 3/4 or less the cost of shipping from the US.

 

European mount wise, the least expensive mounts would probably be from Avalon, Fornax, Mesu and Gemini Telescope Design, but these will all be slightly above you budget.  The Mesu and Gemini are not sold or serviced in the US so there is only limited information available to me on them.  The Avalon mounts are excellent.  You would probably be better off waiting to afford one of these mounts in the long run.

 

There is plenty of support for the Losmandy mounts available including on CN.  More important, all parts are essentially available and easily replaced by the user.  Even if one of the Chinese manufacturers offers parts, they tend to be limited and the mounts are no where near as easy to work on.

 

Payload comes down to one being fairly realistic and the other not being.  While the Losmandy might not be capable of long-focal-length imaging at it's maximum rated capacity, it will be able to image at a much higher percent of its rated capacity.

 

For full focal length imaging with the C11HD, if you want good results with less frustration, then the Losmandy or a premium mount are the way to go.  If you were using a C8HD, the options might be a bit different but I would probably still recommend a Losmandy mount for someone who is located in a place where telescope sales and servicing are limited.



#16 rathijit

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 02:43 PM

HyperStar configuration on the Losmandy. I use the AT60ED as a guide scope -- slight overkill, but it doesn't affect the imaging one bit:

IMG_1655 (1).jpg



#17 rathijit

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 02:47 PM

Shipping to where you are is a tricky thing.  Nothing is nearby, but Europe is a lot closer so I would expect shipping by DHL to be 3/4 or less the cost of shipping from the US.

 

European mount wise, the least expensive mounts would probably be from Avalon, Fornax, Mesu and Gemini Telescope Design, but these will all be slightly above you budget.  The Mesu and Gemini are not sold or serviced in the US so there is only limited information available to me on them.  The Avalon mounts are excellent.  You would probably be better off waiting to afford one of these mounts in the long run.

 

There is plenty of support for the Losmandy mounts available including on CN.  More important, all parts are essentially available and easily replaced by the user.  Even if one of the Chinese manufacturers offers parts, they tend to be limited and the mounts are no where near as easy to work on.

 

Payload comes down to one being fairly realistic and the other not being.  While the Losmandy might not be capable of long-focal-length imaging at it's maximum rated capacity, it will be able to image at a much higher percent of its rated capacity.

 

For full focal length imaging with the C11HD, if you want good results with less frustration, then the Losmandy or a premium mount are the way to go.  If you were using a C8HD, the options might be a bit different but I would probably still recommend a Losmandy mount for someone who is located in a place where telescope sales and servicing are limited.

One thing to add to what Ed has said... I can disassemble the mount and put it back together relatively easily. And Losmandy sells individual parts, so if you are handy, you should have no issues identifying and replacing individual components instead of shipping the whole mount back to the US. Losmandy can ship you just the component that is broken for a fraction of the cost. Serviceability is high with Losmandy, but so is the need to tinker if you are pushing the mount to its limits.



#18 msacco

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 05:25 PM

Thanks to all of you for the replies! rathijit, really beautiful images.

Unfortunately I don't think getting the G11 would be an option for me at the moment. The shipping costs only are $600 from optcorp(I didn't find another reasonable store), that ends up at around $4000 not including custom fees, which ends up with a total of $4680, that is simply too much I'm afraid.

 

Currently the CEM60 looks like the second best option for me which actually fits my budget, so I'll aks for another advice, would you still put a C11 Edge HD on a CEM60, or would you rather take a 9.25 or even 8?

I will say that I will mostly image DSO with hyperstar, but once again I would like to have the ability to image at full focal length as well. I'm not expecting much obviously, but want it to be plausible.

 

Thanks again.



#19 Raginar

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 07:51 PM

Do you already own the telescope? What’s your goal? What’s your experience level? I’ll tell you from experience that imaging at 2 or 3000mm is starkly different than imaging at 5-1000mm.

Ultimately a good mount will serve you well in this hobby. I’d rather get a ED80 refractor and a nice mount than buy a big telescope on an underperforming mount.

The difference in price between a C11 edge and a C9.25 pays for an Avalon at European prices with less shipping.

Define what you want to take a picture of and build a system to support that.

#20 msacco

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 12:38 AM

Do you already own the telescope? What’s your goal? What’s your experience level? I’ll tell you from experience that imaging at 2 or 3000mm is starkly different than imaging at 5-1000mm.

Ultimately a good mount will serve you well in this hobby. I’d rather get a ED80 refractor and a nice mount than buy a big telescope on an underperforming mount.

The difference in price between a C11 edge and a C9.25 pays for an Avalon at European prices with less shipping.

Define what you want to take a picture of and build a system to support that.

I don't own the telescope yet, I'd rather first get a mount and only then get a scope.

My goal is mostly DSO imaging, and I'm fairly experienced, I've only had 1 chance imaging at f/10, and that was a nice challenge but I think it's not impossible.

 

The thing that makes me go for the C11 or the SCT route in general, is the versatility of that scope. I love planetary imaging, I love DSO imaging, be it short or long focal length, this series with the hyperstar can simply do it all, and it's just amazing. Yes, I might not produce as smooth images as a refractor, but the options I will have is simply a win to me.

 

The above is true for the whole Edge series, but I think I have quite an apreture fever. I'm not so sure about that, but I just want to get something that will be able to last for good amount of years, even to the point where I won't ever need to upgrade my gear. I might want to get a small refractor some day in the future, but that probably won't be to replace a C11. I just don't want to end up getting the C8 or C9.25 for example, and then spending eventually more money on another upgrade in the future.

 

I don't want to settle for a mount though. The issue is that there is no small strech unfortunately, the CEM60 totals at $3100, but anything above it such as the CGX-L/CEM120 are all in the same price range of $5000-5200, the G11 G2 seems to be around $3945, but the price doesn't seem very justified to me.



#21 Der_Pit

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 08:19 AM

Unfortunately I don't think getting the G11 would be an option for me at the moment. The shipping costs only are $600 from optcorp(I didn't find another reasonable store), that ends up at around $4000 not including custom fees, which ends up with a total of $4680, that is simply too much I'm afraid.

Did you have a look at teleskop-express.de?  They do sell the G11, and shipping my CEM60EC from Germany to Canary Islands (also a difficult destination) with DHL was 50€.



#22 charotarguy

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 09:30 AM

I was surprised too. I have an extra dovetail plate on top + a carry handle as you can see in the photo below, which I guess adds some weight. There is also a FeatherTouch focuser + HSM2 motor to focus the SCT in HyperStar configuration that I don't usually remove for normal operation at F/7. This FeatherTouch focuser is a replacement for the stock focuser, and is there in addition to the MoonLite crayford style focuser attached to the 0.7x reducer. The wires add some weight as well, and so does the little QHY5L-II camera on top (I use it to see a wide field view of the surrounding sky in case there are clouds rolling in... it really helps if you are sitting inside your house wondering why subs are turning out bad). I did not take the components out individually to weigh them, but I weighed the overall setup to be 46lb. All these little things really add up!

 

Btw, most of my images from the last 3 years or so are using this setup, in case you are curious to see the results. The most recent image (the 6 panel mosaic of the North America Nebula has elongated stars... zoom in to see): https://www.astrobin...users/rathijit/

 

attachicon.gif IMG_5384.jpg

attachicon.gif IMG_0628.jpg

Rathi such a neat setup, what OAG are you using, I have exact same equipment however have not used it for any DSO imaging only planetary imaging until now. Would love to get more input on this.



#23 msacco

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 11:45 AM

Did you have a look at teleskop-express.de?  They do sell the G11, and shipping my CEM60EC from Germany to Canary Islands (also a difficult destination) with DHL was 50€.

The price there is 4000 GBP(310 GBP shipping).

That's extremely expensive.



#24 rathijit

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 12:18 PM

Rathi such a neat setup, what OAG are you using, I have exact same equipment however have not used it for any DSO imaging only planetary imaging until now. Would love to get more input on this.

Thanks! I use the ZWO OAG... works well enough for my tiny sensor, but I can foresee it being a problem if I upgrade to a larger sensor. Sure, let me know how I can help you... feel free to PM if you prefer.
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#25 macdonjh

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 01:15 PM

which I attribute to dec backlash. I have the spring loaded upgrade, and I had the mount tuned at the factory recently, but I still see a 2000ms backlash, as measured by PhD2. The overall weight of my imaging system is about 46lb (including focuser, OAG, camera, reducer, USB hub, etc.). I feel their advertised 60lb is more like 45lb for imaging, unless you tweak and fiddle with all the knobs quite a bit.

Backlash can largely be adjusted out of both axes if one is willing to tinker.  But that's disappointing to hear about the spring loaded worm: my impression is it was introduced for exactly rathijit's application and to make tinkering largely unnecessary.

 

Not that this is relevant to the OP, but I have my G11 loaded up with about fifty-seven pounds of scope and finder for visual.  It's definitely at it's limit, but it operates well.  Normally it's on my concrete pier in my observatory.  If I mount it on the HD tripod it's a little shakier, but still satisfying to use (for visual).  If I were doing photography, I'd use a different mount with my scope. 

 

 

European mount wise, the least expensive mounts would probably be from Avalon, Fornax, Mesu and Gemini Telescope Design, but these will all be slightly above you budget.  The Mesu and Gemini are not sold or serviced in the US so there is only limited information available to me on them.  The Avalon mounts are excellent.  You would probably be better off waiting to afford one of these mounts in the long run.

 

There is plenty of support for the Losmandy mounts available including on CN.  More important, all parts are essentially available and easily replaced by the user.  Even if one of the Chinese manufacturers offers parts, they tend to be limited and the mounts are no where near as easy to work on.

 

A friend in the astronomy club I belong to has a Mesu 200, but I don't know how he bought it.  Direct from Mesu?  He loves it (except for balancing it, since it doesn't have clutches).  

 

Agreed: there is tons of support for Losmandy here and the parts (except for the worms and worm wheels/ gears) are off-the-shelf items.  Losmandy prices aren't bad, but I'll bet equivalent parts could be found locally.  I've not worked on nearly as many mounts as EFT, but I agree with him, the Losmandy offerings are among the easiest.

 

One thing to add to what Ed has said... I can disassemble the mount and put it back together relatively easily. And Losmandy sells individual parts, so if you are handy, you should have no issues identifying and replacing individual components instead of shipping the whole mount back to the US. Losmandy can ship you just the component that is broken for a fraction of the cost. Serviceability is high with Losmandy, but so is the need to tinker if you are pushing the mount to its limits.

+1

 

Oh, if quotes from vendors for shipping a G11 are coming in at $400- $600, perhaps that opens up the used market again?  DHL, or I'm sure there's a freight forwarding company out there if you can be patient for ocean freight...  Another thing to consider if you have access to people who can weld: buy just the head and have a portable (or permanent) pier built locally.  You could even have the counter weights made locally (I can provide dimensions if you like).  That way you're only shipping the thirty-six pound head, counter weight bar and controller.  Of course, that option is open for any mount you pick.

 

Back to I-Optron: I've never owned one of their mounts, but several of my friends have them and like them.  I've also read consistently good things about the customer support, both via phone (likely expensive from Australia) and via e-mail.  For the OP, it's too bad they don't make a CEM-75, perhaps then his search would be over.




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