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Recommendations for appx $1k goto equatorial mount for RedCat

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#1 WoodlandsAstronomer

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 10:26 AM

Can anyone with experience with this scope recommend a good equatorial mount around $1000USD for the RedCat 51 v2? Prefer something with goto and ease of polar aligning especially when Polaris obscured would be great.

PS I’ve been looking at the AVX and the EQM35 and am not really sure what else I should consider or how to really distinguish one from another as they largely overlap in feature set...thx in advance

#2 RaulTheRat

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 10:49 AM

At that budget I'd be all over a CEM25P. The iOptron ipolar accessory works even with Polaris obscured, I haven't used it that way and can't comment on how much of the North view can be obscured and it still works but maybe someone else knows - I do know the field of view of the ipolar is wide so it should be able to align with a fairly obscured North view but it will still need to be able to see something in that general area.

If the Redcat 51 is one of the primary imaging scopes for that rig I'd probably even consider stretching to the CEM25P-EC because I suspect at such a short focal length you could go unguided.
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#3 Taylor

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 11:02 AM

Same, CEM-25P would be a good bet. Its very light weight and people are cranking out some impressive astrophotos with it. 


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#4 Night shift

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 12:46 PM

Can anyone with experience with this scope recommend a good equatorial mount around $1000USD for the RedCat 51 v2? Prefer something with goto and ease of polar aligning especially when Polaris obscured would be great.

PS I’ve been looking at the AVX and the EQM35 and am not really sure what else I should consider or how to really distinguish one from another as they largely overlap in feature set...thx in advance

Is this for AP or visual? 



#5 WoodlandsAstronomer

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 12:47 PM

Whilst looking for this mount, I see that for a few hundred dollars more, between 1300 and 1500 USD, there seem to be quite a few highly regarded, although, substantially heftier, mounts like the Sky-Watcher EQ6-R pro. I guess one advantage from going to a larger mount is future compatibility with larger OTAs...



#6 WoodlandsAstronomer

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 12:48 PM

Is this for AP or visual? 

Initial use will be with RedCat 51 v2 for AP only. However, I am not opposed to investing in a better mount for future visual use with a 8 or 9" SCT at some point in the future...seems like maybe I should be looking at the Skywatcher EQ6-R Pro...thoughts?



#7 Night shift

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 01:14 PM

Buy the best mount you can afford and if you cant afford it , save until you can. Always think in the future for change of OTA into something heavier. It will happen, trust me. Remember that you will probably be buying more gear and this will load the mount more. If you have 10 pounds of gear now you will probably double it by the time you are done. Then ad to bigger OTA in the future.  You didn't mention what camera you are planning on using or how mobile you need it to be. I am a Ioptron fan. Some are not. Keep reading and do your homework.  



#8 WoodlandsAstronomer

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 02:05 PM

Buy the best mount you can afford and if you cant afford it , save until you can. Always think in the future for change of OTA into something heavier. It will happen, trust me. Remember that you will probably be buying more gear and this will load the mount more. If you have 10 pounds of gear now you will probably double it by the time you are done. Then ad to bigger OTA in the future.  You didn't mention what camera you are planning on using or how mobile you need it to be. I am a Ioptron fan. Some are not. Keep reading and do your homework.  

Nightshift, thanks for the perspective. Looking maybe for two mounts then. One more portable for grab and go use and another more substantive for home use. I seem to like what I hear about the Skywatcher EQ6-R pro for a more substantive mount for home use, but I am not sure what the best portable grab and go option is and would welcome your thoughts or recommendations there. Thanks



#9 WoodlandsAstronomer

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 03:02 PM

Thinking I may look to the SkyWatcher HEQ5 as a nice in between solution...


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#10 RaulTheRat

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 05:03 PM

Thinking I may look to the SkyWatcher HEQ5 as a nice in between solution...


The HEQ5 is a lot less stable and has a lot less capacity than an EQ6, although I'm sure it's a good mount in it's weight class.

In general IMO skywatcher mounts are good value but heavy for their capacity. The EQ6 class mount I had before I got my CEM60 was a _lot_ heavier, and I would say worse in performance, however there's enough variability in individual samples of any mount at these prices that I'm fully prepared to say that on average they probably have basically the same performance.

Ergonomically, I find the iOptron much better designed.

If you intend to future proof for heavier OTAs, you are going to have to accept a heavier mount which will be more trouble to lug about. In the "can upgrade OTA to a moderate SCT/biggish refractor etc" class the CEM60 is by far the lightest I'm aware of, but it's still far from grab and go.

A Redcat 51 on a heq5 or CEM25P is properly grab-and-go. As soon as you put even a tiny OTA like that on a mount that can handle 40lbs or more it'll become a fair bit more cumbersome. A cem40p looks small/light to me but I've never seen one in person, maybe that would offer some room for growth without being unnecessarily large/heavy.
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#11 dr.who

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 05:55 PM

The ASPA function on Celestron mounts make them compelling for your “Polaris obstructed” criterion. Skywatcher will be the better mount but I can’t remember if they have a ASPA routine or not. The EQ6-R has a carry handle which makes it significantly more ergonomically friendly and easy to deal with than other mounts in its class.


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#12 RaulTheRat

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 06:18 PM

Ah yes I forgot about ASPA - skywatcher don't have it.

#13 WoodlandsAstronomer

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 06:45 PM

CEM40 is supposedly very light, it is perhaps one of the better in the "grab and go" categories, however, one of the most expensive. Has anyone used the CEM40? 



#14 calypsob

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Posted 22 January 2020 - 07:45 PM

Spend a bit more and get an orion sirius pro. You will eventually want to upgrade to a bigger scope.



#15 Ballyhoo

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 01:00 AM

so then can we say that the $1k is not a hard limit, and you can go a little above?   

 

how long have you been doing astronomy, and do you for sure see a future in it for you? If so, certainly buy the best mount you can.   I know others have said it, but the CEM 25 is a great mount for that RedCat. I just didn't think it was under $1k. But if and only if you think you may end up really loving AP and astronomy then think long nad hard about a bigger mount. nonetheless, I suspect with the CEM 25 you could get away with a 4" refractor on that.


Edited by Ballyhoo, 23 January 2020 - 01:00 AM.


#16 WoodlandsAstronomer

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 11:30 AM

so then can we say that the $1k is not a hard limit, and you can go a little above?   

 

how long have you been doing astronomy, and do you for sure see a future in it for you? If so, certainly buy the best mount you can.   I know others have said it, but the CEM 25 is a great mount for that RedCat. I just didn't think it was under $1k. But if and only if you think you may end up really loving AP and astronomy then think long nad hard about a bigger mount. nonetheless, I suspect with the CEM 25 you could get away with a 4" refractor on that.

Yes, not a hard limit. I've been astrominating for 35+ years, primarily my love is visual observation. I dabble in AP and want to do more. But to your point, yes, I am a lifelong hobbyist/enthusiast so money spent is well spent here. I've looked fairly hard at the CEM series and really like the CEM40 for portability and payload capacity as it seems like it gives me flexibility to throw a 8" SCT on it for visual use from time to time. Looks like around $2000 USD without the encoders or 2" tripod add ons.  However, the specs look really good to my eye.  Any thoughts on that mount? Obviously overkill for the redcat but decent for redcat plus friends?


Edited by WoodlandsAstronomer, 23 January 2020 - 11:31 AM.


#17 richorn

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 11:35 AM

Yes, not a hard limit. I've been astrominating for 35+ years, primarily my love is visual observation. I dabble in AP and want to do more. But to your point, yes, I am a lifelong hobbyist/enthusiast so money spent is well spent here. I've looked fairly hard at the CEM series and really like the CEM40 for portability and payload capacity as it seems like it gives me flexibility to throw a 8" SCT on it for visual use from time to time. Looks like around $2000 USD without the encoders or 2" tripod add ons. However, the specs look really good to my eye. Any thoughts on that mount? Obviously overkill for the redcat but decent for redcat plus friends?


I recently got the GEM 45 and really love it. Solid as a rock. AFAIK, the internal components are the same in the CEM 40 and the GEM 45.

#18 WoodlandsAstronomer

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 11:38 AM

I recently got the GEM 45 and really love it. Solid as a rock. AFAIK, the internal components are the same in the CEM 40 and the GEM 45.

Is the GEM45 new version of CEM40 they are almost same price??



#19 GoFish

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 11:43 AM

I’m pretty sure you can get ASPA on SW EQ-5, EQ-6 mounts by adding StarSense.  A lot of dollars, but StarSense adds some value if you are not platesolving. 



#20 richorn

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 11:43 AM

Is the GEM45 new version of CEM40 they are almost same price??


Different design. GEM is the standard “German”. CEM is used as Chinese or Center. The CEM has the main weight more centrally located. I had the CEM 25 and the design was pretty stable for a lightweight mount. But I have to say I prefer the setup of the GEM.

#21 dr.who

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 12:37 PM

A critical factor will be the ability to polar align your mount without Polaris. If the iOptron’s have an ASPA like routine that’s as good as the Celestron one then you should consider them as an option. However you should do your due diligence. Based on my personal experience with the company and reports here and elsewhere iOptron products, especially the mounts, are something I will never buy or recommend. Others will disagree with that and that is fine. Thus why i suggest you do your due diligence.

 

I just did a Google search. Skywatcher has an ASPA routine. Per my search it is on page 36 of the manual as of 2015. Of the mounts in your list the Skywatcher will be the most likely to give you the best sample in terms of quality. If the EQ6-R is too big for you look at the AZ-EQ5.


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#22 WoodlandsAstronomer

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Posted 23 January 2020 - 01:50 PM

A critical factor will be the ability to polar align your mount without Polaris. If the iOptron’s have an ASPA like routine that’s as good as the Celestron one then you should consider them as an option. However you should do your due diligence. Based on my personal experience with the company and reports here and elsewhere iOptron products, especially the mounts, are something I will never buy or recommend. Others will disagree with that and that is fine. Thus why i suggest you do your due diligence.

 

I just did a Google search. Skywatcher has an ASPA routine. Per my search it is on page 36 of the manual as of 2015. Of the mounts in your list the Skywatcher will be the most likely to give you the best sample in terms of quality. If the EQ6-R is too big for you look at the AZ-EQ5.

Thank you...good to know...



#23 Ben Driss Bouhia Abdeslam

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 09:48 PM

Hi,

I need a recommendation for a German mount, capacity 44 pounds, good compromise quality / price, for a small budget. Help!



#24 richorn

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Posted 27 January 2020 - 11:59 PM

Hi,

I need a recommendation for a German mount, capacity 44 pounds, good compromise quality / price, for a small budget. Help!

iOptron CEM60



#25 WoodlandsAstronomer

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Posted 28 January 2020 - 05:56 AM

I ordered the iOptron CEM40, but I found out after I ordered it needs a windows pc to run the ipolar alignment, total bummer for what was intended lightweight grab and go...


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