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I hate EQ mounts

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#1 Kon Dealer

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 05:35 PM

Had a Celestron CG-5 goto EQ Mount for about 3 years now. It works perfectly.

But I hate it with a vengeance.  So much so I haven’t used it in over a year.

Simply cannot abide the complexity and faff of setting the **** thing up.


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#2 coopman

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 05:38 PM

I've got a non-go-to manual EQ5 that I've used once in about 5 years. 



#3 wrnchhead

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 05:46 PM

I mostly use an EQ mount but I really am considering an alt-az for my C8 when I just want to take it outside and drift around for a bit

#4 msl615

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 05:51 PM

From the other perspective, I use these older, very basic Vixen EQs as listed below....I find them easy to set up, and prefer them over my Alt-az because of the setting circles,  and that I can walk away for 30 min, come back and move the RA to find the object again. But, when on travel and keeping things light, I will take the Alt-az to avoid the counter-weights, etc. 

 

Mike


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#5 Old Man

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 06:28 PM

I had never used an EQ mount, got all wrapped up in all the GO TO posts and saved up and bought an AVX. Played with it in the house all winter learning all the settings and how to setup. It has been used exactly twice outside. Works perfectly, but I hate using it. I thought I was going to love it, even bought the ADM duel dovetail saddle and a polar scope, but alas, I just don't like it.

  If I did not have to take such a big loss I would sell it, but used prices for these do not command much,so I will keep it and play with it a little, but not much.


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#6 JGass

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 06:43 PM

Is the hate limited to GEM style EQ mounts, or all types?

#7 bridgman

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 07:33 PM

Simply cannot abide the complexity and faff of setting the **** thing up.

My setup hassles went down hugely when I realized that for simple visual work I could pretty much plunk the mount out in the yard with the RA axis pointed vaguely north-ish and skip everything else (polar alignment, setting up GOTO etc..). Is there any particular part of the setup that bugs you the most ?

 

If you want GOTO then you're going to have to do a bit of alignment every time you set up anyways... don't think there is any way around that other than leaving the mount set up in the yard with a cover over it.

 

I did end up getting a couple of alt-az mounts anyways but what I learned is that it's "ease of carrying outside" that makes most of the difference, which in turn is more a function of the tripod than the mount. The first alt-az I picked up (a used EzTouch grafted onto a big-**** Meade tripod) turned out to be even harder to get outside and set up than my GEM was... it wasn't until I had a tripod (on the AZ8) whose legs could angle in and out without removing the mount head that "grab and go" became a real thing. 

 

EDIT - I haven't used a CG-5 so not sure how friendly it is to use manually, but is it worth trying to use it as an alt-az mount with the latitude adjust set as low as possible ? I don't think it will go all the way to 0 but IIRC it should get close enough that movement will be as intuitive as a real alt-az mount.


Edited by bridgman, 08 March 2020 - 07:40 PM.

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#8 Star Geezer

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 07:41 PM

I was observing the Moon last night with the 4.5” f/8 Meade on the eq using manual control knobs. I had my latitude set and turned toward the general direction of Polaris. I tracked the Moon for hours moving the declination knob only to observe different areas of the Moons surface. At the end of the night the declination was exactly where it was when the night began. I think it is when you start using the motors and go-to's is when it becomes difficult.



#9 stubeeef

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 07:57 PM

I hate them with a passion too! Love DOBs with and without goto.

 

I wish more mounts came with setting circles. I can find everything I want with just that. Guess there's not a big enough profit margin printing those on a mount. Losmandy is the only one I know that still does.

 

A simple Alt Az with setting circles and life is fine.


Edited by stubeeef, 08 March 2020 - 07:59 PM.

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#10 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 09:03 PM

People sure do get intimidated by equatorial mounts. As said above, for visual use it's fine to just plop it down and eyeball the polar axis somewhere near Polaris. You will still get the benefit of one-axis tracking. You might have to tweak the declination axis now and then to center your object. 


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#11 havasman

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 09:09 PM

Get a Disc Mounts DM4 or 6 or a Stellarvue M2C, whatever's right for your loading. Add Nexus DSC for excellent push-to performance. Put it on a nice (but inexpensive) surveyors' tripod. You'll probably never look back and you certainly won't grow to hate them for their complexity.


Edited by havasman, 08 March 2020 - 09:17 PM.

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#12 turtle86

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 09:20 PM

Get a Disc Mounts DM4 or 6 or a Stellarvue M2C, whatever's right for your loading. Add Nexus DSC for excellent push-to performance. You'll probably never look back and you certainly won't grow to hate them for their complexity.

 

 

+1   I have the DM6 and it is a joy to use for visual.  Simple, elegant, rock-solid.


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#13 Sarkikos

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 06:56 AM

Yep.  I had several GEMs.  My first mount on my first telescope back in 1972 was a GEM.  I've gotten rid of all my GEMs.  I would never buy another GEM, for all the usual reasons why observers who don't like GEMs don't like GEMs.  

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 09 March 2020 - 06:57 AM.


#14 Sarkikos

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 07:01 AM

Get a Disc Mounts DM4 or 6 or a Stellarvue M2C, whatever's right for your loading. Add Nexus DSC for excellent push-to performance. Put it on a nice (but inexpensive) surveyors' tripod. You'll probably never look back and you certainly won't grow to hate them for their complexity.

I love my DM6.  I put it on an Avalon T-Pod 110, which is light but sturdy.  I have an M2, but the DM6 is much better at compensating for imbalance.

 

I have no problem tracking manually simultaneously in altitude and azimuth.  Not a big deal.  I never got why one-axis tracking was any real improvement.  Never made a big difference for me.

 

I have the Sky Commander, but never used it.  I took it off and stored it away.   I'm just too used to star hopping.  I could do it in my sleep.  Sometimes, I probably do, at the dark site.  grin.gif

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 09 March 2020 - 07:06 AM.

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#15 GOLGO13

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 09:16 AM

 I never got why one-axis tracking was any real improvement.  Never made a big difference for me.

 

 

Mostly helpful when at very high magnification usually looking at planets.

 

However, I do agree that I mostly dislike GEMs. The tracking is helpful sometimes, but that's the only time I like to use them.

 

I may need to use it if I get more into imaging. I'm going to try a little bit with a DSLR, but I'm 99% visual and I have a feeling I won't like imaging again (tried it before and didn't like it).


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#16 Pauls72

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 09:33 AM

A GEM or EQ mount is no more difficult to use than an Alt/Az mount for visual observation. All you need to do is set it up reasonably level and balanced with the axis pointed at the NCP or SCP. (Polaris is close enough to the NCP, to work).

The only time it becomes a challenge, is when you try and do an accurate Polar Alignment for AP use.


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#17 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 09:39 AM

I like a driven, polar aligned eq mount for high magnification double star and planetary views.  It works well to have this when waiting for moments of good seeing. It's also good when showing sights to the uninitiated, who wouldn't know how to track with an undriven mount.  Their views don't have to be constantly interrupted to reset the field of view.


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#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 09:59 AM

A GEM or EQ mount is no more difficult to use than an Alt/Az mount for visual observation. All you need to do is set it up reasonably level and balanced with the axis pointed at the NCP or SCP. (Polaris is close enough to the NCP, to work).

The only time it becomes a challenge, is when you try and do an accurate Polar Alignment for AP use.

 

Actually, with all the monkey motion, the tube rotation, GEMs are a lot more hassle, particularly with larger Newtonians. With an alt-az mount, the tube never rotates so the eyepiece and finders are where they need to be. With a Gem, they rotate so it'll be necessary to rotate the tube.. this is also true of refractors and Cats. And if you can't rotate the tube.... Finders can be unaccessible.

 

This pretty much tells the story.. 

 

4765185-meade 12.5 inch Will work for stars.jpg

 

I don't hate GEMs, I just very much prefer ALT-AZ mounts for their ease of use and simplicity. When I bought a Dob with an EQ platform, the GEM became obsolete. I have found I prefer manual tracking to the platform so I'll be selling it shortly.

 

Set is certainly easier with a large Newtonian on a Dob mount but it's the difficulty using a large GEM mounted Newt that's the killer.

 

Jon


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#19 Jon_Doh

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 10:10 AM

I hate them with a passion too! Love DOBs with and without goto.

 

I wish more mounts came with setting circles. I can find everything I want with just that. Guess there's not a big enough profit margin printing those on a mount. Losmandy is the only one I know that still does.

 

A simple Alt Az with setting circles and life is fine.

The Orion Sirius Alt/EQ mount that I have has setting circles.


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#20 Keith_Beef

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 10:27 AM

Had a Celestron CG-5 goto EQ Mount for about 3 years now. It works perfectly.

But I hate it with a vengeance.  So much so I haven’t used it in over a year.

Simply cannot abide the complexity and faff of setting the **** thing up.

Anyone fancy buying a little used, perfectly working EQ Mount and tripod?

I'm a beginner, and I don't find EQ mounting any more difficult than Alt/Az (my Mead can work in either)... but I can't do any kind of alignment at the moment, because the skies are ALWAYS BLOODY CLOUDY!

 

When I get some better chunks of time and clearer skies, I'm going to set three round posts with dished surfaced flush with the surface of the lawn.

 

I'll do a polar alignment once with the tripod legs on those posts, then park the scope at the end of an observation or photography session. In theory, I should be able to just position the tripod lgs on the posts again and the alignment will still be valid.



#21 rml63

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 10:41 AM

Would the SW AZEQ 5/6 be the obvious solution to the problem?

 

Mike



#22 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 10:41 AM

All the high end astrophotography people use eq mounts.


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#23 SonnyE

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 11:31 AM

EQ mounts can be great.

But for all others, there are binoculars.


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#24 hcf

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 11:40 AM

I have a manual EQ mount, that I motorized myself and added GoTo using platesolving by a small action camera piggybacked and aligned to the OTA.

 

https://www.cloudyni...-project-ps-g2/

 

Aligning the camera, is like aligning a finder, and takes some time, but very litle incremental time if you leave the camera on the scope permanently.

 

For visual using this setup, I have GoTo accurate to 0.2 degrees in most cases, without accurate polar alignment (just get it roughly pointing north with latitude set to your lat on the scale), no need to enter lat/long/time, no star alignment needed.

Unlike other GoTo mounts, the scope can be moved by loosening clutches and not break GoTo, the mount can be bumped without consequence and although I have not tried it, you can probably even move the setup to another location, if you again place it roughly pointing north. Can't get simpler than this !!!

 

The mount can be controlled by SkySafari. Doing a better polar alignment (even if not super accurate) does help in getting to the target faster and improved tracking.


Edited by hcf, 09 March 2020 - 11:42 AM.


#25 macdonjh

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 12:32 PM

My setup hassles went down hugely when I realized that for simple visual work I could pretty much plunk the mount out in the yard with the RA axis pointed vaguely north-ish and skip everything else (polar alignment, setting up GOTO etc..). Is there any particular part of the setup that bugs you the most ?

 

If you want GOTO then you're going to have to do a bit of alignment every time you set up anyways... don't think there is any way around that other than leaving the mount set up in the yard with a cover over it.

 

I did end up getting a couple of alt-az mounts anyways but what I learned is that it's "ease of carrying outside" that makes most of the difference, which in turn is more a function of the tripod than the mount. The first alt-az I picked up (a used EzTouch grafted onto a big-**** Meade tripod) turned out to be even harder to get outside and set up than my GEM was... it wasn't until I had a tripod (on the AZ8) whose legs could angle in and out without removing the mount head that "grab and go" became a real thing. 

 

EDIT - I haven't used a CG-5 so not sure how friendly it is to use manually, but is it worth trying to use it as an alt-az mount with the latitude adjust set as low as possible ? I don't think it will go all the way to 0 but IIRC it should get close enough that movement will be as intuitive as a real alt-az mount.

+1  When I found I wasn't using my scope at home as much as I wanted to I got a smaller equatorial mount.  It now stays assembled in the garage, and I carry it, assembled, thirty feet to my observing spot.  When I turn my mount on, it starts tracking immediately (I think the CG-5/ AS-GT/ AV-X have to be "told" to start tracking unless you do an alignment model for go-to, the SynScan controller requires this).  Since I view the moon and planets almost exclusively from home, go-to isn't needed.  When I observe double stars from home go-to is appreciated, and then I used to build a quick 3-star model.  Now I have DSCs on my driveway mount...

 

People sure do get intimidated by equatorial mounts. As said above, for visual use it's fine to just plop it down and eyeball the polar axis somewhere near Polaris. You will still get the benefit of one-axis tracking. You might have to tweak the declination axis now and then to center your object. 

+1  A few years ago I spent some time polar aligning my mount.  Then I drilled some dents in my driveway so my tripod legs would always be in the same place when I set up.  Now I can "plop it down" and be reasonably polar aligned immediately.  Like many equatorial mount users, I prefer having a drive mount to hand tracking.  I find I can lose myself in whatever I'm observing more easily if I don't have to think about tracking.  I never found the zen of manual tracking.  Many others have, though.

 

Actually, with all the monkey motion, the tube rotation, GEMs are a lot more hassle, particularly with larger Newtonians. With an alt-az mount, the tube never rotates so the eyepiece and finders are where they need to be. With a Gem, they rotate so it'll be necessary to rotate the tube.. this is also true of refractors and Cats. And if you can't rotate the tube.... Finders can be unaccessible.

 

This pretty much tells the story.. 

 

 

 

I don't hate GEMs, I just very much prefer ALT-AZ mounts for their ease of use and simplicity. When I bought a Dob with an EQ platform, the GEM became obsolete. I have found I prefer manual tracking to the platform so I'll be selling it shortly.

 

Set is certainly easier with a large Newtonian on a Dob mount but it's the difficulty using a large GEM mounted Newt that's the killer.

 

Jon

+1/2  I agree Newtonians on GEMs are a pain, I have one.  However, other scope designs, like refractors and various Cassegrains, to me, are no better or worse on an equatorial mount than they are on an alt-az mount.  If the eye piece orientation is awkward, rotate your diagonal or focuser.  I will agree finder orientation can be a pain, but I only use finders to build pointing models for go-to, so they are only a pain for a few minutes at the beginning of the evening.  And a RACI finder would make most of that inconvenience go away, too.  

 

All that said, if I were given a life-Mulligan and started astronomy all over again, I'd go the Dobsonian route.  I didn't because of storage (no space), car (small) and transportation (100 miles each way) considerations I had when I started, so I evolved through various compact scopes on equatorial mounts, rather that ever larger Dobsonians.  I really like my driveway scope, and my observatory, but sometimes wish I had an 18" f/4 Dobsonian with a ServoCat.


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