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I hate EQ mounts

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#101 DaveB

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 06:56 PM

I would love to find a good EQ mount that just has tracking and no go-to function. Just give me setting circles and tracking and for a lower price, even better!

That sounds like my old Meade Starfinder equatorial. Only one drive (RA), a clutch that allowed manual movement while the RA drive was engaged, and setting circles (that I never used). I loved it, glad that I learned the sky with it, but I don't miss it.


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#102 SkipW

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Posted 18 March 2020 - 07:34 PM

I would love to find a good EQ mount that just has tracking and no go-to function. Just give me setting circles and tracking and for a lower price, even better!

Due to economy of scale and how astonishingly cheap computing power is now, it may not be much cheaper, if any, to offer a driven equatorial mount without go-to compared to a similar mount with go-to, especially with more popular mounts. A set of engraved setting circles large enough to be useful would probably cost more to manufacture than a fully-automated go-to system in most cases.

 

Many of the go-to equatorial mounts can operate the way you want by simply skipping the alignment procedure. I know the Celestron GEMs can, and suspect this is pretty universal. Just make sure you're at least roughly polar aligned (you'd need to do this for setting circles to be meaningful, anyway), the time and location are approximately right (these are probably set for you automatically in most cases most of the time), select Quick Align or Last Alignment when prompted, set the HC to display the RA and Dec (easy peasy), and observe away!


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#103 photoracer18

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Posted 23 March 2020 - 06:58 PM

My thinking:

 

- I like manual mounts, Alt-az tracking is as easy as EQ tracking.. And with slow motion controls, alt-az tracking simply means using both hands... 

 

- When it comes to GOTO mounts.  Alt-Az is comfy, no tube rotation, the eyepiece is there where you want it.  I think the GOTO Alt-az mount saved the SCT.  And sure, an EQ GOTO mount can track without being aligned but it won't do GOTO without being aligned and it needs two motors for that and probably a more complex alignment process since there are more axes to correct for.  

 

This thread should have been called, I LOVE ALT-AZ mounts.  Then it could have celebrated the positives of ALT-AZ mounts instead the Negatives of EQ mounts.

 

Jon

 

Jon

Using both hands means I can't adjust the focuser or anything else when I am tracking. I successfully imaged comet S-L hitting Jupiter with a Pentax 85 on its factory GEM without a motor by just turning one knob. Can't do that with an alt-az mount. If you look at my signature you can see a number of alt-az mounts, plus lots of GEMs. If I go out on my deck for more than an hour it will be with a GEM mount. If less it will be an alt-az mount. Once I get the pedestal built for my recent AP-900QMD it will be rolling around my deck under a cover with a lock down polar aligned position. Then I will be using the alt-az mounts even less. All except my Orion SSIV on the Stellarvue surveying tripod with my Intes MK-67 on it. I like that just for viewing.



#104 aa6ww

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 10:44 AM

I just bought Astro Devices DSC for my Losmandy G11 from Woodland Hills. The Order has gone silent in the last two weeks so I have a feeling it has to do with our pandemic.

Hopefully, it arrives soon, so I can use it for both my C11 and 6" APO.


....Ralph


That's one of the reasons I'm hanging onto my old Losmandy (G11 in my case) - turn it on and push the scope where you want it to go, then it tracks when you stop pushing. Setting circles work well, although if I'm going to keep resisting the urge to go with DSC's then I should probably mount a couple of small red LED's near the setting circle pointers.
 
A voice operated GOTO laser would be handy though laugh.gif



#105 navigator99

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 04:01 PM

 

Nothing that can't be worked around, and I was raised on the maxim that "it's a poor workman who blames his tools", but there is something really satisfying about moving from a GEM to a good alt-az mount for visual observing and being able to point the **** scope wherever you want without having to think about it.

Hi Bridgman, could you recommend a good alt-az mount that would be compatible with my Explore Scientific 8" f/4.9 newtonian reflector? it has a male dovetail connection.  I currently have a GEM and have some trouble manually hopping around the sky and your comment really struck a chord with me smile.gif  ... 



#106 bridgman

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Posted 24 March 2020 - 04:43 PM

Hi Bridgman, could you recommend a good alt-az mount that would be compatible with my Explore Scientific 8" f/4.9 newtonian reflector? it has a male dovetail connection.  I currently have a GEM and have some trouble manually hopping around the sky and your comment really struck a chord with me smile.gif  ... 

OK, let's see...

 

IIRC the standard GEM mount for your reflector was the EXOS-2GT. If that is what you have, then I think I remember reading that the equatorial head could be adjusted down to a latitude of 0, which would give you the equivalent of an alt-az head with no extra cost. Only downside is that I think you would need to worry about the scope tube running into the tripod legs more than before. A number of alt-az mounts include an extension column option to get the scope up and away from the tripod... and depending on your height you may find this makes viewing more comfortable as well (I'm 6'5" so height is really important).

 

If that first option doesn't work out, my next thought would be something like a Stellarvue M2C. If you don't mind sharing the tripod between your current mount and the alt-az you could probably just buy a mount head and a column with the right thread (10mm x 1.5mm ?):

 

https://www.stellarvue.com/m2/

https://www.stellarv...nt-bolt-mec010/

 

Same thing but including tripod is $599.

 

https://www.stellarv...e-mount-system/

 

Another option would be the ES Twilight II at about the same price. I haven't used it but seems to have the capacity:

 

https://explorescien...wilight-2-mount

 

Going with a smaller mount than this is possible but I wouldn't recommend it unless I missed an option that *can* take the weight (IIRC your OTA is ~20 pounds and relatively long). There are obviously more expensive options which are even nicer.

 

Finally, used is also an option... I bought a WO Ez-Touch + Orion pier extension + Meade field tripod for $500 CDN, which is maybe $375 USD. It's probably the most solid mount I have ever used. Only problem is that I can barely lift it laugh.gif

 

Last thing to consider is better pointing options - a laser or a comfortable finder scope.


Edited by bridgman, 24 March 2020 - 04:49 PM.

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#107 mogur

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 05:08 PM

Some EQ mounts can be used in alt/az configuration, but they are more regularly used at a 90° orientation rather than 0° (latitude). That way one can use the counterweights to help balance the mount head over the tripod. At 0° all the weight is over one side and can cause the tripod to become unsteady.


Edited by mogur, 25 March 2020 - 05:08 PM.


#108 bridgman

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 05:36 PM

Some EQ mounts can be used in alt/az configuration, but they are more regularly used at a 90° orientation rather than 0° (latitude). That way one can use the counterweights to help balance the mount head over the tripod. At 0° all the weight is over one side and can cause the tripod to become unsteady.

Thanks... I wasn't sure whether to type 0 or 90 degrees there. I knew it was one or the other :D



#109 SkipW

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Posted 25 March 2020 - 06:22 PM

If the PA is at 0° the motions aren't intuitive at all and you have two points with gimbal lock instead of just one. This setup has the shortcomings of both systems and the advantages of neither (except at the equator, where it's an equatorial).



#110 navigator99

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 09:43 AM

OK, let's see...

 

IIRC the standard GEM mount for your reflector was the EXOS-2GT. If that is what you have, then I think I remember reading that the equatorial head could be adjusted down to a latitude of 0, which would give you the equivalent of an alt-az head with no extra cost. Only downside is that I think you would need to worry about the scope tube running into the tripod legs more than before. A number of alt-az mounts include an extension column option to get the scope up and away from the tripod... and depending on your height you may find this makes viewing more comfortable as well (I'm 6'5" so height is really important).

 

If that first option doesn't work out, my next thought would be something like a Stellarvue M2C. If you don't mind sharing the tripod between your current mount and the alt-az you could probably just buy a mount head and a column with the right thread (10mm x 1.5mm ?):

 

https://www.stellarvue.com/m2/

https://www.stellarv...nt-bolt-mec010/

 

Same thing but including tripod is $599.

 

https://www.stellarv...e-mount-system/

 

Another option would be the ES Twilight II at about the same price. I haven't used it but seems to have the capacity:

 

https://explorescien...wilight-2-mount

 

Going with a smaller mount than this is possible but I wouldn't recommend it unless I missed an option that *can* take the weight (IIRC your OTA is ~20 pounds and relatively long). There are obviously more expensive options which are even nicer.

 

Finally, used is also an option... I bought a WO Ez-Touch + Orion pier extension + Meade field tripod for $500 CDN, which is maybe $375 USD. It's probably the most solid mount I have ever used. Only problem is that I can barely lift it laugh.gif

 

Last thing to consider is better pointing options - a laser or a comfortable finder scope.

Thank you so much for the detailed response! you are a wealth of information! I'm 6'4" and yes, height is important to me as well... I'm going to look into your suggestions, do some research, etc.  again, thank you for the information!



#111 SkipW

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 12:58 PM

Thank you so much for the detailed response! you are a wealth of information! I'm 6'4" and yes, height is important to me as well... I'm going to look into your suggestions, do some research, etc.  again, thank you for the information!

Again, setting the PA for 0° latitude would not "give you the equivalent of an alt-az head".

 

There's no harm in trying, especially if it's easy to do and it doesn't make the tripod unstable (which it might). If you prefer an alt-az because you find the motions of an equatorial mount non-intuitive and do try this, I predict you will find it at least as unsuitable (and perhaps more) than using it as intended as an eq. Then, again, you may never know until you try for yourself. Please let us what you find if you do give it a try.


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#112 SonnyE

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 05:01 PM

That's one of the reasons I'm hanging onto my old Losmandy (G11 in my case) - turn it on and push the scope where you want it to go, then it tracks when you stop pushing. Setting circles work well, although if I'm going to keep resisting the urge to go with DSC's then I should probably mount a couple of small red LED's near the setting circle pointers.

 

A voice operated GOTO laser would be handy though laugh.gif

Hey John,

I just mount a headlamp on my knoggin, and set it to red.

 

But I love my Go-To mount. Mine could do the same tracking, but I'm not doing that.

 

I also love my pneumatic nailers, over my hammer and nail jars. wink.gif



#113 Exnihilo

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 07:23 PM

Huh, well, a lot of angst over equatorial mounts.  I understand the issues people have with them; if you hate them, by all means avoid them.  I really like them myself; the first mount I owned, at age 12 or so, was equatorial, and I never had much desire to use alt-az for astronomy.  Now I do have a nice Vixen porta with a nice wide-field Lunt 70mm, so I like the convenience of that.  Quick and easy.  But anything bigger, and I go equatorial.  Basic setup is really easy, just eyeball polaris to within a couple of degrees, and that's all you need.  Setting up goto is more involved, but still not too bad.  For Alt-Az goto, its not really all that much easier than equatorial goto.


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