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A Dob 12": are all Dobsonian mounts equivalent?

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#1 Exitiumy

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 07:15 PM

Hi there smile.gif

 

I am going to buy a Dob 12". I know pretty well that all brands on the market are using Chinese mirror; meaning that all mirrors share the same "quality".

I do not care that much about what is in the box except but the telescope, I am going to get/buy/keep some accessories and high quality eyepieces.

 

However, I am still a little worried about the Dobsonian mount, I had a sky-Watcher Dobsonian before and I was very happy about it (I mean the mount was very easy to use and so smooth).

I have some doubts regarding the Dobsonian mount of other brands. You got any opinion?

 

For instance  (here are my choice, ranked according to my confidence in the mount):

Sky-watcher 12" https://www.highpoin...elescope-s11740

Meade 12" https://www.highpoin...obsonian-204011

Apertura 12" https://www.highpoin...-telescope-ad12

Zhumell 12" https://www.highpoin...scope-zhue025-1

 

Also on bhphotovideo in found the Sky-Watcher 12" at a amazing price! $989 instead of $1,250: https://www.bhphotov..._Telescope.html

The reference is the same than the one from highpointscientific... I do not understand the price! Do you see any difference? I If it is really the same, I am going to ask a pricematch to highpointscientific!

 

I am not really a beginner, I had a Dob 8" before and I was using at my Mom's (country side). I know the scope will be huge/heavy, I will move it by car (~1 hour to get a 3-4 class dark-sky) but that's okay. It will be (mainly) for deep-sky.

 

Just want to be sure (I already have a good idea, 99% sure, but I want some feedback). Thanks a lot smile.gif



#2 Mike G.

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 07:41 PM

I can tell you from experience the Meade LightBridge bases are made from particle board and VERY heavy.   however, they (at least used to) have a large diameter needle bearing on the azimuth which makes them pretty smooth. when I got rid of my base and replaced it with a baltic birch base, I kept the needle bearing and used it on the new one.


Edited by Mike G., 09 April 2020 - 02:10 PM.

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#3 Volvonium

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 07:44 PM

Apertura and Zhumell are the same GSO manufactured telescope-- I think these are actually the best dob mounts because they use high quality needle roller thrust bearings for altitude control and adjustment.  Very very smooth altitude control and capable of managing immense weight at the focuser without needing counterweights.   Meade Lightbridge bases are heavy and the friction based altitude bearing is undersized, contributing to balance issues.  The Skywatcher base is good and similar mechanically to what one finds in Orion Intelliscope.  Good smooth controls, but subject to balancing issues if start going with heavier weights at the focuser.   

 

I don't need to think about counterweights with GSO bases/alt bearings.  I converted my Meade Lightbridge to use GSO altitude bearings because I enjoyed the smoothness of controls so much.  The critical fault of the Lightbridge is how top heavy and unbalanced it is, due to inadequate altitude bearing.

 

In my opinion the AD12 / Z12 has the most value, with a high quality dual speed focuser, high quality alt bearings, good 8x50 RACI, and very usable 30mm and 9mm eyepieces that are better than what others include.


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#4 Mike G.

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 08:24 PM

Meade 12” LB are indeed top heavy. I had to make a counterbalance for mine. 


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#5 Exitiumy

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 08:29 PM

Thanks Mike G. and Volvonium for your feedback.

 

I will use pretty heavy eyepieces, like the Nagler series. So yes balance could be an issue.

I had the feeling that the AD12 has the most value, even if I am not going to keep the filters, eyepieces, and laser. I am still very impressed by the price of that scope. Also, since I used a Sky-Watcher for many years and was very happy with it, I am somewhat brainwashed.

 

Other comments or feedback would be appreciated smile.gif


Edited by Exitiumy, 08 April 2020 - 08:52 PM.


#6 Sam M

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Posted 08 April 2020 - 09:08 PM

I can vouch for the AD12/Z12 mechanically.  The alt bearings have held up surprisingly well over time.   No sticky spots.  The AZ bearing isn't so great, but it has never bothered me, and there are fixes if it does.  Focuser is good, fan is good, accessories are good.  I use a couple 8oz magnets to help with balancing, so I can keep the alt bearings a little looser when switching out the binoviewer and heavier eyepieces.  Eventually the particle board base will probably disintegrate, but again, it has held up better than I expected so far.

 

Just double check the measurement that it'll fit in your car.


Edited by Sam M, 08 April 2020 - 09:10 PM.

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#7 tphili1959

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 02:33 AM

I have a skywatcher 12 inch collapsible Don going on 2 yrs. Now and really like it..i have a dual finder bracket on it with an raci finder and laser finder and can put my es 18 82 eyepiece on it and still no need for a counter balance weight because the skywatcher dob has an adjustable tension knob on the base so once set up I adjust it one time and I'm usually good for the night

#8 SteveG

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 01:20 PM

Of the three scopes you listed I've used two of them, the GSO (Apertura or Zhumell) and the Meade (10" variant). They all worked very well, with my preference being the GSO with it's adjustable altitude bearings. Having said that I have not read any negative reports on the SkyWatcher dob's, so any of these will be a good choice. I needed a truss, so I went with the LB, which performs flawlessly after installing counterweights to the bottom of the tube. Of the 3, the LB will break down to the smallest components, followed by the SW. Of course the solid tube dobs will require the largest amount of space and be difficult to move around. I suggest seeing a 12" dob in person before you make your purchase decision.


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#9 Tank

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 03:08 PM

I seem to like the Orions from the ones i tried

I have tried

Orion 10",16"

SW 8",10"

Meade 12" LB




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