I can tell you a bit more about this mount.
I'm one the first user of this mount. It's been about 4-5 mounths that I have it.
I use it with a TS130Q F5 and moravian G2-8300.
it works fine, I'm happy of it. It's rigid, easy to use and have a real good mechanic.
I've just finish to write a test report, so you can see it with the following text (I don't find if we can upload a pdf, so I paste the text only)
sorry if there are mistakes, I'm french and not so fluent english, so...
hope it will help you to chose !
NEW MOUNT TEST
Gemini Telescope Design: E.FRIC
By Nicolas Vouillon
Gemini Telescope Design recently released a new mount: the E.Fric.
It replaces the G53F.
Like the previous one, it’s an equatorial type with friction drive and therefore without backlash.
The name is simply the acronym for Ecological FRICtion drive.
Clearly, this means that the mount was manufactured in an ecological approach: reduced ecological footprint, use of conventional machining, 3D printing and some parts are standard (drive motors for example) in order to be able to repair fairly easily if needed.
The manufacturer's approach is to offer a robust, reliable, easily repairable mount, easy to use and with a rather comfortable load capacity, all for a fairly low overall weight.
A fairly advanced design was made on the mechanics in order to eliminate not only an encoder but also the need for autoguiding (within a certain focal length of course)
Let's move on to the main technical data :
Weight : 18kg
Load capacity : 30 kg without counting the counterweights
Latitude adjustment range : 16 to 65 °
No polar finder but an adapter for the Polemaster already integrated
Counterweight bar diameter : 30mm
Motors : nema 17 bipolar
Dovetail type : Losmandy
Aiming speed : 5 ° / sec
Pointing accuracy : 0.1%
Tracking accuracy : better than 2 '' arc
Electronic controller : not supplied
Counterweight : not supplied
Separable into 2 parts with 4 BTR screws (tools included)
Concerning the electronic controller, it will be up to the future owner to choose and order it. He obviously propose a manufacturer with whom he works : instein astro
(https://instein.eu/) and he’s Onstep controller. (sold 210 €)
Its launch price in Europe is € 3,640 including VAT (without delivery) and this includes a 5-year guarantee! rare enough to point it out.
Why did I choose this mount?
Simply because at the end of last year (end of 2019), I was looking for a new mount to replace the well-known EQ6 Pro and to work without autoguiding if possible.
Having evolved over time from a skywatcher 80ED + apn to a TS130Q F5 + moravian + filter wheel, the venerable EQ6 had become too limited.
In parallel to this, Andras of GTD, began to publish pictures of his future mount with 3D drawings. I quickly fell in love with a design that was finally different from classic production! What also convinced me was his video without autoguiding : the star stays in its place for 10 min (https://www.youtube....OpiR6o8vl8&t=1s)
After a few discussions with him on the future capabilities of the mount, I decided to take it.
I received it in less than a week… I did not expect such speed from UPS
(small clarification: I live in Reunion island)
Unpacking and installation
The mount was well packaged, fixed inside on a kind of small pallet, simple but effective. The time to take it out and assemble the different parts with the BTR key provided, in a few minutes the mount was ready.
To fix it on my mobile column, I had only one small modification to make : drill and thread to put a simple screw there (it is a personal plate which did not have an az pin or other at the base) . He has in fact made sure that the mount is very easily adaptable to standard flanges and therefore that it is in a way universal. 1st good point!
Once everything is fixed on the column, the mount seems very robust and rigid.
After having installed everything : counterweights, controller, redo the wiring, etc., I could not shoot until 2 months later, due to the weather….
So let's get to the heart of the matter : leaving EQ6 and having only had this mount, I had a little trouble at first getting used to the new interface of the Onstep controller.
The big advantage of this controller is that by default it has an RJ45 and WiFi connection, and that it is also possible to control the mount with a smartphone, very practical for those who want to go on the filed with it. The noise in goto of the mount is a little surprising at the beginning compared to the EQ6 but we got used to it quickly.
Unfortunately I don’t have access to the south pole to my house (thank you the neighbor’s tree….) I do my stationing with EQalign. Simple and practical software in my case (even if I am a bit limited to adjust the latitude because of my environment).
Once all this is done, I finally start to be able to image. (I spare you the 3 nights to take the head to make the controller work and its configuration…). So I started to go crescendo in terms of exposure times : 30sec, 1 min, 2 min then 5 min.
Verdict : up to 2 min the stars are round but at 5 min they started to be stretched. (I'm 650mm focal length) here attached a 200% zoom on the stars.
So I headed for the emblematic nebula of the southern hemisphere : Eta Carinae.
Being very bright, it was the perfect target for 2 min exposure.
The nights being quite short because of the arrival of the clouds in the middle of the night at each session, I was finally able to do 7 hours of total exposure with the 2 min unguided frame. (Ha: 150 frames kept on 163, R = G = B = 18 frames kept on 18 for each)
Here is the result after treatment:
I then did other sessions in order to obtain round stars over 5 min, but unfortunately I never got there.
But that did not surprise me too much given that I am not in a fixed position and that I cannot have an excellent stationing because of the trees, conditions (among other things) sine qua none to do without autoguiding.
So I reinstalled my autoguiding system in order to be able to pose for 5 minutes.
Not surprisingly the stars are perfectly round and I had never had such a flat guiding diagram ! I am permanently below +/- 0.5 with PHD!
Regarding power consumption, it consumes almost nothing. According to data from the Ultimate Power Box : 0.33A in tracking and 0.61 in goto. Convenient for those who want to be nomadic and count each amp.
By synchronizing on one star, the goto are very good, the selected object is each time close to the center. By doing it on 3 stars, this is almost perfect.
For my part, since I use the plate solve, I therefore do not need to make a pointing model, synchronization on 1 star is enough for me.
Something also appreciable: the very simple stop system for the 4 separation screws in 2 parts of the mount. Indeed, during the unscrewing of the screws, they remain in place thanks to this system and then facilitates reassembly thereafter. We can not lose them and are quickly replaced!
However, there are still some small negative points, but nothing too bad:
- The mount is very sensitive to a slight imbalance, it really has to be carefully made.
- You have to be careful for the orientation of the plate support because otherwise the retaining screws will come up against the clamping screw of the declination axis
- Some will probably regret the absence of a polar finder.
- Regarding the graduations for latitude, it could have been more precise.
A word about the controller
What was the more difficult to adapt was the controller. It is really unfortunate that the manufacturer (Instein) does not provide detailed explanations on the first start-up. It is not complicated in itself but when you discover something new without explanation it is a little painful to have to seek and try to understand. Fortunately Andras guided me well to configure it.
Besides, as much as the interface on the phone is very well done (practical for nomads), as much on the computer I find it’s not very ergonomic, incomplete and with some bugs. But once the operations entered, I did not have to complain more than that.
For those who want to use it through several software at the same time (like me with Cartes du ciel, SGP and PHD), be sure to select `` generic hub '' because otherwise you can only use the mount with only one software at a time.
So I find that this frame is really worth it. Indeed, it is robust, light compared to its load capacity (it has the same weight as an EQ6 but carries much more), quick to implement and above all has a very good mechanics which means that you can go without autoguiding up to a certain focal point of course and if polar alignment was done well.
All this in terms of price, I think it is a very good choice, especially if we compare to other mounts of the same range and with roughly equivalent load capacity, such as for example an avalon linear which cost 5000 € and goes up to 25kg.
In addition, nothing moves, everything is very rigid once everything is screwed, it really gives you confidence.
Next, just to see how it would behave with more load. In my case I am at 15kg of material, that is to say half the admissible load.
So I am ultimately very satisfied with this mount. Except some concerns related to the controller, I never had any problem, the mount is quickly forgotten.
To summarize :
Weight, load capacity, mechanical precision, separable into 2 parts, integrated polemaster adapter, 5 years warranty.
Sensitive to the slightest imbalance, counterweight and controller to buy elsewhere.