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Praising Your Mount

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#1 Jeff Lee

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Posted 11 August 2020 - 11:50 AM

We often come here to seek help or even disparage our mounts. This is a post where you can praise your mount.


When I got back into the game after a 3 year layoff I decided to get a new mount with the main criteria in that it need to be an AZ-EQ type mount. At that time there was a lot of posts about how the Axis movement in the Orion/SW AZ-EQ PRO(5) caused issues in the AZ use. Well in the new manual it even states that some play is an need design element. So I generally use AZ for EAA and that was a concern, but Orion had a sale where I got the mount for $250 off the normal price, and I thought "I can do the adjust if really needed (lots of posts on the adjustment). Over the last two nights with my C8/Astronomics 60mm finder/guide scope and the ZWO294 with the FR6.3 my mount  for a total of 20 objects put 18 of them within .01 of SharpCaps plate solve. The two outliers were very close to the zenith and were about .1 of the plate solve. My Fov was around .5 degrees with the setup I was using. Even more amazing I had parked the scope after night one, and night two was just as good.


I have pegs in the ground for where I set the scope up, and I do level the mount/scope, but over all after a first nights two star alignment and gotos and tracking in SharpCap for 4 to 8 second exposures are right on, I've gone as long as 20 seconds but I use EAA because I just want to have an enhanced visual experience.


Given what I am comfortable lifting and that fact that I can use both my Es102 and C8 at the same time and that I have not experience any precision issues now in 2 years of using the mount, I do praise this scope for its price/performance ratio. Perhaps it is the low end of the middle level mounts, or the high end of the  bottom level mounts, but its performance for me is so good I took my starsense off it and put it on the SE with GPS for a complete automated system with my C5.


Praise your mount, tell us what is good about it, we've probably all ready read about any issues it may have:)  This is just a praise post, put your issues posts in a new one:)


This is a long (for me) 540 second SharpCap stack from night 2.




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  • NGC 40 Stack_135frames_540s.jpg

Edited by Jeff Lee, 11 August 2020 - 11:52 AM.

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#2 tjschultz2011



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Posted 11 August 2020 - 12:06 PM

I'm pretty proud of the ServoCAT mount on my 17.5" f4.5 dob. I've been able to get and stack 20 second exposures (see astrobin account in my signature) with it and I'm shooting for even longer now that I've replaced the altitude bearings with machine roller bearings and set it up for autoguiding. 

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#3 clusterbuster



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Posted 11 August 2020 - 12:17 PM

IMG_20200809_132651.jpg I strengthened my Orion Astroview Mount and it is definitely Sturdier and actually is a joy to use now, even at high powers ! 



I attached a 2nd pair of legs to the tripod using hose clamps. (2 clamps on each leg), now 6 points touch the ground instead of 3 and it is MUCH MORE STABLE !

Edited by clusterbuster, 11 August 2020 - 12:19 PM.

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#4 OldManSky


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Posted 11 August 2020 - 12:31 PM

I got a new CEM60 (non-EC) in December, to replace a CEM25P.

Got it on the pier, polar aligned it, and it's been running at 0.3" - 0.7" RMS (dependent almost entirely on seeing) all night every clear night since.

Not a single adjustment, hiccup, update, or anything else needed.

Just plop it on, run the drivers, and go.



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#5 F.Meiresonne



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Posted 11 August 2020 - 12:54 PM

+1 for the CEM60.


This said i like my IE30 pro too. No issues there either....


Strange , so far i did not into problems with anything while doing AP...the only issue i have is myself.lol.gif

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#6 John Huntley

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Posted 11 August 2020 - 07:06 PM

Its sturdy, not all that well finished in a number of respects and needs upgraded clamps from the off, but the Skytee II does a great job for me night after night smile.gif



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#7 Whichwayisnorth



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Posted 11 August 2020 - 07:53 PM

My mount has disappeared and is just about the easiest thing ever to use.  

#8 brian32672


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Posted 12 August 2020 - 01:08 AM

My mount has disappeared and is just about the easiest thing ever to use.  

Perhaps it keeps going into another dimension. ;)

#9 luxo II

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 02:08 AM

I'd rate my AZEQ6 about 9 out of 10, though that is with a Berlebach Planet tripod underneath it - the original SW stainless steel one was not really adequate for the payload I have on top.


What I like:


1. With a big heavy visual scope where the fun starts at 300X and can easily run to 600X this mount tracks very well - way beyond my expectations, even in altaz mode.


2. The altaz setup, I don't need equatorial.


3. The setup and alignment are reliable. In 3 years I think I've only flapped-up once.


What I don't like:


1. It's a bit finicky about battery voltage levels. Even with a big SLA battery, on a cold night if this dips to 11.4V it's game over. I've been searching for a battery that has a nominal output more like 14-15V but there's no such animal, unless I build a DC-DC converter for the purpose.


2. The accuracy of the GOTO's is only so-so. Previously I had a push-to mount with encoders and Nexus DSC that routinely worked at 1-minute of arc accuracy, whereas GOTO accuracy with the AZEQ6 is around 20 arc minutes. While this may not trouble imaging types with the little refractors, it annoys me (my focal length is 3100mm)


Having done the spherical trig maths myself in my uni days, I am fairly sure the firmware in the Synscan handset only uses a rough approximation for the tilt and alignment errors in the mount  - it does not iteratively solve the "surveyors equation" properly, if it did it should get the errors down to roughly half the resolution of the secondary encoders (ie about 3 arc minutes which would be an order of magnitude better).


3. In altaz mode, the mount isn't quite plumb vertical. When I set up the tripod dead level using a clinometer to 0.05 degree, then install the mount, putting the clinometer on top and rotating in azimuth reveals that the azimuth axis is tilted to one side by about 0.3 degree. Annoying, and another error that probably isn't compensated and contributes to the poor GOTO problem. Maybe one day I'll find a way to shim it, before I replace it.


4. The so-called second mount on the dec axis. It was very badly engineered - clearly an afterthought - and is next to useless because even when clamped, the dec axis has a slight wobble which is enough to ruin any attempt at alignment, and the second mount has no way to align 2 scopes other than by shimming the dovetail;, which is just so inadequate as to be useless.

#10 bobhen


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Posted 12 August 2020 - 07:13 AM

The mounts that I enjoyed the most over the last 42 years, for various reasons, in no particular order would be…


1. Losmandy GM100
2. Losmandy G11
3. Astro-Physics Mach 1
4. Celestron CG5, used manually
5. DSV-3 alt-az mount, used manually
6. UA Macrostar alt-az mount, used manually


Few, if any, or minor issues – did what they were intended to do.


A couple of other mounts did not make the list.



#11 cmooney91



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Posted 12 August 2020 - 08:40 AM

About 3 years ago I was looking to get a tracking mount to allow me to do EAA with a small telescope. I couldn't afford to buy a new GEM, but I did find a good deal on a beat up old Super Polaris head at the stellafane swap tables. It came with an ancient  O.G. Skysensor control, and one of the worm shafts was slightly bent(1-2mm). 


My plan was to replace the archaic skysensor control with a modern OnStep control.  I striped off the old motors, and made a tool (rod with 6mm hole) to carefully bend the worm shaft back to true. I 3d printed and cast a Vixen dovetale saddle to allow it to  carry modern scopes. I adapted an off the shelf surveyors tripod to have an Azimuth stud, and mounting bolt for the GEM head. I disassembled and re-greased the mount. I printed some new stepper motor brackets and used 16:60 GT2 timing belt pulleys to connect to the worms. I wired together the Onstep controller and it was alive!! 


With OnStep the mount had a fresh start at life and could be controlled directly from a phone, or through ascom on a computer. It had nice fast ~5deg/s slews and very accurate gotos.  I was finally able to do EAA with my 114mm F4 newt and IMX224. It was awesome!. The setup was so light that I could carry it down stairs in one piece. I ran that great little combo for a  little over a year, and then I bought a used 8" F4 from CN. 


The 8" was a lot heavier at 22lb, so I needed to make a bigger counter weight, I ended up printing a bushing for a 25lb Gym weight. I was concerned about overloading the mount (only rated for 15lb) but it took it like a champ. With OnStep the mount would still land targets on the tiny 1/3" sensor at 812mm (~,3deg x .2deg).  I was very happily surprised for a mount that doesn't have a single ball bearing in it. 


Not to long after that I got a bigger IMX294 camera and mount continues to be great.


Here is the franken-mount in all its glory. 


Here is an album of EAA using this overloaded setup.


Last fall I got a great deal on a unused(mirror never even unboxed ) 12" F4 off of CN. But, at 57lbs I think that behemoth will need its own much bigger mount. 


The madness continues.

Edited by cmooney91, 12 August 2020 - 08:44 AM.

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#12 brian32672


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Posted 12 August 2020 - 08:57 AM



Here is an album of EAA using this overloaded setup.



Shows you do not need a massive budget (or massive mount), for budget astro. Quite nice pictures.

A testament to doing this crazy expensive hobby on a smaller budget.

I certainly put a like on that post.



clear skies.


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#13 MarkMittlesteadt



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Posted 12 August 2020 - 08:59 AM

I've had all kinds of mounts, manually operated and electric GoTo GEM's and Alt-Az mounts. But the one that has always consistently gotten me out observing is my Stellarvue M2C, a manual Alt-Az mount. Simplicity and reliability. No frills, no worries, no batteries to account for or die, no polar aligning and of course no GoTo functionality.


But what it does have going for it, is it's rock solid and smooth in operation. I can just take out the mount/tripod that sits at the ready in my garage, throw my scope on it and start observing. It is so smooth and rock solid, I can manually nudge my scope to keep objects centered, focus easily without any vibration whatsoever even at very high power. 


The best praise I could give any mount is that it disappears as I never give it a thought. Simple, reliable, solid and smooth. Best of all, due to its simplicity and abilities it gets me out, even at a moments notice, without any hassles or set up required. I love it so much that this is my second one because I impulsively sold the first one (with regrets) to jump into another GoTo. I just had to buy another. This time I'm keeping it for good. 





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#14 DSOGabe



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Posted 12 August 2020 - 09:58 AM

Hail to my CEM60!

#15 Dynan


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Posted 12 August 2020 - 10:26 AM

Alas and Alack! I cannot play since I own an iOptron CEM60-EC. sad.png

#16 nyairman



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Posted 12 August 2020 - 12:30 PM

Another big+ for the iOptron CEM60ec. It has been a great performer since my purchase this past February. The weather here is terrible so I have not had it out as much as I would like.


The other night was clear and I had to change targets for my AP session. The new target was nearing the meridian and I happened to go outside to check on everything right at that time. I forgot about this target (Fireworks Galaxy) was going to "flip". I had never prepared for a meridian flip before and as I went to check focus, the mount began the flip on its own. Running BYEOS, there is no commands to work with a meridain flip. 


Well the mount flipped and put the Galaxy almost centered in the frame of the camera. I was really impressed. Cannot wait for the next outing with it! I love this mount!

#17 Devonshire


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Posted 12 August 2020 - 12:33 PM

My EXOS-2 PMC8 mount, used exclusively for AP.  Very luggable, easy to maintain, wide software compatibility, dependable, support is great, and I have not yet hit a limit on round-star exposure length with my scope, with or without reducer, given decent seeing.  

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#18 schmeah


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Posted 12 August 2020 - 01:33 PM

Avalon M Uno. Indescribably sexy. And no flip, no backlash, no maintenance and round tight stars with subs up to two hours long at FL 2350 are nice features as well.



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#19 SteveGR



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Posted 12 August 2020 - 01:53 PM

I'll say a kind word for the AVX.  I knew going in that it wasn't likely to be a great astrophotography mount (and it isn't) but it is a very nice mount for visual use with smaller scopes.  The goto accuracy has been good, the hand controller works well and it has been pretty pain free.  It's not the easiest thing to accurately balance in Dec, but then I knew that going in too.  Just take some of the marketing claims with a pinch of salt.

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#20 JedF


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Posted 12 August 2020 - 04:00 PM

I use an ES iExos-100, visual only. I have no other mount to compare it to. 
I paid less than $400 for it a year ago, I’ve since upgraded to a stouter tripod as the included one was a bit jiggly for my load; the current setup is solid.  
On my first serious attempt at using it, I accidentally got my PA and 3-star alignment right and enjoyed an evening of randomly slewing to objects using the supplied software on an iPad over the mount’s wireless.  I didn’t even have a finder scope or a wide FOV EP (I had a 20mm plossl a friend had sold me - ignorance was bliss).  My go-to’s were spot on all night.  Beginner’s luck...
It took me some weeks to replicate that success. I had to actually start thinking through why, when I did this, that got messed up.  I occasionally shared my failures with ES support, who were responsive and patient, but it always came back to pilot error.  
Of course, when you buy an inexpensive but fairly complicated electronic/mechanical device, you’ll likely need to fine tune it, and I’ve done some of that, it’s easy, but even without that, the mount just works. 
I had a helpful epiphany one evening while having a nightcap after a session where the mount’s little mechanical imperfections got on my nerves all out of proportion to any actual functional results. I have fly reels that retail for about what this mount does (and they don’t come with tripods or software or any meaningful customer support.) They are manufactured to very precise tolerances and do exactly two things.  They allow line to unspool at a very high rate of speed - when an anadromous fish takes your fly and decides to head back to sea in a hurry any wobble of the spool on its spindle would be a disaster.  There’s no braking system or drag mechanism, just a light spring check to keep things in order at the first yank; you apply any needed resistance with your bare hand. And then you can wind line back onto the spool.  That’s it. 
Dollar for dollar, for me, for all it can do, this mount punches way above its price class. 

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#21 John Huntley

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 04:15 PM

I recently had the chance to acquire a T-Rex alt-azimuth mount. I've been reading about these for years and now I am lucky enough to have one of my own. It certainly lives up to expectations in every respect smile.gif


The scope is a TMB / LZOS 130mm F/9.2 triplet. The T-Rex holds this long OTA rock steady even at very high magnifications and the slow motions are very smooth and delicate. No need for a counterweight either. This is the first mount that I have used that has really allowed me to fully exploit what the superb LZOS objective can achieve smile.gif









Edited by John Huntley, 12 August 2020 - 04:17 PM.

#22 Spikey131



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Posted 12 August 2020 - 05:27 PM

AZ Mount Pro.  An 8” SCT and 4” refractor point to the same objects.  Simple setup, accurate GOTO.  Wireless with WiFi, GPS and a built in rechargeable battery.  Controlled with Sky Safari on an iPad, tap and GOTO.  The heavens revealed at the tips of my fingers.

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#23 SingleShotDuker


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Posted 13 August 2020 - 10:32 AM

Greetings everyone,


I purchased the PMC-8 mount this past April, after many days of research. I wanted a mount that was robust, flexible with future paths, supported widely, and within budget. I found all of these with the ES PMC-8 Mount.

I have mounted a Starwave 80 on it, and it is rock solid. I exclusively do astrophotography with this mount. I have used both Wifi and Serial connections with great success, however, depending on your desire, the pulse guiding is achieved with using a serial connection via PHD.


Using Sharpcap, I perform my polar alignment and plate solving with ease. I am very pleased with this mount. I am also confident with advancing into larger scopes with this mount, as I know it will handle within the specifications easily.




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#24 aa6ww



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Posted 13 August 2020 - 11:12 AM

I’ve been so completely impressed by my CGEMII equatorial mount with Starsense and GPS. I needed a smart mount to carry my APM 152ED refractor and C11 since my AVX is too small for these scopes. As a visual astronomer, the pointing accuracy of both of my mounts is just dead on accurate, every single time. That’s what I needed since the light polution has gotten so bad over the years, I needed a way to bring astronomy back to my back yard skies.


Light Pollution makes it difficult to locate objects, but not see objects once located. My mount can point my scopes at an object, and there it is in the eyepiece. Even a small 80mm refractor offers plenty to see under light polluted skies, but getting the scope pointed at an object is the difficult part with a manual mount, as skies become brighter.


I can still see the major constellations, but many objects aren’t so easy to star hop to, when just using the main constellation stars. I'm also getting older and lazy, and cranking over my body to point a telrad or point a laser to get my bearings, isnt as fun as it use to be even after 40 plus years of star hopping.


In praising my mount, both my AVX and CGEMII, these are excellent mounts for my visual needs. It was the Starsense option with GPS that convinced me to start buying these Celestron mounts. Two of my friends have both AVX mounts and CGEM mounts and they seem very happy with them. Of this group, I was the one who started using the Starsense. I bought it when I got my mounts, so I've not used the GoTo capabilities of the mount without the starsense option.

I have used both mounts manually, just using the stock hand controller’s slow motion controls with the mount set to tracking only.  This works perfectly also, especially early in the evening when the skies aren’t dark enough to calibrate the mount, but objects like Venus or Mercury are in the West right after sunset and there’s no time or need to calibrate the mount that early in the evening.


As Ive said in other topics out here, I bought adapters for both my AVX and CGEMII mounts from a machinist out here so I can use either mount on my Losmandy G11 Tripod. I also adapted my AVX tripod to use the same Losmandy mounting system so I can use my Losmandy extension pier with either tripod to bring my scopes higher than the stock tripods can do.


My AVX has replaced my Vixen GP-DX, though I’m still keeping the vixen mount. My CGEMII is replacing my Losmandy G11 however since once I sold my C14, the heaviest scope I now have is my C11, and the CGEMII on the Losmandy tripod makes the mount very stable.

I never cared for GoTo mounts. I never felt the need for one. Now, It’s hard for me to go manual unless I’m just spending all night on one object. It seems almost awkward, but my mounts are now an exciting part of my astronomy gear since they allow me to enjoy my backyard skies like never before.






Attached Thumbnails

  • CGEMII with Losmandy Tripod and APM152ED upper view.jpg
  • 120ED on AVX with Losmandy Pier_upper view.jpg

#25 tmyers


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Posted 15 August 2020 - 09:01 AM

After using Alt-Az mounts that came with my Celestron 4SE and 8SE for visual astronomy, I really wanted to get into a decent GEM. I searched the Classifieds here on CN and elsewhere, and couldn't find much or anything less than about $750. There were lots of AVX mounts out there, but the reviews on these mounts were questionable, and even though I am a tinkerer I wasn't wanting to get involved in a project mount. Our local Fast-Trackit auction kept getting EQ6-R Pro mounts but none of those ventures panned out for me.


A year or so ago I had watched a presentation from Jerry Hubbell on the PMC8 controls he was developing for a mount to be sold by Explore Scientific, and was impressed by it's simplicity and robust design. I never dreamed I would be able to afford such a mount.


After failing to find something in the used market I started looking at new and ended up finding the EXOS-2GT with PMC-8 from ES. The mount was near the price point I was looking at in the used market. Unconvinced I reached out to Jerry with a Dictionary long e-mail with more questions than I ever thought he would address. Much to my surprise he responded within a few hours with an equally long response to my questions and even answered a few I didn't ask, but probably should have.


So in January of this year I ordered my EXOS-2GT. Set up was simple using WIFI, but I wasted no time getting the USB-Serial cable needed to control the mount with my Laptop. The learning curve was pretty quick considering I had to learn everything about this mount.


I have enjoyed precise goto's and round stars up to 300s. I am sure it is capable of longer, just haven't gone there yet. For convenience I built a scope buggy and can be ready for polar alignment using SharpCap in about 15 minutes. I have been enjoying hours of imaging this year with my new mount.


I don't see any changes on the horizon for me as this mount has done everything I have asked of it.EXOS-2GT and SW ED100.jpg

Edited by tmyers, 15 August 2020 - 10:10 AM.

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