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AP Mach 2 shopping and questions

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#1 calypsob

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 08:07 AM

All of 2020  I have been studying the market for a replacement equatorial mount that can carry a 60–100lb payload and perform at a high level of precision. My CGE is getting old and I really want to achieve longer focal length guiding precision and pursue some new challenges.

 

I am in no huge hurry and have been closely watching various new vendor mount releases in anticipation for something that really seems to change the game. So far though I have been discouraged by complaints of various issues observed with each manufactures product which I had hoped to see great results from. Theres no way Im putting up with finniky issues if I shell out $3-5k on a new mount.

 

Up until this last month I had never considered myself a premium mount type of imager. Its not a budget issue but more of a use issue, I have no observatory and prefer traveling to image dark sites so in the past that might mean imaging 6 times a year. Owning a premium high performance mount to do that just seemed like a poor choice, so I made due with what I already had.  I assumed my backyard at home was a useless place to do anything more than tests, but after using asi air pro to automate for a clear stretch I realized it is very much possible to get decent data at home. In fact I can probably image several times a month now between home and darksite.

 

To not drag this out much more I peeled away the layers of mount options and said ok why the heck dont I just get a fully encoded ap mach 2. Its portable, it is unbelievably precise, and can easily carry any of my OTA’s. So now Im setting aside my monthly mach 2 budget and im wondering about a few accessories.

 

First- Should Asi Air Pro be able to run the mach 2 GTOCP5? Would I also need the hand control for the mount? I have never owned or used an AP mount so this is all new to me.

 

Second- Tripods. I see the eagle pier, berlebach planet, and ioptron tripier are compatible.
I really like the look of the berlebach, is an extension pier needed to prevent scopes from hitting this tripod? Just need to be sure I add that to my budget.

 

Im interested in any feedback other AP users can give. Ive been browsing over the ap forum and what really impresses me is how attentive Roland is to each issue or concern.


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#2 ChrisWhite

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 08:26 AM

Wes,

 

I cant speak to the Mach2, but you are on the right track if investing in an AP mount. I recently purchased a 900GTO from 2009 and couldnt be happier.  It just plain works, and I havent even checked the pempro curve or purchased APCC pro for the modeling.  If you are patient the Mach2 will be a great mount.  If you are not, the Mach1 is fairly easy to find and even the 900 would be pretty portable as the axis split for transport. 

 

For a tripod I've heard the eagle is wonderful, and if you get a larger mount like the 900 or 1100 the HD tripod by losmandy is a winner.  I have that.  Since I am always in my backyard portability is not as important, but I would not hesitate to bring this gear to a dark site if struck with inspiration.

 

Good luck!


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#3 Jeff B

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 08:54 AM

Wes, if I may suggest, join the AP GOTO Mount group I.O.

 

They can be very helpful.  Also, George at AP is very helpful, patient and a pleasure to talk to.

 

Jeff


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#4 MJB87

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 09:10 AM

Hi Wes,

 

I purchased a Mach2 last year and an 1100 about five years ago.  They are wonderful machines. I can't help you with tripods but can address the issue of mount control and a keypad.  Bottom line is that Sky Safari and an iPhone gives you pretty much the same functionality (and more) compared to the Astro-Physics keypad. And it is a LOT cheaper.

 

If you are into serious unguided imaging you will also want to be able to run APPM, the pointing and tracking model application within the APCC software. This means connecting a computer to the mount, at least to build the model. A-P has made this significantly easier with its IP-emailed connection capabilities on the CP4 and CP5 control boxes, both via Ethernet and WiFi. I can "steer" my mount from 600 feet away sitting comfortably in my house, using my iPhone over the LAN.

 

If you can afford a Mach2 then by all means you will find it a great mount. However, I would not rule out an 1100, new or used.  The 1100 will be easier to transport since it breaks down into two assemblies (unlike the Mach2). You won't get the absolute encoders (great feature on the Mach2) unless you are willing to spend big bucks.

 

Depending upon where you are in Virginia, you may also find lots of folks operating A-P equipment and, once the pandemic is over, you may want to visit with some of them.  

 

Finally, if you are in Northern Virginia, you should contact Martin Cohen at Company 7. He is a distributor for A-P and a great source of advice.

 

Marty


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#5 weis14

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 09:25 AM

I'm in a similar situation. Currently I'm a 95% or more visual observer, but I'm doing more EAA all the time and might do more sophisticated AP more as I learn.

My GM811 is sufficient for the CFF160 for visual, but is definitely not enough for astrophotography or even EAA with longer (3-5 minute) exposures. I'm not sure a G-11 would be enough either. Thus, I put myself on the Mach 2 list last fall as a subscriber to the buy once, cry once philosophy.

I'd sell the GM811 if I buy the Mach 2, but would probably keep the Losmandy HD tripod to put the Mach 2 on. Thus, I'd be using the Mach 2 for visual too whenever I wanted tracking. (The FTX would remain my primary visual mount.)

As a result, my questions are more about what to do for portability when I might want to use the mount for visual at a dark sky site. Is the keypad is worth it for a use case that remains probably 50% visual?How good is the RAPAS is for setup when I don't plan to image (or when I do EAA and don't need as precise of a polar alignment)?

I'm a member of the AP GTO group and second the recommendation to join. There is a wealth of information there.
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#6 f300v10

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 09:38 AM

Wes, my understanding is the Mach2 notification list is booked solid for the next year or more.  So if you're set on the Mach 2 expect a lengthy wait.

 

AP is currently producing and delivering the 1100GTO model, which is about the same cost as the Mach2, has a higher payload (110lbs), but does not include absolute encoders.  Encoders can be added, but are very pricy ($6K).  It is however still very precise and unless you are trying to go unguided you won't miss the encoders.  Overall the 1100 is heavier, but as noted by Marty it splits into two parts that are individually lighter than the Mach2.  There is a chance you could still get one from the current production run but I can't say for sure.

 

I don't believe AP mounts are currently supported by the ASI Air.  The Air is linux based, and the drivers provided by AP are ASCOM/windows.  There is a beta Indi driver, but I would not want to use it on my new mount.

 

Edit: AP mounts are 'supported' with the ASI Air, using the above mentioned beta Indi driver.  So it appears it does work, just not with software supported by AP itself.


Edited by f300v10, 08 April 2021 - 11:30 AM.

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#7 f300v10

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 09:45 AM

As a result, my questions are more about what to do for portability when I might want to use the mount for visual at a dark sky site. Is the keypad is worth it for a use case that remains probably 50% visual?How good is the RAPAS is for setup when I don't plan to image (or when I do EAA and don't need as precise of a polar alignment)?

I'm a member of the AP GTO group and second the recommendation to join. There is a wealth of information there.

I can't speak to the keypad as I don't have one, but using sky safari via wifi for visual works very well.  As far as the RAPAS, it's more than good enough even for imaging.  On my first attempt using the RAPAS the resulting polar alignment was within 0.7 arc minutes.


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#8 calypsob

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 02:30 PM

Wes,

 

I cant speak to the Mach2, but you are on the right track if investing in an AP mount. I recently purchased a 900GTO from 2009 and couldnt be happier.  It just plain works, and I havent even checked the pempro curve or purchased APCC pro for the modeling.  If you are patient the Mach2 will be a great mount.  If you are not, the Mach1 is fairly easy to find and even the 900 would be pretty portable as the axis split for transport. 

 

For a tripod I've heard the eagle is wonderful, and if you get a larger mount like the 900 or 1100 the HD tripod by losmandy is a winner.  I have that.  Since I am always in my backyard portability is not as important, but I would not hesitate to bring this gear to a dark site if struck with inspiration.

 

Good luck!

Thanks for sharing your feedback chris. Im in a good position to be patient but if the wait list feels to crazy I could go another direction. There is an ap 900 on ebay right now for 6k. Im unfamiliar with the features on these so Im having to do alot of research on the components.  I love that Roland continues to service the superseded models. Also thanks for the tip on the losmandy tripod. They look hefty; how much extension is in those legs? I end up on uneven terrain quite often when i go remote.

 

Wes, if I may suggest, join the AP GOTO Mount group I.O.

 

They can be very helpful.  Also, George at AP is very helpful, patient and a pleasure to talk to.

 

Jeff

Im definitely signing up, thanks Jeff

 

Hi Wes,

 

I purchased a Mach2 last year and an 1100 about five years ago.  They are wonderful machines. I can't help you with tripods but can address the issue of mount control and a keypad.  Bottom line is that Sky Safari and an iPhone gives you pretty much the same functionality (and more) compared to the Astro-Physics keypad. And it is a LOT cheaper.

 

If you are into serious unguided imaging you will also want to be able to run APPM, the pointing and tracking model application within the APCC software. This means connecting a computer to the mount, at least to build the model. A-P has made this significantly easier with its IP-emailed connection capabilities on the CP4 and CP5 control boxes, both via Ethernet and WiFi. I can "steer" my mount from 600 feet away sitting comfortably in my house, using my iPhone over the LAN.

 

If you can afford a Mach2 then by all means you will find it a great mount. However, I would not rule out an 1100, new or used.  The 1100 will be easier to transport since it breaks down into two assemblies (unlike the Mach2). You won't get the absolute encoders (great feature on the Mach2) unless you are willing to spend big bucks.

 

Depending upon where you are in Virginia, you may also find lots of folks operating A-P equipment and, once the pandemic is over, you may want to visit with some of them.  

 

Finally, if you are in Northern Virginia, you should contact Martin Cohen at Company 7. He is a distributor for A-P and a great source of advice.

 

Marty

Id love to see any of these mounts in action, it would also be nice to just speak with the enthusiasts who own these types of mounts. Im open minded to other ap mounts, I know the 1100 is tried and true. Is the encoder precision on the mach 2 dependent upon the appc modeling software? I was hoping to step away from laptop reliance in favor of asi air.

Thanks for the tip on the controller, That will save a good bit of $$$

 

I'm in a similar situation. Currently I'm a 95% or more visual observer, but I'm doing more EAA all the time and might do more sophisticated AP more as I learn.

My GM811 is sufficient for the CFF160 for visual, but is definitely not enough for astrophotography or even EAA with longer (3-5 minute) exposures. I'm not sure a G-11 would be enough either. Thus, I put myself on the Mach 2 list last fall as a subscriber to the buy once, cry once philosophy.

I'd sell the GM811 if I buy the Mach 2, but would probably keep the Losmandy HD tripod to put the Mach 2 on. Thus, I'd be using the Mach 2 for visual too whenever I wanted tracking. (The FTX would remain my primary visual mount.)

As a result, my questions are more about what to do for portability when I might want to use the mount for visual at a dark sky site. Is the keypad is worth it for a use case that remains probably 50% visual?How good is the RAPAS is for setup when I don't plan to image (or when I do EAA and don't need as precise of a polar alignment)?

I'm a member of the AP GTO group and second the recommendation to join. There is a wealth of information there.

Ill be curious to hear your feedback about the mach 2 if you get it.
 

 

Wes, my understanding is the Mach2 notification list is booked solid for the next year or more.  So if you're set on the Mach 2 expect a lengthy wait.

 

AP is currently producing and delivering the 1100GTO model, which is about the same cost as the Mach2, has a higher payload (110lbs), but does not include absolute encoders.  Encoders can be added, but are very pricy ($6K).  It is however still very precise and unless you are trying to go unguided you won't miss the encoders.  Overall the 1100 is heavier, but as noted by Marty it splits into two parts that are individually lighter than the Mach2.  There is a chance you could still get one from the current production run but I can't say for sure.

 

I don't believe AP mounts are currently supported by the ASI Air.  The Air is linux based, and the drivers provided by AP are ASCOM/windows.  There is a beta Indi driver, but I would not want to use it on my new mount.

 

Edit: AP mounts are 'supported' with the ASI Air, using the above mentioned beta Indi driver.  So it appears it does work, just not with software supported by AP itself.

I can be patient! . The more I hear about the 1100 the more interesting it sounds. As for asi air, I need to do my due diligence. 
I really want to abandon my laptop and use asi airpro to automate my data sets. That little thing has been revolutionary for me, no updates, licenses, drivers, or other things to fiddle with 70 miles away from internet or civilization, it just flat out works the way you expect a toaster to toast when you push the button.

 

I can't speak to the keypad as I don't have one, but using sky safari via wifi for visual works very well.  As far as the RAPAS, it's more than good enough even for imaging.  On my first attempt using the RAPAS the resulting polar alignment was within 0.7 arc minutes.

I hear great things about rapas. Personally I am an imager so i will likely pa via software and scope.


Edited by calypsob, 08 April 2021 - 02:35 PM.


#9 f300v10

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 03:56 PM

 

I hear great things about rapas. Personally I am an imager so i will likely pa via software and scope.

I have used Sharpcap to PA with my old mount, but heard enough good things about the RAPAS I decided to try it.  I was able to achieve excellent alignment before Polaris was even visible to the eye, probably 45 minutes or more before I would have been able to use Sharpcap to align. As a travel imager anything that can shave some time off my setup is a good thing.


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#10 t-ara-fan

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:07 PM

I have a Mach1.  It is very good.  I don't have the keypad - I use a laptop to do AP.    I used to use the Mach1 on a 6" Eagle Pier.  That thing is solid!!!  Now I am on a permanent pier.  I didn't buy the RAPAS, I like to use SharpCap and save my knees and neck.

 

If I was wanting a mount NOW I would order the 1100.  Without encoders.  AFAIK encoders are great when you have a pointing model, which takes time when you are setting up each night.  Guiding is easy to do, I might make a model one day and go without guiding, but I doubt my pictures would improve. 

 

The Losmandy HD tripod is a good choice if you get the 1100.

 

AP mounts are beautiful. And there is a bonus that you can actually contact George and the guys and gals at AP for support. The newsgroup is very active.   I don't recall the name of the guy at Celestron I would need to call for support LOL.


Edited by t-ara-fan, 08 April 2021 - 04:09 PM.

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#11 Marcelofig

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 04:30 PM

For me to use the Mach2 with ASI Air would basically be a waste of money. The key point of the Mach2 is its encoders and its ability to map the sky and eliminate the need for guiding (for ultra long exposures, more than 30 minutes, guiding is still necessary).

 

For that there are two options, APCC Pro/APPM (free, included in the price) for which you need a PC running windows. Or buy the optional keypad which also includes mapping capability (and as far as I know no 3rd party App can do that).

 

Also keep in mind that for the sky mapping to be really effective in the long run* you need to have some way to input updated weather information to the model, either directly through some hardware device or through the internet.

 

*by this I mean using the same model night after night for long periods of time, i.e. if you have some sort of semi-permanent installation. If you are mobile, just use the model built at the time, which by the way takes about 30 to 45 min, depending on its complexity.



#12 calypsob

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 05:57 PM

I have a Mach1.  It is very good.  I don't have the keypad - I use a laptop to do AP.    I used to use the Mach1 on a 6" Eagle Pier.  That thing is solid!!!  Now I am on a permanent pier.  I didn't buy the RAPAS, I like to use SharpCap and save my knees and neck.

 

If I was wanting a mount NOW I would order the 1100.  Without encoders.  AFAIK encoders are great when you have a pointing model, which takes time when you are setting up each night.  Guiding is easy to do, I might make a model one day and go without guiding, but I doubt my pictures would improve. 

 

The Losmandy HD tripod is a good choice if you get the 1100.

 

AP mounts are beautiful. And there is a bonus that you can actually contact George and the guys and gals at AP for support. The newsgroup is very active.   I don't recall the name of the guy at Celestron I would need to call for support LOL.

 

 

For me to use the Mach2 with ASI Air would basically be a waste of money. The key point of the Mach2 is its encoders and its ability to map the sky and eliminate the need for guiding (for ultra long exposures, more than 30 minutes, guiding is still necessary).

 

For that there are two options, APCC Pro/APPM (free, included in the price) for which you need a PC running windows. Or buy the optional keypad which also includes mapping capability (and as far as I know no 3rd party App can do that).

 

Also keep in mind that for the sky mapping to be really effective in the long run* you need to have some way to input updated weather information to the model, either directly through some hardware device or through the internet.

 

*by this I mean using the same model night after night for long periods of time, i.e. if you have some sort of semi-permanent installation. If you are mobile, just use the model built at the time, which by the way takes about 30 to 45 min, depending on its complexity.

 

 

 

So are you saying that absolute encoders are only beneficial if you are planning on using a point model and not for autoguiding? 

 

I was under the impression that the encoders also helped make rapid corrections in wind, which I experience alot of in the mountains, and assisted with high frequency auto guiding corrections when imaging at say .4 arc seconds, also don't they assist with periodic error correction? 

 

All of this is a bit unfamiliar territory for me.  If in fact I have mis understood the benefits of having absolute encoders then Im all ears.

 

T-ara-fan,  Im looking forwards to the top tier support that AP offers !


Edited by calypsob, 08 April 2021 - 06:00 PM.


#13 Stelios

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 06:15 PM

All of 2020  I have been studying the market for a replacement equatorial mount that can carry a 60–100lb payload and perform at a high level of precision. My CGE is getting old and I really want to achieve longer focal length guiding precision and pursue some new challenges.

 

I am in no huge hurry and have been closely watching various new vendor mount releases in anticipation for something that really seems to change the game. So far though I have been discouraged by complaints of various issues observed with each manufactures product which I had hoped to see great results from. Theres no way Im putting up with finniky issues if I shell out $3-5k on a new mount.

 

Up until this last month I had never considered myself a premium mount type of imager. Its not a budget issue but more of a use issue, I have no observatory and prefer traveling to image dark sites so in the past that might mean imaging 6 times a year. Owning a premium high performance mount to do that just seemed like a poor choice, so I made due with what I already had.  I assumed my backyard at home was a useless place to do anything more than tests, but after using asi air pro to automate for a clear stretch I realized it is very much possible to get decent data at home. In fact I can probably image several times a month now between home and darksite.

 

To not drag this out much more I peeled away the layers of mount options and said ok why the heck dont I just get a fully encoded ap mach 2. Its portable, it is unbelievably precise, and can easily carry any of my OTA’s. So now Im setting aside my monthly mach 2 budget and im wondering about a few accessories.

 

First- Should Asi Air Pro be able to run the mach 2 GTOCP5? Would I also need the hand control for the mount? I have never owned or used an AP mount so this is all new to me.

 

Second- Tripods. I see the eagle pier, berlebach planet, and ioptron tripier are compatible.
I really like the look of the berlebach, is an extension pier needed to prevent scopes from hitting this tripod? Just need to be sure I add that to my budget.

 

Im interested in any feedback other AP users can give. Ive been browsing over the ap forum and what really impresses me is how attentive Roland is to each issue or concern.

0) You will never regret buying an AP mount. AP will make sure of it. These guys give you the feeling they're your family.

1) AsiAir Pro should be able to run the GTOCP5 as AP has an excellent ASCOM driver for it, which the AsiAir should be able to use. (Why you would want to, is another issue. One of the benefits of the Mach2 is that it comes with APCC (the control center) which will not run on the AsiAir). You should ask on the APGTO forum to be sure.

2) I recommend the Avalon T-110 tripod. Lightweight and excellent, with dual mounting clamps on each leg, and fits perfectly the ADATRI adapter for the AP mounts.

3) For any tripod, you can opt to use an extension (assuming long scope), but that will impact stability (you always image with legs retracted and center of weight as low as possible). Consider the Stellarvue riser blocks as an alternative. 

4) You definitely do NOT need the hand control for imaging. Nor do you need the RAPAS.


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#14 Marcelofig

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 08:27 PM

So are you saying that absolute encoders are only beneficial if you are planning on using a point model and not for autoguiding? 

 

I was under the impression that the encoders also helped make rapid corrections in wind, which I experience alot of in the mountains, and assisted with high frequency auto guiding corrections when imaging at say .4 arc seconds, also don't they assist with periodic error correction? 

 

All of this is a bit unfamiliar territory for me.  If in fact I have mis understood the benefits of having absolute encoders then Im all ears.

 

T-ara-fan,  Im looking forwards to the top tier support that AP offers !

 

For me the main purpose of buying a Mach2 was precisely to be able to dispense the guiding.

 

But truth be told I'm not sure if the encoders bring out their full potential on their own or if they really get it when working in conjunction with APCC Pro/APMM or the Keypad. You really should ask in the AP io group.


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#15 Jeff B

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 08:36 PM

Wes, as others have mentioned, a used Mach 1 or AP900 is not a bad detour at all.  In fact, it may make a lot of sense as you continue to save for the Mach 2.  A good used Mach 1 with the CP3 control box goes for about $4500 to $5000 USD, depending on included extras.  A good sample AP900 is about .75 to 1.00 kilo-buck more.  Both of mine are just happy as hello riding on my good old Losmandy HD tripod.  

 

Sure, they do not have absolute encoders but both can be used with APCC and offer a fat slice of what the Mach 2 offers for about half price.  But here's the kicker, you can always sell the used AP for what you paid for it, which means you're in business with a great AP mount while you continue to save to upgrade to the Mach 2.  You've made the Mach2 down payment to yourself in the form of equipment.

 

Why starve yourself for a couple of years when you can enjoy some very tasty AP "leftovers" right now...or at least much sooner than you would if you waited until you had all the funds for the Mach 2?

 

Just a thought.

 

Jeff 


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#16 f300v10

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 09:11 PM

For me the main purpose of buying a Mach2 was precisely to be able to dispense the guiding.

 

But truth be told I'm not sure if the encoders bring out their full potential on their own or if they really get it when working in conjunction with APCC Pro/APMM or the Keypad. You really should ask in the AP io group.

The encoders do their job all the time, but as you suggest unless you are using a model built with either APCC Pro/APMM or the Keypad, the effect of refraction on apparent tracking rate will make getting round stars an issue with medium to long exposures.  I believe the Keypad has a 'Dec Arc' model mode where all you need is a model of 10 or so points at the Dec of your target which takes only a few minutes to build.  A similar feature is in development for APCC.


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#17 khursh

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Posted 08 April 2021 - 09:11 PM

I still guide with my Mach2. I don't need to guide up to 3 minutes with no model and much longer with a model, but I still guide because I dither. Honestly I did about 60 subs of blue and green at 2 or 3 minutes and even without dithering, they were fine. YMMV. 

 

On another note, I use the Losmandy Fixed heavy duty tripod. It works great and I think it looks good too

IMG 1053

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#18 johnsoda

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 05:50 AM

I still guide with my Mach2. I don't need to guide up to 3 minutes with no model and much longer with a model, but I still guide because I dither. Honestly I did about 60 subs of blue and green at 2 or 3 minutes and even without dithering, they were fine. YMMV. 

 

On another note, I use the Losmandy Fixed heavy duty tripod. It works great and I think it looks good too

Not sure what software you’re using, but you can still dither when going unguided with some software.  I do it with SGPro all the time.  Just want to make sure people are aware of this.


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#19 alphatripleplus

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 08:19 AM

Wes, as others have mentioned, a used Mach 1 or AP900 is not a bad detour at all.  In fact, it may make a lot of sense as you continue to save for the Mach 2.  A good used Mach 1 with the CP3 control box goes for about $4500 to $5000 USD, depending on included extras.  A good sample AP900 is about .75 to 1.00 kilo-buck more.  Both of mine are just happy as hello riding on my good old Losmandy HD tripod.  

 

Sure, they do not have absolute encoders but both can be used with APCC and offer a fat slice of what the Mach 2 offers for about half price.  But here's the kicker, you can always sell the used AP for what you paid for it, which means you're in business with a great AP mount while you continue to save to upgrade to the Mach 2.  You've made the Mach2 down payment to yourself in the form of equipment.

 

Why starve yourself for a couple of years when you can enjoy some very tasty AP "leftovers" right now...or at least much sooner than you would if you waited until you had all the funds for the Mach 2?

 

Just a thought.

 

Jeff 

That was pretty much what I decided to do, although I have a CP4 box on my Mach 1. If I ever feel the need to move up to a Mach 2, the Mach 1 is a great  mount to have in the interim.


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#20 Dean J.

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 09:00 AM

Not sure what software you’re using, but you can still dither when going unguided with some software.  I do it with SGPro all the time.  Just want to make sure people are aware of this.

Yes, dithering can be done with SGPro when imaging with the Mach2 unguided.  I do it. 

 

I would not hesitate to buy a used AP mount.  When my 2005 model year AP1200 got to be too much to lift into and out of my truck for remote imaging I traded it for a 4 year old AP900 which I then used for another 7 years.



#21 dhaval

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 11:57 AM

So are you saying that absolute encoders are only beneficial if you are planning on using a point model and not for autoguiding? 

 

 

Regardless of whether you choose to guide or not, guiding improves tremendously when the mount has a pointing model to fall back on. I have used my AP1200 in a remote setting to take about 10 minutes unguided images at around 1000mm FL and about 0.5"/px image scale, just by having a solid pointing model. A solid pointing model takes in to account refraction and temperature. I am not sure if the ASIAir has those components or not, but if the ASIAir can't use APCC's APPM, then I would not use ASIAir, period. 

 

One of the benefits of encoders is that they will remove PEC, so that helps with guiding, I am guessing even without falling back on a pointing model.

 

CS!


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#22 Dean J.

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 11:58 AM



 

 

I was under the impression that the encoders also helped make rapid corrections in wind, which I experience alot of in the mountains, and assisted with high frequency auto guiding corrections when imaging at say .4 arc seconds, also don't they assist with periodic error correction? 

 


Correct.  Also, the RA encoder will almost completely eliminate periodic error so you don't need periodic error correction. I started out guiding the Mach2 and was able to get guiding under 0.2 arc seconds without any problem.  The included software was fairly easy to learn and configure [I had to study the manual and follow the steps in the manual but I got it going] and now I image unguided with the Mach2.  I set up the mount for every use and configuring and running a tracking model is easy and it runs while it is getting dark enough to image.


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#23 rockstarbill

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Posted 09 April 2021 - 05:44 PM

Regardless of whether you choose to guide or not, guiding improves tremendously when the mount has a pointing model to fall back on. I have used my AP1200 in a remote setting to take about 10 minutes unguided images at around 1000mm FL and about 0.5"/px image scale, just by having a solid pointing model. A solid pointing model takes in to account refraction and temperature. I am not sure if the ASIAir has those components or not, but if the ASIAir can't use APCC's APPM, then I would not use ASIAir, period.

One of the benefits of encoders is that they will remove PEC, so that helps with guiding, I am guessing even without falling back on a pointing model.

CS!


Not sure what you mean by "falling back on" as the model corrects the tracking rate as the mount traverses the sky. This is independent of guiding and guiding has no clue its even happening. The encoders will eliminate backlash and PE.
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#24 aruckle

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 01:43 AM




Correct.  Also, the RA encoder will almost completely eliminate periodic error so you don't need periodic error correction. I started out guiding the Mach2 and was able to get guiding under 0.2 arc seconds without any problem.  The included software was fairly easy to learn and configure [I had to study the manual and follow the steps in the manual but I got it going] and now I image unguided with the Mach2.  I set up the mount for every use and configuring and running a tracking model is easy and it runs while it is getting dark enough to image.

Dean J. 

      What is the longest focal length you have done unguided imaging?  

 

aruckle



#25 khursh

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Posted 10 April 2021 - 09:03 AM

I have done 5 minutes with 840mm FL. I'm sure many have done longer with greater FL, but its just another data point.




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