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.