I’m old school for sure. With regard to mounts, I got my first GEM fifty-five years ago this summer, a 5/8” shaft Edmund equatorial mount on the tall wood tripod. Since then, I’ve had lots of others. The bigger Edmund and Jaegers 1” shaft mounts, the Vixen line of Polaris thru Great Polaris, the Unitron GEMs- small, medium, and large, a couple of Zeiss equatorial mounts, Celestrons, Meades, the list goes on. In pruning all things back to a sensible number, given my age, physical condition, and living circumstances (I’m in good health, knock on wood, and will have completed 72 laps around the Sun come Friday), I’m down to just one GEM, a Meade LX70 with dual drives (this is a CG5/GP class mount), with a nice range of counterweights of various size to handle any of my present scopes. I chose to use this mount for my observing pleasure last night. The one thing that struck me setting up was what a PITA it is to use a German equatorial mount! As I said, I used to be a fan, but in selling all but one, My experience last night confirmed my logic and forever answered in my mind, the question of why I sold them. I hadn’t set one up in months.
I much prefer my alt-az mounts. My TV Panoramic and Gibralter mounts, and my big Orion U-mount are ergonomic dreams to use, and my Vixen Porta-II is my staple grab and go. The eyepiece and finder is always where you want it to be (no tube rotating), balance is easily achieved, and it either all goes out in one trip or in the case of the big U-mount, two (mount and tripod separately). With the GEM its more gear when you include the counterweight(s), power supply, controller, etc. then there’s the getting down on one’s knees to polar align, etc. it took me at least twice as long set up and to take down. I think after last night, I may even ‘Dobify’ my vintage Newt (I know, I’m a heretic), and be done with the madness! I’m getting to old for this! (Not observing, just observing with GEMs). I’ll keep the LX70 mount, for old times sake- a sort of artifact and reminder. I may even occasionally press it into service. But even it needs simplifying! I removed the drive motors this morning and returned to to a completely manual mount. That at least, eliminates sum of the extra ‘stuff’ to deal with (power supply, controller, cables). Being strictly an observer with zero aspirations for AP I don’t need the bother! I’m wondering, is anyone else tired of the hassle?
Edited by Terra Nova, 11 October 2021 - 11:20 AM.