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First light with the new Avalon Evo Zero HQ

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#1 AstroScudiero

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Posted 24 October 2022 - 04:08 PM

EvoZeroHQ, the perfect companion for itinerant astrophotography nights (and more).

Compact, light and performing, the Evo Zero HQ is one of the latest products from Avalon Instruments, and thanks to its unique properties has become my inseparable companion for astrophotography nights. Based on the exclusive Avalon Belt Drive System, it prevents backlash and spikes and it is an alternative to the typical harmonic mount.
It can be used without counterweights with setup up to 6kg, but they are necessary for heavier weights, up to the 13 kg allowed.
It’s made from a single block of aluminum which makes it very robust and light. The compact size is perfect for traveling and for wide-field photography with small apochromatic telescopes, but it can handle a C8 easily.

Those are the specs from the Avalons’s website

Type: Equatorial/Alt Az mount
Payload Capability: 13 Kg (no counterweights required up to 6kg)
Weight: 4,6 Kg
Overall Dimensions: 28 x 21 x 11 cm
Latitude range available: From 0° to 90°
RA/DEC motors: HQ (High Quality) 400 stepper motors
Transmission system: All belts drive system based on four stages reducer.
All the movements are on roller bearings. No maintenance and no backlash system.
Pulleys made with special polymer fiberglass charged and high precision toothed belts.
Construction Material: Anodized aluminum, worked out from single blocks with high precision 5 axis CNC machines
GOTO system: StarGo Wi-Fi version
Telescope plate: Vixen style, single knob with 2 tightening points

Everything fits inside the Avalon bag with dimensions of 52x24x32 (cm) and a total weight of only 13.2kg.
I chose this mount with several optional accessories that I think are highly useful (polar scope and T-pod 70 tripod, also by Avalon). The T-Pod70 tripod is solid, light - only 3kg - and able to hold payload up to 40 Kg and it has its own compartment inside the bag, in order to transport everything in maximum safety.
The tight dimensions and low weight, as well as the comfortable handles and shoulder strap, ease the transport and it fits even in the small trunk of my car.

 

unboxing_1.jpeg

unboxing_2.jpeg

unboxing_3.jpeg

 

This is the detailed list of the components:

1: T-POD 70 It has a base height of 52cm and reaches 78cm when the legs are extended.
It is connected to the mount by the handy central screw, and thanks to its design it can also house the most common harmonic mounts.
2: Star Go Wifi module To completely control the mount, even via WiFi. It is possible to connect the mount to Windows or OS X systems by the USB port, and to use the main astronomical software such as Phd2 or Carte du ciel with the ASCOM platform.
3: Shaft + 3 kg counterweight
4: EvoZeroHQ mount
5: Keypad to control manually the mount (movement, speed adjustment and electronic focuser if any).
6: usb connection cable to connect the mount to the PC
7: Power supply
8: Keypad connection cable
9: Brake Safety System’s power supply
10: Connection cables for Ar and Dec motors

 

 

 

 


Edited by AstroScudiero, 24 October 2022 - 04:50 PM.

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#2 AstroScudiero

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Posted 24 October 2022 - 04:16 PM

This is the assembled setup, ready for imaging: attached on the Evo Zero HQ there is the 420 mm Evostar72 Ed and the Asi Zwo 294MC camera, all remotely controlled by Astroberry Server.

 

assebled.jpg

 

The first step is the polar alignment which is easy to reach thanks to the polar scope located on the left side in its dedicated bracket and the comfortable adjustment knobs for the Height and Azimuth.


Both allow a fluid and precise movement and the result is very accurate (in the image below the precision reached using Sharpcap's polar align tool)

 

polar-align1.jpg

polar-align2.jpg

polar-align.png


Edited by AstroScudiero, 24 October 2022 - 04:19 PM.

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#3 AstroScudiero

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Posted 24 October 2022 - 04:23 PM

The software used to manage the entire imaging session is Astroberry Server.

 

hello-evozero.png

 

The guiding software is PHD2. As shown in the graph, the transmission system of the Evo Zero HQ guarantees a very low guiding error (only 0.36"). With further testing and experience I am sure that it can be further reduced. The optimal settings for the PHD2 configuration are available on the manufacturer's website.

 

The session’s target is to get an image of clusters and nebulae located in the portion of the sky between Cassiopeia and Cepheus, that includes the famous Bubble Nebula NCG7635 and the open cluster M52.
This is the final result, the sum of 48 shots of 600 ”, using the Antlia Alp-t dual narrow band filter.

 

chela-bolla-cloudynights.png

(full res here https://alessioscudi...lla_social.png)

 

 

The annotations show all the deep sky objects present in the image

 

chela-bolla-annotated-social.png

 

 

Acquisition details:

Date: 14-15/10/2022
Location: Ciampino, IT 41°48′N 12°36′E
Bortle Dark Sky Scale: 8
Main telescope: Skywatcher ED72
Guiding telescope: 60/240
Main camera: Zwo Asi 294MC
Guiding Camera: Zwo Asi 224
Mount: Avalon Evo Zero HQ
Filter: Dual narrowband Antlia Alp-t 5nm
Frames: 48*600", gain 120, T -5°
Darks: 10
Flats: 20
Acquisition: Astroberry Server
Stack: Deep Sky Stacker
Elaboration: Pixinsight and PhotoShop


Edited by AstroScudiero, 24 October 2022 - 04:23 PM.

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#4 AstroScudiero

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Posted 24 October 2022 - 04:24 PM

Conclusions:

The main reason why I chose the Avalon Evo Zero HQ is the need to have a top quality, reliable and high performance mount that I can comfortably carry with me on my astro-nights. The setup is ready in just a few minutes due to the ease of use and mechanical precision of the mount. The Avalon’s transmission system provides an accurate and reliable tracking for the entire duration of the shooting session. All these features are time saving, especially when it comes to set everything up for an itinerant session away from home: time is the most precious resource as every astrophotographer knows.


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#5 rgsalinger

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Posted 24 October 2022 - 05:33 PM

Is this mount actually over $5000 for the mount head, guide scope, counterweight and a tripod? That seems really steep for a mount that has 30 pound of capacity. It also has no through the mount cabling which explains, why the pictured example looks so messy.

 

I can buy two CEM40's for that money and they will handle at least as much weight for imaging.

 

I can buy two EQ6R's for the same money.

 

What's the allure this mount has over an AM5 or a HEQ27 for that  matter? 

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#6 Spikey131

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Posted 24 October 2022 - 05:54 PM

Is this mount actually over $5000 for the mount head, guide scope, counterweight and a tripod? That seems really steep for a mount that has 30 pound of capacity. It also has no through the mount cabling which explains, why the pictured example looks so messy.

 

I can buy two CEM40's for that money and they will handle at least as much weight for imaging.

 

I can buy two EQ6R's for the same money.

 

What's the allure this mount has over an AM5 or a HEQ27 for that  matter? 

 

Rgrds-Ross

Is it all about money per pound?  What about precision and ease of use?  How much would Astro-Physics charge, if they still made a lightweight mount?

 

I’m sure this mount isn’t for everyone, but it doesn’t seem overly expensive compared to other premium mounts.  Just smaller.


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#7 psandelle

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Posted 24 October 2022 - 05:58 PM

Love me my M-Zeroes. Avalon makes sweet mounts. If I didn't have a Rainbow Astro RST-135, I'd probably pick up one of these to play with.

 

Paul



#8 rgsalinger

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 12:26 AM

It's over $5000 for 30 pounds of capacity - $166 per pound. Now that's a fact. You can pick up more capacity for 2/3 maximum of the price. That's a fact. And, you even get a full featured hand controller to use rather than "StarGo". That's a fact.

 

I'll make a bet. Anyone who owns one of these puppies is welcome to come out to my observatory and show me that the guiding can get "better" and the .36" RMS total shows in what purports to be a real screen shot. I'll pay for the gas and serve a tasty dinner, coffee and snacks. 

 

One last time - why is this better than an HEQ27? 

 

This is typically what I get guiding with a which costs 70 dollars per pound of capacity. 

 

typical.PNG

 

 

 

Rgrds-Ross



#9 AstroScudiero

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 04:00 AM

It's over $5000 for 30 pounds of capacity - $166 per pound. Now that's a fact. You can pick up more capacity for 2/3 maximum of the price. That's a fact. And, you even get a full featured hand controller to use rather than "StarGo". That's a fact.

 

I'll make a bet. Anyone who owns one of these puppies is welcome to come out to my observatory and show me that the guiding can get "better" and the .36" RMS total shows in what purports to be a real screen shot. I'll pay for the gas and serve a tasty dinner, coffee and snacks. 

 

One last time - why is this better than an HEQ27? 

 

This is typically what I get guiding with a which costs 70 dollars per pound of capacity. 

 

attachicon.giftypical.PNG

 

 

 

Rgrds-Ross

Have you ever tried an Avalon mount with your own hands? comparing only the weight / price ratio in my opinion is, let’s say, shallow.
The mount has been designed and manufactured entirely in Italy with top quality materials. It's like comparing a common car with a Ferrari, it's simply not possible. You can go out for a ride with both, is it the same? Or compare a cheap android smartphone (50 bucks) and the lastest iPhone, they both make calls, but are they the same?
How much an Eq6r pro would cost if it were completely designed and product in the USA and not in China?
I chose this mount after trying the Linear, another Avalon model, which a friend has and I immediately loved it. You're right, probably not everyone will be able to afford it, but it's not my problem.
I am so disappointed to read “to be a real screenshot”, why would you say that? I usually guide under .50 RMS ", what's the problem? This is not my first day of astrophotography, you can have a look at my gallery here https://alessioscudieri.space/.

This is one of the frames (only stretch, darks and flats applied), and you can see that the stars are quite round (except near the borders, I still need 1mm or less to reach the perfect backfocus).

 

bolla-chela-pt2-Light-600-secs-006.png

 

 

I also possess an Eq6r pro, that I use for the skywatcher 200/800. Every time that I have to bag it up and put everything into the car, or simply move the setup on the roof of the building (and there is no elevator in my building) it is a real nightmare given the weight and the size of that mount (plus 2x5kg of counterweights).

As I said, this is only the first light with this mount. I still have a lot of features to try. I started using it with counterweights (just to be safe), but for this kind of setup (under 5-6kg), and according to the manufacturer's specifications, EVO-zero has been designed to work with a certain amount of unbalancement and without counterweights.

Last but not least, you don’t need any bet, just buy a ticket and come here, my door is always open. You'll get a free Italian dinner and a complete tour of Rome :-)

clear skies  :-)


Edited by AstroScudiero, 25 October 2022 - 04:44 AM.

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#10 900SL

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 05:55 AM

Is this mount actually over $5000 for the mount head, guide scope, counterweight and a tripod? That seems really steep for a mount that has 30 pound of capacity. It also has no through the mount cabling which explains, why the pictured example looks so messy.

 

I can buy two CEM40's for that money and they will handle at least as much weight for imaging.

 

I can buy two EQ6R's for the same money.

 

What's the allure this mount has over an AM5 or a HEQ27 for that  matter? 

 

Rgrds-Ross

I'll try answering this again without getting my post punted for veering into politics etc  (apologies Mods :)  ) 

 

The price for the mount alone is 3500 Euro ex tax. This admittedly is expensive compared to the alternatives you list, which do benefit from lower labor costs, lesser materials and QA QC 'variability'.

 

I guess there are some folks who are prepared to pay a premium for a product that has first class machining, top quality components and that will work out of the box without necessitating 'tinkering' or 'tuning'. I certainly did when I chose Vixen over Skywatcher

 

The price for the mount is in the RST 135 bracket and appears to be pitched as a lightweight alternative (<5kg) to the harmonic drive designs that are currently in vogue. 

 

I'd consider it if it was 500 euro cheaper, and I think it will face some competition from the Pegasus Harmonic drive mount when that is released



#11 rgsalinger

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 06:34 AM

Oh, you mean like a Ferrari it breaks down all the time, is famously about form over function, devilishly difficult to repair, has very few dealers, and is useless for carrying much "cargo". Yup, I agree. 

 

It's a pure assertion to claim that Avalon has better QC than other manufacturers. It's a pure assertion to claim that Avalon has better machined parts in areas which will yield better peformance. The only facts we actually have to evaluate the product are the pricing and the features. 

 

Unlike a Ferrari, which is beautiful and a status symbol, any GEM is a utilitarian item. It has one purpose. That's to accurately track the sky. The price of the Avalon is 3900 EURO on the Avalon website. With tripod it is over 4600 dollars in Europe. (It will surely be priced at more than that here in the US, which is why I mentioned dollars.)

 

I compare it generally to the HEM27 which with tripod is 2200 USD. It weighs roughly the same and carries more than the Avalon.  It has factory installed through the mount cabling and homing sensors. Just look at the mess of cables in the picture shown. With no homing sensors, you're stuck physically moving the mount if it gets lost. The HEM comes with a full function hand controller (unlike the "Stargo") and can be serviced in Massachusetts. Where in North America can you get Avalon service? 

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#12 AstroScudiero

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 07:12 AM

Cables management it's something that I still have to improve, not an Avalon' issue. As I already said at least 3 times, this is only a "First light" with this mount, and that's EXCACTLY why a said that the guiding error could be improved. I'll share more about it during the next weeks. After Just a couple of weeks I'm more than happy of the final Image and the general performance that I got.

Clear skies,
Alessio

Edited by AstroScudiero, 25 October 2022 - 07:13 AM.


#13 900SL

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 09:13 AM

I'm looking forward to your ongoing review although I always view first responders with low post counts as placement marketeers on forums clear skies AS 


Edited by 900SL, 25 October 2022 - 11:11 AM.

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#14 rgsalinger

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 10:49 AM

You really think that this mount is going to produce the same level of guiding results as a Mach2 or a GM1000 both of which use absolute encoders by merely cleaning up the cable mess? The point is that with that mount you're going to be messing with cables everytime you change anything in the system. 

 

Anyway -

 

1. Where can the mount be serviced?

2. Can you post the actual guiding log? 

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#15 AstroScudiero

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 11:23 AM

For the fourth time, this is only a "First Light" after just a couple of weeks that I use this mount (I'm starting to think that it means something different in english...).

A better cable management is for sure something that I have to improve, probably not the only thing to fix, but it's a start, and I need time to practice in order to improve the guiding, but based on my experience 0.36" is a great point to start. 

 

"You really think that this mount is going to produce?" I don't, know, only time will tell.

 

Anyway,

1: you can check the terms directly on the manufacturer's  page:  https://www.avalon-i...shipping costs. (there is also a phone number and an email if you want to contact them)

2:I'll check on Astroberry if there is a log, otherwise I'll record a video next time that I'll have a clear sky.

 

A lower guiding error will be of course a nice to have, but what is really important for me is the final result that I already can get. Did you have a look at the stars of the single frame I posted before? It's a single frame of 600", and the stars in my opinion, are exactly what I'm looking for. The rest is only trash-talking.

 

clear skies,

 

AS


Edited by AstroScudiero, 25 October 2022 - 11:23 AM.

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#16 900SL

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 11:33 AM

Oh, you mean like a Ferrari it breaks down all the time, is famously about form over function, devilishly difficult to repair, has very few dealers, and is useless for carrying much "cargo". Yup, I agree. 

 

It's a pure assertion to claim that Avalon has better QC than other manufacturers. It's a pure assertion to claim that Avalon has better machined parts in areas which will yield better peformance. The only facts we actually have to evaluate the product are the pricing and the features. 

 

Unlike a Ferrari, which is beautiful and a status symbol, any GEM is a utilitarian item. It has one purpose. That's to accurately track the sky. The price of the Avalon is 3900 EURO on the Avalon website. With tripod it is over 4600 dollars in Europe. (It will surely be priced at more than that here in the US, which is why I mentioned dollars.)

 

I compare it generally to the HEM27 which with tripod is 2200 USD. It weighs roughly the same and carries more than the Avalon.  It has factory installed through the mount cabling and homing sensors. Just look at the mess of cables in the picture shown. With no homing sensors, you're stuck physically moving the mount if it gets lost. The HEM comes with a full function hand controller (unlike the "Stargo") and can be serviced in Massachusetts. Where in North America can you get Avalon service? 

 

Rgrds-Ross

I'd say it was nothing like a Ferrari, apart from that it is red and Italian.

 

It's function seems to be that of a lightweight well made mount. There's plenty of Avalon users out there who can attest to their capability in that regard.

 

As to assertion, hardly:  Avalon mounts are precision manufactured using multiple axis CNC machines from high grade billet aluminum, stainless and brass to close tolerances. I'm actually a Chartered Engineer so I do have some knowledge in this field. Precision Engineering in the West costs money in time, labour and materials, which is why you can get two of your pot metal mounts for the same price.

 

My astrobuddy had terrible issues with his iOptron and ended up having to strip and lap the gears and worm to get it to perform adequately. The rest of the mount was OK including the electronics but he did say 'they must have given the gear train to the tea boy'. I suspect that won't be an issue with this mount

 

You may well be able to get similar performance from your pot metal mount, so I'm sure you won't be queuing up to buy one, but give the guy a break rather than jumping down his throat. There's people here who are interested in what he has to say, even if he may be a marketing man for Avalon.   


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#17 rgsalinger

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 11:53 AM

I'm sure that it's a wonderful mount. It's just over priced and I still don't know where I send if for repairs.

 

Frankly, the first post reads like an Avalon advertisement to me. "handles a C8 easily" for example. Or "transport everything in maximum safety" (using a soft sided bag?). These are what I expect to read in an ad in Sky and Telescope not in an actual first light review of a mount. (FWIW, I think it may be a violation of the terms of service here to post as a "marketing man for Avalon" without identifying yourself as such.)

 

There's no maybe when it comes to performance from my Chinese mount. What I did last night was simply log onto my remote observatory and take a screen shot and post it. That mount is 4.5 years old and is used 100 nights a year. So, for something made of pot metal it's pretty good and from a pound per dollar a huge bargain. That mount sits about 10 feet from my L350 and the difference in guiding error is .1 arc second RMS between the two most nights. 

 

Do you actually contend that you can't buy the same metal and the same CNC machines for use in Korea or China that you can in Italy? That would be real news to me. What I think is that in order to compete some manufacturers simply over engineer their products in order to justify their pricing. I was amused when I had to buy a stainless steel counterweights for my Mach2.

 

Rgrds-Ross


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#18 psandelle

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 11:59 AM

I'm sure that it's a wonderful mount. It's just over priced and I still don't know where I send if for repairs.

 

Frankly, the first post reads like an Avalon advertisement to me. "handles a C8 easily" for example. Or "transport everything in maximum safety" (using a soft sided bag?). These are what I expect to read in an ad in Sky and Telescope not in an actual first light review of a mount. (FWIW, I think it may be a violation of the terms of service here to post as a "marketing man for Avalon" without identifying yourself as such.)

 

There's no maybe when it comes to performance from my Chinese mount. What I did last night was simply log onto my remote observatory and take a screen shot and post it. That mount is 4.5 years old and is used 100 nights a year. So, for something made of pot metal it's pretty good and from a pound per dollar a huge bargain. That mount sits about 10 feet from my L350 and the difference in guiding error is .1 arc second RMS between the two most nights. 

 

Do you actually contend that you can't buy the same metal and the same CNC machines for use in Korea or China that you can in Italy? That would be real news to me. What I think is that in order to compete some manufacturers simply over engineer their products in order to justify their pricing. I was amused when I had to buy a stainless steel counterweights for my Mach2.

 

Rgrds-Ross

Hey, man, I was alllllmoooost tempted to buy the matching leather luggage that stored in the boot of my Ferraris. Almost....grin.gif

Paul
 


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#19 AstroScudiero

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 12:18 PM

I'll be a terrible marketing man, since I never said "buy this" or "that". I just shared my "First Light" (and that's the fifth, hoping is the last time) or first impression, or first picture taken with this mount, and some detail of the producer, in order to share my experience and be useful for the community,  and that's it. I'll update the post after next imaging session, hopefully with more specific data for who is interested in.  

 

clear skies, 

 

AS


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#20 900SL

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 12:28 PM

I'm sure that it's a wonderful mount. It's just over priced and I still don't know where I send if for repairs.

 

Frankly, the first post reads like an Avalon advertisement to me. "handles a C8 easily" for example. Or "transport everything in maximum safety" (using a soft sided bag?). These are what I expect to read in an ad in Sky and Telescope not in an actual first light review of a mount. (FWIW, I think it may be a violation of the terms of service here to post as a "marketing man for Avalon" without identifying yourself as such.)

 

There's no maybe when it comes to performance from my Chinese mount. What I did last night was simply log onto my remote observatory and take a screen shot and post it. That mount is 4.5 years old and is used 100 nights a year. So, for something made of pot metal it's pretty good and from a pound per dollar a huge bargain. That mount sits about 10 feet from my L350 and the difference in guiding error is .1 arc second RMS between the two most nights. 

 

Do you actually contend that you can't buy the same metal and the same CNC machines for use in Korea or China that you can in Italy? That would be real news to me. What I think is that in order to compete some manufacturers simply over engineer their products in order to justify their pricing. I was amused when I had to buy a stainless steel counterweights for my Mach2.

 

Rgrds-Ross

Yes, it does read like an advert but I've been interested in first light reports on this since it was announced, so maybe we might gain some useful information on it anyway without the constant cat calls from the sidelines

 

I've actually spent some time 'overseas' and have first hand knowledge of the manufacturing processes, procedures, skill levels, methods, tools and equipment however I'm not going to debate the matter with you as it will veer into forbidden territory.

 

Have a nice evening with your equipment, dear chap.



#21 900SL

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 01:43 PM

Conclusions:

The main reason why I chose the Avalon Evo Zero HQ is the need to have a top quality, reliable and high performance mount that I can comfortably carry with me on my astro-nights. The setup is ready in just a few minutes due to the ease of use and mechanical precision of the mount. The Avalon’s transmission system provides an accurate and reliable tracking for the entire duration of the shooting session. All these features are time saving, especially when it comes to set everything up for an itinerant session away from home: time is the most precious resource as every astrophotographer knows.

what length guiding exposures do you use on the mount, AS?



#22 psandelle

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 01:46 PM

I'll be a terrible marketing man, since I never said "buy this" or "that". I just shared my "First Light" (and that's the fifth, hoping is the last time) or first impression, or first picture taken with this mount, and some detail of the producer, in order to share my experience and be useful for the community,  and that's it. I'll update the post after next imaging session, hopefully with more specific data for who is interested in.  

 

clear skies, 

 

AS

I for one (well, I would for two, if I could get away with it) want to hear more. I'm a big fan of Avalon gear. They are for a niche group of users, but I love their products, and they've always been super helpful when I asked questions or had to work stuff out with them (I had one of the first motorized alt/az M-Zero obsy mounts, and I had lots of questions). I'm still waiting for them to write some sky-modelling software for their M-Due, which I hope they do, or I think they're missing a trick.

Paul


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#23 FrostByte

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 01:56 PM

Folks:

 

I would like to kindly request that anyone posting in this topic please review the Terms of Service:

 

Play Nice

Share

Be Polite

Be Honest

Be Tolerant

Respect other members

 

Please stay on topic, and let's discuss the Avalon Evo Zero HQ mount. Not other mounts, not other manufacturers, not Ferraris.

 

Thank you.


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#24 AstroScudiero

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 02:38 PM

what length guiding exposures do you use on the mount, AS?

I'm using a 60x240, no branded, with an ASI 224. I started with the suggested params (less than 0.5s), but after the first calibration, the guiding assistant suggested to switch to 1s exposure, and that's what I did. Using those settings I got rounded stars, but next time I'll try out different settings.

 

clear skies,

 

AS



#25 jfgout

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Posted 25 October 2022 - 05:42 PM

I'm sure that it's a wonderful mount. It's just over priced and I still don't know where I send if for repairs.

I can answer this one: you can send it back to Avalon in Italy. It may sound daunting, but the cost is not too bad (with the slow shipping option...) and the service is great.

 

Here is my experience with Avalon. I bought a used M-zero earlier this year. After only a few nights of use, the RA stopped tracking. Turns out, one of the belts had completely disintegrated (this is a problem that has been documented on this forum). I contacted Avalon to ask them what to do and they offered me the choice between sending me the replacement belt and do it myself, or send the mount back to Italy for them to do the repair, at no cost (other than the shipping costs). I decided to ship the mount back to them. I live in the US but am originally from France, and I was going to visit my family for the summer. So, I took the mount with me on the plane and shipped it from France. However, I looked at the pricing for shipping from the US and it was not too bad.

 

The repair was done quickly, and I quickly received a mount with a renewed warranty (and new, improved motors, which I paid for, of course - this was offered as an option and I decided to upgrade to the new stepper motors). Overall, I was very happy with the service, especially considering that this was a second-hand purchase. I do plan to write a more in-depth review of the M-zero after I have more experience with it. I can already say that it does its job, with some clear limitations (payload capacity is actually a bit on the edge of a C8, it is very sensitive to the wind, ...).

 

In my case, I was extremely interested in a system with no meridian flip (for long light curves of exoplanet transits) and that's why I went with the M-zero. I do not regret this choice. Now, I also agree with Ross that, for German-style mounts, there are cheaper options with neat cable-management and better hand control system that are available. It seems to me that people assume they are less likely to get a lemon with smaller companies/made in the US/Europe (Avalon/Losmandy/Paramount/AP/...) vs the big Chinese companies, and that drives some of the decisions. I do not know if this is really the case... Same thing with durability...

 

 

jf


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