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Adaaam75

Mount compatibility, deals & Non conformity!

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Hi guys & girls,

So 4 new questions in one thread.....

1) Are there any obvious compatibility issues I'm missing (other than mount adaptors) that would prevent me from purchasing a mount from a different manufacturer to the OTA?

2) Call me a snob but I like new stuff. Brand new out of box, registering purchase with manufacturer for warrantee, no hidden issues, no "scuffs and scratches" etc.....

As my budget is at least a year off for my dream scope/mount/tripod etc (9.25 SCT, please don't focus on scope choice!) I am considering getting the mount early then buying the OTA when I can afford it. This will allow me to step closer to my observatory dream set up and mount my current Sky Watcher 130 on it whilst I save! The draw back is buying separately = no savings. Should I wait (over a year) and save £300+ on a joint mount/OTA deal purchase or save a couple more months and and get the mount early, thus paying listed price for both mount and tube separately and missing a deal? £300 is a lot of cash to me!

3) Can you guys recommend other SCT's with similar aperture (8-10") and performance who aren't the main brands of Celestron/Meade etc. I see more and more equipment mentioned that I've not heard of that must be good but not mainstream gear, similar to Specialized/Trek/Giant road bikes etc.

4) Are there lesser known mounts out there too that can hold their own? (excuse the pun).

Thanks for listening!

Adaaam75

 

Clear Skies

Edited by Adaaam75
4 Questions not 3!

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Hi there !

I can answer your question 1 - there is nothing stopping you from going for a mount that is a different brand from your scope. As long as the mount and scope use the same fitting (which can be changed on both mounts and scopes) they will fit together. Broadly the choices are the Vixen/Skywatcher fitting or the more heavy duty Losmandy type fitting.

I can't answer q2 because i) I've bought virtually all my equipment used over the years and ii) mount  + scope combinations usually do save some £'s but only you can decide on your cash flow and how it fits in with that.

On Q3 I can't think offhand of other SCT brands apart from Celestron and Meade. The former is now owned and manufactuered by Synta who own and make Skywatcher scopes. Meade have been through a bit of an uncertain patch and are now owned by the same people that own Explore Scientific I think. There are scopes of a similar type (but not SCT's) made by companies such as Vixen but they tend to cost more than Celestron and Meade SCT's.

On Q4, apart from Meade and Celestron, mounts by Skywatcher are very popular and there are other brands such as Vixen, Ioptron, Losmandy and probably one or two others that are worth considering. You may also come across mounts branded Orion (USA) - they tend to be clones of Skywatcher mounts made by the same manufacturer.

See what input you get from others as well - my experience of schmidt-cassegrains and equatorial mounts is a bit limited !

 

 

 

 

Edited by John
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If you are after doing AP, a more solid mount will no doubt improve your situation while you wait.

But if you are after a big SCT, I would guess that you are mainly interested in visual and/or planetary/lunar imaging (not DSOs). If that is the case, unless there are any specific problems with the mount you currently have, I suspect the improvement of the 130 on an NEQ6 (or whatever) would not be particularly noticeable ... certainly not £300-worth noticeable (IMO).

HTH

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I don't want to say too much here, but you may find that a telescope and mount bought as a package are significantly cheaper than the two bought separately.

Those dovetails are not always compatible between manufacturers even if the dovetail is the same gauge. A starter-scope dovetail had a big nut in the middle, and I had to modify the dovetail bar on a SW Startravel before it would end-load into the dovetail grip on my Nexstar mount.

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19 hours ago, John said:

Meade have been through a bit of an uncertain patch and are now owned by the same people that own Explore Scientific I think.

Close, John.  They were supposed to merge with JOC North America back in 2013, but they backed out, paid the termination fee, and merged with Ningbo Sunny Electronic Co. instead.  Never heard why, though.

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20 hours ago, Adaaam75 said:

Call me a snob but I like new stuff. Brand new out of box, registering purchase with manufacturer for warrantee, no hidden issues, no "scuffs and scratches" etc.....

I prefer buying used mounts in good working condition from other experienced amateur astronomers.  I don't like having to work out the issues with poor grease choices, poor machining tolerances, poor electronics, poor firmware, poor design choices in general, etc. that so many of the Chinese made units have had over the years.  On the other hand, I'd have no issue with buying a new AP or Parallax mount because they obsess over quality control and general excellence.

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20 hours ago, Adaaam75 said:

Can you guys recommend other SCT's with similar aperture (8-10") and performance who aren't the main brands of Celestron/Meade etc. I see more and more equipment mentioned that I've not heard of that must be good but not mainstream gear, similar to Specialized/Trek/Giant road bikes etc.

Most higher end (Catadioptric) Cassegrain manufacturers make either Richey-Chretiens, modified Dall-Kirkhams, or Maksutov-Cassegrains because they are focused on astrographs rather than visual OTAs.  Higher end visual-only manufacturers usually focus on gigantic Dobsonians.

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Okay so I've found an NEQ6 PRO SYNSCAN for sale at £650 and it seems to be in very good condition. The seller says it's approx 5 years old. Are there any pitfalls I need to be any of and can you guys suggest any questions I should ask first? Here are some images.

Thoughts?

20161017_204634.png

20161017_204656.png

IMG_20161017_200001053.jpg

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You can get one under two yrs old for that price. I'd want at least another hundred off for 5yrs old. Beware of the alt bolts - have they been replaced with stronger one? And there's no way to check without opening it up but I'd want to know the condition of the alt lug inside. Wind it up over 55 degrees to see if there's any downward slip in the mount - if there is then it's well used and quite worn and in need of attention. Hth :) 

Edited by brantuk

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48 minutes ago, brantuk said:

You can get one under two yrs old for that price. I'd want at least another hundred off for 5yrs old. Beware of the alt bolts - have they been replaced with stronger one? And there's no way to check without opening it up but I'd want to know the condition of the alt lug inside. Wind it up over 55 degrees to see if there's any downward slip in the mount - if there is then it's well used and quite worn and in need of attention. Hth :) 

Okay that's enlightening! Thanks for the advice on the price. Maybe I have been a bit hasty. Could you give me a realistic reasonable price on a second hand AVX and CGEM mounts too please?

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I've never bought or sold the Celestron CGEM or AVX - only the CG5GT - I have also traded one or two Skywatcher mounts including NEQ6 and HEQ5. In general a good mount in full working order and very good condition around 2yrs old will attract roughly 2/3rds of current retail prices. It also depends if any extras are offered with it when a little more may be paid. Hope that helps. :)

Edited by brantuk

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Yes I was just looking at all the NEQ6's on ABS including that one. It looks in good nick from the pics, and the seller says it has the upgrade bolts and has sat doing nothing for two yrs. Also tracks well and has the upgraded power lead he says. If you can get up to Kielder for a demo (which is offered) then that would be worth doing. Ask how much imaging has been done with it - successful imagers use their gear a lot.

If all's well with it I'd still want to haggle it down another £100-£150 just for the age. Most important though is to check out that lug - once it's gone then a fair bit of engineering is needed to fix it. If it's been used regularly over 52 degrees the odds of lug wear are higher. Depends on your budget, but at that asking price I'd sooner get a new one for the extra £300 (just my opinion). Hth :)

 

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18 minutes ago, brantuk said:

Yes I was just looking at all the NEQ6's on ABS including that one. It looks in good nick from the pics, and the seller says it has the upgrade bolts and has sat doing nothing for two yrs. Also tracks well and has the upgraded power lead he says. If you can get up to Kielder for a demo (which is offered) then that would be worth doing. Ask how much imaging has been done with it - successful imagers use their gear a lot.

If all's well with it I'd still want to haggle it down another £100-£150 just for the age. Most important though is to check out that lug - once it's gone then a fair bit of engineering is needed to fix it. If it's been used regularly over 52 degrees the odds of lug wear are higher. Depends on your budget, but at that asking price I'd sooner get a new one for the extra £300 (just my opinion). Hth :)

 

I've discussed this with the seller and he has very kindly sent me videos of it tracking and slewing along with other pictures however the two underlying concerns I have are it is a 5 year old mount and I get no warranty/guarantee on it. Honestly speaking if I could get it for £500 I'd still be worried about the performance and reliability and I wouldn't want to insult the seller with that kind of discussion out request. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled on ABS but for another £300 I'd be getting a brand new NEQ6 PRO SYNSCAN and I'm in no rush.

Thanks for the invaluable advice.

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8 hours ago, Adaaam75 said:

but for another £300 I'd be getting a brand new NEQ6

Yes that's my rationale with mounts. For all we know this one is perfect and only been used half a dozen times at lower latitudes which would make it an absolute bargain despite age. Conversely it may have been hammered night after night imaging on auto and really well worn and close to breakdown.

Most astronomers are quite honest and realistic with pricing - but it's hard to judge unless you really know what you're doing and able to thoroughly inspect or obtain proof of wear and tear and maintenance.

I bought an NEQ6 Pro (2yrs old) from a perfectly respectable chap - used it for 18mths - then sold on to an imager/mate in my local club - and it broke down in 2 wks just cos he used it 1 degree higher than I was using it. The lug was totally worn through and the alt bolt was slipping under it and had to be opened up and re- engineered and welded - no one could've predicted what was essentially a design fault.

Ultimately it's the buyers choice - but it's always good to not be in a rush. :)

Edited by brantuk

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Have a read of these two threads:

It's exactly what happened to mine and the fixes that were needed. Hth :)

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First is if possible go look at the assorted mounts, they all look ncie but some are a fair weight. When first on SGL I commented this to a woman who was going to buy an EQ6, she got a bit unset and pointed out she was not a frail old lady, I had preconceived ideas etc, etc,etc. I kept quiet. Post after getting the EQ6 was "How big this thing is !!!". Post 3 monts later was in the Classifieds.

http://www.astronomyclubs.co.uk/

Buying a package will save money (initially), but the scope and mount tend to be slightly ill matched. The EQ5 + 200p is a common pairing but in reality the HEQ5 would be a much better mount, the EQ5 is operating close to it's limits. So seperate items may not be a bad option. Another aspect is that if astrophotography is going to be a consideration then the packages are aimed at the visual aspect and for AP the mount really does need to be one step up.

Situation with Meade is simply a bit strange, they are owned by Sunny. However look at the ES and Bresser sites and what are obviously Meade items are on there, but not all Meade items. Makes interesting reading and guesswork. Another mount manufacturer are iOptron. Seem good/decent mount although the general opinion is their max load is a bit optimistic. If it says 25lbs I would seriously suggest you drop this to 20lbs max. iOptron seem to occasionally offer or do mount upgrades - in that at some time they may offer updated motors or something. They seem a little more supportive of users. I picked motors as there is mention of how low the torque is on the items in the new CEM25. Maybe, just maybe, iOptron will offer new high torque motors at some time. Equally they may not.

ES and Bresser (same group) also do scopes, so worth looking through their site. Bresser have a sort of slightly hidden Clearance section, that is worth searching out.

One aspect of the EQ6 is that it is substantial enough for just about anything, so you would not have the realistically consider an ungrade, and if you did I hope you take a fork lift truck driving test. Nothing takes 5 minutes to set up. Will also suggest that buying add on bits to aid alignment etc are maybe questionable. I read a lot of problems caused with the bits that are supposed to make life easy. And almost none take less time then just doing it manually.

Not sure about the mount you are mentioning but it is around 2/3 the new cost and that is generally the used price area, also if looked after you have a good mount. One other aspect is that with the £ dropping soon the new EQ6 is going to be over the £1K mark. FLO have a post about price rises. In a couple of months the new EQ6 could easily be £1050 I would suspect, would not be overly surprised if it went to close to £1100 in one go. Nothing is going to get cheaper.

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