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teoria_del_big_bang

New Mount Suggestions

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As I am due for retirement next year I am thinking of investing in a new mount while I still have some cash coming in. 

I currently have a HEQ5, belt modded which works well but whilst I do not have an unlimited budget would like something with a bit more payload and accuracy regarding tracking.

I would say my comfortable budget would be around £1500 to £2000 (assuming I will sell the HEQ5 for say £500) but would stretch it a bit more if the benefits were there.

My current thoughts for a while have been either :-

Sky-Watcher EQ6-R PRO Go-To Astronomy Mount

Sky-Watcher AZ-EQ6 GT Pro GEQ & Alt-Az Astronomy Mount

BUT, I know this is double the price but are there significant benefits to something in this price range

iOptron GEM45-EC German Equatorial GoTo Mount with RA Encoder

I have read quite a few reviews on all these and really not heard much bad said against wither SW mounts, although most reviews do consider the price and do add "for the money" which is fair enough as they are very reasonably priced, and whilst the IOptron does look to be a step up in manufacturing quality I have read some alarming reports about IOptron mounts failing.

I would be most grateful for any advice on the above OR other mount suggestions (but under £3000 at least).

Steve

 

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Any reason for not considering CEM60 (non EC version)?

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I second the CEM60 idea. I had an IEQ45 and while it is an excellent mount, it was quickly too light for my never ending aperture fever. It handled my 127mm apo triplet quite good, but the Esprit 120 was too much. 

Anything equal and less than that, and the ieq45 will be an excellent candidate. I think your Esprit 100 might be on the limit too.

 

The CEM60 is a whole other league. But you will have to cope with the meridian flip. For me, that is the only downside to that mount. I have sold the IEQ45 and if I buy another mount, it will probably be another CEM. 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, vlaiv said:

Any reason for not considering CEM60 (non EC version)?

Probably my lack of knowledge. I had looked at this, and with a tripod or the tri-pier which I quite like would be within my price range but upper end.

It is bigger payload than I was thinking of but I have not ruled out an obsy build for my retirement so that would fit the bill.

I think rightly or maybe wrongly I had thought if I do not need such a large payload then the money was better off spent on something with encoders for accuracy (or am I mislead here ?)

Steve

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10 minutes ago, Wiu-Wiu said:

I second the CEM60 idea. I had an IEQ45 and while it is an excellent mount, it was quickly too light for my never ending aperture fever. It handled my 127mm apo triplet quite good, but the Esprit 120 was too much. Anything equal and less than that, and the ieq45 will be an excellent candidate. I think your Esprit 100 might be on the limit too.

The CEM60 is a whole other league. But you will have to cope with the meridian flip. For me, that is the only downside to that mount. I have sold the IEQ45 and if I buy another mount, it will probably be another CEM. 

The Esprit 100 is certainly on the top limit for the HEQ5 but I think is okay for the IEQ45 according to the specs.

What do you mean by having to cope with the meridian flip with the CEM60, is that any different to the flip with the HEQ5 (excuse my ignorance here this is the reason for getting as much info as I can before paying what is probably my biggest single outlay so far 🙂 )

Steve

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CEM60 seemed like sensible upgrade path from HEQ5 for me - I also have belt modded heq5 and when I did my research - only thing that modded Heq5 lacked (apart from manufacturing precision and general fit and finish) was backlash control - something that magnetic/spring loaded worm handles very well. That gives better controlled/behaved mount for guiding as there will be less lag after issuing guide command (better responsiveness). Then there is manufacturing precision as well. Both seem to be present in CEM60 and from what I saw - guide logs confirm that.

Because I actually want Mesu 200 level of precision, I decided to skip CEM60 step and eventually go for the mount that I really want. It means that I will be using HEQ5 for some time to come - but I'm fine with that.

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Thanks for the advice @vlaiv I am now looking more seriously at this option. Although I was not looking for a 60lbs payload the actual weight of this mount still makes it possible to move in and out of my garage so that is not restrictive in any way.

The more I read up on this mount the more I am beginning to like it, the way it balances, the way the worm gear works etc. Not sure about the so called internal cable management as the USB looks to be only USB2 which might not work with the 1600 camera too well.

This is certainly a candidate now.

Do you think then that this is a better way forward than a smaller mount with encoders?

Steve

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3 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

 

What do you mean by having to cope with the meridian flip with the CEM60, is that any different to the flip with the HEQ5 (excuse my ignorance here this is the reason for getting as much info as I can before paying what is probably my biggest single outlay so far 🙂 )

Steve

With an EQ mount I was able to move far beyond the equator when imaging. 

(I should specify I rate mounts by their use in astrophotography, not visually)

the cem has 2 options: “at x degrees beyond equator: stop, or flip”.

i have never taken the flip option. This limits my imaging time on a single image per night, which I do not like. 

I have yet to find software that handles a perfect meridian flip and continues. With an apo, I would consider that. With an sct... not that much...

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3 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Thanks for the advice @vlaiv 

This is certainly a candidate now.

Do you think then that this is a better way forward than a smaller mount with encoders?

Steve

Maybe a cem45??

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Another vote for CEM60. I had the EC version and had nothing but issues with it. It wasn't a mechanical thing, it was a firmware thing but I can't wait on the company to produce better firmwares so went down the vanilla CEM60. Another thing to add is that the weight of the CEM60 is so much lighter than the NEQ6 Pro that I had. That thing was built like a tank but that's not to say that CEM60 is not quality finish, it screams quality at your face. 

If I had money to burn, I would've gone for MESU 200 myself but then I also like to travel with my mount so yeah the decision for me was easy. Hope this helps :)

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2 hours ago, Wiu-Wiu said:

With an EQ mount I was able to move far beyond the equator when imaging. 

(I should specify I rate mounts by their use in astrophotography, not visually)

the cem has 2 options: “at x degrees beyond equator: stop, or flip”.

i have never taken the flip option. This limits my imaging time on a single image per night, which I do not like. 

I have yet to find software that handles a perfect meridian flip and continues. With an apo, I would consider that. With an sct... not that much...

Thanks for the explanation.

With my HEQ5 most sessions I flip anyway using APT and seems to work like a dream. First couple of times I tried it I set my alarm to get up before it as APT tells you exact time it is going to do the flip and watched it as I was worried but all went fine. It does a plate solve just before the flip then again afterwards to ensure it is in the same spot almost exactly. Yes you have images 180 different but then PixInsight takes care of all that so  you don't have to do a thing.

So I am guessing that should go the same way with a CEM, I hpe anyway.

Steve

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1 hour ago, souls33k3r said:

Another vote for CEM60. I had the EC version and had nothing but issues with it. It wasn't a mechanical thing, it was a firmware thing but I can't wait on the company to produce better firmwares so went down the vanilla CEM60. Another thing to add is that the weight of the CEM60 is so much lighter than the NEQ6 Pro that I had. That thing was built like a tank but that's not to say that CEM60 is not quality finish, it screams quality at your face. 

If I had money to burn, I would've gone for MESU 200 myself but then I also like to travel with my mount so yeah the decision for me was easy. Hope this helps :)

Yes helps a lot thanks. I have always liked the look and the functionality of the IOptron mounts but as put off with a few horror stories of issues with them but maybe this is the more sophisticated units, like you say with firmware. Maybe the simpler CEM mounts are fine, certainly the CEM60 seems to get a lot of good reviews. 

Steve

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Be aware that the CEM60 specs may say 60lb payload, but for imaging FLO and others say you should probably stick to nearer 40lb.

James

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I  was thinking of moving from my AZ-EQ6GT to the CEM60 but in fact it doesn't really give me any real benefit.  The Imaging load capacity on my Skywatcher is virtually the same as the CEM60. The CEM60 built-in USB hub sounded good but actually it is only USB2 so no good for my ZWO astrocamera.

I  have come to the same conclusion as Vlaiv and decided to stick with what I have now and perhaps upgrade to the MESU 200 mount level of precision if I ever get a permanent set-up.

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Yes, I think if you already have an AZ-EQ6GT or NEQ6 the case for the CEM60 is significantly weakened, though the CEM120 looks quite appealing :)

James

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On 01/01/2020 at 12:41, wornish said:

I  was thinking of moving from my AZ-EQ6GT to the CEM60 but in fact it doesn't really give me any real benefit.  The Imaging load capacity on my Skywatcher is virtually the same as the CEM60. The CEM60 built-in USB hub sounded good but actually it is only USB2 so no good for my ZWO astrocamera.

I  have come to the same conclusion as Vlaiv and decided to stick with what I have now and perhaps upgrade to the MESU 200 mount level of precision if I ever get a permanent set-up.

Yes I thought the same about the USB, why USB2 in this day and age. I think a lot of people remove these and then route their own cables through the void so still manage to avoid trailing cables that can affect tracking.

Anyway I have gone ahead and have a new CEM60 on order, 18Kg payload recommended for imaging is easily enough for me.

Steve

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3 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Yes I thought the same about the USB, why USB2 in this day and age. I think a lot of people remove these and then route their own cables through the void so still manage to avoid trailing cables that can affect tracking.

Anyway I have gone ahead and have a new CEM60 on order, 18Kg payload recommended for imaging is easily enough for me.

Steve

Congratulations.  Please let us know how you get on with the CEM60 when it arrives.

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9 hours ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Anyway I have gone ahead and have a new CEM60 on order, 18Kg payload recommended for imaging is easily enough for me.

Having had a CEM60EC, I think you’ll find it’s handling capacity is as stated by iOptron of around 60lb.

iOptron work on quoted imaging loads, so my 120EC is 120lb and my 40EC is 40lb

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9 hours ago, wornish said:

Congratulations.  Please let us know how you get on with the CEM60 when it arrives.

Cheers, I certainly will weather permitting 🙂 

Steve

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3 hours ago, Jkulin said:

Having had a CEM60EC, I think you’ll find it’s handling capacity is as stated by iOptron of around 60lb.

iOptron work on quoted imaging loads, so my 120EC is 120lb and my 40EC is 40lb

Thanks for that, currently I do not think I will need anywhere near that, but in the future who knows?

Steve

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Before buying my Cem60ec I specifically asked my dealer about payload. He confirmed the quoted payload is correct for imaging. The mount has belt drive so balance is important and long telescopes can be a problem if they are heavy too.

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