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SkyExplorer

Why do Astro mounts cost so much ???

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The HEQ5 has little in common with the EQ5 - its much more similar to the EQ6 in its design.

The EQ5 is basically a cut down version of the Vixen Polaris mount with an emphasis on getting it out the door less expensively. The Polaris has been copied by all sorts of manufacturers.

I'd still dispute that this stuff is expebsive, it depends what you compare it too I suppose.

?

1. Just done a quick search and it looks like the EQ6 has been around since 2003 (could be wrong here), lets say they (synta, so Orion, SW, etc) sell 3000 units worldwide a year, so 8 years is 24,000 units, so a total of £24,000,000 (rough guess). Would they have made up their R&D costs, tooling costs etc in this time selling this amount of units?

You dont know what margin they are making from that and dont forget like any company they will need the profits from the cash cow product to fund and finance the other stuff like the EQ8, the 150mm APO and lord only knows what else.

They also have to pay share dividends, keep the bank happy, pay taxes etc.

My bet is they are operating, like all far Eastern companies on back margin. ie they sell the EQ6 cheaper than it costs to make for the first few years and hope to put everyone else out of business and acquire market dominance. Over time they build up an economy of scale to get the price into line so they can make a profit and pay back losses from earlier years.

A lot of the far east operates like that - notably Sony in its glory days but they all do the same.

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What I can't figure out is how something like the EQ1 can cost so little! As for the EQ6, I've had garage bills that size.

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Also once the initial cost of the platform is developed, it's usually a small incremental "innovation" between models with last year's top features migrating down the value chain to the cheaper models. The new top models then have better X, Y and possibly the addition of a true new R&D feature or two.

Has the EQ6 and HEQ5 changed/innovated each year then with new developments ?

What I can't figure out is how something like the EQ1 can cost so little! As for the EQ6, I've had garage bills that size.

This I guess is my point really, if the argument is Synta have to carry out R&D. design the item, build the item, ship the item, then these costs are factored into every item sold - Fair enough.

So why are HEQ5 and EQ6 mounts so much more than a manual EQ5 mount ??

A quick break down of the parts that make up the EQ5 and HEQ5:

Tripod and spreader - Same

Weights - Same

Small components (release locks for ra and dec, thumbs turns for left right and screws turns for up down) - Same

Mount (body) housing - Different

So the costs for the same items will be shared with EQ5 which will sell a lot more than the HEQ5 and so should not add significantly to the cost of the HEQ5

Within the mount housing both have gears so you can turn ra and dec, the HEQ5 will have better quality gears and a stepper motor for ra and dec along with some circuitry.

So... does the inclusion of better quality gears, 2 motors and a circuit board warrant the extra £570 (well more than that as you have to take the cost of the EQ5 mount/body off the price of the EQ5) you have to pay for the HEQ5 mount/body ?

.......

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Ifthe HEQ5 was only £150 more than the EQ5 would that seem like a more reasonable difference?

Edited by Glider

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Ifthe HEQ5 was only £150 more than the EQ5 would that seem like a more reasonable difference?

Yes, the EQ5 is £229 SRP, so a more reasonable price for HEQ5 syntrek would be say £380 with the synscan version being around the £450. rather than £700 and £800

Edited by SkyExplorer

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OK, say it seems reasonable looking at the extra parts involved that this might be possible at that £150 extra cost at the factory.

The factory would however build in and sell these extra parts to the distributor for £300 (to cover their overheads, labour, profit, etc) and he'd sell it to us for £600 (to cover his overheads, advertising, staff costs, profit, etc).

It soon adds up.

Edited by Glider

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I thought I'd put in my 1p worth of wisdom on the issue of equipment cost.:(

1): Decent astro equipment has never ever been cheap, as others have said, it's a supply & demand thing.

2): To be honest, people do not actually realise that astro equipment today (in real terms) is much cheaper than it has ever been. For example, looking through my Fullerscopes catalogue (dated around 1981), their "Export Edition" six inch f/6 reflector set up on a nice Mk3 equatorial mount would set you back about £680 - and that's in 1981 money terms. You can still get a lot of telescope for £680 these days. One thing to say, is that in 1981 you could probably count the number of UK astro dealers on one hand. We do have more places to buy from now than 30 years ago, so more chance of haggling a discount.

That's it for now - I'll get my coat

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Thanks for your input Monmouth3817, its been an interesting post, lots a valid points of view.

I guess we also have the distributor to think about as well, as Synta do not distribute themselves, they sell to distributors, so in SW case OVL take their cut. If that's a correct assumption.

If you take the parts for EQ5 mount/body away from the parts for HEQ5 mount/body I would expect there may be not a lot in it in terms of cost (I may be wrong of course). It's just I suspect we are paying something to have a "Premium" mount, not just a standard EQ5 mount.

All I'm saying is someone somewhere is making some cash (or as it seems lots of people in between are), plus there is no real competition to drive down prices so we are stuck with it.

I love this hobby and my ever deepening pockets and wife asking "how comes it costs so much?" :(

Edited by SkyExplorer

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They are expensive, because Brits seem to like to pay a lot;) and our importers find they can get away with it.:(

You only have to compare the US and UK prices and then look further and find the huge differences between some American dealers.

The above applies to almost everything, not just astro products.

Someone suggested a manufacturing cost of £200. I would bet a pound to a penny that the factory gate price in China is no more than a third of that, possibly less.

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All I'm saying is someone somewhere is making some cash (or as it seems lots of people in between are), plus there is no real competition to drive down prices so we are stuck with it.

No, it's because we did get competition that prices are so low. Of course, the competition came from people who are not free like us, but let's not get political on this forum.

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My vague memory years ago recalls people complaining that equipping a EQ5 with motors and handset cost more than a HEQ5 with the EQ5 about 200 the HEQ5 about 400 and the EQ6 about 600.

Then Synta aquired Celestron and fitted celestron electronics to their mounts with the price hikes for people who wanted GOTO Autoguiding etc etc built in.

Anyone got exploded diagram of EQ5 HEQ5 and EQ6, I think the most complicated machining wise is the HEQ5 with brass intermediate gears which the EQ6 has noit got.

John.

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Has the EQ6 and HEQ5 changed/innovated each year then with new developments ?

Yes, there have. The motor controller boards and handcontrollers have been subject to many different revisions of hardware and firmware. There have also been mechanical changes in the mounting of spur gears.

So... does the inclusion of better quality gears, 2 motors and a circuit board warrant the extra £570 (well more than that as you have to take the cost of the EQ5 mount/body off the price of the EQ5) you have to pay for the HEQ5 mount/body ? .......

The value is in what those extra motors and circuit board does for you, not in their production cost. A better mount opens up new possibilities with regard to astronomy and that is what Synta is selling.

Chris.

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I guess that as long as people are happy to find lots of reasons for high prices, then they're likley to stay that way.

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Think about what we ask a mount to do. We want sub pixel tracking accuracy. How big is a pixel? The challenges are considerable. Our £5000 Tak EM200 is a little better than the EQ sixes we have so I don't think of the latter as overpriced. But on the last 3 nights the EQ6 has put Simeis 147 smack on the chip after slewing from Betelguese. I did not have to move the mount at all, which is good because it is totally invisible in the colour camera.

I profess myself happy with the EQ and its price.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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I guess that as long as people are happy to find lots of reasons for high prices, then they're likley to stay that way.

I don't see that we are being ripped off. and taking into account the amount of that price that is cost and tax. I'm surprised anybody makes any profit at all. Me if I can't afford it I don't buy it. I don't complain how unfair that is. I can live without an eq5 or a rolls royce. I won't die If I can't image its just one of those things economics won't let me do.

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Very true Rowan.

I'd love to create a 20" SCT imaging scope by assembling the components and creating the mount it sits on. In all that's probably a good £15-20K (8K+ just for the mirrors, then add carbon fiber trusses and the hydraulics for the mount, camera etc). 5 years ago I could have done this relatively easily (especially as I had the space to weld!).

The current target setup is ~1600 mount (Vixen SWD+tripod), ~ 1400 Vixen VC200L with a ~2-4K CCD (Probably a Starlight), £400 fast refractor + ATIC 16ic (already have) for tracking. So that's 8K of kit over a period of years (I'll probably go for secondhand initially too).

In my old job I'd have not batted an eyelid at dropping a few thousand on kit. In my current, less well paid and more financially risky job, that's something I can't do as easily.

Edited by NickK

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I don't complain how unfair that is

I'm not complaining that the pricing is unfair, I have an HEQ5, I had to buy it so I could start imaging.

I'm merely questioning why the cost of a HEQ5 is almost 4x that of the EQ5, that's all....

Edited by SkyExplorer

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Correct me if Im wrong for which I apologise but I cant see the comparison, its a jump I agree but so is Vixen compared to Takashi.

The EQ5 without motors might be a 1/4 of the price of a HEQ5 with Synscan but is that a fair comparison.

Say one adds a pair of coffe grinder motors and handset to the EQ5 that takes it to over 300 whereas the Basic HEQ5 (no longer available I think) at say 550 last time I saw it.

So thats 250ish difference for a vastly superior mount with a greater payload silent motors better tracking more speeds inbuilt polar scope better heavier weights and nice telescoping Dec axis.

John.

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All I'm saying is someone somewhere is making some cash

And the problem with that is ??? I see no reason why Synta, or anyone else for that matter, shouldnt be allowed to make some cash in a capilatist system. Of course I am a Marxist so I have more fundamental problems with this. If enough of us were Marxists you'd all get a cheaper mount for sure BUT you'd have to put up with drivinga Lada, living in a standard family unit sized house etc.

Anyway....

Astro gear has never been so cheap as now. Back in 1979 to have owned a really cheesy 4.5" reflector ona manual only mount rather like an EQ2 would have set you back 2x the price of a top line SLR. (My Olympus OM-1 was £199 back then and was a top end SLR, my telescope was £380+ for a pile of pooh) or put another way my firts half decent scope cost almost half of what my fairly decent 2nd hand car cost. Judy my Spit fire was not that old and bought 2nd hand for £800. Try buying a low mileage Mazda MX5 today for say £1500 and see how much car you get. YOu;d be talking banger money for sure.

I think if you were having to dosh out £800 for a 6" reflector ona manual only mount that looked as if it was made from old scaffolding poles you'd understand how cheap the stuff is these days.

Thats not a personal attack in anyway but look what you get with an EQ6 - as Olly has said, great tracking, a solid and reliable mount which can handle a scope up to the size of a 12" newt. Hell back in '79 if anyone had suggested an amatuer could have a 12" newt with a parabolic mirror for less than the price of a television they would have been laughed at muchly.

Dont forget Synta have had to invest ina whole range of kit not just the EQ6, they have to be forward planning investment and in the few short years I have been back in the hobby they have been refining everything they make.

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I'm not complaining that the pricing is unfair, I have an HEQ5, I had to buy it so I could start imaging.

I'm merely questioning why the cost of a HEQ5 is almost 4x that of the EQ5, that's all....

It isn't... The HEQ5 (standard version) is £459. The EQ5 with dual drives is £307.

That's only 50% more - and you can really see where the money goes!

Ant

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It isn't... The HEQ5 (standard version) is £459. The EQ5 with dual drives is £307.

That's only 50% more - and you can really see where the money goes!

Ant

HEQ5 also has a polar scope so:

HEQ5 = £459

EQ5 + motors + polarscope = £339

not so different really.

BTW, tighter tolerances costs money. The company I work for uses lots of precision machined plastic and steel parts and they cost a lot more than you might think.

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You really cannot compare a EQ5 to a HEQ5! Especially as you seem to be comparing the price of a manual EQ5 with out any motors at all or polar scope with a full Goto system which can autoguide with precision for hours! I have owned both and upgrading to the HEQ5 was such a giant leap forward. It would be like comparing a BMW 1 series with a 5 series, both good at what they do but which one would you honesly want!

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I have heard it said that a particular brand of satellite dish (basically just some pressed steel, powder coated) has a factory gate price of about $30. By the time it gets out of the shop and into your car, it's gone up to £180
Hmmm. Had to replace my Sky dish which was destroyed by last weekend's gales ... cost me £70 including getting the thing delivered, fitted and aligned. I think the £180 package includes the LNB (detector & head end amplifier), cabling and the receiver box.

Anyhoo ... basically the point is that Sky dishes are sold by the giant container ship load, decent astro mounts are several orders of magnitude less common as commodities. They're also (hopefully) built to a higher mechanical standard, and the special metals which might (should) be used for worm gears, bearing castings etc (phosphor bronze) are very expensive indeed as raw materials compared with common-or-garden steel.

Edited by brianb

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It isn't... The HEQ5 (standard version) is £459. The EQ5 with dual drives is £307.

That's only 50% more - and you can really see where the money goes!

Ant

That's the FLO price, not sure what the SRP is as it's not on OVL's website, the syntrek SRP seems to have come done since I last looked however, it's now £649 ( I'm sure it was £699), the synscan is £799

Well the synscan at £799 is 3.5x (not quiet 4x) more expensive than the EQ5 at £229.

I agree the HEQ5 is vastly superior to the EQ5 as I upgraded from an EQ5, the reason for the comparison between the two is that only the body is different between these two mounts. So thus the extra money can only be attributed to the body (and HC), not things like the tripod, weights, etc.

All I was trying to put across is that to me it seems quite a lot more to get a HC, better gears, motors and a circuit board or 2 on purely a component basis rather than a capability basis.

It seems people think the HEQ5 synscan and NEQ6 synscan offer good value for money.

Thanks for everyone's input in this thread, I hope everyone approached it with conversation in mind as an argument was not intended.

Steve

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