Re: Mach2 price and specs are now on the AP website

Roland Christen

What exactly is an affordable entry level premium mount?

We make primarily imaging mounts which can also be used visually. Most entry level mounts are visual mounts that may be used for imaging at low levels of performance. Pretty much all the "Entry Level" mounts tend to require fiddle fussing, which is exactly the opposite of what a novice imager needs. By that I mean adjusting backlash (gears and or belt looseness), running a PE curve, adjusting worm mesh, adjusting the backstop in spring loaded mounts, balancing the scope by taking the mount out of mesh and a host of other stuff. And then there's setting up the guiding software to compensate for errors in mesh, backlash (or belt stretch), small but rapid PE errors that are hard to guide out and a host of other bewildering things that happen in these kind of mounts.

All those things go away with high resolution shaft encoders and proper control software in a premium mount - but that is not cheap. However, that's exactly what a novice needs to be successful. Non-encoder solutions simply cannot produce the type of performance that today's imaging equipment needs to produce excellent results. We now have cameras with 3 micron pixels, and smaller, that can resolve errors on sub-arc sec scales that would have been completely hidden in the old days of 9 micron pixel CCDs. Just about everyone wants to produce round stars and not have to do anything mechanical to the mount to fix the above issues. That leaves out all non-encoder mounts.

Yes, expert imagers who have mechanical skills and all the proper tools can compensate for all the snorts and sniggles that may arise even in a premium mount, and they may even enjoy doing so. But most people would like hassle-free imaging because clear skies are not plentiful for most. And that's where we aimed the development of this Mach2 encoder mount.

Here's what you get with the Mach2 mount that is improved over the Mach1:

We beefed up the lower end so it can easily carry a larger scope with much improved stability and much lower damping times when used with long scopes.

We have a proper clutch that allows you to achieve fine balance when fully disengaged, allows manual movement for visual astronomy when partially engaged, and can be fully locked for imaging so that nothing can disturb the alignment during an imaging run.

We have eliminated the need to disengage the worm from the worm wheel and thereby eliminated the chance that the gear teeth can be stripped accidentally by improper disengagement procedures. This also eliminates the need for user to set the backstop because that's set at the factory and does not ever need adjustment.

Worm mesh is automatic and Dec backlash delay is gone because of the encoder loop.

No need to ever do a PEM run or download a PE curve, which is something a novice inevitably gets wrong.

Encoders allow the mount itself to always know where the axes are pointed, without having to home if the motors miss a pulse or even in the event of a crash.

Scope motions are very precise in both axes down to the sub-arc sec level. RA tracking is extremely smooth without any periodic errors caused by spur gear, worm and bearing eccentricities.

The motors are not ordinary inexpensive stepper, they are custom made for our application and have the highest torque of their frame size. Slewing is smooth, quiet, and can be set to a faster top rate than any of our previous mounts.

The mount can be run from 12 to 24 volts and comes with a 24 volt power supply that can handle any size load you can put on the mount.

The mount has the capability to do unguided imaging with the proper setup (polar align and/or modeling). We have full-blown modeling in APCC Pro, but even for those who don't want to use a computer there is built-in software in the CP controllers now that allows for on-mount modeling. I am in the process of developing this with only the keypad or other pointing device needed.

The CP controller can be operated over the internet at any time, and we at AP can actually do tests on the system in the event that something is not working correctly. Remote operation is a snap - we have years of experience with mounts at various installations around the world. The ability to operate remotely is built-in to the CP controllers, and they can be operated with all ASCOM compatible software.

If we do come out with a smaller, lighter mount in the future, it will also have encoders, smaller of course but just as effective. And it will also be fiddle-free and produce the performance that novice to expert should have in a premium mount.

Roland Christen
Astro-Physics Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tyrel Smith tysmith747@... [ap-gto]
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Fri, Sep 6, 2019 10:56 am
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Mach2 price and specs are now on the AP website

No doubt it will deliver the goods. But with the Mach1 being retired, along with its attractive $5500 price point, does this signal the end of the “affordable” entry-level premium mount? I’ve read many cases of people stretching their budget to get a Mach1 in order to enter the premium portable mount market. Stretching to $9k could be a different story for these folks. 

Will the 1100GTO, at $8k, now be the most affordable mount produced by AP for the time being? Any chance will will see another portable mount from AP closer to the Mach1 price point?

Ty Smith

On Sep 5, 2019, at 18:24, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:

We added a number of features (per various customer requests) that were not originally in our design goals, and that impacted the cost. However, they add to the usability and functions of the mount for serious imaging - it may be the the last mount you will ever need for true high res imaging.


-----Original Message-----
From: Tyrel Smith tysmith747@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <>
Sent: Thu, Sep 5, 2019 5:18 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Mach2 price and specs are now on the AP website

Well when you mentioned the trade war driving up material costs I braced for the other shoe to drop. Too bad it strayed so far from the original target price point. Will have to hold on to the Mach1 a little longer.

Ty Smith

On Sep 5, 2019, at 17:52, chris1011@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...> wrote:

The Mach1 is out of production.


-----Original Message-----
From: mikestephens-milkeycorp@... [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <>
Sent: Thu, Sep 5, 2019 4:44 pm
Subject: [ap-gto] Re: Mach2 price and specs are now on the AP website

wow, WoW, WOW...… Kudos to the AP Design Team.
I have a question Rolondo: 
I could not find the Mach1 on your web site...Is it being repriced / discontinued / ?
rgds, & tnx!

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