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


Mike Shade
 

People are commenting about the price of the M2, it being higher than they
think it ought to be, or thought it would be, hoped it would be or whatever.
Pointing out the obvious common sense that with the features and materials,
among other things, it is not going to be an inexpensive piece of hardware.




Mike J. Shade: mshade@q.com

Mike J. Shade Photography:

mshadephotography.com



In War: Resolution

In Defeat: Defiance

In Victory: Magnanimity

In Peace: Goodwill

Sir Winston Churchill

Already, in the gathering dusk, a few of the stars are turning on their
lights.

Vega, the brightest one, is now dropping towards the west. Can it be half

a year since I watched her April rising in the east? Low in the southwest

Antares blinks a sad farwell to fall...

Leslie Peltier, Starlight Nights



International Dark Sky Association: <http://www.darksky.org/>
www.darksky.org



From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2019 7:21 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach2 price and specs are now on the AP website





Explaining common sense to someone on a AP owners forum, is preaching to the
choir. Not sure what you are trying to accomplish, Mike.



_____

From: ap-gto@... <ap-gto@...> on behalf of 'Mike
Shade' mshade@q.com [ap-gto] <ap-gto@...>
Sent: Friday, September 6, 2019 7:12 PM
To: ap-gto@... <ap-gto@...>
Subject: RE: [ap-gto] Mach2 price and specs are now on the AP website





If you do or do not find my comments condescending is not my concern; that
was not my intent. My point was and is that AP products are worth the price.
The specifics of the new M2 are impressive, as Roland has clearly and
carefully outlined them, on numerous occasions. I believe that he offered
that it is machined from 250# of aluminum and steel. That is expensive. They
use highest quality encoders, those are expensive and the list goes on.
Several features were added as per imager input among others, according to
him that drove up the cost. That quality comes at a price, and the price AP
has set is what they believe that quality costs.

Mike J. Shade: mshade@q.com

Mike J. Shade Photography:

mshadephotography.com

In War: Resolution

In Defeat: Defiance

In Victory: Magnanimity

In Peace: Goodwill

Sir Winston Churchill

Already, in the gathering dusk, a few of the stars are turning on their
lights.

Vega, the brightest one, is now dropping towards the west. Can it be half

a year since I watched her April rising in the east? Low in the southwest

Antares blinks a sad farwell to fall...

Leslie Peltier, Starlight Nights

International Dark Sky Association: <http://www.darksky.org/>
www.darksky.org

From: ap-gto@... [mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2019 4:37 PM
To: ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Mach2 price and specs are now on the AP website

I had a reply loaded up for this, but suffice to say you missed my point
with this slightly condescending reply.

On Sep 6, 2019, at 18:47, 'Mike Shade' mshade@q.com [ap-gto]
<ap-gto@...> wrote:

As an amateur astronomer for over 40 years using various telescopes, mounts,
and accessories, it has remained consistently obvious that you get what you
pay for. This goes for optics and mounts especially. Outstanding optical
quality is not cheap, outstanding mechanical quality is also not cheap. I
have owned three AP refractors through the years and they were outstanding
optically (I still have two of them). I have had four AP mounts, I still
have three in use constantly; first generation 1600, a 1200, and a Mach 1.
The 1600 carries a 17 inch telescope used every clear night. It has done
this for several years now. Other than a yearly PEC curve and some Aero
Shell grease, it runs consistently every night. Same with the 1200. I have
found AP's customer service to be outstanding (never a problem, just a "how
do I do X?"). You actually talk to a person, you are not going to a
discussion board or through e-mail. They seem to be constantly working on
improving many of their products and the Mach 2 is a result of this.
Improvements cost money, R&D costs money, people's time costs money as do
materials, machining, CNC machines and so on. And AP is entitled to make a
profit and while they are great folks, they are not a community service.
This mount is not on the same level, or intended for the same market as some
of the other mounts out there. If price point is people's criteria for an
imaging system, or more specifically a mount then there are many options. If
quality is people's criteria, then there seems to be one choice.

Mike J. Shade: <mailto:mshade@q.com> mshade@q.com

Mike J. Shade Photography:

<http://mshadephotography.com/> mshadephotography.com

In War: Resolution

In Defeat: Defiance

In Victory: Magnanimity

In Peace: Goodwill

Sir Winston Churchill

Already, in the gathering dusk, a few of the stars are turning on their
lights.

Vega, the brightest one, is now dropping towards the west. Can it be half

a year since I watched her April rising in the east? Low in the southwest

Antares blinks a sad farwell to fall...

Leslie Peltier, Starlight Nights

International Dark Sky Association: < <http://www.darksky.org/>
http://www.darksky.org/> <http://www.darksky.org/> www.darksky.org

From: <mailto:ap-gto@...> ap-gto@... [
<mailto:ap-gto@...> mailto:ap-gto@...]
Sent: Friday, September 06, 2019 2:17 PM
To: <mailto:ap-gto@...> ap-gto@...
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Mach2 price and specs are now on the AP website

I'm wasn't trying to say anything disparaging at all about the new mount, or
its value in the big scheme of things. It looks to be fantastic. Compared to
other AE mount prices I'm sure it's a big win for those that purchase.

"Affordable" and "premium" are obviously subjective terms. The meaning of
the term "premium" in this context is surely debatable, but it is quite
often used to describe the mount offerings of Astro-Physics, Software
Bisque, 10 Micron, and so on. Entry-level, as used here, being the most
budget-friendly offerings of those companies. This is frequently the next
step for someone having owned, and been frustrated by, a less than premium
mount (frequently referred to as "budget" mounts) that was probably produced
in Asia. There is no standard terminology for mount classes in this respect,
but such have been informally adopted by a good portion of the on-line
imaging community.

In this context I was simply trying to make the point that there is now (as
perceived by my humble self) a gap in the high-quality (premium, high
precision, whatever you want to call it) mount market that was filled by the
Mach1. The consumer I was picturing while making my statement was an imager
trying to decide whether to buy the $2500 - $3500 iOptron, Losmandy,
Celestron. They could look at the Mach1 and think "If I can just stretch the
budget a little more, I can have myself a mount that will quite possibly
last a lifetime". I can't count how many times I've read on a web board were
someone was so excited that they were finally able to afford their Mach1, or
that they decided to wait until they could afford a Mach1, and so on. I was
one of these people myself. With the $5500 Mach1 gone (i'm not talking used
stuff here), it is now much more of a budget stretch to get yourself into a
new Astro-Physics mount.. This so-called gap in the market leaves consumers
to have to consider another manufacturer to get a high-end mount in the old
Mach1 price range. In my opinion this puts Astro-Physics out of reach for
most imagers out there.

I understand the teaser price was never set in stone, but I freely admit
when I opened up the link to the Mach2 the sticker shock was pretty
deflating.... I had gotten my hopes too high. It would be cool if you decide
to offer something in the future a little more comparable in price to the
mighty M1.

On Sep 6, 2019, at 15:47, <mailto:chris1011@...> chris1011@...
[ap-gto] <ap-gto@yahoogroups..com> wrote:

One thing I forgot to mention is the construction of the parts and what that
entails. The mount is completely machined from billet. To make one mount
takes about 250 lb of high grade aluminum and stainless steel. To make the
intricate parts, the vast majority of the metal is machined away, leaving a
very strong and very precise part.. A mount could be made by using castings
and thus save a large amount of metal cost, however making a very precise
part out of castings is very difficult. The cost savings would be eaten up
by fixturing problems and rejects, plus pound for pound a cast mount is not
as strong.

All parts are anodized, even the painted parts. We could save money by
leaving out the anodizing but the paint won't adhere correctly and
eventually the paint will chip.

The parts we make on our CNC machines have very tight tolerances. Shafts
must fit bearings exactly, no wiggle room allowed. Loose fit would certainly
speed up assembly, but the results will be very bad. On an astronomical
mount where every arc second error counts, there can be no sloppy fit
anywhere... We are constantly improving our processes, not necessarily to
make the mounts cheaper, but always to make them better.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: chris1011 < <mailto:chris1011@...> chris1011@...>
To: ap-gto < <mailto:ap-gto@...> ap-gto@...>
Sent: Fri, Sep 6, 2019 12:38 pm
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Re: Mach2 price and specs are now on the AP website

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 <mailto:tysmith747@...> tysmith747@...
[ap-gto] < <mailto:ap-gto@...> ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto < <mailto: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, <mailto:chris1011@...> chris1011@...
[ap-gto] <ap-gto@yahoogroups..com> 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.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: Tyrel Smith <mailto:tysmith747@...> tysmith747@...
[ap-gto] < <mailto:ap-gto@...> ap-gto@...>
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@yahoogroups..com < <mailto:ap-gto@...>
mailto: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, <mailto:chris1011@...> chris1011@...
[ap-gto] <ap-gto@yahoogroups..com> wrote:

The Mach1 is out of production.

Rolando

-----Original Message-----
From: <mailto:mikestephens-milkeycorp@...>
mikestephens-milkeycorp@... [ap-gto] <
<mailto:ap-gto@...> ap-gto@...
<mailto:ap-gto@yahoogroups..com> >
To: ap-gto <ap-gto@yahoogroups..com < <mailto:ap-gto@...>
mailto: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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