Musing about my next mount...

W Hilmo

Since retiring, I am changing how I regard my astronomy gear.

I have an AP1600 with Absolute Encoders, and an AP1100 (without encoders).  I keep them both up to date with the latest CP4 firmware, etc.  I also tend of purchase available upgrades (such as the counterweight shaft part with the steel insert; and I will upgrade them both to the new gearboxes with the release levers, if they ever become available) to keep them current.

I also have two Celestron AVX mounts that I use for grab-and-go visual observing with small telescopes.

The AP1600 was my "lifetime mount", and it was an early sample.  I added the AP1100 almost 4 years ago and intended it to be either my travel imaging mount, or as the visual mount for my C14.

Now that I'm retired, I'll be doing more traveling to dark sky sites.  I'll also be building an observatory on my property, which has Bortle 3 skies.  The goal with the observatory will be to make that the permanent home for the AP1600, and I'll stop schlepping it out to dark sky sites.  The problem with that, is that I then have an imaging mount, or a visual mount for the C14, but not both at the same time.

So I need to figure out how feasible it is to buy another mount so that I can do both visual with the C14, and imaging with another scope.  A Mach1 would have been a no-brainer, but they aren't available new anymore.  Here are the options that I'm considering:

1) Find a used Mach1.
2) Buy a new Mach2.
3) Buy another AP1100 (to me, the AP1100 is more portable than the Mach2, since the 1100 separates the halves - also, I *love* my AP1100).
4) Buy a non-AP mount to carry the C14 for visual.
5) Buy a non-AP mount to carry an imaging scope, which would be no larger than an AP130GTX.
6) Patiently wait to see if Astro-Physics announces a new, light weight imaging mount.

Given that this is an Astro-Physics forum, naturally I think that everyone will be biased towards the first 3 options (as am I).  My most likely next step is to put my name on the notification list for a Mach2, since they are far enough out that if another option presents itself in the short term, I could change my mind.

But I figured that I'd ask the group for their thoughts.

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