Re: Musing about my next mount...
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Here are the requirements, simplified:
I have been using the AP1600 both in the field and at home, always for imaging. I’m moving it into an observatory and will not be using it in the field anymore. The observatory will have two piers. The AP1100 will normally live on the second pier to carry the C14 for visual. If I never set up in the field, I’d not need anything else.
When I set up in the field, I want to image with the AP130 and do visual with the C14. Of course, I can keep doing it the way that I have been, but I want to stop traveling with the AP1600, and leave it in the observatory all the time. I don’t mind removing the AP1100 from the observatory for travel.
Essentially, I’m looking for a replacement for the AP1600. One option is to get a mount to carry the C14 for visual, and continue using the AP1100 as the travel imaging mount. Another option is to make the AP1100 the mount to carry the C14 to do visual, and get a mount to image with the AP130.
I am 100% satisfied with my AP1100 as an imaging mount. Adding encoders would be an unnecessary $5K expense. In terms of buying a new mount, the contenders are the Mach2 and another AP1100 without encoders. I’m leaning towards the Mach2, but I believe that the AP1100 is more portable. Either of those options is essentially $10K, and now that I’m retired, I have to weigh whether I want to spend that much. A used AP900, AP1100 or Mach1 would also be a good option. As you mentioned, they do come up periodically, but they sell immediately, and I don’t live on the classifieds.
From: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> On Behalf Of Jeffc
Sent: Monday, July 5, 2021 11:14 PM
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Musing about my next mount...
Here's my 2 cents.. tho i'm having a bit of a problem parsing the "requirements"...
Essentially.. you want a permanent mount for visual use in the observatory , in addition to the AP1600?
And another third mount for travelling doing imaging OR visual?
But you would remove (one of) the OTAs from the observatory when travelling?
So.. the 1600 will be in the observatory for imaging since it has encoders, correct?
Step 1. Put the existing 1100 in the observatory for visual use with the C14. I presume there is some requirement that once installed in the observatory the mount can't be used for "double duty" in the field. But the OTA would move from the observatory for use in the field. I suppose the idea of a "permanent" mount is understandable. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Step 2. Buy an AP1100 with encoders. This will be used "in the field" (travelling) for imaging (w/ AP130) or visual (w/ the C14) (but not at the same time).
(Probably a Mach2 is not appropriate for the C14. Fwiw I use a Meade 12 ACF on my Mach2, even for imaging along with camera, GEG, etc.. I'm almost maxed out on the counterweight shaft.)
Step 1. Upgrade the AP1100 adding encoders (is that still doable? -- i thought it was in the past), and use this as your travelling imaging / visual mount.
Step 2. Get a used AP mount (AP900, 1100, 1200) etc for visual use with the C14 in the observatory. I suspect "used AP1100" is not economical since you already have that same exact model.
If you were going to be travelling for imaging (e.g. with an AP130) and travelling for visual use with something smaller than the C14 , I would suggest seriously considering the Mach2 (which has encoders of course).
After getting the hang of APPM in the field, I'm really enjoying the performance of the Mach2. Sure the smaller Mach1 would be nice, but I'm very happy with the Mach2 even with the additional "heft". (Since using the mach2 I'm not sure I would bother with a Mach1 for imaging. Dark-sky time is too precious.)
Fwiw, I also have an 1100 (w/o encoders) in addition to the Mach2; While the Mach2 doesn't separate, the Mach2 is much more compact in the car for me than the 1100. (And I transport my 1100 as one piece anyhow; there isn't a huge "total weight" difference.)
In any event, as you may have guessed, I've not used the non-encoder 1100 since the Mach2 arrived.
But it sounds like you need a mount that can carry the C14.. that seems to be the baseline... and that's probably a bit much of the Mach2 (tho it is only visual use)... which means the AP1100 would be the next up. However, if this is to be used as an imaging mount also, then (imo) the mount should have encoders.
Ps. There was a Mach 1 on CN on saturday, so these mounts do come up for sale periodically: https://www.cloudynights.com/classifieds/item/260812-mach1-gtocpo3-complete-setup/