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.


Christopher Erickson
 

The biggest OTA I would put on a Mach1 or Mach2 would be a C11. And in fact a C11 on my Mach1 isn't as stable as I would like.

IMHO, an 1100 or a 900 is perfect for a C14. I have used both mounts with my C14 and they work great.

YMMV.

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
   


On Mon, Jul 5, 2021, 3:29 PM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
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.


W Hilmo
 

I would use the Mach1 as the portable imaging mount.  Most of the time, it would be carrying the 130GTX.  Occasionally, I would mount my 80mm refractor for wide field work.

 

That said, I put my C14 on a Celestron CGE for over 10 years for visual use.  I am *much* happier with it on the AP1100, but even a Mach1 would be a huge step up in stability from a CGE.

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Christopher Erickson
Sent: Monday, July 5, 2021 3:44 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Musing about my next mount...

 

The biggest OTA I would put on a Mach1 or Mach2 would be a C11. And in fact a C11 on my Mach1 isn't as stable as I would like.

 

IMHO, an 1100 or a 900 is perfect for a C14. I have used both mounts with my C14 and they work great.

YMMV.


-Christopher Erickson
Observatory engineer
Waikoloa, HI 96738
www.summitkinetics.com
   

 

On Mon, Jul 5, 2021, 3:29 PM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:

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.


thefamily90 Phillips
 

I would get on APs wait list for the 1100 and Mach2. Then I would put want ads up on AMart and CN. I have gotten an AP600 Goto and two Mach1s that way in the last year.
I would only buy another brand as a last ditch effort. After about 30 years I am just beginning to understand how to use the AP Keypad..,

JimP

On Mon, Jul 5, 2021 at 6:29 PM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
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.


Jeffc
 

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?

Option A:   

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.)

Option B:

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.

-jeff

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/


W Hilmo
 

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: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
Sent: Monday, July 5, 2021 11:14 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
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?

 

Option A:   

 

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. ¯\_()_/¯

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.)

 

Option B:

 

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.

 

-jeff

 

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/

 


Robert Berta
 

I would consider getting a used  900 mount for the 14" used visually....photographically it works fine. I have one as well as a 1100. If buying new I would go with the 1100 with a 14" over the Mach II. Before I had the 1100 I had a 14" SCT on the 900 and never had any issues. I also have a Celestron CGE-PRO mount with another 14" SCT HD at a Boy and Girl Scout observatory I manage. The mount works fine but not at the level of precision or user friendly as the AP mounts...and it is heavy and awkward to move as a travel setup. 


W Hilmo
 

So I just added myself to the notification list for a Mach2.  I suspect that’s the best long term solution.  I’ve been hung up on the fact that the halves cannot be separated – but I’m already transporting an AP1100 and a C14 on these trips, so it’s not like I’m traveling light to begin with.  I expect that it’s going to be a significant wait, which is fine with me.  If something else lands in my lap in the meantime, I can change my decision if needed.

 

I am aware of the CGE Pro, and know that it can handle a C14 easily for visual, and can probably be had used for a nice price.  The problem is that I have used them before.  They are ridiculously heavy for what they are, and they are also really, really tall.  Even with the tripod at its lowest level, I cannot reach the eyepiece in many positions without a step stool.

 

-Wade

 

From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Robert Berta
Sent: Tuesday, July 6, 2021 2:27 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Musing about my next mount...

 

I would consider getting a used  900 mount for the 14" used visually....photographically it works fine. I have one as well as a 1100. If buying new I would go with the 1100 with a 14" over the Mach II. Before I had the 1100 I had a 14" SCT on the 900 and never had any issues. I also have a Celestron CGE-PRO mount with another 14" SCT HD at a Boy and Girl Scout observatory I manage. The mount works fine but not at the level of precision or user friendly as the AP mounts...and it is heavy and awkward to move as a travel setup.