New 400GTO Owner Question


Gregg Carter
 

OK, after a couple of years of saving money, and almost that much
time on the notification/order list, my new 400GTO was delivered a
week ago. I was able to get the wood tripod, a couple of counter
weights, and the dovetail plate. Alas, they did not have the sliding
bar I need. So, I still wait. My new Tele-Vue 101 waits anxiously
in its case.

However, I am patient (or I wouldn't have lasted this long). I am
told I will have the sliding bar in 2-3 weeks. So I figure I'll
learn the controller, software, etc. in the meantime, and continue
using my Pronto and Vixen SP with SkySensor 2000-PC until the sliding
bar arrives.

I learn about this site. I come here and read messages. I become
concerned when I hear about alignment problems. As mentioned above,
I use a SkySensor 2000 on the Vixen SP. Worked perfectly the first
night out. I do a simple 3-star alignment, with the telescope
oriented in any direction I want. Every object I select is very near
the center of the field-of-view every time.

I plan on mounting the Tele-Vue 101 to the Astro-Physics 400GTO. I
have heard great things about the AP mounts. Now I read that if the
scope "is not aligned" to the RA axis of the mount, well, forget
doing goto functions. I read about people cutting up pieces of pop
or beer cans to make this mount work. Is this for real that I pay
almost $5,000 for this setup only to find that I have to become a
telescope mount technician to get it to work? Am I missing
something?

Please excuse me if I am over reacting, but I do not have a lot of
free time to observe, so it is important to me that I maximize what
time I do have. I am not interested in working on this mount to make
it do what it is advertised to do, nor am I interested in spending a
lot of time to accomplish the same. I assumed that I could mount the
Televue 101 to this mount, and it would perform as promised.

All that said, the mount and tripod are downright beautiful, and it
is obvious that Roland and company have taken a lot of pride, and
used a lot of TLC, to put this together. I really want this to work
for me when I go out with it the first time. I want to eventually to
upgrade to an AP-600 and a 130mm as my refractor setup. I want to
believe that I am over reacting, and that the mount is going to
provide goto capabilities at least as good as my SkySensor 2000, with
much better stability and less mount/drive jitter. I have a lot of
eggs in this basket.

Will I be pleased or disappointed?

Thanks, and clear and steady skies,

Gregg Carter


Larry Denmark <kldenmark@...>
 

... my new 400GTO was delivered a week ago...
I become concerned when I hear about alignment
problems... I want to believe that I am over reacting,
and that the mount is going to provide goto capabilities...
Will I be pleased or disappointed?
Gregg,

Only you will be able to answer that, but let me say this:

I've owned the AP 400 QMD and now have the AP 600E GTO. They have both
functioned perfectly as soon as they emerge from their bubble wrap cocoon.
Orthogonality issues with A-P mounts are rare events... not unheard of -
just quite uncommon. Otherwise, people would not drool for two years
waiting to get one. (And try to find a used one for sale.)

I'm sorry there are some folks who have had problems with their mounts, and
I do not for a moment make light of their plights nor do I challenge their
assessment of the cause of their problems. But keep in mind that "listening
in" on any of these lists carries the same sort of learning curve as using
your equipment. Not everything we say in this forum is true. It is not
that we lie, but sometimes we believe sincerely in things that just aren't
so. The more experience you gain on your own, the greater the value this
list becomes. So learn from it, but don't be frightened by what you read.

Have fun with your new mount...

Larry Denmark
kldenmark@att.net
http://home.att.net/~kldenmark/


Gregg Carter
 

Larry,

Thanks for the reassurance. Yes, I need to get out under the skies
and put this baby through its paces. Just need that sliding bar.
Like I said, it looks to be a work of art, and it's obvious that
Roland and company take pride in what they do. I appreciate quality,
and that's why I've waited for the AP mount. My first impressions
are that this is a fine piece of equipment, that will serve me for
many, many years.

Regarding support from AP, I have communicated with Roland on several
occasions via private e-mail, and he has always been very helpful and
answered all my questions. Christine is the best. They are all
definitely first rate regarding support.

As far as there being posts reflecting issues that are either rare or
actually non-existent, well I have been there before. When I first
go the SkySensor for my Vixen SP mount, I saw posts on the user group
for that mount about how it wouldn't work, etc. I installed mine,
went out, and it worked like a charm. I did take the time to read
the manuals and install it accordingly.

Thanks, and clear and steady skies,

Gregg




--- In ap-gto@egroups.com, "Larry Denmark" <kldenmark@w...> wrote:
... my new 400GTO was delivered a week ago...
I become concerned when I hear about alignment
problems... I want to believe that I am over reacting,
and that the mount is going to provide goto capabilities...
Will I be pleased or disappointed?
Gregg,

Only you will be able to answer that, but let me say this:

I've owned the AP 400 QMD and now have the AP 600E GTO. They have
both
functioned perfectly as soon as they emerge from their bubble wrap
cocoon.
Orthogonality issues with A-P mounts are rare events... not unheard
of -
just quite uncommon. Otherwise, people would not drool for two
years
waiting to get one. (And try to find a used one for sale.)

I'm sorry there are some folks who have had problems with their
mounts, and
I do not for a moment make light of their plights nor do I
challenge their
assessment of the cause of their problems. But keep in mind
that "listening
in" on any of these lists carries the same sort of learning curve
as using
your equipment. Not everything we say in this forum is true. It
is not
that we lie, but sometimes we believe sincerely in things that just
aren't
so. The more experience you gain on your own, the greater the
value this
list becomes. So learn from it, but don't be frightened by what
you read.

Have fun with your new mount...

Larry Denmark
kldenmark@a...
http://home.att.net/~kldenmark/


Paul Wilson <plw@...>
 

Hi Gregg,

I've been using the setup you describe (A-P 400GTO + TV101) since
late March 2000 when my mount arrived. To add another data point
regarding orthogonality, I've had not a single problem to speak of
with my 400GTO.

I attach the clamshell ring of the 101 to the SB0800 (A-P sliding
bar), but Parallax rings and a flat plate would be another option, or
rings and the SB1000 sliding bar. I use the TV Bino Vue with my 101,
so I actually own the SB1000 too. It makes things easier when
balancing heavy loads, but won't stay attached and fit the cutout
area of the 101's case (unless you want to enlarge the cutout).

Now, speaking of A-P backorders, it would be really nice if the case
for the 400 mount head would ship soon ;-)

Paul

(a very happy 400GTO & DSV user)

--- In ap-gto@egroups.com, "Gregg Carter" <gcarter@d...> wrote:
OK, after a couple of years of saving money, and almost that much
time on the notification/order list, my new 400GTO was delivered a
week ago.
<snip>


Chuck Hancock
 

Gregg-

I agree with Larry and Paul, even though I have had an ortho problem. I
use the 400GTO with the (dreaded) Celestron 8" SCT, a good enough scope
for the money - although it is not even orthogonal with itself.

If you do have an ortho problem it's really not that big a deal, and
it's not the mount's fault. The method for making the scope orthogonal
with the mount is easy enough. It's in the fine manual. And, it should
be a one-timer. And you can get it as close or perfect as you care to,
whatever you are comfortable with. It depends on whether you like
things right, or JUST EXACTLY RIGHT.

You may have become alarmed after reading a few of the recent threads,
so remember this: Many amateur astronomers like to pick nits. Many A-P
owners like to pick not only nits, but also nits' butts.

Hope this helps ;I

--
Best regards,
Chuck Hancock

c d h 5 9 at b e l l s o u t h d o t n e t


Jeffrey D. Gortatowsky
 

Gregg

Allow me to put my foot in my mouth.. <g>

Remember there are 100's (1000's?) of HAPPY GTO owners out there. Like ANY
other subject on the net, and in real life, the people who are "happy" have
no reason to write anything and unfortunately, usually don't. The people who
are not happy, have _every_reason_ to write and hopefully resolve the
problem. So... how many people wrote theirs is not right? Five? Ten? Twenty?
Dunno. And by how much if it off? I'd be surprise if most don't have the
object in the FOV of a .75 degree FOV eyepiece. OTOH imagers need it on the
CCD chip. That's a higher degree of precision.

If AP's mounts were flawed, you'd not see hundreds (thousands?) of people
lining up to get one. After all, a Losmandy G11 is only a six month waiting
period. Why not get one of those instead?

Since I have never used or seen a Vixen GP with a SS2K I really don't know
about 'higher' precision. But having used a 130EDT f/8 on my 400GTO there is
no jitter or stability problems. And it's WAY bigger than your TV101. <g>

Take a good look at whose imaging these days and what mount is being used.
You'll see an awful lot of AP mounts (and a few Tak, Mountain Instruments,
and G11s for sure). Imagers are very picky people. Their equipment is a lot
less forgiving then our eyes.

BTW: I was only on the 400 waiting list for 4 months. Another 4 months and I
had the mount. My 'guess' is, as the lightweight mount, it's less in demand
than the 900GTO I lust after. <g>

All JMO.

Clear skies,
Jeff


Gregg Carter
 

Thanks to everyone that responded. I can't wait to get my sliding
bar and spend some time under the stars. Sounds like I am going to
be very pleased.

Clear skies.