Small AP Mount Ideas


Andrew Arai
 

There have been a couple of threads recently about a "small AP mount" that fills a niche. Having recently driven from the East coast to Arizona with a Mach1, Eagle Pier, AP 130 EDFGT, Cameras, Batteries, computer, eyepieces, table, chair, and everything else needed for serious astrophotography, I know that combination does not make for most people's idea of travel by plane. 

While many have asked for specific features, I'd propose an alternative way of approaching the concept. My starting point would be:
1. A mount and tripod that fit airline luggage requirements (~50 pounds including a case like a Pelican Air 1615 or 1637 or rough equivalent).
2. Aimed at dual axis guiding or unguided performance adequate for a Stowaway (subarc second performance). If you could handle a AP 130 EDFGT, all the better but that seems too greedy to me.
3. Option for removing counterweights and exchanging for widefield cameras.
4. I'd plan on carrying the telescope, camera, and computer as carry-on luggage.
5. It would probably take another suitcase to carry some of the other equipment and enough cold weather clothes to survive 5-8 hours on a mountain somewhere dark and usually cold.

A mount like that would work well for a much wider range of serious astrophotography at remote sites than the inexpensive tracking mounts that many use for widefield astrophotography.

I could see using such a mount almost anywhere in the world. Eclipses would be well supported. Widefield should be easy. 5 minute high resolution imaging would be the distinguishing factor. I suspect many would pay the AP premium for a mount that could take them to remote, dark skies that can make the telescope sing.

I'd leave it up to the experts at AP to see what technology they choose to use to make such a mount.

Just a thought. Let me know if you firm up any plans for a mount smaller than a Mach1 or Mach2 as I would sign up for a small AP mount and wait in gracious anticipation of your next great contribution to the field.

Andrew
 


Christopher Erickson
 

I have been begging Roland for this for years. And I know for a fact that I have really annoyed him at times about it. LOL.

My RST-135 plus CF tripod plus half-pier, counterweight, batts, hand controller, other mounts bits, all in a Pelican 1535 wheeled Air case comes to 38 pounds.

And the 1535 case is the same case as the 1525, just with wheels and a telescoping handle. And a 1525 comes with the Stowaway. In fact the two cases stack nicely and can even be strapped together and hauled around with the wheels on the 1535.
 
"My advice is always free and worth every penny!"

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


Virus-free. www.avg.com


On Mon, Apr 26, 2021 at 3:30 PM Andrew Arai <andrewarai@...> wrote:
There have been a couple of threads recently about a "small AP mount" that fills a niche. Having recently driven from the East coast to Arizona with a Mach1, Eagle Pier, AP 130 EDFGT, Cameras, Batteries, computer, eyepieces, table, chair, and everything else needed for serious astrophotography, I know that combination does not make for most people's idea of travel by plane. 

While many have asked for specific features, I'd propose an alternative way of approaching the concept. My starting point would be:
1. A mount and tripod that fit airline luggage requirements (~50 pounds including a case like a Pelican Air 1615 or 1637 or rough equivalent).
2. Aimed at dual axis guiding or unguided performance adequate for a Stowaway (subarc second performance). If you could handle a AP 130 EDFGT, all the better but that seems too greedy to me.
3. Option for removing counterweights and exchanging for widefield cameras.
4. I'd plan on carrying the telescope, camera, and computer as carry-on luggage.
5. It would probably take another suitcase to carry some of the other equipment and enough cold weather clothes to survive 5-8 hours on a mountain somewhere dark and usually cold.

A mount like that would work well for a much wider range of serious astrophotography at remote sites than the inexpensive tracking mounts that many use for widefield astrophotography.

I could see using such a mount almost anywhere in the world. Eclipses would be well supported. Widefield should be easy. 5 minute high resolution imaging would be the distinguishing factor. I suspect many would pay the AP premium for a mount that could take them to remote, dark skies that can make the telescope sing.

I'd leave it up to the experts at AP to see what technology they choose to use to make such a mount.

Just a thought. Let me know if you firm up any plans for a mount smaller than a Mach1 or Mach2 as I would sign up for a small AP mount and wait in gracious anticipation of your next great contribution to the field.

Andrew
 


DFisch
 

+1 andrew, could no have stated it better

On Mon, Apr 26, 2021 at 21:30 Andrew Arai <andrewarai@...> wrote:
There have been a couple of threads recently about a "small AP mount" that fills a niche. Having recently driven from the East coast to Arizona with a Mach1, Eagle Pier, AP 130 EDFGT, Cameras, Batteries, computer, eyepieces, table, chair, and everything else needed for serious astrophotography, I know that combination does not make for most people's idea of travel by plane. 

While many have asked for specific features, I'd propose an alternative way of approaching the concept. My starting point would be:
1. A mount and tripod that fit airline luggage requirements (~50 pounds including a case like a Pelican Air 1615 or 1637 or rough equivalent).
2. Aimed at dual axis guiding or unguided performance adequate for a Stowaway (subarc second performance). If you could handle a AP 130 EDFGT, all the better but that seems too greedy to me.
3. Option for removing counterweights and exchanging for widefield cameras.
4. I'd plan on carrying the telescope, camera, and computer as carry-on luggage.
5. It would probably take another suitcase to carry some of the other equipment and enough cold weather clothes to survive 5-8 hours on a mountain somewhere dark and usually cold.

A mount like that would work well for a much wider range of serious astrophotography at remote sites than the inexpensive tracking mounts that many use for widefield astrophotography.

I could see using such a mount almost anywhere in the world. Eclipses would be well supported. Widefield should be easy. 5 minute high resolution imaging would be the distinguishing factor. I suspect many would pay the AP premium for a mount that could take them to remote, dark skies that can make the telescope sing.

I'd leave it up to the experts at AP to see what technology they choose to use to make such a mount.

Just a thought. Let me know if you firm up any plans for a mount smaller than a Mach1 or Mach2 as I would sign up for a small AP mount and wait in gracious anticipation of your next great contribution to the field.

Andrew
 

--
TJF MOBILE


eckhard.voelcker@...
 

A small AP mount for a Stowaway or a similar sized refractor would be fantastic. 
Put me on the waiting list.


Eckhard 


Howard Hedlund
 

Hi Andrew and all of you other fine Gentlemen,
Please bear a few things in mind about a potential high performance mini-mount:
  • We can't just scale down a Mach 2 (or Mach1, even) to design this mount.  Engineering will be a significant cost.
  • Direct costs of a smaller mount are only reduced a small fraction by the reduction in raw materials.  Machining, finishing, assembly, documentation, and support time and labor will be little different from any of our other mounts all the way up to the 1600GTO.
  • We do not have an unlimited pool of manufacturing facilities, and our highly skilled machinists, finishers and assemblers were very hard to come by.  If we devote resources to building a small mount, it will take resources away from producing our other 3 mounts.  It's hard enough keeping up with current mount demand!
  • You are in competition with the other end of the mount spectrum.  For every loyal AP customer who wants a small travel mount, there is also a customer wanting us to build a bigger mount (a new version to replace the discontinued 3600GTO) for huge scopes in remote observatories.
  • Believe me when I say that all of us would like to produce a mini mount.  But it's a tough call to make.  I'm just glad that such decisions are above my pay grade!


dvjbaja
 

 A new small mount from AP would be great.  Sadly, there are not enough weeks remaining in my life to wait for one.  Just the whisper of a notification list at a conference would get 300 people on it instantly, and the long wait and production release thereafter.  And then the endless capacity questions.... "will it carry a TEC 180?"   ;-)   I think the Mach 2 is THE mount right now. Leave the super portable stuff to the rest of the world to figure out.  

Clear skies to all. 

-jg


On Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 12:18 AM eckhard.voelcker via groups.io <eckhard.voelcker=me.com@groups.io> wrote:
A small AP mount for a Stowaway or a similar sized refractor would be fantastic. 
Put me on the waiting list.


Eckhard 


David
 

I have asked for this several times as well.  Obviously there is a market for this.  The premium is being paid now by everyone that buys a RainbowAstro mount.  I bought mine due to the ridiculously small size for the capacity, and no counterweights.  With accessories it was over $4k.  The new one with an encoder is around $1k more.  People are already paying this premium for the sake of portability.  Just not quite getting AP quality.  There is a market.  Whether or not it’s profitable and worth the effort for AP is the question.

I was hoping for this when I got my Mach2.  The Mach2 is the best mount I’ve ever had.  But I’d still love one from AP that was 1/3 the weight and had a capacity of around 20-30 lbs.  That would be a game changer for portability.  Yes it can’t compete with a $2k iOptron, but there are many people that don’t care and will easily pay a premium to have better quality, and have something not Chinese made.  Right now there just isn’t an option.

David



On Apr 27, 2021, at 2:18 AM, eckhard.voelcker via groups.io <eckhard.voelcker@...> wrote:

A small AP mount for a Stowaway or a similar sized refractor would be fantastic. 
Put me on the waiting list.


Eckhard 


David Fischer
 

Speaking as a user of both AP and iOptron mounts, I find my little CEM25 to be more than adequate for portable imaging.  I use it for 80mm refractor and smaller optics all the way down to simple camera lenses and get guided tracking good enough (1.1 arc-sec rms typical) that the mount is not the determining factor to image resolution.  The mount seems to be a practical choice. 

What would be the motivation for a customer to spend more money to handle a similar payload while having a similar carry weight for all the gear ? 

While Astro-Physics would certainly build a mount with even better tracking, how would the end user actually benefit ? 

How could A-P recoup the engineering costs without selling very large quantities of the mount ?  Would they not have to garner a major share of all the small mount users to make this work fiscally ?  Is that realistic when these iOptron (and other) mounts cost only $1000 new ?

I love A-P quality enough that I would not wish to see the health of the company hurt by pursuit of a market in which their strengths don't align with customer interests.

-- David F.

On Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 6:46 AM David via groups.io <phrosty5=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I have asked for this several times as well.  Obviously there is a market for this.  The premium is being paid now by everyone that buys a RainbowAstro mount.  I bought mine due to the ridiculously small size for the capacity, and no counterweights.  With accessories it was over $4k.  The new one with an encoder is around $1k more.  People are already paying this premium for the sake of portability.  Just not quite getting AP quality.  There is a market.  Whether or not it’s profitable and worth the effort for AP is the question.

I was hoping for this when I got my Mach2.  The Mach2 is the best mount I’ve ever had.  But I’d still love one from AP that was 1/3 the weight and had a capacity of around 20-30 lbs.  That would be a game changer for portability.  Yes it can’t compete with a $2k iOptron, but there are many people that don’t care and will easily pay a premium to have better quality, and have something not Chinese made.  Right now there just isn’t an option.

David



On Apr 27, 2021, at 2:18 AM, eckhard.voelcker via groups.io <eckhard.voelcker=me.com@groups.io> wrote:

A small AP mount for a Stowaway or a similar sized refractor would be fantastic. 
Put me on the waiting list.


Eckhard 


Jeff B
 

Great response Howard!  

Has anyone heard the name "Losmandy"?

Jeff

On Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 1:37 PM David Fischer <dkn.fischer@...> wrote:
Speaking as a user of both AP and iOptron mounts, I find my little CEM25 to be more than adequate for portable imaging.  I use it for 80mm refractor and smaller optics all the way down to simple camera lenses and get guided tracking good enough (1.1 arc-sec rms typical) that the mount is not the determining factor to image resolution.  The mount seems to be a practical choice. 

What would be the motivation for a customer to spend more money to handle a similar payload while having a similar carry weight for all the gear ? 

While Astro-Physics would certainly build a mount with even better tracking, how would the end user actually benefit ? 

How could A-P recoup the engineering costs without selling very large quantities of the mount ?  Would they not have to garner a major share of all the small mount users to make this work fiscally ?  Is that realistic when these iOptron (and other) mounts cost only $1000 new ?

I love A-P quality enough that I would not wish to see the health of the company hurt by pursuit of a market in which their strengths don't align with customer interests.

-- David F.

On Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 6:46 AM David via groups.io <phrosty5=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I have asked for this several times as well.  Obviously there is a market for this.  The premium is being paid now by everyone that buys a RainbowAstro mount.  I bought mine due to the ridiculously small size for the capacity, and no counterweights.  With accessories it was over $4k.  The new one with an encoder is around $1k more.  People are already paying this premium for the sake of portability.  Just not quite getting AP quality.  There is a market.  Whether or not it’s profitable and worth the effort for AP is the question.

I was hoping for this when I got my Mach2.  The Mach2 is the best mount I’ve ever had.  But I’d still love one from AP that was 1/3 the weight and had a capacity of around 20-30 lbs.  That would be a game changer for portability.  Yes it can’t compete with a $2k iOptron, but there are many people that don’t care and will easily pay a premium to have better quality, and have something not Chinese made.  Right now there just isn’t an option.

David



On Apr 27, 2021, at 2:18 AM, eckhard.voelcker via groups.io <eckhard.voelcker=me.com@groups.io> wrote:

A small AP mount for a Stowaway or a similar sized refractor would be fantastic. 
Put me on the waiting list.


Eckhard 


DFisch
 

Great analysis Howard, thanks for your wonderfully logical insight. 

On Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 09:40 Howard Hedlund <howard@...> wrote:
Hi Andrew and all of you other fine Gentlemen,
Please bear a few things in mind about a potential high performance mini-mount:
  • We can't just scale down a Mach 2 (or Mach1, even) to design this mount.  Engineering will be a significant cost.
  • Direct costs of a smaller mount are only reduced a small fraction by the reduction in raw materials.  Machining, finishing, assembly, documentation, and support time and labor will be little different from any of our other mounts all the way up to the 1600GTO.
  • We do not have an unlimited pool of manufacturing facilities, and our highly skilled machinists, finishers and assemblers were very hard to come by.  If we devote resources to building a small mount, it will take resources away from producing our other 3 mounts.  It's hard enough keeping up with current mount demand!
  • You are in competition with the other end of the mount spectrum.  For every loyal AP customer who wants a small travel mount, there is also a customer wanting us to build a bigger mount (a new version to replace the discontinued 3600GTO) for huge scopes in remote observatories.
  • Believe me when I say that all of us would like to produce a mini mount.  But it's a tough call to make.  I'm just glad that such decisions are above my pay grade!

--
TJF MOBILE


richard payne
 

The AP400GTO, a sweet mount and fairly small. The money is probably the issue.
It would cost the same as a Mach 1 to manufacture.
Richard


W Hilmo
 

That's kind of my position on this.

When I think past my own desires and consider the market, it seems like a
very small mount, made to Astro-Physics standards, might not be a huge
seller. The biggest problem is that the scopes that such a mount would
carry would be really small. Smaller scopes are lots more forgiving of the
mount. Because of that, I would think that most people would think that the
current offerings are "good enough". Certainly, the "success" of the
RST-135 shows that there is a market for highly portable mounts (I have
"success" in quotes because I am basing it just on the discussion that I can
see as a user. I have no idea how many of these things they actually sell.)

The question then is, can Astro-Physics make a mount that is both price
competitive with the RST-135 and meet Astro-Physics quality standards?
Based on the conversation so far, I'm skeptical that's possible. Of course,
there are some people who would be happy to pay more for Astro-Physics
quality, but the "masses" are interested in good enough, at the lowest price
(again in quotes, because "masses" probably doesn't apply to part of the
amateur astronomy market...)

For my own part, I'm a bit disappointed that the Mach1 is no more. The
Mach2 is a vastly superior mount, to be sure. But for me, the Mach1 hit a
sweet spot in price to size to performance. The Mach2 exceeds my
requirements for a third mount by a wide margin - but it also exceeds my
budget for a third mount, and I don't think that it's any more portable than
my AP1100, since the axes don't separate. I'll probably keep my eyes open
for a nice used Mach1. But there is probably a 50/50 chance that I'll
eventually just buy a Mach2. So AP's marketing strategy will probably be
successful at extracting some more of my cash at some point, without
designing any new mounts...

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of richard
payne
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 12:41 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small AP Mount Ideas

The AP400GTO, a sweet mount and fairly small. The money is probably the
issue.
It would cost the same as a Mach 1 to manufacture.
Richard


Jeffc
 

On Apr 27, 2021, at 1:13 PM, W Hilmo <y.groups@hilmo.net> wrote:

and I don't think that it's any more portable than
my AP1100, since the axes don't separate.
Fwiw… I transport the 1100 (non AE version) with the axis mated.
It is easier/faster to setup this way given the Dec cable. The removable Dec/saddle plate is nice because then the whole mount fits in a decent size tub with the Dec plate + 16” saddle removed.

I’m finding the Mach2 definitely takes up less space in the vehicle than the 1100. The weight of the Mach2 (the part I need to carry off the tripod) is a tad bit less than the 1100 Ra+Dec.
But yes the Mach2 is surprisingly heavy.

Just another perspective: I prefer the Mach2 over the 1100 since the biggest OTA I’m using is a 12” ACF SCT. The Mach2 seems to carry it no problem. (Of course the 1100 I own is non-AE ; this also biases me to the Mach2.)

And for “portable” work , I don’t think I need the 1100 capacity (no observatory here until we move to a different location.)

Background: I acquired the 1100 to “downsize” from a 1200. Note: I still have the 1200 — it is a bit dated, but is also “portable” and imo a very nice mount.
I signed up for the “Mach 1 replacement” and was also surprised by the Mach2 size when I saw it at AIC. Now that I’m using the Mach2 for a bit I’m not at all disappointed by the larger size.


W Hilmo
 

Certainly, if you don't separate the AP1100 axes, it's bigger and heavier than the Mach2. I do separate them, though, for packing and transport. The bin in which I carry it would need to be much larger if I didn't separate them.

For what it's worth, I'm no stranger to using big mounts as "portable" mounts. I take my AP1600 into the field at least once per year, for Oregon Star Party. Occasionally, I take it to another event or two, but mostly I use the AP1100 as my portable imaging mount.

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 2:09 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small AP Mount Ideas



On Apr 27, 2021, at 1:13 PM, W Hilmo <y.groups@hilmo.net> wrote:

and I don't think that it's any more portable than my AP1100, since
the axes don't separate.
Fwiw… I transport the 1100 (non AE version) with the axis mated.
It is easier/faster to setup this way given the Dec cable. The removable Dec/saddle plate is nice because then the whole mount fits in a decent size tub with the Dec plate + 16” saddle removed.

I’m finding the Mach2 definitely takes up less space in the vehicle than the 1100. The weight of the Mach2 (the part I need to carry off the tripod) is a tad bit less than the 1100 Ra+Dec.
But yes the Mach2 is surprisingly heavy.

Just another perspective: I prefer the Mach2 over the 1100 since the biggest OTA I’m using is a 12” ACF SCT. The Mach2 seems to carry it no problem. (Of course the 1100 I own is non-AE ; this also biases me to the Mach2.)

And for “portable” work , I don’t think I need the 1100 capacity (no observatory here until we move to a different location.)

Background: I acquired the 1100 to “downsize” from a 1200. Note: I still have the 1200 — it is a bit dated, but is also “portable” and imo a very nice mount.
I signed up for the “Mach 1 replacement” and was also surprised by the Mach2 size when I saw it at AIC. Now that I’m using the Mach2 for a bit I’m not at all disappointed by the larger size.


Jeffc
 

Well... originally this thread was about a small portable mount.... which equates to something that can also be setup quickly.  Maybe I should have stressed that a bit more in my comment regarding portability.

My initial experience with the 1100 setup was that mating the axis , fishing the cables, etc. is not a "quick" operation.
However, the beauty of the 1100 is that it _can_ be transported as a single unit, and while I am no strongman/weightlifter, I can lift the assembled 1100 mount onto a tripod/pier.

After (?) 20+ years of "going portable" either for imaging or visual work, I've gone from 5 minute setup/teardown times, to hour long setup/teardown durations (e.g. the 1200 is tedious, and I'm sure you will agree the same with the 1600).   
So with the 1100 I was looking at reducing the setup/teardown time... and indeed it is better than the 1200 and also a smaller footprint transport size than the 1200.    My point is the Mach2 takes it a step further, and without much downside.   

TBH, when I got the 1100 I was impressed with the compactness of the shipping boxes.   
But then I realized I would never be able to use the "compact shipping" configuration for "portable transport"... just way too many things to fiddle with getting it setup.   

¯\_()_/¯


On Tue, Apr 27, 2021 at 4:06 PM W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
Certainly, if you don't separate the AP1100 axes, it's bigger and heavier than the Mach2.  I do separate them, though, for packing and transport.  The bin in which I carry it would need to be much larger if I didn't separate them.

For what it's worth, I'm no stranger to using big mounts as "portable" mounts.  I take my AP1600 into the field at least once per year, for Oregon Star Party.  Occasionally, I take it to another event or two, but mostly I use the AP1100 as my portable imaging mount.

-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 2:09 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small AP Mount Ideas



> On Apr 27, 2021, at 1:13 PM, W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
>
> and I don't think that it's any more portable than my AP1100, since
> the axes don't separate.

Fwiw… I transport the 1100 (non AE version) with the axis mated.
It is easier/faster to setup this way given the Dec cable.    The removable Dec/saddle plate is nice because then the whole mount fits in a decent size tub with the Dec plate + 16” saddle removed.

I’m finding the Mach2 definitely takes up less space in the vehicle than the 1100.   The weight of the Mach2 (the part I need to carry off the tripod) is a tad bit less than the 1100 Ra+Dec.
But yes the Mach2 is surprisingly heavy.

Just another perspective: I prefer the Mach2 over the 1100 since the biggest OTA I’m using is a 12” ACF SCT.   The Mach2 seems to carry it no problem.   (Of course the 1100 I own is non-AE ; this also biases me to the Mach2.)

And for “portable” work , I don’t think I need the 1100 capacity (no observatory here until we move to a different location.)

Background: I acquired the 1100 to “downsize” from a 1200.  Note: I still have the 1200 — it is a bit dated, but is also “portable” and imo a very nice mount.
I signed up for the “Mach 1 replacement” and was also surprised by the Mach2 size when I saw it at AIC.   Now that I’m using the Mach2 for a bit I’m not at all disappointed by the larger size.



















Raymond Lillard
 

I am on the wait list for a Mach2, but from recent communication with AP, it will be at least a year before my name comes up. My concern with the Mach2 is the weight. I have a Mach1 which I can muscle around when mobile and shooting with one of my big guns. When my name comes up I will need to think very carefully about its weight.

I also have an iOptron CEM25EC and a good collection of Nikon camera lenses, the longest focal length is 300mm. It is good enough to shoot 5 minute subs @300mm with the ASI2600MC. The stars are just barely oval at 7 minutes. This is UNGUIDED with a very precise polar alignment.

I'll omit the details of the mechanical modifications I had to make to get good polar alignment. Take my word for it, the machining is embarrassingly bad and I say the same about the software. I does work, not because of, but in-spite of...

I said all of that to make a point that I would love to have an similar offering from AP. I don't think it would not need to retail for more than $5k-ish as the tolerances for such wide-field work need not be as tight as for AP's big mounts.

What about the crazy idea of AP working with Losmandy to put encoders on a G11 ? I'd buy one right now. I'd even help with the firmware development for free. I am a semi-retired (sometimes just tired) engineer who has managed many development projects and written miles of code to control similar things.

I'm not sure how the Gemini thing would work in this scenario. Maybe it goes away, maybe not. A joint effort would not burden AP's overloaded factory and Losmandy would not need to build a software team.

I too like the feature that the Mach1 and the G11 axes can be separated.

I should have warned everyone at the top that I never know where my stream-of-consciousness posts will go when I get wound up.

--
Ray

On 4/27/21 4:06 PM, W Hilmo wrote:
Certainly, if you don't separate the AP1100 axes, it's bigger and heavier than the Mach2. I do separate them, though, for packing and transport. The bin in which I carry it would need to be much larger if I didn't separate them.
For what it's worth, I'm no stranger to using big mounts as "portable" mounts. I take my AP1600 into the field at least once per year, for Oregon Star Party. Occasionally, I take it to another event or two, but mostly I use the AP1100 as my portable imaging mount.
-----Original Message-----
From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 2:09 PM
To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small AP Mount Ideas

On Apr 27, 2021, at 1:13 PM, W Hilmo <y.groups@hilmo.net> wrote:

and I don't think that it's any more portable than my AP1100, since
the axes don't separate.
Fwiw… I transport the 1100 (non AE version) with the axis mated.
It is easier/faster to setup this way given the Dec cable. The removable Dec/saddle plate is nice because then the whole mount fits in a decent size tub with the Dec plate + 16” saddle removed.
I’m finding the Mach2 definitely takes up less space in the vehicle than the 1100. The weight of the Mach2 (the part I need to carry off the tripod) is a tad bit less than the 1100 Ra+Dec.
But yes the Mach2 is surprisingly heavy.
Just another perspective: I prefer the Mach2 over the 1100 since the biggest OTA I’m using is a 12” ACF SCT. The Mach2 seems to carry it no problem. (Of course the 1100 I own is non-AE ; this also biases me to the Mach2.)
And for “portable” work , I don’t think I need the 1100 capacity (no observatory here until we move to a different location.)
Background: I acquired the 1100 to “downsize” from a 1200. Note: I still have the 1200 — it is a bit dated, but is also “portable” and imo a very nice mount.
I signed up for the “Mach 1 replacement” and was also surprised by the Mach2 size when I saw it at AIC. Now that I’m using the Mach2 for a bit I’m not at all disappointed by the larger size.


Christopher Erickson
 

The G-11 isn't much lighter than the Mach1. And the Losmandy worm block + motor designs are better these days than days past, but still crap.

The GM-8 combined with their Gemini-II isn't a bad solution for a portable mount and is better than all of the far-East stuff. Still nothing like a Mach1. And nothing like the Rainbow Astro mounts for portability. 

"My advice is always free and worth every penny!"

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


Virus-free. www.avg.com


On Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 4:48 AM Raymond Lillard <rlillard@...> wrote:

I am on the wait list for a Mach2, but from recent communication with
AP, it will be at least a year before my name comes up.  My concern with
the Mach2 is the weight.  I have a Mach1 which I can muscle around when
mobile and shooting with one of my big guns.  When my name comes up I
will need to think very carefully about its weight.

I also have an iOptron CEM25EC and a good collection of Nikon camera
lenses, the longest focal length is 300mm.  It is good enough to shoot 5
minute subs @300mm with the ASI2600MC.  The stars are just barely oval
at 7 minutes.  This is UNGUIDED with a very precise polar alignment.

I'll omit the details of the mechanical modifications I had to make to
get good polar alignment.  Take my word for it, the machining is
embarrassingly bad and I say the same about the software. I does work,
not because of, but in-spite of...

I said all of that to make a point that I would love to have an similar
offering from AP.  I don't think it would not need to retail for more
than $5k-ish as the tolerances for such wide-field work need not be as
tight as for AP's big mounts.

What about the crazy idea of AP working with Losmandy to put encoders on
a G11 ?  I'd buy one right now.  I'd even help with the firmware
development for free.  I am a semi-retired (sometimes just tired)
engineer who has managed many development projects and written miles of
code to control similar things.

I'm not sure how the Gemini thing would work in this scenario. Maybe it
goes away, maybe not.  A joint effort would not burden AP's overloaded
factory and Losmandy would not need to build a software team.

I too like the feature that the Mach1 and the G11 axes can be separated.

I should have warned everyone at the top that I never know where my
stream-of-consciousness posts will go when I get wound up.

--
Ray


On 4/27/21 4:06 PM, W Hilmo wrote:
> Certainly, if you don't separate the AP1100 axes, it's bigger and heavier than the Mach2.  I do separate them, though, for packing and transport.  The bin in which I carry it would need to be much larger if I didn't separate them.
>
> For what it's worth, I'm no stranger to using big mounts as "portable" mounts.  I take my AP1600 into the field at least once per year, for Oregon Star Party.  Occasionally, I take it to another event or two, but mostly I use the AP1100 as my portable imaging mount.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
> Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 2:09 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small AP Mount Ideas
>
>
>
>> On Apr 27, 2021, at 1:13 PM, W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
>>
>> and I don't think that it's any more portable than my AP1100, since
>> the axes don't separate.
>
> Fwiw… I transport the 1100 (non AE version) with the axis mated.
> It is easier/faster to setup this way given the Dec cable.    The removable Dec/saddle plate is nice because then the whole mount fits in a decent size tub with the Dec plate + 16” saddle removed.
>
> I’m finding the Mach2 definitely takes up less space in the vehicle than the 1100.   The weight of the Mach2 (the part I need to carry off the tripod) is a tad bit less than the 1100 Ra+Dec.
> But yes the Mach2 is surprisingly heavy.
>
> Just another perspective: I prefer the Mach2 over the 1100 since the biggest OTA I’m using is a 12” ACF SCT.   The Mach2 seems to carry it no problem.   (Of course the 1100 I own is non-AE ; this also biases me to the Mach2.)
>
> And for “portable” work , I don’t think I need the 1100 capacity (no observatory here until we move to a different location.)
>
> Background: I acquired the 1100 to “downsize” from a 1200.  Note: I still have the 1200 — it is a bit dated, but is also “portable” and imo a very nice mount.
> I signed up for the “Mach 1 replacement” and was also surprised by the Mach2 size when I saw it at AIC.   Now that I’m using the Mach2 for a bit I’m not at all disappointed by the larger size.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>






Eric Dreher
 

I haven't discussed my G11G experience in 2017, especially in a public forum.

Suffice it to say I'm glad to be here.


Raymond Lillard
 

Christopher, I'm happy to say that my advice is price competitive with your own.



On April 28, 2021 9:03:55 AM PDT, Christopher Erickson <christopher.k.erickson@...> wrote:
The G-11 isn't much lighter than the Mach1. And the Losmandy worm block + motor designs are better these days than days past, but still crap.

The GM-8 combined with their Gemini-II isn't a bad solution for a portable mount and is better than all of the far-East stuff. Still nothing like a Mach1. And nothing like the Rainbow Astro mounts for portability. 

"My advice is always free and worth every penny!"

-Christopher Erickson
Observatory Engineer
Summit Kinetics
Waikoloa, Hawaii


Virus-free. www.avg.com

On Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 4:48 AM Raymond Lillard <rlillard@...> wrote:

I am on the wait list for a Mach2, but from recent communication with
AP, it will be at least a year before my name comes up.  My concern with
the Mach2 is the weight.  I have a Mach1 which I can muscle around when
mobile and shooting with one of my big guns.  When my name comes up I
will need to think very carefully about its weight.

I also have an iOptron CEM25EC and a good collection of Nikon camera
lenses, the longest focal length is 300mm.  It is good enough to shoot 5
minute subs @300mm with the ASI2600MC.  The stars are just barely oval
at 7 minutes.  This is UNGUIDED with a very precise polar alignment.

I'll omit the details of the mechanical modifications I had to make to
get good polar alignment.  Take my word for it, the machining is
embarrassingly bad and I say the same about the software. I does work,
not because of, but in-spite of...

I said all of that to make a point that I would love to have an similar
offering from AP.  I don't think it would not need to retail for more
than $5k-ish as the tolerances for such wide-field work need not be as
tight as for AP's big mounts.

What about the crazy idea of AP working with Losmandy to put encoders on
a G11 ?  I'd buy one right now.  I'd even help with the firmware
development for free.  I am a semi-retired (sometimes just tired)
engineer who has managed many development projects and written miles of
code to control similar things.

I'm not sure how the Gemini thing would work in this scenario. Maybe it
goes away, maybe not.  A joint effort would not burden AP's overloaded
factory and Losmandy would not need to build a software team.

I too like the feature that the Mach1 and the G11 axes can be separated.

I should have warned everyone at the top that I never know where my
stream-of-consciousness posts will go when I get wound up.

--
Ray


On 4/27/21 4:06 PM, W Hilmo wrote:
> Certainly, if you don't separate the AP1100 axes, it's bigger and heavier than the Mach2.  I do separate them, though, for packing and transport.  The bin in which I carry it would need to be much larger if I didn't separate them.
>
> For what it's worth, I'm no stranger to using big mounts as "portable" mounts.  I take my AP1600 into the field at least once per year, for Oregon Star Party.  Occasionally, I take it to another event or two, but mostly I use the AP1100 as my portable imaging mount.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: main@ap-gto.groups.io <main@ap-gto.groups.io> On Behalf Of Jeffc
> Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 2:09 PM
> To: main@ap-gto.groups.io
> Subject: Re: [ap-gto] Small AP Mount Ideas
>
>
>
>> On Apr 27, 2021, at 1:13 PM, W Hilmo <y.groups@...> wrote:
>>
>> and I don't think that it's any more portable than my AP1100, since
>> the axes don't separate.
>
> Fwiw… I transport the 1100 (non AE version) with the axis mated.
> It is easier/faster to setup this way given the Dec cable.    The removable Dec/saddle plate is nice because then the whole mount fits in a decent size tub with the Dec plate + 16” saddle removed.
>
> I’m finding the Mach2 definitely takes up less space in the vehicle than the 1100.   The weight of the Mach2 (the part I need to carry off the tripod) is a tad bit less than the 1100 Ra+Dec.
> But yes the Mach2 is surprisingly heavy.
>
> Just another perspective: I prefer the Mach2 over the 1100 since the biggest OTA I’m using is a 12” ACF SCT.   The Mach2 seems to carry it no problem.   (Of course the 1100 I own is non-AE ; this also biases me to the Mach2.)
>
> And for “portable” work , I don’t think I need the 1100 capacity (no observatory here until we move to a different location.)
>
> Background: I acquired the 1100 to “downsize” from a 1200.  Note: I still have the 1200 — it is a bit dated, but is also “portable” and imo a very nice mount.
> I signed up for the “Mach 1 replacement” and was also surprised by the Mach2 size when I saw it at AIC.   Now that I’m using the Mach2 for a bit I’m not at all disappointed by the larger size.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>






--
Sent from my Android device with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.


alan.dang@...
 

If we are going to do fantasy-football type scenarios, I think reasonable strategies would be to do a collaboration with 

Takahashi
- EM-11 with AP electronics/software

AP doesn’t have to invest in manufacturing a small mount and gets the closest thing to an AP400.

Takahashi doesn’t even have official ASCOM support even with the Temma3.  They need software help.

Win-win.  The EM-11 and EM-200 really do not compete with any of the current AP mounts.  Risk is that an EM200 with AP secret sauce cannibalizes the Mach2 line, so it might have to be limited to the EM-11.


Vixen 
Starbook Ten for GTOCPO4
APCC/APPM for Starbook Ten

Starbook Ten is a very nice controller for visual astronomy and portability.  Its database won’t disappear if the battery runs out.  They have software to handle relative encoders already.  Would be a nice upgrade to the Mach2 for visual astronomers.

The current SXD2 and SXP2 are lighter than a Mach2.  Maybe AP can get acceptable portable performance with support for APCC/APMM and adding a factory PEC.  It’s further away from the Mach2 so there is zero chance of cannibalism and AP gets to offer two options for the hand controller on their premium line.

Unitec
The SWAT-350 V-spec is a really good ultra light mount and can be combined as a pair to provide GEM capabilities.  There is no good software support so AP could tweak CPOGT4 to support this setup if there was a way to increase the drive speed (it’s limited to 2x sidereal right now)
https://reflexions.jp/tenref/astro/equipment/mount/9283/

Clearly would not cannabilize the current AP mounts but may involve a lot more effort than the other two options.