Author Topic: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?  (Read 936 times)

Paul Hunt

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Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« on: December 29, 2017, 01:55:19 AM »
I don't know if anyone has this yet, but it says the max weight is 29 pounds, which is close to the AVX but a couple hundred less. Been looking for an equatorial mount for brighter object astrophotography, and the optical tubes I'm planning to put on one would probably be less than 15 pounds with everything on it. Is the tracking capable, or is it worth the money to get the AVX?

http://www.highpoint...=EXS-FL-EXOS2GT



longpetdowntown

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2018, 01:39:18 AM »
looks allot like the Meade LXD75 mount with the same hang on drive system. A review I read said originally it came with a Meade AutoStar goto controllerbut now comes with their own controller with 270K plus objects. It is reported to slew in a noisy manner. Sky at Night Magazine gave it 4/5 stars. Not a bad price. Read no info on how smooth the ra or dec axis are compared to the AVX. Looks like pretty old technology with an improved hand controller. Wish they included the combo V and D saddle.

Mark

Mike Partoza

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2018, 06:11:27 AM »
Actually, what I think I would do is spend $100 MORE than the AVX, and get the EXOS-2GT with the PMC-8 system.

https://explorescien...exos2gtpmct3-00

Check out Slymin's review of this mount on YouTube (also on the product page at ES's page).

https://www.youtube....h?v=tmNPajsd9H4

You can hear how quiet the mount is. But, you need to have a Windows laptop, tablet or Windows phone to use it. Future support for iOS and Android is coming. Because the software is open source, expect the community to add to the software in the future.

If I were looking for a new mount in this weight category, I am pretty sure I would be buying this mount.

HOWEVER, there is a drawback. Currently, the hand controller on the EXOS-2GT does not support programs like Stellarium, and is not ASCOM compliant. Below is a conversation I had with Explore Scientific concerning this issue.

Hi,
I have a question for you concerning this mount. I realize that this is the old LXD75 mount from Meade, and probably other manufacturers. I'm sure the mount itself is good, and I expect that the GoTo system is just fine. It's the GoTo system I'm curious about.

Price is the object here, so the PMC-8, while very nice, is not an option at this time.
The hand controller has a RS-232 port on it. In the manual on Bresser's website, it indicates that port is for 'Future Development.' What I would like to know is currently, can the mount be controlled by a computer? I realize it has a ST-4 port for Autoguiding, which is great, and a requirement, but I'd like to be able to use a program like Stellarium or other to be able to control the mount. For that, I would need a Serial cable and a USB-Serial cable (which I have).
But, if the hand controller currently doesn't support that connection, I really would like to know.

This is the answer I got from Explore Scientific.

Bresser underwent a firmware update, rendering the current GoTo system incapable of using Stellarium or ASCOM computer programs. We’ve been in contact with Germany about an expected date that this issue will be resolved, and it should be roughly mid-summer from what I’ve heard today. Happy sky watching!

So, if you plan on using the mount without an ASCOM program, or any kind of computer interface, then I say it should be a fine mount for you. If you want to use those kind of programs, you'll need to wait until Bresser releases the firmware update to the hand controller. I do not know when that will be, but I would expect August or September.

If you can afford it, I really would suggest the version with the PMC-8 system. As an AVX owner, I can't recommend that mount. While mine works, they are too often plagued with problems.

trualolalun

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 01:38:29 PM »
Quote
looks allot like the Meade LXD75 mount with the same hang on drive system. A review I read said originally it came with a Meade AutoStar goto controllerbut now comes with their own controller with 270K plus objects. It is reported to slew in a noisy manner. Sky at Night Magazine gave it 4/5 stars. Not a bad price. Read no info on how smooth the ra or dec axis are compared to the AVX. Looks like pretty old technology with an improved hand controller. Wish they included the combo V and D saddle.

Mark


Sorta. It is the 75 (which was made for Meade by ES owner JOC), but with a different "hang on" drive system and controller.

What is it like? It's like the 75, the CG5, and the AVX mechanically. Otherwise? The HC is rather rudimentary compared to the others in its class.

Just so happens I did an article on this not long ago: http://uncle-rods.bl...raphy-with.html

Tumbness Mendez

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 03:01:20 PM »
Quote
Actually, what I think I would do is spend $100 MORE than the AVX, and get the EXOS-2GT with the PMC-8 system.

That might be a good idea...but... I'd most ASSUREDLY wait till some user reports come in from users of the PMC-8 mount (which I don't believe has shipped yet...the G11 version has, I know, but I haven't heard the Exos version has). And remember, with the PMC system you will HAVE to use the mount with a Windows PC, phone, or tablet all the time.

ecidjapa

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 11:57:09 PM »
Quote
Quote

Actually, what I think I would do is spend $100 MORE than the AVX, and get the EXOS-2GT with the PMC-8 system.

That might be a good idea...but... I'd most ASSUREDLY wait till some user reports come in from users of the PMC-8 mount (which I don't believe has shipped yet...the G11 version has, I know, but I haven't heard the Exos version has). And remember, with the PMC system you will HAVE to use the mount with a Windows PC, phone, or tablet all the time.
Hi Unk! The EXOS 2 PMC-Eight has been shipping for over a week now. I have been in contact with a couple of customers who bought the EXOS 2 PMC-Eight as a first mount. We are answering questions and improving our documentation to help those new to GEMs.

meenchinobun

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 12:39:22 PM »
Quote
Hi Unk! The EXOS 2 PMC-Eight has been shipping for over a week now. I have been in contact with a couple of customers who bought the EXOS 2 PMC-Eight as a first mount. We are answering questions and improving our documentation to help those new to GEMs.
Hi Jerry!Hope this turns out to be a big success for y'all. The world needs a competitor for the Synta mounts in this price arena.

vichanettgrif

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2018, 07:42:05 AM »
Jerry,
Thanks for the answer to this. I have an AVX, and if I was in a position to, I think I would trade it up to the EXOS-2 PMC mount. I know that Meade divested itself of Bresser, and Explore Scientific entered into a partnership with them as the sole U.S. distributor (according to an interview I watched with Scott). I was impressed with the video by Slymin, and although I wish the weight capacity was a few more pounds, for what I'm doing right now, it fits perfectly.

I do have a question for you, though. Is the mount ASCOM compliant? With PHD2 Pulse guiding, I don't need a ST-4 connection to the mount for guiding. I know the PMC-8 has a ST-4 port, but if I wanted to use ASCOM and do pulse guiding via the mount control, with the software support that, even wirelessly?

When I get my life put back together, I may end up with one of these. Everything I saw in Slymin's video pushes my buttons.

By the way, I totally agree with him on painting the R.A. and Dec marks. A touch of tritium based paint on those would be awesome.

Javier Gutierrez

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2018, 01:23:10 PM »
Rod,
I agree with the standard EXOS-2GT being lacking without the functioning serial port, but as stated above, Bresser should have a new firmware update by mid summer, whatever that is. If it upgrades the firmware to be at least compatible with Nexstar+, SynScan or AutoStar, then I think we'll have a working solution. If they go one better than those HCs, then we'll have a real winner in the price category.

I really like the ball bearings, and the belt drive of the PMC-8, though. I think that is really going to be the price category winner once ES brings iOS and Android and hopefully a MacOS, online.

ardrivunla

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2018, 08:21:33 AM »
Quote
Jerry,
Thanks for the answer to this. I have an AVX, and if I was in a position to, I think I would trade it up to the EXOS-2 PMC mount. I know that Meade divested itself of Bresser, and Explore Scientific entered into a partnership with them as the sole U.S. distributor (according to an interview I watched with Scott). I was impressed with the video by Slymin, and although I wish the weight capacity was a few more pounds, for what I'm doing right now, it fits perfectly.

I do have a question for you, though. Is the mount ASCOM compliant? With PHD2 Pulse guiding, I don't need a ST-4 connection to the mount for guiding. I know the PMC-8 has a ST-4 port, but if I wanted to use ASCOM and do pulse guiding via the mount control, with the software support that, even wirelessly?

When I get my life put back together, I may end up with one of these. Everything I saw in Slymin's video pushes my buttons.

By the way, I totally agree with him on painting the R.A. and Dec marks. A touch of tritium based paint on those would be awesome.

Hi Gary,

Thanks for your interest in the EXOS 2 PMC-Eight, and for your question, We do deliver an ASCOM driver with the PMC-Eight system onall of our current and future mounts. Our initial release provides full compliance with the required ASCOM functions and passes the ASCOM compliance testing. On the initial release of the ASCOM driver we chose not to include the (ASCOM optional) pulse-guiding function since we already provide an ST4 guiding port. The reason for this is that we were limited in our time for development and thought it important to support the standard ST4 port for the initial release of the product. That of course doesn't preclude us from providing the ASCOM pulse-guiding function in the future, but it wasn't a priority. In fact, it is on our list of updates to the ASCOM driver including a couple of other changes that will support new functionality going forward.

I know there are those that may consider that a show stopper, but that was simply the decision I made. I would like to hear from others about whether it be a good idea to just delete the ST4 port completely from future versions ofthe PMC-Eight systemonce ASCOM pulse-guiding is implemented, or keep it for primary use, or legacy support.

The ASCOM driver can be accessed through the standard serial interface of through the wireless interface, that won't change when we had the pulse-guiding function.

Alex Strouth

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2018, 08:02:23 PM »
Quote
Quote
Hi Unk! The EXOS 2 PMC-Eight has been shipping for over a week now. I have been in contact with a couple of customers who bought the EXOS 2 PMC-Eight as a first mount. We are answering questions and improving our documentation to help those new to GEMs.

Hi Jerry!
Hope this turns out to be a big success for y'all. The world needs a competitor for the Synta mounts in this price arena.


Thanks Rod, we are working hard to make it a big success as you suggest. In our view, listening to customer's suggestions and explaining the design philosophy and decisions we make for the systemare key to that.

Lance Soto

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2018, 07:58:08 PM »
Quote
Quote

looks allot like the Meade LXD75 mount with the same hang on drive system. A review I read said originally it came with a Meade AutoStar goto controllerbut now comes with their own controller with 270K plus objects. It is reported to slew in a noisy manner. Sky at Night Magazine gave it 4/5 stars. Not a bad price. Read no info on how smooth the ra or dec axis are compared to the AVX. Looks like pretty old technology with an improved hand controller. Wish they included the combo V and D saddle.

Mark


Sorta. It is the 75 (which was made for Meade by ES owner JOC), but with a different "hang on" drive system and controller.

What is it like? It's like the 75, the CG5, and the AVX mechanically. Otherwise? The HC is rather rudimentary compared to the others in its class.

Just so happens I did an article on this not long ago: http://uncle-rods.bl...raphy-with.html

Hi Rod,

I agree completely with the premise of your article, I have had this position for a long time and have always suggested that when starting out, you should balance your expenditures on mounts, scopes, and cameras. You have to put the work into learning this craft.

I am always surprised that people will invest their hard earned resources in their equipment but scrimp when it comes to investing in themselves and in getting their skills and knowledge up to the level of their equipment. I think most beginners would be surprised whatthey can accomplish with lower end equipment once you have the skill and knowledge to solve the problems that come with it.

Any beginning astrophotographer should start out with lower end equipment and gettheir skill level up to wherethey are actually pushing the performance ofthe equipment.They will then know when to sell offtheir old stuff and buy better new stuff.

As Rod says in his article, you need to understand the limits of your equipment and play to it's strength, as in limiting yourself to wide field astrophotography for those mounts that aren't as stable or precise in it's tracking even with auto-guiding.

Ronald Saldana

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 01:29:52 AM »
Quote
Rod,
I agree with the standard EXOS-2GT being lacking without the functioning serial port, but as stated above, Bresser should have a new firmware update by mid summer, whatever that is. If it upgrades the firmware to be at least compatible with Nexstar+, SynScan or AutoStar, then I think we'll have a working solution. If they go one better than those HCs, then we'll have a real winner in the price category.

I really like the ball bearings, and the belt drive of the PMC-8, though. I think that is really going to be the price category winner once ES brings iOS and Android and hopefully a MacOS, online.
If they upgrade the firmware on the original Exos 2GT, that would be great. But I've heard conflicting stories about the likelihood of that.

slotiniphin

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Re: Is the Explore Scientific FirstLight EXOS-2GT any good?
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2018, 04:16:02 AM »
Quote
Hi Rod,

I agree completely with the premise of your article, I have had this position for a long time and have always suggested that when starting out, you should balance your expenditures on mounts, scopes, and cameras. You have to put the work into learning this craft.

I am always surprised that people will invest their hard earned resources in their equipment but scrimp when it comes to investing in themselves and in getting their skills and knowledge up to the level of their equipment. I think most beginners would be surprised whatthey can accomplish with lower end equipment once you have the skill and knowledge to solve the problems that come with it.

Any beginning astrophotographer should start out with lower end equipment and gettheir skill level up to wherethey are actually pushing the performance ofthe equipment.They will then know when to sell offtheir old stuff and buy better new stuff.

As Rod says in his article, you need to understand the limits of your equipment and play to it's strength, as in limiting yourself to wide field astrophotography for those mounts that aren't as stable or precise in it's tracking even with auto-guiding.

Most beginners can get an 80mm f/6 or f/7 going on these mounts. That's kinda "semi" wide field imaging.

With some experience, it's even possible to get nice shots with a (reduced) C8 on this class of mount. You probably won't be doing 12-hour integrations like in the pictures you see in the back of Sky & Telescope, but you can get pictures that will please most of us.

I'm still using a VX and a CGEM and an Atlas because they are what I can afford. And because my weather here on the Gulf Coast means I am unlikely to have the conditions often to get Gallery quality pix even if I had the talent.

For plebes like me an EXOS or a VX may be all we ever need.