Astrophotography forum > Mounts Questions & Expirience

Skywatcher AZ GTi mount

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Ryan Chaudhari:
I couldn't wait for the bloody thing to hit the US so I ordered from Germany. I tested tonight using my Tele Vue NP101is.It is an absolutely TINY mount. It is a well engineered piece of kit for the price. It cost me with shipping about $460 USD.The Smartphone app is quite decent and well thought out. I am using iOS so I can't make Sky Safari work with it on the same phone. Hopefully they will figure out a work around or (better) add in the same 40,000 objects that is in the SynScan. Searching by and adding custom designed observing lists based on NGC, SAO, IC, etc would be a nice to have feature as well. It runs on 8 AA batteries. I had it slewing all over the place tonight as I went through a few double stars, a few open clusters, and a few named stars.My guess is that with heavy use 4ish hours would be about right.There was backlash but there is a setting in the app to deal with that.Bright star alignment was very easy to deal with on the phone and I didn't do a super precise alignment. However every target was in the 16mm and 11mm Nagler EP's I was using that I raided from my BV setup. If I was going for high power with the 3.5mm Nagler I have with the scope I would have been much more precise about the alignment.I will likely add a SynScan controller when I can find one to buy.It handled the Tele Vue NP101is with no problem overall. The setup I have weighs about 6.35 kg or 14 lbs which is 1.35 kg or 3 lbs over the rated limit. There was shakes each time I touched the focuser. However I expected that, it settled within a second or two, and I can still focus if I am very gentle. There were not shakes when the mount was moving at the speed setting of 5 or 6. I found that surprising. Based on my experience using the NP101is I would expect that an Explore Scientific Essentials or CF 102mm, Stellar Vue 102mm, Skywatcher Black Diamond 100, or Takahashi FC-100DL would be OK on the mount if one is able to handle a small amount of shakes or uses vibration suppression pads on hard ground. For sure an 80-90mm APO will do fine. As will a 127mm or possibly even a 152mm Mak or 6" SCT.The tripod was surprisingly robust for its weight and size. The accessory tray was a nice feature.The reported issue on some of the UK forums where if you slipped the clutches you might loosen the pillar head didn't seem to be an issue when I tried it.The whole thing collapses down to a DSLR and photo tripod sized package. Add in a 60-102mm short length refractor or one of the Skywatcher smaller Mak's and it is an amazing travel package or grab and go! I could see getting a 80mm APO and stuffing it, a diagonal, some EP's, and the mount/tripod in a roll away suitcase with my clothes and carrying it in an overhead bin on an airplane!The mount is noisy slewing at high speed but again I expected that. It is quiet when slewing at slow speed.The fact that they had a detachable battery package was a very nice touch. So was the ability to slip the clutches and manually move the scope around then tighten them back up and not loose alignment.I will report more as I use it more. It is meant to by my G&G for in the car when I am out and about and have a window of time to observe. Next steps will be to see how much of it I can fit in the NP101is case and to see if it will actually work with Tele Vue Binoviewers. I realize that I am pushing it to the point where it may break but I want to see where the edge of the envelope is.Note: In the first series of images you will see the Berlebach Report tripod. I didn't like how the legs would splay out on it if the locking knobs were not set just right so I switched to the Skywatcher tripod. I actually ended up liking the Skywatcher tripod better and found it more stable which surprised me.These last two are videos so you have to click them then play the video's from Flickr. Sorry about that.









frenafverbi:
A good timely write-up.... I am getting one for my little FOA60 as my travelling companion, probably with the Synscan handset.

Todd Topcic:
Wow, awesome review dr. who. Thanks for that.

"For sure an 80-90mm APO will do fine." That's what I want to hear. With the Freedom Find thing to be able to use it un-powered I'll be putting this mount higher up the list now.

Levi Cruse:
Before anyone asks the rings and dovetails are from PrimaLuceLabs. They were the lightest rings and dovetails I could find in stock at my local shoppe.

And if I can fit the tripod, mount, and pillar in the Tele Vue case I am golden in terms of all in one observing setup. What you don't see in the photos or video is the Telrad I use to align with. It fits in the case along with the diagonal and EP's.

ichpezafi:

--- Quote ---A good timely write-up.... I am getting one for my little FOA60 as my travelling companion, probably with the Synscan handset.
--- End quote ---
Matt-I would look at a FC-100DF, FC-76, FSQ-85, or Tele Vue 85. The FC-100 with the focuser removed will be small enough for carry on luggage. The FC-76, FSQ-85 (trying to both keep you in the Tak family and bankrupt you... But hey can you really put a price on your happiness...? ) and TV 85 will for sure be. And will give you that little bit extra Oomph.I have observed with a FC-60 and with my FSQ-85. The 60 is nice but the 85 is really nice. Pity I have a CCD shoved up its bum...
--- Quote ---Wow, awesome review dr. who. Thanks for that."For sure an 80-90mm APO will do fine." That's what I want to hear. With the Freedom Find thing to be able to use it un-powered I'll be putting this mount higher up the list now.
--- End quote ---
Cheers. I am actually very favorably impressed with this. My fall back was a Stellar Vue M2 with encoders from Astro Systems. Based on how this worked I don't need that.

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