Author Topic: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?  (Read 1106 times)

Jairo Zilinskas

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Over the past decade or so, many new mounts have come to market without any mechanical, analog or "built-in" setting circles - call them what you will. Of course the rationale for this is the ever increasing number of mounts that come with far more accurate digital setting circles and/or "Go-To" capabilities. My inner circle of astronomy friends discussed this at lunch yesterday (among many other subjects not fit to discuss here). In spite of not really needing the mechanical setting cirlces except maybe in an emergency, we miss them. They add something to a mount that does make them more functional when done right. It also adds a look that most cannot deny makes a mount look "right". Witness the classic Unitron equatorial mounts - how coveted would they be without their setting circles?

The 4 of us at lunch all now have the popular Celestron AVX mount, an affordable work horse that has become very popular since it's introduction. While I have larger and more expensive mounts (Tak NJP, Losmandy G11, Losmandy GM8, and a SkyWatcher EQ6), the AVX gets the most use because of it's versatility and it's ability to handle anything from my smallest telescopes up to a Vixen NA 140, an Antares 5" f/9.6, and a Meade 10" SC. It also does not have mechanical setting circles, but it does have a very accurate Go-To system with digital setting circles. In spite of that I miss the mechanical circles and would have paid a bit more for the AVX mount to get them.

My own use of the AVX mount does show that I really don't need them but they are hard to let go of. If in the future I find myself in the market for a new mount and my choice boils down to two mounts, the major difference being that one has mechanical setting circles and one does not; I would likely go with the mount with a classic pair of setting circles.

So what about those reading my post - Do you give a hoot about mechanical setting circles or are you like me, a sentimental tradionalist who would prefer to have them, even if used rarely?

Picture below shows the RA setting circles on a Unitron 128 mount on the left and a Unitron 142 mount on the right.

Barry SimonAttached Thumbnails



Carlos Watson

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2018, 08:40:26 PM »
It would make my day to have large engraved mechanical setting circles on my ES Twilight II mount!

rarisata

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2018, 01:03:00 PM »
I also miss having good quality setting circles. My AVX is great, but I am looking at other mounts that include circles.

ardrivunla

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 12:09:31 AM »
I like engraved index marks, regardless of what they're applied to, since it means I can use them as references for setting consistent positions.

My focus tube comes with index marks for the extension. love 'em. I only wish the mouth of the focuser tube was indexed so camera positioning could be set easily and repeatably without having to purchase a $700 rotator.

Craig Olsen

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 09:10:57 AM »
"Not many," and those that do, mostly GEMs, usually sport circles way too small to be effective.I do still teach my astronomy students how to use analog circles, but really only in the course of helping them understand how the sky works and is laid out.

John Sanchez

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 05:44:07 AM »
Quote
I like engraved index marks, regardless of what they're applied to, since it means I can use them as references for setting consistent positions.

My focus tube comes with index marks for the extension. love 'em. I only wish the mouth of the focuser tube was indexed so camera positioning could be set easily and repeatably without having to purchase a $700 rotator.

With a cheap CAD program, a printer and a few sheets of paper, one could make there own index marks. See...

Of course, you would have to design them to meet their specific requirements.

Timothy Moody

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 07:22:09 AM »
I have a Super Polaris, AVX and G11. For a quick session I use the AVX often as the goto is convenient setup is quick but await the day the hand control dies and you are pretty well dead in the water.The G11 is versatile in the fact if the goto or a drive motor were to fail I can revert to the original digital drive system in a matter of minutes.I always pack the old digital drive with my gear when attending a star party as a backup.A push to setting circle is always better than no option.

laucongsnagal

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 09:02:19 AM »
Your GM8 and G11 have setting circles
Bruce

Joseph Butler

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 08:26:16 AM »
Tak EM11 and EM200 both have setting circles and can still be bought new.

coatiorachin

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2018, 02:09:39 PM »
Quote
Your GM8 and G11 have setting circles
Bruce

I never said the Losmandy G11 or the Losmandy GM8 did not have setting circles. All I said was that the Celestron AVX did not. The 4 equatorial mounts that I have with more weight capacity than the AVX (theTak NJP, Losmandy G11, Losmandy GM8, and a SkyWatcher EQ6) all have setting circles that are fairly reasonable in size, and hence usable. The G11 having the better circles based upon their diameter. My 25 year old Celestron/Vixen Super Polaris mount also has mechanical setting circles which are of reasonable size to be useable. Same with my Unitron #142 mount. The G11 and GM8 mounts also have encoders and digital setting circles.

It is surprising how many high end mounts of recent vintage do not have mechanical setting circles.

Barry Simon

Corey Howell

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2018, 12:04:15 AM »
The AP900 has usable setting circles.. but the replacement AP1100 does not.

Eric Guffey

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2018, 12:39:29 AM »
Quote
The AP900 has usable setting circles.. but the replacement AP1100 does not.

Yes, that was one mount that came up yesterday at lunch. One of the guys has an AP900 and he has been contemplating upgrading to an AP1100 (and he is 75 years old and the mount is used as a transportable). When it was mentioned that the AP1100 does not have setting circles, I think he changed his mind. The 1600 does not have setting circles either, but the 1200 does. The Losmandy Titan does not have setting circles, but as discussed, the G11 and GM8 do. Another one without circles is the Tak EM 400 (maybe older versions do). I know the EM 500 at the University of New Orleans Observatory does have circles.

Over at Celestron the CGX and CGX-L, do not have mechanical circles. The CGEM mounts have a ring, either silver or black, where the rings should be, but I see no engraving. The trend with all of these mounts seem to be if it is new, it does not have mechanical circles, typically because the new ones all have digital read out setting circles and GO TO.

Barry Simon

Travis Kuhlman

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2018, 05:03:28 AM »
Quote
Quote

The AP900 has usable setting circles.. but the replacement AP1100 does not.

Yes, that was one mount that came up yesterday at lunch. One of the guys has an AP900 and he has been contemplating upgrading to an AP1100 (and he is 75 years old and the mount is used as a transportable). When it was mentioned that the AP1100 does not have setting circles, I think he changed his mind. The 1600 does not have setting circles either, but the 1200 does. The Losmandy Titan does not have setting circles, but as discussed, the G11 and GM8 do. Another one without circles is the Tak EM 400 (maybe older versions do). I know the EM 500 at the University of New Orleans Observatory does have circles.

Over at Celestron the CGX and CGX-L, do not have mechanical circles. The CGEM mounts have a ring, either silver or black, where the rings should be, but I see no engraving. The trend with all of these mounts seem to be if it is new, it does not have mechanical circles, typically because the new ones all have digital read out setting circles and GO TO.

Not to be argumentative, but I own a CGEM DX and it does not have setting circles. I'm reasonably certain that none of the CGEMs have setting circles. My CGE doesn't, either.

tinlengmmuner

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2018, 08:19:05 PM »
Quote
Quote

Quote

The AP900 has usable setting circles.. but the replacement AP1100 does not.

Yes, that was one mount that came up yesterday at lunch. One of the guys has an AP900 and he has been contemplating upgrading to an AP1100 (and he is 75 years old and the mount is used as a transportable). When it was mentioned that the AP1100 does not have setting circles, I think he changed his mind. The 1600 does not have setting circles either, but the 1200 does. The Losmandy Titan does not have setting circles, but as discussed, the G11 and GM8 do. Another one without circles is the Tak EM 400 (maybe older versions do). I know the EM 500 at the University of New Orleans Observatory does have circles.

Over at Celestron the CGX and CGX-L, do not have mechanical circles. The CGEM mounts have a ring, either silver or black, where the rings should be, but I see no engraving. The trend with all of these mounts seem to be if it is new, it does not have mechanical circles, typically because the new ones all have digital read out setting circles and GO TO.

Not to be argumentative, but I own a CGEM DX and it does not have setting circles. I'm reasonably certain that none of the CGEMs have setting circles. My CGE doesn't, either.
Dave, yes, I did catch that about a half hour before your post and only a few minutes after my post above and edited it. The CGEM series does have either a pair of black rings or silver colored rings where setting circles would normally be.

Barry Simon

obenanus

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Re: What Mounts are available new with "Non-Digital" Setting Circles?
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2018, 07:26:46 AM »
My Orion Atlas has setting circles. While I don't use them for their intended purpose, they are great for setting the home position. My old Meade LX200 had setting circles with a Vernier scale (something lacking nowadays) on both axis which made dialing in coordinates wicked accurate. Was able to find planets and stars during the day using them.