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  1. #1
    wcstarguy's Avatar
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    Default CubePro/SmartEQ True Capacity for Visual



    I've been sorting through all the various threads on the CubePro and the newer SmartEQ mounts. Both fall within my smallish tax return budget. I want to use my Orion 120st and a couple of smaller scopes (mak c90 and 80mm refractor) on the mount for visual and down the road very short exposure (up to 30 sec,wide field) with a small samsung type video camera (all low budget here, Mallincam someday). Would either of these mounts work for this, the cameras don't weigh a lot (about .5 lb) and I won't be using any kind of guiding or other large accessories? I see conflicting data on the true capacity of the CubePro. Some folks say they are using up to 12lbs on it and others say it won't handle over 7 lbs or so. Ioptron now says 8lbs capacity when they used to say 11lbs (in the older manuals). Anyway, my Orion 120st weighs in at around 8lbs and a couple more with an 8x50 ra finder and 2 inch diagonal and eyepiece. Can I use this scope reasonably on this mount? I already have a spare set of hands on optics wood tripod legs which could replace the ioptron legs, I think. This might make the mount more stable for my uses (visual and short exp). I don't have any plans for long exposure astro photography and prefer an alt-az mount. Thanks, WC

  2. #2
    sxinias's Avatar
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    Default Re: CubePro/SmartEQ True Capacity for Visual

    Your posting brings back memories from several years back when I was looking for a lightweight, portable, azimuth GOTO mount for my C6s OTA (~10 pounds). My options at the time were the Celestron SLT, SkyWatcher SynScan AZ, and iOptron CubePro (Other azimuth mounts that could do the job are the 4/5SE mount in the azimuth mode and 6/8SE mount but these mounts were not available for separate purchase at that time.).

    I went with the SkyWatcher SynScan AZ goto mount and it has performed outstandingly over the years even though the weight of the C6S OTA exceeds its designed payload. I chose the SkyWatcher mount over the nearly identical Celestron SLT mount because the SkyWatcher was cheaper and over the CubePro because I was concerned that the CubePro could not handle the weight of a 10 pound 6 inch SCT.

    Later when I wanted to photograph some DSOs, I used the SkyWatcher AZ mount with my C6S OTA, finder scope, focal reducer, and DSLR (~12 pounds total). Even though this configuration exceeds the published payloads by 50%, the mount has no problems (goto accuracy or tracking) with this arrangement and is capable of very short exposure azimuth mount astrophotography. See the attached image of the Silver Coin Galaxy.

    Note: You mentioned that you wanted an azimuth mount. The SmartEQ is a German Equatorial Mount, not an azimuth mount, and will be more sensitive to payload weight than an azimuth mount.

    The 4/5SE mount has a built-in wedge and can be used in the equatorial mode for payloads of ~7 pounds. If equatorial operation is an objective for you, then the SmartEQ PRO is a better option. However your 120ST will be a bit much for either of them.

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    SynScan AZ
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  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to sxinias For This Useful Post:

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  4. #3
    gunfighter48's Avatar
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    Default Re: CubePro/SmartEQ True Capacity for Visual

    Depending on who's ad copy you read it runs form 6 to 12lbs payload. iOptron started out saying 12lbs and not say 8lbs. I've read several review from people running 6 to 16lbs and not having any trouble with their Cube Pros. I think iOptron is now going with a more conservative payload. But I think it will still do at least 12lbs ok, just my guess!!!! I just got a Celestron 102 GT OTA and it weighs 6.5lbs out of box with just a 2" focuser. I ordered a GSO 2" 10-1 dual speed focuser for it and it will add about 5 more oz to the total weight. I ordered the Cube Pro and it should be here tomorrow. So I'll see how it does with my refractor.

  5. #4
    XRinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: CubePro/SmartEQ True Capacity for Visual

    Quote Originally Posted by gunfighter48 View Post
    Depending on who's ad copy you read it runs form 6 to 12lbs payload. iOptron started out saying 12lbs and not say 8lbs. I've read several review from people running 6 to 16lbs and not having any trouble with their Cube Pros. I think iOptron is now going with a more conservative payload. But I think it will still do at least 12lbs ok, just my guess!!!! I just got a Celestron 102 GT OTA and it weighs 6.5lbs out of box with just a 2" focuser. I ordered a GSO 2" 10-1 dual speed focuser for it and it will add about 5 more oz to the total weight. I ordered the Cube Pro and it should be here tomorrow. So I'll see how it does with my refractor.
    It's been a year, I'm wondering how you did with the Cube Pro? I'm thinking of buying one for a light weight rig, but wondering if I can go a bit heavier later on.

    Thanks,
    Rich
    Telescopes: C6-A SCT, Vixen R130Sf (FL 650mm f/5.0) Mount: AVX
    Cameras: DSO-1, Samsung SCB-2000N, Panasonic DMC-ZS8, iPhone4
    Remote controls: UTC OSD, Tasco 1603EF Remote Focus, 25 foot HC extension cable
    Video Displays: Panasonic 42" Plasma EDTV TH-42PD60U, Samsung 710MP
    Optical Accessories: Celestron 1.25" Eyepiece and Filter Kit 94303
    Binoculars: Pentax 8x40 PCF WP II

  6. #5
    gunfighter48's Avatar
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    Default Re: CubePro/SmartEQ True Capacity for Visual

    Hi Rich,

    It handled the 10lb weight of the C102GT just fine but the tube was too long and acted like a wind vein. Too much wiggle for the Cube Pro. I wouldn't go much more than 10-12lbs on it though. I went to a SkyView Pro Goto mount and it works great with the scope. Let me know if you decide you want to buy a Cube Pro and I'll make you a good deal on mine. I used it 3 times and it's in excellent condition. I also have a hard case for it.
    Johnny
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  7. #6
    XRinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: CubePro/SmartEQ True Capacity for Visual

    Hi Johnny,
    I put the OTA and camera on the scale this morning and it's 10 pounds. That's without the accessories that I want to install..
    I just bit the bullet and purchased the 'Celestron Advanced VX Equatorial Mount'.

    By getting the larger mount, I can keep my eyes open for used OTAs on Craigslist Boston..

    Thanks for your reply,
    Rich
    Telescopes: C6-A SCT, Vixen R130Sf (FL 650mm f/5.0) Mount: AVX
    Cameras: DSO-1, Samsung SCB-2000N, Panasonic DMC-ZS8, iPhone4
    Remote controls: UTC OSD, Tasco 1603EF Remote Focus, 25 foot HC extension cable
    Video Displays: Panasonic 42" Plasma EDTV TH-42PD60U, Samsung 710MP
    Optical Accessories: Celestron 1.25" Eyepiece and Filter Kit 94303
    Binoculars: Pentax 8x40 PCF WP II

  8. #7
    gunfighter48's Avatar
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    Default Re: CubePro/SmartEQ True Capacity for Visual

    Good deal!!!!!!! You'll really like the AVX mount and you're right it will give you the payload to expand to heavier scopes.
    Johnny
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  9. #8
    XRinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: CubePro/SmartEQ True Capacity for Visual

    That AVX is very popular these days. I've read a lot of good things about it. Can't wait to see one on my back deck..

    Last night I got a 'delayed shipping' notice from the on-line vendor ..
    "The Estimated Delivery Date for the item(s) above is 9/05/2014"!

    I canceled, and ordered from High Point. Hope to see a shipping notice this week.
    High Point Scientific is only about 200 miles down the road, so I might get the AVX before Sept.

    Thanks,
    Rich
    Telescopes: C6-A SCT, Vixen R130Sf (FL 650mm f/5.0) Mount: AVX
    Cameras: DSO-1, Samsung SCB-2000N, Panasonic DMC-ZS8, iPhone4
    Remote controls: UTC OSD, Tasco 1603EF Remote Focus, 25 foot HC extension cable
    Video Displays: Panasonic 42" Plasma EDTV TH-42PD60U, Samsung 710MP
    Optical Accessories: Celestron 1.25" Eyepiece and Filter Kit 94303
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  10. #9
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    Default Re: CubePro/SmartEQ True Capacity for Visual

    I run my etx125 ota on my smarteq for visual once perfectly balanced its performs nice.I have never tried any astro cause I seem to have gotten a lemon.My mount weather its empty,loaded or in pieces on the bench my gearboxes aren't smooth.Ioptron has repaired it once for r/a slack and offered to repair it again.The $50 to ship it to them just isn't in my budget with todays economy.Mount has no problem with a 11lb short tube ota.....the tripod is for travel fast set ups only.Dont expect good results from the tripod.

  11. #10
    XRinger's Avatar
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    Default Re: CubePro/SmartEQ True Capacity for Visual

    I was thinking seriously about going with an Ioptron mount, since their Woburn MA headquarters is about 2 miles from here..
    But, I've gotten excellent support for my AVX from High Point Scientific. Which is about 200 miles from here.
    Telescopes: C6-A SCT, Vixen R130Sf (FL 650mm f/5.0) Mount: AVX
    Cameras: DSO-1, Samsung SCB-2000N, Panasonic DMC-ZS8, iPhone4
    Remote controls: UTC OSD, Tasco 1603EF Remote Focus, 25 foot HC extension cable
    Video Displays: Panasonic 42" Plasma EDTV TH-42PD60U, Samsung 710MP
    Optical Accessories: Celestron 1.25" Eyepiece and Filter Kit 94303
    Binoculars: Pentax 8x40 PCF WP II

 

 
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