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  1. #1
    dawziecat's Avatar
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    Default Old C11 . . . need a replacement mount.



    I am a casual observer. In 1984 I bought a fork mounted, wedge equipped C11. No observatory. It is a heavy beast and getting heavier as I age. It's now a hard lift getting that OTA up on the fork balanced on those little pins. Precarious until I get two of the four bolts in. It's all a powerful incentive to just not use the dang thing!

    Anyhow, setting the thing up last night, after a harder struggle than ever, I found my dec motor had died.

    Got me to thinking that maybe it's time to replace the fork with a German style EQ mount.

    I am playing with the idea of getting the Celestron CGEM for $1400 as a replacement. I'll need a dovetail plate for the old OTA too. This seems the cheapest alternative likely to prove acceptable. Seems it would be a whole lot easier seating a large dovetail than getting the OTA lifted up onto those little pins.

    On a more extravagant note, I find myself considering a complete CGEM 800 HD for $2400. I could still mount my old 11" OTA to the same mount (after equipping it with a dovetail), no? Are not the CGEMs sold for both the 8" and the 11" models completely identical?

    The CGEM will accept an autoguider, should I choose to go that way?

    Sure the CGE Pro looks great but both the price and the weight are way to high for me.

    Specific questions in addition to those above I'd like some help with:

    1/ Alternatives to the CGEM that will accept my old C-11 OTA? Does Orion have a mount similar and compatible at maybe a few less dollars?
    2/ Sources for a compatible dovetail for my 1984 ("Orange Classic") C-11?
    3/ Those of you with experience with both 8" and 11" SCTs: Is the weight/bulk difference great?

    Thanks for reading.

    Terry D.

  2. #2
    Bob327's Avatar
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    Default

    Terry:

    The weight of a Edge 8 inch OTA is 14 pounds exactly half of the weight of a 11 inch EDge OTA which is 28 pounds...

    both are a little (maybe a pound) heavier then the regular OTA's

    I'm in my late 60's (non flexible body) run a CPC1100 in my observatory and have absolutely no use for a Gem mount so I honestly can not help you on that score...

    Bob G
    CPC1100 housed in a slotted domed observatory (Exploradome) 4 and 5 inch refractors for use from the lawn, a 8" Sct (NS 8i) for star parties...
    I Hate the winter so I use heated Motorcycle clothing to stay warm while observing in winter
    Retired, also have 2 other hobbies
    1. tinker with older Corvettes (6 in garage)
    2. make a heck of a lot of sawdust in my wood shop.

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  4. #3
    klaatu2u's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are visual only, so that makes the requirements much less important as far as weight is concerned. THe 'edge' sopes are near identical optically to the non-edge variants - main additions are for imaging, mirror locks and a field flattener internal to the OTA light exit tube on the backplate. One addition they made that benefits everyone are small 'tube vents' critical as the new edge OTA is nearly 'sealed' by the optics in exit baffle. Relevance and importance of that is more about where you store scope, cooling and acclimation to local temp drops and all that goes with 'tube currents'.

    Options cold be any of the Losmandy you'd feel comfortable with, or any of the Orion models.. Orion has much better customer service if you end up needing it than 'C', and Losmandy has much better machining of the mount than either 'O' or 'C'.

    You may find a good deal on a replament eq-gem looking in the mounts section on AstroMart, used gear here, or on CloudyNights. Lots of us periodically upgrade gear for various reasons and saving 25-30% over new isn't unheard of - plus you often get accesories that cost extra new.

    Good luck - love the C11 !

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  6. #4
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    Thanks to both Bob and klaatu2u for their helpful replies.

    It is not quite so that I am visual only. In fact I have a strong interest in photography and the idea of doing some imaging is intriguing although I have a desperate feeling that I could never come close to the accomplishments of so many others in this field. My only serious efforts to date have not been imaging through the OTA at all but piggybacking a 600mm f4 telephoto lens onto the C11. This is a 15 lb load (incl. DSLR and battery pack) that is an obscene overload for the 1984 C11 fork. This in addition to the strictly manual guiding capability of the old fork results in my rarely doing even this anymore. My drive corrector/guide box seems pretty primitive compared to what more modern packages seem to come with as standard equipment.
    My dec motor was always pretty jerky and imprecise . . . more like lunging than guiding although my box does RA corrections pretty well. Being too new to the forum, I am not able to post a pic of the poor, abused thing carrying the 600/4. If I could do so the shriek of tortured metal would be audible! :0

    So, the interest is there. I am not sure it would be wise to try piggybacking
    such a load with the CGEM while carrying the C11 OTA, it might be doable with the lesser weight of an 8" OTA. I appreciate to do this "properly" demands gear that is readily enough available, but not so portable . . . and at a cost I can not justify.

    And seeing as how the interest is there, the AZ mount of an instrument such as the CPC1100 is less appealing. Getting a CPC1100 onto a wedge looks every bit as intimidating as the old C11/fork combo as well.

  7. #5
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    Hmmm Having imaging as an option... I'd go with something like an Orion Atlas or a Losmandy G-11? If you are not married to any particular control system it keeps options open. Piggyback DSLR is a great way into imaging world, and there is some fantastic widefield out there done this way. Is relative portability important? Good thing is that the C11 OTA tube weight/fulcrum is short and compact realtive to the others types of scopes, and any of these mounts shoud do a fine job, up to a point. Losmandy gets my vote as far as machining, fit-finish - support and parts [especially the Gemini control system] can be a bit of a challengs depending on where you are , and Orion gets my vote for out of box reliability and great/fantastic customer support.

    An interesting thing with mounts is that if you follow the Astro-Physics production and notification schedule, you'll often see these going up for sale when the notifications go out, and some really great deals on the used market - primary source would be AstroMart.

    Just tossing ideas out there...

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    ' mount
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  8. #6
    dawziecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klaatu2u View Post
    I'd go with something like an Orion Atlas or a Losmandy G-11?
    Thanks klaatu2u.
    Portability is VERY important as I have no observatory.

    Now, I'll blurt it right out.

    CGEM vs Orion Atlas EQ-G: Identical price. (Coincidence?) Seem pretty similar in capabilities. Better service from Orion than C?

    Have I got it right? Did I miss anything important in comparing one to the other?

    The CGEM is attractive because, if I choose to get an 8" OTA along with it (CGEM 800 or 800HD) I'd get a bit of a break over buying mount and OTA separately. I find it an attractive idea to have both an 11" and an 8" OTA to use on the same mount depending on where I'm going and how strong I feel. But, if the Orion product is better than the C . . .
    Is it, in your opinion?

    Losmondy scared me right off. Already $600 more for "bare bones" and up into (my) financial stratosphere with any GOTO system.

    Does this board have any restrictions on discussions of price and comparing manufacturer's offerings? Am I out of line here?

    Terry

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