Orion Atlas Heavy-Duty Equatorial Mount

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Brand and Model:Orion Atlas Heavy-Duty Equatorial Mount
Price ($USD):$799.00
Attributes:checkedMotorized un-checkedPEC un-checkedGoto
Electric Power:12V
Weight (lbs.):54
Description:Our Brawniest EQ Mount Boasts Dual Internal Drives
Our beefiest, most advanced mount provides a rock-stable platform for large amateur telescopes at a price unheard of before. With a load capacity of 40 lbs., the Atlas will support instruments as large as 10" reflectors or 11" Schmidt-Cassegrains. It comes with dual internal DC stepper motor drives. The hand controller allows rates of 2x, 8x, and 16x over the sidereal rate and has R.A. and Dec. reverse switches. Drives are powered by 12 volts DC, either from the included battery pack (8 D-cell batteries not included) or from an optional external 12-volt battery. Features 3" setting circles, azimuth fine adjustment, polar alignment scope, dovetail bar for tube rings, and two 11-lb. counterweights. The tripod boasts big 2"-diameter stainless steel tube legs with spreader bar/accessory plate. For serious visual astronomy and astrophotography, the heavy-duty Atlas mount offers incredible stability and precision control. Weighs 54 lbs, without counterweights.

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Orion Atlas Heavy-Duty Equatorial Mount
There is nothing else close to the price that is as solid and smooth or can carry the same load. There are minor problems, such as a counterweight bar that seems a bit flimsy and the polar finder scope reticle drifts around a bit even though alignment screws are fully tightened. There has to be a loose optical element inside somewhere. Mine carries a Meade SN8 very well and could easily handle the SN10. I bought mine at the old price of $800. At the newer price of $1100 or so, it's not quite the bargain it once was. I think I would look for a used CGE or G11 before I would pay for a new Atlas mount at $1100. I got mine with the pier extension for a little over $800, so I'm happy with my purchase. This mount is better built than the LXD75 mount I also have, besides the extra weight carrying capability. The value rating is at the old price.

Overall Rating: 9
Performance:8 Ease of Use:8 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.35.170)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=559549

Orion Atlas Heavy-Duty Equatorial Mount
I returned it. It's not a bad mount by any means, but prospective buyers should be aware of a) it's size/bulk and b) production inconsistencies. Perhaps the most frustrating part about using the mount is the axis clamps. Axis clamps never bothered me on my EM-10 FS102 set up, but it is a far different matter reaching around a 10" reflector to lock and unlock--it has to be done by feel in many cases. The clamps don't lock as tightly as I think they should either. Again though, certainly a functional mount, but I'll save up for a GM8 or another Tak mount.

Overall Rating: 7
Performance:8 Ease of Use:7 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.88.222)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=361408

Orion Atlas Heavy-Duty Equatorial Mount
Keep in mind that the ratings I gave this mount are relative to my use of it. I am a visual observer only - no photography. I have mounted a Celestron CR150 (150mm f/8 refractor) to this mount and have greatly enjoyed the combo. When properly polar aligned this mount tracks very well and exhibits no visible vibration (users of EQ-6 mounts have mentioned this problem). When the OTA is rapped on its side, the scope settles in about one second with the legs fully extended and set onto the ground (grass). I have not used the mount on concrete so I can't comment on damping time for that surface. The motors are extremely quiet, I had to look through the scope when slewing to determine that the mount was functioning. The max slewing speed is 16X - this does seem quite slow so I simply unlock the RA/Dec levers, hand point the OTA and relock the levers. It works very well. I recieved one of the newer mounts with the illuminated polar scope. The only problem that I have encountered is that when tightening the leg lock levers, the lower tubular steel legs will indent before the leg locks feel snug. Be gentle and they lock down fine. I contacted Orion and they sent me two replacement legs free of charge - before I ever returned the damaged two. Great customer service. The Atlas/CR150 combo is heavy - I normally use an Orion Starmax 127. Setup for one person is about 10-15 minutes. I do 3 steps (Tripod, EQ Head/Counterweights, OTA). Overall I am very happy with my purchase and I can't imagine another mount that delivers as much performance for $799.00.

Scott Beith
Gulfport, MS

Overall Rating: 10
Performance:9 Ease of Use:9 Value:10
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
By: Anonymous (xxx.xxx.253.1)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=293649

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