I am getting old (73) and puny. Consequently, when I saw a cute little iOptron mount at the WSP I thought it would be perfect for small scopes. So, I bought it.
At the campsite I set it up, and discovered that the Dec axis wiggled many degrees. Oops. With nothing more than a 3 pound scope on the mount, it wiggled.
It then rained, and got cold, and the wind blew. The mount was put away until returning to Gainesville. Curious as to why the mount was so much like jelly, I took the lid off, and discovered plastic gears. My version was supposed to have metal gears. Called iOptron in Boston. They said send it back and they would make it good. I did. Did I also mention that the electronic hand controller did not work properly. David had the tools to make a new cable. Then we discovered the controller didn't light up. Darn.
Sent back the mount and controller. Got it back. The controller lit up. I attempted to use it. Worked noisely in RA, but in dec it made some outrageous noises and then refused to do much of anything.
I called the vendor. I called iOptron's techs. They said we will send you a brand new one. I finally told both the vendor and iOptron that I am switching brands.
I wish the mount worked. I can pick it up and move it. It is a wonderful excuse to buy a cute 80 mm scope. (Which I did, does anyone want to buy a scope from me? I have two!).
So, I had sold the best mount I ever owned (made in America, heavy, out-dated, but always works). Now I will experiment with a chinese Celestron mount that is way too heavy for me, but should hold most any scope I own!
I tell you this story because there is a lot of equipment out there that does not perform as described. I wish it did! I want my lightweight portable mount!
Chuck B. (back to using a very old GEM that still works)
Do you think someone removed all the good parts from the iOptron and replaced them by cheap parts?
Andy, I have tried puzzling that out. The iOptron tech seems to think it might have happened at the factory. It could have been a cover swap somewhere along the line, but I don't think that would be worth the $$$. A puzzle. I am having iOptron send a "new" head and controller, so we will see how that goes. I will say this: iOptron stuff is a bit bizarre in design and construction.
If you'd like to use a bigger scope but not have to carry it around, I've seen lots of pictures of scopes mounted permanently on trailers, and one mounted semi-permanently on the roof of a station wagon!
The middle ground, for scopes that are too big to carry around but too small to need a trailer, is occupied by Dr. Tombaugh's famous lawnmower chassis...
iOptron finally sent me a new mount. I have used it for a couple of days, and it works pretty well for what I want to do with it. It will work with a 80 mm scope, but that is about it. iOptron claims 11 pound payload. It would be good with a camera mounted on it.