A Newbie's Impression of the Takahashi EM200 Temma 2M Mount

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A Newbie's Impression of the Takahashi EM200 Temma 2M Mount

Post by chancy_sg » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:13 pm

With some time on my hands tonight, I will carry on with a short review of the excellent and underrated medium capacity mount by Takahashi. Many iterations of this mount have come to pass, the Temma 2M is now superceded by the Temma 2Z, with newer electronics but mechanically identical to the 2M version. Rated for 15-16kg optimal imaging payload, it is a really a very basic mount that is very well made but lacks certain functions such as park.

The mount itself is about 15kg, with 2x 5kg cwts as standard. It now comes with a metal tripod as a special package but mine is the standard SE metal tripod. There are no modern frills such as through mount cabling, USB hubs etc: it seems to hark from a earlier era with its simple utilitarian light green (now light blue) livery. Nonetheless, once it is properly drift aligned and OTA balanced, tracking is second to none. It basically traces a straight line all night on the PhD2 and when unclutched, it stays put no matter where you point the OTA at. It tracks well past the meridian and even if set up with counterweights UP initially, it will track all night with no flip needed.

As this is not a common mount locally, I would like to elaborate on the setup I have for imaging for the benefit of others thinking of using the Temma driver. GOTO is run through a planetarium software (Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel are OK) and CCDASTRO's temma driver, with a single point sync to setup. The Takahashi Pegasus GOTO software/driver has a rather 80's interface and can be hard to use. Guiding with PhD2 is straightforward after calibration with the guider. Once polar/drift aligned, simply switch off the mount, point to a star and switch it on again to sync the mount to the planetarium and it is good to go. This resets the co-ordinates and allows the sync to set the proper values. Goto is accurate enough and some slight adjustment may be needed especially if the selected star is far from the intended target. Platesolving is an alternative method to fine tune.

Some issues that it has are derived from the fact that its mechanical design has basically remained unchanged from when it first appeared many years ago. Also there is no (English) ascom driver for it other than ccdastro, a program which has not been updated ever since the author had no access to the mount. A question often asked is why I chose this vs similarly priced but higher spec'd modern mounts like MyT and Mach1: well, I just wanted a mount that runs with minimal electronics and is built to run with excellent mechanics in a simple to operate way. I am not a techie and as a newbie, I felt daunted by the modern software running the more updated offerings. The EM200 simply requires an accurate polar/drfit alignment, proper balancing and will work the whole night with a 12V power source with no complaints. No PC is needed for this basic undertaking either.

While I can wholeheartedly recommend this mount, I realize clearly it is not for everyone. It has a learning curve to it which is not that difficult as even a non-techie like me has learnt to use it. Serious consideration must be given to more modern offerings in this class, but for me, I prefer its mechanical simplicity and elegance in motion.
Twinkle twinkle little stars,
How I wonder what you are.

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