Hi Mark. I also have a 10 Micron GM1000HPS. Indeed, I share it with Barry for remote imaging in Spain. I use a Mesu 200 in my home observatory.
When I first got the 10 Micron, I was more than a little out of my comfort zone - indeed, without Barry’s assistance (and emotional support!) I think I might have returned it. I am growing to like it and it is giving good results. The promise of unguided imaging is a big draw. And there is no question that the 10 Micron can deliver unguided imaging. However, unguided imaging is not a simple thing to achieve. Firstly, as Barry said, you need additional boxes to make it work, You also need additional bits of software to make models and to ensure that these models update the mount. All power to the guys who put the time in to write these things. It always seems to be in development though and you may find yourself running beta versions, more often than not.
The 10 Micron comes, as Buzz said, with its own little computer. The manual says that this needs to be properly shut down when imaging is finished. I e-mailed the 10 Micron guys to ask about suddenly cutting the power to the unit (as might happen with a power outage - or power cut as we call them in the UK). The chap cheerfully confirmed that - yes - the unit could be damaged if the power to it was suddenly cut. Naturally, 10 Micron provide no on-board protection for such an eventuality and so you have to devise your own system. I had to put the device that I built in a plastic box - primarily because if Barry looked at my solder joints he would have a coronary. Then I had to learn to write some Visual Basic scripts … then test … then test … then test…
The model takes around an hour to build … once you know what you are doing… But it will probably need to be re-done every 3-4 months. So that is 3-4 hours per year. That’s a lot of PHD2 calibrations…
I was amused to read about Buzz requiring a plastic spanner. I’m laughing with you though, Buzz, not at you -
our mount started slipping within a couple of weeks of us leaving Spain. And we too had to order one of these plastic spanners from a shop in Germany.
The mount always knows where it is and that is some bonus for remote imaging (though not absolutely essential in my opinion). But you pay a lot for those absolute encoders. If you don’t need these expensive electronic encoder gizmos then, why bother, would be my view. Have you considerd the Mesu 200? It has a lot of carrying capacity. It is extremely accurate. It is significantly less expensive. And you don’t need any extras.
It needs to be guided, of course. I would like to suggest, however, that setting up guiding is much easier than setting up an unguided system.