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spaceboy

A HUGE Thank you to Astro_baby

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Not sure if this post is in the ideal place so MODS please feel free to move it ;)

I recently purchased an ex-demo EQ6 (thanks for the heads up Kaminovs) and as this was intended to be the last mount I'd ever need I was determined from the start to stripping the mount, cleaning, re-greasing and carry out simple tuning. While most would rather not go through the hassle or feel for the money the should already be good enough I have carried out a similar mods in the past on an EQ5 Astronomy Boy: CG-5 Mount Improvements with great results.

I just wanted to show my gratitude to Mel, Astro_baby for all her help both on the lounge and through her site http://www.astro-baby.com/EQ6%20rebuild%20guide/EQ6%20Strip%20Down%20Home.htm Mel helped me with what different versions of EQ6's there are as well as the pros and cons. Her in depth guide helped me through the process of stripping each component and what modifications could be made. The most handy part of the guide was actually found to be the shims. 1) because the original shims were found to have become so brittle that they were snapping under the slightest amount of pressure 2) for improving the mesh of the worm gears and so reducing backlash to a minimum. Due to the time Mel took out of her day to day life to post these guides I was able to know how to replace the brittle shims and a moment that would otherwise have see my heart in my throat through panic. In stead it seen me contacting Doug in the US for some replacements. I would also like to thank Doug for getting the shims to me in double time and allowing me to keep the down time on the rebuild to a minimum. On with the rebuild I decided that Mel was also on the money when pointing out the poor quality of the worm end bearings. When properly adjusted I found the worm would spin freely enough but the slower you turn the more apparent it became that the bearings were dragging and at times became almost lumpy. While I'm in no doubt the stock bearings would do the job I felt this could be improved on with relatively little expense and the removal of any drag would only go to benefiting the accuracy of the mount. A trip to the local skateboard shop seen me some "Rad rollers dude" and once installed the improvement was clear. Another improvement that was clear winner was a small amount of sanding to take high spots of the DEC & RA housings so movement with the clutches off now allows for a much more precise balancing than what was previously possible with any of the mounts I have owned let alone the EQ6.

Now... I wanted to start off the thread with the positives to stripping and re-greasing mass produced mounts, but in truth the road to the successful improvements comes at what some may consider a huge cost. The huge cost being the nagging wife when she comes in from a hard days work to see black tar like grease every where with bits of mount stacked up on the dinner table and several rolls of kitchen roll emptied. While I have carried out similar cloud night projects in the past I had never had to do it on the scale of the EQ6 before. If anyone has ever came into contact with the treacle they throw at the mounts internal working before you will understand what an utter state you can get into. The grease to me resembles "anti clime" grease that is intended as a deterrent to criminals scaling drain pipes and walls of factories. You get Synta grease on your hands and every thing you touch either sticks to you or gets covered. This is a nightmare to clean of dinner tables, kitchen units, floors, the wife and the worm gears. I used engine degrease which did a great job both on cleaning the grease and stinking the flat out. Why Mel would take it upon herself to offer to do this for other people only stand to show devoted she is to helping the astro community as I was just glad to know I would only have to do this once. While you do need some confidence in your DIY skills to take on a project like this you ideally also need a parts washer and not the kitchen sink. Sure once all the mess is cleaned up and your mount and observing sessions are reaping the benefits it all becomes worth it.

If you are confident enough to follow Mel's guide then I would recommend on those cloudy nights to give it a go "in a garden shed not the house" as the benefits are obvious and gives peace of mind knowing that all the parts are protected by good quality grease the gears mesh with TLC and not thrown together by Joe Chan.

At a rough estimate I would say I put 20 hours into the mount at a whole. This includes disassembly, cleaning the tar grease of the worm gears, stripping all the bearings cleaning and re-greasing, replacing the end bearings, skimming the DEC & RA housings with emery cloth, re-greasing with white lithium grease, assembling while correcting the gear mesh with the new shims from Doug and fine tunning the worm gears. While I wouldn't say it was "hard" work it was testing at times and there were moments where I felt it would be worth the money paying someone else to do it for me. One thing that did become apparent is the Teflon shims are the Achilles heal of the EQ6 and if I had not decided to do this mod from the off how long would I have got out of the mount before the shims disintegrated? As an ex-demo the controller etc were factory sealed so I'm assuming the mount didn't get the greatest deal of use maybe the shims dried out and became brittle this way.. who knows? but I see that Mel has also came across shims that have failed. At the end of the day would I say it was worth it..... I'd say to right it is!!! For 1) I have a much better understanding of the mount and 2) I cannot mistake how much better it is for it. Would I have taken on this project if I had not got the wealth of information Mel so kindly provided to anyone with an internet connection..... doubtful. Am I grateful to Mel for taking the time to sit down and do this for all of us YES!!!!!

THANK YOU ASTRO_BABY :glasses2::icon_salut::rolleyes::icon_salut:

Edited by spaceboy

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Found her site very useful too. How she manages to have those immaculately manicured nails, whilst turning out to be a such a good mechanical engineer?

Similar appreciation from me, Mel.

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As you know I seldom post these days but having seen this somwhat glowing eulogy I can only accept the thanks and be humble and say the guides are a lot of fun to create and are a test in themselves.

My nails - well I cheat you see - while working I have my smurf gloves on (thin latex gloves) but for the pics I stop and take the gloves off - its a bit of fun really.

In some pics you can see my fingers which have lost nails - usually due to me busting them while working on things.

Thank you Spaceboy and others for your kind words - its nice to know the guides have value to some people.

Mel x

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I've got to thank you as well Astro Baby.:)

Your comparison and review of the Opticron 10x50 inspired me to buy one (something I might not otherwise have done). I've not regretted that decision and love my new quality instrument.

Thanks to another of your articles I am now thinking of taking it on holiday (an old friends house under the dark skies of the Catalonian Pyrenees).

:)

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:) As the others have said already some really helpful tips and guides.

Thanks Mel.

Stef:D

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Yes - really helpful.

Thanks Mel x

Just makes everything seem so much easier.

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Oh ****** - thats opened up the flood gates hasnt it ? I should have stayed silent which is what I try and do these days - honest.

Go on you lot - push off and get out under the stars.

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Go on you lot - push off and get out under the stars.

We'd love to - but you haven't done the guide, on how to get rid of cloud :)

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