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rjc404

Quick beginners question... RA and DEC clamps???

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I hope someone can help as I couldn't find this answered anywhere using the search engine and this only struck me whilst I was out in the back garden last night under nice clear skies...

So if you have a motorised mount (mine's an EQ3 Pro with a 150PL) how tight should the RA and DEC clamps be locked when the scope is in use and slewing about? I've had them locked but not completely tight. Am I destroying the motor/worm gears doing this or are they meant to be locked when you're slewing using the motor and GOTO?

Guess the same question applies if I'm not using the motor and slewing manually and using the slow motion controls?

If I'm being an idiot please tell me before I destroy my mount!

Cheers

Rob

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the RA and DEC clamps should be locked should be lock tight as they are clutches. if not tight you risk the scope slipping and not tracking properly.

I only loosen them to balance the scope.

hope this helps

kevin

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Thanks for the quick reply. I was just worried if I tightened the clamps too much it wouldn't be good for the mount and couldn't find any documentation. Will definitely be running them fully tightened next time out.

Cheers

Rob

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Hi Rob,

First of all leaving the RA and DEC clamps (clutches) loose will not cause any mechanical damage to the EQ3 mount, unlike in a car, a slipping telescope mount clutch will not generate any excessive heat or even cause accelerated wear, but obviously if the motors are turning during a slew and the mount clutches are slipping then you will lose positioning and pointing accuracy and have to carry out the star alignment again.

On the other hand, over-tightening the clutches can seriously damage the mount.

If the clutches are over-tight and you accidentally walk into the OTA, bang it with your head, or drive it into the legs of the tripod then the teeth on the worm gears can be bent or the motor gears stripped, you might even damage the telescope, very expensive to repair!

The trick is to tighten the clutches just enough that they do not slip with GENTLE pressure applied to the end of the telescope tube, that way if anything does collide with the OTA then the clutches can slip before any damage occurs.

It only takes a few minutes and cost nothing to carry out a new star alignment in the case of a slip but could cost hundreds of pounds to put right a bent OTA or stripped gearbox!

William.

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Thanks for the response. I wish they would write this stuff down in the documentation that comes with the Synscan systems as it would make it a lot easier for newcomers like me.

Regards

Rob

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