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badgers

AZ EQ6 Mount - Verdicts ?

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It's time for my trusty HEQ5 Pro to get an upgrade as I plan to get a 10" fast Newt to go with my little refractor and my wide-field rig.

I've been looking at the NEQ6 Pro which will pretty much just upgrade the load capacity from what I can see.

A Mesu mount or an EQ8 is probably overkill for what I need, especially considering the price and that I'm getting great images and tracking from my HEQ5 Pro and that I need to be able to move the mount to my observing location. 

I'm attracted to the AZ-EQ6 as it's got the capacity I need and the Belt drives seem like a good upgrade.

The thing I'm not sure about are the following....

1) I need to lug my mount around a lot as I don't have dark skies or a permanent obsy....

I see the mount has encoders, Does this mean I can finally do PEC training once without having to do this everytime I set up ?

2) Will EQMod work with it the way Its been happily running my HEQ5 Pro ?

3) This is a fairly new mount, are there any issues known for it yet ?

Thanks,

Anton

Edited by badgers

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1. Yes, as long as you have a guiding set up or can polar align to precise accuracy in some fashion. It's lighter than the neq6 but is still a big chunk of metal.

2. No idea, i only use the handset.

3. The encoders seem to cause some issues sometimes whilst polar aligning, which then causes the star alignment to be a bit crazy, but turning the encoders off or rebooting the mount after polar alignment fixes this. My mount developed some back lash in both axes about 4 months after i got it, but that has been tightened up. I think my mount is more noisy than my mates heq5. There is talk of the leads getting wrapped around the mount, but i've not encountered that yet as it seems to go one way, reach a maximum in its mind then go the other way; maybe other peoples mounts just keep doing 360's (mine won't when using the handset for goto). My RA level snapped off, but FLO sent a replacement the next working day. I'm finding a 10" newt is a massive scope to have on this mount; it copes if all well balanced, but it is a pain to use the eye piece in all orientations, so slidey rings would be good.

But i love it.

There is a belt mod for the neq6 now. So one should question what are the additional benefits of the azeq6 over an neq6 with belt modifications.... Encoders is the difference. So i guess it comes down to how much you want encoders. To be honest, i could easily cope without them, and they are switched off most of the time as they upset the polar alignment and star alignment, and also reduce the accuracy of the goto.

I'll be interested to hear what others say.

Search for azeq6 in here too as they are mentioned in numerous threads.

James

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I'm still in love with mine. But then I've only had it a few weeks.

It is heavy (15kg) and I wouldn't want to lug it about much. I'm nearly 60 and have to take care of my back. I store it a few feet from where it is used so this is not a problem. But I would not want to have to carry it a long way too often or lift it from a low position, like the car boot for example. I have done that and I found it quite difficult to do safely without injuring my back. I store it in a shallow plastic box kept at waist height so I don't have to bend over to lift it.

I have only used it with the handset. The tracking and GOTO is a joy after using a very basic SW EQ5.

The mount is very well engineered. The clutch mechanisms are designed well and work very nicely, as does the altitude adjustment. Much better than the altitude bolts on the earlier mounts.

I have set up and tested the guiding, which seems to work well. I was very impressed to see guiding cope very well for several 8 minute exposures on one evening despite quite blustery conditions. Switching the guiding off under these conditions resulted in erratic star trailing. I know guiding is not meant for such windy conditions, but the fact it worked so well is a testament to the mount and guiding combination.

Edited by Ouroboros

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I've only had the mount four weeks and I'm loving it. It is a bit heavy but brilliantly engineered.

It works a charm with eqmod, I've not actually used the handset yet.

All in all a wonderful mount

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This is all very useful info, thanks everyone.

I'll predominantly use this in EQ mode and I'll only have to carry it 10 metres each night.

So the Alt/Az goto issues don't worry me too much.

Actually goto performance doesn't bother me too much, I tend to plate solve and sync with EQmod.

My main hope is that the encoders will mean that if I accurately PA each night then the PEC corrections will keep RA drift to a minimum and that I loose some backlash when guiding on Dec.

So far it's looking good.

Belt-modding an NEQ6 Pro is also an option, but the addition of permanent PEC with the AZ-EQ6 looks like it might justify the extra cost for my needs.

My major grumble with the HEQ5 Pro is Altitude adjustment is just awful, even with upgraded bolts, it sounds like the re-engineering they've done on the AZ EQ6 will improve this a lot.

Maybe FLO can ban me from their website now, my wallet is getting twitchy.

Thanks,

Anton

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It's time for my trusty HEQ5 Pro to get an upgrade as I plan to get a 10" fast Newt to go with my little refractor and my wide-field rig.

I've been looking at the NEQ6 Pro which will pretty much just upgrade the load capacity from what I can see.

A Mesu mount or an EQ8 is probably overkill for what I need, especially considering the price and that I'm getting great images and tracking from my HEQ5 Pro and that I need to be able to move the mount to my observing location. 

I'm attracted to the AZ-EQ6 as it's got the capacity I need and the Belt drives seem like a good upgrade.

The thing I'm not sure about are the following....

1) I need to lug my mount around a lot as I don't have dark skies or a permanent obsy....

I see the mount has encoders, Does this mean I can finally do PEC training once without having to do this everytime I set up ?

2) Will EQMod work with it the way Its been happily running my HEQ5 Pro ?

3) This is a fairly new mount, are there any issues known for it yet ?

Thanks,

Anton

Anton,

   It is a  wonderfully designed mount with large clutches to make it easy to use. Switching from EQ to Alt-Az and back is extremely simple. I think it is a great mount. I normally use it in Alt-Az Mode since I do a lot of public star parties and it is easier to align in that Mode.

   The Auxiliary Encoders are used only to retain the mount position information if you declutch an axis or axes and manually move the mount. Otherwise it is best to have them shut off under normal circumstances as they can negatively affect pointing.

   I don't use EQMOD so I cannot help you there. I know Sky Safari (on an iPhone, iPad, and I believe Android device) can run the mount if you are so inclined.

Issues:

(1) From what I understand, the weight of the AZ-EQ6 is less than the the EQ6 although, being a senior citizen, the weight is about as much as I would want to lug around. I have it in a Pelican case which has wheels. I roll it out to the car and lift it into the back. Actually the case is heavy in itself, but the mount is manageable as long as you dont have to carry it too far.

(2) Pointing problems: There currently is a pointing issue which Synta is now working on. I ran across it and submitted data to Synta regarding this problem. At certain spots, the mount would go into a little up and down dance trying to center on the object I was trying to go to. It would end up about a degree below the object. I could go to objects relatively close to the problem object without any issue. I was able to consistently reproduce this issue. There also may be some issues near the zenith. I am not certain of this though. Again I am operating the mount in Alt-Az Mode although I heard from some people using EQ Mode with the issue also. This is using the latest firmware version (v3.35).

(3) Cord-Wrap: There is a definite cord-wrap problem again in Alt-Az Mode. When doing a 2-star alignment using that Mode, you are required to manually go to the first alignment star and center it. When you select the second star, the mount automatiically slews to that star. The problem is that the mount has no idea from what position you started the movement to the initial alignment star or in what direction you moved it. So it cannot determine when the mount has go too far in one direction. Plus the power cord can get caught by the large altitude handle. This is likely not a problem in EQ Mode since you normally start alignment from the home position.

(4) Hand Controller Cable: You get a ridiculously short cable for the hand controller. However, it can be replaced with any computer network (RJ-45) cable.

(5) There is also a slight random vertical movement reported (again in Alt-Az Mode) for which there is apparently a motor controller firmware fix.

JohnD

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Well I've had mine about 30 mins and still haven't opened it up yet - but the boxes do look good knowing what's inside lol :)

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I think my mind is now made up.... Barring the Alt-Az mode issues that will hopefully be addressed in firmware and the cable snags, I'm sold.

Good luck unboxing your new one Kim!

Anton

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Thanks Anton - sorry I missed you at Kelling again - I did ask around but we seem destined not to meet lol :)

I've unboxed it now and set it up - looks dead pucker! Now I've gotta go out to the garage and assemble a new 16" LB......

Edited by brantuk

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Hi Kim, Yes EMS directed me to the red field, but it's huge and hard to find individuals.

Besides, I get aperture fever if I spend too much time near Millionaires Row on the red field : )

I was moving my scope and pitch around numerous times on the blue field to get the best viewing, so I wouldn't have been easy to track down : )

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I've got one sitting here but it isn't mine and I haven't seen it working yet. However, it really looks to me as if they've done just what was needed to tickle up the NEQ6. The PA system and clutches, along with the power socket, are transformed. Belt should be good. ANd the rest is proven.

Olly

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Swap the badges with the NEQ6 you've got for sale Olly and see if they notice..... I'll gladly take it off your hands then : )

The EM200 had me seriously contemplating going overbudget too.

I need my children to grow up so I can finally afford mounts that involve anodised red metal.

But for now, I'll stick with off-cream and stainless steel.....

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Anton, be advised the NEQ6 is very heavy compared to the HEQ5, not sure about the EQ6-AZ but just warning you about the NEQ6, great mount that it is still.  Be prepared for the fact that whilst the HEQ5 is kind of "cute and cuddly" the bigger mounts are huge by comparison both in size and, more significantly, in weight.

I regret selling my HEQ5.  If there is no real need to upgrade and you just have the upgrade "itch" I'd counsel reconsideration.  Only you know what you need to do though!  :)

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I've got bigger problems right now.

I think my Atik 460 is broken : (

Large white lines down the image in two different places. Will post in a new thread when I save an image.... 

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I've got bigger problems right now.

I think my Atik 460 is broken : (

Large white lines down the image in two different places. Will post in a new thread when I save an image.... 

Oh dear me Anton.  Is it still under warranty?  Maybe a case on the Atik website?  I think they take a sympathetic view to ones just out of warranty.  I'd suggest a new post about this on the cameras section.

Edited by kirkster501

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Too early to panic but I think you'll get good service from Atik. USB? Power supply?

Olly

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The Alt-Az EQ6 GT has certainly addressed most of the issues with the EQ6 pro and is well worth the difference in price if upgrading from a price point of the HEQ5. Although it's probably harder to justify if you already own a NEQ6. The altitude adjuster is light years ahead of the old mechanism and the clutches are well engineered, The counter weight shaft is thicker and much better engineered than the NEQ6. The dual encoders for visual use are a real bonus as you can quickly move the scope around to a new target and still keep the alignment. For those using a DSLR the snap port is another bonus as you dont need a seperate timer. All in all it's lots of incremental improvements that make it a top notch package. There really isn't any competition at this price point.

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Well looks like I've just developed my first column defect on the Atik, praying that bias frames remove the little swine.....

I may hold off ordering though until I've sussed out the issue with the Atik.

But yes, I think it's a good upgrade from the HEQ5 Pro,

I'm taking Stephens warning under consideration, but I should be able to manage the extra weight, hopefully that gym time will pay off : )

Thanks again,

Anton

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Anton - I haven't found the weight of the AZ-EQ6 as much of a problem as I feared - and I'm no Mr Universe. It's a matter of finding ways to pick it up and then hold it close whilst carrying it about. I found the tricky bit is placing the mount securely on the tripod top. Care needs to be taken not to drop it at that point. It's a good idea to loosen the azimuthal bolts so they don't snag on, and fit easily either side of, the vertical pin on the tripod top.

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Love the mount but agree about putting it on the tripod top. You have to be careful not to pinch a finger between the mount head and the tripod top. I've done this twice resulting in painful blood blisters! But I am an old idiot and it will take at least twice for me to learn!

Go ahead and order it - you won't be disappointed

Kerry

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Just joined the AZ EQ6GT club today.. well ordered and should hopefully be delivered next week. I am looking to use mine for short exposure video style astronomy with the VX10. Perhaps in the future I'll go for more imaging, but then I'd get a smaller scope for long exposure.

The good news is I saved up more cash (I originally was going to get a EQ8 or G11 but decided I needed something more portable) so have some surplus for another astro purchase!

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