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HEQ5 vs EQ5 vs Older EQ6


dyfiastro
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Hi everyone.

currently looking at my first setup and at present budget really can only push to a new EQ5 unless I can find something second hand.
I have come across an older EQ6 for sale and was wondering what the difference is and if it might be a decent alternative to the heq5?

my intention is to have a sw130pds attached along with a dslr for imaging and all being well a laptop and webcam for guiding.

Thanks in advance

Mark

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If you want to do imaging, I'd really advise against the 'old style' EQ mounts, particularly as a beginner. 

The EQ-5 and EQ-6 are decent GOTO platforms and with good autoguiding can be alright, but honestly they're so much less user-friendly and capable than their updated HEQ and NEQ models, to say nothing of the new EQ-AZs which are even better.

I had this same concern when I started out and was told in no uncertain terms that there is no compromise on the mount; a bad mount will kill your interest in imaging much more quickly than a bad camera will. I saved for a month longer and went with the HEQ-5, which has been a superb mount for lightweight imaging and medium-weight visual scopes. 

Making the same choice today I'd go for an AZ-EQ5 or perhaps an iOptron iEQ45.

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Hi everyone.

currently looking at my first setup and at present budget really can only push to a new EQ5 unless I can find something second hand.

I have come across an older EQ6 for sale and was wondering what the difference is and if it might be a decent alternative to the heq5?

my intention is to have a sw130pds attached along with a dslr for imaging and all being well a laptop and webcam for guiding.

Thanks in advance

Mark

Mark,

The current HEQ5 pro is really the best compromise for imaging and visual.  It's just about portable, but heavy enough to give superb stability.  The resolution of the stepper motors gives excellent guiding / tracking, has a superb load carring capapbility for the price giving you an upgrade path if you later want to upgrade the OTA to a 150 or 200P and all for less than £750.

There is a secondhand (well third hand to be exact as it was originally purchased second hand a couple of years prior according to the advert ) one in the classified section http://stargazerslounge.com/classifieds/item/6032-heq5-pro/ for £450, but obviously buying second hand has it's risks, and I personally can't vouch for the seller or the quality of the mount, not that I'm saying there is anything wrong with secondhand, but to give you some idea, a motor board for an HEQ5 pro is over £100.  Buying new from Rother Valley optics or First light Optics or any other reputable retailer will give you 12 months guarantee and all the after sales support you may ever need. 

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The older EQ6 has no goto and cannot be connected to a computer, However if you are on a budget and have diy skills you could replace the old motors with newer stepper motors and make a goto system to connect it to a computer, I used the plans and firmware/software called AstroEQ provided by Tom Carpenter on my one.

I'm also currently imaging with a 130pds

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Thanks everyone for the replies.

I am not worried to be honest about having to DIY something more so as if a second hand HEQ5 is still £450 then I will be saving a fair amount.
According to This I would be able to attach it to a computer and guide it, is this not correct?
 

http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astronomy/Astro-Mounts-Skywatcher.asp?p=0_10_2_0_10

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The older EQ6 has no goto and cannot be connected to a computer, However if you are on a budget and have diy skills you could replace the old motors with newer stepper motors and make a goto system to connect it to a computer, I used the plans and firmware/software called AstroEQ provided by Tom Carpenter on my one.

I'm also currently imaging with a 130pds

John,

fair comment, but if you opt for the full kit inc psu and cables, that's £100 and then you need to find and fit suitable steppers to complete the upgrade, something like NEMA 11's which would add another £30 - £40.  Personally, unless I had already purchased the EQ6 many years ago, I wouldn't consider looking for one now with a view of doing the upgrade as that £150 could be put towards a new mount that would come with a full warranty. - Just my opinion.

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Thanks everyone for the replies.

I am not worried to be honest about having to DIY something more so as if a second hand HEQ5 is still £450 then I will be saving a fair amount.

According to This I would be able to attach it to a computer and guide it, is this not correct?

http://www.opticstar.com/Run/Astronomy/Astro-Mounts-Skywatcher.asp?p=0_10_2_0_10

Older versions simply had basic tracking in RA and a four button hand controller for advaning the scope at upto 8x or 16x  - there is no goto capability and it lacks direct connection to a PC.  The GPUSB adapter at £76 requires the handset to be modified in order to guide the scope.  But at the end of the day you'll still have a mount that lacks the presision of modern HEQ5 / EQ6 mounts, which all have goto capability, direct connection via an EQDIREC cable (typically £20 or you can DIY form £4 - £20) and has slew rates up to 800x

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone.

Out of interest how would a Celestron CG5 Advanced GT Mount compare to the HEQ5 with a 150PDS?
The only reason I ask is that there looks to be a decent complete setup going for sale at present with a lot of extras.

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There are several threads covering the differences, but basically the CG5 has a slightly lower load capacity than the HEQ5, uses servo motors rather than steppers and is not a quiet running as the SkyWatcher mounts, often being referred to as a coffee grinder when fast slewing.  The mount is Celestron's equivelent of the EQ5 so in essance is a step down in specification, but would suit the 150 PDS.

The main dissadvantage is that you won't be able to use EQMOD to control the telescope from a PC / Laptop.

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To be honest, I would drop Stratis a PM and ask how much he is selling the mount for.  Or contact Davie via the classifieds and ask him if he's open to offeres and haggel a price on the HEQ5 listed.  It has 10 days left and hasn't yet been snapped up.

I travelled a round trip of around 600 miles to collect my secondhand HEQ5, QHY5 camera, ST80 and a few bits and bobs, which was well worth the trip

Indeed.

I'll be selling my HEQ-5 in the near future and it has produced some great images with some fairly weighty refractors:

http://www.astrobin.com/209973/

To achieve that you need an autoguider but that's an easy add-on later. My HEQ-5 has been a great companion and I'll be sad to see it go :)

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Hi Mark,

I've recently been through the same exercise.

Imaging is also my main interest and from reading through the forums here and elsewhere it became obvious that a stable mount is an absolute necessity.

I'm retired and on a tight budget but I also realised that if you want the right gear, sometimes you have to be prepared to push your budget constraints. Affordable is seldom appropriate.

To that end I decided the EQ5/HEQ5 best suited my needs and bought an HEQ5. It was supposed to be a Demo model but appeared more than lightly used and was faulty, so it was returned.

I came across an unused EQ6 at the right  price and did the deal. The mount weight had gone up from 10kg for the HEQ5 to 16kg for the EQ6 and as I'm in my declining years I wondered how I would manage the weight. OK, I wouldn't take it backpacking, but to move it from my 4WD to the tripod, or cart it into my yard wasn't a problem for me. I'm about to fit a SynScan GoTo kit.

Where am I going with all this?  :confused:

If the EQ6 you've come across has been reasonably used and well cared for, it could be a good option for you to acquire with a view to adding the SynScan kit when the wallet recovers. You have then done a tad of future proofing and have a mount that is not only well regarded, but with the stepper motor and motherboard upgrade, should serve you well for quite a while.

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So long as an older EQ6 has the GoTo software and its version 3 or above there will be very little difference in the mechanics between an older EQ6 and a current NEQ6.  The later versions have primarily cosmetic changes with only the addition of a dual fit dovetail as the real difference.

Older EQ6s may also suffer from poor QC and lubrication but this can be remedied with a rebuild if you are technically apt.

Take a look at the development history of the mounts on my web guide here

http://www.astro-baby.com/EQ6%20rebuild%20guide/EQ6%20Development%20and%20Software%20Releases.htm

for more details.

As an alternative and HEQ5 is a good choice especially if you have to be portable.

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