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Apharov

HEQ5 disassembly woes

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This is just to share my thus far discouraging experience with disassembling my HEQ5 for cleaning and replacing the bearings. I was following the Astrobaby guide, which appears to be very nice. I wasn't really expecting any overwhelming difficulties, having the proper set of tools and having done a belt mod previously without any difficulty.

To begin with one of the grub screws holding the puck was not even touching the puck due to incomplete threading through the DEC barrel. Horrid QA by Skywatcher. DEC shaft was also slightly rusted (2 year old mount, stored warm & dry, used perhaps 10 times) and possibly because of that the round nut on top end of DEC shaft did not budge at all. Broke the ends of my non-cheap spanner wrench trying to twist it open. Finally I moved to the lower end of the DEC shaft, where the grub screws were extremely tight and the second hex end hole sheared round before loosening up. Decided at this point that further progress wouldn't be very beneficial.

Sent on email to FLO, perhaps they have a proposal on what to do with the manufacturing issues.

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Hi

I couldn't undo the top nut on mine either - maybe it's not practical to do it without a special tool. Anyway, found out I didn't need to undo it - all the maintenance could still be done. Hope you can get somewhere with your maintenance.

Louise

Edited by Thalestris24

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42 minutes ago, Thalestris24 said:

I couldn't undo the top nut on mine either - maybe it's not practical to do it without a special tool. Anyway, found out I didn't need to undo it - all the maintenance could still be done. Hope you can get somewhere with your maintenance.

Thanks for the information, that is certainly good to know for sure :) I speculated it might be so, which is why I continued for the lower end of the DEC shaft, though unfortunately there the problems continued.

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That top nut is a perisher to shift.  I have only ever managed it once on an EQ6.  I have no idea why its so hard to shift - perhaps they use some kind of glue on it or maybe just put it on under massive pressure.  Theres not much to be gained from removing it to be honest.  As to your knackered hex screw you might find if you ram a cross head screw driver in you may be able to extract it.  Hope thats of some small help.

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Hard to shift nuts, like ones with Loctite on can be shifted with an impact driver, always check they're not left hand threaded :) your local garage will probably do it for a drink.
Various gadgets available for shifting ruined screws depending how handy you are.

Dave

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So far I've been gravely disappointed by FLO's response.

They feel they have no responsibility for fixing the situation where only 2 out of 3 puck grub screws are touching the puck (one screw hole has incomplete threads) because I didn't discover the problem earlier. It seems in their mind customers should disassemble their mounts within warranty period to be eligible for repairs of manufacturing defects discoverable only by disassembling the mount.

It's extremely annoying when hopes of amicably solving the issue proceed to the point where one needs to start quoting consumer protection laws related to out-of-warranty manufacturing defects. I'll report how it turns out.

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46 minutes ago, Apharov said:

They feel they have no responsibility for fixing the situation 

You must be the chap from Finland. You have been speaking with my colleague but he discussed the situation with me earlier today.

SGL members know we never shirk our responsibilities and have probably done more free of charge out of warranty work than any other UK retailer, but I did agree with my colleagues decision. Let us ensure we have the full story and that I fully understand: You have owned the mount a little over two years without reporting a fault. When the warranty expired you decided to service the mount with the intent of enhancing its performance. After disassembling it you contacted us with some concerns. My colleague explained he would be happy to help with new screws and bolts free of charge but we would not service or repair the mount ourselves (he recommended SCTelescopes for the service/repair work but I don't think he realised you live in Finland). Is that correct? If there is something else we should know I will be happy to discuss it again with him in the morning, otherwise I think his response was fair and reasonable. 

HTH, 

Steve 

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Your outline of the situation is largely correct. The pertinent facts that are without contention are, as I see them:

1. One of the puck mounting grub screw holes is incorrectly threaded.

2. This incorrect threading results in the grub screw being unable to contact the puck, as the threads do not extend all the way through the DEC barrel.

3. The effects of 1 and 2 are caused by a manufacturing defect.

4. The effect of 2 results in the mounting being less functional regarding the puck stability than a correctly manufactured mount.

Given these facts I find it disheartening that your company policy is to effectively denounce any part in the necessary repairs to return the mount into that state of stability that was advertised upon purchase. Since there is no connection between the usage of the mount and the cause of the defect, which is a manufacturing issue, I fail to see why you would or could refuse the seller's responsibility regarding manufacturing defects based on 2-year warranty expiry.

While this is always unpleasant, here's a short excerpt of seller's liability:

"Yet customers are entitled to have faulty goods replaced or repaired for up to six years, at no charge, which the retailer should carry out "within a reasonable time but without causing significant inconvenience."

If the seller doesn't repair or replace an item, customers can claim some money back on the original purchase price, minus an amount for the usage they have had of the goods.

The rule covers a fault that was present when you bought the item, or a defect that occurs from a manufacturing problem rather than as the result of usual wear and tear.

The seller (not the manufacturer) is responsible for the items, so the Sale of Goods Act applies to online and independent retailers."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/money-saving-tips/11296784/Shops-accused-of-denying-six-year-warranty-right.html

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FLO's service is impeccable both pre and post sales. You have to do something pretty bad to have them leave you on your own - and imho disassembling the mount after the warranty period is leaving yourself pretty much without recall. Try doing that with a bluray or dvd player or any other electrical item and the retailer won't even entertain a conversation with you about it.

If it were me in your position I wouldn't expect to be in any legal position of complaint. However - I might be friendly and politely ask FLO for some help and suggestions on how to fix the problem. I would expect some additional expense on my part in the solution too. I certainly wouldn't start off quoting liability laws in public with no legal leg to stand on. Imho a change of approach is the only way forward. Hth :)

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This is the first time in nearly ten years of trading someone has quoted sales of goods details at us :mellow:

This is an unusual situation (you having disassembled the mount). What to do... 

Let us be clear and specific: 

Are you confident you can reassemble your mount? 

I understand you want us to repair the puck fixing, are any other repairs required? 

 

Steve

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10 hours ago, brantuk said:

FLO's service is impeccable both pre and post sales. You have to do something pretty bad to have them leave you on your own - and imho disassembling the mount after the warranty period is leaving yourself pretty much without recall.

I'm happy you've had good experiences with them.

Still, your apparent reasoning that it's not acceptable to disassemble a product to find a performance-impacting manufacturing defect discoverable only by disassembling the product is distinctly kafkaesque. Putting that aside, you're surely aware that many sellers, including FLO, sell puck/dovetail carrier upgrades which are generally considered user-upgradeable.

Concerning my general approach to the matter I first tried to normally approach FLO with a description of the issue and a query on what they would suggest for fixing the problem. I certainly do not enjoy spewing legalese, but it is sadly sometimes necessary to get a seller recognize that fixing something is not up to their discretion.

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10 hours ago, FLO said:

This is the first time in nearly ten years of trading someone has quoted sales of goods details at us :mellow:

This is an unusual situation (you having disassembled the mount). What to do... 

Let us be clear and specific: 

Are you confident you can reassemble your mount? 

I understand you want us to repair the puck fixing, are any other repairs required? 

It is indeed unfortunate that quoting legalese was required.

You might have an incorrect understanding of the general status of the mount. It's assembled and funtional at the moment, and I have no doubts that I can do further disassembly/assembly as needed.

The only manufacturing defect in need of fixing is the one puck fixing grub screw hole. You have a previously sent photo of that in your email. A set of grub screws to replace any with rounded heads would also be much appreciated, of course.

Since it appears we now have a common understanding of where to proceed we can perhaps continue the discussion over email in order not to diverge the thread further.

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37 minutes ago, Apharov said:

It is indeed unfortunate that quoting legalese was required.

Quoting legalese was NOT required and if you do it again I will end this conversation. 

37 minutes ago, Apharov said:

Since it appears we now have a common understanding of where to proceed we can perhaps continue the discussion over email in order not to diverge the thread further.

We don't yet have a common understanding. At this stage I know only that you have dismantled/reassembled your mount, damaged one or more hex-screws and would like us to repair the puck fixing. 

I understand you want us to repair the puck fixing and why, are any other repairs required? 

It is an important question because if we collect your mount with a view to repairing the puck fixing, then find other repairs are necessary, will you also expect us to carry out those repairs free of charge? 

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Just goes to show how easily things can escalate given the opportunity. If the only mechanical fix is the full tapping of some grub screw holes and the refitting of new grub screws, I would have thought that anyone considering themseves competent to strip down and sevice a mount, and "having the proper set of tools" could have conducted a repair themselves in less time that it took to type a complaint.

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1 hour ago, Apharov said:

I'm happy you've had good experiences with them.

Still, your apparent reasoning that it's not acceptable to disassemble a product to find a performance-impacting manufacturing defect discoverable only by disassembling the product is distinctly kafkaesque. Putting that aside, you're surely aware that many sellers, including FLO, sell puck/dovetail carrier upgrades which are generally considered user-upgradeable.

Concerning my general approach to the matter I first tried to normally approach FLO with a description of the issue and a query on what they would suggest for fixing the problem. I certainly do not enjoy spewing legalese, but it is sadly sometimes necessary to get a seller recognize that fixing something is not up to their discretion.

Thanks for your reply Apharov. My point isn't really about the puck upgrade/fix which is pretty trivial - I've had one or two puck uprades from FLO myself. And I'm not really commenting on my own experience with them - my comment concerns everyone's experience with them. FLO don't let anyone down - without fail - you won't find one complaint about their customer service - they genuinely look after customers extremely well - and it is unnecessary and unfriendly to quote trade acts at them (especially in public).

Your approach won't find one ally here and that's because the guys at FLO are our friends and fellow astronomers. Most of us know them personally or have met them at trade shows, star parties, and astro meetings. Indeed - FLO was born out of our astro mates here on this forum. They're not the faceless multi billion dollar corporation you seem to think - they're a small outfit of astronomers dedicated to serving the astro community - and they are highly respected for that.

I see they're sorting you out now so I'll leave it there. Just a spot of friendly advice - check out the history of the forum and how FLO came about - you may find yourself enlightened. :)

 

 

Edited by brantuk
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Speaking generally, regarding servicing and 'tuning' mounts. If someone has the necessary tools and experience it is possible to service a mount at home but it normally results only in a quieter mount, it rarely improves performance and the task is often more difficult than people realise. 

Steve Collingwood at SCTelescopes is probably the best person to contact if you want a mount serviced professionally. But he might need some gentle persuasion because other companies have made unrealistic claims regarding 'enhanced' performance and I know he doesn't want to be associated with them. 

HTH, 

Steve

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I have to say that as a retailer (nothing to do with astronomy) if a customer had brought back something bought from me way after the warranty has expired that had been butchered and damaged I would not be best pleased.

If the customer said - look I know I have cocked this up can you help me then I probably would just for the sake of good relations.

If the customer started off with its your fault and what will you do about it - I know my rights - heres the legal stuff - especially on a public forum - they would be shown the door quick time !!!

I think what you have done and written is grossly unfair towards FLO.

Presumably you were happy with the performance of the mount during its warranty period or you would have contacted FLO in that time??

I am not a FLO 'fan-boy' but I do believe in fairness.

 

 

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Really shocked to read this complaint. You feel you have the confidence to strip the mount down well after the warranty has expired to enhaunce it, yet you're kicking up a big fuss about a little hole that needs tapping! 

Your public approach to FLO regarding this is situation is frankly way out of order :( FLO do go above the call of duty for their customers, they certainly have for me and other people I know in the past, but there is a limit.

I could probably partly understand your dissapointment if it was regarding a high end mount such as a 10 micron. These Skywatcher mounts are mass produced to a price point. FLO can't be expected to recieve these mounts prior to the customer, strip them down, and fault find before sending them to the customer. pedantic legal jargon aside, I fail to see how this is even remotely FLO's fault??? 

 

Edited by Chris Lock
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Sorry but if you dismantled your car - a dealer wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

 

Can I also suggest that you take this discussion off SGL - this is an issue between you and FLO. Not SGL.

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Please everyone, let's not become agitated. Apharov is a new member and he doesn't live here in the UK. He probably chose FLO only because we were cheaper than his local supplier, he might not know anything about us. 

Here's what I am thinking. Apharov does have a point regarding the puck fixing. If, say, someone had purchased a saddle upgrade kit from us then, when fitting it, notices one of the three grub-screws isn't gripping, we would repair that free of charge, regardless of the warranty (assuming the mount was purchased from us). But, you don't need to dismantle a mount to discover this problem and I don't want FLO to somehow become responsible for what is essentially an abandoned attempt to service the mount. 

I propose we collect the mount from Finland then deliver it direct to SCTelescopes to have the puck fixing repaired free of charge. If SCTelescopes then finds other repairs are necessary he will offer a quote for the repairs. (I am assuming Steve at SCTelescopes is prepared to do the work, he might not be). 

Apharov, is this a good solution? 

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In order to bring some closure to the conversation with fellow SGL members and an admin, here's an attempt to summarize the comments since my last message and to reply to them shortly based on the observable facts.

Comment 1. The mount has been disassembled / butchered.

The mount was partially disassembled, as described in my first post, and then put back together. Besides having the unstable puck fixing it's fully functional, and has been out on one night since. Overall it appears to me that at least minor mount maintenance and upgrading is one of the hallmarks of the SGL community, so it's somewhat surprising that some comments imply the mount should have been left alone to begin with.

Comment 2. The main issue is has been caused by me or the mount has been otherwise damaged by me.

It would not be feasible to mimic the manufacturing defect post-manufacture even on purpose, as there is simply too much aluminium in the wrong place in the screw hole. The one hex head I did shear myself, as openly described in the original post. Regarding that, let he who has never mushed up a screw head throw the first stone.

Comment 3. The issue is very minor, self-fixable.

It is relatively easy to tap new holes for a person with access to metalworking tools. Unfortunately I have only common hand tools, and the stores around here do not stock tapping tools with the correct threads. I also recognize that while I'm relatively capable with mechanics, metalworking isn't really my strong suit.

Comment 4. I have treated FLO unfairly.

As previously described, after my original post I contacted FLO by email and after an email exchange received a reply that they will provide screws free of charge, but will "not undertake a repair or service" due to me using the mount for the warranty period without reporting a problem. Unlike many fellow members I have no personal connection with FLO, but even if I did this would seem quite unfair towards a customer with a valid issue of a manufacturing defect. Regarding the period of me not complaining prior to discovering the defect, the detrimental stability effect is, in combination with other guiding error sources, likely too subtle to be traceable to the puck fixing without actually removing the puck.

Comment 5. The discussion should continue privately as a customer support issue between me and FLO.

I wholeheartedly agree, and in fact proposed such in my previous message.

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5 hours ago, FLO said:

Please everyone, let's not become agitated. Apharov is a new member and he doesn't live here in the UK. He probably chose FLO only because we were cheaper than his local supplier, he might not know anything about us. 

Here's what I am thinking. Apharov does have a point regarding the puck fixing. If, say, someone had purchased a saddle upgrade kit from us then, when fitting it, notices one of the three grub-screws isn't gripping, we would repair that free of charge, regardless of the warranty (assuming the mount was purchased from us). But, you don't need to dismantle a mount to discover this problem and I don't want FLO to somehow become responsible for what is essentially an abandoned attempt to service the mount. 

I propose we collect the mount from Finland then deliver it direct to SCTelescopes to have the puck fixing repaired free of charge. If SCTelescopes then finds other repairs are necessary he will offer a quote for the repairs. (I am assuming Steve at SCTelescopes is prepared to do the work, he might not be). 

Apharov, is this a good solution? 

I do hope there was no intention to belittle with the first paragraph. When deciding on the place of purchase of the mount I examined a local supplier which would have been slightly cheaper, but ended up with FLO because of reading very positive comments about FLO and negative about the local supplier.

The outline of your proposal is a positive outcome to this prolonged discussion, and very much what I had hoped for as an initial response. I trust we can agree on the details privately.

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16 minutes ago, Apharov said:

The outline of your proposal is a positive outcome to this prolonged discussion, and very much what I had hoped for as an initial response. I trust we can agree on the details privately.

Good :smile: 

I have since spoken with Steve at SCTelescopes, he is happy to help. 

Just to be clear, FLO will cover the cost of collection/redelivery and the repair to the puck fixing problem. We will also supply replacements for whichever bolts/screws you have damaged. If SCTelescopes discover other repairs are necessary he will quote for repair then you can decide whether to go ahead, or not, at your cost. 

I will ask my colleague to contact you when we re-open tomorrow to arrange collection. 

HTH, 

Steve 

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Apharov, I am trying to be helpful here. If you send your mount back to the UK for this repair you're going to be without it for weeks!!! To tap a hole is the easiest job in the world and would take less than a minute, especially as this thread only needs finishing off. You don't need cutting fluid for the little bit of thread you require, any light oil will do. Can someone lend you a tap and die set?

 

 

 

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Agreed on tapping the hole - but start with a taper tap.  Turn tool  half-turn forwards , then back a quarter and forward a quarter..repeat slowly down the hole. Depending on hardness of material you might need smaller turns.  Remove occasionally to clean off cut metal which might jam.

If it's a manufacturing defect you are protected by law after 1 year - but not many people understand that.

 

I bought a Bosch 10.8V impact driver, because I already had a 10.8V battery on my excellent Bosch GSR 10,8-2-LI drill. It's a fantastic tool, light to use but plenty of torque, self locking chuck, LED light, 2 speeds and built for tough use. I'm sure the Bosch Impact driver would loosen the axis nut if you use a good quality socket.

When the nut/screw moves after using an impact driver stop. Then switch to a drill which has smoother torque and does less damage.

 

-Paul

Edited by paul_astro
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