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EQ5 Altitude setting prior to balancing.

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Firstly apologies if this has been asked before. I have done a search but nothing jumped out at me! As a complete novice I am currently trying to set up my newly delivered EQ5 mount. The rather poor instructions which came with the mount suggest it should be balanced with the mount adjusted to altitude of between 15 and 30 degrees.

At first I though the mount was faulty as I could not move it at all for the altitude adjustment however reading through other posts on the forum it is clear that this adjustment is very stiff and so with a bit of brute force I managed to move it between 30 and 65 degrees. (I did not used the 'T' bolts) My concern is that the mount will not go lower than 30 degrees (or higher than 65) as it appears to come up against a solid end stop. This is clearly not a problem in use as my latitude is 54.009 degrees. However, if I am to balance the kit using an altitude below 30 degrees as stated above this can not be done.

I hope this post makes sense and I would appreciate any comment. Is this relatively narrow movement to be expected?

And just one final question for now!! I have read in posts going back to 2010 that the adjustment bolts are made from soft metal. Does anyone know if this is still the case and if so would it be wise to purchase better quality bolts?  

Many thanks.

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Set it to 54 degrees and leave it there, once you have the tripod base level you should not need to alter the altitude again. I use a small metal spirit level on the tripod rather than rely on the built-in thing on the EQ5, you get much better accuracy that way. If you are using the telescope from the same spot each time, mark on your tripod legs how far they extend, and also put marks on the floor so you know where the feet go (I've glued vibration suppression pads to the concrete driveway for just that purpose). All things being equal, you can be outside and observing in just a few minutes :) 

Got to admit, SkyWatcher instructions are not the best in the world and certainly leave a lot to be desired - clarity for one.

The adjustment bolts are still made from a soft metal and can bend if you are too ham-fisted, but there are better quality replacements you can buy. However, whilst the original bolts will bend before you damage the actual mount, the better quality replacements could end up damaging the mount if you screw them in too tight without unscrewing the opposing bolt first, if you see what I mean....


Edited by BritAngler
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I agree with the above post, I'll just add a couple of things.

- Make sure to test the alignment of the polar scope (on a distant object in the daytime). When I got my EQ5 the polar scope was out of alignment with the RA polar axis. There are lots of threads on SGL about this.

- I agree to set the altitude of the scope to you latitude but this may need some small adjustments with you get round to polar aligning. Tightening and loosening the opposing bolts is quite awkward but you only have to do this once each night. It all gets easier with practice!

Dan :happy72:

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I've got an EQ5 I use for visual only and all I do is set it at 52 and a bit degrees, and leave it there. Then when I go out I point it roughly north and off I go. This is good enough for me - it tracks for more than long enough and it follows RA and dec lines well enough to navigate around the sky manually. I don't align it any further using the polar finder let alone use a polar scope (perhaps I should not admit this!!!). But this only suits me because I'm a seat-of-the-pants-manual-star-hopper and I don't need go-to accuracy or astro-photography accuracy.

I find the altitude adjustment is ok - it's just a case of loosening one side before moving the other so the two bolts are not locking the altitude position when you're trying to adjust it.

When balancing the scope/counter weight I do this without changing the altitude setting and it's ok. I guess the shallower the altitude is the less force gets applied by an out of balance set up but as long as you start with the heavier side down you can find your way safely to balance without a catastrophe.

I did once try to set the altitude to in effect turn it into an alt/az mount (i.e. declination then equates to altitude and RA becomes azimuth) but I found it would not go down to zero, I can't recall exactly how far it went but I recall it didn't get close to zero.

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I had an EQ5 and fitted a bullseye level to the tripod ,one of these http://www.axminster.co.uk/bullseye-level-300247 remove the head from tripod and level tripod then set bullseye level stick with clear silicon far more accurate and just remember which leg you set it too when setting up i set it to the north leg you can see it on the tripod tray in photo


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