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AZ4 mount - loose clutch


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Hi all ... I've been using an AZ4 mount for a while now with my SW Skytravel 120. Recently the altitude clutch has become quite ineffective... no matter how hard I tighten it with the clutch wheel, the telescope will tilt up and down... so it won't stay fixed on target. Even with no scope attached I can tilt the axis using the mount's handle.

In retrospect I wonder if the 120 scope is actually too heavy for the AZ4...

My question is, can the altitude clutch be fixed/adjusted to make it work effectively again? Is there anything I can do as a non-technical person to service the mount's clutch?

Many thanks in advance, Julian

 

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Julian,

I had this same issue when I had mine, the clutch is pretty basic. If you unscrew the clutch wheel completely (remember to take your scope off first) you will see a heat treated sprung plate, its about the size of a 10p piece, this has probably lost its springing properties over time. I simply bent it and heated it up again over the gas cooker flame and quenched it under cold running water ( only do this if your a adult and if you have a brain please, as it can be painful if your not careful :happy7:) I also removed one of the original washers and replaced it with a slightly thicker washer that I scuffed to introduce a little more friction.

Hope this helps....Shaun

Edited by Pig
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Hi. I have a AZ4 mount to which I use with a skywatcher equinox 120 . Obviously this scope is no light weight but I have had no problems with clutch slip with the up and down tilt as long as the scope is mounted relatively central on the dove tail and the adjustment knob is turned relatively tight. I should think inside the housing is some type of  friction plates to which maybe have worn or got contaminated so the binding process on the clutch is not working correctly. I have never taken mine apart so this may or may not be the problem on yours , and I am not even sure if parts are available for these mounts. I hope this is of some help.

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I had a Celestron 5SE. The same happened to the clutch on that. I found that there was a bolt with the above mentioned sprung wave washer compressed in between the mount and nut. There was a star washer to stop the nut coming loose. It was poor quality (Star Washer) and had flattened.  As soon as I replaced it, the tension never altered again.

You can get new "wave washers easily in most engineering suppliers, possibly even Screwfix.

Derek

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17 hours ago, Pig said:

Julian,

I had this same issue when I had mine, the clutch is pretty basic. If you unscrew the clutch wheel completely (remember to take your scope off first) you will see a heat treated sprung plate, its about the size of a 10p piece, this has probably lost its springing properties over time. I simply bent it and heated it up again over the gas cooker flame and quenched it under cold running water ( only do this if your a adult and if you have a brain please, as it can be painful if your not careful :happy7:) I also removed one of the original washers and replaced it with a slightly thicker washer that I scuffed to introduce a little more friction.

Hope this helps....Shaun

Adding friction fixes many issues I have come to find. And it usually involves a clutch when unwanted things pop-up. Over here the AZ4 is sold through Orion-USA version. And it's called a VersoGo II. It's the same thing under a different name. Orion-USA also did carry a mount that they sold as the AZ4. It was advertised to hold 10-pounds. Even 2-pounds would cause your equipment to slip quickly and to a bad ending. Despite their chopping the price by about 1/2 and claiming a 2-pound payload, it was just bad! And I had one for dirt-cheap just before they were pulled from the market altogether. I, too, used friction to get it working, and holding, 10-pounds. It was also the clutch-mechanism that was the cause.

I have the so-called VersaGo II and will file your recipe, Shaun, in the paperwork I keep on my equipment. If I don't just 'fix' it before the noted problem surfaces at the wrong time - which is how it usually happens! :icon_mrgreen:

Thank you for sharing this fix - maybe Skywatcher should be informed on what seems to be common issue. Who knows? Maybe they'd even fix this before they sell 'em.

Dave - wearing his mechanical-engineer cap. :p

 

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