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Problems with HEQ5 latitude higher than about 60 degrees


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My HEQ5 and 200pds has arrived. Woohoo!
Haven't had a proper clear sky yet. So trying to prepare everything and understanding polar alignment. 

Please have a look at attached image. 

So my latitude in Norway is about 63.25 degrees, but setting this degrees with the t-bolts (1 + 2 on the image) on the HEQ5 mount is rather tricky, as the bolt in the back/south (2) is crashing in the polar scope cover (4), or the polar scope itself if I remove the cap/cover. By crashing I mean that I will not be able to rotate/adjust the bolt further because the "handle" will not have room enough to rotate. 

The two t-bolts have different length, but if I use the shorter one in the back (2), I'm not able to get even close to 60 deg (3). So I will have to use the longest one. 

The only way of achiving this that I've found is to leave the front/north t-bolt (1) out. Then tilt the declination/latitude forward to a "low" degree. Then adjust the bolt in the back (2) approximately right. Then I tilt the declination back again until it stops, to see if I have the correct degree. If not correct, I have to tilt forward again, adjust again, then tilt back. 

Is this really how I have to do this? Is there something here that I've completely missed out on? :)

 

heq5_latitude-problem.png

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I think the problem from what I can see here is that at high latitudes the "handle" on the bolt does not clear the polar scope (clearlt a known problem, as many replacement bolts have a dedicated "south" bolt with a knob on the end rather than the setup supplied by Skywatcher). Moving the tripod isn't going to help with this, as the problem is with the mount itself.

As far as swapping the bolts goes, I would not recommend operating the mount with the legs less than fully out - it is compromising the stabilty of the setup. The legs should out with the spreader / eyepiece holder screwed in firmly to add to ridgidity.

The way I have always dealt with this this to turn the bolt on small increments only, making sure that the handle is pointing down every time it moves away from level. So just a part turn and then swivel it round each time. A bit slow but only really needs to be done once. If you are setting the mount up in the same place, or on a flat surface, each time then subsequent adjustments will be minimal.

I do feel your pain though

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They is often a maximum Latitude for the mounts and I would suspect that you are close to the maximum. Additionally the "block" that the bolts push against are not well engineered and I have a suspicision that they may never quite reach the specified latitudes.

I have seen items to modify the mount with resepect to this bolt and the block it pushes against, think one or two have been a DIY fix however. Very good and they were well made but means you cannot go out and purchase one. Ask in the Mounts section being a bit more specific someone may have a better idea then I do. Even if they are items that can be purchased then you would need somewhere to fix them - small engineering workshop.

There is a bigger fix, but having searched about 4 sites I cannot locate it. It was/is a replacement unit to put the mount head into. Cost was however around £300 or more. But it looked as if it did exactly what was required of it. Sure it was on the FLO site at one time but seems to be no longer, nor anywhere else. More a situation of if you bent screws and had problems with the mount internals then it could have been an easier and quicker option then getting the "standard" item fixed. If I locate the item I will add to this.

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Despite the inconvenience I would still go for tipping the mount back a few degrees. This way you are less likely to damage the vulnerable platform that the adjusting screw operates against. Instead of altering the tripod leg you could use a block under it which could be left in place. Ignore the gradualtions on the latitude dial, they are only a guide, the polefinder will show when the correct angle is reached.  :icon_biggrin:

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3 hours ago, ronin said:

They is often a maximum Latitude for the mounts and I would suspect that you are close to the maximum. Additionally the "block" that the bolts push against are not well engineered and I have a suspicision that they may never quite reach the specified latitudes.

I have seen items to modify the mount with resepect to this bolt and the block it pushes against, think one or two have been a DIY fix however. Very good and they were well made but means you cannot go out and purchase one. Ask in the Mounts section being a bit more specific someone may have a better idea then I do. Even if they are items that can be purchased then you would need somewhere to fix them - small engineering workshop.

There is a bigger fix, but having searched about 4 sites I cannot locate it. It was/is a replacement unit to put the mount head into. Cost was however around £300 or more. But it looked as if it did exactly what was required of it. Sure it was on the FLO site at one time but seems to be no longer, nor anywhere else. More a situation of if you bent screws and had problems with the mount internals then it could have been an easier and quicker option then getting the "standard" item fixed. If I locate the item I will add to this.

I think this is what you were looking for neq6_wedge.

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To be honest HEQ5 latitude adjustment will need some DIY. Stronger bolts (original ones will bend after a while because thing that they push against rests on top of the bolt once bolt eats a little hole in it.

Levelled mount is easier to polar align, expecially if you do it with PHD2. I would recommend doing this kind of modification to yours (this is EQ6 but you will get the idea).
https://foorumi.avaruus.fi/index.php?topic=943.msg97066#msg97066
(sorry, didnt find any english version)

Of course if you plan to do visual only I would just tilt the leg a bit. I would still replace bolts because they are very easy to bend and very hard to get our after that! :icon_biggrin:

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Try removing the polar scope cover and scope itself (simply screws out) then, with plenty of room adjust the latitude bolt.

Once you have done that just re-install the polar scope and cover.

BTW, I don't use the bolts to move the latitude as they seem too flimsy for that, instead I slacken the bolts off, adjust the latitude manually, then tighten them up to secure in that position.

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You didn't write if you will use the setup for visual or astrophotography. For visual it may work as is. But for ap (do you have the PRO or standard version?), I would suggest this:

Maybe not the popular solution, but consider trying to return the mount. If it's new, you don't want to tinker with it, because you'll void warranty. Tipping the tripod may make the mount back heavy. The alt adjustment just can't cope with higher latitude, than about 55 - 60 deg. It's a poor design (and the main reason I upgraded to an AZ EQ6). You'll probably be frustrated with it for as long as you'll have it. You also have to consider that the weight of your scope + camera + guiding equipment, rests on the alt bolts, if not perfectly balanced.

If you keep it, the suggested wedge is a great solution, but not available for the EQ5, afaIk. You can try to find a local metal workshop, that can make a fixed wedge which can sit between your tripod and mount. Would take some design, and can potentially become expensive.

If you decide to use it with a tilted tripod, try to have one tripod leg on the backside (south facing side, nearest the polarscope). Some mounts allow the tripod to be placed like this. It will make it even harder to use the polarscope, but it is in an awkward position anyway.

Just the € 0.02 worth of another 'nordbo'

Good luck

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Hi Joakim

Don't have an EQ mount myself, so there's probably a good reason why this won't work:

With the head held at 60 degrees, measure from the bottom of the screw hole, to where a long bolt would hit the polar scope cover when the head is at 60 degrees.

Buy a good quality stainless steel M10 set screw that is shorter than that.

Also an 1" diameter M10 stainless washer, and a stainless M10 nut.

And a M10 ratchet spanner.

Place the washer under the head of the set screw and secure with the nut.

Screw this into the latitude adjusting hole.

Use the ratchet spanner to make adjustments.

The washer will help position the ratchet spanner and prevent it slipping off the bolt head and down the thread.

Pick a length of bolt that gives best clearance for the spanner.

Michael

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