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Nick in Kent

eq3-2 RA axis sticky query and DEC setting circle incorrect?

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I've been getting started with an EQ3-2 GOTO / Skymax 127 combo, and had a couple of queries / concerns about the mount; advice would be greatly appreciated.

With the clutch released, rotating on the RA axis the mount meets resistance when the counterweight bar approaches horizontal. It's enough that sometimes the motor drive can get stuck; there's no clicking from gears skipping, but movement stops. If I undo the RA setting circle screw the resistance is gone so I thought that was my error as the manual says to unscrew when locating, but as tracking is on the RA axis and the screw would normally be tightened at that point, is this an issue with the mount? I'm not expecting to use the circle so I can leave the screw loose and it seems that it'll be fine, but I'm wondering what the issue is. I've looked at badger's teardown, but I really don't want to take it apart yet as it's new and there isn't much backlash and no slop (if I understand the term correctly).

I'm also wondering whether the DEC circle is set incorrectly at the factory and needs adjusting, or is this a misunderstanding on my part. After polar aligning, I assumed that having the arrow on the side of the mount head point to 90 on the DEC circle would have the telescope pointing correctly home positioned, however with a 1 star alignment my home position was clearly incorrect, and after doing a 3 star alignment (and getting good tracking after that) and returning home the DEC circle was around 78. Using a spirit level on the head, if the edge of the mount head that's parallel to the scope mounting plate when it's tightened and horizontal , the DEC circle is around 12 (or 78 if vertical), however if the edge of the head that has the two screws that secure the plate is horizontal, the DEC circle is 0. So it seems as if the DEC circle was set based on the orientation of the side of the head that has the screws, which doesn't lie parallel to the scope mounting plate, rather than the edge that lies snug against the mounting plate. Does that sound plausible or should the DEC circle be at 12/78 when the scope is horizontal or vertical? 

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Is this a new mount and have you had it long. It sounds like you have a spacer issue.


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My EQ3-Pro GOTO had exactly the same issue with the RA setting circle. It had been tightened up too much when I got it as I had to use some pliers to release it. When tightened up there is a grinding noise at some spots when rotating the scope in RA. I assume the screw has punched through what it tightens against and is fouling something inside. I just leave it undone and there is no problem.

The DEC setting circle does seem to have been set wrongly on yours. With my scope at the home position the arrow does point to 90. You can easily alter it by loosening the hex headed grub screw in the side of the DEC circle and resetting it. That's the only thing I use the DEC circle for, setting the home position, so it makes sense to have it reading 90 at the home position and be useful. :smile:

The setting circles don't have any other use on a GOTO and they're not much use on a non-goto either. :D


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I've unscrewed that screw altogether.

Mine is about a year old, and it didn't really perform ok until after I had stripped and regreased it.

The little bubble level on mine is also way off!

It's honestly a little embarrassing for SW if you ask me, that the EQ3 has so many problems.

The internet is chug full of reports of badly made eq3's.

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Thanks for the replies. I'd read people's tales of woe, but tripod legs aside, overall at this point it doesn't seem too bad for the money. The level on mine is accurate, which was a surprise, and it appears to track ok.

13 hours ago, spillage said:

Is this a new mount and have you had it long. It sounds like you have a spacer issue.

It is, bought at xmas from Rother Valley. I'm going to take out the RA screw as it's then fine and moves better than the other axis. 

It's a new adventure for me, and been fun learning so far. I'll be on the lookout for any developing issues with the drives and see how it goes. I'm sure I'll be taking the drive apart at some point :)

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I'm looking at my EQ-3 now, because it is sticky for about 120 degrees in RA. DEC is fine. I'll take out the RA setting screw as suggested above. Also, yes, the DEC was set way off on mine also. There is a small hole through the green collar that an Allen key will fit into. To correct it I took the head off and made sure the tripod was level using a spirit level rather than the bubble. With the head back on the mount I rotated the puck until the spirit level held in the clamp was showing level. Then I rotated the collar until 90 degrees was showing against the arrow, then tightened the Allen key.

Having used the mount for a while now I have to say that I am pleased with it. I can easily get 10 mins guided from it with a 6" Newt, and use it as my portable setup.

Edited by Coastliner

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