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Sky-Watcher SolarQuest - New Solar Tracking / GoTo Mount


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Sky-Watcher have announced the new SolarQuest Solar Tracking and GoTo mount. The mount features 4x photodiodes, in-built GPS and a 3-axis accelerometer and is able to level itself, find the date,

The scope is filtered - it's a dedicated 70mm white light solar telescope from Sky-Watcher that we hope might make it's way to the UK at some point. Our product page already had a warning message

The telescope in the videos is a Sky-Watcher 70mm white light solar telescope so no eyeballs were harmed in the making of that video

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36 minutes ago, BinocularSky said:

Coronado PST 40 (and probably many others)

Yes, specs on the FLO website state that the Lunt L60THa/B1200CPT is 3.1kg without dovetail or eyepiece.

Interesting mount, though I can't justify it for the amount of use I'd get out of it.

Ade

 

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1 minute ago, AdeKing said:

Yes, specs on the FLO website state that the Lunt L60THa/B1200CPT is 3.1kg without dovetail or eyepiece.

Interesting mount, though I can't justify it for the amount of use I'd get out of it.

Ade

 

That's exactly the scope I intend to stick on one of these mounts - for me, the quick setup should really help maximise the clear sky time I get during the day.

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I got my grubby paws on one today and well... it just works!

Unboxed and setup within a couple of minutes - turned it on and it levels itself and then after a short pause (while it gets a GPS fix) off it goes! Sun bang in the field of view on my Lunt 60.

Clouds stopped play unfortunately but it did seem to track well for the 5-10 minutes of use I got.

One nice addition - it comes with a battery pack to take AA batteries but also a connector and alternative battery case cover which has a 12v center positive DC socket on it - so I used it with a Celestron Lithium Powertank and it worked a treat! Much better than buying AA batteries :D

Looking forwards to playing around with it some more - the supplied tripod is much better than I expected helped by the round legs and twist lock mechanism and the tripod extension tube is a great addition.

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4 hours ago, Grant said:

I got my grubby paws on one today and well... it just works!

Unboxed and setup within a couple of minutes - turned it on and it levels itself and then after a short pause (while it gets a GPS fix) off it goes! Sun bang in the field of view on my Lunt 60.

Clouds stopped play unfortunately but it did seem to track well for the 5-10 minutes of use I got.

One nice addition - it comes with a battery pack to take AA batteries but also a connector and alternative battery case cover which has a 12v center positive DC socket on it - so I used it with a Celestron Lithium Powertank and it worked a treat! Much better than buying AA batteries :D

Looking forwards to playing around with it some more - the supplied tripod is much better than I expected helped by the round legs and twist lock mechanism and the tripod extension tube is a great addition.

That reminds me of my old Nexstar 8 GPS - auto level, north, time and date  made alignment soooo easy.  This package is rather more portable though ?

Helen

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The SolarQuest proved its worth today - a gao between banks of clouds - setup and aligned within a couple of minutes and a nice five minutes of prom viewing before the clouds rolled back in - previously by the time I was setup and aligned I would’ve missed the gap.

The mount holds a Lunt 60 (pressure tuned) and a Hyperion Zoom eyepiece perfectly. Tuning caused a bit of a wobble but as anybody with a pressure tuner knee - that’s the case on most mounts due to the torque required on a pressure tuner - seriously considering a compressed air mod!

I did try it on an L bracket to make the pressure tuner and focuser position a bit easier but this was to much for the mount and caused it to slip against the gear due to imbalance - I’m hoping a counterweight kit on the l bracket may sort this.

Lookkng forwards to some clear skies and doing some imaging - particularly some time lapse animations.

Setup picture below - excuse the mess of kids toys!

7913BE8B-FA91-4DF7-B963-92D8A5FAAE5B.thumb.jpeg.75ab6b91945e302ae69292346fc083ba.jpeg

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How smooth is the tracking on SolarQuest? I find that with my AzGti there's a constant jitter in the tracking as the movement jumps appear discernible (vs. e.g. Star Discovery mount tracking) even at the lowish powers used for solar observing.

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6 minutes ago, Apharov said:

How smooth is the tracking on SolarQuest? I find that with my AzGti there's a constant jitter in the tracking as the movement jumps appear discernible (vs. e.g. Star Discovery mount tracking) even at the lowish powers used for solar observing.

It's hard to judge because it's quite windy here today so I'm getting some little jitters as a result of the wind - that being said, the movement is very slight and it does seem to be tracking nicely frame to frame.

Will pay more attention on a non-windy day :)

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  • 2 months later...

@FLO is there any indication whether or not Skywatcher will offer this as a mount only version as has been done for the AZ Gti?

I'm interested in the mount but already have far more tripods and pier extensions than I need so would be interested in the mount only.

Many thanks,

Ade

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On 23/07/2018 at 16:32, AdeKing said:

@FLO is there any indication whether or not Skywatcher will offer this as a mount only version as has been done for the AZ Gti?

Apologies for the delayed response. We asked. They said "no immediate plans". Which to me sounds like a 'maybe'. 

Sorry weren't more specific. 

Steve 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 14/05/2018 at 12:58, Grant said:

It's hard to judge because it's quite windy here today so I'm getting some little jitters as a result of the wind - that being said, the movement is very slight and it does seem to be tracking nicely frame to frame.

Will pay more attention on a non-windy day :)

@Grant have you had much use of the SolarQuest mount over the last couple of months?

Is there any chance of an update on how it performs now you've had it a while?

I'm really keen on one to pair with my ZS66 WL setup but there dosent seem to be much user feedback out there and having seen two come up in quick succession on ABS stating they'd only been used a couple of times I'm keen to learn more.

Ade

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3 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

@Grant have you had much use of the SolarQuest mount over the last couple of months?

Is there any chance of an update on how it performs now you've had it a while?

I'm really keen on one to pair with my ZS66 WL setup but there dosent seem to be much user feedback out there and having seen two come up in quick succession on ABS stating they'd only been used a couple of times I'm keen to learn more.

Ade

Put it this way, mine isn't going anywhere and I am contemplating a second for a white light setup with the Sky-Watcher 72ED and Lunt wedge :D

I don't have a lot to say about it really though because it just works, no nonsense, no hassle it does one thing - Solar tracking and it does it extremely well.

I've done a number of public outreach events now and the biggest issue is always kids yanking on the eyepiece. Now, I just turn the mount on and off and 30 seconds or so later, it's up and aligned / tracking again - much simpler.

I've used it now on the standard supplied tripod and the new Sky-Watcher stainless steel one (https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/sky-watcher-38-stainless-steel-tripod.html). I found the standard one perfectly fine as long as you didn't have it extended by much but, the stainless steel one is rock solid and well worth the investment.

I place a lot of value on things that 'just work' - I don't have the time or inclination to be fettling with things, tweaking them, wandering why something works one day and not the other - I have enough 'projects' to keep me busy already! The SolarQuest mount truly fits that for me, it just works, reliably and consistently.

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image.thumb.png.3600378d3ad074061e90541aaff8fd9d.png

At a fete recently. SolarQuest with Lunt 60 at the back on standard tripod. 72ED white light setup at front on an AZ GTI with the stainless steel tripod.

The AZ GTI in comparison, was a pain because I had to keep connecting to the wifi using my phone, it didn't track particularly well (probably due to poor alignment) and every time a kid knocked it, we had to re-align etc..

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Thanks for responding @Grant that is just what I wanted to hear ☺.

I've been using the AZ Gti for solar and it has been a bit of a pain with outreach/friends for the reasons you state above.  

Mine doesn't track perfectly in solar mode but that's my fault as being visual only I'm never particularly fastidious with my alignment and am happy if it stays in the FOV for 10 mins or so.

I'm glad it just does what it says on the tin as I'm also of the school of thought that wants something to just work out of the box without fettling, so I'm glad to hear that it delivers the goods.

Thanks for answering, 

Ade

 

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Apologies if I've missed seeing the answer to this if it has already been mentioned,  but rather than break my own Solarquest ...  has anyone switched one 'on' to see what happens if the Sun is below the horizon ...  a long way below the horizon ...  as in, at night?

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1 hour ago, BlabyStarGazer said:

Apologies if I've missed seeing the answer to this if it has already been mentioned,  but rather than break my own Solarquest ...  has anyone switched one 'on' to see what happens if the Sun is below the horizon ...  a long way below the horizon ...  as in, at night?

No, like you I haven't switched mine on after dark. 

I'm guessing that there are probably altitude limits programmed.   You can program limits in manually on the AZ Gti and other synscan mounts, but I suspect that there is a factory set limit on the SolarQuest.

 

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