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baggywrinkle

Skywatcher AZ-GTi WiFi

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Posted (edited)

Skywatcher AZ-GTi mount

I recently bought one of these as a simpler alternative to my normal outreach set up and as a potential grab and go setup to take on holidays.

It has had good reviews and that was another reason for buying.

The other night with a full Moon preventing too much work with the big telescope I gave it a test run and I was very impressed.

Having previously read through the totally inadequate manual, downloaded the free Synscan Pro software to my android phone and watched the YouTube video I felt I was ready for the great outdoors and a live test.

The mount can also be operated with a Skywatcher standard Synscan handset which is a nice touch if you run your mobile/tablet down….or forget it.

BTW the You Tube video (Astronomy & Nature) is excellent and fills it the holes the manual does not.

The manual says the payload is 5Kg. My Altair Astro 102 mm Starwave weighs in at over 5.5Kg with a camera attached. Throughout my test this did not seem to worry the performance. This was all mounted on a Skywatcher Star Adventurer tripod with the extender.

The SW SA mount deserves its own review, I have found mine stable even though lightweight.

With a full Moon and scudding clouds, I decided on a one-star alignment. I levelled the OTA and pointed it north turned on the power and then linked the android software with the mounts own built in WIFI. It all linked up seamlessly even though there was a message ‘ WIFI might not be available’, I ignored this.

As it was night the software defaulted to red light. It is easy to use, though confusingly the Solar System object selection is found under the Stars tab. I chose Sirius as my one star.

Another criticism on the software was that I had previously downloaded it to my mobile from the Skywatcher web site and then had to make another massive download for updates to the software as it would not initially link up to the mount wifi. This was when I was indoors and familiarising myself with the set up.

Why cannot Skywatcher just get the right package up on their website?

The AZ-GTi takes its time date and position from your mobile or tablet, it then slews to the chosen target and tells you when it thinks it is pointing at the target. You then use the directional keys to centre it and press enter. Even with an excess of load the motors did not sound as though they were straining. A slight criticism here was that when hitting the down movement key I would often somehow hit the home button on my phone. Recovering from that was not a problem though.

The initial alignment was quite good and once centred I sent it to look for the Moon which it duly did and landed the Moon in the centre of my live view screen.

I then left it tracking for 10 minutes on its own to see how good it was. It was very good, the Moon was just off centre when I came back.

Next, I keyed in M45 and away it when and was only just off centre, which I thought remarkable for a single star alignment. I also tried Alcor & Mizar with the same result.

Had there been less cloud I might have tried a two-star alignment to get better accuracy.

As this was being used only in AZ mode I would not try longer then 20 secs for deep sky, but it will be perfect for late cycle Lunar shots when the Moon is too low for study from my observatory. There is an option in the software to mount and use the AZ-GTi in an equatorial mode.

I was concerned that the weight of the OTA & camera might overburden the AZ GTi and the SW SA mount and when focusing the wobble would not die down. I need not have been worried, the wobble damped out very quickly. I thought this was a good set up, it also folds down very nicely and would pack easily into a back pack or suitcase for flying. The AZ GTi is 1.3Kg and the SW SA mount with the extension weights 2.75Kg.

There is a selection in the menu to allow you to use the AZ GTi for solar observing which is quite useful. I have not tried that yet. Skywatcher have made that menu accessible only after answering a simple mathematical question which should ensure you could not accidently engage it and inadvertently point your scope and damage your eyes.

You can power from a power pack but on this occasion, I used 8xAA batteries.

What I liked: A compact grab and go mount with a decent payload capacity, the WIFI worked seamlessly.

What I did not like: Lack of documentation. This could be a more serious problem for a beginner or less experienced person.

Conclusion: A very nice travel mount with some very powerful tools in the software. I still love my Star Adventurer but that is more for photography than for a night under the stars doing visual.

 

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Edited by baggywrinkle
Correction of text
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An excellent and informative writeup.

I have one of these mounts and love it. I use it on an EQ5 tripod with a Berlebach adapter. Solid as a rock.

I tried the tripod and extender you have, but do not trust it so it lives in the garage.

I have driven mine using the SynScanPro app on Windows, Android and IOS. All versions work well.

I also have a SynScan handset and that works well to. The handset gives you some options that the Wireless app does not e.g. search by SAO reference.

 

Tony

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Don't forget it can be used in EQ mode (beta firmware on SW website) as well !

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Great report baggywrinkle!

How noisey is the AZ GTi?

If neighbors had their windows open at night in the summer, do you think they would here it?

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Yes, great little mount but my main objection to the OS app is the white keyboard that pops up for typing in your GoTo target is very bright thus spoiling your dark vision!

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Good review. And as a owner of that same mount I see you noticed some of the same things that I did.

There are however two points I think I'll mention:

1. The EQ download and the wedge poses problems for those who have a fixed dovetail mounting. Such as the Mak 127 that is often sold as a package with this mount. You must mount your telescope the 'wrong way round' in EQ mode, which leaves the finderscope at the bottom of the scope. Very awkward position. 

2. I too on occasion pressed the wrong button on my app. Especialy when making adjustments. You cannot feel the buttons on your app, and will have to divert your eyes away from the eyepiece whenever you want to make an adjustment. Then back to the eyepiece. Rinse and repeat. Much easier with a handset that you can feel with your fingers. 

I downloaded the app from Appstore and did not encounter the problems you describe. I was pretty much 'plug and play' for me and found it intuitively easy to navigate in the menus. Something I am struggling with, with my handset. :)

 

George

 

 

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18 minutes ago, jonoschen said:

Great report baggywrinkle!

How noisey is the AZ GTi?

If neighbors had their windows open at night in the summer, do you think they would here it?

Probably. But only when you slew at max speed. I suppose that goes for all mounts.

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10 minutes ago, George Gearless said:

Probably. But only when you slew at max speed. I suppose that goes for all mounts.

Thanks George.

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14 hours ago, jonoschen said:

Great report baggywrinkle!

How noisey is the AZ GTi?

If neighbors had their windows open at night in the summer, do you think they would here it?

I thought it quite quiet, a whir rather than the sound of a tank track. Certainly quieter than my LX850!

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15 hours ago, Star Struck said:

An excellent and informative writeup.

I have one of these mounts and love it. I use it on an EQ5 tripod with a Berlebach adapter. Solid as a rock.

I tried the tripod and extender you have, but do not trust it so it lives in the garage.

I have driven mine using the SynScanPro app on Windows, Android and IOS. All versions work well.

I also have a SynScan handset and that works well to. The handset gives you some options that the Wireless app does not e.g. search by SAO reference.

 

Tony

I bought the SW SA tripod to use with my Star Adventurer mount and thought it might have big vibration/wobble issues.  With the Star Adventurer I am generally using my Canon or Sony cameras for widefield and I have also used it with a Coronado 60mm Solar scope as well as a 70mm Altair Starwave refractor I have not had any big issues with regards vibration. I can say the same with the AZ GTi on the SA tripod and a much heavier tube on Wednesday night.

If the Star Adventurer tripod is used with the EP holder plate fully clipped in position it is reasonably stiff. I bought is for grab and go and have taken it to New Zealand because of the light weight

I can appreciate the EQ5 and Berlebach adapter you are using would be incredibly solid.

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16 hours ago, Star Struck said:

An excellent and informative writeup.

I have one of these mounts and love it. I use it on an EQ5 tripod with a Berlebach adapter. Solid as a rock.

I tried the tripod and extender you have, but do not trust it so it lives in the garage.

I have driven mine using the SynScanPro app on Windows, Android and IOS. All versions work well.

I also have a SynScan handset and that works well to. The handset gives you some options that the Wireless app does not e.g. search by SAO reference.

 

Tony

I also use a v4 handset with my AZGTi and like the extended catalog available. The app has a very limited selection that is too restricted for my liking.

The handset is also much more tactile and easy to use wearing gloves.

I just stuck velcro on the back of the handset and wrapped some more around the legs of the tripod so it is easily docked when I need my hands free.

If you want to beef it up further then I would refer you to the stronger skywatcher tripod that is available, it’s a lot stronger that the standard and still very lightweight too.

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/alt-azimuth/sky-watcher-38-stainless-steel-tripod.html

i also refer you to the new ADM saddle upgrade which is also a big improvement on the standard version

But it’s a great little mount and made to travel with.

Alan

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Posted (edited)

does anyone know if AZ-GTi works with a v3 handset?

 

PS: great review! I also like my GTi 

Edited by fireballxl5
added PS

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14 minutes ago, fireballxl5 said:

does anyone know if AZ-GTi works with a v3 handset?

 

PS: great review! I also like my GTi 

Yes, I have a v3 handset which came with a SW AZ Goto mount. It supports the AZ and eq modes :)

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Great mount! I've just done the clamp upgrade too. In my case it was a little fiddly getting the screws aligned correctly but is all sorted now.

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I've just ordered an eq5 tripod adaptor for my az-gti.

I will be getting the saddle upgrade next.?

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On 21/03/2019 at 15:04, Star Struck said:

An excellent and informative writeup.

I have one of these mounts and love it. I use it on an EQ5 tripod with a Berlebach adapter. Solid as a rock.

I tried the tripod and extender you have, but do not trust it so it lives in the garage.

I have driven mine using the SynScanPro app on Windows, Android and IOS. All versions work well.

I also have a SynScan handset and that works well to. The handset gives you some options that the Wireless app does not e.g. search by SAO reference.

 

Tony

Just ordered the same adaptor. 

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Another thumbs up for the adm clamp upgrade ?

3345EC64-BBF3-4B94-B44C-1C4A0C0D8973.jpeg

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On ‎22‎/‎03‎/‎2019 at 21:36, adyj1 said:

Yes, I have a v3 handset which came with a SW AZ Goto mount. It supports the AZ and eq modes :)

I managed to get around to trying this but I need an adaptor. Which/how do you connect from the D-type plug on the handset to the GTi?

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2 hours ago, fireballxl5 said:

I managed to get around to trying this but I need an adaptor. Which/how do you connect from the D-type plug on the handset to the GTi?

Luckily for me, the AZ Goto handset had the correct connector. It looks like you may have to wire up a converter... 

Here are the pinouts the AZ-Gti is expecting:Screenshot_20190515-152716__01.jpg.2e669bfd502b97e796ed271fe9c98493.jpg

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