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Martthebass

AZ-EQ5 the wise choice?

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After a long lay off from observing due to aggressive light pollution a house move to a better site has encouraged me to get back into the fray.  Previously I was visual only as time was at a premium and I didn’t think I could give it the time required to look into AP. To that end I managed, as a first step to pick up a nice WO 81GT and the next step is to acquire a suitable mount.

I'd pretty much decided to go with the HEQ5 pro mount with the Rowan belt upgrade, I had considered the very pretty iOptron alternatives but the mixed views on these put me off a bit (the QC mainly).  As I expect to have some bother with set up, etc I've decided to buy new, probably from RVO as it’s local. The thing is I find myself thinking that, whilst a bit more expensive, the AZ-EQ5 might be a bit more useful?  I'm coming around to thinking that I may well do some visual as well as AP (especially in the frustrating moments) and I may add a second larger Mak/SCT or ED scope to do this and I know from experience that playing with Alt-Az is easier than EQ for visual.  If anyone has gone through the same thought process and come to a decision I’d appreciate any comments.  Sorry if this topic has been covered before please feel free to direct me to a suitable thread should that be the case.

Edited August 15 by Helen 
change font colour to white for easier reading (see edit history)

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I bought my AZ-EQ5 as I wanted something simple to set up for planetary observing. Simply using solar system align is good enough for observing the moon or Jupiter etc. without having to do a proper alignment. 

For more serious observing then doing a proper align is needed but easy in ALT AZ mode. For AP then set up in EQ mode. It’s the flexability of the mount that I like the most. You can use it in the way you want to.

BTW please use white text in your post. Much easier to read than the colour you have used.

EDIT

Mine has no slop in the AZ axis in AZ mode. Fine for high power planetary use. It is however harder to reach the AZ clutch to tighten it up properly when setup in ALt Az mode which can lead to it not being properly tightened. Use both hands and no problem. I also have my suspicions that the older mounts seem may have been  harder to tighten the clutch properly. 

1D7249F9-FB4D-4F49-8E00-203AD533D326.jpeg

Edited by johninderby
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I got an AZ-EQ5 on the back of the exact same thought process. Unfortunately, I find performance in AZ is frustrating. It works, but there’s quite a lot of slop in the AZ axis that can’t be tweaked out. It’s OK for low power, but it’s irritating trying to focus at high power when the object disappears out of the FoV with the slightest touch. If you search in these forums you’ll see it’s a fairly common - although variable - feature of the design. This is much less of a problem in EQ mode because it’s possible to unbalance a little in RA to neutralise the problem and minimise the sensitivity to touch induced wobble. So in practical terms I use it almost exclusively in EQ mode. It’s really easy to do a polar alignment that’s sufficient for visual use with the new sky watcher polar alignment scope and the polar clock from the SynScan app- it takes no more than 5mins. There are still some advantages over the HEQ5- ability to use USB natively to control the mount, belt drive etc, but the Alt-Az mode isn’t one of them in my view.

Edited by catburglar
Corrected typos
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I did find this with my AZ-GT5 too, when used in AZ mode with two scopes side by side, at high power there was enough slack to be frustrating. I mainly used it for solar white light and Ha observing. It's a nice mount apart from that.

I did like the pillar tripod it used to be supplied with.

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It’s early days for me with my newly acquired AZ-EQ5. I can feel a little backlash, about equal in both axes, and that does mean a touch of horizontal slop in AZ mode. Last night was my proper first light in AZ mode where I wanted to compare my ‘old’ SkyMax 150 Pro with a friends much newer one. We set up the two scopes in parallel and I was happy that the views through my one were no better and no worse that through his (using matched pairs of eyepieces). I did a quick levelling of the pillar top before attaching the head and carrying out a two star alignment. After that we toured the sky with a 20mm Maxvision 68° eyepiece in my scope and a 4.7mm 82° in his. We were amazed how well the two scopes were aligned naturally on their standard dovetails in pucks which have differential adjustment only in the Alt direction. But the AZ backlash didn’t bother us and the GoTos were spot on, often in the centre of the 4.7mm I.e. at ~380x.

My major application of the mount will be AP in EQ mode, when a little unbalance should bias the backlash, but it was great using AZ mode - and a touch of backlash in the AZ axis in visual use didn’t worry me as a long term Dob nudger. I shall be reading up on everyone’s experience in attempting to minimise backlash in both axes on the AZ-EQ5, but last night’s experience was great and may have sold another AZ-EQ5 to my friend.

975D54B2-E4AD-4B6A-8379-28AC86C3B198.jpeg

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11 minutes ago, johninderby said:

When I first looked at the photo I thought WOW, what a pair of binoculars. 😁

 

My friend and I are still scratching our heads for ways of making it possible for one observer to use both scopes...

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Well the AZ-EQ5 mount is incoming next week so no doubt a few days of broken nails, gnashing of teeth and pulling out of hair to follow.....

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Easy to start in Az mode first. You need to download the full synscan manual as the booklet than comes with the scope is pretty useless and gives virtually no detail on using synscan.

https://inter-static.skywatcher.com/downloads/Synscan_V4_Hand_Control_Manual_SSHCV4-F-161208V1-EN.pdf

Edited by johninderby
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On 14/08/2019 at 20:29, Martthebass said:

After a long lay off from observing due to aggressive light pollution a house move to a better site has encouraged me to get back into the fray.  Previously I was visual only as time was at a premium and I didn’t think I could give it the time required to look into AP. To that end I managed, as a first step to pick up a nice WO 81GT and the next step is to acquire a suitable mount.

I'd pretty much decided to go with the HEQ5 pro mount with the Rowan belt upgrade, I had considered the very pretty iOptron alternatives but the mixed views on these put me off a bit (the QC mainly).  As I expect to have some bother with set up, etc I've decided to buy new, probably from RVO as it’s local. The thing is I find myself thinking that, whilst a bit more expensive, the AZ-EQ5 might be a bit more useful?  I'm coming around to thinking that I may well do some visual as well as AP (especially in the frustrating moments) and I may add a second larger Mak/SCT or ED scope to do this and I know from experience that playing with Alt-Az is easier than EQ for visual.  If anyone has gone through the same thought process and come to a decision I’d appreciate any comments.  Sorry if this topic has been covered before please feel free to direct me to a suitable thread should that be the case.

I am also planning to get a portable mount on which my to mount my ES 127 Refractor (currently mounted piggyback on my 14in Newtonian) after my long awaited Esprit 150 arrives, and was also thinking about the Skywatcher HEQ5 (possibly with the Rowan Belt modification) from RVO (also my local supplier), but had also thought of the AZ-EQ5.

However I don't think that in practice I am likely to make much (if any) use of the altazimuth facility, and get the impression that there are more likely to be problems  with the AZ-EQ5, and that it is more awkward to set up.

John

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On ‎06‎/‎09‎/‎2019 at 16:21, johnturley said:

I am also planning to get a portable mount on which my to mount my ES 127 Refractor (currently mounted piggyback on my 14in Newtonian) after my long awaited Esprit 150 arrives, and was also thinking about the Skywatcher HEQ5 (possibly with the Rowan Belt modification) from RVO (also my local supplier), but had also thought of the AZ-EQ5.

However I don't think that in practice I am likely to make much (if any) use of the altazimuth facility, and get the impression that there are more likely to be problems  with the AZ-EQ5, and that it is more awkward to set up.

John

If you are only rarely going to do any visual obs then I'm inclined to agree with you that there's no point in going for the AZ-EQ variant - for a start why spend the extra cash?  I didn't see/hear any comments that using the mount in the EQ mode was an issue or that it performed less well than the HEQ5 but I would be interested to see info on that if it's available.  I looked at a couple of the set up vids on Youtube and the set of the AZ-EQ looked quite straight forward though I may be proved wrong and develop a case of Tourettes on the first couple of uses. 

Initially I was discounting doing any visual stuff but decided to keep my options open - plus I know how much I hate doing visual obs with an EQ mount (especially without encoders).

Cheers,  Mart  

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On 14/08/2019 at 20:29, Martthebass said:

After a long lay off from observing due to aggressive light pollution a house move to a better site has encouraged me to get back into the fray.  Previously I was visual only as time was at a premium and I didn’t think I could give it the time required to look into AP. To that end I managed, as a first step to pick up a nice WO 81GT and the next step is to acquire a suitable mount.

I'd pretty much decided to go with the HEQ5 pro mount with the Rowan belt upgrade, I had considered the very pretty iOptron alternatives but the mixed views on these put me off a bit (the QC mainly).  As I expect to have some bother with set up, etc I've decided to buy new, probably from RVO as it’s local. The thing is I find myself thinking that, whilst a bit more expensive, the AZ-EQ5 might be a bit more useful?  I'm coming around to thinking that I may well do some visual as well as AP (especially in the frustrating moments) and I may add a second larger Mak/SCT or ED scope to do this and I know from experience that playing with Alt-Az is easier than EQ for visual.  If anyone has gone through the same thought process and come to a decision I’d appreciate any comments.  Sorry if this topic has been covered before please feel free to direct me to a suitable thread should that be the case.

Actually I think the smart money is still on the HEQ5pro its a known performer. 

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25 minutes ago, Martthebass said:

If you are only rarely going to do any visual obs then I'm inclined to agree with you that there's no point in going for the AZ-EQ variant - for a start why spend the extra cash?  I didn't see/hear any comments that using the mount in the EQ mode was an issue or that it performed less well than the HEQ5 but I would be interested to see info on that if it's available.  I looked at a couple of the set up vids on Youtube and the set of the AZ-EQ looked quite straight forward though I may be proved wrong and develop a case of Tourettes on the first couple of uses. 

Initially I was discounting doing any visual stuff but decided to keep my options open - plus I know how much I hate doing visual obs with an EQ mount (especially without encoders).

Cheers,  Mart  

I would actually be doing mainly visual with the ES 127 on the new mount, I wanted it as a quick grab and go scope which I can move around the garden, and occasionally transport to different sites, when the view from my observatory shed is obscured by trees on neighbouring properties, which unfortunately have grown so much in recent years. I would though want to use the scope in driven mode to track the moon and planets, I didn't know whether the AZ-EQ5 can track objects in altazimuth mode same as the Celestron CPC does.

Many years ago I used to have a 10 in Newtonian on a Fullerscopes Mk3 equatorial mount, provided that the polar axis was set at the correct angle, and was pointed roughly in the direction of Polaris, then this was sufficient to keep an object in the field of view for several minutes at medium magnifications. The mount had a manual slow motion in declination but not in right ascension.  

John 

Edited by johnturley

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Had an HEQ5 but got rid of it as my interest was mainly visual. The AZ-EQ5 just suits my needs better. For quck looks in Az mode at Jupiter or the moon don’t bother with a proper align. Just use solar system align. 

And yes tracks in Az mode as well as the CPC but having encoders you can also release the clutches and manually move the scope to a new target without losing alignment. 

Edited by johninderby
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7 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Had an HEQ5 but got rid of it as my interest was mainly visual. The AZ-EQ5 just suits my needs better. For quck looks in Az mode at Jupiter or the moon don’t bother with a proper align. Just use solar system align. 

And yes tracks in Az mode as well as the CPC. 

Hi John

Thanks for your reply

I take it that for quick grab and go then you recommend the AZ-EQ5 in preference to the HEQ5, I assume that there is no significant weight difference between the two versions. 

John 

Edited by johnturley

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If you only want an EQ mount then the HEQ5 is a cheaper alternative but for quick setup for visual the AZ-EQ5 is just so much easier to set up in Az mode. Don’t do an alignment and point the scope at say Jupiter and choose solar system align and that’s it you’re observing.

Being able to just pick up the mount and move to a different part of the garden and being able to be back observing without having to do a full align is so convieient..

Edited by johninderby
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12 minutes ago, johninderby said:

If you only want an EQ mount then the HEQ5 is a cheaper alternative but for quick setup for visual the AZ-EQ5 is just so much easier to set up in Az mode. Don’t do an alignment and point the scope at say Jupiter and choose solar system align and that’s it you’re observing.

Being able to just pick up the mount and move to a different part of the garden and being able to be back observing without having to do a full align is so convieient..

Hi again John

Thanks for your reply, it sounds like for what I want the AZ-EQ5 would be the better choice, I take it that you didn't bother with the Rowen Belt modification, I'm not sure whether its available with the AZ-EQ5 anyway.

John 

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26 minutes ago, johninderby said:

The AZ-EQ5 has factory installed belt drive. 👍🏻

That's good, if you add on the cost of the belt modification this reduces the price gap between the two mounts to less than £100.

John 

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On 06/09/2019 at 15:33, Martthebass said:

Well the AZ-EQ5 mount is incoming next week so no doubt a few days of broken nails, gnashing of teeth and pulling out of hair to follow.....

Mart

Hope you mount arrives ok this week, do let me know how you get on with it, send me a PM if its easier.

Having read Johninderby's comments, I am now increasingly thinking of getting the AZ-EQ5, like you from my local supplier Rother Valley Optics, especially as it is already belt driven. Ideally I would liked to have a look at both versions before making my mind up, but as I expect you are aware, they don't have either version in stock or on display, did you have to wait long for yours.

Cheers

John

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Hi,

I'm also thinking of buying the AZ EQ5 mainly for deep sky images with autoguiding.  Any other experiences with it?  Thank you!

I also heard it was to be discontinued by Skywatcher.  Is it true?

Cheers

Edited by sylvestre

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I recently bought my AZ-EQ5 second-hand technically still under two year guarantee. I found a touch of backlash on both axes - about equal on each. Rather than ask the dealer to honour the guarantee and argue about whether the level of backlash was abnormal, I had a successful go at making adjustments myself. Not difficult, but not for the faint hearted. Obviously a new mount bought from a reputable dealer like our sponsor, shouldn’t have significant backlash, but I sometimes question the factory quality control. For instance, the printed tape sticker which shows the latitude angle for the Alt adjustment, is about 5° out!

On your second point the Delux pier style tripod has definitely been withdrawn from the market, but whether that signals the demise of the whole mount I don’t know. I feel lucky to have bought my AZ-EQ5 with the pier style tripod, admittedly already fitted with a pillar extension to bring it to a very useful height. And I am very happy with the wide range of adjustment on the Az axis (around +/- 25°) and the simple single spring loaded lever adjustment on the Alt axis (very effective and no risk of bending adjustment bolts).

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That old tripod / pillar only came with the very earliest mounts and was replaced by the regular tripod a long time ago. Nothing to do with discontinuing the mount. More to do with keeping the price down I think.

Edited by johninderby

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On 14/08/2019 at 20:54, johninderby said:

BTW please use white text in your post. Much easier to read than the colour you have used.

Actually it is best to paste in as plain text as white text causes problems on the white theme. Have corrected this now on the original post.

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