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Rowan AZ100 Mount Owners Thread


johninderby
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3 hours ago, Stu said:

As posted on the Postman thread, I’ve finally joined the AZ100 owners club!

Looks fab, handle is a nice addition and they supplied me with a nice little bracket to hold my Nexus II which looks just the job. Velcro supplied to hold the Nexus in place too.

The packaging is great, much improved since the prototype days!

I’ll have to wait a few weeks to use it unfortunately but am really looking forward to it.

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Good news Stu and welcome to the club. 
Ive not bought the handle. Would like to know your thoughts about it. 
Are the tracking motors only a few weeks away from being sent out for tests as I note comments from @johninderby??  

 

John 

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8 hours ago, Stu said:

As posted on the Postman thread, I’ve finally joined the AZ100 owners club!

You lucky devil. Looking forward to “first mount”.  🙂

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As mentioned in the "Postman" thread, I did some experimenting with a standard ADM clamp and milk bottle shims on the "other side" of my mount to see if I could get good Alt & Az alignment in my two solar scopes at the same time as I didn't want to keep making adjustments when switching from WL to Ha viewing.

Whilst I could achieve that with the ADM Clamp, I'm sad to admit that due to the tighter tolerances in the bolt holes on a second Rowan clamp that was delivered yesterday that there is sadly insufficient wiggle room in the bolt holes to get the subject in the centre of the FOV of both telescopes simultaneously and so I've had to dig deep and put in an order for the Rowan Alt-Az adjustment plate :(.

I tried with the Lunt LS60DS and little ZS70 in white light at lunchtime and even with the sun in the centre of the FOV in one scope, it was right at the top of the FOV in the second scope which I found irritating so decided to get the plate as this is supposed to be the One Mount that Rules Them All in my household so I figured that I might as well do it right. 

Strictly speaking, if the sun was centred in the FOV of the ZS70 then one of the fuzzy reflex images was nearly centred in H-a through the Lunt.  However, in H-a only one of the three visible reflex images in the Lunt shows nice sharp detail and as this was right at the top of the FOV, even after using up all of the Alt wiggle room around the bolts, this was a deal breaker so I caved in and purchased the adjustment plate.  

Ideally, I want to be able to use the AZ100 for higher magnification solar observation in WL and H-a with binoviewers on both setups so near perfect alignment will be essential to achieve this.

Hopefully it will arrive before the weekend, though looking at the forecast the day of arrival probably makes little difference as the forecast isn't great.  

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18 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

I've had to dig deep and put in an order for the Rowan Alt-Az adjustment plate :(.

Shame that you have, but as @johninderby says, shows the build quality of the Rowan kit.

Still pondering the AZ100 myself as well as how to make things work for me observing, 
it's a tortuos process!

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42 minutes ago, johninderby said:

Says something about the quality of the Rowan saddles vs the ADM ones. 🤔

Yes it does, darn those "Tight" Rowan engineering tolerances ;)

The ADM Vixen clamps are nice and are definitely a step up from the stock clamps you get, but I have to confess that the engineering of the Rowan clamps raise the bar to another level. 

38 minutes ago, Alan White said:

Shame that you have, but as @johninderby says, shows the build quality of the Rowan kit.

I'm not really complaining as this is supposed to be a lifetime mount for me, but have to confess that my wallet most definitely is protesting somewhat :)

45 minutes ago, Alan White said:

Still pondering the AZ100 myself as well as how to make things work for me observing, 
it's a torturous process

I'm a bit gutted at how little I've been able to use the AZ100 due to the weather and work, life and general exhaustion getting in the way, which is why I haven't really yet posted my full thoughts about it.

However apart from a couple of minor niggles with a small amount of backlash that needs adjusting out on the azimuth axis and the requirement for the adjustment plate to get an object 100% centred in both FOVs of a dual scope setup, which actually needs doing with any dual scope setup, I don't have any real complaints about the AZ100.

When I've been using it, I haven't really missed the lack of tracking and when using the slow-mo controls its so effortless that the mount just seems to disappear in the same way that a well aligned tracking EQ mount does.

The bonus with the AZ100 and Nexus DSC combination is that it operates in absolute silence, I can slew to and locate targets much more quickly than any EQ mount I've ever used and don't wake the neighbours when slewing from one side of the sky to the other and a big plus is that I don't have to faff around with any cables at all.

Whilst I do generally take the time to level the mount and tripod before aligning the Nexus DSC, and use a sprit level to ensure the OTA is vertical at the start of alignment to keep things as accurate as possible, I tried aligning without levelling and just using my eye to point the OTA vertically the other night and targets were still pretty close to the centre of the FOV of my 17.5mm Morpheus, even when using the Altair 102 f/11 which is pretty impressive.

It interfaces with SkySafari perfectly and the catalogues on the Nexus DSC are pretty exhaustive.

Its such a good pairing of the Nexus DSC and AZ100 that I have to keep reminding myself that they are products from two different manufacturers as they work so well together.

Before getting the AZ100, I had just assumed that I would want the GoTo and tracking functionality when its released because I've got used to an EQ GoTo, but having spent a little bit of time with the AZ100, I'm actually not so sure that I will (wallet utters a huge sigh of relief 😀).

Ade

    

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28 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

Before getting the AZ100, I had just assumed that I would want the GoTo and tracking functionality when its released because I've got used to an EQ GoTo, but having spent a little bit of time with the AZ100, I'm actually not so sure that I will (wallet utters a huge sigh of relief 😀).

The enigma is that tracking means motor drives which will bypass the nearperfect manual slow motions. To drive or not to drive, that is the question!🤔

Edited by Stephenstargazer
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9 minutes ago, Stephenstargazer said:

The enigma is that tracking means motor drives which will bypass the nearperfect manual slow motions. To drive or not to drive, that is the question!🤔

I’m not sure that’s the case but might be wrong. I got the feeling you could still manually skew to target then let the tracking pick up from there. We will see…. 🤞🤞

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3 minutes ago, Stu said:

I’m not sure that’s the case but might be wrong. I got the feeling you could still manually skew to target then let the tracking pick up from there. We will see…. 🤞🤞

I think that is the way it will work, the encoders mean the mount always knows where it is. From the prototype pictures, the motor gears fit on the worm shafts where the slo mo controls would have been previously fitted.

So you loose that manual control finesse, not difficult to make longer worm shafts to get around that :)

 

 

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1 hour ago, AdeKing said:

Yes it does, darn those "Tight" Rowan engineering tolerances ;)

The ADM Vixen clamps are nice and are definitely a step up from the stock clamps you get, but I have to confess that the engineering of the Rowan clamps raise the bar to another level. 

I'm not really complaining as this is supposed to be a lifetime mount for me, but have to confess that my wallet most definitely is protesting somewhat :)

I'm a bit gutted at how little I've been able to use the AZ100 due to the weather and work, life and general exhaustion getting in the way, which is why I haven't really yet posted my full thoughts about it.

However apart from a couple of minor niggles with a small amount of backlash that needs adjusting out on the azimuth axis and the requirement for the adjustment plate to get an object 100% centred in both FOVs of a dual scope setup, which actually needs doing with any dual scope setup, I don't have any real complaints about the AZ100.

When I've been using it, I haven't really missed the lack of tracking and when using the slow-mo controls its so effortless that the mount just seems to disappear in the same way that a well aligned tracking EQ mount does.

The bonus with the AZ100 and Nexus DSC combination is that it operates in absolute silence, I can slew to and locate targets much more quickly than any EQ mount I've ever used and don't wake the neighbours when slewing from one side of the sky to the other and a big plus is that I don't have to faff around with any cables at all.

Whilst I do generally take the time to level the mount and tripod before aligning the Nexus DSC, and use a sprit level to ensure the OTA is vertical at the start of alignment to keep things as accurate as possible, I tried aligning without levelling and just using my eye to point the OTA vertically the other night and targets were still pretty close to the centre of the FOV of my 17.5mm Morpheus, even when using the Altair 102 f/11 which is pretty impressive.

It interfaces with SkySafari perfectly and the catalogues on the Nexus DSC are pretty exhaustive.

Its such a good pairing of the Nexus DSC and AZ100 that I have to keep reminding myself that they are products from two different manufacturers as they work so well together.

Before getting the AZ100, I had just assumed that I would want the GoTo and tracking functionality when its released because I've got used to an EQ GoTo, but having spent a little bit of time with the AZ100, I'm actually not so sure that I will (wallet utters a huge sigh of relief 😀).

Ade

    

I agree that the slo mos work really well even at high power and make up for tracking in most instances. I often find that I pan around the surface of the sun or Moon a lot at high power, so it is just as easy to twiddle the slo mos vs using the arrow keys on a controller.

For planetary or doubles for instance I think tracking is more useful as it’s good to keep the object centred.

I’ll be interested to know how you get on with the adjuster plate Ade. I think I mentioned that I found it fiddly with the scopes in place, but perhaps I wasn’t doing it right!

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2 minutes ago, Stu said:

I agree that the slo mos work really well even at high power and make up for tracking in most instances. I often find that I pan around the surface of the sun or Moon a lot at high power, so it is just as easy to twiddle the slo mos vs using the arrow keys on a controller.

For planetary or doubles for instance I think tracking is more useful as it’s good to keep the object centred.

I’ll be interested to know how you get on with the adjuster plate Ade. I think I mentioned that I found it fiddly with the scopes in place, but perhaps I wasn’t doing it right!

I haven't yet spent much time on planetary or doubles as have been too tired to wait for Jupiter and Saturn to clear the rooftops and the weather hasn't been that good of late.

But, I'm interested to see how I get on as well Stu.  I have got very accustomed to having the Vixen GPD2 or iOptron AZ Pro keep things perfectly centred for me without any intervention for hours on end so when I've put in some serious planetary or doubles time with the AZ100 I'll see if I still feel the same way.

You did mention that the adjuster plate was fiddly Stu so I'll let you know how I get on with it.  It should be delivered either tomorrow or Friday as I've received a notification from FLO stating that it has been sent. 

48 minutes ago, Stephenstargazer said:

The enigma is that tracking means motor drives which will bypass the near perfect manual slow motions. To drive or not to drive, that is the question!🤔

True, tracking will also mean batteries and cables. 

However, I have an iOptron AZ Pro that does a pretty good auto orientation just needing the user to centre the selected alignment star in the FOV.  It is low input from the user, has a built in battery and needs minimal setup and user input BUT is not as stable as the AZ100 and doesn't cope that well with my heavier or longer tube Fracs.  

38 minutes ago, Stu said:

I’m not sure that’s the case but might be wrong. I got the feeling you could still manually skew to target then let the tracking pick up from there. We will see…. 🤞🤞

I was also under the impression that you could manually slew and let simple tracking take over so am watching for any news of the up and coming beta testing, though I've heard that the Beta Testers have been asked not to write reviews because it is a product in development which is fair enough.

 

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My new Rowan Alt Az adjustment plate was delivered on Thurs and I fitted it to the second clamp yesterday afternoon.

As @Stu mentioned previously, it was a bit of a fiddle to make the necessary Altitude and Azimuth adjustments with the mount loaded with two OTAs, but I managed to get the top of an electric pylon (located about 1/4 mile away) centred in both FOVs.  Most of the trouble I had was my head telling me to adjust the wrong grub screws and by far too much.

Once I got my head around which screws moved the object in which direction and by how much it was then a fairly quick job and being able to see the object move as you made the adjustment was much easier than my previous approach.

For the record, my previous bodge approach was to remove everything from one side of the mount, add a shim behind the clamp for Az adjustment and repeat until the Az position was about right, then tilt a bit for Alt, tighten everything up, attach the scope, look through the eyepiece to check alignment before dismantling and repeating.

I Performed the alignment with both my longest (102 f/11) and shortest (ZS70 f/5.7) Fracs attached, and used an eyepiece to give reasonably high magnification to get the tubes aligned.

I'm expecting a bit of tweaking when I test it on the stars, but hopefully not too much.

The adjustment plate is brilliantly engineered and makes what is otherwise a laborious job much much simpler.

Ade

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51 minutes ago, AdeKing said:

My new Rowan Alt Az adjustment plate was delivered on Thurs and I fitted it to the second clamp yesterday afternoon.

As @Stu mentioned previously, it was a bit of a fiddle to make the necessary Altitude and Azimuth adjustments with the mount loaded with two OTAs, but I managed to get the top of an electric pylon (located about 1/4 mile away) centred in both FOVs.  Most of the trouble I had was my head telling me to adjust the wrong grub screws and by far too much.

Once I got my head around which screws moved the object in which direction and by how much it was then a fairly quick job and being able to see the object move as you made the adjustment was much easier than my previous approach.

For the record, my previous bodge approach was to remove everything from one side of the mount, add a shim behind the clamp for Az adjustment and repeat until the Az position was about right, then tilt a bit for Alt, tighten everything up, attach the scope, look through the eyepiece to check alignment before dismantling and repeating.

I Performed the alignment with both my longest (102 f/11) and shortest (ZS70 f/5.7) Fracs attached, and used an eyepiece to give reasonably high magnification to get the tubes aligned.

I'm expecting a bit of tweaking when I test it on the stars, but hopefully not too much.

The adjustment plate is brilliantly engineered and makes what is otherwise a laborious job much much simpler.

Ade

Mine arrived Friday. Will try and get it fitted tomorrow.

Steve

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14 hours ago, Steve Clay said:

Mine arrived Friday. Will try and get it fitted tomorrow.

Steve

Just reading these posts has reminded me that I bought one of these plates when I first got the AZ100 and have completely forgotten to fit it… just found it sitting in my box of bits 🤣

As Jupiter and Saturn are higher at more reasonable times now now, would be good to get two scopes on them without fiddling around to re-centre 👍

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A question to the AZ100 fraternity....

Is anyone using mid sized and above Newtonians on them ??

I have recently acquired a nice 10" OTA (Orion Optics) but its too big to use on my regular alt-az mount. Too much mass / size.

Maybe it would be better on the AZ100, (using counterweights) but i get the feeling that these class of mounts are at the limit with an 8" size Newt and anything bigger would be too much.

And its not the actual weight of the scope, more the actual size . And its a 1200mm 'shorter tube' version i have rather than a 1600mm long tube.

I'm guessing any longer tube at that focal length would also have tripod clearance issues as well unless a pier was deployed.

Thanks, Rob.

Edited by Space Hopper
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9 hours ago, Space Hopper said:

A question to the AZ100 fraternity....

Is anyone using mid sized and above Newtonians on them ??

I have recently acquired a nice 10" OTA (Orion Optics) but its too big to use on my regular alt-az mount. Too much mass / size.

Maybe it would be better on the AZ100, (using counterweights) but i get the feeling that these class of mounts are at the limit with an 8" size Newt and anything bigger would be too much.

And its not the actual weight of the scope, more the actual size . And its a 1200mm 'shorter tube' version i have rather than a 1600mm long tube.

I'm guessing any longer tube at that focal length would also have tripod clearance issues as well unless a pier was deployed.

Thanks, Rob.

I used to use a 10 inch Orion Optics F/4.8 newtonian on a Giro / Ercole type alt-azimuth mount and it worked just fine. The AZ100 is a good step up again in terms of solidity from what I was using back then. I'm pretty sure it would work well.

https://stargazerslounge.com/uploads/monthly_06_2011/post-12764-133877625165.jpg

Edited by John
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Two questions:

1) Will I need a counterweight if a scopes around 13 kg. Presume this depends on the tripod used, Berlebach or T-Pod would be ok?
2) Has anyone used wheels on the tripod in combination with an AZ100. Would make life easier for me to wheel the whole setup out from the garage.

Thanks

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Will only need a counterweight if the whole setup is unstable. The mount will be fine with the weight but as you mention the tripod might not be stable enough.

Not seen anyone use a dolly with it but should be fine.

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1 hour ago, Deadlake said:

1) Will I need a counterweight if a scopes around 13 kg. Presume this depends on the tripod used, Berlebach or T-Pod would be ok?

You want to keep the CG of the whole rig well within the footprint of the tripod feet.  I keep my tripod legs well spread apart under my DSV-2B mount to ensure this happens.  That's why I'm not a big fan of tripods legs that don't have variable leg spreaders.

1559275199_DualScopeSetup-1.thumb.jpg.0314dc931a03959f609a545aa266db02.jpg

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4 hours ago, Deadlake said:

Two questions:

1) Will I need a counterweight if a scopes around 13 kg. Presume this depends on the tripod used, Berlebach or T-Pod would be ok?

I should be able to tell you in a week or two :) 

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11 hours ago, Stu said:

I should be able to tell you in a week or two :) 

Thanks. Interested in how you find the tracking of planets as well compared with your GEM. Quicker setup makes getting an AZ100 attractive.

For a TSA120 apparently you need a counterweight for accurate tracking reported on CN site.

Edited by Deadlake
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With a Trchnosky 125 no counterweight needed for accurate tracking so find the CN opinion a bit baffling. I use a planet tripod though.  Derek of Rowan said that a counterweight is only needed when stability of the tripod is an issue.

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3 minutes ago, johninderby said:

With a Trchnosky 125 no counterweight needed for accurate tracking so find the CN opinion a bit baffling. I use a planet tripod though.  Derek of Rowan said that a counterweight is only needed when stability of the tripod is an issue.

Derek was quoted 

“He answered with this: "If the mount is attached to a fixed pier or substantial tripod, then 9.5Kg is just about OK.
Limitation is more to do with the offset weight tilting the tripod head and also risk of falling over, mechanically the AZ100 will manage the offset load.


For best performance and pointing accuracy, a counterweight is recommended."

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