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Scopetech Zero - stiff Alt axis


jadcx
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Overall I'm loving my new Scopetech Zero - however I can't get past the Alt axis being much tighter than the Az.  If I loosen the Az clutch then the mount turns very freely, and I can adjust the clutch to be reassuringly present while still allowing for slo-mo control.  All as I expected.  The slo-mo controls on both axis seem to be similarly set, if slightly tight, but I also don't have anything to compare this to and doesn't seem to cause any problems.  But the Alt axis is altogether stiffer.  With the clutch fully disengaged it still takes noticeable force to move.    Any guidance on how I can adjust this?

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You might want to check out the post on this ScopeTech Zero thread, @Stu details a small adjustment he made to the Az axis, which was stiffer for slow motion control. I had the same issue on my Az axis and resolved by doing this too.

However, please note, I did have a major issue with my Alt axis on the first mount I received, which may have been a manufacturing issue, where I experienced extreme tightness on the axis and eventually it seized solid. Now there is a warning on the translation page supplied with the manual, which does indicated not loosening the axis with a heavy load onboard. As a result I now keep my Alt axis just beyond finger tight at all times, which seems to provide smooth movement still when using free movement as well as allowing the slow motion controls to work perfectly too. It also means I can't inadvertently swap my scopes whilst the axis is loose (I do check always anyway). Basically if it starts to really get stiff... don't force it, follow the instructions supplied, unload the clamp and let is settle back into place first.

One additional point of note, these are very sensitive to balance in Alt, so check that your scope is moved fore/aft in the clamp and confirm that you can move it up/down in Alt with the slow motion controls with equal ease in both directions. Easy way to tell is if you can move one way easily and the other seems to be struggling, you have balance issue. As a result of this, I usually use eyepieces that are similar (ish) in weight only on my heavy StellaMira refractor (6.5kg), so I don't have to re-adjust each time. My Pentax WX 40mm does required and adjustment, but I can live with that.

There's also more information on this mount here too, including my mini review and description of the issue I had with the first one:

Hope this helps

Gary

Edited by HollyHound
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Thanks Gary (@HollyHound), I've read through those threads and noted the slo-mo adjustment, but wasn't sure this would help with my situation.  As it turns out, while it does still feel a little stiff, it's noticeable with the FS-60CB (because it's so tiny and light I assume) and much less noticeable when I use the FS-76Q configuration.  I'm as sure as I can be that this is not the alt axis / heavy loading problem, so I think I'm going to leave it alone for now.  I still love this little mount!

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3 minutes ago, jadcx said:

As it turns out, while it does still feel a little stiff, it's noticeable with the FS-60CB (because it's so tiny and light I assume) and much less noticeable when I use the FS-76Q configuration

That could indeed be it, I do find the free movement is a bit easier when using the long StellaMira refractor than when using the C5, probably due to the increased moment arm. Good luck with it, I love mine and use it more than any other mount now, even managed to zip out quickly last night and sneak a quick peek at Mars between the clouds... first time ever 😀

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3 minutes ago, HollyHound said:

That could indeed be it, I do find the free movement is a bit easier when using the long StellaMira refractor than when using the C5, probably due to the increased moment arm. Good luck with it, I love mine and use it more than any other mount now, even managed to zip out quickly last night and sneak a quick peek at Mars between the clouds... first time ever 😀

I'm very jealous that you got a break in the clouds - I was poised for hours but it was not to be 🙄

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1 minute ago, jadcx said:

I'm very jealous that you got a break in the clouds - I was poised for hours but it was not to be 🙄

It was very brief and would not have been possible without the C5 plus 8-24mm zoom being ready to go on the ScopeTech/Report... the ideal grab and go usage scenario 👍

Better luck for you too soon hopefully 🤞

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  • 1 year later...
8 hours ago, Photonic Nights said:

I can't find the right size bolt/fastener for the threaded hole on the mount's base (the part that attaches to the tripod). I've tried three different sized bolts so far, two US imperial and one metric, but no luck so far. Any ideas?

Pretty sure it’s 3/8”, which is a fairly standard tripod mount size I think 🤔 

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On 21/08/2020 at 05:10, HollyHound said:

That could indeed be it, I do find the free movement is a bit easier when using the long StellaMira refractor than when using the C5, probably due to the increased moment arm...

This has been my experience too.  I'm finding that the mount seems to require some resistance in the form of a long moment arm to prevent it from somehow disengaging the worm teeth.  I don't have proof of this theory, but I had my azimuth arm seize up on me when I was just turning in my hand, without even being mounted or carrying anything.  It got harder and harder to turn until it became almost completely immovable.  I sent it back to Astro Hutech, Ted said he didn't know what happened and he sent it back to Scopetech in Japan.  That was almost two months ago, it hasn't come back yet. 

The times I've used the mount with a telescope on it have been flawless, no stiffening at all.

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11 hours ago, HollyHound said:

Pretty sure it’s 3/8”, which is a fairly standard tripod mount size I think 🤔 

My apologies for not having myself clear on this point. The threaded hole I was referring to (but failed to explain properly) is the smaller one located on the side of the circular base plate, i.e. that part of the mount which attaches to a given tripod, pier, whatever (but not the central 3/8" female threaded hole itself). It's highlighted in the manual, but unfortunately, the manual itself is in Japanese. Again, my apologies.

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10 hours ago, mtminnesota said:

I think it provides access so a tool can be inserted, just a guess.

I've only ever used it like that, it's an easy was to disengage the mount from the tripod using a small 'lever' (AKA a 5mm allen key or handy screwdriver).

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I stand corrected. Upon applying a magnifying glass to the hole, I realised it doesn't have a thread after all. . . duh? As has already been mentioned, I stick something in it (a screwdriver) to use as a lever to tighten or loosen the mount from my tripod - especially useful in the dark. Doing so without it can be a bit of a struggle. I've since measured the hole's diameter to be 6mm.

Regarding the mount itself: it has shown itself during these last eighteen months to be far superior to my old Vixen Porta II mount . . and it does so in just about every department there is. I especially like the adaptable lightweight (yet rigid) design and the way it neatly packs up, perfect for travelling purposes. It's this "field" astronomer's best friend, in fact. Pricey, yes; but as is the case in other areas of astro hardware you really do get what you pay for in this instance. It's a quality piece of kit, in other words, and for me at least it represents Japanese ingenuity at its best. Five Stars.

 

 

 

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On 26/08/2021 at 14:42, Photonic Nights said:

To be absolutely clear, it's the one arrowed and highlighted by a circle in the image below. . .

SCOPETECH ZERO MOUNT.png

 

On 27/08/2021 at 15:22, HollyHound said:

Yes, that’s used to allow it to be removed more easily when tightly screwed onto the tripod base. I usually just insert a large Allen key in there 👍

I’m still wondering what I’m missing here gents. 
To remove my ScopeTech Zero head from the report tripod I undo the locking screw and lift it off. It comes off immediately, no need for levers.

I might have misunderstood what you are saying 🤔

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1 hour ago, JeremyS said:

 

I’m still wondering what I’m missing here gents. 
To remove my ScopeTech Zero head from the report tripod I undo the locking screw and lift it off. It comes off immediately, no need for levers.

I might have misunderstood what you are saying 🤔

Hi Jeremy,

In my case (and presumably others), I have my ScopeTech attached to an adaptor (3/8th) which allows me to use it on either my Report 372 or Uni 28, both of which have EQ5/HEQ5 heads.

Removing this adaptor, is very tricky without using that little hole on the mount, as I tended to tighten it up.

I’ve now switched to a ScopeTech adaptor now which bolts onto the bottom, so no longer need the adaptor.

Hopefully that clears up any confusion 😃

Cheers, Gary 

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