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By Dawn Robson
I wanted to share my recent experience in having my nearly three year old Skywatcher EQ6R Pro under going the Stellardrive 6-R Ultra and Tune with Darkframe optics. I have used the same set up for three years and guiding has always been between 0.40 to 0.80 RMS with round stars. No backlash to note and in PHD2 never needed to clear backlash. Then one night something happened and every 45 seconds spikes in RA. I tried everything to resolve, cables, software etc. However I was too chicken to do anything physical to the mount. After reading Darkframe Optics website I made contact and had a email within hours with the same claims as the website.
As I had run out of options I decided to sign up for the Stellardrive 6-R Ultra and Tune as might as well go the full monty.
The mount was picked up and communication was good during the process. Occasionally conflicted, in one communication the mount was boxed and ready to go. Then on reassembly the replacement worm drive wouldn't fit so the original worm had to be used in the Dec, however I assumed it was already tested and packed? As per the previous message. I was told to have a replacement worm would take 4-5 months but I wasn't given the option or consulted.
My mount arrived back the box was in mint condition and showed no sign if issues in transit. On resetting up the mount it just didn't feel solid anymore but I just put this down to it being hyper tuned. The movement was definitely more ‘fluid” however the brake clutches no longer gripped and the Dec leaver kept catching the top of the mount head when loosened and the lever kept unscrewing.
Long story short I spent several nights with my usual set up trying to problem solve. I couldn't get it to guide less than 3 RMS and the backlash was huge not like the promised “virtually eliminated” I tried guiding assistant several times and the backlash was the worse I had ever seen and in guiding calibration backlash couldn’t be cleared. I reached out to Darkframe and was told it was induced backlash and settings were too high and balance was the cause. I reduced the setting down to 5% after trying to gradually lower to find the sweet spot, checked the balance and also the cable management. Still no improvement no even a bit.
I reached out again and to advised still struggling. As a newbie the mount out the box had been so easy to set up and guide without the issues I currently had and couldn't understand why I was struggling so much. Darkframe optics then advised a online session to tighten the backlash and help balance. I decided to look over the mount and see how this was adjusted by watching a few online tutorials on familiarising myself with the adjustment grub screws before the session. Which was when I noticed three of the four screws had been totally rounded off, all fittings weren’t meant to be replaced in the ultra drive. I have never touched these before and couldn't believe the mount was sent back with damaged screws. On checking the four mount head retaining screws all of the RA ones were completely loose. On the backlash videos they demonstrated how to check for backlash, the counterweight bar had massive wobble and knocking (see video). At this point I was so dismayed that what I had paid for hadn’t happened. I now had a mount with damaged grub screws and no way to removed the backlash as the screws couldn’t adjusted or removed (see photo). I ceased all communication with Darkframe as I had heard enough and felt stupid I putting my faith in promises unmet. I didn’t want ultra guiding I would have been happy with 0.80 as long as it guided. Now the mount is damaged and doesn’t guide. I didn’t want to send back as I had read others experiences of not getting their mounts back at least I had my mount. Left with no option I got a chap from my local club to help me as he had some experience in mounts. He got the grub screws out and replaced with new and adjusted the backlash but it was so large the grubs couldn't eliminate. So the belts tension also need attention. On opening the belt housing two bits of blue tissue were found!!!! (see photo) we spent a whole day adjusting as the belts as they were not moving in the slowest speeds and binding. The counter shaft housing was also loose. The belts tension could not be adjusted enough from the belt housing so the motors had to be adjusted to allow enough range of movement, two of the motor retaining screws were also damaged.
Sadly none of this worked still wouldn't guide consistently.
I decided to call time on the Skywatcher and bought a new ioptron 70G out the box same set up same settings in PHD2 as the Skywatcher and guided 0.20 to 0.40 RMS and dithered. The SkyWatcher couldn't dither anymore. So not the user which was being implied at one stage.
I tried to make a PayPal claim as not what I signed up for and the dec worm had not been replaced. I always had the thought if things went wrong PayPal could help. Sadly this type of purchase is not coved in the protection. So I have lost £832.00.
I hope this saves someone from making a investment with high hopes only not to have any fulfilled.
Tissue in the belt.
The right is how the screw should look new.
Wobble and clucking from stelladrive
Hi, I just published a video of how I am cleaning my filters - I thought I might do this while my telescope is back at service due to some kind of astigmatism.
How do you guys clean your filters? it seems that every dust particle finds it way to the filters just as you are done cleaning them, and to sit in a damp bathroom seems kind of a mess...
Anyway, here is the video
By Martin AB Cohen
After trying and failing some time ago to find a video tutorial on how to strip-down my Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro mount, clean all the bearings and gears, re-grease them, and put it all back together again, I eventually learned how to do this from various other online resources and have now created my own video tutorial. For those of you with a Skywatcher HEQ5 or HEQ5 Pro mount, or indeed an Orion Sirius EQ-G mount (which is the same mechanically), this video can help you to keep you mount running smoothly through regular DIY servicing (~every 2 years). I hope you find it useful. Here is the link...
It figures! First clear night in ages and the pollen is as thick as..well, something really thick. Up to now, I have been fairly careful to avoid dust getting down the tube, but pollen is going to be unavoidable for the next several weeks.
So...what does one do? Are there some do and don't things I should be aware of? It looks like my mirror comes out fairly easy (SkyWatcher 10" ). I'm guessing "chuck into the dish washer on the pot scrubber setting" is probably a really bad idea.
What then, is the plan? What chemicals/detergents should be used...or maybe all chemicals should be avoided? Is it a no-touch surface? Is there perhaps some magic spray that one uses? I do have a can of electronics air that I plan to use from a safe distance to persuade away loose pollen, and that may be enough for the present.
Just spent 4 hours resurrecting my AVX mount, it had become so stuff in RA it just wouldn't track at all. Googled as much as I could find and used the http://rocketsparrow.blogspot.com/2017/01/how-i-made-better-celestron-avx.html?m=1 as a guide.
Decided to use a bearing as discussed in thread. I chose the https://simplybearings.co.uk/shop/p503131/32007-Premier-Budget-Metric-Single-Row-Taper-Roller-Bearing-35x62x18mm/product_info.html?backstep=1 as the dimensions were perfect ( almost perfect, bearing is 2mm too thick but works fine)
Cleaned all the gungy grease off and used thin layers of superlube.
It's so much smoother now and I can actually balance the mount.
Only problems I had were the 2 bolts that hold the RA and Dec assembly together stripped the mount ! Soft cast ally by the looks of it but there are 4 holes for 2 bolts (almost like Skywatcher knew 😂) and refitting the motor worm assembly is tedious to get backlash adjusted .
Can't wait to try it out.
Ps the new bearing wouldn't quite fit til I put the mount in the oven @ 80 degrees and the bearing in the freezer for 5 minutes.