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Three mount options - need advice please


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Hi team,

My Explore Scientific iExos-100 has has some issues (great beginner mount though by the way). 
 

I am looking to move up and have three mount in mind a iOptron ZEQ25 on a 2 inch pier for $1500NZD a Skywatcher HEQ5 pro for $2300 or a Skywatcher AZ-EQ5GT on a pier as that setup can come for $2600. I know this is belt driven as standard. 
 

clearly the iOptron is older but also a much cheaper price and looks pretty solid. 
 

Does anyone have solid advice around these mounts for me. 
 

cheers

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The AZ-EQ5GT on paper is the better spec'd mount.  It has a 15kg payload capacity in EQ mode compared to the 13kg load of the HEQ5, and has the option of being used in alt/az mode (although if you are replacing an existing EQ mount this may not be important).  It's already belt driven, so if you wanted to convert the HEQ5 there is an additional cost.  I can't vouch for its performance as I've never used one, but having owned an HEQ5 for the past 8 years or more can't fault it.

Tough decision 

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Yeah it is tough. As you say on paper the HEQ5 just seems the go to for everyone but not much more for the AZ-EQ5 and it’s belt driven which people say is conservancy better. Doesn’t sound like you have had any issues with your HEQ5 or did you mod it? 
 

Everything is so expensive here with conversion and transport costs. 
 

Thanks for the tips.  I’ll leave the IOptron I think. 

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20 minutes ago, Kiwi_Brad said:

Yeah it is tough. As you say on paper the HEQ5 just seems the go to for everyone but not much more for the AZ-EQ5 and it’s belt driven which people say is conservancy better. Doesn’t sound like you have had any issues with your HEQ5 or did you mod it? 
 

Everything is so expensive here with conversion and transport costs. 
 

Thanks for the tips.  I’ll leave the IOptron I think. 

Maybe used market?    Sending through europe isnt really always that expensive

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9 minutes ago, Kiwi_Brad said:

Doesn’t sound like you have had any issues with your HEQ5 or did you mod it? 
 

You could say that... My claim to fame is that I was the first to convert an HEQ5 to belt drive back in 2011 As detailed here  with an article appearing in the April 2012's edition of Astronomy Now magazine.    The problem was that the conversion required the owner to use EQMOD as it didn't maintain the stock ratio as the small motor pinion would separate.  Dave from Rowan engineering solved this by CNC'ing the motor pulley from one solid block of metal.  He was also better placed to evolve my prototype and turn it into a commercial enterprise.... the rest is history !!

I did blow the original motor board... but now have the experience to repair them, but other than that the mount has been excellent. 

The HEQ5 design is a decent mount, and back when I got this (10 years ago !!) there wasn't as many options to choose from.  You either had the EQ5, HEQ5 and EQ6 to choose from.  If you wanted to image but didn't have the need for the weigh capability of the EQ6 then the HEQ5 was the only option.  Today there are so many alternatives in this category of mount

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