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Rowan belt fitting


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Managed to successfully fit mine today. Took just over an hour and the only challenges were a) shoddy SkyWatcher grub screws b). Different arrangement of wires on my motherboard versus the instructions. Both relatively easy to resolve.

Testament to how easy this is if I manged it, at least with the newr HEQ5.

 

IMG_20210130_103420367.jpg

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Can't believe it was 8 years ago when my experiments with converting my HEQ5 to belt drive resulted in Dave over at Rowan Engineering bring out the commercial kit.

https://youtu.be/dh3F1xkdj98

Guys, enjoy your belt driven mounts... it makes a lot of difference in the performance and noise levels

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46 minutes ago, malc-c said:

Can't believe it was 8 years ago when my experiments with converting my HEQ5 to belt drive resulted in Dave over at Rowan Engineering bring out the commercial kit.

https://youtu.be/dh3F1xkdj98

Guys, enjoy your belt driven mounts... it makes a lot of difference in the performance and noise levels

So did you instigate the belt drive movement?

I never had any grinding noises with mine (maybe as it is new), so it sounds about the same, but hopefully it will perform even better now.

It's a really nice kit and super easy to install - glad I took the plunge.

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1 minute ago, Mr Thingy said:

I never had any grinding noises with mine (maybe as it is new)

I think a fair proportion of the noise is due to poor meshing of the gear train when it isn't adjusted properly.  Some seem to leave the factory better than others.  Mine had a horrible death rattle at the start and end of a slew and I've had it since new.

James

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16 minutes ago, Mr Thingy said:

So did you instigate the belt drive movement?

I never had any grinding noises with mine (maybe as it is new), so it sounds about the same, but hopefully it will perform even better now.

It's a really nice kit and super easy to install - glad I took the plunge.

On the HEQ5... yeah, more or less.  Guys had already managed to convert the EQ6 to belt drive, and the HEQ5 is a lot simpler as the gear train is exposed once the cover is off and unlike the EQ6 doesn't require the dismantling of the mount.

I started messing about with boring out pulleys etc in December 2011.  I documented the process and making up the firs kits (before Rowan Engineering overcame the stock ratio issue) In this thread

Most of the noise is due to resonance through the mount and gear train due to the motors being driven by a PWM driver chip (hence why they sing when parked)... Mine was second hand so had some wear and tear, and the belt mod made a lot of difference.  The mic on the camcorder makes the mount still sound loud, but to the human ear it made a big difference  

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27 minutes ago, malc-c said:

On the HEQ5... yeah, more or less.  Guys had already managed to convert the EQ6 to belt drive, and the HEQ5 is a lot simpler as the gear train is exposed once the cover is off and unlike the EQ6 doesn't require the dismantling of the mount.

I started messing about with boring out pulleys etc in December 2011.  I documented the process and making up the firs kits (before Rowan Engineering overcame the stock ratio issue) In this thread

Most of the noise is due to resonance through the mount and gear train due to the motors being driven by a PWM driver chip (hence why they sing when parked)... Mine was second hand so had some wear and tear, and the belt mod made a lot of difference.  The mic on the camcorder makes the mount still sound loud, but to the human ear it made a big difference  

Wow! That's far above my technical capability. 

Good work.

Lucky for us that Rowan now manufacture these kits off-the-shelf.

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23 hours ago, Mr Thingy said:

Wow! That's far above my technical capability. 

Good work.

Lucky for us that Rowan now manufacture these kits off-the-shelf.

Yeah, they already had the CNC machining ability, saw that there was a marketplace and the rest is history.  The main disadvantage was in order to maintain the stock ratio the motor pulley would separate.  Rowan CNC'd the motor pulley from a single bar of ali and then added the tension wheel to provide more contact with the belt - Neat adaptation, so much so that SW now fit belt drives to most of their high end mount.   

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  • 2 months later...

Just completed my modification, no chance to test yet. The mount is about 2 and a half years old and a little temperamental  when guidied. Hopefully controling backlash etc will do the trick.

A couple of things. 

When I tried to fit the idlers it turned out that neither hole was actually round. I just used a drill bit (manually) to gently 'round out' the holes. Using the 5.5 mm distance gap for the small pullies was a no go, it meant the lid (with spacer) would not fit. On the RA axis motor the pulleywent as far down as was possible, on dec it was a little higher, this in turn meant the large pullies were a little higher but no problem with that. It would seem to be issues with Skywatcher quality control and perhaps some minor differences in the motor parts used.

My mount is on a pier (tripod would have been a liability in the observatory), and I replaced the original saddle (useless thing) with an ADM dual saddle (bliss). So the HEQ5 is almost not an HEQ5 anymore. At least this mod and tuning worm backlash gave me a reason to use the handset. Polar scope - used it once.

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