Jump to content

1912116577_Solarchallenge2022banner.jpg.913a200cf105ddeae9f37765cb1d0c73.jpg

HEQ5 PRO mount with a larger refractor


Kunwar
 Share

Recommended Posts

 

Hi all

I have a very specific question for people that have real, practical experience of using the HEQ5 Pro mount with a large refractor or an 8 inch reflector.

I have an HEQ5 Pro mount (2020 model but with a wooden Berlebach tripod) and I'm considering buying the largest ED refractor that this mount can reasonably hold. I'm mostly a visual observer with very light interest in photography (DSLR only,60 sec subs or live view planet captures, no fancy auto guiding or anything of that sort).but I have a light Altair 102mm refractor to do this so not bothered if I cannot use the large refractor for photography.

Now I've short listed the APM 140ED apo (or it's a semi apo but not looking to start a discussion on that topic pls ). The scope is 1m long in use and is 8.8kg including the dovetail. With the finder plus diagonal/eyepieces, the total weight of the setup will be in the range 10.2 to 10.8 kgs.

Now I know Skywatcher recommend up to 15kgs for visual bit I've seen users comment that we should discount this number anywhere in the region of 50% or 33%. So my question is of a practical nature not theoretical- does anyone here have experience with this sort of a setup with a heavier long(er) instrument on a HEQ5 Pro mount that can give me advice whether my setup is feasible for this mount or a bit too much?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is setup that I used on several occasions:

image.png.392b4a64a00c16e18ab1ddfa881d90f5.png

it is 8" F/6 OTA that weighs at about 11Kg with 60mm guide scope and camera (total weight less than 15Kg but not far from it). Overall setup is quite heavy - it needed 3x5Kg counter weights to balance it out.

I haven't used it for visual - but I did for imaging. While it worked for me for imaging - it is not something I would recommend to people to actually do. Planetary imaging is fine, but long exposure imaging is really pushing it.

For visual - it will work ok as far as weight is concerned. Not sure what the damping time will be when focusing - but probably better since you have wooden tripod.

In the mean time I modded my mount - it is now on Berlebach planet tripod - and it makes huge difference to stability. I also changed stock clamps for Vixen/Losmandy dual saddle from Geoptik. I added belt mod - not something that you'll need for visual though. First two mods - I would recommend. You already have wooden tripod - but also - put different clamp as well. Use Losmandy dovetail if you can - they are larger and more stable.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you @vlaiv that's really helpful. You maxed out on the setup and still got results with photography..it sounds promising as my tube length is shorter and weight would be less for visual. Agree Berlebach tripod is great, it's more stable plus it looks good 😅

 

In terms of the dovetail, the scope already comes with a losmandy type. My HEQ5 Pro seems to be fitted for this type bit I'm not sure. Here's a pic of the bracket, this is a newer model and I thought you could put losmandy on these?

16371918569385724295512348173246.thumb.jpg.703e6fa5fa9f1fbfb6718e98b8f2c520.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Kunwar said:

Here's a pic of the bracket, this is a newer model and I thought you could put losmandy on these?

Yes, it looks like new model.

Old model looked like this:

image.png.af3a1593856579121020e5ac349881c8.png

Just short Vixen type slot with two bolts.

I upgraded mine to this:

image.png.d09779b9db567be74d0de8a6dde39418.png

Which looks rather similar to stock one that is delivered now.

Yes, new one looks like it accepts both type of dovetails.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have used an older HEQ5 mount with my 9.5kg 130mm triplet refractor, on a Berlebach UNI 28 tripod and it worked OK for visual. Some vibrations that needed a few seconds to dampen down at high magnifications but it was just about manageable. 

With the APM 140 doublet being shorter than my F/9.2 triplet, you may well find that a newer HEQ5 is more stable than it was with my 130mm triplet. The use of a Losmandy dovetail bar will help as well.

tmb130heq503.JPG.0c2e2e40146282027a3c507d8e80a14e.JPG

 

Edited by John
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had HEQ5 for a while. Also did belt mod as well as the same Geoptik saddle.

I used it for photo in a combination with 8" SCT (Edge HD). From the weight point of view  that is a piece of cake for the mount, however it was all together a bit sensitive to wind. 

At native f/10 , even with wind of 1.5 m/s , imaging was close to hopeless. That is not that much related to the mount itself , it was more a combination of of long FL , windy location, camera with small pixel, and so on.

The mount is now with one of colleagues and he is making brilliant photos with Esprit 80 on it. So , long story short , for visual , the mount will handle weight of 11 or 12 kg with no problems .  With better tripod than mine was , photo with that kind of weight could be reasonably managed, but if more than that for photo, I would consider "larger" mount. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, John said:

I have used an older HEQ5 mount with my 9.5kg 130mm triplet refractor, on a Berlebach UNI 28 tripod and it worked OK for visual. Some vibrations that needed a few seconds to dampen down at high magnifications but it was just about manageable. 

With the APM 140 being shorter than my F/9.2 triplet, you may well find that a newer HEQ5 is more stable than it was with my 130mm triplet. The use of a Losmandy dovetail bar will help as well.

tmb130heq503.JPG.0c2e2e40146282027a3c507d8e80a14e.JPG

 

Thanks @John that gives me confidence! I also have a Uni28, they're tall tripods which helps with the bigger refractors.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Stefek said:

I had HEQ5 for a while. Also did belt mod as well as the same Geoptik saddle.

I used it for photo in a combination with 8" SCT (Edge HD). From the weight point of view  that is a piece of cake for the mount, however it was all together a bit sensitive to wind. 

At native f/10 , even with wind of 1.5 m/s , imaging was close to hopeless. That is not that much related to the mount itself , it was more a combination of of long FL , windy location, camera with small pixel, and so on.

The mount is now with one of colleagues and he is making brilliant photos with Esprit 80 on it. So , long story short , for visual , the mount will handle weight of 11 or 12 kg with no problems .  With better tripod than mine was , photo with that kind of weight could be reasonably managed, but if more than that for photo, I would consider "larger" mount. 

@Stefek thanks I also had a C8 which was no problem for the mount as it's a light scope. I only used it for visual though so it didn't give me any issue. It was the narrow fov of the sct that bothered me and I decided to sell the scope and get a large refractor! Good to know the mount can handle 11kgs as I think that will be the max payload with my setup (heavy 32mm Luminos eyepiece!). When I looked in forums I was disappointed people were advising payload of only 7.5 to 10kgs which concerned me a bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Mr Spock said:

Hope you don't mind but I fixed your formatting. I found it really difficult to read. A good tip is if you are using copy and paste is to select paste as plain text only.

Thanks @Mr Spock I don't mind at all.. I was wondering why it came out like that. Yes I did c&p from my post on CN! Thanks for the tip. Live long and prosper 🙂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me I found the 200P + an ST80 + QHY5 + Canon D400 (plus finder and cabling) was about the limit for imaging with an HEQ5.

Approximate all up weight of around 11 - 11.5kg, so around 75% of the quoted maximum payload of the HEQ5

But that was on a solid concrete pier mount and inside an observatory which naturally gave some protection form the wind

 

heq5.jpg.f6172f6f2f0901b510e2806cb7b80e43.jpg

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, malc-c said:

For me I found the 200P + an ST80 + QHY5 + Canon D400 (plus finder and cabling) was about the limit for imaging with an HEQ5.

Approximate all up weight of around 11 - 11.5kg, so around 75% of the quoted maximum payload of the HEQ5

But that was on a solid concrete pier mount and inside an observatory which naturally gave some protection form the wind

 

heq5.jpg.f6172f6f2f0901b510e2806cb7b80e43.jpg

@malc-c APM140 is of similar length and weight to the 8inch SW and as I'm only using for visual this is also looks promising. 👍

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use the 200p with HEQ5 and full frame dslr, so far no issues though as mentioned above that size of scope and wind then it will move about. One other thing if mounting a heavy camera is that it will tend to make balancing an issue if you also want to do visual, the tube will need to be turned inside the swing of the scope not on the outside as this can tend to make all the difference, mine will not balance properly as both counterweights are out as far as they will go, I reckon its about 6 oz's min of being able to be balanced to just slightly scope heavy, swinging the tube round inside the rings solves this np but would maybe make visual a bit more of a contortion act if you are doing a bit of both.

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just as an update, I have put am order through for the APM140.. I reached out to the CEO of APM Markus, a great guy and very knowledgeable on his products. He assured me the HEQ5 mount is more than capable of handling the scope. Fingers crossed.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use an HEQ5Pro belt-modded w an old TV102iis (880mm f/l) refractor.  With flattener, spacers, OSC, guidescope&camera, Pegasus UPB etc mounted on it, the whole thing comes in at around 10kg & for me it is fine for AP (probably pushing it at times but still RMS around 1 - which is more linked to the length/wind I suspect, with dew shield extended its almost 1m long) so for visual that should be more than ok.

(It's now on a pier, but I used to use it on an old Berlebach Uni18 - much less substantial than a Planet - it was fine on that too).

I even put an old Russian 180mm Mak on it recently - it needed an extra counterweight (the Mak weighs more or less the same as the AP setup but its centre of gravity is a bit higher so I needed another CW).  It seems to have coped - have yet to test that configuration out for full guided DSO AP though.

Enjoy the new scope!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd say with about 75% of payload (with your new scope on the HEQ5) you should be just fine for visual.

If you do decide to get into AP though, you'd definitely be undermounted. Cooled cameras, flatteners add weight too, of course.

I have an Esprit 150ED on a EQ6R Pro (75% recommended payload) and I am seeing definite signs of being undermounted for AP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Stuart. I'm not inclimed to go into AP gung ho but I do like to occasionally put on a DSLR and do 60 sec subs to see more details on DSOs or so planetary photos at prime focus..this setup is also only under 11kg so hoping all will be fine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be honest, all this statement on anywhere between 50% and 80% of the mounts visual payload is meaningless to a degree as each instance will be different.  A mount with a large scope that is well within that "limit" may perform  poorly in one location due to the site being exposed, but gives good results in a more sheltered location.  Like I stated above my set up was around 75% of the HEQ5's maximum  load capacity (which Stuart has stated in his opinion is undermounted), but even with a basic Dslr camera and with guiding enabled manage to get results like this from the middle of a modern town

flame.png.6e17f59d69cf1de2a0181760db817bd5.png

 

Or with a webcam and a double stack of 2x barlows,  the 200P even gave me some decent planetary data to work with 

barlow15_10_201123_01_56.png.da90237243197ae46f22c16e8fb4381e.png

 

Granted I have the advantage of a sheltered observatory, but often even then if the wind is blowing well I don't bother going out and image with the scope as it can still affect the scope.  If the mount was so undermounted then these image swould have been a major struggle

 

Malcolm

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The length of the scope tube is just as important as it's weight with regards to how well a mount will handle it. My 130mm F/9.2 triplet refractor is 9.5kg so well under the weight limit for the HEQ5 but the length of the scope put the mount and tripod under a lot of strain and it was pushed to it's limit I felt, even for visual astronomy.

 

 

Edited by John
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, malc-c said:

To be honest, all this statement on anywhere between 50% and 80% of the mounts visual payload is meaningless to a degree as each instance will be different.  A mount with a large scope that is well within that "limit" may perform  poorly in one location due to the site being exposed, but gives good results in a more sheltered location.  Like I stated above my set up was around 75% of the HEQ5's maximum  load capacity (which Stuart has stated in his opinion is undermounted), but even with a basic Dslr camera and with guiding enabled manage to get results like this from the middle of a modern town

Yes, I totally agree Malcolm. I didn't mean to imply that percentages of recommended payload were the whole story. I think I was just saying that I think I am a little undermounted and then providing the 75% figure for reference (if that makes sense). As @John says, the length of the OTA is also a factor and my OTA is long (once the flattener and camera are attached).

Having said all that, I think my images are not too bad. If I come into some money, I'll get a bigger mount, but for now I am managing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello there,

The HEQ5 Pro mount is a little agrarian, but it does the job, as long as you don't overload it.

I have pushed it up to a C9.25, with 2x Barlow and a plantary camera (ASI462), and it works (a Skymax 180 is a bit better in handling). A Skymax 127 was very pleasant with it.

With a refractor, you could approach 10 kg or so of total load (including guider etc) before starting to overload it,  I suppose (large catadioptric scopes and reflectors are more sensitive to wind loads).

Of course, a larger mount like the EQ6-R would be even more pleasant (if you can carry it).

Cheers,

N.F.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

For the benefit of anyone reading this thread. My new scope arrived (man it's big 😳 but still manageable). I've only used it once but my HEQ5 pro seemed to be able to carry it very nicely. Balancing it on the mount was a little bit more work than my 4inch ED but mainly because the tripod had to be set higher due to the longer tube...but doable.. Again not a bother once I get used to it and it's not something I'll hesitate setting up. All in all it took me 20 mins to set up and polar align, should be quicker next time.

 Once setup it gave very steady views settling times not more than my 4inch maybe 2 secs. There was no wind/breeze though but I wouldn't do stargazing if conditions weren't good.. just my preference. So that's not a concern to me. The scope tracked very well, the mount didn't seem to struggle in any way. I feel confident to put up my dslr next time to take pics (I only do short exposure or planets/moon so no autoguider). Saw Uranus for the first time ever!

Again I've only used the scope once but it gave me loads of confidence in the setup. Maybe the wooden tripod and hard floor helped. Total weight with different eyepieces in the range 10.5kg to 11kg. Recommended load capacity for HEQ5 is 15kgs for visual and 11kg for photos.

Thanks again everyone for your advice.

I wanted to post this for others considering a  bigger scope with an entry level mount. Everyone has their opinions but when I was searching on this topic I found mostly one sided advice that you shouldn't load a mount more than 50-75% of manufacturer recommended load capacity. So I'm putting my experience out there to balance the argument.

20211201_204833_remastered.jpg

20211201_213326.jpg

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.