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AZ5 mount advice please


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Novice stargazer here.  I have a SkyWatcher Heritage 150p which I have had fun getting to know, but thought that an Alt-Az mount would be a helpful addition.  I bought a SW AZ5 mount from FLO a few months back, but have only starting trying it out recently.   It sort of works ok, but the thing is that the two components of the mount work very differently.  The Alt mount works as I would expect; it's easy to move if the clutch is off and the slow motion control works fine regardless of whether the clutch is on or off.  In contrast, movement of the Azi mount is stiff regardless of how much the clutch is loosened off and and slow motion control *only* works if the clutch is tightened up as much as possible (and I mean *really* tightened up).   Also, the grub screw (not mentioned in the pretty inadequate instructions) has no effect on slow motion control.  Is this what other AZ5 mount users find?  I did take it back to FLO soon after purchase, but was told that it was working fine.  Just seems a bit odd to me.

Second question is - how much vibration should there be from the AZ5 mount?  I find that the s;ightest touch (e.g. using the slo-mo controls) results in 5-10 seconds oscillation of the image - is that normal?

Thanks for any info / advice!

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The AZ5 is a capable mount but I wouldn't use it with the stock tripod if you're using a heavy OTA. The azimuth and altitude slo mo only properly engage when the clutches are tightened. 

Vw3e5onl.jpg

My 127mm Mak was bundled with an AZ5. In my experience it just about holds it. The Mak OTA is about 3 kilo although it is short. For a heavier OTA it would probably need a heavier tripod. 

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4 hours ago, AstroNuevo said:

how much vibration should there be from the AZ5 mount? 

^ Very little to none!

That said, achieving such is rather expensive. Unless of course, you wish to 'cough up' a large pile of 'loot' for a Losmandy, Astro Physics etc etc mount. Maybe your best option is to make yourself a Dobsonian mount, little expense for a good rigid mount. There are threads within SGL pertaining to DIY Dobsonians.

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The grub screw will adjust the load on the worm gear. Too tight, and the slo-mo will be tight, too loose and you will have backlash. It shouldn't affect the action of the clutch.

With the clutch loose, you should be able to rotate around the Az axis easily, although it's not so loose it will spin around our anything like that. It does sound like it's quite tight. This means the clutch has a lot of friction to act against, which is why you have to tighten it a lot to get the slo-mo to work.

Try loosening the clutch and spend a while just rotating the mount around the Az axis. See if that loosens it off a little.

 

 

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Loosen the 3 philips head screws at the bottom of the mount a tiny bit and see if it rotates easier?

I use my AZ5 with almost 5kg of scope on it with a steel tripod and its just fine with the shakes and wobbles after touching the slow-mos taking about a second. I think i could put a couple of kilos more on it and it would still be fine. Are you balanced well with the 150P on it? Seems like a big scope for the mount, how much does it weigh?

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I'm not so sure the AZ5 was designed to be positioned by hand with tightened clutches. 

wJjzQW5l.jpg

If they are slackened slightly it can be achieved. They may need to be re-tightened enough to engage the slo mo.

4qhMmddl.jpg

I also believe it was designed to hold up to 5kg. 

7H8Dfyom.jpg

At a push, it will hold my 4.2kg Altair Starwave but I prefer a stronger tripod. With 2" accessories it would be 5kg or over. 

8aNIJL5m.jpg

5kg or over needs a Porta II, half-pillar, and HAL-130 tripod. So the AZ5 would definitely need a stronger tripod if used with 5kg IMO.

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11 hours ago, SthBohemia said:

^ Very little to none!

That said, achieving such is rather expensive. Unless of course, you wish to 'cough up' a large pile of 'loot' for a Losmandy, Astro Physics etc etc mount. Maybe your best option is to make yourself a Dobsonian mount, little expense for a good rigid mount. There are threads within SGL pertaining to DIY Dobsonians.

Unless the OP bought the tube only, the Heritage 150P is already a table-top Dobsonian (ok, not quite, to be pedantic, since it's a 1-sided mount).

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37 minutes ago, wulfrun said:

Unless the OP bought the tube only, the Heritage 150P is already a table-top Dobsonian (ok, not quite, to be pedantic, since it's a 1-sided mount).

I thought the 150P was bundled with a Dob' mount too. The whole 150P with mount is 7.5kg. I don't know how heavy the 150P OTA is. As Dob' mounts are basically made from old banana crates the OTA on its own may well exceed 5kg. Which would explain any vibration return issues.

In my experience when OEM's state that the maximum mount load is 5kg; they really mean:

1/ Will hold 3kg fairly well (depending on length of tube).

2/ Might hold 4kg if you're careful.

3/ Will hold 5kg in a showroom if it isn't actually moved or used.

Edited by Zeta Reticulan
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39 minutes ago, Zeta Reticulan said:

I don't know how heavy the 150P OTA is. As Dob' mounts are basically made from old banana crates the OTA on its own may well exceed 5kg. Which would explain any vibration return issues.

The mount is pretty solid board. I've just weighed mine at 7.45kg total, with finder but no EP. Just the OTA + finder comes in at 4.05kg, so the mount must be 3.4kg. Add a hefty EP and it's pushing the limit.

Edited by wulfrun
clarity
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25 minutes ago, wulfrun said:

The mount is pretty solid board. I've just weighed mine at 7.45kg total, with finder but no EP. Just the OTA + finder comes in at 4.05kg, so the mount must be 3.4kg. Add a hefty EP and it's pushing the limit.

OK thanks for the info. Yeah, 4kg or thereabouts is a more realistic upper limit with the stock AZ5 tripod. I reckon the AZ5 could do 5kg with the heavier tripod. 

7lwFzyIl.jpg

I have an f/6 150mm Newtonian. I doubt I could mount it on an AZ5 unless I used the tripod on this EQ5. Even then there would be issues with the length of the OTA.

Edited by Zeta Reticulan
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The OP said it was a HERITAGE 150p.

The OTA without dob base is 3.5kg - according to Telescop-Express Which should be no problem for the AZ5

 

But that tripod that comes with the AZ5 has a payload capacity of 3.5kg (according to some sites). The AZ5 is 2.3kg, so the OTA and mount are 5.8kg together! The  OP doesn't say which tripod they use with the mount.

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2 hours ago, Pixies said:

The OP said it was a HERITAGE 150p.

The OTA without dob base is 3.5kg - according to Telescop-Express Which should be no problem for the AZ5

 

But that tripod that comes with the AZ5 has a payload capacity of 3.5kg (according to some sites). The AZ5 is 2.3kg, so the OTA and mount are 5.8kg together! The  OP doesn't say which tripod they use with the mount.

Thanks for the info about the AZ5 tripod. It certainly sounds about right. I've always suspected that it wasn't the claimed 5kg of the actual mount. I never thought my 127mm Mak was particularly stable on the AZ5. My best guess is that the Heritage is at the limit of the tripod payload. If the OP is using the bundled tripod of course. So, as wulfrun said, add a big eyepiece and you're near the payload limit. It could explain any vibration return issues. 

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Thanks for all the helpful replies :).  The main point I've taken away is that I have greatly underestimated the importance of a solid tripod in optimising stability!  I'm not even going to mention what tripod I've been trying to use.

The SW Heritage 150P OTA weighs 3.85kg, so at the upper limit of what the AZ5 could be expected to handle.  Yes it does come with a table-top Dobsonian mount which isn't bad (esp for the price), but I wanted to be able to do slo-mo tracking.

The issue with the clutch and slo-mo engagement still baffles me.  Thanks for the pointer to the previous post by Dexter77 - my issue is more or less as described in that video; unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a subsequent post re whether the issue was resolved or not.  It also seems clear that other peoples' AZ5's behave differently.  But I guess that I have to concede it does essentially work.  I will try the suggestions above and discuss again with the nice people at FLO.

Cheers!

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15 hours ago, wulfrun said:

Heritage 150P is already a table-top Dobsonian

Looks more like a Dob missing a stabilizing support making it inherently unstable? Although the OTA only weighs 3.6Kg it is reasonably long for the tiny bracket that supports the scope to the single arm looks (2 me anyway) insufficient to hold the OTA steady...

Screen Shot 2022-08-11 at 09.28.56.png

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22 minutes ago, SthBohemia said:

Looks more like a Dob missing a stabilizing support making it inherently unstable? Although the OTA only weighs 3.6Kg it is reasonably long for the tiny bracket that supports the scope to the single arm looks (2 me anyway) insufficient to hold the OTA steady...

There are several similar designs and I haven't noticed complaints about lack of stability. Personal experience with mine suggests the mount is quite adequate, provided it's placed on something substantial. On a wobbly table, well no surprise it'll be wobbly.

Edited by wulfrun
typo
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12 minutes ago, wulfrun said:

There are several similar designs

There is a thread that partially discusses single arm mountings-

Considering an Achromat Celestron 6" (last page)

Single arm mounts simply represent a cost saving to the buyer..... Then again, if the purchaser finds them adequate so be it 🙂 

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I've used the AZ5 three years now. The AZ5 aluminium tripod is woefully inadequate. A steel 1.75" tripod improves stability and reduces vibration.

Regarding the clutches - mine are the same. Requiring them to be tight before the slo mos engage correctly each time.

The stiffness is AZ is not something I've encountered, hopefully over time with use this should loosen off.

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My (dob mounted) Heritage 150p has no issues at all with stability, as said, if it's on a stable stool or table. Therefore, the issue is most likely the tripod.

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