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Suggestions for Orion Sirius Repair?

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#1 Zebra24601

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 09:14 PM

My Orion Sirius mount made a horrible grinding noise on Saturday. Any suggestions for repair (other than doing it myself, since I don't trust myself to do the repair)?

I called Orion on Monday, got put on hold for about fifteen or twenty minutes before being told (by the automatic answering machine) to leave my contact information. No one has called back or replied by e-mail, yet.

I also fired off an e-mail to OPT Corp, with similar results. I'll try calling both of them again, tomorrow. But, in the meantime, any other suggestions?

#2 Spoonsize

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 06:29 AM

You could at least remove a few screws to determine what might be wrong with it. The panel covering the drive motors comes off easy enough.

#3 Skylook123

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 07:32 AM

The grinding noise might have just been the stepper motor chatter due to either off-balance or some small blockage in the gear train. The chatter noise is loud and sometimes frightening, but no damage is done. It might not hurt to take a peak inside and see if something is interfering with the drive that can easily be fixed.

#4 Zebra24601

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 10:13 AM

I opened it up. All the gears look to be where they should be. No obvious obstruction. There's also a lot more grease than I would have expected.

Without powering it up and slewing, can't be sure. Don't want to do more damage by risking that.

#5 jcrew

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 10:49 AM

I have a Sirius mount. I have not experienced any issues yet. Have a look at this link Zebra, it might interest you (maybe).

http://www.andysshot...chnologies.html

Thanks,
Brad

#6 Charlie Hein

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 01:59 PM

Have you had the mount for a while or is it new still?

#7 Gunner

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 02:11 PM

Check your power supply, if your running from a 12volt power pack and your power has dropped off below minimum if can make some very strange noises.


Allen

#8 Charlie Hein

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 02:13 PM

Yes - the Atlas will do this as well.

#9 astro_baby

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 02:22 PM

It could be lots of things. Power is an obvious one. It could simply be the worm engagement is a bit off or the worm floats are tiny bit too tight.

How long have you had it ?
Has it ever hads any funnies before ?
Crucially how much have you used it ?

The reason for the last question is that if the worm engagement is off a bit you may have just been lucky in using it before and never hit the bit of the worm gear thats maybe a bit 'off'

Worm engagement can be swinish to adjust, its not hard but time consuming. End float adjustment is simple enough.

Oh - one other question - does it make the noise in RA or the DEC. The DEC motion is a lot easier to adjust.

If its in warranty I'd send it back. If out of warranty then I guess its either DiY or find someone friendly who has experience of the mount. They arent that hard to take to bits and adjust so long as your patient and have a small amount tool handling skill.

#10 Zebra24601

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 01:28 AM

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

No, the mount is not covered by warranty. I bought it used, and was surprised to discover I've had it since September 2007--doesn't seem like it's been that long. Usually makes it out of the house once or twice a month, so it's gotten some use.

I'm going to kick myself if it's just a power issue. It was the second night of observing, but I don't think the first night's observing was long enough to wear down my car-jump battery. It's a big one--17 amp/hours. Also, when I plugged the battery for recharge this afternoon, the little push-button indicator said it was putting out 12.5 volts, which means the battery was down a bit but not that much.

The noise hit me on both DEC (during a slew) and RA (during just tracking, after I stopped trying to use goto on account of the noise and the stop in DEC slewing). Because it happened during tracking, I'm less inclined to think it was a weak power supply, but we'll see.

Boxed it up and sent it to Orion this afternoon. When I hear back from them, I'll update you all.

#11 Arbacia

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 02:27 AM

Check the separation between pinion and motor.

#12 Charlie Hein

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 05:50 AM

The main take-away from this is that the grinding noise you heard is pretty well understood (this basically falls down to either low input power, poor power supply connection, binding somewhere in the drive train or poor balance) and *is not fatal in 99.999% of the cases*.

#13 Rusty

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 10:50 PM

Yeah, Charlie's right - the noise is a symptom of a minor issue (usually power). But it still has to be corrected.

#14 astro_baby

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 02:14 AM

Interesting that it was making noice in DEC and RA. If it were a mechanical problems thats set in I'd expect only one axis to play up. My (limited) experience is that its the RA that gyps up the most frequently.

With both axis playing up it does sound more like power.

#15 Zebra24601

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 11:00 AM

Can't do anything now but wait. It was such a loud and unnatural sound that I didn't want to risk running the drive motors again. Oh, well.

I wish the Orion tech had suggested this, too. I told him the same stuff I've posted here. For all the time I spent on hold, I could have hoped for something more helpful than the shipping address.

#16 Charlie Hein

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 05:04 PM

First time it happened to me it made my hair stand on end. I thought I ruined my mount. Turned out to be nothing.

#17 mich_al

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 05:16 PM

Jeez, are we all this desperate for mount repair. I just sent mine to Celestron for help. It was under warranty so I didn't have much choice. It sounds like you haven't exactly been treated as a valued customer either. Isn't there anyone in the country who does repairs ? Is it an issue of being able to get repair parts ? manuals ? Of having the knowledge of enough different mounts to actualy make the repair ? I've got some mechanical know how and an electronics / computers background and these things don't seem like rocket science. At a first glance they seem to be a medium level of mechanical & electronics at best. I hear about people waiting weeks and months for repairs after sending mounts into the one repair shop on the other side of the country, like me. Why is this ? Do mounts fail so infrequently ? Are there to few mounts in the country to support a third party business ? I'm new around here but this doesn't seem right. Why are we in this situation ?

#18 Zebra24601

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 08:36 PM

An e-mail from OPT Corp says they can't get replacement parts. They could check it out and make adjustments, but if parts are required they'd have to send the mount off to Orion, anyway.

I suppose this could be true for other manufacturers. If so, this would mean that unless the potential repairer can and wishes to manufacture their own replacement parts, repairing mounts is not an option.

On the one hand, I'm probably going to feel pretty foolish if it was (as seems to be the prevailing wisdom) just a matter of a weak power source. But this means the "repair" will be quick and cheap. Just a matter of opening it up, maybe cleaning up the mount a little, then testing and shipping it back. I'll chalk this up to inexperience and an unplanned bit of regular maintenance on my mount. :D

Thanks for all the comments.

#19 Charlie Hein

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 09:53 PM

Please let us know how it ends up!

#20 astro_baby

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 06:24 AM

Mich - it does seem to be the case that spares are tough to get which would hinder a repair business. Also most astro folk fall into one of two categories roughly;

KNOW ALL - these are the wisest of the wise and can identify any star in a scecond. GoTo pfffft!!! they can pick out a star and align the crustiest of telescopes faster than a gunslinger. They are also able to reduce almost any astro kit to its constituent atoms and reassamble it in the dark. They tend to smoke pipes. :cool:

KNOW NOTHING - These are the rest of us. This includes people like me who have a good grasp of some aspects but are pretty clueless when it comes to other things. This group includes peope who can identify any star in the heavens but who struggle to connect a 12v power supply or the ones like me who can take almost anything mechanical to pieces but struggle to identify the moon. They tend to have smoke coming out their ears :)

THIRD GROUP FROM THE HOBBY - These are the peope who buy scopes from WalMart or ebay. They arent around long enough to buy much so arent included. Life Jim but not as WE known it ;)

The problem with doing mount repairs is twofold. You only have a smallish target market because the KNOW ALL group above and half of the KNOW NOTHING group wont ever use your services. The part of the market that will use your services will expect them to be either free or VERY cheap. This is aggravated because the KNOW ALL group and the wannabe KNOW ALLS (like me) will offer to fix peoples broken stuff via email or by writing tutorials in the spirit of proliferating a non profiteering speard of know how.

To take my HEQ5 to bits and reasamble with great care, relube and tune the mount to perfect was the best part of 8 hours work. To put that on a paying basis look at the numbers......

Lets assume that every week I had 5x HEQ5 mounts to repair. Each one could potentially take 8 hours. That would be 5 days work. Assuming all the mounts could be repaired with no spares because the mounts had simple lube or adjustkment problems they would still cost a minimum of $220 to look at each mount. Why so expensive ?

Well I would need to make $4,400 a month to pay my rent, buy food, support a lifestyle etc ( I am in the UK ). That wouldnt be a lavish lifestyle that would pay me the same as I earn as a secretary in a government office.

Soooooo that works out at $1,100 per week - divided by 5 mounts = $220

That takes no account of increased tax on earnings, overheads for the business like tools, spares etc. And it assumes that every mount is the same, the reality is you would have to handle all Synta mounts as a minimum. That wouldnt be a business on those terms it would be a hobby.

To make money and make it worthwhile you'd have to lift those prices by at least 60% to take into account spares, cashflow etc. so now you'd be looking for customers with $352 to spend each time PLUS the cost of shipment which for a big mount like an HEQ5 could cost (in the UK) around $25 so the customer now has to spend $400 to get his mount looked at and that assumes he doesnt have to have any spares and that the problem is easily diagnosed. What happends when its something obscure like guide port jitter on wet Thursdays when theres an 'R' in the month.

About the only way to get spares for these things is buy new ones and take them to bits. Thats an expensive sparing operation. Rather like car dealer having to buy a whole Toyota coupe because he needs a spare front wishbone.

I dont think the market would bear it myself. If I thought for a second it would AND it was sustainable I'd pack up work tomorrow :cool:

#21 Zebra24601

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 04:23 PM

Just got off the phone with the folks from Orion. The tech reports he took it apart, looked around, put it back together, ran it through some practice slews and could not replicate the problem. So it looks like the simplest explanation was correct--power. Oy!

Apparently, my big jump start battery does not hold a charge for as long as I thought it did.

Best new is, they're shipping it back to me, no charge. Thanks, Orion! And thanks to you Cloudy Nights folks for your insights (even if they did make me feel like a fool!).

#22 GaryML

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 08:10 PM

Just got off the phone with the folks from Orion. The tech reports he took it apart, looked around, put it back together, ran it through some practice slews and could not replicate the problem. So it looks like the simplest explanation was correct--power. Oy!

Apparently, my big jump start battery does not hold a charge for as long as I thought it did.

Best new is, they're shipping it back to me, no charge. Thanks, Orion! And thanks to you Cloudy Nights folks for your insights (even if they did make me feel like a fool!).


That's good service from Orion. By comparison, I sent my CG5-ASGT mount to Celestron for them to correct a goto pointing error - under warranty. They received it June 1. I called today and they still haven't repaired it, but indicated I was "at the top of the list." So I've waited 6 weeks and still haven't received service, yet you've received service after just a week or so.

I'm strongly disinclined to buy any Celestron-branded product in the future. In the event there is a Synta product I want to buy then I will go with Orion over Celestron.

#23 Zebra24601

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 09:51 PM

Yeah, this was quicker than I expected, particularly with the Fourth of July holiday intervening. But the tech said he had powered it up and run through his test "for a couple of days," which I find impressive.

Assuming he got it off in the afternoon UPS (or FedEx--Don't know who they use) shipment, I'll probably get it within two weeks of when I sent it. With any luck, I won't even have missed a new moon weekend! :D

[I'm heading to a dark sky location next Saturday, and was pretty much figuring it would be just the lxd55 and the 8" SCT. The call from Orion kinda caught me off-guard--pleasant surprise, though!].






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