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EQ5 Question ( or EQ in general-supernoobie)

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#1 jayscheuerle

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 03:49 PM

I'm looking at the EQ5 as part of the SkyWatcher ED100 deal. Does this operate with a clutch for manual movement or do you do everything via the GOTO buttons or movement buttons on the controller?

Thanks! - j

#2 hudson_yak

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 04:21 PM

Your choice, there are clutch levers you can fully, or partially, release to push the mount by hand. You'll lose your goto pointing alignment if you do this.

Or you can just drive the mount with the hand controller, the fastest speed is a bit over 3 degrees/sec (same as the goto slewing speed). You won't lose the alignment if you do it this way.

Even if you do release the clutches and thereby lose your alignment, it's pretty easy to get it back, just command the scope to an object with clutches still released (holding the scope to avoid tripod collisions while the motors are running), once they are stopped center the object manually (not using the controller at all) and then relock the clutches. Avoid picking an object near the local meridian so that there is no flip confusion.

Mike

#3 EdTheEdge

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Posted 04 August 2009 - 11:26 PM

Another question. Does it have manual slo-mo controls?

#4 hudson_yak

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 09:02 AM

No, none of this class of mount (Vixen and clones like these Synta EQ* models) provide manual slo-mo with their goto setups. The motors can't be forced to turn when they are energized, and if a drive clutch were provided, as with the simpler tracking motor systems, you'd lose the alignment as soon as you disengaged it to use a manual slo-mo. So they don't even provide one.

Mike

#5 EdTheEdge

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 09:46 AM

Thanks Mike! I wish these mounts would have manual Slo-Mos. I am so used to using the slo-mos on my Vixen SP I am not sure I would enjoy NOT having them.

Hey how do you like your Orion ED100+SVP? I want a 100ED so bad I can taste it. Is the SVP about equal to the EQ5?

TIA

#6 Eddgie

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:09 AM

You will quickly get over the loss of manual slow-motion. The Go-To mounts all offer a wide variety of slow speed motion so that you can pick a movement speed that fits the magnification you are using if you want to do sweeps.

Most have 9 different speeds to choose from, and it is as simple as pressing a button (Meade) or pressing two buttons (Celetrons). I am not sure about the Skywathcer, but I owned one and from what I can rememeber, it did indeed have multiple speeds to choose from.

Once you start using the hand controller for "Manual" movement, you will quickly forget about manual knobs.

Regards.

#7 hudson_yak

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 10:47 AM

Hey how do you like your Orion ED100+SVP?



I like the ED100 a lot. The SVP, well, I've spent over a year wrestling with all the trade-offs associated with the two drive systems you can get for it, as well as the Intelliscope DSC. Never grew to like any of them, very much, though the full GoTo system came closest to being tolerable. However, I've only used it for tracking and centering the object, most of the time. Personally, I can't stand the noise and waiting involved while the goto motors are slewing. As you can see from Ed's post just above this is a rather individual thing.

I do appreciate the SynScan hand controller itself, it provides good info like local sidereal time, Polaris position, and of course object coordinates. Most of the time I use it for those functions, in conjunction with manual setting circles to position the mount. I frequently use it in standalone mode, not hooked up to a drive system.

Yes, I'd say the SVP is quite equivalent to the EQ5. Just looks different. Setting circles are better on the SVP, it appears.

Although I haven't updated my sig yet, my most recent solution to some of these issues was to buy a Losmandy GM-8 for my ED100. Got it just last week. No goto with it, just the tracking motors. I've wanted one for many years and finally jumped when one became available at a good price within driving distance. Still fussing with it but it certainly has the potential to make me happy.

My SVP will wind up at my parent's house for use with my SCT, which I've also left there. I think for those vacation visits the goto system will be useful, and it will certainly impress the heck out of my audience.

Mike

#8 markan

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 01:55 PM

Does the EQ5 have a safety mechanism whereby you can no longer manually slew when the scope is in a certain orientation? Twice now it's happen where I Go-To Epsilon Lyrae, then can't adjust the position using the controls, although when I tell the scope to move to some new object, it moves just fine.

#9 Skylook123

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 01:56 PM

SynScan has 9 rate settings. The Rate button is number 2 on the hand controller; select it, then pick a number from 1 to 9. It's so much easier to set a low rate than using the slo-mo controls on my other mounts; all arrows are in a single place rather than reaching for two different flex handles.

#10 hudson_yak

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Posted 05 August 2009 - 02:38 PM

Does the EQ5 have a safety mechanism whereby you can no longer manually slew when the scope is in a certain orientation?


Don't believe so, have never read of such a thing. More likely you are having some sort of an intermittent connection problem. I'm not crazy about the heavy cables used in any of these older-design SynScan-based mounts, there are far more individual wires in them than are actually needed, so they are overly stiff and stress the plug connections, especially when it's cold. One of mine eventually broke a solder connection and I had to take the plug apart to fix it.

There are about 15 wires in the cables, only 9 actually needed for the motor controller to the RA drive, and only 5 needed from the RA drive to the Dec drive. Smaller cables and plugs would have been nice. The newer ones (Atlas, Sirius, HEQ*) have a better implementation for this both in cabling and overall drive design.

Mike

#11 Luigi

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 07:23 AM

I'd say they have manual slow mos, just not mechanical slow mos. You set a slow slew rate and manually push the direction buttons on the hand controller to steer the scope. It's a bit different than using mechanical slow mos but serves the same purpose.

#12 hudson_yak

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 09:05 AM

Yup. One thing that really helps with this is to be able to have the hand controller mounted in a handy spot so you don't have to hunt for it, getting the cord wrapped around the tripod, etc. Mounted on the polar side (eg. north leg for northern users) seems to work well. It's too bad the SynScan HC holster isn't designed for this sort of placement, something I always wanted to change somehow, but never got around to. The little HC with the GM-8 works well in this respect since you don't actually have to pick it up and hold it to push the buttons.

Mike

#13 Skylook123

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 04:14 PM

I've got velcro strips on the sides of my Atlas, and velcro strips on the back of the hand controller and the JMI motofocus control. Where ever I am, easy to just hang them right there.

#14 markan

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 06:03 AM

Happened to me again last night. I used the SAO catalog move to SAO33693 (Garnet Star). When I tried to use the keys to adjust the field of view, no response at all. I jostled the cables but that didn't help either. I then used the utility menu to park the scope which worked fine. I then used the named star catalog to move to Polaris. After the scope adjusted itself, I tried the control keys and they worked for me. It's almost like its a firmware problem with SynScan.

Does the EQ5 have a safety mechanism whereby you can no longer manually slew when the scope is in a certain orientation?


Don't believe so, have never read of such a thing. More likely you are having some sort of an intermittent connection problem. I'm not crazy about the heavy cables used in any of these older-design SynScan-based mounts, there are far more individual wires in them than are actually needed, so they are overly stiff and stress the plug connections, especially when it's cold. One of mine eventually broke a solder connection and I had to take the plug apart to fix it.

There are about 15 wires in the cables, only 9 actually needed for the motor controller to the RA drive, and only 5 needed from the RA drive to the Dec drive. Smaller cables and plugs would have been nice. The newer ones (Atlas, Sirius, HEQ*) have a better implementation for this both in cabling and overall drive design.

Mike



#15 Skylook123

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 07:42 AM

I had a similar problem several times in the field. I had the GPS unit hooked to the hand controller. After the initialization was done, I was having trouble with it recognizing the direction arrows during alignment. I unplugged the GPS unit and it went back to working normally. This happened twice, about two years ago. Now when I show up, after the initialization is done, I unplug the GPS from the hand controller before beginning alignment. No more problems. Probably totally unrelated, but I no longer leave the GPS plugged in since it's only needed to set the location and initialize the clock.

One other fat finger stunt I've done is, in the dark, to accidentally hit the Rate button and then the number 1, thinking I was up on the direction arrows. That set the slew rate so slow it's really hard to notice it.

What version of SynScan are you running? Some versions have had problems working with the new databases. Have you tried to repeat the GOTO the same SAO star, and see if the problem repeats? If you haven't already done so, you might want to update the firmware and choose "Enforce Database Load" or something like that on the GUI screen to get the latest fixes.

#16 markan

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 08:24 AM

I'll check the version tonight, but I was told at the shop where I bought it, that it was up to date with the latest and greatest version. I'll also test it again by going to the same star as well. Same thing happened to me last weekend with Epsilon Lyrae, but I think I used the SynScan double star catalog to get there rather than the SAO number.

What version of SynScan are you running? Some versions have had problems working with the new databases. Have you tried to repeat the GOTO the same SAO star, and see if the problem repeats? If you haven't already done so, you might want to update the firmware and choose "Enforce Database Load" or something like that on the GUI screen to get the latest fixes.



#17 markan

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 11:19 PM

Definitely a problem with my SynScan after using the SAO catalog. The manual says the directional keys are locked out when the telescope is slewing. It's like the lock isn't being released after it reaches the target and beeps. My firmware is 3.25 so I'll just try and reinstall it.






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