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iEQ45 - First Impressions

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#1 johnpd

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:47 AM

I got a chance to give my new iEQ45 a quick run. There is a wildfire in my area and the smoke was blowing my way. Between the clouds and the smoke, it was not fun.

Thanks to all the responses to issues that have been previously posted here. It made things a little easier for me.


Issues I had
----------------
1. The HC would not retain my setting for the UT Offset.

* This was resolved by a suggestion from someone here. The setting needs to be done before GPS locks in.

2. Star Alignment:

- When I did a two-star alignment and I attempted to center the star using the RA arrow keys, the RA motor would continue to run. I had to hit the key again to make it stop. This seemed to happen about 50% of the time.

* ????

3. The mount seems a little noisy, on the level of a CG-5.

4. Keys on the hand controller were at times temporarily non-responsive.

5. It was a little tough to adjust the Altitude for polar alignment with the scope and counterweights on, but I guess that is to be expected. Loosening some of the Latitude locking screws were difficult.

6. Like most equatorial mounts, this mount is not as public star party friendly as an Alt/Az mount. It will take a while to get set up and ready to roll although it requires only a maximum of two stars for alignment, whereas the Celestrons I have worked with require up to six for good alignment. You need to wait until it gets dark enough to see Polaris to get a polar alignment. Depending on the weight of your scope, you may need to do a preliminary alignment without the scope if you are initially set up way off and fine tune it later with the equipment loaded due to the somewhat difficulty I had in adjusting the Altitude. What have experiences of others been with this?

Things I like
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1. Of course the weight of the mount and its capacity. I have a rather heavy scope (about 30 lbs in total) on order and taking it along with other mounts which would be able to handle that much weight to the field would be too much.

1. Polar alignment is sweet with the generated Polaris Position display.

2. The new "Balance Test" is super sweet.

3. The main LCD Information Screen indicates the name/I.D. of the object you are currently viewing.

4. The instructions are fairly well written.

5. GoTos were pretty good given the short time I had for testing the mount.

#2 Midnight Dan

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 06:42 AM

Hi John:

Thanks for the report! I was also able to get mine out for shakedown run. I didn't have the time problem, but I just used what the GPS came up with so I wasn't trying to change it.

I never had a problem with the RA motor continuing to run. Is it possible the key was sticking on the handset? In any case, I'd contact iOptron about that one.

As for noise, I don't have experience with a lot of mounts, but it didn't seem particularly noisy to me - nor particularly quiet. I guess it seems about what I expected. The only comparison point I have is the Nexstar 8SE which is about the same noise level.

The keys on the controller seem to need a short hold-time to get to work correctly - at least for me. If I tried to poke at them quickly, they would not respond. But if I hesitated after the down-stroke, they worked every time. Might be the way they're designed. Even though the key-beep is annoying, I left it on so I could tell when I actually hit a key. It would be nice if they provided a volume adjustment on the beep sound. It would be much less annoying if it was softer.

For the altitude adjustment, just use your hand to lift up on the CW bar to take the weight off the mount when you turn the adjustment wheel. It will be much easier to turn.

I agree with your Things I Like list. When I was at NEAF I lifted the CGEM and, while I can manage it, it really felt like a load. The iEQ45 on the other hand, was a breeze! The light weight is HUGE factor for me. Polar alignment and the balance test are awesome.

So far, I'm loving it! It does take time and effort to get all the pieces outside, set it up, and align it. But once you get there, the gotos are dead on and the thing performs well. Of course the true test is astrophotography which I haven't done yet.

-Dan

#3 LouP

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 11:26 AM

Hi John:

Thanks for the report! I was also able to get mine out for shakedown run. I didn't have the time problem, but I just used what the GPS came up with so I wasn't trying to change it.

I never had a problem with the RA motor continuing to run. Is it possible the key was sticking on the handset? In any case, I'd contact iOptron about that one.

As for noise, I don't have experience with a lot of mounts, but it didn't seem particularly noisy to me - nor particularly quiet. I guess it seems about what I expected. The only comparison point I have is the Nexstar 8SE which is about the same noise level.

The keys on the controller seem to need a short hold-time to get to work correctly - at least for me. If I tried to poke at them quickly, they would not respond. But if I hesitated after the down-stroke, they worked every time. Might be the way they're designed. Even though the key-beep is annoying, I left it on so I could tell when I actually hit a key. It would be nice if they provided a volume adjustment on the beep sound. It would be much less annoying if it was softer.

For the altitude adjustment, just use your hand to lift up on the CW bar to take the weight off the mount when you turn the adjustment wheel. It will be much easier to turn.

I agree with your Things I Like list. When I was at NEAF I lifted the CGEM and, while I can manage it, it really felt like a load. The iEQ45 on the other hand, was a breeze! The light weight is HUGE factor for me. Polar alignment and the balance test are awesome.

So far, I'm loving it! It does take time and effort to get all the pieces outside, set it up, and align it. But once you get there, the gotos are dead on and the thing performs well. Of course the true test is astrophotography which I haven't done yet.

-Dan


+1

#4 DonBoy

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 12:08 PM

John,

The RA continuing to run during an alignment is a known issue and is being worked on.

I personally have not had an issue with the altitude adjustment on two separate iEQ45s, although my current unit is a little stiff in RA mechanical adjustments. This could be because this unit uses a pier and the fit may be tighter than it was with the other unit that came with a tripod.

The keys not being very responsive is typical and it is also present on the MiniTowers although not to the same degree as the iEQ45. It can be a bit frustrating.

If you have a moment you might checkout my review here on CN.

http://www.cloudynig...hp?item_id=2627

Don

#5 johnpd

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:26 PM

Thanks Don,

Your review is excellent. I also have a MiniTower and I agree with you that the keypad response on that quicker than on the iEQ45. I especially had an issue entering numbers in the "Named Stars" menu. I am using a C-8 as well and found both counterweights were needed. I will be receiving the counterweight extension bar shortly and will see how that affects things. The scope I have on order is the 6" Lunt LS152. That should give the iEQ45 a good test for weight capacity. It should be interesting to determine how I will be able to adjust that scope for Dec balance.

I am glad to see iOptron is aware of the RA key "run-on" issue when centering alignment stars.

A couple of other things I noticed which really do not affect performance but were strange or temporarily annoying:

* As soon as the GPS locks in, the HC automatically switches to the current position of Polaris display even though you may be doing something else on a different screen.

* When doing the Balance Tests, the screen temporarily goes back to the main display screen or main menu (don't recall which), but then returns to the Balance Test screen. At first I thought there was a problem, but that appears to be the way it works.

I also thought that the supplied Vixen saddle seemed a little small. I replaced it with the Losmandy-D saddle (nice option iOptron) and will use an ADM D to V adapter if I want to mount a scope with a Vixen dovetail. The LS152 is one such scope.

JohnD

#6 DonBoy

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:43 PM

John,

The two comments on the Polaris Position and the screen change for the balance test are normal.

I find the vixen saddle to be bigger than the MiniTower's saddle so I've been satisfied with how it works for me.

Instead of using the additional counter weight I added two 2.5lb. dumbbell weights. That seems to work out well.

I'm sure that the Lunt 152 will do fine on the mount. You would have to have perfect seeing conditions to see any effects from loading while viewing the sun. I would find the center balance point of the Lunt before I put it on the mount by laying a pencil under the dovetail. Then do a balance test.

Good luck with everything and let us know how you make out.

Don






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