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Sky-Watcher AZ4 mount

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#1 xcy

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 11:58 PM

What is the maximum load capacity and longest optical tube that the Sky-Watcher AZ4 alt-azimuth mount can carry?

#2 rmollise

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 07:43 AM

I've used a C8 and an f/6.3 Newt with it successfully. Not the rock of Gibraltar with them, but passable. If you need more capacity, you can get the mount with a beefier tripod that helps.

#3 xcy

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 12:54 PM

Uncle Rod, what was the weight and focal length of the f/6.3 Newtonian?

I was hoping for more replies as I believe this mount is also available from Orion.

#4 Locoman

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 04:54 PM

I have the one from orion with the aluminum tripod. I've used a C6 and a ST120 F/5. My ST120 with rings, carry handle, dovetail bar, 2' diagonal and a meade SWA 28mm (which is a large eyepiece) weighs well over 10 lbs (not sure how much) and the AZ4 handles it very well! One night for kicks and grins I mounted the tube off of my XT6 FL-1200mm F/8 and the AZ4 was no match for that much weight and length but it probably had more to do with the length of the XT6 tube which is 45.5 inches. Also the AZ4 has azimuth and altitude degree circles which work reasonably well except the azimuth dial is for the southern hemisphere so I took the mount apart and turned the azimuth dial upside down so it would work for northern hemisphere. While I had it apart I cleaned the famous chinese grease off and lubed it with marine grade lithium. It came to me with a broken tripod leg fastener and Orion promptly shipped me a new tripod leg for free. The AZ4 works great and is easily grab n go with the telescope mounted on it. Hope this helps!
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#5 xcy

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 02:32 PM

Actually what I had in mind was to use this mount with a long 4" f/9 refractor (and a 9x50 finder, a 2" diagonal and a 2" eyepiece). I am still not sure if it will work satisfactory.

#6 Spyke

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 06:11 PM

I use my AZ4 with a C100ED and it works absolutely fine. I take the pan-handle off and just use the scope to steer though as I can't reach the handle when the ota is at its best balance point. Other than that, no issues at all.

Ant:cool:

#7 dscarpa

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 03:34 PM

I've used my stell legged AZ4 with my IM715 and WO ZS110 both about 20 lbs. It's rock solid with either and damping is very quick. The only negative is in some positions the mount's action can be somewhat sticky making high power tracking less than optimal. I replaced the stock grease with liquid silicon lube which helped. I like it bettter with the refractor because the longer OTA gives more leverage making action smoother. The AZ4 doesn't point straight up with the mak on it. David

#8 tezster

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 10:38 AM

...The only negative is in some positions the mount's action can be somewhat sticky making high power tracking less than optimal. I replaced the stock grease with liquid silicon lube which helped.

David


I also have the AZ4 mount and found the same issues tracking at high power. This was especially true the closer to the zenith the scope was pointed to i.e. it becomes more difficult to find the right combination of scope balance and altitude tension.

Would you mind sharing more details on how you re-lubricated the mount? Did you do both the azimuth and altitude bearings? And did you remove/clean off all the original grease, then apply the silicone?

#9 dscarpa

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 11:34 AM

I relubed both axis. It's not hard to do as long as you keep track of in what order the parts go back in. Both axis have captive ball bearings. I used the plastic safe type of Goofoff to remove the stock grease on all surfaces. I first tried white lithium grease which was quite a bit better than the stock stuff but the liquid silicon lube was the best. David

#10 Robo-bob

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:49 PM

I relubed both axis. It's not hard to do as long as you keep track of in what order the parts go back in. Both axis have captive ball bearings..... David


Mine had captive ball bearing on one axis and ebony star on teflon on the other. I wonder which design is the newer version? Can anyone else with an AZ4 mount have a peek inside and add to the data?

#11 dscarpa

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 06:37 PM

One of my AZ4's-I'm pretty sure but not positive that it's the az-axis has ebonystar and teflon as well as the ball bearings. I bought the AZ4 about 2 years ago. David

#12 tezster

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 07:27 PM

David, thanks for the details. I went ahead and re-lubricated my AZ4 earlier tonight using the materials you mentioned, but I won't know how much of a difference it will make until I get a chance to test it out with the scope at high powers (skies are overcast, wouldn't you know it).

In any case, my AZ4 has captive ball bearings on both axes - I bought mine last August.

#13 dscarpa

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:02 AM

My mounts have been playing musical tripods. The impending arrival of the Unistar will bump my Giro from the Sokkia tripod onto the WO EZ's which in turn took the AZ4's. The AZ4 ended up on the Munchkin size tripod my Voyager came with. It's pretty low down-the EZ on this tripod was way too low-but works fine with my Lunt 60. I'm going to keep it at work and bring the Lunt OTA in when the Sun is putting on a major show. David

#14 Robo-bob

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 12:33 PM

In any case, my AZ4 has captive ball bearings on both axes - I bought mine last August.


Ya know, this is really odd. When I received my AZ4 last summer, I didn't like the motions so I immediately tore it down for a relube. When I saw the two different bearings, I contacted Skywatcher to inquire. I was told directly by them that all the AZ4 mounts were built this way.

On a positive note, the mount is working well for its intended use. I have it mounted to a heavier oak tripod with a 12" pier. It is currently holding a 4" refractor and makes an excellent G & G mount.

#15 tezster

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 01:13 PM

My mounts have been playing musical tripods. The impending arrival of the Unistar will bump my Giro from the Sokkia tripod onto the WO EZ's which in turn took the AZ4's. The AZ4 ended up on the Munchkin size tripod my Voyager came with. It's pretty low down-the EZ on this tripod was way too low-but works fine with my Lunt 60. I'm going to keep it at work and bring the Lunt OTA in when the Sun is putting on a major show. David


Sorry to bug you again with another question, but you seem to have a wealth of experience with these things - how stable have you found the AZ4 mount when attached to other tripods? The reason I ask is when I look at the base of the AZ4 mount and the surface of the steel tripod it came with, they're shaped in such a way that they mate together perfectly i.e. it doesn't look to me like it's a generic/multipurpose kind of a connection that can be easily moved to another tripod.

For instance, I tried attaching it to the aluminum tripod that came with my AZ3 mount, which doesn't work, since that tripod has a completely flat surface, whereas the AZ4 tripod has a recessed shape.

I guess I just don't have a lot of experience with different mount/tripod combinations.

#16 rmollise

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:24 PM

Uncle Rod, what was the weight and focal length of the f/6.3 Newtonian?

I was hoping for more replies as I believe this mount is also available from Orion.


Oh... 15+ pounds or so, I reckon. The problem is not so much the weight as the tube length--longer is shakier.

#17 dscarpa

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:13 PM

I used a piece of aluminum to make a adapter so I can mount it on the Voyager tripod. That's the only other than stock tripod I've put it on. The only OTA that works with the AZ4 on the Voyager tripod-which is a light duty as well as being short-is the Lunt 60 which is about 12 lbs. The Lunt is stable with very good damping when used on it. From my experience with putting other mounts on various tripods as long as the connection is tight with no slop it works fine. The AZ4's head is pretty heavy duty. David

#18 xcy

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:24 AM

Is anyone using a 4" f/9 refractor (with 9x50 finder, 2" diagonal, 2" eyepiece) on an AZ4 mount (with steel tripod)? How is the performance of the mount with a telescope of this length and weight? Are there any problems when pointing to the zenith?

#19 xcy

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 01:52 AM

Also, is balancing required when switching from one eyepiece to an other when they have a significant weight difference?

#20 rmollise

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:03 AM

If you have the scope decently balanced and at least some tension on the altitude, you should be OK. I use a 6-inch f/6.3 Newt in an aluminum tube without problems. With fairly heavy eyepieces.

#21 SDTopensied

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 06:01 PM

My apologies for bumping an old thread, but for the benefit of those who might want to know...

I used an Explore Scientific ES AR127 on mine with no issues. 15 pounds with accessories and 39" long with the diagonal at focus with a 30 mm eyepiece.

The lack of slow motion controls was an issue at high magnification. However, you can mitigate some of this problem by balancing the scope and re-lubricating the mount as mentioned above.

On a side note, if you live in the Northern hemisphere, you'll have to disassemble the azimuth portion of the mount and turn the degree circle upsidedown.

#22 Rustie

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 08:58 AM

I'm currently using my steel tripod equipped AZ4 with an Orion Optics 200mm F4.5 newtonian. Handles it without any problems, also damps quickly. Eyepiece is perfectly placed for comfortable viewing. And the whole thing can be carried with one hand.
Should be mentioned that the Orion Optics newt are a fair bit lighter than the similar sized Synta and GSO newts. Mine for instance weighs 7kg all up, not much more than the Synta 150 F5. And being F4.5 its also not a long tube.
Only snag is the tube hits the legs at 75deg above horizon.

#23 xcy

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:25 AM

I am testing a long refractor and I have a question for all that are using the Orion Versago II HD or the Sky-Watcher AZ-4. After balancing and applying maximum tension on the altitude axis knob the refractor does not feel very secured on the mount. If I touch the focuser or apply some pressure on the handle it moves the refractor in either direction. Is this supposed to happen?

#24 rmollise

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:53 PM

How long and how heavy?

#25 xcy

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 02:32 PM

How long and how heavy?


4" f/9 and approximately 5kg.






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