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Ioptron SmartEQ #3100-first look

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#1 Pedestal

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:06 PM

It came in late today, giving me scant time to assemble. I did manage to take a few pics, and have some comments along the way.
First, the box:

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#2 Pedestal

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:09 PM

Second, the contents. Tripod, tripod center, handbox, weight, mount, instruction sheet.

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#3 Pedestal

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:13 PM

The tripod. In the picture, it's extended all the way, about 4' high. Although relatively sturdy, it's small tube. The tray rotates/snaps into position. The good-about 30 secs to set up, and very light. The bad-it's very light. The tray will probably cease to "snap" into position in short order.

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#4 Pedestal

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:16 PM

The right side. Note in the picture of stuff in the box 'no wall wart, or power supply of any kind'....
All is not lost, however, as the power plug is center positive, and the same size connector that Celestron uses. Any power setup made for Celestron will work for this.

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#5 Pedestal

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:19 PM

Rear. I took the cap off to show the place for a polar scope. Note no screws. Also note I moved the altitude adjust bolt from it shipping hole (just below the correct hole). The shipping hole allows the mount to rotate completely down.

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#6 Pedestal

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:21 PM

Battery boxes. 8 AA. Note the position of the weight. I like this, without the weight, the bar slides all the way up in the mount. You can ajust balance by sliding the bar, not leaving a bunch of bar hanging 'out in the wind'... Also note, the toesaver is a flanged nut, not a thumbscrew. Bah! Humbug!

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#7 Pedestal

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:25 PM

The handbox: Whats the other hole for?????

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#8 Pedestal

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:29 PM

Setup. BIG PROBLEM! The slot for the dovetail is very tight. In fact, the dovetail I originally had on the Megrez 80 WOULD NOT FIT. Fortunatelly, I had this short dovetail on hand. Even at that, I had to slide it in, it would not "fold" in. There is no "safety screw". Also required a trip to the hardware store for proper screws... it never ends....

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#9 Pedestal

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:38 PM

Using it: I haven't yet... :) I did do a "fake" setup, and it appeared to point in the right direction. Setup on the handbox is typical Ioptron, pretty simple. One thing if you have never fooled with Ioptron before, you will need to know your 'minutes behind/or ahead' of universal time. A couple of examples are given in the instruction book, which is not very verbose. Hint-time zone equates to 60 minutes. I only fooled with the planetary menu, and if this one holds true to the others I've messed with, the stellar menu can be a pita. But, once you figure it out, it works.
For the price, I'm quite pleased. The 80mm rides easily, and this is the scope I really bought the mount for. I had hoped it would arrive before the transit...... I report back later on goto/tracking, after I've used it a bit.

#10 MRNUTTY

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:40 PM

Hmm, bummer Hubert. I know someone that bought the mount with no issues. I would contact iOptron support ASAP, they have been mega helpful for me. Btw, I noticed they do not implement the safety screw for vixen saddle too. Those vixens are the first thing I swap on any mount for an ADM dual saddle. Of course that doesn't make much sense for a 11lb capacity mount.

#11 MikeBOKC

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 10:13 PM

I received my Smart EQ today as well and did the same setup you did. The box only contained the quick start set up instructions but the full manual is now up on the iOptron website and I will print it tomorrow. My TMB 92L slid easily into the mounting saddle, and I fooled with the controller a bit, but will probably not get it out under the stars until this weekend. Overall it appears to be a nice, functional, easily portable small EQ mount for grab and go capability. Yes, many of the components are less that robust, but for $399 I don't expect diamonds. So far I am really pleased with this little mount and will have a fuller picure once I take it outdoors for a full test run.

#12 Astronewb

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 03:36 PM

I have had this mount for about a month now, was probably one of the first to own one. Yes, the dovetail is a tight fit, I had to file a small 45 degree angle on the bottom edges of my Orion dovetail to get it into the slot. Btw, the iOptron Vixen dovetail is a perfect fit in the mount.

I have only found one serious issue with the mount, and have forwarded it to iOptron, they have forwarded it to the factory. Here's a video of the issue: http://www.flickr.co...011/7352700572/

For portability, I purchased a Hakuba tripod bag, and the complete mount fits perfectly in it. The counterweight and hand controller fit in a zippered pouch on the bag. Get one, you'll love it.

I've only had the mount out one night since I got it to test it with a Dslr camera mounted. The polar scope hole is useless due to the circuit board bar in the middle of the opening. It holds a small adjustable led for the 'not available' polar scope. With a quick alignment using just Live View on Polaris, I was able to get some 30 sec widefield images without appreciable trailing using the cameras 35mm lens setting. I think this mount is going to perform well in the future, once a polar scope is available.

Re the extra hbx connection in the HC..it's for firmware updates. There is a blocked HBX or Aux port on the mount itself, and the HC does have an Auto Guide menu...makes one wonder what the future may bring?

Hope the info helps...cheers,

Paul

#13 jwaldo

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 04:51 PM

I have had this mount for about a month now, was probably one of the first to own one. Yes, the dovetail is a tight fit, I had to file a small 45 degree angle on the bottom edges of my Orion dovetail to get it into the slot. Btw, the iOptron Vixen dovetail is a perfect fit in the mount.

I have only found one serious issue with the mount, and have forwarded it to iOptron, they have forwarded it to the factory. Here's a video of the issue: http://www.flickr.co...011/7352700572/

For portability, I purchased a Hakuba tripod bag, and the complete mount fits perfectly in it. The counterweight and hand controller fit in a zippered pouch on the bag. Get one, you'll love it.

I've only had the mount out one night since I got it to test it with a Dslr camera mounted. The polar scope hole is useless due to the circuit board bar in the middle of the opening. It holds a small adjustable led for the 'not available' polar scope. With a quick alignment using just Live View on Polaris, I was able to get some 30 sec widefield images without appreciable trailing using the cameras 35mm lens setting. I think this mount is going to perform well in the future, once a polar scope is available.

Re the extra hbx connection in the HC..it's for firmware updates. There is a blocked HBX or Aux port on the mount itself, and the HC does have an Auto Guide menu...makes one wonder what the future may bring?

Hope the info helps...cheers,

Paul


Most fascinating... :scratchhead: Odd that it'd be missing a screw so important. Maybe there's supposed to be one there and yours escaped in the factory somewhere?

I'm holding out for the ability to autoguide, myself. Hope they enable it at some point...

#14 MRNUTTY

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 08:29 AM

Great video Paul! :-)

#15 MikeBOKC

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 02:31 PM

Mine does not have that screw either and after viewing the video I wiggled the mount and found a similar degree of play, but I don't see it as objectionable for visual use, and also since I will use a somewhat heavier OTA/ring assembly on mine. Still waiting for some decent skies to test run this mount.

#16 Pedestal

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 05:14 PM

Thanks for the tip on the screw. I happened to have one the proper size and promptly added it.. :)
On the polar scope issue- mine was somewhat blocked also, but by the shaft. Try this-align the marks, then loosen the clutch bolt. Use the hand box to rotate the shaft, till you get a round hole...
Also, I was missing then front polar cap. A piece of tape suffices until they can send me one.
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#17 MikeBOKC

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:58 PM

Took this mount out for a test spin last night even though clouds were threatening. On trying initial two-star alignment I came up about 15 degrees off my first alignment star and then realized that I had not reset the daylight savings time from N to Y . . . and once I did that the clouds were here (NEVER anger Astro-Gods with enthusiasm for a new mount!) so we will have to reserve final testing for a better night soon. Overall though I was impressed by the smooth slew to where Vega would have been . . . looked like the mount was pretty much on target.

I intend to work up a full review on this mount as soon as I have been able to use it on a good night.

#18 Pedestal

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 01:35 PM

I made a new tripod a couple of weeks ago for a small scope I had laying around. With very little mod it fit the Ioptron mount. It's stiffer, taller and lighter than the original. The rig I made the wooden tripod for is now sitting on it (in the background).

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#19 MikeBOKC

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 02:57 PM

For those who have received or who are getting this mount, I have discovered a software glitch. After setting up the hand controller with all info, the mount continues to think it is one hour later than it is, hence the off-target alignment slews. If you enter correct time in the setup, the information screen is going to continue to display an hour later. I emailed ioptrom tech support and they said they have just discovered this glitch and will have a firmware upgrade on their site this week. For now they suggested just setting DST to No and the correct time should be displayed.

#20 Pedestal

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 10:26 PM

Thanks Mike. I thought I was going to have a shot at trying it out tonite, but it didn't happen

#21 TONGKW

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 10:30 PM

It would be ideal if an illuminated polarscope is available for this iOptron Smart EQ #3100.

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#22 Astronewb

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 01:39 PM

On the polar scope issue- mine was somewhat blocked also, but by the shaft.

The polar alignment hole is always blocked by the Dec shaft on a EQ mount, that's why there is a hole drilled thru it for viewing with the polar scope. Yes, you do have to move the Dec shaft about 30-40 degrees to open up the hole for viewing. My concern is, that with the hole opened up..there is a bar that goes straight across the opening in the middle, and it has the illuminating LED on it. There is NO way you can center Polaris in the polar scope hole because it is blocked by the circuit board bar. iOptron really needs to make the polar scope available soon. Image of the obstructed polar scope opening attached.

Cheers

Paul

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#23 Pedestal

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:32 PM

Now that is interesting. No bar in mine, and the board is below the hole. My camera battery was dead, I'll try and post a pic tomorrow.

#24 Astronewb

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:36 PM

Please do, because the circuit board bar in my mount is home to the illuminated red led for the polar scope. Therefore if you turn on the illumination in the hand controller, you get blinded by a red laser when trying to view through it. Naturally, I leave it off, but you still can't align Polaris because of the bar.

Thanks, looking forward to your pic,

Paul

#25 lakeorion

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 01:25 AM

Is the tripod to mount interface a copy of any other mounts?

Or the more direct question - is there a commercially available adapter plate to fit this on my surveyors tripod that I can't knock over with a Jeep?






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