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EQ6 Altitude Adjustment

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#26 John Carruthers

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:04 AM

be sure to check the thread pitch, I've seen both M10 x 1.25mm and M10 x 1.0mm on EQ6 mounts (also a 1.25 forced into a 1.0mm hole) :ohgeeze:
As Astro Baby says, the stock bolts are made from stale cheese, a few £ spent on SS bolts is far better than stripped threads/bent bolts.
There are some on the market (can't find them now) that have a built in reversible ratchet handle :waytogo:

#27 Refractor6

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:40 AM

be sure to check the thread pitch, I've seen both M10 x 1.25mm and M10 x 1.0mm on EQ6 mounts (also a 1.25 forced into a 1.0mm hole) :ohgeeze:
As Astro Baby says, the stock bolts are made from stale cheese, a few £ spent on SS bolts is far better than stripped threads/bent bolts.
There are some on the market (can't find them now) that have a built in reversible ratchet handle :waytogo:



I took the stock one from one side in with me for an exact match up John. The new ones both went in no problem. Added a little extra gun grease to keep things well protected in regards to all the threads though.

Considering the amount of weight i'm riding on top and having seen the picture provided by astro boy i'm glad I came by this thread sooner than later. Have a feeling now that the stock one on the one side that recieves most of the high angled intense pressure could have caused some troubling issues inside the head in no time flat with the weight load i'm demanding on it.

The new stainless steel ones shown by the way must have a heavy nickel content since the magnet test shows no reaction to them. The old ones were very magnet reactive.

#28 EFT

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:17 AM

When you put new bolts in make sure to round and smooth the ends. Otherwise the bolt will damage the tongue that it pushes against. A rough end will also make the adjustment bumpy and more difficult.

#29 Refractor6

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 11:33 AM

When you put new bolts in make sure to round and smooth the ends. Otherwise the bolt will damage the tongue that it pushes against. A rough end will also make the adjustment bumpy and more difficult.


Done....that's the first thing I did when they came home. My father was a mechanic so I learned a few things along the way.

First with a file taking off any sharp sections and slightly rounding the edges on the ends. Finished up with a few grades of fine sandpaper to make them deadly smooth.

No rough edges to bugger the insides when under pressure :cool:

#30 bluedandelion

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:02 PM

So what I want to know is this: Does anyone do drift align with the replacement bolts with a load of say 25-30 lbs (not counting counterweights) of imaging equipment? Is it safe to do so?

Ajay

#31 DonR

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 04:08 PM

It's the counterweights that matter. The imaging equipment does not bear on the "up" altitude adjustment bolt, the counterweights do. I do drift alignment with 26 pounds of counterweights installed, with the original altitude bolts, and I've been doing it that way for about five years with no problems.

Depending on what you use to turn them (a padded knob, a wrench, etc.) the replacement bolts may be easier to turn. But if you aren't careful you can still bend or break something. All that is required is to be sure to loosen the opposite bolt before tightening one, and to lift up on the counterweight shaft when adjusting the altitude upward.

#32 Refractor6

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:04 PM

Yes I was told Don but someone who works in the metal industry last night that even these lovely hard as it gets stainless steel ones I just put in can snap in half if abused.

Care must always be taken to always loosen the opposite side when changing the position and lifting the 33 lbs of counterweights in my situation well doing a change in height....

#33 EFT

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:25 PM

The problem is that the higher in latitude you are, the greater the angle between the bolt and the face of the tongue that it presses against. With either increased wieght or stiffness in the latitude axis the bolt will tend to bend downward regardless of what it is made of. Any bend in the bolt will quickly make it impossible to adjust. It is just not that big a bolt. That's why they went with something that is over 1/2 inch in diameter for the CGEM to eliminate this problem completely.

#34 Refractor6

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:32 PM

Well my feeling is now with the hard ones in place on my NEQ6 they should last a lifetime with CAREFUL use.

In my case for pure visual observing that is just some minor tweeks in the field to center Polaris in the right place in the polar scope...nothing crazy or overly stressful on the mount or threads.

#35 bluedandelion

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 07:44 PM

It's the counterweights that matter.


Understood, but total amount of counterweight depends on the specific type of scope, camera, guiding apparatus etc. and the associated moment arms. This is why I asked the question as I did. In my case, imaging load is 29 lbs (with c9.25) and total CW is 35 lbs.

The problem is that drift aligning requires a delicate touch. What I was looking for is whether anyone actually does this routinely. As I said, I do a polar align with EQMOD with no load and then add the scope and kaboodle. I have not dared to use the alt knobs for drift aligning.

Ajay

#36 DonR

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 08:40 PM

The problem is that drift aligning requires a delicate touch. What I was looking for is whether anyone actually does this routinely. As I said, I do a polar align with EQMOD with no load and then add the scope and kaboodle. I have not dared to use the alt knobs for drift aligning.


A delicate touch? Well, you don't want to hit it with a two pound hammer, but I wouldn't really call it delicate.

I have drift aligned the Atlas many times, using the original altitude bolts, with 26 pounds of counterweights on the shaft - two eleven pound weights plus a four pound weight borrowed from the SkyView Pro, all as low on the shaft as they will go. If all I had was three eleven pound counterweights I would use them, and slide them further up the shaft.

Maybe you should just try it, I assure you it really couldn't be simpler. As I said, you just have to be sure to loosen the opposite bolt before tightening one, and use your free hand to assist by lifting up on the counterweight bar as you tighten the "up" bolt. You can adjust the altitude as little or as much as you want, and put no more stress on the bolts than turning them with the mount unloaded.

The EQMOD polar alignment routine will get you in the ball park, but no closer than any other carefully executed alignment using the polar scope. In order to nail it you need to drift align. If you pay attention and use reasonable care, there's nothing to be afraid of.

#37 EFT

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 08:53 PM

If you get the mount close to the correct latitude, then the small adjustments for drift aligning should not really cause any substantial problem. It is a lot more difficult if you are having to make substantial changes in the latitude setting (like when traveling) that trying to make them with the mount fully loaded becomes more difficult. Overall, this is not an adjustment that you have to be concerned about making as long as you don't feel like you have to use a vise grip to turn the knobs.

#38 bluedandelion

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 11:49 PM

Thanks Don and Ed.

Ajay

#39 dvb

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 01:28 PM

I agree with Astro Baby that the altitude bolts, especially the rear one, are seriously inadequate, especially for those of us at higher altitudes (I'm at 49 º N) and with challenging loads.

Mine bent, although not as badly as the "pretzel" AstroBaby encountered.

The English bolts recommended by AstroBaby are excellent - the ratcheted rear handle is very convenient, and much easier and handier than a regular hex head with a wrench. (I just replaced the bolts provided by Astrotroniks with the English product.) Delivery of the bolts from England to the Pacific Northwest was quick and easy.

Like EFT, I also removed the side plastic disc to expose the altitude adjustment screws - they did indeed need adjustment.

But, they don't need adjustment very often, and I actually preferred the look of the mount without the plastic decorative discs, so I just left the discs off, and would use an Allen key to adjust the screws again (which hasn't been necessary).

#40 PGW Steve

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 03:15 PM

I had a bolt bend on my EQ6, those things are soft!

To solve the problem, I fired up my CAD software and designed a new base to replace the old one. I had planned on marketing it but, speaking with a vendor, it sounds like he wanted it for free. I'm talking a well thought out, precision machined piece, that turned me off from doing it.

It's all machined from billet aluminum, and has 1/2" fine stainless alt bolts. The main feature is the alt bolts can be moved to different positions based on latitude to allow them a staight push on the 'tongue'.

I also made a new Dec nut that allowed me to screw in a 1.125" shaft, and bore out the counterweights and install bronze sleeves. I've put my FSQ and Coronado double stack on it with 43 pounds of weight, and can make fine adjustments to the alt axis with buttery smooth feel.

Perhaps in the future I can make a large run of these and pin down a price. As it was I only made 3 complete base/nut/shaft assemblies. It really takes the EQ6/Atlas to a new level, putting the alt/az adjustments on par with something from AP.

Because it is modular, I had planned on a tripod/stock type replacement, and a pier version.

Some day!!

#41 dvb

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 06:57 PM

I had a bolt bend on my EQ6, those things are soft!

To solve the problem, I fired up my CAD software and designed a new base to replace the old one. I had planned on marketing it but, speaking with a vendor, it sounds like he wanted it for free. I'm talking a well thought out, precision machined piece, that turned me off from doing it.

It's all machined from billet aluminum, and has 1/2" fine stainless alt bolts. The main feature is the alt bolts can be moved to different positions based on latitude to allow them a staight push on the 'tongue'.

I also made a new Dec nut that allowed me to screw in a 1.125" shaft, and bore out the counterweights and install bronze sleeves. I've put my FSQ and Coronado double stack on it with 43 pounds of weight, and can make fine adjustments to the alt axis with buttery smooth feel.

Perhaps in the future I can make a large run of these and pin down a price. As it was I only made 3 complete base/nut/shaft assemblies. It really takes the EQ6/Atlas to a new level, putting the alt/az adjustments on par with something from AP.

Because it is modular, I had planned on a tripod/stock type replacement, and a pier version.

Some day!!


Sounds interesting! It would be great to see a proto-type!

#42 bluedandelion

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 07:33 PM

For the azimuth here's what I did: I removed the black paint on the mount base and the tripod top plate. I then sanded and polished both surfaces. Motion in azimuth is now very smooth and precise. It is the altitude that has always confounded me.

Ajay

#43 JoLo

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 11:00 AM

I had a serious bent bolt problem as well, replaced with SS bolts and used a rachet. I have since replaced them again with the padded bolts from Astrotniks, both AZ and ALT....big help!

Someone stated above and this I have learned; exercise care when adjusting the ALT, don't tighten without loosening, and help with pressure on the counterweight bar if necessary. Not a problem since!

#44 lezarb

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:59 PM

Hi there,

I've just joined the forum motivated by a google search re similar problem. I found a contribution by jareb on this but process of registering etc cannot find original post, it will have to do here...Would've been the following post:

"Thanks Jareb for the great heads ups on that one. Just got delivery of NEQ6 and ran into the altitude adjustment bolt problem. It was very stiff and seemed to lock completely after turning it with adjuster azimuth bolts through a few degrees.

Somewhat concerned reading posts here and elsewhere re need for replacement hex bolts and possible thread damage and other mods.

Your post fixed it for me and as simple as you say. Empty mount of everything. Extend out the weight bar. Position the bar so its pointing upward at its highest point. Loosen those azimuth adjuster bolts and back them off a bit. Now gently press downward on the bar and notice how the adjuster bolts change from the resistance of stone to butter. Doing this in small increments of 4 degrees or so WORKED a treat , thanks and got my 53 degrees altitude in no time. 'Tiltmeter 'and compass free iPhone apps work well with http://astronomy.abi...echnical/80-... useful if you cant get polar alignment due to confined space eg attic :-)
Above will get you going and not destroy your bolts. For more precise alignments without polaris or with polaris use the drift method covered elsewhere.

colm

#45 lezarb

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:07 PM

I was of course referring to rmollisse post #5309386 - 07/09/12 08:12 AM for his simple solution that worked for me as well. Thanks rmollisse, nice one:-)

#46 lezarb

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:21 PM

rmollisse (#5309386 - 07/09/12 08:12 AM) I inadvertently named jareb, anyways ta again rmollisse, it worked.

#47 Pauls72

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:39 PM

I have a C11 most of the time on my Atlas. Early on it was hard to move the altitude bolts. I pulled both of the adjusting bolts out and coated the tips and threads with SuperLube and never had an issue since. No problem at all adjusting it even with the C11 and 33lbs of counter weights all mounted.

#48 astro_baby

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 06:08 PM

The UK supplier of the bolts with the ratchet handle is astro developments, google it and they will appear. I have no connection with them at all other than being a satisfied customer.

Something else to think about is the standard front bolt from astro developments can be too long and foul the weights depending on your setup...this was the case with my HEQ5 so I had astro developments make me a shorter front bolt. It means at a lower latitude it would be useless but as the furthest South I could go without walking on water would be 51' its not a problem.

Weirdly last weekend I spent fun time sawing an alt bolt out lf a CG5 thats been wrecked.....sighs

#49 FaronD

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 12:31 AM

I've got an 11" Edge SCT mounted on my EQ6 and I'm having a bit of an issue. If anyone owes an EQ6 you probably have noticed the difficulty in adjusting the altitude. Its absolutely terrible with a 30 lbs telescope and counterweights on it (necessary for accurate drift alignment).

Does anyone have any ideas/suggestions or creative solutions to easing my altitude pains?


I had two EQ6 pros in the past and I never had an issue with bending bolts or even stiction however, I did perform a couple of minor tweaks which I picked up from the EQ6 yahoogroups. Both scopes I used were heavy. One was a C11 and the other was a Tak Toa130.

The first thing to do if the mount is difficult to move in alt is to access the grub screws under the plastic side cover as Ed showed a few posts back. All you have to do is to loosened them once. Loosen them just enough so the movements by hand are nice and easy, glue the cover back on and you're good to go. The hardest part is removing the cover without cracking it. I used a little lube on the adjustment bolts to ensure they move easily as well. Finally, make sure your scope is counterbalanced properly. These mods work great, I didn't have to lift the counterweight shaft once the mods were performed either. Another tip is to apply a little lube under the the base of the mount this allows the azimuth to move easily.

If you're not comfortable doing such mods, consider sending the mount to Ed Thomas and it will come back better than new :D



Faron

#50 Pat at home

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Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:54 PM

I upgraded the altitude bolts with hardware store bolts and epoxied a wooden knob on the ends, no ratchet or box end wrench needed.

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