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Preliminary comments on new Skywatcher AZ-EQ6

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#51 johnpd

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:58 PM

Nice Jack.

JohnD

#52 Mike X.

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:57 AM

Beautyful mount!

#53 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:56 AM

Actually I was going to place my Orion ED80 with Baader white light filter on it. But I needed to add a Vixen dovetail to the OTA and decided to work on that later. The saddle did work well as a counterweight.

Jack Huerkamp

#54 Mike X.

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:43 PM

Jack if it's not much to ask,how are the vibration dumping times in equatorial configuration?
I'm asking because i'm really interested for this mount for DSO photography.
It could cost me more or less about the same i would spend for an Atlas with modified clutches and counterweight shaft...so..i was thinking why not to try the new mount at this point ;)

#55 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:10 PM

I have not yet tried it in EQ mode under "real" stars. However there is a gentleman who has used his 10" f/5 Newtonian on his AZ-EQ6 with autoguiding and gotten excellent results.

Jack Huerkamp

#56 Mike X.

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 02:25 PM

Thank you Jack,yes i've seen the photos,impressive and i must say very prommising!

#57 martl

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:34 PM

Nice to read all the positive posts about the EQ6AZ! However I didn't imagine how many clouds a new mount will attract. Since it arrived at the end of November I hardly had any chance to use it due to a constant overcast.

So far I can tell that with my 8"f4 and my 80mm refractor it works flawlessly with impressive guiding accuracy. My 10"f5 is about the limit what I would consider as photographically useful. Still I can't say how good it really works with this, because I could use it only 2 times. In December I had a pinched primary yielding elongated stars, and this Monday I had gusty wind and the worst seeing I can recall for a long time. Also I spent 2 hours figuring out that the reason I didn't find any guiding star in my OAG was not the absence of guiding stars, but a defective cable to the guiding cam which for whatever reason didn't evoke an error message. Only when I exchanged the cable with that of the handbox I had again some guiding stars. Anyway I quit photographing after the first shot, because the stars were about the size of golf balls mainly because of seeing, but also partly due to the unpredictable strong wind gusts. The stars were round however.

I have read some comments in the posts above which I can only underline.
- BE CAREFUL WITH CABLES and straps! When I did the 2star-alignment on Saturday, the strap of the borrowed 5DMKII got caught with the elevation screw, nearly tearing off flattener and cam from the refractor. There are quite a few screws and levers protruding, so it's a smart move to think twice about cables and camera straps BEFORE you start the alignment or execute a long goto.

- The original spiral cable is not satisfying. I exchanged it against a flat Lan-cable which works so far without any problems and doesn't get nearly as stiff as the spiral one in freezing temperatures.
- The polar scope, once properly adjusted, is accurate enough for photographic applications with autoguider for me. I screwed down the eyepiece with a washer of the optimum thickness to eliminate play before adjusting the reticle of the polar scope. Everything firm and in focus since then.
- Because the hand controller gives out the hour angle of Polaris, the silver index plate at the bottom of the polar scope (copied from the venerable SP mounts) is not really of use. However, with a small modification you can dial in the given hour angle much more precisely than by eyeballing. I fastened the setting circles of the 2 axes enough that they can't be moved accidentially, turned the mount until the reticle is in the 12h-position and inscribed a mark on the RA circle. All you have to do then is to turn the RA axis to that mark, make sure that you set the silver index plate to 12 and then turn the mount until it reads the correct hour angle. To avoid counting the index marks you may wish (as I did) to inscribe the hours on the index plate with a permanent pen, because the marks already there go in the wrong direction, month 10 corresponds to 2 o'clock. BTW, don't put too much emphasis on the deviation readings of the HC. After exchanging the cables on Monday I had to repeat the alingnment, and without having anything changed the numbers went from spot on to considerably off. I think this is more a matter of how exactly you place the alingnment star in the middle of the field.

- For optimum goto accuracy, it seems to be necessary - as the manual also states - to deactivate the additional encoders. From what I experienced, it seems to me that the 2star-alignment gives better results when the encoders are deactivated. On Monday I took some time to play around after I decided to pack away my camera. The initial 2star-alignment was done with encoders off, all objects were in the field, but not dead-center of my 7mm Nagler, which gives about 190x in my 10". I have no experiance with goto scopes so far, but I can live with this performance. When I activated the encoders during that session, results got slightly worse (and yes, you can shift the scope manually and it finds back its position). However with encoders on during alingnment in previous sessions, objects were not centered very well in the field of my Dslr. Not far off, but I hat to reframe them manually. Of course these remarks on goto accuracy are based on the very few occasions I could use the mount, other users may have made different experiences.

All in all, The EQ6AZ seems to be a great mount for mobile observing and photographing, at least I don't regret the money forked out for that.

CS
Martin

#58 Mike X.

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 05:42 PM

Very nice report Martin!Thank you!!
You said that the 10" is about the limit for Photographic use.
You are saying that regarding weight (i suspect so) or regarding the focal length?
I am wondering if this nice mount can handle an RC8 with a small ED scope for DSO photography.It seems a nice alternative to the CGEM/Atlas

#59 johnpd

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:37 AM

I finally tried my Mallincam Xtreme video camera on my AZ/EQ6. I was using Alt/Az mode with 2-star alignment. I did not have much "GoTo" problems with most M objects. Had some difficulty with some NGC objects. I was able to bring in M42, M51, M1, the Horsehead, M104, NGC4631. Had some issues finding M46, NGC4565, M4038/9. I had to fine tune them through the finderscope.

Using a C-8 @ f/3.3. Forgot to turn off the auxiliary encoders. Will try again with those off to see if it makes a difference.

JohnD

#60 martl

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:34 AM

No, more in regards to the combination of weight and tube lenght. A 10"f5 Newton is quite a substantial piece of equipment. an 8" or even 10" RC should be handled without problems because it is less sensitive to wind gusts.

CS
Martin

#61 Mike X.

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:55 AM

Thank you Martin ;)

#62 bartg

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 04:23 AM

Would it be possible to use a 16 inch telescope (weight:50 pound, tube length:63 inches) in AZ mode, only for visual use with this mount? Could the length of the tube be a problem?

#63 frolinmod

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 05:36 AM

Oh for heavens sake, please get real.

#64 bartg

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 07:16 AM

Ok that's a quick and direct answer but please explain me why my question is not 'real'. :-) Here I see a 12 inch telescope (this one) of about the same weight with a 8 inch shorter tube on a lighter equatorial mount , meant for astrophotography so more top heavy because of camera/guidescope.
So I don't see what I am missing.
Thanks

#65 HowardK

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 12:28 PM

The az eq6 is rated at 44lbs load

The 16" is not only too heavy but it is so long that vibrations would be bad and it would hit the tripod as u near zenith.

#66 martl

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Posted 09 March 2013 - 04:20 PM

Don't think that you should try this. You need about the same amount of counterweights and need to have a pier because the tripod legs are in the way. I could imagine that a lightweight 12"f4 would work.

CS
Martin

#67 bartg

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 03:06 AM

ok thanks for the useful comments.

#68 EFT

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 01:06 PM

One sure way to be unhappy with a new mount in this category is to buy it with the biggest scope offered on it. At best it might make a reasonable visual combination, at worst it will be useless. What you are looking to mount is even larger and heavier and would be even more ill advised. That is not to say that it can never be done, but the frustration level will be high, you could expect to need to tune the mount (even a new one) to the highest degree, and even the slightest breeze would drive you crazy. While catastrophic failure is generally unlikely, it would need to be considered when clearly overloading a mount, particularly a mount that has not been out for a while with people pushing its limits to see what happens. For example, it would be safer to push a standard Atlas mounts up to an past it limits than the new, mostly untested, AZ-EQ6 simply because at least some people have been doing that for a while with the Atlas already.

#69 johnpd

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 01:36 AM

I had a serious cord wrap issue with the mount this evening. I thought it had anti-wrap built in and I have seen it move in the other direction even though it might have been a short distance from one object to another. I am not sure what was going on but the power cord wrapped around at least once. In Alt-Az Mode when you start a two star alignment and manually move the scope to the first star from the Alt-Az Home position (Alt=0, Az=0), does it matter which direction in Az you move the scope? Does it depend on which side of the meridian the star is located? I thought I read somewhere that you should move the scope clockwise to the star. I am using firmware v3.32.

JohnD

#70 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 02:23 PM

John

I am still using V3.32 on my mount. With that said, I finally got to use it the last two nights at a private star party about an hour from home where the SQM reading last night was 21.15. I still have to convert that to limiting magnitude, but the skies were dark.

The mount was set up in alt-az mode and I had my Celestron 9.25 OTA mounted on it. I was using my MallinCam Xtreme to observe targets. Although the hand controller and power supply cable did wrap around the mount head a little, the mount did not continue to wrap enough to cause issues. I started off the the connections on the south side of the mount and thoughtful the night, the mount would reverse direction rather than cause a cord wrap problem.

Regarding the mount itself, it performed better than anticipated. I was able to go up to 2 minutes non-guided in alt-az with nice, non-trailed images seen on the monitor. I never would have thought it possible to do 2 minute alt-az. The mount was rock steady with the C9.25.

I look forward to further testing.

Jack Huerkamp :jump:

#71 HowardK

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 05:24 PM

Jack

Put a SSI in that Celestron on the az eq6 in altaz and have a look at Saturn in some good seeing.

#72 Vagus

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 07:36 PM

How is the stock tripod with this mount? Any issues? Is it stable enough for astrophoto? I am considering this mount for a portable setup but just wondering if the tripod will need an upgrade. I heard that the locking bolts on the legs don't hold well under load.
Thanks,
J

Thanks,

#73 frolinmod

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 09:16 PM

The tripod on the AZ-EQ6 is identical to that of the EQ6.

#74 johnpd

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 07:28 AM

Hi Jack,

Yes if the mount is set up in Az Home position, the scope would be pointing north and would be on the east side of the mount and the connections would be on the south side. It normally starts the 2-star alignment with Sirius. I have been rotating the mount clockwise to Sirius which now is west of the meridian in the early evening. So the scope (and cables) would rotate over 200 degrees. The next alignment star it gave me was Arcturus which was at an azimuth of about 70 degrees. I don't recall which way it went to get there. I thought it went back the way it came. I will have to play with it inside and see what it is doing. I have turned off the auxiliary encoders. I wonder if that has any effect?

I had my Xtreme hooked up to my AZ EQ6 Saturday night and I ran some images over a minute. I saw some trailing on mine. It might depend on how close to the Celestial Equator you are imaging.

JohnD

#75 Jack Huerkamp

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 07:46 PM

I added the TPI spreader bars and aluminum tray to my AZ-EQ6, and it really stiffens up the entire tripod.

Jack






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