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G-11 simple maintenance

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#1 PaulEK

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:18 PM

I recently bought a used G-11, a 2000 model with digital drive, from someone here on CN (thanks, Mark!) It should arrive in a week or so. I own an Atlas, and once owned a Losmandy GM-100. I've also had other EQ mounts, and am fairly handy. When researching what mount to upgrade to from my Atlas, I read a lot about maintenance of the G-11. There are lots of opinions, and they don't all agree. I'm of the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' school, but do want to know the minimum needed to keep the mount in good shape. I apologize if this has been discussed a million times, but the information I've found so far does not all agree, or is confusing to me as one of the as-yet uninitiated. If someone knows a link to a post where this has already been gone over, that would be great.

Below is a paragraph from the official manual, about cleaning and re-lubing. It's pretty basic, and doesn't have pictures. But, does it describe accurately what needs to be done? Does it leave out any dis-assembly? (For example, do I need to remove the motors and worms before doing what the instructions say?) Also, can anyone point me to a tutorial that might have photos? The ones I've found seem to show a complete tear-down of the mount. I only want to do what's needed. Any other suggestions would be welcome. Like, is WD-40 really the appropriate stuff to use? I won't ask about the proper grease to use. I've already found the long discussions on those! :)

From the Manual:

"After years of use the clutch paddles and bearings need to be cleaned and lubricated. To do this, you must take apart the mount slightly. Both R.A. and DEC axes are the same. First, remove the clutch knob. Five parts will come off the shaft. Spring washer, aluminum spacer, thin washer, needle bearing and thin washer. Second, grab hold of the DEC housing or saddle plate depending on which axis you are working. Pull the axis straight out. At the end of the shaft you will find a nylon disc. Remove this piece and clean both sides with rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Clean the aluminum plate and shaft where the nylon disc rests. Clean the aluminum plate that is left on the mount. Look down the hole where the shaft fits you will see two needle bearings. One on top and one in the back of the mount. With your finger, see if you can turn the bearings easily. If not, apply WD-40 to the bearing and work them free. Once they can turn freely clean them with alcohol, then apply standard grease to the bearing. You will want to clean and grease the thrust bearing back by the clutch knob. Make sure not to get grease on the clutch area. Assemble the axis back together. Apply some grease on the threaded part of the shaft were the clutch knob screws."

#2 Billydee

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:35 PM

Paul,

You need to join the Yahoo Losmandy Group. If you have a Gemini unit you should also join the Gemini and/or Gemini II Yahoo group. The have a large number of pix and detailed instructions concerning these items. It is all free.

Luck, Bill

#3 PaulEK

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:09 PM

Thanks, bill! I signed up and am waiting for acceptance.

#4 Billydee

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:58 PM

Paul,

It usually only takes a day to get acceptance. You will need to go to the files section and you will have more reading to enjoy. The Forum notes are great and just ask for help and they will be glad to assist you.

Bill

#5 Startraffic

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:12 AM

Paul,
I've got a used '92 G11 for 7-8 yrs ago & LOVE it. Beat the snot out of the LXD-55 & GP I had, it better for the $$$. Built like a tank, it'll take just about anything you want to throw at it. I've hung a 10"f4 SNT, 6" C6R, 90mm finder/guider & 2 cameras at the same time for solar outreach ~60lbs total. The other exhibitor’s jaws were on the ground. Balance is critical, do both Axis’s on both sides.
The bearings are a PITA to get to & are pressed in. Clean & relube with your choice of grease (I ain't going there either). When I got mine with practically frozen bearings. The bearings felt like they had sand in them. I actually pressed them out to cleaned them in Kerosene, they were that bad. I give mine an annual tune up, but it doesn't really "need" it, it’s preventative maintenance. This can be done on the tripod/pier. You don't mess up your Polar Alignment that way.
I remove the motors & worm assemblies to prevent gearbox breakage, & the risk of galling the gears. The gearbox is the G8/G11/Titans' Achilles' heel. I keep a spare set just in case. They're $35, but when the plastic case cracks, you're dead in the water until replaced. It only takes about 10 minutes to change one out. There is a mod listed on the Yahoo groups’ files section for the GB to make it reenterable & serviceable. I haven't been convinced to do it.
When you disassemble each Axis' take note of the order of the bearings & spacers. Keep them in the same order. They look very similar but they aren't & it does make a difference. Take detail pictures! DAMHIKT
The plastic clutch bearing usually only needs cleaning; a good degreasing type dish soap like Dawn seems to work for me. I haven't had to "roughen" mine, you might need to or not. It depends on how tight the clutches were kept & if they slip. I kept mine just tight enough to hold in place, but a light push would be enough to move the scope around.
If you want to keep the anodizing looking good, I've used Pledge on a rag & wipe it down. It also seems to help with static. Don’t use “Armour All” I tried it once & the static build up was horrendous.
Get a good set of allen wrenches for it. A can of grease will last for years, mine has.
Parts for it are ZERO problems, they are always in stock except for the polar scope, those are in most of the time. You can make a PHONE call to Losmandy & actually speak with an intelligent life form with more than 1 brain cell, not some doofus that wouldn't know a telescope from a telephone. Odds are that you'll speak with Scott or Russell, Russell & Elizabeth do a lot of the email. All know what they're talking about. Great folx.
The Yahoo group is a great resource; the files section has TONS of info & tips.
I 'upgraded' to a HGM-200 about 2 -3 months ago & it makes the G11 look like a toy in comparison. I'm trying to keep the G11 for outreach & a travel scope. SWMBO doesn't like that idea.

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#6 PaulEK

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:03 PM

Bill:

I haven't heard back yet, but that's okay; the mount doesn't arrive until Monday.

Startraffic:

Thanks for all the tips! I had a GM-100 for a while several years ago, so I know the quality that goes into these. This mount is a push to, with the digital drive and not the Gemini, coming with the older Hurst motors. So I'll be ordering upgrades right away. I'm also thinking of getting the one piece worm block for the RA axis, and an ADM saddle.

#7 Startraffic

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:53 PM

Paul,
The OPW is a HUGE improvement. It also comes with the high precision brass worm IIRC, very nice. The DDS really doesn't NEED the clutch knob upgrade, you really won't be cranking them too tight anyway. It should move when you push on it & stop immediately when you stop with no seesawing. The Polar scope is nice to have if you're going to be portable, but if you're permanent, a compass & drift align works too.

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#8 PaulEK

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:02 PM

Startraffic,

It's coming with a polar scope, and the GM-100 didn't have the clutch knob upgrade, and was fine. I chose a G-11 mostly because of its ability to push-to; I really loved it with the GM-100.

#9 Startraffic

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

Paul,
Yup, I ran mine that way for a couple of years. It was great when I put the external encoders & Sky Commander on.

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#10 MDearingJaxFL

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:10 PM

Paul

Check out this page

:>) Mark

http://www.astro.uni...xperiences.html

#11 MDearingJaxFL

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:12 PM

This one too

:>) mark

http://www.astro.uni...g11_tuning.html

#12 MDearingJaxFL

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:13 PM

need more?
Though a Gemini model page it may contains something useful for your digital drive model.
:>) mark

http://www.wilmslowa...s/g11gemini.htm

#13 Billydee

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:30 PM

Paul,

Did you ever get the Yahoo "OK"?

Bill

#14 JoseBorrero

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:58 PM

I bought a brand Losmandy G11 digital drive, use like 4 months then update to Gemini I used with new motors and gear box, very nice experience up to date.
There are other websites that give tip for disassembly with common parts to maintain clean or be replaced if necessary. luckly all is for sale at Losmandy.

#15 mrpizza

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 08:12 PM

Paul,

I have the push G-ll on a pier and used MDearingJaxFL first site to disassemble mine for maintenance. It was VERY easy as long as you keep the parts in order (I spread mine out on an old towel in the order they were taken off). It made a big difference in performance. BTW I changed out the factory RA worm for the high precision when I did this (another huge improvement).

#16 JoseBorrero

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:37 PM

http://www.wilmslowa...s/g11gemini.htm

http://www.astromast...intenance_e.htm

#17 PaulEK

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:00 AM

Hi Guys! I haven't been here in a while, so thanks for all the tips and links.

Bill, I never got an okay, but went over and tried to sign in... and got in just fine. I've been reading and asking questions.

JoseBorrero: Yes, one big reason I went with the G-11 is that replacement parts, as well as upgrades, are readily available!

Mark, those were sites that I had found, and I ended up using them to figure out what to do once I had the mount in hand.

I find it interesting though, that all the sites I've found so far show much more dis-assembly than is needed to simply clean up the clutches. I've cleaned mine up, and am waiting for new pads and thrust bearings. Once those arrive, I'll grease the appropriate parts and put it all together again (it's actually assembled now to keep things clean). All the other dis-assembly seems unnecessary to me, unless one is also replacing, adjusting, or re-greasing the worm/worm wheel. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. To do the clean-up of the clutches, tools are not even needed!

I think I am going to take detailed photos and write up -- for newbies like me -- this simple procedure myself. For folks new to the G-11, I think it would be very helpful. I was intimidated, and now I know there was no reason to be: this is an elegant piece of hardware, made to be easily maintained.






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