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Help with iEQ45

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#1 Mariner@sg

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:43 AM

Having read some reviews about the mount, I decided to get one to mount my C9 but as I am from a low latitude location, it is near impossible for me to see Polaris, much less use it for polar alignment.

My understanding was that even if the mount is roughly aligned, it should be sufficient for visual observation. However, after setting up and doing a 2 star alignment, I found the tracking to be quite bad. The RA and Dec motors do not appear to be compensating to track the target.

Next is the GOTO. It's way off and nowhere near the target even if it is quite near the alignmment stars.

Is there something wrong with the mount or is my expectations just too much?

#2 psandelle

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:51 AM

I have the iEQ30 (pretty much the same thing, only smaller), and something seems either wrong in your setup (balanced wrong, setup wrong, somethin'), or wrong in the mount itself.

Is all the firmware and software up-to-date on the thing? There was a problem with the HC firmware on the two-star alignment for a bit, but the latest firmware update fixed that.

Have you gotten in touch with the iOptron people? I've found them to be very communicative, with good answers, and they always got back to me quickly.

Very first time I used my iEQ30 (never having used a goto mount before), I was accurate in a 14mm 82 degree eyepiece on a 152mm f/6.5 achro half the night (jumping back and forth across the meridian) and then synched one-star again when it started to not be spot-on. Also left it on M13 and went inside to eat dinner and watch a movie, came back out after three hours, the cluster was still there.

Hope you figure it out sooner.

Paul

#3 Mariner@sg

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:22 AM

Thanks for the information Paul. I doubt my HC has been updated but will certainly try updating the firmware and hopefully that'll solve it.

#4 orlyandico

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:39 AM

if the iOptron is like most other mounts, it will not track in DEC. GoTo's should be ok but once on target, only the RA motor will run.

also.. are you sure you're aligning on the right stars? :D

#5 Mariner@sg

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:17 AM

Maybe I had too much expectations since I was operating the nexstar system prior to this. I think it's pretty hard to mistaken Sirius and Capella even if I am that rusty :p

#6 orlyandico

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:47 AM

could be. nexstar is pretty good.... but even nexstar doesn't track in DEC. the GoTo pointing will compensate for polar mis-alignment though. don't know if iOptron does that.

#7 mgwhittle

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:40 AM

If you cannot see Polaris from your observing location, the iEQ 45 is not really a good option. It will not track in DEC to compensate for rough alignment, nor will the 2 star alignment be good for GOTO if the alignment is way off. Where the iOptron shines is the polar alignment scope and it's ability to get you polar aligned quickly and accurately. Unfortunately, this is not an option for you.

You can compensate for this by doing a rough alignment, then doing a one star calibration in the area of the intended target. You still won't get long term tracking, but the GOTO accuracy will be more than enough to find your target in a low power eyepiece.

You might consider returning the mount for a Nexstar software based system. I think it will work better in your location.

#8 psandelle

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:54 PM

I will say I always align my iEQ30 with a compass and a clinometer first and get Polaris in the polarscope every time. I once just went with that (instead of adjusting with polarscope and AlignMaster), and, for visual, I was just fine. So maybe it's the firmware on the hand controller.

Paul

#9 orlyandico

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:06 PM

Mark, I'm at the same location as the OP.

Unfortunately my two other mounts have an even more primitive alignment system than the iEQ45.. one alignment star. :tonofbricks:

the pointing accuracy of the Nexstar is so much better than the GTO CP3 it's not funny. I guess if I had a really good polar alignment, I'd get better results. Ironically the Nexstar with its ASPA makes getting a good polar alignment easy.

#10 psandelle

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:00 PM

If you get your goto's down (one-star alignment), there is a polar alignment routine with two stars built into the HC (no need for Polaris).

Paul

#11 mgwhittle

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:04 PM

If you get your goto's down (one-star alignment), there is a polar alignment routine with two stars built into the HC (no need for Polaris).

Paul


In the iEQ45?

#12 mgwhittle

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:10 PM

Mark, I'm at the same location as the OP.

Unfortunately my two other mounts have an even more primitive alignment system than the iEQ45.. one alignment star. :tonofbricks:

the pointing accuracy of the Nexstar is so much better than the GTO CP3 it's not funny. I guess if I had a really good polar alignment, I'd get better results. Ironically the Nexstar with its ASPA makes getting a good polar alignment easy.


That's interesting, I find the pointing accuracy of the GTO CP3 to be a bit better than the iEQ45 after doing North Pole Calibrate two or three times.

#13 psandelle

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 08:15 PM

If it's the latest 8407 HC, then yes. It will take the two star alignment and tell you how far off you are from polar alignment.

Paul

#14 mgwhittle

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 09:39 PM

If it's the latest 8407 HC, then yes. It will take the two star alignment and tell you how far off you are from polar alignment.

Paul


Oh, I see what you are talking about. Yeah, they have done that since the beginning I believe, certainly the older hand controller did that too. I thought you meant it would do something like the All Star Polar Alignment routine.

While the Ioptron will tell you how far off your axis are from being polar aligned, I can't imagine how long it would take you to actually get that value down to something manageable using the coarse altitude and azimuth controls. Although it might get the OP much closer than he is and help the situation. Still, getting a mount that can use the All Star polar alignment routine would be so much easier.

#15 Phillip Easton

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 10:28 PM

If polar alignment is off then certainly GOTO's will be. If you are able to use a computer with the mount, (even if just doing visual) I would recommend using Alignmaster http://www.alignmaster.de/ to do your alignment. You can get good alignment without seeing Polaris.

Be sure to check if there is play in the axis, when I eliminated that my GOTO's got a lot better.

There is a lot that can be done to improve the mount. I have some stuff on my site at the link below.

Cheers!

#16 Astronewb

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 11:25 PM

While the Ioptron will tell you how far off your axis are from being polar aligned, I can't imagine how long it would take you to actually get that value down to something manageable using the coarse altitude and azimuth controls.


I really don't know why you think the altitude and az adjusters are 'coarse'. Mine move like a micrometer adjustment after rounding off the concave end of the bolts.

As far as the polar offset routine, I typically can have my mount at 00-00 offset after 3, and no more than 4 iterations of the 2 star alignment? The key is to know how far to move the adjusters...I use the PHD crosshairs, the first circle is about 5 arc minutes of movement in alt or azimuth. Makes it easy to get to a perfect alignment. Four iterations of the 2 star align equates to about 10 to 15 minutes setup. For what it's worth.

Cheers,

Paul

#17 orlyandico

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:00 AM

Mark, you're correct in that the GTO CP3 points very accurately - iff the polar alignment is dead-on. Right now I'm not quite there, so I slew to a star close to my target, center, and sync.

So far I haven't taken my mount into the field. I have just been using it from my balcony. Where the number of viewable stars is restricted, and I can't point to stars close to the meridian (hence Quick Drift Align is not usable).

The Nexstar can still do its ASPA with my limited view, though, and gets very close to the pole. But most importantly - compared to the iOptron or even the AP - the Nexstar software can compensate for polar misalignment when pointing. It's when it's tracking time that the target shoots off in DEC.

#18 John Carruthers

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 03:46 AM

A local school bought an ieq45 for their astronomy group and after a short tutorial the students are now getting it set up and viewing within 10 mins max.
(from a city site)
It's worth persevering with these mounts, they have superb tracking once aligned.

#19 mgwhittle

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

While the Ioptron will tell you how far off your axis are from being polar aligned, I can't imagine how long it would take you to actually get that value down to something manageable using the coarse altitude and azimuth controls.


I really don't know why you think the altitude and az adjusters are 'coarse'. Mine move like a micrometer adjustment after rounding off the concave end of the bolts.

As far as the polar offset routine, I typically can have my mount at 00-00 offset after 3, and no more than 4 iterations of the 2 star alignment? The key is to know how far to move the adjusters...I use the PHD crosshairs, the first circle is about 5 arc minutes of movement in alt or azimuth. Makes it easy to get to a perfect alignment. Four iterations of the 2 star align equates to about 10 to 15 minutes setup. For what it's worth.

Cheers,

Paul


Paul, I should have been more specific. Coarse was not a good choice of a word, I was thinking more along the lines of what you wrote......that figuring out the amount of movement to turn the adjustment knobs is the key to correcting the offset from the pole. Since the OP could not see the pole and is not an imager with a CCD (that we know of), it would be difficult to know the precise amounts to move the adjustment knobs using a star well away from the pole as a reference.

#20 psandelle

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

Mark - if the OP has the patience (something I'm usually short of except on nights with a lot of moon, then I have ALL the patience in the world), he could "calibrate" his az knobs and his alt lever on the iEQ45 by getting a reticle eyepiece, centering on a star and adjusting the knobs and lever and "marking" (or at least getting a good feel) for how far a turn of the knobs are, a full swing of the lever is, and which direction is which (I've gotten it backwards before...oops!)

I would think, if the mount's not to blame because something's busted and the HC's firmware is up-to-date, that a good compass and clinometer and this polar off-set routing should get pretty dang good accuracy. I use AlignMaster instead of the iOptron routine, but it's basically the same thing: adjust till you get it right. And, for me, it's like 10 to 15 minutes as well (once I get my stupid autofocus under control).

And one last appeal to the OP: the iOptron support is FIRST RATE (they just sent me something, shipped it out right before the storm hit over there and THEN billed me, so that it wouldn't be delayed - all within an hour of a question I had)! Email them and see what they say.

Paul

#21 Midnight Dan

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:52 AM

As far as the polar offset routine, I typically can have my mount at 00-00 offset after 3, and no more than 4 iterations of the 2 star alignment? The key is to know how far to move the adjusters...I use the PHD crosshairs, the first circle is about 5 arc minutes of movement in alt or azimuth. Makes it easy to get to a perfect alignment. Four iterations of the 2 star align equates to about 10 to 15 minutes setup. For what it's worth.


This works for me too. Without Polaris, your options are to do this, use software like Alignmaster, or drift align. This is MUCH faster than drift alignment, although probably not as accurate. Alignmaster requires a computer.

When adjusting altitude and azimuth with the adjustment screws, you should be able to use your main scope, a reticle eyepiece, and any star that's not too high above the horizon to get a pretty good idea of how far you're moving things.

-Dan






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