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iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions

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#326 meade8r

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:22 PM

Bill,

Just sent you a PM. Check your incoming messages.

Charlie

#327 Bill McNeal

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:01 PM

Charlie, appreciate your helpful and kind answers. I'll keep them in mind and give it another try soon.

#328 ghataa

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 10:38 AM

Is there anything equivalent to Celestron's ASPA on the ZEQ25 or is a view of Polaris always required for polar alignment?

Thanks,

George

#329 rkayakr

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 12:07 PM

George
Check out the Polar Alignment routine for those who can’t see the Pole Star, section 5.4.1 in the ZEQ25 manual. I haven't used it so I can't comment on how well it works.
Bob

#330 John Miele

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:11 PM

My ZEQ25 arrived over a 2 day period. The mount came Wednesday and the tripod came today. The mount box was fine. The tripod box was beat to heck. Everything was in fine physical condition except for the hand knob on the tripod that is used to tighten down the mount head. It is loose and moves up and down and has a little play in it. I’m pretty sure this knob should be firmly attached to the long rod that threads into the head. I think it got knocked loose in shipping. However, it still allows the rod to be tightened up so it’s really not a big deal.

My first impressions are good. It’s is nicely machined and finished. The mount head itself is amazingly light. Holding it in my hand it was hard to believe it would do the job!

You definitely have to get used to the tension screws and locking knobs on the RA and DEC axes. It powered up fine. No warnings of any kind. I do not hear any cross talk/chatter noises reported by some. There is a faint high pitched whine noise from the motors, but it’s very subtle. I consider the mount to be very much on the quiet side while slewing to a target and tracking.

Still checking it all out and have one thing to mention. I waited for more than 20 minutes and the GPS would not lock. I was worried I had a bad GPS unit. I went and read the manual and it said sometimes you have to rotate the RA axis 90 deg. to clear the GPS location on the mount. I did this and got a GPS lock within seconds. So I guess that will be my modus operandi from now on.

I ordered the 2 inch tripod and it is solid as a rock. Granted I only have a little AT72 on there, but a sharp rap damped out instantly…very stable. I do use VSPs routinely with all of my tripods.

I only had time to do a couple gotos and I only did a crude polar alignment but the targets both fell in the rather wide field of my AT72 with a 10mm radian.

Tracking seemed fine and there was very little backlash in either axis. I have not experimented at all with the tension knobs. I just unscrewed them about 2 turns and did not touch them again.

One question…does anyone know how to change the slew rate to do a high speed slew instead of sticking at 64X? I can’t seem to find this in the manual.

Thanks…John

#331 Bill McNeal

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 10:22 PM

John, push 9 on the HC. Each number doubles the rate of the previous.

Hope that helps!

#332 John Miele

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 08:43 AM

Thanks Bill! I'll try that tonight...John

#333 ekallgren

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 01:19 PM

Well I ordered mine got here on Wed. so I assembled it powered it up and it came to life as expected. Slewed the DEC & RA worked great. So now I was waiting for the smoke to clear in Reno from the Rim fire in Calif.
Went out last night and could see Polaris so I decided to set it up under hazy skies and do a polar alignment. All went as planed very easy to do. Then was going to do a One Star Align , picked the star from the menu and pushed enter and the Hand controller flashed a couple of times and died.

Called OPT and they were going to get a hold of iOptron through there dealer channel but I chose to call iOptron support myself. Very helpful customer support they took the time to walk me through the "Flashing" of the Hand Controller, to no avail. Looks like I will have to send the Hand controller to them for Repair.

I'm not to disappointed for a couple of reasons 1, iOptron has great customer support and 2, I don't think that the smoke is going to clear anytime soon. I will keep you posted as to the outcome and cause of the failure.

Eric

#334 Bill McNeal

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 02:10 PM

Anyone know how to "update" the RA-DEC software, as listed in the HC set menu? What is the current version number?

#335 Rich Asarisi

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 02:35 PM

Bill

Everything you need to download and to know is on this page. I updated mine without a hitch.
http://ioptron.com/s...94-e186-4ddb...

#336 John Miele

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 08:53 PM

I'm pretty good with dumb questions so here is another one...when the manual says to loosen/tighten the tension screws by some number of turns, I assume a turn is an actual 360 deg. rotation? I only ask because the recommended 2 full turns seems like a fairly large amount to back out the screws and they start to feel pretty loose...John

#337 Bill McNeal

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 11:58 PM

360 does seem like a turn, but I do a little less to what feels about right.

#338 Astronewb

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:06 AM

Anyone know how to "update" the RA-DEC software, as listed in the HC set menu? What is the current version number?


If you have a current version Z, the RA and DEC firmware should be up to date, ie; ver 130312 for both?

If you did have to update the RA or Dec boards, you would have to use the HC, in 'Setup Controller' scroll to the Update RA and DEC setting.

If you select it, it will prompt you for a password, that is '9999'. Then it will open a prompt to update the DEC and then the RA individually. You could then update the DEC and RA boards using the iOtpron upgrade utility software and selecting the correct bin file. After updating either, you need to hit the 'back' button to update the other board. If you use the current upgrade utility, it will prompt you through that step.

Just for info,

Paul

#339 Astronewb

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:11 AM

I'm pretty good with dumb questions so here is another one...when the manual says to loosen/tighten the tension screws by some number of turns, I assume a turn is an actual 360 deg. rotation? I only ask because the recommended 2 full turns seems like a fairly large amount to back out the screws and they start to feel pretty loose...John


You're absolutely right John, 360 degrees is a full turn. The two turns out is a 'starting point' and definitely not carved in stone.

My mount is happiest with the DEC 1/2 turn out, and the RA 1 turn out when imaging. For visual, one to two turns is fine.

I can only turn the tension knob about 1/2 turn with my medium sized digits in the limited space. If you have really big fingers, about 1/4 turn would be it.... :)

Have a ton of fun and keep looking up,

Paul

#340 Hermie

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 06:46 AM

John,

Thanks for sharing your initial impressions. I'm not in the market for a mount at the moment, but the ZEQ25 is certainly interesting.

I hope you can find the time to share some more later, when you've had time to use the mount for a while.

Hermie

#341 John Miele

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 05:51 PM

Hermie,

Here's a little bit more...

1. The knob that was loose on the spreader plate attachment rod had a set screw that just needed to be tightened. A couple turns and it's good to go.

2. I marked my tension adjuster knobs with permanent marker to help keep track of how much I turn it.

3. I followed Paul's excellent tutorial on marking the "zero" position of the mount. When I was done I noticed the CW shaft was not pointing straight down at all. So I loosened the three CW shaft set screws and rotated the shaft until it pointed straight down. This might not really matter but it looks more "right" so to speak...

Hope to get second light late tonight...

John

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#342 John Miele

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 02:51 PM

I just received my mount last week and can report you will need to update the hand controller firmware but the motor controllers are the latest versions on the website. I just updated the HC firmware using the website instructions and it was simple to do and worked perfect.

I also noticed my polar scope was NOT aligned correctly in the housing. It may be pre-installed but I suggest you place the mount in the zero position, remove the polar scope caps and look at the reticle. Mine was clearly misaligned about 6-7 deg. off the vertical. When you remove the DEC axis cover you will see the illuminator has a little room to move in the hole. I was able to loosen the set screw and easily rotate the polar scope body to the correct position and then retighten the set screw.

The only somewhat issue I have is the GPS performance has been very erratic. Last night it took over an hour to lock on the signal. This morning, while, upgrading the firmware, I turned on the mount and the GPS locked on in just a few minutes. This does not really matter much because the mount is tracking time anyway and I rarely change observing locations, but still... Can anyone else report how long it takes their GPS to lock on? I'm not sure if I should report this as an issue to iOptron or not....John

#343 Mkofski

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:26 PM

John,

On iOptron's Yahoo users group the erratic GPS connection time is mentioned frequently. There is a lot of good information there, you should join that group. There are some things you can do to decrease the time but I don't remember what they are off hand. Sure someone else can chime in here to help.

Mike

#344 Astronewb

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 06:39 PM

Hi John, the Z mount has one of the slowest GPS receivers in the industry..:) I can set up, align, and be imaging before I get a GPS lock signal. If you turn the DEC axis 90 degrees to the mount when setting up with the mount powered up, it will usually lock on in 8-15 minutes.

As you say, no problem as long as you haven't travelled more than 100 miles from your normal location and don't know the current locations coordinates.

The mount stores your GPS location in memory once it locks in, so it's good to go from start up usually. In fact, the 'beep' from the GPS lock startles me at times, because I'm already imaging, and think it's some kind of error message when it occurs.

Clear sky,

Paul

#345 John Miele

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:07 PM

Hmmm...I thought the time was kept in the controller. But I just tried another set up. The GPS would not lock but I did a slew to object anyway. The scope was way off the target. So I checked the time in the hand control and it was almost two hours incorrect and appeared to correspond to the last time I tried and got a successful GPS lock earlier in the afternoon. So it would appear that if you do not get a GPS lock you have to enter the time manually when you turn on the mount. Does that sound right? If true, then this will be a very annoying issue. You might as well not even have GPS capability in the mount ...John

#346 gramaglia

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 09:23 PM

John, I have to agree with you the GPS feature on this mount is more a negative than a positive. Like Paul said it eventually does get a lock well into the imaging session and the beep it does makes your wonder if something went wrong. As far as I can tell it does keep the information from the previous GPS lock, which is fine by me as my mount as 2 possible location about 10 feet apart based on what area of the sky I'm imaging to avoid the walls that surround my back yard.

#347 Astronewb

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:01 AM

So I checked the time in the hand control and it was almost two hours incorrect and appeared to correspond to the last time I tried and got a successful GPS lock earlier in the afternoon. So it would appear that if you do not get a GPS lock you have to enter the time manually when you turn on the mount. Does that sound right?


No, that's not right. The HC should display the correct time if you have entered it in the Setup Menu originally.

The mount stores the GPS coordinates (location), the HC stores the time and date. Check your HC when you power on the mount for the correct time and correct date. You may have a low battery in the HC.

I know, it's new. But I've changed 3 button batteries in as many new mounts within the first 2 months of ownership.
The batteries shipped with the mounts are of really poor quality, if it tests less than 3.0 vdc, throw it away.

First clue is the time not displaying properly, a dead giveaway is the date defaulting to 2011, which will really mess up your go-to's.

Regards,

Paul

#348 Bill McNeal

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 01:33 AM

How do you change the HC batteries and what type are they? There's no mention in the instruction manual.

#349 Astronewb

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 07:43 AM

How do you change the HC batteries and what type are they? There's no mention in the instruction manual.


Just remove the four screws on the HC, remove the rear cover, and there is a button battery on the circuit board.

It's a 3v, CR1220 battery, your local Radio Shack or hardware store probably carry them in stock.

There is no mention of this in the manuals, just an oversight I guess?

Cheers,

Paul

#350 John Miele

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 08:06 AM

Paul,

Thanks! I'll check my battery straight away....

John

So I checked the time in the hand control and it was almost two hours incorrect and appeared to correspond to the last time I tried and got a successful GPS lock earlier in the afternoon. So it would appear that if you do not get a GPS lock you have to enter the time manually when you turn on the mount. Does that sound right?


No, that's not right. The HC should display the correct time if you have entered it in the Setup Menu originally.

The mount stores the GPS coordinates (location), the HC stores the time and date. Check your HC when you power on the mount for the correct time and correct date. You may have a low battery in the HC.

I know, it's new. But I've changed 3 button batteries in as many new mounts within the first 2 months of ownership.
The batteries shipped with the mounts are of really poor quality, if it tests less than 3.0 vdc, throw it away.

First clue is the time not displaying properly, a dead giveaway is the date defaulting to 2011, which will really mess up your go-to's.

Regards,

Paul








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