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iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions

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#351 John Miele

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 07:59 AM

A brief update on my earlier issue with GPS lock and hand controller time keeping. Paul was correct. Even though I had a new mount, my hand control battery was quite low on voltage. I measured 2.99V. I bought and installed a new battery that measured 3.28V out of the box. I’m not sure if the battery condition contributes to GPS performance, but my couple of GPS locks since battery replacement were much faster and occurred within a few minutes of turning on the power. I have also been rotating the RA axis 90 deg. to clear the top of the control board. The hand control is now keeping perfect time. Battery replacement is easily accomplished too. Thanks for the tip Paul!...John

#352 Rich Asarisi

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 08:37 AM

I found a strange problem with my mount. I set some zero position markers on my mount as Paul explained in his write up. I took the mount out the other night to do some ap and when I brought it back inside I notice that even though I told it to go to the zero position the marks no longer line up on either the RA or DEC axis. I figured maybe I reset the zero by accident, so I loosened the clutches and tried to reset the zero mark back to zero. Can't be done. No matter what its off a few degrees either side of the zero mark I had originally made.
Very strange --any one see this before? Or have any idea why or how to correct it?

Thanks

#353 Rich Asarisi

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 11:45 AM

I think I figured out my own issue. It's nothing to be alarmed about and there is nothing wrong with your mount if this happens. Here is what is happening. After polar aligning and at my pre-marked zero position I slew to an object or location. Then I hear the DEC motor or RA motor making that noise like a fax machine, i select 1 or 2 on the keypad and hit the controls to silence the noise from the motors. That small amount of change in RA and DEC will change the position of your pre-marked zero. Okay users beware!

#354 Rich Asarisi

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 11:53 AM

Here is a shot of the milky way from my backyard using the ZEQ25, Nikon D4 and a Nikon 28-70mm f2.8 lens set at 28mm. I'm still new at this so there is noise and artifacts in the image. Probably need to use a shorter exposure time and learn to do better post processing.

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#355 Bill McNeal

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 12:05 PM

Very nice!

#356 Mkofski

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Posted 07 September 2013 - 05:41 PM

Well. I finally ordered a zEQ25. In a week or so I should have it. The skies have been clear a lot lately... hope that holds for a bit longer.

#357 Astronewb

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:42 AM

The skies have been clear a lot lately... hope that holds for a bit longer.


Ha, not a chance Mike. Get out the umbrella and raincoat, and you might as well drag out the galoshes too...:)

The Z will be a great match for your refractors. Here's an image I took off the Z last week:
Posted Image
M31 with a Borg 125SD by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

Good luck and have a ton of fun, don't forget to download the full User's Instructions from iOptrons website, it only comes with a basic Quick Start guide.

Regards,

Paul

#358 Astronewb

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 08:48 AM

Can't be done. No matter what its off a few degrees either side of the zero mark I had originally made.
Very strange --any one see this before? Or have any idea why or how to correct it?


Hi Rich, good info. Sometimes it's too obvious how to get the zero marks dead center. When you return to zero, if the marks are off a tad, just use the slew buttons in RA and DEC to perfectly center the marks, then turn the mount off, and back on again. Problem solved.

Now that you have aligned it perfectly, it will return there after several slews, try it indoors..:)

Clear skies,

Paul

#359 ebeyonder

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 09:48 AM

This is a very intriguing mount! Does anyone have any real-life experience mounting a C11 to this mount? I suppose the C11 is within the advertised load for this mount, but it just seems a bit huge for it?

#360 gramaglia

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 02:07 PM

I have no experience with a C11 on this mount; however Paul chase did try to mount a huge RC on the mount and it seemed to slew quite effortlessly on the video he made. Don't know if he ever tried to image with that set up. Judging by the video I'm guessing you could use it visually. I'll let Paul make any additional comments on the matter as he is by far the most experienced user of the mount here.
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=_cIOTROXEpQ

#361 Astronewb

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 03:17 PM

This is a very intriguing mount! Does anyone have any real-life experience mounting a C11 to this mount? I suppose the C11 is within the advertised load for this mount, but it just seems a bit huge for it?


I don't own any SCT's, but I have imaged with a AT10 RC on the little Z mount. Had 67 pounds total weight, including counterweights (all I owned) and it did pretty well at 2000mm focal length for 2 and 4 minute exposures.

Here's an image off the Z mount with the AT10RC:
Posted Image
NGC6946 the Fireworks Galaxy by Astronewb2011, on Flickr

Not too shabby considering the weight and focal length the mount was carrying?

Hope it helps, I wouldn't recommend more than about 18-20 pounds for good imaging off the mount, but in a pinch it will carry more than its rated capacity. Proper balance and correct tensioning of the worms is critical when you start putting a ton of weight on the z-balanced design.

Hope the info helps,

Paul

#362 ebeyonder

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 11:31 PM

Wow that's amazing! Thanks for the info

#363 Ryuno

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 12:33 AM

Help!

I ordered the ZEQ25 plus Powerweight battery pack, but the battery pack is out of stock aat iOptron.

How can I power up the mount out in the field? Any easy not too heavy solutions?

Thanks.
Heinz

#364 Mkofski

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 12:43 AM

I just ordered a zEQ25 from Woodland Hills (telescopes.net). They have the PowerWeight on sale for $120. I'm sure there would be a shipping charge but this may be better than spending money on a temporary solution.

#365 Astronewb

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 01:12 AM

Heinz,any of the commercially available power tanks will work with iOptron mounts. The Celestron 7 ah small unit is pretty inexpensive and will power the mount for several nights without recharging.

Plus, you'll have a spotlight to annoy other imagers with...:) And an extra 12 vdc receptacle and 6, 9 and 12 vdc din connectors. Hint, the 9vdc is awesome to run a camera all night with.

Hope the info helps if you can't find the powerweight.

Best,

Paul

#366 Ryuno

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 09:45 AM

Thank you, Paul and Mike, for your ideas. For the time being, my dealer gave me a Vixen battery pack for 8 mignon cells. While I wait for the Powerweight to arrive.
I'll look into the other solutions too, Paul.
I tried to mount my CN-212 onto the ZEQ25 tonight, but had not realized that I needed a dovetail. Which one is it, the Vixen or the Losmandy type?
Have to visit the dealer again tomorrow.

Furthermore I had a little accident due to my own stupidity. I attached the counterweight, then tilted the tripod to extend the legs, and of course the counterweight started to pull on the cogwheels which resulted in an ugly noise of two cogwheels gliding on each other. Do you think I destroyed the mechanism? Good start, wasn't it?

I also noticed that the slewing speed was extremely slow when using the arrow keys on the HC. Is that normal? How can I slew faster?

Other than that the mount is beautiful. I like it.

Heinz

#367 Astronewb

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 09:58 AM

Thank you, Paul and Mike, for your ideas. For the time being, my dealer gave me a Vixen battery pack for 8 mignon cells. While I wait for the Powerweight to arrive.
I'll look into the other solutions too, Paul.
I tried to mount my CN-212 onto the ZEQ25 tonight, but had not realized that I needed a dovetail. Which one is it, the Vixen or the Losmandy type?
Have to visit the dealer again tomorrow.

Furthermore I had a little accident due to my own stupidity. I attached the counterweight, then tilted the tripod to extend the legs, and of course the counterweight started to pull on the cogwheels which resulted in an ugly noise of two cogwheels gliding on each other. Do you think I destroyed the mechanism? Good start, wasn't it?

I also noticed that the slewing speed was extremely slow when using the arrow keys on the HC. Is that normal? How can I slew faster?

Other than that the mount is beautiful. I like it.

Heinz


Heinz, the dovetail is a 'Vixen' type.

As far as the noise and the counterweights slipping in RA, that wont cause any damage normally, but it will get your attention when the worm cams off the ring gear..:)

Now you know why the mount must be balanced and the tension screws run all the way in, then backed out a turn or two.

I suspect the tension screw was not tight when that occurred?

Slewing speeds on the mount are governed by the numeric keys on the Hand Controller. Key '1' is the slowest, key '9' is the Max. Just hit a number key, then slew with the buttons. If you want to stop an automatic slew for any reason, just hit the '0' or the 'back' button.

Clear skies,

Paul

#368 Ryuno

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 10:22 AM

Thanks Paul,

what a relief! Yes, I had, as stated in the manual, tightened the tension screws all the way in, the two turns out again, when it happened.

I understand that the 5kg counterweight will not be enough to balance the 8.5 kg Cn-212. Unfortunately, I cannot use the Tak counterweights from my P2Z, because the Tak shaft is slimmer. Will a shaft extension work ok?

Heinz

#369 Astronewb

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:08 PM

Thanks Paul,

what a relief! Yes, I had, as stated in the manual, tightened the tension screws all the way in, the two turns out again, when it happened.

I understand that the 5kg counterweight will not be enough to balance the 8.5 kg Cn-212. Unfortunately, I cannot use the Tak counterweights from my P2Z, because the Tak shaft is slimmer. Will a shaft extension work ok?

Heinz


Hello Heinz, I don't know of any extensions that are available for the Z mount (yet). However, I have a Celestron counterweight (CG5-5kg)) that fits the Z shaft.

Any counterweight with a 20mm bore will fit the Z mount, it's not partial to make...:)

Maybe you can find some locally? Or at least regionally.

Best,

Paul

#370 Ryuno

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 07:23 AM

Success! Here she is, her majesty the CN-212 on a ZEQ25 mount.
A beauty awaiting her nuptial night! It will come sooner or later.

Heinz

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#371 Undermidnight

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 12:20 PM

I recently picked up an SV80ED Raptor to get back into imaging and considering mounts. This looks like a nice candidate!

Jason

#372 Mkofski

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 12:38 PM

Heinz,

That looks all wrong! I'm already impressed with what I've seen on this mount. Please let us know how it works with your beautiful CN-212.

Mike

#373 Mkofski

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 12:40 PM

I recently picked up an SV80ED Raptor to get back into imaging and considering mounts. This looks like a nice candidate!

Jason


Jason,

I think this mount would be a great fit for an 80mm refractor and you'll have room to grow if you want to get a bigger OTA later.

Mike

#374 calypsob

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 12:59 PM

Hey would anyone recommend the ieq35 over this zeq25? I am ready to move on from my Cg5-gt for something which will give me more consistent exposure time and also entertain the usage of an 8 or 10" carbon fiber newtonian. I was imaging this weekend with 2 other people and one had an atlas, the other a cgem, and their graphs were so smooth and nothing was finicky. I spent alot more time trying to fix problems than I spent imaging which was really disappointing. the CG5 is probably the best mount to learn on because you will figure out what and why causes every kind of problem and how to fix it. I think Im ready to graduate to a new mount now.

#375 Mkofski

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Posted 10 September 2013 - 02:31 PM

Hey would anyone recommend the ieq35 over this zeq25? I am ready to move on from my Cg5-gt for something which will give me more consistent exposure time and also entertain the usage of an 8 or 10" carbon fiber newtonian. I was imaging this weekend with 2 other people and one had an atlas, the other a cgem, and their graphs were so smooth and nothing was finicky. I spent alot more time trying to fix problems than I spent imaging which was really disappointing. the CG5 is probably the best mount to learn on because you will figure out what and why causes every kind of problem and how to fix it. I think Im ready to graduate to a new mount now.


Hi,

I tried for a long time to pick between the iEq30 and the zEQ25 and finally ordered a 25. The load capacity of the 2 mounts is very close and, if anything, it looks as if the 25 is underrated. For the $300 or $400 difference I didn't think the 30 was worth it. I also wanted the lightest mount I could find that would be good for intermediate astrophotography. The biggest advantage of the 30 is that the hand controller has more objects and, I think, PEC can be stored rather than done each time. I decided that those didn't make enough difference. If you want a better mount than the 25, I'd look at the iEQ45.

The iOptron tech support seems to be great but problems with the mount initially aren't unusual. To their credit, they ship parts to fix problems rather than having you ship the mount back for repairs.






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