Jump to content


Photo

iOptron ZEQ25, initial impressions

  • Please log in to reply
1399 replies to this topic

#1301 Henry from NZ

Henry from NZ

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 153
  • Joined: 26 Jan 2014

Posted 19 July 2014 - 04:29 AM

In New Zealand everything is harder to come by. An ioptron mount is 1.6x the USA price and a celestron mount about 2x. I bought my mount locally because I wanted the local warranty. In all fairness the dealer says he will sort the problem out but the wait is arduous. The thought of returning the mount and buy a new one does come across my mind, but then my replacement will need to be purchased overseas as he is the only one that carries ioptron locally as far as I know and I found the 200% mark up of celestron product very difficult to swallow.

#1302 Mkofski

Mkofski

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1534
  • Joined: 19 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA

Posted 19 July 2014 - 04:38 AM

We'll, the silver lining is that once you get everything worked out you should love the mount.

#1303 Astronewb

Astronewb

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1294
  • Joined: 19 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 19 July 2014 - 08:43 AM

In all fairness the dealer says he will sort the problem out but the wait is arduous.


Henry, have you tried contacting iOptron directly about the issue? Replacement boards are normally stocked in quantity and the part shipped via USPS Priority mail to NZ is $24.75 with guaranteed tracking delivery in 6-10 days.

Just a thought. Good luck.

Paul

#1304 dperk001

dperk001

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: 02 Jul 2014

Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:39 AM

Hey Paul, I am so spanking new at all this that I try and read as much as I can before making a purchase decision. After reading a mountain of posts in this thread. I just ordered the iOptron ZEQ25. Thanks to you with all your help on this forum and your youtube video's made my decision easier, for me the mount is going to be my first mount and it is a lot of money to me so I wanted to get the most for my money.
My head is about to explode and I only broken a sliver off the iceberg! I am sure I will have a lot more questions once I get it but thanks again for everything!
This should be perfect with a couple scope I just purchased used, a Stellarvue NightHawk 2 and SV90T

-David
  • kalasinman likes this

#1305 Astronewb

Astronewb

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1294
  • Joined: 19 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 22 July 2014 - 11:07 PM

This should be perfect with a couple scope I just purchased used, a Stellarvue NightHawk 2 and SV90T


Indeed it will David. Congratulations on your first mount and don't forget to download and read the User Manual.

Looking forward to your impressions and first light.

Cheers...Paul

#1306 Jack Morris

Jack Morris

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2012
  • Loc: Louisiana

Posted 24 July 2014 - 03:57 AM

Hi Paul,
Mine arrives tomorrow! My current grab and go rig is an ES 80ED on a Twilight I mount, a very light and handy setup, but I missed the tracking capability. I've read this thread until I am cross eyed, and had decided to get the ZEQ25 as soon as I could find one. A few nights ago I got an email from Astronomics saying they had just received a shipment so they were available with free shipping. I immediately ordered one with the hard case, and they are already out of stock again. EQGT with excellent tracking and only a ten pound weight penalty, "You can't beat that with a stick."!!

Cheers - Jack

#1307 Astronewb

Astronewb

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1294
  • Joined: 19 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 25 July 2014 - 01:06 AM

I immediately ordered one with the hard case, and they are already out of stock again.


That's the only thing I don't have for mine (hard case)and I wish I did. Leaving for the beach Saturday for a week and if I bring the mount I'll have to wrap it up somehow..:(

Wishing you all the best with the new mount, it is fun to use.

Cheers...Paul

#1308 jeffj247

jeffj247

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: 19 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Montgomery, Texas US

Posted 25 July 2014 - 07:52 PM

Just ordered my ZEQ25HC from OPT. It comes with a polar scope, hard case, and 2' tripod. Now all I need is for Paul to adopt me as his padawan and teach me the ways of the astronomy force.

#1309 Astronewb

Astronewb

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1294
  • Joined: 19 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 25 July 2014 - 08:05 PM

Just ordered my ZEQ25HC from OPT. It comes with a polar scope, hard case, and 2' tripod. Now all I need is for Paul to adopt me as his padawan and teach me the ways of the astronomy force.


Gosh Jeff, it took me forever to get rid of my three children, and just when I thought it was going to be clear sailing I find myself with 9 grandchildren!

I can't possible adopt anyone, or anything...:) Be glad to help when I can though.

Good luck with the mount,

Paul

#1310 jeffj247

jeffj247

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: 19 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Montgomery, Texas US

Posted 25 July 2014 - 08:31 PM

Sorry to hear that Paul But seriously, I appreciate you for really going all out with your reviews and everyone else as well. I promise to not blame the mount for any of my inexperienced flubs (there will be many I'm sure).

And congratulations on the 9 grandchildren. I love mine probably more than my kid (not really but, yes really).

#1311 Jack Morris

Jack Morris

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2012
  • Loc: Louisiana

Posted 28 July 2014 - 06:30 AM

My first Impressions:

1) I placed my order early Wednesday morning. Before noon Friday, Fed Ex had delivered. That is first class service! Thanks Astronomics.

2) I had already read (unusual for me), and printed out, a copy of the manual so set up was straight forward with two very minor glitches:
a) Since my latitude is slightly less than 31 degrees, the first order of business was to change the latitude adjustment screw. I had read the caution about not losing the washers when removing the latitude locking screws, but I failed to note that there are four, two on each side, one external, under the screw, and one "internal", between the base and the movable part. When I removed the lock screws I was careful to keep the external washers with their respective screws, but the "right hand" (facing "north") internal washer fell out on the floor. Fortunately, I noticed it fall and was able to find it. The left hand washer was trapped so tightly that it not only didn't fall out, but I could not move it at all. I reinstalled the right screw, with both its washers, in the upper (low latitude) hole, and tightened it firmly. I could then just barely move the right washer to the upper hole and complete the reassembly.
b) When I installed the mount on the tripod, I noticed that the center screw was a very snug and rather rough fit in the base of the mount. Apparently the machining of one or the other left something to be desired. I probably should have stopped and fetched tap and die, but instead I just screwed it all the way in. When I removed it there were a few metal filings in the top of the tripod, but when I screwed it back in it went much better. Small matter, but for the money, troubling nevertheless.

3) I had commented in my earlier post that the weight penalty over and above the Twilight I altaz mount was a mear ten pounds. Make that twenty pounds, I neglected the counter weight. Nevertheless, with a fore arm under the accessory tray and the hand around the opposite leg, I can carry the entire rig (including ES 80ED, finder, diagonal and 2" WF EP) out of my storage shed and around the yard. That still makes it a very nice grab and go. Sweet!

4) Friday night was mostly cloudy, so first light was Saturday night. The sky was clear but transparency was not good. I set up in the late afternoon, pointed the tripod with a hand held compass, and leveled. I turned on power, set up the HC and left it to find GPS satellites, which it never did. After I turned the dec axis horizontal GPS went to OK. I did not time it, but it took quite a while; much longer than my hand held GPS ever does. I checked firmware versions and found 140219 for the HC and 140121 for both motors. I then checked ioptron.com and found 131030 for the HC and 130312 for both motors. Those appear to be dates.(?) Still in the early evening, I sent an email to ioptron support asking for clarification, and a little after midnight received an reply that I have the latest, the web site just hasn't been updated. Folks, that is incredible support. I had a reply within hours on Saturday night! Thanks iOptron.

5) After dark, polar alignment was the first order of business. As others have noted the reticule light in the polar scope is only usable at the minimum intensity setting. I found the objective to be well focused, but the reticule was WAY out of focus but easily rectified. My set up was pretty good, Polaris was well within the FOV of the polar scope. First I centered Polaris and, while watching Polaris in the polar scope, rotated the RA axis from -90 to +90 degrees. Polaris barely moved at all so the polar scope is very well aligned with the RA axis. Polar alignment with this polar alignment scope is a dream come true! I have never seen a mount that was any where near as easy to polar align, and you can recheck it within seconds at any time.

6) I have done several one star aligns using different stars, and slewed all over the sky on both Saturday and Sunday nights. In every case the target has been within the FOV of my 1 1/4" 12mm (40X) double cross hair alignment EP, and a "Sync to Target" on a nearby bright star puts it spot on every time.

At this point I am one happy camper!!

#1312 tpuerzer

tpuerzer

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 11
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2013

Posted 28 July 2014 - 07:59 PM

I've had a chance to do a few more astrophotography tests with my Canon 300mm telephoto lens. And, I'm happy to report that the iOptron is a great platform for photography without an optical tube assembly - just a camera and lens. Live-view on my 70D is great for performing the initial one-star alignment, as all of the brighter stars are easily visible.

I'm taking an incremental approach to outfitting the mount and last night was the first evening I got computer-control of the mount working, using Cartes du Ciel (Skychart) running on an old Windows XP laptop. The biggest issue was finding drivers for the el-cheapo USB-to-Serial cable I bought online. (Advice to others is to spend more on a quality converter!)

Here's the first image I captured using my new computer-controlled setup:

Posted Image

The image is a stack of 10 one-minute exposures at an "astronomical" 12,800 ISO.

This is still an un-guided image... as an auto guider is the "next increment" that I will be adding to my setup...

So far I've got to say that I am loving the iOptron ZEQ25 mount!

#1313 John Miele

John Miele

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1947
  • Joined: 29 May 2005
  • Loc: North Alabama

Posted 28 July 2014 - 08:41 PM

Jack,

It is very important to verify the polar scope reticle is aligned with the RA axis. Otherwise, your polar alignment can be way off even though you think it's right on the money. Mine was misaligned at the factory and so have some others...John

#1314 Mkofski

Mkofski

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1534
  • Joined: 19 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA

Posted 28 July 2014 - 08:49 PM

Tpuerzer,

Good to hear you are doing so well,with the mount. Really nice first image!

#1315 Jack Morris

Jack Morris

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 37
  • Joined: 23 Nov 2012
  • Loc: Louisiana

Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:39 AM

John,
One of the first things I did was check alignment of the polar scope (see item 5). It is almost spot on, within about 1'.
Thanks for the heads up anyway.
Jack

PS: Actually, it was your post on 7/13 that prompted me to check first. So make that double thanks.

#1316 DonH

DonH

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 33
  • Joined: 22 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Houston, Tx.

Posted 29 July 2014 - 08:40 PM

Let me add my comments:

My first impression of the iOptron ZEQ25
I ordered the mount from Astronomics on April 1, 2014.It was backordered by iOptron until June 20, 2014 when I took delivery.I had downloaded the manual and read it through, prior to getting the mount.
Set-up was a snap or so I thought, my first problem came when I went to screw the tripod center rod into the bottom of the mount. The rod was so bent that the mount would not seat correctly on the tripod. So off it came and I put it in my lathe and did a little bit of straightening. It is not perfect but much better than it was, at least the mount now seats on the tripod solidly.
Performed the zero positioning of RA and DEC, put the tape on the axis, no problems there.
After a week of rain, I finally had a chance to go out of town to my dark skies in West Texas. Set the mount up and performed a polar align using the external s/w for Polaris positioning. That was very easy to do.
There was a slight breeze and every so often the mount would lose power? Could not find the LED plug for the polar scope either. After about an hour of searching for why the mount was losing power, I discovered the the A/C adapter had an intermittent 12 volt cable. The wind was blowing it and caused it open thus cutting off power to the mount. At that point I gave up for the night.
The next day I searched through the manual for the polar scope LED. I found where it was supposed to be. Went out to the mount and pulled the black plastic cover out of the access hole and discovered that the LED assembly was missing.
Later that same night I again attempted to set up and observe. Had many 12 volt interruptions and gave up after two hours of frustration.
Came back home a week later, sent an email to iOptron Support and after about 7 or eight email messages John sent me a new A/C adapter and the LED assembly. All is well now except the weather here in south Texas.
During one of the many rain storms we have been having over the past three weeks, I attempted to drive the mount using Skytools Pro via ASCOM and the serial port on the hand control. This is now driving me crazy trying figure out why it wont work. I have downloaded the iOptron ASCOM trelescope.net from the iOptron site, installed it. I have Microsoft framework net 4.5.1 already loaded and I have installed the proper s/w for the USB-serial converter that I have.
When I call up and load Skytools Pro, select telescope set-up, I get a pop-up window for ascom chooser, select iOptron telescope.net, the next window select com port 9 as device manager indicates. As soon as I hit enter I get an error message “Unable to find any iOptron telescope”. I have several usb/serial converters and I have switched from one to another and all give the same result.
I sent an email to Paul Chasse and asked for his advice and he ask for me to load a copy of CDC and see if I could connect to that program. I have done that and the results are the same. Device manager indicates com9, but when I check com9, I get the same error message.
I guess my next visit will be iOptron support, to see what they have to say, but I wanted to run it past this forum to see if anyone else has seen this or for more info as to where to look.

#1317 Robert York

Robert York

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 130
  • Joined: 05 May 2013

Posted 29 July 2014 - 08:54 PM

Well, in a head-cold induced haze, coupled with frustration at my CGEM, today I ordered a ZEQ25 on impulse. Sort of. Also got an ADM dual saddle, since everything else I have is on Losmandy dovetails. And, due to the wonder of modern technology, it shows up tomorrow.

I have a quick question. I've seen Paul's videos and read some of these posts, and someone mentioned somewhere you could purchase a few things like a sleeve for the polar scope, or doubled up springs. Where might this be?

And, I really hope my non-Polaris seeing backyard doesn't pose too much of a problem.

#1318 dperk001

dperk001

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: 02 Jul 2014

Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:12 PM

Hey guys, I'm a little confused, I just got my scope SV90T
and started to read the ZEQ25GT manual. It starts with Latitude range.
comes with a 35-60 Latitude adj. knob but it states at lower latitudes to use the short Lat adj. knob of 0-35. I live in Jacksonville which is at Lat 30. Do I need the short Lat adj. Knob? or are they talking about the range of the sky?
Sorry so new to this.

If i need this do to my land latitude, I guess I will need to call iOptron, do you have to pay for this part?
I'm bummed thought I was going to get to peak at the sky tonight. If I do need the part. Is there any way I can still use it temporary just to look around with my scope?
Thanks
David

#1319 Robert York

Robert York

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 130
  • Joined: 05 May 2013

Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:17 PM

I've not yet received mine, but after reading the manual, I was under the impression that it was included. Being in Texas, I'll need to use the smaller knob too.

I'd like to know if it's not.

#1320 BJS

BJS

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 73
  • Joined: 23 May 2009
  • Loc: NW Ohio

Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:18 PM

Robert

Here is Paul's site that has the polar scope sleeve:

v5astro

Brian

#1321 dperk001

dperk001

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: 02 Jul 2014

Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:33 PM

I just edited my post on the previous page do to I'm not sure if the manual means 35-60 latitude looking at the sky or latitude of where you are located on land?
Im just so new to this that even the obvious is confusing.
I'm just going to balance my scope now and just go for it.
LOL


#1322 cloudywest

cloudywest

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 111
  • Joined: 15 Jun 2013

Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:41 PM

Do I need the short Lat adj. Knob?

The spec is 0-60, so I assum the short knob is included.

#1323 dperk001

dperk001

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: 02 Jul 2014

Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:23 PM

Do I need the short Lat adj. Knob?

The spec is 0-60, so I assume the short knob is included.

In the manual it says it is default shipped with 35-60. At lower latitudes of 0-35 needs to be used. I have looked everywhere in the box for this little piece. I'm sure it should come with it the mount.

#1324 dperk001

dperk001

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 8
  • Joined: 02 Jul 2014

Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:39 PM

I FOUND IT! it is so small and fell on the floor and was packed like a little triangle football. Ok I just balanced the scope so I must undo everything.
the noob pains!

#1325 Mkofski

Mkofski

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1534
  • Joined: 19 Jul 2011
  • Loc: Greenfield, Indiana, USA

Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:45 PM

As to the “Unable to find any iOptron telescope” problem. You have used multiple USB / Serial converters but have you checked the iOptron cable you plug into the mount and USB/Serial cable?






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics